Simon McMullan has decided to end his junior driving days on a high. The 25-year-old Franklin horseman steered Take A Hint to victory on co-trainer David Butcher’s 50th birthday at Cambridge Raceway last Thursday night – and then said that’s his race-day driving was all done and dusted. “Who knows I might return to the sulky one day, say if I lease a trotter and have to drive him, but that’s it for now. “I certainly won’t be driving as an open horseman next year. I want to concentrate on one thing at a time. I’m in a privileged position working for Steven and I want to keep improving as a trainer. “That’s where my focus is now,” McMullan said. Take A Hint won the last race of the season at Cambridge. He and McMullan sat in the trail and then pounced to win the $7,000 Fairview Motors Mobile for C2-C4 pacers. They won by three quarters of a length pacing the 2200m mobile in a slick 2:42.8 with final 800m and 400m sprints of 58.5 and 29.8 seconds. The black Washington V C gelding won with a 1:59 mile rate. It was the 4-year-old’s fifth win in 28 starts. He was the third favourite and paid $8 to win. “He’s a nice horse. Not many pacers can go 2:42 and that tells me he’s got a couple of wins left in him yet. “It’s a drive I won’t forget in a while,” McMullan said. Pukekohe-based McMullan has driven 55 winners since taking out his licence in 2008. He’s also placed 130 times from his 648 starts, and won $428,521 in stakes. Training-wise he has won 29 races and just over $360,000 since joining forces with Reid at the start of the season. They finished 19th on the national training premiership. But McMullan has been with ‘The Reid Man’ for eight years now. “Steven had no right to make me a partner in his stable at the start of the season. He has rewarded me for my loyalty to him and for that I’m extremely grateful. “That’s why I want to give the driving away. I want to repay Steven’s faith in me and keep doing my best and learning from him,” McMullan said. McMullan’s first training wins came via Roger Ramjet and Sweet Jane in races one and four at Alexandra Park on August 16. McMullan was educated at Burnside High School and has worked for Brent Lilley, Brendon Hill and Doug Gale prior to coming to Reid’s Pukekohe stable. His work ethic soon ensured he was stable foreman before being promoted to a partner on August 1. Reid and McMullan are working a team of about 25 out of the Franklin Trotting Club’s complex on Station Road. “We’ve got some nice young horses coming through the ranks. Potentially I think our rising 3-year-old Art Major colt - Zennart is the most promising racehorse we have got. He won really well first-up at Alexandra Park on Friday. “My ambition is to train a Group One winner next season. Hopefully some of the younger horses or perhaps Unforgiving can do that for us,” McMullan said. By Duane Ranger (Harness Racing New Zealand)
Smart three-year-old Sky Major looks right on song for the upcoming Breeders Crown Series in Australia after downing a smart field of older rivals at Alexandra Park last night. The Art Major colt, who was having his first race start since his emphatic victory in the 3YO Emerald division of the Harness Jewels, was driven cold by Zac Butcher, sitting last before moving into the race three wide down the back straight. He then let down strongly in the home stretch to run down Cyamach, who looked home after kicking away at the top of lane. Beyond The Silence finish a further half length away in third after enjoying a nice run in the trail. The Barry Purdon trained star paced the 2200 metre journey in a slick 2:43.3. The official last half was 56.5. However, Sky Major would have gone his last 800 metres a lot quicker as he came from a long way off the pace. The dual Jewels winner, who won a walkover heat of the Breeders’ Crown at Cambridge last week, will now head to Australia to compete in an MO at Melton on the 8th of August before tackling the 3YO Breeders Crown semi finals on August 22. All going well he well then progress through to the rich Group One final on the 30th of August. Cyamach, who was good in second behind the speedy colt, is also likely to head to Australia for the four-year-old male division of the series, while Cambridge winners Field Marshall and Cyclone Kate will also be part of the ever-growing Kiwi contingent heading across the Tasman for the series. Meanwhile, star Australian three-year-old Bling It On, who was thought to be the main danger to Sky Major in the ABC 3yo colts and geldings division, suffered a shock loss to Kiwi export Alleluia in a two horse heat of the Breeders Crown at Albion Park last night and will now head to repechage on the 13th of August. After sitting second while Alleluia set a leisurely pace in front, driver Bart Cockburn set Bling It On a light at the 700 metres. The pair then eyeballed each other until the bend, but it was Alleluia who showed more dash in the straight, sprinting away for a 6 metre win. Alleluia paced his last 800 metres in a sizzling 54.8 with a final quarter of 26.3. Driver Bart Cockburn was questioned regarding his driving tactics on Bling It On when allowing Grant Dixon to go through the first half of the last mile in 68 seconds. Under rule 149 (1) he was suspended for a period of eight weeks. By Mitchell Robertson
