Lavra Joe has bounced back from his WA Derby defeat in stunning fashion, winning last night’s Retravision Pearl Classic first heat (2130m) at Gloucester Park by 15.7m.
The Roll With Joe colt finished fourth in the derby last month, but returned to his brilliant best, leading throughout and rating 1.53.8.
Machnificent took a sit on Lavra Joe, who was able to work to the front comfortably in the early stages and never troubled.
The other heat was taken out by the David Thompson-trained Otis, who sat outside Rock On The Beach and fought off a late challenge from WA Derby winner Mighty Ronaldo.
The Justin Prentice-trained Mighty Ronaldo settled rearward for Gary Hall Jnr and stormed home to finish second and set up a rematch with Lavra Joe in the May 21st final.
Bettor Beach Belle made a winning start for her new trainer Nathan Turvey in the first heat of the Diamond Classic for the fillies.
The daughter of Bettors Delight, fourth in last month’s WA Oaks, held up comfortably from the inside draw and rated 1.59.5.
Turvey wasn’t sure what to expect from Bettor Beach Belle.
“I was happy to get away with the win,” he said.
“She hadn’t settled in too well since I took her over.
“I hope the 10 days to the final help her.”
Hall Jnr sealed a Diamond Classic heat double when he teamed up with the Prentice-trained Always An Angel.
It was a terrific drive by Hall Jnr, who was able to land in the one-one position from barrier nine and wear down leading pair Newsy and Joelene.