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Saturday night at Melton’s Tabcorp Park will see the 66th running of the time-honoured premier harness racing handicap of Australasia, the Del-Re National Food Group A.G. Hunter Cup. The event is steeped in tradition and prestige. The annual stand-start Group 1 is a highlight on the Australasian harness racing calendar, an event whose honour roll is adorned by such stars of the game as Minuteman (1964 and 66), Pure Steel (1977, 78 and 80), Koala King (1981), Gammalite (1982), Popular Alm (1983), Blossom Lady (1994 and 95), Elsu (2005 and 2006) and Blacks A Fake (2008), just to name a few. This year another star will etch their name among the sport’s elite, and a highly competitive race looks assured with most of the key players peaking in form at the right time. With $400,000 in prize money on offer for the 3280m marathon, the race annually draws the strongest and fastest pacers from around the land and abroad. In recent years, the Kiwis have boasted bragging rights in the Hunter Cup, largely thanks to genius siblings Tim and Anthony Butt, who have combined to win four of the last five versions of the race. Anthony has seven times driven the winner of the Hunter Cup, his domination of the event kicking off back in 1994 when the mighty Blossom Lady prevailed at Moonee Valley. The super mare would return to the Valley 12 months later and go back to back, despite being forced to punch the breeze outside the leader from the 1700m. The champion stayer trained by the late Derek Jones raced to the lead down the back the final time and held off all comers late – including the brilliant Golden Reign – to score the gutsiest of successes. Nine years later Butt combined with his brother, trainer Tim, aboard Mister D G, who defeated Mont Denver Gold by 1.3m. The siblings would win the race again five years later, this time with Mr Feelgood, kicking off a domination of the event with further wins in 2011 with Stunin Cullen, 2012 with Choise Achiever and last year with Mah Sish. The Butts are back this year with reigning champion Mah Sish shooting for back to back wins in the big race. And if his most recent win at Ballarat – he led all the way to take out The Pure Steel on Saturday night – is any indication, the brothers might be the toast of the town again. Another Land of the Long White Cloud Hunter Cup hopeful will be Christen Me from the Cran Dalgety yard, whose runner-up effort behind locally trained Restrepo in the Petstock Ballarat Pacing Cup last weekend was enormous. With star Kiwi reinsman Dexter Dunn in the sulky, Christen Me looked home for all money before fast-finishing Restrepo nabbed him with a last-gasp lunge. Christen Me’s Australian record is first-class, with wins in the Hondo Grattan and Chariots Of Fire last year, followed by a second in the Miracle Mile behind Beautide and a third in the Victoria Cup before last Saturday’s Ballarat effort. One of the leading hometown hopes at Melton in the Hunter Cup will be Andy Gath-trained big-race specialist Caribbean Blaster. The son of Bettors Delight, who won the SA Cup earlier this month and last year captured the SEW-Eurodrive Victoria Cup, is flying. Before his Globe Derby success he had run placings in the Victoria Cup and a free-for-all at Melton after an enormous fourth when he worked overtime in a top-quality Cranbourne Cup field. Another local aiming to keep the Hunter Cup in town will be 11-year-old marvel Smoken Up, one of Caribbean Blaster’s regular sparring partners. The Lance Justice trained-and-driven warhorse was winning races when a lot of his rivals weren’t even born, yet he is expected to line up in one of the few big races to elude him so far in a career that has netted 70 wins and over $3.5 million in prize money. Smoken Up found the lead at Ballarat before finishing fourth and being relegated to fifth on protest. He ran a head second to The Gold Ace in The Shepparton Cup off a 30m back mark, was second to Caribbean Blaster in a stirring finish to the Group 1 SA Cup, was second to Keayang Steamer in the Horsham Pacing Cup, won the Laser Electrical over Mah Sish at Melton in December, and ran fifth in last year’s Miracle Mile behind Beautide after a blistering victory in the Group 1 Cordina Sprint a week earlier. Up-and-comer Im Corzin Terror from the powerful Dean Braun stable has his eyes on the prize after running second to Mah Sish in The Pure Steel and might be the under-the-radar Hunter Cup chance. On January 11, Im Corzin Terror’s run to win the Bendigo Cup was sublime, coasting clear of his rivals for a 14.8m triumph. He’s got gears. New South Wales hot pot The Gold Ace got shuffled back early at Ballarat despite most punters assuming he’d find the lead. He’s much better than his sixth-place finish in that race suggests, with big wins in the Shepparton Cup, Cranbourne Cup and Kevin Newman Cup at Menangle at three of his previous four runs before Ballarat. Astute punters won’t be jumping off the Belinda McCarthy-trained star too quickly. And of course the honest Restrepo will take winning form into the race after the Emma Stewart-trained gun took out the Ballarat feature with superstar driver Gavin Lang aboard. Adding to the intrigue in the Hunter Cup is the fact the race is a stand-start event, with a key stipulation of entry into the event being that horses must have qualified for the race by starting in and beginning safely in a minimum of one stand-start race in the 12 months leading up to the event. The A.G. Hunter Cup will be the jewel on a big night of harness racing at Melton on Saturday night, with other highlights to include the Group 1 Chiko Australasian Trotting Championship, the Group 2 Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Trotting Mares Sprint Championship, the Group 3 Glenferrie Farm Melton Trotters Cup and the heats of the VHRSC Victoria Derby. NEED TO KNOW: - Free entry - Gates open from 5:30pm - Free Kids entertainment including Animal Farm, Jumping Castle, Face Painting, Sulky Trotting Carousel,    Giant Slide & Bungee Run - Music on the front lawn - On-course betting voucher promotions - After party in the Legends Bar from 10:30pm onwards - TAB Jackpot COURTESY BUS PICK-UP POINT: 4:30pm, Saturday 1 February Federation Square, Russell St extension (located at the back of Federation Square near carpark). Travelling to Tabcorp Park, arriving approximately 5:30pm. DEPARTS TABCORP PARK: At 11:00pm, travelling to Federation Square. To book call (03) 8746 0600 Ticket price -  $10 per person DINING OPTIONS There’s plenty of dining options available so be sure to book your spot today by calling (03) 8746 0631 Home Straight Restaurant - $65 per person 3 Course Buffet Cash Bar Facilities Racebook Dress Code – Smart Casual Toolern Room - $110 per person 3 Course Meal plus Beer Wine & Soft Drink Grandstand access Racebook Dress Code – Jacket & Tie Corporate Suites - $140 per person Accommodate between 20-30 guests Deluxe Canapes plus Beer, Wine & Soft Drink Racebooks Private Wait Staff Private balcony overlooking the Home Straight  TO BOOK CALL (03) 8746 0631 By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

Defending champion Keystone Del is among the list of horses being considered for the Australian team for the Glenferrie Farm Trotters Challenge at Tabcorp Park Menangle on March 2. With five Australian trotters and as many from New Zealand to be invited to contest the $200,000 Group One, the Nicole Molander-trained gelding is one of nine that could possibly line-up for what already looks to be a strong Australian team. Others dominate in the minds of selectors include the David Aiken-trained duo My High Expectations and Cold Sister as well as star squaregaiter Blitzthemcalder. Kyvalley Blur who is trained by master trotting conditioner Chris Lang senior, former pacer Mister Zion as well as Elegant Image, Aleppo Midas and Stoned I Am are considerations also. While the Australian team will be finalised in the coming weeks following the results of races, the New Zealand representatives have been selected. The New Zealand team being selected early to allow for travel are Dullard Cup winner Habibti, Danish Derby winner Peak, Anzac Cup victor Stent, Hellers Dominion winner Master Lavros and recent National Trot winner Irish Whisper. Three reserves have been added to the team being Vulcan, The Fiery Ginga and Sovereignty who could be called upon if neccessary. Team New Zealand: Master Lavros (trainer Mark Jones) Stent (trainer Colin De Filippi) Peak (trainer Tim Butt) Irish Whisper (trainer Tony Herlihy) Habibti (trainer David Butt) Reserves Vulcan (trainer Tim Butt) The Fiery Ginga (trainer Alan Clark) Sovereignty (Trainer Sean McCaffrey) Team Australia*: My High Expectations (trainer David Aiken) Kyvalley Blur (trainer Chris Lang) Mister Zion (trainer Geoff Webster) Keystone Del (trainer Nicole Molander) Elegant Image (trainer Andy Gath) Blitzthemcalder (trainer Dean Braun) Aleppo Midas (trainer Michael Eastman) Cold Sister (trainer David Aiken) Stoned I Am (trainer Bill Walker) *Five to be selected and one reserve