Grey trotting machine Idle Bones will now head home to Christchurch to compete in the upcoming Lower Grade $23,500 Super Series Handicap Trot at Addington on the 8th of August after completing a hatrick of wins at Alexandra Park. The reformed rogue mare, who won her debut before bad manners led to a 16-race losing streak, has now won five of her last six starts and looks set to continue through to open class. After settling towards the back of the field from her 10 metre handicap, driver Brent Mangos set the Monkey Bones mare a light with a lap to go, looping the field to find the front. She then trotted along boldly in front, before leaving her rivals breathless and sprinting away for a four and a half length win. “It was a great race to win as it was a $15,000 stake and her third win at Alexandra Park, so she got the money bags bonus as well,” explained owner Dave McHugh, who has enjoyed a great run as an owner in the last few weeks having also won with Ellmer Hanover and The Yaldy’s Ideal. “You have to enjoy it while it lasts but unfortunately there is only one way I can go from here and that’s back down again,” he laughed. McHugh was full of praise for trainer Paul (Tank) Ellis, who also shares in the ownership of the grey mare. “She has given 'Tank' a few headaches but he has stuck with her and now we are getting the rewards,” said McHugh. The win landed a few big bets on the talented mare including $10,000 at $1.80 and $3,000 at $1.70 Idle Bones, who had four starts at Alexandra Park during her northern sojourn for three emphatic wins and a narrow second, will head home to Christchurch on Thursday. “Provided she comes through the trip alright she will start in the Super Series Trot at Addington before heading for a well earned break,” stated McHugh. By Mitchell Robertson
The In The Pocket stallion Changeover continues to enhance his growing reputation with every meeting recently and that continued tonight (July 25th) when he was repersented by winners at both metropolitian harness racing venues, Alexandra Park and Addington Raceway. First up at Alexandra Park was the smart gelding Prince Of Pops who registered his third win for the season with a stylish win over older horses, rating a smart 1:59.8 for the 2200 meters. Just as impressive was the filly Change The Rulz who showed a clean pair of heels to her competition in the A Electrical Ltd Mobile pace over 1950 meters for two and three year old fillies at Addington Raceway. It was the fourth individual filly winner for Changeover in New Zealand in his debut season. Sent straight to the front from barrier six by leading driver Dexter Dunn, Change The Rulz kept up a solid tempo throughout before skipping clear on the home turn and holding out a good finish from She's Extreme to win by a length and a quarter. It was her first win at her fifth start but Change The Rulz had hinted at an early win with a close third last time to the races. Trained at Woodend by Greg and Nina Hope, Change The Rulz is raced by Greg along with the well known Westport trotting identity, Richard Dellaca. She paced the 1950 meters in the cold conditions in 2:24.1, a mile rate of 1:58.9 with closing sectionals of 58 and 28.4. From the “Rulz” family which has been long associated with Richard Dellaca, Change The Rulz is a half sister to this seasons promising 3 year old Ranfurly Rulz. (3 wins). Her dam Victoria Rulz is a half sister to the brilliant Courage Under Fire gelding Jason Rulz 1:54.6 ($207,985). Like a lot of the Changeover's, Change The Rulz looks just the type to develop into a really smart horse at three. Change The Rulz Harnesslink media
The Cameleon mare Slangevar was no great shakes on the racetrack, winning just once from 15 starts and taking a mark of 2:01.6. However being a half sister to the former age group star Mr Williams 1:56.7 ($133,242) and another handy horse in Piper Heidsieck 1:53.4 ($78,988), Slangevar was given her chance at stud and has proved that you don't need to be a star on the track to be a star in the broodmare barn. Tonight (July 25th) at Alexandra Park, Slangevar's only three foals old enough to race were all in action and none of them let the mare down. First up was the 3 year old Badlands Hanover filly Cheers Kathy who was sent out favourite in race one. Sent straight to the front by driver Scott Phelan, Cheers Kathy took a trail behind Miss Lotty after 200 meters and received a lovely drag from then on. Angling off Miss Lotty's back as they turned for home, Cheers Kathy quickly put the issue beyond doubt, winning by an ever increasing 2 ¾ lengths. It was the first win for the Steve Telfer and Chris Garlick trained filly and took her stake earnings to $14,552. Cheers Kathy paced the 2200 meters in 2:47.5, a mile rate of 2:02.5 with closing sectionals