Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators
Ravenswood trainer Nathan Turvey and young driver Emily Suvaljko are proving to be one of the most formidable combinations in WA harness racing, and they were to the forefront again at Gloucester Park on Friday night when they notched a double in successive races.
First, the Victorian-bred Leosabi revealed plenty of strength in winning the sixth event, and then Walsh was untroubled to score an all-the-way victory 30 minutes later.
Turvey is in third place in the WA trainers’ premiership with 70 wins (behind Greg and Skye Bond with 157 wins and Gary Hall snr with 108 wins), while the 21-year-old Suvaljko is enjoying a magnificent season, with her 145 winners placing her in third spot in the drivers’ premiership table, behind Gary Hall jnr (201 wins) and Chris Voak (147).
Leosabi, a four-year-old Art Major gelding, was second favourite at $3.40 from out wide at barrier seven, and he was in tenth position with two laps to travel in the 2536m event before Suvaljko put him into the race by dashing him forward and into the breeze outside the pacemaker and $2.50 favourite Pradason at the 1200m mark.
Henrik Larsson ($7.50) was last in the field of eleven before Gary Hall jnr sent him forward, out three wide, approaching the bell. Henrik Larsson then took a slender lead 270m from home before Leosabi gained the upper hand on the home turn and went on to win by a half-length from the fast-finishing $61 chance Our Burling, rating 1.58.9.
This improved Leosabi’s record in WA to six wins and three seconds from 12 starts. He won three times in Victoria and now has a record of 40 starts for nine wins, 16 placings and stakes of $67,071.
“He has done a really good job since he has been here,” said Turvey. “He can race tough and has a good turn of foot as well. I think he will continue to be a good earner, even going up a grade, because he is adaptable.”
It proved to be a stroll in the park for Walsh, the $1.20 favourite from the prized No. 1 barrier. Suvaljko sent the WA-bred Art Major five-year-old straight to the front and he travelled well with $11 chance Major Stare in the breeze, and $9 chance Bettor Be Lively enjoying the trail behind the pacemaker.
Walsh went to win from Bettor be Lively, with Jesse Allwood ($26) finishing strongly from three back on the pegs to be third.
“Walsh had drawn out wide at his previous four starts (when unplaced), and drawing No. 1 tonight made all the difference,” said Turvey. Walsh has been a handy performer, with his 91 starts producing 14 wins, 24 placings and stakes of $146,583.
Turvey and Suvaljko continued their remarkable run of success when they combined to win with $1.04 favourite Rockin Rufus, who beat Sheza Bromac by 31 metres at Narrogin on Saturday night.
Suvaljko also won with the Shane Quadrio-trained Silver Star Lombo, while, not be outdone, her father Shannon landed four winners on the seven-event program at Narrogin, scoring with Sun And Sand ($26), Just Like Turbo ($7), Gee Smith ($4.60) and The Wildcard ($2.15). It was Chris Lewis who foiled a Suvaljko family clean sweep by winning the third event with the Barry Howlett-trained Three Rumours.