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Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators

New Zealand-bred six-year-old Hit The Sky is proving a wonderful standing-start performer for Darling Downs trainer Amber Sparks and her partner, ace reinsman Aldo Cortopassi.

Cortopassi took full advantage of a front-line draw, and the Mach Three gelding relished his pacemaking role to score an easy all-the-way victory in the 2503m Intersport Slater Gartrell Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Hit The Sky, the second fancy at $2.60, whizzed over the final three 400m sections in 29.1sec., 28.3sec. and 28.7sec. to make life extremely difficult for the 20m backmarker and $1.95 favourite Star Of Diamonds, who fought in gamely to finish second, three lengths behind the winner.

Just over four months ago Cortopassi was offered Hit The Sky, and he has no regrets that he paid $15,000 for the gelding who is raced by Sparks in partnership with six stable clients. Hit The Sky is proving an excellent buy, earning $29,500 from his three wins and six placings from 14 starts in WA.

“Neale Donnelley rang me and offered Hit the Sky to me,” said Cortopassi. “He said that he was moving on a couple of horses because he had bought some new ones and suggested I should take up the offer.” Donnelley had fond memories of Cortopassi driving one of his pacers, Machiatto, to three wins at Gloucester Park in 2018, including a win at that pacer’s final run in Australia before being sold to race in America.

“When we got Hit the Sky, I thought he was a mobile horse,” said Cortopassi. “But when I watched the replays of his races in New Zealand, I discovered many (13) were in stands.”

Hit The Sky contested mobiles at his first two starts in WA, and his following 12 starts have been in stands.