Day At The Track
Search Results
1 to 16 of 21

When the 4yo Alta Christiano mare Dixie Belle won at Pinjarra this afternoon she gave her owners Greg and Janice Starkie their first win for more than 22 years. Dixie Belle was trained and driven by Aldo Cortopassi and started a prohibitive favourite at $1.10. Greg Starkie last raced a horse in his name when Midnight Son, a horse he also bred, won at Narrogin on 14th April 1993. In 1993 Midnight Son was trained to four wins by Noel Keiley and in 1995 the horse was transferred into the names of Wendy Williams and Janice Starkie and trained by Rick Williams to a further seven wins including three at Gloucester Park. Greg Starkie has never lost his interest in harness racing even though he lives in the Southwest town of Manjimup some 300 kilometres from Perth and today’s win was a fitting reward for perseverance. Greg’s uncle Gil Starkie was a well-known trainer/driver in the fifties from his stables in White Gum Valley, while his grand-father Ted Starkie was one of the State’s leading horsemen in 1912. This was a time when the WA Trotting Association used to run their race-meetings at the Claremont Showgrounds while negotiating to lease facilities at the WACA Ground across the road from the current Gloucester Park track. Ted Starkie reined some 59 winners between 1911 and 1947 with his best being the Van Osterley gelding Flying Arrow which won a dozen races at the Claremont, WACA and Goodwood tracks.   Alan Parker

When diminutive mare Dracarys won at Gloucester Park last night she brought up win number 500 for her 31yo trainer Justin Prentice. He is just the 33rd trainer in the 110 year history of harness racing in Perth to reach the 500 wins milestone as a trainer and it has taken him just 11 years of training. Justin’s move into the training ranks came after a shortage of driving opportunities after he outdrove is junior drivers concession. His first winner as a trainer was Hes A Ruler at Narrogin on 21st October 2008 and it has taken him just 11 years to reach the 500 wins benchmark. Some idea of the magnitude of his achievement can be gauged by looking at the records of the only four Western Australians to train 2000 winners. Gary Hall Snr took 25 years to train the first 500 of the more than 3000 winners he currently has to his name. Ross Olivieri took 15 years to get his first 500 and went to New Zealand and New South Wales in the process. Trevor Warwick’s first 500 training wins came in 14 years of training while dual-code training legend Fred Kersley took 19 years to get to the 500 wins mark. Prentice’s 500 training wins includes 16 at Group One level with the 2019 WA Pacing Cup at the head of the list. He has also trained three winners of the WA Oaks, two 2yo Diamond Classics and a 2yo Pearl Classic.   Alan Parker

The husband and wife team of Greg and Skye Bond produced a winning treble at Gloucester Park last night. Gary Hall Snr also trained a winning treble at the meeting. Pretty much a standard Friday night’s fare at Australia’s historic city venue with the leading trainers dominating. Hopeland trainer Giles Inwood hadn’t trained a city class winner for seven years, September 2012, when he took three starters to Gloucester Park last night – he left the course with a winning double. Giles has been training since 2005 and after last night he has a total of 93 winners including 11 city class winners at Gloucester Park. In the eighth race Giles geared up two runners in Batavia On Fire and Gangbuster which had drawn alongside each other in the 2096 metre standing start event. Michael Grantham got Batavia On Fire home at the odds of $6.50 while Morgan Woodley finished second on the $11.00 chance Gangbuster. Thirty minutes later Giles put the gear on the former New Zealand pacer Captain Mannering and driver Chris Voak didn’t panic as he landed the $8.00 chance ahead of the $2.80 favourite Sergeant Oats – a shame for all Dad’s Army fans that it wasn’t Sergeant Wilson in second place. Three runners for two wins and a second was the perfect result for Giles Inwood.   Alan Parker

The win of Vampiro in this year’s edition of the Listed Classic the Howard Porter Memorial was especially significant for reinsman Colin Brown. He had been trying to win the Porter Memorial for more than 30 years since the time he was private trainer for Howard Porter’s sons Ron and Lyall and manager of their Milson Lodge Stud at Armadale. Brown had been trying to establish himself as a trainer when the Porter family gave him that opportunity in 1984 and in the ensuing five years he trained 37 winners for the Porters. Vampiro also gave trainers Greg and Skye Bond their first success in the Porter Memorial and the Bond/Brown combination has had enormous success over the years and last night’s success was the 673rd for the pair. Vampiro was the second leg of a winning treble in successive races for the Bond stable after wins in the Group Three Preux Chevalier with Ana Afreet and with El Jacko. Both Ana Afreet and El Jacko were driven by Dylan Egerton-Green substituing for the suspended Ryan Warwick. It was an emotional catch-up post-race between Brown and Fran Porter the 92yo widow of Lyall Porter who attended last night’s meeting. Lyall Porter was in the national spotlight in the late seventies and early eighties as the owner/breeder of Inter Dominion winner San Simeon. Among the 37 winners that Brown trained for the Porters was a heat and final of the 1989 Christmas Gift with Simeon Bay. Brown has now trained 848 winners and sits in 11th place on the all-time list of Western Australia’s leading trainers while the 2947 winners he has driven places him second only to Chris Lewis in terms of drivers. Milson John Howard Porter succeeded J P Stratton as President of the WA Trotting Association in 1966 and remained as President until 1969. Howard Porter was a foundation member of the Fremantle Trotting Club and served that club for more than 30 years as a committeeman including eight years as President. He was a highly successful trainer whose 119 winners included a WA Pacing Cup, WA Derby and three Fremantle Cups. He served in the 9th Light Horse, 26th Reinforcement in the first World War and upon his return he worked in his father’s coach building business. Howard Porter still operates today building a range of truck bodies although the Porter family sold their interest in the company in the early nineties. In the thirties Howard Porter built the first six horse and nine horse trucks in Western Australia. Their drivers did the rounds picking up horses and returning them after the races when it was virtually a monopoly business at the time. The Porter company built a wide variety of vehicles including a mobile film unit for the dairy branch of the Department of Agriculture and ambulances for the Northern Territory medical services. Howard Porter shares with James Brennan, J P Stratton and Sir Frank Ledger the honour of having a front straight grandstand at Gloucester Park named in his honour. Alan Parker

