De Campo's Flying Start
Talented trainer-reinsman Aiden de Campo has made a flying start to the 2021 season, landing a driving treble at the opening city meeting at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
His band of ardent supporters cashed in when he was successful behind Walsh ($8.90), The Kraken ($7.50) and Blue Blazer ($24.20). He prepares Walsh and The Kraken in Capel, and Blue Blazer is trained by Baskerville horseman Ryan Bell.
And the 28-year-old de Campo continued his magical streak by driving five winners at the Albany meeting on Saturday night, leaving him as the State’s leader driver after the first nine days of the season when his 19 drives resulted in eight wins and three seconds.
He had seven drives at the Albany meetings for wins with Keptain Courageous, All The Bells, Pradason, Dominus Factum and Strike Dream and second placings behind Shoot Through and Major Jade.
Walsh, purchased for $34,000 at the 2017 Perth yearling sale, appreciated a drop in class when he started from barrier No. 5 in the 2130m Westral Pace on Friday night.
Unplaced at his previous nine starts and with a losing sequence of 11, Walsh enjoyed a perfect passage in the one-out, one-back position before de Campo sent him forward to hit the front on the home turn and then fight on grimly to beat $4.80 chance Carrera Mach, who sustained a strong three-wide burst from ninth and last at the bell to fail by just a half-head.
Carrera Mach followed the three-wide run of $6.50 chance Im Rocknroll Magic, who finished a creditable third, with the pacemaker and $2.60 favourite Beach Skipper wilting to fourth.
Walsh, an Art Major five-year-old, now has raced 65 times for ten wins, 18 placings and $89,483 in stakes. His dam the Courage Under Fire mare Dontgetmeruffled earned $71,685 from 13 wins, 24 placings from 97 starts. She was a winner of six races in South Australia and seven in Western Australia.
The Kraken started from the outside in the field of eight in the 2130m Allwood Stud Farm Pace in which the polemaker and last-start Northam winner Valbonne was the $1.75 favourite.
Valbonne was beaten for early pace by $26 outsider Dominate The Dojo before de Campo made full use of The Kraken’s sparkling speed to send the Art Major five-year-old to the front after 400m.
The Kraken then relished his pacemaking role. After a fast lead time of 35.4sec. The Kraken relaxed and was able to amble through the opening quarter in 31.9sec. before covering the following 400m sections in 30.2sec., 28.8sec. and 28.7sec.
He won by just under a length from Dominate The Dojo, with Bad Round ($41) running on from the rear to finish third, ahead of Valbonne, who raced three back on the pegs in fifth position and was badly blocked for a run until getting clear on the home turn.
The Kraken has been a consistent performer and has earned $101,218 from 11 wins and 22 placings from 52 starts.
Blue Blazer, an Auckland Reactor six-year-old, started from the outside barrier in the field of seven in the 2536m APG Perth Yearling Sales Pace and de Campo was content to race in last position in the Indian file affair, with the $1.50 favourite Rock Me Over setting a moderate pace.
When Corey Peterson eased One For Dave Andme off the pegs to lead the one-wide line approaching the bell, de Campo was quick to dash Blue Blazer forward to enjoy the one-out, one-back trail. Blue Blazer was switched three wide about 260m from home before he hit the front on the turn and went on to win by a neck from Rock Me Over.
Blue Blazer, owned by Gloucester Park Harness Racing vice-presidents Kevin Jeavons and Gino Monaco, won twice in New Zealand and six times in New South Wales before arriving in Western Australia where his 23 starts have produced three wins and four placings.