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The nominees for the 2013-14 Harness Horse of the Year have been released with the  winners to be announced at the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club on Sunday, October 19.   Im Themightyquinn, Im Victorious, David Hercules and Hokonui Ben are the four finalists who will battle it out for Horse of the Year honours.   Im Themightyquinn made a triumphant return to racing after injury threatened to end his  career when he won seven races including the Group 1 Blacks A Fake in Queensland.   “I’m excited about him being nominated especially after he was injured earlier in the  season,” said trainer, Gary Hall Snr.   “It is a great effort to come back and compete in the form and manner that he is.”   The Michael Brennan-trained Im Victorious claimed seven wins from his 12 starts with the  highlight the Group 1 Fremantle Pacing Cup.   Tragedy struck the gelding when he suffered a career-ending tendon injury after being  severely checked in the Group 1 Inter Dominion Final.   “It is a huge honour to be nominated considering the horses that have won this prestigious  award in the past,” said Brennan.   “It would be a privilege and an honour to win an award like this given the happenings of the  past 12 months.”   David Hercules raced on 16 occasions for seven wins and six placings and $181,150 in stake  earnings. He claimed the Group 3 Winter Cup and Group 3 Howard Porter Memorial.   Hokonui Ben earned Group 1 honours in the WA Pacing Cup and also enjoyed victories in the  Group 2 Village Kid and Group 2 RWWA Cup.   NOMINEES:   2YO FILLY                                       2YO COLT & GELDING   La Mia Juliette                                     All Aussie Boy Tricky Styx                                             Isaiah Artois Straittothehilton                                   Persistent Threat Major Reality   3YO FILLY                                      3YO COLT & GELDING   Im Bella Jay                                          Mister Jadore Libertybelle Midfrew                            Elegant Christian Majorly Foxy Styx                                  Three Blind Mice   HORSE OF THE YEAR                          AGED MARE    Hokonui Ben                                          Leda McNally Im Victorious                                          Famous Alchemist Im Themightyquinn                               Sensational Gabby David Hercules     Barry Hamilton Manager Harness Racing 94455311 Barry.hamilton@rwwa.com.au

Morgan Woodley is poised to notch a record third victory in the $35,000 Next Payment ATM Howard Porter Memorial at Gloucester Park on Friday night and chalk up his century of winners in the 2013-14 season. The brilliant young reinsman has formed a tremendous liaison with David Hercules and the seven-year-old is sure to prove extremely hard to beat in the 2536m feature event in which he has drawn barrier four on the front line. Woodley, one of four drivers to have won the Porter Memorial twice, looks set to make a bold bid to take up the role of pacemaker in the early stages. Brilliant mare Leda McNally has drawn the coveted pole position, but Chris Voak is unlikely to attempt an all-the-way win if Woodley, as expected, applies considerable early pressure. Leda McNally is a smart frontrunner, but she is even better suited when held up for a late charge. She produced a powerful finishing burst to win a 2503m stand at Gloucester Park two starts ago and then she surged home from eighth in the middle stages to finish second to El Machine in the 2100m Manea Classic at Bunbury last Saturday night. Ten-year-old Rocket Reign will start from barrier two. The veteran possesses good gate speed, but it would come as a surprise if Mark Reed attempts to set the pace with a pacer who has a losing sequence of 20. David Hercules is in sparkling form and is unbeaten at three outings in his current campaign, setting the pace to beat Im Themightyquinn over 2130m and then working hard in the breeze to beat Please Release Me in the 2536m Winter Cup and again when he defeated the pacemaker Northview Punter over 2130m last Friday night. "I was pleasantly surprised when he was able to get up and beat Northview Punter," Woodley admitted. And Byford trainer David Thompson is delighted at the way David Hercules is racing. "He went super last week and has thrived since then," he said. Northview Punter is a strong stayer, but his prospects of winning the Porter Memorial diminished when he drew out wide at No. 6 on the front line. The New Zealand-bred four-year-old, the youngest runner in the race, is trained by Gary Hall sen., who has won the Porter Memorial as a trainer-driver with Makes The Rules in 1999 and Its Written In The Stars the following year. Woodley has won the event with All In Teck (2008) and Has The Answers (2011) and the other reinsmen to have won the race twice were Phil Coulson (Pure Steel in 1978 and Gammalite four years later) and Fred Kersley jun. (Gap Road, 1983, and Quecee, 1990). Pinjarra trainer Chris King, who has brought Leda McNally back to top form in the past fortnight, is seeking his second success in the Porter Memorial, a race he won with 41/1 tote outsider Flamin Tact in 2010 when the gelding was handled by Robbie Williams. King also has a handy second string in Lord Lombo, who is not well drawn at barrier five. An interesting runner is former Victorian open-class performer Our Blackbird, a New Zealand-bred six-year-old by Bettors Delight who will be making his first appearance in Western Australia. Our Blackbird, now trained by Ross Olivieri, has won at 15 of his 64 starts. He faces a stern test from the outside of the front line, even though he has been performing soundly against quality opposition in Victoria. Four starts ago, in the 1720m Sokyola Sprint at Melton, he finished fourth behind Five Star Anvil, Smoken Up and Chilli Palmer and three starts before that he was third behind Chilli Palmer and Smoken Up in the group 3 Geelong Cup. Our Blackbird will be driven by Chris Lewis, whose only success in the Porter Memorial was with Hilarion Star in 1992. Lewis seeking a birthday gift Champion reinsman Chris Lewis will celebrate his 59th birthday on Friday and he hopes to celebrate the occasion with a winner or two at Gloucester Park in the evening. One of his best prospects appears to be veteran pacer Tee Pee Village, who is ideally drawn at the No. 2 barrier on the front line in the Moondyne Joes Fremantle Claiming Pace. Trainer Clive Dalton has brought the 12-year-old back to racing after a spell in fine fettle and the gelding followed his first-up second to Pride of Colorado with a strong effort to win a 1730m claimer from The Oyster Bar at Gloucester Park last Saturday week after he had worked hard in the breeze for most of the way. Tee Pee Village is a good frontrunner, but Lewis may have to be content to race without cover, with The Oyster Bar the likely pacemaker from the prized No. 1 barrier. Looming as the hardest for Tee Pee Village to beat are Pride of Colorado (barrier six) and Our Arlington (seven). Trainer Aldo Cortopassi has engaged Mark Reed to drive Pride of Colorado, who will have many admirers after dropping in class. After sitting in the breeze and beating Tee Pee Village three starts ago, Pride of Colorado finished boldly from sixth at the bell to be second to Heez Orl Black over 1730m and then was a fighting fifth behind David Hercules over 2130m last Friday night. Reed looks certain to go forward with Pride of Colorado from the wide barrier and seek a forward position, most probably on the outside of the pacemaker. Our Arlington, trained by Gary Hall sen. and to be driven by his son Gary, has the ability to overcome the wide barrier. The six-year-old finished strongly to win the Past Presidents Cup from Dundee Three and Please Release Me two starts ago before setting the pace and finishing fifth behind David Hercules in the 2536m Winter Cup four Fridays ago. By Ken Casellas  

