Astute Pinjarra trainer-reinsman Shane Young has high hopes of landing his second winner of the Allwood Stud Farm Westbred Classic for two-year-old fillies when he drives the talented Wonderful To Fly in the Group 1 feature at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Young won this event, then known as the State Sires Series Classic, with the Alan Norman-trained Miss Placed in 2017 when she defeated Dial A Taxi. Young also finished third with Rosies Ideal behind Cott Beach in 2017.
Wonderful To Fly is extremely versatile and fully capable of overcoming the disadvantage of starting from the No. 6 barrier in the 2130m event. She warmed up for this week’s assignment in fine style last Friday night when she started from the outside of the back line, settled in seventh position before dashing forward after 400m to race in the breeze and then taking the lead 550m from home and beating Bonstar by a length at a 1.58.9 rate.
That followed a fast-finishing victory at a 1.55.8 rate over 1730m a fortnight earlier, and she now boasts an impressive record of ten starts for five wins, two seconds and a third.
Among Wonderful To Fly’s toughest rivals is Little Darling, an Art Major filly trained by Barry Howlett who is handily drawn at barrier No. 3. Little Darling notched her first win from three starts when she settled down in ninth position before dashing forward into the breeze in the first lap and taking the lead on the home bend and beating the pacemaker Diamond Dance by almost a length on Tuesday of last week. Howlett won this event in 1994 with Lights Above.
Lewis has a good record in this classic event with wins behind Mitemptation (1995), Flames And Flowers (1997), Co Co San (1998), Desert Dueller (2002) and Double Expresso (2019).
Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri, who prepared Double Expresso for her victory, is looking for a strong effort from Taking The Miki, who will be driven by Chris Voak from the inside of the back line.
Taking the Miki has raced nine times for four wins, two seconds and a third placing, and Voak gives the filly a sound each-way chance, saying: “She trackworked in excellent style this morning (Tuesday) and the draw is not terrible. She will get a nice soft trip and if the breaks go her way she can win. If she gets a split, she will be hard to beat.”
In-form Capel trainer Aiden de Campo, who won this classic event in 2013 behind Im Bella Jay, will be represented by Artistic Scribe and Sovrana.
He will drive Sovrana from out wide at barrier eight, and Michael Grantham has been engaged to handle Artistic Scribe from the No. 4 barrier. Sovrana is in excellent form. She led and finished third behind In The Spotlight and Taking the Miki in the Group 1 Diamond Classic a month ago, after leading and winning at Bunbury and Gloucester Park at her two previous outings.
Artistic Scribe disappointed when she set the pace and faded to ninth in the Diamond Classic after encouraging victories at three of her four previous starts.
Im Bella Jay led when she won this event in 2013. She defeated the Kevin Keys-trained Racey American. Keys prepares All About Riley, who will start from the No. 1 barrier with Mark Reed in the sulky. All About Riley was successful at her second start in a race when she sat behind the pacemaker and beat Bonstar over 2185m at Pinjarra on May 31.
by Ken Casellas