Now for the Golden Slipper for Isaiah Artois

12:24 PM 17 Jun 2014 NZST
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The very picturesque
The very picturesque - Gloucester Park in Perth.

Stylish gelding Isaiah Artois has the $125,000 Golden Slipper on July 18 firmly in his sights after giving a bold frontrunning display to score a decisive victory in a drama-filled International Health Pearl Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

All honours were with Isaiah Artois, third favourite at 15/2 who was produced in great shape by Byford trainer David Thompson and was driven with aggression and confidence by Colin Brown.

But there was a sad tale of woe, with the 2/1 on favourite The Odd Lover having his off-side sulky tyre punctured 100m after the start.

In Nyrobi overraced badly when the mobile barrier released the field and Gary Hall jun. had a hectic time trying to settle the youngster who was virtually uncontrollable. Hall had a battle in trying to steer In Nyrobi as he attempted to guide him towards the outside fence. As he desperately tried to manoeuvre In Nyrobi away from behind The Odd Lover (racing three wide) In Nyrobi's near front leg clipped the wheel of The Odd Lover's sulky.

Kim Prentice then dashed The Odd Lover forward to move into the breeze after 550m. Mister Atomic had galloped at the start and Morgan Woodley sent Nitro Lad into the lead before Isaiah Artois surged to the front after 200m.

Punters realised that there was a serious problem when Prentice took a sustained look at The Odd Lover's off-side sulky wheel as the field raced down the front straight to receive the bell. The tyre was flattened, but stayed on the rim. However, the tube had become loose and had become wrapped around the axel.

The Odd Lover, under the massive disadvantage of having to pull his disabled sulky, began to wilt half-way down the back straight in the final circuit and as Prentice was easing him back towards the rear approaching the home turn The Odd Lover was tightened and broke into a gallop. He finished 105m behind the winner in eleventh position.

Steve Johnson, the breeder and owner of Isaiah Artois, was delighted with the victory and paid tribute to the professional care of Thompson and his wife Karen as well as the skill of Brown. "We came here tonight expecting that the Odd Lover would be extremely hard to beat," he said. "And I feel a little bit sorry for Kim Prentice, having to carry a flat tyre."

After a reasonable lead time of 37.7sec., Isaiah Artois had the luxury of coasting through the first 400m section of the final mile in 31.4sec. before covering the next quarters in 29.4sec., 29.8sec. and 30.1sec. He rated 1.59.7 over the 2130m and defeated 11/2 second fancy Artillery Major by a length, with almost a length to Kasey Kahne (15/1) in third place.

Artillery Major finished solidly from fifth on the pegs at the bell and Kasey Kahne came from seventh with a lap to travel.

Isaiah Artois has had six starts for four wins and two thirds for stakes of $74,698. He is by Art Major and is the second foal out of Endless Journey (by American stallion Die Laughing) who had nine starts in Western Australia as a two and three-year-old in 2006 and 2007 for two minor placings and stakes of $2560.

Endless Journey is a half-sister to Like A Dame, the dam of top-flight seven-year-old David Hercules, who had set the pace and beaten Im Themightyquinn 30 minutes before the win of Isaiah Artois in the Pearl. Endless Journey is out of Victorian-bred mare Hold Tight, whose five winners included Fake Embrace, winner of the Sales Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park in March 1994. Fake Embrace earned $240,249 from 37 wins and 40 placings from 178 starts.

David Hercules claims a mighty scalp

In ancient times the mythical Greek divine hero Hercules was famous for his strength and was acclaimed for slaying, bare-handed, the ferocious Nemean lion, a vicious monster who was considered indestructible.

The modern-day Hercules appeared in the form of David Hercules at Gloucester Park on Friday night when his victim was Australasia's greatest pacer Im Themightyquinn.

Im Themightyquinn was considered a certainty by most pundits, but he had his colours lowered by David Hercules, who proved too speedy for his illustrious rival in the 2130m KA Cleans And Flushes Pace.

David Hercules, resuming after a spell, charged straight to the front from the No. 2 barrier and he relished his pacemaking role before beating Im Themightyquinn by just over two lengths, with Dundee Three finishing strongly from seventh on the pegs at the bell to be 10m away in third place.

