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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

Former New Zealand pacer Naughty Maravu has been a revelation since arriving in Western Australia and entering the Pinjarra harness racing stables of Michael Brennan. He has had five starts in this State for four wins and he looks one of the main chances in an evenly-matched field in the $50,000 Del Basso Smallgoods Binshaw final at Gloucester Park on Sunday afternoon. The Badlands Hanover five-year-old, who will start from barrier five on the front line in the 2130m event, is extremely versatile and reinsman Chris Voak will have the option of revving the gelding up early and making a bid for the lead or restraining for a position and relying on the pacer’s strong finishing burst. Naughty Maravu impressed at Bunbury on Tuesday of last week when he started from the back line and settled in tenth position before Voak set him alight with a three-wide burst approaching the bell. He sustained the effort and forged to the front 100m from the post and held on to beat the fast-finishing stablemates Our Major Mark and Ima Tragedy. Our Major Mark (barrier seven) and Ima Tragedy (No. 2 on the back line) will be joined in the final by another pacer from the Forrestdale stables of Greg and Skye Bond in Assassinator, who disappointed at odds-on when he set the pace before fading to third behind Major Catastrophe at Gloucester Park on Friday night of last week. Major Catastrophe will have many admirers after his last-start stout-hearted effort when he raced wide early and then worked hard in the breeze before winning from Znana on Friday of last week. Chris Alford again will handle the powerful seven-year-old for owner-trainer David Young. Znana is one of three runners from the Baldivis stables of Nathan Turvey. The gelding will start from the No. 1 barrier with Gavin Lang in the sulky.  Turvey has engaged Gary Hall jun. to drive Machin Out from the No. 2 barrier and he will drive Sonic Classic from the outside of the back line. Ken Casellas

“She’s fit; she’s hard and she’s ready to go,” declared Pinjarra trainer Michael Brennan when assessing star New South Wales mare Frith’s prospects in the $35,000 James Brennan Memorial at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The brilliant six-year-old and the only mare in the 2536m group 3 event is poised to take full advantage of the prized No. 1 barrier (an automatic draw under the conditions of the race), with Brennan predicting that Frith would set the pace and prove hard to catch. “We’ll be leading,” said Brennan. “There’s nothing there that will cross her, I would’ve thought. She’s very quick out of the gate and runs her best races in front.” Frith, trained by Junee postman Bruce Harpley throughout her 46-start career of 33 wins, six seconds and two thirds for $884,245 in prizemoney, will be having her first start for six months. But Harpley, who has remained in Junee to prepare a team of 11 pacers and to deliver the mail, is confident that Frith is ready to run a big race, first-up. “Bruce said she is forward enough,” Brennan said. “I don’t expect too much early pressure and 2536m first-up is not a problem. She was ready to go to the races a fortnight ago, but when her owners decided to send her over here, they decided not to race her." “She’s a quality mare; you don’t win 33 out of 46 and $880,000 unless you are a very good mare. Bruce gave her a hoppled run, a decent hit-out, last Saturday before she got on the plane in Sydney for the trip to Perth. He was very happy with her work." “After the float trip down from Junee to Sydney (435km south-west of Sydney) and the flight to Perth, that was more than enough for her. She jogged this morning (Tuesday) and we’ll jog her through to Friday and have her ready to go." “Since she arrived she has done very well and is eating well. She is very free in her action and has settled right in. She’s been here before, so that’s a bonus.” Chris Voak has been engaged to drive Frith for the first time on Friday night, and he plans to have a good chat with Harpley before the race. “Frith is a bit tricky to drive, but Voaky will definitely suit her,” Brennan said. “She’s a mare who needs to be driven along a bit and she doesn’t like other horses getting past her.” Voak, who is in top form in the sulky, with a treble at Gloucester Park last Friday night and a double with Memphis Bomber (6/1) and Disturbia (29/1) at Northam on Tuesday night, is hoping that history will repeat itself. In last year’s Brennan Memorial Voak drove the only mare in the race, Leda McNally, the 5/4 on favourite who set the pace from the No. 1 barrier and held on to win by a half-head from Shardons Rocket. Leda McNally became only the third successful mare in the 47-year history of the race. Brennan also has been successful in a Brennan Memorial, with Im Victorious (driven by Justin Prentice) winning narrowly from Sneakyn Down Under in 2013. Frith is likely to receive stiff opposition on Friday night from Elegant Christian, Crusader Banner and Northview Punter, trained at Serpentine by Gary Hall sen. Interestingly, each of those three pacers was successful in minor events on the Brennan Memorial program in 2014. Others who will have admirers include the brilliant, but somewhat unreliable Condrieu and the speedy Little Boy Blue. Elegant Christian, to be driven by Clint Hall from out wide at barrier eight, looks set to fight out the finish. He was most impressive last Friday night when he started from 20m and was 11th with 600m to travel before surging home with a powerful burst to finish second to stablemate Cyamach over 2503m when the final 800m off the front was covered in 56.7sec. At Pinjarra the previous Monday Elegant Christian gave a bold frontrunning display to win a 2636m stand from El Machine and The Bucket List, dashing over the final 800m in 54.8sec. Condrieu, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, will be driven by Colin Brown, who won the 2004 Brennan Memorial with Another Party. The versatile Condrieu will start from the outside barrier (No. 9), but he can never be underestimated. Frith, who has won seven group 1 and two group 3 events, has made one appearance in Western Australia when Harpley drove her to an all-the-way victory in the WA Oaks over 2536m in May 2013. Ken Casellas

