Marooned, a seven-year-old gelding, who boasted a losing sequence of 20 when he was claimed for $10,000 ten weeks ago, delighted his new owners when he stormed home from the rear to win the $50,000 Channel Nine Binshaw Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
A tote outsider at 46/1, Marooned was handled expertly byand his victory over the heavily-supported 9/2 third favourite Northern Assassin and Copagin (10/1) came as a major surprise.
There were six claims lodged for Marooned when he contested a claimer at Gloucester Park on November 29 and Gloucester Park Harness Racing committeeman Garry Scott was exceedingly happy when he was successful in the ballot.
Marooned, who is raced by Scott, his wife Janine, their son Matt and friends Tony Maguire, Alison Tilt and the Manton brothers, is proving a splendid acquisition, with his first eight starts since entering Matt Scott's Serpentine stables producing two wins and a second placing for stakes of $42,845.
The New South Wales-bred Marooned was able to contest the heats of the Binshaw Classic, restricted to M1-class pacers, because his classification was reduced from an M2 mark to M1 after he had extended his losing sequence to ten last August.
He started out wide from barrier six on the front line in Friday night's 2130m final and Voak eased him back to race on the pegs. Polemarker Shnappy, the 3/1 favourite, set the pace after resisting a strong early challenge from Atlastalone.
The pace was solid throughout, and after each of the first two 400m sections of the final mile went by in 29.4sec., Shnappy sprinted the third quarter in 28.6sec. Northern Assassin, ninth in the first lap, started a three-wide move approaching the bell and he got to a narrow lead 300m from home and looked the winner until Marooned flew home out wide on the track.
Marooned was tucked away in the pegs in ninth position at the bell. He was still ninth when Voak eased him off the inside with 400m to travel. Marooned then went four wide and was sixth on the home turn before charging home to burst to the lead in the closing stages. The final quarter took 29.5sec. and the winner rated 1.57.
Copagin, who raced three back on the pegs, finished boldly, out wide, to be a neck away in third place, with Shnappy wilting to fourth.
"Last week his run (fourth to Copagrin) was a hell of a lot better than what it looked," Voak said. "I don't think we would have been any match for Copagrin, but I reckon if he had got clear a little earlier he would have run second.
"Often in these type of races, with the hot speed, you need a lot of luck, and we got that. But by the same token the horse still has to be good enough to hit the line. And tonight he certainly ate it up. I drove Marooned for Matt early in December and he finished strongly to beat This Time Dylan (who went on to finish third to Hokonui Ben and Toretto in the WA Pacing Cup). If This Time Dylan was in tonight's field he probably would have been the $2 favourite."
When Marooned won from This Time Dylan he sprinted the final 800m in 56.7sec. and the last quarter in 27.6sec. and Voak admitted to Matt Scott that the gelding was quite a bit better than he had anticipated.
Friday night's win, paying $46.80 on the tote, was one of several successes by the gelding at handsome odds. His New South Wales successes included wins at $44.70 at Wagga and $17.60 and $48.70 at Menangle. By American stallion Hare Hare, Marooned has earned $145,722 from 17 wins and 15 placings from 72 starts.
The victory continued the 25-year-old Voak's great run of successes this season. With 63 wins he is in second place behind Gary hall jun. (72) on the Statewide premiership. He is equal sixth on thepremiership table with 22 wins, with Hall showing the way with 53 wins.
EMPRESS STAKES IS THE TARGET FOR FAMOUS ALCHEMIST
Leading trainer Gary Hall sen. is setting talented New Zealand-bred five-year-old Famous Alchemist for the $50,000 Empress Stakes at Gloucester Park on February 28 after she had strolled to victory in the 1730m Alan Vawser Memorial on Friday night.
Famous Alchemist, favourite at 7/4 on, was never seriously challenged and she was able to stroll through the lead time in a modest 8.3sec. before simply ambling through the first two 400m sections of the final mile in 31.3sec. and 30.8sec. Rarely, in any company, is a leader able to dawdle over the first 800m of the final mile in 62.1sec.
Gary Hall jun. gave Famous Alchemist a little more rein and she sped over the final quarters in 28.5sec. and 27.2sec. She was not extended in coasting to victory by a length from 7/1 chance Sensational Gabby, who fought on doggedly after racing without cover. Rocky Marciano, second fancy at 5/2, trailed the pacemaker throughout and was hopelessly blocked for a run in finishing a close third.
