Balcatherine is Ready

Chicago Bull is indisputably Western Australia’s champion pacer, and for an inexperienced performer to extend him in a track workout is indeed a notable achievement.

Last week four-year-old mare Balcatherine impressed with a strong trackwork display against Chicago Bull and her effort was a firm indication that she would prove to be hard to beat, first-up, in the $22,000 Download The TABtouch App Today Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Balcatherine, prepared by Gary Hall Snr, is a promising, lightly-raced New Zealand-bred pacer who has had only 13 starts for six wins and four placings. She is favourably drawn at barrier No. 2 in Friday night’s 2130m event for mares in which she will be driven by Gary Hall Jnr. This will be her first appearance for five months.

“She’s got the draw advantage and will go well first-up,” said Hall Jnr. “She’s working very good and she worked with Bully on the track last week when she really stretched his neck. She is going to need the run, but she should take advantage of the draw.”

Hall aims to set the pace with Balcatherine, who is expected to receive strong opposition from Wainui Creek, the richly-talented newcomer from New Zealand who is prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond and will be driven by Dylan Egerton-Green.

Wainui Creek, the only runner on the back line, made an impressive Australian debut at Gloucester Park last Friday week when she raced without cover all the way and fought on with great determination to finish second, just a nose behind the pacemaker Millwood Molly, with a final quarter of 27.3sec.

Capel trainer Aiden de Campo holds a powerful hand in this week’s race with Millwood Molly (barrier six) and Mandy Joan (barrier three). He has given punters a lead by deciding to drive Mandy Joan, who is in splendid form and has won at four of her past eight starts.

Millwood Molly, a smart seven-year-old de Campo has driven to victory seven times, will be handled by Chris Lewis, who has driven the mare once, 36 starts ago when she finished boldly from the rear to win over 1609m at Bunbury on July 23, 2016.

Our Alfie Romeo, a stablemate of Wainui Creek, and recent winners Typhoon Tiff, Has No Fear and Vivere Damore also will have admirers in what should prove to be a highly-competitive event.

The powerful Bond stable holds an extremely strong hand in the $25,000 Better Your Club With TABtouch Pace, a 2536m event in which it has six of the nine runners --- Vampiro, Galactic Star, Our Jimmy Johnstone, The Bird Dance, Ocean Ridge and Mighty Conqueror.

Vampiro, to be driven by Colin Brown, makes strong appeal after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier. The New Zealand-bred six-year-old is a speedy beginner and Brown will be attempting an all-the-way victory with the gelding he has handled 12 times for four wins and three placings.

Last season’s WA Pacing Cup winner Mighty Conqueror (Dylan Egerton-Green) also should prove very hard to beat, despite drawing the outside barrier in the field of nine. The brilliant five-year-old made an excellent return to racing after an eight-month absence when he raced wide early and then in the breeze before fighting on solidly to finish second to the pacemaker Convert Denario over 2130m last Friday week.

Leading reinsman Ryan Warwick will drive Galactic Star from barrier four, Michael Grantham will drive Our Jimmy Johnstone (barrier five), Aiden de Campo has been engaged for The Bird Dance (barrier six) and Deni Roberts will handle Ocean Ridge (barrier eight).