Back To The Beach Loves to Lead
Six-year-old Back To the Beach has been unplaced at his past nine starts, but he makes strong appeal from the No. 1 barrier in the opening event, the 1730m Westral Pace, at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
This will be his third start after a spell after an inconspicuous last as a $91 outsider behind Iceenothink after racing at the rear from his wide barrier at No. 8 and then seventh at $41 behind The Trilogy after starting from the outside of the back line and racing at the rear.
Punters would be well advised to take into account Back To The Beach’s outstanding record as a frontrunner. The Ross Olivieri-trained gelding who will be driven by Chris Voak, has set the pace at ten of his 74 starts for eight wins, a third and a fifth placing.
Voak is sure to take full advantage of the inside barrier by attempting an all-the-way victory. The Debra Lewis-trained Athabascan looms large as the main danger to Back To The Beach.
Athabascan, to be driven by Jocelyn Young, is drawn favourably at No. 3 on the front line and will have many admirers after his strong third behind Zennart and Gee Jay Kay over 1730m last Friday night after he had worked hard in the breeze.
Courage Tells, trained by Greg and Skye Bond and to be driven by Ryan Warwick, also has claims from barrier two. The 12-year-old, who has won at 36 of his 243 starts, possesses good gate speed. He began speedily from out wide at barrier eight three starts ago when he dashed to an early lead, set the pace and held on to win by a neck from Star Armbro over 2130m.
Warwick has bright prospects in the third event, the Etch Coating Pace over 2130m, in which he will drive the highly-promising mare Our Alfie Romeo, who will start from barrier two on the back line.
Our Alfie Romeo maintained her excellent form when she began brilliantly from the outside barrier (No. 9), sped to the front after 220m and was untroubled to win from stablemate Infinite Symbol and Miss Sangrial, rating 1.56 over 2130m. That took the five-year-old’s record to 34 starts for 17 wins, seven seconds and two thirds.
Miss Sangrial (barrier one) and Dracarys (barrier two) loom as the main dangers to Our Alfie Romeo.
The Bonds and Warwick will be looking for the brilliant, lightly-raced Mighty Conqueror to bounce back to form when he contests the Mondo Doro Smallgoods Pace over 2130m. The New Zealand-bred five-year-old, a winner at 15 of his 25 starts, faces a stern test from barrier eight in a field of ten.
Mighty Conqueror was an impressive all-the-way winner over Motu Premier and Our Jimmy Johnstone over 2130m four starts ago but has had little luck when unplaced at his next four starts.
He started from the back line in the Village Kid Sprint last Friday night when he raced in tenth position before dashing forward with a three-wide burst in the final circuit. He was challenging for the lead, three wide, 400m from home before breaking into a gallop soon afterwards and dropping back to finish eighth behind Vampiro.
Mighty Conqueror then contested a 2185m trial at Pinjarra on Sunday morning when he set the pace and finished second to Golden Nugget winner Shockwave, with the final 400m being run in a blistering 25.8sec.