Hall for Our Major Mama
Boyanup trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice has been busy at the yearling sales in Auckland and Christchurch this week and has engaged champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr to drive four-year-old mare Our Major Mama in the $30,000 final of the Lewis Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Our Major Mama, driven by Prentice to victory over Detroit Lily and Cott Beach in the WA Oaks in May of last year, is favourably drawn at the No. 2 barrier on the front line and Hall should have her in a commanding position throughout the 2130m event for mares.
Prentice will be back in Perth on Friday but has decided not to drive at Gloucester Park in the evening. His other runner in the Lewis final is promising four-year-old Beaudiene Beach Babe, who will be handled by Nathan Turvey from barrier four.
Hall has driven Our Major Mama only once three starts ago from barrier seven over 2185m at Pinjarra when she raced wide early, was restrained to the rear and then sustained a spirited three-wide last-lap burst to finish second to Miss Sangrial, who covered the final 800m in 55.8sec.
In order to take the drive behind Our Major Mama, Hall had to reject the drive behind the talented Liberty Rose, who has been placed at all six starts at Gloucester Park this season after resuming from a spell. Hall has handled the New Zealand-bred Liberty Rose at 15 of her 16 WA starts. She will be driven from the outside of the front line on Friday night by Stuart McDonald, who has a 100 per cent record behind the mare.
McDonald drove Liberty Rose in a C2-class event at Gloucester Park last June when she began from the back line and worked hard before winning from Iam Lambros.
Hardest for Our Major Mama to beat on Friday night is likely to be Our Alfie Romeo, a New Zealand-bred four-year-old who is trained by Greg and Skye Bond and has impressed in winning at nine of her 18 starts. Our Alfie Romeo will start from the No. 2 barrier on the back line and is capable of unwinding a spirited finishing burst.
Ryan Warwick gave a masterly display in the sulky to land Our Alfie Romeo a winner from the pacemaker Liam Neal over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. Our Alfie Romeo started from the inside of the back line and raced in fifth position, three back on the pegs. She was hopelessly hemmed in down the back straight the final time before Warwick was able to ease her off the pegs at the 400m mark.
Our Alfie Romeo was seventh on the home turn and she stormed home, out five wide, to get up and win in the final stride.
The Ross Olivieri-trained mare Veiled Secret, to be driven by Chris Voak from the No. 5 barrier, also has sound claims. She was most impressive two starts ago, last Friday week, when she dashed to the front after 550m and set a fast pace before finishing a gallant half-length second to Miss Sangrial.
The Prentice team has been cared for this week by 27-year-old Brayden Green, who brought stablemates De La Tourbie, Has No Fear and Majorpride to Gloucester Park on Tuesday when De La Tourbie, driven by Madeleine Young, was beaten in the final stride by a head by the fast-finishing Rock N Roll Delight and Has No Fear, driven by Jocelyn Young, thundered home from the rear to win the final event from Delightfulreaction and Majorpride.
Meanwhile, Justin Prentice has been busy in New Zealand where he outlaid $55,000 to purchase Always An Angel, a yearling filly by Art Major, and $65,000 to buy El Chema, a Bettors Delight colt.
Apart from Our Major Mama, Hall will drive Prentice-trained pacers Rocknroll Lincoln (Governor’s Cup), Sweet N Fast (Happy Chinese New Year Pace) and Dracarys (Thank You For Celebrating at GP Pace).
“I’m looking forward to driving Sweet N Fast for the first time,” Hall said. “I’ve been watching him closely since his Bunbury win three starts ago which I thought was a huge effort, and he’s been unbeaten at two runs since.
“But, from barrier three, I wouldn’t say he’s past the post. Soho Chelsea has drawn barrier one; he’s really going good and loves the rail. He will be hard to beat. But class might get Sweet N Fast home.”
Hall drove the Glenn Elliott-trained Soho Chelsea last Friday night when the gelding raced in seventh position before finishing strongly from fourth (three wide) at the bell to hit the front 420m from home and coast to victory by almost three lengths from Brookies Jet, rating 1.57.4 over 2636m. Kim Prentice will handle Soho Chelsea from the prime No. 1 barrier this week.
Hall elected to drive Dracarys in preference to the promising Fake News, a winner at four of her past five starts for trainer Gary Hall Snr.
Dracarys, whose 11 starts have produced seven wins and two seconds, will start from barrier six in a field of seven and her clash with the brilliant Colin Brown-trained Typhoon Tiff, Fake News, Mandy Joan, Soho Interceptor, Countess Grace and Bettor Pack It will be a highlight of the ten-event program.