Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators
Ace reinsman Shannon Suvaljko has given punters a valuable lead by choosing to drive Medieval Man in preference to smart mare Alice Kay in The West Australian Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Suvaljko has driven the Katja Warwick-trained Alice Kay at 16 of her past 17 starts for a win, five seconds and four thirds, including a fighting second to Misstiano last Friday night when she set the pace, but was inclined to overrace and wilted in the late stages after final 400m sections of 27.7sec. and 28.3sec.
Alice Kay, placed at her past three starts, will be handled by Michael Grantham, and from the inside of the back line should be assured of a favourable passage.
Medieval Man, prepared by Kiara Davies, is handily drawn at barrier No. 3 on the front line. He has a losing sequence of eleven, including a spirited third behind Shadow Roll and Thereugo over 2130m last Friday night when he began speedily from the No. 7 barrier, raced three wide in the early stages and then in the breeze.
Thereugo, trained and driven by Lindsay Harper, will start from the No. 1 barrier, and should figure in the finish. Thereugo has dashed to the front in the early stages of his past two starts before being restrained to take a trail behind Nota Bene Denario last Friday week and Shadow Roll last Friday night.
Suvaljko will be anxious for Harper to continue with his recent tactics, and he (Suvaljko) would then be able to make a strong bid for the lead. Suvaljko has driven Medieval Man eight times for one second, two thirds and five unplaced efforts.
Carrera Mach, trained by Ross Olivieri and to be driven by Chris Voak, is getting close to a win, and though not favourably drawn at barrier six, he certainly has winning prospects.
Suvaljko has bright prospects of winning the opening event, the 2130m Channel 7 Pace, in which he will drive the Michael Young-trained Orlando Blue, who has been successful at his past four outings in which he has set the pace.
Orlando Blue led from the No. 1 barrier last Friday night and fought on grimly to beat Dont Bother Me None by a half-head over 2536m, with final 400m sections of 27.1sec. and 28.5sec. This week he will start from the No. 5 barrier, and it is problematical whether he will be able to set the pace, considering that the speedy frontrunner Pradason is ideally drawn at the No. 1 barrier for trainer-reinsman Aiden de Campo.
Pradason began speedily from barrier four last Friday night when he raced without cover for the first 400m and then enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, before fighting on to finish a sound fifth, three lengths behind Orlando Blue.