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Veteran harness racing reinsman Chris Lewis romped the Ross Olivieri-trained gelding Im Full Of Excuses to a prevailing 14m-length victory to claim this year’s $50,000 Pinjarra Pacing Cup (2692m) today. Racing at the Pinjarra Paceway, Im Full Of Excuses won his fourth country pacing cup – having already conquered York, Kalgoorlie and Northam – in dominant fashion. Im Full Of Excuses was second in the line of betting, with punters heavily favouring the Greg and Skye Bond-prepared Our Jimmy Johnstone pre-race. However, Lewis and Im Full Of Excuses glided home in the final 200m to cruise to a classy Group 2 win in front of Our Jimmy Johnstone and American Boy. Im Full Of Excuses has won more than $173,000 in prize money, after snaring 15 victories from 33 starts. The victory also adds to the evergreen Lewis’ growing list of achievements, which includes the WA Pacing Cup, Fremantle Cup, WA Derby and WA Oaks among his more than 5000 career wins. By Zach Relph Reprinted with permission of The West Australian

Emerging star Im Full of Excuses is a Cups specialist and he should maintain his unbeaten record in Cup events by proving the master of his eight harness racing rivals in the $50,000 RWWA Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Owned by Merv Butterworth and to be driven by Chris Lewis for Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri, the lightly-raced New Zealand-bred five-year-old has the class to overcome the disadvantage of starting from the outside barrier (No. 9). After winning at seven of his 21 starts in New Zealand, Im Full of Excuses has been a revelation in Western Australia, winning at eight of his ten starts in this State. His WA wins included effortless victories at his three appearances in group 3 Cup events --- the Kalgoorlie Cup in September, the York Cup in November and the Northam Cup in January. He has been freshened up since his most impressive triumph in the 2560m Northam Cup in which he started off the 30m mark and raced in tenth position before storming home with a brilliant three-wide burst from ninth at the bell to hit the front at the 350m mark and race away to defeat This Time Dylan by 10m at a 1.58.1 rate, with final quarters of 27.1sec. and 28.6sec. He is a grand stayer and will be ideally suited over the 2536m of Friday night’s group 2 feature event. His final sections in 28.8sec. and 27.5sec. when he scored an easy win in the 2970m York Cup simply gave the opposition no hope of figuring in the finish. Im Full of Excuses, a son of American stallion Jeremes Jet, has already been successful in a group 2 event, having won the Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes over 2700m at Invercargill in April 2015. His maternal granddam Happy Hazel won two group 1 races in New Zealand, including the Great Northern Oaks by six lengths in April 1989, and she also won the group 2 Ladyship Stakes at Alexandra Park in May 1989. Our Jimmy Johnstone, a New Zealand-bred eight-year-old in the stables of Greg and Skye Bond, looms as the main danger to Im Full of Excuses. He will start from barrier eight with Ryan Warwick in the sulky. He will be making his first appearance for five weeks --- since he failed in the WA Pacing Cup, wilting from seventh (three wide) at the bell to eleventh behind Chicago Bull. But his form before that was excellent, finishing third behind Chicago Bull and Soho Tribeca in the Fremantle Cup and third behind Beaudiene Boaz and Chicago Bull in the 2130m Village Kid Pace after racing without cover for most of the journey. His most recent success was in the 2569m Bunbury Cup when he rated 1.55.4 in beating Mynameskenny and Rub of the Green in November. The Debbie Padberg-trained El Machine will be attempting to win the RWWA Cup for the second year in succession. He was a 35/1 outsider when he started from the inside of the back line and Michael Tenardi brought him from three back on the pegs with a well-timed burst to win easily from Cyamach and Ti Amo Franco 12 months ago. Since then the WA-bred eight-year-old has raced 25 times without success. However, he caught the eye last Friday night when he trailed the pacemaker Red Salute and finished strongly to be second, just a neck behind the winner Major Reality in a 2130m event at Gloucester Park. Chris Voak has been engaged to drive El Machine, replacing Shannon Suvaljko, who is under suspension. Voak drove El Machine when he won the Village Kid Sprint by a half-head from Uppy Son at Northam in January 2015. Shardons Rocket, an evergreen 12-year-old will start from barrier four and Lauren Jones is expected to be in search of getting to the front in the early stages. This will be the gelding’s 296th start. He was favourite at 5/2 on in a moderate field over 1730m at Gloucester Park mon Tuesday evening when he paced roughly at the start, worked hard in the breeze, took a narrow lead 120m from home and finished second to fast-finishing outsider Canyouseeme. Byford trainer Peter Anderson will be represented by Bronze Seeker and Lisharry, sprightly veterans who are racing with wonderful enthusiasm. Bronze Seeker is awkwardly drawn out wide at barrier seven. But he will be driven conservatively and should be able to unwind a typical powerful finishing burst. He will be driven by Gary Hall jun., who replaces Lewis, who has opted for Im Full of Excuses. Hall has handled Bronze Seeker only twice in his 156-start career for a fourth at Gloucester Park in February 2015 and a fourth at Bunbury in May 2015. Bronze Seeker, who has won at two of his past five starts, was most impressive last Friday night when he was last in the field of nine with 300m to travel before flooding home, out wide, to finish third behind Major Reality and El Machine. Lisharry (Nathan Turvey) came home strongly from seventh at the bell to be fifth in the same race. He will start from the No. 5 barrier this week and Anderson is hoping the nine-year-old will improve on his unplaced efforts in the past two RWWA Cups. Lisharry was an unlucky tenth behind Pacific Warrior in the 2015 RWWA Cup when he was hampered by a punctured tyre on his sulky and then was badly blocked for a clear passage in the final circuit behind the tiring Uppy Son. In last year’s Cup he started from barrier seven, was eleventh at the bell and was blocked for a run in the final stages when seventh behind El Machine. Ken Casellas

