Four-year-old Alta Christiano, the youngest and least experienced runner in the Garrards Horse And Hound Easter Cup at Gloucester Park on Thursday night, is poised to give master trainer Gary Hall sen. his fourth victory in the $40,000 event and maintain his unbeaten record in Australia. Hall, who has won Easter Cups with The Falcon Strike (2003), Patches (who dead-heated with OK Windermere in 2006) and Rebel Scooter (last year) delights in setting challenges for himself and his pacers. And he is testing his skill by lining up Alta Christiano against several older and vastly experienced pacers with outstanding form in standing-start events and over marathon trips. Alta Christiano has had only 13 starts for nine wins and he has never contested a race over the Easter Cup journey of 2902m. Alta Christiano, to be driven by Clint Hall, has taken part in only one standing-start event, over 2200m at Forbury in October 2012, when he began safely off 10m before breaking into a fierce gallop 500m after the start and finishing tenth as favourite at 7/4 on, 66 metres behind the winner Alta Capone. Alta Christiano has not been extended in winning easily at his five starts in Western Australia, all in mobiles over 1684m to 2536m. He is a rising superstar who looks set to meet his latest challenge and emerge triumphant, despite the disadvantage of starting from the outside of the front line of six. Alta Christiano, a chunky stallion, has dashed to an early lead and coasted to victory in his first two starts in his four-year-old campaign. Hall sen. originally intended to take him to Sydney to contest the $100,000 group 1 Len Smith Mile at Menangle on Sunday April 27. But he scrapped those plans a couple of weeks ago when he discovered that Beautide, brilliant winner of the interdominion championship at Menangle on March 2, was being set for the Len Smith Mile. He explained that he decided to keep Alta Christiano at home and to give him more experience before tackling champions of the calibre of Beautide. Clint Hall's priority will be to get Alta Christiano away to a safe beginning. Once that is achieved he will formulate his tactics, which most certainly will be to dash forward in an attempt to get to an early lead. Polemarker Hez Got the Nod (Shannon Suvaljko) is a renowned frontrunner and Pembrook Henry (Chris Lewis) also revels in the role of pacemaker, but their drivers would be ill advised to try to retain the lead if seriously challenged by Alta Christiano. In a touch of irony, the main dangers to Alta Christiano appear to be pacers formerly prepared by Hall sen. They are the 40m backmarker Hokonui Ben and This Time Dylan, who will start off the 20m mark. Hokonui Ben, now in the stables of Aldo Cortopassi, and This Time Dylan, now trained by Michael Brennan, meet Alta Christiano on favourable terms. If all Cup runners had to start off their automatic handicap marks, Hokonui ben would be starting off 120m, not 40m under the discretionary conditions of the race. And This Time Dylan would start off 80m. Hokonui Ben resumed after a month's break at Gloucester Park last Friday night when he set the pace and won from the fast-finishing This Time Dylan over 2130m. He will be improved by the outing and looks a strong each-way hope this week. Hokonui Ben is a grand stayer. Clint Hall drove him to a memorable all-the-way victory in the $400,000 WA Pacing Cup over 2936m in mid-January. Three starts ago, at his second run for Cortopassi, Hokonui Ben covered a good deal of extra ground before finishing powerfully to win the $50,000 RWWA Cup over 2536m from Northview Punter and David Hercules. It is worth noting that Hokonui Ben, winner of a 3200m stand in New Zealand in December 2011, has started in only two stands in WA, winning them both, the group 2 $50,000 Navy Cup at Gloucester Park in November 2012 and another 2503m event a fortnight later. Cortopassi has high hopes that Hokonui Ben will give him his second training and driving success in an Easter Cup. He drove Total Defiance when the New Zealand-bred four-year-old raced in sixth position before unwinding a spirited three-wide burst from the 1000m to get to the front at the 250m mark and win from Real Life and Badboy Nitro. Brennan, who trained Anvils Big Punt for his all-the-way win in the 2011 Easter Cup, will be looking for another strong finishing effort from This Time Dylan, who will again be driven by Chris Playle. This Time Dylan has started in seven standing-start events for four wins. The Justin Prentice-trained Braemoor is a standing-start specialist whose past eight wins have all been in stands. The seven-year-old will start from 10m and cannot be underestimated. Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri, who has won the Easter Cup three times (Abmidas, 1997), OK Windermere (2006) and Arma Harris (2010), will be represented by three of the six front-line runners --- Pembrook Henry (Lewis), Compact Rocket (Stuart McDonald) and Finbar Abbey (Chris Voak). All are capable standing-start performers. Lewis will be aiming for his sixth Easter Cup after successes with Pallaton (1980), Gold Rowan (1984), Village Kid (1987), Abmidas (1997) and OK Windermere (2006). Hazelmere horseman Mike Reed, who trained and drove Just Packapunch for his win over Scanio in the 1995 Easter Cup, has five-year-old Polak primed for a strong effort. The gelding, who worked in dashing style in winning a Byford trial on Sunday morning, will start from 10m. He was the 7/4 favourite in last year's Easter Cup when he raced in the breeze in the middle stages and finished a sound fourth behind Rebel Scooter. LIBERTYBELLE MIDFREW CAN OVERCOME UNFAVOURABLE DRAW Libertybelle Midfrew has been most impressive at her first two Australian starts and she should maintain her winning form by proving too strong for her rivals in the Garrards Horse And Hound On Course Now WA Oaks Prelude over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. The daughter of Christian Cullen is unfavourably drawn at barrier four on the back line, but she has the ability to overcome that disadvantage and make it three wins from three starts for her new trainer Mike Reed and reinsman Shannon Suvaljko in the space of 17 days. Libertybelle Midfrew covered a lot of extra ground before finishing powerfully to beat All About Pink by more than two lengths at her WA debut over 1730m at Gloucester Park and then she rated 1.57.8 when she dashed to the lead in the middle stages and defeated Cielito over 2185m at Pinjarra after sprinting over the final 400m in 27.1sec. Reed is also hopeful that his other runner My Samantha Jane will be prominent and will earn a start in the $150,000 WA Oaks on May 9. My Samantha Jane has had 13 starts for two wins and five placings. She followed an all-the-way win over 2190m at Northam with a close second to Jungle Jewel at Kellerberrin and a fighting third behind Libertybelle Midfrew at Pinjarra after leading early and then sitting behind the pacemaker. She will start from the No. 3 barrier on the front line on Friday night with Stephen Reed in the sulky. Byford trainer David Thompson will be represented by smart fillies Harriet Elisabeth and Harper Grace. Harper Grace is ideally drawn at the No. 1 barrier. She has led and won at two of her four starts --- over 2130m at Gloucester Park and 1684m at a 1.55.5 rate at Pinjarra. Harriet Elisabeth has won five times from 11 starts, but her prospects diminished when she drew the outside barrier on the back line. She revealed improved toughness at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week when she worked hard in the breeze before finishing determinedly to win from Highest Royalty and Lipizzaner. Lipizzaner, who will start from barrier two on the front line, will be driven by Matt White for Byford trainer Ryan Bell, who will handle stablemate All About Pink from barrier three on the back line. Boyanup trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice has a high opinion of The Parade, who has won at six of her 14 starts. The Parade, a last-start Bunbury winner, is sure to be prominent after starting from the No. 4 barrier off the front. RED SALUTE GETS HIS CHANCE West Australian-bred five-year-old Red Salute has recovered from a hoof injury and he gets an ideal chance to return to the winning list when he contests the 2536m Garrards Horse And Hound Open Daily Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Ross Olivieri-trained gelding will appreciate a drop in class when he starts out wide at No. 5 on the front line. He has the ability to overcome that disadvantage. Red Salute, driven by Chris Voak, resumed after a three-week absence in a 2130m event last Friday night. He enjoyed a soft run when he raced on the pegs in fourth position before he finished strongly, out four wide, to be fourth, only two metres from the winner Hokonui Ben. Red Salute has won 15 times from 53 starts and Voak is confident the bay will develop into a contender for the major feature events at the next summer carnival. Thursday night's field is quite even and it is difficult to predict which horse will start favourite. Leading trainer Gary Hall sen. holds a strong hand with three of the eight runners, Whos Mistake (barrier two), Passion Stride (six) and Benjamin Banneker (the only runner on the back line). The Chris King-trained Lord Lombo is a versatile performer who will have many admirers after excellent seconds to Hokuri Handrail and Lovers Delight at two of his past four starts, following a victory over Uppy Son and Midnight Dylan. Copagrin, an M1-class performer, will be lining up against much better performed pacers, but cannot be discounted from the prized No. 1 barrier. SOHO VALENCIA LOOKS A STAR BET Soho Valencia is tough and versatile --- and these ingredients should guarantee him of victory in the 1730m Retravision Pace at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. He has had three starts for leading trainer Gary Hall sen. after being off the scene for 17 months, and his form has been most impressive. He worked hard in the breeze at his first two outings for seconds to Northview Punter and Sensational Gabby and then he revealed great determination to charge home, out wide, from eighth at the bell to get up and snatch a nose victory over the pacemaker Franco Torres. He sped over the final 800m in 56.4sec. and rated a smart 1.56.4 over 2130m last Friday week. Clint Hall is likely to send him forward from barrier three on the front line in a bid to take up the role as pacemaker from the two nine-year-old veterans on his inside, Lombo Air Express and Talk It Up. The Bob Mellsop-trained Little Boy Blue could also make a bid for the early lead, starting from the No. 4 barrier. The five-year-old mustered plenty of early pace when a brilliant all-the-way winner over I Am Legend and Mighty Flying Thomas at a 1.55.8 rate over 2130m last Friday week. by Ken Casellas
Champion harness racing driver Dexter Dunn described Locharburn’s win in tonight’s $175,000 Muscara Standardbreds NZ Derby at Addington as ‘a team effort.’ “He may have been in Cran’s (Dalgety) colours tonight but Kevin Chapman has probably played a bigger part than anybody,” said Dunn of the gelding’s co-owner and former trainer. “Kev is away overseas at the moment on a world trip but I doubt there is a happier man on earth right now,” he added. Dunn was in awe of the Christian Cullen three-year-old after the race and said that the giant bay simply had no right to win the Group One feature. “He was pushed off the track around the first bend and then when he finally did work up to the parked position the buggar had the audacity to over-race,” quipped Dunn. “He has done twice as much work as any other horse in the race and he has still been too good. I’ve got no doubt that he is the best three-year-old male pacer in the country,” he added. Locharburn downed the pace-making Isaiah (Natalie Rasmussen) by ½ a head, while Sky Major finished a further two lengths away in third. Great Northern Derby winner Tiger Tara rounded out the First4. “I thought he was all done on the bend but when I asked him he kicked really hard,” advised Dunn. “I knew I had Isaiah at the 150 metres, but to his credit he came back at me late,” he added. “I think my fella might have died on his run the last 100 metres but I think he had every right to, don’t you?” he laughed. Locharburn, who was labeled as a Derby contender by Kevin Chapman after just his third start, paced the 2600 metre journey in 3-11.0. His last 800m was recorded in a brutal 54.6. Glenys Kennard, who is the co-owner of runner-up Isaiah, was gracious in defeat, admitting that the best horse had won the race on the night. “Locharburn was absolutely sensational and deserved to win,” said Kennard, who enjoyed success in the penultimate race with Raesawinner. Dalgety and Dunn also enjoyed success on the undercard with Major Bubbles, Regulus, and impressive two-year-old Art Union, giving the dynamic duo four wins on the program. By Mitchell Robertson
