Champion pacer Chicago Bull returns to Gloucester Park on Friday night in what appears certain to be his last preparation before connections retire him.
“The Little Bull”, now a rising 10-year-old, has won almost $2.4 million during his illustrious career and his appearance on the 10-event card is a highlight.
Members of the WA Trotting Media Guild have worked hard assessing their best bets for the meeting.
The West Australian’s Ernie Manning believes Platinum Sparkle can record her first win at headquarters in the night’s feature – the $30,000 Group 3 Lombardo Fillies & Mares Pace (2130m).
“Melbourne import Platinum Sparkle looks hard to beat with a barrier one advantage at her Gloucester Park debut,” Manning said. “The Justin Prentice-trained four-year-old impressed when she faced the breeze and won at Bunbury on June 1 in her first WA appearance. She can improve on a second-up fourth at Bunbury and is expected to show form which enabled her to win three Melton events. Prentice, who has achieved considerable success with former interstate pacers, booked Gary Hall Jr for his first drive behind the mare.”
Longshot guru Pat Harding is not predicting a fairytale reappearance for Chicago Bull.
“The track should be pretty good this Friday night at GP but there could be a few surprises,” Harding said. “My best bet this week is the same as last week – No. 4 Magnificent Storm in race five. He had a great win first-up from a spell and I expect him to repeat the dose this week.”
TABradio’s Matt Young and veteran journalist Ken Casellas are firmly in the camp of Medieval Man in race six.
“Medieval Man is working back into peak fitness this preparation,” Young said. “He has the draw to hold the top and this looks more suitable here.”
And Casellas agrees.
“Medieval Man bounced back to his best form last week when he did all the work in the breeze before fighting on to finish second to Dominus Factum,” Casellas said. “From the coveted No. 1 barrier in the Retravision Pace on Friday night he is my best bet on the program.”
Guild president Wayne Currall – like Harding – is backing up on his best bet from last week.
“Ragazzo Mach lowered his colours against Typhoon Banner last Friday night, but he’s drawn to lead this week,” Currall said. “This is his third run back from a spell and trainer Mike Reed should have him tuned up to post an all-the-way victory.”
ERNIE: Five-year-old Gov Starzzz has won at only three of 64 starts, and was beaten in his last 17 races. But he drew attention when not finishing further back than fifth in his past four appearances. Barrier nine is against him, but he will be driven by highly promising young reinsman Kyle Symington.
PAT: My double comes up in race six with No. 5 Valbonne. Didn’t have too much luck in his last two races but I think he can bounce back with a good win.
MATT: Bracken Sky is coming down in grade and has found a suitable race. Should be a solid each-way chance.
KEN: For value, I suggest Jumpingjackmac in the Members Pace. He has the perfect draw (barrier one), the natural pace to lead and the ability to defeat superstars Magnificent Storm and Chicago Bull.
WAYNE: Valhalla Angel was game in defeat last start and can go one better on Friday night from her perfect draw.
Click here to view all of the Media Guild tips for this week