Prentice Quinella on the Cards

Outstanding Boyanup horseman Justin Prentice has excellent prospects of landing the quinella in the $100,000 Sales Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park on Friday night with brilliant geldings Manning and Major Martini.

He has chosen to drive Major Martini from the No. 6 barrier, and Gary Hall Jnr will be in the sulky behind Manning at barrier four.

Those two pacers are the only winners in the field of ten with Manning and Major Martini being unextended at their debuts in scoring impressive victories in qualifying heats on Tuesday of last week when they were driven by Hall.

“It’s pretty hard to separate them,” said Hall. “They both went to the line with something in reserve.”

Manning covered the 1730m in his heat in 2min. 8sec. and Major Martini’s gross time was 2min. 9.2sec. Each is capable of lowering those times by a considerable margin.

Hall has a good record in the Sales Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings, having been successful with Blissfull Boy in 2010, Black Aquila (2011) and Allmightyjoelouis (2016).

Prentice selected both the Steve Johnson-bred pacers at the 2018 APG yearling sale. Manning, who is raced by a Trotsynd syndicate, was purchased for $19,000 and Major Martini, owned by Prentice, cost $44,000.

Manning is by American stallion Sportswriter and is the seventh foal out of unraced Northern Lights mare Stephanie Rose, with the best of her progeny to date being Brotha ofa Gangsta, whose 74 starts have produced 12 wins, 17 placings for earnings of $89,179.

Major Martini, by American-bred sire Art Major, is out of the unraced Sutter Hanover mare Gaetana Nicole, who is out of the unraced mare Hold Tight, the dam of five winners, including Fake Embrace, who was driven to a nose victory over Polak by Kim Prentice in the 2004 Sales Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings.

The major danger, if indeed there is one, to Manning and Major Martini looms as Team Mascot, a Follow The Stars colt, who set the pace when a half-length second to Manning in the first of the two qualifying heats. Team Mascot, bred by the Allwood Stud, is trained by Vicki Lea and will be driven by Shannon Suvaljko, who celebrated his 50th birthday by driving Waltzingwithsierra to an all-the-way victory in a 2130m event at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening.

Baskerville trainer-reinsman Ryan Bell declared that his gelding Matai Reactor (bred by KTC Bloodstock) was a definite first-four prospect, particularly if he gained a soft run from his favourable No. 3 barrier. Matai Reactor finished gamely from fifth at the bell to be third behind Major Martini in his heat.

Bell drove 3/1 chance Schinzig Buller to victory over Quite Loaded in the 2007 running of this classic.

Chris Lewis, who has won the Sales Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings seven times, scoring with The Vigilante (1995), Saab (1997), Talladega (1999), On Line Brut (2000), Wirrpunda (2001), Lombo Wave Link (2005) and Mister Jadore (2013), faces a seemingly impossible task of winning the classic this year. He will drive the Mark Lee-trained Mista Mangels from the outside No. 9 barrier. Mista Mangels was checked and broke early before finishing a distant fifth behind Manning in last week’s heat.