Flying filly set for 11 in a row
Pinjarra trainer Shane Young’s flying filly Wonderful To Fly is poised to extend her winning sequence to eleven by outclassing her rivals in the $50,000 Ride For Ahlia Daintys Daughter Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Wonderful To Fly has been a dominant force as a three-year-old this year with 12 wins and three placings from 15 starts, and she will be a long odds-on favourite from the prized No. 1 barrier. She warmed up for this classic with an effortless victory over Little Darling in the group 1 Westbred Classic last Friday week.
Always An Angel went into last year’s Daintys Daughter Classic as the $1.90 favourite and boasting a winning sequence of six. She began from barrier three and was unsuccessful in a concerted bid for the early lead and then faced the breeze before wilting to finish fifth behind the pacemaker and $7.70 chance Rumour Has It, who started from the No. 1 barrier.
This was the first time since February 2014 that the filly who started from barrier No. 1 had been successful. The winner in 2014 was Majorly Foxy Styx, who started at 3/1 on and won by six lengths --- the biggest winning margin in the history of the race --- and it completed a hat-trick of wins by the filly starting from the No. 1 barrier, with Talk About Mach (11/2) scoring in 2012 and Gota Good Lookadda (8/1) also leading and winning in 2013.
Wonderful To Fly possess excellent gate speed and Young is likely to have a trouble-free run in the lead, with the Barry Howlett-trained Little Darling, from the inside of the back line having a firm guarantee of enjoying the perfect sit behind the pacemaker.
Little Darling, to be driven by Chris Lewis, started from barrier five and worked hard in the breeze when a 10m second to Wonderful To Fly in the Westbred Classic a fortnight ago.
Bunbury trainer Sarah Wall’s consistent Dontbesillychilli ran on from sixth at the bell to finish third in the Westbred Classic. Dontbesillychilli will start from the No. 2 barrier on Friday night, with Emily Suvaljko anxious to gain a sit in the one-wide line.
Trainer Ross Olivieri, who prepared Double Expresso for her win in the Daintys Daughter Classic in 2020, will be pinning his faith in Taking The Miki, who has raced 20 times for five wins, nine seconds and two thirds. But reinsman Chris Voak admitted that, from the outside barrier (No. 9) on the front line, Taking The Miki faced a monumental task.
Leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond and star reinsman Ryan Warwick will be looking for a stout-hearted effort from In The Spotlight, a winner at nine of her 16 starts, who will begin from the No. 3 barrier. They combined to win the race with the brilliant filly Dodolicious in 2016.
Astute Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed has won the classic with Sheer Royalty (2009) and Maczaffair (2017). He will be represented by Queeninthecorner, a winner of five races who faces a stern test from barrier six.
Lewis seeks second Past President’s Cup
Champion reinsman Chris Lewis looks set to chalk up his second victory in the Retravision Past President’s Cup when he drives the seemingly indefatigable Lavra Joe in the $30,000 group 3 feature event at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
The four-year-old’s owner-trainer Ray Jones declares that the gelding thrives on racing --- and he will be racing at Gloucester Park for the eighth consecutive Friday night when he begins from the favourable No. 2 barrier in the field of seven.
Lewis, who has handled Lavra Joe at his past 37 starts, won the 2010 Past President’s Cup with the Ross Olivieri-trained Tsunami Lombo, the $1.50 favourite who started from barrier six and led after a lap before beating Nowuseeme and Village Steel.
Lavra Joe had a tough run in the breeze last Friday night when he finished second to the frontrunning Hampton Banner. But this week he should have the luxury of leading from the No. 2 barrier. He has the speed and strength to burst past the polemarker Withoutthetuh in the early stages.
Withoutthetuh, who is trained by Michael Brennan, will be driven for the first time by Trent Wheeler, who is expected to be content to take the sit behind the better-performed Lavra Joe.
Outstanding young driver Emily Suvaljko has chosen to handle the Nathan Turvey-trained six-year-old Miracle Moose (barrier three) in preference to the Gary Elson-trained Jaspervellabeach (barrier five).
Suvaljko has won seven times with Jaspervellabeach, and she has been in the sulky for the gelding’s past six starts for two wins, two seconds and a fifth placing. Jaspervellabeach will be driven by Deni Roberts, who has handled the gelding three times for two seconds and a fifth.
The Michael Young-trained Plutonium, who has performed brilliantly in his comeback campaign of seven starts for six wins and a third, faces an acid test from the No. 6 barrier in the field of seven.
“If Plutonium had drawn inside of Lavra Joe I thought he could’ve won,” said Young. Plutonium will be driven by Gary Hall jnr, who has won the Past President’s Cup with The Falcon Strike (2006), Beaudiene Boaz (2017) and Chicago Bull (2020).
Major Mucha gets his chance
New South Wales-bred six-year-old Major Mucha has been unplaced at his past six starts, including a last-start fading last place last Friday week, but his trainer-reinsman Chris Voak is upbeat about the gelding’s winning prospects in the $18,500 Wonderful To Fly Supports Ride For Ahlia Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
“He was disappointing at his latest start which was his third run in three weeks,” said Voak. “It wasn’t ideal sitting in the breeze, but I thought he would’ve gone a bit better. Now he’s having his first run for a fortnight and he’s feeling better.”
