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Mach Three colt Shockwave has contested two Group 1 events and has finished second on each occasion. He has drawn the No. 2 barrier on the back line in the $100,000 Group 1 Owners Only Westbred Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park on Friday night and gets an excellent chance to notch his first victory in a rich feature event. The clash between Shockwave and the richly-talented Its Rock And Roll promises to be a highlight on the ten-event program. Its Rock And Roll won the Group 1 Sales Classic seven weeks ago when he defeated Shockwave by a head and last Friday week Shockwave turned the tables on Its Rock And Roll when he finished second to the brilliant New Zealand-bred colt Franco Edward in the Pearl Classic, with Its Rock And Roll finishing third. They were two of the stand-out youngsters at the 2017 APG yearling sale in Perth when Shockwave was sold for $46,000 and Its Rock And Roll for $37,500. Shockwave, raced by Kevin Jeavons and Howard King, has won at three of his eight starts for earnings of $49,799. Its Rock And Roll, raced by Liam O’Connor and Jim Currie, has won three times from seven starts for $115,188 in prizemoney. He will start from the No. 5 barrier on the front line on Friday night. Both two-year-olds performed in grand style in the Pearl Classic when Shockwave (barrier seven) and Its Rock And Roll (nine) settled at the rear. Shockwave, trained and driven by Ryan Bell, started a three-wide move 1350m from home and impressed in sustaining the strong burst to finish a length from the pacemaker Franco Edward, who dashed over the final three 400m sections in 28.3sec., 28.8sec. and 28sec. Its Rock And Roll, trained and driven by Colin Brown, ran home powerfully from tenth at the bell to finish third, two lengths behind Shockwave. Shockwave and Its Rock And Roll have inherited much of their ability from their dams. Shockwave is out of Here For The Money, who earned $81,874 from seven wins and 18 placings from 79 starts and Its Rock And Roll’s dam Miss Worthy Whitby, won at Bathurst, Albion Park and Gloucester Park as a two-year-old before being retired with $40,154 in stakes from three wins and three seconds from 14 starts. Outstanding trainers Greg and Skye Bond, who prepared Baylan Jett when he finished third behind The Real Ideal and Major Pocket in this event two years ago, are pinning their hopes on the promising Bitcoin, a winner at Pinjarra and Bunbury. Bitcoin is the first foal out of Am Opulent, who earned $269,515 from 18 wins and 24 placings from 85 starts. The Bond stable will also be represented by $30,000 yearling Sports Central, who has yet to win a race. He will start from barrier three and will be driven by Chris Lewis, who has won this classic event with Johnny Disco in 2015 and The Real Ideal a year later. To Fast To Serious, a $10,000 yearling, adds considerable interest to the race. He is the only runner in the race who has not appeared at Gloucester Park, but has shown great promise in winning easily at his only three starts two at Bunbury and one at Narrogin for trainer Aiden Warwick and reinsman Aldo Cortopassi. He possesses good gate speed and is favourably drawn at the No. 2 barrier. His dam Smile With Me raced 40 times for ten wins, 15 placings and $80,819 in stakes. Watch Me React, trained at Collie by Dale Jackson, will be at long odds, despite drawing the coveted No. 1 barrier. He is a last-start winner at Narrogin and won a trial in good style at Pinjarra on Sunday morning. Watch Me React’s reinsman Trent Wheeler is hoping that history repeats itself. The previous time he drove a pacer from barrier one in a Group 1 event was in 2015 when he was successful with 12/1 chance Once Bitten, who trailed the pacemaker and 10/9 favourite Delightful Jade before getting up to beat that filly in the Westbred Classic for three-year-old fillies. Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri’s Babyface Adda will start from the inside of the back line and will have admirers. Babyface Adda gave a tough staying performance last Friday night when he worked hard in the breeze before finishing determinedly to win from My Prayer and Sheza Spoilt Miss. Kyle Harper, successful with the Robert Wood-trained All Aussie Boy in the inaugural running of this classic in 2014, will drive Errol Ashcroft’s consistent Euphoric Moment from barrier eight. Justin Prentice trained and drove last year’s winner Highroller Joe and he will be in the sulky on Friday night behind Chetak, who has yet to win from ten starts and faces a difficult assignment from the outside of the back line. Ken Casellas

