Band plays on for Willis
Prue Willis with Mattnamaras Band

Port Kennedy trainer Prue Willis went close to notching her first city double at Gloucester Park last Friday night.

Willis was successful with Mattnamaras Band in the Moondyne Joes Bar and Grill Pace while she finished runner-up with Garvie Bay in the Odin Tavern Pace.

New Zealand-bred seven-year old Mattnamaras Band ended a losing sequence of 29 when he set the pace and held on to beat Kentucky Jasper and Nimrod in a three-way photo finish.

Driven by Justin Prentice, Mattnamaras Band jumped to the lead from barrier two and survived some early pressure before he had a soft run through the first 400m section of the final mile in 33 seconds, followed by a 30.8sec. quarter. He increased the tempo with final sections in 29.3sec. and 28sec.

‘‘He went super tonight,’’ Prentice said. ‘‘I wasn’t sure that he would be able to hold on after that burn early, even though he got an easy first quarter of the final mile. To sprint home like he did showed that he is a real nice horse.’’

Mattnamaras Band has had 55 starts in WA for five wins and he now has a career record of 85 starts for 11 wins and 24 placings, for stakes of $215,711.

Garvie Bay, having his third run back from a spell, was handy throughout before fighting on to finish runner-up to Davy Maguire. He was also steered by Prentice.

Meanwhile, Baldivis pacer Motoringwiththebest kept up his stellar form when he finished a smart third to dead-heaters Has The Answers and Please Release Me in the South St Ale House Pace.

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