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Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators

Up-and-coming four-year-old Blitzembye has thrived since his impressive all-the-way victory last Friday week, and astute Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed is confident the New Zealand-bred gelding will maintain his winning form when he contests the opening event, the 2536m You Beauty Sammy Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

“He stepped up in class at his latest start, and I’m sure he will measure up again in another step-up in class this week,” said Reed.

“He is jumping out of his skin and will lead, and the 2536m won’t worry him. Hittheroadjack is racing well at Pinjarra (with his past five starts at that track producing four wins and a third from 20m in a stand) and this will be a big step up for him, too.”

Blitzembye followed an all-the-way win at Northam with a strong frontrunning performance to win from Arma Einstein over 2130m at Gloucester Park last Friday week. He will again be driven by Shannon Suvaljko from barrier No. 2 on the front line.

Hittheroadjack, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, will start from barrier three with Dylan Egerton-Green in the sulky. The Terror To Love five-year-old won at two of his 13 New Zealand appearances and has raced eight times in WA for six wins and a third placing.

At his most recent start Hittheroadjack began off the 30m mark and raced without cover before finishing powerfully to win from smart stablemate Lawrence after sprinting the final 400m in 27.4sec.

Mundijong trainer Michael Young has three runners — Zazu (barrier eight), Orlando Blue (inside of the back line) and The Tiger Army (outside of the back line) — in this event, but he considers they face difficult tasks from their barriers. His best hope appears to be four-year-old Orlando Blue, who impressed last Friday night when he surged home from tenth at the bell to finish third behind Zazu and Pradason.

Young is more upbeat about the prospects of Vespa, who will be driven by Shannon Suvaljko from the favourable barrier No. 3 in the 2536m Sunrise On 7 Pace.

“Hampton Banner looks hard to beat, but Vespa can win if he leads,” said Young.

Vespa began speedily from barrier nine last Friday night but failed in a determined bid to lead before he gained a good passage, one-out and one-back, and fought on to finish third behind Has No Fear and Disco Under Fire.

Hampton Banner, to be driven by Jocelyn Young for trainer Debra Lewis, will start from the inside of the back line. He drops considerably in class after having competed against Magnificent Storm, Minstrel, Chicago Bull, Miracle Moose, Papinik, Wildwest and Motu Premier in recent starts.