 “Maczaffair has good gate speed and if she leads she will be very hard to beat,” declared trainer Mike Reed when assessing the four-year-old’s prospects in the $25,000 RSM Australia Rotary Club Fremantle Pace over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Maczaffair will start from the No. 2 barrier on the front line and Shannon Suvaljko will be hellbent on beating out polemarker Dodolicious. “She loves the 2536m and the further they go, the better she likes it,” said Reed, who will also be represented by Shandale, who will be driven by Chris Lewis from the outside (No. 9) on the front line. Maczaffair, who has amassed $379,787 from 18 wins, seven seconds and two thirds from 38 starts, gave further proof of her ability as a frontrunner two starts ago when she began from barrier three, took the lead after 300m and won the group 2 $50,000 WASBA Breeders Stakes at a 1.55.6 rate over 2130m. Then, last Friday night she started off the 30m mark in a 2503m stand and raced in eighth position in the one-wide line before starting a three-wide move 700m from home. She fought on determinedly to be fifth behind the pacemaker Better Scoot, who dashed over the final quarters in 27.8sec. and 28.3sec. “I clocked her to run the final half-mile, out three deep, in 55.5sec.,” said Reed.  Dodolicious, the only other mare in Friday night’s race, will start from the No. 1 barrier and Ryan Warwick is likely to use the five-year-old’s good gate speed in a bid to withstand Maczaffair’s early bid for the lead. It is problematic whether Dodolicious will be able to hold out Maczaffair. Dodolicious will be driven by Colin Brown, with Greg and Skye Bond’s other runner, Our Jimmy Johnstone, to be handled by the stable’s No. 1 driver Ryan Warwick. Our Jimmy Johnstone, who will start from barrier five, is in top form, with his past eight starts producing two wins and five placings. He started from barrier six in a 2130m event last Friday night when he raced three wide before charging to the front after 550m. He then gave a bold frontrunning display to win by a length from stablemate Galactic Star at a 1.55.4 rate. Maczaffair, Our Jimmy Johnstone and Bettors Fire look set to fight out the finish. Trainer-reinsman Kyle Harper said that he was confident that the nine-year-old Bettors Fire would run a bold race. “Barrier draws are not so important in races over 2536m,” he said. “We’ll play our cards according to the way things unfold at the start. If the race is run to suit Bettors Fire will be a very big chance of winning. Maczaffair and Our Jimmy Johnstone look to be the horses to beat.”   Ken Casellas

Shannon Suvaljko, who holds a convincing lead on the Statewide drivers’ premiership, has given punters a massive lead by opting to handle star mare Maczaffair in preference to Lord Willoughby in the Book A Private Box at Gloucester Park Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Suvaljko has driven the Ross Olivieri-trained Lord Willoughby at the four-year-old’s past 17 starts for eight wins, six seconds and three thirds. Those wins include Lord Willoughby’s only four appearances in standing-start events. Lord Willoughby will begin from the 10m line in Friday night’s stand over 2503m and is sure to be hard to beat, following strong wins at his past two starts. The Mach Three gelding will be handled by Chris Lewis, who has driven him 14 times for two wins, six seconds and two thirds. Suvaljko has driven the Mike Reed-trained Maczaffair to victory 11 times. Lewis has driven the mare only twice for two wins, at Gloucester Park last July and August. Maczaffair has a winning record of 49 per cent (18 wins, seven seconds and two thirds from 37 starts) and she will need to be at the top of her game to succeed against smart pacers of the calibre of Lord Willoughby, Better Scoot and Im Rockaria. She is the lone backmarker off 30 metres and certainly has the speed and strength to overcome this handicap. Maczaffair has raced only once in a stand and that was two starts ago when she began from 30m in the 2503m Race For Roses in which she started off 30m and enjoyed a good passage in sixth position in the one-wide line. She fought on determinedly to be fourth behind Eden Franco, Sarah Goody and C C Chevron. The Skye Bond-trained Better Scoot, to be handled by Ryan Warwick, should appreciate a front-line draw and looks set to fight out the finish at his second outing after a spell. The lightly-raced six-year-old (23 starts for ten wins, six seconds and four thirds) challenged unsuccessful for the early lead and then enjoyed an ideal trail, one-out and one-back, when a sound first-up third behind Lord Willoughby and Tommy Be Good last Friday week. Better Scott has an impressive record in stands, with his seven starts behind the tapes in WA producing four wins, a second and two thirds. The Michael Brennan-trained Im Rockaria was a disappointing first-up sixth behind Lord Willoughby last Friday week, but he is a talented pacer capable of considerable improvement. Ken Casellas

Sunoflindenny, an eight-year-old with a modest record, has sound prospects of turning the tables on the richly-talented Glenferrie Typhoon when they clash in the $18,000 Trotters Mobile over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Sunoflindenny, trained by Ross Olivieri and driven by Chris Lewis, began speedily from barrier seven, but was beaten out by Glenferrie Typhoon, who began like a shot from barrier eight in a 2130m event at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night. Sunoflindenny, a massive gelding, was quickly eased out of the early speed battle and after 250m was severely checked and broke into a gallop, losing a good ten lengths. He settled down a distant seventh before moving forward into the breeze with 1050m to travel. He issued a strong challenge to the pacemaking Glenferrie Typhoon over the final stages and was beaten by a length. “It was a brave performance,” declared Olivieri. “It was like an M0 performer against a Free-For-Aller, and you would be pretty pleased with the way the M0 went, giving that he was knocked over and that the winner is a very classy horse. Sunoflindenny can turn the tables on Friday night. Barriers are everything at Gloucester Park, so it gives us a good hope.” Sunoflindenny will start from the No. 1 barrier in Friday night’s race, with Glenferrie Typhoon on the outside at barrier No. 9. “Sunoflindenny has good gate speed and I’ll be trying to get to the front,” Lewis said. “He did a great job to get back into a trot so quickly after being badly checked on Tuesday night. I expect him to run a strong race on Friday night.” Sunoflindenny, who won easily at his first WA start, at Pinjarra last Monday week, has raced 58 times for seven wins and 22 placings for $68,960. Glenferrie Typhoon, also an eight-year-old, has amassed $464,899 from 23 wins and 12 placings from 54 starts. Glenferrie Typhoon and Sunoflindenny are unlikely to have all things going there way on Friday night when Balmoral Boy, Ton Tine and Sun of Anarchy capable of bold showings. The Tonia Stampalia-trained Balmoral Boy (barrier two) is a speedy beginner and smart frontrunner who has scored very easy wins at his past two starts; The Justin Prentice-trained Sun of Anarchy (barrier eight) also has won easily at his past two starts and the Shaun Adams-trained Ton Tine trotted strongly when a close third to Glenferrie Typhoon and Sunoflindenny on Tuesday night. Ken Casellas

