Ken Casellas | Photo: Gloucester Park Harness Racing
“We keep raising the bar, and Ideal Agent keeps leaping it,” said a satisfied Ryan Warwick after driving the talented New Zealand-bred pacer to victory in the 2130m Insure With PSC Bloodstock Services Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Ideal Agent, prepared by champion trainers Greg and Skye Bond, was equal favourite at $1.90 with the heavily-supported last-start winner Typhoon Banner, and the race, as expected, developed into a fierce duel between the two smart five-year-olds.
Typhoon Banner was smartest to begin from barrier two and after a slow lead time of 38.1sec. and moderate opening quarter of 30.3sec. Dylan Egerton-Green upped the tempo in a determined bid to make life difficult for Ideal Agent, who had begun from the outside in the field of six and was racing without cover.
Ideal Agent was up to the task and after a second quarter of the final mile in 28.7sec. he drew level with Typhoon Banner 1000m from home. The third 400m section whizzed by in 27.8sec. and Warwick had to drive Ideal Agent hard approaching the home bend.
Ideal Agent knuckled down and got to the front in the final 50m to beat Typhoon Banner by a neck, rating 1.56.4.
“It felt like a fair way out that Ideal Agent had him (Typhoon Banner) and coming into the bell it felt like he wanted to get up and boogie, but then he just lost the bit a bit and got a little flat,” said Warwick. “But he’s a good pacer, a fighter and a tradie — three assets that see him stepping up all the time.”
Ideal Agent, a winner at four of his 30 starts in New Zealand, has blossomed in WA where his 14 runs have produced nine wins and four placings.