11 January 2018 | Ken Casellas
Shannon Suvaljko, leading the West Australian drivers’ premiership table, has labelled Maczaffair as the best of his seven drives at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
He firmly believes that the New Zealand-bred four-year-old has the class to overcome the disadvantage of starting from the outside barrier (No. 9) in the Retravision Your Air Conditioning Specialist Pace, a 2536m event for mares.
Maczaffair, trained by Mike Reed and the winner at 15 of her 33 starts, has had the luxury of leading from favourable barriers (two and three) and winning comfortably over 2130m at her past two starts.
“You would think that Friday night’s race is a drop in grade compared to the Fremantle Cup, a race she was aiming at,” Suvaljko said.
“The 2536m is her cup of tea and she will run a great race. The distance won’t worry her. She has won over 2536 in the WA Oaks last May and finished a half-head second to Mitch Maguire in the 2536m Western Gateway two months before that and last month she finished second to Ultimate Machete in the 2536m Golden Nugget.
“On Friday night she can either go forward or go back at the start. I’ll listen to Mike and see what he wants me to do. Last Friday night she did it easily and went to the line powerfully.”
Maczaffair should be able to prove too good for Nathan Turvey’s smart mare Bettor Boa, Sarah Suvaljko’s evergreen eight-year-old Auctioneers Elsu and Clint Hall’s promising Ladys Are Ideal.
Bettor Boa led when a wilting third to Glow Bright and Handsandwheels over 2130m last Friday night and she may be better suited when held up for a late burst.
Auctioneers Elsu, a veteran of 190 starts, trailed the pacemaking Maczaffair and fought on gamely when second to that mare over 2130m last Friday week.
Ladys Are Ideal should be handy throughout after starting from the inside of the back line. She covered a good deal of extra ground and showed a good turn of foot in the last lap when an easy winner over Four Legged Frenzy at Albany last Saturday night.
Shannon Suvaljko is also enthusiastic about the prospects of the Matt Scott-trained nine-year-old Another Arjay in the Retravision Joondalup Superstore Handicap, a stand over 2503m.
Another Arjay, an all-the-way winner in a stand over 2030m at Busselton two starts ago, will start from the inside barrier on the front line and Suvajko plans to set the pace.
“He’ll lead and will be hard to beat,” Suvaljko said. “He’s had four country runs after a resuming from a spell and is ready to win in town. “He would have won easily at Busselton last week, but I couldn’t get out. He won well at his previous start.
“Always Arjay is a really fast beginner and Idealindiamonds probably will have to sit outside of him. Idealindiamonds sat outside of Assassinator and couldn’t get over him, and I think that Always Arjay is as good as Assassinator.
Idealindiamonds is racing keenly for leading trainer Skye Bond and looks set to fight out the finish. The six-year-old who has won at five of his seven starts this season will begin from the 10m mark and Ryan Warwick will be anxious to keep him in front of Assassinator, who also will begin off 10m.
Chris Voak gave punters a good lead by opting to drive the Ross Olivieri-trained Assassinator in preference to talented four-year-old Im Rockaria.
Im Rockaria will be handled by Michael Grantham at his first appearance in a stand and trainer Michael Brennan is confident the gelding will prove hard to beat. “He performed well when he qualified at trials to run in a stand,” Brennan said. “Nothing seems to bother him and I expect him to run a very good race.”
Brennan also has high hopes for Sangrial in the Retravision Pace for three-year-old fillies. She is favourably drawn at barrier two on the front line.
Grantham returns after serving a suspension and Grantham advised punters to give the filly another chance after she had disappointed as favourite at her past two starts. Little went right when Miss Sangrial finished third behind Cott Beach and sixth behind Marquisard.
“Last week she didn’t get out of the gate all that good and subsequently probably choked down a little bit,” Brennan said. “I trialled her again on Sunday and she felt absolutely amazing when she crossed from seven in a stride. I think from No. 2 she can cross Cimorene but it’s not the end of the world if she doesn’t find the front she’s got a wonderful sit and sprint capacity.”
Brennan said that Grantham had a special affinity with Miss Sangrial. He has driven the filly ten times for all her six wins in Western Australia, as well as finishing seconds in the Group 2 Champagne Classic and Group 1 Diamond Classic.
Approved By Dean Baring www.harnessbred.com
Driving The Future Of Harness Racing