Ken Casellas | Photo: Ashlea Brennan Photography
Former Victorian trotter Majestic Courtney was poised to make a successful West Australian debut four Fridays ago before he hit the off-side wheel of No Republic’s sulky 420m from home and broke into a gallop and dropped back to finish last.
He is one of Wundowie trainer Bruce Stanley’s five runners in the field of eight to contest the Westral Timber Shutters Trot at Gloucester Park on Friday night, and despite drawing the outside barrier (No. 8) in the 2130m mobile event, he is clearly the best of Stanley’s team and looks extremely hard to beat.
Stanley will handle the New Zealand-bred six-year-old who has raced 49 times for 17 wins and four placings.
Majestic Courtney began smartly from the back mark of 50m at his WA debut and Stanley manoeuvred the gelding into the one-out, one-back position in the first lap, following No Republic. Majestic Courtney was about to start a three-wide move leaving the back straight in the final circuit when he struck No Republic’s wheel and broke.
This week No Republic, trained by Nathan Turvey and driven by Emily Suvaljko, will start from barrier six and looks one of the main chances.
Stanley’s other runners are Hammers Law (Dylan Egerton-Green), My Mdina (Deni Roberts), The Male Model (Mark Reed) and Lightning Calder (Colin Brown). The Male Model, a $46.70 outsider, finished strongly to win the race three Fridays ago when he defeated the pacemaker Tears Of Joy.
Soho Bollinger, a Bettors Delight three-year-old, will make his WA debut in the opening event, the 1730m Go One Better With Westral Pace. He raced 25 times in Victoria for ten wins, six seconds and one third, and entered the Serpentine stables of Gary Hall snr last month.
He will start out wide at barrier eight and will be driven by Gary Hall junior, who chose to handle him ahead of stablemate The Ideal Touch, a four-year-old who impressed last Friday night when Hall drove him confidently in the breeze before winning from Typhoon Banner and Leosabi, rating 1.57.4 over the 2130m after covering the final 800m in 55.9sec. The Ideal Touch will start from the No. 5 barrier with Maddison Brown in the sulky.
“Soho Bollinger is a nice horse, and he definitely would’ve been a winning chance if he had drawn to lead,” said Hall snr. “Both Soho Bollinger and The Ideal Touch could have won if they had drawn inside Machnificent (barrier one), but now it’s going to be hard.
Machnificent finished with a strong sustained burst to win narrowly from stablemate Heez Our Perseus over 2130m last Friday night. This week Shannon Suvaljko will be attempting an all-the-way win.