Four-year-old Al Guerrero has finished eleventh, ninth and seventh at his three outings since resuming after a three-month absence, and he has managed just one placing from his past eight starts, but reinsman Kyle Harper is confident he is ready to return to the winning list.
The speedy son of Alta Christiano has drawn perfectly at barrier No. 1 in the 2130m Download The TABtouch App Today Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night and Harper plans to set the pace.
Al Guerrero is certainly a brilliant frontrunner and all his ten wins from 38 starts for Pinjarra trainer Kyle Anderson have been achieved when he has set the pace.
Harper said that Anderson is extremely happy with the way the stallion has been working on the Pinjarra track. “Al Guerrero gets his chance this week with the first decent barrier he’s had since his return to racing,” he explained.
“He has the speed to hold up and he’s a fancy horse out in front. He should take a bit of catching on Friday night.”
Al Guerro is the youngest runner in the race, and he makes strong appeal of being able to prove too speedy for his more experienced rivals, with five-year-olds Pierre Whitby (barrier two) and Walsh (barrier five) appearing to be his chief rivals.
The Debra Lewis-trained Pierre Whitby has managed just two placings from his past 15 starts, but he gets a good opportunity to fight out the finish from his favourable draw. Walsh, who has not raced for two months, has performed creditably against stronger opposition and is capable of a solid first-up performance.
Harper also has sound claims in the $25,000 Westsired Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings in which he will handle Bushwacked for trainer Shane Quadrio.
Bushwacked will start from the No. 3 barrier and has the ability to fight out the finish with polemarker Follow The Music and Seven No Trumps.
Bushwacked led and won twice from the No. 1 barrier at Gloucester Park in April before being somewhat disappointing when unplaced at his next two appearances.
“He is a frontrunning horse, so we will make use of his strengths and go forward with him,” said Quadrio. “He likes to roll and doesn’t like being restrained.”
Looming large as a major opponent is the Ross Olivieri-trained Follow The Music, who will be driven by Chris Lewis. Follow The Music was an all-the-way winner over 1730m five starts ago and he ran on from fourth at the bell to win over 1684m at Pinjarra two starts ago.
“The draw has certainly improved his prospects, and from the draw he comes in with a good chance,” said Lewis.
Seven No Trumps, trained by Peter Tilbrook and to be driven by Shannon Suvaljko from barrier four, will have many admirers. The colt has won at three of his eight starts, and he impressed when he led in a field of four to score an easy victory in a 2150m trial at Byford on Sunday morning.
Olivieri’s wife Jemma Hayman holds a strong hand in the $25,000 Westsired Classic for two-year-old fillies in which she will be represented by Extraordinary Mary, who will be handled by Suvaljko from the perfect No. 1 barrier.
Extraordinary Mary has been placed at three of her five starts since she set the pace and won the Western Crown Classic over 1730m in mid-March.
by Ken Casellas