A father’s gift is a big winner
Blythewood trainer Kristy Elson remains eternally grateful to her father Gary, who gave her a virtually unwanted yearling three years ago.
She named the Victorian-bred colt Jaspervellabeach, who boosted his earnings to $196,818 when he gave a tough and impressive performance to win the Garrard’s Horse And Hound Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
This was Jaspervellabeach’s twelfth win from 42 starts in an exciting career during which he has overcome the disability and discomfort of a club foot on his nearside foreleg.
He has proved to be a wonderful bargain, with Gary Elson paying just $12,000 for the son of American stallion Somebeachsomewhere at the 2018 Melbourne yearling sale. “I was told that the Aldebaran Lodge wanted $20,000 for him, and I started bidding for him at $10,000,” he said. “I went to $12,000, and then there were no more bids for him, and I expected that he would be passed in. But he was knocked down to me.”
The club foot doesn’t worry Jaspervellabeach too much, but the disability requires constant treatment, including the gelding being shod every two weeks.
Four-year-old Jasperbellabeach is out of the unraced Falcon Seelster mare Aldebaran Bromac, a half-sister to Jackaroo Bromac, who was retired after his 154 starts produced 27 wins and 43 placings for earnings of $242,555.
Jaspervellabeach is the second pacer Gary Elson has given his 39-year-old Tasmanian-born daughter as a gift. The first present was Ideal Tyson, an American Ideal pacer who was purchased as a yearling in Victoria for $24,000 and won 22 races in WA, including eight wins from his first nine starts as a two-year-old in 2015, before being sold in September 2018 to America where he won another five races.
On Friday night Jaspervellabeach was the $1.90 favourite from barrier No. 7, and he gave outstanding 20-year-old driver Emily Suvaljko the second leg of a treble (her second Friday night treble at headquarters) in the space of 60 minutes.
Jaspervellabeach enjoyed a drop in class, and Suvaljko drove him with great confidence, dashing him forward in the early stages and then rating him in the breeze with the $3.70 second fancy Whoswhointhezoo setting a solid pace. Jaspervellabeach forged to the front 270m from home and went on to win by just under a length from $5 chance Alta Rhett, who had enjoyed an ideal passage, following the winner all the way.
Jaspervellabeach, who won at four of his first six starts as a two-year-old, including the group 2 Champagne Classic in race record time and the group 1 Golden Slipper, looks set for further victories.
A spell for Magnificent Storm
Exciting four-year-old Magnificent Storm will enjoy a spell of three to four weeks at managing owner Robbie Tomlinson’s Pinjarra property before returning to trainer Ray Williams’ Mt Helena stables to be prepared for the rich Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups in the summer.
“I’ll get him back in time, and he will have probably three to four runs before the big Cups,” said Williams after the champion New Zealand-bred American Ideal pacer cruised to a superb victory in the $50,000 group 2 Navy Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
“After the Cups we will discuss plans to take him east. That has always been the plan provided he maintains his form.” High on the list of feature events for Magnificent Storm is the $1 million Miracle Mile at Menangle next March.
Aiden de Campo, driving Magnificent Storm on Friday night for the first time as the replacement for the suspended Aldo Cortopassi, said that he enjoyed the experience. “It’s always good to get behind good horses and he did the job in fine style,” he said.
Magnificent Storm, the only runner on the back line in the field of ten, was the $1.30 favourite who settled down in fifth position as the polemarker Blue Blazer ($34) set the early pace before Ryan Warwick dashed the $3.70 second fancy Vampiro to the front after 500m.
De Campo was content to leave Magnificent Storm in the breeze before he burst to the front 250m from home and went on to win by just over a length from $101 outsider Back In Twenty, who had begun speedily and then raced in fourth position. Medieval Man ($34) impressed in finishing strongly from sixth on the pegs at the bell to be third, with Vampiro wilting to fifth.
