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Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators

Champion reinsman Gary Hall jnr denied that New Zealand-bred six-year-old Gambit is a non-winner, and he is looking forward to the gelding breaking through for an overdue win when he starts from the No. 2 barrier in the 2130m Simmonds Steel Fencing And Gates Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Gambit, trained by Gary Hall snr, has been a beaten favourite at four of his past five starts which have produced four seconds and a fourth placing.

Hall jnr is more hopeful than optimistic, saying: “It looks as though he is going to be in the breeze again (as he was when a close second to Babyface Adda last Friday night). I probably under drove him at his past two starts, really.

“I think he can outstay Arma Einstein (who is expected to set the pace for Colin Brown from the No. 1 barrier). But I’ll have to be a bit careful because there are some nice sit-kick horses in the race, too.”

Valentines Brook (barrier four) is in fine form for Ravenswood trainer-driver Jocelyn Young, and the five-year-old will have many admirers. The gelding’s three starts since resuming after a spell have produced strong-finishing seconds to Dominus Factum and Cordero and a last-start victory over Rock Me Over after he had raced wide in the middle stages and then worked hard in the breeze.

Chris Voak, as usual, will have a busy night, with drives in nine of the ten events. He is confident that the Ross Olivieri-trained seven-year-old Carrera Mach will fight out the finish of the Etch Coatings Sandblasting Specialists Pace over 2130m.

Carrera Mach, who has a losing sequence of nine, will start from the No. 3 barrier. “I give him a good chance, and if he is able to lead, he would be very hard to beat,” he said. “He is probably my best for the night.”

Carrera Mach ran home solidly from tenth at the bell to finish fourth behind Star Of Willoughby last Friday week. His toughest rival is likely to be Vespa, who will start from the outside barrier in the field of nine at his second outing after a spell.

“Vespa’s sectionals were very good first-up when he got home well to finish fifth behind Blitzembye last Friday night,” said trainer Michael Young.

Voak is also looking forward to Sangue Reale producing a strong effort from the No. 3 barrier in the Simmonds Steel And Balustrade And Handrails Pace. “I think he is a good each-way chance, and he’s not without a winning hope,” he said.

“Taking The Miki and Vultan Tin are sure to run well, and Sameplace Sametime should be handy in the final event.”