Im Themightyquinn, favourite at 2/1 on, started from barrier three and raced without cover for the first 550m before Toretto assumed the position in the breeze. Morgan Woodley rated David Hercules perfectly, and after opening quarters of the final mile in 30.9sec. and 29.1sec. the West Australian-bred seven-year-old gave his rivals very little chance by sprinting brilliantly over the final two quarters in 27.3sec. and 27.6sec.

Im Themightyquinn, driven for the first time in a race by Clint Hall, started a three-wide move towards the end of the back straight in the final circuit. He finished solidly, but found the task beyond him.

Woodley admitted he was more than pleasantly surprised at the splendid first-up performance from David Hercules, a clear second favourite at 5/2 at his first appearance for just over three months.

"He exceeded my expectations," he said. "I went out thinking that if I could pinch an easy time early he might have a good chance of finishing close with Im Themightyquinn. My suspicion was that Im Themightyquinn, with race fitness under his belt and the way he has been racing in such a rich vein of form, would prove a little bit too good for us.

"The lead time (37.6sec.) and the leisurely first quarter (30.9sec.) allowed me to be really up tempo from the 1200m and make it very hard for anything from behind. He certainly did exceed my expectations and I was very happy with him and the most positive thing to come out of it is that I think that he will improve.

"I believe it was the winning move, sprinting the third quarter in 27.3sec. It wasn't premeditated, it wasn't a plan; it just seemed like the right thing to do. So I rolled the dice and threw caution to the wind down the back straight and tried to pinch a good break.

"As we turned into the back straight the last time I had a look over my shoulder and saw that Im Themightyquinn still hadn't pulled out off the back of Toretto, and I thought, well now's my chance. If I can pinch a couple of lengths here and he has to be going sideways while I'm going forward, well I can really make a race of it.

"Fortunately David Thompson had the horse right, and this made my drive look good. A lot of times you can try things like that, but if the horse isn't up to the mark they will wilt over the final stages and you will have egg on your face. So credit is due to David for having the horse so forward.

"David Hercules ran out a little bit in the home straight, but that is not something that's of great concern. If it was the first time he had done it, then I would be worried. It seems to be quite a consistent thing with him. He has raced with block blinkers on from time to time and, who knows, moving forward, it might be the case that he goes back and has some form of eye-wear to keep him a little more focused and straight.

"He's quite a large horse and I think that some of this is probably because he is running too quickly for his frame. Im Themightyquinn is pint-sized compared to David Hercules."

David Hercules, owned by David Botha and Jeneen Johnson, has amassed $820,304 in prizemoney from 30 wins and 31 placings from 88 starts.

The Parade, a model of consistency

A wide barrier did not prove a disadvantage for talented filly The Parade, who maintained her wonderful consistency when she sustained a powerful burst from last to win the 1730m Electromix-Electrolytes And Sweat Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Despite her excellent form, including her second to the brilliant Libertybelle Midfrew in the WA Oaks last month, many punters overlooked her claims and she started at a gift price of 7/1 from the No. 6 barrier on the front line.

Boyanup trainer Justin Prentice wisely restrained The Parade back to last at the start, while polemarker and 5/4 on favourite Harper Grace was put under plenty of early pressure, first from Maddy White (5/1) and then Jungle Jewel (8/1). This resulted in a fast opening quarter of the final mile in 28.2sec.

After a second section in 30.1sec., Harper Grace led from Jungle Jewel at the bell, with My Samantha Jane (11/1) next on the pegs and Maddy White in the one-out, one-back position. Prentice started a three-wide move 950m from home and The Parade sustained a strong burst to take the lead with 250m to travel.

The final sections went by in 28.9sec. and 29.8sec. and the winner rated a slick 1.56.3. She won by 2m from My Samantha Jane, with 5m to Maddy White in third place. Harper Grace weakened to finish fourth.

The Parade has earned $108,144 from seven wins and eight placings from 20 starts. She is by American stallion Real Desire and is the first foal out of unraced Badlands Hanover mare Hearty Lass, whose dam Atomic Lass produced former champion Auckland Reactor (53 starts for 32 wins, four placings and $1,837,043) and Taihape Tickler, who had 113 starts for 19 wins, 19 placings and $183,919.