The winner was not fully extended in rating 1.55.1 over the 2130m, with the final three quarters being run in 28.3sec., 28.4sec. and 29.6sec. This improved his record to 20 starts for 18 wins and boosted his earnings to $321,384. He has raced 19 times in WA for 18 wins and a second placing.
Infatuation, a quiet achiever
New Zealand-bred pacer Infatuation bounced back to his best form with a splendid victory in the 2130m Intersport Slater Gartrell Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night, with star reinsman Ryan Warwick saying that the five-year-old has been flying under the radar.
“He doesn’t get the credit he deserves,” said Warwick. “He is a quiet achiever.”
Infatuation, prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, was a $5.70 chance from barrier five, and he showed excellent fighting qualities to win by more than two lengths from the pacemaker Thereugo ($16), with the $2.25 favourite The Kraken two lengths farther back in third place.
Thereugo resisted a strong early challenge from The Kraken, and the lead time was a slick 35.6sec. Infatuation settled down in fifth position in the one-wide line, several lengths behind the leader. Warwick sent Infatuation forward, three wide, 650m from home and the gelding forged to the front with 450m to travel.
“He was one-one tonight but there was a fair gap between him and the frontrunners,” Warwick said. “And it’s not easy being the pilot horse when you are chasing up.”
This was Infatuation’s twelfth win from 29 starts and took his earnings to $86,011. After a win and three seconds from four New Zealand starts, he has raced 25 times in WA for 11 wins and three placings.
He is by American Ideal and is the eighth foal out of the unraced In The Pocket mare Saturation. He is a full-brother to Besotted (70 starts for 17 wins, 22 placings and $302,677) and Rain Man (44 starts for eight wins, 11 placings and $72,967).
New tactics suit Walsh
WA-bred five-year-old Walsh has struck a purple patch, and new tactics suited the Art Major gelding when he scored a smart victory in the 2130m Channel 7 Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
“We have been driving him tough lately, and tonight he sprinted really good,” said Emily Suvaljko after Walsh ($5.90) had enjoyed an ideal passage in the one-out, two-back position before surging home to win easily from Shadow Roll ($8) and the $2.80 favourite Alta Engen.
“When I pulled him out, it was right on the home corner, and he can hit a knee, so I thought I had pulled out at the wrong time. But there were no problems and he got home really good up the straight.
“I had been tracking the right horses (with Alta Engen in the breeze outside the pacemaker and $3.90 fancy Whatabro, and Shadow Roll in the one-out, one-back position). I knew Dylan (Egerton-Green) was always going to come out in front of me with Shadow Roll. When he went three wide, I switched four wide and let the horse maintain his momentum.”
Walsh, who had settled at the rear before charging forward, three wide, after 600m to take the lead shortly afterwards on his way to a convincing victory the previous Saturday night, was a $34,000 purchase at the 2017 Perth yearling sale who has now earned $133,897 from 13 wins and 23 placings from 85 starts.
His new trainer Nathan Turvey is delighted at his recent performances, but sounded a word of warning, saying: “This win will put him in Free For All company, and it’s going to get harder.”
Turvey and Suvaljko continued on their winning ways, combining to win three of the six events at Narrogin on Saturday night.
They were successful with Royal Essence ($1.12), Rockin Rufus ($1.36) and Leosabi ($2.80).
Scorching early pace ideal for Vespa
A sizzling lead time of 34.4sec. proved to be the perfect scenario for noted sit-sprinter Vespa in the 2130m Australian Pacing Gold Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Vespa, a $5 chance from out wide at barrier No. 8, settled down in last position in the field of nine, 12 lengths behind Regal Cheval, Vivere Damore and Tyler Brett, who mustered tremendous pace in a fierce battle for the lead.
Dylan Egerton-Green eventually got the upper hand, with Tyler Brett, the $2.80 favourite, getting to the front from $3 chance Regal Cheval 500m after the start.
Emily Suvaljko started a three-wide move with Vespa 950m from home before Robbie Williams sent $26 chance Triroyale Brigade forward, three wide, a few moments later, thus giving Vespa cover.