Talented Dean Braun trained gelding I’m Corzin Terror NZ showed that the only thing he has been lacking in recent runs was his share of luck; he got just that in the Petstock Bendigo Pacing Cup on Saturday night and used it to full advantage. Having been narrowly beaten in both the Yarra Valley and Tasmania Cups before more recently running an unlucky fourth in the Horsham Cup, the emphatic fifteen-metre victory in the $50,000 Group Two event was well deserved. Stable mate Mustang Mach NZ, brilliant out of the gates, led early but shortly after the start Im Corzin Terror challenged for the lead and Mustang Mach NZ, with Ellen Tormey in the sulky, was happy to take the trail behind the leader.  Kiwi star Mah Sish NZ worked up to sit outside the leader.  With the tempo of the race being beautifully dictated in front by Chris Alford, with a lap to travel favourite Bitobliss made a move to speed the race to his advantage.  But this was Im Corzin Terror’s night; on the home turn he was given free rein and he sprinted impressively to win easily in a mile rate of 1:57.7, two seconds outside champion Safari’s record of 1:55.7.  Warhorse Wartime Sweetheart NZ extricated himself too late from three back on the pegs to chase him home and run second for David Aiken, with Uncle Wingnut NZ flashing home for third. $2.50 favourite Bitobliss faded to run tenth. Earlier in the night, the two American bred favourites fought out the finish of the Aldebaran Park Maori Mile, with the David Aiken trained My High Expectations USA scoring a well deserved win over Kyvalley Blur USA in a quick mile rate. The Monte race was won by the dynamic combination of Motu Young Jacob NZ and rider Daryl Douglas, who went to the front shortly after the start and was never headed from there.  Kyvalley Rap ran second for French rider Yoann Lagarde, and jumps jockey Paul Hamblin had mixed fortunes with an indifferent start but ran on well for fourth. by Lucy McCormick

The ever progressive Horsham Harness Racing Club conducted a sensational race day program on Sunday January 5th, highlighted by the running of the $60,000 (Group 2) Wimmera Mail-Times Horsham Pacing Cup for M0 or better class horses over 2700 metres and what a race it was with the victor being five year old Riverboat King / Alimar Star gelding Keayang Steamer for Terang trainer Marg Lee, nephew Glen Craven and the Craven family. Although small in numbers, the field attracted a tremendous array of talent headed by champion Smoken Up, along with last year’s Hunter Cup winner Mah Sish, outstanding gelding Abettorpunt and potential stars Keayang Steamer, Magical Telf, and Im Corzin Terror. Mah Sish was best to begin from the pole from Hugo Play (gate two) with Smoken Up (gate six) three wide pushing forward to assume control running into the first turn. Keayang Steamer (gate five) was trapped wide, with Glen Craven having no option but to press forward to occupy the position outside the leader. The pattern of the race didn’t alter until the final circuit when Hugo Play eased three wide to challenge the leaders, while at the same stage Keayang Steamer immediately and surprisingly strode past Smoken Up with Glen thinking to himself that he had gone for home too early. Although unable to pass Smoken Up completely, Keayang Steamer held a 4.7 metre margin to the wire, with Hugo Play running the race of his life to finish 3.6 metres in arrears of the pair in third place. With quarters of 31.1, 31, 28.8 and 28.7 for the last mile, Keayang Steamer returned a new track record mile rate of 1-59.8 for the journey. The additional highlight of the day being the $15,000 Conch Deville HorshamTrotters Cup for TM0 or better class (Discretionary Handicapped) over 2700 metres which saw brilliant four year old Metropolitan / Like A Calder entire Blitzthemcalder thrill the crowd with a tremendous performance to snare the major prize, Bred and raced by Rick Burchell, Blitzthemcalder trained at Lara by Dean Braun with regular reinsman Chris Alford in the sulky, was very slow to begin from the pole, giving the tearaway leader Si Capisco up to 50 metres start at one stage, with both Allaward Ugo and the Kiwi Thanesan which both galloped early putting themselves out of business. Commencing a forward move racing for the bell, it was easily seen that Blitzthemcalder was going to round his rivals up with ease as the tempo in which the race was run suited him to perfection. Not bustled to make ground in a hurry, Blitzthemcalder strode effortlessly to the front on the home turn and careered away to score by an official margin of 35 metres in a mile rate of 2-04.9 (last half 64.1 – quarter 33) in advance of Lightning Joy (three back the markers – one/one last lap) and Trappers Puzzle (one/two) which recovered after an early gallop. The mile rate being only .9 of a second outside Sir Gondola’s race record set in 2005. by Len Baker for Harness Racing Victoria

Horsham Cup day is this Sunday and it looks set to be a sensational afternoon of harness racing action and entertainment.  With a temperature of 23 degrees forecast, an outstanding racing program, along with plenty of on course entertainment provided by the club, there is something for everyone. The Wimmera Mail-Times Horsham Pacing Cup (Group 2) will be the highlight of a fantastic program, with Australian pacing superstar and three-time millionaire Smoken Up taking his place in the field.  Coming off an incredible last start victory in the Laser Electrical Lightning Mile (Group 3), in which he earned a $10,000 bonus for breaking the track record in a mile rate of 1:53.1. ‘Trigger’ will be primed and ready for action and trainer/driver Lance Justice certainly won’t die wondering when he lays his cards on the table. His rivals will not be making it easy for the champ however, with the Tim Butt trained 2013 Del Re National Food Group A G Hunter Cup (Group 1) hero Mah Sish taking his place from pole position. Mah Sish showed he was back to his best with a great effort behind Smoken Up at Ballarat on Boxing night. Driver Anthony Butt certainly won’t be handing things to Smoken Up & Lance Justice on a platter – the wily Kiwi’s know they too have a gun racehorse and have their eyes  firmly planted on the hefty winner’s cheque and glittering gold Cup. Apart from last season’s Hunter Cup victory, Mah Sish won a heat of the Inter in Sydney, finished 2nd behind Im Themightyquinn in the Final, downed Sushi Sushi in the Ballarat Pacing Cup and got within a length of Caribbean Blaster in the Victoria Cup – enough said. Our main local hope, Abettorpunt, was bred by the Lewis family - Terry is Vice President and Life Member of the Horsham Club. “Our draw could have been kinder but you take what you get” Terry explained.  “We’re hoping for some fireworks early from Mah Sish, Smoken Up and maybe Keayang Steamer. Punter’s work this week has been as good as its ever been and we’re expecting him to run a big race.” Abettorpunt is ready to take the next step into the big time. A quick look at the form guide shows his outstanding record of 21 wins, 19 minors & $306,000 from just 51 starts. Punter’s recent form of a 2nd to Beautide in the Newcastle Mile, 3rd behind Smoken Up in the Cordina Sprint, 2nd to The Gold Ace at Menangle and a victory at Melton prior to Xmas are credentials enough to win on Sunday. The all-conquering Dean Braun – Chris Alford team could well have the Cup wildcard on Sunday with the former Kiwi pacer Im Corzin Terror. Solid recent performances in the Cranbourne Cup, Yarra Valley Cup and Tasmania Cup entitle the 6yo gelding to our utmost respect. HORSHAM IS HOT TO TROT SUNDAY ! By Lucy McCormick (HRV) & Tony Logan  

TASMANIAN trainer Zeke Slater celebrated back-to-back wins in the prestigious $40,000 Tasmania Cup when his gallant seven-year-old pacer Moto Crusader stormed home to beat the favourite in a photo-finish at Tattersall's Park today. Dapper Dana showed great acceleration to lead from the pole position but a lap further out and the favourite Im Corzin Terror assumed that mantle and looked to be in control when the field wheeled for home the last time. But that's when ace driver Gareth Rattray called on Moto Crusader to unleash and the gelding quickly put himself in contention and powered home to grab victory in the last few strides. Moto Crusader scored by a head from the Dean Braun-trained Im Corzin Terror (Chris Alford) with Our Chain of Command motoring home to finish third but 7-1/2 metres from the runner-up. Moto Crusader has been back in the care of Slater for a while but the gelding's run in the City of Launceston Cup last week was too bad to be true. He finished fourth in a field of seven and beaten over 15 metres when sent out a long odds-on favourite. But Slater said he was confident before this latest assignment that the horse had improved enough to be at his best for today's race, although punters did not share his views as the horse was sent around a $22 outsider. Listen to what trainer Zeke Slater had to say about Moto Crusader's latest Tasmania Cup win. Peter Staples

