Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators
Talented five-year-old Wainui Creek’s prospects of winning the Cowden Limited Norms Daughter Classic for the second year in a row were boosted when she drew the coveted No. 1 barrier in the $50,000 group 2 feature 2130m event for mares at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
She gave an outstanding performance three weeks ago when she began from the outside barrier (No. 8) in a 2130m event and finished a splendid second to the brilliant Savvy Bromac, who was sixth at the 250m mark before flying home to beat her rival by a half-neck.
Wainui Creek was restrained at the start and settled at the rear before Ryan Warwick dashed her forward, three wide, after 500m to move to the breeze after a lap. She led by a half-length from the pacemaker Sheez Our Hope with 1150m to travel but remained in the breeze until taking the lead with 400m to travel.
She led by two lengths at the 100m mark before being overhauled in the final couple of strides by Savvy Bromac, who had raced in fifth place, three back on the pegs.
Savvy Bromac, who will again be handled by Emily Suvaljko, is awkwardly drawn out wide at barrier eight this week, and Wainui Creek, from the inside barrier, has a significant advantage over her rivals and the ability to turn the tables on Savvy Bromac.
Wainui Creek gave a fine performance to win the Norms Daughter Classic 12 months ago when she started from barrier five, raced in the breeze for the first 500m and then enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, before finishing strongly to win by a length from her stablemate and pacemaker Our Alfie Romeo.
Wainui Creek, prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, is a smart frontrunner who led from barrier two four starts ago and won comfortably from Star Of Diamonds. Warwick will be anxious to employ similar tactics on Friday night.
Wainui Creek, a winner of six races in New Zealand, has had 18 starts in Western Australia for eight wins and three placings, including a notable success in the group 2 Empress Stakes in March this year.
Trainer Nathan Turvey is delighted with Savvy Bromac’s fast-finishing victories over 2130m at her past two starts, and he said after her half-neck win over the pacemaker Alta Cinderella last Friday night that his mare was spot on for Friday night’s event and the $125,000 Westral Mares Classic over 2536m a fortnight later.
“I think we have a bit more up our sleeves,” he said while admitting he had great respect for the Ross Olivieri-trained Born To Boogie, who will start from the inside of the back line and will be driven by Chris Lewis.
Born To Boogie, whose past nine starts have produced six wins and three close-up seconds, is in dazzling form. She is extremely versatile, leading from barrier one and winning easily from Im Soxy and Mirragon last Friday week, after starting from the No. 8 barrier at her previous outing and sustaining a powerful burst from eleventh at the 950m to win by three lengths from Typhoon Banner.
Gary Hall snr has two runners, Alta Cinderella (barrier No. 2) and Balcatherine (No. 3), with Gary Hall jnr giving punters a strong lead by choosing to drive the five-year-old Balcatherine, who will be resuming after a spell.
Balcatherine, a winner at ten of her 24 starts, has not appeared since she had a tough run and finished second to Fifty Five Reborn 19 weeks ago. However, Hall snr is confident she will prove hard to beat, saying: “She is the best mare in the State and is a great first-up chance.
“Her work has been good, she has more artillery than the others, and she has been competitive in Free-For-Alls. I’m hoping she can win the Norms Daughter Classic and the Mares Classic.”
Hall is a master of producing his pacers in excellent shape for their first-up assignments, and Balcatherine showed her class with a stylish first-up victory at a 1.55.1 rate over 2130m in late October last year before she finished fifth behind Wainui Creek in the Norms Daughter Classic at her next outing.
Balcatherine, who went on to win the Mares Classic last year, is handily drawn at barrier three in Friday night’s race. Alta Cinderella (who will be driven by Callan Suvaljko) has won at nine of her 16 starts. She worked hard for the first 300m before taking the lead in a 2130m event last Friday night when she was swamped in the final stages by Savvy Bromac.