Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators
Ideal Agent caused a major upset last week when he revealed brilliant speed to beat the highly-regarded Ragazzo Mach by seven lengths. But talented reinsman Mark Reed is full of confidence that Ragazzo Mach can turn the tables on Ideal Agent when they clash in the second qualifying heat of the Intersport Slater Gartrell Nights of Thunder at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Ragazzo Mach was forced to work hard without cover after starting from the No. 6 barrier last week, while Ideal Agent was untroubled to lead from barrier two.
This week Ragazzo Mach will start from the No. 4 barrier, with Ideal Agent at barrier six.
“I’m confident that we can turn the tables this week,” said Reed. “Ideal Agent was awesome — out of this world last week — and I was disappointed at being beaten.
“But once I had time to think about it and have a look at the sectionals it was hard to be disappointed. Ragazzo Mach has pulled up really well and I expect him to benefit greatly from last week’s run.
“It was almost three weeks between runs for Ragazzo Mach, and he had also missed a few hoppled runs with the track being closed over Christmas. Drawing inside Ideal Agent this week is a massive advantage. So, I’m definitely going into the race very confident.
“We will be pressing forward and searching for either the front or the breeze, where he could control the race from there. We have to run a bit of time to qualify for the final, so we won’t be mucking around. We’ll be coming out with roller skates on.”
There are nine runners in each of the two 1730m heats on Friday night, with the nine fastest pacers qualifying for the $50,000 final on Friday week.
The New Zealand-bred Ideal Agent has been driven by Ryan Warwick in all of his seven West Australian starts for four wins, two seconds and a seventh placing. Warwick has a family commitment on Friday night and will not drive at the meeting.
Dylan Egerton-Green has been engaged by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond to drive Ideal Agent. “It’s a nice pick-up drive and I think Ideal Agent will hold his own very well,” said Egerton-Green. It’s a tricky draw, so I’ve got to play my part.”
Gary Hall snr has two runners in the race, with The Ideal Touch to be handled by Gary Hall jnr from barrier five, and last-start winner Heez Our Perseus to be driven by Maddison Brown from out wide at barrier eight.