Four-year-old Alta Blues boasts a 50 per cent winning record, and champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr has labelled the Alta Christiano gelding as his best drive on the ten-event program at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Alta Blues, a winner at eight of his 16 starts, will begin from barrier three in the final event, the 2536m Be Breast Aware Pace, with Hall saying: “This looks a really good race for him on paper; the 2500m should suit and he should be my best drive on the night.”
Alta Blues is a versatile performer and Hall is expected to use his gate speed in a quest to set the pace in a race in which the gelding’s main danger is likely to be in-form stablemate Nota Bene Denario, who will be handled by Callan Suvaljko from the outside barrier in the field of seven.
Hall also is confident of a strong showing from classy mare Balcatherine, who will start from the outside barrier in the field of eight in the 2130m Thank You McGrath Foundation Breast Care Nurses Pace.
Balcatherine has resumed after a spell in good shape, with her three runs in her current campaign producing a very close first-up second to Perfect Major and a last-start third behind Major Times and Chicago Bull.
“She should acquit herself well,” said Hall. “She is not going as good as she can but is probably going as good enough to win this race on Friday night. I have plenty of respect for Fifty Five Reborn, who was super in winning last week and should be hard to beat this week.”
Hall will drive outsider Whozideawasthis in the $25,000 #Pacingforpink Pace over 1730m, with the Greg and Skye Bond-trained pair of Patronus Star and Vampiro and Ross Olivieri’s in-form open-class performers Perfect Major (Chris Lewis) and Major Times (Chris Voak) the major players.
Ace reinsman Ryan Warwick will handle Patronus Star from the No. 3 barrier, and Dylan Egerton-Green in the sulky behind Vampiro, who will start from the outside in the field of seven.
Patronus Star set a solid pace before wilting to finish fifth behind Shockwave over 2130m last Friday night. He will take plenty of catching this week if Warwick is able to get him to the front.
by Ken Casellas