Former Victorian pacer Flaming Flutter has won only once from his past 29 starts, but he looks set to end a 12-month losing drought by proving the master of his eleven harness racing rivals in the $23,000 Ray Duffy Memorial Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The New Zealand-bred seven-year-old has chalked up a losing sequence of 18 since his most recent success, when he scored a narrow victory over Hotashel in the South Australian Cup at Globe Derby Park on January 9, 2016. Prepared at Oakford by eight-time WA premiership trainer Ross Olivieri, the Bettor's Delight gelding will be driven by Chris Lewis from barrier five on the front line in Friday night’s 2536m feature event. He will have an army of admirers after spirited performances at Gloucester Park on the past two Friday nights, starting with a fighting second to Cyamach over 2130m after he started out wide at barrier eight and settled down in ninth position before moving into fourth place at the bell and sustaining his powerful three-wide burst. The final quarters of that event were run in 27.8sec. and 28.1sec. and he failed by a half-length to overhaul the pacemaking Cyamach. Flaming Flutter followed that performance with another fighting display last Friday night when he worked hard in the breeze before finishing with great determination to be a half-length second to the pacemaker Ideal Alice over 2130m, with good final sections of 27.5sec. and 28.2sec. There is no doubting Flaming Flutter’s ability. He won the South Australian Derby, beating superstar Lennytheshark, in January 2013 and he has been placed twice in the final of the Interdominion championship, finishing second to Beautide at Menangle in March 2015 and third behind Lennythshark at Gloucester Park in December 2015. Ten-year-old David Hercules looms large as a serious rival to Flaming Flutter. The West Australian-bred equine millionaire has drawn ideally on the inside of the back line and he should be prominent throughout. He gave an encouraging display at his third start in his comeback when a close-up third behind Ideal Alice and Flaming Flutter last Friday night. He trailed the pacemaker Ideal Alice and ran home doggedly. David Hercules again will be driven by Morgan Woodley for Byford trainer David Thompson. Bronze Seeker maintained his excellent form with a stylish victory over 2536m last Friday night. He raced three back on the pegs in fifth position before Michael Grantham got him into the clear 650m from home and the eight-year-old sprinted fast to burst to the front at the 250m mark. He is awkwardly drawn at barrier seven on the front line on Friday night, but if he gets an ideal trail in the first lap he is capable of a strong finishing effort. He is prepared at Byford by Peter Anderson, who will also be represented by nine-year-old Lisharry, who enjoyed the one-out, one-back trail before unwinding a powerful late burst to win convincingly from the pacemaker Three Bears over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. Lisharry will start from the No. 2 barrier on the back line on Friday night, with Grantham in the sulky. Nathan Turvey will drive Bronze Seeker. Gary Hall jun. will handle evergreen This Time Dylan for Pinjarra trainer Michael Brennan. The 11-year-old, who will start from the outside barrier (No. 3) on the back line, notched his 20th win two starts ago when he started off 30m and finished boldly to beat Ultimate Major and Waltzing With Cullen over 2503m last Friday week.    Ken Casellas

