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In recent months Eden Franco and Maczaffair have stamped themselves as the best two pacing mares in Western Australia and the connections of those pacers and harness racing fans in general have been predicting a tantalising showdown between the two in the $125,000 Westral Mares Classic over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. But the result of the random barrier draw has clouded the issue and has revived the hopes of some of the other combatants, including the courageous Gotta Go Gabbana, the seasoned and well-performed veteran Tricky Styx and rising four-year-old stars Our Angel of Harlem and Lady De la Renta. Eden Franco, trained and driven by the evergreen Colin Brown, and Maczaffair, prepared by the equally astute horseman Mike Reed, have clashed in races only four times with the honours shared two victories to each mare and two seconds to Eden Franco and two fourths to Maczaffair. The barrier draw has thrown this week’s classic into the melting pot, with Eden Franco faring badly, drawn on the outside (No. 9) on the front line, while Maczaffair will start from the outside (barrier three) on the back line. Brown has a high opinion of Eden Franco and is looking for a change of luck after Eden Franco started from the prized No. 1 barrier in the Mares Classic 12 months ago and was a strongly-supported 4/1 chance. She set a solid pace, but was swamped in the final 100 metres when she was at a distinct disadvantage when the deafeners failed to release. She finished fourth behind Ideal Alice, Ameretto and Quite A Delight. Brown is hoping for his first success in the Mares Classic or its predecessor the Mares Mile. Three years ago, he drove $78.80 chance Jungle Jewell for Greg and Skye Bond when she surged home from ninth on the pegs at the bell, and sixth at the 100m, to finish second to the pacemaking Nike Franco and in 2010 he was third behind 10/9 on favourite Ima Spicey Lombo with Greg Bond’s Little Big Sister, who finished boldly from tenth at the bell. Eden Franco’s part-owner Jim Currie was a part-owner and trainer of 10/1 tote chance Smoking Again, who set the pace from barrier three and won comfortably from the polemarker Country Change in the 2009 Mares Mile. Eden Franco is generally considered simply as a frontrunner. But Brown does not agree with that, saying after driving the mare to a four-length victory over Alfa Queen in the 2130m Norms Daughter Classic last Friday week that she was quite versatile. “Everybody thinks that she’s just a one-trick pony, but at home she can run very quick times when held up. She’s got high cruising speed on the track at home and runs 27-second quarters hard-held.” Eden Franco started from barrier four in the Norms Daughter Classic and burst to the front after 250m. Maczaffair started from the inside of the back line and raced three back on the pegs in fifth position. She was badly blocked for a clear passage in the final stages and went to the line full of running to finish a most unlucky fourth. Then, last Friday night Maczaffair was a 10/1 on favourite from the No. 1 barrier when she was not extended in setting the pace, sprinting over the final quarters in 28.2sec. and 27.8sec. and winning by 10m from Gotta Go Gabbana over 2130m. Both Eden Franco and Maczaffair are capable over the 2536m journey. Eden Franco has won over 2600m and 2503m and Maczaffair has won twice and finished second three times over 2536m. Tricky Styx, now in the Capel stables of Andrew de Campo, has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier and Aiden de Campo is sure to attempt to set the pace with the seven-year-old and will be hoping to keep all challengers at bay. This will be Tricky Styx’s third appearance in the Mares Classic. She started out wide at barrier nine and finished solidly from 11th at the bell to be fifth behind The Parade in 2016 and last year she began out wide at barrier eight and was always well back, finishing tenth behind Ideal Alice. Four-year-old Our Angel of Harlem, a stablemate of Maczaffair, cannot be underestimated, even from the wide draw at No. 8. Her two runs since resuming from a spell have been encouraging and she will have the services of champion reinsman Chris Lewis, who has won the Mares Mile with Jilsander (2007) and Ima Spicey Lombo (2010). Chris Voak, who set the pace with the Chris King-trained Leda McNally and won the Mares Classic from Famous Alchemist and Sensational Gabby in 2013, will be in the sulky behind the Annie Belton-trained Gotta Go Gabbana, who is favourably drawn at barrier two on the front line. Gotta Go Gabbana has impressed with her courageous efforts on the past two Friday nights when she had a tough run in the breeze before fighting on grandly for a third behind Eden Franco and a second to Maczaffair. Gotta Go Gabbana’s stablemate Lady De La Renta will be driven by Kim Prentice and she impressed at Gloucester Park last Tuesday week when she unwound a powerful finishing burst to win easily from Shes Artful and Jasmin Amal.   Ken Casellas