of 57.6 and 29. Cheers Kathy Next up in race two were Cheers Kathy's two half brothers in the 2 year old Prince Of Pops and the 4 year old First Holme who both race out of the Telfer and Garlick stable as well. Sent out of the gate by driver Zac Butcher, Prince of Pops ended up in the death after 200 meters outside the well supported Fizzi Lizzi while the Scott Phelan driven First Holme settled well back in the field from his second row draw. First Holme was sent forward with 1100 meters to go, finding the death outside Fizzi Lizzi a lap out and giving his stablemate a nice drag home. Peeling out on the point of the turn, Prince Of Pops shot clear for a comfortable win with Party Boy running on well for second and First Holme sticking on well for third. It was the third win for the gelded son of Changeover and took his earnings in his debut season to $26,948. Prince Of Pops paced the 2200 meters mobile in 2:43.8, a mile rate of 1:59.8 with smart closing sectionals of 56.4 and 28.2. Prince Of Pops With two winners and a place getter on the night from her three foals eligible to race, Slangevar is certainly making her mark in the broodmare barn. Harnesslink media
Harness racing luck can be brutal at times and at other times everything just falls into place. Dave McHugh, the mine host of the Yaldy Hotel in Christchurch is having a golden run at the moment, winning races all over the country with different horses. The star of the team at the moment is the 4 year old Monkey Bones trotting mare Idle Bones who has won four of her last five starts and is looking an open class trotting mare in the making. Trained by Paul Ellis, who races Idle Bones with Dave McHugh, this talented mare has been a revelation in her recent runs at Alexandra Park. Last Sunday another member of the McHugh owned horses broke his duck in the Ashburton Security Mobile Pace at the Ashburton Trotting Club meeting. Trained by Geoff Dunn at West Melton, The Yaldy's Ideal stormed home late for a narrow but impressive victory in the hands of Gerald O'Reilly. It was an overdue win for the 3 year old son of American Ideal. And to top things off, Ellmer Hanover was successful tonight in the Cambridge Jockey Club Handicap Pace at Cambridge Raceway. The five year old son of Armbro Operative made a good beginning in the 2700 meters standing start event and was sent forward by driver Brent Mangos with 2000 meters to go. Keeping up a solid clip from there, Ellmer Hanover skipped clear on the turn and had enough in reserve to hold on for a comfortable win. He paced the 2700 meters in 3:26.9, a mile rate of 2:03.2 with closing sectionals of 57.6 and 28 Ellmer Hanover is another horse trained by Paul Ellis and raced in partnership with Dave McHugh. And just to keep the pot boiling,Idle Bones is a starter in the Totem – Cirque Du Soleil Handicap Trot at Alexandra Park tomorrow night. With the run that Dave McHugh is having at the moment,it would be a very brave man to bet against Idle Bones winning again tomorrow night. Ellmer Hanover winning tonight Harnesslink media
Last week the ring-around produced six winners with Matthew Williamson, Nathan Williamson, Scott Phelan, Ricky May, John Dunn, and I all delivering the goods. The best result was my tip Spell which romped in at odds $5.50. Let’s see what winners we have in store for you this week: Cambridge – Thursday Jay Abernethy: Thinks Equulei can kick the ring-around off in style in the first race at Cambridge. Simon Lawson: Rates Betty Boop Brogden as a good each-way chance in the fourth race on the card. Alexandra Park – Friday Todd Mitchell: Has opted for Miss Lotty, who was seen doing her best work late when second last start. She looks a good chance in the first race. Brent Mangos: expects impressive trialist Vibhuti to prove very tough to roll – race four. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Has opted for Djokovic, who looks a bold chance in race five. Scott Phelan: Rates the chances of inform pacer Cyamach, who looks a strong chance despite meeting a very good field in the sixth race at Alexandra Park. Addington – Friday Ken Barron: Expects both Bracken Ridge (race two) and Quaint Glen (Rangiora race 3) to prove very hard to beat. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Bracken Ridge – race two Mark Jones: Thinks the consistent Jaccka Len can break through for another win – race five. Gavin Smith: Rates She’s Extreme as a good place chance in the sixth event on the card. John Dunn: Is expecting a big run from two-year-old filly Cullens First Meddle – race six. Tim Williams: Has opted for smart mare Here We Go Again, who downed likely favourite Fifth Edition in her last start – race eight. Matthew Williamson: Expects Ohoka Benson to be hard to beat in what looks an average C1 field – race ten. Rangiora – Sunday Terry Chmiel: Has opted for the inform That Guy Finn, who looks a good chance despite meeting a strong C1 and 2 line-up – race six. Jonny Cox: Thinks Explosive Art can continue to explode through the grades – race nine.
