Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators
Collie reinsman Trent Wheeler will be out to maintain his unbeaten record in the sulky behind Sports Package when he drives the mare in the 2130m Stand Out Broking Services Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Wheeler was called into action by trainer Nathan Turvey after the stable’s No. 1 driver Emily Suvaljko became unavailable after returning a positive test to coronavirus.
Wheeler has driven Sports Package once in the five-year-old mare’s 31-start career. That was when Sports Package set the pace and won a 2265m event at Albany in January 2020.
Sports Package impressed at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night when a late replacement driver Shane Young filled in for Suvaljko and drove the mare to a convincing all-the-way win by two and a half lengths from Valentines Brook, rating 1.58.5 over 2536m, with final quarters of 28.6sec. and 28.5sec.
This was a welcome return to form by Sports Package, who ended a 22-month drought and a losing sequence of 15. She will start from the No. 4 barrier on Friday night, with her chief rival Space Junk more favourably drawn at barrier three and likely to be a short-priced favourite.
Space Junk, trained at Pinjarra by Frank Vanmaris, will be driven for the first time by Gary Hall Jnr. The eight-year-old makes strong appeal. He is sure to appreciate a considerable drop in class after competing against the likes of Gambit, Double Up, To Fast To Serious, Hampton Banner, Vespa, Heez Our Perseus, Lawrence and Know When To Run in recent starts. He has good gate speed and Hall is likely to make a bold bid to get to an early lead.
Ryan Warwick, who landed a winning treble with Give Us A Wave, Unconditional and Ima Rockabilly Rebel at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening, will drive several good each-way chances on Friday night, with the best winning prospect likely to be Booraa, who will start from the No. 1 barrier in the 2130m Bridge Bar Open This Sunday Pace.
Booraa, prepared by Greg and Skye Bond, raced in stronger company last Friday night when she enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, before fighting on to finish third behind Sheez Our Hope and Vivere Damore. She gave a powerful performance a week earlier when she surged home out three wide, from ninth at the bell to finish second to Eighteen Carat over 2130m.