Elegant Christian ran a dazzling trial for the $200,000 WA Derby next Friday night when he gave a sparkling frontrunning display to win the $50,000 TABtouch Western Gateway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. "I'll take them on again next week and I think we'll have a similar result," declared Clint Hall after driving the inexperienced New Zealand-bred gelding, hot favourite at 3/1 on, to a stylish victory over Classic American (54/1) and Eyre Crusher (14/1) to give master trainer Gary Hall sen. the trifecta which returned a dividend of $340.10 for a $1 investment. Hall sen. now has won the Western Gateway Pace three times, having driven The Falcon Strike to victory in 2001 and scoring with Alta Christiano in 2013 when the colt was driven by Gary Hall jun. Elegant Christian now has won at six of his seven starts, all in Western Australia, with his only defeat coming at the start before Friday night's success, when he was suffering from a mouth ulcer and hang in badly throughout before finishing a half-head second to Mister Jadore. This problem has been cured and the Hall camp is looking forward to the Derby with great confidence. Elegant Christian burst straight to the front from the prized No. 1 barrier on Friday night and dashed over the lead time in a slick 35.6sec. when challenged early by Bettor Offer, who mustered plenty of early pace from the outside of the front line. Hall then was able to get Elegant Christian to relax and go through the first two 400m sections of the final mile in 30.3sec. and 30.5sec. before sprinting the third quarter in 28.2sec. and coming home in 29.1sec. to record a smart mile rate of 1.56.1 over the 2130m. Elegant Christian's stablemate Machtu, second favourite at 4/1, settled in eighth place before Kim Prentice sent him forward to move to third, out three wide, at the bell. Machtu fought on grandly to finish fifth, with Bettor Offer wilting to seventh. Fourth place went to Mister Jadore, who had followed the three-wide run of Machtu. The win boosted Elegant Christian's earnings to $92,540. Classic American, driven by Chris Voak, was most impressive. He was last in the field of 12 at the bell before unleashing a brilliant finishing burst, out wide of the track. Eyre Crusher trailed the pacemaking Elegant Christian throughout and was badly blocked for a clear passage in the concluding stages. "We expected some early pressure after his last-start defeat," said Clint Hall. "But we were very happy and confident with the horse leading into the race. I thought it would be detrimental to the chances of any horse who took Elegant Christian on early, and I think that was shown in the end. "Elegant Christian is a terrific horse. Down the back I wasn't quite sure how much he had left. He never really travels like that he's got that much left. But once I let him down he had plenty left. I knew I had the two outside of him beaten and I was just worried about Eyre Crusher then. "He's a typical Christian Cullen. He goes to the gate charging and as soon as they move away from his head he just drops the bit and does what we ask him to do." SOHO VALENCIA GETS UP IN THE FINAL STRIDE Victorian-bred five-year-old Soho Valencia further illustrated his wonderful potential and showed that he would be a major player in the feature summer carnival events next season with a fighting victory in the 2130m Princi Butchers Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Shannon Suvaljko drove a canny race in front with polemarker Franco Torres, the 8/1 third favourite behind Soho Valencia (7/4 on) and Lovers Delight (11/2) and he just failed, with Soho Valencia being fully extended in getting up to snatch victory by a nose. Soho Valencia, trained by Gary Hall sen., started from barrier three on the back line and Clint Hall settled the horse into eighth position in the one-wide line after Franco Torres had recorded a modest lead time of 37.4sec. and a first quarter in only 30.6sec. Suvaljko then increased the tempo and Franco Torres reeled off the next three quarters in 29.7sec., 27.8sec. and 28.6sec.Hall started a three-wide move with Soho Valencia approaching the bell and the horse was eighth with a lap to travel. Hall had to drive Soho Valencia hard to gain a last-stride victory by the barest possible margin. The winner rated 1.56.4 and boosted his record to 20 wins, nine placings and $320,902 from 36 starts. He has raced four times in Western Australian for two wins and two seconds. "They drove clever races up front and our hands were tied," said Clint Hall. "We had to come with one run. We thought we would save him up a bit longer tonight and come out about the 800m. If we had come out at the 1200m it might have made the difference (winning more convincingly). "Once I pulled the plugs (after turning for home) he felt like he was going to get the leader. But the leader kept kicking and made him fight it out right to the line." The stewards fined Hall $200 for an incorrect whip action in the final stages of the race. MISTER SHEEDY GIVES JONES A BIRTHDAY PRESENT Former Victorian pacer Mister Sheedy gave Lauren Jones, a recent arrival in Western Australia from Queensland, a wonderful 19th birthday present at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he scored a game win in the 2130m TAB Funding The Industry Pace. Mister Sheedy was driven confidently by Jones and his win gave master trainer Gary Hall sen. the first of four winners on the ten-event program. He was also successful with Alta Christiano, Soho Valencia and Elegant Christian. But celebrations were dampened somewhat when Mister Sheedy pulled up after the race with a fractured nearside pedal bone, an injury which will keep him out of action for at least 12 months and could quite likely spell the end of his racing career. For Jones, who answered an advertisement a couple of months ago to work for the powerful Hall training establishment in Serpentine, this was her first Metropolitan-class success in the State. Mister Sheedy, a six-year-old and winner of 13 races from only 39 Victorian starts, was making his WA debut on Friday night. He was drawn to start from the outside (barrier two) on the back line in a field of nine and was heavily supported to start favourite at 6/4 on. Polemarker Kotare Ash, second fancy at 9/2, withstood an early challenge from Anvils Big Punt and after she went through the lead time in a reasonable 37.1sec., Jones, who had settled Mister Sheedy in the favourable one-out, one-back position, seized the initiative and sent the gelding forward with a three-wide burst to move into the breeze 100m later. Kotare Ash began to wilt approaching the home turn and Jones sent Mister Sheedy to the front with 150m to travel. He went on to win at a 1.59.9 rate over the 2130m journey by one metre from 22/1 chance Rojen Cruz, who was seventh at the bell and charged home out six wide on the track. A close third was 12/1 chance Anvils Big Punt, who raced without cover early before gaining the one-out, one-back sit behind Mister Sheedy. Mister Sheedy, by American stallion Presidential Ball, has earned $85,688 from 14 wins and 13 placings from 40 starts. He had been unplaced at his final four Victorian starts and was having his first start since finishing ninth in a 1720m event at Melton last November. He is the second foal out of New South Wales-bred mare Intoxicating (by Chandon) who had 47 starts for 12 wins, ten placings and $79,060. PEMBROOK HENRY ENDS LOSING RUN OF 34 Veteran New Zealand-bred pacer Pembrook Henry is thriving on racing and after breaking a losing sequence of 34 by winning the 2503m TAB Bet Today Collect Today Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night reinsman Chris Lewis predicted further successes for the hardy nine-year-old. "If he begins as fast as he did tonight there's definitely a few more wins in him," said Lewis after Pembrook Henry, a 9/1 chance, had begun speedily from barrier five on the front line in the stand and led all the way. "You like to see them jump away that quick and that was a boost to his confidence (getting straight to the front). Then we were able to get the sections we needed and he hit the line fairly solidly." Pembrook Henry, trained by Ross Olivieri, had finished second at each of his four runs since resuming in late February after a two-month break. His task on Friday night was made easier by the scratching of noted frontrunner and last-start winner Major Fury and the bad manners of polemarker and 5/2 favourite Copagrin, who galloped at the start and dropped back to fifth. Frontmarker Maggies Mystery also was slow to begin and Lewis was able to shoot Pembrook Henry straight to the front. Callan Suvaljko dashed Copagrin forward, three wide, in the first lap to move into the breeze after a lap had been completed. After opening sections of the final mile in 31.1sec. and 30.8sec., Lewis gave the opposition little chance as he urged Pembrook Henry to move up a gear. The oldstager, owned by Montana Stark, sprinted the final quarters in 29sec. and 28.2sec,. and he won by just over a length from Copagrin, with Compact Rocket finishing third after trailing the leader all the way. Pembrook Henry, whose previous win was at Melton in July 2012, is the latest beneficiary of the drop-down rule which enables pacers handicapped M2 or better to drop down one classification after every losing sequence of ten. Pembrook Henry arrived in Western Australia in the winter of 2012 as an M3-class pacer and he has dropped back to an M1 mark which enabled him to start off the front line in Friday night's event. Now a winner of one race from 21 WA starts, Pembrook Henry won three races in New Zealand and 11 times in Victoria. WILKINS LUCINDA RELISHES THE INSIDE DRAW The tremendous advantage of the No. 1 barrier at Gloucester Park was further illustrated on Friday night when Wilkins Lucinda, a four-year-old mare with a losing sequence of nine, made full use of the inside draw by setting a fast pace and scoring an easy win in the 1730m Gannons Pace for mares. Most punters took little heed of her favourable barrier and the Noel Keiley-trained mare was a 10/1 chance, with Jungle Genie favourite at 7/4 on from barrier two on the back line. Aldo Cortopassi got Wilkins Lucinda away to a flying start and the mare gave her rivals very little chance by speeding over the final four 400m sections in 28.5sec., 29.5sec., 29sec. and 28.4sec. She recorded a slick 1.54.8 rate and took her record for owner Stan Wilkins to 39 starts for seven wins, 13 placings and stakes of $80,979, a figure boosted by her third to Lucky Joy in the group 1 $100,000 State Sires Series for two-year-old fillies in July 2012 and her win in a $25,000 listed classic for three-year-olds last June. By Rich And Spoilt, Wilkins Lucinda is the fourth foal out of Shoneer Lobell, who won five races in New South Wales and five in WA for earnings of $52,353. Wilkins Lucinda is a full-sister to Sheer Dreams (157 starts for 19 wins, 47 placings and $153,994) and Sweet Charlee (67 starts for 11 wins, 17 placings and $77,630). Cortopassi said that he had given Wilkins Lucinda an excellent winning chance after driving her the previous Friday night when she had to be retired with broken gear. "Forget last week," he said. "She was going extremely well when she broke a hopple. And tonight I was not worried after she had run the opening quarter in 28.5sec. She actually had her ears pricked. She was happy in doing what she was doing, just happy to be rolling along. So I let her do what she wanted." AROUSING FOLLOWING IN HER DAM'S FOOTSTEPS Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri's honest mare Arousing maintained her consistent form when she was driven a treat by Kristian Hawkins to win the 2130m The West Australian Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Arousing, who has earned $86,818 from nine wins and 22 placings from 82 starts, is following the steps of her dam Roustabout, who showed considerable promise with two wins in New Zealand and two in WA before being retired with earnings of $33,171 after only 12 starts. Roustabout, by Christian Cullen, showed her class by winning the group 3 Empress Stakes from Precious Maiden and Sovereign Beejay at Gloucester Park in March 2006. Arousing is her first foal and Arousing's younger half-sister Loving You finished third behind Frith in the group 1 WA Oaks last year and has a record of 33 starts for seven wins, 11 placings and $70,292. Hawkins drove Arousing at Gloucester Park for the second time at her previous start three weeks earlier when the mare finished sixth behind Southern Legacy. He admitted after Friday night's victory that he was to blame for the mare's unplaced effort, saying: "I slaughtered her at her last start, so I knew I had to be patient this week whereas I wasn't at her previous run." Arousing, favourite at 11/4 from the No. 2 barrier, challenged unsuccessfully for the early lead, but polemarker Chillin Dylan (13/4) held up and Hawkins cleverly slotted Arousing in behind the pacemaker 200m after the start. The Oyster Bar (3/1) broke into a