Handsandwheels is Ready to Shine

Five-year-old Handsandwheels, the 2016 WA Derby winner, is a consistent open-class performer and reinsman Aiden de Campo is confident the Mach Three stallion will prove hard to beat in the Bridge Bar Pace over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Handsandwheels, prepared at Capel by de Campo’s father Andrew, will be having his third start after a spell and is favourably drawn at the No. 2 barrier on the front line.

“Handsandwheels is certainly capable of winning,” said Aiden de Campo, fresh from easy all-the-way wins with Tellmetoattack and American Delight at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night.

“We’ll be coming out and trying to cross Bettor Reward, and I’m aware of the good gate speed of horses like Thereugo, Whozideawasthis and Im Soxy. I consider that Handsandwheels and El Jacko are the best two horses in the race, on performance.”

In an interesting and unexpected decision, champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr has opted to handle the polemarker Bettor Reward (who is prepared by his elder brother Clint) ahead of the speedy Whozideawasthis (trained by his father Gary Hall Snr).

Clint Hall has prepared Bettor Reward for his past three starts and he achieved immediate success with Chris Lewis driving the seven-year-old to a runaway all-the-way first-up victory in modest company over 2190m at Northam on July 6. That ended a losing sequence of 25. Bettor Reward is a noted frontrunner and Hall jnr is sure to be anxious to set the pace over the sprint trip on Friday night.

Handsandwheels, a winner of 20 races and $441,123 in prizemoney, resumed after an absence of just over three months when a close second to Herrick Roosevelt over 2130m at Gloucester Park on July 13. Then, at his next start (last Friday night), he was restrained from barrier seven, raced at the rear and battled on, three wide, from seventh at the bell to finish sixth behind Our Corelli in a field of seven.

“I was really happy with his first-up run and I wasn’t disappointed with his run last week when it was a night when horses off the fence didn’t make up much ground. He ran home as good as he can (with final quarters of 27.8sec. and 28.1sec. on the rain-affected track). I was quite happy with the run and his work since has been good.”

The Greg and Skye Bond-trained El Jacko was also a victim of the conditions last Friday night when he was seventh and last 220m from home before surging home along the inside to finish a close-up fifth behind Our Corelli, who will be attempting to win his sixth race in a row for his new trainer Debra Lewis.

Our Corelli has revealed abundant speed and considerable strength in his five starts for Lewis, but he will need to maintain, or even improve on, his remarkable sequence of victories if he is to overcome the wide barrier at No. 8 and the quality of the opposition.

With Ryan Warwick required to drive the classy El Jacko, Bunbury trainer Brian Clemens has engaged Shannon Suvaljko to drive Im Soxy, who has good each-way prospects from barrier three.

While Aiden de Campo is confident of a strong performance from Handsandwheels, he said that his best advice to punters was an all-up place investment on three of his drives, Handsandwheels, Michael Joseph and Smoldering Ashes.

Michael Joseph is handily drawn at No. 2 on the back line in race five, the Kerry Clarke Four and Five-Year-Old Pace, and Smoldering Ashes will start from barrier two in the following event, the GNT Retro Pace over 2536m.

“Michael Joseph is first-up after a break and this is a good draw for him,” de Campo said. “He was disappointing when seventh, first-up, behind Mighty Santana about six weeks ago. He pulled up very crook after the run and it has taken us a good few weeks to get him right again. His work this morning (Tuesday) was good, but he is probably still a bit on the heavy side. However, whatever he does on Friday, he’ll improve on.

“Number two is a good draw for Smoldering Ashes. He’s consistent and if he gets the right run he could bob up. He loves the 2500m and if he happens to lob in front it would be really good.”