Suvaljko Sticks with Maczaffair
Shannon Suvaljko, who holds a convincing lead on the Statewide drivers’ premiership, has given punters a massive lead by opting to handle star mare Maczaffair in preference to Lord Willoughby in the Book A Private Box at Gloucester Park Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Suvaljko has driven the Ross Olivieri-trained Lord Willoughby at the four-year-old’s past 17 starts for eight wins, six seconds and three thirds. Those wins include Lord Willoughby’s only four appearances in standing-start events.
Lord Willoughby will begin from the 10m line in Friday night’s stand over 2503m and is sure to be hard to beat, following strong wins at his past two starts. The Mach Three gelding will be handled by Chris Lewis, who has driven him 14 times for two wins, six seconds and two thirds.
Suvaljko has driven the Mike Reed-trained Maczaffair to victory 11 times. Lewis has driven the mare only twice for two wins, at Gloucester Park last July and August.
Maczaffair has a winning record of 49 per cent (18 wins, seven seconds and two thirds from 37 starts) and she will need to be at the top of her game to succeed against smart pacers of the calibre of Lord Willoughby, Better Scoot and Im Rockaria. She is the lone backmarker off 30 metres and certainly has the speed and strength to overcome this handicap.
Maczaffair has raced only once in a stand and that was two starts ago when she began from 30m in the 2503m Race For Roses in which she started off 30m and enjoyed a good passage in sixth position in the one-wide line. She fought on determinedly to be fourth behind Eden Franco, Sarah Goody and C C Chevron.
The Skye Bond-trained Better Scoot, to be handled by Ryan Warwick, should appreciate a front-line draw and looks set to fight out the finish at his second outing after a spell. The lightly-raced six-year-old (23 starts for ten wins, six seconds and four thirds) challenged unsuccessful for the early lead and then enjoyed an ideal trail, one-out and one-back, when a sound first-up third behind Lord Willoughby and Tommy Be Good last Friday week.
Better Scott has an impressive record in stands, with his seven starts behind the tapes in WA producing four wins, a second and two thirds.
The Michael Brennan-trained Im Rockaria was a disappointing first-up sixth behind Lord Willoughby last Friday week, but he is a talented pacer capable of considerable improvement.