Two of the most impressive winners at Gloucester Park last Friday night were Bettor's Delight mares Bettor Be Supreme and Chevrons Champion --- and their clash in the $20,000 Princi Butchers Pace on Friday night  at Gloucester Park promises to be a highlight of the ten-event harness racing program. Both mares will be attempting to notch four wins in a row and they should fight out the finish, despite drawing awkwardly, with Bettor Be Supreme at No. 7 and Chevrons Champion at No. 6. Bettor Be Supreme is best known as a frontrunner, while Chevrons Champion has produced powerful finishing bursts to win at her past two outings.       Last Friday night Bettor Be Supreme (trained at Busselton by Barry Howlett) set the pace from barrier three and was untroubled to win from Jungleface Jake, rating 1.56.5 over 2130m. Later in the night Chevrons Champion (trained at Baldivis by Nathan Turvey) started from the outside of the back line and raced in seventh place in the one-wide line before sustaining a strong three-wide burst to win easily from Auctioneers Elsu and Mary Catherine at a 1.57.8 rate over 2130m. Chris Lewis was full of praise for Bettor Be Supreme after her win last week, saying: “There’s more improvement in her. And after a break she’s going to be stronger, mentally, I think.” Jocelyn Young has formed a wonderful association with Chevrons Champion, having driven her six times for four wins. Chevrons Champion is extremely well bred, with her dam Dreamsaregold being a full-sister to former champion pacer and outstanding sire Christian Cullen, who amassed $1,249,150 from his 22 wins. Foxy Dame (Shannon Suvaljko) and Jungle Jewel (Ryan Warwick) will have admirers in Friday night’s race. Foxy Dame, trained by Mike Reed, led when a winner over Sheez Edgy and Stunin Eyes Only four starts ago. She is the solitary runner off the back line and should be in a prominent position throughout. Jungle Jewel, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, will start from barrier five and is capable of unwinding a strong finishing burst. She caught the eye last Friday night when she ran home strongly from eighth at the bell to finish third behind Bronze Seeker and Kiwi Legend. That followed two solid performances after resuming from a spell. She was a first-up fast-finishing second to Bettor be Supreme at Pinjarra and then fought on well when fourth behind Bettor Be Supreme at Gloucester Park. Bettors Gem bounced back to her best form when she set the pace and won the 1780m Village Kid Sprint over 1780m at Northam last Saturday night. But she faces a hard task from out wide at barrier eight on Friday night. The Colin Brown-trained Gota Good Lookadda is getting back to her best form and has claims from barrier No. 2 on the front line. She rattled home, out six wide on the track, from eighth at the bell to finish an excellent third to Chevrons Champion two starts ago. Ken Casellas

Champion reinsman Chris Lewis drove four winners at the Bunbury New Year's Eve harness racing meeting and the fourth of them was the appropriately named Im The Best which will go down as Lewis’s 5000th career winner. Only the Victorian duo of Chris Alford and Gavin Lang have previously passed the 5000 wins milestone in Australia. Lewis’s achievement is all the more remarkable in that he only has access to four meetings per week to compete at compared to the seven days per week schedule in Victoria and he has averaged more than 110 winners per season across 45 seasons as a reinsman. The master reinsman seemed destined for a career with horses when he was born on the horse’s birthday of 1st August in 1955. He drove his first winner as a 16yo on 11th January 1972 behind Classic Heir at Kapunda and his second winner at Globe Derby Park on 4th February 1972 with Carclew in the South Australian Guineas – it was Chris’s first feature race win. It is worth noting that in 1972 there were no junior or novice drivers concessions and young drivers had to compete from the outset with senior drivers including in Chris’s case the likes of Dick Webster, Kevin Brook, Max Evans and Bill Shinn. Chris became the youngest driver of an Inter Dominion winner when he was successful in his then home-town of Adelaide in the 1976 final behind Carclew which was trained by his father Allen. Carclew upset a massive betting plunge on the WA trained Pure Steel, which finished second. Chris won a second Inter Dominion in 1986 in Brisbane with the legendary Western Australian pacer Village Kid. Chris also finished second with Village Kid in the 1985 Inter Dominion held in Melbourne and won by fellow West Australian pacer Preux Chevalier. Chris first drove at Gloucester Park on 11th June 1976 when he took part in the inaugural Australian Young Drivers Championship. While he didn’t win the title that year he did win a race that night behind the Ben Geersen trained Burgundy. That was the first of 2577 Perth winners and his career total of 5000 winners includes two in Moscow and one in the USA. His 2577 Perth winners have seen Chris win Nine Perth Driver’s Premierships and an unprecedented 33 successive Top Five finishes between the 1983/84 and 2015/16 seasons. Chris became one of only four West Australians to win the national title when he beat Victorian ace Chris Alford to claim Australia’s Leading Driver Title (wins) in 1995 with an Australian Record tally of 211 winners. He has driven a total of 52 Group One winners in races that include the Inter Dominion (SA & QLD), WA Pacing Cup, Fremantle Cup, WA Derby, WA Oaks, WA Golden Slipper Stakes, Australian Pacing Championship, M H Treuer Memorial (NSW), Australian Pacing Gold (Vic), WA Golden Nugget Championship , Bathurst Gold Tiara (NSW), NSW Miracle Mile. In 2010 Chris was inducted into The West Australian Racing Industry Hall of Fame. Alan Parker