Noted frontrunner Courage On Fire has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier in the $50,000 Community Newspaper Group Empress Stakes at Gloucester Park on Friday night to boost Wanneroo trainer Debbie Padberg's hopes of winning the group 2 feature event for mares for the second time. She trained Glitzy Miss for her dramatic victory in the Empress Stakes in April 2008 when the five-year-old was tenth with 550m to travel and seventh at the 100m before flying home, out wide, to defeat the pacemaker Alkira Jet. The New Zealand-bred Courage On Fire has won ten races in Australia, with five of those wins coming when she has set the pace --- over 1720m and 2125m at Penrith, over 1609m at Menangle and over 1730m and 2130m at Gloucester Park. The Empress Stakes will be decided over 2536m and this should not seriously trouble Courage On Fire, who has raced four times over that distance at Gloucester Park for a fourth, a fifth, a second and a win (when she sat behind the pacemaker and ran on to win narrowly from Next Dawn and Chocolatto early last December). Mrs Padberg is delighted with the favourable barrier and said that Courage On Fire was "very good" in front. The seven-year-old led and won easily from Aristocratic Glow over 2130m three starts ago before starting from the outside of the back line and finishing strongly to be third to Aristocratic Glow and Deluxe Edition. She was sixth at the bell and finished seventh behind Leda McNally in a 2130m prelude of the Empress Stakes last Friday night. Mrs Padberg, who is in fourth place in the Metropolitan trainers' premiership table, said that she was undecided on what tactics reinsman Michael Tenardi would adopt. Much would depend on whether Courage On Fire was challenged strongly in the early stages. Two speedy beginners are on the outside of Courage On Fire --- four-year-olds Askmenow (barrier two) and Kristen Louise (three). Askmenow has been unplaced at her past six starts and has a losing sequence of eight, but her trainer Gary Hall sen. said that if she was able to lead she would be very hard to beat. Hall has a higher opinion of stablemate Famous Alchemist, who will start from the inside of the back line, immediately behind Courage On Fire. "It's a tricky draw, but she can certainly win," he said. Famous Alchemist has had only 38 starts for 12 wins and 13 placings. Famous Alchemist charged home from last at the bell to finish third behind her stablemate Aussie Made Lombo in the Empress Stakes last March to give Hall his third success in the race which he first won with Moray Miss in 1991. Vance Stampalia, who drove Glitzy Miss for her win in this race six years ago, is the regular driver of four-year-old Kristen Louise, who is prepared at Wanneroo by his sister Tonia. Stampalia stole a march on his rivals when he got Kristen Louise away to a flying start from the No. 5 barrier in the second prelude of the Empress Stakes last Friday night. Kristen Louise charged to the front after 100m and was not extended in winning from Selkie and Ace of Cards. "She crossed them easily last week," he said. "And it would be nice to be able to lead again this week. Kristen Louise has improved since her win last week and is thriving on a preparation of mainly swimming in the pool." Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri has cured speedy mare Sensational Gabby of her habit of overracing and he has sound prospects of winning the event for the third time, after scoring with Elysees Crest in 2010 and Ima Spicey Lombo the following year. Olivieri also trained Live High when she surged home from 11th at the 600m to finish second to Aussie Made Lombo last year. Sensational Gabby raced without cover when second to Famous Alchemist over 1730m two starts ago before she started from the outside of the front line, was restrained to last and then sprinted fast after 700m to join the leader Leda McNally last Friday night when she fought on to finish second to that mare. HALL SAYS NORTHVIEW PUNTER CAN OVERCOME BACK-LINE BARRIER Leading trainer Gary Hall sen. was naturally disappointed when speedy New Zealand-bred four-year-old Northview Punter drew badly at barrier four on the back line in the $25,000 Fremantle Gazette The Lewis final at Gloucester Park on Friday night, but defiantly declared that all was not lost and that the horse was capable of overcoming this disadvantage and winning the 2130m event. "It was a phenomenal run by Northview Punter when second to Hokonui Ben last week and he can win from the back line," said Hall, who will be in Sydney on Friday night keeping his eye on Livingontheinterest before that pacer contests the interdominion championship final at Menangle on Sunday. Hall makes no secret that he considers that Northview Punter is far better suited to leading in his races than coming from behind. But he believes that the horse is gaining in experience and is capable of proving more versatile. Northview Punter began with great dash from barrier three to set the pace in the 2536m RWWA Cup last Friday night and he fought on grandly when beaten by only a neck by the fast-finishing Hokonui Ben, rating 1.55.8 over the 2536m. At his previous appearance, two weeks before last Friday night's run, Northview Punter worked hard for the first 500m before taking up the running and going on to win by more than two lengths from Pacific Warrior over 2130m. A week later Pacific Warrior led from the No. 1 barrier and won easily from Mighty Flying Thomas and Uppy Son over 2130m. He will start from barrier five on the front line this week and looks set to fight out the finish. The Matt Scott-trained Marooned has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier and even though the seven-year-old's best performances in Western Australia have been when he has produced a powerful finishing burst reinsman Chris Voak will be strongly tempted to attempt an all-the-way win. Marooned does possess good gate speed and has led and won at two of his 16 wins, over 1609m at Menangle and 2170m at Canberra. Mohegan Sun (barrier two) and Menelaus of Sparta (three) have each won twice when leading all the way. But they are not noted frontrunners, and this could make it easier for Marooned to set the pace. Marooned was most impressive last Friday night when he started from the back line and trailed the pacemaker Mach Banner before flashing home with a sparkling late burst to finish a half-head second to Mach Banner. TRUCKERS RUFFNUT WORKS WITH DASH BEFORE HIS CLASH WITH DAVID HERCULES A sizzling final 800m in 56sec. in a track workout at Donaldson Park in Bunbury on Tuesday morning greatly impressed his trainer Murray Hansen, who is confident the eight-year-old can cause an upset and beat star performer David Hercules in the $21,000 Stirling Times Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. In the random draw, Truckers Ruffnut gained the prized No. 1 barrier, while David Hercules fared poorly and will start from the outside of the front line (No. 7) in the small field of eight. "Our one big advantage over David Hercules is the barrier draw," Hansen said. "We've drawn one and will be utilising it and holding up to lead. Truckers Ruffnut has always possessed good gate speed and in previous campaigns was always a very hard horse to beat when he was in front. "David Hercules will have to be right at the top of his game to beat Truckers Ruffnut. I feel sorry for David Hercules, with all the bad barriers he has been getting. I think that my horse can run a really good time." Leading reinsman Gary Hall jun. will be reunited with Truckers Ruffnut after the horse has been driven at his first five starts after an injury-enforced absence of 39 months by Ryan Bell, Shane Butcher (three times) and Dylan- Egerton-Green. Hall has an outstanding record with Truckers Ruffnut, having driven him 24 times for 11 wins, nine seconds, two thirds, one seventh and one eighth. Truckers Ruffnut has finished strongly to win at two of his past three starts at