Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators
Star reinsman Ryan Warwick admits that he enjoys driving trotters — especially the better ones — and he declared that Midnight Assassin is the best square gaiter he has handled after guiding the New Zealand-bred five-year-old to an effortless victory in the $18,000 Better Your Industry With TABtouch Trot at Gloucester Park on Friday afternoon.
Midnight Assassin, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, has won in fine style at his first three starts in Western Australia after racing 38 times in New Zealand for five wins (all in stands) and eight placings.
“I drove Backa Beyond for trainer Geoff Sharkey in 2009 and he was probably the best square gaiter I had driven until this fella came along,” Warwick said.
“The good ones trot differently; they’re more fluent, and Midnight Assassin is the best trotter I’ve driven.”
Warwick added that Midnight Assassin had the potential to be a major player in the next WA Trotters Cup, a feature event that he and the Bonds have yet to win. The closest Warwick has gone in the Trotters Cup was his third placing with Rocka Billy behind Risk And Reward in January 2007.
Midnight Assassin was the $1.60 favourite from the front line in the field of five in Friday’s 2096m standing-start trot, and he gave his supporters a few palpitations when he galloped for a couple of strides at the start.
But he quickly got into a trot and Warwick sent him to the front after 420m. It was a single file procession from then on, with Midnight Assassin winning by just under five lengths from The Male Model ($26), rating 2.4.4 after final quarters of 29.8sec. and 28.5sec.
“He seemed to get one or two trots in and then went back off stride and galloped a bit,” Warwick said. “He is pretty bomb proof at home, so I think it’s my technique at the start and I reckon I’ll have to work on that and see how we go.”
Midnight Assassin, who arrived in WA seven weeks ago, is by the Canadian stallion Majestic Son and is out of Feathers First, who managed one win (in a stand at Ashburton in February 2009) and 14 placings in a 58-start career. He is a half-brother to Sundons Flyer, who had 138 starts for 14 wins, 33 placings and $149,656 in prizemoney.