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Chris Voak, one of the State’s most accomplished and aggressive harness racing reinsmen, has thrown down the gauntlet to New Zealand superstar and Inter Dominion champion Lazarus, declaring that he was not intimidated by Vultan Tin’s task against the sensational five-year-old in the $22,000 Princi Smallgoods Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Voak is in no mood to surrender the advantage of Vultan Tin’s No. 1 barrier and he is determined to set a solid pace, leaving Mark Purdon the job of driving Lazarus in the breeze. Voak said that he had spoken to Vultan Tin’s part-owner and trainer Phil Costello before the fields were declared on Tuesday afternoon and that Costello said that the gelding had improved after his latest start (working hard without cover and winning from Motu Premier and Ohoka Punter over 2536m three Fridays ago). “Phil said that Vultan Tin had improved in leaps and bounds and that he would be leading on Friday night, and if possible, won’t be handing up to Lazarus,” Voak said. “I don’t think that Vultan Tin has been beaten when he has led. “There is no doubt that Lazarus is a great horse and should be winning, but it is not impossible for Vultan Tin to beat him. Phil is of the opinion that Lazarus can sit outside Vultan Tin and beat him, but he certainly wants me to set the pace. “Therefore, the son of Dawn Ofa New Day won’t be handing up, and this will make it a more interesting and genuine race. If Lazarus was able to get to the front from barrier two it would be likely that he would then walk and sprint home. “Phil is happy with Vultan Tin’s progress leading into the Fremantle Cup and WA Pacing Cup and he believes that he is now lengths better than he was during the Inter Dominion championship series. He says that Vultan Tin’s work has been tenfold better than what he was doing leading into the Inters.” Vultan Tin further strengthened his claims as Western Australia’s most improved pacer when he started at 85/1 and raced three back on the pegs in sixth position before finishing strongly to be fourth behind Lazarus in the Inter Dominion final. “The final wasn’t really run to suit Vultan Tin,” Voak said. “He needs the pace on and would have been better suited if the pace was faster. “He then sat in the breeze at his next start and won at a 1.56.1 rate over 2536m. In front this week, I’d expect him to go 1.55.5. I think it would hurt Vultan Tin’s chances more if he handed up the lead and Lazarus slowed the pace. “I’m not sure whether Vultan Tin can produce a miracle, but when Lazarus came to WA I guess everybody over east expected him to destroy our horses. However, Lazarus was beaten in his first two Inters heats (finishing seconds to Soho Tribeca and Tiger Tara). He had tough runs, but was still beaten. It’s a lot tougher in the breeze and this week he will be having his first run for four weeks.” Voak was nominated to drive Vultan Tin, Devendra, Jambiani and Costa Del Magnifico in Friday night’s 2536m event and he boiled his choice down to Vultan Tin and Devendra before opting for Vultan Tin. “The barrier draw strengthened my decision, with Vultan Tin drawing No. 1 and Devendra No. 6,” he said. Voak handled Devendra for the first time when the Tasmanian eight-year-old enjoyed a perfect trail behind the pacemaker Tricky Styx before finishing fast to win from A Piccadilly Princess and Our Jimmy Johnstone over 2130m last Friday night. “Devendra is a very nice horse and I expect him to perform well this week,” Voak said. “Lazarus most probably will win and I think that Vultan Tin and Devendra will fill the placings.” Devendra will be driven by Nathan Turvey, Stuart McDonald will handle Jambiani and Shannon Suvaljko has been engaged for Costa Del Magnifico. Ken Casellas

