McDonough for Clarenden Hustler

Talented young reinsman Bailey McDonough will be anxious to take full advantage of Clarenden Hustler’s sparkling gate speed when he drives the six-year-old from the prized No. 1 barrier in the $20,000 Intersport Slater Gartrell Pace over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

In-form trainer Matt Scott engaged McDonough to drive Clarenden Hustler for the first time to gain a junior driver’s concession and a start in an event which has enabled the chestnut to drop significantly in class.

Shannon Suvaljko has driven Clarenden Hustler, a former South Australian performer, in all his nine starts in Western Australia for two wins and two seconds. Clarenden Hustler started from the inside of the back line and trailed the pacemaker Handsandwheels in the group 2 Four and Five-Year-Old Championship over 2130m last Friday night before wilting to finish eighth behind Handsandwheels.

But he will certainly appreciate racing in inferior company this week when his main dangers include Just Bet On Black, Smoldering Ashes, Luis Alberto and Aliman.

Just Bet On Black, trained and driven by Dylan Egerton-Green, is in top form, but is not perfectly drawn at No. 4 on the front line. However, he has the ability to overcome this draw and prove hard to beat.

He started from the No. 6 barrier when an impressive last-start winner, over 2536m last Friday week. He raced three wide early and then worked hard in the breeze before getting to the front and fighting on gamely to defeat the pacemaker Dominate The Dojo by a half-neck at a 1.58.5 rate, with final quarters in 27.7sec. and 29.3sec.

Two weeks before that Just Bet On Black raced in fifth position, three back on the pegs before finishing powerfully to be a neck second to James Butt at a 1.54.4 rate over 1730m, with final quarters of 28.1sec. and 28.6sec.

“He’s in somewhere near career-best form,” Egerton-Green said. “It’s been a long process and, touch wood, we’ve got him right and hopefully able to string a few nice runs together.”