Gloucester Park. He raced three back on the pegs in fifth position before charging home brilliantly to win from Danieljohn and Mighty Flying Thomas last Friday night. Hansen drove Truckers Ruffnut in his workout on Tuesday morning when the horse was clocked over the 1200m trip in 3min. 5sec. and sprinted the final 800m in 56sec. "He worked really well and I feel he is better than he was when he won last week. He does all his trackwork on his own and he works free-legged," Hansen said. "He's that good a pacer that he could race without hopples. He has run a half in 55sec. free-legged without putting a foot wrong." Byford trainer David Thompson said that he was becoming resigned to receiving wide draws for David Hercules. But he was full of praise for the even-year-old's splendid third behind Hokonui Ben and Northview Punter in the 2536m RWWA Cup last Friday night. David Hercules started from barrier seven and was restrained to the rear by Morgan Woodley before he dashed the gelding forward in the first lap to work hard outside then pacemaker Northview Punter. David Hercules fought on grandly to finish only a length behind Hokonui Ben. An improver in Friday night's race appears certain to be the Ross Olivieri-trained Red Salute, who is sure to appreciate the favourable No. 2 barrier on the front line in the field of eight. Red Salute has been dogged by unfavourable draws in recent outings. DON'T DISREGARD THE BEAU BRUMMELL, ADVISES MELLSOP Waroona trainer-reinsman Bob Mellsop offered some sound advice to punters when he said that they should completely disregard The Beau Brummell's last-start seventh behind Earl Harbour at Gloucester Park last Saturday week when assessing the five-year-old's chances in the $30,000 Happy Birthday Alison Ward Discreet Romeo Sprint for trotters on Friday night. "He met with severe interference soon after the start before making up a great deal of ground," Mellsop said. "He will start on the inside of the back line this week and should get a good run behind the polemarker Ushaka Bromac." The Beau Brummell's form before his unlucky last-start effort was very good. His six previous starts, after resuming from a spell, produced two wins (including the WA Trotters Cup), two seconds, one third and one fifth placing. Vance Stampalia, driver of the Bruce Stanley-trained Ushaka Bromac, and Gary Hall sen., trainer of Prince Eddie, are both confident of success. Stampalia believes that Ushaka Bromac will have the early speed to lead from the No. 1 barrier in the 1730m event. She led early and then sat behind the pacemaker Idle Maple before finishing solidly to be a close second to Earl Harbour over 1730m last Saturday week. Prince Eddie, whose past eight starts have produced four wins, one second and two thirds, looks nicely placed from the No. 2 barrier. He raced without cover when third to Earl Harbour at his latest start. He finished powerfully to win from Sandakan Lombo in a 2503m stand at his previous start. by Ken Casellas  

Miracle Mile entrant Im Victorious had a week's break in the paddock after finishing sixth in the WA Pacing Cup but will be ready to perform at his best in the Western Australian heat of the Inter Dominion on February 15th. Trainer Michael Brennan confirmed he is set to have his first serious workout this week and will have two more before he races again. "Im Victorious raced so well in the Fremantle Cup after coming home from the Victoria Cup off a similar preparation that I have decided to do exactly the same thing," Brennan said. "He was a little bit flat the day after the WA Pacing Cup but I guess that was a little bit expected after he carried the flat tyre for nearly the entire race but it didn't take him long to brighten up in the paddock and when I brought him back in after a week he was raring to go." Brennan is unsure of the travel arrangements should Im Victorious qualify for the Inter Dominion Grand Final. "I'm pretty sure Im Themightyquinn and Mysta Magical Mach got a Direct Flight into Sydney for the final from memory but it isn't really a concern for me until he actually qualifies, I am not getting too far ahead of myself." "I know the connections of Leda McNally are wanting to head across as well and then two horses might qualify from the Perth heat so it is all up in the air at the moment." Gary Hall Jnr will drive the horse for Brennan after partnering him in his last two starts. "Yeah that's the plan, nothing has changed after the WA Cup, Junior has got a Fabulous record and has won plenty of big races including the Inter Dominion." "It was a big thrill to be part of Inter Dominion day last year when Im Victorious competed in the Chariots Of Fire and it would be even more special to have a horse compete in the Inter Dominion itself, I'm looking forward to the series." Nancy O'Grady | Executive Assistant | Harness Racing New South Wales |    

Veteran pacer Mysta Magical Mach bounced back to top form with an all-the-way victory in a 2536m event at Gloucester Park last Friday night and astute Byford trainer Tony Svilicich has high hopes the nine-year-old can equal the feat of former champion Village Kid by winning the $35,000 Make Smoking History Lord Mayor's Cup on Friday night for the fourth time. Trainer Bill Horn combined with champion reinsman Chris Lewis to win the Lord Mayor's Cup with Village Kid in 1985, 1986, 1989 and 1990. Svilicich has won the Cup with Mysta Magical Mach in 2009, 2011 and last year. Morgan Woodley, who handled Mysta Magical Mach in the 2009 and 2013 Cup victories, will again be in the sulky in this year's 2536m Cup. Justin Prentice drove the New Zealand-bred gelding when he won the 2011 Cup. Woodley has also won the Cup with the Svilicich-trained Taihape Tickler in 2006 and was successful behind Another One For Me in the 2012 Cup. Mysta Magical Mach has drawn awkwardly on the inside of the back line in this year's Cup, but the hardy gelding has a fine history of overcoming disadvantages. He started from the outside of the front line (barrier nine) in the 2009 Cup when he was restrained to the rear and then covered a lot of extra ground in the middle stages before winning from Mr Yankee and Smooth Crusa. He also started from the outside at No. 9 in 2011 when he raced wide early and then in the breeze before defeating Can Return Fire and Tsunami Lombo. In last year's Cup Mysta Magical Mach (4/1) started from the No. 2 barrier and Woodley got him to the front after 400m, with Im Themightyquinn, the 11/4 on favourite settling in sixth position in the one-wide line before starting a three-wide move 1100m from home. Mysta Magical Mach held Im Themightyquinn at bay and beat him by a half-length. Im Themightyquinn was driven by Kim Prentice for leading trainer Gary Hall sen., deputising for the champion's regular driver Gary Hall jun., who was in Mildura contesting the annual invitation drivers' championship at that club. Hall sen. and Prentice are now confident of making amends for Im Themightyquinn's defeat in last year's Cup by succeeding with Livingontheinterest, who is ideally drawn at No. 2 on the front line and looks the likely leader. Prentice will take over from Hall jun., who drove Livingontheinterest when he finished a close third behind Mysta Magical Mach and Red Salute last Friday night. Hall jun. will be in Mildura on Friday night as Western Australia's representative in the invitation drivers' championship. Hall sen. has a good record in the Lord Mayor's Cup. He trained and drove Tricky Bey to victory in 1994 and Abit Rich for his win in 1997. He also won the Cup with Live Live To Reign (Hall jun. in 2007) and Talk To Me Courage (Shayne Cramp in 2010). In last week's race Livingontheinterest started from barrier five on the front line and Hall jun. restrained him to the rear. Woodley was able to get Mysta Magical Mach to relax in front and the gelding ambled through the first 400m section of the final mile in 32.8sec. Livingontheinterest made a lightning move 1300m from home to quickly