Speedy four-year-old Slick Chapel emerged as a genuine summer carnival prospect when he gave a stylish frontrunning performance to win the $25,000 Australian Marine Complex Pure Steel final at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Slick Chapel, driven by Clint Hall, held on to defeat stablemate My Hard Copy by one metre, with Vapour third and Heez Orl Black fourth to give champion trainer Gary Hall sen. a quartet result in the feature event.
But Hall was not his usual effervescent self after such a result. He was downcast --- with good reason: His up-and-coming superstar Alta Christiano, the 5/2 on favourite for the race, was scratched one minute before the scheduled start of the 2130m event and his racing future hangs in the balance.
Alta Christiano, an outstanding four-year-old and winner of the 2013 WA Derby, was scratchy in the preliminary and was withdrawn on veterinary advice when found to be sore in the near hind leg. It is not sure what the exact problem is and X-rays will be taken to determine the extent of the damage.
Alta Christiano, who has earned $309,163 from 13 wins and two placings from just 18 starts, has had an injury-plagued career. He fractured a cannon bone in New Zealand in October 2012 and then last year he damaged a suspensory ligament in his near front leg, an injury which was cured with stem cell treatment.
Plans for Hall to take thestallion to Brisbane to contest feature events at Albion Park in July have been abandoned. Hopes are held that his current injury is not too serious and that he will be able to continue his outstanding career. A syndicate of Hall's clients paid $NZ500,000 for an 80 per cent share of Alta Christiano.
Moments before Alta Christiano was scratched on Friday night My Hard Copy and Slick Chapel shared second favouritism at $10.30 on the tote. When the race started without Alta Christiano, My Hard Copy was the new favourite at $2.40, with Slick Chapel at $2.50.
jumped My Hard Copy straight to the front from the No. 1 barrier before Slick Chapel surged to the lead after 200m. The lead time was run in a dawdling 40.5sec. and the first 400m section of the final mile was covered in an ambling 32.3sec., with the second quarter in just 30.6sec. Heez Orl Black was in the breeze before sent 68/1 outsider Xupan Three forward, three wide, from the rear after 600m to work without cover.
Slick Chapel dashed over the third quarter in 28.3sec. and sprinted the final section in 27.2sec. My Hard Copy finished determinedly and failed narrowly to overhaul the pacemaker. Vapour came from three back on the pegs to be third, with Heez Orl Black in fourth place after enjoying the one-out, one-back trail for most of the journey.
Slick Chapel, owned by Max Grynberg, Bill Paterson, Frank Borrello, Tony and Ruth Thompson, Dave Kahl and Karen Hall, has earned $100,496 from eight wins and seven placings from 26 starts. He was placed at three of his seven New Zealand starts and has won eight times from 19 starts in Western Australia. He is showing steady improvement and Hall sen. has high hopes that he will develop into a candidate for the Fremantle Cup and WA Pacing Cup next summer.
HAPPY REUNION FOR WOODLEY
Ace reinsmancelebrated a reunion with four-year-old La Stella del Mare by stealing a march on his rivals with an unexpected flying start from barrier five before guiding her to a narrow victory in the $30,000 RSM Bird Cameron Westbred Mares final at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
La Stella del Mare, fourth favourite at 15/2, burst straight to the front and then after a moderate lead time of 38.1sec. Woodley was able to get themare to relax and amble through the first 400m section of the final mile in 32sec. before final quarters in 29.8sec., 28.8sec. and 29.5sec.
She fought on doggedly to score by a neck from 2/1 favourite Hoylakes Firstlady, rating 1.59.5. The consistent Lucky Jay sustained a spirited burst from 11th in the middle stages to be third, with Adda Rising Star a fighting fourth after racing in the breeze.
Woodley drove La Stella del Mare at her first seven starts, as a two-year-old, in 2012 for one placing. He had not handled her since she finished sixth behind Adda Rising Star at Bunbury in July 2013.
La Stella del Mare, part-owned and trained by Terry Ferguson, has had 52 starts for seven wins, 13 placings and $64,982 in stakes. She is out of Capture A Million, who had 19 starts for two wins, 11 placings and $15,368, and is a half-sister to Schinzig Buller (55 starts for 11 wins, 13 placings and $290,837) and Polak (65 starts for 16 wins, 20 placings and $194,765).
TURVEY'S DELIGHTFUL DOUBLE
A bargain went begging when Baldivis horsemandrove 26/1 outsider My Bachelors Delight to a surprise victory over 7/4 second fancy Soho Highroller in the 1730m Sadliers Nexus Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
"He has been advertised for sale for $12,000 on the internet, but I haven't had any takers," Turvey said after My Bachelors Delight had completed a training and driving double, following his success earlier in the night with 11/1 chance Sonic Classic.