Star reinsman Mark Reed rubbed his hands together in delight when he saw that outstanding mare Maczaffair had drawn the coveted No. 1 barrier in the $30,000 Howard Porter Memorial over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night and agreed wholeheartedly that the five-year-old looked a virtual certainty. “We’ll be coming out on roller skates and it should be a case of see you later,” Reed enthused. “Leading is her greatest attribute and she should win. However, she’s versatile and can do it at both ends. She came from a fair way back to beat Eden Franco two starts ago.” This will be Maczaffair’s final warm-up before she clashes with the brilliant Eden Franco in the $125,000 Westral Mares Classic on Friday week. The Colin Brown-trained Eden Franco rated 1.56.2 when she dashed to an early lead, set a solid pace and won by just over four lengths from Alfa Queen in the Norms Daughter Classic last Friday night. Maczaffair, who started from the inside of the back line and raced in fifth place three back on the pegs, charged home along the inside and was badly hampered for room when fourth. “Maczaffair never got a crack at them at all,” Reed said. “Eden Franco won well, but I got caught up in a bit of traffic. She was bolting. “There’s not much between Eden Franco and Maczaffair; it just gets down to barrier draws. Maczaffair has proven herself in Free-For-All class.” Reed, fresh from a double at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening with Mighty Major ($39.80) and American Dynasty ($1.30), also is confident that The Art Form will be hard to beat in the Yes Loans Insurance Pace over 2130m. The Art Form, a lightly-raced New Zealand-bred six-year-old, resumed after an eight-week absence at Northam on Saturday night when he set the pace and romped to an easy victory over Makinchanges. It was his sixth win in a row and the tenth in a 23-start career. “He curbed a hock and that was the first time he’d had the hopples on since his previous start (when he led and won from Benhope Rulz at Pinjarra on October 1),” Reed said. “So, he was very underdone and he’s probably still a bit underdone but he will benefit a lot from the run. He’s a class horse and Fizzing appears as the only serious threat.”   Ken Casellas

Star trainer-reinsman Colin Brown was mystified and at his wit’s end earlier this year when speedy pacer Maxentius faded and finished last in consecutive runs at Northam and Bunbury. “X-ray examinations then revealed that the horse had a five-millimetre chip in a fetlock which required surgery to remove it.” Brown said. Maxentius was out of action for six months and Brown produced the gelding in superb condition for his first-up appearance when he started from the outside of the back line in 2130m event last Friday week. Driven by Dylan Egerton-Green, Maxentius, an 8/1 chance, settled at the rear before sustaining a powerful three-wide burst to hit the front 300m from home on the way to a three-length victory over the pacemaker Mister Rollins. The final quarters were run in 27.8sec. and 28.8sec. Maxentius will start from the outside of the front line, with Brown in the sulky, in the opening event, the 2130m Worldwide Printing Pace, at Gloucester Park on Friday night and looms as a serious rival to outstanding four-year-old Bechers Brook. A Maxentius victory would cap a wonderful 60th birthday week for Brown. Bechers Brook, trained by Mike Reed and driven by Mark Reed, notched his ninth win from, 16 starts when he scored a decisive first-up victory at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon, rating 1.57.1 over 2185m, with final sections of 27.4sec. and 28.9sec. He raced in fifth position, one-out and one-back, before starting a three-wide move 700m from home. He got to the front 50m from the post and won easily from Ideal One and the pacemaker Rocknroll Whitby. “He’s still big in condition but has come back really well and is definitely a lot stronger than he was as a two-year-old,” Mark Reed said. “He will be hard to beat again on Friday night.” Bechers Brook, who finished a fast-finishing head second to King of Swing in the WA Derby last April, is a leading contender for the $200,000 Golden Nugget championship on December 14. So, too, is his talented stablemate Golden State, who resumed after a spell with an impressive win at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night. Golden State began from the outside of the front line and he finished powerfully from last (eighth) at the bell to win from the pacemaker Innocent Affair.   Ken Casellas

