Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators
Stamford, a full brother to up and coming superstar pacer Magnificent Storm, is poised to run a great race in the Team Bond Pace for three-year-olds at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
The lightly-raced American Ideal gelding has won at six of his ten starts and gave the best performance of his career when he finished a desperately close third in a three-way photo finish with Jumpingjackmac and Otis last Friday week.
From barrier five Stamford, who is trained by Ray Williams, dashed to the front after 50m and set a solid pace before crossing the line locked together with his two talented rivals.
“He is drawn at barrier four and inside good horses in Otis, Dont Bother Me None and Dominus Factum, and he will definitely go forward at the start,” said reinsman Aldo Cortopassi. “I hope to make it a staying event and see if he can outstay his rivals. The 2536m won’t worry him.”
Stamford will need to be at his best but has the ability to beat top-flight and in-form three-year-olds in the David Thompson-trained Otis, the Greg and Skye Bond-trained pair of Dont Bother Me None and Unconditional, Aiden de Campo’s Dominus Factum and Kristy Elson’s Burghley Shard.
Otis notched his ninth win from 28 starts when he led from barrier two for Dylan Egerton-Green and won by a half-length from Know When To Run at a 1.56.1 rate over 2130m last Friday night. He faces a tougher test from barrier No. 7 this week but is sure to be prominent.
Dont Bother Me None has an outstanding record of eight wins and two seconds from 12 starts. It is significant that he will be handled (from the No. 6 barrier) by the Bond stable’s No. 1 driver Ryan Warwick, with Colin Brown booked to drive Unconditional, the only filly in the race, who will start from the No. 2 barrier.
Dont Bother Me None will be attempting to extend his winning sequence to five — at his second outing after a spell. He resumed racing in a 2185m event at Pinjarra three Mondays ago when he worked hard in the breeze and scored by a half-head from Rockin Rufus. He rated a slick 1.55.1 over the 2185m journey, in which the final three quarters were run in 27.8sec., 27.7sec. and 28.1sec.
Unconditional sat behind the pacemaker Jett Star and ran home strongly along the sprint lane to finish a nose second to that pacer over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon this week. She has won at five of her 12 starts.
Dominus Factum, who will start from the No. 5 barrier, chalked up his second win in a row and his eighth from 26 starts when he led from barrier three and won by two lengths from Verano over 2100m at Bunbury last Saturday night.
Emily Suvaljko is looking for an improved effort from Burghley Shard from barrier No. 1 after finishing last at his past two starts. “His past two starts have been disappointing,” said star driver Emily Suvaljko. “He led three starts ago in similar company when Otis just got him on the line. I’ve suggested that he should have the hood back on, and then he will come out of the gate and give them something to chase.”
Cortopassi is also looking for a strong effort from the Craig Abercromby-trained two-year-old filly Free Wheeling in the final event, the 2130m Hoist Torque Pace.
Free Wheeling impressed at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon when she raced four back on the pegs before finishing strongly and dashing over the final 400m in 27.8sec. to win easily from Sweetest Thing over 2185m. That followed her unlucky second to Bonstar over 1730m ten nights earlier when she raced in the breeze for the first lap and then met with interference and lost ground 850m from home.
“She lost a heap of ground when checked, and then made it up again,” said Cortopassi. “If she hadn’t been checked, I reckon she would have gone pretty close (to winning). She went really well at Pinjarra on Monday, and she’s got options on Friday night, to sit or go forward. I’ll study the field and work out what is the best option.”
Free Wheeling will clash with Bonstar, a last-start all-the-way winner from barrier one who faces a tougher task this week from the No. 7 barrier.
In The Spotlight (barrier nine) and The Hope Diamond (two) are racing keenly and cannot be left out of calculations. In The Spotlight, to be driven by Ryan Warwick for outstanding trainers Greg and Skye Bond, has the ability to overcome her wide draw at her first appearance since finishing strongly to score an easy victory from Taking The Miki in the group 1 Diamond Classic in late May this year. That was In The Spotlight’s third win from three starts.
Banjup trainer-reinsman Colin Brown has The Hope Diamond racing in good form. She led and won easily at Bunbury three starts ago and was forced wide in the final lap when a sound last-start third behind Bonstar.
Gary Hall jnr is looking forward to driving the Justin Prentice-trained Jay Elle, who will begin from barrier three at her first appearance since she broke in running and finished last in the group 1 Sales Classic for fillies last February. That followed a win on debut at Gloucester Park ten nights earlier.