gallop after 200m and outsider Touch Me Toes moved up to race in the breeze, giving My Bachelors Delight a perfect sit, one-out and one-back. Arousing appeared to be in all sorts of trouble half-way down the back straight in the final circuit when Chillin Dylan began to weaken, shuffling Arousing back to fifth. Hawkins kept his composure and eventually was able to ease Arousing off the pegs 350m from home. Arousing finished determinedly to hit the front close to home and win by a half-length from My Bachelors Delight, who had taken the lead with 520m to travel and had opened up a, lead of two lengths at the 100m mark. "I knew I had plenty of horse in my hands, but Aiden's horse (Aiden De Campo's My Bachelors Delight) had a pretty handy break on me at the right time," Hawkins said. "It just came down to a bit of luck when we got out." LITTLE BOY BLUE IS A GREAT INVESTMENT How do you multiply an investment by five times? It's simple. Buy your wife a pacer for $10,000 and watch it as he earns $50,660m in the space of eight months. That's what Waroona horseman Bob Mellsop did last July. He outlaid $10,000 to purchase Little Boy Blue Blue to give to his wife Val as a birthday present. Little Boy Blue, driven by Kiara Davies, set a fast pace and outclassed his rivals in the TAB Radio Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. His four-length victory over I Am Legend took his record for his new owner to five wins and six placings from 19 starts. And that boosted the New Zealand-bred five-year-old's career record to 58 starts for 13 wins, 20 placings and $117,276. Everything fell into place for Little Boy Blue, who started from the No. 3 barrier on the front line and second favourite at 11/4. Polemarker Carters Rocket, an all-the-way winner the previous week, galloped badly at the start and dropped back to a distant last and I Am Legend paced roughly after starting from barrier two. Davies grabbed the heaven-sent opportunity to dash Little Boy Blue straight to the front and the gelding charged through the lead time in a fast 35.4sec. as he established a three-length lead over I Am Legend. This left the 7/4 favourite Mighty Flying Thomas in the breeze. Davies let Little Boy Blue roll along in the lead and he sped over the final two quarters in 29.2sec. and 28.6sec. to leave his nine rivals floundering in his wake. I Am Legend fought on to be second, almost a length in front of Mighty Flying Thomas. The winner rated a smart 1.55.8 over the 2130m trip. "When the one galloped and the two went rough, I just went for it," Davies said. "And once I saw them coming (in the back straight in the final lap) I thought I'd get them running because Little Boy Blue is pretty hard to catch once he gets going." CONNIVING MAJOR DAVE BOUNCES BACK Tenth placings at each of at his past two appearance and just one minor placing from his past seven starts did not deter many smart punters who cashed in when Aiden De Campo drove Conniving Major Dave to victory in the 2130m British Night Next Friday Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Conniving Major Dave started from barrier four on the front line and he enjoyed a perfect passage in the one-out, one-back position before finishing boldly to defeat the pacemaker Ohoka Squire (9/2) by a neck, with Grand Cru fighting on from sixth at the bell to be third. "His past two starts weren't his fault," said de Campo. "It was probably my fault, hitting a couple of wheels. He trialled well on Wednesday when he got over Dasher VC, sitting on him and running a quick last half. "Tonight I was pretty confident if he got the right sit and steered tractably. He got down a bit on the last bend which cost us a length or so. But he was still good enough to win. He's got a lot to learn and I really like the horse. He's got a bit of toughness and, hopefully, he can win a couple more." Conniving Major Dave, trained by de Campo's father Andrew, has earned $44,913 from eight wins and six placings from 29 starts. He has raced 17 times in WA for five wins and five placings. His dam Kind Martar is a younger sister of Pocket of Grace, who had 210 starts for 30 wins (16 in Queensland and 14 in New South Wales) and 41 placings for stakes of $160,975. HIGH FIVE MOZZA BREAKS THROUGH AT LAST Punters rallied to support High Five Mozza in the 2130m Sky Racing Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night, not because he went into the race with a losing sequence of 34 and had not managed a minor placing at his most recent nine starts, but because he had drawn the coveted No. 1 barrier. He was solidly supported to start favourite at 11/8 in a particularly weak field. Then everything went according to the script. Shannon Suvaljko jumped the New South Wales-bred six-year-old straight to the front. After a moderate lead time of 38.2sec. and a slow first quarter in 31.2sec. High Five Mozza broke 30sec. for the next three quarters to win by just under a length from 9/2 chance Will of Iron, who ran on from sixth at the bell. High Five Mozza, prepared at Wanneroo by Debbie Padberg, finally repaid the trainer for her perseverance and patience. The gelding had managed six placings from his first 32 starts in WA before Friday night's success. He won ten races in New South Wales (eight at Penrith and once each at Bankstown and Newcastle and had six starts in Victoria for one win before arriving in WA. by Ken Casellas
High-priced New Zealand import Libertybelle Midfrew gave a sample of her class with an effortless victory at her Australian debut in the 1730m Make Smoking History Pace at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening. Trained at Hazelmere by Mike Reed and driven by Shannon Suvaljko, Libertybelle Midfrew, favourite at 3/1 on, started from the outside of the front line and was restrained to last before sustaining a powerful three-wide burst which took her from sixth at the bell to the front 400m from home. She dashed over the final quarters in 28.4sec. and 29.8sec. and was not extended in beating All About Pink by more than two lengths at a 1.58.5 rate. The filly was bought by Perth businessman Albert Walmsley and is being set for the $150,000 WA Oaks on May 9. “I went to New Zealand two months ago to buy a yearling at the sales in Christchurch, but changed my mind and bought Libertybelle Midfrew instead,” Walmsley said. Libertybelle Midfrew (by Christian Cullen) had 11 starts in New Zealand for one win and four placings for stakes of $131,012. She scored a five-length victory in the $156,000 Sales Classic for two-year-old fillies at Alexandra Park in April of last year. She was placed at three of her final four New Zealand starts behind star Mach Three filly Venus Serena, who has amassed $503,622 from 11 wins from 16 starts. By Ken Casellas
Reinsman Clint Hall declared that inexperienced gelding Elegant Christian was spot on for the WA Derby on Friday week and was supremely confident that he would wind up his preparation for the $200,000 classic by winning the $50,000 TABtouch Western Gateway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Elegant Christian stunned punters when he started at 25/1 on and was beaten in a minor event at Gloucester Park on Monday of last week. However, Hall said that there was a significant excuse for that defeat (by a nose behind Mister Jadore) and that the lightly-raced three-year-old had bounced back to his brilliant best with a dazzling performance in a 2150m trial at Byford on Sunday morning when he romped to a 15-length victory after flying home over the final 800m in 55.5sec. "He drew the outside of the front line in the trial and I kept him four and five wide on the first corner before easing him back to last," he said. "And then after we got through the first quarter I asked him to come out and he went up and took the breeze and he raced there for a lap until he went to the front at the bell. "I sent him around the last two corners and he was fine, back to normal. We added a nearside lugging pole, a Murphy blind and an underhead check --- and he felt super. "I made him run round the corner from the 800m to the 600m and made him run again from the 400m to the 200m. I then let him ease up going to the line and I was quite surprised when I saw he had run 26.9sec. for the last quarter." Six days earlier Elegant Christian hung very badly in a 2130m event at Gloucester Park when he raced in the breeze outside Mister Jadore. He fought on gamely, but just failed to overhaul the pacemaker. Trainer Gary Hall sen. then discovered that the gelding was suffering from an ulcer in his mouth which caused him to hang inwards. This has been cured. That was Elegant Christian's first defeat in a six-start career and now Clint Hall is bubbling with confidence that the gelding will be untroubled to set the pace from the prized No. 1 barrier on the front line in Friday night's group 3 event. Elegant Christian is one of four runners from the powerful Hall stable, the others being Machtu, Eyre Crusher and Classic American. Kim Prentice will drive Machtu from barrier two on the back line, Morgan Woodley has been booked to handle Eyre Crusher (inside of the back line) and Chris Voak will drive Classic American from barrier four on the back line. Clint Hall drove Machtu when he gave a superb performance to score a runaway victory in a 2536m Derby prelude last Friday night. But he had no hesitation in choosing to drive Elegant Christian this week. Machtu settled at the rear in last week's event before surging forward to the breeze in the middle stages and then charging away from his rivals to win by just under seven lengths from Three Blind Mice. "It was a super run by Machtu and he is sure to be prominent in this week's race," Hall said. "Eyre Crusher will appreciate drawing the inside of the back line and should follow Elegant Christian. He should finish in the top three." Eyre Crusher has had nine starts for four wins and four seconds. Classic American has won at six of his nine starts, but faces a stern test from barrier four on the back line. Mister Jadore, a winner of ten races, also faces a tough task from the outside of the back line. Pelusiac, with a record of five wins and three seconds from ten starts, left Hall's stables last Sunday week and will be making his first appearance for Capel trainer Andrew De Campo. He will be handled by Aiden De Campo from barrier three on the back line. Adding further interest to the race will be the Australian debut of Ultimate Major, who has entered de Campo's stables this year after winning at three of his four starts in New Zealand late last year. He will start from barrier four on the front line. Three Blind Mice (barrier two) and Calais (three) are smart geldings who are racing keenly and should be prominent. However, Elegant Christian appears likely to carry too many guns for his rivals and should give Hall sen. his third success in the Western Gateway Pace. He trained and drove The Falcon Strike when he beat Knightwatchman and Shadow Maker in 2001 and he prepared Alta Christiano for his success 12 months ago. HALL SAYS SOHO VALENCIA IS "GOING PLACES" "I think he's going places and is a Christmas horse, and a Christmas horse should take care of these," said Clint Hall when assessing the prospects of Soho Valencia in the 2130m Princi Butchers Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Hall will drive the five-year-old, who will start from barrier three on the back line and is likely to make a sweeping move in the first lap in a bid to burst to the front. Soho Valencia is one of four runners in the race prepared by leading trainer Gary Hall sen., the others being last-start winner Dashing Christian (Kim Prentice), Benjamin Banneker (Kiara Davies) and Our Arlington (Lauren Jones). They are better-assessed pacers than Soho Valencia, who is an M1-class performer. But Soho Valencia has greater ability and potential than that trio and he is certain to prove very hard to beat after second placings as favourite on the past two Friday nights. They were his first two runs after an injury-enforced absence of 17 months and they were full of merit. He had a tough run when a fighting second to his classy stablemate Northview Punter last Friday week and then he raced without cover all the way when second to the brilliant mare Sensational Gabby last Friday night. "He drops down a bit in class this week after last week's Free-For-All," said Clint Hall. "His run last week was super. Chris Lewis (Sensational Gabby) didn't make the mistake of letting Soho Valencia into the race after having the advantage of the barrier draw. This week Soho Valencia will be hard to beat." The prospects of Lovers Delight, the impressive winner of the Clarke final last week when he worked hard in the breeze before getting up to defeat Lord Lombo, deteriorated when he drew the outside of the front line in the preferential barrier draw. Dashing Christian has drawn ideally at No. 2 on the front line and is capable of a bold showing. He should be prominent throughout. He impressed last Friday night when he