New Zealand-bred four-year-old Lucie Boshier is poised to break a harness racing hoodoo by becoming the first mare to win the $35,000 John Higgins Memorial when she starts from the No. 4 barrier in the 2100m harness racing event at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Remarkably, only two mares have managed to be placed in the first 17 years of the Higgins Memorial. Moment In Time, favourite at 10/9 and driven by Kim Prentice, led until the final 20m when a neck second to 16/1 chance Ianalbert in 2006 and a year later 10/1 chance Glitzy Miss (Vance Stampalia) flashed home to finish a head second to Capitol V.
Serpentine trainer Chris Brew declared that Lucie Boshier kept on surprising him after she had annihilated the opposition to win a heat of the Higgins by more than six lengths at Pinjarra last Friday week.
That was her third win from three starts in Australia after she had managed only three wins from 36 starts in New Zealand. Her average winning margins in her three wins for Brew is 10.6 metres.
Lucie Boshier, by former New Zealand champion, has demonstrated her wonderful versatility in her three WA appearances. She gave a bold frontrunning display when she won easily from Bettor Yarn and Lisharry over 2100m at Gloucester Park and then she set the pace and sprinted over the final 800m in 56.2sec. to beat Quick Reflection over 2100m at Bunbury.
She started out wide on the back line at her third WA start and was most impressive when she charged home, out wide, from the rear at the bell to score a runaway victory over Code Red and Big And Smooth at Pinjarra. She dashed over the final 800m in 57.1sec. and rated 1.56.1 over 2185m.
Lucie Boshier, named after a prominent Auckland fashion designer and entrepreneur, is sure to meet stern opposition from Go West U Terror, Dashing Christian and Code Red, three smart New Zealand-bred pacers trained by Gary Hall sen.
Dashing Christian and Go West U Terror fared well in the random barrier draw and will have many admirers. Dashing Christian will start from the prized No. 1 barrier on the front line and Go West U Terror looks ideally suited from the No. 2 barrier. Code Red faces a tougher test from barrier six.
Dashing Christian and Go West U Terror are blessed with abundant gate speed and each pacer has won several times after setting the pace. It was a more advantageous barrier (three) which enabled Go West U Terror to lead and beat Dashing Christian in a Higgins heat at Northam on Tuesday of last week. Dashing Christian raced three wide and then in the breeze before finishing determinedly to lose by just a head.
Code Red won in fine style at his first two starts in WA early this month before he raced three wide for much of the way and finished a well-beaten second behind Lucie Boshier at Pinjarra.
Rockyourbaby, well drawn at No 2 on the back line, cannot be underestimated and he has prospects of giving trainer-reinsman Colin Brown his fourth victory in the Higgins Memorial after successes with Valiant Soldier (2003), Money Magnet (2004) and Richard Henry (2005). Brown drove 10/9 on favourite Ohokas Bondy in last year's event when the three-year-old worked hard without cover before fading to fifth behind the pacemaker Move Over.
Rockyourbaby finished powerfully when a close second to Lisharry in the 2100m RWWA Rising Stars Invitation Stakes last Friday night.
Peter Anderson, who trained Move Over for his win in the Higgins Memorial 12 months ago, has two runners this year, both of whom will be at long odds, particularly after drawing badly. Arden Major, who led and wilted to fourth behind Heisbackinblack in a Higgins heat at Narrogin, will start from barrier five on the front line, while Chocolatto, a battling, well-beaten fourth behind Go West U Terror in the heat at Northam, faces a tough task from barrier four on the back line.
Chris Lewis, who will handle Car Fifty Four for Capel trainer Andrew de Campo, has won the Higgins Memorial a record four times. He has been successful with Hail The Judge (1997), Our Graedy (1998), Ianalbert (2006) and Sneakyn Down Under (2007).
DASHER VC GETS HIS CHANCE TO MAKE AMENDS FOR DEFEAT AT ODDS-ON
Star pacer Dasher VC, surprisingly beaten into fourth place at 2/1 on behind David Hercules over 1700m last Friday night, should return to the winning list in the 2100m Jandakot Tyre Power Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
The New Zealand-bred five-year-old will appreciate the absence of the brilliant David Hercules and the extra distance of the race.
