Shockwave is "Top-Notch"
Baskerville trainer Ryan Bell is in awe of Shockwave’s remarkable recuperative powers and is bubbling with confidence that the star four-year-old will defy all challenges and win the Media Guild Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Shockwave has taken no harm from his torrid run when he overraced fiercely in front over the final 1400m before clinging on to win the 2536m James Brennan Memorial by a half-head from champion Chicago Bull last Friday week.
“Since that run, I can’t believe how well he has pulled up; he’s top-notch,” declared a buoyant Bell.
“I’m confident and my gut feeling is that we did the best thing by not starting him in the Navy Cup last Friday night. He is well, and if anything, he’s too well. He hasn’t missed any hoppled work since his latest run when it was the first time that he had hit a wheel in a race.
“He has overraced first-up in nearly every preparation, but this time he took it to a whole new extreme.”
Bell said that he was looking forward to Shockwave competing against Mighty Conqueror, who will be resuming racing after an absence of eight months.
Mighty Conqueror, prepared by champion trainers Greg and Skye Bond, last appeared when he endured a tough run to win the WA Pacing Cup from stablemates Vampiro and Our Jimmy Johnstone last January.
Shockwave, clashing with Mighty Conqueror for the first time, was emerging as a serious threat with a four-wide burst approaching the home turn before locking wheels with Caviar Star and then dropping back to finish last.
“This will be a good test for Shockwave this week, meeting Mighty Conqueror,” said Bell. “Hopefully, we’ll have the fitness edge on Mighty Conqueror at this stage. But knowing the Bonds, I’m pretty sure he will be forward enough.”
Shockwave, to be handled by Aiden de Campo, has drawn perfectly at barrier one, with Mighty Conqueror (Ryan Warwick) starting from barrier six in the field of eight.
“Obviously, we have the barrier draw advantage and the plan will be to lead,” said Bell. “Shockwave left the gates very well at his latest start, and that was the first time we actually hunted him out, and that’s probably why he overraced. But it won’t be a problem this week. Our Jimmy Johnstone (barrier No. 3) is the question mark (regarding the possibility of Shockwave being beaten out at the start).”
Gloucester Park Harness Racing vice-president Kevin Jeavons, who races Shockwave in partnership with his son Kyle and Howard King, is hoping that history repeats itself. He was a part-owner of Washakie, the 10/9 favourite who started from the No. 1 barrier in the 2008 Media Guild Cup and driven by Gary Hall jnr, led throughout and won from Capitol V and Franco Amon.
Horses starting from the No. 1 barrier have won four of the past eight Media Guild Cups, with those winners being Banana Dana (2012), Ima Rocket Star (2013), Libertybelle Midfrew (2016) and Waylade (2019). All four set the pace.
Mighty Conqueror looms as a chief rival for Shockwave. The New Zealand-bred five-year-old has created a wonderful impression with his 27 starts producing 16 wins and five placings.
The Ross Olivieri-trained Motu Premier will be having his third start in the Media Guild Cup. Chris Lewis drove him to a half-head victory over King Of Swing in 2018 and in last year’s Cup Motu Premier finished fifth behind Waylade. He will be an outsider this year from the outside barrier in the field of eight.
Simba Bromac, trained and driven by Nathan Turvey, will start from the No. 7 barrier at his first appearance for six months. He was a smart Pinjarra trial winner three Sundays ago. Simba Bromac was an extremely unlucky fifth in last year’s Media Guild Cup. He trailed the pacemaker Waylade and was hopelessly blocked for a clear run in the final stages.