In form jockey Shaun McGruddy and trainer Chris Gangemi will attempt to continue their successful partnership when Glacial Energy contests the Spencer Signs Maiden (1400m) at Bunbury on Thursday The pair ..
The pair was successful at Ascot last weekend when The Underworld, last season’s Belmont Guineas winner, rocketed home with a barnstorming finish to land his first win this preparation.
It was the first-leg of a riding double for McGruddy; he won later on the programme with smart mare Miss Dandy who continues to race in terrific form when she brought up her third consecutive win.
Glacial Energy, a five-year-old entire, debuted last year and has shown ability with two minor placings from three appearances including a third to Railway Stakes placegetter Westriver Kevydonn.
He came close to breaking his maiden status at Bunbury on December 9, his return run from a spell, but was edged out by Just A Noble who travelled from last to win by half-a-length.
He then attempted to lead all-the-way as he stepped up over 1400m, but faded over the latter stages to be placed third and beaten two lengths by Sniff Of Victory when commencing an even money favourite.
McGruddy replaces Jarrad Noske who is out suspended and believes if the five-year-old can overcome a wide barrier draw he will prove difficult to beat.
“He has drawn the outside but on his form he should win,” McGruddy said.
“The two horses that have beaten him at his previous two starts have gone on and performed very well since.
“On his form he should go very close to winning.”
McGruddy’s second and final ride on the eight event card is Bedamijo who will jump from barrier 10 in the Total Telephone Maiden (1400m).
The daughter of Helenus has yet to salute the judge in three outings but hasn’t been disgraced since first stepping out last November.
She last appeared on December 18 when placed seventh and five lengths from talented McFlirt mare Be So Ryski who is unbeaten in two career starts.
“Connections of this horse are very confident she can go close,” McGruddy said.
Issuing a strong challenge will be Rock City who has been a model of consistency with three second placings from five starts this campaign.
He went desperately close last-start when a short-head second to Duchess Davric and if he can overcome barrier 14 and maintain his current form he could prove hard to hold out.
Earlier in race one, the Amelia Park Maiden (1000m), talented filly Enshrined makes her much anticipated return to racing.
The Fusaichi Pegasus three-year-old has had the one start but it wasn’t a bad one when third to Fairetha Stakes winner Ron’s Call at Northam almost four months back.
She looks to have a bit of class behind her and can give trainer Lindsey Smith a flying start to the meeting.
Michael Lane will unveil stable newcomer Tellem Ya Dreamin who hasn’t raced since finishing third to Earl Of Pembroke over 1600m at Ballarat last September.
The Pins gelding tuned up for his first-up appearance with a dominant four length trial win and will have strong admirers in the Lion Maiden (1100m).
Hardest to beat appears to be Aldentae Girl who travelled wide throughout when third to Tigers In The Woods at Bunbury on December 28, her first run back from a spell.
Flying Lord, prepared by Trevor Andrews, has performed creditably in two starts to date and will push for claims in the Brunswick Traditional Country Bakery Handicap over 1400m.
The Flying Pegasus colt was fourth to Screaming Plum on debut before a fifth placing to Uncle George on December 31 over 1200m.
On both occasions he settled back in the field before hitting the line well and should benefit from the increased journey.
Malcolm Byas is enjoying good return from Sky Balloon who has won three out of her past four starts including an easy win over Army Miss on New Year’s Day.
The pair look poised to fight out the Rossiter Painting Contractors Handicap (1100m) along with Le Sacre and Bear Rio.
And in the last, the South West Autumn Racing Carnival Handicap (1675m), strong claims for Just A Noble.
The Simon Barass-trained Viscount gelding scored an awesome win on debut three starts back and has since run consecutive thirds.
The step up to the mile will suit with Sea God and Scotland Street to fill the minors.