Champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr declared that brilliant lightly-raced gelding Jumpingjackmac was on target to perform strongly in the $200,000 Sky WA Derby in a fortnight, and he is looking forward to testing him against several likely Derby rivals when he contests the Worldwide Printing Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Jumpingjackmac, prepared by Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall Snr, will not have a stroll in the park when he starts out wide at barrier seven, with several fast beginners and strong frontrunners drawn to his inside. They include polemarker Sugar Street, Powerplay (barrier two) and Be Rock Hard (three), all of whom have excellent gate speed and are strong frontrunners.
Jumpingjackmac has had three runs in his latest preparation for an easy first-up victory over The Swiss Maestro, a strong-finishing second to Lavra Joe and a last-start narrow win over the pacemaker Arma Einstein, rating 1.56.2 over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week.
“I was really happy with his latest run,” said Hall Jnr. “It would have been nice to have drawn a better barrier this week.”
Sugar Street, trained in Busselton by Barry Howlett, showed that he was capable of earning a start in the Derby with a strong first-up victory over Bettors Destroya over 2100m at Bunbury’s Donaldson Park last Saturday night.
Reinsman Chris Voak said he was sure that Sugar Street would be much improved after his Bunbury win. “We have the speed to hold up, but I have yet to speak to Barry about tactics,” he said. “Sugar Street is very talented, and we haven’t seen the best of him.”
Perhaps the greatest threat to Jumpimngjackmac on Friday night could be Justin Prentice’s Mighty Ronaldo, who will start from the inside of the back line.
On Friday night Prentice will be in the sulky, replacing Hall, who has driven Mighty Ronaldo at eleven of his 15 starts, including a head victory over Lavra Joe in the group 2 Sales Classic four starts ago, at Gloucester Park on February 26.
Mighty Ronaldo impressed with his excellent third behind Lavra Joe in the Battle of Bunbury last Saturday night when he finished strongly from sixth at the bell.
Leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond hold a strong hand in Friday night’s event, with Be Rock Hard at barrier three and Mufasa from the No. 6 barrier.
Ryan Warwick has given punters a good lead by choosing to drive Be Rock Hard in preference to Mufasa, who will be handled for the first time in a race by Dylan Egerton-Green.
by Ken Casellas