move alongside the pacemaker, who then dashed over the final three quarters in 28.4sec., 28.3sec. and 27.7sec. Mysta Magical Mach held on to score by a head from the fast-finishing Red Salute, with a neck to Livingontheinterest. "I don't think any runner can beat my two runners, Livingontheinterest and Hokonui Ben," said Hall sen. "Livingontheinterest lost by only a long neck last week after working in the breeze. There's not much between him and Hokonui Ben. Livingontheinterest grows a leg in front." Livingontheinterest has won six times at Gloucester Park when leading and there appears little doubt that he will burst past the polemarker Ohoka Dallas in the early stages. Nine-year-old Ohoka Dallas has a losing sequence of 34 (in which his only placing was 27 starts ago) and he will be at6 handsome odds. Hokonui Ben is favourably drawn at barrier three on Friday night for his first appearance since Clint Hall drove him to an all-the-way victory in the $400,000 WA Pacing Cup over 2936m last Friday week. Clint Hall is serving a term of suspension and Hall sen. will confer with the gelding's Queensland owner Jeroen Nieuwenburg on Wednesday before a substitute reinsman is engaged. Lewis, who has won the Lord Mayor's Cup a record eight times, will handle the Ross Olivieri-trained Red Salute, who rattled home from fifth on the pegs at the bell to be second to Mysta Magical Mach last week. Red Salute will start from the outside of the back line and should be finishing with a flourish. Hall jun. will be busy at the Mildura meeting on Friday night with eight drives. In the four heats of the invitation drivers' championship he will handle Rose Harvest, Our Bedrock, Aldebaran Macha and Ya Bowen Delight, and in minor events he will drive Em Jay Fortyseven, Par Three, Queen Mab and Saint Theory. ARISTOCRATIC GLOW WARMS UP IN FINE STYLE Five-year-old Aristocratic Glow has never set the pace during her 33-strart career and she is unlikely to lead from the prized No. 1 barrier in the $25,000 Put Smoking Behind You Im Themightyquinn Mares final at Gloucester Park on Friday night. But the Barry Warwick-trained mare should enjoy an ideal passage throughout the 2130m mobile event and should prove hard to beat. She warmed up for this week's feature event in splendid fashion when she charged home from the rear to be second to Courage On Fire over 2130m last Friday night. Aristocratic Glow started from barrier four and lacked early sparkle. She was tenth with 400m to travel before she unwound a spirited finishing burst, flying home from seventh (five wide) on the home turn. She was a Gloucester Park 2130m winner three starts before that when she surged home from sixth at the bell to beat Tatum Franco by a length. With Aristocratic Glow unlikely to muster sufficient early speed to lead, there is likely to be a keen battle for the front between Pure Empathy (barrier two) and Millies Girl (No. 3). Both are smart frontrunners. Pure Empathy, trained by Brad Groves, will be handled by Aldo Cortopassi, who drove the mare when she gave a strong frontrunning display to win from Millies Girl and Corza Commotion in a 2130m heat of this event three starts ago. Millies Girl has set the pace in all of her six wins from 58 starts and Shane Young will be expected to make a spirited effort to get to an early lead. One of the fancies is sure to be the Ross Olivieri-trained four-year-old Deluxe Edition (Chris Voak), an extremely consistent performer whose 32 starts have produced eight wins and 14 placings. Deluxe Edition, who is inclined to pull hard in her races, will start from the No. 4 barrier Deluxe Edition covered extra ground, out three wide and then in the breeze, before getting to the front and then finishing third to Lord Diego in fast time over 1730m last Friday night. She was most impressive the previous week when she flew home from the rear to be a close second to Talk About Mach. Talk About Mach, to be driven by Kyle Harper for veteran trainer Bill Horn, will have many admirers from the inside of the back line. A versatile five-year-old, she has won at three of her past four starts, all over 2130m at Gloucester Park. ASKMENOW READY FOR HER FIRST STAND AFTER A DASHING TRIAL A dazzling trial by Askmenow at Byford on Sunday morning has filled leading trainer Gary Hall sen. with confidence for the four-year-old mare's first appearance in a stand --- the 2503m Quit Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The New Zealand-bred Askmenow, the youngest runner in the race, will start from 20m in the field of 12 and will be driven by Kim Prentice for the first time. Prentice was engaged because Gary Hall jun. will be driving at the Mildura meeting on Friday night and his elder brother Clint is under suspension. Askmenow, who has raced 34 times for ten wins and 11 placings, qualified to start in a stand for the first time when she began smoothly from the outside of the front line in a 2550m stand at Byford on Sunday morning. Driven by Hall jun., Askmenow set the pace and won by 24 lengths from Lifes A Journey at a 2.1.5 rate. After a third quarter of the final mile in 29.5sec., Askmenow sprinted brilliantly over the final 400m in 27.8sec. "Rating 2.1.5 in a stand at Byford is really flying," said Hall sen. "They usually run 2.3 or 2.4 in similar company. She did it easily and getting caught up in traffic should be her only worry on Friday night." Askmenow resumed after a brief let-up when she began from the outside of the front line and was restrained to the rear before finishing powerfully to be fifth behind Rocky Marciano over 2130m last Friday week. Hall sen. also has excellent prospects with the New Zealand-bred Majorly Foxy Styx in the Smoke Free Pace for three-year-old fillies. Majorly Foxy Styx has won at Gloucester Park at each of her past five starts, including her first four runs as a three-year-old. She will start out wide, at barrier five on the front line and will be driven by Kim Prentice. "She should go very close and her only danger appears to be Generally Outspoken, providing that filly does everything right," Hall said. "Generally Outspoken galloped over the line when she won a Byford trial on Sunday morning." Chris Voak has been engaged to drive Generally Outspoken, who has a distinct advantage, starting from the coveted No. 1 barrier. CONDRIEU SHOULD SEND PUNTERS HOME ON A WINNING NOTE New Zealand-bred four-year-old Condrieu, the youngest and least experienced runner in the final event at Gloucester Park on Friday night, should overcome the disadvantage of the outside barrier on the front line and prove the master of his ten rivals in the 2130m Thank You For Not Smoking Pace. Trained at Forrestdale by Greg and Skye Bond, Condrieu will be driven by Ryan Warwick, who replaces the suspended Colin Brown. Condrieu is a classy animal who should certainly have the edge over his rivals. There is plenty of early speed on the front line and Warwick is likely to restrain Condrieu before unleashing the gelding alight when the pace slackens. However, there is a possibility that Warwick could attempt to set Condrieu alight when the mobile barrier releases the field. Brown used the element of surprise successfully when he got Condrieu away brilliantly from the No. 5 barrier in the McInerney Ford Classic in November when the gelding burst straight to the front and set the pace before finishing a gallant second to Chilli Palmer. Whatever the scenario Condrieu appeals as the winner. He has raced 28 times for nine wins and 11 placings and looks set for a bright career. SCHOOLBOY GETS HIS CHANCE WITH THREE TOP DRIVES AT ALBANY Sixteen-year-old Micheal Ferguson has been rewarded for working over the school holidays for leading trainer Gary Hall sen. by being engaged to drive three smart Hall pacers at the Albany Cup meeting on Friday night. Ferguson will handle in-form pacers Ben Cartwright, Westernator and Vapour, each of whom has an excellent winning chance. Hall, who will have ten starters at the Gloucester Park