Cut Above Warms Up in Style
New Zealand-bred five-year-old Cut Above bounced back to her best form with a fast-finishing win in fast time at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night and is poised for another powerful effort in the Mondo Doro Smallgoods Pace on Friday night.
The Matt Scott-trained mare, to be driven by Shannon Suvaljko, is favourably drawn at barrier three on the front line and should prove to be a serious rival for the strong, in-form Craig Saligari-trained six-year-old Bob Wheel.
“Racing twice in the space of four days won’t worry her,” said Scott, who will set a personal record of nine starters at a Gloucester Park meeting.
“Cut Above and Son of a Tiger are probably my best winning chances, but Clarenden Hustler, Rock Me Over and Charlie El have each-way prospects.”
Cut Above sat behind the pacemaker Highroller Joe before finishing fast to win narrowly from Dredlock Rockstar on Tuesday night, rating 1.56.9 over the 2130m after the three final quarters in 28.4sec., 27.5sec. and 29sec.
Cut Above, a winner at one of her two starts in New Zealand, has proved a good investment for Tim Blee, who outlaid $25,000 to buy the mare, who now has had 34 starts in Western Australia for 11 wins, 12 placings and $66,352 in prizemoney.
“She has also been high maintenance,” said Scott. “On her first day here, she bucked and got her leg over the cart. She had to have three months off and still has a big scar on a back leg. She’s fine now, but we only lead her in her work because she still bucks at home.”
One of Cut Above’s rivals on Friday night is stablemate Always On, who will start from barrier six with Chris Voak in the sulky. The five-year-old Always On, a former Mildura performer, set the pace from barrier four before wilting to finish sixth behind Atmospherical over 1730m last Friday week when making her first appearance in WA.
“It was a very disappointing first-up run,” said Scott. “I’ve changed his work and he has worked a bit better and I’m not sure whether we’ll blast him out (at the start) or drive him with cover. “
Scott admitted that he was also disappointed with Neighlor’s past two unplaced efforts but is hoping for an improved effort from the No. 1 barrier in the Etch Coating Pace. “Whether we’ll lead or race with a sit — I’ll leave that up to Shannon (Suvaljko),” he said.
Scott said that he expected another strong showing from Son of a Tiger in the Simmonds Steel Pace in which the New Zealand-bred five-year-old will start from barrier six. “It’s a tricky draw and he goes up in class, but the speed should be on, and that will suit him,” he said. “I reckon they’ll go 1.55 again and he’ll be coming home.”
Son of a Tiger started out wide at barrier nine last week and impressed when he was ninth at the bell and charged home to win from Carter Micheal and Extreme Prince, rating 1.55.2 over 2130m. “He will probably have a spell after this week’s run and then freshen him up for Christmas when the Christmas Gift or Nights of Thunder should be right up his alley,” Scott said.
“Clarenden Hustler and Rock Me Over are each-way chances. Clarenden Hustler from barrier eight has quick beginners inside of him, but he doesn’t have to lead to win; he can win with a sit and he’s definitely not out of it (in the Worldwide Printing Pace).
“Rock Me Over is consistent and has each-way claims in the final race, while Charlie El is likely to find it hard from the wide draw at No. 8 in race six. But Clarenden Hustler couldn’t beat Charlie El on the track two weeks ago and he didn’t get out when fifth at Northam on Saturday night.”