Tilbrook's $8000 buy shows her class

05:24 AM 28 Apr 2014 NZST
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The winning connections of La Mia Juliette - pictured after her win in the WA Sales Classic.
La Mia Juliette, whose ancestry traces back to Dainty's Daughter, the greatest West Australian-bred pacing mare, gave convincing proof that she is on the doorstep of a wonderful career when trainer Peter Tilbrook drove her to a superb victory in the $100,000 Clipsal WA Sales Classic for two-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

La Mia Juliette, second fancy at 7/2 behind 10/9 favourite Isabella Jane, started from the outside of the back line (barrier three) and Tilbrook allowed her to relax in eighth position in the early stages while polemarker Maddyann Maree set the pace.

Tilbrook sent La Mia Juliette forward, three wide with 900m to travel and he was able to give her a breather down the back straight when he angled her into the one-out, one-back position at the 600m mark before taking off again, three wide, 230m later.

La Mia Juliette surged to the front 120m from the post and won by 2m from 8/1 chance Playin With Magic, who was seventh in the one-wide line at the bell and charged home five wide on the track. Choccywoccy (33/1) ran on solidly to be third, with Maddyann Maree wilting to fourth.

La Mia Juliette, a fast-finishing heat winner at her only previous start, is already proving to be a good buy. Tilbrook bought the Jet Laag filly for $8000 at the 2013 Gloucester Standardbred yearling sale and she now has earned $64,550 for Tilbrook's partner Letitia Barron and his good friend Luke Tabbakh.

The win came as a well-deserved compensation for Tilbrook, who outlaid $4500 to buy a Northern Luck colt at the 2011 yearling sale. The colt, who was out of True Royalty, showed considerable promise before he died. True Royalty is the dam of La Mia Juliette and Tilbrook was determined to buy her at the yearling sale.

True Royalty, by American stallion Barnett Hanover, was retired after having only two starts as a two-year-old in January 2007 when she finished in eighth and ninth positions. However, her dam Remember Rhoie, who failed to win a race from seven starts, produced six winners, including Lombo Buon Natale (100 starts for 14 wins, 23 placings and $112,061) and Perfect Rhoie (78 starts for 12 wins, 12 placings and $84,284).

True Royalty and Perfect Rhoie are direct descendants of Dainty Widow, the mother of Dainty's Daughter, who set a world record for two miles when she won the 1970 WA Pacing Cup. Dainty's Daughter also won the 1971 Fremantle Cup, the Meteor Mile at Gloucester Park in 1969 when her time of 1.58.8 set a world record for a mare on a half-mile track. She also became the first Australian-bred mare to record a sub-2min. time for a mile in Australia.

Friday night's triumph by La Mia Juliette gave the 42-year-old Tilbrook his second success in a group 1 event. His previous success was in the $100,000 State Sires Series final for three-year-old fillies when he brought 16/1 chance Beverley Button home with a powerful burst from the rear.

La Juliette is the fourth foal, and the first to race, out of True Royalty. She rated 2.0.1 over the 1730m on Friday night and Tilbrook said that she would have a little break before being prepared for the $100,000 Westbred Classic for two-year-old fillies on June 27.

"We've been going to the sales for quite a few years, trying to find one that would actually make the races," Tilbrook said. "And this one was good enough to give a name to. She sustained a really strong run in the heat from the 600m and she hit the line and went for another 200m at the same speed. So I thought she would be able to make a run in the final from the 900m.

"I didn't really want to go that early, but when the one behind me was trying to flush me out I thought I'd let him do that and that might put Isabella Jane in a pocket. And that seemed to work."

Isabella Jane, who raced in seventh position after starting out wide from barrier six, was inconvenienced and lost ground at the bell before finishing in ninth place.

PERSISTENT THREAT IN LINE FOR RICH PLUMS

Classy gelding Persistent Threat remained undefeated when Tom Buchanan drove him confidently to record a stylish victory in the $100,000 Clipsal WA Sales Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

This gave the 23-year-old Buchanan his biggest success in harness racing and Persistent Threat has all the earmarks of becoming the dominant force in rich two-year-old feature events in the coming couple of months.

