Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators
Inexperienced WA-bred five-year-old Papinik possesses scintillating point-to-point speed, and a superb trial at Pinjarra on Thursday of last week showed that he was poised for a successful return to racing after a six-month absence.
Trained by Ross Olivieri and to be driven by Chris Voak, Papinik will start from barrier five in race three, the 2536m Cowden Limited Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night and has the class to prove the master of several in-form pacers, including Euphoria, Manning, Rockaball and Al Guerrero.
In the four-horse trial over 2185m at Pinjarra last week, Papinik was restrained back to last before Voak sent him to the front at the bell — and the Advance Attack gelding careered away from his rivals to win by just under seven lengths from Motu Premier, rating 1.56.3, with a sizzling final 400m in 26.8sec., following quarters of 28sec. and 28.8sec.
Eight days earlier, Papinik was not extended in winning a 2185m trial at Pinjarra when he was last in the field of five with 650m to travel before sprinting home fast with a final quarter of 27.4sec. to win by two lengths from the pacemaker Saleahs Comand.
Four-year-olds Euphoria and Manning are racing keenly and are sure to be prominent. Euphoria, to be driven by Gary Hall jnr from barrier three, maintained his excellent form last Friday night when he trailed the pacemaker Major Martini and fought on solidly to be second to that star pacer. He covered extra ground when a convincing winner a week earlier.
The Justin Prentice-trained Manning is favourably drawn at barrier No. 2, and Maddison Brown is sure to be keen to set the pace with the smart four-year-old. Manning gave a stylish frontrunning performance when he won a 2536m event by just under eight lengths from veteran Dredlock Rockstar.
Brown has high hopes of winning the opening event on the program when she drives another Prentice runner, five-year-old Back In Twenty from the No. 4 barrier.
Back In Twenty drops significantly in class and astute punters will be anxious to support the Sportswriter gelding following his excellent performance last Friday night when he raced in fifth position, three back on the pegs, before finishing powerfully, out four wide, to be a close-up third behind brilliant stablemates Galactic Star and Mighty Conqueror. Back In Twenty covered the final 800m in 56.3sec. and the final 400m in 27.5sec.
If either Galactic Star or Mighty Conqueror was eligible to contest race one on Friday night, they would be at virtually unbackable at odds of $1.04 or even shorter. Back In Twenty will be at a far more attractive quote, and is quite likely to be the second favourite behind Roman Art.
Roman Art, trained at Coolup by Victor Bryers, will be driven by Emily Suvaljko from the No. 2 barrier and is certainly a formidable rival for Back In Twenty.
Roman Art impressed at his fourth run after a spell when he was smartest into stride from the No. 1 barrier in a 2130m event last Friday week. He set a strong pace and was overhauled in the final stride and beaten a half-head by Alta Intrigue.