Munster businessman Tom Erceg and harness racing owner snapped up a wonderful bargain when he paid just $6000 for afilly at the Gloucester Standardbred yearling sale in February 2013.
The filly named Straittothehilton and raced by Erceg in partnership with Byford trainer Katja Warwick, boosted her earnings to $88,330 when she gave a dashing display to score an easy victory in the $100,000 group 1 NHP Westbred Classic for two-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Straittothehilton, third favourite at 9/2, was driven in masterly fashion byand the win completed a double for Woodley and the Warwick family in the Westbred Classic. Former champion trainer-reinsman , husband of Katja, prepared 14/1 chance Sweet Atomic when Woodley drove her to a thrilling victory in a three-way photo finish from Hermattjesty Mulan and Flirtalicious in the 2011 Westbred Classic for two-year-old fillies.
Straittothehilton jumped straight to the front from the No. 1 barrier beforesent 3/1 second fancy Delightful Jade (a winner at six of her seven starts) into the lead after 100m, leaving the heavily-supported 9/4 favourite Massive Attack in the breeze.
After a leisurely lead time of 38.7sec. and a slow first quarter of 31.6sec., de Campo increased the tempo and Delightful Jade sprinted over the second section in 28.8sec. This was followed by a 29.2sec. quarter before Gary Hall jun. sent Massive Attack to the front 270m from home. Woodley had eased Straittothehilton off the pegs with about 600m to travel to follow the run of Massive Attack.
Straittothehilton burst into the lead 100m from the post and won by two lengths from Massive Attack, who put up a tremendous performance to finish second. The final quarter was a modest 30.8sec. and Straittothehilton rated 2.01 over the 2130m journey. Soho New York (40/1) surged home from tenth at the bell to finish a further two lengths back in third place, in front of Sea Me Smile. Delightful Jade wilted to finish sixth.
Katja Warwick has given Straittothehilton a splendid preparation and the filly went into the classic as the most experienced runner, with 13 starts under her belt.
Straittothehilton, who has been driven by Woodley in all her starts, has now won three races and been placed eight times. Her dam Made of Dreams (by Parsons Den) raced 49 times for ten wins, 14 placings and $39,664.
Made of Dreams is out of unracedmare Arctic Glow, whose five winners included Chazsalico (135 starts for 20 wins, 31 placings and $141,515). Amongst Royalty, a full-sister of Made of Dreams, won two group 1 and one group 2 classic as a two-year-old and retired with a record of 86 starts for 23 wins and 27 placings for earnings of $570,820.
Arctic Glow's dam Broncroft Castle produced star pacer Mon Poppy Day, who amassed $318,558 from 20 wins and 16 placings from 50 starts. His wins included the WA and Tasmanian Derbies in 1996, the 1996 Golden Nugget, the 1997 Christmas Gift and the 1998 Mount Eden Mile.
Straittothehilton also is related to former champion mares Under Cover Lover (70 starts for 21 wins, 22 placings and $864,923) and Bettor Cover Lover (39 starts for 19 wins, 14 placings and $1,026,427).
Straittothehilton is the latest of the progeny ofto win juvenile classics. His previous classic winners include Silver Tail Adda, Shipwreck, Batavia Touchngo and Adda Cool Mil. won the 1999 Pearl Classic, the State Sires Series Classic and Caduceus Club Classic in 2000 and finished a nose second to Seelster Sam in the Gold Nugget Championship in December 2000.
Erceg also purchased a colt for $9500 at the 2013 sales who is trained by Katja Warwick. The colt, named Out of the Shadow, won at his debut, at Harvey in January this year and again at Bunbury in February.
Veteran lands first group 1 winner
Veteran Bunbury trainer Bob Wood landed his first group 1 winner whendrove All Aussie Boy to an all-the-way victory in the $100,000 Clipsal Schneider Westbred Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
All Aussie Boy, equal second favourite at 13/4, made the most of the prized No. 1 barrier, but had to survive a spirited early challenge from 5/4 favourite Persistent Threat before setting the pace and holding on grimly to defeat 11/1 chance A Force In Action by a metre, with a length and a half back to 66/1 outside Captain Oats in third place.
The 23-year-old Harper had some anxious moments in the final stages when All Aussie Boy began to shift up the track. The left-handed Harper then used the whip in his non-preferred right hand to prevent the colt from veering out. He responded gamely to Harper's urgings and just held out the fast-finishing A Force In Action, who had enjoyed an perfect trip behind the pacemaker untilgot him off the pegs approaching the home turn and brought the colt home with a strong three-wide burst.
