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Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators

Former Victorian mare Alice Kay has struck top form for Byford trainer Katja Warwick, and star reinsman Shannon Suvaljko aims to take full advantage of her perfect draw at barrier No. 1 in the 2130m Battle of the Codes for Telethon Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.   

“She is back in form and is driving straight,” said Suvaljko. “She should have enough speed to lead and will be hard to beat. She is flying and she put in a super run last Friday night when she got home in 56.4sec. when second to Born To Boogie.”

Alice Kay raced in sixth position in last week’s 2130m event before starting a three-wide move 600m from home to prove that she is not purely a frontrunner. At her previous appearance Alice Kay led from barrier two and won by three lengths from Our Star Watch, rating 1.57.8 over 2536m.

Alice Kay and Euphoria look set to dominate betting in Friday night’s event. Euphoria, who will start from barrier four, relished his frontrunning role last Friday night when he won easily from Zazu and Classic Choice at a 1.55.7 rate over 1730m.

Reinsman Gary Hall jnr said that he expected Euphoria to fight out the finish this week. “He could end up in the breeze, but will run a good race,” he said.

The Nathan Turvey-trained Blue Blazer also is poised to be prominent from barrier seven in an event in which he is sure to appreciate a drop in class after having raced against pacers of the calibre of Minstrel, Perfect Major, Wainui Creek, Magnificent Storm, Alta Engen and Vampiro in recent starts.

Hall, who has drives in nine of the ten events, has several bright prospects, with astute punters looking to him to send them home in high spirits by landing the winner in the final two events — with Always An Angel and High Price.

He will handle the Justin Prentice-trained filly Always An Angel in race nine, the Direct Trade Supplies Pace, in which she will clash with the Greg and Skye Bond-trained pair of Newsy (Dylan Egerton-Green) and Booraa (Ryan Warwick).

Always An Angel has won at 11 of her 18 starts and is sure to appreciate a favourable draw after beginning from wide barriers at her past five starts.

“She is racing so well,” said Hall. “She’s got the good ones outside of her, so I’ll be trying to keep in front of them.

“High Price has drawn poorly (on the outside barrier in the field of seven in the 2130m Cowden Limited The Insurance Brokers Pace), but he has good gate speed and plenty of ability. This will be another test for him after leading and winning from barrier one at his debut last week.”

Hall said he expected plenty of opposition from the David Thompson-trained Paul Edward, who ran home powerfully from eighth (and last) at the bell to finish a two-length second to High Price last Friday week.

“Paul Edward is a good horse,” said Hall. “He got a long way out of his ground at his last start and ran home very well.”