Former Victorian pacer Perfect Major is awkwardly drawn at barrier No. 5 in the $25,000 Members Sprint over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Friday night and star reinsman Chris Voak is planning to use the five-year-old’s strength in a concerted bid for victory.
Jack Farthing, perfectly drawn at barrier one, is certain to lead, with trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice driving the New Zealand-bred six-year-old for the first time in a race sure to be anxious to make full use of the gelding’s sparkling gate speed in a bid for an all-the-way victory.
Voak doesn’t want Jack Farthing to enjoy an easy unchallenged time in front, and he plans to make the sprint a strong staying test.
“It will be a strong-run race,” said Voak. “Perfect Major will breeze and run a mighty race. Jack Farthing from barrier one is my only danger.”
Perfect Major and Jack Farthing clashed over 1730m last Friday night when the polemarker Will I Rocknroll set the pace, with Jack Farthing, from barrier No. 8, racing three wide for the first 400m before working in the breeze.
Perfect Major began smartly from barrier nine and Voak dashed him forward, three wide, in the first lap in a determined effort to move alongside the pacemaker. But Aiden de Campo was equally determined to hold the breeze with Jack Farthing, leaving Voak with no alternative but to restrain Perfect Major back to last in the field of eleven.
Perfect Major was still last with 400m to travel when Voak sent him forward with a spirited burst. But Perfect Major met with interference and galloped for a couple of strides 100m later and was last half-way down the home straight before finishing strongly, out five wide, to finish eighth.
“Perfect Major felt great last week,” Voak said. “Jack Farthing wouldn’t hand the breeze up to him and I had to go back to last and then got knocked over at the 300m. If he hadn’t been knocked over, he would have finished third (behind Extradite and Rakasinc).” Jack Farthing faded to finish last.
Prentice decided to drive Jack Farthing this week after de Campo opted to take seven drives, five from his stable, at Bunbury’s Donaldson Park on Friday night.
Jack Farthing, who has won twice from eight starts in WA, is extremely experienced at racing over sprint distances. He has run in 43 events over 1609m in New South Wales for nine wins, five seconds and six thirds, with best rates of 1.50.3, 1.51, 1.51.3, 1.52.2 and 1.52.9.
With an anticipated battle between Jack Farthing and Perfect Major, it could play into the hands of Balcatherine, the only mare in the race.
Balcatherine, prepared by Gary Hall Snr, is the State’s best mare, who has won at ten of her 20 starts and is having her first start for 18 weeks. She will be driven by Gary Hall Jnr from barrier four.
“I’m sure she will go well,” said Hall Jnr. “She seems to be every bit as good as she was before she went out (for a spell) and her work has been really good. I reckon Perfect Major will put pressure on Jack Farthing, and the way Perfect Major went last week, I reckon he will take plenty of beating.”
The Hall stable will also be represented Eloquent Mach (barrier two) and Whozideawasthis (barrier eight). Callan Suvaljko will handle Eloquent Mach, who is resuming after a 22-week absence, and Maddison Brown will drive the ten-year-old Whozideawasthis.