The win of Highly Flammable at Gloucester Park tonight brought up the 3000th career win for trainer Gary Hall Snr and he is the first trainer in Western Australia to achieve this milestone. Somewhat remarkably Highly Flammable wasn’t driven by Hall’s son Gary Hall Jnr with Maddison Brown taking the drive. Hall brought up win number 3001 later in the night when Robbie Easton saluted with Gary Hall Jnr at the reins. It was win number 1733 for the father/son combination and Robbie Easton became Hall Snr’s 2246th winner in Perth. The fascination of Gary Hall for harness racing began in 1964 when he used to sneak out of his family home in Mount Lawley and ride his pushbike to Gloucester Park on a Saturday night. Hall and a mate would jump the fence into the course and boost their meagre funds per medium of betting on the horses that graced the track during its halcyon days. Hall was the form student and his mate closer to the legal betting age. “I remember having five shillings on a horse called Yamagee that paid three pounds seventeen and six for the place and I thought it was Christmas”, Hall recalled years later. After building his bank to a bit more than 30 pounds, Hall took a fancy to a gelding called Prince Land and had his mate put ten pounds on the horse. “He told me that he had managed to get 66/1 and the bookie hadn’t wound the price down. I gave him another ten pounds for a second bet at the price”. The horse duly won and Hall was counting out his £1320 winnings on his bed at home when he was sprung by his mother who was more than a little concerned at where the money had come from. Hall came clean and after that night his parents would take him to Gloucester Park. After leaving school Hall got a job as a trainee auctioneer at the Midland saleyards where he met Arthur Jones. Jones, known to all and sundry as Buck, was enjoying success at the time with a gelding called Satin Son and Hall soon began jogging horses for Jones. Like all stable-hands who aspired to being drivers, Hall bought a quiet gelding and went through the Reinsman’s School at Gloucester Park under the tutelage of Cyril Lilleyman. He got his licence to drive in races as an 18yo at a time when driving concessions and junior driver races didn’t exist. Drives were hard to come by and Hall began leasing and training a couple of horses, starting with Silent Revel which he managed to run a couple of places with without winning. A mare called Plebette gave Hall his first win as a trainer when she won at Collie on 5th March 1971 Tobaree gave Hall his first success at Gloucester Park as both a trainer and driver when she won on 16th September 1972. Hall continued to work a regular job as he had a young family to support and a job as a clerk in Perth’s Crown Law Department saw him meet Crown Prosecutor Ron Davies who was equally as big a harness fanatic as Hall. In 1982 Hall’s direction in harness racing was changed when Ron Davies gave him a position as his private trainer and this gave Hall the confidence to branch out on his own as a public trainer in 1983. Another big change occurred for Hall in 1982 but the impact wasn’t quite so immediate. His son Gary was born and from the outset developed a similar obsession with horses to that of his father. With a young family to support, Hall struggled to make ends meet until he leased Maru Adios which had not been placed in three years. Hall turned the gelding around and in his first year at Hall’s Hazelmere stables, Maru Adios won 11 races and almost $39,000 in stakes. Soon owners began to recognise a training talent and better quality horses began to become available. Among them was a Racy Prince stallion called Vero Prince which won six on end and was favourite for the 1986 Golden Nugget Championship before Hall copped a disqualification for a swab. “I was never guilty of giving the horse anything. I may have been guilty of having inadequate stable security but never of giving anything to my horses”, Hall said. Hall managed to get the 12 months penalty reduced to three on appeal but he had lost the momentum and again had to battle to put a team of competitive horses together. Well-known breeder Roy Annear offered to lease Hall a 3yo colt by Racy Prince from the good race-mare Honest Talk with an option to purchase for $5,000. Hall had a couple of smart youngsters at the time in Love Of Glory and Almagest and Hall decided that the Racy Prince colt would have his first run with hopples with the pair. “I got the young stable-hand to drive the colt with instructions to follow us around and not be too concerned if he struggled to keep up in the last lap”, Hall recalled. No one was more surprised than Hall when the colt sprinted past his more illustrious stable-mates in the last lap. Hall, and good mate Glen Moore, exercised the option of purchase the next day. Named Zakara, the colt went on to win 44 of his 134 starts and more than $477,000 in stakes including the historic feat of winning four successive August Cups. Zakara was the first outstanding horse trained by Hall and he gave Hall a taste of just what success was there for the taking if the horse had the natural ability. “I don’t train any differently now to what I did when I started in the sixties but the horses I train now have a lot more ability that what the early ones did”. “I am basically self-taught and although I have watched other trainers closely I have made up my own mind of what is best for each horse. Phil Coulson and Fred Kersey have had a major influence on my training.” Hall believes there is no substitute for plenty of hard work and aerobic work in a jog cart in the sand. “My horses are strong which they need to be if they are to be put into a race”, Hall said. Putting his horses into a race was a characteristic of Gary Hall’s driving style and although he has driven more than 600 winners he was never regarded as a great driver. His record as a trainer is second to none and he has obliterated the training records of the previous Western Australian benchmarks Fred Kersley and Trevor Warwick and has trained 600 more winners than his current closest rival Ross Olivieri. Hall is the leading trainer in the 106 year history of the WA Pacing Cup having trained 11 winners of the race. He is also the leading trainer in the history of the Fremantle Cup with eight wins in that race. Zakara gave Hall a taste for Grand Circuit racing when the stallion finished third to Imprimartar and Time Symbol in the 1991 Fremantle Cup. A month later Zakara finished fourth in the famous 1992 WA Pacing Cup behind Westburn Grant, Franco Ice and Imprimartar and this prompted Hall to take the horse to Victoria where he finished third in the 1992 Victoria Cup behind Franco Ice and Impressionist. “Zakara was the first really good horse I had and he would have had a better record if I hadn’t stuffed four or five big races driving him”, a reflective Hall said some years later. On 16th July 1998 Hall watched his son Gary celebrate his 16th birthday that afternoon by driving Enhancer to victory at Pinjarra. It was the first of more than 1730 winners for the combination and the younger Hall’s aptitude at the reins hastened his father’s scaling back from driving duties. Hall imported his first New Zealand horses in the early nineties but it wasn’t 2001 that he struck the jackpot with the arrival of a 3yo colt called The Falcon Strike. Racing in New Zealand as Falcon Strike, the son of Falcon Seelster had finished fifth to Franco Heir in the Group One New Zealand Sires Stakes before being sold to clients of Hall’s stable. The Falcon Strike was the early favourite for the WA Derby after winning his first four races in Perth including the Group Three Western Gateway Pace but a chequered run in the Derby saw him finish down the track behind the interstate runners Manifold Bay and Franco Heir. Manifold Bay again proved his nemesis eight months later in the 2001 Group One Golden Nugget Championship after The Falcon Strike had won seven of his eight starts leading into the race including the Group Three McInerney Ford Classic. While Manifold Bay was to only win one further Group One race, the 4yo Chariots of Fire at Harold Park in February 2002, The Falcon Strike won both the Group One WA Pacing Cup and Group One Fremantle Cup as a 4yo and then backed that up with a further two WA Pacing Cups, two Australian Pacing Championships and a second Fremantle Cup in the ensuing three seasons. Zakara was Hall’s first runner in an Inter Dominion series when he took part in the 1992 Championship held at Moonee Valley. He was placed third in two heats behind Christopher Vance and Lord Muckalee before he struck trouble in the third round of heats and just missed a spot in the final won by Westburn Grant. He started favourite and finished fourth in the consolation won by Imperial Atom. Twelve years later on his home circuit of Gloucester Park, Gary Hall went within the virtual nostril of winning the Inter Dominion when The Falcon Strike was beaten in the last stride by Jofess. It was an even more remarkable performance given the work Hall had put in to get The Falcon Strike back to the track after an absence of more than 14 months following a fifth placing in the 2002 Victoria Cup won by Safe And Sound. The Falcon Strike broke down that night and didn’t resume racing until April 2003 and for the remainder of his career Hall needed all his experience to keep the stallion sound and fit to compete at the highest level. A campaign through the Perth winter of 2003 was followed by a Newcastle Mile win that earned The Falcon Strike a berth in the 2003 Miracle Mile won by Sokyola. Returning to Perth, The Falcon Strike reeled off four straight wins including a second WA Pacing Cup/Fremantle Cup double and an Australian Pacing Championship for good measure. His form, combined with a home track advantage saw The Falcon Strike installed as pre-post favourite for the 2004 Perth Inter Dominion although some experts, including the Inter Dominion king Brian Hancock expressed doubts as to the horse’s ability to get through four runs in a fortnight. Hall has stuck to his training methods throughout four decades and sees little reason to change. “I train the way I want to train and whenever I have tried to change has been when I have got into trouble”, Hall said. “I am conservative in how fast I work them and when they are racing there are some weeks when they don’t get fast-worked at all”. Most trainers would regard a horse like The Falcon Strike as a once in a lifetime occurrence but in 2008 Hall struck gold a second time when he arranged the purchase for his stable of  the 3yo Im Themightyquinn after the gelding had finished third in the $200,000 Harness Jewels final. It took some time for the high-speed son of Washington VC and his new trainer to gel and at each of his first eight starts in Perth Im Themightyquinn followed the normal Hall stable pattern and either raced in the lead or outside the leader’s wheel. The first time Im Themightyquinn was driven with a sit was in the 2009 Fremantle Cup when, with Shayne Cramp at the reins, he finished third to Power Of Tara and Divisive. “He always had high speed but he pulled very hard so he was worked a lot of long slow work until he eventually learned to relax”, Hall explained. “When a horse with his speed can learn to relax they can do great things”. Commencing with his 4yo season and after learning to relax more in his races, Im Themightyquinn proved almost unbeatable at Group One level and in 28 starts against the Southern Hemisphere’s best over six seasons of racing Im Themightyquinn at Group One level recorded a remarkable 15 wins, four seconds and seven thirds. Hall is the first however to give a big chunk of the credit to his son for the success the pair have enjoyed over the past dozen seasons. “Junior is a natural big-race driver and while I was a decent driver in my own right at Gloucester Park I wasn’t up to driving against the other top-shelf drivers” Hall said. “To beat the likes of Gavin Lang, Chris Lewis, Tony Herlihy and Anthony Butt you need to be in the big races all the time and you also need a relaxed personality which Junior has in spades”. While the self-deprecating Hall may be under-selling his ability at the reins, his record this century as a trainer is without peer in Australia as evidenced by 51 wins at Group One level including a record 11 WA Pacing Cups, three Inter Dominions, eight Fremantle Cups, five Australian Pacing Championships, two Auckland Cups, five WA Derbies, two Golden Nugget Championships, four FHRC 4yo Classics and a Blacks A Fake Championship at Albion Park. Not surprisingly Gary Hall Snr was indicted into The West Australian Racing Industry Hall of Fame in 2014.   Alan Parker