meeting on Friday night, has five runners engaged at the Albany meeting. He has engaged Michael George for speedy Eyre Crusher, who looks a certainty in the Auto One Albany Three-Year-Old Pace after his dashing victory at Gloucester Park last Friday night, and Rowchester, who has drawn perfectly at barrier one in the $30,000 GWN7 Albany Cup. "Micheal Ferguson helped out over the school holidays and he deserves to get the chance with some good horses," Hall sen. said. Ben Cartwright should prove very hard to beat from the No. 3 barrier in the 2258m Bevan's WA Seafood Pace after his runaway victory over Grand Cru and Livelong And Prosper at Gloucester Park last Friday night. The American-bred Westernator has bright prospects from the No. 1 barrier in the 2683m MCB Construction Pace. Westernator, a winner at one of his six starts in America, has had 12 starts in Western Australia for two Gloucester Park wins and five placings. Vapour has strong claims from barrier five in the 2258m Snacks HSV Fremantle Pace. A winner of two races in New Zealand, Vapour has had four starts in WA for two wins, a second and an unplaced effort. Rowchester, a New Zealand-bred four-year-old with seven wins and eight placings from 21 starts, is in splendid form and should fight out the finish of the 2683m Albany Cup in which he will clash with Cyclone Mitch, Smokey the Bandit, Mighty Flying Thomas, Gday Mate, Son of Fergie and Lovers Delight. By Ken Casellas

Former Kiwi pacer Hokunui Ben has emerged as a bolter to claim the Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit title after a thrilling victory in the Gr.1 $400,000 Nepean Conveyors WA Pacing Cup at Gloucester Park. With a maximum 100 points on offer, victory was clearly going to elevate the chances of any runner being crowned Grand Circuit champion this season. Connections of co-leaders Christen Me and For A Reason (160 points) decided to bypass the Perth feature as they get set for the upcoming Inter Dominion Pacing Championship in Sydney. Most were tipping last week’s Fremantle Cup Im Victorious as the horse to beat despite a tricky draw on the inside of the second-line while many thought Bettors Fire could turn the tables on his conqueror from last week. But it was the ideally drawn Hokunui Ben who defied all. Sent straight to the lead by reinsman Clinton Hall, Hokunui Ben cruised through a lead time of 101.4 seconds while Toretto sent in the trail with Bettors Fire parking without cover. Race favourite Im Victorious quickly maneuvered away from the inside and sat mid-field in the moving line. The first quarter was recorded in a leisurely 31 .1 seconds. Gary Hall Jnr aboard Im Victorious made his move three-wide and raced up looking for the position on the outside of the leader but Kyle Harper aboard Bettors Fire wasn’t about to give away his position outside of Hokunui Ben. They roared through the second quarter in 28.4 seconds before Im Victorious was able to ease and land the position of one out/one back and with clear viewing of his main dangers. The let-up for Im Victorious was only brief as the favourite was forced to make another move with the three wide line starting from back in the field with a lap remaining. Im Victorious was working extremely hard. Hokunui Ben continued to build on the pressure and paced the third quarter in 28.1 seconds while his rivals started to feel the pinch. As Hokunui Ben raced off the back straight for the final time, Clinton Hall decided to wait no longer and skipped away on his rivals leaving his stablemate Toretto as the only legitimate threat. With the winning post within his sights, the steps became shorter for Hokunui Ben as Toretto continued to take ground off him. At the finish, Hokunui Ben lasted by the barest possible margin of a nose from Toretto while an unlucky This Time Dylan was five metres away in third. Race favourite Im Victorious finished sixth while it was later established he carried a flat tyre for the duration of the event. The final quarter was posted in 29.2 seconds. The mile rate for the 2936m event was 1;59.6. “That’s a great victory; I was disappointed with the horse last week in the Fremantle Cup so we changed his work around this week and really lightened off his workload.” Winning trainer Gary Hall Snr said. “That was a terrific drive by Clint, he rated perfectly him perfectly and I’m proud to see him get his first Cup winner. This horse just keeps stepping up and we’ll now look at the Inter Dominion series with him.” Hall Snr added. The victory provided winning trainer Gary Hall Snr with his 8th WA Pacing Cup trophy, the master horseman has now won eight of the last twelve editions of the famous race. For winning driver Clinton Hall, it would prove to be his first Cup success, and his front running tactics would prove to be inch perfect. Hokunui Ben is raced by Queensland based owner Jeroen Nieuwenburg. Nieuwenburg has raced plenty of pacers with success from the Hall stables in Perth over several years now and is no stranger to success either after Dartmoor won the 2008 Australian Pacing Championship. Oddly, both Nieuwenburg and Hall Snr have never actually come face to face. by Chris Barsby

Young trainer-reinsman Kyle Harper declared that he couldn't be happier with rising star Bettors Fire drawing the coveted No. 1 barrier in the $250,000 Yes Loans Fremantle Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night and said he was confident of leading and holding his 11 rivals at bay. He said that the brilliant five-year-old was "bigger, rounder and stronger" than he was when an unlucky fifth behind Hokonui Ben in the Village Kid Sprint last Friday week. "Since that race I have freshened him up a bit," the 23-year-old Harper said. "He got a little bit lighter than I would have liked and now he's put on between ten to 20kg. I find he races better when he's a bit bigger. He has put on the weight in his neck, over his barrel and over his rump. He's rounded right up and is nice and fit. "I upped his intake of grain and have given him slow work. Now I'm producing him as the sharper horse he was before (when he won the Navy Cup, Mount Eden Sprint and Bunbury Cup) and I think he's got good enough gate speed to hold up pretty comfortably." Harper said that Bettors Fire was one of four stand-out horses in the group 1 Cup over 2536m. "I couldn't be happier, drawing No. 1, especially with two of the main three dangers (Im Victorious and David Hercules) drawing the two outside positions on the back line. The other danger is Washakie, who has drawn the inside of the back line. "Really I think that Bettors Fire, Im Victorious, David Hercules and Washakie stand out above the rest of the field. I think that Im Victorious and David Hercules will come very fast, very late. So then I won't have the chance of holding back to the field and keeping Washakie hemmed in, if he is trailing me. I will just have to get going and hope that we're good enough to hold off Washakie and the others." Kevin Jeavons, who races Washakie in partnership with Gino Monaco and Lindsay Severn, said that the ten-year-old trained in New South Wales by John McCarthy, was still racing with youthful enthusiasm and had arrived in Perth on Tuesday morning in "good nick" after a float trip from Sydney to Melbourne and a flight from Melbourne. He is stabled at Noel Keiley's Byford property. Washakie, who has raced in the Fremantle Cup three times for an eighth behind Power of Tara in 2009, a second to Im Themightyquinn in 2011 and fourth behind Im Themightyquinn in 2012, notched his 53rd victory from 140 starts and boosted his earnings to $1,837,473 when he won the group 3 $45,000 Shirley Turnbull Memorial at Bathurst on December 26. Two starts before that he won the group 1 $100,000 Treuer Memorial at Bankstown for the fifth year in succession. Jeavons said that he would leave the driving tactics to McCarthy, who is due to arrive in Perth on Wednesday to fine tune the evergreen gelding for his assignment on Friday night. David