Brown for Vampiro

Veteran reinsman Colin Brown has been engaged to drive Vampiro in the $25,000 Howard Porter Memorial over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night and leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond are hoping that the six-year-old will give them their first victory in the long-standing feature event after third placings with Phoenix Warrior in 2016 and Simply Susational the following year.

Brown replaces the stable’s No. 1 driver Ryan Warwick, who is serving a 14-day suspension.

Vampiro has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier and Brown is likely to use the New Zealand-bred gelding’s good gate speed in a bid to set the pace. He appears certain to have to withstand a likely spirited challenge for the speedy beginner Our Corelli, who will start from the No. 2 barrier.

The Bonds also will be pinning their faith in a powerful showing from star five-year-old Ana Malak, who will start out wide from barrier seven with Dylan Egerton-Green in the sulky.

Ana Malak, a winner of four races in New Zealand, is unbeaten at his only four starts in Western Australia, which includes his most recent WA start when he led from barrier one and beat stablemate Mighty Conqueror by a short half-head in the Golden Nugget last December. A fortnight before that Ana Malak also led from the No. 1 barrier and won the Four-Year-Old Classic by a head from Ideal Liner.

Ana Malak’s past seven starts have been in Victoria where he won four times and was placed on two other occasions. His most recent outing was when he led and won the 1609m Popular Alm Sprint in 1.54.9 at Kilmore on June 27.

Followers of the powerful Bond stable will be hoping for a successful night, with the stable having eight runners, all with excellent prospects. At the corresponding meeting last year, the Bond stable was on fire, with five winners  Our Max Phactor, Ana Malak, Fizzing, Bright Diamond and Mitch Maguire.

Perhaps the best winning prospect from the Bond camp will be Mighty Santana, who will be having his first start after a three-month absence when he begins from the No. 1 barrier in race two, the 2130m Westside Auto Wholesale Pace. A winner at five of his 14 starts in New Zealand, Mighty Santana has raced 12 times in WA for three wins and five thirds.

The Bond-trained Ana Afreet will be one of the fancies when he contests the $30,000 Preux Chevalier Pace over 2130m. The four-year-old, to be handled by Egerton-Green, has won at each of his past four starts, against modest opposition on country tracks. He boats a fine record of 11 wins from 15 starts and has the ability to overcome the disadvantage of starting from the outside (No. 9) in an event in which Robb Stark (barrier two) and Maras Ace Man (four) are sure to be prominent.