THE margin wasn’t great, but the win certainly was. Comeback star Bling It On made it three wins from as many starts this campaign, but had to show a different side to land his latest win at Menangle last Saturday night, And he did so in a blazing 1min50.8sec mile. Luke McCarthy dragged him back from an outside draw as the leaders blazed a 25.8sec opening quarter. With nobody making a move, McCarthy had to swoop around the field himself from the 650m on Bling It On and he looked in stride halfway down the home straight. He pulled out everything to grab Eh Ef El, then had to stave-off a late dive from talented sit-sprinter Charlaval to win by a nose. Bling It On now heads to the Shirley Turnbull Memorial at Bathurst on Boxing night before McCarthy and co-trainer Craig Cross finalise plans towards the Hunter Cup. “It could include the Ballarat Cup, but we’re not sure yet,” McCarthy said. It was a big night for McCarthy with four driving wins. The others came with the emerging Admiral Bronski as well as speedy Birdy Mach and trotter War Dan Destroyer. _____________________________________________________________________________________ THE “find” of the Perth Inter Dominion, Vultan Tin, franked the form with an impressive Gloucester Park win last Friday night. Just seven days after an eye-catching and luckless fourth to Lazarus in the Inter Dominion final, Vultan Tin proved too strong for a good field despite sitting parked in a 1min56.1sec mile rate for 2130m. It’s been a hell of a ride for trainer Phil Costello and driver Chris Voak with the locally-bred gelding. “He thrived through the Inter Dominion and did us proud in the final,” Voak said. “It was such a great couple of weeks to be part of.” The form from Inter Dominion final night proved the key across the whole Gloucester Park meeting last Friday, including wins from stablemates Rock Diamonds and Vampiro, who both contested the Group 1 Golden Nugget won by Ultimate Machete. The Skye Bond-trained Rock Diamonds dominantly won race eight in a 1min58.2sec mile rate for 2130m, while Vampiro narrowly but impressively won a stirring battle with Runrunjimmydunn in the second event. _____________________________________________________________________________________ FORMER glamour Kiwi filly Our Golden Goddess kick-started the chapter of her career in stunning fashion. Back from six months out and now with Kerryn Manning, Our Golden Goddess won by almost 15m and smashed the Ballarat 2200m track record with a scorching 1min54.4sec mile rate last Friday night. It was her first start since running way below her best when 10th to The Orange Agent in the Angelique Club Cup at Melton on May 12. She’s now raced 19 times for nine wins, seven placings and almost $300,000 in earnings for Merv and Meg Butterworth. Manning now has the luxury of working Our Golden Goddess through her classes before targeting the lead-up races for the Ladyship Mile at Menangle in February/March. _____________________________________________________________________________________ THE wait is almost over. Australia’s most exciting young pacer, the unbeaten Lumineer, is headed back to the races. Trainer Ange McDowall made the call after Lumineer won his second trial back by 35.5m in a 1min58sec mile rate at Melton last Tuesday. Lumineer hasn’t raced since winning the Australian Gold final in effortless style at Menangle in April. “He’s tightened-up since the trial. He’s ready to go now,” McDowall said. “I entered him for a Geelong race, but it didn’t stand-up. “I’m hoping he gets a run at Maryborough this Friday and he’ll run at Ballarat on Boxing night as well.” Lumineer’s first major target is the Victoria Derby which fans hope will mean a mouth-watering showdown with the All Stars’ unbeaten three-year-old Chase Auckland. _____________________________________________________________________________________ FORMER Kiwi pacer Moonrock just keeps getting better in Australia. Trainer Sonya Smith has done a fantastic job since taking over the gelding and he produced a new high with his breathtaking Melton last Saturday night. While hot favorite Major Secret dictated terms in front, Moonrock somehow unleashed a withering sprint around the field from near last to snatch the win. He was clocked to run his last half in a staggering 54.8, including a 26.9sec final quarter. The mile rate was a slick 1min54.6sec for 2240m. In 11 starts for Smith and Anthony Butt, Moonrock has posted seven wins, three seconds and a sixth. The result wasn’t as good for Butt and his brother Tim with buzz former Kiwi trotter Gentleman Sir later in the night. Sent out a $1.80 favourite, Gentleman Sir made and early mistake and lost all chance in the race won by in-form mare Sky Petite. _____________________________________________________________________________________ HUSBAND and wife Greg Sugars and Jess Tubbs have serious three-year-old on their hands in Little Peanut. The son of Blissfull Hall showed plenty at two, but has come back looking bigger and better judging by his two wins from as many starts. The latest came when he won as he liked in a 1min54.9sec mile rate over 1730m in the 3YO final at Melton last night (Saturday). The bar is set high with the likes of Chase Auckland and Lumineer headlining this three-year-old crop, but Little Peanut is headed in the right direction to be a Derby player. _____________________________________________________________________________________ WHAT an inspired move it was by KerryAnn Turner and Robbie Morris to take stable star Aztec Bromac for a Queensland raid. His three starts netted two wins and a third with the big win coming in last Saturday night’s $60,540 Group 2 Queensland Cup (2138m). Most expected amazing local veteran Avonnova to lead and win from gate two. He led and went extremely well, but was unable to stave-off the big finish of Aztec Bromac from midfield in a 1min54.2sec mile rate. The night capped a fantastic Queensland raid for Turner and Morris, who snared a treble with Mojo Major and Come Cullect also saluting.   Adam Hamilton