Ace trainer-reinsman Colin Brown is upbeat about the prospects of Amelias Courage in the Gloucester Park - Entertainment With Horsepower Pace for three-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night, declaring that she was ready to repeat her victory over Our Angel Of Harlem two weeks ago. Ryan Warwick may well have been presented with a perfect 40th birthday present with the decision to engage him to drive the Victorian-bred Amelias Courage from the No. 5 barrier in the quality field of seven fillies. Warwick, who celebrates his birthday on Saturday, will handle Amelias Courage for the first time. He replaces Dylan Egerton-Green, who drove the filly to a notable victory over Our Angel Of Harlem last Friday week and is currently enjoying a holiday in the Greek islands. Brown has decided to drive Amelias Courage’s stablemate Arma Rich Girl, who will start from the No. 2 barrier. “Drawing inside of Our Angel Of Harlem and Liberty Rose gives Amelias Courage the advantage,” said Brown. “We’ve got options with Amelias Courage and I’d imagine that this week she will be driven a bit more positively. My filly is ready to go huge. “It’s a small field, but a very nice field and whoever gets the luck in the run probably will emerge as the winner. I will be driving Arma Rich Girl, who is still learning how to race. However, she is improving and I expect her to go well. It wouldn’t surprise me if she finishes closer than she did last time (when sixth behind Amelias Courage two weeks ago).” Mike Reed, trainer of Our Angel Of Harlem, said he was confident that his filly would turn the tables on Amelias Courage. “Dylan Egerton-Green drove a good race with Amelias Courage in the one-out, one-back position while Our Angel Of Harlem did all the work (out three wide for much of the race),” Reed said “Then Our Angel Of Harlem won easily in a four-horse field at Pinjarra last Monday week. “It was a good run and she has improved since then. I think she will go super; I couldn’t be happier with her and she’s getting better and better. I wouldn’t swap my filly with any other filly in the race.” While most punters will be leaning towards Amelias Courage and Our Angel Of Harlem, Liberty Rose and Innocent Affair should not be left out of calculations. Liberty Rose, prepared by Gary Hall Snr, had a tough run, out three wide and then in the breeze when a last-start fourth behind Amelias Courage at her first appearance for just over a month. She has impressed in winning at six of her 13 starts. Champion reinsman Chris Lewis will handle Innocent Affair (trained by his wife Debra) from the prized No. 1 barrier and the Art Major filly is capable of leading and proving hard tom overhaul. She has set the pace and won at three of her past four starts.   Ken Casellas

Ace trainer-reinsman Colin Brown should be rewarded for his patience and thoughtful planning by guiding Typhoon Tiff to victory in the $100,000 Owners Only Westbred Classic for two-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Typhoon Tiff, a Bettors Delight filly, has shown wonderful ability at her five starts which have resulted in three wins, a second and a third and she has the class to overcome the disadvantage of starting from the outside of the back line in the 2130m classic. Bred and owned by Colleen Lindsay, Typhoon Tiff is following in the footsteps of her dam Tiffany Twisted and great granddam Blithe Spirit, each of whom were smart winners as a two-year-old. Tiffany Twisted won three in a row at Gloucester Park as a two-year-old in the 2009-10 season, with Brown in the sulky for the third of those wins. Blithe Spirit won at Pinjarra and Kilmore as a two-year-old in the 1993-94 season. Typhoon Tiff gave a sample of her ability at her latest outing, at Gloucester Park four Fridays ago, when she started from barrier No. 6 on the front line in the Group 1 Diamond Classic and finished a gallant neck second to the pacemaker Majorpride after racing three wide for the first circuit and then in the breeze. The final sections were covered in 28.9sec. and 27.9sec. That followed stylish victories at her three previous starts, all from wide barriers and being forced to cover extra ground. Looming as the most serious rival for Typhoon Tiff is Soho Interceptor, an Art Major filly trained at Hopeland by Glenn Elliott and a winner at two of her seven starts. Soho Interceptor possesses good gate speed and Shannon Suvaljko is sure to be anxious to take full advantage of the favourable draw by attempting to burst to an early lead and then dictate terms from the front. Two starts ago, Soho Interceptor raced three back on the pegs before running home fast in a final quarter of 27.7sec. to finish a nose second to Lady Valasca over 2130m at Gloucester Park. That was Lady Valasca’s only win from 11 starts, but she has also finished second six times and third once for trainer Annie Belton. Lady Valasca, the first of the progeny of former star pacer Alta Christiano to win a race in Western Australia, will start from barrier five on the front line in Friday night’s race in which she will handled by Chris Lewis. My Prayer has been placed at four of her six starts for Busselton trainer Barry Howlett and, from the inside of the back line she has sound place prospects. Ken Casellas

