Bettor Finish is Overdue

Bettor Finish is proving costly to punters, but he has bright prospects of breaking a losing sequence of ten by winning the ninth event, the Better Your Bet With TABtouch Pace, at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

The Barry Howlett-trained five-year-old has been strongly fancied in several recent starts and will again be driven by Chris Lewis. From his perfect draw at barrier one this week he looks set to lead and is sure to take plenty of catching.

He started from the No. 1 barrier three starts ago, but was surprisingly beaten out by Ultimate Major (barrier five) and Thereugo (seven). He then raced three back on the pegs in fifth position before running home strongly, out five wide, to be third behind Thereugo and Chiaroscuro, with the final 800m being covered in a smart 55.9sec.

The previous time Bettor Finish started from the No. 1 barrier was 11 starts ago when he set the pace and dashed over the final 800m in 56.3sec. to win from Righteous Brother and Forever Faster over 2130m last May.

Howlett has a good second string in Hes Royal Blue, who fought on gamely when a well-beaten third behind the talented Our Corelli over 2185m at Pinjarra three Mondays ago.

Challenging the Howlett pair will be The Arsonist and Luis Alberto, from the stables of champion trainer Gary Hall Snr. The Arsonist (Micheal Ferguson) will start from barrier six and Lauren Jones will drive Luis Alberto from barrier four.

The Arsonist, at his second appearance after a 25-month absence, gave an encouraging performance last Friday night when he started out wide at barrier eight and came from last in the middle stages to finish third behind Wesley over 1730m.

In the same event Luis Alberto disappointed as the 10/9 on favourite when he lacked sparkle and finished seventh. That followed his sound first-up second to stablemate Benhope Rulz when he enjoyed a soft run behind the pacemaker.  

Another good winning prospect from the Howlett stable in Busselton will be Major Stare in race six, the HLB Mann Judd Pace, in which the lightly-raced New Zealand-bred seven-year-old will start from the outside of the back line and will be driven for the first time by Aiden de Campo.

Major Stare will be having his first start for six months, but is capable of a bold first-up showing. He has raced only 33 times for ten wins, seven seconds and seven thirds. He is a half-brother to Chancellor Cullen, a winner of $327,973 from 38 starts in Australia and New Zealand for 13 wins and nine placings. Chancellor Cullen won the group 1 McInerney Ford Classic for four-year-olds at Gloucester Park in November 2012, beating Bronze Seeker in a desperately close finish by a half-head.

Major Stare gave a sample of his ability when he set the pace for Lang Inwood and won the Albany Cup last February from classy pacers Galactic Star and Handsandwheels.