Walkinshaw Back to his Best

Stylish stallion Walkinshaw ended a losing sequence of 12 when he overcame an awkward barrier at No. 6 to score a dashing victory over 2130m last Friday night. And reinsman Aldo Cortopassi is enthusiastic about the New Zealand-bred seven-year-old’s ability to repeat the dose in the Leading Tipster Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Cortopassi said that trainer Ray Williams had freshened the horse up and that he was back to his best last week.

“He’s drawn No. 6 again this week,” Cortopassi said. “He’s versatile; he can sit and sprint --- and he can go forward. He’s got plenty of speed and there might be a chance to work forward and go from there.”

Walkinshaw certainly impressed with a sparkling burst of speed last Friday night when he was restrained from barrier six and raced in sixth position in the one-wide line before he made a fast move 450m from home and left his rivals flat-footed as he charged to the front on the home turn before racing away to win by 4m from Vincenzo Peruggia. The final quarters were run in 28.4sec. and 28.2sec. and Walkinshaw rated a smart 1.55.6.

Walkinshaw also revealed a tough side of his nature two starts before last week’s win, when he worked hard in the breeze and finished second to Speed Man over 2130m. His chief rivals this week are likely to be Argyle Red, James Butt, The Trilogy and Bettor Party.

Argyle Red, to be driven by Morgan Woodley for Pinjarra trainer Rob MacDonald, will start from the coveted No. 1 barrier and is sure to have many admirers despite having a losing sequence of 24, stretching back to 12 months ago when he led and won over 2130m from Overboard Again and Mister Versace.

Argyle Red was an 80/1 outsider last week when he was restrained from barrier seven and raced at the rear throughout, finishing eighth in a field of nine behind Roman Aviator.

The Ross Olivieri-trained James Butt notched his eighth win from 31 starts when he enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and two-back, before running home strongly to win by a head from Major Pocket, with Hy Leexciting a close third after overracing in the breeze outside the pacemaker Presidentmach over 2130m last Friday night.

Reinsman Chris Voak said that James Butt faced a hard task this week from the outside barrier in a field of nine. “He’s a pretty low-priced purchase from New Zealand and he has exceeded expectations with five wins, four in city-class events, from 11 starts in WA,” Voak said. “He’s got more wins in store. However, it looks tough from the draw on Friday night. It’s a step up for him, but he is improving with every run.”

The Trilogy and Bettor Party are in good form but will need all the breaks from wide barriers.

Voak and Olivieri are optimistic about Atmospherical’s prospects in the Second Leading Tipster Pace. The six-year-old has struck form with a vengeance, unwinding strong finishing bursts to win convincingly at each of his past two starts.

“Barrier two on the back line is a good draw for him,” said Olivieri. And Voak said: “He’s a good sit-and-sprint horse and is a sound each-way hope.”

In Friday night’s race, Colin Brown will handle the Ian Barker-trained Hy Leexciting from barrier two. Brown has driven Hy Leexciting at 12 of his 93 starts for one victory ---- when the gelding finished strongly to defeat Cerato at Pinjarra in August 2016.

The Midas Touch also will have plenty of support. He will be driven by Shannon Suvaljko from barrier six. The gelding impressed when he set the pace and won from Major Shard in a 2150m trial at Byford on Sunday morning.