Experienced performer Im Beta Than Gouda relished the heavy rain and waterlogged track when he trailed the pacemaker Joey James before getting into the clear 470m from home and racing three wide on the home turn to get up in the final desperate stride to snatch a nose victory over the frontrunner in the 2130m Bridge Bar Open Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Im Beta Than Gouda, a six-year-old trained by his lessee owner Amber Sparks, was a $5.70 chance from the No. 1 barrier, and his victory ended a 16-month drought and a losing sequence of 32.
Most pundits considered that Im Beta Than Gouda’s best prospects would lie with his ability to set the pace. But Joey James, a $15 chance, surprised when he began speedily from the No. 4 barrier to set the pace.
The $4.60 second fancy Machs Gold was left in the breeze, with the $3.30 favourite Pierre Whitby racing in sixth position in the one-wide line.
Joey James was being hailed the winner when he led by two lengths with 100m to travel. But he wilted and was overhauled in the final stride.
Im Beta Than Gouda, a gelding by Betterthancheddar, is out of the Kinney Hanover mare Casual Fling, who raced 85 times for ten wins, 22 placings and stakes of $82,950. She was driven twice during her career by Aldo Cortopassi (for unplaced efforts as a two-year-old).
Cortopassi is the regular driver of Im Beta Than Gouda, and he was able to ease the gelding into the clear with about 460m to travel and then switch him three wide on the home turn. He fought on doggedly to gain the narrow verdict.
Im Beta Than Gouda won on debut when he scored a short half-head victory as a two-year-old at Narrogin in May 2017. He then was unsuccessful at his next 24 starts before winning at Wagin in April 2019. Im Beta Than Gouda now has raced 88 times for nine wins, 11 placings and $70,274 in stakes.
by Ken Casellas