Chok Chai to Resume
Talented but lightly-raced pacer Chok Chai will resume after an absence of almost seven months when he contests the Crystal Printing Pacing Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night and he should have too much class for his eight rivals.
Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall Snr has not produced Chok Choi in trials, but the big gelding is sure to be fit enough to give a spirited first-up performance. The New Zealand-bred son of Washington VC has raced only 15 times for ten wins and two seconds.
He had seven starts as a three-year-old for five wins and two seconds and then suffered a hairline fracture of a sesamoid in 2016 and was out of action for 11 months. Patient care and rest cured the problem.
Chok Chai had two starts as a four-year-old for a first-up win and an 11th placing before being off the scene for nine months. He resumed in February 2018 and won four in a row before finishing eighth and 11th last July and then being spelled.
He will start from barrier five in Friday night’s field of nine and Gary Hall Jnr could be tempted to use the gelding’s noted gate speed in a bid for the early lead in a race in which the Ross Olivieri-trained four-year-old Carrera Mach will be fancied from the prime No. 1 barrier.
Adding interest to the race will be the reappearance after an absence of 19 months of Vrai Amour, a seven-year-old gelding who has had only six starts for three wins, two at Pinjarra and one at Bunbury. Bred, owned and trained by Debra Lewis, Vrai Amour has yet to race at Gloucester Park. He will start from the No. 6 barrier with Jocelyn Young in the sulky.
Vrai Amour’s half-sisters Artemis Belle and Eagle Rox were outstanding juvenile performers, with Artemis Belle winning the Group 1 Sales Classic and the Group 3 Gold Bracelet for two-year-old fillies, the Group 3 Dainty’s Daughter Classic and the Group 1 WA Oaks in 2011. She was retired with a record of 31 starts for 19 wins, nine placings and stakes of $359,559.
Eagle Rox won the Group 1 Diamond Classic as a two-year-old in a 29-start career of 16 wins and eight placings for earnings of $225,656.
Chok Chai is one of several excellent drives for champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr who will supported strongly to win the opening two events, with Shockwave in the first and Bronze Seeker in the second.
The Ryan Bell-trained Shockwave will start from barrier five and is sure to meet with plenty of opposition from the polemarker Gee Jay Kay, who will be handled by Shannon Suvaljko for trainer Vicki Lea.
Gee Jay Kay also started from the No. 1 barrier when he resumed after a spell in a 1730m sprint last Friday night. He was a $1.45 favourite and led for the first 150m before Hall urged Shockwave ($2.70) past him and into the lead.
Shockwave relished his pacemaking role and reeled off quarters of 28.3sec., 29sec., 28.7sec. and 28.4sec. to win by just over three lengths from Eloquent Mach, with Gee Jay Kay a neck away in third place.
Gee Jay Kay had a tough run in the breeze and was at a disadvantage when one shortener failed to release. Like Shockwave and Eloquent Mach, Gee Jay Kay is developing into a serious candidate for the $200,000 WA Derby on April 5.
Bronze Seeker is racing in grand style for Byford trainer Peter Anderson and will be favoured by the No. 1 barrier in the 1730m Worldwide East Perth Pace. He also started from barrier one three starts ago when he gave a splendid frontrunning display to win over 2130m from Benhope Rulz.
Baylan Jett and Luis Alberto will be driven by Hall late in the program and the five-year-olds have sound prospects against moderate opposition.