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

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

Nine years ago, Colleen Lindsay was the excited breeder and owner of Centrefold Angel when she was a rank outsider at 85/1 and scored a dashing victory in the Diamond Classica and Mrs Lindsay has high hopes of repeating the dose with her classy two-year-old filly Typhoon Tiff in the $100,000 Group 1 classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Typhoon Tiff is bred in the purple and is closely related to Centrefold Angel, who was retired after earning $237,348 from 14 wins and 15 placings from 47 starts. Typhoon Tiff has an awkward draw at barrier No. 6 on the front line in the 2130m feature event, but she has been highly impressive in winning convincingly at her past three outings after her extremely unlucky third on debut in a 1684m event at Pinjarra early in March. The Bettors Delight filly will be driven by her trainer Colin Brown, who hasn’t bustled her at her four starts. Brown has given the impression that he was determined to nurse Typhoon Tiff and he has appeared like a man treading with great caution on egg shells. On debut at Pinjarra on March 12 Typhoon Tiff appeared quite flighty and she broke into a gallop and lost more than 12 lengths 80m after the start. Brown eased her three wide after 550m and she sustained a spirited burst to get to the front 150m from the post before galloping in front with 25m to travel. She finished third, a length behind the winner Itz All About Magic. Then Typhoon Tiff started from barrier eight over 1730m at Gloucester Park on April 10 when she raced four wide early and moved to the breeze after 500m before hitting the front 220m from home and winning, untouched, by a length from Lady Valasca. Brown restrained Typhoon Tiff from barrier seven at her third start, over 168m at Pinjarra on April 16, when she settled in sixth position and raced three wide from the 950m until she got to the front 120m from the post and won by just over a length from Its Set In Stone, rating 1.57.7, with final quarters in 28.2sec. and 28.5sec. Then, in a qualifying heat of the Diamond Classic at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week, Brown gave Typhoon Tiff time to settle after starting out wide at barrier seven. Typhoon Tiff then dashed forward to move to the breeze after 500m and she was not extended in winning easily from My Prayer and Fulfil The Dream at a 1.58.3 rate over 2130m after taking the lead on the home turn. Typhoon Tiff covered the 2130m in 2min. 36.6sec., with the other heat winners being Lady Valasca (2.38.1) and Mandy Joan (2.36.2). Mandy Joan, trained by David Thompson, was driven confidently by Dylan Egerton-Green, who took full advantage of the No. 1 barrier by setting the pace and giving the filly’s rivals little chance by covering the four 400m section of the final mile in 29.9sec., 29.5sec., 29.9sec. and 28.7sec. Mandy Joan, who defeated Majorpride and Has No Fear, will start from barrier four in the final, with Majorpride drawing the prized No. 1 barrier and Has No Fear at barrier seven. Majorpride (Gary Hall Jnr) and Has No Fear (Tom Buchanan) are prepared by Justin Prentice, who will also be represented in the final by Iona Diamond (Stuart McDonald, barrier three) and Fulfil The Dream. Prentice, who prepared 25/1 chance Lady Luca for her victory in the 2016 Diamond Classic, will drive Fulfil The Dream, who will start from barrier five. Fulfil The Dream raced in sixth position and was switched five wide on the home bend before charging home to finish an impressive third behind Typhoon Tiff and the pacemaker My Prayer in a qualifying heat. Has No Fear, a winner at three of her seven starts, also caught the eye in a qualifying heat when she started from barrier seven and was last in a field of nine at the 400m mark before she thundered home, out wide, to finish third behind Mandy Joan and Majorpride (who fought on from the one-out, one-back position to finish second). Lady Valasca, trained by Annie Belton and driven by Chris Lewis, set the pace in her heat and fought on grimly to win narrowly from Soho Interceptor, faces a stern test from the outside barrier (No. 9). Wonnerup trainer Terry Ferguson, who prepared $27.70 outsider Cimorene for her win in the Diamond Classic last year, has two runners in this year’s race Bettor Pack It and Bettor Copagoodone, who will be at long odds. Typhoon Tiff was bred by Mrs Lindsay. The filly is by champion American-bred stallion Bettors Delight and is out of Tiffany Twisted, who won at three of her eight starts before being retired. Brown also has an association with Tiffany Twisted, having driven her twice for a win and a second placing at Gloucester Park as a two-year-old in 2010 Tiffany Twisted was bred by Mrs Lindsay, who also bred that mare’s dam, the unraced Twisted Art, who produced five winners, including Centrefold Angel, who was driven twice by Brown for a win at Gloucester Park and a fourth at Pinjarra as a three-year-old. Typhoon Tiff can trace her ancestry back to Magic Flute, an outstanding WA pacer whose 16 Gloucester Park wins included the 1957 and 1958 Easter Cup, the 1957 State Sprint Championship and a heat of the 1957 Inter Dominion championship at Gloucester Park. Ken Casellas