Top Victorian harness trainer Dean Braun is no stranger to winning feature races in Tasmania and on Sunday night he looks like adding another cup to the burgeoning content in his trophy cabinet. Braun will hitch up the favourite Im Corzin Terror in the $40,000 Tasmania Cup over 2579 metres. Im Corzin Terror has been racing in the silk department in Victoria of late placing in the $100,000 Group 1 Cranbourne Cup behind The Gold Ace and Terrorway two starts back and he followed up last week with a second to Savesomtimetodream in the $25,000 Yarra Valley Cup over 2650 metres. Im Corzin Terror has drawn gate three on the front line on Sunday night so should his driver Chris Alford push forward and successfully find the lead the race could be all over bar the shouting. Braun also has entered Mustang Mach that finished seventh in the Yarra Valley Cup but only 3.2 metres behind his stablemate. The only other interstate invader in the Michael Stanley-trained Queenslander Western Mail that comes of a last-start fifth behind Slick Bromac in the City of Launceston Cup last Sunday night and prior to that he was ninth at Gunbower when first-up from a three-month spell. Ransom Olds led up from gate one last Sunday night in the City of Launceston Cup and from gate two he should have enough early speed to contend for that spot again but he has Dappa Dana on his inside and if this young gun can muster enough speed from the pole he could hold them all out. Dappa Dana loomed to win the City of Launceston Cup last Sunday night but just when it looked as if he would mow down his rivals he galloped for no apparent reason and driver Ricky Duggan had to take hold and he was retired from the race. Rohan Hillier will take the reins on Dappa Dana on Sunday night while Duggan will resume his association with the in-form stablemate Our Chan of Command that comes of a last-start win in a free-for-all over 2090 metres in Hobart two weeks ago that followed an emphatic win in the Cannonball Charge over 1609 metres at the same track on November 24. Our Chain of Command (barrier six) is a nine-year-old but he is racing like a much younger horse. Slick Bromac surprised everyone except his trainer last Sunday when he won the City of Launceston Cup and while he looks outclassed here he will be a chance if the race is sun to suit with a strong pace on and he can get cover. By Peter Staples

SA Cup taking shape. Racing Operations Manager for HRSA Peter Smith has been a busy man of late with the $125.000 SA Cup just around the corner Smith has been running up the phone bill chasing inter-state trainers selling the benefits of bring their stable stars to the SA. High on his list is Smoken Up who may use Adelaide as his swansong to an amazing career Caribbean Blaster although at the end of long campaign may also return Victorian star Abettorpunt is a likely acceptor, while top Victorian trainer Dean Braun is likely to have a couple of runners venture to Betezy Park. The official launch of the SA Cup and Betezy Summer Racing Carnival was launched with a well-attended breakfast at headquarters on Tuesday morning It's starting to look a lot like Christmas. Saturday night at Betezy Park Globe Derby the main event the will be the Christmas Cup for the fast class pacers, but that's not the main attraction that evening because after race 5 on the program the big fella in the red suit will arrive via a double horse sulky with sweets for all the kids with thanks to SA BOTRA who will also draw their Christmas raffle that night one lucky person will win the wheel barrow full of goodies just in time for that big day. Brown on the move. Rumors around the trap is that last season's leading trainer Aaron Brown is on the move to Menangle NSW Brown who trained 98 wins last season to claim his first trainer's title is looking to move to NSW after the SA Cup carnival. Brown is currently locked in a battle with Les Harding in this season's race for the title is keen to take stable star Harrison Maguire to the open spaces of Menangle. Victor Harbor trainers prize Victor Harbor will run a special prize to entice trainers to support their three meetings this season, the club will off one lucky trainer who has a horse race at the Harbor side track the chance to win a trip to the 2014 New Zealand Cup. Every horse will mean one entry so if a trainer has say four horse engaged at anyone program he or she will get four entries in the draw At last settlement is near.. Red tape Red Tape and more Red Tape finally approval has come from Salisbury Council to develop the Wakeful Road frontage now for final payment to be obtained the purchaser now just has submit plans to the council for approval, then the Club can then except the long awaited final settlement. While on club news the Bistro support continues to grow including turnover of the gaming machines which has risen by up to 40% in last few months since change of management.   By Gary Newton      

Leading Victorian trainer Dean Braun was ecstatic when his star four-year-old Chilli Palmer drew the coveted No. 1 barrier on the front line in the $175,000 Lancaster Park Golden Nugget Championship at Gloucester Park on Friday night and predicted that the gelding would lead and prove very hard to beat. Braun's optimism will certainly take the wind out of the sails of several rival trainers and reinsmen who were planning for their horses to charge forward in determined bids to take an early lead against Chilli Palmer, a pacer they believed did not possess the speed to take advantage of the inside barrier. The brilliant Chilli Palmer, to be handled by ace Victorian reinsman Chis Alford, has won at each of his past six starts and has a record of nine starts for seven wins, a second and a seventh. He has won most of his races by producing a sizzling finishing burst. He has never jumped straight to the lead in his brief but spectacular career. "Everyone is entitled to his opinion," Braun said from Melbourne after the barrier draw. "But we will be aiming to make full use of the inside barrier. Chilli Palmer has got great natural high speed and I haven't had a horse with more natural gate speed. So far we have never really used his gate speed. "I couldn't be happier with the way is working. He had a good blowout at Byford on Saturday when Shaun Kittel worked him over a mile and a half and he sprinted over the final 400m in 27.3sec. "Hopefully Chilli Palmer will be able to make amends for the defeats of my horses Mustang Mach and Chancellor Cullen in the past two Gold Nuggets. It should be a great race on Friday night and every horse in the field can win, with the right run, but I wouldn't swap my horse for any other runner." Mustang Mach (11/1) started from barrier four and raced without cover for most of the way when a fighting second to The Gold Ace in 2011 and Chancellor Cullen (5/4) raced in the breeze for the final 1550m when fourth behind Im Victorious a year ago. The No. 1 barrier has been a huge advantage in the recent Golden Nugget Championships, with the No. 1 horse leading and winning three of the past five Nuggets and the other two winners in this period coming from the No. 2 barrier. Schinzig Buller won from barrier two in 2008 and then Bonavista Bay (13/8), Dasher VC (6/4 on) and The Gold Ace (10/1 on) won in the following three years before Im Victorious (11/4) started from barrier two and thundered home from ninth at the bell to win from Bettor Reason (20/1) and 6/1 chance Reuben Brogden, who started from barrier one and set the pace until the final stages. Chilli Palmer could not have been more impressive than he was at his West Australian debut in the 2536m McInerney Ford Classic last Friday week when he charged home from last at the 600m to score a decisive victory over the pacemaker Condrieu, with My Hard Copy third and Rocky Marciano fourth. Condrieu began with devastating speed from barrier five to burst to the front after 120m and Greg Bond, who trains the gelding with his wife Skye, plans to instruct reinsman Colin Brown to charge forward from out wide at barrier six. "We'll go forward; there's no point in going backward," he said. "We decided to have a crack for the lead from barrier five in the McInerney Ford, and it worked for us. The element of surprise won't work for us again, but we'll still be going forward. "We don't know whether Chilli Palmer has the necessary gate speed. He may well be better sat up; that's how he has been driven in most of his races. I don't think they will want to be caught in the early hustle bustle. Condrieu has done well since his second in the McInerney Ford and we're really happy with him." Condrieu is at his best when he leads. He has set the pace at four of his seven wins in WA, two of them being over 2536m, the distance of the Golden Nugget. Victorian trainer-reinsman Daniel Jack was delighted to draw barrier two with the speedy Nowitzki, who led from the No. 1 barrier and won the $50,000 Four-Year-Old Championship three Fridays ago. "The draw goes a long way (to winning) and I'll be trying to get across to the lead," he said. "His three runs in WA have been below par, but I expect him to go better this week. If he races as well as he can, he's certainly the horse to beat." Leading WA trainer Gary Hall sen. was disappointed with the barriers drawn by his two runners, Northview Punter (No. 3 on the back line) and My Hard Copy (outside of the front line) and said that he would need plenty of luck to win. "It's going to be a great race and I reckon Nowitzki will come out hard and lead --- and Condrieu will also come out hard," he said. "So hopefully it will be on from start to finish. My best chance from the draw is Northview Punter. We might drive him a bit quiet and let him come home." DALGETY RETAINS FAITH IN BIT OF A LEGEND Champion New Zealand trainer Cran Dalgety returned to Perth last week for the first time for 17 years and he has not given up hope of winning the $175,000 Lancaster Park Golden Nugget Championship at Gloucester Park on Friday night with outstanding four-year-old Bit Of A Legend, even though the horse was unplaced in the Four-Year-Old Championship and McInerney Ford Classic at his past two starts. The 45-year-old Dalgety has fond memories of his first trip to Western Australia when he prepared Desperate Comment for the 1996 interdominion championship. Desperate Comment, who was driven by Peter Jones, qualified for the final as leading points scorer after a third, a second and a win in the heats. But he finished sixth in the final, won by Young Mister Charles. Bit Of A Legend, who has amassed $640,178 in prizemoney from 17 wins and 11 seconds from 36 starts, was trained and driven for his four starts at Gloucester Park in this campaign by New Zealander Brent Mangos. His best effort was an easy victory in a prelude of the Golden Nugget three starts ago when he defeated Galactic Galleon and Northview Punter. "Brent has done a fine job with him, but the horse faces a hard task in Friday night's race," Dalgety said. "Bit Of A Legend is only small and he's not stylish or elegant, but his assets are his great will to win and determination. "He has drawn barrier four and I'm pretty excited that just to be inside barrier five on the front row. Nowitzki and Condrieu are very fast beginners and I think that when we settle Bit Of A Legend will definitely be in the better half of the midfield --- and that will be a good start. In most of his wins he's come from behind. He just wants to be the winner." Bit Of A Legend, who will be driven by New Zealand's champion reinsman Dexter Dunn, and has the stable name of Carter, after Dalgety's ten-year-old son Carter, who insisted that his father buy the pacer at the New Zealand yearling sale. "Bit Of A Legend was very little, but Carter picked him out and said 'we've got to have this one,' Dalgety said. "So I bought him for $NZ50,000, probably from the heart than the head. I had had his half-brother London Legend, who was a good horse. "I bought Bit Of A Legend for myself, a good stable client in Darryl Brown, from Perth, Ross Stanbury, from Christchurch, and Pat Cabarlla, from Invercargill, and we have no regrets." London Legend, by In The Pocket and the first foal out of Soky's Legend, raced 101 times for Dalgety between 2008 and 2011 for 25 wins, 27 placings and stakes of $456,124. DEXTER DUNN OUT TO EQUAL HIS FATHER AT GLOUCESTER PARK Dexter Dunn, New Zealand harness racing's golden boy and a superstar at the age of 24, will make his first appearance in Western Australia when he drives Bit Of A Legend in the $175,000 Lancaster Park Golden Nugget Championship at Gloucester Park on Friday night. And he would dearly love to emulate the performance of his father Robert, who landed a winner at his only trip to WA, in 1996 when he was successful with Master Musician in a second-round heat of the interdominion championship. Robert Dunn then was in the sulky when Master Musician, the 5/2 favourite, finished third behind Young Mister Charles and Sunshine Band in the final. Dunn, who will arrive in Perth on Thursday, will get the opportunity to experience driving on the 805m circuit when he handles three pacers trained by Matt Scott in early events on the program. Scott has nominated Dunn to drive Miss Tee Dawn in the 1730m V. and K. Congerton Memorial Mares Pace, Marooned in the 2130m Happy Birthday Ryan Berti Pace and Zurbaran in the first heat of the Livio (The Champ) Tolomeo The Coulson Pace. Miss Tee Dawn has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier and has sound prospects of giving Dunn a winner at his first drive at Gloucester Park. This would equal his feat of landing a winner at his first drive in America --- when he was successful behind McClelland (1.50.1) over 1609m at the Meadowlands in New Jersey on June 25, 2011. Miss Tee Dawn started from the outside of the back ,line and did a good job to finish strongly from the rear to be fourth behind Arts Gangsta over 2190m at Northam on Tuesday of last week. She also unwound a powerful burst from the rear to win from Mount Richon over 2150m at Harvey the previous week. Marooned, who was claimed for $10,000 last week, has a losing sequence of 20 and faces a stern test from barrier four on the back line. He trailed the pacemaker Sanjaya when a sound third to that pacer last week, with the winner rating 1.55 over 1730m. Punters are likely to be keen to support the polemarker and smart frontrunner Taiaha against Marooned and the other ten runners in this week's event. Taiaha, who is prepared by Hazelmere trainer Mike Reed, caught the eye when racing first-up at Northam on Tuesday of last week when he raced three back on the pegs and was hampered for room before finishing solidly to be second to Celtic Crusader. Zurbaran, a winner six starts ago and placed second at two of his past four starts, will be at handsome odds from the outside of the front line in a race in which polemarker Cool Johnny (resuming after a let-up), What God Knows and Soho Highroller will be fancied. THE BEAU BRUMMELL RETURNS AFTER A SPELL IN FINE STYLE New Zealand-bred five-year-old The Beau Brummell looks one of the best bets on the program at Gloucester Park on Friday night after scoring an effortless first-up victory at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. Waroona trainer Bob Mellsop produced The Beau Brummell in fine fettle for his first appearance for three months when he trotted faultlessly three back on the pegs in a race run in Indian file before he surged to the front 100m from home and scored by more than three lengths from All Over Red Rover at a 2.1.9 rate over 2185m. The Beau Brummell will start from barrier three on the front line in the 2130m mobile Kyle And Dozer Trot on Friday night in which he will clash with then highly-regarded Prince Eddie, smart frontrunner Heez Speedy Gonzalez, last-start winner Earl Harbour and Hot Holiday, who has won in good style at two of his past four starts. by Ken Casellas  

