History Likely to Repeat Itself
All-conquering trainers Greg and Skye Bond are full of hope that history will repeat itself when they send Saying Grace, Our Jimmy Johnstone and Our Max Phactor out to do battle in the $25,000 Glenroy Chaff Ray Duffy Memorial over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
They are hoping that they will get a trifecta result to replicate their performance when they last had three runners in the Duffy Memorial in April 2013 when Russley Rascal, the 9/4 favourite from the No. 1 barrier and driven by Morgan Woodley, set the pace and won from stablemates Can Return Fire (Nathan Turvey) and Ima Rocket Star (Ryan Warwick).
This week the Bonds have excellent prospects of a 1-2-3 finish with Warwick in the sulky behind Saying Grace, Dylan Egerton-Green driving veteran Our Jimmy Johnstone from the No. 2 barrier and Colin Brown handling Our Max Phactor from an ideal draw at No. 2 on the back line.
The New Zealand-bred Saying Grace is the least experienced runner in the field, with a record of 11 wins and five placings from 27 starts. He drops considerably in class after stout-hearted efforts in the Fremantle Cup and WA Pacing Cup on the past two Fridays and he should be capable of setting the pace and notching another victory.
Saying Grace raced in seventh position in the one-wide line for much of the way in the 21936m Pacing Cup and battled on gamely to finish seventh, less than three lengths from the winner Rocknroll Lincoln. In the 2536m Fremantle Cup the previous week, he trailed the pacemaker My Field Marshal and was hopelessly blocked for a clear passage when a close and unlucky fourth being My Field Marshal.
Our Jimmy Johnstone impressed in the Pacing Cup when he ran home solidly from last at the bell to finish fifth, while Our Max Phactor was always at the rear and was forced to cover a lot of extra ground in the final circuit.
Our Max Phactor gave a sample of his class three starts ago when he raced wide early and then in the breeze before finishing second to My Field Marshal in the 1730m Village Kid Sprint. His previous 13 starts in Western Australia resulted in 12 wins and one second placing.
Trainer Ross Olivieri and reinsman Chris Lewis combined to win the Duffy Memorial with Sensational Gabby in 2014 and Flaming Flutter in 2017 and they will be looking for Mr Mojito to cause an upset from barrier five. Olivieri will also be represented by Itz Bettor To Win, who will start from barrier six with Mitch Miller in the sulky.
Handsandwheels, Vultan Tin and Runrunjimmydunn are racing with plenty of spirit, but will need luck from wide barriers.
Handsandwheels warmed up for the race by starting from 60 metres over 2503m at Bunbury last Saturday night. He sustained a spirited burst, out wide, from the rear to win by a half-length from Attack On Command. He is a noted frontrunner, but reinsman Aiden de Campo contends that the powerful five-year-old will develop into a strong sit-sprinter.
The Matt Scott-trained Always Arjay steps up in class, but has place prospects from the inside of the back line. The seven-year-old won for the fifth time this season when he started from 20m, raced three wide early and then without cover before finishing determinedly to snatch victory from Carrera Mach last Friday night.