Interdominion championship hopeful Billies A Star should notch a hat-trick of wins by proving too speedy for his 11 harness racing rivals in the $22,000 TABtouch Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Michael Brennan-trained five-year-old has struck a purple patch and has recorded winning margins of 17.3m and 14.3m at his past two starts at Gloucester Park, both over 2536m. Chris Voak, back after an American holiday, will resume in the sulky behind Billies A Star after Michael Grantham proved an admirable substitute when he drove the gelding in fine style for his most recent victory. Billies A Star, a winner at ten of his 20 starts, will begin out wide from the No. 8 barrier on the front line in Friday night’s race. But this should not prove a problem for Billies A Star, who possess a wonderful turn of foot. Outstanding mare The Parade looks the only rival capable of extending Billies A Star. The five-year-old who has won 16 times from only 36 starts for Boyanup trainer Justin Prentice, will start from the outside (barrier three) on the back line and claiming reinsman Brayden Green will rely on the mare’s powerful finishing burst. The Parade started from the outside at her latest appearance, at Gloucester Park last Friday week, when she raced three wide early and then in the breeze before getting up to snatch a narrow victory from the pacemaker Am Opulent over 2130m, rating 1.55.7. That was her first appearance for almost four months and she is certain to be improved by the outing. The Ross Olivieri-trained Im A Peregrine will have admirers. He will start from barrier six on the front line for Stuart Macdonald. The gelding also started from the No. 6 barrier last Friday night when McDonald dashed him to the lead in the first lap and t hen set a brisk pace to go on and score a decisive victory at a 1.56.3 rate over 2536m. by Ken Casellas Related links Fields for Gloucester Park, Friday 16 October 2015 Form guide for Gloucester Park, Friday 16 October 2015