Hercules worked in dashing style in a trial at Byford on Sunday morning for trainer David Thompson, but his prospects diminished when he drew the outside of the back line in the Cup. However, reinsman Morgan Woodley warned that it would be unwise to disregard David Hercules as a realistic prospect, saying: "He has proved himself time and time again that he is a top-notch performer and if the early pace is solid and he gets a suitable run he can certainly come home and make his presence felt. "Perhaps if we can get a cart up behind Im Victorious and get taken into the race he could be a good each-way chance. It looks as though Bettors Fire will lead and prove to be tremendously hard to beat. The rest of us will be relying on that little bit of luck. Thommo couldn't have David Hercules any better than he is at the moment and if the horse had drawn one or two we would have been very confident." At his most recent outing, David Hercules started from the outside of the front line and was restrained to the rear before he finished powerfully to be second to Hokonui Ben in the Village Kid Sprint last Friday week. Woodley then handled David Hercules in a 2150m trial at Byford on Sunday morning when he sat behind the pacemaker Mysta Magical Mach before surging home to win the trial by 7m from Mysta Magical Mach at a 1.57.4 rate after speeding over the final two 400m sections in 28.7sec. and 27.2sec. "He ran the final sectionals in very slippery times and still had something left in reserve," Woodley said. Dasher VC, who started from the No. 1 barrier and set the pace before holding on to win the 2013 Fremantle Cup over 2936m, will start from barrier two on the back line for Capel trainer Andrew De Campo and reinsman Chris Lewis. "It's not a bad draw," said de Campo. "I expect Bettors Fire to lead and Dasher VC should get a good run through. We might go to the fence and be three back. I reckon there will be a fair bit of pressure in the race and Dasher VC can really sprint. His form is good; it's better than it reads on paper and he goes into the race with a chance." By Ken Casellas  

A sizzling final quarter in 26.8sec. by star pacer Im Victorious in a track workout at Pinjarra last Saturday morning excited champion reinsman Gary Hall jun. who will be reunited with the five-year-old when he drives him in the $250,000 Yes Loans Fremantle Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Hall replaces Justin Prentice, who has done an outstanding job in driving Im Victorious at his past 25 starts for 17 wins. Hall drove Im Victorious at three of his first four starts for three victories and has high hopes that he will maintain his unbeaten record behind him by winning the 2536m Fremantle Cup. “The barrier (No. 4 on the back line) is not the best, but Im Victorious is potentially the best horse in the field,” Hall said. “I drove him on the track at Pinjarra on Saturday morning and we worked with two mothers and went pretty good. He went like you would expect him to go and Mouse (trainer Michael Brennan) said it was the quickest he had worked down there. “He went a tick under 3min. 3sec. for the mile and a half and covered the last quarter in 26.8sec. It is a pretty quick track, but the cones were out and we were about three and four wide. I was more happy with the way he pulled up. The workout didn’t worry him at all. “He had to travel back from Victoria (after the Victoria Cup), had a few days off and a few days jogging. He had had only one track run before Saturday’s workout and I’m looking forward to driving him again. Obviously he has a big future and this is just the start of something. “When I drove him as a three-year-old (in February and March 2012) he was really laid-back. I knew he was good, but you couldn’t gauge how good he was because he only did what he had to do to win. There always seemed to be a little bit more there all the time, when you asked for it. He’s the complete racehorse.” Hall named Bettors Fire as the hardest for Im Victorious to beat and said that he had no set plans how he was going to drive Im Victorious. “I’ll probably make up my mind regarding tactics when I’m out there,” he said. “I’ll see how hard they come out of the gate and what happens early.” Hall has won the Fremantle Cup five times with pacers trained by his father Gary. They have been successful with The Falcon Strike twice and with Im Themightyquinn three times. Im Themightyquinn failed to win the Cup four times in a row when he started at 5/2 on and raced in the breeze over the final 900m before being beaten a head by the pacemaker Dasher VC in last year’s event. Hall sen. has three runners in this year’s Cup --- Livingontheinterest (barrier two), Toretto (three) and Hokonui Ben (five). Brennan has a second string in This Time Dylan, who will start from the No. 4 barrier and will be driven by Justin Prentice. Luivingontheinterest, who also started from barrier two in last year’s Cup (in which he finished fourth) will be handled by Kim Prentice, Clint Hall will drive the in-form Hokonui Ben and Shane Butcher is likely to get the drive behind Toretto. Chris Voak has opted to drive Leda McNally in preference to Red Salute, citing the barrier draw for his decision. Leda McNally, trained by Chris King, will start from barrier three on the back line, with Red Salute, a smart winner last Friday night, faring poorly by drawing the outside (No. 7) on the front line. Leda McNally is the only mare in the Cup and Voak gives her a sound winning chance. “We need luck and speed in the race,” Voak said. “It’s a good draw for her and she’s in form. I used her out of the gate last week to get a spot and she was on the speed for the first 700m while Shardons Rocket and Ima Rocket Star had a duel. “Then I was the only horse who was on the speed who made any impression late. And she went down by only a head (to This Time Dylan).” TRUCKERS RUFFNUT TO REAPPEAR AFTER A 39-MONTH ABSENCE Former star juvenile pacer Truckers Ruffnut will make his first appearance in a race after an absence of 39 months when he contests the 2536m Yes Loans Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night and Bunbury trainer Murray Hansen predicts a strong first-up showing. “He damaged a suspensory in 2010 and then hurt his other front leg,” Hansen said. “This is our fourth attempt to get him back. The previous three were unsuccessful when we got him right up to trialling before he went amiss. “It’s so far, so good this preparation. His legs are fantastic and he’s got through two trials with flying colours. Justin Prentice drove him in his latest trial when he sat last before running home to finish second to Dasher VC (on Monday of last week).” The final quarters were covered in 27.6sec. and 28.3sec. “We clocked him coming home in 55.1sec.,” Hansen said. Eight days before that Ryan Bell drove Truckers Ruffnut in a 2185m trial at Pinjarra in which he dashed over the final quarters in 28.6sec. and 29sec. and beat Madeline Holly by a head. “He’s very classy and he doesn’t feel like that he’s lost anything,” Hansen said. “Just before he broke down he was ready to show his best and was definitely a Cups horse. It’s been a long road back and barrier five is not ideal, but he’s the class horse of the race and can win. He has had a lot of work and I couldn’t be happier with him.” Truckers Ruffnut, now an eight-year-old, has earned $221,420 from 18 wins and 14 placings from 47 starts. At his most recent appearance he started off 10m and finished second to frontmarker Christopher Three in a 2503m event at Gloucester Park on October 15, 2010. He had won at two of his three previous starts. As a three-year-old in 2009 Truckers Ruffnut won the group 3 WA Sales Classic, the group 1 $100,000 State Sires Series and the consolation of the Breeders Crown at Melton. By Ken Casellas