After the race the stewards fined Harper $200 for incorrect use of the whip in that he used more than a wrist and elbow action.
Persistent Threat began speedily from the No. 2 barrier and Tom Buchanan made a spirited bid for the lead. Persistent Threat got almost a length and a half in front of All Aussie Boy, but just failed to muster sufficient speed to cross to the front, with Harper driving All Aussie Boy hard to retain the lead. Buchanan took hold of Persistent Threat after 200m and the gelding broke into a gallop.
However, Buchanan quickly got Persistent Threat back into a pacing action.then dashed Thatlebe forward with a fast three-wide burst to move into the breeze after 550m. Then, after 600m, sent the 13/4 equal second fancy Isaiah Artois forward from the rear with a three-wide charge to assume the position outside the pacemaker.
Persistent Threat then was sixth win the one-wide line. The first quarter was run in 31.8sec. before final sections in 29.9sec., 29.9sec. and 29.2sec. Buchanan eased Persistent Threat three wide approaching the 400m mark, but the gelding lacked sparkle and wilted to finish in eleventh position. Isaiah Artois was a gallant fourth. The winner rated 2.0.2 over the 2130m.
All Aussie Boy looks like developing into the best pacer prepared by the 71-year-old Wood since he trained Pataz in the early 2000s. Pataz, who reached an M7 mark in 2003, raced 66 times for 20 wins, 13 placings and $144,878 in stakes.
All Aussie Boy has earned $78,345 from three wins and three placings from eight starts. He is byand is out of Parsons Den mare Like Royalty, who was unplaced at her 12 starts, earning just $183 from her fourth placing in a two-year-old event at Gloucester Park in July 2005. All Aussie Boy is a half-brother to Paramedic, who notched his tenth victory when Harper drove him to an all-the-way win in a Pathway at Gloucester Park last month.
All Aussie Boy
Hall's tactics succeed with Our Arlington
A bold move by Clint Hall to send Our Arlington forward from the awkward No. 4 barrier, instead of restraining him, paid handsome dividends when the New Zealand-bred six-year-old scored an upset win at 14/1 in the $25,000 LED Past Presidents Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
It was generally considered that Please Release Me would set the pace from the No. 1 barrier and Hall drove Our Arlington hard early, out three wide for the first 300m, before getting to the breeze. Two hundred metres later Our Arlington settled in the perfect one-out, one-back position when Dundee Three sustained a three-wide early burst to take up the position outside Please Release Me.
After a reasonable lead time of 37.6sec., Please Release Me coasted through the first 400m section of the final mile in 31.2sec. before he covered the next quarters in 29.3sec. and 28.3sec. Hall switched Our Arlington three wide with 300m to travel and the gelding finished full of running to hit the front 120m from the post. He held on to defeat the gallant Dundee Three (13/4) by one metre, with Please Release Me (11/4) a nose away in third place after a final quarter in 28.6sec.
My Hard Copy, a well-supported 11/8 favourite, started from the inside of the back line and he got into the clear leaving the back straight the final time before finishing solidly, out wide, to be a head away in fourth place
Our Arlington gave leading trainer Gary Hall sen. his second success in the Past Presidents Cup. He was successful within 2006. Our Arlington, by , won twice from three starts as a three-year-old in New Zealand in March 2011 and 11 times in Victoria. His three wins from 15 WA starts have taken his record to 68 starts for 16 wins, 17 placings and stakes of $169,942.
Voak's birthday surprise
wasn't optimistic about his chances with eight drives at Gloucester Park on Friday night, but he gave himself a pleasant birthday surprise when he drove 45/1 outsider Say It Now to a stirring victory in the 2130m Cable Joining Supplies Pace.
Voak, who celebrated his 26th birthday on Friday, continues to drive winners every week and is a clear second behind Gary Hall jun. in the Statewide drivers' premiership table. Hall has 147 winners and Voak has had 951 drives in the 2013-14 season for 124 wins, 120 seconds and 94 thirds.
Say It Now gave Voak his 43rd city success this season and he is in fifth place on thelist behind Hall (99 wins), (59), (57) and (45).
Say It Now was a 7/4 chance the previous Friday night whendrove the noted frontrunner to a head victory over Bettor Party over 1730m. But punters disregarded his chances on Friday night when he rose in class and started from barrier two on the back line over a longer journey. Voak was driving the pacer for the first time.
Polemarker Black Aquila was all the rage from the prized No. 1 barrier and was favourite at 10/9 on, with stablemates Vapour (11/4) and Notabadexcuse (11/1) next in betting.