Busselton tree lopping contractor Barry Howlett’s dream run of successes looks set to continue when he starts Bettor Be Supreme in the $25,000 final of the Coulson Pace for harness racing mares at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The big, powerful lightly-raced five-year-old has drawn ideally at the No. 2 barrier on the front line in the 2130m event and Chris Lewis will be aiming for an all-the-way victory. Howlett trains Bettor Be Supreme and races her in partnership with his wife Lyn and their son Jim. He is riding high and has a remarkable strike rate this season, with his first 64 starters producing 25 wins, ten seconds and three thirds to have him in fourth place in the Statewide trainers’ premiership table, behind Greg and Skye Bond (93 winners from 308 starters), Gary Hall sen. (42 winners from 196 starters) and Courtney Burch (26 wins from 166 starters). Howlett purchased Bettor Be Supreme in New Zealand as a yearling and the filly won at her debut when Tony Herlihy drove the Brent Mangos-trained pacer to victory at 7/1 at a 2.0.2 rate over 1700m at Alexandra Park on March 21, 2014. She raced behind the pacemaker before finishing strongly along the sprint lane to win by a half neck after sprinting the final 400m in 27.9sec. She finished third behind Joanne’s Delight in the group 1 Sires Stakes Championship at Alexandra Park and was 3rd behind Katy Perry in another classic event for two-year-old fillies. Her six New Zealand starts produced one win, three placings and $45,499 and she travelled to Western Australia in November 2014. Howlett gave the filly plenty of time to mature and she raced only twice as a three-year-old --- for wins at Pinjarra and Bunbury in August 2015. Seven wins from nine WA starts have boosted her career figures to $85,929 from just 15 starts. Bettor Be Supreme warmed up for this week’s assignment with a smart all-the-way victory over the fast-finishing Jungle Jewel, rating 1.58.4 over the 2185m journey at Pinjarra last Monday week when she dashed over the final 400m in 27.2sec. Howlett will also be represented in this week’s event by Fay Darling, another New Zealand-bred five-year-old who has had 20 starts for five wins and seven placings. However, Fay Darling, a last-start third behind Giuliana Rancic at Pinjarra, will be at liberal odds after drawing out wide at barrier eight on the front line. Bettor Be Supreme is a versatile pacer, who has won races by leading and has also impressed with some powerful finishing bursts. Eastwood Crystal (barrier one) and My Samantha Jane (three) also possess excellent gate speed and excel as pacemakers. Therefore, there should be a keen tussle for the early lead. The Justin Prentice-trained Quite A Delight, to be handled by Tom Buchanan, has a losing sequence of ten and is awkwardly drawn at barrier five. However, she is a talented mare who has won at nine of her 25 starts and is capable of causing an upset. Blacknsweet Adda and Forever Remembered are racing with commendable verve and also cannot be discounted. Bettors Gem, trained and driven by Shane Young, has had no luck in recent starts and should be prominent from the inside of the back line. Howlett also has sound prospects with Major Stare in the $14,999 TABtouch New Year’s Eve Cup over 2100m at Bunbury on Saturday night. Major Stare, who has had seven starts in WA for five wins and two seconds, will clash with Master Jaxon (a winner at each of his past four starts), the Gary Elson-trained pair of Sprinter and Scoobys Delight and last-start Gloucester Park winner Mister Daytona. Ken Casellas

As at 24th December 2016, harness racing driver Chris Lewis had driven 4994 winners since he began driving in 1972 in South Australia. His first winner in Perth was on 11th June 1976 and he and his family moved to Western Australia in 1979 when his career wins tally stood at 143. His 4994 winners include at least one in each Australian State plus a double at a meeting in Moscow and a winner in the USA. He was Australia’s leading driver in 1995 with 211 winners and has driven 100 winners in each of the past 23 seasons. Follow the journey over the next few weeks as Chris heads towards 5000 winners. Gloucester Park