Ravenswood horseman Nathan Turvey simply cannot believe his good fortune when he was contacted completely out of the blue last year by Karl Deiley, who asked him to train a young pacer by the name of Simba Bromac. “I had never met him and I don’t know why he picked me out,” said Turvey. “That’s the million-dollar question.” Turvey was more than happy to accept the offer from Deiley, a West Australian businessman, to train Simba Bromac, a New Zealand-bred pacer who had raced six times in Victoria for one win (at Cobram in February of last year) and three placings. Turvey is delighted at the progress shown by Simba Bromac, who has had 17 starts for him for 13 wins, three seconds and one fourth. And he is excited at the four-year-old’s potential, saying that he was hopeful that the gelding would develop into a realistic prospect for the rich feature events at the Christmas carnival next summer. “Simba Bromac is pretty smart and I haven’t had a Christmas feature horse before, but he could be the one,” Turvey said. Simba Bromac is in superb form and has excellent prospects of extending his winning sequence to five by proving the master of his nine rivals in the $25,000 Caporn Electrical Pure Steel final at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He is the only M0-class runner in the field, but should carry too many guns for his rivals, all of whom have an M1 classification. He has drawn perfectly at the No. 1 barrier on the front line and Chris Lewis will attempt an all-the-way victory. “Simba Bromac is jumping out of his skin and to lead, that’s the plan,” said Turvey. “Touch of Success (barrier five) has good gate speed, but I think that Simba Bromac will hold up. He’s very fast out. It’s a good field and if Simba Bromac has to do a bit of work early, it could bring smart horses like El Jacko into the race.” One of Simba Bromac’s main rivals appears to be Mister Versace, who has struck a purple patch for Banjup trainer Annie Belton, with two wins and a fast-finishing third at his past three starts. He will start from barrier three on the front line with Chris Voak in the sulky. Mister Versace was most impressive last Friday night when he led for the first 220m and then sat behind the pacemaker Mista Shark before finishing with a powerful burst to beat that pacer by 2m at a 1.56.5 rate over 2130m. Belton is in fantastic form, winning with each of her past four starters at Gloucester Park (Mister Versace and Lady De La Renta last Friday night and Lady Valasca and Dior Mia More on Tuesday evening). Whenmechief, trained by Michael Brennan and driven by Michael Grantham, gave a powerful frontrunning display to win from Ohoka Darcy at a 1.57.5 rate over 2130m last Friday night. He faces a sterner test this week from the No. 7 barrier. The in-form Skye Bond-trained pair of Messi and El Jacko fared poorly in the random draw and will need plenty of luck from barriers eight and nine, respectively. Ken Casellas

Jack Mac has revealed freakish ability to score effortless victories at his seven starts in Western Australia and the outstanding harness racing colt should have little difficulty in retaining this unbeaten record by outclassing his rivals in the inaugural Pearl Classic for three-year-olds at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Among those seven wins were the Group 1 features, the Pearl Classic for two-year-olds and the Golden Slipper last year. Trained at Busselton by Barry Howlett, Jack Mac has the class to win at his first appearance since he romped to a five-length victory over 2185m at Pinjarra on January 22 when he sped over the final 400m in 27.1sec. That was his first outing since he easily beat Cott Beach in the Golden Slipper six months earlier. Jack Mac has had one trial since his latest success when he surged home from last in a six-horse to win easily from Rosies Ideal in a 2100m hit-out at Bunbury on March 21. He revealed his characteristic brilliance in dashing over the final quarter in 27.2sec. Remarkably, Jack Mac has not tasted defeat in seven race starts and five trials in WA after being unplaced at his five starts as a two-year-old in New Zealand. It is worth pointing out that Jack Mac raced against the best two-year-olds in New Zealand in those appearances. Howlett picked out and purchased Jack Mac as a weanling in New Zealand and the colt now has earned $190,912. He has been handled in all his WA starts by champion reinsman Chris Lewis, who is sure to take full advantage of the colt’s favourable barrier at No. 2 on the front line in the $50,000 classic over 2130m. Howlett, who races Jack Mac in partnership with his wife Lyn and their son Jim, has a good second string in Friday night’s classic in another Mach Three New Zealand-bred colt Robshaw, who is handily drawn on the inside of the back line. He will be driven by Aiden de Campo. Robshaw has raced only twice for a four-length victory over Bejewelled at Bunbury on May 5 and a solid second to Our Corelli over 2185m at Pinjarra on May 14 when he had a tough run in the breeze for much of the journey. The New Zealand-bred Our Corelli impressed at his second start when he finished strongly for trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice to come from sixth at the bell to beat Robshaw by just over a length. War Club, trained by John Graham and driven by Morgan Woodley, is in good form and should be prominent from the coveted No. 1 barrier on the front line. War Club is expected to enjoy a perfect trip behind the likely pacemaker Jack Mac. War Club followed an all-the-way win at Pinjarra on April 30 with an eye-catching second to stablemate Mister Spot on the same track two weeks later when he surged home from eighth at the bell. Mister Spot, the most experienced runner in Friday night’s race with 21 starts for four wins and five placings, will be driven by Dean Miller and should race in a prominent position after starting from barrier two on the back line. Byford trainer David Thompson is pleased with the progress shown by Liam Neil, who has won at three of his five starts as a three-year-old, including a smart last-start victory when he rattled home from the rear at the bell to beat Itsnotova over 2185m at Pinjarra three Mondays ago. Liam Neil, who will be driven by Dylan Egerton-Green from barrier five, warmed up for this week’s event in fine style with a narrow victory over Lucky Sensation in a 2185m trial at Pinjarra on Sunday morning when he sped over the final quarters in 28.2sec. and 27.6sec. Ken Casellas