The double was the highlight of a wonderful night for the 37-year-old Turvey, who had six other drives for four second placings --- with Major Flirt (68/1), Wynberg Terror (5/4), Hoylakes Firstlady (2/1) and Flyalong Falcon (9/1).
Turvey owns My Bachelors Delight, a six-year-old he purchased for $25,000 (landed in Western Australia) and has now earned $66,321 from ten wins and 19 placings from 50 WA starts to take his career record to 78 starts for 13 wins, 30 placings and $101,597.
"He's been a really good horse for us, but hasn't been 100 per cent genuine all the time," Turvey said. "Lately, I have been keeping him fresh and he seems to be enjoying it."
My Bachelors delight is a half-brother tomare Bachelorette, who had 61 starts in New Zealand for ten wins, 16 placings and $187,406 in prizemoney.
Mr Nickel, having his third start after a spell, was a solidly-supported 10/9 on favourite who was beaten out from the pole by Soho Highroller, from the No. 3 barrier. However, Soho Highroller was unable to cross to the pegs and Mr Nickel set the pace. He was inclined to overrace and the quarters went by in 29.2sec., 29.5sec., 28.4sec. and 29.1sec.
Soho Highroller got to the lead 500m from home, but was unable to hold out My Bachelors Delight, who enjoyed a perfect trail in the one-wide line in fifth and sixth positions before finishing fast to hit the front 120m from the finish. Barkers Hall improved from seventh at the bell to be third, with Mr Nickel fading to eighth.
EGERTON-GREEN GRABS HIS CHANCE
Young reinsman Dylan Egerton-Green made the most of his opportunity to drive promising filly Typhoon Tan in the absence of the three-year-old's regular reinsmanat Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Typhoon Tan, a 13/2 chance, was smartest to begin from barrier two and Egerton-Green rated the filly perfectly to get her home by a metre from 68/1 outsider Major Flirt, with The Parade running home strongly from the rear in the middle stages to be third in the 2130m Bell-Vista Fruit And Veg Company Pace.
De Campo was away in Melbourne, representing Western Australia in a Young Drivers Championship series, and Egerton-Green jumped at the chance to drive Typhoon Tan.
Typhoon Tan is trained at Capel by de Campo's father Andrew, who completed a double whenreplaced and steered Conniving Major Dave to victory in the R H Trotter and Company Pace.
continued in fine style by training three winners (Delightful Jade, Maddy White and Captain Proud) at Bunbury's Donaldson Park on Saturday night. Matt White replaced behind Delightful Jade and Maddy White and Kaiden Hayter drove Captain Proud.
Meanwhile,didn't have much luck in the five-heat Young Drivers series which was won by Victoria's , who drove four of the five winners --- Riviera Kiss (25/1), Boom Boom Hall (18/1), Smiling Spirit (53/1) and Kankkunen (10/1).
De campo's drives at Shepparton on Thursday night were outsiders Turnoffate (55/1) and Philotes (53/1), each of whom tired badly to finish in last place. At Melton on Friday night de Campo drove 11/4 chance Field Major, who finished solidly from eighth at the bell and finished second, a half-length behind the fast-finishing Smiling Spirit.
At Ballarat on Saturday night de Campo drove 8/1 chance Oils Jay Bee, who led and wilted to eighth behind Kankkunen, and 16/1 chance Sign of Oro, who led early and then trailed the pacemaker and 7/4 on favourite Hellovaway () before finishing second to that pacer.
Typhoon Tan, who is owned by Carlo Baggetta, Leanne Dean, Danny Roberts, Susan Beven, Arthur Hall, John Wychowanko, Gary Old, Harry Capararo, Mark Armstrong and the B and S Group, finished second at two of her three starts as a two-year-old in New Zealand (in January 2013) and now has earned $50,114 from seven wins and seven placings from 24 starts.
Her maternal granddam Scottish Bella produced Mister Skye Rocket, who is still racing as a nine-year-old and was successful at Albion Park five starts ago, in April. He is an iron horse, having had 280 starts for 41 wins and 81 placings for stakes of $236,667. He won 16 races in New South Wales before moving to Queensland where he has won another 24 times. He won once from two starts in New Zealand.
HUMPHRIES TIPS BRIGHT FUTURE FOR OHOKA COURAGE
Forrestdale trainerpredicted a bright future for Ohoka Courage after the New Zealand-bred seven-year-old charged home from twelfth and last at the bell to score an easy victory in the 2536m Bell-Vista Fruit And Veg Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
"Hopefully, he will now go through the classes," Humphries said. "He's probably not a genuine Free-For-Aller, but he'll get there into open class. And because he likes to race with the tempo on, up in class won't worry him; it probably will suit him.