Throughout Elsu’s siring career, Alabar NZ’s Graeme Henley has been his staunchest supporter.   It is very fitting that he, along with his wife Suzanne, is the breeder of Elsu’s first Group One winner – Chilli Palmer, the ultra impressive winner of the McInerney Ford 4yo Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night.   That Chilli Palmer was bred at all is something of a miracle.   Fake Spirit was an outstanding filly winning the 2003 Great Northern and NSW Oaks double. Her owner, Robert Famularo discussed with Alan Galloway the possibility of doing an embryo transfer on Fake Spirit. They agreed to do it in partnership with Pacific Rocket the chosen stallion.   Make It Hot was the resulting foal and in due course she was entered for the 2006 Australasian Classic Yearling Sale.   She was however diagnosed as a wobbler and withdrawn from the sale. The decision was made that it was best that she should be put down.   Graeme Henley takes up the story …   “I didn’t have the heart to put her down – she was after all doing well and coping fine when not hassled.   “A couple of years later, I confided to Alan and Robert that Make It Hot hadn’t been put down and that she was doing that well that she would be worth trying to breed from.   “They both said I could have her if I wanted to try. She lost her first foal by Grin and Chilli Palmer was the second attempt. She’s had a foal every year since.    “It’s a great thrill to breed a Group One winner – especially one by Elsu – and out of a mare that really should’ve have been alive.”   Chilli Palmer was pin-hooked as a weanling for $4,000 by Ken and Anne-Marie Spicer who sold him at the NZ Premier Yearling Sale to Terry Chmiel for $13,000. Terry qualified him as an early 3yo and sold him to the Dean Braun stable after impressively winning a maiden trial at Addington. A Video of Chilli Palmer winning the $125,000 4yo Classic at Perth is attached. Courtesy of Alabar website

