The two-year-olds take centre stage at Gloucester Park on Friday night for the running of the rich APG Sales Classics over the sprint trip of 1730m.
The $100,000 races – one for the fillies and one for the colts and geldings – will have two short-priced favourites in Temukas Girl and Valedictorian, who have both drawn the coveted pole position.
However, members of the WA Trotting Media Guild have steered clear of the juveniles when settling on their best bets for the 11-event card.
Guild president Wayne Currall believes punters can start the night off on a winning note by jumping on Franco Ecuador in the first.
“Franco Ecuador is on the comeback trail after almost two years away from the track,” Currall said. “There’s no doubting the horse’s ability – he ran third in the 2020 WA Derby behind Patronus Star and Major Martini. Trainer-driver Kim Prentice drove the five-year-old entire to a last-start all-the-way win at Pinjarra over Vulcan Star, who has since franked the form. I think he will have too much class for this line-up.”
Award-winning journalist Ken Casellas has given a strong push for Leosabi in the second.
“Former Victorian performer Leosabi should enjoy his most favourable draw in 17 WA starts, and from the No. 2 barrier on the front line in race two on Friday night he should be in a commanding position all the way,” Casellas said. “He is the winner at seven of his 16 starts in the State in which he has begun from the back line eight times. He has not jumped straight to the front in any of his 44 starts. He possesses reasonable gate speed, and I’m making him my best bet in a race in which his most serious rival is Typhoon Banner, who has drawn out wide at barrier eight.”
Longshot guru Pat Harding is sticking with Gambit as his star bet.
“With a big program at GP this Friday, winners may still be a little hard to find,” Harding said. “My best bet comes up in race eight with No. 3 Gambit. This horse is racing in excellent form with two wins from his last two starts and I think in this small field he can make it three out of three.”
The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft likes the chances of Savvy Bromac in the ninth event on the card.
“Savvy Bromac looks hard to go past after the scratching of Balcatherine from the fillies and mares race,” Havercroft said. “She won in the same class a fortnight ago from barrier nine and is drawn more favourably in five this time and runs into Sheez Our Hope and My Prayer, two runners she defeated last time out.”
TABradio’s Hayden King and The West Australian’s Ernie Manning are keen on the chances of Hampton Banner in race 10.
“Hampton Banner has drawn the outside gate but he has the early speed to zoom across and go to the front,” King said. “From there, he should lead them a merry dance.”
And Manning agrees.
“Hampton Banner has appreciated a sharp class drop since his WA Pacing Cup sixth and a fourth in the Lord Mayor’s Cup,” Manning said. “He fought on gamely to finish second after facing the breeze when returning to lesser company last Friday night. Trainer Debra Lewis has kept him in the same grade this week and he looks capable of overcoming gate nine. Six wins at headquarters have been notched by the five-year-old.”
WAYNE: Will I Rocknroll may not have the class of a couple of his rivals, but he’s drawn to get a great run just off the speed and looks a sound each-way play.
KEN: For value, I suggest Swingband in race four in which he is unfavourably drawn at barrier eight. But he has the ability to overcome that disadvantage. He put up a super performance last Friday night when second to Floewriter after working hard in the breeze.
PAT: My double comes up in race four with No. 8 Swingband. He has been so consistent in his recent races and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he doesn’t win again.
RYAN: Sameplace Sametime should be sitting on the back of Leosabi from an inside draw and should get the right run to sneak into the placings at an each-way quote.
HAYDEN: A multi this week: Franco Ecuador in the first, Tricky Miki in the fourth, Valedictorian in the sixth and Hampton Banner in the 10th. All sure to be short, but rolled up they may accumulate to something reasonable.
ERNIE: Galactic Star has not won in his past eight starts, but the veteran cannot be overlooked at long prices. Co-trainers Greg and Skye Bond have kept the nine-year-old in work, obviously confident he can add to his grand tally of 17 Gloucester Park victories.
Click here to view all of the Media Guild tips for this week.