Bletchley Park Set for Golden Nugget

Lightly-raced four-year-old Bletchley Park is firmly on target for the $200,000 Golden Nugget Championship on December 13 and is a star bet at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he contests the Christmas Sundowner Packages Pace over 2130m.

“He’s one of the best pacers I’ve trained,” declared astute horseman Mike Reed. “He should win on Friday night and his main aim is the Golden Nugget and then, possibly, I’ll set him for the WA Pacing Cup in January.”

Reed’s son Mark will again be in the sulky behind Bletchley Park, who has drawn awkwardly at barrier seven. “He can go back or forward; I’ll leave it up to Mark.

“I think he’s a very good horse. He showed that when he ran second in the WA Derby last April when he was miles underdone. He won at his first two starts as a three-year-old, at Pinjarra in December last year. But then he received a serious eye injury when a stone must have flipped up and hit him in the eye.

“This resulted in an ulcer and it was feared that he could lose an eye. He had eight weeks off and wasn’t allowed out of the box three months before the Derby.”

Bletchley Park resumed racing after an absence of just over four months when he scored a brilliant six-length victory over Universal Major, rating 1.56.8 over 2130m at Gloucester Park three Thursdays ago when he sped over the final quarter in 27.9sec.

“His win was a bit harder run than I wanted him to have and he left a bit of feed after the race, so I decided not to run him on the following Friday,” Reed said. “He worked very well last Saturday and he’s back on song.”

Reed said that he was also very satisfied with the form of his Well Said mare Arma Indie, who has won in sparkling fashion at her first three runs after a spell. “She could also be a candidate for the Golden Nugget,” he said.

In-form trainer Matt Scott was bitterly disappointed at the fading effort of Neighlor in finishing a well-beaten eighth behind The Trilogy over 2130m last Friday night and has changed his training routine in a bid to have the six-year-old recover his zest for racing. Neighlor will start from barrier three in the 1730m Follow The Stars at Allwood Stud Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Neighlor enjoyed a perfect passage in the one-out, one-back position last Friday night, but wilted badly over the final 400m in last Friday night’s race. This was in marked contrast to his win at a 1.57.2 rate over 1730m at his previous outing ten nights earlier when he began speedily from barrier seven and set the pace before winning from Rock Me Over and Im Batman.

“Neighlor pulled up blowing quite a bit after his last-start failure,” Scott said, admitting that he had probably been too easy on the gelding. “So, I have changed his work. He’s a bit lazy, so that’s why I’m working him harder. It’s handlebars down for his work this week, which includes two one-mile heats at Jandakot when I’m trying to rev him up.

“He’s got to improve this week; I hope he will. I don’t know whether he can cross (to lead) this week. I think that Bettor Party could try to lead from the No. 1 barrier.”