"Ohoka Courage is a little odd in that he is a very high-speed horse, but is not a short-trip horse. He's a stayer with high speed. He's been beaten a couple of times by being used for speed early, and then hasn't got that big sprint at the finish. Tonight I told Kyle (Harper) to drive him exactly like that (by keeping him at the rear). He is a bit one dimensional, but when a race is run to suit him, he's very dangerous.
"I picked him out and watched his races in New Zealand for about six months before I made an inquiry. He comes from the same stable as Bobby Teal and I rang the fellow up and asked him that when he was ready to move Ohoka Courage on that I would like the chance to buy him. Some time later he phoned me and I got him for $20,000, landed in Australia, which is not expensive. He has been a great moneyspinner and is way in front for good stable supporters Harry Capararo, Darryl McLeod and Wayne Innes."
Ohoka Courage started from barrier three on the back line and was second favourite at 4/1 behind Galactic Galleon (7/2). Raza Sharp Lombo dashed to an early lead, with Jay Bees Grin (5/1) moving to the breeze in the first lap.
Jay Bees Grin got to the front 400m from home, but faded in the home straight. Ohoka Courage was still near the rear turning out of the back straight before Harper took him wide and the gelding was six wide on the home turn before bursting to the front in the final 100m to score effortlessly by more than two lengths from Flyalong Falcon, who finished boldly from tenth on the pegs at the bell. Ohoka Squire came from 11th at the bell to be third.
TUAPEKA KAHU MAKES THE MOST OF SECOND CHANCE
The prospects of Tupeka Kahu winning the 2130m Mortgage Choice In South Perth Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night looked forlorn when he broke in the score up and was left a long way behind his eleven rivals.
But he earned a reprieve when the starter declared a false start because Tuakepa Kahu was unable to fill his position at No. 2 on the front line when the mobile barrier was about to release the field.
Tuapeka Kahu, a 12/1 chance, was on his best behaviour in the re-start andgot the New Zealand-bred six-year-old straight to the front before he was untroubled to set the pace and hold on to win by a neck from stablemate Black Mr Mach (13/2), with a half-length to 5/4 favourite Wynberg Terror in third place.
After moderate quarters of 30.9sec. and 30.5sec., Tuapeka Kahu dashed over the final sections in 28.6sec. and 28.8sec. Black Mr Mach settled down in tenth position before he finished strongly, out wide, from sixth at the bell.
Tuapeka Kahu, who is trained by Greg and, was placed at four of his seven starts in New Zealand. He has raced 14 times in WA for four wins and four placings and looks set for many more wins.
RODRIGO TAKES NO PRISONERS
Rodrigo, owned by Victorian Federal policeman Mark Salathiel, arrested a losing sequence of eight when he overcame the disadvantage of starting from the outside of the back line and sustained a powerful burst to win narrowly from Bet Your Life in the 2130m Quayside Transport Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Produced in fine fettle by Pinjarra trainer, Rodrigo, second favourite at 4/1, was driven in grand style by Gary Hall jun.
Polemarker Bet the Max led for the first 500m before the even-money favourite The Phantom got to the front after working hard, out three wide. Hall quickly manoeuvred Rodrigo into eighth place in the one-wide line and he waited until the field approached the bell before sending the New Zealand-bred six-year-old forward, three wide.
Bet Your Life was in the breeze and The Burnside Flyer was beginning to wilt in the prime one-out, one-back position. This unexpected situation enabled Hall the luxury of moving Rodrigo into the one-out, one-back position shortly after the bell. Stuart McDonald sent Bet Your Life (7/1) to the front 430m from home and Hall waited until the 250m mark before sending Rodrigo forward, three wide.
Rodrigo dug deep and fought on doggedly to get the upper hand in the final 50m. He beat Bert Your Life by a metre, with 62/1 outsider Life Boat improving from seventh on the pegs at the bell to finish third. Rodrigo rated 1.56. 4 after dashing over the final 800m in 58.7sec.
Rodrigo, who was having his third run after a spell, won once from nine New Zealand starts and then had 48 starts in Victoria for ten wins and 18 placings. He has had 16 starts in WA for two wins and two placings and his career record stands at 73 starts for 13 wins, 23 placings and stakes of $108,558.
His maternal granddam Fern Glen won ten races and produced Maheer Lord, who had 197 starts for 34 wins, 46 placings and earnings of $515,470. Maheer Lord won three times at Gloucester Park --- the Parliamentarians Cup and Media Guild Cup in 2005 and the group 1 WA Pacing Cup in January 2006.
