Patronus Star Challenges Older Rivals

Inexperienced three-year-old Patronus Star is poised to maintain his unbeaten record in Western Australia when he challenges older and considerably more seasoned rivals in the $50,000 San Simeon Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

The New Zealand-bred gelding, prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond and to be driven by star reinsman Ryan Warwick, is a talented frontrunner and looks certain to lead and set a solid pace in the Group 2 feature event.

The winner at his first four appearances in WA, including the $200,000 WA Derby in early April, Patronus Star gets the perfect opportunity to make amends for stablemate Ocean Ridge’s failure as a four-year-old in the San Simeon Pace 12 months ago when the as the least experienced runner he was the $1.55 favourite and finished ninth behind the pacemaker One Off Delight.

From barrier four Ocean Ridge settled in a perfect position, one-out and one-back, but broke into a gallop after 550m when he shifted in and mixed his gait when being corrected. He dropped back to last and sustained a spirited three-wide burst to be fourth at the bell before wilting in the closing stages.

After his Derby victory Patronus Star had a spell and resumed after an absence of 15 weeks with an effortless all-the-way win over 2185m at Pinjarra three Mondays ago. Then, a week later, he charged to an early lead, set the pace and defeated Bettorgrinanbarit by more than two lengths over 2692m at Pinjarra.

A possible fly in the ointment for Patronus Star is that he could well be put under undue pressure by Rakasinc, who will start from the No. 2 barrier. Rakasinc, to be driven by Emily Suvaljkjo for Ravenswood trainer Nathan Turvey, has shown a tendency to overrace, like he did at Northam last Saturday night when he led and scored a runaway nine-length victory against modest opposition over 2190m.

The highly successful combination of Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri and dashing reinsman Chris Voak will be hoping to improve on their effort in last year’s San Simeon Pace when Space Junk finished a creditable third behind One Off Delight and Anime.

Olivieri will be represented by Boom Time (Voak) and Just Wing It, who will be driven by Chris Lewis, who was successful behind One Off delight in last year’s race. Both pacers are awkwardly drawn, with Just Wing It at barrier six and Boom Tide at No. 7.

In a 2130m event last Friday night, Just Wing It set the pace and finished second to Boom Tide, who charged home from sixth at the 300m to score by almost a length, with a final quarter in 27.7sec.

Voak agreed that Boom Tide faced a stern test from the wide barrier, saying: “We need to get a nice soft trip, close to the pace. I drove him on the track this morning (Tuesday) and I believe he is better than he was when he won last Friday night.”

Art Tutor, Major Shard and Starlight Brigade are in good form, but it is difficult to suggest that they will seriously trouble Patronus Star.