Wildwest Ready to Explode
Classic feature events in the coming summer are the targets for exciting New Zealand-bred gelding Wildwest, who is poised to make a successful debut at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he contests the Better Your Bet With TABtouch Pace.
“He’s inexperienced and green, but he’s good,” said confident Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall Snr, who is setting the big, bold-striding pacer for the rich Four-Year-Old Classic and the Golden Nugget Championship in December.
Wildwest, purchased recently for $120,000 by ten clients of the powerful Hall stable, has revealed outstanding potential in winning effortlessly at his only two starts in a 2400m stand at Winton in May and over 1684m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon.
After settling in fifth position in the stand at Winton, Wildwest (then prepared by Cran Dalgety) charged to the front after 400m and careered away from his 13 rivals to win by 37.5m.
He was even more impressive at Pinjarra where he started from barrier six and raced three wide early before moving into the breeze outside the pacemaker Iam The Real Thing. Champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr sent Wildwest to the front 600m from home and the gelding burst away from the opposition to win by 35.4m at a 1.53.9 rate.
There was a serious accident involving four horses about 650m from home, but Hall Snr said that Wildwest was going to win by a big margin in any case. “The ear plugs were not pulled, and he was not extended,” he said.
“There’s improvement in him and he’s probably about 80 to 90 per cent at the moment. First-up over a mile at Pinjarra on Monday was just a hit-out for Friday night. I expect him to go very well and prove very hard to beat, but I wouldn’t say he’s past the post. He’s pretty green and not a true racehorse yet. He’s had only two starts and he can overrace and hang a bit.
“From barrier six, he probably will have to sit outside Beaudiene Western, who looks his main rival.”
Beaudiene Western, a half-brother to Hall’s former star pacer and 2015 Golden Nugget champion Beaudiene Boaz, is trained at Henley Brook by Mike Reed and will be resuming after a spell.
Beaudiene Western, a winner of two races as a two-year-old in New Zealand, is favourably drawn at barrier two. This will be his first appearance since his only start in Western Australia at Pinjarra on February 18 when he led from barrier No. 1 and finished a close second to Back In Twenty.
Reinsman Mark Reed agreed that Wildwest would be the hardest to beat, but said he expected a spirited effort from Beaudiene Western.
“He’s first-up, hasn’t trialled and is a bit underdone,” Reed said. “But he’s got good gate speed and I think he should be able to cross to the front and run a decent race.”
Wildwest is by Raging Bull, a Christian Cullen stallion who broke down after only ten starts for five wins and five seconds. Twice as a three-year-old in December 2011 he finished second in feature events at Alexandra Park to Smolda. Wildwest is the first foal out of unraced Jeremes Jet mare Bay Jet.
Hall Snr is also looking forward keenly to the return to racing of another of his outstanding four-year-olds in Eloquent Mach, who will start from the inside of the 10m line in a 2096m stand, the Choices Flooring Kalgoorlie Handicap, and will be handled by his regular driver Stuart McDonald.
“He should win if he gets away quickly enough,” said Hall Snr. “But if he doesn’t, it could be a problem over the short trip.”
Eloquent Mach will be having his first start since he began from the back line and was forced to cover extra ground when eighth behind stablemate Major Trojan in the WA Derby on April 5. His previous form was absolutely superb, a second to Franco Edward followed by three consecutive victories in which he finished ahead of the brilliant Major Trojan.
Hall Snr admitted that he had some “nice” Nugget horses in Major Trojan, Wildwest and Eloquent Mach and declared that Major Trojan was the best of the trio.
Major Trojan began his four-year-old campaign in grand style with an easy victory in the Group 3 Chandon Pace last Friday night when he dashed to the front after 80m and was untroubled to defeat Hy Leexciting and Dominate The Dojo at a 1.55.6 rate over 2130m.
“I was very happy with the run and he went to the line with the ear plugs still in, and Gary didn’t let him go.”