Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators
Star reinsman Aiden de Campo is looking forward to driving up-and-coming superstar Magnificent Storm in the $50,000 Channel 7 Navy Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night when the brilliant four-year-old will be attempting to extend his winning sequence to six and improving his WA record to 18 wins from 19 starts.
“I haven’t sat behind him but have watched him pretty closely,” said de Campo, who will be replacing Aldo Cortopassi, who is serving a seven-day term of suspension.
“You don’t get the opportunity very often to drive a class horse. I have admired Magnificent Storm ever since he came over (from New Zealand). The good thing about driving nice horses is that it doesn’t really matter what you do sometimes. They normally pull you out if you get into trouble.
“Shockwave and Handsandwheels and those type of horses are able to pull themselves out (of trouble) if I made a blue. There is no great pressure going into the race.”
Magnificent Storm, prepared by Ray Williams, will start from the No. 10 barrier and will be the only runner on the back line in the 2130m Navy Cup, which was first run in 1965 when Phil Coulson drove Lord Mina to victory.
“I will see what Ray and the owners want to do with the horse,” said de Campo. However, de Campo is certain to be anxious to quickly vacate the inside running and get Magnificent Storm into the one-wide line, particularly as the gelding will start behind Blue Blazer, who has shown his best form as a sit-sprinter.
The Nathan Turvey-trained Blue Blazer will be driven by Emily Suvaljko, who said that her plan would be to drive the six-year-old with a sit and rely on his ability to unwind a strong finishing burst.
For Williams, Magnificent Storm will be his first runner in a Navy Cup since Pacific Warrior started from barrier No. 10 in the 2015 event when Kade Howson trailed the pacemaker Lovers Delight and finished third behind that pacer and Dynamite Dude.
Looming large as Magnificent Storm’s most serious rival on Friday night is the wonderful campaigner Vampiro, who ran home strongly to finish a head behind Magnificent Storm in the 2536m James Brennan Memorial last Saturday night.
Vampiro, who is prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, has won 28 races and has amassed $640,341 in prizemoney. He is racing in superb form, and Ryan Warwick appears certain to use the seven-year-old’s excellent gate speed from the No. 7 barrier in a bid to burst to the front and then set a fast pace over the 2130m journey.
Vampiro will be contesting the Navy Cup for the third time. He began from barrier three and raced without cover before fading to ninth behind Our Corelli in 2019 and was restrained to the rear from barrier seven last year before finishing strongly from tenth at the bell to be fourth behind Chicago Bull, who notched his third win in the Navy Cup.
Warwick, who chalked up his one hundredth winner for the season when he drove Double Up to a thrilling half-head victory over stablemate Howard Hughes, opted to drive Vampiro ahead of stablemate Galactic Star, who will be driven by Dylan Egerton-Green from barrier four.
Ross Olivieri, who prepared Chipmont (1991), Mark Craig (1995) and Super Strike (1996) for Navy Cup wins, will be represented by Thats Perfect (Chris Voak) and Boom Time, who will be driven by Chris Lewis who has won the event Skiptar (1980), Western Gentleman (1994), Mark Craig (1995), Super Strike (1996) and Lovers Delight (2015).
“Thats Perfect drew barrier nine last week, and it will be tough from eight this week,” said Voak. “He is going exceptionally well, but bad draws are killing him.”