TOP local driver Gary Hall Jr had to be content with second in the Inter Dominion aboard Chicago Bull, but still snared a Group 1 win on the night. Hall Jr teamed with his father, Gary Hall Sr, and classy mare Ideal Alice to win the $125,000 Group 1 Mares’ Classic (2536m) at Gloucester Park. And it came courtesy of a typically brilliant Hall Jr driver to extricate Ideal Alice from a three-peg run rounding the final bend, find clear air and storm over the top of a super gallant Ameretto to win by a head in a slick 1min55.5sec mile rate. The NZ-bred Ideal Alice is now in foal herself and will soon be retired to return to her homeland. The win was her 20th from 63 starts with another 20 placings and earnings over $400,000. “She’s been a wonderful mare. I wasn’t sure her recent form was quite up to the likes of Ameretto and A Piccadilly Princess going into these big mares’ races, but she had three nice runs for two seconds and now this big win,” Hall Sr said. It was almost unfair to see Ameretto beaten after Kerryn Manning’s star worked three-wide for more than a lap to finally get outside the heavily-backed leader, Eden Franco, and kick away with what looked a winning break on the home bend. Eden Franco raced a little keen at times, making her vulnerable over the longer trip, and she tired late for fourth. The hardluck story, just as she was last year, was the All Stars’ A Piccadilly Princess. Mark Purdon got the gun through behind the leader and had to decide with a just over a lap to go whether to stay on the pegs and risk being pocketed or move outside the leader. Purdon stayed in, the run never came and A Piccadilly Princess hit the line hard-held in fifth spot. _______________________________________________________________________________________ FREELANCE driver Chris Voak is such a breath of fresh air. An effervescent personality, Voak is also a serious driver and shown by his two big wins in support races as well as a close fourth on roughie Vultan Tin in the Inter Dominion final last Friday night. An $85 shot, the locally-bred Vultan Tin just missed snatching third spot from the leader Tiger Tara. Voak then produced a dashing front-running drive on former Victorian trotting mare Itsgettingcalder to win the $50,000 Group 1 Trotters’ Cup (2503m). He then caused a minor upset on $12.60 shot Costa Del Maginifico to win the last race of the night for trainer Ross Olivieri. “It’s been fantastic o be part of the Inter Dominion series with Vultan Tin, who did us all proud tonight. And to win a couple of other races on the night, especially the big trot, was fantastic. It’s been a great few weeks,” Voak said. _______________________________________________________________________________________ FORMER Olympic hockey gold medallist Michael “Mouse” Brennan already has sights set on the next Inter Dominion. Brennan thinks his emerging star Mista Shark will fly his stable flag in the Melbourne Inter Dominion next year. “He’s going places. Look at the way he won his heat and the final of this (San Simeon) series,” Brennan said. “He’ll be my Melbourne Inter Dominion horse in 12 months time.” Mista Shark sat parked to win his San Simeon heat at Bunbury last Tuesday week, then found the front in a dashing drive by Michael Grantham before easily holding-off the classy El Jacko to win in a 1min55.5sec mile rate for 2130m. Shane Tritton’s buzz former Kiwi mare Reaza Grunter made an early break, just as she did on night one, and lost all chance in the final. But her win on middle Friday of the Inter Dominion series showed why Tritton’s thinks she is potentially one of Australia’s best mares. Back to Brennan and he had another reason to celebrate on the big night when stable favourite The Bucket List overcame plenty of trouble to win the Inter Dominion consolation with Grantham in the cart. “I wish it had been six heats and a final because he’s only hitting his straps now,” Brennan said. “He’s not quite up to those very best ones, but that was a super win tonight to overcame the check he got early and come from so far off them.” Former top class Kiwi pacer Ohoka Punter also showed a glimpse of his best with former with a huge second after burning midrace around the field to take the lead and fight on well for a close second. _______________________________________________________________________________________ NEWLY-CROWNED World Champion driver James MacDonald admitted to getting a huge buzz from his win aboard Skippy Rascal in one of the Sky Racing Drivers’ series heats at Gloucester Park last Friday night. Macdonald escaped a pocket from behind the leader straightening for home and Skippy Rascal picked-up quickly to rundown the leader, Simba Bromac, and win by 1.3m in a 1min55.5sec mile rate for 2130m. “I needed that,” MacDonald smiled. “The first night didn’t go so well.. “We’ve had such an amazing time over here, everyone has looked after us so well, and to land a winner on Inter Dominion final night adds to it.” The other guest international driver, US-based Marcus Miller, finished third in the race aboard Wrappers Delight. _______________________________________________________________________________________ IT was an all local finish in the Invitation Lady Drivers’ race at Gloucester Park. Talented young local Kiara Davies made the most of the pole draw on favourite Dior Mia More to lead throughout and beat Kristy Sheehy on Bettor Bling and Jocelyn Young aboard Madame Meilland. Kerryn Manning, Lauren Tritton and US visitor Hannah “Hurricane” Miller were among the beaten brigade. _______________________________________________________________________________________ LET’S hope Shadow Sax stays sound. Emma Stewart’s injury-plagued star made it six wins on end – and 16 wins from just 24 career starts – when he won the Geelong Cup last Saturday night. It was closer than expected though with former classy there-year-old Cant Refuse running a great race for third and old-stager Messini a close fourth in a 1min57sec mile rate for 2570m. _______________________________________________________________________________________ A QUEENSLAND raid is paying dividends for the KerryAnn Turner and Robbie Morris team. They snared the feature, the Christmas Cup, at Albion Park with their classy gelding Aztec Bromac, who just nabbed remarkable veteran Avonnova. They landed a treble on the night with Smokey Quartz and Come Cullect winning easily as well. _______________________________________________________________________________________ MACH Doro is enjoying Tiger Tara being away in Perth. The classy Craig Cross-trained pacer, who contested last season’s Victoria Cup, opened this campaign with a good second to Tiger Tara at Menangle on November 4. Since then he’s brilliantly won both free-for-alls he’s contested, the latest in a blazing 1min51.9sec mile at Menangle last Saturday night. Trainer-driver Jarrod Alchin landed the feature at the Menangle meeting when Ima Mystery Girl won the Group 3 Teeny Teeny Stakes for mares’ in a 1min52sec mile. The talk of the race was the flop of Mark Jones’ star Kiwi mare Rocker Band, who finished second-last, prompting stewards to open an inquiry into the performance.   Adam Hamilton

GPTV focuses in on Chris Voak's drives this Friday night to help you back a harness racing winner at Gloucester Park!

