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Ken Casellas | Photo: Gloucester Park Harness Racing

Veteran pacer Rokorico, who badly damaged a tendon at his second start in a race as a two year old when he broke in running and finished fourth behind debutant Handsandwheels at Pinjarra in February 2016, is ready to break through for his first city success.

The WA bred eight year old is now trained by Jocelyn Young and was most impressive when he set the pace and won a 2242m event by 12 lengths at Narrogin last Saturday night.

He will begin from barrier No. 2 in the opening event, the 2130m Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night, and Young is looking forward for a strong showing from the Rock N Roll Heaven gelding.

“He has good gate speed and, obviously, leading would be ideal,” she said. “He led when he beat lesser horses at Narrogin. But if he doesn’t lead, he can still win if we get a good sit, and the race is run at a genuine pace. He has a really super turn of foot.”

After breaking down in the Pinjarra race in February 2016 Rokorico was off the scene for four years and ten months before trainer-reinsman Tim Stone produced him in a 2265m event at Albany in December 2020 when he set the pace and scored an easy victory.

Stone then won two more races at Albany and one at Wagin before transferring the horse to Young, whose six runs for the gelding have produced two wins at Narrogin and two seconds at his only two appearances at Gloucester Park.

Both Rokorico’s city seconds have been full of merit. He ran on from sixth at the bell to finish second to Cachinnation, and he came from three back on the pegs when beaten by the talented New Zealand bred four year old Stamford two starts ago.

Young has a handy second string runner in Friday night’s event in Alta Christiano gelding Master Leighton, who will be driven by Chris Lewis from out wide at barrier seven. Master Leighton charged home from ninth at the bell to finish an eye catching fourth behind Hillview Bondi over 1730m last Friday night. That followed an excellent all the way victory over 2130m at his previous start.

Western Arterra, who will start from the No. 1 barrier, ended a losing sequence of 19 three starts ago when he set the pace for trainer-reinsman Corey Peterson and beat Captains Beachbabe by a half-head over 2242m at Narrogin. Much interest will surround Western Arterra’s ability to hold the early lead from Rokorico and fast beginner Longreach Bay (barrier six).

Last start winner Hillview Bondi will start from the outside of the front line (barrier nine), but he is a strong four year old who is capable of overcoming his wide draw. Others who are sure to attract good support are the three back line runners Markham Eyre, Robbie Rocket and Orlando Blue.