This winter in harness racing in New Zealand has been like no other in living memory. The winter racing scene is usually left to the lesser performed horses to strut their stuff and it is not often that a potential top liner appears at this time of year. However this season we have seen several debutantes win in a manner that suggested a big future. Both Connoisseur and Rycroft created a huge impression when winning on debut and were quickly snapped up by Australian buyers. This Friday at Alexandra Park in the Hydroflow Mobile Pace we have another horse making his debut who looks to have a big future. Trained at Pukekohe by Brent Mangos, Vibhuti has been burning up the trial tracks in recent weeks and looks to have talent to burn. Last Saturday at Alexandra Park at the Auckland Trotting Club workouts, Vibhuti gave a display not often seen by unraced maidens. Not only did he distance his opponents by 6 lengths, but he paced the 2200 meters in 2:45.9, a mile rate of 2:01.3 with the last 800 meters in a quick 57.5 and the last 400 meters in a sizzling 26.7 That would win most maiden 2200 meters races at Alexandra Park and even from the second row on Friday night, Vibhuti looks very hard to hold out. The 3 year old son of American Ideal is bred to be good. A half-brother to Mr Chin 1:51.2 ($410,837) and Light Hearted 1:56.6 ($138,452) Vibhuti is closely related to the former star age group pacer in New Zealand in Butlers First 1:57.4 ($380,883). The family was introduced to New Zealand by David Phillips in his National Bloodstock days when he imported the Keystone Ore mare Lady's First. Hambletonian Limited, the breeder of Vibhuti is the most recent arm of the David Phillips breeding operation. Raced by Hambletonian Limited in partnership with Tony Shaw, Vibhuti is the name for the sacred ash used in Religious worship in Hinduism. Judging by his recent workout performance, Vibhuti doesn't look like he will need any divine intervention to find his way to the winners circle on Friday night.. Harnesslink media
The West Melton trainer Gavin Mills has had a lot of success in harness racing over the years with progeny from the Vance Hanover mare, Fair Play. Of course the one Gavin will always remember the most is the one that he sold to the present starter in Canterbury, Pete Lamb. Named Play On, the son of Bellam won an Interdominion Final for Pete Lamb at Alexandra Park in 2005 on his way to earning a very healthy $290,966. Even after Play On, Gavin has never been tempted to cover Fair Play with fashionable sires but it hasn't stopped the mare from producing four other winners including Another Player ($62,008), Will Play ($52,758) and Lighting Play ($41,052). The most recent winner from the mare is the Thanksgiving gelding, Thanksforplaying who won his second race for the season and third overall when he was successful in the Moore Architecture Handicap Trot at Ashburton today Sunday the 20th of July. Away well for a change, driver Chris McDowell settled him in the trail after 300 meters and from there Thanksforplaying got shuffled back to the point where he ended up five back on the inner at the 800 meter mark. Still five deep as the field turned for home, Chris McDowell angled him out to the centre of the track and he came with a storming late run to win going away from a handy field of lower grade trotters. Thansforplaying trotted the 2400 meters from a stand in a smart 3:07.1, a mile rate of 2:05.4 with the last half off the front in 60.3 and the quarter in 29.7. Even though he ran a couple of nice thirds at Nelson and Malborough recently, Thanksforplaying was completely let go by punters, paying $59.10 for the win. Thanksforplaying is his own worst enemy most of the time but as today showed, when he trots all the way he is very hard to hold out. Thanksforplaying Harnesslink media
Harness racing can be a cruel game at times with some horses forever seeming to have bad luck. The Bucket List would have to be near the front of that queue in the last twelve months with a run of bad luck you wouldn't wish on anybody. After The Bucket List had won four of his first seven starts, he was thrown in the deep end against the best of his age group at three. While he performed really well, it was a steep learning curve for the Christian Cullen entire and seem to shake his confidence for a while. A nice run for second behind Pass Them By 1:53.6 ($175,081), beaten a ½ neck in a 1:57.3 mile rate over 2200 meters convinced trainer Geoff Small to send The Bucket List to Ashburton for the 3 year old Harness Jewels. Although never a winning chance in a race run in 1:50.6, The Bucket List went super to run 1:52.1, beating home two very smart horses in Franco Nelson 1:53.1 ($425,446) and Elios 1:55 ($213,676) in the process. Reappearing at Alexandra Park in January 2014, The Bucket List looked ready to fulfill his early potential with a brilliant win, coming from last at the 500 meter mark to beat a field containing Ideal Belle 1:52.2 (pl) ($176,409) Maxim 1:56.6 $396,913) and Sky Major 1:52 ($411,002). He paced the 2200 meters in a brilliant 2:39.4, a mile rate of 1:56.6 with closing sectionals of 56.7 and 28.3 and looked set for a huge season. But from that point on, The Bucket List has hit one brick wall after another. Renowned for having a lethal sprint if saved for one run, the Bucket List has had a succession of runs where he was late getting clear, blocked for a run or pushed back at the wrong time. The luck had to change eventually and last night at Alexandra Park, The Bucket List got the kind of run he has been seeking for a while now. Leading early in the 2700 meters stand, driver Philip Butcher took a trail after 400 meters and soon after was three back on the inner as the smart 3 year old Regulus went to the front. Thats where he stayed until they turned for home where he angled for a run up the passing lane and burst through late to win going away by two lengths. He paced the 2700 from a stand in 3:27.8, a mile rate of 2:03.8 with smart closing sectionals of 56.7 and 27.6. It was his sixth lifetime win coupled with twelve placings which has seen him bank $76,945 in stakes to date. Now that his luck has turned, it wouldn't surprise anyone if The Bucket List strung a few wins together in the next few weeks. Harnesslink media