Harness racing driver Chris Voak sat behind Soho Tribeca (American Ideal) for the first time when the star five-year-old worked with two other pacers at Byford on Tuesday morning and he was left in awe at the stallion’s amazing talent. Voak will now drive Soho Tribeca in the Matt McDermott Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night when the Kim Prentice-trained pacer will start his spring and summer campaign with the main focus on the rich TABtouch Inter Dominion championship series at Gloucester Park in November and December. Voak has leapt at the opportunity to drive Soho Tribeca after Prentice was suspended recently for causing interference in a race. He has driven only twice for the Prentice stable when seventh with Soho Angel behind Rock Diamonds in the Caduceus Club Classic in February this year and when successful with Abraxas Blues at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon this week.  “I’ve had the experience of driving some outstanding horses of the calibre of Crombie, Dasher VC and Ima Spicey Lombo, and Soho Tribeca is one of the best horses I’ve sat behind,” Voak said. “We went even pace for a mile in the workout this morning (Tuesday) and then got home with a solid last half. I sat last and pulled out with a lap to go and won from The Odd Lover. We went under 55sec. for the last half and I haven’t driven a horse who can drop fractions like he can so easily. “Honestly, I haven’t driven one on the track who has done that and has felt like that. Kim told me that after he had driven Soho Tribeca to win the Golden Nugget last year that he’s the best horse he has trained, ahead of Baltic Eagle. I haven’t yet had the chance to speak to Kim to see how he wants me to drive the horse on Friday night. “What impressed me with Soho Tribeca was the ease in which he did it, and how much power he had. I haven’t had the opportunity to drive a horse of his capability in a race. I think he is the type of horse who in a good race will make his own luck. I’ve always had to drive horses who have had to rely on luck but this one is one who has the power to make his own luck.” Soho Tribeca, bred and owned by Rob Watson, faces the distinct disadvantage on Friday night of starting from the outside (No. 9) on the front line but he has the ability to overcome the wide barrier. He has not appeared since he raced wide early and then set the pace before winning the Group 1 Vicbred Four-Year-Old Classic for entires and geldings at Melton on July 8. He was in dazzling form in Perth last summer when he won the Golden Nugget from Nathans Courage and Chicago Bull before finishing second to Chicago Bull in the Fremantle Cup and third to the same pacer in the WA Pacing Cup. His chief rivals on Friday night are likely to be Itz Bettor To Win, Ideal Tyson and Bronze Seeker. Itz Bettor To Win is a highly-promising six-year-old who has had only 29 starts for 11 wins and seven seconds. He will be having his first start in Western Australia and will be driven by Chris Lewis from barrier three on the front line. He is being set for the TABtouch Inter Dominion championship series. “I have had him in my stable for five to six weeks and I expect him to run first or second on Friday night,” Olivieri said. He’s a big, strong horse whose major assets are his strength and speed. He is a serious horse and he will improve on whatever he does this week. “He’s got a win over in the Franklin Cup in New Zealand, beating top horses like Smolda, Have Faith In Me and Ohoka Punter.” Itz Bettor To Win raced 18 times in New Zealand for eight wins and three placings and his 11 starts in Victoria produced three wins and four placings. As a three-year-old Itz Bettor To Win won a 2700m stand at Alexandra Park, beating horses of the calibre of Border Control, Smolda and Have Faith In Me. Two months earlier, he won the Group 2 Alabar Classic, rating 1.55.9 over 2200m. As a four-year-old, he won the Franklin Cup, a 2700m stand, beating home Mossdale Conner, Have Faith In Me, Ohoka Punter and Smolda. Ideal Tyson, who gave a powerful frontrunning display to win from Mach Time and Bronze Seeker over 2130m last Friday night, faces a sterner test this week from out wide at barrier seven. He will be driven by Gary Hall Jnr, who replaces Aiden de Campo, who will be in Melbourne preparing to watch the AFL grand final between Richmond and The Adelaide Crows on Saturday. The Peter Anderson-trained Bronze Seeker will be driven by Deni Roberts from the No. 1 barrier and the versatile nine-year-old should be prominent throughout the race. Ken Casellas

It’s extremely difficult to recommend a mare who has managed one win from her past 48 starts and boasts a losing sequence of 16 but Machulbeatchu, a six-year-old prepared at Northam by Lang Inwood, has a chance of sending harness racing punters home on a winning note by overcoming the No. 6 barrier in the final event, the Sky Racing Pace, at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Machulbeatchu, who has a poor winning record of seven per cent, caught the eye at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon when she was restrained to the rear from barrier five, was eighth in the one-wide line at the bell and then was hopelessly blocked for a clear passage in the final stages before Chris Voak got her clear in the final 100m. Machulbeatchu then sprouted wings, out seven wide, to snatch third placing behind Our Artemisia and The Prodigy. It was not a strong field, but neither is the line-up of nine runners in Friday night’s M0 event over the sprint journey of 1730m. The only runner in the field to have won a race in their past ten starts is Free To Air, who will be driven from the outside barrier by Dean Miller for Pinjarra trainer Chris King. Free To Air made most of the running and held on to win by a half-head from Donovan Bromac over 2100m at Bunbury three starts ago. Female trainers prepare six of the nine runners, with Debbie Padberg represented by polemarker Nothing In Between, Ready For Takeoff and Bettors Avenue, Wendy Boyd by R J Bopper and Our Clarisa and Maryann White by Lipizzaner. Sarah Suvaljko hopes to get a flying start to the 2017-18 season by winning the Retravision Pace with Bettor Twisted, the solitary runner off the back line in the 1730m sprint event. Chris Lewis will handle the experienced five-year-old whose past couple of runs have been full of merit. Bettor Twisted was eighth at the bell and sustained a strong burst, out wide, to finish a close sixth behind Rowan Skipper over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night. He travelled five wide over the final 500m and was doing his best work on the line. At his previous outing, last Friday week, Bettor Twisted started from barrier nine, was 11th early and ninth on the pegs at the bell before finishing solidly into fourth place behind Cest Lheure. Brilliant mare Dodolicious will resume racing after an absence of three and a half months when she starts out wide at barrier seven in the TABtouch Westbred Pace. Owned and trained by Skye Bond and with Ryan Warwick in the sulky, Dodolicious, the winner of 15 of her 28 starts, should prove too good for her seven rivals. Ken Casellas  