Michael Young got Black Aquila away smartly and the five-year-old set the pace, with Notabadexcuse (Micheal Ferguson) in the breeze and Love In The Dark sitting behind the pacemaker. Say It Now raced three back on the pegs and was eighth at the bell. Voak got Say It Now off the inside in the final circuit and the stallion charged home, out wide, to gain a last-stride victory by a neck from Notabadexcuse, who had taken the lead 80m from the post. Black Aquila was a wilting third.
The final sections were covered in 28.5sec. and 29.5sec. and Say It Now rated 1.57.6. He has been an excellent moneyspinner for Hopeland trainer Kevin Charles and his son Kody, who bred the horse from Promising Gift, a mare gifted to them by breeder Tom Keating. Say It Now has earned $101,981 from 12 wins and 11 placings from 52 starts.
Desirable Guy breaks through for first WA win
New South Wales-bred five-year-old Desirable Guy completed a double for reinsmanin the first two events at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he relished his pacemaking role to score an easy victory in the 2130m Bambach Cables Pathway Pace.
Brown, who trains the gelding at Banjup, had won the opening event with the Dick Moore-trained Macintosh.
Desirable Guy, second fancy at 3/1, jumped straight to the front from the No. 2 barrier and Brown rated him perfectly to score by four metres from polemarker Justlikelindt, a 13/1 chance who trailed the leader all the way. A half-head away in third place was the 2/1 favourite Algranco Under Fire, who raced three wide early and then without cover.
The win was Desirable Guy's first from seven WA starts and it ended a losing sequence of 13. He now boasts an enviable record of 70 starts for 15 wins and 22 placings for earnings of $105,388 and he looks capable of more city successes for owners Geoff and Ben Waters, John Galluccio, Grahame Searle and Paul Whyte.
Desirable Guy showed early promise and at Melton in May 2011 he finished fourth behind Mr Nickel, Magic Bliss and Soho Valencia in the $305,000 group 1 Australian Pacing Gold.
By American stallion, Desirable Guy is the first foal out of Atworthy Maid, who was unplaced at her four starts in Victoria as a two and three-year-old in 2005-06. Atworthy Maid's dam Crown Velvet produced five winners, including Velvets Bee gee (29 wins and $134,600) and Croesus (13 wins and $253,050).
Am Opulent relishes frontrunning role
Few mares in Western Australia possess the sparkling early speed of Am Opulent and whendashed the New Zealand-bred four-year-old straight to the front from the No. 3 barrier her 11 rivals faced an extremely difficult task in the $25,000 final of the Nexans Olex Lombardo Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Warwick stole a march on the opposition when he got Am Opulent to relax and coast through the lead time in 38.2sec. and the first quarter of the final mile in 31.7sec.
Warwick gave the mare more rein in the final 800m and she sped over the final quarters in 29sec. and 28.2sec. to win by one and a half lengths from 66/1 outsider Tis A Charmer, who enjoyed a good trail three back on the pegs. Polemarker Ace of Cards (22/1) trailed the leader for much of the way before finishing with a spirited burst.
Selkie, the 2/1 favourite, was never in contention.restrained her back to the rear from her wide barrier at No. 6 on the front line. She started a three-wide run approaching the bell, following Lucky Joy, But she floundered in the back straight and dropped back to finish in eleventh position.
Am Opulent, trained by Greg and, has earned $188,047 from 12 wins and 11 placings from 45 starts. She is related to Smart Son (41 wins and $347,805) and Vanderel (14 wins and $164,163).
My Samantha Jane turns the tables
Consistent filly My Samantha Jane turned the tables on The Parade when she gave a bold frontrunning display and carried too many guns in the final stages for her rival in the 2130m Sylvania Trader Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
A fortnight earlier My Samantha Jane started from the inside of the back line and trailed the pacemaker Harper Grace before finishing a sound second to The Parade, who sustained a powerful burst from last to take the lead 250m from home.
Under the preferential barrier draw conditions on Friday night, My Samantha Jane drew ideally at No. 2 on the front line and The Parade had the distinct disadvantage of starting from the outside of the back line. My Samantha Jane was a strongly-supported 2/1 second fancy, with The Parade favourite at 6/4.
Trainer, anxious to have My Samantha Jane's mind on the job from the outset, changed her gear, removing the Dolly Varden blinkers and replacing them with hood-type blinkers. This did the trick and the filly began like a shot.
After first quarters of the final mile in 30.7sec. and 30.1sec., My Samantha Jane dashed over the final sections in 29.3sec. and 29.2sec. and she won by five metres from the gallant The Parade, rating 1.58.4. Polemarker Major Flirt finished third after trailing the pacemaker all the way.