Liam O’Connor and Jim Currie, long-standing friends and clients of ace harness racing trainer-reinsman Colin Brown, have no regrets about outlaying $37,500 to purchase Its Rock And Roll at the APG Perth yearling sales early last year. The gelding has already earned $76,825 from two wins and two seconds from four starts and he has excellent prospects of adding another $30,225 to his tally by winning the $50,000 Westral Champagne Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Brown is bubbling with confidence and is planning to take full advantage of the coveted No. 1 barrier by attempting an all-the-way victory in the Group 2 feature event over 2130m. None of the ten runners has raced beyond 1730m, but Its Rock And Roll should have little difficulty in competing strongly over the longer journey, with Brown declaring that the gelding is feeling better than he was when he won the Group 1 Sales Classic Final on March 2. “His ring craft has improved dramatically since then and he’s got a lot of natural speed and a bit of toughness as well,” Brown said. Its Rock And Roll made an impressive debut when he was a 30/1 outsider from the No. 1 barrier and led and won from Highly Flammable and Shockwave at Gloucester Park in the first week of February. He then finished a head second to Babyface Adda before he started at 12/1 and began speedily from barrier seven in the Sales Classic in which he raced wide early and then in the one-out, one-back position before finishing strongly to get up and beat the pacemaker Shockwave by a head, rating 1.56.6, a race record. Brown then gave Its Rock And Roll two and a half weeks off before preparing him for this week’s classic. Its Rock And Roll resumed in a 1684m event at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon when he started from the back line, settled in sixth position and quickly dashed forward into the breeze after 550m. He fought on doggedly to be a two-length second to quality New Zealand-bred two-year-old Bletchley Park, who rated 1.56.2, with a final quarter in a sizzling 26.8sec. Brown said that it was an exceptional performance by Its Rock And Roll, who took no harm from his tough run at his first appearance for just over seven weeks. Its Rock And Roll is bred to shine as a two-year-old. His dam, the Victorian-bred Miss Worthy Whitby won at three of her eight starts at Bathurst, Albion Park and Gloucester Park as a two-year-old in 2010. The Storm Inside, a half-brother to Miss Worthy Whitby, had six starts for six wins as a two-year-old early in 2016. His wins included the Group 2 Fitzpatrick Memorial at Menangle and the Group 1 APG Classic for colts and geldings at Melton. Toughest for Its Rock And Roll to beat on Friday night could well be Valbonne, a New Zealand-bred colt by Mach Three. Valbonne, prepared by Mike Reed, will start from the No. 5 barrier on the front line and will be driven by Chris Lewis. Valbonne warmed up for the Champagne Classic in fine style at Pinjarra on Monday of last week when he raced in the breeze for the first 500m and then in the one-out, one-back position before finishing solidly to win from Sangue Reale and Babyface Adda. Lewis will be aiming to win the Champagne Classic for a record eighth time after victories with Pardon Me Boys (1987), Talladega (1999), Wirrapunda (2001), All Four Firing (2002), Slick Operator (2003), David Hercules (2009) and Mister Jadore (2013). Ross Olivieri, who prepared Talladega for his win in the classic, is hopeful that Rich And Spoilt colt Babyface Adda will overcome the outside barrier (No. 9). Babyface Adda has won at Gloucester Park and Pinjarra and leading reinsman Shannon Suvaljko said he was confident he would fight out the finish. “I have no doubt that he will compete strongly over the 2130m,” he said. Collie owner-trainer David Hunter has high hopes that his smart filly Itz All About Magic will prove hard to beat and remain unbeaten after four starts, following successes at Pinjarra (two) and Gloucester Park. Stuart McDonald will drive Itz All About Magic, the only runner off the back line who should gain a perfect run behind the likely pacemaker Its Rock And Roll. Ken Casellas