If Persistent Threat pulls up well after his effortless triumph on Friday night he will contest the $50,000 Champagne Classic next Friday night, and all going well he will then run in the $100,000 Pearl Classic (June 13), the $100,000 Westbred Classic (June 27) and the $125,000 Golden Slipper (July 18).

Bunbury trainer John Graham has produced Persistent Threat in fine fettle for his first five starts --- for five easy victories and earnings of $77,225. For Graham, Friday night's win gave him his second success in a group 1 Sales Classic. He trained and drove Trunkey Mustang for his victory over Super Embrace and Whitby Nova in the 1994 two-year-old colts and geldings Sales Classic.

An excited Buchanan said that it was a thrill to win the classic and declared that it was a privilege to drive a youngster as good as Persistent Threat. "I'm glad to repay John (Graham) for the faith he has had in me," he said.

Despite going into Friday night's event with an unbeaten record, Persistent Threat was a 3/1 chance, with Ezygatboy, a heat winner at his debut the previous week, a warm 7/4 favourite from the No. 2 barrier. Obviously many punters considered Persistent Threat a risk from the outside barrier (No. 7) on the front line.

Polemarker Captain Oats was smartest into stride, while Persistent Threat settled down in ninth position before Buchanan seized the initiative and urged persistent Threat forward with a three-wide burst 1100m from home. Persistent Threat mustered great pace and he burst to the front with a lap to travel.

Persistent Threat covered the final quarters in 29.7sec. and 28.8sec. and won by a length and a half from Captain Oats, with more than two lengths to heat winner Blacklist in third place. Persistent Threat rated 1.57.6 which was a race record, bettering the 1.58 rated by Getaway Plan when he won the event in 2012. However, the track record for a two-year-old colt or gelding over 1730m remains at the 1.56.9 recorded by Hugh Victor when he beat Mister Jadore last August.

Ezygatboy, who enjoyed the one-out, one-back trail for most of the way, failed to flatter and finished seventh.

Persistent Threat is by Advance Attack and is out of the New Zealand-bred Live Or Die mare Well That's Life, who had 69 starts for 12 wins, 21 placings and stakes of $69,158. Well That's Life finished 11th at her only New Zealand start and then won once from four Victorian starts, eight times from 32 starts in South Australia and three times from 32 starts in Western Australia.

IT'S A STROLL IN THE PARK FOR HOKONUI BEN

New Zealand-bred seven-year-old Hokonui Ben will be a leading contender for feature Cup events on the Western Australian calendar, judged by his effortless victory in the $21,000 Memorial Day Stakes at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

His much-anticipated clash with returning superstar Im Themightyquinn failed to eventuate when champion was withdrawn, suffering from a bout of colic.

This left Hokonui Ben, drawn at the prized No. 1 barrier, a hot favourite at 3/1 on and trainer Aldo Cortopassi gave punters no cause for concern when he got Hokonui Ben away smartly before he dictated terms after a slow lead time of 38.4sec. and a modest first 400m section of the final mile in 30.7sec.

Hokonui Ben dashed over the final three quarters in 28.9sec., 27.9sec. another 29.7sec. He rated 12.56.2 over the 1730m and beat Red Salute by just over two lengths after that pacer had trailed him throughout. Lord Lombo fought on to be third after enjoying the one-out, one-back passage.

Hokonui Ben has been a wonderfully consistent pacer for Queensland owner Jerome Nieuwenburg, earning $611,799 from 20 wins and 15 placings from 57 starts.

Cortopassi was delighted at the gelding's performance, saying: "First-up he was short (of full fitness) and he held on and won, and last week he ran a huge race in the Easter Cup (starting off the 40m mark and finishing fourth).

"Once he drew one for tonight's race I was pretty confident. We fired him up in the prelim because we thought that Polak (barrier five) might come out and have a crack at us early. So we didn't want to be caught napping. We wanted to make sure that he was on his toes.

