Handsandwheels Set For a Repeat Win
Twelve months ago, 20/1 chance Handsandwheels finished fast to score a narrow victory in the RWWA Cup and at Gloucester Park on Friday night the brilliant five-year-old is poised to be seen in a different role and should notch his second win in the $50,000 Group 2 feature event.
Capel trainer Aiden de Campo is serving a seven-day suspension and he has engaged Ryan Warwick to handle the horse for the first time after he (de Campo) had driven Handsandwheels 69 times from his 76 starts. Originally, Dylan Egerton-Green was pencilled in for the drive, but he was suspended for seven days for causing interference in a race at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night.
Ironically, Egerton-Green’s suspension was imposed after he had caused Donegal Art Chokin, driven by Warwick, to be checked and break into a gallop. Warwick was free to accept the drive behind Handsandwheels after Galactic Star was scratched on Wednesday morning to enable him to travel by air to Sydney to contest a $24,480 event over 2300m at Menangle on Saturday night, with Warwick in the sulky.
Talented mare Our Alfie Romeo, a stablemate of Galactic Star at leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond’s establishment, has been withdrawn from the eighth event at Gloucester Park on Friday night and will be driven by Warwick from the outside barrier in a field of ten in the $50,000 Robin Dundee Stakes at Menangle on Saturday night.
Handsandwheels has given stylish frontrunning displays at his past two starts to win the $50,000 City of Perth Cup and the $50,000 Governor’s Cup, both over 2130m, the distance of this week’s RWWA Cup.
“The plan will be to come out of the gate as fast as we can,” said de Campo. And this task should be comparatively easy for Warwick to achieve, with Chris Voak, the driver of the polemarker Rock Me Over, saying: “You’ve got to be realistic and Rock Me Over should be better suited racing with a sit.
“In a 2130m event last Friday night Rock Me Over (from barrier seven) raced in seventh place, four back on the pegs and he came home off the track (three wide) to be a close third to Ideal Liner and Bill Haley. The final quarters were run in 27.4sec. and 27.6sec. and he finished better than Bill Haley.
“And two starts before that, Rock Me Over came from the one-out, two-back position to finish third to Handsandwheels and El Jacko, with a final 800m in 55.4sec.”
Matt Scott, who trains Rock Me Over, is confident the gelding will fight out the finish, saying: “His run last week, and to take ground off Bill Haley was a brilliant effort. He’s in a rich vein of form.” Scott prepared Always Arjay when he finished powerfully to be a head second to Handsandwheels in last year’s RWWA Cup.
One of the hardest for Handsandwheels to beat this week is the Debra Lewis-trained Bill Haley, who will start from the inside of the back line. He finished determinedly from sixth at the bell to be second to Ideal Liner over 2130m last Friday night.
Ideal Liner, trained by Gary Hall Snr, will again be handled by Maddison Brown, who drove the five-year-old to perfection to score by a head from Bill Haley. He will start from barrier three this week and is sure to be a major player.
Eleven-year-old Our Jimmy Johnstone (Bailey McDonough) is racing keenly but is likely to be tested from out wide at barrier nine. He started from the No. 8 barrier in the 2017 RWWA Cup and was driven by Warwick when he began brilliantly and crossed to the front after 80m before setting the pace and winning easily from Bronze Seeker.