Colin Brown has been training and driving pacers for more than 40 years and he now declares that he is preparing the fastest pacer of his harness racing distinguished career a small, insignificant-looking filly by the name of Amelias Courage. The Victorian-bred Amelias Courage emerged as a major WA Oaks contender with a superb victory in a modest C1-class event at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night, a performance which was a strong indication that she would prove hard to beat in the Follow@skyracing.com.au on Twitter WA Oaks prelude at Gloucester Park on Friday night.    Amelias Courage will start from barrier two on the front line in the $20,000 prelude over 2130m and Brown is confident that she will seriously challenge boom filly, the high-priced New Zealand import Our Angel of Harlem. Amelias Courage raced without cover outside the pacemaker The Freedom Fighter before getting to the front 600m from home and then easily withstanding a challenge from Pavarotti to beat the promising New Zealand-bred five-year-old by more than a length, rating a slick 1.55.2 over 2130m. It was an exceptional performance after a fast lead time of 35.6sec. followed by quarters of 29.5sec., 29.3sec., 28.8sec. and 29.2sec. Brown was lavish in his praise of the filly, saying: “She has run 3sec. quicker on the track than any horse I’ve trained. If I told you the times she’s run at Jandakot you wouldn’t believe me. I don’t doubt her ability. She has just run 1.55.2 in the breeze and Our Angel of Harlem will have to be good to beat me. Amelias Courage could have gone better if something had really come at her. “We really had to make a statement before the Oaks and I always like to show the handicapper something.” Brown said that Amelias Courage had the potential to be classed alongside two outstanding mares he has trained in Sand Pebbles and Franco Eden. The WA-bred Sand Pebbles raced 81 times for 26 wins, ten placings and $313,102 in prizemoney. She won the $100,000 Ladyship Mile at Harold Park in November 2004 and a week later finished second to Sokyola in the $550,000 Miracle Mile. Eden Franco, a New Zealand-bred five-year-old, arrived in WA last September and in nine starts for Brown in October, November and December, she was successful seven times. Brown lauded Amelias Courage’s toughness, saying: “The problem has been that we haven’t drawn barriers from which we could use her stamina. She’s only a small horse and she has run a 26sec. quarter on the track but she doesn’t seem to do that in her races.” Amelias Courage was purchased at the Victorian yearling sales by Graham Searle and Geoff Waters and was prepared in Victoria by Peter Manning. “What happened was the Victorian handicapping system changed and this disadvantaged a horse like her who had won a bit of prizemoney, and she wasn’t eligible in three-year-old company and she drew badly against good horses in open races,” Brown said. “The owners made the decision to send her over here to me and Liam O’Connor and Jim Currie bought shares in her. It has taken us a bit of time to get the best out of her. Over in Victoria she pulled very hard and was just an aggressive, attack, attack filly. “Her main aim is the WA Oaks and you cannot have a horse who is going to attack over 2536m. We have put gear on her and taken gear off and it has taken a fair bit of time to get her sorted. She goes best when driven tough and I don’t mind if she leads or has to sit in the breeze on Friday night.” The polemarker in Friday night’s race is noted frontrunner Miss Sangrial, who led for much of the way when a half-length second to Pick My Pocket over 2100m at Bunbury last Saturday week. Amelias Courage, who has earned $85,164 from nine wins, ten seconds and two thirds, is also a smart frontrunner, who led at five of her eight Victorian wins. Our Angel of Harlem, to be driven by Shannon Suvaljko for Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed, is awkwardly drawn out wide at barrier No. 7, but is expected to be a warm favourite. Our Angel of Harlem began from the inside of the back line at her latest start, at Gloucester Park last Friday week, and was trailed the pacemaker when she choked down, galloped and disrupted the field 1100m from home. The race was abandoned. At her previous outing, at her Australian debut at Pinjarra, Our Angel of Harlem raced three wide in the first lap and then in the breeze before finishing third behind Bettor A Believer. That followed a superb runaway victory in a Byford trial.   Suvaljko is confident of success on Friday night, saying: “I think she is close to her top and we can work forward from the wide barrier. She is definitely the one to beat.” Star reinsman Gary Hall Jnr, who needs two wins to bring up his century for the season, said that he expected a strong effort from Liberty Rose, who will start from the inside of the back line, immediately behind the freewheeling Miss Sangrial. Liberty Rose was travelling easily in the breeze at her most recent outing when a horse choked down, fell and caused interference to other runners. This forced the stewards to stop the race. “She felt as though she had them all covered,” Hall said. “She’s got toughness and a good turn of foot and I give her a really good chance.” Ken Casellas

Metropolitan trainer-driver Colin Brown enjoyed a night at Harold Reid Paceway to begin the new Albany Harness Racing Club season last Friday, landing four winners on the eight-race program. Brown, one of WA’s most successful reinsmen, won half the card at the season opener, with Arma Rich Girl, Fortunate Adda, Maxentius and Eden Franco all successful. Eden Franco started a red-hot $1.50 favourite in the night’s feature race the $8500 Libby Harding Pace (2258m), and settled outside the leader Mighty Flying Deal for the majority of the race. On the final lap Eden Franco briefly hit the front before Mighty Flying Deal fought back on the inside nearing the home corner, but the short-priced favourite did enough in a terrific battle nearing the line to win by 1.6m, which handed Brown his fourth. Earlier Brown drove four-year-old gelding Maxentius to victory in the Premium Custom Homes Pace (2258m) after downing fellow fancy All Jokes Aside by 7.6m at the line. Three-year-old filly Fortunate Adda scored her third career win, making ideal use of the front row draw as Brown had her outside the leader in running before holding off Clovelly Spirit by 2.4m at the finish. Brown also won the opening event on the card with Arma Rich Girl, who jumped a $17.80 chance on the tote, to edge out $1.30 favourite Captured Delight by a neck in a thrilling finish to the Formation Homes 3YO Pace (2258m). Short-priced favourite All About The Cash proved too strong in race 2 for trainer-driver Lang Inwood, while concession driver Madeleine Young prevailed in another tight result, and Mr Nickel won by a half head over Crimson Floyd in race 3. Albany trainer Charles Draper also tasted success on opening night after Snowball Mackenzie won at his first start for the new stable, scoring a dominant 8.8m win in the last race. AHRC will hold their second meeting this Sunday night, featuring the annual New Year’s Eve Cup Stakes. By Cameron Newbold Reprinted with permission of The West Australian  