Punters should take into account his gallant effort last week when he was forced to work hard in the breeze while David Hercules was setting a blistering pace. David Hercules rated 1.52.8 to break the track record of 1.53 held by Has The Answers.
Dasher VC, trained at Capel by Andrew de Campo, gave a sample of his class the previous week at his first start for just over four months when he raced wide early and then without cover before winning easily from Lightning Raider and Rakarebel at a 1.54.2 rate over 1700m.
He will start from the outside of the front line this week and should carry too many guns for his rivals. His chief opposition is likely to come from Can Return Fire, Cromac Johnny, Lightning Raider, Rakarebel and Grinjaro.
De Campo also is hoping for an improved effort from outstanding New Zealand-bred three-year-old Western Cullen when the gelding starts out wide at barrier six on the front line of the Bill Steer Memorial Pace over 2100m.
Western Cullen won at each of his first two starts after resuming from a spell when he started from barrier two on each occasion and was untroubled to set the pace and score easily in moderate company at Pinjarra. He started out wide at barrier six at Gloucester Park last Friday week when he raced wide early, was restrained to the rear and then travelled three wide in the final circuit before battling on to be a fair third behind Bettor Reason and Soho Silverstone.
Soho Silverstone, who led from the No. 2 barrier, will start from No 4 this week and faces a sterner task. Fantastyx (barrier one) and Lord Jowers (two) must be considered, but Western Cullen's major rival is likely to be the highly-impressive Im Terrific, who has the ability to overcome the disadvantage of starting from the outside of the front line.
The New Zealand-bred Im Terrific, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, is in sparkling form and has won in dashing style over 2185m at Pinjarra at each of his past three starts. He began from a wide barrier on Monday this week and was restrained to last before surging home with a three-wide burst from seventh at the bell to win from Intrepidation.
VOAK, SEARCHING FOR A CENTURY, TO DRIVE MOTORINGWITHTHEBEST
Twenty-three-year-old Chris Voak is moving inexorably towards driving 100 winners in a season for the first time and he gets a wonderful opportunity to boost his tally when he drives Motoringwiththebest in the Cyril Lilleyman Memorial Pace over 1700m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
He will be handling the smart New Zealand-bred six-year-old for the first time for Baldivis trainer Nathan Turvey, who has driven the gelding to five wins from 14 starts in WA.
Turvey engaged Voak to make use of Voak's junior driver concession which has enabled Motoringwiththebest, an M3-class pacer, to contest an event restricted to pacers with an assessment of M1 and M2.
Motoringwiththebest should appreciate the concession and should be able to overcome the disadvantage of starting from the outside of the front line over the sprint journey. Motoringwiththebest showed his ability as a sprinter when he raced wide early and then without cover before winning at a 1.57.6 rate from Remember El over 1700m in April.
He resumed after an absence of just over two months when he started from the 50m mark, galloped at the start and was a distant last in the middle stages before finishing solidly to be fourth behind Ledger over 2503m at Gloucester Park on Monday of last week.
Motoringwiththebest's toughest rivals on Friday night appear to be the polemarker Elite Angel, a stylish frontrunner, and the consistent Shoab, who is well drawn as the only runner off the back line.
Voak has had a wonderful season and has driven 95 winners to be fifth on the Statewide premiership, withy Morgan Woodley (178 winners) setting the pace from Colin Brown (162) and Gary Hall jun. (150). He is in eighth place with 19 winners on the metropolitan drivers' premiership on which Hall is leading with 102 winners from Brown (86) and Woodley (75).
MOORE CELEBRATES HIS BIRTHDAY WITH A QUINELLA AT NORTHAM
Northam trainer Jesse Moore celebrated his 68th birthday in fine style at Burwood Park on Tuesday night when his two runners, Hear No Secret and Incendio, fought out the finish of a 2190m event for mares.
Incendio, driven by Chris Voak, set the pace and looked certain of victory when she led clearly half way down the home straight. But she wilted in the closing stages and was swamped by 14/1 chance Hear No Secret (Kade Howson), who charged home from seventh at the bell and won by a half-length.