The Narrogin harness racing meeting on Friday 14th June set a new Western Australian record for the most number of races won by women drivers at a single meeting. Between them Emily Suvaljko (3), Deni Roberts (2) and Madeleine Young (1) won six of the eight races on Friday night. The previous State Record was the five winners recorded by Lyn Lucas (3) and Susan Roberts (2) at the seven race meeting at Albany on 13th January 1992. Making Friday night an even bigger night for the girls Delightfulreaction, which won the fourth event at Narrogin is owned by Melissa Howie. Lauren Jones and Jocelyn Young added further icing to the girls celebration cake when they each drove winners at Gloucester Park on Friday night behind Zennart and Mister Ardee. Alan Parker

When Wanneroo harness racing trainer Debbie Padberg left home on Saturday afternoon headed to Northam's Burwood Park she was hopeful of a reasonable night having six starters across five races. When she left Northam, Debbie had five winners and a second place getter in the truck and not only was five winners at a meeting a personal best, bettering her four winners at Central Wheatbelt on May 1, 2016, it also equalled the State Record for a female trainer. Debbie now shares with Carol Warwick the record for training the most winners at a meeting.  Carol Warwick trained five winners at Gloucester Park on June 6, 2003 before repeating the feet a fortnight later when she again trained five winners at Gloucester Park.  Carol Warwick was the State's leading female trainer with 487 winners until Debbie Padberg took that honour on July 4, 2016 when Bad Round became her 488th winner. After Saturday night's heroics Debbie Padberg has now trained 557 winners and with 298 of that tally coming in the City she is now poised to eclipse the total of 306 Perth winners trained by Carol Warwick.  For the record Debbie's six winners on Saturday night were Miss Serena, Village Benny, Amadeo, Allwood Peacemaker and Regal Ambition.  Her sixth runner Antagonistic finished a close second to Village Benny.  She won the first four races on the programme and four of the five winners were driven by Luke Edwards with Emily Suvaljko's concession claim being used for the drive on Allwood Peacemaker. It was also a career best night for Edwards easily surpassing his previous best of a winning double at a meeting and he has now driven 92 winners.  The win of the 2yo filly Miss Serena was particularly satisfying for Edwards as he broke the filly in after John and Debbie Padberg bought her last year at a yearling sale in Melbourne.  Edwards is stable foreman for the Padberg stable which has around 24 horses in work including a number of youngsters being educated for racing careers. Debbie Padberg has been a longtime supporter of harness racing in Northam and 155 or 28% of her winners have come at Burwood Park.  The next Northam Harness Racing Club meet will be on Saturday, June 22. Alan Parker Reprinted with permission of The Avon Advocate

When 18yo Emily Suvaljko drove her 50th winner at the Central Wheatbelt meeting on 19th May she joined an elite group of just five Western Australian drivers to have achieved the 50 wins milestone in less than 500 days. The list is headed by another of the current concession drivers in Corey Peterson 409 days and he is followed by Morgan Woodley 419 days, Justin Warwick 449 days, Emily Suvaljko 456 days and Maddison Brown 461 days. Corey Peterson drove his 100th career winner just last Tuesday when successful with Ideal Charm at Gloucester Park and the win was even more significant in that he also trained Ideal Charm. This season’s Concession Drivers Premiership in Western Australia is dominated by the females and Corey is the only male in the top five on the list which is headed by Jocelyn Young (41 wins), Emily Suvaljko (39), Corey Peterson (36), Deni Roberts (27) and Madeleine Young (25). Jocelyn achieved a special place in the history of harness racing in Western Australia with a superbly judged drive to win the 2019 Group One WA Oaks on May 3rd with Has No Fear. Jocelyn became just the fifth female to drive a Group One winner in Western Australia joining Victorian Anne Frawley (Australian Derby and Golden Nugget with Vanderport), Tonia Stampalia (Pearl Classic and 2yo Colts Sires Stakes with Jim Beam and Renascentur), Susan Roberts (2yo Fillies Sires Stakes with Adda Cool Mil) and Kiara Davies (WA Trotters Cup with Sunnys Little Whiz). Mention ought also to be made of Kellie Kersley, the leading female driver of all time in Western Australia, who drove Norms Daughter to victory in the 1996 Group One Miracle Mile at Sydney’s Harold Park track.   Alan Parker

Young reinswoman Deni Roberts brought up a major driving milestone when she won at Burwood Park on Friday night behind the Tom Groves trained Hilo Angus. Punters who backed the horse on fixed odds got odds of $101 about the seven-year-old son of Village Jolt but they would be entitled to feel ripped off as Hilo Angus paid a remarkable $171.40 on the tote and $13.10 for the place. It was Deni Roberts' 100th winner since she began race-driving in 2015 with her first winner Leftrightgoodnight coming on third August 2015 at Pinjarra and being trained by her mother Sonia Zucchiatti. She has become just the eighth female driver to reach the 100 wins milestone in Western Australia. Hilo Angus was the first leg of a race-to-race double for trainer Tom Groves who won the next event, the Peter McNeill Memorial, with Affluent Bell. Kellerberrin based Groves has been a stalwart of harness racing for more than 50 years and he has trained more than 440 winners with the bulk of them coming in the North Eastern Districts. Affluent Bell was bred by Albany based breeder Harry Capararo from the good broodmare Shoneer Lobell. Capararo, who also bred Friday night's Gloucester Park winner Im Soxy, passed away early last week and was buried in Albany on Monday. Capararo has bred more than 500 winners in the past 30 years including the Group One winners Rich And Spoilt, Adda Cool Mil, Silver Tail Adda and Cool Adda. The Northam Harness Racing Club's next meeting will be held at Burwood Park on Saturday, May 25. Friday night a big night for the girls on outsiders While Deni Roberts was making her own piece of history at Northam on Friday night, 15 minutes earlier Pinjarra-based Jocelyn Young took out the Group One WA Oaks at Gloucester Park on the $37.40 outsider Has No Fear. Has No Fear is trained at Boyanup by Justin Prentice, for Gloucester Park Harness Racing's Trotsynd Number 12 Syndicate, and he engaged Young for the drive when regular driver Gary Hall Jnr elected to drive the short priced favourite Dracarys. While Dracarys burned early, Young settled Has No Fear near the rear before making her run at the 500 metres mark to hit the front turning for home and then held the finishing burst of Delightfulreaction. Jocelyn Young became just the fifth Western Australian woman to drive a Group One winner in Western Australia and she and her father Kim share a unique record as the only father/daughter to win the WA Oaks. Kim Young won the 1992 WA Oaks with Alfa Dyna for trainer Cass Haese and he also won the 2008 WA Oaks with Ruby Dazzler for trainer Ian Foley. Ruby Dazzler was owned by Northam based owners D. P. Skelton, D. P. O'Driscoll, G. T. O'Driscoll and A. J. O'Driscoll. Jocelyn Young's grandfather Ron Young trained and drove the 1976 WA Oaks third placegetters Pennington while her uncle Shane Young finished third in the 1994 WA Oaks with Chance To Strike for trainer Les Coulson. By Alan Parker Reprinted with permission of Avon Valley and Wheatbelt Advocate

