A Winning Combination

Talented driver Jocelyn Young and four-year-old gelding Pierre Whitby have formed a wonderful combination over the past 15 months and Young is looking forward with a good degree of confidence to winning the opening event, the 2536m TABtouch Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Young drove a splendid patient race to land Pierre Whitby a smart winner over 2130m on Tuesday evening and she is hoping to repeat the dose three nights later.

From barrier five, Pierre Whitby raced in seventh position in the one-wide line before Young sent him forward, three wide 400m from home. He went four wide on the turn and burst to the front in the final 50m to win decisively from Soho Wonder.

That took Pierre Whitby’s record to 60 starts for nine wins and 20 placings. Young has driven the gelding 52 times for eight wins, eight seconds and seven thirds.

He is very consistent, and I love driving him,” said Young. “I drove him (four times) for Ed Dewar as a three-year-old early last year and I was able to stick with him after he was sold.”

Pierre Whitby was sold to Mark Lewis and has been trained for his past 54 starts by his mother Debra.

Though he has won over 2100m and twice over 2130m, Pierre Whitby excels over longer journeys, having won over 2242m, 2536m, 2569m, 2620m, 2690m and 2692m.

“Generally, he is a better horse over 2500m,” said Young. “He’s always driven cold and always has that good sprint. If the tempo is on, he’s even better. Hopefully, we’ll be able to settle close to the lead on Friday night.”

Young is also looking forward to driving Just For Love in the Group 1 Westbred Classic for fillies, Powerplay in the Westbred Classic for colts and geldings and veteran Bad Round in the Catalano Truck And Equipment Pace.

Powerplay, a winner at his past two starts, will begin from the No. 4 barrier. “The draw is a bit awkward,” Young said. “But he’s going really well and with the right run he should finish in the top five. Bad Round came from last when third last week and this week from the inside of the back line we should race closer to the lead.”

Baskerville trainer Ryan Bell is looking for further improvement from Blue Blazer, who will start from barrier four in the TABtouch Pace and looks a danger to Pierre Whitby.

Bell brought Blue Blazer from last with a strong finishing burst to win easily from Maximum Demand over 2569m at Bunbury last Friday night.

“It’s taken a while, but he showed his trackwork form in the win,” Bell said. “He has had a few feet issues and mental issues and it will be interesting to see how he backs up.

“I’m a bit of an old school trainer with him. I work him on the lead and give him pacework instead of full hard hopple work. He just does two-mile pacework and that seems to be working for him. It wasn’t the strongest form race at Bunbury. The 2500m will suit; he’ll be doing nothing or as little as we can and hopefully, he will sprint home.”

Bell will also be looking for a solid effort from Radiant Amber in the Lombardo Pace for fillies and mares. The four-year-old, who will start from barrier three, was a fast-finishing winner two starts ago before she set the pace and faded to finish a half-length third behind Tiffany Rose and Major Shard last Saturday night.

 “I was a bit disappointed when she was beaten last week, but she lost to a pretty handy mare,” Bell said. “This week it’s a jump up in class, but the better field might suit her.”

Champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr is hoping that star pacer Chicago Bull can overcome the awkward draw at No. 5 in the field of seven to contest the Direct Trades Supply Past Presidents Cup over 2130m.

Chicago Bull also started from barrier five in the 2536m Winter Cup last Friday night when he raced in last position in the field of six before starting a three-wide run at the bell and eventually getting to the front 100m from the post before being beaten in the final stride by a nose by the fast-finishing Ocean Ridge.

Ocean Ridge, to be driven by Ryan Warwick for ace trainers Greg and Skye Bond, has an advantage over Chicago Bull this week, starting from the No. 2 barrier.

“Chicago Bull has been getting no favours with the random barrier draws,” Hall said. “But he’ll go well this week. He had a little break before last week’s run and was quite fat. It was a good run last week.”