raced three back on the pegs before charging home to snatch a nose victory over Mighty Flying Thomas. Adding interest to the race will be the return of smart eight-year-old Ohoka Samson for Pinjarra trainer-reinsman Kade Howson. Ohoka Samson has been off the scene for four months, but impressed when he sprinted over the final 400m in 27.6sec. to win a 2185m trial at Pinjarra on Sunday morning, rating 1.55.9. He will start from barrier four on the back line. DROP-DOWN RULE SHOULD HELP MAGGIES MYSTERY When smart five-year-old mare Maggies Mystery was an unlucky fourth behind Erris Lad last Friday night she increased her losing sequence to ten and immediately became the latest beneficiary of the drop-down rule, with her classification being altered from an M3 to an M2 mark. This has enabled her to be handicapped off the front line in the discretionary M1 and better Bet Today Collect Today Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night, thus boosting her prospects. Maggies Mystery, to be driven by Aldo Cortopassi for Burekup trainer Colin Reeves, was unlucky last week. She was in ninth position on the pegs at the bell and was finishing strongly, but was hampered for room when fourth, just over a length behind the winner. She caught the eye four days earlier when a fast-finishing fourth behind Soho Jackman in a 1730m, sprint at Gloucester Park. There is plenty of exposed form in Friday night's standing-start event over 2503m and punters should get great value for their investments, with polemarker Copagrin and last-start all-the-way winner Major Fury (barrier two) sure to be prominent. Hez Got The Nod, J Walker, Pembrook Henry, Balleybofey, Danieljohn and Erris Lad all have sound claims. QUINNY GETS ALTA CHRISTIANO ON THE MOVE Richly-talented New Zealand-bred four-year-old Alta Christiano was beaten in a track workout last Saturday morning. But it was an effort which enhanced his prospects of winning the first heat of the Making Smoking History Johnson Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Why? The answer is simple. He was beaten on the home track of Serpentine master trainer Gary Hall sen. by none other than superstar Im Themightyquinn. Alta Christiano, driven by Clint Hall, set the pace in then workout before being beaten comfortably by Im Themightyquinn (Gary Hall jun.). "We ran the mile and a half on the 1000m track in 3min. 3sec. and the last quarter took 27.1sec.," said Clint Hall. "It was Quinny's first real hit-out and his first workout with another horse in this preparation. He went to the line under a strong hold. "Alta Christiano should be too good for his rivals on Friday night. His first-up run was very good. He was nice and relaxed and sharp at the end, and he wanted to run another quarter." In that 2536m event at Gloucester Park last Monday week Alta Christiano made most of the running and won easily from Jungleface Jake after sprinting over the final 800m in 55.8sec. and the last 400m in 27sec. It was his first appearance after a ten-month absence. Alta Christiano will start from the inside of the back line on Friday night and Hall is likely to attempt to get him off the pegs and to go forward as early as possible. Im Themightyquinn will return to Gloucester Park on Friday week with an exhibition workout. He is expected to return to racing on the same track a fortnight later. SCHOOLBOY LANDS FIRST CITY WINNER Sixteen-year-old schoolboy Micheal Ferguson took time off from his studies to go to Gloucester Park with his parents Brian and Allison on Tuesday evening --- and he landed his first city winner by driving 5/2 chance Barkers Hall to an all-the-way victory over the even-money favourite Dashing Major in the 2536m Schweppes Pace. A day earlier, he got permission to take the afternoon to attend the meeting at Pinjarra where he drove Adda Notherzero to a thrilling nose victory over Chooks Reward after bringing Guilty Grin from the rear to finish a nose second to Director Whitby Ferguson now has driven four winners in his brief career after learning the ropes from his father, a Byford trainer-reinsman who has been concentrating on breaking in young pacers in recent years. Young Ferguson also has been assisting at the Serpentine stables of leading trainer Gary Hall sen. during school holidays and on weekends. Barkers Hall, a Victorian-bred five-year-old, is trained by Hall and his win on Tuesday night was his first in 12 starts in Western Australia. Ferguson jumped Barkers Hall straight to the front from the No. 2 barrier and he stole a march on his rivals when he was able to get the gelding to amble through the first two 400m sections of the final milem in 32.7sec. and 30.7sec. before increasing the tempo with two final quarters in 28.4sec. by Ken Casellas
Supersonic four-year-old Alta Christiano looks on track for the remainder of the season after an effortless resumption at Gloucester Park yesterday. The injury prone pacer, who has been sidelined twice already in his short career to date, was sent forward to the lead early. He then enjoyed a nice run in the van before unleashing a strong last quarter to dash away and win easily in the hands of Clinton Hall, who replaced his brother Gary Hall Jnr, who is out on a 30 day suspension. The former West Australian Derby winner looked very big in condition and is sure to take plenty of benefit out of yesterday’s win. Alta Christiano has now won eight of his twelve career starts and remains unbeaten in Australia. But, while Alta Christiano justified his stinking hot favouritism, those who backed his stablemate Elegant Christian into a $1.04 were left with a sour taste in their mouth. The Christian Cullen three-year-old, who will start one of the favourites in the upcoming Derby, was forced to race parked and after lugging in for the majority of the journey he was beaten a head by another capable type in Mister Jadore. This prompted stewards to stand Elegant Christian down for a period of six days. He will also have to trial once before returning to the races. Meanwhile, champion pacer Im Themightyquinn has thrilled the Hall clan in his first week back hoppling. By Mitchell Robertson
Champion trainer Gary Hall sen. maintained his dominance of feature events at Gloucester Park when his younger son Gary produced a near-perfect drive to land up-and-coming star Northview Punter a decisive and impressive winner of the $35,000 Alltools Four And Five-Year-Old Championship at Gloucester Park on Friday night. And to emphasise the 64-year-old's overwhelming superiority in West Australian harness racing he produced the trifecta, with Soho Valencia (Clint Hall) finishing second, a neck ahead of Benjamin Banneker (Justin Prentice). The trifecta paid $514.70 for a $1 investment. Hall sen. is now mapping out plans for the New Zealand-bred four-year-old Northview Punter to contest the rich feature events at next summer's Gloucester Park carnival. "He has taken his time to hit his straps," Hall jun. said. "He's always had the ability, but it has taken a little while to get it out of him. He's a bull and he's starting to mature at the right time. "I always thought that he was just below them (the State's top pacers), but the way he's going now, and if he keeps heading in that direction, he's going to be a player come Christmas." In a keen betting race, Northview Punter was solidly supported to start third favourite at 7/2, with five-year-olds Soho Valencia and Red Salute sharing favouritism at 2/1. Benjamin Banneker was a 52/1 tote outsider. Red Salute, as expected, jumped straight to the front from the No. 1 barrier and Hall jun. urged Northview Punter forward from the No. 4 barrier to race three wide for the first 200m before applying some pressure on Red Salute. Northview Punter then gained the one-out, one-back trail after a lap when Soho Valencia (sent forward, three wide, after 600m) moved into the breeze. After moderate first sections of the final mile in 30.8sec. and 30.4sec., the third 400m section whizzed by in a sizzling 27.7sec. when Soho Valencia challenged Red Salute for supremacy. Finally, Soho Valencia took the lead 250m from home, but he was unable to withstand the powerful late burst from Northview Punter, who burst to the front with 70m to travel and went on to win by just under a length at a 1.57.1 rate after a final quarter of 28.8sec. Benjamin Banneker raced three back on the pegs before finishing strongly to be third, with Rocky Marciano sustaining a spirited three-wide burst to be a splendid fourth. Red Salute wilted to fifth. Northview Punter, by Bettors Delight, has now earned $256,915 from 18 wins and 12 placings from 38 starts. Hall jun. admitted that he was "not really confident" after the third quarter in 27.7sec., saying: "He did sort of drop the bit at that stage. He does struggle a bit with point-to-point speed. But that quarter down the back definitely brought me into the race and on the bend he was charging, full of running." HALL SUSPENDED FOR 30 DAYS AND WILL MISS WA DERBY Champion reinsman Gary Hall jun. has been denied the opportunity of winning the $200,000 WA Derby on April 11 after being suspended for 30 days for causing interference in the Alltools Red Lithium Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The 31-year-old Hall, in the sulky behind 7/4 favourite Korobeit Angel, was suspended for severely checking the early pacemaker Lord Lexus rounding the first turn shortly after the start of the 1730m event. Korobeit Angel, who started from barrier three and raced three wide early, contacted the off fore leg of Lord Lexus, causing the 5/1 third favourite to break into a gallop and drop back to the rear. Korobeit Angel then went on to set the pace. She pulled hard in the lead and wilted to finish third behind the fast-finishing last-start winner and 20/1 chance Hokuri Handrail and Little Boy Blue. The 30-day suspension is the heaviest penalty in recent years imposed on a driver causing interference in a race in WA. The stewards intended to hand down a 34-day suspension before reducing the penalty to 30 days after Hall pleaded guilty to the charge of careless driving in that he allowed Korobeit Angel to shift in and check Lord Lexus. Hall decided to start his suspension immediately and did not drive at the Bunbury meeting on Saturday night. He has driven 99 winners in WA this season and will be eligible to resume at the Pinjarra meeting on Monday April 21. Korobeit Angel sprinted over the first 400m section of the final mile in 28.4sec. and sustained a smart pace with the next quarters in 29.3sec., 29.3sec. and 29.1sec. Hokuri Handrail, an M3-class pacer, became eligible to contest Friday night's event restricted to M0 and M2-class performers when trainer Kristie Morrone engaged Luke Edwards to make use of his concession as a junior driver. Hokuri Handrail started from the outside of the back line and was on the pegs in eighth position at the bell before Edwards brought the New Zealand-bred six-year-old home with a brilliant burst. Edwards eased the gelding off the pegs with 250m to travel and after going four wide on the home turn Hokuri Handrail charged home from fifth at the 100m mark to burst to the front 50m from the post. He rated 1.56 in scoring his 13th win from 39 starts in WA. He now has earned $129,752 from 18 wins and ten placings from 61 starts. DALTON MAKES A GREAT START TO WA CAREER Former Victorian trainer-reinsman Clive Dalton made a wonderful debut as a trainer at Gloucester Park on Friday night when Major Fury set the pace and held on to win the 2503m Alltools The Name Says It All Handicap. The 55-year-old Dalton, who has driven about 500 winners and trained almost 700 winners in Victoria, prepares Major Fury for New South Wales breeder-owner Matthew Sandblom at Neven Botica's Herron property, 60km north of Bunbury. Dalton took over the preparation of Major Fury from Peter Tilbrook after the NSW-bred five-year-old had finished second to Hez Got The Nod at Gloucester Park a fortnight before Friday night's success. In an unusual coincidence, Next Dawn, the winner of the final race on Friday night's program, was trained and driven by Dalton for 17 starts in 2011 for three wins at Shepparton and one win at Cobram. Major Fury was a firm even-money favourite on Friday night and his supporters were on good terms with themselves when Callan Suvaljko got the gelding away to a flying start from the inside of the front line. After an opening quarter of the final mile in 30.7sec., Suvaljko increased the tempo and Major Fury covered the next three sections in 29.7sec., 28.9sec. and 29.2sec. Major Fury fought on tenaciously to beat 10/1 chance The Pacing Priest, who finished strongly from fifth at the bell to go down by only one metre. A neck away in third place was Black Cracker, who trailed the pacemaker throughout. "As soon as he jumped away I was pretty confident," Suvaljko said. "He can roll 30sec. quarters and sprint home pretty well. That was the plan to roll along and make it difficult for the backmarkers. He should win more races." Major Fury, a