Foaled in 1990 and bred by Sadie Palmer (wife of Collie identity Norm Palmer) Norms Daughter was raced by Norm and Sadie Palmer’s son Dave Palmer. Dave Palmer inherited a number of horses after the death of his parents and Aeroflight and her filly (later to be named Norms Daughter) were among only three horses that Dave Palmer kept out of a sentimental commitment to his father. Broken in by Collie trainer Dennis Morton, Norms Daughter proved to be a handful, frequently throwing herself down and a decision was made to send the filly to the knackery even though her biggest attribute was her toughness. “I rang the knackery but the bloke couldn’t pick her up for a week and in the meantime Dave was talking to Bunbury trainer Neil Lloyd in the Prince Of Wales hotel which Palmer owned”, Dennis Morton recalled recently. Lloyd offered to try the cantankerous filly and Palmer gave her a reprieve. Norms Daughter took some time to develop into a competitive pacer as she showed a propensity to trot which, when coupled with her temperamental nature and small frame hardly made her an attractive addition to the Lloyd stable. Her smallness of stature was fittingly recognised with the stable name of Dot. So slow to develop and mature was Norms Daughter that Dave Palmer again suggested the knackery as a destination. It was only a plea by Neil Lloyd for a further six weeks after changing the filly’s shoeing that saw a fairytale emerge. Her first educational trial as a 3yo at Bunbury saw Norms Daughter rate 2:00 for the mile and she rated a similar time in her racetrack debut at the same track when she sat outside the odds-on favourite OK Holmes and won by 10 metres. She repeated the dose at her next start and after galloping hopelessly at her third race start she made it three wins from four runs when she rated 1:58 over 1750 metres at Harvey and won by a conservative 50 metres covering her final mile in 1:56.7. Still very problematic in terms of race manners, Norms Daughter had unlimited raw ability and her final two races prior to the 1994 WA Oaks saw her come from tailed off last to win. Victorian trainer Ted Demmler brought the star Victorian filly My Cherie to Perth for the 1994 WA Oaks and she was plunged from 6/4 into 4/6 favouritism. Demmler and My Cherie were shattered when Norms Daughter overcame an early bubble to race on their outside and win in a race and track record for a 3yo filly of 1:58.5 over 2100 metres. Norms Daughter was a luckless fourth to Trunkey Maseratti in the 1994 WA Derby and was then sent for a spell. Despite her waywardness Norms Daughter still won six of her 10 starts as a 3yo. Her 4yo season saw her win a further six races (from 15 starts) including the McInerney Ford 4yo Pace and the WA Four & Five Year Old Championship and was photo-finished out of first in the 1995 WA Golden Nugget Championship won by the Victorian trained Slick Vance. Norms Daughter’s performance that night was remarkable in light of her being trapped three wide from barrier nine before racing outside the leader. She had been backed into favouritism despite her horror draw. That performance earned Norms Daughter a trip to New Zealand for the Inter Dominion Championship but she failed to live up to the expectations that year and failed to qualify for the final. Resuming as a 5yo in October 1995, and with a new driver in Kellie Kersley, Norms Daughter was now racing solely in fast class and after being nosed out by Admirals Ecstasy in the Parliamentarians Cup she beat Sir Lektor and Admirals Ecstasy in a standing start FFA before finishing fourth in the Fremantle Cup won by John Albert after a tough run from the outside of the 10 metres horses. A brilliant win in a prelude of the 1996 WA Pacing Cup saw Norms Daughter qualify for the final and an extreme outside draw and severe interference in running saw her finish sixth to Sunshine Band in the State’s premier race. She won her second WA Four & Five Year Old championship at her next start before a trip to Victoria where she surprised Victorians when she finished third to Desperate Comment and Burlington Bertie in the 1996 Victoria Cup after being driven with a sit. The first two sets of heats of the 1996 Inter Dominion at Gloucester Park also saw the mare driven with a sit and the tactics failed badly with two unplaced runs. Driven aggressively in the final round of heats Norms Daughter sat outside Our Sir Vancelot before forging to the lead in the straight lowering the Village Kid’s State Record for 2100 metres to 1:56.0. Triple Inter Dominion winner Our Sir Vancelot was second. Norms Daughter ran a gallant fifth in the 1996 Inter Dominion final after being three wide early and then racing outside the leader Young Mister Charles who went on to win. After a let-up Norms Daughter was taken to Sydney where, after placings in the NSW Four & Five Year Old Championship and Ladyship Mile, she won the Qantas Sprint in a track record 1:55.6 to gain a start in the Miracle Mile held in June 1996. With Kellie Kersley at the reins driving desperately into the notoriously tight first corner at Harold Park, Norms Daughter took the early lead and again rated 1:55.6 over the 1760 metres to beat Il Vicolo and Beefy T in the Miracle Mile. Not only did Norms Daughter become just the second mare to win a Miracle Mile (Robin Dundee was the first) but she gave Kellie Kersley the honour of becoming the first woman to win a Grand Circuit race in Australia. Norms Daughter won 8 of 22 starts that season as she assumed the mantle of the best mare in Australia.  She was in fact voted Australian Pacing Mare of the Year in both 1996 and 1997 by the harness racing media from across the nation in addition to being the fastest mare in the country both years. Resuming as a 6yo in November 1996, Norms Daughter won first up in the FHRC Members Sprint before heading back to Sydney where a fortnight later she beat Sabilize in the Ladyship Mile and earned a second start in the Miracle Mile. The track record was shattered in the November 1996 Miracle Mile as Norms Daughter finish just 11 metres from the winner Iraklis with Il Vicolo second and Sabilize third in a remarkable 1:54.2. Norms Daughter was also a close up third to Our Sir Vancelot and Late Bid in the Treuer Memorial at Bankstown at her next start before returning to Perth where she finished second to Our Sir Vancelot in the 1997 WA Pacing Cup. That was her last start in Western Australia as she again headed East for a campaign which took in the Victoria and Hunter Cups and the 1997 Adelaide Inter Dominions. After winning her opening night heat Norms Daughter finished last in the second round of heats and pulled up sore – she never raced again. Norms Daughter was retired to stud with a career record of 59 starts for 24 wins, 8 seconds and 3 thirds. Alan Parker

Despite the celebration of Chinese New Year at the track, there was an understandable air of sadness at Gloucester Park last night as news of the passing earlier in the day of former WA Trotting Association starter Colin Campbell spread. Colin Campbell was the WATA’s starter at Gloucester Park, and the leading country tracks, for the best part of 40 years before his retirement. Colin first became involved in harness racing in the sixties helping his father, hobby-trainer Keith, with a small team and Colin drove his first winner behind Gallivant at York on 17th April 1968. Colin drove 23 winners between 1968 and 1977 including four in the city with his biggest success coming in the 1969 Navy Cup at Richmond Raceway with Codicil. The 1969 Navy Cup will long be remembered for the disqualification of Slick Deed which was the first horse past the post but failed to survive protests by the drivers of the second, third and fourth horses. Colin loved to tell the tale of the 1969 Navy Cup. Colin Campbell’s achievements as a driver paled into insignificance to those as a starter and he started the 1982, 1989, 1996 and 2004 Perth Inter Dominion Grand Finals along with more than 45,000 minor races. A knockabout bloke he was warmly regarded by all drivers for his skill as a starter which was combined with an infectious sense of humour and a measure of irreverence. Drivers in last night’s Governor's Cup wore black armbands as a mark of respect for the passing of one of harness racing’s true characters. Deepest sympathies are extended to Colin’s widow Lorraine and all members of the Campbell family on their sad loss. Alan Parker

