Promising square gaiter Tricky Ric justified his short tote quote of $1.04 when he was untroubled to set the pace and score an easy victory over Dark Secret and Mortician in the 2503m Simmonds Steel Trot at Gloucester Park on Sunday night.
The three-length win completed a treble for champion reinsman Gary Hall jnr, who had been successful earlier in the program with Alta Blues and Rocknroll Whitby. Tricky Ric and Alta Blues are trained by Gary Hall snr, and Callan Suvaljko prepared Rocknroll Whitby for his win in the Garrard’s Horse And Hound Pace.
“On the track at home Princess Mila is too fast for Tricky Ric, but when he steps on to the track for a race, he is a different horse,” said Hall jnr. Princess Mila started off the back mark of 50m in Sunday night’s race in which she broke into a gallop 250m after the start. She then raced in last position in the six-horse field before making up ground to finish a well-0beaten fourth.
Tricky Ric, a New Zealand-bred five-year-old by American sire Muscle Hill, has won in effortless style at his first three starts in Western Australia and he was most impressive in dashing over the final two quarters in 28.6sec. and 28.7sec. “I certainly didn’t think he could run a quarter in 28.6sec.,” said an incredulous Hall jnr.
Four-year-old Alta Blues continues to improve and he gave a powerful display to score an easy victory in the 2130m Westside Auto Wholesale Pace. Favourite at $2.50 from out wide at barrier eight, Alta Blues settled down in last place in the field of eleven before charging forward mid-race to challenge the pacemaker Al Guerrero ($3.10).
Alta Blues got his head in front at the bell before taking a clear lead 500m from home. He then careered away from his rivals to beat $61 chance Triroyale Brigade by five lengths at a 1.55.3 rate.
Since resuming racing in mid-May after an absence of four and a half months, Alta Blues has had six starts for four wins and a second placing after a first-up sixth. He has had 18 starts for ten wins, four placings and stakes of $90,582.
“He is a nice horse and has exceeded expectations,” said Hall jnr. “I think he is good enough for Free-For-Alls.”
Suvaljko had nine-year-old Extreme Prince and eight-year-old Rocknroll Whitby engaged in the Garrard’s Horse And Hound Pace, and he elected to handle Extreme Prince, who was ideally drawn at barrier one in the 2536m event. He then engaged Hall to drive Rocknroll Whitby who was lining up for his 147TH start from out wide at barrier eight.
Extreme Prince, the $2.15 favourite, set the pace, with Rocknroll Whitby was a $24.80 tote outsider.
Rocknroll Whitby settled down in last position in the field of ten before Hall sent him forward, three wide, with 1000m to travel. The old gelding continued to race out three wide for the remainder of the race and he fought on manfully to hit the front in the final 30m on his way to a neck victory over $8 chance Machs Gold, with Extreme Prince a neck farther back in third place.
Rocknroll Whitby, owned by Suvaljko’s wife Amanda, has had 147 starts for 19 wins, 18 placings and stakes of $220,410. He has inherited some of the wonderful ability of his dam Party Date, who earned $256 from 25 wins and 27 placings from 111 starts.
Suvaljko explained that he was confident his two runners would fight out the finish of the race. “I thought Extreme Prince could win if he led, but there was the concern that he was having his first start for three weeks,” he said. “I expected Rocknroll Whitby would be the main danger, and that was a good problem to have.”
Written by Ken Casellas | Photo Credit: Hamilton Content Creators