The Parade's win completed a double for Prentice, who was successful earlier in the night with the Ken Kirke-trained The Pacing Priest.

Finbar Abbey and Arousing win for Olivieri and Voak

Veteran New Zealand-bred pacer Finbar Abbey, who holds the unique distinction of being the only horse to have won a race in Australia in which outstanding four-year-old Alta Christiano tasted defeat, gave Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri and reinsman Chris Voak the first leg of a double at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he finished strongly to win the 2503m Ironvita Blood And Oxygen Handicap.

The pair completed the double when Arousing was successful in the second qualifying heat of the Neutra Syrup Netralises And Removes Lombardo Pace.

Finbar Abbey, a 4/1 chance, began speedily from the 10m mark, and after racing wide early, slotted in to the one-out, one-back position, with Bartowski setting the pace from Gallileo in the breeze.

Shardons Rocket, the 30m backmarker, surged forward, three wide, in the first lap before eventually getting to the front 1270m from home. This relegated Finbar Abbey to sixth in the one-wide line, but Voak remained patient before he switched Finbar Abbey three wide at the 600m mark.

Finbar Abbey dashed to the front 50m from the post and won by a length from 5/1 chance Ohoka Courage, who was eighth at the bell and followed the last-lap three-wide run of the winner. Heez Orl Black, the 6/4 favourite, who moved to the breeze 950m from home, wilted to fifth.

Finbar Abbey, who won the 2902m Easter Cup from Polak and Alta Christiano on April 17, has flourished under Olivieri's care and looks set for further successes. The eight-year-old has had 105 starts for 15 wins and 24 placings for stakes of $127,281. He had 63 starts in New Zealand for five wins and 14 placings before arriving in Australia.

Arousing, second fancy at 4/1, made the most of the prized No. 1 barrier when she set a moderate early pace before covering the final 800m in 57.5sec. to beat 5/4 favourite Jungle Genie by one and a half lengths. This ended a losing sequence of nine and boosted her earnings to $102,696 from ten wins and 24 placings from 92 starts. Jungle Genie was not suited by the dawdling pace and did a good job to come from seventh at the bell.

Olivieri and Voak kept up the good work at Gloucester Park on Saturday night when 5/2 chance Hes Ritehererightnow finished strongly to win a 2503m stand from Ardens Southee.

Elson and Young strike purple patch

Owner-trainer Gary Elson and reinsman Kim Young completed a wonderfully successful week when they combined to score an upset victory with 44/1 outsider Reuben Brogden in the2536m Min-A-Vit Racing And Breeding Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

This followed wins with two-year-old Mister Ardee and three-year-old Class of Tara at Pinjarra on Monday and two-year-old Arturus at Gloucester Park on Tuesday.

Reuben Brogden, a New Zealand-bred five-year-old, started from the outside of the back line and he was last in the field of 12 after a lap before storming home from the rear at the bell to snatch a last-stride victory by a head from 5/4 favourite Slick Chapel, with Vapour (9/4) a close third after appearing certain to win when he led clearly on the home turn.

Polemarker Im Terrific set the pace until Lauren Jones sent Vapour (sixth at the bell) to the front at the 400m mark. Gary Hall jun. then issued a spirited challenge with Slick Chapel, who had followed Vapour's three-wide run in the final circuit. Vapour began to wilt in the closing stages and was overhauled by Reuben Brogden and Slick Chapel.

The final 800m was covered in 59.5sec. and Reuben Brogden rated 1.58.4. Young drove vigorously in the home straight and earned a $400 fine from the stewards for an incorrect whip action.

Reuben Brogden, who finished third to Im Victorious in the Golden Nugget Championship at Gloucester Park in December 2012, has been lightly raced and his win on Friday night improved his record to 36 starts for 14 wins and ten placings for stakes of $114,936.

The son of American stallion Real Desire, Reuben Brogden was placed twice from three starts in New Zealand in October 2011 before coming to WA. He is the first foal out of Presidential Ball mare Ruby Choozday, who had eight starts for one win, two placings and $5970.

