Busy night ahead for Wallis/Hackett team
By Michael Guerin
The odd man out of Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hackett’s stable could end up being their best chance at Alexandra Park tonight.
The beach trainers will take 10 horses to headquarters, which is nothing unusual in itself as they often provide valuable horse numbers to help fill out northern meetings.
But tonight their team will include Blitzembye (R3, No.7), the only pacer racing among 20 trotters they have in work.
“We have about 20 trotters but he is the only pacer we have and we really like him,” says Wallis.
It is not that the stable are strangers to training pacers and even very good ones as they prepared one of the most under-rated pacers of the last 20 years in Sly Flyin.
“We would definitely take more pacers but we do probably prefer the trotters,” admits Wallis.
Blitzembye actually resumed for the stable last Friday so the trotters won’t be totally dumbfounded by a set of hopples in the gear bag and he flashed home for second after being driven conservatively.
He looks a five-win horse in the making who should thrive in the easier winter competition but tactics early and the tempo of the race could decide his chances from his tricky barrier.
“He did a big job to win in the same prep as when he qualified last time so we expect him to be even better this time in.”
The star of the trotting team tonight is Invictus although his natural racing style is not suited by his 35m handicap in race nine, the main trot of the night.
“The 35m isn’t ideal but he can begin quickly. But it is hard to see him leading.
“But away from the best trotters he is hard to beat, especially once he gets closer to the front line.”
The Wallis/Hackett stable has three juvenile trotters in the second tote race for that crop in the north this season and Wallis says Faith In Manchester is their best hope.
“She galloped last start at Cambridge but we think we have that sorted out,” she offers.
They dominate race four tonight with four starters and suggest a roughie for punters, not a bad option in what is not the strongest maiden trot.
“Cruise Control might not have the best form but he has ability and won well at the workouts last week so we think he has a real chance, particularly if he gets things right.”
High In The Sky is rated an each way chance in race six where her manners could be handy in a capacity field which will make it hard on those who get too far back.
The best pacer in show tonight is Sires’ Stakes winner America Dealer, who returns from a wide draw in the feature pace which is unusually the last race on the card.
He is only using tonight’s race to get ready for the Jewels and then a Queensland campaign and he could settle last in the small field but he looked very ready when pacing his last 400m in 26.8 to easily beat some of these at the workouts last weekend so if presented at the right time he can still win.