The Christmas Gift is one of the very few feature harness racing events that has eluded Chris Lewis and at Gloucester Park on Friday night he will have an excellent opportunity to right that wrong by winning the $35,000 group 3 race with rising star Im Full of Excuses. Im Full of Excuses, a lightly-raced New Zealand-bred five-year-old trained by Ross Olivieri, has captured the imagination of harness racing fans with superb victories at each of his past seven starts. However, he faces a serious moment of truth on Friday night when he starts out wide at the No. 8 barrier on the front line in the 2130m event and clashes with another up-and-coming star in Rub of the Green, who has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier. Lewis, who is riding on the crest of a wave with three winners at Gloucester Park last Saturday night, four at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon and two at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening, has driven in more than 30 Christmas Gift finals without success. He has finished in second place five times --- behind Nippy Rendina (1990), Downtown Boy (1992), Regunya Boy (1993), Michael Leslie (1998) and Heez On Fire (2014). He has driven six Olivieri-trained pacers in a Christmas Gift without success --- Grand Canyon (third in 1995), Chequered Flag (fifth in 1996), Our Dream Scene (fourth in 2007), Few Good Men (fifth in 2010), Mon Gee (fourth in 2011) and Sensational Gabby (seventh in 2013). Lewis, who is on the doorstep of notching his 5000th winner, is excited at the potential of Im Full of Excuses, declaring the Jeremes Jet gelding is still on a learning curve, but has a high cruising speed, an asset he revealed in a qualifying heat last Friday night when he set the pace and sped over the final quarters in 27.9sec. and 27.8sec. and rated 1.55.6. Rub of the Green was equally impressive in winning his heat, rating 1.55.3, and trainer Michael Brennan said at the time: “If we draw to lead in the final and Im Full of Excuses had to sit outside of us, I don’t think he could beat Rub of the Green.” Gary Hall jun. again will be in the sulky behind Rub of the Green and has a high opinion of the New Zealand-bred Mach Three five-year-old who has a splendid record of 28 starts for 16 wins, six seconds and one third. Rub of the Green started from the outside barrier in his heat and raced at the rear before Hall sent him forward, three wide, approaching the bell. Rub of the Green quickly dashed into second place at the 500m mark and he sustained his effort to hit the front 100m from the post and win by a metre from the pacemaker Bronze Seeker. “I was a little bit worried on the home bend,” Hall explained. “He’s a bit lazy and didn’t really knuckle down until I really got up him. I went from thinking I was in trouble on the home turn to knowing ‘we’re good’ within a stride. And that’s the good thing about him.” Hall has already won the Christmas Gift twice, scoring with Livingontheinterest in 2012 and Tuxedo Tour in 2014. A win to Im Full of Excuses would give Olivieri his third Christmas Gift after scoring with Savette (driven by Gary Lilleyman) in 1992 and Im A Peregrine (Stuart McDonald) last year. Gary Hall sen. Is pinning his hopes on a sixth Christmas Gift on four-year-old King Lebron, who will be driven by his elder son Clint from the favourable No. 2 barrier. King Lebron won for the tenth time from 27 starts when he trailed the pacemaker Padabing Stride and finished powerfully to win a qualifying heat from Bounty Eyre last Friday night. Hall sen. Has won the Christmas Gift with Nixons Creed (1993), Allioop (2004), McRaes Mate (2007), Livingontheinterest (2012) and Toretto (2013). Livura, one of nine New Zealand-bred pacers in this week’s final, is in top form for trainer-reinsman Nathan Turvey. But his prospects diminished when he drew out wide at barrier seven. He gave a bold frontrunning performance to win his heat by four lengths from Rusty Rockets. But this week Turvey will be looking to give the five-year-old a soft run before relying on a strong finishing burst. Ken Casellas  

The champion Western Australian harness racing reinsman Chris Lewis runs GPTV through his chances at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Fields for Gloucester Park, Friday 23 December 2016 Form guide for Gloucester Park, Friday 23 December 2016  

Brilliant New Zealand-bred five-year-old Im Full of Excuses will be a strong contender in the harness racing Inter Dominion Championship at the end of 2017, according to his reinsman Chris Lewis. And Lewis should enjoy an armchair drive when the Ross Olivieri-trained Im Full of Excuses begins from the favourable barrier No. 2 in the first qualifying heat of the Christmas Gift at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Im Full of Excuses has not been fully extended in winning at each of his past five starts and the Jeremes Jet gelding will be at an extremely short quote on Friday night. Lewis was lavish in his praise after driving the gelding to an easy victory over Courage Tells and Mighty Flying Thomas last Friday week when he rated 1.55.6 after sprinting over the final 800m in 55.6sec. That followed effortless wins in the Kalgoorlie Cup and York Cup at Northam at his two previous outings. The Andrew de Campo-trained Sky Art looks a good place bet from the prized No. 1 barrier. He should enjoy a perfect sit behind Im Full of Excuses. Rub of the Green has a 56 per cent winning strike rate and he should notch his 16th win from 28 starts when he begins from the outside in the field of eight in the second heat of the Christmas Gift. Rub of the Green was not extended when he led and won from Ohoka Kentucky and Major Catastrophe at a 1.55.4 rate over 2130m last Friday night. Bronze Seeker, a winner of a Christmas Gift qualifying heat 12 months ago, should appreciate starting from the No. 1 barrier after a series of wide draws have made life tough for him. King Lebron and Livura are racing keenly and will be strongly fancied to win the third and fourth heats, respectively, of the Christmas Gift. Ken Casellas

