by Ken Casellas
Champion reinsman Chris Lewis will have a massive public following when he drives Americanbootscoota and Motu Premier in successive events at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
The four-year-olds are in tremendous form and Americanbootscoota looks set to extend his winning sequence to four by proving the master of his rivals in the Choices Flooring Bunbury Pace and Motu Premier stands head and shoulders above the opposition in the second heat of the Chandon Pace after having won at nine of his past 11 starts.
Wins by Americanbootscoota and Motu Premier will bring up a century of winners for Lewis at Gloucester Park this season. And Lewis also has extremely bright prospects of completing a treble by guiding the brilliant Jack Mac to victory in the Choices Flooring Golden Slipper.
Lewis is the leading city driver this season with 98 wins and has a good margin over Gary Hall jun. (85 wins) and Ryan Warwick (64). He is also the leading driver on all tracks this season, with 184 winners and a healthy margin over Warwick (158) and Hall (148).
Americanbootscoota, trained by Lewis’s wife Debra, is racing with great heart. He began speedily from barrier nine and forged to the front after about 450mbefore giving a powerful frontrunning display to win by four lengths from Billy Mack at a 1.58.2 rate over 2536m last Friday night. Lewis is again likely to drive the gelding aggressively from barrier five this week.
Motu Premier has worked hard and covered extra ground at his first three starts in Western Australia, but he has not been fully extended in winning all three races. Lewis has been engaged to drive veteran Northam-trained pacer Celestial Ruler in the Choices Flooring Busselton Pace.
The 11-year-old Celestial Ruler will be at long odds at his 205th start. But he could sneak a place. He will start from the inside of the back line and will enjoy a soft passage if the polemarker The Storm Chief holds up and sets the pace.
The Merv Jupp-trained The Storm Chief has a losing sequence of ten, but has sound prospects from the No. 1 barrier over 2130m.The gelding is noted for his powerful finishing bursts, but he is also a capable frontrunner.
The previous time The Storm Chief started from the No. 1 barrier was 12 starts ago when he led and won at a 1.57.9 rate from Superimposed and James Galleon on March 17 this year. The only previous time he has started from the pole was 40 starts before that, at his WA debut at Gloucester Park on March 29, 2016, when he trailed the pacemaker American Boy and finished second to that smart pacer.
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