The WA Pacing Cup (2936m) barrier draw has once again been kind to tough pacer The Bucket List, with the Michael Brennan-trained eight-year-old coming up with gate one, after drawing barrier two for the race 12 months ago.
This year’s WA Pacing Cup was blown wide open earlier in the week, when it was announced Inter Dominion Champion Lazarus would not take part in the Group 1 feature, after he pulled up sore from his brave second in the Fremantle Cup.
After winning the Inter Dominion Consolation last month, The Bucket List has been well beaten in his last two starts in the Village Kid Sprint and Fremantle Cup behind Bettors Fire and My Hard Copy respectively.
Brennan said gate one gave The Bucket List’s driver Michael Grantham plenty of options in the $450,000 event.
“He’s going to lob on the rail no matter what happens, which is imperative in feature races at Gloucester Park,” Brennan told TABradio’s The Sports Daily.
“Michael is going to have to make some on the spot decisions, but he knows the horse inside and out and I’m sure he will make the right decision on the night.”
Despite being well beaten at his last two starts, Brennan said he was confident the eight-year-old would improve on Friday night.
“He was a little bit disappointing last week, but I was probably a fraction light on him just off the back of a very hard Inters campaign,” he said.
“We’ve poured the work into him this week and his gallop this morning was nothing short of outstanding.”
Chicago Bull returns to defend his WA Pacing Cup title on Friday night, and is one of four horses champion trainer Gary Hall Senior has in the race.
American Boy, My Hard Copy and Ohoka Punter join the five-year-old as Hall’s runners in the starting line-up for feature event, as well as having emergencies Norvic Nightowl and Zach Maguire.
Chicago Bull’s chances of delivering Hall an eighth straight WA Pacing Cup took a blow at the barrier draw, when he drew barrier nine, while Soho Tribeca, who finished third behind Chicago Bull in last year’s Pacing Cup, drew gate eight.
Despite having to withdraw Lazarus and Ultimate Machete from the race, trainer Mark Purdon has Miracle Mile winner Have Faith In Me engaged from gate four.
Brennan also has Cut For An Ace engaged on Friday night in the third heat of the Nights Of Thunder pace (1730m), and he said he expected the 10-year-old to return to winning ways, after he performed admirably during the Inter Dominion Series.
“He was going super throughout that Inters campaign,” he said.
“We’ve given him a freshen-up, and his gallop this morning was really good, and I think he will be leading and winning.”