Heez On Fire, bedevilled by injury, has not been successful for 19 months. But he is relishing a change of environment and a new harness racing training regimen and has sound prospects of returning to the winning list when he contests the Cowden Ltd Brokers Brennan Memorial over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Champion reinsman Chris Lewis again will be in the sulky and he has high hopes of notching his ninth victory in the Brennan Memorial (formerly the Brennan Cup) after scoring with Lord Maselle (1981), Black Irish (1993), Village Kid (1986, 1987 and 1990), Ohoka Ace (2005), Has The Answers (2010) and Dasher VC (2012). Heez On Fire, a lightly-raced seven-year-old, has been leased by Rod Oliver and a handful of co-owners to veteran trainer Bill Horn and a victory in the $35,000 group 3 event this week would be a nostalgic occasion, rekindling the emotion generated by the wins of Black Irish and Village Kid in earlier Brennan Cups. Horn, now 84, and Lewis, now 61, combined as trainer and driver for those victories. Heez On Fire will be having his fifth start in his current preparation, after a seven-month absence and is close to his peak as Horn guides him towards the rich TABtouch interdominion championship series which gets under way with the opening set of heats on November 25. Before this campaign Heez On Fire was prepared by Oliver and the gelding pulled up sore after finishing last in the group 2 $50,000 RWWA Cup at Gloucester Park last February --- when he was resuming after an injury-enforced ten-month absence. Veterinary surgeons at Murdoch Hospital were pessimistic about Heez On Fire’s future after the gelding’s break down in the RWWA Cup. He had a damaged shin bone in his near foreleg which was originally injured when he was caught up in a fence when rolling just after his first run as a three-year-old in January 2013. It was then feared that Heez On Fire had torn a tendon. But this was not the case, and the pacer had his next start a month later when he managed a fair fifth in a race at Pinjarra. But he went sore again and had four months off before returning to win five in a row in the winter and spring of 2013. Eight starts in 2014 produced six wins and Heez On Fire won at his first two appearances in 2015 before breaking down in the RWWA Cup. His problem was that he kept on going sore. The seven-year-old is very athletic and doesn’t require a lot of hard work and Oliver identified Horn as the ideal trainer to nurse the pacer back to fitness and form. Horn’s recipe of a lot of beach work, slow jogging and pacework has done the trick. Heez On Fire has enjoyed little luck in his first four runs back. He flew home for a thrilling first-up second to Libertybelle Midfrew and two starts later he was an unlucky third to Libertybelle Midfrew when he trailed the pacemaker and was hampered for room in the home straight. Last Friday night Heez on Fire finished sixth behind Simply Susational. It was tremendous effort. He began speedily from barrier four and raced three wide in the early stages before Lewis had little option but to restrain him back to the rear. Heez On Fire was still last in the field of 12 at the bell before he finished powerfully. Heez On Fire will begin from the No. 4 barrier this week and he should be able to slot into a prominent position in the one-wide line. His clash with Beaudiene Boaz, Bettors Fire, Delightful Offer and Waylade should be the highlight of the ten-event program. Beaudien Boaz, one of the four runners in the race prepared by champion trainer Gary Hall sen., is the likely favourite following his excellent second to Libertybelle Midfrew over 2130m last Friday week when he raced wide early and then enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back. He finished with great determination to lose by a head to the pacemaking Tricky Styx, who dashed over the final 800m in 56sec. and rated 1.54.2. Beaudiene Boaz warmed up for this week’s race in fine style when he sprinted over the final 400m in a sparkling 26.8sec. to win a three-horse 2550m standing-start trial by ten lengths from stablemate Delightful Jade at Byford on Sunday morning. Another Hall runner, Waylade, will also be fancied, particularly after he drew favourably at barrier two. He started a three-wide burst approaching the bell and came from seventh with a lap to travel to finish a close third to Simply Susational and Run Oneover last Friday night. That followed a solid strong-finishing third to Tricky Styx a week earlier. The Kyle Harper-trained Bettors Fire, one of Western Australia’s main hopes at the interdominion championship series, faces a stern test from out wide at barrier No. 8. But he is certainly capable of a bold effort as is the up-and-coming five-year-old Delightful Offer, who was won at three of his past five starts for leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond. Ken Casellas