Chris Voak has given punters a valuable lead by opting to drive veiled Secret in preference to Captured Delight in the Choices Flooring Pace for two-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He has driven both fillies to victory at their most recent outing, scoring with the Ross Olivieri-trained Veiled Secret at Pinjarra on July 31 when the Tinted Cloud filly raced wide early and then without cover before beating Orphan Reactor at a 1.57.4 rate over 1684m. That was Veiled Secret’s first win from six starts. She will begin from barrier three on the back line on Friday night. Voak drove the Terry Ferguson-trained Captured Delight when she raced wide early from barrier four, took the lead after 300m and won by a head from Rosies Ideal at a 1.58.9 rate over 2130m at Gloucester Park last Friday week. Captured Delight won at her previous start when driven by Michael Grantham --- when she raced without cover before beating Ella Gant Player and All Over Tan over 2130m at Gloucester Park. Ferguson has engaged Dylan Egerton-Green for the filly on Friday night when she will start out wide at barrier eight on the front line. Grantham will drive the polemarker Muffins, and trainer Michael Brennan is confident she will improve on her encouraging fourth behind Havarti over 1684m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. Havarti, trained by Rob MacDonald at Pinjarra, revealed excellent gate speed from barrier four when she led all the way on Monday and beat Orphan Reactor by just under three lengths when having her first start for two months. Havarti will start from the No. 5 barrier, with another fast beginner and excellent frontrunner All Over Tan at barrier four. All Over Tan, trained at Byford by Peter Anderson, will be driven by Chris Lewis and will take a power of beating if she is able to burst to an early lead. Banjup trainer-reinsman Colin Brown was impressed with Fortunate Adda’s win on debut at Northam on Tuesday of last week and is looking for another strong showing from barrier six on Friday night.    Fortunate Adda raced outside the pacemaker Wilkins Medinahall before beating that filly after final quarters in 29.6sec. and 28.9sec. “What I know from the track is that she can run a 27sec. quarter,” Brown said. “What I don’t know is how many (27sec. quarters) she’s got. She’s probably got only one. She’s got gate speed and high speed at the end of her race … so who knows? Hopefully, I can put her in the race at some stage. “She’s a nice filly, has been well educated and has been in work for a long time. She has been well schooled. Two-year-olds don’t normally win first-up, especially against the experienced ones. I don’t know how tough she is. At Northam, she faced the breeze and we were lucky enough to be able to rate back, and the leader let us get a 31.4sec. and 32.4sec. for the first two quarters. She really only had to go the last 600m.” The best-performed filly in the race is Rosies Ideal, who has had eight starts for Pinjarra trainer-reinsman Shane Young for three wins and two placings. Rosies Ideal will be seriously tested from the outside (No. 9) on the front line, but she has the spirit and strength to overcome that distinct disadvantage. Ken Casellas

Five-year-old Vultan Tin is flourishing under the care of Coolup owner-trainer Phil Costello and he has bright prospects of ending a losing sequence of nine by winning the 2536m In Memory of Fred Hough Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He will start out wide at barrier seven in the field of nine and reinsman Chris Voak is planning to drive the gelding “tough” in a bid for victory. Vultan Tin put the writing on the wall last Friday night when he raced in the breeze for the final two laps and fought on grandly to be a close second to the pacemaker Ideal Alice. “He sat in the breeze in a Free-For-All last week and went down by a half-length,” Voak said. “So, I’d say he’d be comfortable in the breeze again. We’ll wait for him to settle and then he’ll be put in the race and driven positively. He’s dropping back to an M1/M3 field and should be hard to beat.” “I got the drive behind Vultan Tin by chance. Morgan Woodley was his regular driver, but in a race back in May Morgan elected to drive the $1.20 favourite Argyle Red and I got the opportunity to drive Vultan Tin for the first time. He performed like a super star that night and got up at 25/1 from Argyle Red. I’ve been fortunate to drive Vultan Tin since then and he hasn’t run a bad race for me.” Since that victory Voak has driven Vultan Tin 11 times for two wins, four seconds and two fourths and the gelding now has a record of 77 starts for 11 wins and 23 placings for earnings of $144,144. Blinding Light, trained by Greg and Skye Bond and driven by Ryan Warwick, looks the hardest for Vultan Tin to beat. Blinding Light enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, before finishing strongly to be second to Sprinter over 2130m last Friday night.   Ken Casellas

“He’s a poor relation, but he’s been a wonderful horse for me,” says Hopeland harness racing owner-trainer Kevin Charles when describing veteran iron pacer Blissfull Boy, who will be having his 184th start when he contests the 1730m Lugarno Gumby Punters Club Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. And Charles is upbeat about the nine-year-old’s chances from the favourable No. 2 barrier over his favourite distance of 1730m. Blissfull Boy, to be driven by Chris Voak, has been unplaced from unfavourable barriers at his past four starts. “But he’s a different horse when he is able to lead,” said Charles, who purchased the gelding from  Ken White in December 2012. Since then Blissfull Boy has had 115 starts for Charles for ten wins, 29 placings and $87,964 in prizemoney to take his career statistics to 183 starts for 20 wins, 53 placings and stakes of $140,680 --- a remarkable record for a pacer who is still assessed as an M0 and C5 performer. “He’s a poor relation --- to his half-brother Lennytheshark, who has earned more than a million dollars,” Charles said. “Ken White did a good job with him and he has also done very well for me. “I don’t like to disclose how much I paid for him. He was a bargain when I bought him and he’s an even better one now. “He loves to lead and roll along and if he finds the front on Friday night he will definitely give a lot of cheek and prove hard to beat. So it will be our aim to lead. “He’s as bright as a button around the stable and has never shown any signs of soreness. He’s got wind galls on his legs, but I don’t tell him and he doesn’t know.” Mighty Major, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, will resume after a two-month absence and will be fancied from the prized No. 1 barrier. He led from the No. 1 barrier and won from Bettor Scoot over 2190m at Northam on June 28, but finished at the rear at his next three starts. The favourite is sure to be the lightly-raced five-year-old Tact Major, who will need all the breaks to overcome the disadvantage of starting from the outside (No. 9) over the sprint journey. Tact Major, to be driven by Gary Hall jun., was gallant in defeat last Friday night when worked hard in the breeze and fought on gamely when second to the pacemaker Kiwi Legend over 2130m. Aiden de Campo, refreshed after a two-week holiday in America, will return to action at Gloucester Park and he should be prominent with Ultimate Major, who is handily drawn at barrier three on the front line. Ken Casellas

