The most recent time when champion colt Lavra Joe clashed with Jumpingjackmack was 17 weeks ago when Jumpingjackmack, at his third race start, set the pace and won from Robbie Rocket and Lavra Joe at Gloucester Park on December 4.
A highlight at Gloucester Park on Friday night should be the meeting of these two brilliant three-year-olds in the opening event, the 2130m 7News Perth Pace.
Both pacers are leading contenders for the $200,000 Sky Channel WA Derby on April 30.
Jumpingjackmac, prepared by Gary Hall Snr, went for a spell after his victory on December 4 and he reappeared at Gloucester Park on Tuesday afternoon when he gave an excellent performance to score an easy win at a slick 1.55.9 rate over 2130m.
He settled down at the rear of the seven-horse field and after a scorching lead time of 35.1sec. he was twelve lengths behind the tearaway leader Mister Ridgewell. He then raced without cover until moving into the breeze outside the leader Mister Ridgewell with 1100m to travel. Jumpingjackmac then forged to the front 580m from home and won by 8m from the fast-finishing The Swiss Maestro.
It was a testing first-up run for Jumpingjackmac, with the middle quarters whizzing by in 28.7sec. and 28.5sec.
Jumpingjackmac will start from barrier three in Friday night’s six-horse field in which Lavra Joe will start from the No. 5 barrier. Lavra Joe is in sensational form and has set class records in winning very easily at his past two starts, rating 1.53.5 when he beat Dominus Factum by four lengths in the 2130m Group 3 Caduceus Club Classic and rating 1.54.4 in beating Pinny Tiger by almost seven lengths in the 2536m Group 2 Western Gateway Pace.
Lavra Joe will go into Friday night’s race with a considerable edge in fitness over Jumpingjackmac and he looks set to turn the tables on his talented rival.
“Jumpingjackmac is a nice horse, but he is not ready to beat Lavra Joe,” said Hall. “If he was able to lead, he could have a chance, but he is unlikely to be able to cross the horses drawn inside of him (the Greg and Skye Bond-trained pair of Give Us A Wave and Aussie Scooter).”
Chris Lewis, who drives Lavra Joe for his owner-trainer Ray Jones, said: “Obviously Ray is very happy with the way he pulled up after last week’s win, and he’s a horse who bounces off hard runs. So, there’s no reason that he won’t run any different.”
By Ken Casellas