“The plan of attack will be to attack,” declared talented reinsman Kyle Harper when assessing the claims of smart two-year-old Bushwacked in the Follow The Stars To Allwood Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Bushwacked, a colt by Follow The Stars who is owned and trained by his breeder Shane Quadrio, will start from the No. 2 barrier and Harper is keen for him to set the pace against his most serious rival Whataretheodds, who will start from barrier three.
Bushwacked has won at three of his past four starts, the most recent being the group 2 Champagne Stakes over 2130m last Friday week when he set the pace and survived considerable mid-race pressure on his way to winning by a head from the Ryan Bell-trained Whataretheodds, who charged home powerfully from seventh at the bell.
Whataretheodds, to be handled by in-form reinsman Michael Grantham, then chalked up his third win from five starts when he dashed to the lead after 150m, set a brisk pace and held on to defeat The Miki Taker by a neck, rating 1.55.5 over 1609m, with final quarters of 28.2sec., and 27.2sec.
“Bushwacked is a lovely horse who goes very well in front,” said Harper. “We fended off Whataretheodds last start and I think he can do it again. They are both very nice horses, and fortunately we’ve got the barrier draw advantage over him.
“Bushwacked should improve on his last run; I think he’s still on the way up. His latest run was very impressive and to say that he can improve on that, you’re saying something. If that’s the case, he should be hard to beat. However, two-year-olds are tricky; they can be strong one week and not quite right the next.”
While Bushwacked and Whataretheodds appear certain to dominate betting on the race, the Aiden de Campo-trained and driven gelding The Miki Taker cannot be underestimated. He raced in fourth position in the fields of five at Bunbury on Saturday night and impressed with his determined finishing burst.
Harper is also optimistic about the prospects of My Sweet Deal in race one on Friday night and Cavalry Call in race three.
My Sweet Deal, owned and trained by David Hunter, boasts a splendid record of eleven wins, nine seconds and one third from 31 starts, and the New Zealand-bred four-year-old looks capable of fighting out the finish of the 2130m Budget Stockfeeds In Oakford Pace.
She will start out wide at barrier No. 7 and Harper will be relying on her ability to unwind a fast late sprint. She notched her third win from her past four starts when she raced in the one-out, one-back position before finishing strongly to beat Sidstrepo and The Code Breaker over 2242m at Narrogin on Tuesday of last week. It was an impressive display at her first appearance for eight weeks.
“I think she is on her way back to her best form,” said Harper. “It’s an awkward draw in quite a reasonable field on Friday night, but if the race is run to suit, I reckon she’ll be getting home the one of the best. She’s got a dazzling turn of foot and when the pace is on early, she is electric late.”
Cavalry Call is an eight-year-old and veteran of 164 starts but looks a sound prospect from the No. 1 barrier in the 2130m Milne Feeds Made In WA Pace for Byford trainer Peter Tilbrook.
“It’s an interesting race and I certainly would like to lead, said Harper. “He led up and won the Trayning Cup at Kellerberrin two starts ago. He won with the plugs in and was impressive. He rated 1.56.6 which was just shy of the track record.
“The number seven against his name (at his latest start) should be disregarded. He had a bad draw (No. 8) and was pushed wide on the track and he still ran a really nice race. If he doesn’t have to run a blistering lead time and is able to lead, I think he can win.”