Major Mucha, who has won four times in Victoria, four times in Queensland and once each in South Australia and Western Australia, as well as being placed three times in NSW, will begin from the No. 2 barrier in Friday night’s 2130m event.
Two starts ago he impressed when he raced without cover early and then gained a good trip in the one-out, one-back position when a sound fourth behind smart pacers Mirragon and Doc Holliday.
“I’ll be making a bold bid for the lead on Friday night,” said Voak. “He has led twice at metro level for two seconds, one of them beaten narrowly by Soho Broadway and the other was when Finvarra beat him. And I think he’s going a lot better this preparation than he was in those preparations when he led.
“Providing he can cross the one (Suing You) he will run a very good race in front.” Major Mucha led when second, beaten a half-head by Soho Broadway over 2536m in May this year. He led when second, beaten by three lengths by the speedy Finvarra over 2536m in October 2021.
Major Mucha is an honest performer who has had 80 starts for ten wins and 24 placings for $86,607. He certainly has a much lower profile than his half-brother Shineonucrazydiamond, who amassed $455,961 from 29 wins and 43 placings from 156 starts.
Shineonucrazydiamond had 29 starts in New Zealand as a two, three and four-year-old before leaving for America in December 2017 where he won another 26 races.
Major Mucha’s maternal granddam Bella Joy produced Supersonic Miss, who had 31 starts for 17 wins, eight placings and $388,505 in stakes. A highlight of Supersonic Miss’s career was her win in the group 1 Breeders Challenge for three-year-old fillies at Menangle in June 2015 when she defeated Ameretto.
Suing You, part-owned, trained and driven by Shane Young, has finished at the rear at her four appearances since resuming from a spell. But she is a capable pacer who has won at 12 of her 48 starts.
Suing You, who should appreciate the No. 1 barrier, has started from that barrier at three of her wins, all when setting the pace. She has also led and won twice after starting from barrier two.
Velocipede sparkles at Byford
Inexperienced two-year-old Velocipede warmed up in style for the $20,250 Steel Blue Boots Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night with a dashing performance in a 2150m trial at Byford on Sunday morning.
The Fly Like An Eagle gelding, trained by Gary Hall snr, will begin from the No. 2 barrier and will be driven by Gary Hall jnr., who said: “We will come out and have a look (for the lead) and see if we can find the rail. It’s a good field and I think one of his main dangers is his stablemate Hes never Been Beta.”
Hes Never Been Beta will be driven by Stuart McDonald, who handled Velocipede in Sunday’s five-horse trial in which he began speedily from barrier four, dashed straight to the front and after slow opening quarters he sprinted over the final 400m sections in 29.7sec. and 27.3sec.
He careered right away from his rivals and won by 51 metres from True Aristocratic, rating 2.0.5. Velocipede rated 1.56.6 when he led and won over 1684m at Pinjarra two starts ago. He then enjoyed a good passage in the one-out, one-back position before pacing roughly with 250m to travel and finishing fourth behind Skylord over 2130m at Gloucester Park on September 6.
Velocipede is a full-brother to champion three-year-old filly Wonderful To Fly, who will be the main attraction on Friday night when she looks a certainty to win the $50,000 Daintys Daughter Classic.
Hall jnr said he expected Hes Never Been Beta (barrier five) to make a bold bid for victory. The Hes Watching colt made a successful debut when he raced in the breeze before beating Hez All The Rage and Fess Up over 2185m at Pinjarra on September 5 before finishing sixth behind Im The Black Flash after 2130m at Gloucester Park last Friday week.
“Disregard that sixth,” said Hall. “He would’ve finished second to Im The Black Flash if he had got a clear run.
Advantage (barrier one) and Rolling Fire (four) are smart geldings who will have admirers. Advantage, to be driven by Deni Roberts for trainers Greg and Skye Bond, has raced once for an impressive victory when he sat behind the pacemaker Wanea before surging to the front 300m from home and winning by 5m from Your Grace at a 1.57.3 rate over 1730m at Gloucester Park on August 12.
Aiden de Campo will drive Rolling Fire for Capel trainer Justin Prentice. His five starts have produced wins at Pinjarra and Gloucester Park.
With Three seconds from his past four starts Cheer The Major is overdue for a change of fortune, and the Gary Elson-trained New Zealand-bred six-year-old will attract considerable attention when he starts from the outside barrier in the nine-horse Tom’s Ride For Ahlia Pace.
Cheer The Major, to be driven by Emily Suvaljko, caught the eye last Friday night when he was trapped wide from barrier seven in the early stages before being restrained to last in a field of 12. He was tenth at the bell before flashing home, out wide, to finish second to Rockstar Rebel.
He covered the final 800m in 28.02sec., with the last 400m taking 27.43sec.
“I’ve always thought he was more of a tough horse, but this time in he’s got a bit of a sprint to him,” said Suvaljko. “I thought he should have won when he led at Pinjarra two starts ago (when second to Aussie Scooter). I was asking him to go at the 800m, and he wasn’t responding.
“We put the blocks on him last Friday night, and he was much sharper. Nine is not the barrier we wanted this week, but if the pace is on early and if luck goes his way, he is a winning chance.”
Hall jnr also believes that he has sound prospects with Master Publisher, who will start out wide at barrier seven at his third run after a spell.