New Zealand-bred five-year-old Billies A Star is a comparative novice who will be having only his 19th start when he contests the Ross North “A Reputation Built On Excellence” Pace over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. However, he has the ability to prove the master of his seven older and vastly more experienced rivals, who between them have had exactly 500 starts.        He is an M2-class pacer who needs to show good form to be chosen in the final 30 pacers to compete in the $1.8 million TABtouch interdominion championship series at Gloucester Park and Bunbury in November and December. Trained at Pinjarra by Michael Brennan, Billies A Star is awkwardly drawn at barrier six and his clash with up-and-coming six-year-old Erskine Range (barrier eight) should prove to be a major highlight on the ten-event program. Erskine Range’s trainer-driver Colin Brown has a healthy respect for Billies A Star, who has the advantage of starting from a more favourable barrier. Chris Voak, who will drive Billies A Star, declared: “I’ll be searching for the lead. Much will depend on what the drivers of the five horses drawn inside of him want to do, but Billies A Star has got very good gate speed and he likes to go forward off the arm. “He led and beat Phoenix Warrior first-up over 2636m at Narrogin two months ago and he’s got a good enough form line to be a leader in this race, and if he gets to the front I would be disappointed if he didn’t win. He is nominated for the Inters, so you would expect him to run a good race. “At his latest outing, in a stand at Pinjarra, he galloped and lost ground at the start and I was criticised for my drive (after he finished fifth at 5/1 on). I probably over-drove him a tad (dashing forward to race in the breeze), but I thought he was good enough to do that. Looking back at the times (final four quarters in 30sec., 28.7sec., 28.8sec. and 29.4sec.) maybe I did over-drive him a bit. “However, I’m sure he will be better for that run and returning to mobile racing he won’t be losing 60 to 70 metres at the start. At his previous run he drew barrier six and I sat back until the final 600m before letting him run home. He did well to finish third to Waylade after a final 400m in 27.8sec. Had he drawn to lead I think he would have given Waylade something to chase.” Brown said he expected Erskine Range to prove hard to beat, even from the outside barrier. The chestnut is a brilliant frontrunner and has impressed with stylish all-the-way victories over 2130m at his past two outings, his first runs after an absence of 11 weeks. “He’s not just a frontrunner,” Brown said. “He’s versatile and is tougher than he is brilliant. He rated 1.54.6 when he won over 1684m at Pinjarra last October after racing three deep on a wet track. He rated 1.54 11 months earlier when he raced wide early and then without cover. So he’s not a one-trick pony. “I also thought his effort in the Pinjarra Cup (on June 1) at the end of his previous campaign was full of merit when he finished fourth against some top horses. “The 2536m of Friday night’s race won’t worry him. He’s pretty hard in condition. The outside barrier is a worry, especially with Billies A Star drawn inside of him. Billies A Star has ability and Voaky knows how to rate you out of a race. So we’ll be up outside him earlier than later, I would think. This will be a great test for us. “We’re hoping Erskine Range will get into the top 30 for the Inters. He will have a week off in the paddock after this week’s race.” by Ken Casellas Related Links Fields for Gloucester Park, Friday 18 September 2015 Form guide for Gloucester Park, Friday 18 September 2015

New Zealand-bred five-year-old Glenferrie Rustler has a losing sequence of 14, but he has the ability to overcome the disadvantage of starting out wide from the No. 8 barrier on the front line and win the 2536m Westralian Pathway Pace at the harness racing meeting at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The gelding has not been successful since scoring over 2230m at Globe Derby Park last January. However, his recent form for Wanneroo trainer Debbie Padberg has been extremely encouraging. He was most unlucky when a fighting second to talented three-year-old Ima Connoisseur in a 2130m Pathway last Friday night. A 16/1 chance, he started out wide at barrier seven and raced three wide until getting to the breeze 950m after the start. He refused to give in and finished almost four lengths ahead of the third placegetter Themightynadal. That took his record to 54 starts for 19 wins and 20 placings for earnings of $80,539. At his previous start, over 1730m a week earlier, he trailed the pacemaker Blissfull Boy before finishing fast to be a 2m second to star three-year-old Beaudiene Boaz. Glenferrie Rustler's only serious opposition should come from Machs A Pearler, who notched his eighth win from 62 starts when he dashed to the front 400m after the start, set a solid pace and sprinted over the final 400m in 27.4sec. to beat The Arsonist by more than two lengths over 2692m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. However, Machs A Pearler faces a stern test from barrier nine on the front line. Chris Voak, who will again be in the sulky behind Glenferrie Rustler, has sound prospects in the following event, the final race, the 1730m Westralian For Over 25 Years Westbred Pace for three-year-olds in which he will handle Bettors Gift, who is trained at West Swan by his mother Linley. At Gloucester Park last Friday week Bettors Gift began from the No. 9 barrier on the front line and was restrained back to last in the field of nine before he sustained a spirited three-wide burst which took him to the lead 80m from the post. However, The Thinking Man flew home to defeat Glenferrie Rustler by a half-head. Toughest for Bettors Gift to beat over the sprint trip appear to be Maybe Special (barrier one) and Playin With Magic (two). Maybe Special fought on from fifth at the bell to finish third behind Artistic Edge over 2130m last Friday night. That followed a win, a second and a third from her four previous outings. She is trained by Nathan Turvey, who took his season's tally to 47 after preparing and driving Wynberg Terror and Smart By Design for wins at Northam on Tuesday night. He also drove Hells Kitchen to victory for trainer Maryann White. Playin With Magic, trained at Byford by Sharon Gossage, set the pace when second to Artistic Edge last week. She will be better suited over the shorter distance of this week's race. Ken Casellas