In the latest news from the Hall stable star performers Im Themightyquinn and Alta Christiano are back in work and on the comeback trail. “Im Themightyquinn has been back in work for four days and his sore feet seem to be all right,” Hall said. “He has no other problems and if everything goes well he should be able to resume racing in five to six weeks. Hopefully he will be back to his best for the WA Pacing Cup and Fremantle Cup. I’m still keen to take him to Sydney for the interdominion championship next March. He’s got to defend his title.” Hall said that Alta Christiano, a winner of seven of his 11 starts and unbeaten at three appearances in WA, was on the mend after damaging the suspensory ligament in his nearside foreleg. “After receiving stem cell treatment he got an infection, and that was nearly the end of him,” Hall said. “But he has overcome all those problems and started work on Monday. He probably won’t be ready to race again until about March. If I can get him up and going, I could take him to Sydney for the Chariots of Fire.” By Ken Casellas

Quick thinking by Kyle Harper enabled him to narrowly avoid a dramatic situation as the mobile barrier released the field for the $50,000 Nepean Conveyors Mount Eden Sprint at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Harper was driving 13/8 second favourite Bettors Fire when the five-year-old, starting from the prized No. 1 barrier, ducked his head and attempted to dive underneath the mobile barrier arm. The big gelding then veered sharply towards the inside of the track and Harper had to reef him back to get him behind the arm. Harper had Bettors Fire keen on the bit to ensure that he would take full advantage of the inside draw by jumping straight to the front. But Bettors Fire was so anxious to outpace his rivals at the start that he made an attempt to get under the mobile arm. The 23-year-old Harper remained cool in the crisis and was able to avert what could have been a catastrophic situation. For a fleeting moment there appeared the possibility that the horse could have become wedged under the arm of the mobile barrier, and this could have resulted in him crashing to the track and causing chaos to the runners on the back line in the field of 12. Bettors Fire burst straight into the lead and gave a superb frontrunning display to win the feature event by two and a half lengths from the 10/9 on favourite Im Victorious, with a length to 40/1 chance Dredlock Rockstar, who was most impressive in charging home from last at the bell. Bettors Fire sped over the final 800m in 56.8sec. and his rate of 1.53.8 was the second fastest recorded in the 58-year history of the Mount Eden Sprint, formerly known as the State Sprint Championship. The race record of 1.53.6 was set by Im Themightyquinn over 1700m in 2011. All honours were with the brilliant Bettors Fire, who is owned by Frank Ranaldi and appears set for stardom. But Im Victorious was extremely unlucky, after starting from the No. 2 barrier on the back line and being hopelessly hemmed in between runners for most of the event. Im Victorious was tenth with 350m to travel before, finally, Justin Prentice was able to get the five-year-old into the clear about 300m from home. Im Victorious sprouted wings and flew down the home straight. Harper was simply following a family tradition. His father Lindsay drove Havago to victory in the Mount Eden Sprint in 2002 and was successful with Lively Medley in 2004. Kyle Harper’s elder brother Donald won the race with Hayton Brain in 2007. Kyle Harper now has ambitious plans for Bettors Fire, including contesting the $250,000 Yes Loans Fremantle Cup and $400,000 Nepean Conveyors WA Pacing Cup in January. “He is a very good horse,” he declared. “I’ve tried to play him down and keep him a bit quiet. But he is a very serious horse and everything has fallen into place for him. The barrier draws have been perfect.” Bettors Fire set the pace from Dasher VC, with Banana Dana on the pegs and Adda Paternal Suit in the one-out, one-back position. Shardons Rocket went forward from the No. 5 barrier and was trapped out on a limb, three wide, in fourth place for the entire race. Wrongly Accused, trained by Tony Svilicich and a stablemate of Shardons Rocket, followed his three-wide run and kept Im Victorious in a watertight pocket in the one-wide line until the race was virtually all over. “I thought that when Tony’s horses were three wide it was going to make it difficult for Im Victorious to get out,” Harper said. “Had you switched the draws it probably would be a different story. But with the No. 1 draw I was pretty confident going into a race like this with an M1 horse against Im Victorious, Dasher VC and Better Cover Lover. “When I saw that Im Victorious was hemmed in I backed off and tried to get a bit of a breather (with a 29.1sec. for the second 400m section of the final mile). I thought that I wouldn’t have to get going until the bell and unleash him at the 600m. Unfortunately for Im Victorious the race wasn’t run to suit him.. “Bettors Fire had only one month off after arriving from New Zealand, but providing if he keeps going forward we’ll be aiming for the big carnival races.” Bettors Fire has won at seven of his eight starts in Western Australia and now has earned $158,407 from 18 wins and eight placings from only 38 starts. Dasher VC, who was making his first appearance since last February, fought on well to be fourth, while champion New Zealand mare Bettor Cover Lover was a 17/1 chance from the outside of back line and finished in seventh place after5 settling down in 11th position and sustaining a three-wide burst from tenth at the bell. ARTORIUS COMPLETES A BONANZA FOR THE BONDS AND BROWN Forrestdale trainers Greg and Skye Bond have never lost faith in their Victorian-bred pacer Artorius, who charged home from the rear to snatch a last-stride victory in the 2536m TABtouch Claiming Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night to give them and ace reinsman Colin Brown five winners on the ten-event program. Artorius was a $6.60 chance on the tote and their other winners were At Princeton ($10.60), Bettor Still ($13.80), Johnny be ($1.70) and Our Major Mark ($5.50). The stable also had two quinella results, with Lord Jowers ($17.20) finishing a head second to Bettor Still and Talk It Up ($10.30) finishing a half-head second to Artorius. Artorius ended a losing sequence of 25, but the Bonds have no regrets that the heeded the advice of a Victorian contact and outlaid just $15,000 to purchase Artorius early in 2010. Now an eight-year-old, Artorius, a son of former champion pacer Our Sir Vancelot, has had 69 starts for them for 11 wins, 20 placings and stakes of $128,361. Artorius, who has been noted throughout his career for his sparkling late finishing bursts, has an overall record of 113 starts for 22 wins, 33 placings and $169,261 in prizemoney. He started from the outside of the front line on Friday night and Brown was happy to drop him back to the rear in the small field of seven. He was sixth at the bell and Brown waited until passing the 400m mark before sending him forward with a four-wide burst. Arnoux, the 6/4 favourite, set the pace from 33/1 outsider Tsunami Lombo, with Shifting Sand on the pegs and Talk It Up in the one-out, one-back position. Ryan Warwick started a three-wide move with Talk It Up with 320m to travel and the nine-year-old got to the front 90m from the post before being grabbed by Artorius in the final stride. Arnoux was a wilting third. The quintet of winners for Greg and Skye Bond completed a tremendous week for them. The had four runners at Kellerberrin , and all four of them --- Lunar Tide, Carters Rocket, Jungle Genie and Galactic Galleon --- were driven to victory by Ryan Warwick. Then the Bonds were successful with Condrieu (Brown) at Gloucester Park on Monday. There was one claim lodged in Friday night’s event, with Vance and Wayne Stampalia outlaying $10,000 for Shifting Sand, who finished fifth at his first outing since mid-July. Shifting Sand, a seven-year-old by Jennas Beach Boy, has had 51 starts for ten wins, 14 placings and $55,190. AWKWARD OUR MAJOR MARK KEEPS