"I was actually pretty confident even with the Quinn in the race. I thought this was my chance to beat him, first-up and after a long absence and no trials. We had drawn one and he had drawn seven and he was going to get a long way back. I thought that if we could run a good 1000m to 1200m we would give him a shake. But I'm not complaining that he wasn't there."

JUNGLE GENIE BACK TO HER BEST

Four-year-old New Zealand-bred mare Jungle Genie bounced back to her best form and ended a losing run of six when she outclassed her rivals in the West Australian Pace over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

A 5/1 chance from barrier three on the back line, Jungle Genie was driven confidently by Colin Brown, who was content to allow the mare to relax in eighth position before she unwound a powerful last-lap burst to storm to victory by just over a length from Terra Into The West (5/1). The pacemaker Cielito (15/2) held on to be third, with the even-money favourite Adda Rising Star finishing fourth after racing without cover.

Jungle Genie, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, has excelled in WA after having managed one third placing from five New Zealand starts. She has had 27 starts for the Bonds for 12 wins and nine placings and she now has earned $67,932.

The Bonds also are preparing Jungle Genie's half-sister Jungle Jewel, whose first three WA starts (all in March this year) produced a first-up Gloucester Park third followed by wins at Gloucester Park and Kellerberrin.

Jungle Genie had warmed up for Friday night's event in a 21895m race at Pinjarra four days earlier when she was driven by Dylan Egerton-Green and raced four back on the pegs before finishing fast to be a close fourth behind Car Fiftyfour.

"I thought that performance was enormous," said Brown. "I drove another horse in the race and I went back and watched the replay and I thought that the mare (Jungle Genie) was the run of the race.

"She's just got a bit of that lickety-split back. I was always happy in running tonight and was particularly happy that most of the boys in the one-wide line were under the pump and fortunately they didn't pull out from underneath me. So that made it a lot easier."

NO TROUBLE FOR ALTA CHRISTIANO

Star four-year-old Alta Christiano was hardly out of second gear as he took full advantage of the coveted No. 1 barrier and strolled to an effortless victory in the $25,000 Del Basso Smallgoods Johnson final at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

His three-length victory over Erskine Range boosted his earnings to $276,164 from ten wins and two placings from just 15 starts, but ace reinsman Gary Hall jun. warned that the New Zealand-bred stallion was a day-by-day proposition.

"His leg is very good at the moment, but he did do it (injure it) pretty badly twice, so there is no guarantee that he will stand up," he explained. "We've just got our fingers crossed and will take each race as it comes. If we can get a full campaign out of him and really show people what he can do it would be great. It's the main aim to boost his reputation before he goes to stud.

"He obviously needs some good racing under his belt to get to the level required to contest the big carnival races next summer. The ability is there, no question, but just getting the work into him is the key at this stage.

"I was really happy with the barrier draw tonight because he's obviously carrying a bit of extra condition and it's nice to get easy wins like that where he's not bustled around off the track. It's good to get wins like that, on the rail and doing it his own way."

Alta Christiano started at 10/1 on and never looked in the slightest danger. Erskine Range, second fancy at 13/1 from the inside of the back line, trailed Alta Christiano throughout and battled on gamely. The Black Lord (50/1) came from three back on the pegs to be third.

YOUNG'S DARING TACTICS PAY OFF

Daring tactics by Pinjarra trainer-reinsman David Young returned handsome dividends when big seven-year-old gelding Boofshalfbrother left his ten rivals floundering in his wake in the 1730m Clipsal Westbred Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Young sent Boofshalfbrother straight to the front from barrier two and he gelding set a blistering early pace, sprinting over the first two 400m sections of the final mile in 28.4sec. and 28.6sec. before he coasted to a two-length win over Sargent Sonny after final quarters in 29.5sec. and 30.3sec.

Boofshalfbrother was showing signs of fatigue over the final 300m. But so too were his rivals. He rated a slick 1.56.1 in quite a remarkable performance from a veteran performer who had managed one win from his previous 30 starts.