Pinjarra harness racing trainer Michael Brennan has completed arrangement for exciting gelding Nathans Courage to travel to Victoria to contest the rich Breeders Crown for two-year-old colts and geldings. Brennan will accompany Nathans Courage on a flight from Perth next Tuesday week and Chris Voak will drive the son of Courage Under Fire in a semi-final of the Breeders Crown at Ballarat the following Saturday night. Brennan is hopeful that Nathans Courage, a stylish all-the-way winner at Gloucester Park at his only two starts, will qualify to run in the $288,000 final at Melton on Sunday August 30. "He should go well," Brennan said. "He's a lovely little horse, a professional racehorse and he's so relaxed." Two of Nathans Courage's most serious rivals appear to be Our Waikiki Beach and Zee Dana. Our Waikiki Beach, trained by New Zealander Mark Purdon, is unbeaten at his ten starts and has amassed $324,081. He sped over the final quarters in 27.1sec. and 27.8sec. and rated 1.56.3 when he scored a four-length victory in a heat of the Breeders Crown over 2300m at Menangle on July 21. He won the group 1 Australian Pacing Gold, covering the 1609m journey in 1.54.3 at Menangle in April and he won the 1609m NSW Breeders Challenge final in 1.53.7 at Menangle in June. Zee Dana notched his second win from three starts when he sat behind the pacemaker and finished strongly along the sprint lane to win a heat of the Breeders Crown at a 1.58 rate over 2190m at Shepparton on Tuesday night. Ken Casellas

Im A Peregrine has won only once from his past 16 starts, but reinsman Chris Voak is quite enthusiastic about the five-year-old's prospects in the final of the $25,000 Remote Foods Chandon final at the harness racing meeting at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Victorian-bred Im A Peregrine has drawn the coveted No. 1 barrier on the front line in the 2130m event and Voak plans to take full advantage of the gelding's sparkling early pace by denying speedy frontrunner Soho Lennon the opportunity to set the pace after starting from barrier two. "You saw what he did the last time he led in town," Voak said. "He started out wide at barrier eight, raced four wide for the first 300m and three wide for the next 300m before taking the lead and racing away to win by five and a half lengths with the ear plugs in, rating 1.58.1 over 2536m" "I think he will run 1.57 in front over 2130m." "He grows a leg if he leads, and I think he's got the speed to hold up." "Plan A will be to lead because he excels in front, and if he does he will be hard to beat." Im A Peregrine's trainer Ross Olivieri said that the gelding had been racing well, but without luck and agreed with Voak's prediction that he would prove hard to catch if he was able to set the pace. No doubt Gary Hall jun. will be anxious for Soho Lennon to burst to the front from the No. 2 barrier after the New Zealand-bred gelding was untroubled to jump to the front from the inside barrier and win comfortably over 2130m last Friday night. Apart from Soho Lennon, Serpentine trainer Gary Hall sen. has sound prospects with Cyamach, who is favourably drawn at barrier three. Cyamach surged home from seventh at the bell when a neck second to stablemate Vapour over 1730m last Friday week. That followed his fast-finishing victory over 2130m a week earlier when making his Australian debut. Condrieu, who set the pace and broke into a gallop approaching the home turn in the Higgins Memorial last Friday night, cannot be underestimated this week. He quickly regained his pacing action last week and did well to finish a close third to Another Vinnie and Delightful Offer. Trainers Greg and Skye Bond took Condrieu to the Byford trials on Sunday morning when the five-year-old, driven by Colin Brown, performed satisfactorily and finished a well-beaten third behind Dynamite Dude and Awesome Desire over 2150m. "He raced in a shadow roll in the trial and he got around without breaking," Brown said. "I didn't extend him and he went to the line with the ear plugs in." "So take no notice that he finished only third." "He raced one-out and one-back and I had him three wide on the final bend, just to make sure he didn't break." "He's a class horse." Ken Casellas

