07 December 2017 | Ken Casellas
Lightly-raced five-year-old El Jacko won a heat of the International Health Products San Simeon Pace with such authority that he should overcome a back-line draw and win the $50,000 final over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
He will start from the inside of the back line and Ryan Warwick is sure to make every effort to manoeuvre the New Zealand-bred gelding off the pegs in the early stages.
These were the tactics when El Jacko started from the inside of the back line in a qualifying heat last Friday week when El Jacko sustained a spirited three-wide burst in the first circuit to get to the breeze outside the pacemaker Touch of Success after failing in a determined challenge for the lead.
However, El Jacko paced strongly in the breeze before surging to the front 300m from home and winning from Stroke of Luck and Major Stare, with final quarters in 27.7sec. and 28.7sec.
The Kerryn Manning trained and driven Stroke of Luck will have many admirers in the final in which he will start from barrier four on the front line.
Mista Shark, Reaza Grunter and Fanci A Dance all come into the final with sound each-way prospects. Mista Shark, to be driven by Michael Grantham for his uncle, Blythewood trainer Michael Brennan, will be attempting to stretch his winning sequence to seven. He has worked hard before winning at Bunbury at his past two outings and, from barrier five, will have a legion of followers.
Reaza Grunter, the only mare in the final, gave a sample of her class with a record-breaking victory in a heat last Friday night when she made most of the running before racing away to beat Touch of Success by four lengths. Fanci A Dance flew home from seventh at the bell to be a half-head second to Mista Shark in a heat at Donaldson Park, Bunbury, on Tuesday of last week.
Several runners will be supported in the final of the $50,000 Princi Butchers Binshaw Pace, with Talktomeumattjesty and Mary Catherine expected to head the markets ahead of Livura, Aussie Delight, Thereugo and The Trilogy.
Talktomeurmattjesty disappointed at 3/1 on when he raced to an early lead, set a solid pace and wilted to third behind Mary Catherine and Assassinator in a qualifying heat at Bunbury. However, he won so effortlessly, first-up, at his previous outing that he deserves a chance to atone for that defeat. However, Mary Catherine is sure to prove hard to beat after superb victories at her past two starts for Capel trainer Andrew de Campo.
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