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Fremantle Cup preview

More superb summer harness racing action from WA, this time the Fremantle Cup, the first of the open-class Group 1s this month. If you're doubting the quality of this race, the recent honour roll includes a three-peat from superstar Imthemightyquinn - click here to see his wins on YouTube.

WA harness expert, Trent Orwin @themightytrent3, steps up again to preview this enticing race.

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Fremantle Cup
Group 1, 2536m, $250,000
Gloucester Park, mobile start
R7, 2105 local time, 0005 Melbourne/Sydney

A total of nine runners will contest the Group 1 Fremantle Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. You did read correctly when I said nine runners would contest the event and not the 12 which are engaged because I am happy to put a pen through three of them from the outset. Soho Jackman, Sensational Gabby and Dundee Three cannot win and will not win the $250,000 feature race. Circumstances have ensured that.

David Hercules is the dominant race favourite after drawing barrier three. He will either press forward until he finds the lead from Copagrin or Tuxedo Tour, or he will be sitting in the breeze outside of the latter.

Trainer Kevin Keys has indicated that Tuxedo Tour will be holding the lead if he finds it from barrier two and with Copagrin assured of taking a sit in this company that is a strong possibility of eventuating.

Another strong indicator is that leading driver Gary Hall Jnr has elected to drive the up-and-coming talent over one of three horses prepared by his father Gary Hall Snr.

Based upon the above, there appears to be two possible speed maps.

Speed Map 1: Tuxedo Tour leads with Copagrin on his back. Hokonui Ben will be three back on the pegs with either Billies A Star or Sensational Gabby landing four back on the pegs. Dundee Three should be five or six back on the rail. David Hercules will land the breeze and that spot will not be up for grabs. In the moving line expect to see Billies A Star (if he decides not to go to the pegs), Heez On Fire, Northview Punter, Toretto, Bettors Fire and possibly Soho Jackman (he could head for the pegs after restraining.

Speed Map 2: David Hercules leads with either Copagrin or Tuxedo Tour on his back. Most of the field will occupy the same positions with the breeze now up for grabs and Bettors Fire, Northview Punter or Toretto looking most likely to press forward to find it. Heez On Fire should be driven cold and making his run with around 1200m left to travel as the three-wide train starts.

David Hercules is currently $2 with Tattsbet and represents no value until he reaches at least $2.50 given he could be forced to breeze over the entire 2536m journey. If he was guaranteed to lead then the $2 would look like Christmas had come early but there are no guarantees in Group 1 racing.

No one could deny that he deserves a maiden Group 1 victory in Western Australia more than any other pacer in the state (he has won three Group 1 races in Victoria) and victory on Friday night would see him surpass the magical $1 million mark in prizemoney, a mark that only very good/superstar horses achieve.

Tuxedo Tour is around the $4.50-$5 mark with most bookmakers and that looks about half of what his price should be. He is rising sharply in grade on the back of dominant form which includes the $35,000 Christmas Gift Final (2130m) when defeating Heez On Fire by 6.6m. They ran a 1:57.0 mile rate in the event and don’t be surprised to see that time or better in the Fremantle Cup over the longer trip. Questions have to be raised over his ability to sustain high-pressure throughout an event with the like of David Hercules eyeballing him at some stage. That’s if he leads. It only gets harder if he doesn’t.

Heez On Fire is around the $9 mark and looks a little short given he is going to have to reel off a 55 or 56 second half three-wide. His last start victory was sensational when ripping home in 57.5 over the trip but he will need to raise the bar again as he too rises sharply in grade. More like a $15 chance for mine.

Hokonui Ben is the reigning WA Pacing Cup winner and would love to add the Fremantle Cup to his list of triumphs. He is the second highest assessed pacer in the field and third highest prizemoney earner (behind David Hercules and Sensational Gabby).

The draw is not ideal but could be a blessing given a predicted early burn and sustained pressure throughout. He can save everything for one final crack at them and if he finds open pacing room he can storm over them. Looks the value in the race on an each-way basis at around $18 with Tattsbet.

Bettors Fire ran second in this race last year after leading and being run down by Im Victorious. The draw means he will either land the breeze or come three-wide with a run in a similar manner to Heez On Fire and he looks to be over the odds at $16 with Ladbrokes. Like Hokonui Ben, he can be backed each-way with a leaning towards backing the place for more than the win.

Billies A Star looks to be huge unders in my estimation given he ran third in the Golden Nugget (2536m) before taking out a standing start event against inferior opposition. Unproven in open-class and not prepared to take $12 about the four-year-old without a track record.

Copagrin looks an absolute blowout chance (more so for the place at $7.50 with Bet365) from the soft draw and he did get within a short half-head of Im Themightyquinn in the Pinjarra Cup from the same draw. If a couple of them go berserk then expect him to keep finding to the line. Include in exotics.

Hard to make a case for Northview Punter and Toretto given they do their best work in front, like Sensational Gabby, but they are a little tougher than her and could be knockout hopes also if everything fell their way.

Soho Jackman hasn’t won in free-for-all company and certainly won’t be saluting in the Fremantle Cup from a poor draw.

Sensational Gabby is a Group 1-winning mare and I mean no disrespect but she cannot beat the boys from back in the field. She needed to be leading or leader’s back. Third or fourth place are about all she could manage given these conditions.

Dundee Three is a questionable inclusion in the race given he hasn’t won since April and is not as good as potential/future Western Australia stars in Machtu, Soho Lennon and Our Jimmy Johnstone.

He will be looking for the shortest way home and I’d fancy that the children running along the grass next to the home straight would be a likely chance of beating him home on Friday night.

Selections:
1. David Hercules
2. Hokonui Ben
3. Bettors Fire
4. Tuxedo Tour
Best Roughie: Copagrin

Suggested Bets: Hokonui Ben & Bettors Fire each-way (more staked towards the place)

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