Scott Likes Son of a Tiger

“He’s got gate speed and he should be able to lead and dictate and run a really good race,” declared Serpentine trainer Matt Scott after New Zealand-bred gelding Son of a Tiger drew the coveted No. 1 barrier in  the 2536m Highland Medical Centre Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Scott, who is enjoying a successful season with 64 winners, said that Shannon Suvaljko would be aiming to make every post a winner from the ideal barrier.

“Last week Son of a Tiger drew out wide (barrier five) and we came across, but were unable to lead,” Scott said. “We ended up in the breeze, which isn’t ideal over 2536m. He has had only 20 starts and isn’t ready to race in the breeze yet.”

Son of a Tiger, a winner at six of his past 13 starts, has started from the No. 1 barrier only once in Western Australia --- when he set the pace and won easily over 2662m at Narrogin on June 28. The American Ideal four-year-old battled on gamely last week to finish fifth behind the richly-talented Wildwest.

One of the main dangers to Son of a Tiger on Friday night appears to be the Craig Hynam-trained Presidentmach, who will be driven by Ryan Warwick from barrier six. Presidentmach led for the first 650m from barrier two last week and then enjoyed a perfect passage behind the pacemaking Wildwest before fighting on to finish second to that pacer.

Scott is also quite optimistic about the prospects of Rock Me Over in race two on Friday night, the 2536m Book Your End of Year Function at Gloucester Park Pace, in which he will be driven by Chris Voak from the No. 2 barrier on the front line.

Rock Me Over has a losing sequence of 23, but is racing keenly, with his past eight starts producing four seconds, two thirds, a fourth and a sixth. He enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back in a 1730m event at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night before finishing determinedly with a three-wide burst to be a neck second to his stablemate and pacemaker Neighlor.

“He’s a gross type of horse who thrives on racing and he’ll go good on Friday night,” said Scott.

Two of Rock Me Over’s chief rivals are sure to be Pierre Whitby and Dennis, who will start from the back line. Pierre Whitby, a three-year-old Mach Three gelding trained by Debra Lewis and driven by Jocelyn Young, looks hard to beat.

Pierre Whitby started out wide at barrier eight last week and was eighth at the bell before unwinding a spirited four-wide burst to finish an eye-catching fifth behind Mister Ardee, Carter Micheal, Speed Man and Mighty Flying Deal.

Three nights before that he started from the No. 8 barrier and impressed in charging home, out wide, from ninth at the bell to hit the front on the home turn and win by more than a length from the fast-finishing Baptism of Fire.

The Ross Olivieri-trained Dennis, a New South Wales-bred five-year-old, also should fight out the finish. He overraced badly in the breeze before taking the lead 220m from home and fighting on doggedly to finish a head second to Kennys Revenge over 2130m on Tuesday night. That followed his fast-finishing second to Beltane over 2190m at Northam at his previous outing.

Scott also has high hopes that his four-year-old mare Cut Above will be prominent off the 10m mark in the Better Your Industry With TABtouch Handicap, a stand over 2503m.

“She got held up a bit in a mobile Free-For-All for mares last week and did well to finish fourth behind Just Rockon Bye,” he said. “She has a very good record in stands.” Cut Above will again be driven by Shannon Suvaljko, who combined with Scott and owner Tim Blee to score a dashing all-the-way victory with Neighlor on Tuesday night. That gave Suvaljko his 115th winner for the season.

Scott has engaged Kyle Harper to handle the speedy Clarenden Hustler in the 2536m Murdoch Jones Realty Pace and said that the chestnut would be driven more conservatively this week. Clarenden Hustler began fast from barrier six in a 1730m event last Friday night, but after being trapped four wide and unable to get to the front he was restrained to the rear before running on from last at the bell to finish a close-up seventh behind Roman Aviator.

“Clarenden Hustler went a bit half-hearted and came out a bit 50-50 last week,” Scott said. “This week, he’s going to sit.”