Stick with Roman Aviator

Darling Downs trainer-reinsman Aldo Cortopassi advises punters to stick with Roman Aviator in the tenth and final event at Gloucester Park on Friday night after the smart four-year-old was favourite at $1.85 and was beaten into second place by Black Jack Zac last Saturday night.

Roman Aviator was forced to work hard from barrier four before taking the lead after 500m in last week’s 2130m event. After a fast lead time of 35.7sec., Roman Aviator set a solid pace, but was swamped by Black Jack Zac, who had enjoyed a soft run in the one-out, one-back position and rated a slick 1.56.4.

“I was rapt with Roman Aviator’s run,” Cortopassi said. “The longer distance this week will suit Roman Aviator better because he’s more of a big one-paced roller, so the 2500m will suit him a lot better.

“I think he will develop into a nice city horse. He’s done all his country racing and he’s done really well. Now, it’s time for him to come to town and take that next step. I think he can. He’s worked with my good horses and he can run with them.”

The clash between Roman Aviator and the talented three-year-old colt Shockwave promises to be a highlight of the ten-event program.

Shockwave, whose 24 starts have produced nine wins, eight placings and $137,298 in stakes, is trained by Ryan Bell, who is making use of Deni Roberts’ concession to gain a start. Roberts, who is driving in wonderful form, will be in the sulky for the first time behind Shockwave, who will start out wide at barrier seven in a field of eight.

Roberts is likely to use similar tactics to those employed three weeks ago by Dylan Egerton-Green when he restrained Shockwave from barrier six and brought him home with a sustained a spirited three-wide burst from the rear to win from Beltane over 2536m.

In a 2130m event last Saturday night, Shockwave raced three wide for the first 700m and then in the breeze before fading over the final 400m to finish a well-beaten sixth, nine lengths behind the winner Gee Jay Kay. 

Gee Jay Kay, a talented three-year-old, takes on older and more experienced rivals on Friday night when he starts from the No. 7 barrier in the opening event, the 2130m Garrards Horse And Hound Open Now Pace. His clash with promising, in-form four-year-old Robb Stark looks set to provide plenty of fireworks.