Hall did not release the ear plugs and Famous Alchemist rated 1.57.3 and could have gone considerably faster. She has led six times at her 20 starts in Western Australia and has won every time.
The expected early speed battle between Famous Alchemist (barrier 1) and Sensational Gabby (three) did not eventuate and trainerappears to have cured the mare's recent habit of overracing badly in her races.
This surprised Hall jun., who said: "I thought that there would have been a lot of speed off the gate and during the week everyone said to me that Famous Alchemist would have trouble in holding up. And we thought that the first half might be run quicker than the last.
"But it was one of those races which did not pan out that way and she has led comfortably. Half-way through the race I felt like pulling her one off the fence and putting some pressure on myself. She is a quality mare who has had a few setbacks, and we're happy to have her racing in this sort of form."
Famous Alchemist, owned by Karen Hall, has had 37 starts for 12 wins and 12 placings for earnings of $236,219.
LIVELONG AND PROSPER REGAINING FORM AFTER SURGERY
About a year ago Livelong And Prosper was laid low by injury and his future was uncertain. He was suffering from severe stifle lock in both hind legs and veterinary surgeon Kim Rose had to cut the ligaments in both legs in an attempt to cure the problem.
The operation was successful, but when Livelong And Prosper resumed work for Bickley trainerthe somewhat gangling and lightly-framed gelding struggled to reproduce the form he showed when he started his Western Australian career as a three-year-old early in 2012.
Anderson then experimented by giving Livelong And Prosper a lighter workload on the training track and concentrated on a lot of swimming in the pool. This decision is paying dividends. The New Zealand-bred gelding has put on weight and is racing with admirable enthusiasm.
In his current preparation he has won at Bunbury in November and at Gloucester Park and Harvey in December and he impressed at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he unwound a sparkling late burst to snatch victory from Im Clean Cut and Soho Jackman in the 2130m See It First on Nine Pathway Pace.
Despite fast-finishing thirds at his two previous outings, Livelong And Prosper was a 25/1 chance, mainly because of his wide draw at No. 5 on the front line. Soho Jackman, undefeated at three starts since a spell, was favourite at 10/9 on and polemarker Ohokawas a firm 6/4 second fancy.
Ohokawas first into stride, with Gary Hall jun. getting Soho Jackman away brilliantly from barrier six. Soho Jackman poured on the pressure and was held at bay by Ohoka before Robbie Williams relinquished the lead after 450m.
The early cracking pace had the rest of the field well spread out, mainly in Indian file, withable to get Livelong And Prosper across to the pegs in sixth position. Williams took Ohoka off the pegs and into the breeze 1050m from home to put some pressure on the leader.
Livelong And Prosper was sixth at the bell when Woodley was able to ease him off the pegs before switching him three wide 460m from home. Then the gelding was forced four wide at the 400m whenstarted a three-wide move with Im Clean Cut.
Livelong And Prosper sustained his spirited burst, out wide, to hit the front about 70m from the post and he beat Im Clean Cut (18/1) by a neck, with a neck to Soho Jackman. Ohokawilted to finish fifth.
Livelong And Prosper was purchased as a three-year-old by Ken Casellas and Ross Waddell after his four starts had produced one third placing at Alexandra Park. He made an auspicious start in WA, winning at his first two starts, at Harvey and Narrogin in January 2012 before catching the eye with a splendid fast-finishing third to talented three-year-olds Gracias Para Nada and Western Cullen at Gloucester Park the following month.
He is now starting to realise his full potential and should improve on his record of seven wins, 16 placings and $45,235 in stakes from 46 starts. By American stallion, Livelong And Prosper is the second foal out of mare Nicolosa, who had only five starts for one win (at Alexandra Park in August 2006). Nicolosa is the first foal out of Al Cioccolato, who won at her only start, as a three-year-old at Forbury in May 2001.
Woodley said that he felt confident after the fast lead time and with the pressure being applied in front. "I was confident until we were pushed four wide at the 400m," he said. "However, he knuckled down well in the straight."