Champion reinsman Chris Lewis is a keen judge of form and he has sent harness racing punters an important message by choosing to drive Sheer Rocknroll in preference to stablemate Johnny Fox in the $22,000 Steelo’s Bistro Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Ross Olivieri trained Sheer Rocknroll and Johnny Fox are the highest-assessed pacers in the 2536m event and have the ability to overcome the outside barriers on the front line, with Sheer Rocknroll starting from barrier eight and Johnny Fox from barrier nine. Lewis has been in the sulky behind Johnny Fox at each of his past five starts, which include two powerful fast-finishing wins over 2130m but he has opted for Sheer Rocknroll, a mare he has handled at three of her past six starts. Sheer Rocknroll is an M5-classified performer, but she has a losing sequence of 19, with her most recent victory being her win in the Race For Roses 11 months ago. Sheer Rocknroll has been placed at three of her five starts since resuming after a spell with an encouraging first-up second to Dana Duke in late February. She also impressed two starts ago with her strong-finishing third to Major Reality and Better B Chevron in the Golden Girls Classic over 1684m at Pinjarra. Chris Voak has been engaged to drive Johnny Fox, who was far from disgraced when fifth behind Importer Exporter in the 2902m Easter Cup. The nine-year-old raced without cover for a while before taking the lead 550m from home and wilting late to finish just over two lengths behind the winner. Astute punters are likely to rally to support the Skye Bond-trained Risk, who has been unplaced at his past five starts and has a losing sequence of ten. However, Risk looms as a major player after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier on the front line, an advantage made possible with the New Zealand-bred six-year-old moving from an M3 classification to an M2 mark under the drop-down regulations. Ryan Warwick is expected to make every post a winner by setting a brisk pace with Risk, whose most recent success was when Warwick guided him to an all-the-way win over Twoandahalf Tigers at Gloucester Park in November 2016. In an open affair on Friday night the lightly-raced, but richly talented Zennart also has strong claims. He is sure to appreciate a significant drop in class after finishing sixth behind Bettors Fire last Friday night after racing wide and then enjoying the one-out, one-back trail. His previous eight starts in his current preparation produced five wins, two seconds and a third placing. Michael Grantham will be unable to drive evergreen performer Bronze Seeker after fracturing a hand in a work accident with the family-owned horse transport business on Tuesday. He will be replaced in the sulky by Gary Hall Jnr, who should have the Peter Anderson-trained nine-year-old in a handy position throughout after starting from the inside of the back line. Stablemate Mighty Flying Thomas, a winner of one race from his past 37 starts, but racing with admirable zest, will start alongside Bronze Seeker on the back line. He will be driven by Aiden de Campo. Ken Casellas

Champion reinsman Chris Lewis is upbeat about his prospects of winning the $25,000 Lewis Mares Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night, a feature event named in his honour to acknowledge his remarkable career in harness racing. Lewis will drive the Ross Olivieri-trained four-year-old who has drawn perfectly at barrier one on the front line in the 2130m mobile event. “This is probably the best chance I’ve had to win this race,” Lewis said. “Madame Meilland is definitely going extremely well and this is the best draw she’s had. The plan will be to lead and it will be quite a thrill to win. Her run at Northam last Saturday night was an excellent effort when the last lap was covered in very good time.” Madame Meilland began speedily from the No. 4 barrier at Northam and raced without cover before finishing strongly to be a close second to Vampiro, with the final 800m whizzing by in 55.7sec. This followed solid efforts with third placings behind Better B Chevron at Northam and Mon Lillies at Gloucester Park. The New South Wales-bred Madame Meilland has excelled under Olivieri’s care in Western Australia, with her 12 starts producing five wins and six placings to improve her career record to 33 starts for eight wins, eight seconds and five thirds. “She’s quick out and is certainly going to be the testing material,” said a confident Olivieri. Madame Meilland is the first foal lout of New Zealand-bred mare The Peace Rose, who earned $79,920 from nine wins and 18 placings from 66 starts. The three other four-year-old mares in Friday night’s race loom as the main rivals for Madame Meilland. They are Gotta Go Gabbana and stablemates Better B Chevron and Covered N Diamonds. Gotta Go Gabbana, to be driven by Chris Voak for Banjup trainer Annie Belton, will have many admirers. A winner at each of her past three starts, all over 2130m at Gloucester Park, Gotta Go Gabbana will start from barrier four on the front line and looks certain to go forward at the start before racing on the outside of Madame Meilland, the likely pacemaker. “She shouldn’t miss the first three,” declared Voak, who added that the mare had improved her manners immensely in recent weeks. Skye Bond trains Better B Chevron and Covered N Diamonds, New Zealand-bred mares who are racing with admirable enthusiasm. They will start from the back line, with Ryan Warwick opting to drive Better B Chevron and Colin Brown being engaged to handle Covered N Diamonds. Better B Chevron had a tough run in the breeze when a fighting second, beaten a head by Mon Lillies over 2130m last Friday week. That followed wins at Albany and Northam, and she now has raced 22 times for 12 wins, seven placings and stakes of $103,983. Covered N Diamonds has won at six of her 17 starts and should enjoy a soft passage from barrier two on the back line. Cardup trainer Sarah Suvaljko will be represented by Auctioneers Elsu (Jocelyn Young), Its My Lucknow (Dylan Egerton-Green) and Sea Cider (Michael Grantham). They have a combined total of 542 starts for 43 wins, 117 placings and $405,988 in prizemoney. All three will be at handsome odds on Friday night. The prospects of speedy frontrunners Mon Lillies and Tajies Girl slumped considerably when they drew the two outside barriers on the front line. Ken Casellas

