Ken Casellas | Photo: Gloucester Park Harness Racing
Ravenswood trainer-driver Jocelyn Young is confident that Ronald Scott will make amends for his unlucky last-start defeat by winning the $25,000 Westsired Pace for two year old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Ronald Scott, a Bonavista Bay gelding, impressed at his first two starts for Young when he scored easy victories at Pinjarra and Narrogin in April, after working in the breeze in both events, before he made his Gloucester Park debut last Friday week when he was a $9 chance and finished third behind Hotly Pursued in a field of four in the Western Crown Classic.
“At this stage I think he is the class horse in this race,” said Young, who was naturally chuffed when Ronald Scott drew the prized No. 1 barrier. “He is still quite green, but he has good ability and good gate speed.”
At his most recent start Ronald Scott raced behind the pacemaker Hotly Pursued before he hit a wheel of the breeze horse Fess Up about 220m from home and galloped all the way up the home straight.
“He didn’t necessarily do things wrong,” said Young. “It wasn’t his fault. I pulled the plugs and he raced right up behind them and got cramped for room, and his front leg hit the wheel of the horse on his outside.
“I don’t think that is an issue (breaking in running). I think that if he had seen daylight he would have won. This week from barrier one he will probably lead.”
Young is also bullish about the prospects of lightly-raced eight year old Rokorico, who will start from barrier one in the 2130m Alan Parker Hall Of Fame Inductee Pace.
Rokorico has won three times in Albany and once each at Wagin and Narrogin in a 20-start career, with his only appearance at Gloucester Park being four starts ago, on June 7, when he ran on from sixth at the bell to finish second to Cachinnation. He is an excellent frontrunner, who is sure to make his presence felt against redoubtable opposition, including Seeryanfly, Stamford, Tiger Royal, Cooper and Faster Than Dad.
“He’s coming up against some very nice horses, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him fighting out the finish,” said Young. “This is all new to him, racing against these better horses. But he is definitely up to it.
“He is a horse on the up, and I really like him. He has got a super turn of foot and has good gate speed.”
Michael Grantham will drive Seeryanfly for trainer Dylan Egerton-Green, and the four year old, a winner at 11 of his 37 starts is sure to prove hard to beat.
The Ray Williams trained Stamford will start from barrier six but cannot be underestimated. He started from barrier eight, raced wide early and then in the breeze when a fighting second to Moonlite Drive over 2536m last Friday night.
“It’s a tricky draw for Stamford, particularly with a few nice ones drawn inside of him,” said reinsman Aiden De Campo. “He was really good last week when I thought he was entitled to run fourth, but the horses who had the leader’s back (Apollo Rock) and the horse racing in the one-out, one-back position (Markham Eyre) couldn’t get over us.”
Cooper, to be driven by Gary Hall Jnr, has won at five of his seven starts, and trainer Michael Young has a good opinion of the four year old. “He has the ability to step up and do it after racing well in the country,” said Young.
“He is a nice little horse, but the draw (barrier seven) is very much against him. Not only does he rise significantly in class, but he has drawn outside several horses, who, on paper, are better than him.”
Young is also looking for a strong performance from Beat City, who will start from barrier four in the Bridge Bar Pace over 2130m. “He is coming off a little freshen-up, and it is a winnable race, but not a good draw, with the dangers (Regal Cheval and Bracken Sky) drawn inside of him,” said Young. “I’m not sure how we will drive him.”
Regal Cheval is the obvious pacemaker, and he should fight out the finish. He was unlucky last Friday night when he set the pace but received a punctured tyre with a lap to travel, causing him to drop out and finish last behind Angel In White.