Ken Casellas | Photo: Gloucester Park Harness Racing
Former Victorian performer Steam Punk showed that he is fit and ready to perform strongly at his West Australian debut in the 2503m Cash Converters Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night with a sound trial at Byford three Sundays ago.
Steam Punk, prepared by Ross Olivieri and to be driven by Chris Lewis, will start from the inside of the front line, and he impressed with a smooth beginning in a standing-start trial at Byford when Chris Voak sent him to the front after about 80m.
Steam Punk set a solid pace and the final three 400m sections were run in 29.7sec., 29sec. and 28.6sec. He was not extended in finishing a half-length second to Keegan Banner, who trailed him throughout.
This will be Steam Punk’s first appearance in a stand. He also has not raced beyond 2240m. However, the 2503m should not prove to be any problem. He won once from three New Zealand starts and ten his 17 Victorian starts produced seven wins and two placings. This will be his first race start for 20 months.
Steam Punk will be one of Olivieri’s three runners in Friday night’s event, the others being fellow front line runners Yankee Lincoln (Chris Voak) and Cowboys N Bandits (Emily Suvaljko).
Also holding a strong hand in the race are leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, who will be represented by front line runner Socrates (Ryan Warwick) and 30m co-backmarker Glenledi Chief (Dylan Egerton-Green).
Socrates is undefeated at his first five starts in WA, the first four in mobile events followed by a head victory over Acuto in a 2631m stand at Pinjarra on Wednesday of last week after galloping at the start. He performed admirably in three stands in New Zealand for a win and two placings.
Socrates will need to be on his best behaviour to beat Steam Punk and Glenledi Chief, who boasts a splendid record of 13 wins and 11 placings from 38 starts. He started from 30m, paced roughly early and then covered extra ground before finishing a close second to Twobob Cracker last Friday week. That followed impressive wins at his four previous outings.