winner of four races in NSW as a two and three-year-old, has had 16 starts in WA for six wins and three seconds to boost his career earnings to $63,189 from ten wins and five seconds from only 27 starts. His dam The Kindly One (by American stallion Praised Dignity) raced 42 times in NSW for eight wins, 11 placings and $95,562. She has produced six winners, including Art Princess, an earner of $179,364 from 14 wins and 21 placings from 62 starts. The Kindly One's dam, the Queensland-bred Kotare Fury, had 100 starts form 19 wins and 38 placings for stakes of 72,958. EYRE CRUSHER STAKES HIS DERBY CLAIMS Leading trainer Gary Hall sen. has a vice-like grip on the $200,000 WA Derby on April 11 with a team of brilliant three-year-olds, including Elegant Christian, Machtu, High Courage, Pelusiac and Classic American. And Eyre Crusher emerged as another realistic prospect for the Hall camp in the group 1 classic when Clint hall drove him to a thrilling fast-finishing victory in the 2130m Milwaukee Nothing But Heavy Duty WA Derby Prelude at Gloucester Park on Friday night. "Eyre Crusher will beat any of my three-year-olds, sitting on them, as long as he doesn't work early," Hall sen. said. "When Gary drives him at home he says he feels the closest to Im Themightyquinn. But he's not strong. He's got a lightning burst for about two furlongs, and once he's at the end of that he falls in a heap. He's an opportunist." Pelusiac was all the rage in Friday night's race and was sent out favourite at 5/2 on, with Eyre Crusher second favourite at the gift odds of 15/2 and Bettor Offer, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, at 8/1. Pelusiac lacked sparkle from the No. 2 barrier and raced without cover for the first 500m taking over as pacemaker from 33/1 chance Back On Board. Bettor Offer then was left in the breeze and Eyre Crusher gained the perfect one-out and one-back trail. Colin Brown sent Bettor Offer to the front 140m from the post, but he was overhauled in the final stride by the flying Eyre Crusher, who gained the verdict in the photo by a nose. Both the final 400m sections were covered in 28.1sec. and Eyre Crusher rated 1.56.7. Eyre Crusher won once from two starts as a two-year-old in New Zealand and his record now stands at nine starts for four wins and four seconds for earnings of $39,623. He is the first foal out of Mach Three mare Lucasta Midfrew, who won twice from 30 starts. Lucastra Midfrew's half-sister (by Christian Cullen) Libertybelle Midfrew won the $156,000 Yearling sales final for two-year-old fillies by five lengths at Alexandra Park in April 2013. DELIGHTFUL JADE OVERCOMES A CHECK TO WIN Delightful Jade, who is closely related to former star performer Whitbys Miss Penny, remained unbeaten after two starts when she unwound a spirited finishing burst to win the $21,000 Alltools Western Crown Classic for two-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night. She overcame a check approaching the home turn to get up and beat the pacemaker and 7/4 on favourite Mohito, who dead-heated for second with 20/1 chance Lady Willoughby. Mohito was two lengths clear of her nearest rival with 100m to travel before she wilted and was defeated by Delightful Jade, who trailed her throughout. Tricky Styx, a 6/1 chance driven by Aiden De Campo, raced in last place in the field of six before starting a three-wide move at the 550m mark. She sprinted strongly to get three-quarters of a length in front of Mohito 250m from home. She had not crossed to a clear lead when she broke into a gallop approaching the home turn. "When I got checked when Aiden's horse galloped I didn't think I was going to pick up the leader," said Delightful Jade's driver Matt White. "To her credit she knuckled down and did the job. She has got a great attitude and will only improve. This is the first time I have driven her and I was pretty impressed." Delightful Jade, second favourite at 9/4 and trained at Capel by Andrew De Campo for breeder-owner Melissa Howie, is by Bettors Delight out of Booth Hanover mare Whitbys Solitaire, who raced only nine times for two wins, four placings and $5443. Delightful Jade has earned $18,620 for her two wins from two starts. Whitbys Solitaire is out of Fiscal Miss, a mare who won 15 races and earned $53,854. The first foal out of Fiscal Miss was Whitbys Miss Penny, who was retired after having had 50 starts for 32 wins and six placings for $568,289 in prizemoney. Whitbys Miss Penny won the $80,000 Edgar Tatlow Stakes at Moonee Valley in March 1990 at her third start and her victories in 1991 included the Western Gateway Pace, the Battle of Bunbury, the WA Oaks, the WA Derby, the Caduceus Club Classic, the Sires for three-year-old fillies, the Pink Diamond and the Four-Year-Old Coca Cola Pace. In 1992 she finished second to Impressionist in the Golden Nugget Championship and won the Fremantle Cup, the Mount Eden Sprint, the Bunbury Cup and a prelude of the WA Pacing Cup. RED HOT MAJOR CALLS THE TUNE Red Hot Major, the 11/4 second favourite, made the most of an abominable start by 2/1 favourite Artillery Major by leading all the way in the $21,000 Alltools Western Crown Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Artillery Major galloped badly and lost about 200m and this enabled Kim Young to drive Red Hot Major hard from the No. 4 barrier to cross to the front soon after the start. Red Hot Major was joined in the lead in the first lap by 13/4 third favourite Out Of The Shadow and he looked set for an easy victory when that gelding began to wilt in the final circuit. But debutant Military Master, a 7/1 chance who had trailed Red Hot Major all the way, loomed as a serious threat when he got into the clear approaching the home turn and ran home determinedly. However, Red Hot Major revealed splendid fighting qualities to resist the challenge and go on and win by 1m at a 1.59.6 rate over 1730m. "The other horse (Military Master) went really well and surprised me a bit," said Young. "I was probably driving to beat two of the others (Artillery Major and Out Of The Shadow) and when Military Master came at me I thought we were going to get beaten. Military Master was not the worst horse, but one we didn't know anything about. However, my horse showed good endeavour." Red Hot Major, owned and trained by Gary Elson, has won at his first two starts and has earned $18,035. His dam Red Hot Rita earned $32,564 from 11 wins and 13 placings from 46 starts. Red Hot Rita also produced smart performers Just Live Life (43 starts for ten wins, 16 placings and $60,440) and Im Smouldering, who had 31 starts for 14 wins, 14 placings and $262,475 in prizemoney. Im Smouldering won the group 2 Tatlow Stakes for two-year-old fillies at Melton in May 2012, defeating the brilliant Frith, and the group 1 $100,000 Vicbred Super Series final for three-year-old fillies at Melton last July. NEXT DAWN SHINING FOR CUMMINGS Former Victorian pacer Next Dawn maintained his sound form for his new trainer Graham Cummings when he finished in dashing style to score an easy victory in the 1730m Make Smoking History Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. A winner at Northam four starts earlier, Next Dawn was a 14/1 chance from barrier two on the back line, with polemarker I Am Legend (boasting a losing sequence of 17 and unplaced at his previous 12 starts) a well-supported favourite at 5/2, with Absolute Cool, placed once at his previous eight starts, a strong second fancy at 13/4 from barrier four on the front line. Next Dawn, driven for the first time by Robbie Williams, raced in seventh position, three back on the pegs while I Am Legend set the pace with Absolute Cool working hard in the breeze. Williams got Next Dawn off the pegs and into the clear approaching the home turn and the Victorian-bred six-year-old finished strongly to take the lead 90m from the post. He won by one and a half lengths from I Am legend, with two lengths to Im Terrific in third place after that pacer had trailed the pacemaker all the way. Next Dawn, who rated 1.56.3, has won 11 times from 42 starts in Western Australia to take his record to 75 starts for 16 wins, 14 placings and $97,947. By American stallion Dawn Of A New Day, he is the fifth and final foal, and only winner, out of unraced What's Next mare Next Interest. PACIFIC WARRIOR A MAJOR CHANC E IN CLARKE FINAL New Zealand-bred six-year-old Pacific Warrior emerged as the horse to beat in the $25,000 final of the Clarke Pace next Friday night when he gave another powerhouse performance to score a narrow but impressive victory in the third qualifying heat at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Pacific Warrior was a 6/1 chance from barrier five on the front line, with most punters pinning their faith in the polemarker Lovers Delight, who started favourite at 6/4 on. Our Arlington (barrier three) and Menelaus of Sparta (four) were smartest into stride, but neither was able to get to an early lead, with Chris Lewis driving hard to keep Lovers Delight in front with a slick lead time of 36.6sec. Kade Howson did not bustle Pacific Warrior early before he sent the gelding forward to move into the breeze after about 600m. After the first two sections of the final mile in 30.5sec. and 30sec. Howson applied more pressure on the leader and the next two quarters whizzed by in 28.4sec. and 28.1sec. Pacific Warrior got his head in front 400m from home and he and Lovers Delight matched strides down the home straight, with Pacific Warrior prevailing by a half-head, with 5m to Pride of Colorado, who trailed the leader all the way. "Lovers Delight ran the lead time (a brisk 36.6sec.) and we stayed out of that," Howson said. "And from there we just had to keep at him. Lovers Delight had burnt early and was a bit vulnerable. Pacific Warrior just keeps coming. He's a tough, big horse and hopefully he will develop into a Cups prospect." Pacific Warrior, trained at Mt Helena by Ray Williams, has had 30 starts in WA for 16 wins, six seconds and two thirds to take his career record to 57 starts for 20 wins, 15 placings and $176,293 in stakes. SHIRLZ SENSATION LOOKS SET FOR A BRIGHT CAREER Lightly-raced four-year-old Shirlz Sensation has taken his time to develop and is now giving promise of becoming a good winner for Jandabup trainer Mike Beech. Shirlz Sensation started from the outside of the front line at the gift price of 15/2 in the third qualifying heat of the 2130m Community Newspaper Group Westbred Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night and gave a most impressive display to score an effortless victory. Atlastalone, favourite at 11/8 from barrier three on the front line, hung out in the score-up and locked sulky wheels with Kissed Flush when the mobile sent the field on its way. Outsider Mako Shadow was smartest into stride, but was unable to wrest the lead from polemarker Atomic Chip (4/1) in a fast lead time of 36.1sec. Ryan Warwick then sent Firebomb to the front after 520m and soon after that Chris Lewis dashed Shirlz Sensation forward to work hard in the breeze. Shirlz Sensation led by a half-length at the bell and remained in that position for the next 500m before forging to a clear lead 300m from home. Shirlz Sensation then careered away from his rivals to cover the final 400m in 28.4sec. and win at a 1.56.7 rate by a margin of 31 metres from Soho Monza, with a head to Firebomb. Shirlz Sensation has had 21 starts for six wins, three placings and stakes of $48,971. COMPACT ROCKET DELAYS THE START AND THEN BEHAVES PERFECTLY West Australian-bred five-year-old Compact Rocket, who has been unreliable at the start in several recent stands, again was fractious behind the tapes and delayed the start of the 2503m Alltools.com.au Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Chris Voak then got Compact Rocket away to a perfect flying start and the gelding burst straight to the front before bowling along in the lead and scoring an easy victory, beating Pacific Playboy by one and a half lengths, with Veitchy flashing home along the pegs to be third. Compact Rocket, a 7/1 chance trained by Ross Olivieri, kept his rivals, particularly 2/1 favourite Trojan Bromac, well at bay in the middle stages when he dashed through the second and third quarters of the final mile in 29.9sec. and 28.2sec. Trojan Bromac, who moved into the breeze with two laps to travel, wilted to finish fifth. Compact Rocket is by American sire Dr Drew and is the only winner out of New Zealand-bred mare Pipe Dreamer, who raced eight times in New Zealand and eight times in Victoria for just one win, at Cranbourne in August 2001. Compact Rocket, bred and owned by Bob Fowler, has been a handy performer who has earned $64,396 from nine wins and nine placings from 55 starts. by Ken Casellas