Champion Western Australian harness racing reinsman Chris Lewis has tasted WA Pacing Cup success five times in his 34 starts - he rates this year's prospect, Motu Premier, a solid chance. Listen to what he says about his prospects in this years $450,000 Cup.

The Christmas Gift is one of the very few feature events in Western Australia to have eluded champion harness racing reinsman Chris Lewis, who has bright prospects of breaking this hoodoo by guiding Wrappers Delight to victory in the $50,000 Gift final at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Wrappers Delight was the fastest of the three heat winners last week and Lewis’s prospects rose sharply when drew favourable at barrier two on the front line in the 2130m event. Lewis finished third in the Christmas Gift with Pallaton in 1979 and since 1990 he has had a drive in the final of the Gift 26 times for five seconds (with Nippy Rendina, Downtown Boy, Regunya Boy, Michael Leslie and Heez On Fire), one third (Grand Canyon) and seven fourths. “His run was exceptional and he has run a very good time on a track that is not particularly quick,” Lewis said after driving Wrappers Delight to an impressive all-the-way victory over Abraxas Blues and Herrick Roosevelt in a qualifying heat last Friday night. Wrappers Delight, a Victorian-bred four-year-old, rated 1.56.3 which was faster than the rates recorded by the other heat winners, Zach Maguire (1.56.5) and Rock Diamonds (1.58.3). The stallion is a smart beginner and it is significant that he has set the pace and won six times in a 31-start career of ten wins and nine placings. Herrick Roosevelt, trained by Gary Hall Snr, looms as one of Wrappers Delight’s main rivals. He started from barrier four and worked hard in the breeze when a wilting third behind Wrappers Delight last Friday night. This week Herrick Roosevelt will start from the No. 1 barrier and Gary Hall Jnr is sure to be anxious to use the gelding’s excellent gate speed in a bid to set the pace. Herrick Roosevelt has made all the running in five of his nine wins in Western Australia. Hall Jnr has opted to drive Herrick Roosevelt in preference to smart stablemate Zach Maguire, who raced in sixth position, one-out and two-back, before sprinting home strongly from fifth on the home turn to beat the pacemaker Skippy Rascal in a qualifying heat. “He’s one of my favourites and is still on the way up,” said Hall after the win. Zach Maguire will start from barrier six on the front line with Stuart McDonald in the sulky. The third heat winner, the Skye Bond-trained Rock Diamonds, will start from the No. 2 barrier on the back line, immediately behind Wrappers Delight. A winner at 13 of his 27 starts, he should obtain a good passage and is capable of producing a powerful finish. He led comfortably from barrier three and set a moderate pace for the first 1200m before sprinting over the final quarters in 28.1sec. and 27.6sec. One of the most impressive performances in the qualifying heats was that of six-year-old Argyle Red, who was tenth at the bell and still tenth with 550m to travel before going five wide on the home turn and charging down the straight to finish fourth behind Rock Diamonds. The Rob MacDonald-trained Argyle Red will start from barrier five with Morgan Woodley in the sulky. The Kim Prentice-trained Abraxas Blues also impressed in the heats with his fast-finishing second to Wrappers Delight. He will start from barrier four. Ken Casellas

Harness racing veteran reinsman Chris Lewis won his eighth $50,000 Bunbury Cup MS Pace (2569m) when he drove Sokys Bigbullet to victory at Donaldson Park on Saturday night. Harness racing fans were treated to a brilliant night of racing, but it was Lewis and his eight-year-old bay gelding who were the stars when they won a tight contest from Kristian Hawkins and The Trilogy by half-a-neck. Lewis had previously won the Bunbury Cup in 1980, 1982, 1987, 1998, 2005, 2008 and 2011 and does not look like he is going to stop adding to his impressive resume. The $5.30 chance sat comfortably at the front for most of the race, but the Tony Svilicich-trained gelding was challenged on the straight and held on in what will go down as an instant classic. Favourite and local hopeful Natural Disaster finished a disappointing sixth by more than four and a half metres behind the winner. By Mitchell Woodcock Reprinted with permission of The West Australian