Royal Force was purchased sight unseen by Wagin farmers George and John Kennett at a Melbourne yearling sale for $2,100 because he was a son of Johnny Globe. Kennett had previously won races with another son of Johnny Globe in Lord Glenfern although the 22yo stallion was in the twilight of his career at the time Royal Force was born. Royal Force was one of only seven foals by Johnny Globe born in 1969 and his dam had been sold in foal at a sale for $1,050 and had been purchased by pedigree guru Ian Daff of Victoria. While he showed ability it took Royal Force six starts before breaking through for his first win in a lowly 3yo race at Williams in January 1973 with Colin Ball in the cart. At his next start at Gloucester Park he was backed from 33/1 to 10/1 and downed the odds on favourite Parking unleashing a sensational sprint down the outside of the track. This finish was to become his trademark although he was to prove tough enough to win in top company after racing outside the leader. He repeated the dose at his next start and although beaten by Parking in a heat of the WA Derby he closed out his first season of racing by winning the WA Derby and a heat and final of the WA Sires Produce Stakes. After a disappointing 4yo season Royal Force came back with a vengeance as a 5yo winning a heat of the 1974 WA Pacing Cup. He came from last with a lap to travel with a brilliant burst that carried him past Adios Victor and Speedy Ben in the straight. He was an unlucky fourth in the final won by Just Too Good from Adios Victor and Speedy Ben and his driver Jack Retzlaff lodged a protest against Adios Victor after he was checked and he had to stop driving on the home turn when making his run. Stewards didn’t see it the same way as the driver and dismissed the protest. The following year, with farrier Dudley Anderson at the reins, Royal Force won a heat of the WA Pacing Cup on the opening night of the carnival and he also won a third night heat when Retzlaff resumed as driver. This was a time when the WA Cup format was similar to the Inter Dominion with three rounds of heats and points being the determinant of the final field. After racing below his best in the final Royal Force and Dudley Anderson combined for a brilliant win in the New Year Handicap before Royal Force ventured to Adelaide for the 1976 Inter Dominion where the stallion finished third to Nevada Smoke and Carclew and Anderson was suspended for pushing out. Les Marriott was given the drive in the second round of heats and Royal Force raced outside the leader before sprinting clear at the top of the straight and holding on to win. Royal Force finished fourth in the final set of heats to easily qualify for the final. Royal Force was somewhat unlucky in the famous final won by Carclew from the sensationally supported Pure Steel. He came from ninth with a lap to travel to finish strongly into fifth place after being held up behind Carclew with Alphalite on his outside. Kennet took Royal Force to Melbourne after the Adelaide Inter Dominion and on the tiny Melbourne Showgrounds circuit he was superbly driven by Victorian Bill Le Sueur in taking out the Marathon Handicap over 3120 metres beating a field that included dual Inter Dominion champion Hondo Grattan. Le Sueur positioned Royal Force on the back of the 10/9 favourite Royal Gaze and received a perfect cart into the race before sprinting clear on the home turn to win running away by six metres from Royal Gaze with Alphalite third. First prize was $10,000 with a $1,000 bonus for bettering a 2:08.0 mile rate while the trophy was a brand new Holden Gemini car. Royal Force was sent for a spell and did a light season at Kennet’s Mundijong Stud which he had bought both for that purpose and to avoid the long trip to and from Wagin for his champion. Resuming in a heat of the WA Pacing Cup, Royal Force finished third to Pure Steel and Paleface Adios on the opening night and was again third to Pure Steel in a heat on the third night of the carnival. An unlucky seventh on the second night when he finished with a flat tyre saw Royal Force fail to qualify for the final. Royal Force was a brilliant winner of the WA Cup consolation and it was to be the first of four successive wins for the black stallion. The third of those wins came in the 1977 Fremantle Cup when he overcame a 20 metre handicap to down Tulyar Prince and Yerilla Court. He started favourite at 9/4 and Anderson brought him with a sensational sprint to win running away. It was Royal Force’s 22nd win and took his earnings past the $100,000 mark and he joined James Eden and Pure Steel as the only horses to have passed the milestone to that point in time. Kennett, a man renowned for his toughness, loaded Royal Force onto a float and headed to Melbourne for the A G Hunter Cup. Pure Steel also headed east but he was afforded the luxury of an air trip. Royal Force won first up in Melbourne, showing his liking for the big track, when he won the Sapphire Free-For-All over a mile in a new Australian Race Mile Record of 1:57.0. More significantly the time secured Royal Force the final berth in that year’s Miracle Mile at Harold Park where the stallion headed after finishing third to Pure Steel and Paleface Adios in the Hunter Cup. Originally scheduled for March 4th the Miracle Mile was put back a week as Sydney was deluged with rain and a water main also leaked across the track. The week’s delay was a blessing in disguise for Kennet as he feared having to scratch Royal Force from the Miracle Mile after the stallion developed a heavy cold. The 1977 Miracle Mile was the first time the elite six horse field featured six horses with sub 2:00 records and it included the likes of Pure Steel, Paleface Adios and future Inter Dominion winner Markovina and such was the depth of the field that Royal Force was a 7/1 chance. Public opinion as to Royal Force’s chances were reflected in the grizzled punter who leaned over the fence in the back straight as Dudley Anderson was completing the horse’s pre-race warm-up. “He gave me a fair earful and told me to go back to Perth in no uncertain terms”, Anderson recalled years later. Brilliantly driven by Anderson, Royal Force enjoyed the perfect trail and sprinted clear turning for home and then held the run of Paleface Adios in the run to the line. Anderson went looking for the abusive punter as he was easing Royal Force down in the back straight but the villain had made himself very scarce. Royal Force stayed in Sydney after the Miracle Mile and overcame a 15 metre handicap to down Markovina and Hermosa Star in a heat of the NSW Lord Mayors Cup. Royal Force had been 25 metres off the leaders with a lap to travel before his legendary last lap sprint carried him to victory. He finished third to Markovina and Al’s Holiday in the final of the Lord Mayor’s Cup before heading to Brisbane for the 1977 Inter Dominion at Albion Park where the horses raced in the reverse direction to every other track in Australia. In an official trial before the Championship got under way Royal Force led and beat Pure Steel and Bay Chapel going within a tenth of a second of the Albion Park track record in the process. During the heats of the Inter Dominion Royal Force was unable to find the fence and he failed miserably to handle the reverse way of going even to the point of striking himself in one heat. In the WA Pacing Cup run in December 1977 Royal Force finished second to rising star Rip Van Winkle on the opening night before going sore and spending twelve months on the sidelines. Showing he had lost none of his brilliance Royal Force returned to the track as a 9yo and brilliantly won two heats of the 1978 WA Pacing Cup including a victory over Pure Steel on the third night of heats. Royal Force started at 8/1 in the WA Cup final due to a second row draw and wound up third behind Pure Steel and Koala King. His last start came in the 1979 Fremantle Cup won by Flashing Ardri when he finished fifth breaking down in the process. The 1979 Fremantle Cup was to be his final start. He was retired to stud and did a fair job siring 81 winners including Sinn Fein which won 31 races including wins in a Golden Nugget Championship and two Northam Cups on his way to earnings of almost $250,000.   Alan Parker