Chris Voak, fresh from landing the final winner of the 2015-16 harness racing season --- when he brought 20/1 outsider Manhattan Billy home with a spirited burst from sixth at the bell to beat the pacemaker Bellerkerrin in a C0 event on Tuesday night --- has high hopes of making a successful start to the new season by driving Naughty Maravu to victory in the NRL WA on The Way Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. This gave Voak his 119th driving success for the season and he finished fifth in the WA reinsmen’s premiership, behind Gary Hall jun., Chris Lewis, Nathan Turvey and Ryan Warwick. It was the fourth successive year that Voak had driven more than a hundred winners. Pinjarra trainer Michael Brennan engaged Voak after Hall was suspended for nine days for causing another runner to cover extra ground in a race at Bunbury last Saturday week. Hall was granted a stay of proceedings and he started his suspension after driving three winners at Kellerberrin on Sunday. Hall has driven the promising Naughty Maravu at the gelding’s past five starts for a win, two seconds, a third and a seventh placing. The Badlands Hanover gelding started from 10m in a 2503m event last Friday night. He settled in eighth position and was sixth at the bell before starting a three-wide move 650m from home and running on with great determination to be third, beaten a nose behind the dead-heaters Assassinator and Pay Me Cullen. At his previous outing, Naughty Maravu started from 10m before dashing to the front after 500m in the 3309m Marathon Handicap. He set a solid pace and finished second to Our Jericho. The final quarters were run in 28.3sec. and 27.8sec. Voak has enjoyed a good association with Naughty Maravu, having driven him to three wins and a third from eight drives. Naughty Maravu will continue his rivalry with Assassinator and Pay Me Cullen this week and those pacers, stablemates at Greg and Skye Bond’s training establishment in Forrestdale, will have many admirers. Assassinator (Ryan Warwick) and Pay Me Cullen (Ryan Bell) will share the 10m mark with Naughty Maravu, with the Bond team’s third runner, Bettor Offer (Colin Brown) starting off 20m with last-start winner Our Jericho (Chris Lewis). The Bond stable has 13 runners engaged at the meeting and the best of these appears to be Delightful Offer, who will be driven by Lauren Jones from the outside of the front line in the 2536m Maureen Clement Memorial Pace. Delightful Offer resumed after a ten-month absence last Friday week when he was restrained from barrier five and was ninth at the bell before charging home late, out five wide, to be a close-up, eye-catching fourth behind Ideal Justice. Ken Casellas

Champion harness racing trainer Gary Hall Sen. freely admits that he did not rate Harry Hoo among the best four or five three-year-olds in his stable at the start of the season, but he is now quite happy to declare that he underestimated the Bettor's Delight’s gelding’s potential.   Harry Hoo, to be driven by Gary Hall jnr., will start from the No. 6 barrier in the Desmond Arahanga Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night and Hall sen. said that if he got to an early lead he would win. “I didn’t really rate him early on, but he has done very well and has been a bit of a surprise,” Hall said. At his latest outing he started from the outside barrier and showed plenty of strength to win after racing three wide and in the breeze. “He won’t have things all his own way on Friday night and there are plenty of chances in the field.” Harry Hoo arrived in Western Australia 12 months ago after managing two placings from seven starts in New Zealand. He has shown steady improvement and his first 18 WA starts have produced seven wins and five seconds. There is abundant gate speed on the inside of Harry Hoo this week, with Adda Courage (barrier one), Franco Rayner (two) and Bettor Not Bitter (three) all possessing good early speed. However, Harry Hoo’s improving strength could be a deciding factor in the final stages. Hall said that Ricimer, an easy all-the-way winner from barrier one over 1730m last Friday night, was capable of repeating the dose in the 2130m first heat of the Sapphire Wikaira Chandon Pace on Friday night. “Ricimer is a dead-set frontrunner and we will be going forward from barrier four at the start and attempting to lead,” he said. However, the Ross Olivieri-trained Jambiani is perfectly drawn at No. 1. She is a noted frontrunner and Chris Voak is expected to make a bold bid to retain the lead. If there is an early war between Jambiani and Ricimer, it could play into the hands of Another Vinnie, Glenlochar and Shirlz Sensation. Ken Casellas    

Crack reinsman Chris Voak has high hopes of bringing up his century of winners for the season by guiding Miss Twiggy Whitby to victory in the $25,000 R. H. Trotter and Co. Pace for Westsired two-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Miss Twiggy Whitby is trained at Meelon by her breeder and part-owner Ed Dewar and Voak would dearly love to land the Rich And Spoilt filly a winner this week. He made a difficult choice a week ago when he opted to drive Im Rockaraia for trainer Michael Brennan in the group 1 $100,000 Pearl Classic in preference to Dewar’s smart colt Our Zak Whitby. Im Rockaria won the classic, with Our Zack Whitby an unlucky, fast-finishing fourth after he was badly inconvenienced by a tiring runner in the back straight in the final circuit. Voak has had 817 drives this season for 99 wins, 116 seconds and 83 thirds and is in fourth place on the reinsmen’s premiership table, behind Chris Lewis (131 wins), Gary Hall jun. (120) and Nathan Turvey (113). Miss Twiggy Whitby will start from the No. 4 barrier in the field of six runners and has excellent prospects. She is one of only two winners in the field, the other being the Kevin Keys-trained Sarah Goody, who will be driven by Matt White from the No. 2 barrier. Miss Twiggy Whitby’s only win from nine starts was when she led from barrier four and defeated Tell Me More over 1730m at Gloucester Park in January. At her most recent appearance she was first out from the No. 1 barrier before Voak decided to take the sit behind brilliant filly Angel Bromac. Angel Bromac sped over the final 800m in 57.3sec. and won by three lengths from Miss Twiggy Whitby. Friday night’s event appears quite an open affair, with the Justin Prentice-trained Allamerican Queen sure to be prominent after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier. Allamerican Queen was a 112/1 outsider in the WA Oaks last Friday week when she finished solidly from tenth at the bell to be sixth, five and a half lengths behind the winner, her stablemate Lady Luca. Sarah Goody was a winner at Bunbury four starts ago when she led from barrier one and beat Rich Maiden by a neck, rating 1.58.8 over 1609m. She was a fighting second to Maczaffair at Bunbury two starts ago. The Royal Lady, trained at Harvey by Kevin Egerton-Green, will start from barrier five and will be driven by Kim Young. She will have admirers. She trailed the pacemaker Red Hot Roxy and finished third behind her in the group 1 Sales Classic three starts ago. Before that she finished a sound second to Betshes Precious, with Miss Twiggy Whitby in third place. Sweet Gina, a filly by Legacy of Power and trained at Oldbury by Kim Prentice will start from the outside in her race debut. She will be driven by Gary Hall jun. She warmed up for her first assignment in fine style, winning a 2150m trial at Byford on Sunday morning by three lengths from Flying Phoebe. That followed an easy trial win over 1750m the previous Sunday. Ken Casellas