This seasons crop of two year olds by Art Major has produced some really smart individuals from his smallish crop of just 85 foals and Piece Of My Heart looked to further embellish that record with a stylish win in the Marlin Transport Fillies and Mares Mobile Pace over 2200 meters at the harness racing meeting at Alexandra Park tonight Friday the 18th of July. With harness racing in winter being a touch lower key than normal, quality horses at this time of year in New Zealand can be hard to find. But anyone who saw the Steve Telfer and Chris Garlick trained Piece Of My Heart win tonight would have seen a filly with a big future. Settling second last from her second line draw, driver Scott Phelan sent her forward three wide with 1200 meters to go and she found the front at the 900 meters mark. From there she turned the race into a procession, shooting clear on the corner before easing down in the last 100 meters for a comfortable two length victory. Tonights win was her first in four starts and she has also finished second once for stakes totaling $6954. She paced the 2200 meters in 2:46, a mile rate of 2:01.4 with closing sectionals of 59.6 and 28.6. Piece Of My Heart was passed in at last year's Australasian Classic Sale for $17,000. She is now raced on lease by Miss T M McMullen, L R Campbell, D L Campbell, L J Goldsmith and R S Toman from her breeders Chris and Tina Barlow. Piece Of My Heart is the fifth winner of the Holmes Hanover mare Highfields Diamond. This is the Anna Pavlova branch of the famous Coo Doo family which has provided the Grice brothers of Mid-Canterbury with so many stakes and classic winners over the last forty years. This is a breed that has produced numerous high class fillies over the years and in Piece Of My Heart it looks to have found another one. Piece Of My Heart Harnesslink media
The Courage Under Fire three year old Rip Roaring has threatened to win a race several times this season. Rip Roaring was originally trained by “Coaster” Howe in Canterbury for whom he ran seven placings which was followed by a placing in his one start out of the Cox and Hoffman barn in Otago before joining the barn of Peter Scaife in the North Island. A third in his first start in the North at Cambridge last week continued his run of placings which was finally broken in the Malcolm Wrigley Insurance Services Pace at Alexandra Park this evening. Sent forward out of the gate from barrier four by driver Zac Butcher, Rip Roaring took a trail after 300 meters behind Monterey Jack driven by Josh Dickie. There Rip Roaring sat until the 200 meters when he took advantage of the passing lane to swoop late for a well-deserved win. The breakthrough win came at start twenty but he has also been placed nine times on his way to earning $13,096 in stakes to date. He paced the 2200 meters in 2:47.3, a mile rate of 2:02.4 with closing sectionals of 58.2 and 28. Bred in Canterbury by Studholme Bloodstock Limited, Rip Roaring is raced by Bill “Gouty” Davis, Colin Tennant and Selwyn pig farmer Ray Seebeck. The trio are well known around Canterbury harness racing tracks as the owners of the former smart Canterbury trotter Beat The Monarch 1:58.7 ($107,325) who did a great job for his owners over several seasons before his sale to Australia. Ray Seebeck is still getting over the win of Gotta Grunter, who he races with long time fellow pig farmer Pete Molloy, who cleared maidens at the recent Timaru meeting. The owners of Rip Roaring are three of the nicer people involved in this industry and Rip Roaring's win tonight is just reward for all the investment they have made in harness racing. Harnesslink media
Top New Zealand filly Ideal Belle has been scratched from her two-horse Australasian Breeders’ Crown heat at Alexandra Park tomorrow night and has been ruled out of the rich series by trainer Barry Purdon. The New Zealand Oaks winning filly, who would have been one of the favourites for the Group One 3YO fillies division, has suffered a leg injury after being caught in a fence at Purdon’s Clevedon property. The tall American Ideal filly, who showed she was right on song for the series with a smart workout last week, will now head to the spelling paddock. Her scratching means that the Geoff Small trained Zeta Bromac will get a walkover ABC heat win, as will Ideal Belle’s stablemate Sky Major who is still well on track for the 3YO colts and geldings division of the series. In other Breeders Crown news, the Tim Butt trained Field Marshal is set to arrive in Melbourne on August 6 in preparation for the ABC after qualifying in a one horse heat at Cambridge last week, while Katy Perry, who was defeated in her Cambridge heat by Joanne’s A Delight, is already in Australia and will compete in the Tatlow Stakes (Group Two) at Melton on Saturday before heading to a Breeders' Crown Repechage. Katy Perry is just one a strong contingent of Kiwi trained or