Mick Lombardo has been involved as an owner, breeder and administrator since 1975 when he bought the Garry Rowan colt Yam Seng from the horse’s Victorian breeder Kevin Newbound. Yam Seng became Mick’s first winner when successful at Northam on 5th November 1977 for trainer Kevin Keys and driver Barry Street. Born on 17th April 1937, Mick Lombardo was first exposed to harness racing at the Richmond Raceway track in Fremantle in the 1950s as a teenager. His father Vince had jumped ship off the coast of Bunbury in 1929 after a journey from Siciliy and began to work as a fisherman. Mick joined his father in fishing for crayfish and then moved to trawlers fishing the Indian Ocean before he took a punt and built his first fishing boat in 1962. The steel boat was regarded as the best in Western Australia at the time and Mick contracted to carry out some seismic work off the North West Shelf. “We set off bombs in the ocean every three minutes while the seismic signals were recorded back at the American base at Exmouth”, he recalled some years later. In 1969 he began a ship-building business and for the next 25 years Lombardo ships were used by the Americans for off-shore exploration and by the oil industry for their work in Bass Strait. At their peak the Lombardo companies employed more than 1500 people throughout Australia and South East Asia and one of Mick’s boats was the first to fish for prawns in the Gulf of Carpentaria. In the early 1970s Mick and a partner purchased some 325 acres in the Margaret River region for the purpose of commercial marron farming and with the development of Mick’s passion for harness racing Notable Breeding Farms became the first home for his horse breeding operation. A decade later Mick purchased a property at Congupna near Shepparton in Victoria and established Concorde Park where his first stud stallion was Northern Lights. By 1998 he employed seven full-time staff to handle his harness racing business which at that time had 96 broodmares. He sold most of the colts he bred and kept a select band of fillies for broodmare purposes after their racing careers had finished. Mick has reduced his numbers of broodmares in recent years but the statistics relating to his contribution to the breeding of Standardbreds in Australia are worth noting. Under various banners Mick Lombardo has bred some 1440 foals of which 962 (67%) have raced and 626 (44%) have won. Those 1440 foals have had a total of 33,379 starts and won 4261 races and been placed a further 7502 times and earned total stakes of some $32,620,894. His famous White, red Maltese Cross colours derived from Mick’s football team South Fremantle with the red Maltese cross being the symbol given by the American Bureau of Shipping to the best and safest of ships. Mick Lombardo – Administrator Mick Lombardo became a member of the WA Trotting Association (Gloucester Park Harness Racing) in 1976 and served Gloucester Park as a member of committee for a total of 12 years (1984 – 1991) and (1998 – 2003) and was President between 1989 and 1991. He was made a Life Member of Gloucester Park in 1991. He represented Western Australia on the Australian Harness Racing Council (now Harness Racing Australia) for a total of six years and was chairman of the National Body between 2002 and 2004. He also represented Australia at the World Trotting Conference and was made a Life Member of the World Trotting Conference in 2009 in Norway. His contribution to Australian Harness Racing has been recognized twice with a Distinguished National Service Award in 2001 and in 2015 Mick Lombardo became just the eighth individual to be presented with the nation’s top award the J P Stratton Award for Significant Achievement, Leadership, Distinction, Eminence, Repute, Renown, Foresight, Initiative, Innovation, Creativity on an International or National Basis over a significant period of time. In 2011 Mick Lombardo was awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for service to the Australian harness racing industry and his contribution as a breeder, owner and administrator. In announcing the award comment was made that “Mick is passionate about harness racing, the development of the Standardbred breed, animal welfare and the people who are involved in the industry”. Horses bred by Mick Lombardo have won a number of National Awards as set out below 2006 Lombo Pocket Watch – Australian Harness Horse of the Year 2004 Lombo La Fe Fe – Australian Aged Pacing Mare of the Year 2001 Lombo Rapida – Australian Aged Pacing Mare of the Year 2000 Tailamade Lombo – Australian Aged Pacing Mare of the Year 1999 Tailamade Lombo – Australian Aged Pacing Mare of the Year 1998 Concorde Lombo – Australian Aged Pacing Mare of the Year 2007 Lombo Pocket Watch – Australian 3yo Pacer of the Year    2007 Lombo Pocket Watch – Australian 3yo Colt Pacer of the Year         1998 Tailamade Lombo – Australian 3yo Pacer of the Year 1998 Tailamade Lombo – Australian 3yo Filly Pacer of the Year 1997 Concorde Lombo – Australian 3yo Filly Pacer of the Year 1992 Misty Maiden  – Australian 3yo Pacer of the Year 2010 Aussie Made Lombo – Australian 2yo Filly Pacer of the Year 2006 Lombo Pocket Watch – Australian 2yo Pacer of the Year 2006 Lombo Pocket Watch – Australian 2yo Colt Pacer of the Year 2002 Lombo La Fe Fe – Australian 2yo Pacer of the Year 2002 Lombo La Fe Fe – Australian 2yo Filly Pacer of the Year 2001 Lombo Skyrider – Australian 2yo Pacer of the Year 2001 Lombo Skyrider – Australian 2yo Colt Pacer of the Year 2001 Espeshlimade Lombo – Australian 2yo Filly Pacer of the Year 1998 Lombo Rapida – Australian 2yo Filly Pacer of the Year 1997 Tailamade Lombo – Australian 2yo Filly Pacer of the Year 1986 Mazzini Magic – Australian 2yo Pacer of the Year 2010 Tailamade Lombo – Australian Broodmare of the Year 2006 Misty Maiden – Australian Broodmare of the Year Alan Parker

Bob Pollock has one record that can never be eclipsed - as the first Western Australian to drive an Inter Dominion winner. With some 846 winners as a driver and 603 as a trainer Bob Pollock put together an outstanding career as both a trainer and driver between 1939 and 1998 when he retired. His tally of 483 Perth winners saw him fall agonizingly short of becoming a member of Perth’s elite 500 Club for drivers with 500 metropolitan successes and it was a number of quirks of fate that conspired to rob Pollock of a major milestone. In 1939 Pollock enlisted in the army and returned in 1945 with the rank of sergeant. In 1954 a horse Pollock trained returned a positive swab and he received the then mandatory five year disqualification. A similar occurrence now for a first offence would receive far less a penalty and probably a fine. In 1985 Pollock was forced from the sulky as he reached the then mandatory retirement age of 65 and he didn’t drive for 12 years. When the anti-discrimination laws changed in the late nineties Bob Pollock returned to race driving as a 77yo and won a couple of races driving the appropriately named Worth The Wait. Had Pollock remained active in harness racing for each of those missed 22 years there is no doubt he would have passed both the 1000 career wins and 500 Perth wins milestones. When forced from the spider in 1985 Bob Pollock ranked as the ninth most successful reinsman in the State’s history. What cannot be taken away from Pollock is that he was the first Western Australian reinsman to drive an Inter Dominion Grand Final winner when he was successful with Captain Sandy for trainer Dinny Nolan at the 1953 Inter Dominion at Gloucester Park. Champion New Zealand reinsman Freeman Holmes was the regular race-driver for both Captain Sandy and the outstanding New Zealand mare Blue Mist which had also qualified for the final. She had been far more impressive through the heats and she had won on the first two nights of the Championship. Pollock was quickest to realise that Holmes would drive the more fancied Blue Mist in the final and, urged on by a well-meaning mate, he approached trainer Dinny Nolan. A somewhat hesitant Nolan gave Pollock the drive on the 10yo gelding in a trial before engaging him for the Grand Final drive. The 1953 Inter Dominion was run in front of a huge crowd who crammed every vantage point to watch one of the all-time great finals. In addition to Captain Sandy which had won the 1950 Melbourne Inter Dominion, the field included the NSW champion Ribands (unbeaten in the heats), the dual WA Pacing Cup winner Beau Don and the first 2:00 performer on Australian soil in Avian Derby. Ribands led and Bob Pollock drove the race of his life to push Captain Sandy through the narrowest of gaps (beating Freeman Holmes and Blue Mist to the position) to have the gelding poised just three lengths behind Ribands and Kellett turning for home. Renowned for his vigour in a tight finish, Pollock asked Captain Sandy for an extra effort in the straight and the old warhorse responded as only a champion can to grab Ribands about 50 yards from the line and then draw away to win and become the first dual Inter Dominion champion in track record time. Blue Mist remained in Perth after the Inter Dominion carnival had finished and as Freeman Holmes had returned to New Zealand Pollock was engaged by trainer Claude Fairman to drive the mare. The pair combined to win two Free-For-Alls and the 1953 Easter Cup at Gloucester Park. Pollock’s father Robert H Pollock drove the first of his 50 Perth winners behind Otahuhu at the Claremont Showgrounds on 15th February 1913. Bob Pollock’s first win as a driver came behind Tommy Dillon which his father had purchased for £35 in the twilight of the horse’s career. Tommy Dillon, a 15yo when the 19yo Pollock saluted the judge behind the 50/1 chance, had won the WA Pacing Cup nine years earlier when in the stables of Arthur Gaukroger. While Pollock never won a Perth Drivers or Trainer’s Premiership he was placed on a number of occasions behind the likes of Hall Of Famers Jim Schrader, Frank Kersley, Fred Kersley and Phil Coulson. During the sixties Bob Pollock was a force to be reckoned with and during this period he won a WA Derby with the filly Hill Oro, two Sires Produce Stakes with Pagan Lord and Bank Street, a Brennan Cup with Tony Hall and a Christmas Handicap with the brilliant Chief Attain. In 1980 Pollock trained and drove the sensational 2yo Tommy Steel which set a new Australian Record for a 2yo over a mile with a time of 2:00.8. Tommy Steel was the most prolific of Pollock’s Gloucester Park winners notching 14 wins at Gloucester Park. Pollock has a somewhat unique record in the in addition to his win behind Captain Sandy in the 1953 Inter Dominion he also won races behind two other Inter Dominion winners in Binshaw and Preux Chevalier.   Alan Parker

