Reed Holds a Strong Hand
Sixty odd years ago the brilliant Three Aces was an outstanding pacer in Western Australia and at Gloucester Park on Friday night astute trainer Mike Reed holds three aces in the final event, the Choices Flooring Midland Pace for three-year-olds.
Reed was only six years old when Three Aces, owned by Alf Charleson, trained by Dan Egan and driven by Ted Greig for most of his illustrious career, won a two-mile heat of the Inter Dominion Championship at Addington in 1961.
This week Reed is hoping his talented trio of Valentines Brook, Power And Grace and Macz Brother will hold all the aces in the 2130m event. Between them, they have won 17 races and been placed 15 times.
Outstanding young reinsman Michael Grantham has been the regular driver of the trio (who are owned by Albert Walmsley) and he has given punters a strong lead by choosing to handle Power And Grace, who will start out wide at barrier six in a quality field of seven runners.
Shannon Suvaljko will drive Valentines Brook from the No. 3 barrier and Dylan Egerton-Green has been engaged for Macz Brother (barrier No. 7).
For the record, Grantham has handled Power And Grace at his past eight starts for four wins, he has driven Macz Brother in all of his ten starts for four wins, and has driven Valentines Brook eight times for three wins, including his three most recent outings for a third to To Fast To Serious, a victory over Lightning Jolt and a last-start second to the brilliant Magnificent Storm.
Power And Grace, a New Zealand-bred colt by Somebeachsomewhere, impressed at his first five starts after resuming from a spell four wins and a close third behind Copy N Pace before a disappointing last-start ninth behind Master Publisher on May 29 when he faded from sixth at the bell. He has been freshened up and is capable of a bold effort at his first appearance for six weeks.
Reed’s three runners are likely to meet with plenty of opposition, with Manning, trained and driven by Justin Prentice from barrier five, sure to be popular with punters after his strong performance to race in the breeze before finishing stoutly to win by a length from Batavia Silverline over 2130m at Pinjarra on Monday of last week when the final 800m was covered in 56sec.
That was Manning’s fifth win from 18 starts, with the highlight of his career being his victory in the $100,000 Pearl Classic for two-year-olds just over 12 months ago.
The promising Alta Blues, prepared by Gary Hall Snr, should be prominent at his Gloucester Park debut at only his third start in a race. Alta Blues, to be driven by Gary Hall Jnr, is ideally drawn at barrier two. He started from barrier No. 5 and was restrained to last before dashing forward to move alongside the pacemaker Alta Engen at the bell in a 2100m event at Bunbury’s Donaldson Park on Tuesday night.
He fought on tenaciously over the final 800m in 56sec. to finish a half-length second to Alta Engen, who rated a smart 1.56.7. This followed his splendid debut, over 2185m at Pinjarra three Mondays ago when he surged home from the rear to win by two lengths from Miss Merit.
Prentice’s No. 2 runner in Friday night’s event is The Stars Above, to be driven by Cody Wallrodt from the No. 1 barrier. The Stars Above is a seasoned performer who has raced 24 times for four wins and 12 placings. He started from the outside barrier (No. 6) when he finished gamely from seventh at the bell to be a well-beaten third behind Alta Engen and Alta Blues at Bunbury on Tuesday night.