The three big zero’s alongside Ohoka Darcy’s name in the opening event, the $18,000 Book Your TABtouch Inter Dominion Hospitality Now Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night, should not deter punters from supporting the New Zealand-bred five-year-old. Yes, it is true: Ohoka Darcy, prepared at Ravenswood by Nathan Turvey, has finished last at his past three starts and he has been beaten by 150m, 85.4m and 124.1m - a combined total of 359.5m. At the end of May Ohoka Darcy resumed after a short spell when he gave an impressive display to win by five lengths from A Bit Ruthless after being checked and breaking into a gallop and then racing three wide for most of the 1776m journey. He then raced in the first week of June, July and August when he galloped at the start of a stand and finished a distant last at Gloucester Park and then broke in running in mobile events and finished last at Narrogin and Gloucester Park. “He raced three wide the trip for his first-up win at Wagin,” Turvey said. “He went really good, but I don’t know whether that hurt him a bit. After that, he got a bit agitated and started going rough and galloping. So, I turned him out to freshen him up. “I took him to the trials at Pinjarra on Sunday and I didn’t push him. I just wanted him to go to the line feeling good. He did and felt real good (in finishing fourth behind Lady Dupree in a field of five). “He will start from barrier one on Friday night and is a capable leader. I’ll play things by ear. It doesn’t look good, looking at his numerical form. But at his latest start he was going to run third behind Vultan Tin and Sprinter before he galloped.” Ohoka Darcy won at three of his eight starts in New Zealand and his 23 starts in Western Australia have produced eight wins and four placings. He is sure to meet extremely stiff opposition on Friday night from the speedy five-year-old Just Bet On Black, who is trained and driven by Colin Brown and will start from the No. 3 barrier on the front line. Brown’s team has been firing lately and smart punters are sure to rally to support Just Bet On Black, who possesses excellent gate speed and has a fine record of ten wins and eight placings from only 27 starts.   Ken Casellas

Speedy pacer Franco Rayner will resume after a three-month absence when he will start from the outside of the front line (No. 9) in the 2130m $23,000 Retravision Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. But Banjup trainer-reinsman Colin Brown said that he is not intending to use the four-year-old’s blistering gate speed and that he would be driving the gelding conservatively. “I’m thinking that he is forward enough to be competitive, but we won’t be hurling out of the gate,” Brown said. “We know that he’s got very high gate speed, but I just don’t think he’s fit enough at this stage of his preparation to use that and still run a race at the end. “He is essentially a beach horse, and with the recent wintry weather we haven’t been able to work him how we would like. He’s had a lot of work, but I really don’t know where he’s at.” Two starts ago, on May 12, Franco Rayner started from the No. 9 barrier and revealed dazzling speed to charge straight to the front before setting a fast pace and winning easily from Naughty Maravu at a 1.55.8 rate over 1730m. Though most of his 16 wins from 45 starts have been when he has set the pace, Franco Rayner is also capable of unwinding a spirited finishing burst. The Justin Prentice-trained Natural Disaster is in top form and will have an army of supporters. He will start from the No. 7 barrier and should be prominent throughout in his bid to win for the ninth time from only 14 starts this season. In a strong field, Sprinter, Our Jericho, Vultan Tin, Mach Time and Harry Hoo will all have many admirers. Perhaps the main opposition to Natural Disaster will come from Sprinter and Our Jericho. Gary Elson, trainer of Sprinter, is confident the four-year-old will maintain his splendid form, even from the awkward draw of the inside of the back line. “He was superb in defeat at the hands of Vultan Tin at his latest run (last Friday week),” Elson said. In that event Sprinter started out wide at barrier seven and settled in ninth position before running home boldly from seventh at the bell to finish second, two and a half lengths behind the flying Vultan Tin, who opened up a lead of several lengths in the middle stages. The Ross Olivieri-trained Our Jericho will start out wide at barrier eight, but looks a strong chance after several excellent recent efforts, including two thirds behind star pacer Chicago Bull. Our Jericho has a losing sequence of 16, but is certainly capable of ending that run of outs. He has been freshened up since his good fourth behind Ideal Alice and Vultan Tin on July 21. Ken Casellas