Im Rockaria, or “Nelson” as he is known at the harness racing stables of Brennan Racing, repaid the faith installed in him by reinsman Chris Voak on Friday with an impressive victory in the 2016 Princi Smallgoods Pearl Classic. WATCH: 2016 Princi Pearl Classic Replay + GPTV Interviews Chris Voak qualified Im Rockaria and Our Zak Whitby for the final but chose to steer the Rocknroll Hanover colt who was purchased at the APG sales in Melbourne for $16,000. After lobbing the one-out-one-back from barrier 4, Im Rockaria led the three-wide line at the 750 meter mark and found a position outside the leader within a few hundred meters. He did battle with the favourite Wesley in the run to the line but outstayed him to take home the largest share of the $100,000 Group 1 Prizemoney. Chis Voak was full of praise for the horse and his Pinjarra based trainer Michael Brennan who has nursed the colt through soundness issues throughout his 5 start career. “You really don’t understand what this horse has gone through to get here tonight… I thought he had the ability to do what he did tonight, and he proved to me he did” he said. Next on Im Rockaria’s hit-list is the July 15 Golden Slipper. “We’ll be heading to the Golden Slipper next and if he goes well enough in that, we’ll look at heading over for the Breeders’ Crown” said trainer Michael Brennan... “We bought him at the APG Sale and he has turned out to be a great buy, he is a lovely horse, which has the looks, manners and engine…there is plenty of upside to him”. Scott Hamilton

Speedy frontrunner Wesley is certain to be installed a warm favourite for the Princi Smallgoods Pearl Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier in the $100,000 group 1 2130m feature event for two-year-olds. But Harness Racing reinsman Chris Voak is in no mood to concede that Wesley has an unbreakable grip on the race and he considers that he has sound winning prospects with the Michael Brennan-trained Rocknroll Hanover colt Im Rockaria. Voak’s decision to drive the lightly-raced Im Rockaria in preference to Our Zak Whitby, the most experienced runner in the event, will surprise many keen followers of the light harness racing sport. Voak drove Our Zak Whitby and Im Rockaria to impressive victories in qualifying heats of the Pearl on Tuesday of last week. Im Rockaria was untroubled to set the pace from barrier three and was not extended in winning from American Dynasty, covering the 2130m in 2min. 40.2sec. Our Zak Whitby was smartest into stride from the No. 1 barrier in his heat in which he led for the first 600m and then trailed the pacemaker Michael Joseph before unwinding a sparkling late burst to win convincingly from Writing On Thewall and Allmightyjoelouis. His time for the journey was 2min. 35.9sec. Voak has disregarded the considerable difference of 4.3sec. in opting for Im Rockaria. Wesley simply coasted to an all-the-way heat win in 2min. 39.7sec. Voak said that a better barrier (No. 4) had swayed him to choose Im Rockaria ahead of Our Zak Whitby, who will start from the No. 6 barrier on the front line. “Our Zak Whitby, from six, might have to go back at the start,” Voak said. “Wesley looks sure to lead, but I’m hoping to get a good sit in the one-out, one-back trail with Im Rockaria, who is an improving horse. I certainly wouldn’t have chosen him if I didn’t think he could win.” Im Rockaria has raced four times for two wins and two seconds, while Our Zak Whitby has been driven by Voak in all his 12 starts for three wins, five seconds and two thirds. Wesley, a Sportswriter colt who will be driven by Reon Tither for young Bunbury trainer Sarah Wall, is a brilliant frontrunner who has had seven starts for five wins and one third. When Voak opted for Im Rockaria, Ed Dewar, the breeder, part-owner and trainer of Our Zak Whitby, wasted no time in securing champion reinsman Chris Lewis to drive the WA-bred Mach Three colt on Friday night. Dewar prepared Henry Te Whitby when Rod Chambers drove him to victory over Tempestuous Whitby in the 1998 Pearl Classic. Lewis will be seeking to win the Pearl for the fourth time, after scoring with Lombo Laredo in 1994, Mitemptation in 1995 and Argent Treasure in 2007. Byford trainer David Thompson, who won the Pearl in 2014 with the frontrunning Isaiah Artois, holds a strong hand in Friday night’s classic with Allmightyjoelouis and Whoswhointhezoo, who will start from barriers one and two, respectively, on the back line. “Allmightyjoelouis is my pick of the two,” Thompson said. “I couldn’t be happier with the way he’s going. He needed the run when he was third in his heat which was run considerably faster than the other two heats. “He did all the work in the heat and I wouldn’t swap him with any other runner in the final. There’s not much of him and he’s not much to look at, but he’s a lovely little horse with a great attitude.” Champion reinsman Gary Hall jun. will continue as the driver of Allmightyjoelouis, who settled in seventh place in his heat before starting a three-wide move 1200m from home and getting to the front at the 250m mark before wilting slightly to be third to Our Zak Whitby. He led and won by just under three lengths from The Real Ideal in the $100,000 group 1 Sales Classic at his previous outing. Whosewhointhezoo, a gelding by Major In Art, is not as advanced as Allmightyjoelouis, but Thompson expects him to be prominent. He will be handled by Peter Tilbrook and is likely to have the perfect trail behind the likely pacemaker Wesley. He was bred and is owned by Thompson’s wife Karen. “He’s a big horse and is just a work in progress,” Thompson said. “But he is coming along quite nicely.” Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri said that Writing On Thewall (placed at four of his seven starts) was capable of a strong effort from the favourable No. 3 barrier. “He worked nicely this (Tuesday) morning and I’m very happy with him,” he said. Writing On Thewall was fifth at the bell and after getting off the pegs at the 450m mark he went three wide on the home turn and took a narrow lead 50m from the post before finishing second to Our Zak Whitby in a qualifying heat. Olivieri won the Pearl with Lombo Laredo (1994) and Argent treasure (2007).    Ken Casellas