Suvaljko switched Vespa four wide at the 400m, and 150m later the breeze horse Bettorstartdreaming ($23) got to a narrow lead. Vespa hit the front at the 100m mark and went on to win by a half-length from the fast-finishing $26 chance McArdles Gem. The winner rated a slick 1.56.8.
Vespa, who certainly appreciated a considerable drop in class after finishing a good fourth at $61 behind the brilliant Magnificent Storm in the group 2 James Brennan Memorial Pace the previous Saturday night, has been a splendid performer for Hopelands trainer Michael Young. His 26 starts in Western Australia for Young have produced six wins and eight placings after racing 33 times in New Zealand for four wins.
“I drove him a bit more positively tonight; it was a huge drop down in class,” said Suvaljko. “I was sitting last in the moving line when I heard Richie (course commentator Richard Bell) say that it was the fastest lead time ever at Gloucester Park, so I pulled three wide straight away.”
Young said that the lead time equalled something like a 26sec. quarter, and that he had no concerns that Vespa was so far back after such a fast pace in the early stages. “That’s what he needs; he’s that type of horse,” said Young. “He relies on a lot of luck, and when that happens, he is super.
“He was in the Free For All last week, and we used the system to drop back. He might be headed for America after another win.”
Vespa, who has earned $121,469 from ten wins and 12 placings from 59 starts, is a half-brother to Artzone, who had 165 starts for 26 wins and 49 placings for stakes of $172,979.
Alta Louisa on the way up
Lightly-raced four-year-old Alta Louisa maintained her steady rate of improvement when she took full advantage of the No. 1 barrier and relished her pacemaking role on her way to scoring a comfortable victory in the 2130m Simmonds Steel Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
The Justin Prentice-trained mare gave star reinsman Gary Hall jnr an armchair drive as she ambled through the lead time in 39.6sec. and the first three quarters in 31.6sec., 31.4sec. and 29.3sec. before sprinting over the final 400m in 27.4sec.
The $2.04 favourite won by 2m from the $10 second fancy Born To Boogie, who raced wide early before obtaining the sit behind the frontrunner.
The win improved the New Zealand-bred Alta Louisa’s record to 15 starts for eight wins, four placings and stakes of $75,724.
“The barrier draw helps, and she got it nice and easy in front,” said Prentice. “She does only what she has to. She likes to know where the others are, and she sort of waits for them.
“She is versatile and should be okay in the better races for mares in which she can be driven quietly. She has a good turn of foot, and hopefully she will measure up in the major races for mares. She hasn’t had a lot of racing, and she needs some more education and grounding work.”
Otis snatches victory
Talented colt Otis chalked up his eighth win from 26 starts and boosted his earnings to $78,406 when he raced without cover early and then enjoyed the one-out, one-back trail before finishing determinedly to snatch a head victory from the pacemaker Burghley Shard in the 2130m Direct Trades Supply Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Otis, the second fancy at $2.60, foiled a spirited bid by brilliant young driver Emily Suvaljko to land her fourth winner on the nine-event program.
“My plan actually wasn’t to lead,” explained the 20-year-old Suvaljko. “We put the hood on because he comes out of the gate a lot better with it on. I wanted to hand up to Junior (Gary Hall jnr, driving the $2.25 favourite Mr Fantastic), but as soon as I grabbed hold of Burghley Shard, he started to hit a wheel. So, Junior then ducked in on my back.”
Burghley Shard, a $31 chance prepared by Kristy Elson, covered the lead time in a brisk 35.7sec. before relaxing and running the first quarters of the final mile in 30.6sec. and 29.5sec. before increasing the tempo with a fast 28.7sec. third 400m section. The final quarter was run in 30.4sec. and Burghley Shard just failed to hold out Otis, who was driven patiently by Dylan Egerton-Green.
Otis, trained by David Thompson and bred by Steve Johnson and raced by him and his daughter Charlotte, rated 1.57 and looks destined to develop into a strong candidate for classic events for four-year-olds next year.