Nathans Courage, a typically small son of former champion pacer Courage Under Fire, looks set to give punters a flying start to the harness racing meeting at Gloucester Park on Friday night by winning the opening event, the 2130m Taylor Sulky Repairs Pace. The two-year-old, prepared at Pinjarra by Michael Brennan, made an auspicious debut when he set the pace and won by almost two lengths from El Hombre, his only rival in a qualifying heat of the Breeders Crown at Gloucester Park on Monday. He sprinted over the final quarter in a sparkling 27.3sec. Reinsman Chris Voak was impressed with the gelding, saying: "He's got potential and there's plenty of upside. I think he will have benefitted from his run on Monday." "He's drawn barrier four on Friday and that's the best of the main chances." "He showed good gate speed on Monday and I'll be looking to replicate that performance." "I'll be heading forward to take the lead; that's my game plan and I think that Mouse (Brennan) will agree." "This is a jump up in grade and will test him." "But he's up to the challenge." "He did it quite comfortably on Monday and I didn't pull the ear plugs or really get stuck into him." "He's got a quick quarter and can run a good half." "I don't expect too much pressure, but maybe Browny (Colin Brown) might have a crack with Franco Rayner." Franco Rayner, an effortless all-the-way winner at his Australian debut, over 2185m at Pinjarra on July 13, finished seventh behind Sprinter in the Golden Slipper at Gloucester Park four nights later when he started from the back line and was always well back. Franco Rayner will start out wide at barrier eight on Friday night. He dashed over the final 400m in 28.6sec. when an easy winner in a 2150m trial at Byford on Sunday morning. "He handled Pinjarra a lot better than he handled Gloucester Park," Brown said. "He's not a big horse, but he wasn't comfortable in the run at Gloucester Park." "I changed some gear on him for Sunday's trial, but it didn't work." "However, he still ran home very quickly." "Now he will have a lugging bit added and hopefully I will have a better steering horse." Ken Casellas  