Young certainly enjoyed the moment, jubilantly waving the whip as he crossed the finish line well clear of the struggling opposition.

Boofshalfbrother, who had started from 40m in a 2636m stand at Narrogin at his previous outing a fortnight earlier, finished last in that event after covering a lot of extra ground. He was a 10/1 chance on Friday night, with last-start Pinjarra winner Adda Notherzero favourite at 6/4 and Guilty Grin, a winner at his two previous starts (at Pinjarra() second fancy at 9/4.

Those two runners started from the two outside positions on the back line. Guilty Grin went forward in the first lap to obtain a good sit, one-out and one-back, and he battled on into fifth place. Adda Notherzero was always well back and finished ninth.

Boofshalfbrother's only previous Gloucester Park win was in August 2010. He now has raced 84 times for 13 wins, 19 placings and $63,447.

By American stallion Mattuity, he is out of Crouch mare Point Anne, who was unplaced at her four starts on WA country tracks in 2000 before being retired. Point Anne's dam Dirkala produced five winners, including Bremer Bay (71 starts for 17 wins, 11 placings and $52,418) and Trigalow (71 starts for 14 wins, 22 placings and $59,621).

Boofshalfbrother is related to dozens of former very smart WA pacers, including Cheeky Arab, Bin Oro, Oro Travis, Arabian Bin, Bin Axworthy, red Axworthy and Vermilion.

ACCIDENT AIDS SHANDON VILLAGE

An accident soon after the start of the 2536m Sky Racing Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night paved the way for an easy win to 12/1 chance Shandon Village.

Ergo, a 16/1 chance, met with severe interference and caused reinsman Ryan Warwick to be dislodged from the sulky 300m after the start. Elusive Courage, the 4/1 second fancy, was setting the pace before relinquishing the lead 600m after the start to 10/9 favourite Notabadexcuse. However, the stewards called off the race after a lap because Ergo was still lying on the track.

Ergo was then withdrawn on veterinary advice and the race was re-started a few minutes later. In an almost identical replay of the first start, Elusive Courage worked hard, three wide, to get to the front before Clint Hall sent Notabadexcuse into the lead after 600m. Again, trainer-reinsman Aldo Cortopassi had eased Shandon Village to the rear after starting from the outside of the front line.

Meet George Jetson moved into the breeze 1250m from home and got on terms with Notabadfexcuse at the 400m mark. Shandon Village, who had been restrained to the rear at the start, was ninth at the bell before Cortopassi sent him forward, three wide to move to sixth with 450m to travel.

Notabadexcuse was under pressure, but still narrowly in front of Meet George Jetson on the home turn when he broke into a gallop and caused interference to Meet George Jetson. Shandon Village charged straight to the front and raced away to win by just over four lengths from Fire of Rock (who ran on from last at the bell), with Roy Bolt in third place.

Cortopassi admitted that everything had gone in the favour of Shandon Village. "They burnt hard the first time (before the race was stopped) and they burnt again the second time," he said. "This horse (Shandon Village) has got a brilliant turn of speed and they set it up for him. We just got the benefit of it.

"We've been racing him in stands and he'd get away and he would miss. So his form was a bit up and down. So now I'm concentrating on mobiles and I think his form should hold up a bit more."

Shandon Village, who is owned by his breeder, Victorian priest Fr Brian Glasheen, came to WA recently with a losing sequence of 20 and won at his WA debut, in a stand at Northam in mid-March this year. The eight-year-old Village Jasper gelding has raced 158 times for 14 wins, 25 placings and stakes of $75,830. He has had six WA starts for two wins and one placing.

The stewards found that Callan Suvaljko caused the interference to Ergo by allowing Knight Crusader to shift inwards to the marker pegs when not clear of Ergo. Suvaljko was suspended for 16 days.

He was granted a four-day stay of proceedings and travelled to Bunbury on Saturday night where he landed a double with 15/2 chance Cup of Life and Copagrin, an 11/2 chance who finished powerfully to win the Bunbury Tenth Light Horse Troop Cup by two lengths from Artistic Glow, rating 1.55.8 to set a track record over 2100m.

