Prominent trainer-reinsman Aldo Cortopassi describes five-year-old stallion Major Pocket as pugnacious bully who does his own thing in races.
And Cortopassi is full of confidence that the powerful brown pacer will emerge triumphant when he contests the Bridge Bar pace over the sprint trip of 1730m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
“This is a big drop in class for him and the times he’s been running have been phenomenal and he’s been doing a bit of work in running those times,” said Cortopassi who is enjoying a successful season in the sulky with 90 winners.
Major Pocket, trained at Mt Helena by Ray Williams, is in splendid form and has the ability to overcome the awkward draw at barrier six and prove too strong and fast for his 11 rivals. He is overdue for a change of luck after being placed at his past four starts behind quality performers Saying Grace, Our Corelli, Simba Bromac and Major Trojan.
He finished strongly from the one-out, one-back position to be an excellent second to this year’s WA Derby winner Major Trojan, who sped over the final quarters of the 2536m event in 28.8sec. and 27.6sec. last Friday night.
“We tried early in this campaign to drive him quiet, but we failed,” Cortopassi said. “We switched him to stands (five in a row in April-May this year) to try to teach him to sit a little bit.
“But he’s such a big headstrong horse that he just likes being the bully. Ray and I have come to the conclusion that he just likes being the bully. If you fight against him, he’s bigger and stronger than us and he goes to war with you. So, you’ve got to let him do what he wants, and that’s to roll. And he’s quite happy doing it.
“Even last Friday night when we found Kristian’s helmet (Kristian Hawkins driving Hy Leexciting) all he wanted to do was to run over the top of him the whole way, even though we were rolling. He’s happy in front or in the breeze and running his type of race. He scooted home really well in 27.6sec. last week.
“For a horse who has had the number of starts (45) he has had and has earned the stakemoney ($134,212) he’s won, he has done a fantastic job.
“He has been mixing it with some very good horses and a run that caught a lot of attention was his second to Our Corelli. Now he’s back in a winnable race and he will be keen, especially over the mile.
“He ran second at a midweek meeting, rating 1.53 after going five, four and then three deep and then sitting in the breeze. I’d love to be able to get to the front on Friday night. We will be going forward from barrier six and we won’t be taking any prisoners.”
Major Pocket is the first foal out of Elena S, who earned $97,549 from nine wins and 20 placings from 59 starts. He has won 11 races after setting the pace in seven of them and working in the breeze in two others. This week he should prove too strong for some formidable opponents, including Shes Turbo Charged, Smoldering Ashes, Carter Micheal, Runaway Three, The War Nurse and Cut For An Ace.
Shannon Suvaljko gives polemarker Shes Turbo Charged a good chance, with the Courtney Burch-trained mare capable of a bold effort from the inside barrier.
“She has been running good races and she’s gone 1.54. She’s a good leader and we’ve been waiting for a barrier draw. This is the right race for her.”
In the other 1730m event on the program Suvaljko will handle the Debbie Padberg-trained Bad Round, who will be fancied from the No. 1 barrier. Bad Round is a smart beginner and a good frontrunner.
“I’ll be trying to hold up, but there is a chance he might get crossed,” Suvaljko said. Even if he is beaten out, Bad Round should fight out the finish after enjoying a perfect passage on the pegs behind the pacemaker. His main rivals loom as Hot Fraternity, Dominate The Dojo, Rock Me Over, Liam Neil and Waimac Attack.