Champion harness racing reinsman Chris Lewis and freak pacer Has The Answers continue to re-write the record books. Lewis drove the seemingly indestructible eight-year-old to a stylish all-the-way victory in the $35,000 Caravan Industry Association WA Brennan Memorial at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
This gave the 55-year-old master reinsman a record seventh success in the group 3 feature event. It was Byford horseman Tony Svilicich's second win as a trainer in the 2536m race. He prepared Demoralizer for an all-the-way victory in the Brennan Memorial in September 2007.
Has The Answers, the 10/1 on tote favourite, gave his rivals no chance after bursting straight to the front from barrier five. After a leisurely 31.2sec. 400m second section of the final mile, the powerful gelding dashed over the final 800m in 58.2sec. and won by a half-length from 18/1 chance Pablito, with Gary Bromac (12/1) a sound third, just ahead of Albert Jaccka.
Parasite, a newcomer to the Svilicich stable, started out wide at No. 9 and raced three wide for the first 700m before moving into the breeze. Immediately, Kim Prentice dashed Albert Jaccka forward to move outside the leader with 1450m to travel. Gary Bromac was poised behind the pacemaker.
Pablito raced on the pegs in sixth position before Colin Brown got him into the clear in the final circuit and the six-year-old impressed in storming home to be a fast-closing second.
The win was the fifth in a row for Has The Answers, whose record stands at 141 starts for 50 wins, 42 placings and stakes of $780,709.
Splendid Gloucester Park debut by My Sound Of Thunder
Lightly-raced New Zealand-bred gelding My Sound of Thunder made a triumphant debut at Gloucester Park when he gave a tough staying performance to win the 2503m Parkland Winnebago Pace on Friday night.
Boyanup trainer Kim Prentice produced My Sound of Thunder in superb condition for his first appearance for ten and a half months and the son ofshould develop into a summer carnival prospect providing he remains sound.
My Sound of Thunder, a winner of eight races from 30 starts in New Zealand, made his Australian debut for Prentice and owners Robert Watson and Joe Iemma in the Narrogin Cup early last November when he finished strongly to be third to Schinzig Buller and Total Defiance. He pulled up sore and had to undergo surgery.
He was a 6/4 favourite on Friday night when Justin Prentice got him away well from the 10m line as polemarker Big Jedd took up the running, with Puhinui Rainbow (11/2) going forward into the breeze.
Prentice quickly dashed My Sound of Thunder forward to assume the position outside the frontrunning Big Jedd, giving Puhinui Rainbow the perfect one-out, one-back trail. My Sound of Thunder clawed his way to the front 90m from the post and then he fought grimly to hold out the fast-finishing Puhinui Rainbow to gain the verdict by a nose.
Big Jedd held on gamely to take third spot just in front of Shoab, who came from eighth in the middle stages. My Sound of Thunder has had only 32 starts for ten wins, 11 placings and $113,301 in prizemoney. His nine-year-old full-brother Presido has earned $150,000 from his 12 wins and 15 placings from 83 starts.
Woodley makes flying start in his quest for medal
Outstanding reinsman Morgan Woodley made a flying start in his bid to earn the Kim Prentice Medal for the fourth time when he drove 10/1 chance Hyhope to a narrow victory over Keep Celebrating in the E-Bikes R Us Young Drivers Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
This was the first of several races to be held during the 2010-11 season to decide the winner of the prestigious award for the metropolitan Young Driver of the year.
The Victorian-bred Hyhope went into the race with a losing sequence of 14 and was on the fifth line of favouritism. Twenty-one-year-old Woodley gained a vital advantage over his rivals when he dashed Hyhope from barrier three to the lead 100m after the start.
And when challenged hard by Keep Celebrating (Donald Harper), Woodley wisely conceded the lead after 500m and gave Hyhope a perfect trail behind that pacer who bowled along at a fast pace.
Keep Celebrating had all his rivals off the bit when he sprinted through the third 400m section of the final mile in 28.4sec. Woodley timed his run to perfection and he dashed Hyhope to the front with 270m to travel. However, Keep Celebrating refused to surrender and he fought back tenaciously in the home straight to fail by the narrowest of margins.
Lombo Air Express (Chris Voak), who raced without cover for much of the way, battled on solidly into third place, ahead of Spanish Assassin (Kyle Harper), who had raced in fourth place on the pegs.
