Don't Overlook The Bucket List

Veteran pacer The Bucket List has finished in eighth position in 2130m mobile events on the past two Friday nights, but he should relish a return to standing-start conditions and a considerable drop in class when he begins off the back mark of 30 metres in the TABtouch Better Your Industry Handicap over 2503m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

The New Zealand-bred nine-year-old has the credentials to bounce back to winning form: He has won eight stands in Western Australia and is the track record-holder for a 2503m stand.

The Bucket List rated 1.57.2 when he started off the 50m mark and came from tenth at the bell and went five wide at the 400m to charge to the front 110m from home and win the BOTRA Cup from Always Arjay and Motu Premier last July. This gave him the track record for a 2503m stand, beating the 1.57.9 rate recorded by superstar Im Themightyquinn when he began from 30m and beat Christopher Three and Our Mercurio in July 2010.

The Bucket List was not suited by the fast early tempo in a 2130m mobile event last Friday night when he started from the No. 4 barrier, raced three wide early and then in the breeze before gaining the one-out, one-back sit after a lap.

He was left without any sting when the final quarters went by in 28.4sec. and 29.4sec., but he finished less than three lengths behind the winner Im Full of Excuses, who won from smart pacers Gotta Go Gabbana and Simba Bromac. The Bucket List, to be handled by Michael Grantham (who has won seven races with the Christian Cullen gelding), is sure to appreciate much inferior opposition this week.

His most serious rivals loom as Always Arjay (20m) and frontmarkers Carrera Mach, Bright Diamond and Destined To Rule.

The Matt Scott-trained Always Arjay is in splendid form and will take a power of beating. He impressed in a 2503m stand two starts ago when he worked hard in the breeze and finished determinedly to get up and win from the pacemaking Carrera Mach and Bettor Not Bitter. That followed Always Arjay’s fast-finishing second to Lord Willoughby in a 2130m mobile event a week earlier.

His two previous runs were in stands at Narrogin (for a hard-working win by four lengths over dead-heaters Keeper of Keys and Gaz Wannabet) and a strong third from the breeze behind Crime Scene at Bunbury.

Carrera Mach, a small New Zealand-bred four-year-old trained by Ross Olivieri, is extremely consistent, with seven wins and nine placings from 25 starts. He makes strong appeal as the likely pacemaker and will take beating if left alone in front.

Bright Diamond, a four-year-old in the Greg and Skye Bond stables, returns to standing-start racing after a series of excellent efforts against quality opposition in mobile events. This will be his first appearance in a stand at Gloucester Park, but he has impressed at his two standing-starts runs in WA both off the 30m mark last October when he worked forward early to set the pace and win from Rum Delight and Rafaello at Bunbury and when a close second to Cut For An Ace, after final quarters of 27.7sec. and 27.1sec.