The WA Trotting Media Guild members are divided in their opinions on best bets for Friday night’s 11-event card at Gloucester Park.
It’s a meeting full of intrigue with the return of champion juvenile Lavra Joe after an absence of more than a year from the track, the second-up run of champion pacer Chicago Bull, who is in the twilight of his career, and the two $25,000 races for the Westsired two-year-old colts and geldings and fillies.
The first clash of the evening – as far as Guild members goes – is the free-for-all.
The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft and longshot guru Pat Harding have come up with different best bets in a field of six.
“I am following Gary Hall Jr’s lead and going with Jumpingjackmac, given he probably had the choice of driving Chicago Bull who was a nice first-up third last week,” Havercroft said. “Jumpingjackmac folded-up last week when leading, but he won’t have Magnificent Storm sitting outside of him this week and should get things a bit easier.”
But Harding is having nothing of that.
“Should be an interesting night of racing at GP with 11 races, although some disappointing small fields,” Harding said. “My best bet comes up in race five with No. 3 Chicago Bull. He showed a good return to racing last week and should dominate in this small field.”
And veteran journalist Ken Casellas and The West Australian’s Ernie Manning have also different thoughts on how race nine will pan out.
“Colin Brown’s underrated seven-year-old Regal Cheval is in career-best form, and from barrier one in race nine on Friday night he gets my nod as the best bet on the program,” Casellas said. “A natural frontrunner, he was most unlucky in finishing last behind Angel In White last week when he set the pace before receiving a punctured off-side sulky tyre which resulted in the tube flapping in the breeze.”
But Manning disagrees.
“Victorian import Beat City has been freshened and gets the chance to score his seventh Gloucester Park win for trainer Michael Young,” Manning said. “He ran fourth after facing the breeze two starts ago and then finished fifth from an unfavourable barrier. The Melton winner looks capable of bouncing back from defeats at his past five starts.”
Guild president Wayne Currall is keen on The Good Life in race eight.
“The Good Life has been in great form at his five starts back from a nine-month spell with two wins, two seconds and a third in the country,” Currall said. “He’s ready for city racing now and has drawn to get a lovely run in transit from his second-line draw. Looks the one to beat.”
TABradio’s Hayden King has made Ronald Scott his best for the evening.
“I’m not going to complicate things this week,” King said. “Ronald Scott looks the banker of the night and should simply lead throughout.”
RYAN: Regal Cheval led all-the-way when last drawing the inside gate and can repeat that effort at an indicative price of $6.
PAT: My double comes up in race six with No. 4 Miss Lamarr. I believe the Brennan/Grantham combination can bring this lady home in fine style.
KEN: For value, I suggest Blitzembye, who has the ability to overcome the 20m back mark in race seven. He finished strongly with a final quarter of 27.5 sec. to win from Ragazzo Mach last Friday night.
ERNIE: Widely-travelled Iona Diamond drops sharply in class after a last-start fifth and can figure prominently despite being beaten at her past six appearances. The mare won at Gloucester Park early in her career, ahead of a NSW victory and two wins at Melton. Now trained by Ryan Bell, she can add to her WA success.
WAYNE: If Joey James steps safely from the strands at his first go at a stand I think he can score an all-the-way victory for Deni Roberts. His first-up win over Miss Boudica was very impressive.
HAYDEN: Scarlet Ribbon won’t be a big price, but she may come up handy enough odds considering the presence of In The Spotlight. She has improved immensely in her short time in the West.
Click here to view all of the Media Guild tips for this week.