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Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators

Ravenswood horseman Nathan Turvey is enjoying a wonderful year and he has prepared 72 winners this season to sit in third place behind Greg and Skye Bond (158 winners) and Gary Hall snr (109) on the WA trainers’ premiership table.

He is looking forward to a busy time at Gloucester Park on Friday night when seven of his stable will be in action in the ten-event program.

He is setting his smart three-year-old filly Royal Essence a testing task by running her against eleven older and more experienced mares in the 2130m Giuseppe Raco Memorial Pace.

But he is full of confidence, declaring Royal Essence, to be driven by Emily Suvaljko and favourably drawn at barrier No. 2, his best winning prospect on the night.

“She led and won in 1.55.1 over 2185m at Pinjarra four starts ago, and a similar effort will take her a long way this week,” he said. “She is strong and tough, with really good gate speed. So, we will be aggressive — and she’s my best on the night.”

Royal Essence, who has raced 26 times for seven wins and 12 placings, has finished third from unfavourable barriers at her past three starts, following a first-up second and five consecutive wins in her current campaign.

One of Royal Essence’s rivals on Friday night will be her stablemate Mini Mine Yet, to be handled by Jocelyn Young from barrier six. It is likely that Royal Essence will meet stiff opposition from smart four-year-olds Star Of Diamonds, Fifty Five Reborn, Miss Limelight, My Sweet Deal and Suing You.

Turvey is also bullish about the prospects of former South Australian pacer Hesashark, who will make his WA debut when he starts from the No. 1 barrier in the opening event, the 2130m Pastrami Pace.

Hesashark, a four-year-old to be driven by Suvaljko, has had 35 starts for 11 wins and 13 placings. He has led and won three times, and Turvey said: “He will go good, and I think he is as good as any runner in the field. Emily will be trying to lead.

“He ran second to Mach Dan in the SA Derby (when he was sixth at the bell and fought on strongly to fail by a neck in the 2230m classic at Globe Derby Park in February 2020).”

At his latest appearance, Hesashark fought on from seventh at the bell to finish fourth behind The Kapiti Express over 2070m at Gawler on October 17. At his previous start, he raced in last position in the field of six before charging home, out four wide, to win over 1800m at Globe Derby Park.

Hesashark is sure to receive plenty of opposition, particularly from the Katja Warwick-trained three-year-old Machnificent (barrier four) and the Justin Prentice-trained Know When To Run (barrier five).

Machnificent, to be driven by Shannon Suvaljko, gave a fine display last Friday night when he was tenth at the bell and sustained a powerful burst, out wide, to finish third behind Back In Twenty and Typhoon Banner. It will be interesting to see how Machnificent performs against older and more experienced rivals.

Know When To Run, to be driven by Gary Hall jnr, set a fast pace for Cody Wallrodt when an encouraging third behind the brilliant Finvarra last week. He looks set to fight out the finish.