Up-and-coming star Ideal Agent led and won by seven lengths from Ragazzo Mach last Friday week. But in the second heat of the Intersport Slater Gartrell Nights of Thunder at Gloucester Park on Friday night he was an $11.20 chance on the tote, with Ragazzo Mach the hot $1.20 favourite.
Ideal Agent, driven by Dylan Egerton-Green as the replacement for the Greg and Skye Bond stable’s No. 1 driver Ryan Warwick (who was committed to a special family birthday celebration), worked hard in the breeze before finishing fast to win by a half-length from Ragazzo Mach, who took the lead after 550m and then set a cracking pace.
“I wasn’t surprised at such a good price,” said Skye Bond. “We have a lot of respect for Ragazzo Mach. We had the (better) draw last week, and this week Ragazzo Mach had the more favourable barrier.
“Last week Ideal Agent showed that he was in the zone. But to do it outside Ragazzo Mach tonight showed that he just doesn’t have to have the draw.
“Dylan had to make the early move (dashing forward three wide in the first lap to race without cover). He needed to do this to get into the race. With the short trip, he didn’t have any time to waste to get there.
“Ideal Agent is not just a sprinter; he’s got some depth, too.”
Ragazzo Mach, driven by Mark Reed, mustered good early pace from barrier four and burst past the polemarker Withoutthetuh ($17) to take up the running after 550m. The quarters whizzed by in 28sec., 28.8sec. and 27.5sec. and Ragazzo Mach looked the winner when he led by a length 65m from the post. But Ideal Agent sprouted wings and beat Ragazzo Mach by a half-length, with a final quarter in 28.3sec. and rating 1.51.9. Withoutthetuh impressed in finishing strongly to be third.
Ideal Agent, a five-year-old stallion by American Ideal, is the first foal out of the unraced Bettors Delight mare Lady Smack. His 31 New Zealand starts produced four wins and 12 placings, and he has had eights starts in Western Australia for five wins, two seconds and one seventh placing.