Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators
Line The Starzzz, a daughter of renowned Canadian pacing sire Four Starzzz Shark, has impressed in her short career as a square gaiter and she has the credentials and recent form to become the third mare to win the Choices Flooring For Rugs $50,000 WA Trotters Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
All her eight wins and nine second placings from 24 starts have been in stands, and she is ideally suited from the No. 3 barrier on the front mark in the group 1 standing-start Cup over 2503m.
The six-year-old, owned by Mildred Malazarte, will be driven by her trainer Nathan Turvey, who prepared and drove Enjoy A Coldie for his easy victory over Diamond Geezer in the Trotters Cup in January 2015.
Line The Starzzz, who will be making her third appearance after a spell, is a highly experienced standing-start performer, having raced in stands at 22 of her 24 starts. Her two mobile runs resulted in second placings.
She is versatile, having won after leading and when coming from behind. She resumed after a three-month absence when she started from 10m, dashed to the front after 600m and finished third behind Majestic Dream and Sunnys Little Jestic over 2116m at Pinjarra on January 3.
Then, a fortnight later she started off the 60m mark in a 2116m event at Pinjarra and fought on strongly from fourth at the bell to finish second to Tears Of Joy. She is sure to have derived considerable benefit from her past two starts.
Only three mares (Sunnys Little Whiz, December 2016), Itsgettingcalder (December 2017) and Princess Mila (December 2020) have been successful in the 16-year history of the Trotters Cup.
Three other mares will contest this week’s event — Tears Of Joy, Majestic Dream and My Mdina. All three are in fine form, with Aiden de Campo’s Tears Of Joy unwinding a spirited burst from three back at the bell to win from Line The Starzzz at Pinjarra last Monday week.
Majestic Dream, to be driven from the front mark by Kyle Harper for trainer Karen Bennett, has won at four of her first six starts in Western Australia, including successes at Pinjarra at her two most recent outings — finishing strongly to beat Sunnys Little Jestic in a stand and then enjoying a perfect sit behind the pacemaker Beefour Bacardi before running home solidly along the sprint lane to beat that pacer in a 2185m mobile event.
My Mdina, to be driven by Deni Roberts for Wundowie trainer Bruce Stanley, was a Gloucester Park winner in a stand two starts ago, when she beat Goodtime Pe Rabbit and Tokyo Joe.
Stanley, who will drive his other Cup runner, The Male Model (a winner in a stand four starts ago), has been prominent in the Trotters Cup, having won the event with $42.30 outsider Dance To Victory in January 2008 and Itsgettingcalder (December 2027). He also prepared Striding Edge (third in 2010), Lightning Calder (second in 2016) and The Male Model (third in 2019).
Shannon Suvaljko will drive the promising six-year-old Beefour Bacardi from barrier four on the front line. The son of American stallion Bacardi Lindy is trained by Michael Young and has been most impressive at his five starts in WA for four wins and a close second to Majestic Dream.
Beefour Bacardi has contested only three stands in his 27-start career of nine wins and ten placings — and he has won all three after setting the pace — over 2150m at Yarra Valley in November 2020 and at his two starts over 2116m at Pinjarra in November last year.
Busselton trainer Barry Howlett, who prepared Sunnys Little Whiz for her Cup win in 2016, is seeking a first-up success with Son Of A Whiz, who will be driven by Chris Voak from barrier two on the front line.
The New Zealand-bred five-year-old will be having his first start since he trailed the pacemaker and finished solidly to win a mobile trot from Dark Secret at Pinjarra last June.
Champion trainer Gary Hall snr will be looking for Tricky Ric to give him his third success in the Trotters Cup — after scoring with Makati Maximus in 2013 and Princess Mila in December 2020.
Tricky Ric, who has won five stands in New Zealand, with three of them over 2700m, will start from barrier six on the front line. He has not appeared since he galloped at the start of a stand and was distanced in a field of five behind Midnight Assassin at Gloucester Park early last September. He finished a well beaten second to Forsure in a standing-start trial at Byford last Sunday morning.
Tricky Ric has appeared in seven events in Western Australia for three wins and two seconds. But he has been disqualified from all his WA starts.
Due to a clerical error in New Zealand, resulting in $10,700 in stakes not being updated in the National Harness Racing Database, it made him ineligible for all seven WA starts. The stewards disqualified Tricky Ric from all seven events, while RWWA decided to allow New Zealand owner Steve Waters to retain the total prizemoney of $22,903 from his WA performances.
Tokyo Joe, who finished second behind Mr Sundon in the Trotters Cup in January 2020, is racing keenly for trainer-reinsman Robbie Williams and has the ability to overcome the 20m handicap. Tokyo Joe warmed up for the big race in fine style when he sustained a strong burst to finish fourth behind Beefour Bacardi at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week.