owned horses that are seat to do battle in feature races across the Tasman this weekend. Others include Messini, Kept Under Wraps, Iceobar, Bettor Rock On, My Arya, Primz Luck, One Over Da Moon, Our Twentyten, and Daenerys Targaryen. However the two highlights of the weekend may come from champion Australian pacers Im Themightyquinn and Smoken Up. ‘Trigger’ (Smoken Up) is set to have his last start in New South Wales at Menangle on Saturday and his trainer-driver Lance Justice is expecting a big performance, while ‘Quinny’, who will be reunited with Gary Hall Jnr, will battle it out with Mach Beauty, Suave Stuey Lombo, and Avonnova for Group One glory in the Blake’s A Fake at Albion Park on Saturday. After much talk about drivers leading into the race, Lauren Panella has decided to stick with Mach Beauty, while Bart Cockburn, who has been sacked from Avonnova after his interesting drive in the Sunshine Sprint, will take the reins behind Suave Stuey Lombo. Replacing Cockburn in the sulky behind Queensland star Avonnova is Shane Graham, who was victorious in his only drive on the gelding. By Mitchell Robertson
Last week was a quiet one for the ring-around with just the two winners. However, T.A.B Bookmaker Steve Richardson did find us some value in the form of $8 and $2.50. Let’s see what good oil the boys have found for us this week. Forbury – Thursday Matthew Williamson: Has opted for Monnay, who is the class horse of the field but and looks a chance despite his huge seventy metre handicap – race six. Nathan Williamson: Rates the chances of Onedin Mach, who should have benefited off his fresh-up fourth. He looks the one to beat in race seven on the card. Jonny Cox: Rates the chances of Homeforabubbly, who looks well placed in the ninth race on the card. Alexandra Park – Friday Simon Lawson: Has selected Westwind Flyer as his best bet of the week – race one. Scott Phelan: Believes Pieces Of My Heart can go one better in the third race on the card. Josh Dickie: Has opted for Katieellen Castleton, who would only need to do things right to win the fourth race. Addington – Friday Stephen Richardson (T.A.B): Has selected Hikoi, who got too far back last start before finishing strongly for fourth. Steps up to 2600m this week which should suit – race two. David Butt: Rates the chances of Stingray, who returned to form last week with a nice win. He meets the same sort of field this week and looks a good each-way chance again - race five. Ricky May: Has opted for the impressive Dalton Bromac. He looks the one they all have to beat in the same event – race five. Craig Thornley: Has opted for Playaway, who was a fast finishing second last start. She looks a good each-way chance in the sixth race. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Spell – race eight. Ashburton – Sunday Mark Jones: Expects smart filly Goodness Gracious Me to prove very hard to beat in the sixth race. Ken Barron: Has opted for Change Time, who returns to mobile racing and has landed the plumb draw. She has produced big runs in her last two outings after missing the kick from standing starts and looks a good chance on Sunday – race eight. John Dunn: Thinks stable newcomer Wesley Silcox, who trialled up nicely on Monday, can keep his unbeaten record intact – race eight.
Young Boyanup harness racing trainer-driver Justin Prentice is a keen student of breeding and he has high hopes that his judgment in purchasing Major Reality at the 2013 New Zealand yearling sales will be vindicated by driving the filly to victory in the $125,000 Premier Suzuki Golden Slipper at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Major Reality ran a superb trial for the group 1 Golden Slipper for two-year-olds when she set the pace and sped over the final 400m in 27.4sec. to score an effortless win in the $35,000 Gold Bracelet last Friday night. Her prospects of winning the Slipper soared when she drew the prized No. 1 barrier and the 26-year-old Prentice will be aiming for another all-the-way success this week. Prentice studied the 2013 yearling catalogue and was determined to buy the Art Major filly, originally named Just Like Mum. "She is by a strong stallion and her dam Reality Check was a smart performer as a two-year-old," Prentice said. "So I just picked her out on breeding. Dad (trainer-reinsman Kim Prentice) was over at the sales and he checked out the filly and gave her the okay. "I told Dad that I was prepared to go to $50,000 for her and was stoked when I was able to get her for $31,000." Justin Prentice bought the filly on behalf of stable client John Wulff, who had been a co-owner of Carim Courage and Im Hey Jude. Wulff then sold shares in Major Reality to a few mates and the filly has already proved her worth, earning $37,200 from three wins from her first four starts Major Reality is following the footsteps of Reality Check, who won three races as a two-year-old and one as a three-year-old before being retired after 24 starts with earnings of $139,495. She was successful at Alexandra Park at her second start, in March 2006, and then won a $40,000 feature event for fillies at Cambridge the following month before winning a 1700m $125,000 classic at Alexandra Park at her sixth start. She then finished third in a group 1 classic. Major Reality won with such ease last week that she is likely to be a warm favourite for the Slipper. But favourites have a terrible record in recent runnings of the classic. Only one favourite has been successful in the past 14 years. That was Western Cullen, who started at evens and charged home from sixth in the middle stages to