Ken Casellas | Photo: Gloucester Park Harness Racing
Orlando Blue has not raced for 14 weeks, but his trainer Michael Young is optimistic about the gelding’s prospects in the $30,000 Kerry Clarke Westbred Classic for four and five-year-old pacers at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Orlando Blue, to be driven by Gary Hall Jnr from barrier three in the Group 3 2130m event, has a losing sequence of ten, but Young is confident the four-year-old is ready to produce a strong first-up performance.
“He has had plenty of work and is ready to go,” said Young. “Orlando Blue is definitely up to it, on class. I wouldn’t swap him for any of his rivals, though I would gladly swap barriers with The Good Life, who has drawn one and should prove hard to beat.”
The Good Life, trained and driven by Aiden de Campo, warmed up for this week’s event in fine style when he began from the back line and surged home powerfully from seventh at the bell to win easily over 2130m last Friday night. He dashed over the final 800m in 55.58sec.
At his previous start The Good Life began from barrier four, set the pace and sprinted the final 800m in 55.2sec. to win by just under five lengths from Bettor Move Along over 2569m at Bunbury. De Campo will be keen to take full advantage of the No. 1 barrier on Friday night by setting the pace.
Sound Wave is racing in grand style for Baskerville trainer Ryan Bell, but his prospects diminished when he drew out wide at barrier No. 8.
Sound Wave, a winner at six of his past 18 starts, rated 1.57.9 when he won a 2150m trial at Byford on Sunday morning. He worked without cover for the first 400m and then raced three back on the pegs before being eased off the inside with 600m to travel on his way to taking the lead 150m from the post and winning by a length from the pacemaker Lady Zegna.
“The trial was very good; it was a very solid hit-out without any head gear on,” said Bell. “He will run a good race but the draw hurts, big time. Al Guerrero and Medieval Man are jumping out of conditioned races, and The Good Life is a very nice horse. Sound Wave is not out of it, but it’s going to be hard getting into it.”
Five-year-old Al Guerrero is the class horse of the field with 15 wins and earnings of $164,547. He will be handled by his regular driver Kyle Harper for trainer Kyle Anderson and will start from the inside of the back line, immediately behind The Good Life.
Al Guerrero, who will be racing first-up after a 19-week absence, has impressed in two recent Pinjarra trials and he looks set to fight out the finish on Friday night. He set the pace and covered the final 400m sections in 27.6sec. and 29sec. when he won from Regal Aura on Thursday of last week.
Anderson will be looking for a far better effort from Al Guerrero than his eleventh placing in the Kerry Clarke Westbred Classic last year when he started from the outside (barrier nine) on the front line and raced at the rear throughout in the event won by the pacemaker Fifty Five Reborn.