12 July 2019
by Ken Casellas
Hopeland trainer Giles Inwood made a wise decision recently when he took the lease of six-year-old Batavia On Fire, a gelding who is racing in sparkling form and should get punters away to a flying start at Gloucester Park on Saturday night by winning the opening event, the 2536m Choices Flooring Northam Pace.
Batavia On Fire has had 11 starts for Inwood for three wins and seven placings and he is poised to make a bold showing from the No. 1 barrier. He possesses good gate speed and has led and won from barrier one at Gloucester Park and Pinjarra and has led and won from barrier three at Bunbury.
He will again be handled by Chris Voak, who guided him to an impressive victory from the breeze at Pinjarra four starts ago, rating 1.54.8 over 1684m. In a race over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday this week, Batavia On Fire finished an excellent second to Back In Twenty after racing wide in the middle stages and then in the breeze.
The final quarters whizzed by in 28.9sec. and 27.9sec. Three nights earlier at Gloucester Park on Friday of last week, Batavia On Fire started from the outside of the back line, raced three wide early and then in the breeze before fighting on gamely to finish third behind Black Jack Zac and One Off Delight.
Barrier one continues to prove to be a significant advantage at Gloucester Park and horses from the No. 1 barrier have won race one 17 times in the 44 metropolitan-class meetings at Gloucester Park this season, as well as recording nine seconds and four third placings.
Batavia On Fire, bred by Ted O’Connor, has won six times from 45 starts and is in the best form of his career. He has inherited a good share of the ability of his dam, the Rich And Spoilt mare Batavia Touchngo, who earned $117,878 from eight wins and four seconds from 18 starts. Among her wins for trainer Kevin Keys was the State series final fore two-year-old fillies in June 2009.
Looming large as the toughest for Batavia On Fire to beat on Saturday night is four-year-old Beltane, who has resumed after a spell in fine style for part-owner, trainer and driver Nathan Turvey. Beltane is favourably drawn at barrier two.
On Friday of last week, Beltane began speedily from barrier eight and raced three wide early before getting the breeze and then gaining the one-out, one-back trail and finishing gamely into fourth place behind Black Jack Zac. A week earlier, Beltane worked hard in the breeze and was a splendid second to Shockwave.
The Kyle Harper-trained and driven Kennys Revenge will start from the inside of the back line and should obtain an ideal passage behind the leader. The six-year-old caught the eye with a smart all-the-way win over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week. Robb Stark, trained by Gary Hall snr, will also be popular with punters, despite drawing out wide at barrier No. 8.