He is bred to be a good winner, being the first foal from the Art Major mare Janet Gai, who is a full-sister to Isaiah Artois (winner of the group 1 Pearl Classic in 2014) and a full-sister to Mandy Joan, who has raced 47 times for 12 wins, 12 placings and stakes of $149,447.
Egerton-Green maintained his winning form at Narrogin on Saturday night when he brought the Hayden Reeves-trained five-year-old Second Amendment ($19) home with a solid burst from three back on the pegs to defeat Adda Navajos Gift in a 2242m event.
Alice Kay is bred to shine
Victorian-bred mare Alice Kay is bred to be a good winner, and she gave her trainer Katja Warwick a belated birthday present when Shannon Suvaljko drove her to an all-the-way victory in the Better Your bet With TABtouch Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Warwick, who celebrated her 49TH birthday last Tuesday, had Alice Kay primed and ready for a strong display and to take full advantage of starting from the prized No. 1 barrier for the first time in 12 starts in Western Australia.
Alice Kay was favourite at $2.20, and she was able to withstand an early bid for the lead from the $2.80 second fancy The White Rabbit. Alice Kay then kept her rivals at bay by running solid quarters of the final mile in 29.6sec., 28.7sec., 28.3sec. and 29.3sec. as she raced away to beat the strong-finishing Our Star Watch ($26) by three lengths at a 1.57.8 rate over the 2536m journey.
This gave Alice Kay her first win in WA and took her record for her breeder and owner Adam Kelly to 46 starts for nine wins, 15 placings and earnings of $136,624.
Alice Kay, by American stallion Art Major, is the first foal out of the Courage Under Fire mare Sandy Kay, who showed early promise in finishing second in the group 1 Vicbred Super Sires Series final for two-year-old fillies at Melton in July 2013 before being retired to stud with a record of seven wins in succession (six in Victoria and one in Devonport) and six placings for stakes of $48,950 from 14 starts.
Sandy Kay’s dam My Perogative finished third in the group 1 Vicbred Super Sires Series for two-year-old fillies at Moonee Valley in July 2005 and was retired with earnings of $49,075 from six wins and seven placings from 15 starts.
My Perogative’s dam Mindpower earned $137,410 from 12 wins and five placings from 34 starts. The highlight of her career was when she won the $200,000 Oceania El Dorado for three-year-old fillies at Moonee Valley in July 1993.
Swingband justifies his high price
Inexperienced two-year-old Swingband, a $70,000 purchase at the 2020 APG Perth yearling sale, gave a strong indication that he is destined for a successful career when he finished full of running to score a decisive victory in the 2130m Channel 7 Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
This was his third win for Baskerville trainer Ryan Bell from four starts and took his earnings to $21,098.
“He was super and sharp tonight and back to his best,” said reinsman Aiden de Campo after the Alta Christiano gelding, the second favourite at $1.90 in the field of five, had sprinted home strongly to win by two lengths from the $1.80 favourite Rombo Rabbit.
Swingband was restrained back to last from the outside barrier, while Gary Hall jnr dawdled through the lead time in a slow 39.9sec. and then first quarter in a dawdling 32sec. with Rombo Rambo, a smart winner at Pinjarra at his two previous appearances.
The third 400m section was covered in a smart 28.3sec. before the final quarter was run in 29sec.
Swingband settled in last position, seven lengths behind Rombo Rabbit, before de Campo eased the gelding off the pegs to move forward into the breeze. Swingband surged to the front 220m from home and coasted to the line, rating 2.0.8.
Swingband is the first foal out of the Bettors Delight mare Bettors Gem, who was a smart performer for trainer-reinsman Shane Young, earning $103,276 from her 11 wins and 13 placings from 40 starts. Swingband is related to the New Zealand-bred Ebony Gem, who raced 43 times for 13 wins and 19 placings for stakes of $317,030. A highlight of Ebony Gem’s career was his head victory over Lombo Pocket Watch in the group 1 Chariots Of Fire at Harold Park in August 2008.