It’s a pity that we won’t have a crowd at Gloucester Park on Friday night for the running of the Group 1 $200,000 Sky Racing WA Derby (2536m), but that doesn’t take away from the spectacle of the event.
The clash of Jumpingjackmac and Lavra Joe will be a highlight in itself, with members of the WA Trotting Media Guild divided on their opinions on who will emerge triumphant.
TABradio colleagues Matt Young and Hayden King believe Lavra Joe, despite his awkward draw on the inside of the back row, can still win.
They are so confident that they have made the Ray Jones-trained three-year-old their best bet on the nine-event card.
“Lavra Joe is a star, he has a tricky draw but that has inflated the price,” Young said. “His form over the longer trip is spectacular and I’m expecting him to be able to win the WA Derby.”
And King agrees.
“Lavra Joe has come up an attractive price in the much discussed WA Derby,” King said. “In a race that has promised so much for an extended period, he’s been the yardstick this calendar year. I fancy Ray Jones will have him peaking on the night and achieve a deserved G1 success.”
But Media Guild president Wayne Currall and longshot guru Pat Harding are at odds with Young and King, making Jumpingjackmac their best bet.
“The WA Derby is an intriguing race,” Currall said. “In one corner you have the best trainer in Australia, while in the other corner you have a hobby trainer. Gary Hall has declared Jumpingjackmac the best three-year-old he’s trained in his long and illustrious career. Ray Jones knows Lavra Joe is one of those rare horses that usually only comes around once in a lifetime. Both horses are standouts in the 12-horse field, but the barrier draw gives Jumpingjackmac a decided advantage. Lavra Joe will have to produce a career-best effort to beat him.”
Harding is thinking along the same lines.
“Should be an interesting night at GP with winners just a little difficult to select,” Harding said. “However, my best bet comes up in the main event, the WA Derby. With some wonderful form on the board, No. 4 Jumpingjackmac is the standout for me. I think he will continue his winning ways with style.”
The West Australian’s Ernie Manning is keen on Parmesan in race seven.
“Parmesan, chasing a fifth Gloucester Park win, can take advantage of barrier one when fresh at his first start for three months,” Manning said. “The gelding was formerly best known as a country performer, winning seven Pinjarra races in addition to recording victories at Bunbury and Northam. But he now appears firmly established as a city proposition for co-trainers Greg and Skye Bond, who have recorded more than 50 wins in the first four months of this season.”
Radio Great Southern’s form analyst Warren Wishart has made Lord Rosco his best for the night.
“I need to bounce back after a poor effort last week and I think I can with Lord Rosco,” Wishart said. “This is the perfect race for him to bounce back in. Brilliant gate speed sees him lead and over the 2130m he should be too strong at the finish.”
Award-winning journalist Ken Casellas has opted for Plutonium as his star bet.
“Plutonium, unplaced at his past three starts, drops significantly in class and should prove hard to beat in the final event, the 2536m Sky Racing Pace, at Gloucester Park on Friday night,” Casellas said. “Therefore I’m happy to make the Michael Young-trained five-year-old my best bet this week to send punters home on a happy note.”
The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft believes Alice Kay will make a winning standing-start debut.
“Alice Kay will be favourite when having her first start from behind the strands, but looks to get into the Race For Roses very well,” Havercroft said. “Began safely at a recent Byford standing-start trial and with a safe beginning she would be hard to get past.”
MATT: Mighty Ronaldo should get a lovely run and if there is a chink in the two favourite’s armour, he will be powering home.
HAYDEN: Qtown Rip Roaring ran a cheeky race the other night. In an open looking contest, he could provide a late surprise.
WAYNE: Parmesan will be sent out a short-priced favourite in race seven after drawing the pole, but don’t be surprised if Euphoric Moment worries him out of this race. The Collie-trained pacer is cherry ripe after four runs back from a spell and has been crying out for the longer trip. Could be put into the race early to use his fitness edge over the favourite.
PAT: My value bet comes up in race six with No. 9 Star Of Diamonds. With two wins and three places from her last five starts, and Chris Voak aboard, I think she can blitz this field.
ERNIE: Disco Under Fire has won 12 race and possesses the ability to bounce back after unplaced runs at his past five starts. Top reinsman Gary Hall Jr elected to drive the gelding though he has won only once in his last 19 races. He should be well positioned from gate four.
WARREN: In the other feature of the night, I thought Leap Of Faith was a great each-way play. Won the Easter Cup against the boys under standing-start conditions so no problem there and will appreciate racing against her own sex – will run well.
KEN: For value, I suggest eight-year-old Rocknroll Whitby. He will give plenty of cheek from out wide at barrier eight in the opening event, despite a losing sequence of 16 and only one placing from his past 12 starts. He is racing with admirable enthusiasm for Callan Suvaljko.
RYAN: Bracken Sky is drawn on the fence to get an economical run and could present late to contest the finish in the free-for-all.
Click here to view all of the Media Guild tips for this week.
Good punting from afar.