First-up runner Dasher VC has drawn gate two in Friday night's $400,000 SEW Eurodrive WA Pacing Cup (2536m) at Gloucester Park and looks set to be a betting firmer when star reinsman Chris Lewis takes the Group 1 drive on him.
He is likely to start second favourite behind Im Themightyquinn, whose connections were not deterred when the Inter Dominion Champion received a back-line berth at yesterday's barrier draw.
Harness racing bookmaker Steve Mulhall posted Im Themightyquinn at $1.60 and $6 Dasher VC at $6 after the draw at a Gloucester Park lunch. He rejected a challenge from Dasher VC's part-owner Paul Poli to immediately accept a bet.
"Under racing rules, I can't bet on the cup until on-course wagering begins one hour before Friday night's first race," Mulhall said.
"One thing's for certain. I'll now be offering Dasher VC at close to $4 on Friday, rather than $6."
Poli declined to reveal the size of a wager he wanted to make.
"It would've been an interesting bet," Poli said.
"Gate two gives Dasher VC the chance to lead and go one better than his second to Im Themightyquinn in last season's WA Pacing Cup."
The Andrew De Campo-trained six-year-old has won at 20 of 40 starts and earned stakes totalling $426,000. He last raced when fourth in the Mount Eden Mile (1700m) at Gloucester Park on October 26.
"It was planned Dasher VC would be freshened before tackling the cup at his first start in more than two months," Poli said. "He's very fit from track and beach work.
"I thought he would open at $3 or $4 in cup betting. When $6 was offered, I couldn't resist approaching the bookmaker. But I've now shown our hand."
Trainer Gary Hall Sr said Im Themightyquinn's draw in 11 would be ideal for the $3.4 million stake-earner.
"He'll drop out from the back line and be driven patiently," Hall said. "Quinnie's best when settled and held up for a late run."
Hall's second-string cup runner Livingontheinterest drew gate nine and Mulhall quoted him at $9, with the Tony Svilicich-trained Mysta Magical Mach (gate four).
"The draw will suit Mysta Magical Mach," said reinsman Kyle Harper. "We'll go forward in early stages."
Crombie was quoted $101after drawing gate 10, but trainer-reinsman Kim Young said the horse could be prominent. "He's clear of tendon trouble which threatened his career last year," Young said.
- BARRIER DRAW *
Rocket Reign, Dasher VC, Can Return Fire, Mysta Magical Mach, Russley Rascal, Franco Renegade, Sneakyn Down Under FR; Uppy Son, Livingontheinterest, Crombie, Im Themightyquinn, Lombo Navigator. Ohoka Dallas (Em1), Aussie Made Lombo (Em2).