easily beat Major Catastrophe and Gracias Para Nada in 2011. And fillies have won only eight times in the 46-year history of the Slipper. They have been Sordice (1968), Omista (1971), Via Vista (1980), Mazzini Magic (1988), Whitbys Miss Penny (1990), Whitbys Merit (1993), Spirit of Navajo (2005) and Arma Xpress (2012). Kim Prentice purchased The Odd Lover for prominent owner Rob Watson at the 2013 New Zealand yearling sales and the Art Major colt looms as one of the chief rivals for Major Reality after he drew favourably at barrier two on the front line in the 2130m event. Prentice, who trains the colt at Hopeland, has a high opinion of him and would dearly love him to make amends for his bad luck when 2/1 on favourite in the group 1 $100,000 Pearl Classic last month when a tyre of his sulky was punctured early in the event and then the tube became entangled in the wheel, causing him to drop back from the breeze position to finish at the rear. At his next appearance, over 2130m at Gloucester Park last Friday night, The Odd Lover started from the back line and raced three wide early before moving to the breeze and finishing second to the pacemaker Isaiah Artois. From barrier two this week, The Odd Lover meets Isaiah on better terms. The David Thompson-trained Isaiah Artois will start from the No. 4 barrier and although he possesses sparkling gate speed he is most unlikely to be able to wrest the early lead from Major Reality. The query runner is Beaudiene Boaz, who will be making his first appearance in Australia for leading trainer Gary Hall sen. after winning at three of his seven starts in New Zealand. He stormed home to gain a last-stride victory in the group 1 $150,000, Emerald at Cambridge on May 31 before being sold to a group of Hall's clients, headed by Beth Richardson. Beaudiene Boaz was a smart trial winner at Byford on Sunday morning and he will have a legion of followers. Isaiah Artois has won at five of his eight starts and cannot be underestimated. Consistent filly Sea Me Smile has drawn perfectly on the inside of the back line and Chris Lewis should have her on the back of the pacemaking Major Reality all the way. Mister Ardee, to be driven by Kim Young for owner-trainer Gary Elson, is capable of a bold showing from barrier two on the back line, while Straittothehilton, one of five fillies in the race, has place prospects from the No. 3 barrier. Beaudiene Boaz is the best, says Hall "Without sounding too arrogant I've got no doubt that he's the best horse in the race, but he will have his work cut out from barrier six," said champion reinsman Gary Hall jun. when assessing the prospects of New Zealand newcomer Beaudiene Boaz in the $125,000 Premier Suzuki Golden Slipper at Gloucester Park on Friday night. "His trial at Byford on Sunday was super, but a two-year-old having his first look at the track will need to do everything that we think he's capable of to be able to beat Justin Prentice's filly Major Reality." Hall said that the barrier draw had tilted the odds in favour of Major Reality, who is sure to make the most of the coveted No. 1 position by setting the pace in the 2130m group 1 classic. "The draw really evens things up," Hall said. "I think Beaudiene Boaz is capable of beating Major Reality, but he will have to prove every bit as good as we think he is. He's got a bit of everything. He's definitely very quick and he seems to be quite strong. "However, there appears to be no chink in Major Reality's armour. She is such a good gaited horse who seems to do everything right. She has got good gate speed and it's not likely that she will have to be rushed out to hold the lead. She'll hold it easy; nothing can really trouble her early and she'll get a soft lead, and that will make her hard to beat. "We know that she can run a quarter in 27 and a bit, so we will have to try to take it (the sting) out of her early. However, doing that will probably set it up for something back in the field. I haven't determined my tactics, but obviously getting to the breeze is the way to go. You can't win by going back (early)." Beaudiene Boaz is trained by Gary Hall sen., who is in Brisbane campaigning with superstar Im Themightyquinn. Hall will be attempting to emulate the performance of Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri, who won the 2011 Golden Slipper with Western Cullen at his Australian debut. Hall jun. drove Beaudiene Boaz in a 2150m trial on Sunday morning when the Badlands Hanover colt sat behind the pacemaker, three-year-old stablemate Crusader Banner before sprinting home strongly to beat that pacer by a length at a 1.58.6 rate after sprinting over the final two 400m sections in 28.3sec. and 28.1sec. Beaudiene Boaz has won at three of his seven starts in New Zealand for trainer Ray Green. He was sold to clients of the Hall stable after he had given a superb performance to win the $150,000 Emerald for two-year=-old colts and geldings at Cambridge on May 31. An outsider at 38/1 and driven by Zac Butcher, Beaudiene Boaz was seventh on the pegs at the bell and still in sixth place 400m from home before he charged home, out four wide, to snatch a last-stride victory by a head over Bettor Spirits, covering the metric mile (1609m) in 1.54, track record for two-year-olds. The 400m sections whizzed by in 27.4sec., 29sec., 28.6sec. and 28.9sec. Two starts earlier Beaudiene Boaz dashed over the final quarter in 28.2sec. and rated 2.1.8 in winning over 2200m at Alexandra Park. Hall sen. has won the Slipper only once, when he trained and drove Love of Glory to victory over Possibly and Almagest in 