Different Tactics for Soho Thunderstruck

Byford trainer-reinsman Kyle Harper is confident promising pacer Soho Thunderstruck is capable of winning twice in the space of four days as part of his preparation for the rich events for four-year-olds in the coming months.

At his second start after a six-month absence, Soho Thunderstruck gave a solid frontrunning performance to win in good style over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night. However, Harper plans to use different tactics when the horse starts out wide at barrier eight in the 2536m Etch Coatings Pace on Friday night.

“I think Soho Thunderstruck can produce a strong run from the outside barrier over the longer distance,” Harper said. “It all depends on how he pulls up, and provided he takes no harm from Tuesday’s run I expect him to run a nice race.

“He is probably a better sit and kick horse than he is when being driven tough. I was very pleased with Tuesday night’s run after his first-up third at Northam when he might have looked disappointing. I hadn’t done much with him before that run and on Tuesday night he stepped up as I thought he would. We had to burn pretty hard for the first 100 to 150m to get to the front.

“I was holding him back to them on the home corner and he was jogging on the line when he had a good bit of fuel left in the tank.”

After a modest lead time of 37.8sec. and opening quarters of 32.8sec. and 29.8sec., Soho Thunderstruck sprinted smartly over the final quarters of 28.7sec. and 29sec. It was his fifth win from 23 starts, which also produced ten placings.

“It doesn’t worry me too much, drawing the outside on Friday night,” Harper said. “The plan will be to take hold and sit him before looking for a run. If he shows the high speed I know he possesses he should run a pretty good race. The outside barrier is always hard, but the 2500m will suit him.

“We’re setting him for the Nugget and other four-year-old classics. They’re the races I’m aiming him at. He’s got enough ability to say, that if he keeps improving, he can measure up. I certainly don’t consider he’s the best horse of the four-year-olds, but barrier draws at Gloucester Park sort things out. I think he will be very competitive in the big races.”    

Soho Thunderstruck’s chief rival on Friday night looms as the likely favourite, the eight-year-old Extreme Prince, a noted frontrunner who appears certain to set the pace from barrier two. Unfavourable draws have been the reason why he has been unplaced at his past four starts.