Trainer Ray Jones has sounded an ominous warning to his rivals ahead of tomorrow night’s Retravision-Pearl Classic first heat (2130m) at Gloucester Park, declaring Lavra Joe is fit and ready to fire on all cylinders.
Lavra Joe finished fourth in the Sky Racing-WA Derby behind Mighty Ronaldo and has drawn barrier four for his first assignment since the time-honoured feature tomorrow night.
Machnificent has drawn barrier one for his first-up assignment and looks the testing material for Lavra Joe.
Jones said he felt his stable star may have been underdone in the Derby and expected he would thrive for the remainder of his three-year-old campaign.
“He’s very well and I’ve actually increased his work,” Jones told The Trots WA.
“I felt he was probably a bit underdone in the Derby and he probably got away with it in the two runs he had at Bunbury before it.
“I’ve upped his work and he’s had three gallops since then and actually looks like he’s trimmed up a bit.”
Lavra Joe stamped himself as the class three-year-old going into the Derby with feature race wins in the Caduceus Club Classic (2130m), Western Gateway (2536m), Battle Of Bunbury (2100m) and the Country Derby (2569m).
He was left in the breeze outside Jumpingjackmac in the WA Derby and finished outside the top three for the first time in 15 starts.
Jones said he was confident reinsman Chris Lewis would be able to find the front from barrier four tomorrow night.
“He will come out running,” he said.
“He will have a fair hit out in the heat as he loves the racing.”
Jones said he would keep Lavra Joe in work for the Group 1 Westbred Classic (2130m) on June 18 and hinted he could also run a week earlier in the Westsired Pace.
Jones also has Been Scootin in the Cowden The Insurance Brokers Pace (2130m) tomorrow night for the two-year-olds and said he expected a “forward showing”.
Mighty Ronaldo will have a lot trickier task in the second heat of the Pearl Classic, where he will start from barrier eight.
Rock On The Beach (barrier one), Otis (three) and Give Us A Wave (six) loom as key dangers to the Justin Prentice-trained pacer.