Valentines Brook to Make His Debut

Keen interest surrounds the debut of the extremely well bred two-year-old Valentines Brook in the $25,000 Intersport Slater Gartrell Western Crown Classic for colts and geldings at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Valentines Brook, trained by Mike Reed and driven by his son Mark, will begin from barrier three and is capable of a solid first-up effort. He is a half-brother to Bechers Brook, who flew home to win the Western Gateway Classic 12 months ago and then finished a head second to King of Swing in the WA Derby.

Bechers Brook, also from the Reed stable, has had 21 starts for ten wins and eight placings for stakes of $152,763. Valentines Brook is also a half-brother to star pacer Our Waikiki Beach, who has earned $957,479 from 28 wins and 12 placings from 56 starts. Those pacers also are closely related to former star performers Chandon, Bollinger and Salinger.

Valentines Brook, bred in Victoria, is by American stallion Rock N Roll Heaven out of the Bettors Delight mare Cyclone Betty, raced 63 times for nine wins, 18 placings and $68,186 in prizemoney. He was bought for $52,500 at the APG yearling sale in Melbourne last year by Bechers Brook’s owner Albert Walmsley.

Bechers Brook is named after hugely challenging and famous fence in the English Grand National Steeplechase, held annually at Aintree. Valentines Brook is also a testing fence at Aintree, but somewhat less severe than Bechers Brook.

Valentines Brook warmed up for his debut with a sound trial at Byford on Sunday morning when he was not bustled at the mobile dispatch and settled in fourth place in a field of five. After modest quarters of 32.4sec., 32.2sec. and 31.2.2sec., Valentines Brook ran home solidly and was not extended in finishing second, a half-head behind unraced two-year-old gelding The Stars Above, with a final quarter in 29sec.

Reed Snr said that Valentines Brook possessed high speed but had still a lot to learn about racing. “He’s not without a chance on Friday night and he’ll improve on whatever he does,” he said.

Marcotti, a son of Sportwriter, is sure to be a hot favourite, particularly after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier for Blythewood trainer Michael Brennan and talented reinsman Michael Grantham. Marcotti made a perfect debut when he set the pace from the No. 1 barrier and won from Keptain Courageous over 1609m in 1min. 57.9sec. at Bunbury three Sundays ago. He impressed in dashing over the final 400m in 27.6sec.

Marcotti is well bred and is related to former top-flight pacer Another Party, who earned $888,678 from 31 wins and 42 placings from 149 starts. Another Party’s wins included the Bathurst Gold Crown for two-year-olds in March 1997, the Celebrity Mile at Gloucester Park on New Year’s Eve in 2000, the Fremantle Cup the following month and the Hunter Cup at Moonee Valley a few weeks later.