Theo Aviator Ready to Fly

“This looks like a real good race for him,” declared Darling Downs trainer-reinsman Aldo Cortopassi when assessing Theo Aviator’s prospects from barrier five in the 2130m Westral Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Theo Aviator, a smart four-year-old who has raced 38 times for 13 wins and 11 placings, has worked hard in the breeze at his past two starts for a close fifth behind Convert Denario over 1730m and a fighting second to the pacemaker As Happy As Larry over 2536m last Friday night.

“It is a big drop in class for him this week and I give him a good chance of winning,” said Cortopassi. “Racing in the breeze doesn’t worry him; he actually likes it. That’s why the big four-year-old races suited him because they were run up-tempo, and he gets into a rhythm and he can hold a rhythm. When they go slow, he mixes his gait a bit and takes a bit to get going.

“We’ll be going forward and if they want to hold us out, so be it. Naturally, you’d love to lead. But I’d also be happy to park him in the breeze. However, whoever is going to lead is going to have to earn it.”

Cortopassi will also be represented in Friday night’s race by five-year-old Naval Aviator, who will be driven by Dylan Egerton-Green from the inside of the back line.

Naval Aviator has been unplaced at his past nine starts, with Cortopassi admitting that the horse had been disappointing in recent outings. “So, I’ve changed his training a bit to try to freshen him and get some speed back in him,” he said. “He missed last Friday night’s meeting and hopefully this week he will be a bit sharper.”    

Cortopassi, who drove promising mare Aly Shar to an impressive all-the-way victory for Byford trainer John Oldroyd at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening, is looking forward to handling for the first time Oldroyd’s seven-year-old gelding Lightning Jolt from barrier three in the Perth Plasterboard Centre Pace over 2130m.

 “Lightning Jolt’s two runs since a spell have been really good and he’s got the gate speed to come across with them early,” Cortopassi said. “We’ll come off the gate and see what happens. If he can’t get the front, he should be able to get a good trail in the moving line.”

Star reinsman Gary Hall Jnr has chosen to drive Ideal Liner in preference to Fremantle Cup winner Caviar Star in the Ray Duffy Memorial over 2536m. Ideal Liner will start from barrier three and Caviar Star will start from the No. 6 barrier for Stuart McDonald.

Hall said that the two five-year-olds trained by his father Gary Hall Snr were capable of winning in the seven-horse field, with tactics by all runners behind the polemarker and likely pacemaker Talktomeurmattjesty sure to play a significant part in the outcome.

Ideal Liner, a winner at 12 of his 21 starts, raced in sixth position, one-out and two-back before finishing determinedly, out five wide in the closing stages, when second to Im Full of Excuses over 2130m last Friday night.

“I thought he was a little disappointing last week,” said Hall Jnr. “But he probably didn’t get enough time to really wind up. He can win this week and so can Caviar Star.”