Handsandwheels is a First-Up Specialist
Feature Cup events in the winter and early spring will be on the agenda for star six-year-old Handsandwheels, who will resume after an absence of just over four months when he contests the Choices Flooring Joondalup Free-For-All over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
The WA-bred stallion, trained and driven by Aiden de Campo, is a first-up specialist and his clash this week with champion Chicago Bull, Vultan Tin and Motu Premier should result in an exciting spectacle.
Handsandwheels has an excellent first-up record. He won on debut as a two-year-old at Pinjarra in February 2016, and his following first-up performances are: first at Albany in January 2017, first at Pinjarra in October 2017, third at Bunbury in June 2018, first at Gloucester Park in October 2018, second at Gloucester Park in July 2019 and first at Gloucester Park in November 2019.
He is awkwardly drawn on Friday night at barrier six at his first appearance since starting from the back line and finishing a sound fifth behind Vampiro in the 2692m Pinjarra Cup on March 2 this year. He was successful in $50,000 2130m feature events at Gloucester Park at his three previous outings, beating El Jacko in the City of Perth Cup, Galactic Star in the Governor’s Cup and Rock Me Over in the RWWA Cup.
Handsandwheels is a versatile performer, who possesses sparkling gate speed and is a powerful frontrunner, as well as having the ability to unwind strong finishing bursts from back in the field.
De Campo is sure to go into the race with an open mind and will assess the situation when the mobile barrier releases the eight runners.
The five runners (Bettor Be Oscar, Im Soxy, Chiaroscuro, Rock Me Over and Motu Premier) drawn on the inside of Handsandwheels all have good gate speed and are excellent frontrunners. Therefore, I predict that de Campo is quite likely to take the conservative option and restrain Handsandwheels at the start and rely on the horse’s ability to unwind a strong finishing burst.
Bettor Be Oscar will start from the No. 1 barrier and will be driven by Mark Johnson. He is rising in class and racing with a sit could be his best option. Im Soxy (Ryan Warwick) loves to lead, but he might not have sufficient early brilliance to hold out the horse on his outside at barrier three, the Murray Lindau-trained Chiaroscuro.
Chiaroscuro has resumed after a spell in good form and is set to improve on his first-up fourth behind While They Pray and his solid third behind Vultan Tin and Chicago Bull over 2536m last Friday night.
Ross Olivieri produced Motu Premier in fine fettle for his excellent first-up run last Friday week when he led from barrier No. 1 and finished third behind Chicago Bull and Ocean Ridge. He will find it tougher to lead from the No. 5 barrier this week.
Vultan Tin will start out wide at barrier seven and Chris Voak is unlikely to have the opportunity to send the tough eight-year-old to the front in the first lap, like he did from barrier three when he took up the running after 450m, set a fast pace and beat Chicago Bull by just under a length over 2536m, rating 1.56.7.
Chicago Bull again will start from the outside barrier, but he is racing with typical spirit and is sure to fight out the finish and prove hard to beat.