Soho Wonder Likes to Lead

Eight-year-old Soho Wonder has impressed on the past two Friday nights with fast-finishing placings over 2536m. 

However, the Jet Laag gelding could well be seen in a vastly different role when he starts from the prized No. 1 barrier in the 2130m Westral Pace for trainer-reinsman Brett Smith at Gloucester Park on Thursday night.

He has set the pace and won nine times --- at Ballarat, Ararat (before being relegated to second after a protest), Cranbourne, Young, Echuca, Gloucester Park (twice), Pinjarra and Wagin.

Soho Wonder was a 100/1 chance two starts ago when he was restrained from barrier six and was 11th at the bell before flashing home, out five wide, from ninth on the home turn to finish second to the pacemaker Debt Free Charlie. Then, last Friday night, he was restrained from barrier eight and sustained a spirited three-wide burst from last at the bell to finish third behind Mighty Flying Deal and Good Times Ahead.

Smith is sure to seriously contemplate making full use of Soho Wonder’s excellent gate speed in a bid to record an all-the-way victory. Veteran Three Kings (barrier two) and the promising Just Bet On Black (barrier three) possess excellent gate speed, but it is difficult to visualise either of them outgunning Soho Wonder at the start. 

Just Bet On Black, trained and driven by Dylan Egerton-Green, appeals as Soho Wonder’s toughest rival. The six-year-old who has had 41 starts for 11 wins, nine seconds and three thirds, is in good form. He finished boldly from seventh at the bell when a last-start fourth behind Bob Wheel last Friday week and he was a strong winner from Dominate The Dojo and Mistersandman two starts before that.

Champion reinsman Chris Lewis has given punters an excellent lead by opting to handle Marquisard in preference to Carte Blanche and Destined To Rule in the 2130m Cowden The Insurance Brokers Pace.

Marquisard, trained by Craig Abercromby, has drawn the coveted No. 1 barrier and Lewis will be determined to use the four-year-old’s natural gate speed in a bid for an all-the-way victory. Marquisard set the pace from barrier one over 2130m last Friday night and was overhauled right on the line by the fast-finishing Ideal One to go down by a half-head.

Marquisard now has started from the No. 1 barrier four times from 53 starts for three all-the-way wins and last week’s second placing.

Lewis has been the regular driver for Destined To Rule and Carte Blanche. Deni Roberts will drive Destined To Rule from the No. 3 barrier and Jocelyn Young has been engaged for Carte Blanche, who is poorly drawn out wide at barrier eight.