CHILLI PALMER HAS GOLDEN NUGGET AT HIS MERCY AFTER DAZZLING VICTORY Inexperienced New Zealand-bred gelding Chilli Palmer appears to have the $175,000 Lancaster Park Golden Nugget at his mercy after producing an electrifying burst of dazzling speed to come from last at the 600m to score a superb record-breaking victory in the $125,000 McInerney Ford Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “This was only his third run back from a spell and so, in two weeks’ time, hopefully he’ll be even better,” said master reinsman Chris Alford after Chilli Palmer swamped his 11 rivals and careered away to win by just under a length from the pacemaker Condrieu. The Golden Nugget will be decided over 2536m at Gloucester Park next Friday week and regardless of what barrier Chilli Palmer draws he is sure to be a firm favourite. Chilli Palmer’s victory gave leading Victorian trainer Dean Braun his third win in three years in the group 1 McInerney Ford Classic for four-year-olds. He was successful with Mustang Mach in 2011 and Chancellor Cullen 12 months ago. Chill Palmer, making his first appearance in Western Australia, drew unfavourably on the outside of the back line, but many astute punters were confident that he would stretch his winning sequence to six and the Elsu gelding was sent out equal favourite at 5/2 with Northview Punter, with New Zealand star Bit Of A Legend at 4/1. The first surprise in an up-tempo race of many moves came when Colin Brown got 16/1 chance Condrieu away brilliantly from barrier five on the front line. Condrieu burst past the polemarker My Hard Copy (9/1) and into the lead after 120m. Northview Punter also began speedily from the No. 4 barrier and he raced wide early before Gary Hall jun. got him across to race three back on the pegs soon after the start. Hall then eased Northview Punter off the pegs and into the breeze after 700m. Bit Of A Legend, from barrier six, and Nowitzki (barrier seven) were restrained to the rear in the field of 12 and Daniel Jack was the first to make a decisive move when he urged Nowitzki (14/1) forward and into the breeze with 1400m to travel. His run was followed by Bit Of A Legend, who got to the breeze 1250m from home. Robyns C C surged forward to be third at the bell and her three-wide burst was followed by Mexicano and Heez On Fire. But the ice-cool Alford was quite content to keep Chilli Palmer at the rear. Chilli Palmer was 12th and last in the one-wide line 600m from home before Alford made his move. Chilli Palmer sprinted fast down the back straight and he was forced five wide 300m from home as he sustained his blistering burst of speed. Chilli Palmer charged home down the outside and got the measure of Condrieu about 75m from the post. He drew away and won convincingly, with the conservative Alford showing a rare moment of exultation with a subdued wave of the whip. The final 800m was covered (off the front) in 57.9sec. and the last 400m in 28.8sec., with Chilli Palmer rating 1.57.2 over the 2536m journey. This smashed the track record for a four-year-old of 1.58.1 set by Northview Punter when he led and defeated Bettors Fire on October 1. My Hard Copy fought on determinedly to be third, a length in front of 20/1 chance Rocky Marciano, who had enjoyed an ideal trail three back on the pegs. Chilli Palmer, owned by Victorians Karlos Farah, Aziz Kheir, Mara Scarpino, Joe Pezzimenti, Sharyn Parkinson, Adam Mathews, Clint and Alex Badcock and Braun. The son of former star pacer Elsu has raced only nine times for seven wins, a second and a seventh placings for earnings of $121,450. Alford, who achieved the tremendous milestone of 5000 winners when successful with the Braun-trained Macho Comacho at Kilmore on October 27 this year, said that Braun had always had a “super opinion” of Chilli Palmer. “When they all went in front of me at the bell I was a little bit worried because the one in front of me couldn’t quite keep up that well,” he said. “But my horse was travelling so well down the back and when I went to pull the ear plugs he nearly ran up the tail of the horse I was tracking up. So I had to ease him out four wide and he just went around the corner like a greyhound and he sprinted like a jet. “He gets a little bit lost when he gets to the front. He probably hit the front about 100m out and he has a tendency to knock off. So I thought I had better give him a couple of cracks. I didn’t get the time to pull the plugs. I always thought I had Condrieu covered.” VOAK TARGETS LEDA McNALLY FOR RICH LADYSHIP MILE Young reinsman Chris Voak sang the praises of Leda McNally after driving the Victorian-bred five-year-old to an impressive narrow victory in the $40,000 Norm’s Daughter Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night, declaring her one of the fastest mares in Australia and New Zealand. And Voak is extremely keen for Leda McNally to challenge the best mares in the country by contesting the $200,000 Ladyship Mile at Menangle on March 2. “She deserves to be invited to run in the Ladyship Mile,” he said. “She has the quickest turn of foot of any filly or mare in Australia. And I think she is one of the quickest mares in Australasia. She is a real good miler and a mile is her pet distance. “But it will not be a problem for her in the 2130m group 1 $100,000 Mares Classic next Friday night. Horses with her speed are always dangerous.” Leda McNally, trained at Pinjarra by Chris King for Victorian owner Greg Stubbs, was a 6/1 chance from the No. 4 barrier on the front line in the Norm’s Daughter Classic and Voak quickly had her in sixth position, one-out, two-back, with polemarker Askmenow (5/1) setting a brisk pace, with the heavily-supported 10/9 on favourite Bettor Cover Lover in the breeze, Famous Alchemist (8/1) trailing the pacemaker and Sensational Gabby (11/2) in the one-out, one-back position. Askmenow raced roughly when the mobile barrier sent the field on its way and Brent Mangos had Bettor Cover Lover (from the No. 2 barrier) a full length in front. But Askmenow (Gary Hall jun.) kicked up on the inside to hold out Bettor Cover Lover. After a quick first 400m section of the final mile in 28.6sec., Askmenow relaxed and went through the next section in 29.7sec. before she sprinted over the third quarter in 28sec. Bettor Cover Lover took a narrow lead 300m from home and then Famous Alchemist was being hailed the winner when Clint Hall dashed her to the front with about 130m to travel. However, Leda McNally flew home, out wide, to snatch victory by a head from Famous Alchemist, with Bettor Cover Lover almost two lengths farther back in third place. Askmenow finished fourth and, after a final quarter in 28.4sec., the winner rated 1.54.3 for the 1730m to improve her record to 43 starts for 17 wins, eight placings and $191,308 in prizemoney. HOKONUI BEN WARMS UP FOR SUMMER FEATURE EVENTS IN STYLE New Zealand-bred seven-year-old Hokonui Ben enhanced his prospects in the rich summer carnival feature events when he gave a dashing frontrunning display to win the 2130m McInerney Ford Falcon Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Making his second appearance after a spell for leading trainer Gary Hall sen., Hokonui Ben further illustrated the great advantage of the No. 1 barrier by winning the start from the speedy David Hercules (barrier two), setting the pace and scoring by 2m from the gallant David Hercules. A week earlier David Hercules, resuming after a spell, started from the No. 1 barrier, made all the running and won by six lengths over 1730m. Hoknui Ben, also racing first-up, started from barrier three and finished fifth. This week, most punters declared for Hokonui Ben from the prized No. 1 barrier and he started favourite at 7/4 on, with David Hercules at 5/2. After a moderate lead time of 37.8sec., Hokonui Ben dawdled through the first 400m section of the final mile in 31.4sec. before sprinting over the next quarters in 28.9sec., 27sec. and 27.8sec. to make the task of David Hercules (in the breeze) virtually impossible. David Hercules fought on grandly to be a 2m second, with 9/1 chance Ima Rocket Star three lengths farther back in third place after trailing the leader all the way. Hokonui Ben rated a slick 1.55.5 and took his record to 15 wins and 11 placings from 44 starts for stakes of $230,399. He has had 20 starts in WA for the Hall camp for nine wins and six placings. “In this sort of company barrier draws are very important,” said reinsman Gary Hall jun. “Until the big guns come out for the bigger money these races turn into a bit of a walk in the middle stages and then a sprint home. We were very happy with the draw tonight and we are happy with the way Hokonui Ben is going, too.” THE PARADE STRENGTHENS HER CLAIMS FOR THE WA OAKS New Zealand-bred filly The Parade maintained her unbeaten record as a three-year-old and gave further proof that she is developing into a leading candidate for the WA Oaks next year when she overcame the disadvantage of an unfavourable barrier to win the 2130m McInerney Ford Belmont Service Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Boyanup trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice has brought The Parade back after a spell in tremendous shape and the filly is going from strength to strength. After one minor placing from three starts as a two-year-old The Parade has scored decisive victories at her first four starts as a three-year-old. Her win on Friday night completed a training and driving double for the 25-year-old Prentice, who was successful earlier in the night with Braemoor. The Parade, second favourite at 5/2, started from the outside of the back line and Prentice settled her in seventh place in the one-wide line as Shane Butcher sent 13/2 chance Lipizzaner to an early lead from polemarker Artistic Copper, with the 11/8 favourite The Prodigy in the breeze. A slow lead time followed by a dawdling first 400m section of the final mile in 31.8sec. sparked Prentice into action and he dashed The Parade forward to move into the breeze 1200m from home. Prentice was content to keep The Parade outside of the pacemaker until he sent her to the front with 250m to travel. The Parade dashed over the final 400m in 28.3sec. and won by 4m from Then Prodigy, with 11m back to the third placegetter, the 55/1 outsider Flicka Whitby, a stablemate of the winner who was driven by