UNWANTED ARTISTIC COPPER SHOWS HER CLASS
Prominent breeder Mike Howie was disappointed when Artistic Copper failed to attract a single bid at the 2012 Gloucester Standardbred yearling sale. But now is quite happy that nobody was interested in the filly, who had a reserve price of $10,000.
Howie decided to keep the filly and gave her toto be prepared for racing. Artistic Copper boosted her earnings to $83,125 when she gave a polished frontrunning exhibition to score a three-length victory over the fast-finishing Lipizzaner in the $21,000 Love Child On Nine WA Sales Classic for three-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Artistic Copper, hot favourite at 3/1 on, started from barrier two and Matt White dashed her to the front after 120m. After moderate quarters of 31.7sec. and 31.3sec., Artistic Copper sped over the final sections in 28.7sec. and 28.3sec. to win easily from 8/1 chance Lipizzaner, who fought on solidly from sixth and last at the bell. Shez Sensational was a half-length away in third place after racing without cover in the middle stages.
This gave Artistic Copper her second success in a feature event for fillies. White drove her to victory in the group 1 $100,000 Sales Classic for two-year-old fillies last April. She now has raced 13 times for four wins and one placing.
"She is a lot stronger this time in," said White. "She has got better with every run this preparation and she has put it all together now."
Artistic Copper is by American stallion, who earned $2,604,855 from 26 wins, ten seconds and four thirds from 52 starts. He set a world record rate of 1.49.3 over 1700m and in seven of his wins he rated 1.48.4 or better and in another five wins he rated faster than 1.50.
ROBINSON GETS VEITCHTY HOME IN A THREE-WAY PHOTO
Trainer Michael Robinson made full use of a needle-eye opening in the final stages of the Fat Tony On Nine Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night to send 9/1 chance Veitchy through on the inside of the pacemaker Sargent Sonny to score in a thrilling three-way photo.
The camera revealed that Veitchy had scored by a nose from 9/4 favourite Sparkling Seelster, with a head to Sargent Sonny, the 3/1 second fancy.
"He always finishes strongly and hits the line well," Robinson said. "He's so consistent and I love driving him. It's a pleasure to have this little horse."
Robinson was happy to take the trail behind the pacemaker Sargent Sonny, with Sparkling Seelster in the breeze and 6/1 chance Soho Highroller in the one-out, one-back position. Sparkling Seelster got his nose in front 20m from the post, but just failed to hold off the fast-finishing Veitchy.
Veitchy, who won at seven of his 26 starts in New Zealand, has earned $73,795 from 11 wins and 21 placings from 71 starts. He is raced by Dion Poolman, Ashlee Cortopassi, Barry Street, Christian McArthur, Kirsty Ferguson, Simon Campbell-Hardwick, Brett King, Haley Morland, Frank Ranaldi and Richard McArthur.
The six-year-old byis related to several good winners, including The Cavalier, who won 15 races and $248,089. He is the second foal out of I'llmakemyname, who had only one start, for a win as a three-year-old at Bay of Plenty in October 2005.
NORTHVIEW PUNTER ANSWERS A FEW QUERIES
"There has probably been a little bit of a question mark over him lately, whether he is still up to his best form," Gary Hall jun. said after driving Northview Punter to a convincing victory in the first heat of the Block On Nine Lewis Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Well the New Zealand-bred four-year-old, favourite at 10/9 on, certainly showed that he is in splendid form as he surged past stablemate Real Hammer and into the lead after 450m and then relaxed with a muddling 31.5sec. quarter before he sprinted over the final three 400m sections in 29.7sec., 28.1sec. and 28sec. to score by just over two lengths from Pacific Warrior, rating 1.56.8 over the 2130m journey.
Pacific Warrior, second fancy at 9/4, raced three wide early and then in the breeze and he was gallant in defeat. Mein Guy ran on from sixth at the bell to be a fair third, with Mohegan Sun finishing boldly to be an eye-catching fourth.
"There were questions about his form and tonight we were definitely going to find out," Hall said. "We got away with a bit once we got to the front. Northview Punter is a class animal and when he finds the rail he's a hard horse to get over."
Northview Punter, ahorse who is prepared by leading trainer Gary Hall sen., has already earned $208,215 from 16 wins and 11 placings from 34 starts.
