At Last, A Good Draw for Balcatherine

Balcatherine, after four back-line draws and one from out wide at No. 7 from her past five outings, should appreciate the No. 1 barrier in the random draw for the 2130m $24,000 Pure Steel Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Despite the series of awkward draws, Balcatherine has won twice, finished second twice and third once from her past five starts. She should be seen in an unaccustomed role of pacemaker this week and looks very hard to beat.

Trained by Gary Hall Snr and driven by Gary Hall Jnr, Balcatherine is the only mare in the field of 12 and is the least experienced runner, with her 11 starts producing five wins, three seconds and one third placing.

She is one of six four-year-olds in the field, with the Aiden de Campo-trained and driven Walsh, from barrier No. 2, one of her main rivals. Walsh caught the eye last Friday night when he started out wide at barrier eight and was ninth at the bell before finishing strongly, out very wide, to be fifth behind Mister Bushido over 2536m.

Mister Bushido, who made most of the running and won easily over 2536m last Friday night, gets the chance to complete a winning hat-trick by proving the master of his eight rivals in the Direct Trades Supply Pace over 2130m.

He will start from the No. 4 barrier and is sure to meet with plenty of opposition from Dreamy Nights, Our Perkins and Marquisard.

Mister Bushido, trained at Serpentine by Gary Hall Snr, is a stablemate of exciting four-year-old Wildwest, who will be having his first start for six months when he contests the 2130m Etch Coatings Pace from the awkward draw at No. 7 in a field of eight.

Wildwest won at his first eight starts before losing form and finishing eighth and twelfth at his final outings before being sent for a spell in November. His four-year-old stablemate Robbie Easton also will be resuming after a spell in Friday night’s event in which he will start from the No. 5 barrier with Stuart McDonald in the sulky.

Robbie Easton has raced 29 times for nine wins and nine placings and he and Wildwest are sure to be tested by another New Zealand-bred four-year-old Taroona Bromac, who will be driven for Greg and Skye Bond by Ryan Warwick from barrier No. 2.

Taroona Bromac, a winner at ten of his first 13 starts, has disappointed with unplaced efforts at his past three starts. But, from his ideal barrier he has the class to bounce back to his best form.