Nobody is hitting the panic button at Raboki Farm. Stable star Terror Time was a scratching last night (Saturday) after a stable mishap but the boutique stable followed the rule of prevention is better than cure. The Shannon Price trainee done himself some mischief in his stable which left him a little sore and sorry but no serious damage was caused. “He’s feeling really well presently and just got a little excited and jumped on himself, it’s nothing major and we acted on the side of caution because we have always put him first before any race.” Co-trainer Scott Miller said. The Gr.1 winner is racing in terrific form this season highlighted by his crushing last start victory in the $20,000 Autumn Championship Final at Albion Park on March 8. And connections are now giving serious consideration to a possible Sydney campaign in the coming months. “We’ve definitely spoken about it but we’ll just wait and see at this stage, maybe we’ll just work him through his grades here locally before we go anywhere. “Under the new handicapping structure here in Queensland, it’s probably better that we wait and get through our grades here before we go to Sydney. He should be assessed on a pretty good mark when we head south. “He’s a very strong horse and that hard style racing at Menangle should suit him, we were very proud of his last start effort and he beat a quality field running good time.” Meanwhile, the richly talented Caesars Folly continues to make big inroads as he prepares for a racetrack return. The Christian Cullen gelding has not raced since winning at Albion Park back in February last year when he injured his offside front tendon. “Everything is coming along really at this point but we still have a fair way to go before he heads back to the trial track. We’re hopefully looking at a return in May all going to plan. “The leg actually looks pretty good and the latest scan was positive so we will just keep pushing ahead but keep in mind, he will return on a tight mark so it won’t be easy and there are no guarantees after an injury like this. “We took him to Albion Park today (Sunday) and we just rolled along at a steady tempo and it was pleasing the way he came through the workout but we will take him back during the week for a more serious hit-out.” Caesars Folly is the winner of 24 races while banking more than $244,000. by Chris Barsby
The Bathurst Gold Crown carnival will begin later this week and one man who loves supporting the club is popular owner and Harness Racing NSW board member Rod Smith. Smith enjoyed one of his best moments in harness racing earlier this month when he and his wife Julie part owned four winners at a Bathurst meeting and he is hoping the luck will continue during the carnival. "I've been lucky enough to have special nights in harness racing, I remember Julie and I owned a few winners on her birthday at Bathurst last year but to get four at the one meeting a fortnight ago was pretty special," Smith said. "I won't have any two year olds competing in the Gold Crown or Tiara this year because I have decided on giving the babies a bit more time to develop and it is starting to pay dividends because I will have a few runners competing in the three year old series during the carnival." Smith races Jester Oh Jester and Markey Oh Markey while Julie part owns the daughter of Christian Cullen, Denise and Jules with the trio all being trained by Jack Butler. "They are all nice three year olds and I'm hoping to have a finalist in at least one race because it will be a very special night, it will be the last time the Gold Crown is run on the track at the showground." "I am really looking forward to the opening of the new track later this year and I have already told Jack to make sure that he has a few of my horses ready to race at the very first meeting on the new track." Smith believes the time is right for a new track at Bathurst. "As a half mile track goes, the current Bathurst track is good but these days with those fast times being run at Menangle I believe horses need to be conditioned to racing on the bigger tracks and therefore the move to the new Bathurst track makes total sense to me, I'm really looking forward to seeing it." by Greg Hayes - SKY Racing (Courtesy of Harness Racing Australia)
The $200,000 WA Derby on April 11 is shaping up as an enthralling two-horse showdown between exciting stablemates Elegant Christian and Machtu after the New Zealand-bred three-year-olds had the crowd at Gloucester Park on Friday night in raptures as they obliterated the opposition in the $40,000 Caduceus Club Classic. Master trainer Gary Hall sen. produced Elegant Christian in superb condition for his first appearance for six months and the big, powerful son of Christian Cullen gave further convincing proof of his enormous potential with a magnificent all-the-way victory. But Elegant Christian, favourite at 2/1 on, was fully tested by Machtu, the 5/1 second fancy who started from barrier four on the back line. Machtu settled at the rear before Gary Hall jun. set him alight towards the end of the first circuit to move into the breeze 1500m from home. Clint Hall used Elegant Christian's sparkling early speed to dash the gelding straight to the front from the No. 3 barrier. The first two 400m sections of the final mile went by in moderate times of 31.1sec. and 30.9sec. before the stablemates became engaged in a thrilling battle for ascendancy over the final circuit when sizzling quarters of 27.7sec. and 27.6sec. left their rivals floundering. Machtu tried valiantly to gain the upper hand, but Elegant Christian responded to every challenge and won the 2536m classic by 2m at a 1.58.5 rate. There was a gap of more than eight lengths to the third placegetter, Mister Jadore, with a further length to Tasmanian Bromac in fourth place. This meant that Elegant Christian remained unbeaten after five starts and that Machtu's winning sequence of six had been brought to an end. "It was an outstanding effort," said Clint Hall. "Elegant Christian is a special horse. He couldn't shake off Machtu, but he only does what he has to. If Machtu had come at us again I think that Elegant Christian would have dug deep and held him off. "If Machtu had led tonight and Elegant Christian had sat outside of him I couldn't have beaten him. I looked back after the finish and there was a bit of a gap between second and third, and that's a bit exciting." Elegant Christian, the sixth foal out of English Elegance, a New Zealand mare by American sire Camtastic, was purchased as a yearling for $27,000 and should prove a wonderful moneyspinner for Karen Hall, Neven Botica, Garry Ralston, Glen Moore, Mark Congerton, John Burt, Andrew Curran and Ross North. His five wins have netted $58,265 in prizemoney. Friday night's victory gave Hall sen. his fifth success in the Caduceus Club Classic. He was successful with The Falcon Strike (2001), Ulrich (2004), Gracias Para Nada (2012) and Northview Punter (2013). Apart from Elegant Christian and Machtu, Hall has several other smart three-year-olds, including Pelusiac, High Courage, Eyre Crusher, Classic American, Courage Rules, Avalon Bromac, Get Outta Eyre, VC Manoeuvre and the talented filly Majorly Foxy Styx. RED SALUTE PASSES HIS ACID TEST WITH FLYING COLOURS West Australian-bred five-year-old Red Salute stamped himself as a genuine open-class performer when he set the pace and scored an impressive victory in the $21,000 HBF Run For A Reason Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. "This was his acid test tonight," said delighted reinsman Chris Voak. After Red Salute had finished second to David Hercules at his previous start a fortnight earlier Voak had told trainer Ross Olivier and the gelding's owners Denise Trobe, Jeanine Diederich, Adrian Staltari and Anthony Jones that it was the first time he had felt like a group 1 horse. "He stepped up and followed a fast speed in that race and tonight we were willing to lead and cop the pressure to see how he would handle it," Voak explained. "But thankfully we didn't have to do that." Red Salute, with the distinct advantage of starting from the prized No. 1 barrier, was a heavily-supported 5/4 favourite, with WA Pacing Cup winner and smart last-start winner Hokonui Ben's tote price easing from 10/9 on to 2/1. Red Salute easily won the start and Hokonui Ben, from barrier four, raced three wide for the first 300m before Aldo Cortopassi restrained the gelding to the rear after failing in an early bid to get past Red Salute and Passion Stride (breeze) into the lead. This enabled Voak to get Red Salute to relax and amble through the first quarter of the final mile in 31.6sec. The moderate pace left Cortopassi little or no option but to send Hokonui Ben forward and the seven-year-old began a three-wide move with 1000m to travel. After a third quarter in 29.8sec., Red Salute sprinted over the final quarters in 28.2sec. and 28.5sec. Red Salute went on to defeat stablemate and 7/1 chance Sensational Gabby, who trailed the leader throughout before finishing fast. Famous Alchemist (45/1) was seventh at the bell and flew home, five wide, to snatch third place from Hokonui Ben. Red salute rated 1.56.9 over the 2130m journey and took his record to 15 wins and 13 placings from 51 starts for stakes of $178,289. "With Aldo baling out early with Hokonui Ben, it helped us," Voak said. "I expected to cop a lead time of 36.5sec. If it was any faster I thought that none of the three of us (Red Salute, Hokonui Ben and Passion Stride) could win the race." The lead time was 36.5sec. and then being able to get a soft first quarter was ideal for Red Salute. "With 400m to travel and with Hokonui Ben and Passion Stride struggling, the only danger was the horse on my back, and this was stablemate Sensational Gabby," Voak said. "I couldn't hold Red Salute's momentum any further round the corner, so I just cut the ribbons at the top of the straight, and he was good enough to hang on." OUR ARLINGTON COMES FROM LAST TO END LOSING SEQUENCE OF 19 Former Victorian performer Our Arlington went into the Marandoo Boys From Rio Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night with a losing sequence of 19 and the distinct disadvantage of starting from the outside of the front line. But this did not deter his admirers who rallied to support the six-year-old New Zealand-bred gelding from an opening on-course tote price of 12/1 to start a warm 7/4 favourite. Clint Hall restrained Our Arlington at the start and the gelding settled down in last position in the field of eleven while Vance Stampalia had 6/1 second fancy Shifting Sand bowling along in front. Our Arlington started a three-wide move 1200m from home and this flushed out Mighty Flying Thomas, which gave the favourite a perfect trail. Mighty Flying Thomas moved to second at the 400m after a 28.5sec. third quarter. Our Arlington sustained a powerful sprint to charge to the front 100m from the post and he won by a half-length from the fast-finishing Little Boy Blue (7/1), with 25/1 chance The Feather Foot rattling home, out wide, from ninth on the pegs at the bell. The winner, making his fourth appearance in WA, rated 1.56.9 over the 2130m. He had not been successful since his win in the $25,000 Hamilton Cup in Victoria in January 2013. He won twice from three starts as a three-year-old in New Zealand in March 2011 and then raced 50 times in Victoria for 11 wins and 12 placings. He now has earned $131,267 from 14 wins and 14m placings from 57 starts. By Washington VC, Our Arlington is out of Holmes Hanover mare People's Princess, who was unsuccessful from ten starts before she produced Hot Night In Paris (129 starts for 11 wins, 26 placings and $85,584) and The Forger (78 starts for 11 wins, 18 placings and $91,650). Our Arlington is also related to former star Roydon Glen, who amassed $463,244 from 22 wins and 15 placings from 56 starts. TURVEY WEAVES HIS MAGIC WITH OUTSIDER HOKURI HANDRAIL Nathan Turvey produced a masterly exhibition in the sulky to land 63/1 outsider Hokuri Handrail an easy winner of the 2130m first heat of the Caduceus Club Come Up And Join Us The Clarke Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Hokuri Handrail, placed only once at his previous 15 starts, was written off by most punters, who gave him little hope from the No. 5 barrier on the front line. In an open betting race punters pinned their faith on Lovers Delight (3/1), Adda Paternal Suit (7/2), Code Red (6/1), Rocky Marciano (13/2) and Lord Lombo (7/1). Adda Paternal Suit was first out from the inside barrier and Hokuri Handrail was trapped three wide for the first 200m before Turvey restrained the gelding and cleverly eased him to the pegs in fifth position. Almost immediately Turvey eased into the one-wide line. But then 150m later he angled Hokuri Handrail back to the pegs. Justin Prentice then made an early move after 550m, easing 14/1 chance Braemoor from the one-out, two-back position to start a three-wide move which saw him take up the breeze. Then Braemoor received cover when Aiden De Campo moved Lovers Delight to the outside of the pacemaking Adda Paternal Suit. At the bell Hokuri Handrail was tucked away in fifth place, three back on the pegs, covered by Braemoor. But Braemoor momentarily dropped the bit and Turvey was able to get Hokuri Handrail off