JONES KEEPS UP THE GOOD WORK

Queensland teenager Lauren Jones maintained her splendid form in the sulky when she brought 6/1 chance Heavens delight home with a well-timed burst to snatch a last-stride victory in the 1730m Clipsal Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Jones, a stablehand at the Serpentine training establishment of Gary Hall sen., drove patiently as she trailed the pacemaker and even-money favourite The Oyster Bar until she got into the clear in the home straight and Heavens Delight sprinted fast to beat The Oyster Bar by a half-head at a 1.55.9 rate. Black Pontiac (8/1) worked hard in the breeze and gained a narrow lead in the home straight before finishing a nose away in third place.

Heavens Delight, trained by Hall, was having his first start after a four-month absence. A winner of two races from eight starts in New Zealand, Heavens Delight has had 40 starts in WA for 13 wins and nine placings. His stakes stand at $91,516.

GIFT HORSE DUNDEE THREE WINS AGAIN

New Zealand-bred seven-year-old Dundee Three, a gift horse from Greg and Skye Bond to Serpentine trainer Stephanie Smith, made his record for his new owner two starts for two wins when he scored an impressive victory in the 2503m Clipsal Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Those two wins have been worth $22,440 and the Mach Three gelding has improved his record to 76 starts for 21 wins and 22 placings for stakes of $216,598.

Dundee Three, who started off the back mark of 40m with Shardons Rocket, was favourite at 5/2.

Frontmarker Bartowski, third fancy at 9/2, set the pace for Chris Voak with 3/1 chance The Pacing Priest working hard in the breeze. Dundee Three raced in 11th position for the first 1200m before moving to sixth at the bell. Morgan Woodley then got him into the one-wide line before taking him three wide again 350m from home.

Dundee Three sustained his spirited effort to get to the front on the home turn before dashing away to win by two lengths from Bartowski at a 1.58.9 rate. Franco Jackson, who trailed the pacemaker, was third, with Shardons Rocket in fourth place.

"UI was really concerned," Woodley said. "Dundee Three got away fairly well, but it wasn't good enough to even maintain his ground. The front pack was really rolling along and we were chasing the whole way.

"I was urging him to make ground all the way and it certainly was concerning what he was going to have left in the tank coming towards the 400m and I just can't say enough for the horse and for Steph's performance.

"A lot of lesser horses would have put up the white flag around the 200 to 300m mark. But he just dug deep and kept coming. When Shardons Rocket went around to attempt to get to the breeze it was a concern for me if he was able to get there cheaply. Then I would have had to lead up the three-wide line, and that would have made things difficult.

"With Shardons Rocket getting left out three wide it certainly made a huge difference to my horse's chances."

DAVIES KEEPS HER PERFECT RECORD

Kiara Davies maintained her 100 per cent record behind speedy five-year-old Little Boy Blue when she adopted bold frontrunning tactics to score an easy victory in the 1730m Yes Loans Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

This was her second drive behind Little Boy Blue, after using similar tactics to win with the New Zealand-bred gelding over 2130m two starts earlier.

Little Boy Blue, trained at Waroona by Bob Mellsop, is flourishing and moves to an M3 classification. He gives every indication of many more victories.

Little Boy Blue was a heavily-supported 6/4 favourite and Davies wasted little time in urging Little Boy Blue forward from the No. 4 barrier and into the lead after 220m. A sparkling first quarter in 28.2sec. was followed by a moderate 30.2sec. second split before Little Boy Blue dashed over the final sections in 28.1sec. and 27.9sec. to beat Lisharry by two and a half lengths at a 1.54 rate. Maggies Mystery finished boldly to be third, with El Machine wilting to fourth after working in the breeze.

"He was a bit keen early and I was happy to get a second quarter in 30.2sec.," Davies said. Little Boy Blue has raced 60 times for 14 wins, 21 placings and $131,106.

by Ken Casellas

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