Ken Casellas | Photo: Gloucester Park Harness Racing
Talented reinsman Dylan Egerton-Green hopes to continue his perfect record in the sulky behind Ideal Agent when he drives him in the $50,000 Garrard’s Horse And Hound Easter Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
He has the skill to overcome a few hurdles, with Ideal Agent starting off the 20m mark in the demanding 2902m staying test in his first appearance in a stand in Western Australia.
However, Ideal Agent, prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, is blessed with wonderful ability, and the New Zealand-bred five-year-old has excellent prospects of giving the Bonds their third victory in the Easter Cup, following wins with Assassinator in 2017 and Mighty Conqueror in 2019.
Egerton-Green is hopeful that he can improve on his second placing with the Bond-trained Where Ya Bin in the 2020 Easter Cup and his third with the Bond runner Glenledi Chief in 2021 Cup which was won by $26 outsider Leap Of Faith who defeated Bond’s No. 1 runner Lawrence by a neck.
Egerton-Green has handled Ideal Agent twice for narrow wins in mobile events over 1730m and 2130m after the horse started from wide barriers and raced wide early and then in the breeze.
Ideal Agent performed strongly in his four 2700m standing-start runs in New Zealand, recording a win, a second, a third and a fourth placing.
He will share the 20m mark on Friday night with another New Zealand-bred five-year-old Doc Holliday, and these two pacers look the class runners and should fight out the finish, barring bad behaviour at the start.
Interestingly, Ideal Agent made his WA debut in a 2130m mobile event at Gloucester Park on September 21 last year when he was a $9 chance who raced in the breeze and fought on tigerishly to finish second, a short half-head behind the pacemaker and $1.07 favourite Doc Holliday.
These two pacers resumed their rivalry in recent weeks, with Ideal Agent racing without cover before finishing strongly to win by a neck from the frontrunning Doc Holliday in a 2130m mobile event on March 25.
Then they clashed again in the group 2 Four And Five-Year-Old Championship last Friday night when Doc Holliday raced in fifth position, three back on the pegs, before finishing powerfully to win from Arma Einstein and Ideal Agent.
Ideal Agent endured a much tougher run. He began out wide at barrier eight and settled down in eleventh position before starting a three-wide move 1050m from home and battling on from fifth at the 100m to finish third, three lengths behind Doc Holliday.
Michael Young, trainer of Doc Holliday, said that the Easter Cup was certainly a race that his five-year-old was capable of winning.
“It is a pretty open field in which the 2900m will probably sort out a few,” he said. “The distance should really suit Doc Holliday, and apart from Ideal Agent, I think he’s got the rest of the field covered.”
Star young driver Emily Suvaljko is looking forward for another strong effort from Doc Holliday. “He should love the 2900m,” she said. “Everything worked out perfectly for him last week, and we might drive him a bit tougher this week.”
Suvaljko chose to drive Doc Holliday in preference to the Glenn Elliott-trained Twobob Cracker, an experienced standing-start performer she drove to a comfortable victory over the pacemaker Gee Smith in a 2503m stand last Friday night.
Kyle Harper will drive Twobob Cracker from the inside of the front line on Friday night when the four-year-old will have a chance of setting the pace. Gee Smith will start from the outside barrier (No. 5) on the front line and will be driven by Chris Lewis, who has won the Easter Cup seven times, scoring with Pallaton (1980), Gold Rowan (1984), Village Kid (1987), Abmidas (1997), Party Date (2005), OK Windermere (2006) and Lovers Delight (2015).