Spectacular debut by Spectactular

New Zealand-bred five-year-old Spectactular, a standing-start specialist in his home country with five wins in stands, revealed sparkling early speed from behind the mobile at Gloucester Park on Friday night when made an impressive Australian debut with an effortless victory in the 2130m Mecworma And Bot Worming Paste Pathway Pace.

Produced in fine fettle by leading trainer Gary Hall sen., Spectactular, hot favourite at 3/1 on, gave Gary Hall jun. an armchair drive as he bowled along in front before sprinting over the final 400m in 27.8sec. to win by just over four lengths from polemarker Kristoff, who had trailed him throughout.

Spectactular rated 1.57.4 to improve his record to nine wins and six placings from 37 starts for stakes of $64,862. By Christian Cullen, he is the eighth foal out of New York Motoring mare Tact Hayley, who was placed at five of her 11 starts before being retired to the breeding barn.

Halls maintain their dominance with two trebles

The all-conquering combination of master trainer Gary Hall sen. and champion reinsman Gary Hall jun. maintained their outstanding form with another three winners at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

They were successful with Black Aquila (5/2), Spectactular (3/1 on) and My Hard Copy (2/1 on) and then they combined with another treble at Gloucester Park on Saturday night, scoring with Massive Attack, VC Manoeuvre and Soho Lennon.

Black Aquila, a newcomer to the Hall stable, gave a powerful display to win the 1730m Protexin Multi Strain Probiotic Pace from Desirable Guy and Roy Bolt. He started from the No. 5 barrier on the front line and raced three wide for the first 550m before moving into the breeze outside the pacemaker Roy Bolt.

Black Aquila moved on terms with the leader 450m from home before taking a clear lead 150m later and racing away to score by a length and a half at a 1.56.8 rate after the final 800m was covered in a slick 57.3sec.

Owned by Michael Young, Courtney Burch and John Young, Black Aquila showed early promise when he won the group 1 Sales Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park in April 2011 when he defeated Polak and El Machine.

The son of Totally Ruthless, he is bred to be a good winner. He is the first foal out of the unraced Il Vicolo mare My Date With Destiny, whose dam Baltic Flight produced Baltic Eagle, whose 40 starts produced 21 wins, seven placings and stakes of $746,980. Baltic Eagle's wins included the WA Pacing Cup, Fremantle Cup and interdominion championship in Christchurch early in 2003, the FTC Members Sprint in November 2003 and the Celebrity Mile at Gloucester Park in December 2004.

New Zealand-bred four-year-old My Hard Copy maintained his outstanding form when he was untroubled to set the pace and win easily from strong-finishing stablemate Our Arlington and Black Pontiac in the 1730m Horsport Rehydration And Recovery Pace.

My Hard Copy set a cracking pace and reeled off quarters in 28.4sec., 28.9sec., 29sec. and 27.9sec. He now has earned $146,047 from 14 wins and 13 placings from 40 starts.

The Pacing Priest prevails

A pre-emptive strike by reinsman Justin Prentice paid dividends when he guided the injury-plagued The Pacing Priest to a narrow victory in a punishing finish to the 2503m Sootha Nerves And Stress Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

The well-supported New Zealand-bred eight-year-old (9/2) started from the inside of the 10m line and settled down in tenth position on the pegs before Prentice seized the initiative by dashing the gelding forward, three wide, after 750m to move outside the pacemaker Turbo Gold (40/1) with 1450m to travel.

Prentice was content to leave The Pacing Priest in the breeze until he urged the gelding forward to take the lead 250m from home. The Pacing Priest then fought on doggedly to score by a metre from 9/2 chance Bubbles And Bling, who came from 11th at the bell and followed the three-wide run of Trojan Bromac before going four wide at the 300m mark and finishing strongly. Turbo Gold held on to finish third.

The Pacing Priest, who is trained at West Swan by Ken Kirke, ended a losing sequence of ten and improved his record to 45 starts for ten wins, 13 placings and $110,451 in prizemoney.

by Ken Casellas

 

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