Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators
Mundijong trainer Michael Young, fresh from wins with Beefour Bacardi at Pinjarra on Monday, Getn Wiggy Withit at Gloucester Park on Tuesday and Cooper at Bunbury on Wednesday, is confident his purple patch will continue at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
He sung the praises of Moonlite Drive and declared that the New Zealand-bred five-year-old would prove extremely hard to beat when he starts from the No. 2 barrier in the 2536m Bridge Bar Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
“I’m pretty confident he will win,” Young said. “He’s got gate speed and the plan will be to lead. Moonlite Drive grows three legs on the rails. It was a good run last week when the winner (Ezana) went a bit better.
“He has been going really good from bad barriers. Two starts ago, in the group 3 Pure Steel Pace he was held up and also carried a flat tyre. And I think that if he had got clear he still would have won. It was a huge run (finishing ninth behind Talks Up A Storm).”
Moonlite Drive will again be driven by Gary Hall Jnr, who settled the gelding in 11TH position in the group 3 Im Themightyquinn Pace before he started a three-wide move approaching the bell.
“I pulled out and just waited there, trying to flush out Ezana and then looking for cover,” he explained. “I probably would have been better off going ahead of Ezana.”
Ezana got to the breeze at the 650m, took the lead 110m from home and won by two lengths from Moonlite Drive.
“It’s not a bad field on Friday night, but from barrier two I imagine Moonlite Drive should get to the front (in the early stages),” said Hall.
Moonlite Dream’s chief rivals appear to be Markham Eyre and Tiger Royal. Markham Eyre was most unlucky last week when he trailed the pacemaker Iamthefirecracker in the Im Themightquinn Pace and was shuffled back through the field behind the tiring Iamthefirecracker in the final lap to finish ninth.
Tiger Royal has resumed after a spell in fine style, surging home from the rear for a first-up victory over Major Corrida, and then racing in the breeze before finishing an excellent second to Major Publisher last Friday night.
Young said that Medieval Man, trained by his partner Kiara Davies, had strong winning prospects in the 2130m Retravision Pace, in which he will be driven by Emily Suvaljko from the prized No. 1 barrier.
Medieval Man ended a streak of seven unplaced runs with an excellent second to Dominus Factum last Friday night when he fought on grandly after racing without cover all the way.
“We thought that he could lead and win last week, and I think that if he had led, he would have won,” said Young. “The plan this week is to lead, and I think that he can hold the lead (from Valbonne), and if he does lead, he will be awfully hard to beat. He is a great frontrunner.”
In-form trainer-reinsman Dylan Egerton-Green has high hopes of starting Friday night’s meeting in fine style by winning the opening event, the Beau Rivage Pace, with the smart three-year-old colt Paul Edward, who has a losing sequence of twelve.
Paul Edward impressed last Friday week when he trailed the pacemaker Free Wheeling before getting off the pegs on the home turn and sprinting home fast to finish a head second to Street Hawk. It was his fourth consecutive second placing and he is certainly overdue for a change of fortune.
“He is going well, and, hopefully, he can keep racing well,” said Egerton-Green. “It’s a tricky draw at barrier three, but he should run a good race.”
Considerable interest will surround the clash between well-performed four-year-old mares Platinum Sparkle and Blaze Coops in the $30,000 group 3 Lombardo Pace when both pacers will be appearing at Gloucester Park for the first time.
Platinum Sparkle, trained by Justin Prentice and to be driven by Gary Hall jnr, will start from the No. 1 barrier, with the Shane Tognolini-trained Blaze Coops drawn at barrier two.
Platinum Sparkle made a successful WA debut when she began speedily from barrier five, raced in the breeze, took the lead 250m from home and held on to beat Major Freeway over 2100m at Bunbury on June 1. She began fast from a wide draw, raced wide early and then gained a favourable passage, one-out and one-back, when a fighting fourth behind Rascal at Bunbury two weeks later.
Blaze Coops looks set for a strong effort at her WA debut, following an impressive 2150m trial win at Byford on Sunday morning when she began fast from barrier four, set the pace and sped over the final 400m in 27.8sec. to win easily from Longreach Bay.
“She got off the arm quickly and won easily, with the plugs still in,” said Shannon Suvaljko.