the pegs and force Braemoor three wide 700m from home. Braemoor sustained a strong three-wide burst to take the lead 125m from the post before Hokuri handrail charged to the front in the final 90m to win by 5m from Lord Lombo, who was eighth at the bell and thundered home, seven wide. Braemoor was third and Rocky Marciano was an excellent fourth after finishing strongly from last in the middle stages. Hokuri Handrail, trained at Baldivis by Kristie Morrone, struck a purple patch in the first half of last year when he won ten times from 11 starts in the space of four months. He now has earned $117,356 from 17 wins and ten placings from 60 starts. SMOOTH CAESAR IS PROVING A BARGAIN AT $10,000 Giant pacer Smooth Caesar, recognised for much of his career as a big amiable gelding who refused to do his best, has turned the corner in remarkable style since being claimed for $10,000 last November. He again revealed his new-found strength and speed when Pinjarra trainer Kim Young drove him to a splendid victory in the 2130m Caduceus Club Positive For Pacing Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Since entering Young's stables after being claimed on November 15 by Marie Bingham, the eight-year-old has had 18 starts for three wins, five seconds and two thirds for earnings of $31,503. Friday night's win boosted his record to 84 starts for 12 wins, 22 placings and $99,557 in prizemoney. Smooth Caesar started from barrier five on the front line and raced three wide for the first 500m before getting to the breeze outside the pacemaker and 9/4 favourite Myouri. The well-fancied Galactic Galleon settled down in the one-out, two-back position before Colin Brown started a three-wide move 570m after the start. Galactic Galleon moved to the breeze and gave Smooth Caesar the one-out, one-back trail 1300m from home. Galactic Galleon took the lead with 270m to travel before being overhauled by the fast-finioshi9ng Smooth Caesar 25m from the post. The winner rated 1.58.3. Despite winning the previous Friday night and then finishing a good third at Pinjarra the following Monday, Smooth Caesar was neglected by punters and started at 201/1. "We tried to change his racing pattern and finally he has caught on," Young said. "He's finishing strongly now." He explained that Smooth Caesar was kept out three wide in the early stages because Kyle Harper, driving Im Clean Cut, was having difficulty in restraining his horse in the breeze because he was kicking a wheel and was fired up. SOUTHERN LEGACY COMPLTES A TRAINING DOUBLE FOR Justin Prentice Boyanup trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice has no regrets that he accepted an offer two years ago from Pinjarra horseman Ray Grantham to lease unraced three-year-old filly Southern Legacy. Southern Legacy has proved to be a wonderful acquisition for Prentice and when Kaiden Hayter drove her to a smart all-the-way win in the 1730m The West Australian Mares Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night she boosted her earnings to $81,131 from six wins and ten placings from only 24 starts. The win completed a training double for the 25-year-old Prentice, who was successful earlier in the program with Jezalenkoubeauty. He also trained and drove third placegetters Braemoor and Mister Sarkozy and Tasmanian Bromac, who finished fourth in the Caduceus Club Classic. Prentice engaged Hayter, his stable foreman, to drive Southern Legacy in order to receive a concession for a junior driver. This prevented Southern Legacy from automatically being drawn an outside barrier. Southern Legacy drew the prized No. 1 barrier and Hayter made the most of this advantage and he rated the five0-year-old well in front. After opening quarters of the final mile in 30.1sec. and 31.5sec., Southern Legacy sprinted over the final sections in 28.7sec. and 28.6sec. Southern Legacy rated 1.58.1 in defeating 7/1 chance Blue Jean Baby by a half-length, with 2m back to La Stella Del Mare (11/1) in third place. "She has been a most consistent performer," Prentice said. "She now has backed up three weeks in a row. I normally space her runs and try to keep her racing against fillies and mares." NUCLEAR BUNNY IS JUST A ONE-TRICK PONY Ace reinsman Colin Brown describes WA-bred six-year-old Nuclear Bunny as a one-dimensional pacer who refuses to do his best unless he races in the lead. Nuclear Bunny was drawn to lead in the 1730m Make Smoking History Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night and astute punters rallied to the cause and the gelding who boasted a losing sequence of 21 was sent out a strongly-supported second favourite at 7/2 behind the polemarker Stealthy Shannon (3/1). Nuclear Bunny began speedily from barrier three and surged straight to the front, giving Stealthy Shannon an ideal passage behind the pacemaker. A first quarter of the final mile in 28.7sec. was followed by sections of 31.9sec. and 29.2sec. before Nuclear Bunny sprinted the final 400m in 28.8sec. and defeated Stealthy Shannon by just over a length, rating 1.57.8 Nuclear Bunny, trained at North Dandalup by Vivienne Moran, had not been successful since Brown drove her to an all-the-way win over 1700m at Gloucester Park on December 21, 2012. He then had managed only one placing from his next 21 starts. He won at his first three starts, all at Harvey, as a three-year-old in 2010-11. He had 15 starts in Victoria in 2012 for four wins --- two at Warragul and one each at Geelong and Cranbourne. Nuclear Bunny's dam Shoalwater (by What's Next) won at Narrogin and Gloucester Park in 2003. Shoalwater is out of Tasmanian mare Crystal Wrist, who had 91 starts for 13 wins, 18 placings and $64,699. Crystal Wrist won ten times in Victoria and three times in WA. Brown drove her only once ---m for her final victory, in an M1 event at Gloucester Park in April 1996. Crystal Wrist then produced five winners, including Hilton Mile High (1156 starts for 13 wins, 23 placings and $80,949) and Hilton Fly High (100 starts for 20 wins, 20 placings and $267,095). "There was some talk about him being retired recently, Brown said. "But we saw this race coming up and thought he could draw (favourably) and could lead. And he showed that tonight. He just loves it in front and he simply doesn't try unless he's in front." Nuclear Bunny now has earned $47,110 from ten wins and five placings from 51 starts. TALK IT UP GIVES NEW OWNERS A REASON TO CELEBRATE Recently-elected Gloucester Park Harness Racing committeemen Laurie Kennedy and a handful of friends celebrated in style at Gloucester Park on Friday night when veteran pacer Talk It Up stormed home to cause an upset by beating 2/1 on favourite Real Hammer in the 2130m 25 Years And Still Going Strong Pace. They had outlaid $10,000 to claim the nine-year-old in the last week of December and the gelding has earned his new connections $16,565 from this win and two placings from eight starts for his new trainer Barry Morrison. Talk It Up was an 8/1 chance from barrier two on the back line and his win completed a double for reinsman Nathan Turvey, who had been successful earlier in the program with brank outsider Hokuri Handrail. Real Hammer was smartest into stride from barrier four on the front line and Robbie Williams had him in front after 120m. After opening quarters of the final mile in 30.9sec. and 30.8sec. Real Hammer looked very hard to beat. But he wilted slightly after final quarters in 29sec. and 29.3sec. to lose by a half-head to Talk It Up, who finished fast after enjoying an ideal trail ibn sixth place, one-out and two-back. Talk It Up went four wide on the home turn and finished strongly to get up in the final stride. Robbery, second fancy at 6/1, finished gamely to be a head away in third place. Talk It Up, who ended a losing sequence of 11, has raced 116 times for 13 wins and 44 placings for stakes of $113,420. JEZALENKOUBEAUTY GIVES PRENTICE A GOOD FEELING "In the preliminary he felt like a different horse and when he gets strong and feels good he normally goes good," said Justin Prentice after driving 10/1 chance Jezalenkoubeauty to a convincing victory in the first heat of the 2130m Caduceus Club Members Westbred Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. "In the preliminary I thought I might have a different horse tonight than the one I've had for a while." This feeling gave Prentice the confidence to go forward at the start from barrier five on the front line. Jezalenkoubeauty raced three wide in the early stages before getting to the breeze, with 13/4 second fancy Reminder Call setting the pace. Boofshalfbrother started a three-wide move 1200m from home and moved to third, out three wide, at the bell, with 2/1 favourite Truckers Buckeroo poised to strike in fifth position in the one-wide line. Truckers Buckeroo loomed as a danger approaching the home turn, but when third on the corner he hit a wheel and broke into a gallop. At the 250m mark Jezalenkoubeauty was hard under the whip and appeared most unlikely to figure in the finish. But Prentice continued to drive the gelding hard under the whip. He responded and got to the front in the final 80m to win by just over a length from outsider Senator Whitby, who finished solidly from the rear. Jezalenkoubeauty was purchased for $12,500 as a yearling by Craig Lynn and now has had 80 starts for eight wins, 25 placings and $64,909. SUVALJKO SEIZES THE OPPORTUNITY WITH HEZ GOT THE NOD Shannon Suvaljko made the most of the three inside horses on the front line galloping at the start of the Caduceus Club Oh What A View Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night by spearing through from the 10m line and bursting to the front after 50m with Hez Got the Nod. Suvaljko then dictated terms and noted frontrunner Hez Got The Nod fought on doggedly to win narrowly from 18/1 chance Pacific Black, who finished strongly after trailing the leader all the way. Punters groaned when 5/2 on favourite Ben Cartwright, from barrier No. 2, broke into a gallop when the tapes released the field of eleven. Polemarker Compact Rocket and I Am legend (barrier three) also galloped and Suvaljko seized his opportunity to dash Hez Got The Nod through a widening opening caused by Ben Cartwright veering outwards as he galloped. "To win the race I had to find the front off 10m," Suvaljko said. "My plan was to watch Ben Cartwright.I had watched his last starts and noticed that he veered out at the start. So I was waiting for the outward movement at the start. "Hez Got The Nod is a good rolling type. I probably ran the race upside down just to beat Ben Cartwright. Down the back we just blocked everyone in and just sprinted down the straight." Ben Cartwright settled in seventh position before Gary hall jun. sent him forward, three wide, after 350m to move into the breeze. Ben Cartwright was still second with 220m to travel before he began to fade. He dropped back to finish eighth. Hez Got the Nod has had 16 starts in WA for trainer Debbie Padberg for six wins and four seconds. He has earned $77,436 from 11 wins and 20 placings from 49 starts. by Ken Casellas
Champion harness racing trainer Gary Hall Sr strengthened his grip on the 2014 G1 $200,000 Sky Racing WA Derby on 11 April after dominating the $40,000 Caduceus Club Classic (2536m) at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Hall's pair, Elegant Christian and Machtu, completely dominated the traditional Derby lead-up and sent an ominous warning to their rivals by gapping WA’s best three-year-olds by an ever widening seven lengths. Elegant Christian jumped straight to the front for Clinton Hall to dictated terms, but it wasn’t a walk in the park for the unbeaten three-year-old, as his stablemate Machtu applied the blowtorch a lap out and the pair settled down for an enthralling battle. The son of Christian Cullen and English Elegance held off a gallant Machtu by two and a half metres, with a closing last half of a sizzling 55.3, racing away from the rest of the field. Last season’s two-year-old of the year Mister Jadore was almost 30 metres away in third place. Despite amazingly only winning his first Derby last season with the injury plagued Alta Christiano, this looks to be Hall’s best sophomore crop ever as far as depth is concerned, with the champion mentor appearing to hold all the aces for next month’s Group One Blue Riband event. Elegant Christian should take natural improvement on his first-up effort, while Machtu could not have been more impressive in defeat. “I don’t think there is much between these two” Hall said after the race “They are both pretty special.” Hall also had an impressive three-year-old winner the night before at Northam, with Eye Crusher winning by four lengths in a slick 1.57.2 mile rate for the 2190 metres. In other races on the night at Gloucester Park, Red Salute driven by Chris Voak held off stablemate Sensational Gabby to win the HBF Run For A Reason FFA, while Hokuri Handrail got under the guard of most punters with a returned to winning form in a heat of The Clarke at odds $64.30 with Tabtouch.
