Ellalong trainer-driver Michael Formosa believes the wide draw for defending champion Lennytheshark could help his stable star Ultimate Art beat the odds in the opening Perth Inter Dominion series heat at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Lennytheshark is vying with Hectorjayjay for outright favouritism in the premier series and has drawn poorly in barrier eight for the first of three rounds of $75,000 heats. Hectorjayjay will start from eight in the third and final heat on opening night.
Ultimate Art, an $81 chance for the series and $41 hope for Friday night with TAB Fixed Odds, will begin from gate six in heat one (2130 metres) at 10.25pm (AEDT).
Although not an ideal barrier in the 10-horse race, where nine come off the front row, Formosa believed the even wider draw for Lennytheshark could help Ultimate Art.
Formosa believed the Gary Hall snr-trained Beaudiene Boaz, which drew five, would take the early lead and force David Aiken’s Lennytheshark to work outside him, creating genuine speed in the race.
He hoped Ultimate Art could find cover from his average draw and take advantage of a fast tempo late.
“I think if Beaudiene Boaz leads and Lennytheshark sits outside him, there will be a little bit of pace on and hopefully we’ll get over the top of a few of them up the straight,” Formosa said.
Formosa, though, said the start would be an even greater unknown given it was the first heat of the series.
“The mobile sometimes has different speeds in different states, so you’re not going to know what’s going to happen until you’re out there,” he said.
Regardless, Formosa expected Ultimate Art to perform well after a solid trial at Pinjarra on Sunday and a faultless preparation at the nearby stables of trainer Gary Elson.
“He’s going really good the horse so it will be interesting to see how he goes,” he said.
“There should be no excuses for him and I think he should get better after the first heat.”
Formosa indicated he would take a cautious approach to the first heat given the short back-up to rounds two and three on November 29 and December 2.
“You sort of want to get points but you don’t want to bust him trying to either,” he said. “We’re going to need a bit of luck, so hopefully we get a good draw out of one of the heats so we can see what we’ve got.”
Ultimate, a seven-year-old entire, was an Inter Dominion heat winner in 2015 at Menangle but missed the Perth edition last year.
The Elson stables were recommended to Formosa by James Rattray, the trainer-driver of champion Beautide, when he decided to not make the trip to Perth this year.