Ken Casellas | Photo: Gloucester Park Harness Racing
Champion trainers Greg and Skye Bond are relying on their tried and trusted formula in a bid to win the $25,000 Garrard’s Horse And Hound BOTRA Cup with Master Yossi at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
They have followed their procedure of giving the lightly raced New Zealand bred Master Yossi a diet of standing start races before contesting the 2503m BOTRA Cup, a prescription which paid dividends when Ryan Warwick drove Fizzing to victory in the 2019 Cup.
Fizzing, the lone backmarker off 30m, defeated Cracka Star and Athabascan after he had been prepared astutely, with his previous six starts all in stands producing four wins and two seconds.
Master Yossi has had a similar lead-up, having run in four stands from his first five starts in WA since arriving from New Zealand where eight of his 14 starts were in stands. Master Yossi has won in convincing style at all of his WA appearances.
He will begin off the 10m mark and should make a bold bid for victory at his first outing for 53 days – since he began from 10m, dashed to an early lead and went on to win by two lengths from Over Armed over 2116m at Pinjarra on March 21.
The Bonds also won the BOTRA Cup 12 months ago when Minstrel, the 30m backmarker and driven by Dylan Egerton-Green, raced without cover in the middle stages before getting to the front on the home turn and beating Awaitinginstructions, with final quarters of 27.8sec. and 28.7sec. Minstrel had warmed up with an easy victory in a stand at Gloucester Park a fortnight before the BOTRA Cup.
If Master Yossi wins on Friday night the Bonds will join Gary Hall Snr and Michael Brennan as the only trainers to have won the BOTRA Cup (first run in 1981) three times. Hall has been successful with Spirit Of Shard (2008), Albert Jaccka (2010) and Classic American (2015) and Brennan has won the Cup with Naughty Maravu (2016), The Bucket List (2018) and Forgotten Highway (2020).
Brennan has high hopes of improving his record, with five year old Withoutthetuh warming up with an all the way win in a 2116m standing start four horse trial at Pinjarra on Wednesday of last week.
Withoutthetuh will start off the 10m mark and will be driven by Michael Grantham at his first appearance for just over four months. Withoutthetuh was driven by Aleesha Bynder in the trial in which he set a slow pace before finishing with final 400m sections of 29.9sec. and 28.2sec. Grantham teamed with Brennan to win the 2020 BOTRA Cup with Forgotten Highway.
Copy And Pace, trained and driven by Corey Peterson, finished second in the trial in which he sat behind the pacemaker and was not extended in coasting to line. Copy And Pace, a last start winner in a 2536m mobile event at Gloucester Park three Tuesdays ago, will begin from the No. 3 barrier on the front line.
Gary Hall Jnr has been engaged by trainer Luke Edwards to handle Texas Tara, a standing start winner at Gloucester Park last month. Hall has driven the winner of the BOTRA Cup a record five times. And Chris Lewis, who has won the Cup four times (with Village Kid in 1985, Elteei in 1986, Mach Ruler in 2009 and Tartary Gladiator in 2011) will drive Major Mucha for trainer Chris Voak.