Weekend Racing Preview
Talented trotter Powderkeg returns to Globe Derby Park on Saturday in the $6,999 The Globe Bar & Gaming Trotters Handicap (2230m).
Trained by Jill Neilson at Penfield, Powderkeg was bred and is owned by Geoff Easom who runs Wyndown Stud and will be driven by Ryan Hryhorec who was in the sulky when he won a trial late last month at Globe Derby Park.
The six-year-old has won 11 of his 75 starts with a career highlight being a second to Majestuoso in a heat of the Inter Dominion at Geelong in December last year and he has been racing against Victoria’s best trotters.
However, the reality is that he has only won one race in the past 18 months and that was over 2690 metres at Maryborough on October 28 last year, but she still has been handicapped off 30 metres.
The imposing squaregaiter has a reputation of being “hard to get along with” and often can gallop in his races.
Neilson said Easom had decided to bring him home from Victoria after two poor runs and give him a break.
“It was his first decent spell in quite a while,” Neilson said.
“When he first went back to Geoff’s farm, he was running the fences because he is still an entire and there were a lot of mares around.
“He did settle down and when he came back to my stables, I put him in a paddock away from most of the horses and I have been really pleased with the way he has quietened down.
“Even when I took him to the trials, he was a lot better and not rearing up as he has done previously.”
Neilson said he had discussions with the handicapping panel over the past two weeks believing Powderkeg had been rated up to his best form.
“He hasn’t raced for six months and hasn’t won for 18 months, I thought he might have had a 10-metre lift, but it was not to be.
“The team at home have done a wonderful job with him and would love to see him continue racing here, but the handicaps could force Geoff (Easom) to consider his options and send him interstate where his handicaps would mean he would not have to put in gut buster efforts to win.”
Neilson also has the consistent Lovelorn engaged in the handicap, coming off 10 metres with Wayne Hill in the sulky.
“Lovelorn had been used to having Dani (Hill) driving and has taken a few runs to adjust to Wayne, but I thought his last win was very good,” the trainer said.
“If Wayne can find the front on Saturday, I’m sure Lovelorn can run the sectionals to make it very hard for Powderkeg to catch him, and that is if he has trotted throughout.”
Saturday’s meeting sees the return to Globe Derby Park of the former New Zealand pacer Fletch Maguire who has been unbeaten since joining the Gawler stable of Aaron Bain.
Around the Christmas – New Year period, Fletch Maguire won four races before having a break.
He resumed at Mildura on July 21, seeking his Vicbred bonus which he ultimately collected with a comfortable five-metre win.
Bain has given him a few weeks to get over the run and Fletch Maguire runs in the SAHRC Concession Drivers Series (1800m) and in-form driver Samantha Pascoe is the lucky person to pick up the drive.
Fletch Maguire will come from gate four and looks well placed to continue his winning run which will please one of his part-owners, champion Sydney jockey Tyler Schiller.
Bain also looks to have good prospects in the opening event, heat one of the Bargain Steel Centre Pace (1800m) with another ex-New Zealander Our American Maid.
The mare ran third to her stablemate American Beauty at her most recent run, and from gate two with Gaita Pullicino in the sulky, should be prominent throughout.