Massive colt Ideal Tyson will tower above his rivals in the $125,000 group 1 Premier Suzuki Golden Slipper Stakes at  the harness racing meeting at Gloucester Park on Friday night and Blythwood trainer Gary Elson is bubbling with confidence that the Victorian-bred two-year-old will prove too classy for the opposition. Elson's confidence was boosted significantly when Ideal Tyson drew the prized No. 1 barrier in the random draw, with star filly Dodolicious favourably drawn at No. 2. Ideal Tyson is a powerful frontrunner and Chris Voak is sure to attempt an all-the-way win, which would give Elson his second success in the rich classic after scoring with 13/4 chance Class of Tara in 2013. For good measure Elson's runner Mister Ardee finished second to Beaudiene Boaz in the 2014 Golden Slipper. Ideal Tyson will start a warm favourite in an event in which favourites have flopped in recent years. Only one favourite, Western Cullen (evens) has been successful in the past 14 years. He gave a power-packed display to sustain a spirited three wide burst to win easily from Major Catastrophe in 2011. Elson also has smart youngsters in last-start winners Sprinter and Good Times Ahead in the field for Friday night's 2130m feature. But he declares that Ideal Tyson is superior to those New Zealand-bred pacers. Elson has survived some anxious moments to have Ideal Tyson and Sprinter fit for the big race. Both were affected by a virus in mid-May after Ideal Tyson had set the pace and beaten Sprinter into second place in a 2100m event at Bunbury. This disrupted their preparation, but Elson is extremely relieved that each two-year-old was able to resume racing last week. Ideal Tyson was a 10/1 on favourite when he started out wide at barrier seven before surging to the front in the first lap and winning easily by three lengths from Anime at a 1.59.6 rate over 2130m at Gloucester Park last Monday week. Then Sprinter took full advantage of the No. 1 barrier when he set the pace and won convincingly by 4m from Mister Versace at a 2.0.7 rate over 2130m at Gloucester Park last Friday night. Nathan Turvey will again handle Sprinter, who has drawn somewhat awkwardly at barrier six. Sprinter has raced eight times for five wins, two seconds and a third placing. Ideal Tyson has had nine starts for eight wins. His only defeat came when he was involved in an early speed battle before getting to the front and wilting late to finish fourth behind Sprinter in the $50,000 Champagne Classic at Gloucester Park on May 1. Good Times Ahead, to be driven by Kim Young, will start from barrier two on the back line. Young drove a well-judged race when he brought the heavily-supported Good Times Ahead home with a spirited burst to snatch victory from the pacemaker Saleahs Comand over 1823m at Narrogin on Sunday afternoon. Good Times Ahead had enjoyed an ideal passage behind Saleahs Comand and he rated 1.58.6. This was his first win at his fifth start. Elson's only minor concern is that he had hoped Ideal Tyson would have had a tougher first-up run last week. "He came in with a heart rate of 88 and I was very happy with his run, although I would have preferred that he'd had a harder run," Elson said. "He's a good horse in front and can also perform strongly with a sit." "He's a very good horse and I think he should win." "However, I don't rate him as good as Class of Tara, who was an exceptional horse." Dodolicious, owned and trained by Greg and Skye Bond, is tough, durable, pacy and versatile and she will have many admirers after scoring runaway victories on the past two Fridays nights at Gloucester Park, defeating Jasmin Amal by 16m in the group 1 Westbred Classic for fillies, rating 1.58 over the 2130m, and then excelling as a frontrunner in beating Safari Storm by 15m at a 1.58.7 rate in the 2130m Gold Bracelet. She has had seven starts for five wins and two seconds and Ryan Warwick would dearly love to win the classic for the second time, after driving 9/1 chance Spirit of Navajo to victory over Devastating in 2005. Greg Bond trained the 2010 winner Ohokas Bondy. Fillies do not have a particularly good record in the Golden Slipper, with only eight being successful in the 47-year history of the event. Winning fillies have been Sordice (1968), Omista (1971), Via Vista (1980), Mazzini Magic (1988), Whitbys Miss Penny (1990), Whitbys Merit (1998), Spirit of Navajo (2005) and Arma Xpress (2012). Chris Lewis, who has won the Slipper a record seven times, will be in the sulky behind the speedy Ross Ashby-trained Johnny Disco, who gave a bold frontrunning display to win the group 1 Westbred Classic for colts and geldings last Friday week. Johnny Disco's prospects slumped when he drew the outside (No. 9) on the front line. Lewis has won the classic with Pardon Me Boys (1987), Harry Gunn (1995), Saab (1997), Talladega (1999), The Jobs On (2004), Aikido Whitby (2006) and Western Cullen (2011). Byford trainer Ross Olivieri has been successful with Harry Gunn, Saab, Talladega and Western Cullen and this year he will be relying on handy filly Sheer Rocknroll, a winner at six of her 11 starts. She is perfectly drawn on the inside of the back line and Stuart McDonald should obtain a wonderful trail behind Ideal Tyson. Byford trainer John Oldroyd is full of hope that the promising Lightning Jolt will cause an upset. Lightning Jolt has won at two of his six starts and will begin from barrier four on the front line for Clint Hall, who drove 44/1 outsider Mynameskenny into fourth place behind Beaudiene Boaz in last year's Golden Slipper for Oldroyd. Banjup trainer Colin Brown, who has driven Western Apache (2003) and Ohokas Bondy (2010) in previous Slippers, will be represented by the smart New Zealand-bred colt Franco Rayner, who made an impressive Australian debut when he set the pace and romped to a five-length win over El Hombre in a 2185m event at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. Franco Rayner, who dashed over the final quarters in 28.1sec. and 27.8sec. at Pinjarra and rated 1.58.5, faces a stern test from the outside of the back line. Ken Casellas  

Delightful Jade has been a model of consistency throughout her 27-start career which has produced 16 wins and five minor placings and she gets her chance to break through for her first victory in a group 1 feature when she start from the No. 3 barrier on the front line in the $100,000 Westbred Classic for three-year-old fillies at the harness racing meeting at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Blessed with sparkling gate speed, Delightful Jade has sound prospects of getting to an early lead and then dictating the terms of the 2130m event. She began brilliantly from barrier seven and set the pace before holding on grimly to defeat smart gelding Three Bears by a neck, rating 1.55.3 over 1609m at Bunbury last Friday night. That was her first outing since she led from barrier three and won by three lengths over 2242m at Narrogin on May 12 and she should be improved by her effort on Friday night last week. She is prepared at Capel by Andrew de Campo and is driven in her races by his son Aiden. Delightful Jade is out of Whitbys Solitaire, who was retired after only nine starts as a juvenile which produced a win at Narrogin as a two-year-old and another at Bunbury as a three-year-old. Whitbys Solitaire is a full-sister to former champion Whitbys Miss Penny, who was a dominant performer as a two and three-year-old. She amassed $568,289 from 32 wins and six placings from 50 starts. The Ross Olivieri-trained filly Lady Willoughby looms as the hardest for Delightful Jade to beat. Lady Willoughby, who will start from barrier four on the front line with Chris Voak in the sulky, notched her ninth win from 24 starts when she led from the No. 3 barrier and sprinted over the final 400m in 27.5sec. to beat Massive Attack by more than two lengths over 2100m at Bunbury last Friday night. Ken Casellas  

