Gamble by Reeves Pays Off

A decision early this year by Ashleigh Reeves and her husband, Coolup trainer Hayden Reeves, to lease Whitbys Gamble from breeder Ed Dewar is paying sound dividends.

Whitbys Gamble, a six-year-old mare by Bettors Delight, has had 29 starts this year for the Reeves stable for four wins, four seconds, three thirds and six fourths  and she has excellent prospects of breaking through for her first metropolitan-class success when she contests the opening event, the $18,000 GP Trainer of the Year Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Whitbys Gamble, to be driven by Bailey McDonough, will start from the No. 2 barrier on the front line and her recent form suggests she will prove very hard to beat.

She started out wide at barrier eight in a 2130m event at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening when she settled in last place in a field of ten and was eighth at the bell before sprinting home strongly to finish second to Sameplace Sametime.

That followed her eye-catching performance in the Group 3 Schrader final over 2130m last Friday night when she started from barrier nine and was 11th and last at the bell before finishing powerfully to be fifth behind Infinite Symbol, with final quarters of 29.1sec. and 27.8sec. At her previous outing, over 2185m at Pinjarra four days earlier, she led from barrier two and won from Tiffany Twirl. 

“She went through a period when she was really off, three or four months ago,” said Hayden Reeves. “It turned out that it was a hoof abscess (that was affecting her). We spelled her for two weeks and brought her back and now she’s fully recovered.

“She won two in a row (over 1684m at Pinjarra) last April. But she seemed a bit weak. But this time in, even though she recorded a slow time (1.59.7) in winning over 2185m at Pinjarra three starts ago, she’s actually gone out of the gate, led and gone on with it, without just sitting on a helmet and running home.

“Regarding tactics this week from barrier two, I’ll leave it up to Bailey. Everybody wants to lead at Gloucester Park, but we don’t mind if she doesn’t lead. She actually prefers to sit.

“Her run on Tuesday night was really good. She gave them quite a big head start and made up a lot of ground over the final 400m, which was covered off the front in 28.8sec. And she pulled up in magnificent shape.

“Two starts in a week won’t worry her. A lot of my horses start twice a week, once I’ve got them fully fit. She’s been an honest horse and is such a trier.”

Whitbys Gamble is the last foal out of Crouch mare Tweed For A Lady, who had 60 starts for six wins, 14 placings and stakes of $46,007. Tweed For A Lady is the dam of six winners of 68 races. 

Reeves also has hopes of a strong performance from Minimum Wage, who will be driven by Dylan Egerton-Green from barrier two in the $18,000 GP Pacer of the Year pace over 2130m. The five-year-old has won only four times from 52 starts, but his recent form has been encouraging.

He trailed the pacemaker Hez A Chance in a 2130m event on Tuesday night, but was hopelessly blocked for a clear passage throughout the final circuit and finished last behind the brilliant four-year-old mare Arma Indie.

“Minimum Wage would have run second if he had gained a clear run at some stage,” Reeves said. “He does nothing at home, but loves racing twice a week. Three starts ago he ran on strongly when second to Arma Indie.”