Vultan Tin Set to Shine

Star reinsman Chris Voak, riding on the crest of a wave with a treble at Gloucester Park last Friday night and a double at Northam on Tuesday evening, was ecstatic with Vultan Tin’s impressive victory in the Ray Duffy Memorial last Friday night and is full of hope that the seven-year-old will repeat the dose by winning the Group 2 $50,000 Worldwide Printing City of Perth Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Vultan Tin overcame the wide No. 7 draw last week and he is eminently suited from barrier two over the 2536m Cup this week, with Voak declaring: “Long-distance races are his forte.”

Vultan Tin, bred and owned by Coolup trainer Phil Costello and his son Daniel, will boost his earnings to $426,271 if he is successful and wins for the 20th time in a 117-start career.

The hardy gelding provides a fairytale story of triumph over adversity and a just reward for perseverance after Phil Costello bought a Victorian-bred mare Toy Shop 22 years ago after the mare had finished sixth behind Fatal Error in a C0 event in Albany in January 1995 for trainer Ray Grantham and driver Lyn Lucas.

That was her only start and Toy Shop produced two foals, a colt and a filly, and only the filly, named Carravelle, raced. Carravelle failed to notch a win from 17 starts before being retired to stud, and her first foal, Ellevarrac managed one win from 30 starts, a head victory over Our Captains Lady at Pinjarra in December 2008.

Vultan Tin, by American stallion Dawn Of A New Day, is the first foal out of Ellevarrac and the only one of her two progeny to have raced. Ellevarrac died in December 2015.

Vultan Tin raced wide early and then enjoyed a perfect passage, one-out and one-back, before he unwound a sparkling finishing burst to dash over the final 400m in 27.3sec. to beat Always Arjay by a length with the odds-on favourite and pacemaker Saying Grace a head away in third place.

“I was surprised that he was too quick for them (his rivals),” said Voak, who has driven 50 winners in the first five months of the 2018-19 season. “He’s never been a horse for speed, but he certainly outsprinted them.”

Vultan Tin possesses good gate speed and is likely to be involved in an early duel for the lead with polemarker Argyle Red and Handsandwheels (barrier three). The fastest beginner in the Cup is brilliant mare Eden Franco, who has drawn poorly at barrier eight for her first appearance since she began brilliantly from barrier nine, raced five wide early and crossed to the front after 400m in the Group 1 Westral Mares Classic over 2536m eight weeks ago.

Eden Franco was overhauled in the final couple of strides and finished a half-neck second to Millview Sienna. Ace trainer-reinsman Colin Brown said that Eden Franco was “very fit” but he added: “I’m a realist and I know it’s going to be tough. At this stage, we won’t be going forward at the start.”

Eden Franco, who won at two of her 12 starts in New Zealand, has a superb record in Western Australia of 21 starts for 12 wins, six seconds, one third, one fourth and an eleventh placing.

The other mare in Friday night’s Cup is the Annie Belton-trained Gotta Go Gabbana, an extremely tough pacer who is in top form but she faces a stern test from barrier six. She started from the No. 8 barrier last Friday week and raced without cover before finishing with great determination to win from the pacemaker Mary Catherine.

Voak has driven Gotta Go Gabbana at her past 23 starts for seven wins and ten placings. The mare will be handled this week by Kim Prentice, who last drove her when she led and won from Truleylucky over 1684m at Pinjarra on November 13, 2017.

Argyle Red has won eight times after setting the pace and Handsandwheels also is a noted frontrunner.

Leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond will be represented by Vampiro (No. 9 barrier) and El Jacko (barrier two on the back line). El Jacko, who will be driven by Dylan Egerton-Green, is racing with great confidence and impressed when he raced three back on the pegs and flew home along the inside to finish a half-length second to Rocknroll Lincoln in the 2936m WA Pacing Cup last Friday week. He also unwound sparkling late sprints to win at two of his three previous starts.

Serpentine trainer Matt Scott’s vastly-improved seven-year-old Always Arjay is handily drawn at No. 4 on the front line and will have admirers. He trailed the pacemaker Saying Grace before finishing fast to be second to Vultan Tin last Friday night.