Sprint Trip Suits Major Pocket

Six-year-old Major Pocket is a model of consistency and reinsman Aldo Cortopassi is confident that he will end a losing sequence of 11 by proving the master of his 11 rivals in the opening event, the 1730m Better Your bet With TABtouch Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Major Pocket is ideally drawn at barrier No. 2 on the front line and should prove one of the star bets on the ten-event program.  

“Major Pocket loves the mile; it’s his best distance,” said Cortopassi. “You don’t hold on to him, you don’t fight him, you drop the reins and just let him run. Some of his runs over 1730m from wide gates have been massive.”

Drawn the pole on Major Pocket’s inside is veteran performer Mattjestic Star, who has been unplaced at his past 15 starts since he started from barrier one, overraced in the breeze and won from Vincenzo Peruggia over 1730m last March.

Cortopassi said that he would make a strong bid for the early lead. “Overwise, if we can’t cross Mattjestic Star, I’ll be happy to sit outside him and crunch him,” he said.

Major Pocket, trained at Mt Helena by Ray Williams, has a splendid record of 51 starts for 11 wins, 20 seconds and seven thirds for stakes of $146,960. Since his most recent success (when he led from barrier two and beat All Jokes Aside over 2130m on May 24 this year) his 11 starts have produced seven seconds and one third.

“He just keeps on earning and averages about $10,000 a month,” Cortopassi said.

Clarenden Hustler, a brilliant beginner and a smart frontrunner, will start from barrier five with Shannon Suvaljko in the sulky. However, trainer Matt Scott is pessimistic about the chestnut’s ability to burst to an early lead.

Adding considerable interest to the race will be the appearance of Commander Chapel, who will be having his first start for 32 months. The eight-year-old to be driven by Jocelyn Young for trainer Debra Lewis, is awkwardly drawn at barrier seven. But the gelding, a winner at 13 and placed at 12 of his 40 starts, is capable of a bold first-up showing.

There is plenty of good exposed form in the race, including Carter Micheal, Livura, Vincenzo Peruggia, Courage Tells and Smoldering Ashes, but Major Pocket should reign supreme.

Cortopassi is hoping for a good slice of luck when he drives Roman Aviator from the outside in a field of nine in the 2130m Book Your NYE Packages Now Pace. The five-year-old has performed solidly with 13 wins and ten seconds from 50 starts.

“It’s not a bad race for him,” Cortopassi said. “You’d think there will be a bit of speed on, coming from horses like Mad Robber and Bettor Reward --- and that will suit Roman Aviator, who I think will develop into a really nice sit-sprinter.

“Hopefully, there’s a good genuine speed and that he said home at $81 like he did two starts ago.”

Favourite for the race will be the Justin Prentice-trained Warfare, who is poorly drawn at barrier eight and will be having his first start for just over two months.