The first city meeting of 2022 at Gloucester Park has brought together an array of stars as trainers prime their charges for the upcoming carnival features – the Fremantle Pacing Cup and the WA Pacing Cup.
Friday night’s Pat Cranley Memorial (2130m) is shaping as a dress rehearsal for the big cups, while the night also features heats of the Nights of Thunder series.
Members of the WA Trotting Media Guild are confident they can kick the season off on a winning note with their best bets on the 10-event card.
The West Australian’s Ernie Manning believes punters can get off to a winning start by supporting Mighty Ronaldo in race two.
“Four-year-old Mighty Ronaldo, to be driven by Gary Hall Jr, is a dual Group 1 winner and could have a class edge on rivals when racing first-up after a lengthy break,” Manning said. “The Justin Prentice-trained gelding scored a Golden Slipper Stakes victory in 2020 and last year came from back in the field to notch a WA Derby triumph. A 3YO Colts & Geldings Sales Classic win at Group 2 level has also been recorded by the bay, who is likely to be forward in condition despite having not raced since last May.”
Guild president Wayne Currall is keen on Ragazzo Mach in the third.
“Ragazzo Mach lowered his colours to Ideal Agent at his last start,” Currall said. “It was the horse’s first loss since crossing the Tasman, but he raced in the breeze when the winner ran a blistering 1:53.5 over the 2130m trip. I expect driver Mark Reed will be “handle bars down” at the start and let Ragazzo Mach rip.”
However, longshot guru Pat Harding sees a different outcome.
“The first Friday night meeting at GP looks like a mixed bag for punters and tipsters alike,” Harding said. “My best bet come up in race three with the Gary Hall-trained The Ideal Touch coming out of barrier five. He has been so consistent in recent races with two wins and three places and is ideally placed here for another win.”
Veteran journalist Ken Casellas fancies Magnificent Storm in the feature event.
“Magnificent Storm continues to answer every challenge, and he will be at a reasonable price from his somewhat awkward draw at barrier six in the Pat Cranley Memorial on Friday night,” Casellas said. “Therefore, I’m happy to make him my best bet, fully expecting him to give further proof, not only of his tremendous ability, but also of his splendid versatility.”
The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft has opted for the consistent Alice Kay as his star bet.
“Alice Kay is drawn to end an eight-start losing sequence during which she has run six placings,” Havercroft said. “The daughter of Art Major ran on into third place at Pinjarra on Monday and her previous victory came from the same barrier she exits from here.”
TABradio’s Hayden King believes Orland Blue can post an all-the-way victory in race nine.
“Orlando Blue has the fitness edge over Dont Bother Me None and the tactical edge over Star Of Willoughby,” King said. “I think Shannon Suvaljko can rate him out in front to continue his winning procession over the long trip.”
TABradio’s Matt Young has kept his powder dry until the last.
“Whatabro has been unlucky as of late and bumps into a lovely field and draw,” Young said. “Looks very hard to beat.”
ERNIE: Medieval Man should not be underrated though he is on a 10-run losing sequence and has been beaten at Busselton in his past two appearances. The Kiara Davies-trained gelding proved his quality when winning twice at Gloucester Park in consecutive starts last August. He has a total of four wins at headquarters to his credit.
WAYNE: Misstiano is drawn to get the run of the race behind likely leader and favourite Alice Kay in race eight. She looks an each-way play for mine.
KEN: For value, I suggest nine-year-old Batavia On Fire from the inside of the back line in race seven. He caught the eye at Gloucester Park three Mondays ago when he began from the outside of the front line and finished strongly from the rear to win narrowly at handsome odds.
PAT: My double comes up in race seven with Carrera Mach. He is due for a change of luck and I think Chris Voak can bring him home and give punters a good return.
RYAN: Heez Our Perseus is racing well and could play a part at an indicative price of $41 in a nine-horse field under sprint conditions.
HAYDEN: Black Jack Zac found interference a few weeks ago and was incredibly poorly handicapped last week. Aside from that, he is actually racing very well and will take beating.
MATT: Black Jack Zac is in a hot race and they look to keep a solid tempo. His run was good last start and is a really strong each-way chance.
Click here to view all of the Media Guild tips for this week.
FOOTNOTE: The season officially wrapped up on December 31 and TABradio’s Matt Young won the WA Trotting Media Guild’s tipping competition with a healthy 47.2 per cent of winning tips.
Veteran journalist Ken Casellas finished second in a photo finish from TABradio’s Hayden King. Casellas and Guild president Wayne Currall shared the prize for most winners on a night (eight), while the longest priced winner prize was taken out by longshot guru Pat Harding once again (Tenno Sho 23/1).
Congratulations to all winners.