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

Mitch Maguire put up such a remarkable performance to buck the odds and win at Pinjarra last Monday week that he should continue his winning ways by proving the master of his rivals in the $23,000 Milwaukee 18V Fuel Heavy Duty WA Derby Prelude over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Several outstanding three-year-olds will contest Friday night’s event, but Mitch Maguire, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, has won with such authority at his past three starts that he should capitalise on his favourable barrier at No. 2 on the front line and notch his 11th win from 17 starts and his ninth win from ten starts in Western Australia. Colin Brown will handle Mitch Maguire, replacing the suspended Ryan Warwick, who has driven the colt at all of his nine WA outings. At Pinjarra on Monday of last week, Mitch Maguire started off 30m in a 2631m stand. He galloped badly and settled down some 20 lengths behind the early leader. He improved to be eighth at the bell and he sprinted brilliantly 550m from home to burst to the front at the 300m mark and then he coasted to victory at a 1.59 rate. “It was a tremendous run,” said stable driver Ryan Bell. “We clocked him off the video to go his final mile and a half in 2min. 52sec.” Bell said that he did not expect Friday night’s race to be a walk in the park for Mitch Maguire. “He’s got very good gate speed, but so have Im The Best (barrier one) and Herrick Roosevelt (three) and there might be fireworks early.” Bell will drive Mitch Maguire’s stablemate Rock Diamonds from barrier five, for the first time in a race. “It’s a tricky draw and we’ll probably stay out of trouble and do our best work late,” he said. Rock Diamonds has shown excellent promise and has won at eight of his ten starts in WA. Ace trainer Gary Hall sen. Will be represented by Herrick Roosevelt, who has made most of the running to win easily at his only two starts --- at Bunbury and Gloucester Park in December. He is favourably drawn at barrier three on the front line and will be driven by Clint Hall. Gary Hall jun. will continue as the driver of the Michael Brennan-trained Im Rockaria, who has won at ten of his 17 starts and is awkwardly drawn at barrier seven. Kim Prentice will drive Mustang Bart, a newcomer from Victoria who has drawn the inside of the back line for his WA debut for Victorian trainer Gary Barton. Mustang Bart has had 14 starts for three wins in Victoria and one in New South Wales.   Ken Casellas

Kiwi Legend, described by his trainer Mike Reed as a very good horse who is on target for the Interdominion Championship series and the WA Pacing Cup next summer, looks a star bet in the opening event, the 2536m Retravision Pace, at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The New Zealand-bred five-year-old will start out wide at barrier seven in the field of eight, but that should prove no obstacle as he attempts to notch his twelfth win from 30 starts. He will be handled by Shannon Suvaljko, who returned to action in dashing style at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening after serving a term of suspension when he landed a double with 2/1 favourite and pacemaker Artistic Lilly and 10/1 chance Plati, who charged home with a brilliant burst of speed. Kiwi Legend bounced back to top form last Friday night when he began speedily from barrier seven and got a half-length in front of 5/2 on favourite Bungalow Bill in the early stages. But Colin Brown then was content to rate Kiwi legend in the breeze and the gelding surged to the front 110m from home and won easily from Bungalow Bill at a 1.56.4 rate over 2130m, with final sectionals of 28.6sec. and 27.8sec. “He won very well and Colin said he was bolting and could’ve gone to the front leaving the back straight in the last lap,” Reed said. And Brown said: “He won with the ear plugs in and with a leg in the air.” Reed said that Kiwi Legend (who has earned $166,685 from 11 wins, eight seconds and three thirds from just 29 starts) would contest the $35,000 Alltools Four and Five-Year-Old Championship on Friday week before being sent for a spell. Reed has good prospects of a quinella result in Friday night’s race, with Foxy Dame, to be driven by Brown, favourably drawn at the No. 2 barrier. Foxy Dame started from the back line and impressed when she finished powerfully from sixth at the bell to win narrowly from Bad Round and Questionable Gesture at a 1.57.4 rate over 2130m last Friday night. Mexicano (barrier one) and the promising, lightly-raced Talktomeurmattjesty have place prospects. Talktomeurmattjesty, to be driven by Chris Lewis for Busselton owner-trainer Barry Howlett, has raced only 13 times for seven wins and five placings. He is awkwardly drawn at barrier six. Ken Casellas

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