The harness racing pundits in Western Australia thought last nights Champagne Classic for two year olds at Gloucester Park was a one horse affair with the unbeaten Ideal Tyson a very warm favourite. And why wouldn't he be with six wins in a row and a best time of 1:55.5. The Gary Elson trained son of American Ideal was given time by driver Chris Voak to find his feet early from barrier five before before pressing on to the front with just over a mile to go. Another Gary Elson trained runner in Sprinter with Nathan Turvey in the bike was also well supported but he dropped out to the rear from the outside of the front line as soon as the gate went. Chris Voak kept Ideal Tyson bowling along in front and passing the 600 metres mark he looked to still have plenty left in the tank until Rich Yankee attacked the leader and Ideal Tyson was immediately under pressure. Rich Yankee turned for home in front with first starter Lightning Jolt in hot pursuit but both were bloused late by a flying Sprinter , who came from last at the 400 metres for an emphatic victory. Sprinter paced the 2130 metres in 2:36.7, a mile rate of 1:58.4 with closing sectionals of 58.9 and 29.6. Gary Elson, who had three runners in last nights race may have come up empty with the hot favourite Ideal Tyson but still scooped the major share of the $50,000 race with one of his other his other runners, Sprinter. A $34,000 purchase at last years Australasian Classic yearling sale at Auckland by Gary, the son of Mach Three had won three of five before last night and looked like a horse on the up. Last night was the first time that a lot of those two year olds had gone much further than a mile and Sprinter looked to really appreciate the extra distance of the Champagne Classic. Harnesslink Media 

Dazzling victories by Sensational Gabby during the past fortnight have boosted Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri’s confidence ahead of Friday night’s Navy Cup at Gloucester Park. With the mare drawn favourably in barrier two, Olivieri believes Sensational Gabby can provide him with his fourth success in the feature. Olivieri’s Cup winners are Chipmont (1991), Western Gentleman (1994), Mark Craig (1995) and Super Strike (1996). Victory would also make daughter of Yankee Sensation just the seventh mare in the event’s 43-year history to emerge triumphant, with Petite Arab the trendsetter in 1966, followed by Mount Mist (1968), Anna’s Ann (1977), Maid Aachen (1978), Windy Jean (1979) and Golden Goddess in 1998. Leading driver Chris Voak has no doubt a mare will take out the Group Three, but he believes it won’t be Sensational Gabby, but rather his charge, Leda Mcnally. At their previous encounter Leda Mcnally sat outside Sensational Gabby before finishing a gutsy third in the Members’ Sprint. With Leda Mcnally drawn ideally in the pole, Voak predicts the roles will be reversed. “We’ve got the barrier draw and Gabby hasn’t been able to beat Leda when she has led,” Voak said. “Sensational Gabby has beaten Leda McNally only once, and that was last Friday week. This week I’m sure Leda McNally will jump to the front and Sensational Gabby will not be able to cross her. “In my opinion Leda McNally is every bit as quick as Sensational Gabby. I have driven both mares and Leda will definitely lead this week. Gabby can’t cross her.” Handy pacer Polak’ shapes as the biggest danger to the popular pair despite drawing awkwardly in barrier six for Hazelmere trainer Mike Reed and his reinsman-son, Mark. First-up from a spell last week, Polak showed scintillating speed during the latter stages to come from the tail of the field to finish second behind Sensational Gabby. “That run will have done him the world of good,” Mike declared. “He’ll improve on the run and be right in it on Friday night.” The Reeds boast an outstanding Navy Cup record, having won the event eight times. Mike has six victories as a trainer, beginning with Sylvie's Secret in 1986 and followed by Manageable (1989), Time Symbol (1992), Golden Resonator (2001), Tricky Vic (2002) and La Valiente (2004). Mark was successful with Golden Resonator, Tricky Vic La Valiente, Another Party (1999) and Skippers Trick (2000). PAUL COURTS

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