Brilliant six-year-old Culpeka has recovered from a fractured cannon bone and will reappear after a 14-month absence when he contests the Mondo Doro Smallgoods Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
The Mach Three New Zealand-bred gelding, trained in Busselton by Barry Howlett, gave a dazzling performance in a trial at Pinjarra on Wednesday of last week, and even though he will start from the outside barrier in a field of eight he has outstanding prospects of stretching his winning sequence to seven.
Driven by Gary Hall jnr in the 2185m trial and starting from the outside in the field of eight, Culpeka was last at the bell, six lengths behind the pacemaker Mighty Conqueror, before Hall eased him off the pegs 600m from home, and the stallion sustained a powerful burst to finish a neck behind Mighty Conqueror, the winner of the 2020 WA Pacing Cup and $580,048 in prizemoney.
Mighty Conqueror rated a smart 1.54.9 after final quarters of 29.5sec., 28.7sec., 28.4sec. and 28.7sec.
Culpeka also ran a splendid trial at Pinjarra the previous Wednesday when he finished strongly to be second to his brilliant stablemate Jack Mac, who dashed over the final 400m sections in 28.5sec. and 27.7sec.
“He went super in the trial,” said Hall, who will be driving Culpeka for the first time in a race this week. “He meets some pretty good opposition. Rakasinc is flying, and Jack Farthing will run a good race, for sure.”
The Nathan Turvey-trained Rakasinc bounced back to his best form last Friday night when he raced in the one-out, one-back position before finishing powerfully to win very easily from Rabchenko, rating 1.54.6 over 2130m.
Jack Farthing, trained in Boyanup by Justin Prentice, is sure to be strongly fancied from the prized No. 1 barrier at his second appearance after a spell. He possesses good gate speed and is a smart frontrunner. He will be handled by Aiden de Campo and is sure to be greatly improved by his first-up eighth behind Galactic Star and Vultan Tin over 2536m last Friday week.
Byford trainer-reinsman Kyle Harper will be looking for an improved effort from Son Of a Tiger, who will start from the No. 3 barrier at his third appearance after a spell. The six-year-old did not threaten danger when unplaced at his past two runs.
“He is improving and is on his way up,” said Harper. “I have changed a few things around and have upped his work, and I will be driving him soft.”
by Ken Casellas