by Ken Casellas
Outstanding young reinsman Michael Grantham had the choice of five drives in the $23,000 Milwaukee 18 Volt One Key Tools Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night and he gave punters a strong lead when he opted to handle the smart and consistent Bronze Seeker, despite the Peter Anderson-trained eight-year-old drawing the outside barrier (No. 9) on the front line in the 2130m event.
He preferred Bronze Seeker to stablemate Lisharry, last-start winners Red Salute and Atlastalone and Dredlock Rockstar, an in-form pacer he drove to an all-the-way victory two starts ago.
Kristian Hawkins will drive Lisharry from barrier eight, trainer Ross Olivieri has engaged Deni Roberts to handle Red Salute (barrier seven), Maddison Brown will be in the sulky behind Atlastalone and Shane Steele will drive Dredlock Rockstar from barrier six.
Bronze Seeker started from the outside (No. 8) last Friday week and was seventh at the bell before finishing fast, out wide, to be a close-up fifth behind Kiwi Legend over 2130m.
Grantham drove Bronze Seeker to a splendid all the-way victory from the No. 1 barrier four starts earlier. He is sure to restrain Bronze Seeker at the start this week and rely on the gelding’s sparkling sprinting ability over the final stages.
Red Salute has returned to top form with a vengeance and Olivieri said that the eight-year-old was ”low flying” and this was a “winnable race.”
Red Salute began speedily from barrier No. 8 last Friday week and after moving to the breeze he obtained an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, before sustaining a three-wide burst from the 600m to take the lead 120m from home and win from the fast-finishing Lisharry, rating 1.55.3 over 2130m.
Dredlock Rockstar warmed up in style for this week’s assignment when he dashed over the final 800m in 55.4sec. and won a 2185m trial at Pinjarra on Sunday morning, beating Im Free Falling and the pacemaker Mister Versace.
Brown, fresh from winning with Auctioneers Elsu and Lovers Prayer at her only drives at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening, will handle Atlastalone for the first time. The nine-year-old scored in convincing fashion last Friday night, beating odds-on favourite We Tellthetruth by one and a half lengths after working in the breeze. The 98-start veteran will meet far stiffer opposition on Friday night.
Leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond hold a strong hand with three runners — polemarker Our Regal Ideal, Bettor Offer (barrier two) and Condrieu (inside of the back line).
Ryan Bell will drive Bettor Offer and said that he was keen for the New Zealand-bred six-year-old to set the pace. “He disappointed me last Friday night when he raced in the breeze and faded to seventh behind American Boy,” he said.
“He’s pretty quick out, but so are Our Regal Ideal and Fernleigh Rebel (barrier three). However, I’ll be attempting to get to the front. He likes it out in front and I’ll be disappointed if he is able to lead and gets beaten.”
Ryan Warwick, who is under suspension, drove Bettor Offer to an all-the-way victory from barrier six three starts ago.
Our Regal Ideal is in sound form. He led from barrier one and won from Twoandahalf Tigers four starts ago, but has been driven with a sit behind the pacemaker (after starting from a favourable barrier) at his latest three starts for two sixths and a third behind American Boy.
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