Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators
Star reinsman Shannon Suvaljko has given punters a valuable lead by opting to drive Machnificent in preference to Rocknroll Elliot in the 2536m Choices Flooring Pace for three-year-olds at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Rocknroll Elliot, trained by David Thompson, has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier and will have many admirers after Suvaljko had driven him to a most impressive all-the-way victory at a 1.56.7 rate over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. Suvaljko has driven the gelding at 11 of his 15 starts, including second placings to Under The Alta and Tenzing Bromac at his two runs before Monday’s success.
Suvaljko has also had an excellent association with the Katja Warwick-trained Machnificent, who will start from the No. 6 barrier. He has driven the colt at 12 of his 28 starts for five wins and one placing, including victories at his three appearances this month.
After strong-finishing wins at Pinjarra and Gloucester Park, Machnificent completed a hat-trick when he gave a bold frontrunning display to beat Master Leighton by ten lengths at a 1.58.6 rate over 2100m at Bunbury last Saturday night.
“Machnificent is racing out of his skin and is really quick,” said Suvaljko. “In the long run I think Machnificent is going to be a fast-class horse. He just jogged at Bunbury, running the last half in 55.6sec. He is a real classy horse, really, really quick. On Friday night I will just sit back and let things unfold.”
Machnificent will need to be at his top to beat Otis, a talented Sweet Lou colt and a stablemate of Rocknroll Elliot. Otis, who will be making his first appearance for nine weeks, is working in dashing style for Thompson and is poised for a powerful effort.
Otis could not have been any more impressive than he showed in a dazzling trial win over 2150m at Byford on Sunday morning when he was driven by Peter Tilbrook.
He was smartest into stride from barrier four and led the seven-horse field by three lengths at the bell before careering away from his rivals and winning by 13 lengths from Changingoftheguard, with a further nine lengths to Altamatum in third place. He dashed over the four quarters of the final mile in 30.5sec., 29.1sec., 2ec. and 28.2sec. and rated a slick 1.56.4.
Otis also won four-horse trials at Byford on the two previous Sundays. He raced in the breeze in the final circuit before winning, unextended, from Middlepage, with final quarters of 28.6sec. and 27.7sec. A week earlier he raced in last position before bursting to the front with 400m to travel and winning from the fast-finishing Stamford, with final 400m sections of 29.7sec. and 27.9sec.
The Michael Young-trained gelding Orlando Blue should also make his presence felt. He started from the outside of the front line in a 2185m event at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon and was last in the field of 12 on the home turn before surging home powerfully along the sprint lane to finish fourth behind Stamford.