Hyhope, owned by Steve Ellis and trained by John Ellis, showed early promise in restricted company and won five races in a row at Mildura, Ouyen and Nyah as a three-year-old. He now has earned $52,427 from 11 wins and nine placings from 55 starts.
He has raced 34 times in WA for two wins and seven placings. By, Hyhope is out of the French Chef mare The Feminist, who won once (at Kilmore in September 1996) from eight starts. Hyhope is a half-brother to Village Playboy, who has had 54 starts in WA for 11 wins, 11 placings and $59,191 in stakes.
The Feminist is out of Special Miss, who produced five winners, including The Specialist (15 wins, including five at Gloucester Park in the mid-1990s, for earnings of $175,542) and Dallas Page (14 wins and 23 placings from 120 starts for $73,841).
Butt times his finishing bursts to perfection
Eighteen-year-old New Zealand reinsman Chris Butt landed his first city double when he drove with commendable skill to score narrow victories with Aussie Reactor and Im Grant Lea at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
The son of ace New Zealand horseman Anthony Butt, Chris is gaining valuable experience working with WA's leading trainer Gary Hall sen., who prepares Aussie Reactor and Im Grant Lea.
Aussie Reactor (11/4) sustained a strong three-wide burst from eighth at the bell to snatch a 1m victory from Hillview Storm (13/4) in the 2130m Perth Central Caravan Park Pace before Im Grant Lea produced similar strong finish, coming from seventh with a lap to travel to score by a head in a blanket finish with seven horses spread across the track in the Gracetown Caravan Park Pace.
Butt revealed great patience and confidence in timing the finishing runs of both pacers to perfection. Aussie Reactor unwound an even more spectacular finish for Butt a week earlier when he stormed home from 11th position at the 250m mark to get up and score by a head.
Nine-year-old Hillview Storm raced wide early before taking up the running after 450m and he was gallant in defeat. Smart Cullen sustained a strong three-wide burst from the rear to get his head in front at the 400m mark before Hillview Storm fought back to regain the lead and dash two lengths clear on the home turn.
Aussie Reactor, a five-year-old by, finished resolutely to hit the front in the final couple of strides. He is proving a wonderful bargain for owners Tony Giglietta and Brett Totman, who paid $19,000 for him as a yearling.
The gelding, who rated a smart 1.56.9, has earned $169,354 from his 14 wins and seven placings from only 33 starts. His biggest success was in the Golden Slipper in July 2008 when he got up to beat James Matthew by a nose.
Im Grant Lea, a New Zealand-bred seven-year-old by, was second favourite at 7/2 for the Gracetown Caravan Park Pace and he upset the 2/1 favourite Dellas Jack when he finished strongly to beat him by a head after Shane Butterworth had set the pace with the Dennis Morton-trained six-year-old.
Im Grant Lea, a winner of five races from 40 starts in New Zealand, has been a tremendous success for Hall, having 16 starts in WA for six wins and two placings. His nine-year-old full brother Spirit of Shard has earned $263,124 from his 24 wins and 23 placings from 110 starts.
Falcons Medley reveals his true potential at last
Falcons Medley, a six-year-old bred in the purple, repaid his connections for their patience when he revealed tremendous strength and speed to crush his rivals in the Aspen Parks Pathways Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
His decisive 4m victory over 10/9 favourite Im Tim Kelly ended a frustrating losing sequence of 18 and showed that he has a bright future for owners Neil Glen, Ross Keys, Frank Healy, Graham Rhodes, Jim Spiniello and Barbara Burns.
Falcons Medley (15/4), who is trained by Tony Svilicich, is a half-brother to former star pacer Lively Medley, who was unbeaten in 15 starts in WA before breaking down with a serious leg injury in 2004. His brilliant victory ended Im Tim Kelly's unbeaten record in Australia.
Im Tim Kelly, an impressive winner at his first four Australian starts for top trainer Gary Hall sen., lost few admirers after his excellent effort to finish second. Im Tim Kelly started from the outside barrier and was restrained to last by Kim Prentice.
Polemarker The Smooth Operator (3/1) set a brisk pace for Morgan Woodley and Colin Brown wasted little time in getting into the thick of the action, urging Falcons Medley from last in the early stages to go forward with a fast burst.
Falcons Medley moved alongside the pacemaker after 500m before he forged to the front 120m from the post. He sprinted the final 800m in 57.1sec. and rated 1.55.6 over the 1730m journey. The Smooth Operator battled on doggedly to finish third and will pay to follow.