“Best day ever” are the words Woodvale High graduate Kiara Davies used to describe her first harness racing track work run behind the Craig Abercromby trained Time Is Ticking. Growing up with her parents and sister Polly in Kingsley, Davies originally wanted to be a jockey and admired top riders Paul Harvey and former leading female jockey Alana Williams, however once she learnt of the weight and height requirements she decided to put her interest into harness racing instead. From a young age, Davies would assist Colin Brown around his Banjup stables on weekends and school holidays, helping jog the horses and learn the ropes within the industry.   Davies father Graeme, who now enjoys breeding pacers as a hobby, always owned pacers and it intrigued her to have some sort of involvement within the industry.   Graeme’s first bred foal, a filly called Lucy after Davies’ late Nan and by Art Major, is currently in the paddock after having her first race preparation and earlier this month he welcomed his second foal ‘Owie’, named after Davies’ Pop, a colt by Renaissance Man.. Studying accounting and working full-time as a financial planner, Davies endeavoured to go full-time in the harness game after driving track work part-time for Abercromby and it was from there she would have her first trial with Time Is Ticking, the same horse that gave her such enjoyment on her first track work day. Davies enjoyed her first driving win in April 2012 behind her horse and now beloved hack Arts Gangsta and in 2013 received her trainer’s licence.   It was not long afterwards Davies tasted the thrill of the training game when Where and When won at Gloucester Park with driver Chris Lewis; a night that was fitting for the young up and coming trainer as Lewis was a driver she admired within the harness industry for all of the advice and guidance she has received from him over the years. Now working full-time for well-known trainer/driver Aldo Cortopassi and training a small team of her own out of Darling Downs, Davies is taking freelance drives when given the opportunity and is enjoying life just the way it is.   Admitting the pressure she puts on herself with training, Davies has every intention to train a small team and when I asked where she sees herself in five years, she explains “Hopefully retired from driving and having a family” Favourite past time: Beer and wine festivals Favourite food: Italian Best driver/trainer: Aldo Cortopassi and Chris Lewis Best looking person in harness racing: Kristy Sheehy Ashlea Brennan

Champion reinsman Chris Lewis has been engaged by Baldivis harness racing trainer Nathan Turvey to drive smart, lightly-raced mare Royal Myth in the $18,000 Choices Flooring Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Turvey will drive his other runner, Hidden Bad, who has returned to form with strong efforts at her past two starts. Lewis has not driven the New Zealand-bred Royal Myth, who has created a good impression with eight wins from her 14 starts in Western Australia. She is a good frontrunner and looks hard to beat from the prized No. 1 barrier. Royal Myth reappeared after an absence of nine months when she started from the back line over 2130m last Friday week.  The Royal Mattjesty mare was heavily supported and started at 9/4. She raced one-out and two-back in sixth place before Turvey sent her forward, three wide at the bell. However, she failed to flatter and finished tenth, seven lengths behind the winner Gota Good Lookadda. Hidden Bad, who will start from barrier five on the front line on Friday night, revealed excellent fighting qualities when she worked hard in the breeze and battled on determinedly to finish third behind Forever Remembered and Gota Good Lookadda over 2130m last Friday night. At her previous outing, two weeks earlier, Hidden Bad settled down in ninth place before Turvey sent her forward, three wide, after 720m. She then raced in the breeze and got to the front 250m from home before winning by almost two lengths from Forever Remembered. The Turvey-trained mares are likely to be tested by Andrew de Campo’s promising four-year-old Nowuseemegirl, who has set the pace and won at Bunbury at three of her past four starts. Ken Casellas

“Everything is on track for the Inters for John of Arc and I’m very excited about his return to harness racing this week,” said Herron trainer Clive Dalton. The injury-plagued John of Arc will start from the outside in a field of eight in the 2130m TABtouch Super Pick Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night and Dalton is confident that the Courage Under Fire seven-year-old will resume with a victory. John of Arc has not appeared since finishing seventh behind My Hard Copy in the WA Pacing Cup last January, but Dalton declares that the gelding should prove too talented for his rivals. This will be John of Arc’s first start for Dalton and the New Zealand-bred gelding will be driven for the first time by Chris Lewis. “John of Arc has got suspensory ligament problems, but he’s sound at the moment,” said Dalton, who is setting him and stablemate Elegant Christian for the rich TABtouch interdominion championship series at Gloucester Park and Bunbury in November and December. “He’s pretty strong and I think he’s a class above the opposition in this week’s race. “I’ll speak to Chris and we’ll work out a little plan. Initially, we’ll probably come out and have a look and Chris will then decide on his tactics. “If he goes back and then they slacken off, he’ll go forward to the breeze.” John of Arc, placed at each of his three starts in New Zealand, has had 23 starts in Western Australia for 16 wins and two placings. He will clash with five-year-old Ima Connoisseur, who is in dazzling form for trainers Greg and Skye Bond, having won in fast time at each of his past three starts, the latest being in Kalgoorlie last Friday night when he worked hard in the breeze before getting up to win the Mount Eden Mile. Ima Connoisseur rated 1.55.2 over the 1750m journey after sprinting over the final 800m in 56.4sec. He also raced without cover before winning from smart stablemate Risk at a 1.53.4 rate over 1730m at Gloucester Park two weeks earlier. That followed an all-the-way win over Our Ideal Act, rating 1.56.5 over 2130m at Gloucester Park. The Bonds will also be represented by Burning and Bettor Offer, while Gary Hall sen. will pin his faith on the lightly-raced eight-year-old Toretto, who will be having his third start after an absence of 15 months. Ken Casellas