Speedy three-year-old Mary Catherine will be at a short quote and looks the winner of the International Animal Health Products Pace for fillies at the harness racing meeting at Gloucester Park on Friday night. But rival trainer Ross Olivieri refuses to concede defeat, saying that the inexperienced Machine Elle had the ability to test the talented Mary Catherine, who will be driven by her trainer Kristian Hawkins from the outside barrier in the field of seven. Machine Elle, to be driven by Chris Voak, is more favourably drawn at the No. 3 barrier. She warmed up for Friday night’s engagement in grand style with a striking victory over Hoylakes Next Lady at a 1.58.4 rate in a 2130m event at Gloucester Park on Tuesday afternoon. Machine Elle, a 5/1 chance from out wide at barrier eight, raced three wide early and then worked hard in the breeze before hitting the front on the home turn and racing away from her rivals. At her only other start for Olivieri Machine Elle set the pace and won by more than four lengths over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday of last week. Machine Elle is a full-sister to El Machine, who improved his record to 62 starts for 21 wins and 14 placings for earnings of $223,838 when he finished fast to win the group 2 RWWA Cup last Friday week. “Mary Catherine is pretty good, but she wouldn’t want to bring anything but her A game on Friday night,” Olivieri said. “I know that Mary Catherine has gone faster than Elle Machine, but Elle Machine is going places and just keeps improving all the time.' “She’s got the required toughness, but I don’t know whether she’s got the point-to-point speed." "However, I think she will develop, particularly when we improve her gait a bit more." “I don’t know whether lining up Elle Machine in three days’ time is a good idea, but we’ll give it a go. " If she keeps improving we might look at the WA Oaks." It’s early days, but setting her for the Oaks is not out of the question," Ross said.  Mary Catherine possesses abundant natural speed and she has already earned $73,489 from her seven wins and eight placings from 18 starts. She contested a 2130m event last Friday night against five male rivals and performed admirably, finishing third behind Johnny Disco and Soho Wall Street after working hard without cover. Ken Cassellas

The big question harness racing punters are posing is can champion six-year-old Frith overcome the outside barrier and win the $125,000 Westral Mares Classic over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Sunday afternoon. The daughter of Four Starzzz Shark gave a further sample of her class on Friday of last week when she overcame the outside barrier (No. 9) to win the $50,000 Norms Daughter Classic by a head from the fast-finishing Ideal Alice. She was driven with great aggression by Chris Voak, who urged her forward when the mobile barrier released the field rise. Frith was trapped four wide early before moving to the breeze outside the pacemaking Nuala. She took a narrow lead 400m from home and held on grimly to withstand the late challenge from Ideal Alice, who had enjoyed a soft run in sixth place, three back on the pegs.  Voak is again likely to make use of Frith’s excellent gate speed, but he is likely to find considerable opposition in his quest for the breeze, or the lead. Adding considerable interest will be the inclusion of the Dean Braun-trained Nike Franco, who was second emergency in the Norms Daughter Classic. Nike Franco, with Luke McCarthy in the sulky, will have many admirers, particularly after drawing the No. 2 barrier on the front line. Nike Franco was most impressive at Pinjarra on Monday when she began speedily from barrier three, set the pace and sprinted over the final 400m in 26.7sec. to beat Sovereign Faith by more than five lengths at a 1.56.6 rate over 2185m.        Another Victorian mare, Milly Perez, to be driven by Chris Alford for trainer Larry Eastman, will start from the No. 1 barrier and looks set to gain a perfect passage behind the likely leader Nike Franco. She was a sound third behind Frith and Ideal Alice on Friday of last week and is capable of a bold showing. Another Victorian mare Berisari, a fast-finishing second to Leda McNally two starts ago, has drawn poorly, out wide at barrier eight. She will need luck from there, but cannot be underestimated. Boyanup trainer Justin Prentice has two in-form runners in The Parade and Kiralin. He will drive The Parade from barrier four and the mare looms as a solid each-way prospect. Kiralin will start from the No. 3 barrier and will be driven by American ace Tim Tetrick.   Ideal Alice will need luck from barrier six and if the race is run at a helter-skelter pace noted sit-sprinter Jungle Jewel would be capable of unwinding a powerful late sprint. Ken Casellas

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