Ken Casellas | Photo: Gloucester Park Harness Racing
Former outstanding trainer-reinsman Andrew De Campo has fond memories of driving 11/2 chance Highest Honour to victory in the group 1 McInerney Ford Classic in December 2000 – and thoughts of that notable triumph will be rekindled when he watches his son Aiden drive Between Two Thorns in the $25,000 Etch Coatings Western Crown for two year old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Between Two Thorns, trained in Capel by Aiden De Campo, is the fifth foal out of the unraced American bred Kiwi Rose, whose dam Tupelo Rose was the 2/1 favourite in the 2000 McInerney Ford Classic and disappointed her champion Victorian trainer and driver Ted Demmler in finishing fourth behind Highest Honour.
After winning 12 times in New Zealand and 12 races in Australia, including the 2000 Queensland and Victorian Oaks, Tupelo Rose went to America and won several more times. Kiwi Rose did not race and was sent to New South Wales in June 2011 as a brood mare.
Between Two Thorns resumed after a spell last Friday night when she enjoyed an ideal passage in the one-out, one-back position before she burst to the front 520m from home and led by three lengths on the home turn and then wilted to finish third behind Zephyra and Spiritofanangel over 2130m.
Between Two Thorns was a winner on debut, beating Cabsav and Spiritofanangel in a heat of the WA Sales Classic in February, but she hit a wheel, broke and dropped back to finish last behind Cabsav in the final. She then went for a spell and resumed last Friday night.
She is sure to be improved by her first up effort and looks set to fight out the finish of Friday night’s event with the Terry Keenan trained Spiritofanangel, who will be handled by Nathan Turvey.
Spiritofanangel will start from barrier five, with Between Two Thorns unfavourably drawn on the outside in the field of seven. Valhalla Angel (barrier one) and Ekara Navajo (two) have good gate speed, and there is likely to be a keen battle for the early lead.
There are only four runners in the $25,000 Simmonds Steel Western Crown for two year old colts and geldings, and the 1730m event looks likely to develop into a keen duel between the polemarker Hotly Pursued (Kyle Harper) and Fess Up (Ryan Warwick). Each pacer will be attempting to complete a hat-trick of wins.
Fess Up will start from the outside barrier and is capable of mustering good early pace. The Bettors Delight colt, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, began from barrier six, dashed to the front after 70m and then set the pace before winning by more than two lengths from Cold Hard Cash over 1684m at Pinjarra on Monday of last week. He led from barrier one and won convincingly from Bronzed over 2185m the previous Monday.
Hotly Pursued is trained by Murray Lindau and will be driven by Kyle Harper, who is sure to be anxious to take full advantage of the coveted No. 1 barrier over the sprint journey.
Hotly Pursued led from barrier three and won by three lengths from Tantabiddi over 1684m at Pinjarra two starts ago and then enjoyed the one-out, one-back trail before finishing strongly to win by a length from Juggernaut over 2130m at Gloucester Park four Fridays ago.
Trainer-driver Jocelyn Young has driven Ronald Scott to easy victories at Pinjarra and Narrogin at his past two starts. The Bonavista Bay gelding faces a rise in class at his first appearance at Gloucester Park.