BOBBY TEAL LEADS AND MAKES IT FOUR WINS IN A ROW
Former Victorian pacer Bobby Teal, who managed just one win from his first 25 starts in Western Australia and had a losing sequence of 20 three months ago, has struck a purple patch of form and his smart all-the-way win in the 2503m Mark Readings Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night was his sixth victory from his past nine starts and his fourth in a row.
Forrestdale trainerhas produced the six-year-old in grand shape in the past three months and has relished the opportunity to drive the standing-start specialist who has contested 44 stands in his past 45 starts.
Bobby Teal, equal favourite at 7/4, was not extended in leading throughout to win by 5m from the equal fancy J Walker, who started from 20m and sustained a strong three-wide burst from ninth at the bell. Lord Coburn (22/1) who raced three back on the pegs, ran on strongly to finish third.
Once Bobby Teal jumped to the front Harper was able to get the gelding to relax and he was able to amble through the first 400m section of the final mile in 31.1sec. before he lifted his rating and reeled off final quarters of 29.3sec., 28.5sec. and 29.5sec.
"A lot of stands recently have been run the same way, with the leader being able to get it easy early and then run a quick time over the final 1200m," Harper said. "Most of these fields are made up of evenly-matched bunches.
"There was nothing tonight to put a lot of pressure on and that makes it easy to get what you need, and if the horse is good enough he will prove hard to run down."
Bobby Teal, owned by Albany businessman Harry Capararo and Queenslander Wayne Innes, has raced 72 times for 12 wins and 24 placings for stakes of $80,966.
TAJIES GIRL FINISHES FAST TO CAUSE AN UPSET
West Australian-bred four-year-old Tajies Girl caused an upset when she started at 31/1 and finished strongly to get up and snatch victory from 5/4 on favourite Hoylakes Firstlady in the 1730m The Voice On Nine Mares Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
The win, by a head, was a triumph for young owner-trainer-reinsman Chris Butt, who had themare poised to strike in the one-out, one-back position throughout.
Hoylakes Firstlady started from the No. 1 barrier and was beaten out by Am Opulent from the No. 3 barrier. However, Am Opulent was unable to cross to the pegs and was forced to race without cover all the way.
Butt bided his time and waited until the home turn before switching Tajies Girl three wide. Tajies Girl sprinted strongly and burst to the front in the final 15m, with the final quarter being run in a smart 28.6sec. Am Opulent fought on gamely to be third. The winner rated 1.58.5.
Tajies Girl, a sound second to Bonsu at Pinjarra last Monday, drew favourably at barrier two in Friday night's race, but Butt was left tohis tactics. "When the draw came out I wasn't sure how it was going to work out," he said. "And as things turned out we got the perfect trip and she got the job done.
"She has been racing well in the country, but she is a bit limited and has to be held up for one run."
Tajies Girl is out of Classic Rendezvous, who produced Lord Matao, who has had 42 starts for eight wins, eight placings and $65,040. Tajies Girl now has had 27 starts for four wins, six placings and $32,003 in prizemoney. Classic rendezvous was unplaced at three starts as a two-year-old in early 2000 before being retired.
SHARDONS ROCKET APPROACHES $300,000 MILESTONE
Seemingly indestructible nine-year-old Shardons Rocket moved a step closer to reaching $300,000 in prizemoney whendrove his assertively to score a solid all-the-way victory in the 2130m A Current Affair Claiming Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Owned by Ashley and Gavin McPhail and trained at Byford by, Shardons Rocket is an iron horse who has raced 137 times for 25 wins and 47 placings for stakes of $297,102.
He was favourite at 5/4 on and Lewis drove him hard from the No. 2 barrier to get past the polemarker Touch Me Toes and into the lead after 80m.
Pride of Colorado, resuming after a spell, raced wide early before moving into the breeze and then Lewis increased the tempo, with Shardons Rocket dashing over the final three quarters in 29.3sec., 28.4sec. and 29.2sec. He had to fight grimly to hold on and beat 9/1 chance Rojen Cruz, who raced three back on the pegs beforebrought him home with a fast run, out five wide on the track.
Pride of Colorado battled on gamely to be a close third, a nose ahead of Whos Mistake. On All Fours, who had won at his two previous starts and had enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, lacked sparkle and finished sixth in the field of seven.
by Ken Casellas