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Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators

Eleven-year-old pacer Sokys Bigbullet was retired 12 months ago, but gained a reprieve when Shane Tognolini used him to provide companionship for his contrary mare Angel In White.

“Angel In White was crazy and she was always trying to kick people out of the cart,” said Tognolini. “Sokys Big Bullet was retired and was relaxing at my Oakford property.

“I then decided to put him in a paddock with Angel In White to keep her company. So, I thought I might as well keep working him. And since he has been a companion for Angel In White she has become a changed horse.”

Tognolini gave Sokys Bigbullet his first start after a 12-month absence when he set the pace and got tired late to finish third behind Roman Art and Triroyale Brigade at Pinjarra two Mondays ago. And at Gloucester Park on Friday night Sokys Bigbullet started from the No. 2 barrier on the back line in the 2130m Catalano Truck And Equipment Sales Service Finance Pace.

Sokys Bigbullet was a $21.90 chance ($31 on the fixed market) and Emily Suvaljko settled him down, three back on the pegs while the polemarker Arma Indie ($5) was setting the pace. Sokys Bigbullet was eased off the inside at the 600m and Suvaljko got him into the one-out, one-back position before easing him three wide 250m from home. He sprinted strongly, took the lead 30m out and won comfortably by one and a half lengths from Arma Indie.

Interestingly, Tognolini engaged Suvaljko to handle Sokys Bigbullet when trainer Mike Reed wanted his son Mark to drive last-start winner Arma Indie.

The 55-year-old Tognolini has had a long association with the Reed stable. “I worked for the Reed stable for about ten years after I left school, and I have driven about six winners at Gloucester Park, including Terre’s Chips.”

Suvaljko and Reed are two of 15 drivers to have handled Sokys Bigbullet in his 53-start career in Western Australia that has produced six wins and seven placings. His wins include the Bunbury Cup in November 2017 and the Village Kid Sprint at Northam in February 2020 when he was driven by Suvaljko for part-owner and trainer Tony Svilicich. Before coming to WA Sokys Big Bullet had won 18 races in New South Wales and was successful at his only appearance in Canberra.

Tognolini, who has a business driving water trucks and delivering rainwater to rural properties, enjoyed his previous Gloucester Park winner as a trainer when Colin Brown drove $23.10 chance Ballas Arockstar to victory on November 15, 2013.