Former Kiwis square off in Perth
The clash we have been waiting for will play-out at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Former Kiwi pair Minstrel and Magnificent Storm, the two most exciting pacers in WA and quite possibly the whole of Australia, lock horns for the first time at open-class level in the $30,000 Group 3 York Cup (2130m).
It’s their third clash, but the first since Minstrel squared the ledger at 1-1 when he out-toughed the brilliant Magnificent Storm to win the Group 1 Golden Nugget at Gloucester Park on February 12.
The Team Bond-trained Minstrel then had nothing go right after a hectic week of travel when ninth in the Chariots Of Fire before a spell. He’s returned with five sparkling wins this campaign.
Magnificent Storm’s second in the Nugget was his only defeat in 16 WA starts for trainer Ray Williams.
Williams turned him straight out for a spell after the Nugget and the son of American Ideal has looked terrific winning all three runs this campaign.
They are the future of WA harness and would already be the top two in betting for the Group 1 double, WA and Fremantle Cups, early next year.
Minstrel has the barrier draw advantage this week from gate three, with Magnificent Storm out in barrier seven.
It’s great to see them clash again for what should be the first many times this campaign.
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New trainer Andy Gath admits Saturday night will be a “bit of a learning curve” when star pacer Wolf Stride has his first run for the stable at Geelong.
“We got him when he was well into his preparation for this campaign, so we’ve been learning more about him each week,” he said.
“He’s not a flash track-worker so it’s been a bit hard to get a line on him, but we’ve been happy with his two trials.”
Wolf Stride, who joined Gath’s stable in July after the split between Emilio Rosati and his private trainer Anthony Butt, ran on well from last to finish fourth behind the brilliant General Dodge in a Melton trial on August 23.
“We took him to Geelong (last) Monday where he led, ran home in 55sec and did it really well,” Gath said.
“He’s going there to win this week and will be driven accordingly, but no doubt we’ll keep learning more about him as we go.
“We’re running him this week because there’s a $100,000 the week after for him.”
That’s the $100,000 Group 1 VHRC Caduceus Classic.
Wolf Stride joins other stable stars Majestuoso, McLovin and Tango Tara at Geelong to make it a huge night for Gath and his wife, Kate.