Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content
Veteran pacer Billy Mack ended a losing sequence of 88 and broke a four-year drought when he caused a major upset by winning the 2130m Farmlock Fencing Only At DTS Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Eleven-year-old Billy Mack, owned by Brett Postans of Merredin and trained and raced on lease by Serpentine horseman Matt Scott, was left without a driver when Shannon Suvaljko was forced into isolation after being in close contact with a COVID-19 sufferer.
Scott then engaged Aiden De Campo to drive the Victorian-bred Billy Mack in his 175TH race start in an event in which he was favourably drawn at the No. 2 barrier but was given little hope against the $1.05 favourite and polemarker Heez Our Perseus.
However, Heez Our Perseus had no luck in a helter-skelter event in which the lead time was covered in a very fast 34.5sec. Heez Our Perseus took the lead from the outset but was tightened and carried over several marker pegs and raced roughly soon after the start.
Distinguished Taste, a $41 chance, dashed to the front after 250m and soon after that he was challenged by Heez Our Perseus, who had to work very hard to regain the lead after a fierce 350m battle for ascendancy. Meanwhile, De Campo was content to race in fifth position, three back on the pegs with Billy Mack.
Heez Our Perseus then had to withstand $16 chance Zazu’s spirited challenge for the lead with 1100m to travel. Heez Our Perseus led until the final 220m before De Campo sent Billy Mack to the front on the home turn. Zazu, who had been in the breeze for more than a lap, refused to give in and he and Billy Mack were engaged a titanic struggle in the home straight, with Billy Mack prevailing to win by a nose a 1.56.9 rate.
This took Billy Mack’s record to 175 starts for 13 wins, 32 placings and $112,797 in prizemoney. It was his first success since he started at $44.20, raced in the breeze and won narrowly from Runrunjimmydunn and Maxentius at Gloucester Park on February 9, 2018.
Billy Mack, who began racing as a two-year-old in February 2013, had 26 starts in Victoria for six wins and won at three of his 27 starts in South Australia before arriving in Western Australia where he now has a record of 120 starts in the State for four wins and 18 placings.
He is by Art Major and is the fifth foal out of unraced New Zealand-bred mare Come To The Party, whose dam Bee Gee’s Dream also produced the outstanding mare Another Party, who had 149 starts for 31 wins, 42 placings and stakes of $888,678. Her victories included the Celebrity Mile at Gloucester Park on December 31, 2000, the Fremantle Cup in January 2001 and the Hunter Cup at Moonee Valley in February 2001.
Postans trained Billy Mack in Merredin for his early starts in WA before Scott took over the training duties in mid-2017 when he drove him and won a six-horse trial at Bunbury’s Donaldson Park in June 2017 when his rate of 1.55.7 was a course record for 2100m.
A fortnight after that trial Billy Mack, driven by Corey Peterson, won at his first start for Scott, racing in the breeze and beating Hez The Artisan by a half-length. A month later Billy Mack finished seventh behind Rock Diamond in the final of the John Higgins Memorial.
Billy Mack returned to Merredin to be prepared again by Postans, who notched his first — and only –city success when the pacer was successful in beating the $1.04 favourite Runrunjimmydunn in February 2018.
Scott resumed as Billy Mack’s trainer last November, and Scott gives him three 400m sprints on the Jandakot track every Wednesday and then rides him in the water at Kwinana on Thursdays — to help freshen the mind of an old performer.