Champion harness racing reinsman Chris Lewis declares that five-year-old Motu Premier is on the way up and eight-time premiership trainer Ross Olivieri is similarly excited at the gelding’s progress. The New Zealand-bred Motu Premier will have his final start before contesting the rich TABtouch Inter Dominion championship series, starting with the first set of heats on November 24, when he contests the $25,000 HLB Mann Judd Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Motu Premier is awkwardly drawn at barrier seven on the front line, but he has the ability to overcome this disadvantage --- and he is sure to appreciate not having to race against top-flight pacers Chicago Bull and Soho Tribeca this week. He maintained his excellent form last Friday night when he started from the No. 5 barrier in the group 2 James Brennan Memorial and raced in sixth place in the one-wide line before Lewis urged him forward, three wide, with 550m to travel. He finished strongly into third place behind Chicago Bull and Soho Tribeca, with the final quarters in the 2536m event being covered in 28.4sec. and 26.7sec. That was his third run after a two-month break and followed a first-up victory over Condrieu and a close second to American Boy after racing wide early and then in the breeze. Olivieri admitted that he was happy that Motu Premier would not be clashing with Chicago Bull and Soho Tribeca this week. But he was quick to point out that Motu Premier had made up ground on those two stars in the final circuit last week. “Barrier seven is not perfect this week, but the way he finished last week, pulling ground off both those horses, was heartening,” he said. “And we met them on not very favourable terms.” Olivieri said that Motu Premier had raced four times in Sydney earlier this year after arriving from New Zealand and then had six runs in WA before being sent for a welcome spell. “He didn’t miss a beat when he got here before I gave him a little break,” he said. “He laid down for the first five days and then he got up and terrorized the other horses in the paddock. Now he’s on track for the Inters and is only one good barrier draw away from a win.” Lewis said that he gave Motu Premier a good winning chance this week. “From barrier seven, he’s got options,” he said. “He faces a bit of a task from the wide draw, but I’d certainly put him in the mix. He’s a nice horse on the way up and is heading nicely towards the Inters when I think he will be at his peak.” Lewis and Olivieri have plenty of respect for the opposition this week in a race in which The Bucket List, Condrieu, Shandale, Major Reality and Vultan Tin will have admirers. Michael Grantham gave a strong indication that he would drive The Bucket List conservatively and would rely on a powerful finishing burst. The Bucket List is favourably drawn at barrier two on the front line and is unlikely to get to an early lead, considering that Ryan Warwick appears certain to make full use of Condrieu’s blistering gate speed from barrier four and Colin Brown could also make a bold bid for early ascendancy with the speedy beginner Sokys Bigbullet. The Bucket List, trained by Michael Brennan, ran an excellent trial for Friday night’s race when he finished a close second to Tommy Be Good in the Don Randall Memorial Cup over 2631m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. He raced in sixth position in the one-wide line before he started a three-wide move with 850m to travel. He took a narrow lead on the home turn and was overhauled in the final couple of strides, with the winner Tommy Be Good setting a track record. “They went 28.3sec. down the back, they broke the track record and we just got nutted,” Grantham said. “He’ll go well on Friday night.” Coolup trainer Phil Costello has engaged Morgan Woodley to handle Vultan Tin, with Chris Voak opting to drive the Olivieri-trained Jambiani. Vultan Tin gave a superb performance last Friday night when he started from barrier seven, dashed to the front after 550m and scored an impressive victory by more than four lengths, rating 1.56.4 over the 2536m journey. Woodley, who has enjoyed considerable success in the sulky behind Vultan Tin, said that the gelding had exceeded his expectations. “He has gone from strength to strength and what Phil has achieved with him has been phenomenal,” he said. Ken Casellas

