Former Victorian mare Alice Kay has bright prospects of celebrating her first appearance in a stand by winning the $30,000 Sky Racing Replays Laurie Kennedy Race For Roses over 2503m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
The Katja Warwick-trained four-year-old mare will be handled by star reinsman Gary Hall Jnr, who is seeking his third successive victory in this event after scoring with $13 chance Beaudiene Beach Babe in 2019 and $20 outsider Semiramide 12 months ago.
Beaudiene Beach Babe, trained by Justin Prentice, finished a head behind Miss Sangrial, but later was declared the winner after a handicapping error was discovered and resulted in the disqualification of Miss Sangrial.
Last year Semiramide, trained by Giles Inwood, beat Delighfulreaction by a short half-head. In 2009, Hall drove Andrew de Campo’s Nowuseemesmile to victory.
Alice Kay qualified to contest standing-start events with a win in a three-horse 2550m trial from a stand at Byford last Sunday week. She began safely and raced in third and last position before finishing strongly to win by a half-length from Phar From Kalahari. She sprinted over the final 400m in 27.6sec.
Alice Kay then ran in a 2150m mobile trial at Byford last Sunday morning when she was driven by Emily Suvaljko. She made an unsuccessful early bid for the lead and then trailed the pacemaker Avivo before getting to the front 650m from home and defeating Avivo by just under five lengths, with a final 400m in 27.6sec. and slow quarters of 34.7sec., 32.2sec. and 30.9sec.
Alice Kay will start from the inside of the front line on Friday night and Hall will be keen to set the pace and make life tough for some of her main rivals, including Savvy Bromac (20m), Star of Diamonds (10m) and Leap Of Faith (10m).
The Nathan Turvey-trained Savvy Bromac, to be driven by Emily Suvaljko, is a capable standing-start performer who has finished fifth at Pinjarra, second (from 30m) at Albany and first off the 20m mark at Narrogin.
She was most impressive last Friday week when she sprinted home brilliantly to win a 2130m event at a 1.56.4 rate from the pacemaker Star Of Diamonds.
Star Of Diamonds, to be driven by Chris Voak for owner-trainer Barry Howlett, is also in top form. Two starts ago she was a fast-finishing winner over Savvy Bromac, coming from tenth in the middle stages and eighth (three wide) at the bell. At her previous outing she covered a lot of extra ground when an excellent third behind Wainui Creek and Has No Fear in the 2536m Empress Stakes.
Voak has given punters a good lead by choosing to drive Star of Diamonds in preference to Run For Mercy, who will be handled by Mitch Miller.
Run For Mercy is prepared by Ross Olivieri, who has won the Race For Roses with Yippy Yi Yo (1998), Arctic Fire (2011), Selkie (2014) and Sheer Rocknroll (2017).
by Ken Casellas