Prentice’s father Kim. Flicka Whitby finished solidly from tenth at the bell. The winner rated 1.59.8. The Parade, whose maternal granddam Atomic Lass produced former star pacer Auckland Reactor (53 starts for 32 wins, four placings and $1,759,374 in prizemoney), has won at four of her seven starts for earnings of $37,080. SOHO REDFORD MAKES THE MOST OF THE No. 1 BARRIER The two youngest runners in the 2536m McInerney Ford Focus Westbred Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night dominated betting, with Soho Redford favourite at 10/9 and Extreme Dreams at 6/4. The four-year-olds dominated proceedings, with Soho Redford taking full advantage of the prized No. 1 barrier to set the pace and win easily from Extreme Dreams, who started from the inside of the back line and raced without cover for most of the way. Back in third place, three lengths behind Extreme Dreams, was 20/1 chance Atomic Chip, who ran home nicely from eighth at the bell. “When he’s in front he’s a different horse,” said Vance Stampalia, who drove the son of Mach Three for his sister, Wanneroo trainer Tonia Stampalia. “He is going pretty good and in the past when he has led he has either won or been beaten by some pretty smart horses.” Soho Redford, bred and owned by Rob Watson, has earned $37,152 from six wins and seven placings from 30 starts and he looks set for further successes in the city. He is out of the unraced Dream Away mare Dream Bet and is a full-brother to five-year-old Soho Indianapolis, who has had 58 starts for ten wins, 15 placings and $58,270 in stakes. JAR ZINYO CAUSES AN UPSET AND ENDS 23-MONTH DROUGHT South Australian-bred seven-year-old Jar Zinyo ended a 23-month drought and broke a losing sequence of 20 when he started at 15/1 and caused a major upset when he flashed home to snatch victory from the 10/1 on favourite Dredlock Rockstar in the 1730m McInerney Ford Falcon Ute Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Dredlock Rockstar, stylish all-the-way winner of the 2130m Parliamentarians Cup at his previous outing, was considered a certainty by most punters. But he played the pivotal role in his defeat by a half-head when, after starting from the No. 1 barrier and being smartest into stride, he broke into a gallop for about two strides on the first bend, shortly after the start. This prompted Shannon Suvaljko to dash 62/1 outsider Xupan Three forward in a determined bid for the lead. However, the move was unsuccessful as Kaiden Hayter quickly got Dredlock Rockstar back into a smooth pacing action. But this early action placed considerable pressure on Dredlock Rockstar, who sped through the first 400m section of the final mile in 28.8sec. Then after resisting the early challenge from Xupan Three, Dredlock Rockstar was kept under pressure from Kiss Chasey and Wrongly Accused (three wide). After the second and third quarters in 29.6sec. and 29.2sec. Dredlock Rockstar sprinted fast in the final quarter which took just 28.7sec. However, he was beaten in the final stride by Jar Zinyo, who started from the inside of the back line and trailed the pacemaker throughout. “It looked as though Jar Zinyo would be guaranteed second money, starting from the inside of the back line and behind the favourite,” said reinsman Gary Hall jun. “You probably would have thought that if he did get a crack at the leader late he would definitely struggle to pick him up. I didn’t think that Jar Zinyo had that point-to-poi8nt speed in him, but he really crunched the line when he found it.” “On that run he should win a few more city races. He’s had his fair share of leg problems since he has been here (in WA) and this is probably the first time we have got him up and running without any problem.” Jar Zinyo, who gave Hall and his father, trainer Gary Hall sen., the first leg of a double, had been unsuccessful at his first ten WA starts. His previous win was in a 2240m stand at Melton in December 2011. A smart juvenile performer, Jar Zinyo, owned by Douglas Webster, has earned $126,874 from 18 wins and 25 placings from 81 starts. He is the last foal out of the WA-bred mare Whitby Heritage, who amassed $201,758 from 22 wins and 18 placings from 66 starts. OUR MAJOR MARK DEFIES THE ODDS AND BOOSTS HIS EARNINGS TO $634,370 Our Major Mark provides a perfect example that breeding is not everything in horse racing. He is the sixth and last foal out of the unraced Live Or Die mare Gucci Franco and he boosted his earnings to $634,370 from 22 wins and 17 placings from 65 starts when he scored an easy victory in the third heat of the 2130m McInerney Ford FPV The Kersley Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The only other winner out of Gucci Franco is Supersonic Cullen, who raced 23 times for three wins in minor events and six placings for stakes of $15,913. He won once at Yarra Valley in 2006 and twice at Cranbourne in 2008. Our Major Mark’s win by a length over Toretto on Friday night was his tenth from 20 starts in Western Australia and gave trainers Greg and Skye Bond the second leg of a double after Lunar Tide’s easy win in the previous event. Veteran pacer Rojen Cruz set the pace and Ryan Warwick was happy to rate Our Major Mark in the breeze until sending the New Zealand-bred six-year-old to the front 480m from home. Our Major Mark, who started at $3.10 on the tote, dashed over the final 800m in 56.3sec. and the last 400m in 27.8sec. and won comfortably from Toretto, who started tote favourite at $3.The winner rated 1.57.3. Toretto, aiming at his third win in a row, started out wide at barrier six and he raced in sixth place in the one-wide line in the field of seven. Gary Hall jun. switched him three wide with 750m to travel and he ran home determinedly. Hez The Bart Man ran home solidly from last at the bell to be third. “He probably should run to his ability more often,” said Warwick. “He has a mind of his own. Tonight he felt good in the preliminary and came off the arm very well. I really wasn’t bothered being in the breeze in the small field. It didn’t matter where we were, as long as we didn’t do anything silly and became a sitting shot. “He felt really good in the run and still had a bit up his sleeve. When he wants to he can do really good things.” BLACK PONTIAC CONTINUES TO EXCEL AS A FRONTRUNNER “Barrier one around here really helps,” said trainer Donald Harper after driving 9/1 chance Black Pontiac to an all-the-way win over Mighty Flying Thomas and Sanjaya in the 1730m McInerney Ford Fiesta Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Harper also had made full use of the No. 1 barrier by guiding Black Pontiac to his two previous victories, both over 1730m at Gloucester Park, in August and October this year. “Obviously it gets a lot harder from now (with Black Pontiac graduating to an M3 classification), but with good barriers and in short races I think he will still earn money.” A noted frontrunner, Black Pontiac easily resisted an early challenge from the 2/1 on favourite Ohoka Samson and after a 28.9sec. quarter of the final mile, he had a breather with a 30.2sec. section before sprinting over the final quarters in 28.6sec. and 28.1sec. to score by 4m at a 1.55.2 rate from 22/1 chance Mighty Flying Thomas, who raced four back on the pegs before surging home along the inside. Ohoka Samson, racing first-up after a brief let-up, wilted after working hard in the breeze and finished last in the field of nine. Black Pontiac, bred in Victoria, has earned $105,097 from 17 wins and 11 placings from 83 starts. BRAEMOOR OVERCOMES A SLOW START TO UPSET THE FAVOURITE A tardy beginning from the 10m mark saw Braemoor well back in 11th position in the middle stages of the 2503m McInerney Ford Ranger Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. But considerable mid-race pressure applied to the pacemaker and 2/1 favourite Lord Coburn played into the hands of Braemoor, who dashed forward, three wide, from 11th at the 880m mark to move into the breeze 400m from home and then get to the front in the final 25m to win by a metre from Lord Coburn, with Erris Lad finishing with a late burst, a close third. Lord Coburn had an easy time in front until Adda Paternal Suit dashed forward to move into the breeze after a lap. Adda Paternal Suit then began to overrace badly, leaving the 30m backmarker Shardons Rocket out on a limb, three wide. This pressure on Coburn Bay led to that gelding sprinting over the first 400m section of the final mile in 28.1sec., leaving him susceptible to late challenges. Braemoor accelerated quickly and Justin Prentice had him outside the pacemaker just before the turn out of the back straight. Prentice said that the fast pace had helped Braemoor. “I was a bit worried about Courageous Ned getting off the fence (from behind the leader) when I got to the breeze,” he said. “So when Braemoor got there I took a hold of him --- and he switched off and didn’t want to get going.” However, Braemoor responded to Prentice’s urgings and he overhauled Lord Coburn in the final stages. This was the New Zealand-bred Braemoor’s seventh win from 23 WA starts and it took his overall record to ten wins and 12 placings from 54 starts for stakes of $93,606. LUNAR TIDE MAKES AMENDS FOR HIS SURPRISE DEFEAT New Zealand-bred five-year-old Lunar Tide made amends for his defeat at 5/1 on at Gloucester Park last Friday week when he started at 3/1 on and proved far too good for his nine rivals in the 2536m McInerney Ford Morley Service Pathway Pace on Friday night. Driven by Colin Brown for trainers Greg and Skye Bond, Lunar Tide mustered plenty of early pace from barrier four and surged to the front 150m after the start. He set a solid pace and sprinted over the final 800m in 57.8sec. to win by 10m from 12/1 chance Zurbaran, who trailed him all the way. Lunar Tide rated 1.58.9. The previous week Lunar Tide led in a 2130m event before finishing second to Soho Highroller, who rated a slick 1.56.7. “He copped a fair bit of attention last week and they went 1.56, which is a bit beyond him at this stage,” Brown explained. “Getting the comfortable lead time tonight and an easy first quarter really set it up for him. “He just keeps improving. I didn’t think much of him when I first sat behind him. He has gone out and had a spell and has come back far better. He’s the type of horse who could continue to improve.” by Ken Casellas  