Harness racing rising star Motu Premier, who has shot into prominence with 12 wins from his past 15 starts, faces an acid test when he starts from the outside barrier (No. 9) in the 2130m Happy Wedding Anniversary Bill and Norma Horn Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The New Zealand-bred five-year-old with a tremendous record of 34 starts for 16 wins, nine seconds and three thirds, has developed into a leading candidate for the rich TABtouch Inter Dominion championship later this year and should again prove mighty hard to beat. However, eight-time premier WA trainer Ross Olivieri and champion reinsman Chris Lewis agree that the outside barrier and the quality of the opposition, particularly Ohoka Punter and Simply Susational, present a considerable challenge to the gelding. “It is a big test for him, particularly from the outside barrier,” said Lewis. “It’s not an easy race. But his first-up win was excellent and there’s improvement in him, for sure. He will definitely improve from the run (when he raced one-out and one-back before finishing strongly to hit the front 20m from the post and win from the fast-finishing Condrieu and the pacemaker El Hombre last Friday week). “He enjoyed a good sit, but that can be deceiving because the front horses ran home quickly (27.8sec. and 28.2sec.). However, once he straightened, he did his job. He really stretched out and won comfortably.” Olivieri is delighted at Motu Premier’s progress and said: “It won’t be easy, but he’s going terrific. He’s a classy horse and I’d probably prefer him to any other horse in the race. From the wide barrier it will be a test and he’s sort of set up to be beaten. But who knows how the race will be run. All I know is that I couldn’t be happier with him.” Olivieri has an excellent second string in Friday night’s race in Im Full of Excuses, who will be handled for the first time by Shannon Suvaljko. Im Full of Excuses, a winner at 17 of his 39 starts, will begin out wide at barrier eight at his third outing after a spell. He has been a shade disappointing at his two runs in this preparation, finishing fifth behind Simply Susational and sixth behind the same pacer. “I expect him to go somewhere near his best,” Olivieri said. “He came back big (in condition) from the paddock. He was enormous. When he was racing well in his previous preparation, his condition was okay and didn’t need to lose any weight. Now, he’s lost some weight since his latest run and has started to get his dapples up.” Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall Snr said he was expecting Ohoka Punter to improve on his first-up effort when he set the pace and finished fourth behind Chicago Bull, Soho Tribeca and Shandale in the Mount Eden Sprint last Friday night. “Chicago Bull broke the track record (rating 1.51.6 over 1730m) and Ohoka Punter also broke the previous record,” Hall said. “I don’t think sprint racing suits him. He’s better over a bit more ground. And he’s a better horse than Motu Premier and Simply Susational and should be able to beat them.” Hall will also be represented by American Boy (Stuart McDonald) and Run Oneover (Kim Prentice). He said that he expected American Boy (unplaced at his past nine starts) to be prominent from the No. 1 barrier. “He should lead and go a lot better,” Hall declared. Simply Susational, trained by Skye Bond and to be driven by Ryan Warwick from barrier seven, cannot be underestimated after excellent efforts to win at his past two starts, running on to beat Tricky Styx and Norvic Nightowl over 2536m and racing without cover before finishing determinedly to beat Ideal Tyson and Major Reality over 2130m. Vultan Tin, trained by Phil Costello at Coolup, will start from the No. 5 barrier with Chris Voak in the sulky. The six-year-old impressed last Friday night when he was 12th and last with 250m to travel before flying home, out wide, to finish second to Sokys Bigbullet over 2130m.  Ken Casellas

Harness racing trainer Ross Olivieri and reinsman Chris Lewis have been a powerful and highly successful combination for 30 years and they will join forces at Gloucester Park on Friday night when they attempt to win three consecutive events with talented New Zealand-bred pacers Itz Bettor To Win, Motu Premier and Im Full of Excuses. These three pacers are raced by leviathan owner Merv Butterworth, who is hoping the trio will qualify for the rich TABtouch Inter Dominion championship series, starting on November 24. Butterworth makes no secret that he considers five-year-old Motu Premier a superior pacer to Im Full of Excuses and Itz Bettor To Win. Sharing his opinion is Lewis, who said: “Motu Premier is a nice horse who goes good. And now he’s got to step up to the next level if he’s going to be an Inter Dominion contender.” Motu Premier, whose six starts in Western Australia have resulted in five wins and a close second placing, will be making his first appearance for nine weeks when he starts from the No. 3 barrier on the front line in the $22,000 Simpson Pace over 2130m on Friday night. Motu Premier is a strong and dour gelding who has won many races after working hard in the breeze and he is likely to have to endure a tough run again on Friday night when his chief rival looms large as the Olivieri-trained El Hombre. El Hombre will start from the No. 1 barrier and Chris Voak said he would be keen to set the pace. “He produced a powerful effort when he raced without cover before winning from Soho Chelsea and Mach Time last week,” he said. “He should go even better by leading this week and I give him a good chance of beating Motu Premier.” Lewis appreciates that El Hombre will be a worthy opponent on Friday night, saying: “That was one of his best runs and this will be a challenge for Motu Premier. However, all things being equal, I’d say Motu Premier is a better horse.”   Adding considerable interest to Friday night’s race will be the reappearance of Natural Disaster, an up-and-coming five-year-old who will be driven by his trainer Justin Prentice. Natural Disaster, who impressed in winning at eight of his 13 starts last season, will be having his first start for ten weeks. He faces a stern test from the outside (No. 9) on the front line. Motu Premier is at No. 21 in the second list of ranking for the Inter Dominion championship series. Stablemate Jambiani is ranked No. 22, with Im Full of Excuses at No. 25, El Hombre at No. 58 and Itz Bettor To Win at No. 70. Itz Bettor To Win will start out wide at barrier eight in the Celebrating Melissa Renouf Pace on Friday night and Lewis expects him to perform strongly at his second start in Western Australia. The six-year-old gelding was favourite at 6/4 when he dashed to the front from barrier three after 200m and set a brisk pace before wilting slightly in the closing stages to finish fourth behind Soho Tribeca, Bronze Seeker and Ideal Tyson. “I think he ran pretty well,” Lewis said. “He obviously needed the run and even though he’s not well drawn this week, he will be one of the main players in the race.” Im Full of Excuses will start from barrier four in the $25,000 Fred Doy Memorial Pace on Friday night in which he will clash with in-form pacers Simply Susational, Ideal Tyson and Cut For An Ace, as well as outstanding mare Major Reality, who will be having her first start since winning the Golden Girls Classic at Pinjarra on March 27. Im Full of Excuses will be having his second start after a spell. He resumed last Friday week when he started out wide at barrier nine and was restrained to the rear before dashing forward to race in the breeze outside the pacemaker Sheer Rocknroll before wilting to fifth behind Simply Susational. “I was happy with his first-up effort and I think he should step up and run a pretty good race this week,” Lewis said. Ken Casellas

