05/02/2013 10:47AM

Northlands Park: Gone in a Flash should fire fresh in Saturday optional claimer


Gone in a Flash, who runs well fresh, is clearly a force to be reckoned with when he makes his seasonal debut in a six-furlong optional claimer that will serve as Saturday’s feature at Northlands Park.

The sprint for 3-year-olds and up drew six horses, including stakes winner Boomtown Brat. Real Dingo, who just missed in the $100,000 Speed to Spare last year, adds strength to the field.

Gone in a Flash, trained by Ron Grieves, won his debut as a 2-year-old in 2009, his initial start in 2010, and after missing 2011 due to a hairline fracture in one of his feet, he won again when he resurfaced in a $40,000 optional claimer last year.

According to Grieves, who since 2008 has won with 21 percent of his starters returning from a layoff of 180 days or more, Gone in a Flash is primed for another strong effort coming off the bench.

“He’s just a real nice horse that tries every time,” Grieves said. “The only times he hasn’t won was when he ran in stakes races.”

Gone in a Flash is owned by Bar None Ranches Ltd., and Grieves said training at that facility in Dewinton, Alberta, is a big reason why his horses run so well coming off layoffs.

“It’s a great place to get them ready,” he said. “Gone in a Flash did a lot of training on the Equicizer before he came to the track.”

Rico Walcott rides Gone in a Flash, who will likely be involved right from the start.

Boomtown Brat also has good speed and could be dangerous if he breaks alertly with apprentice Amanda Pooli riding at 114 pounds.

Trained by Tim Rycroft, Boomtown Brat won the $50,000 Western Canada Handicap as a 3-year-old in 2011 but had a hard time keeping up with stakes company last year. Nonetheless, he had a productive season, winning a couple of $30,000 claiming sprints.

Rycroft also entered Real Dingo, who was a maiden at the beginning of 2012 but developed into a handy horse, winning three races and placing in three stakes. His best race was in the $100,000 Speed to Spare, where he lost by a neck to Toccetive despite going at least three wide around three of the four turns in the 1 3/8-mile feature.

The returning Shannon Beauregard will be aboard Storm’s Battle, who should be part of the pace. Beauregard has been off since she was injured in a training accident in mid-summer 2011.