Grumpys Girl breaks through in the city
Callan Suvaljko retained his 100 per cent winning record for Bridgetown breeder-owner-trainer Graeme Waters when he drove Grumpys Girl for the first time and guided her to an all-the-way victory in the 2130m Caravan Superstore and RV's Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
The only other pacer that Suvaljko has driven for Waters is Young Richard, and Suvaljko has driven him only once for a decisive win at Gloucester Park 12 months ago.
Young Richard is a half-brother to Grumpys Girl, who was unplaced at her nine appearances at Gloucester Park before Friday night. But Friday night's field was not strong and Grumpys Girl's prospects were greatly enhanced when she drew the prized No. 1 barrier.
Grumpys Girl started second favourite at 15/4 and Suvaljko made the most of the mare's inside barrier by sending her to the front as soon as the mobile barrier released the field of nine mares.
Flossie, the 9/4 favourite, started from barrier eight and Stephen Reed sent her forward to race without cover 600m after the start. Grumpys Girl dashed over the third 400m section of the final mile in 28.7sec. and covered the final 400m in 29sec. before holding on grimly to beat Flossie by a head.
A seven-year-old by Saab, Grumpys Girl is out of Witches Cauldron, who had 48 starts for three wins in 2000, nine placings and stakes of $9845. Grumpys Girl now has earned $32,623 from six wins and four placings from 36 starts and Young Richard has had 54 starts for 11 wins, 12 placings and $62,370.
Brown makes the most of a chance drive
Colin Brown made the most of the opportunity to handle smart five-year-old Truckers Ruffnut by adopting aggressive tactics and driving him to an easy victory in the 2503m Aussie RV Products Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Oakford trainer Murray Hansen engaged Brown after Truckers Ruffnut's regular reinsman Gary Hall jun. was suspended during the week.
Truckers Ruffnut, favourite at 6/4, began smoothly from the 10m mark and after settling down in ninth position, Brown started a fast three-wide move with Truckers Ruffnut after 550m.
Noted frontrunner Jordangarry was setting the pace for Chris Lewis as Truckers Ruffnut moved into the breeze just after a lap had been covered. Brown was not content to race without cover and he dashed Truckers Ruffnut to the front 1500m from home.
The gelding relished his pacemaking role and won impressively by 4m from Jordangarry after covering the final 800m in 58.5sec. He rated 1.59.4 in recording his 18th win from 45 starts which have netted owners Donald, Mark and Brendan Knowles $218,270.
Real Life, backmarker off 30m and backed in solidly to start at 3/1, was last after a lap before Shannon Suvaljko dashed him forward with 1200m to travel to be third, three wide, at the bell. But he wilted after his hard run to finish fifth. Undertheinfluence started off 20m and caught the eye when he was ninth at the bell before rattling home into third position.
Hirli Birli Lombo continues in fine form
Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri continued his excellent start to the 2010-11 season when Hirli Birli Lombo settled in last position from the outside barrier, charged to the front after a lap and fought on determinedly to score a narrow win in the 2536m Metro Talvor Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Hirli Birli Lombo, a solidly-supported favourite at even money, despite drawing the outside barrier, has shone after returning to WA following a few seasons of racing in the eastern states.
He now has had six starts for Olivieri since returning to his home state for three wins and three seconds to improve his career record to 48 starts for ten wins, 17 placings and $85,684 in prizemoney.
He started his career in WA and was placed twice from five WA starts in the summer of 2006-07 before his owner-breeder Mick Lombardo sent him east where he won twice in New South Wales, once in Queensland and four times in Victoria.
Polemaker Iraville led early in Friday night's race before Kody Charles took the sit behind Jackson Street, who then surrendered the lead to Hirli Birli Lombo with two laps to travel.
Jackson Street was held up for a clear passage until late and when Michael George was able to ease him into the clear, he rattled home to fail by a neck. Iraville, a nine-year-old mare by, finished solidly on the inside to be third at her final start in an 89-start career. She is being retired and will be served by .
Hirli Birli Lombo, by American stallion Lotsa Clout, is out of Indyanna Lombo, who raced in WA, Queensland and Victoria. Indyanna Lombo won the State Sires Series final for three-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park in May 2002, then finished second to Nevabend Lombo in the WA Oaks and was retired after finishing ninth behind Montanna Anna in the Victorian Oaks at Moonee Valley.