Considerable interest will surround the first appearance in Western Australia of the Ross Olivieri trained New Zealand-bred trotter Blue Sky Commander (Skyvalley) when he contests the Pat Harding Handicap, a stand over 2503m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The six-year-old’s past seven starts, all in Victoria, have been in mobiles after the gelding was placed outside the draw in stands following his sixth as the 9/4 favourite in the Trotters Cup at St Arnaud in March when he broke soon after the start. However, Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri has had no hesitation in running Blue Sky Commander in a stand at his WA debut. The gelding is an experienced standing-start performer, with his three wins from 11 starts in New Zealand all being in stands and then his eight wins in Victoria included five in stands. Blue Sky Commander will be driven by Chris Lewis and will start from the outside of the 10m line. “He continues to please us and we’re confident he’ll go really well,” said Olivieri. “And whatever he does, he’ll improve on.” Blue Sky Commander’s chief rival looms as Lightning Calder, the solitary runner off the 20m back mark. Lightning Calder, to be driven by Chris Voak for Wundowie trainer Bruce Stanley, worked hard in the breeze when a fighting last-start third behind Lord Liam and Ropeburn at Gloucester Park. Olivieri is also optimistic about the prospects of Assassinator in the Wayne Currall Pace, a 1730m mobile event in which Assassinator will start from the No. 4 barrier with Chris Voak in the sulky. “He’s got a tricky draw, but he’s a good chance,” Olivieri said. “Punters should ignore his run when he finished tenth behind Heez On Fire last Friday night. He started off in the one-out, one-back position before being shuffled back to second last. He went to the line hard held.” Ken Casellas

The powerful combination of eight-time premier trainer Ross Olivieri and champion reinsman Chris Lewis has high hopes of continuing its successful run in the $25,000 Allwood Stud Marathon Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night by winning the 3309m listed classic with up-and-coming star Motu Premier. Lewis and Olivieri have combined to win the Marathon Handicap with Nickelmeldon in 2009, Chief Thundercloud (2015) and Our Jericho (last year). Chief Thundercloud and Our Jericho are owned by Merv Butterworth, who also races four-year-old Motu Premier, the youngest and least experienced runner in this week’s race. Motu Premier has shown the class to overcome the disadvantage of starting off the 30-metre mark, with only The Bucket List (off 40m) behind him. He has yet to contest a standing-start event in Australia, but has a good record in stands in New Zealand. His 23 New Zealand starts produced seven wins and ten seconds. He raced six times in stands for three wins. His final race in New Zealand was on the grass track at Methven where he began off 40m and ran on from sixth at the bell to win from Johnny Eyre. This week’s Marathon Handicap should suit Motu Premier ideally. The Bettors Delight gelding has won twice over 3000m. Twelve months ago Our Jericho, a 6/1 chance off the 10m mark, enjoyed a perfect trail, one-out and one-back, before finishing strongly to win by a length from the pacemaker, the Michael Brennan-trained Naughty Maravu. Motu Premier arrived in Australia early in April this year and raced four times in New South Wales for three wins and a second placing. His five WA starts have produced four wins and a second. He maintained his splendid form when he started out wide at barrier eight, raced wide early and then in the breeze before finishing powerfully to win the 2130m Chandon final from Mach Time and Natural Disaster last Friday week, rating 1.55.9. Brennan hopes to go one better than his second placing with Naughty Maravu last year and his four runners on Friday night are all capable standing-start performers. He will be represented by The Bucket List, the sole backmarker off 40m who will be driven by Michael Grantham, Rub Of The Green (Gary Hall jun.), Cut For An Ace (Aiden de Campo) and Im Master Charlie (Chris Voak). The Bucket List is a quality pacer who has earned $317,935 from 19 wins and 31 placings from 75 starts. His four starts since resuming from a spell have produced a win over Our Jimmy Johnstone and Beaudiene Boaz and seconds to Tricky Styx (twice) and Chicago Bull. The Bucket List is an experienced standing-start performer and a redoubtable stayer, who finished a nose second to Firebomb in the 2970m York Cup at Northam in November 2015. Rub Of The Green has a splendid record of 19 wins, seven seconds and a third from only 33 starts. He has been freshened up since he was seventh early before racing in the breeze for almost two circuits and getting to the front on the home turn and winning from Robyns Raider in a 2503m stand on July 14. He will start from 30m on Friday night and will have many admirers. Im Master Charlie (front) and Cut For An Ace (10m) are not foolproof in stands, but are capable of figuring in the finish. Always Arjay is in outstanding form for Serpentine trainer Matt Scott, who has engaged Nathan Turvey to drive the five-year-old after Lewis opted for Motu Premier. Always Arjay, who will start off 10m, is a versatile pacer who has won in stands at his past four starts. Turvey won the 2013 Marathon Handicap behind Balleybofey. Tommy Be Good and Rycroft are racing keenly and will start off 20m. Stuart McDonald will drive the Katja Warwick-trained Tommy Be Good, who impresses with his spirited finishing bursts. Rycroft set the pace and won a 2503m stand last Friday week for Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed. The New Zealand-bred five-year-old will be handled by Kim Prentice, who drove Serious Pursuit to victory in the 2003 Marathon Handicap. Kim Young, who drove To San Jose when he dead-heated for first with Sir Lektor in the 1996 Marathon, will be represented by veteran standing-start specialist Maximum Demand, who will be driven by Jocelyn Young and should be prominent from barrier one on the front line. Ken Casellas

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