1989. Hall jun. has yet to taste victory in a Golden Slipper. Four years ago he set the pace with 6/4 on favourite Go West U Terror, who finished second to Ohokas Bondy. Then he drove Gracias Para Nada (22/1) into third place behind Western Cullen in 2011,Northview Punter (10/9 on) when he finished a half-head second to Arma Xpress in 2012 and the 6/4 on favourite Crusader Banner when he set the pace before fading to ninth behind Class of Tara last year. Leda McNally set for unusual hat-trick Classy mare Leda McNally has won races on the Golden Slipper program on the past two years and she has excellent prospects of completing an unusual hat-trick at by outpacing her rivals in the Premier Suzuki Genuine Parts Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Trained at Pinjarra by Chris King, Leda McNally has been unplaced at her past five starts and has a losing sequence of seven. But she looks ideally suited, and well handicapped, off 20m in the 2503m event for M4 and better class pacers. The five-year-old Leda McNally has won at 19 of her 57 starts and has an M10 assessment. This will be only her second appearance in a standing-start event. She gave an outstanding performance at her only run in a stand, when she began off 50m, was tenth at the bell and stormed home, five wide, on a heavy, rain-soaked track to finish third behind Selkie and Salliwood in the Race For Roses over 2503m at Gloucester Park on May 9 this year. She was a 5/1 chance when Chris Voak took her to an early lead and she went on to win by two lengths from Blissfull Cullen in a 2100m mobile on Golden Slipper night in July 2012. Voak again was in the sulky when Leda McNally, favourite at 11/4, sustained a powerful burst to win easily from Slick Bird over 2130m 12 months later. Voak handled Leda McNally when she was untroubled to win a four-horse trial at Pinjarra on Sunday morning. After a moderate early pace Leda McNally sprinted over the final 800m in 56sec. and defeated Countess Krista by a length at a 1.59.5 rate. A small field of seven should help Leda McNally's cause on Friday night when she is likely to meet stiff opposition from the four runners trained by Gary Hall sen. They are Bettor Reason, My Hard Copy, Our Arlington and Some Kinda Tactics. The Tony Svilicich-trained Shardons Rocket is a tough, consistent campaigner who should again fight out the finish. Hall marching to 200 winners Champion trainer Gary Hall sen. has 13 runners at Friday night's meeting at Gloucester Park and he looks set to take a giant step towards his ambition of becoming the first West Australian to train 200 winners in a season in WA. He and his younger son Gary, the State's premier reinsman, should give punters a flying start to the meeting by winning the opening event, the Suzuki Way Of Life Pathway Pace with the brilliant three-year-old Soho Lennon. Soho Lennon, a winner at six of his 20 starts, gave a tremendous performance last Friday night when he produced a powerful finishing burst to be a nose second to classy stablemate VC Manoeuvre over 1730m at a 1.55.3 rate. Soho Lennon, who beat VC Manoeuvre at his previous outing, was driven at his latest two starts by the trainer's elder son Clint. "I'm looking forward to getting back behind him," said Hall jun., who drove the gelding to easy wins at Pinjarra and Gloucester Park in June. "Starting from No. 12 (the outside of the back line) is not easy for a three-year-old taking on older horses," he said. "But he races like an older horse and I really like him. "I know that VC Manoeuvre beat him last week, but I reckon Soho Lennon is not far behind Elegant Christian and Machtu. "Senior is not far from 200 winners for the season --- and that's his aim. He gave us a rev up the other week when he reckoned we were running out of time. So it was nice to have five winners last Friday night and to keep him off our back for a week." Hall sen. is the State's leading trainer with 190 winners and 189 placegetters from 717 starters. by Ken Casellas
Harness Jewels winner Beaudine Boaz is set to make his Australian debut in the $125,000 Group One Golden Slipper at Gloucester Park on Saturday. And if his recent Byford trial where he mile rated 1:58.6 on his way to an impressive win is anything to go by he will take all sorts of beating. The Badlands Hanover colt dashed his last half in 56.4 in his trial and impressed driver Gary Hall Jnr, who bypassed the opportunity to drive Im Themightyquinn in Queensland in order to handle the 2YO Emerald winner in his main hit-out before Saturday’s prestigious two-year-old event. Beaudiene Boaz, who is a half-brother to top mare Beaudiene Bad Babe, is just one of a few expensive purchases made by clients of the Gary Hall Snr stable in recent months. Other classy New Zealand juveniles they have snapped up included high priced fillies Nuala and Giuliana Rancic. Meanwhile, impressive debut juvenile winner Connoisseur, who was purchased out off the barn of John and Joshua Dickie by clients of Greg Bond for a large six-figure sum, will miss the Golden Slipper, with his new connections opting to spell him before bringing him back for early three-year-old racing. Rycroft, an Elsu two-year-old who was also very impressive when winning his debut for Tony Herlihy at Alexandra Park a fortnight ago, is also in Perth after being secured for big money. He has joined the stable of Mike Reed, who has enjoyed tremendious success with former kiwi filly Libertybelle Midfrew this season. Rycroft, like Connoisseur, will now be spelled and will therefore miss this weekend’s two-year-old feature. By Mitchell Robertson