This Friday night Gloucester Park will come alive as they host harness racing’s latest Group 1 feature, the coveted $200,000 SKY Channel WA Derby (2536m).
An elite final field of 12 star pacers plus two emergencies has been announced for the mobile start feature headlined by the brilliant David Hercules drawn well in barrier three.
The Artesian gelding has won six and placed in eight of his 20 career races including his last start victory in the Group 2 Western Gateway Pace (2130m).
Last week’s win was impressive as he charged home to beat his rivals by a remarkable 12.4 metres after starting from barrier one.
The only question hanging over the head of the classy three-year-old is how he will go stepping up to the testing 2536m distance of the Derby.
David Hercules, trained by David Thompson, has never raced over this trip with his longest distanced win being over 2130m, so how he goes with his stamina and staying ability will be revealed on Friday night.
Despite this, David Hercules will still start as the favourite as he aims to become the ninth horse to win the Western Gateway Pace – WA Derby double.
The three next placed horses that were well beaten by David Hercules in the Western Gateway all have their chance to turn the tables on Friday night as they also back up with a run in the WA Derby making for a supercharged showdown.
Runner-up Indomitable Saab and third placegetter the Ross Olivieri-trained Crombie both start from the back row in barriers 12 and 10 respectively, while fourth placegetter, the talented Lombo Navigator, has fared slightly better in barrier nine.
Other classy three-year-olds engaged in the 2010 WA Derby all lining up in the front row include Crombie’s stablemate, the consistent Dasher VC in barrier six, the Gary Hall-trained Why Live Dangerously in barrier seven, and the fast paced Grant Williams-trained Franco Jazzman likely to lead early from barrier one.
The lightly-raced Dasher VC has had a promising start to his career winning five of his eight races. The Washington VC gelding will be driven by master reinsman Chris Lewis in the Derby on Friday night, as Lewis attempts to equal Fred Kersley Snr’s six WA Derby wins record.
Lewis’ previous Derby successes were with Trunkey Masratti (1994), Saab (1998), Talladega (2000), Argent Treasure (2008) and In The Force (2009).
The 2010 SKY Racing WA Derby is scheduled as Race 7 at 8:50pm on the night’s bumper 10 event card. The other scheduled highlight is Race 6 at 8:20, the $50,000 Group 2 Empress Stakes (2536m) for mares).
2010 SKY Channel WA Derby Final Field & Barrier Draw
FRANCO JAZZMAN (NZ)
|G L Williams||Nathan Turvey||3C5||FR1|
CROMAC JOHNNY (NZ)
|G L Williams||Grant Williams||3C4||FR2|
|D A Thompson||Colin Brown||3C6||FR3|
|K F Keys||Stephen Reed||3C2||FR4|
|B E Cousins||Justin Prentice||3C2||FR5|
DASHER VC (NZ)
|R A Olivieri||Chris Lewis||3C5||FR6|
WHY LIVE DANGEROUSLY (NZ)
|G E Hall (Snr)||Shayne Cramp||3C6||FR7|
|J R Graham||Trevor Warwick||3C5||FR8|
|A L De Campo||Matthew White||3C5||FR9|
|R A Olivieri||Morgan Woodley||3C5||SR1|
|K A White||Gary Hall Jnr.||3C5||SR2|
|B D Morrison||Wayne Reid||3C1||SR3|
MYSTIC ARC (Em 1)
|M G Reed||Mark Reed||3C2||SR-|
CELTIC CRUSADER (Em 2)
|D M Padberg||Shannon Suvaljko||3C1||SR-|