SONIC CLASSIC TAKES THE NEXT STEP
New Zealand-bred five-year-old Sonic Classic, placed in stands in modest company at his previous three starts, made a successful switch to mobile racing and showed a touch of class when he took on several better-performed runners in the 2130m Cash Convertors Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
An 11/1 chance from barrier two on the back line, Sonic Classic was one of two M0-class runners in the field of 12 which included three M3-class performers and seven M1-class runners.
He defied the odds when trainerhad him perfectly positioned, three back on the pegs in a fast-run race, and brought him home with a powerful burst to win by just over two lengths from the 10/9 on favourite and pacemaker Ben Cartwright, with almost four lengths to the third horse, Trojan Bromac, who surged home from tenth at the bell.
Ben Cartwright, a last-start winner, overraced in the lead and was three lengths clear of his nearest rivals passing the 300m mark. But he wilted and Sonic Classic cruised to the front 120m from home. The sections of the final mile whizzed by in 29.4sec., 28.6sec., 28.9sec. and 29.1sec., with Sonic Classic rating a smart 1.55.8.
"His previous run at Narrogin last Sunday (when he started off the 40m mark and finished on from ninth at the bell to be second to Art Connoisseur) was really good," Turvey said. "He got a flat tyre at the 1000m and the tyre came off the rim. And he still came home.
"Even though it was a step up tonight I considered he was an each-way chance. We picked him out in New Zealand and his form over there was pretty good. So we were a bit disappointed up to this stage. Now, hopefully, he has turned the corner. He cost $30,000 landed and for a couple of his part-owners, Ron Sciani and Mike Wood, this is their first Friday night winner.
Sonic Classic, by, won at four of his 16 starts in New Zealand and he now has had 32 starts in WA for seven wins, 15 placings and $48,091. His career record stands at 48 starts for 11 wins, 20 placings and $68,957.
His dam Classical (by) was an outstanding performer who had 23 starts for five wins and ten placings for stakes of $291,590. She finished second to Pullover Brown in the New Zealand, Victorian and Australian Oaks in 2003.
Tom Buchanan, who drove the fourth placegetter Mighty Flying Thomas, was suspended for nine days for causing interference to Well Hello Dolly in the back straight in the final lap.
This was the first suspension imposed on Buchanan, who was having his 706th drive in a race. In reaching the penalty the stewards took into account Buchanan's guilty plea and his excellent record. They also took into account that Mighty Flying Thomas had just been tightened by another runner and that he was running about a bit. They considered that these factors could have contributed to the interference.
Buchanan was granted a three-day deferment and he won the final event at Bunbury on Saturday night when 11/4 chance Reckless Abandon charged home from last in the field of six on the home turn to get up and score a last-stride victory over the hot favourite Major Rush.
CONNIVING MAJOR DAVE LOVES LEADING
Champion reinsmanwelcomed the opportunity to take over from as the driver of Conniving Major Dave in the 2130m R H Trotter and Company Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
De Campo was in Melbourne, contesting a Junior Drivers' Championship series and Lewis got Conniving Major Dave, the 15/4 second favourite, away fast from barrier four and sent the four-year-old to the front after 500m.
Conniving Major Dave excels as a frontrunner and he bowled along in the lead and rated 1.56.5 in beating the 5/2 favourite Notabadexcuse by a half-length, with a length to Dominus Vobiscum.
Conniving major Dave won at three of his 12 New Zealand starts and now has raced 39 times for nine wins, nine placings and $66,408. He is the seventh foal out of Kind Martar, whose dam Kind Hearted produced eight winners, including Gracious Knight, who amassed $383,155 from 12 wins and 12 placings from 49 starts.
PRIDE OF COLORADO JUST TOO STRONG
Strong WA-bred seven-year-old Pride of Colorado generally thrives on working hard in his races, but trainer-reinsmansuccessfully adopted different tactics with the gelding in the 2130m Homestyle Salad Makers Claiming Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Pride of Colorado, the 15/4 second favourite from the outside of the back line, was kept back in last place in the field of ten until the runners approached the bell --- when Cortopassi sent Pride of Colorado forward, with a strong three-wide burst.
Pride of Colorado sustained his effort and the final quarters were covered in 28.8sec. and 28.5sec. as he swept to the front in the final 90m and defeated the 6/4 favourite Shardons Rocket by just over a lengths, with Lively Highlander (14/1) in third place after trailing the pacemaker Elite Under Fire all the way.
Shardons Rocket, who raced three wide early and then in the breeze, got to the front 270m from home, but was unable to hold out Pride of Colorado.
Pride of Colorado, who ended a losing sequence of eight, is out of Lady Legacy, whose six winners include Scram Jet, who had 172 races for 24 wins, 42 placings and stakes of $235,076.
by Ken Casellas