The Parade settled down in eleventh position beforedashed her forward with a fast three-wide burst after 700m. The filly moved into the breeze with 1050m to travel and she fought on with typical determination.
My Samantha Jane, unplaced at her three starts in New Zealand, has had 16 starts in Western Australia for four wins and six placings and now has earned $44,620 in stakes.
El Machine a winter cups prospect
Bargain pacer El Machine graduated to an M5 mark with his stylish victory in the Hydraulic Energy Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night and will be a valuable addition to open-class feature Cup events over the winter months.
He was a 10/1 chance from the outside of the back line and made light of this disadvantage by unwinding a typical powerful finishing burst to easily defeat 3/1 second fancy Slick Chapel and Wrongly Accused (6/1), rating 1.57.4 over the 2130m trip.
Last-start winner Real Hammer (5/1) began with his usual alacrity to burst straight to the front from the polemarker and 5/2 favourite Mighty Flying Thomas, with Wrongly Accused in the breeze.
El Machine settled at the rear before his trainerstarted a three-wide move approaching the bell and appreciating a cart up behind Rodrigo. Real Hammer, who pulled hard, began to tire badly half-way down the back straight and Howson shot El Machine to the front 260m from home.
Slick Chapel was tenth at the bell and following El Machine in the three-wide line. Gary Hall jun. switched him four wide with about 420m to travel and he finished powerfully to be second. Mighty Flying Thomas was hampered behind the fading Real hammer and even though Tom Buchanan was able to ease the gelding off the pegs, he was blocked for a clear passage in the final stages and finished eighth.
The West Australian-bred El Machine, bought for a mere $5000 as a yearling by Howson and fellow trainer-reinsman, has earned $156,489 from 18 wins and 13 placings from 47 starts.
Claimers the aim for Pride of Colorado
Darling Downs trainer-reinsmanhas high hopes that Pride of Colorado will follow in the footsteps of his half-brother Scram Jet and develop the reputation as a King of the Claimers.
Scram Jet enjoyed racing in claimers in the twilight of his career and he was retired after winning ten times in that company and with a career record of 172 starts for 24 wins, 42 placings and $235,076 in prizemoney.
Pride of Colorado, a West Australian-bred seven-year-old by former star pacer Saab, has an M4 classification and Cortopassi considers he is not quite up to top class and he is planning a continuing career in claiming events.
Pride of Colorado won his second claimer when Cortopassi drove him aggressively before he won the 2130m Scholz Electric Claiming Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Pride of Colorado started from barrier six in a field of seven and was a firm 5/4 favourite. Cortopassi was keen to control the tempo of the race and he dashed Pride of Colorado forward in the early stages to race in the breeze, with 12-year-old Tee Pee Village (6/1) setting the pace.
After an opening section of the final mile in a slow 31.3sec., Tee Pee Village ran the next quarters in 29.8sec., 28.7sec. and 28.8sec. However, he was unable to keep Pride of Colorado at bay, with the favourite forging to the front 80m from the post and winning by just over a length.
Pride of Colorado, owned by Stephen Schmedje, has earned $148,967 from 17 wins and 18 placings from 81 starts.
mare Lady Legacy, dam of Scram Jet and Pride of Colorado, won at five of her 23 starts in the mid-1990s. She is out of Fiscal Miss, a winner of 15 races and the mother of star performers Whitbys Miss Penny (50 starts for 32 wins, six placings and $568,289) and Ace of Whitby (79 starts for 29 wins, 21 placings and $317,247).
Macintosh makes it eight from ten in WA
Up-and-coming New Zealand-bred four-year-old Macintosh continued his rise to prominence when he overcame the disadvantage of starting from the outside of the back line with an impressive victory in the 2536m Apec Cables Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
A week earlierbrought Macintosh home with a powerful last-lap last-to-first effort. But on Friday night Brown made his move earlier.
Polemarker What God Knows led for the first lap, during which he withstood a spirited challenge from Mr Nickel. Brown seized the initiate after a lap had been covered by sending Macintosh forward from the rear with a strong three-wide burst.
Macintosh, favourite at 6/4, moved to the breeze 1300m from home and Brown was content to remain there until be shot the son ofto the front with 470m to travel. The third quarter of the final mile was covered in a brisk 28.3sec. and Macintosh sprinted the final section in 28.4sec. to win by just under a length from 11/4 second fancy Ohoka , who sustained strong burst from the rear. Dearborn (12/1) followed the run of Ohoka to finish an encouraging third.
Macintosh, trained at Forrestdale by Dick Moore, looks set for many more wins. After winning at two of his ten starts in New Zealand the gelding has won eight times from ten starts in WA.
by Ken Casellas