Victorian invader Chilli Palmer is the least experienced runner in the $125,000 McInerney Ford Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night, but he is in devastating form and has excellent prospects of giving outstanding trainer Dean Braun a perfect record in this group 1 event for four-year-olds. The 37-year-old Braun has had two runners in this event --- and each was successful, with Mustang Mach starting favourite at 6/4 and winning from Lovers Delight in 2011 and Chancellor Cullen starting at 5/2 on, setting the pace from the No. 2 barrier and holding on grimly to beat Bronze Seeker by a half-head 12 months ago. Chilli Power has strung together five wins in succession and goes into Friday night’s event with an enviable record of six wins and a second from only eight starts. He fared poorly in the random draw and will start from the outside of the back line. But Braun sees this as a lucky omen. Mustang Mach wore the No. 12 saddlecloth and started from the outside of the back line for his victory in the McInerney Ford Classic when he raced three wide early to move outside the pacemaker Seel N Print after 750m before getting to the front with 450m to travel and fighting on grandly to defeat the fast-finishing Lovers Delight. Chilli Palmer, a New Zealand-bred gelding by Elsu, warmed up for this week’s assignment in fine style when he raced in sixth position in the one-wide line before sprinting home brilliantly over the final 400m in 27.7sec. to win easily from The Major League over 1720m at Melton last Saturday night. That followed an easy first-up victory over 2100m at Geelong 12 nights earlier. Braun enjoyed his best season in 2012-13 when he trained 106 winners and 93 placegetters in Victoria from only 287 starters. He also won races in Brisbane, Sydney, Hobart and Perth, with his filly Itz Nosurprisesthere successful in the group 1 Queensland Oaks. He has started the 2013-14 season in fine style and is in third place in the Victorian Statewide trainers’ premiership table with 26 winners and ten placegetters from just 54 starters. Champion New Zealand horse Bit Of A Legend has drawn out wide at No. 6 on the front line and reinsman Brent Mangos will be hoping for a far better performance from the stallion after his failure as an even-money favourite when a wilting 11th behind Nowitzki in the Four-Year-Old Championship at Gloucester park last Friday night when he started from barrier five and worked hard in the breeze. This disappointing effort followed his smart win at his WA debut the previous week when he dashed to an early lead, set the pace and sprinted over the final 800m in 56.1sec. He has raced 35 times for 17 wins and 11 seconds for stakes of $638,928 and cannot be underestimated. Adding tremendous interest will be the appearance of the only mare in the event, Robyns C C, who is trained at Serpentine by Chris Brew and is ideally drawn at barrier two on the front line. The mare, who was driven by Mangos at two of her three wins in New Zealand, is in superb form and has not been extended in winning at each of her past six starts. Robyns C C is extremely versatile and has won when leading, after racing without cover and when held up for a late burst. Brew’s other runner, Glenferrie Hood (seven wins and four placings from 13 starts) will start from the No. 2 barrier on the back line, immediately behind Robyns C C. The Victorian-trained Nowitzki, who gave an excellent frontrunning display (from the No. 1 barrier) to score an easy victory over Mexicano and Northview Punter in the 2130m Four-Year-Old Championship last Friday night, faces a tougher task over 2536m this week after drawing the outside barrier (No. 7) on the front line. Leading WA trainer Gary Hall sen. has won the McInerney Ford Classic with The Falcon Strike (2001) and Im Themightyquinn (2008) and this year he will be represented by Northview Punter (14 wins from 26 starts) and My Hard Copy (nine wins from 30 starts). The consistent Northview Punter is a tough, no-nonsense type of pacer with sound prospects from the No. 4 barrier. He trailed the pacemaker Nowitzki for much of the way last week when a fighting third to that gelding. My Hard Copy, an easy all-the-way winner over 1730m at a 1.54.6 rate two starts ago, has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier and will be driven by Shane Butcher. Gary Hall jun. will again be in the sulky behind Northview Punter. Bickley trainer Peter Anderson also has two runners in Friday night’s race, Mexicano (barrier No. 3) and Rocky Marciano (inside of the back line). Mexicano impressed last Friday night when he raced three back on the pegs and finished strongly to be second to Nowitzki and Rocky Marciano ran on gamely from five back on the pegs to finish fourth. BETTOR COVER LOVER SET TO PASS THE MAGIC $1 MILLION MARK A perfect barrier at No. 2 on the front line should be the ingredient for success for champion New Zealand mare Bettor Cover Lover in the $40,000 Norm’s Daughter Classic over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Owned by prominent West Australian veterinary surgeon Trevor Lindsay, Bettor Cover Lover has a superior record to that of her 11 rivals and she looks set to notch her 20th win from 35 starts and boost her earning past the $1 million mark. The big, rangy mare who stands 16.2 hands has improved a lot since her seventh behind Bettors Fire in the Mount Eden Sprint three Fridays ago. That was her first appearance for five months and she had the distinct disadvantage of starting from the outside of the back line. The six-year-old has worked in fine style for trainer-reinsman Brent Mangos since that defeat and paced stylishly when second to the frontrunning Sensational Gabby in a 2185m trial at Pinjarra last Sunday week when the final two 400m sections were covered in 27.1sec. and 28.4sec. Leading WA trainer Gary Hall sen. has four runners, Askmenow (barrier one), Korobeit Angel (seven), Famous Alchemist (inside of the back line) and Chloe Vargarita (No. 2 on the back line). Askmenow has won at nine of her past 14 starts and is a good frontrunner. But Bettor Cover Lover should reveal superior early speed and is likely to burst to an early lead. The fastest beginners on the front line are Sensational Gabby (No. 3) and Leda McNally (No. 4) and they should make life interesting and challenging for Mangos. Sensational Gabby, a five-year-old who has won at 24 of her 36 starts, will be having her first start for Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri and it is problematical whether Chris Lewis will ask the mare to go flat out at the outset at her first appearance for seven months. However, Chris Voak is sure to be tempted to make an early bid for the lead with the speedy Leda McNally, who is blessed with sparkling gate speed. She began like a flash from the inside barrier before strolling to an effortless all-the-way victory at a 1.54.3 rate over 1730m last Friday night. Leda McNally started from the inside barrier in the 2012 Norm’s Daughter Classic when she trailed the pacemaker Lucie Boshier (barrier three) and was blocked for a clear run when an unlucky third to that mare. Lucie Boshier has won once (four starts ago) and has been unplaced eight times from her past nine starts and she is hard to recommend from the No. 5 barrier. The best of the Hall runners could be Famous Alchemist, who should enjoy a good passage from the inside of the back line. Famous Alchemist had a tough run, three wide early and then in the breeze, when a sound third behind Leda McNally and Deluxe Edition last Friday night. HAYTER GETS A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY WITH DREDLOCK ROCKSTAR Young Bunbury reinsman Kaiden Hayter has been handed a golden opportunity to land another Metropolitan winner after being engaged to handle the speedy Dredlock Rockstar in the 1730m McInerney Ford Falcon Ute Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The 22-year-old Hayter was offered the drive behind the Michael Callegari-trained five-year-old to enable the gelding to contest the $17,500 event which is restricted to M1-class pacers. Hayter’s junior concession qualified Dredlock Rockstar, an M2-class performer, to contest the race. And Dredlock Rockstar’s prospects soared when he drew the prized No. 1 barrier. Dredlock Rockstar is in superb form, with his past 17 starts producing seven wins and nine placings. He was most impressive at Gloucester Park last Friday week when Aaron Beckett (replacing the suspended Ashleigh Markham) drove him to a brilliant all-the-way victory over Ohoka Dallas and Shardons Rocket in the 2130m Parliamentarians Cup. That took the gelding’s record to 41 starts for 12 wins and 17 placings for stakes of $100,056. This win came a week after Dredlock Rockstar had finished powerfully from last at the bell to be third behind Bettors Fire and Im Victorious in the Mount Eden Sprint. Seven-year-old Jar Zinyo, who has a losing sequence of 20 stretching back to a win at Melton 23 months ago, looks a place certainty. The gelding, trained by Gary Hall sen., will start from the inside of the back line and should trail the pacemaking Dredlock Rockstar throughout. Tough seven-year-old Wrongly Accused also has bright place prospects after he ended a losing sequence of 11 with an easy victory over Raymon John at Gloucester Park on Monday afternoon. That took the Tony Svilicich-trained gelding’s record to 21 wins and 47 placings from 182 starts. SMART TRIAL A POINTER TO THE PRODIGY’S FIRST-UP PROSPECTS A smart trial victory at Pinjarra on Sunday morning by The Prodigy was a strong pointer to her prospects in the 2130m McInerney Ford Belmont Service Pace for three-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Prodigy, trained by Ross Olivieri and driven by Chris Lewis, sped over the final 400m of the trial in 27.6sec. and scored by two and a half lengths from Our Jerry Lee. She will start from the No. 3 barrier on Friday night and should be prominent throughout. The Prodigy has not appeared since she raced erratically and covered a lot of extra ground before finishing a distant eighth behind Artistic Copper in the $100,000 Sales Classic for two-year-old fillies last April. Artistic Copper, trained by her breeder-owner Mike Howie, looks likely to be one of The Prodigy’s main rivals. She will start from the No. 1 barrier and Nathan Turvey is likely to attempt an all-the-way win. Artistic Copper resumed after a spell at Northam on Sunday when she raced in the one-out, one-back position and finished third behind Shes So Cool. Shes So Cool faces a tougher task on Friday night from out wide at barrier No. 6. She will again be driven by Brent Mangos, who replaced Pinjarra trainer Kade Howson on Sunday after Howson was suspended for 12 days for having obliged another runner to cover extra ground in a race at Bunbury on Saturday night. New Zealand-bred filly The Parade will be hard to beat despite starting from the outside of the back line. Trained at Boyanup by Justin Prentice, The Parade has scored convincingly at each of her past three starts, two at Pinjarra and one at Gloucester Park. The return to racing of Shez Sensational adds further interest to the race. Shez Sensational is trained at Byford by Callan Suvaljko and she showed abundant promise as a two-year-old and is capable of a bold first-up showing. DAVID HERCULES LOOKS A GOOD BET AFTER BRILLIANT FIRST-UP WIN The ease in which David Hercules defeated his rivals, first-up, over 1730m last Friday night should influence punters to support the seven-year-old when he contests the $21,000 McInerney Ford Falcon Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. David Hercules, trained by David Thompson, led easily from barrier one and sped over the final quarters in 28.2sec. and 27.7sec. to win by six lengths from Son of Fergie at a 1.54.2 rate. David Hercules will start from the No. 2 barrier on the front line and Morgan Woodley is sure to attempt another all-the-way win. However, Woodley might not have an easy task to send David Hercules straight to the front, with Hokonui Ben drawn the prized No. 1 barrier. Hokonui Ben also was racing first-up in last Friday night’s event in which he started from barrier three and raced in the one-out and one-back position before being hampered for room in the closing stages and finishing fifth behind David Hercules. by Ken Casellas  

