This Saturday night is shaping up to be a career defining night for harness trainer Charles Draper, as his in-form pacer Crimson Floyd tackles the GWN Albany Cup (2683m).
The seven-year-old sealed his place in the $20,000 event with a narrow win at Albany on Australia Day, his third win from his past six starts.
Draper said he was surprised by how sharply Crimson Floyd had improved this campaign.
“I had him last season and the season before down here, and he won one race each year and a couple of placings,” he said.
“This year he has stepped up to the mark.
“He had a win late in the season at Kalgoorlie and he hasn’t looked back.
“I thought if I was going to have a runner in the Cup here, it would be Jasper Casper.”
Crimson Floyd starts from barrier one on Friday night, in a field which features WA Derby winner Handsandwheels, as well as Inter Dominion Heat winner Galactic Star and former Harvey Cup winner Kimba Bay, who is first-up since July.
Draper said he felt the gelding deserved his chance in the feature event of the Albany season.
“He’s pretty versatile from the stand or the mobile,” he said.
“He’s got a really good turn of foot but at times he can labour a little bit.
“His last 200m is dynamite though, and that is where he wins his races.”
Draper indicated Crimson Floyd would not hand up the lead easily from barrier one, but does hope to be getting a soft run behind the leader when he does get crossed.
Crimson Floyd has not run at Gloucester Park since October 2015, but Draper said another strong showing on Friday night could tempt him to send the horse to Perth next campaign.
“I thought it was the right time to step him up this week,” he said.
“I had a talk to Nathan Turvey about him the other week, and I might send him up to Perth to see if he is going to cut it up there.”
The Albany Cup gets underway at 9.00 on Friday night.