Gary Hall Snr attended the 2000 New Zealand Cup meeting on 14th November 2000 for both a holiday and again on the lookout for a prospective addition to his stable. The major support race on New Zealand Cup day is the Group One 3yo Sires Stakes final and Hall was taken with the luckless fifth, coming from near last five and six deep on the final corner, of a unfancied maiden 3yo called Falcon Strike. The winner of the Sires Stakes was Franco Heir and it wouldn’t be the last time the pair would clash. He went and inspected the Falcon Seelster colt in the stalls post-race and felt that, given the extra work that Hall was renowned for, that once fully fit he wouldn’t take a lot of time to break his maiden status. Hall’s group of Western Australian owners eventually agreed to the $NZ100,000 price tag and he was transferred into their names on December 20th. While waiting for a flight to Australia Falcon Strike had one final start in New Zealand in the $120,000 New Zealand Sales Classic on December 27th when he again finished fifth. The Falcon Strike made his Perth debut at Gloucester Park on 16th February 2001 and those present were agog at the performance. A massive on-course plunge saw him start a 5/2 second favourite to the 2000 Australian 2yo Pacer of the Year Disco Force. With his trainer Gary Hall Snr at the reins The Falcon Strike raced three-wide throughout and literally destroy Disco Force mentally blitzing Chandon’s State Record rate of 1:56.4 for the 1700 metres in the process. The Falcon Strike was early favourite for the WA Derby after winning his next three Perth starts including the Group Three Western Gateway Pace but a chequered run in the Derby saw him finish down the track behind the interstate trained pair of Manifold Bay and Franco Heir. Manifold Bay again proved his nemesis eight months later in the 2001 Group One 4yo Golden Nugget Championship after The Falcon Strike had won seven of his eight starts leading into the race including the Group Three McInerney Ford Classic. By this stage Gary Hall Snr had sacked himself as driver and handed the reins to his 20yo son after convincing The Falcon Strike’s owners of the merit of the change. A month after the Golden Nugget, in January 2002, The Falcon Strike won both the Group One WA Pacing Cup and Group One Fremantle Cup and the big race record of Gary Hall Jnr was under way. Winning the WA Pacing Cup and Fremantle Cup as a 4yo was remarkable and even champions Village Kid and Pure Steel had been unable to win the State’s two premier races for aged horses in the same season. The Falcon Strike was taken to Melbourne for the 2002 AG Hunter Cup and it was a decision that almost ended the young stallion’s career. In a roughhouse race that saw him effectively put out of action in the first 50 metres, The Falcon Strike was shoved from pillar to post and then had the temerity to hit the front turning for home before being mown down in the shadows of the post to finish fifth just 1.6 metres from the winner Safe And Sound. After the race the severe tendon injury was plain to see and The Falcon Strike was destined to spend the next 14 months recovering from the injury and he completed a short season at stud in the process. Mother and daughter Debbie and Kristy Padberg nursed The Falcon Strike throughout his convalescence with a series of laser treatments and a programme of walking and light exercise for which Gary Hall Snr was forever grateful. “Without the countless hours that Debbie and Kristy put into him he would never had made a successful return to the race-track”, he said in 2003. The Falcon Strike returned to the track in April 2003 with nine wins in 11 starts in Perth including the Easter and Winter Cups before Hall took him East for the 2003 Newcastle Mile which he won in a time of 1:54.5 to earn a start in that year’s Miracle Mile at Harold Park. Drawn in barrier one, which was hardly ideal for a horse whose only possible flaw was a lack of gate speed, The Falcon Strike was made a $2.40 favourite but was forced to race in the breeze throughout and he finished last behind Sokyola in a time of 1:54.6. He remained in Sydney for a week and despite a wide second row draw he finished fourth to Double Identity, Smooth Satin and Flashing Red in the Group One Treuer Memorial at Bankstown. The Falcon Strike returned to Perth and was straight back in the winners list with four straight wins in as many weeks in the Group Two Celebrity Sprint on New Year’s Eve 2003 and then wins in a trio of Group One races – the 2004 Fremantle Cup, 2004 Australian Pacing Championship and 2004 WA Pacing Cup before a short break leading into the 2004 Inter Dominion at Gloucester Park. The remarkable record of The Falcon Strike’s driver Gary Hall Jnr in the Inter Dominion began with a winning double behind his father’s horses in two of the three heats on the opening night of the 2004 Championship. Faking It won the first heat and The Falcon Strike won the third heat on opening night and with subsequent placings Hall qualified both horses for the final. It wasn’t a difficult decision for Gary Hall Jnr to choose The Falcon Strike as his drive in the nation’s biggest race despite the stallion drawing wide in barrier six. Faking It had drawn even wider and the drive on the 80/1 outsider went to Fred Kersley. After working early Hall settled The Falcon Strike outside the leader Jofess in a carbon copy of the pair’s second night clash which saw Jofess draw away in the straight to win comfortably by a little over a length. The Inter Dominion final was a lot closer as The Falcon Strike, carrying the hopes of his legion of Western Australian fans that had sent him out as a $3.30 favourite, dug deep with many on-course believing that he had got up in a desperate final lunge. The photo-finish showed otherwise with Jofess holding on to win by a nose from The Falcon Strike with a further nose to Sokyola in third place and Mister D G another nose away in fourth place in what ranks as one of the all-time great Inter Dominion finishes. He was sent for a break after the 2004 Inter Dominion and when The Falcon Strike resumed in the winter of 2004 he looked to be a shadow of his former self with just two placings in five starts before again being spelled. He was back on December 10th 2004 with a win and a second a fortnight later before a third placing to Baltic Eagle and La Valiente in the Celebrity Sprint on New Year’s Eve 2004. A 20 metre handicap in the Fremantle Cup proved too hard as he finished down the track behind Sandy Bay but seven days later he was back in the winners list with a win in the Group One Australian Pacing Championship over Ohoka Ace and Buck The Odds followed a week later with victory over Sandy Bay and Ohoka Ace in the WA Pacing Cup. The Falcon Strike then made another ill-fated trip to Melbourne for the 2005 AG Hunter Cup where he shared the 20 metre back-mark with Kiwi star Elsu. He showed little fight in finishing down the track and a post-race examination showed the stallion to be sore and announcements were made about his retirement to stud. So well did The Falcon Strike appear in the paddock he was put back into work and in May 2006, after a break of some 15 months he was again in the winner’s list at Gloucester Park with a pair of wins just a week apart. While that campaign in the winter of 2006 and extending into late spring was to yield six wins and a couple of placings in a dozen starts the wear and tear and his age were now starting to show and, after finishing fifth to Gee Whiz Fizz on December 1st 2006, The Falcon Strike was retired for good. His retired with a reputation as one of the toughest horses to look through a bridle with the only possible flaw in his makeup a lack of blinding gate speed. While his toughness on the racetrack was his trademark Gary Hall Snr revealed another side to The Falcon Strike in an interview after his retirement. “He was one of the family and a real sook at home. A tiny cut would get a reaction as if he was seriously injured and he hated needles when the vets tried to get a blood sample on race-night”, he said “He had the most amazing temperament for a stallion and he could be floated between two mares and completely ignore them”. “He had a real personality and knew that he was good and carried himself that way”. Enquiries about tickets to the 2019 WA Racing Industry Hall of Fame Induction night on 28th February should be directed to Hall of Fame Coordinator Suzy Jackson on (08) 9445 5371 or   Alan Parker    