Swedish-bred trotter Cardigan Boko has recovered from a life-threatening injury and illness and will reappear after an 11-month harness racing absence when he contests the Book Your Melbourne Cup Lunch at Gloucester Park Trotters Mobile at Gloucester Park on Friday night. And trainer Clive Dalton is enthusiastically declaring that the stylish black stallion by Varenne will prove mighty hard to beat on his return to action. “He hasn’t raced for almost 12 months and isn’t quite 100 per cent fit yet,” Dalton said. “But he is flying and is right on top of his game. I never say a horse is a certainty, but he’s a world-class animal.” Soon after Cardigan Boko notched his 16th win from just 25 starts, winning easily from Prince Eddie and Heez Speedy Gonzalez at Gloucester Park last October, he cracked an off-side pastern and then got colic which developed into a twisted bowel which required surgery. “He is lucky to be alive, really,” said Dalton, who said that he would advise Chris Lewis to make use of the horse’s brilliant gate speed from out wide at barrier seven.       Cardigan Boko will clash with Sunnys Little Whiz, who has scored effortless wins for Busselton trainer Barry Howlett and driver Kiara Davies at her first four starts in Western Australia. The New Zealand-bred Sunnys Little Whiz has not been extended in her WA victories in which her average winning margin has been three lengths. She will start from barrier five and Davies will be anxious to steal a march on her rivals by dashing Sunnys Little Whiz to an early lead. Adding further interest to the race will be the return of Armed Force, who has impressed in winning at nine of his 22 WA starts for trainer Gary Hall sen. Armed Force, who will be having his first start for three months, will start from the outside (No. 9) on the front line. Apart from Cardigan Boko, Dalton will be represented by Ropeburn, Lightning Joy and Nico Serrano. Ropeburn, driven by Michael Grantham, ran a strong trial for Friday night’s race when he gave a bold frontrunning display to win from Reminder Call and Xen on over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night. Ken Casellas

History will be made at Cruikshank Park on Friday night when champion harness racing reinsman Chris Lewis drives in Kalgoorlie for the first time in his distinguished 46-year career. And he should celebrate the occasion by winning the $30,000 XXXX Gold Kalgoorlie-Boulder Cup with Im Full of Excuses. “I have never even been to Kalgoorlie and I’m looking forward to the experience,” the 61-year-old master reinsman said. Im Full of Excuses, a New Zealand-bred gelding owned by Merv Butterwortrh, is trained by Ross Olivieri, who is confident the five-year-old will prove hard to beat in the Cup, a 2518m stand in which he will start from barrier five on the front line. Im Full of Excuses has raced only 25 times for ten wins, four placings and stakes of $82,658. After being unplaced in  a mobile event at his West Australian debut, Im Full of Excuses has been most impressive in winning in stands at his next three starts --- twice over 2631m at Pinjarra and once over 2503m at Gloucester Park. “This will be my first trip to Kalgoorlie for many, many years,” Olivieri said. “Im Full of Excuses is a good one and I’ve nominated him for the interdominion championship series, but though I think he’s an Inters horse. I don’t think he is this year. “He needs seasoning and to learn a bit more. He’s a bit of a dummy, but he is a fast dummy. They’ll know he’s there in Friday night’s Cup.” Lewis also has brought prospects at the meeting with the Olivieri-trained and Butterworth-owned Our Jericho and Frostyflyer. Our Jericho will clash with Phoenix Warrior and Ohoka Squire (both trained by Greg and Skye Bond) in the Milton Cairnduff Memorial, a 2550m mobile event, and Frostyflyer will start from the No. 1 barrier in the 1750m TABtouch Mount Eden Mile.       Lewis will also drive the Olivieri-trained Limelight Bay and On My Oath, Khun Lek and Truth Without Fear for local trainer Dean Kelly on Friday night. Ken Casellas

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