Hoiho's Rare City Visit
Bunbury trainer-reinsman Kaiden Hayter has seven-year-old Hoiho racing keenly on South-West tracks and will be looking for a strong showing from the gelding when he makes a rare city appearance at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
The New Zealand-bred Hoiho is favourably drawn at barrier two on the front line in the opening event, the 2130m Happy Valentine’s Day Pace after he led and dashed over the final two quarters in 28.8sec. and 27.8sec. on his way to victory over Free To Air at Bunbury last Saturday night.
Hoiho has not appeared at Gloucester Park for exactly 12 months when he started from the inside of the back line, raced three back on the pegs and ran on solidly to finish third behind James Butt and Absolution over 2130m. His previous run at Gloucester Park was ten months before that when he finished sixth behind Whozideawasthis and El Jacko.
Hoiho has won five races at Bunbury and has also won once at Narrogin, Williams, Wagin, Collie, Bridgetown and Busselton. He is seeking his first city success and is sure to meet stiff opposition from While They Pray, Iconic Valor and Illusionation.
Illusionation, trained by Reg Phillips and to be driven by Donald Harper, looks the likely pacemaker from the No. 1 barrier, but is expected to be tested in the final stages by Hoiho, While They Pray and Iconic Valor.
While They Pray is racing in splendid form for Pinjarra trainer Michael George and looks hard to beat from barrier five with Gary Hall Jnr in the sulky. The WA-bred four-year-old notched his tenth victory from starts when he had a tough run without cover before beating Tajie Baby at a 1.55.6 rate over 1730m on Tuesday of last week
While They Pray is by former champion pacer Alta Christiano, who was driven by Hall seven times for seven wins, including the 2013 WA Derby. Hall also drove While They Pray’s dam Slick Bird for three wins and a splendid third behind Artemis Belle in the WA Oaks in May 2011.
Slick Bird is a half-sister to High Courage, who raced 35 times in WA for ten wins and six placings before continuing his career in America. Hall was in the sulky for six of High Courage’s WA victories.