BROWN GUESSING New Zealand-bred six-year-old Our Major Mark thundered home with a sizzling late charge to score an easy victory in the 2536m Retravision Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night to take his earnings to $622,965 from 21 wins and 17 placings from 62 starts. But he continues to cause his driver Colin Brown plenty of headaches. “He is an awkward horse to drive and basically he goes just when he wants to go,” Brown said. “When his head is right he is a very good horse, but he certainly gives you some anxious moments. When I hooked him out he started to make ground and about half-way round the bend I actually thought he could win. “But he puts that little bit of doubt every time you sit behind him, and he keeps you guessing. But maybe he just knows where the finishing line is and is telling me not to worry.” Our Major Mark, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, settled down behind the early pacemaker Heavens Delight before being shuffled back to last in the field of six. The polemarker Hez The Bart Man, favourite at 7/4 on, galloped badly in the score-up and lost about eight lengths. Gary Hall jun. sent 5/2 second fancy Askmenow to the front after 450m and was joined 500m later by Hez The Bart Man, giving Smirking the one-out, one-back trail. Hez The Bart Man put in a tremendous effort to get to the front 250m from home, but he was swamped by Our Major Mark, who was still last with 360m to travel. Our Major Mark surged to the front 90m from the post and won by two lengths from Hez The Bart Man, with a fading Askmenow a further 8m back in third place. Our Major Mark sprinted both the final two quarters in 28.4sec. and recorded a mile rate of 1.58.1. TOUGHER GDAY MATE IS NO LONGER JUST A SIT-SPRINTER New Zealand-bred seven-year-old Gday Mate has turned the corner and the renowned sit-sprinter is surprising Boyanup trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice with his newly-found strength. Gday Mate, a 5/1 chance off the 10m mark in the Chaff City Handicap, settled in ninth place before Prentice sent him forward, three wide, after 700m. The gelding then raced in the breeze outside then pacemaker Ya Dreamin for 550m before 20m backmarker and 6/4 favourite The Ragpickers Dream dashed forward from the rear to race without cover. The Ragpickers Dream eventually worked his way to the front 150m from home, but was no match for Gday Mate, who produced a sizzling late burst to race away and win by two and a half lengths at a 2.1 rate in the 2503m stand. Ya Dreamin held on to be third. “Now Gday Mate makes it much easier, being able to be used earlier to get into a forward position,” Prentice said. He said that circumstances had forced him to take off, three wide, with Gday Mate much earlier than usual at his previous start when the gelding was beaten by a nose in the final stride by This Time Dylan. “I didn’t want to do that, but it was a good test for him and he showed that he could do it,” Prentice said. “Things worked out perfectly tonight. He did a bit of work early (to get to the breeze) and then The Ragpickers Dream gave me cover, and then we were always going to be hard to hold out.” SWITCH TO STANDS SUITS THIS TIME DYLAN “He’s got a few more wins in store for him,” declared leading reinsman Gary Hall jun. after driving This Time Dylan to a convincing victory in the 2503m European Prestige Auto Service Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “I think the switch to stands has been the key for him. He always got too fired up in mobiles and never settled or paced that well.” This Time Dylan, a New Zealand-bred eight-year-old trained by Gary Hall sen., was favourite at 11/4 and he impressed in running on from eighth in the middle stages to hit the front 140m from the post and race away to win by almost three lengths from Lord Coburn (10/1), with a head to Red Salute (10/1) in third place. Hall jun. gave the gelding time to settle from the 10m mark while Ideas Man set the pace. Chris Voak made a fast move 1050m from home with Red Salute to move to the breeze, leaving This Time Dylan three wide without a trail in the final circuit. This Time Dylan fought on grandly to hit the front soon after rounding the home turn. The final two quarters whizzed by in 28.4sec. and 28.6sec. and This Time Dylan rated 2.0.9 in improving his record to ten wins and six placings from 31 starts for stakes of $80,405. He has had 23 starts in WA for seven wins and three placings. He raced eight times in New Zealand, all in mobiles, for three wins and his first 16 starts in WA were in mobiles and produced three wins in modest company. Hall sen. switched him to stands less than two months ago and his first seven starts in stands have produced four wins. “He is racing super and he did something tonight that I didn’t think he was capable of,” said Hall jun. “We followed Red Salute into it and when he got the breeze we lost our cover. So I thought we would struggle from then on. He took charge of me a little bit when we lost the cover and he travelled very well down the back. “He’s a funny sort of horse. You can’t fight him too much, so I just let him slide and was very surprised on the home bend when I pulled the plugs and he had that much to offer. He’s really turned the corner.” KISS CHASEY UPSETS BIT OF A LEGEND AT HIS WA DEBUT West Australian-bred six-year-old Kiss Chasey made the most of the massive advantage of starting from the No. 1 barrier at Gloucester Park when he set a solid pace and caused a major upset in holding on to defeat star New Zealand pacer Bit Of A Legend in the 1730m Lancaster Park Pace on Friday night. Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri produced Kiss Chasey in fine fettle and Chris Lewis rated the gelding expertly with quarters of 29.6sec., 30.1sec. and 29sec. before a blistering final 400m in 27.9sec. Bit Of A Legend, a winner at 16 of his 32 starts for stakes of $621,918, was making his first appearance in Western Australia and was having his first start since mid-August. He was considered a certainty in the M0-class event and was favourite at 5/1 on. Brent Mangos gave Bit Of A legend time to settle down from the wide barrier at No. 6 on the front line before he started a three-wide move after 450m to move to the breeze at the 1000m mark. He finished determinedly, but failed by a neck to beat Kiss Chasey, who rated 1.55.8. Bit Of A Legend is in Perth to contest the three rich events for four-year-olds over the next five weeks. He is sure to be vastly improved by his first-up performance. “Starting from barrier one over the short distance suited Kiss Chasey,” Lewis said. “The other horse (Bit Of A Legend) had to do a bit of work to get around, and it’s early in his preparation. He obviously needed the run and that I was hoping would be the case.” Kiss Chasey has started from the No. 1 barrier seven times for four wins, a second, a third and a fifth. He is owned by the reinsman’s wife Debra and has earned $74,179 from nine wins and nine placings from 31 starts. He is by Yankee Sensation and his dam Hello Boys (by Crouch) raced 55 times for 12 wins, 17 placings and $89,541. Hello Boys is a half-sister to former talented mares Party Date (111 starts for 25 wins, 27 placings and $256,003) and Red Hot Date (44 starts for 12 wins, nine placings and $99,730). BROWN TIPS MANY MORE WINS FOR SPEEDY JOHNNY BE Colin Brown was effusive in his praise of Johnny Be and declared the New Zealand-bred six-year-old had the ability to become a top-class performer after driving him to a stylish all-the-way victory in the 2536m Make Smoking History Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Johnny Be, a heavily-supported 7/4 on favourite, burst straight to the front from the No. 3 barrier and set a solid pace before giving his rivals little chance by sprinting the final 400m in 28.4sec. He won by a length from 35/1 outsider Franco Torres, who came from the rear with a fast move at the 1500m mark to work hard in the breeze. