Bad draw but high hopes for AG's White Socks
By Adam Hamilton
Co-trainer Luke McCarthy is thrilled with A G's White Socks ahead of the popular Kiwi pacer’s debut for the stable on Saturday night.
The classy eight-year-old launches the next phase of his career and returns from a five-week break in a strong Wondais Mate Open (1660m) at Albion Park.
It’s his first run since finishing fourth in the Auckland Cup on May 27.
“He’s been up in Queensland a couple of weeks and has thrived. He’s loving the weather here,” McCarthy said.
“We’ve also been swimming him as we’ve found mixing things up with older horses like him can really brighten them up. He’s taken to the swimming well.
“We’re really looking forward to getting him to the races this week, the only negative is the (barrier) draw.”
Luck deserted A G's White Socks in the random draw. He landed the worst possible alley, outside the back row (gate 11) in the sprint race.
As he declared a couple of weeks ago, McCarthy is driving A G’s White Socks instead of favourite and stable big gun Spirit Of St Louis, who has a much better draw (gate five). Jack Callaghan is back aboard him.
“Jack was always going to drive Louis this week and in the big ones. I’m keen to get a feel for the other guy (A Gs White Socks) at the races with the big races (Sunshine Sprint and Blacks A Fake) just around the corner,” McCarthy said.
There is plenty of depth in the race with Jason Grimson’s Messenger winner Majestic Cruiser (inside back row, gate eight) and his emerging former Kiwi speedster Fire Fox (four).
The best of the locals are the much-travelled former Kiwi pacer Star Galleria (gate two) for trainer-driver Ricky Thurlow, slick beginner Northview Hustler (three) and 1660m track record holder Blacksadance (nine).
McCarthy is pleased with the progress of comeback pacer Jilliby Kung Fu, who is aiming for three wins from as many starts back from three years on the sidelines.
Jilliby Kung Fu has gate four in a second-tier 1660m race (race seven), but it will be a test against noted speedster Crunch Time (gate one), emerging Its Mr Cooney (two) and classy NSW visitor Make Mine Memphis (eight).
On the same card, top Queensland trainer Grant Dixon is hoping to snare a second runner in the Rising Sun with Tims A Trooper.
Last week’s Redcliffe Derby winner has the pole in the inaugural $50,000 Group 2 Queensland Sun. It’s a race for Queensland-only trained pacers where the winner is guaranteed a spot in the $305,000 Group 1 Rising Sun a week later.