For the first time in over two decades, a horse trained from outside the Gippsland region has won the Warragul Horse of the Year award. Based on performances during the 2012/2013 racing season, which ran from September to August, Lara pacer Inky Cullen was declared the winner. One member of a team that provided trainer Dean Braun with an outstanding season of success, Inky Cullen won three out of three at the Logan Park circuit, including the Traralgon Pacing Cup in June. The last time a non-Gippsland trained horse won the title was in season 1991/1992, when trotter Green Cape was successful. Trainer of the year was Cranbourne horsewoman Jayne Davies. Jayne and partner Noel Alexander have between them dominated this award since it was introduced in 1980/1981, with more than 15 wins. Leading driver for the season was again Chris Alford, who enjoyed a stellar season statewide. Chris drove Inky Cullen in the Traralgon Cup victory, and has won the Warragul Driver of the Year award over 10 times, and is second only to Ted Demmler who won the award on 20 occasions. Joshua Duggan scored his first win in the Concession Driver of the Year award, which recognises the talent of relative newcomers to the driving ranks. Awards presentations will take place at the next Warragul meeting on Monday, December 2.  

Three Choice Hotel Country Cups have been run and won in the new season and champion reinsman Chris Alford made it two in a row for trainer Dean Braun, this time with Im Corzin Terror. The trainer/driver combination went down narrowly in the Nyah Cup before making amends with Chancellor Cullen in the Kilmore Cup but it was his talented stablemate that found the front, and led them a merry dance in today’s Central Goldfields Shire Maryborough Gold Cup. Starting from barrier four in the stand-start 2690-metre race, Im Corzin Terror stepped cleanly to work his way to the top in the early stages before Alford was at his brilliant best rating the race to perfection. A first quarter of 30.1 was followed by a 33.9 second quarter before he ripped home in 28.2 and 28.1. Cut For An Ace got clear and rallied late but was over four metres away in second with American Muscle rushing down the outside for third. The mile rate for the race was 2:02.5. Im Corzin Terror was first-up from a break but was well backed with during the week from $4 into $2.90 in the initial stages of betting. The six-year-old Western Terror gelding has now won 13 times from his 40 starts and broke the $100,000 prizemoney barrier today. The Bendigo Bank Maryborough Trotters Cup went to Michael Thomas for Lisa Miles. Driven confidently in front, the lightly races seven-year-old relished the extended trip and cruised home by almost seven metres at the winning post. Finishing off in 28.6 and 30.6, the 10 time winner mile rated 2:06.7 for the 2690 metres as he defeated Paparazzi Snapshot and Lightning Joy. Blake Redden

Dean Braun and Chris Alford took out the 2013 Jet Roofing Kilmore Pacing Cup with rising star Chancellor Cullen on Sunday. Starting second favourite on the day, last week’s Nyah Cup runner-up made amends in almost track record time when blistering around the course in a 2:01.2 mile rate with a slashing 55.8 last half. Restrepo, from the Emma Stewart team, was a brave second just over seven metres away whilst Mustang Mach finished third. The win was Chancellor Cullen’s 10th in just 15 Australian starts and moved him one step closer to Grand Circuit glory which he now looks set to tackle later this season. Race favourite Bitobliss worked from his 20-metre handicap to find the death seat in the middle stages but faded late to finish last of the main brigade. The Victorian Harness Racing Sports Club Kilmore Trotters Cup went to Group 1-winning pacer turned trotter in Mister Zion as he rolled odds-on favourite Elegant Image. Starting from the 40-metre back mark, Geoff Webster’s son of Red River Hanover worked three wide in the last lap to take it up to Prettylilangeleyes and Elegant Image who worked to the chair mid-race. The two tote elects raced away from their rivals in the straight with Mister Zion getting the upper hand by two metres at the post from Elegant Image with Prettylilangeleyes a further four metres away in third. The race was completed in a mile rate of 2:03.9 with the last half coming in 61.4secs. Catch Your Breath caused an upset in the days other feature race, the Grange Cleveland Popular Alm Sprint. Race favourite Five Star Anvil, who was well backed during the week, led from the pole before handing over to Smoken Up who made a mid-race dash around the field despite starting from inside the second row. After being afforded a lovely run by in-form reinsmen Chris Alford in the middle stages, Catch Your Breath raced up and grabbed the lead from Smoken Up in the straight to win by 1.7 metres with Born Again Sassy just under two metres away in third. The mile rate came in a speedy 1:53.9 with the last half split in 28.1sec quarters. The major achievement on the day came however after the main race with Chris Alford driving his 5000th career winner behind Macho Camacho, again for Dean Braun. Alford’s run to the magical figure has sped since the start of August and despite being out for a time with injury, he has officially become just the second driver, behind Gavin Lang, in the southern hemisphere to reach the milestone. Videos attached by Blake Redden Harness Racing Victoria

Smythes Creek (Ballarat) trainer Emma Stewart and freelance Bacchus Marsh reinsman Gavin Lang each recorded doubles at Saturday's Cranbourne fixture, Stewart with two six year olds - Mister Sheedy in the Tintin In America Pace for C6 or better class over 2080 metres and Tara Toplady the Cranbourne Trainers Bonanza for C4 & C5 class (mares) over 1609 metres, while Lang was successful aboard Gatesys Girl in the Aldebaran Park Trotters Handicap for T1 or better class over 2575 metres and Flaxton Filly in the Bayside Group Pace for C1 class over 1609 metres. Mister Sheedy a gelded son of Presidential Ball and Intoxicating driven by Michael Stanley, was surprisingly able to head off the favourite Astronaut shortly after the start from gate five and after an easy time, proved too strong for Astronaut along the sprint lane in a rate of 1-59.4 (last half 56.9 - quarter 28.3), with the Cranbourne specialist Stylish Jasper close up in third place after following the pair. Bettors Delight/Perfect Passion mare Tara Toplady taking a concession for reinswoman Jaimie-Lee King, was a big winner of her race after being trapped three wide from gate four and eventually working to the lead at the bell.  Joined by Arber for the final circuit, the pair raced away approaching the home turn with the race to themselves, with Tara Toplady giving plenty to hold a margin of a neck on the wire. Jasmine Sheffield (one/one) was 8.2 metres away in third place. The mile rate 1-56.9. Smart 5-Y-0 Conch Deville/Glamor Loch mare Gatesys Girl is good when she's on her game and was at Cranbourne with a tough victory in a mile rate of 2-07.4.  Trained in Gippsland at Longwarry by Michael Hughes, Gatesys Girl stepped cleanly from a 10 metre handicap, with Lang having no hesitation is sending her forward to park outside the pole line leader Mallee Trapper.  Appearing to be under pressure on the final bend with the leader holding a clear margin, Gatesys Girl rallied under desperate driving to score by a head right on the wire in a rate of 2-07.4. The 40 metre backmarker Earl Or Nothing ran on late from last to finish third. Eight year old Village Jasper/Turn To Gold mare Flaxton Filly which had recorded 6 wins from 86 outings prior to the race, was given a cosy trip three back on the marker line from inside the second row, with the heavily supported Obama leading from gate four with Monique Burnett in the sulky for trainer Maree Caldow. Extricated into the clear on straightening, Flaxton Filly came with a brilliant burst of speed to register a runaway victory in advance of Obama which offered no resistance, with Zoomba third after racing in the open. The mile rate 1-59.8. Lara trainer Dean Braun made it three from three with recent stable addition Sals Mo in the Ade Turf Equipment Pace for C2 & C3 class over 2080 metres. Beginning with a wing on every foot for Nathan Jack from gate five, Sals Mo was untroubled to lead throughout, winning by 9.6 metres in a rate of 1-58 from Conflict Of Interest (one/two) and Courageous Spirit which trailed the winner. A five year old Art Major/Dream Chaser gelding, Sals Mo is the 6th winner from the dam, the most noticeable being 18 race winner Detriot Dan (By Oil Burner). Len Baker

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