YONKERS, NY, Friday, March 14, 2014--Yonkers Raceway's pair of Friday night $33,000 Open Handicaps--a Pace for the ladies and a Trot for all who sent in the box tops--were won by a pocket-sitting Royal Cee Cee N (Brian Sears, $5) and an come-from-behind Super Manning (Matt Kakaley, $6.70). Royal Cee Cee N, who became a career millionairess with a second-place finish a week ago, was in play early this night from post position No. 3. As the 3-2 favorite, she made the first lead before yielding the right of way to Cocoa Beach (Ron Pierce). "Cocoa" set tepid fractions of a flat 28 seconds and :58.1 before inside assignee Fashion Mystery (Eric Carlson) moved from fourth. She put forth just mild pressure going toward a 1:26.1 three-quarters, with Cocoa Beach taking a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. Despite the cheapy intervals, she couldn't stall the lass on her back, as Royal Cee Cee N ducked in and went by. The margin was three-quarters of a length in 1:53.4 (:27.3 final quarter). Fashion Mystery held third, with Krispy Apple and Ramalama completing the cashers. For Royal Cee Cee N, an 8-year-old Down Under daughter of Christian Cullen owned and trained by Mark Harder, it was her first win in three seasonal starts. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $17, with the triple returning $116. The week's marquee trot saw slight 2-1 fave Super Manning-off the gate and solidly second in last week's edition-unhurried this week from post No. 6. He watched as Tall Cotton (George Brennan) left over his seven inside rivals. After early sub-sections of :28 and :58 (with pocket-sitter Lorenzo Dream [Sears] edging out, then going back in), Traverse Seelster (Pierce) moved from fifth. That one disposed of the leader, with Calchip's Brute (Jordan Stratton) second-up and Super Manning plying his craft from third-over. It was "Traverse" owning a short-lived lead at the 1:26.1 three-quarters, but-and everyone else-were about to be inhaled. Super Manning swung wide and busted the race wide open. He was up a length in and out of the final turn, then widened to 3¼ lengths in 1:54.4...fastest trot mile of the season. Lone lass Backstreet Hanover (Carlson) was able to get into second, with Calchip's Brute, Zooming (Tyler Buter) and Traverse Seelster settling for the small change. For Super Manning, a 6-year-old Diamond Goal homebred owned by Joseph Pennacchio and trained by Kevin Carr, it was her first win in five '14 starts. The exacta paid $55, the triple returned $413 and the superfecta paid $1,908. Friday night props to former New York Sire Stakes champ Coraggioso ($3.40), who returned downstate with a convincing victory (1:56.1) in the $17,500, ninth-race trot. The now-5-year-old son of Conway Hall, co-owned by breeders Tom Durkin and Joe Spadaro, is now 16-for-37 in his career. He defeated Where to Hanover, owned by always-welcome Yonkers co-host Gary (Man About Town) Machiz, by a length-and-a-half. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway
Don't get too carried away with the royally bred Bettor Think Twice when assessing chances for Friday night's PGG Wrightson NZ Yearling Sales Series 2yo Fillies Graduette at Addington Raceway - Click here to view the field. Trainer Cran Dalgety said he was treating the night's richest race as a $18,500 trial, and believed the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained Fight For Glory had the race all parcelled up. "My girl is as green as what I am, and like me needs a bit of time. She's not race hardened enough yet but hopefully come the Jewels Final she will be fizzing," the West Melton horseman said. "I can't see any of them beating Fight For Glory," he added. The $78,000 purchase at last year's New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale in Christchurch is the first of three Bettor's Delight foals out of the three-win Christian Cullen - Inspiring Dash mare, Rona Lorraine . She won the Group One Nevele R Stud Caduceus Club 2yo Fillies Classic, and also won Friday's Sales Series Graduette race - both in 2008. "It would be nice to pick up some crumbs behind Mark's horse, but after a few Sires Stakes heats and more race experience I think she will develop into a nice filly," Dalgety said. Bettor Think Twice, who will be driven by Dexter Dunn, has drawn two - one outside the favourite. With two races under her belt Fight For Glory is the most experienced pacer in the six-horse field. She won her only start at Addington, when making her debut as a $1.60 favourite on February 14. The Art Major filly then finished a neck second behind stablemate, Supersonic Miss and Blair Orange at the Cheviot meeting on March 2. The best of the rest appears to be the last start workout winner (mile rate: 2:04.5), the Nigel McGrath trained and Anthony Butt driven Joanne's A Delight. By Duane Ranger *Supersonic Miss, who beat Fight For Glory on debut, has had a setback which could affect the chances of an Australian campaign next month. The impressive Leonard Memorial winner did herself a mischief rolling her her box. She had been on the short list to go to Australia with Follow The Stars but no that could be in doubt. At this stage there is no substitute though Mark and Natalie have not ruled out a travelling companion for Follow The Stars.
nter Dominion winning trainer James Rattray will head to Goulburn's meeting on Friday with a three pronged attack and is hoping talented mare Delightful Christian will lead the trio with another victory. Delightful Christian won her first race at Tabcorp Park Menangle last week and Rattray has confirmed he is considering a trip to Victoria for the daughter of Christian Cullen. "The main target with her was going to be the Ladyship Mile but we just fell behind with her after she got a little bit sick, the good news is that she is well and truly over that and she is starting to find her form again," Rattray said. "The Queen Of The Pacific looks a good option for her because there doesn't seem to be too many feature races for the mares in the next couple of months in New South Wales, the standing start in Victoria is a bit of a query but I would give her plenty of practice beforehand to make sure she was ready for it." Rattray will also take Major Post and Jack In Flight to Goulburn. "Major Post hasn't drawn the best, he is going a little bit better than his form suggests, he can still win another two country penalty events before I think about a metro race and I'm pretty sure he has got that in him." "Jack In Flight will have his 100th start this week, he has been going alright too and there are a few country cup races coming that might suit him or we can just keep running him in races around here, he isn't too far away from a win." Rattray's stable star Beautide returned to the stables on Tuesday after enjoying a week off as a result of his Inter Dominion win and will now be set for the Len Smith Mile in April at Menangle. "I'm really happy with him, he has come through the Inter Dominion extremely well and I'm actually a bit surprised how well he has recovered from it and because of that the Len Smith Mile looks a good target for him." "The week off has done him the world of good and he had plenty of residual fitness anyway." by Greg Hayes - SKY Racing (Harness Racing AU)
Despite being beaten at Menangle trainer is confident top mare is ready for big effort. Don't bother trying to tell trainer Mark Purdon that Adore Me is too young to win tomorrow night's Auckland Trotting Cup. Because he knows 4-year-old mares can win the great race, the last time it happened he had a pretty close view. Purdon ran a head second in the 1997 Cup with Brabham, beaten on the line by 4-year-old mare Kate's First, the older sister of the following year's winner, the great Christian Cullen. And it isn't just a 17-year old memory that convinced Purdon to start Adore Me in tomorrow night's race just five days after she suffered only the third defeat of her career in Sydney on Sunday. "I think she has shown she can run open-class times," says Purdon. "So while it won't be easy I think she can win. She is a very special mare." While Adore Me finished the bravest of seconds in a star-studded Northern Derby this time last year, she has rarely raced the boys, although she did beat Franco Nelson in the junior free-for-all on New Zealand Cup Day. And she has taken on some of the big boys at the trials and thrashed them. Last October she missed away in a 2400m trial at Ashburton yet still paced a 26.4-second last 400m to beat Auckland Cup rivals Mah Sish and Fly Like An Eagle. She should be a stronger and more well-rounded mare now and Purdon is not concerned by the quick turnaround from racing on Sunday at Menangle, where she worked hard three wide in a 1:52.1 mile and was run down into second late. "She has arrived in Auckland looking great and even after her race in Sydney on Sunday she was bouncing around that night. "And it was only a mile, whereas a horse like Terror To Love had to race over 3000m on Sunday." Purdon still respects the three-time New Zealand Cup winner as the rival to beat tomorrow night and says the key will be staying in front of him. "I expect horses like Fly Like An Eagle and Mah Sish to cross me early, so I don't think I will be burning with them," he admits. "If the speed is on I don't think there will be too many moves but if I have to come at the bell and sit parked she is good enough to do that." And Purdon has another, not so public reason, for feeling confident Adore Me can give him his fourth Auckland Cup training victory. Just 10 days ago he worked her with Smolda at Addington and the pair hit the line together at the end of a searching 2400m in 3:01. Smolda has since finished a brave fourth in the Inter Dominion Final on Sunday before returning home to Canterbury but if he was in tomorrow's Cup and drawn barrier two he would be clear favourite. "There is nothing between them," says Purdon. Adore Me is the second favourite for the Cup, opening at $3.60 behind Terror To Love at $2.80. Just to reaffirm Purdon's confidence she can beat the boys in a major staying test, after tomorrow's race he intends setting her for another clash with Terror To Love in the Easter Cup. Auckland Cup Week • What: Auckland Trotting Cup. • Where: Alexander Park. • When: Tomorrow night 8:25pm. • Who: Adore Me versus Terror To Love and the best pacers in New Zealand Courtesy of The New Zealand Herald Read more by Michael Guerin
Talented pacer Christen Me is set to take the title of 2013/14 Australasian Pacing Grand Circuit Champion after Friday night’s Group 1 Trillian Trust Auckland Cup, even though he is not competing in it. Christen Me is on 260 points, 40 points above Miracle Mile/Inter-Dominion Champion Beautide. There is no-one competing in Friday night’s event that would overtake him with a win. Terror To Love is 5th on the table, however he is only on 106 points. The circuit consists of eight races, the Queensland Pacing Championship in October, the New Zealand Cup and Miracle Mile both in November, the Victoria Cup in December, the WA Pacing Cup in January, the Hunter Cup in February and the Inter-Dominion Grand Final and Auckland Cup both in March. Christen Me has gained points from his third in the NZ Cup, second in the Miracle Mile, third in the Victoria Cup and his win in the Hunter Cup. A few past New Zealand winners of this prestigious title have been Christian Cullen, Monkey King, Flashing Red, Elsu, Young Rufus and Holmes D G. The points breakdown for each Grand Circuit event is as follows: 1st = 100 points, 2nd = 60 points, 3rd = 40 points, 4th = 20 points, 5th = 10 points, 6th = 5 points, 7th = 4 points, 8th = 3 points, 9th = 2 points, 10th and lower = 1 point. For the full leader board please go to Harness Racing Australia's website: http://www.harness.org.au/grandcirc/agc_2013ppnt.htm Harness Racing New Zealand Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail. DISCLAIMER: If you have received this email in error, please notify us immediately by reply email, facsimile or collect telephone call to +64 3 9641200 and destroy the original. Please refer to full DISCLAIMER at http://www.hrnz.co.nz/eDisclaimer