Regarded as one of the truly great trainers and drivers of his time, Andy Sheahan won three Perth Driver’s Premierships and two Perth Trainer’s Premierships and was placed in both premierships a further five times and also finished third on the 1925 Melbourne Drivers Premiership. Andy Sheahan was born in the Templestowe Hotel in Victoria in 1895 where his father Patrick, the publican, was a renowned Irish dancer. Sheahan was the youngest of seven children. His first experience with horses came as a youth on the road between Heidelberg and Templestowe and that interest grew into harness racing per medium of a horse called Ragtime which began racing for Sheahan at Richmond in Victoria in 1918. The 1924/25 Melbourne Drivers/Riders Premiership saw him first come to public notice when he finished third in that season’s Melbourne Driver’s Premiership and shortly afterwards Sheahan’s life was to change forever. In 1922 Australia’s all-time leading sire Globe Derby had been purchased by Victorian owner A G Hunter (later to have Victoria’s premier harness race named after him) to become part of one of the best collections of racing and breeding stock seen in Australia. Hunter’s Northwood Park property was a showpiece and Globe Derby was to become the stud’s flagship sire. In January 1926 Globe Derby won at the famous Richmond cinders track in Melbourne and at the reins was none other than Andy Sheahan. The following piece is taken from the pages of the Australian Trotting Record at the time; “The large crowd…were privileged to witness a performance the like of which most of them will never see again. This wonderful exhibition was given by Globe Derby (A Sheahan) in the Flying Handicap….in a pocket, from which he was unable to emerge until three furlongs from home. At this stage the leader was fully 60 yards ahead, but just as backers were ready to destroy their tickets up went a roar as Globe Derby went through an opening, and with an electrical dash reached to with striking distance of the leaders….he won by five yards…one of the gamest performances ever seen at Richmond. Some private watches timed Globe Derby to run the last half in a minute flat”. At this time Andy Sheahan was the private trainer for Hunter at Northwood Park and in charge of an extremely talented group of young horses including a smart maiden 3yo filly called Larimda which Hunter had nominated for the Sires Produce Stakes in WA. Although a maiden in Victoria, Larimda had been placed at five of her seven starts. Always looking for an opportunity to promote trotting, WATA President James Brennan approached Hunter and asked that Globe Derby accompany Larimda on her trip west to parade and to race the clock in an attempt to better the Australian Mile Record for stallions. Sheahan arrived in Perth with Hunter’s horses on 24th March 1926 after a seven day voyage to Perth aboard the Katoomba. Ten days later on Easter Saturday, 3rd April 1926, Sheahan won with the mare Eulinya Bells in a heat of the Easter Cup at the WACA Ground track. It was Sheahan’s first starter in this State. After the third race that night Globe Derby had paraded and was entered for the heats of the Brennan Free-For-All the following week in which two of his nominated opponents were to be his sons Lord Derby and Globepool. The Brennan FFA was run from a move-up start and the 15yo Globe Derby failed to qualify for the final later in the night when he finished third to the outstanding horses Vin Direct and Taraire. Taraire had won the 1926 Australasian Championship a fortnight earlier. Sheahan won the second heat of the FFA with Eulinya Bells and the mare finished third to Vin Direct and Taraire in the final. As was originally the plan, Larimda won the WA Sires Produce Stakes on 17th April 1926 and her owner Alex Hunter collected £380 in stakes. A £250 Time Trial competition was scheduled for the following week but had to be abandoned due to inclement weather rendering the track unsuitable. Andy Sheahan returned to Victoria with Hunter’s horses and less than three months later it was announced that Hunter was establishing a thoroughbred stud at Northwood Park with a stallion called Ethiopian as foundation sire. He could see little future for trotting in Victoria under the control of the notorious John Wren and there was a story that he tried desperately to convince Sheahan to switch codes. In October 1926 Hunter announced the complete dispersal of all his trotting stock and Sheahan took the opportunity to acquire a handful of Hunter’s better bred fillies and mares. On 8th December 1926 Andy Sheahan arrived in Fremantle accompanied by Eulinya Bells, Katie Wood and Owyhee Lass and stabled at Jim Hand’s Pier Street stables in East Perth. The Northwood Park dispersal sale was held on 22nd February 1927 and Sheahan had an agent pay 390 guineas for the now 4yo mare Larimda. She was to win six races for Sheahan after returning to Perth and produce Admiral Park when retired to stud by Sheahan. Admiral Park won seven races for Andy Sheahan and proved a success at stud siring 11 winners including the grand-dam of the outstanding filly Annas Ann which reached fast-class as a 3yo filly. Driving his own team of well-bred ex Victorian horses and acting as number one catch driver for the Jim Hand stable it didn’t take Andy Sheahan long to establish himself in Perth as a horseman of rare quality. He also met and married Joy Burt whose family owned the Brisbane Hotel and the couple had three children. Sheahan won the Perth Driver’s Premiership for the first time in 1927/28 – it was his first full-season in Perth. In the 1929/30 season Sheahan landed 38 winners – a total which stood as the State Record until 1946 when Frank Kersley drove 42 winners. His record was only bettered twice and equalled once in the ensuing 35 seasons. All up Sheahan won the Perth Drivers Premiership three times and was twice runner-up and three times third on the list. He won the Perth Trainers Premiership twice in 1929/30 and 1936/37 and was runner-up three times and third twice. On 28th November 1931 the Sheahan stabled heavily supported the mare Northwood Lady into favouritism at 2/1 to beat a high-class field which included a New Zealand Cup winner in Sheik and a WA Pacing Cup winner in Nazimova. Northwood Lady copped an early check and finished well back and the stewards took no action. The following week the stable again backed Northwood Lady into favouritism and she beat a marginally easier field convincingly. A hostile demonstration ensued and the stewards gave Sheahan a 12 month disqualification. He lost his appeal and the final comment belongs to a Daily News editorial of 14th December 1931. “The stewards permitted Northwood Lady to start on the second occasion as her performance on the first occasion was not questioned. She entered into a contract to win the second race yet was disqualified for so doing….Racing stewards should not allow themselves to be swayed by the demonstration of the betting crowd. Their loyalty is so fickle and their better judgement often warped by monetary consideration.” Sheahan returned after his time on the sidelines and moved his stables from Forrest Street in Perth to 96 Guildford Road Maylands and increased his interest in the breeding of horses. His particular interest was in breeding from mares carrying the blood of Admiral Wood and Sheahan had enjoyed success with some of the progeny of this stallion including the fillies Larimda, Katie Wood and Admiral’s Child. Admiral Wood isn’t shown as a winner in the Australian Sires Index but he was an outstanding race-horse in New Zealand winning a New Zealand FFA and Auckland Cup. Sheahan bred a host of top flight performers from his Admiral Wood mares which he agisted on the Swan River flats adjacent to the old Maylands aerodrome near where the Maylands Police Academy now stands. Larimda produced three winners from three foals which won a combined total of 35 races while Katie Wood produced four winners of 41 races from her five foals. During this period Andy Sheahan found a balance between racing his string of horses at Gloucester Park on a Saturday night and riding in hunt club events on Sundays. He used both Larimda and Katie Wood in his hunt club pursuits. The Peninsula Hotel in Maylands was used as the starting point for many of the hunts and years later old-timers recalled seeing one of Andy’s horses, complete with sulky, tied up outside the hotel while Sheahan enjoyed a well-earned drink on his way home from track-work at Gloucester Park. Described by those who knew him as dapper, dashing, generous, and with a great sense of fun and deep love of his horses which saw him shed a tear after one of his horses was involved in a race-fall. Andy Sheahan had great “feel’ in his hands and was regarded as one of the most skilled of horsemen in an era literally saturated with great horsemen and while he was a great driver he never drove a motor vehicle. Ill-health brought a premature end to the career of Andy Sheahan as a driver and in his later years he was restricted to being a trainer and leaving the stable driving to others although he continued to breed from his beloved Admiral Wood bloodlines up until the time of his death in Royal Perth hospital in 1951 at the age of 56 years.  Enquiries about tickets to the 2019 WA Racing Industry Hall of Fame Induction night on 28th February should be directed to Hall of Fame Coordinator Suzy Jackson on (08) 9445 5371 or   Alan Parker

1 to 16 of 21