Derby Test for Franco Edward
Talented young trainer-reinsman Kyle Harper will gauge Franco Edward’s prospects in the $200,000 WA Derby when the colt competes over the Derby distance of 2536m in the Westral Crimsafe Doors Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Franco Edward, a dual Group 1 winner as a two-year-old last winter, has yet to race beyond 2185m in a brilliant career of eight wins and two seconds from 11 starts.
“It was part of the reason why I put him in this race to see how he handles the 2500m,” Harper said. “I don’t think it will worry him at all.
“From barrier four this week, I reckon he will find the front early. He hasn’t reached his peak in this current campaign (five starts for four wins) and after this week’s race I plan to run him in the Caduceus Club Classic the following Friday night as part of his preparation for the WA Derby (April 5).”
Harper, who has a healthy respect for several smart three-year-olds, including Shockwave and Patrickthepiranha, singled out the Justin Prentice-trained four-year-old Sweet N Fast as Franco Edward’s most serious rival on Friday night.
Sweet N Fast, who has won by big margins at Bunbury and Pinjarra at his past two starts, has an impressive record of nine wins and five placings from 22 starts. He will start from barrier five, alongside Franco Edward on Friday night.
Anime (barrier one) and Mister Bushido (two) also will have admirers. Anime, trained at Coolup by Phil Costello, has a losing sequence of 15, but has been knocking on the door, with five seconds from his past six starts. He worked hard in the breeze and fought on grandly when second to Thisbeachrighthere over 2130m last Friday night.
Mister Bushido, a former New Zealand performer and a newcomer to the stables of Gary Hall Snr, will pay to follow. He enjoyed a good passage in the one-out, one-back position before running home solidly into third place behind Thisbeachrighthere and Anime last Friday night.
Vrai Amour, a lightly-raced seven-year-old with three wins from seven starts, will have many admirers when Jocelyn Young drives him for trainer Debra Lewis from the prized No. 1 barrier in the final event, the Westral Plantation Shutters Pace over 2130m.
Vrai Amour reappeared after an absence of 19 months in a 1730m sprint last Friday night. From barrier six, he raced at the rear and was eighth, out five wide, on the home turn before charging home with a powerful burst to finish an eye-catching sixth behind Chok Chai.
He will clash with the promising Our Rhythm N Blues, who faces a first-up test from the No. 8 barrier. Our Rhythm N Blues, a five-year-old trained by Gary Hall Snr, raced three times in WA last April and May after arriving from New Zealand for a first-up second to Pick My Pocket at Pinjarra and two wins over 2130m at Gloucester Park after setting the pace.