Gangbuster Looks a Good Chance

Six-year-old Gangbuster has been at the liberal odds of 20/1, 100/1 and 33/1 at his first three outings for Mundijong trainer Kristian Hawkins, who declares the gelding a strong winning prospect in the 2130m The West Australian Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Gangbuster, a winner of only six races from 58 starts, will be driven by Corey Peterson from the prized No. 1 barrier, with Hawkins predicting that the Jeremes Jet gelding will set the pace and take plenty of catching.

Queried why he had elected to handle veteran stablemate Majorlicious (out of the winning list for 21 months and drawn out wide at barrier No. 9) in preference to Gangbuster, Hawkins said: “Corey shares the workload with me and we go 50-50 and I’m happy to give him some good drives. He works just as hard as me and is entitled to have good drives.”

Gangbuster surprised three starts ago, at his first appearance for the Hawkins stable, when he led from barrier one and Peterson drove him to an all-the-way victory over Mistersandman in the 2666m Williams Cup on January 27.

Hawkins said that Gangbuster was capable of repeating the dose on Friday night, adding that the gelding had had no luck at his two starts at Gloucester Park after his win at Williams, finishing seventh behind Lord Willoughby and 11th behind Chok Chai.

“At his latest start when I drove Gangbuster, he just pulled too hard and choked down and when the pressure went on, he dropped off,” Hawkins explained. “His run before that was real good and he hit the line strongly. This week, I expect him to hold the lead and prove pretty hard to beat.”

Four-year-old Rockaball, trained by Caris Hamilton-Smith, looms large as the main danger to Gangbuster and is the likely favourite. A winner at three of his nine starts this season, Rockaball will start from barrier seven and will be handled by Micheal Ferguson, who ended the Gloucester Park meeting on Tuesday night in a blaze of glory by bringing 33/1 outsider Im Batman from sixth at the bell with a scorching late burst to win the final event very easily from the pacemaker Talkerup.

Rockaball led two starts ago and won by four lengths from Our Perkins and Mistersandman at a 1.55.8 rate over 2130m two starts ago. The New Zealand-bred gelding had no luck when fourth behind Luis Alberto over 1730m last Friday night.

Gangbuster is related to former talented mares Party Dale (25 wins) and Red Hot Date (12 wins) and is a half-brother to Carte Blanche who has won at Pinjarra at his past two starts after resuming from a three-month break. Another half-brother, Kiss Chasey, earned $146,358 from 16 wins and 15 placings from 59 starts.

Hawkins said that he expected solid showings from The Trilogy (race one) and She Could Be Good (race eight).

He will drive The Trilogy from barrier two in the Westside Auto Wholesale Pace and Peterson will be in the sulky behind She Could Be Good (barrier six) in the 6PR Pace for mares over 2130.

“At this stage we will be attempting to jump to the front and set the pace,” Hawkins said. The Trilogy will meet stiff opposition from Hasani, Sweet N Fast, Neighlor and Ardens Concord, but this is not fazing Hawkins.

“Runaway Three led and won from Hasani in the Manea Classic at Bunbury on Saturday night,” Hawkins said. “I rate The Trilogy the best horse in my stable and that gives me confidence against Hasani on Friday night.”

She Could be Good was most impressive in the Group 3 Lewis final last Friday night when she began out wide from barrier eight and was tenth at the bell before rattling home, out wide, to finish a neck second to Our Alfie Romeo over 2130m.

“Every time she has drawn badly, it seems to suit her,” Hawkins said. “Corey just drives her quietly and hopefully she can be in the finish again this week.”