Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators
Gear changes implemented by Bunbury trainer Stephen Reed have transformed smart pacer Bletchley Park, who charged home to score a thrilling victory in a four-way photo finish in the 2230m Parliamentarians Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
The six-year-old gelding’s victory was in direct contrast to his performance seven night earlier when he overraced badly in front and led by 50 metres at the bell before fading to finish fifth behind Miracle Moose in a field of six.
“I took the nearside Murphy Blind off Bletchley Park,” said Reed. “I thought that racing with a Murphy Blind could have been contributing to his mode of racing when he was inclined to get a bit keen when leading.
“I also made a few little tweaks with his training and tonight the plan was not to rush him out at the start. Going forward, it will be interesting to see whether he settles when he leads.”
Bletchley Park was an $18.10 chance from barrier five, and Lindsay Harper settled the gelding down in the one-out, two-back position in sixth place while the polemarker and $2.65 favourite Manning set a solid pace.
Bletchley Park was seventh when Harper sent him forward, three wide, 450m from home. He stormed home, four wide, and got up in the final stride to beat Vultan Tin ($4) by a nose, with a nose back in third place to Bletchley Park’s stablemate Golden State ($31) and a further head back to Will I Rocknroll ($31).
“It was a great finish,” said Reed. “I thought Golden State’s was a huge run. He gave Bletchley Park a few lengths at the 400m and was beaten by only a lip. I removed the conventional spreaders from Golden State and replaced them with a one-legged spreader.
“The conventional spreaders seemed to irritate him, and he seemed to get around pretty well, and around the bend alright. He is a horse who has had a history of leg problems, and we’re doing our best to have him fit without going too hard and risking his legs.
“It’s a balancing act, and you saw the benefit from last week to this week, just the fitness derived from last week. He is a really good horse, and it is a shame that he has problems that we have to manage. So far, so good, but leg injuries are a day-to-day proposition.”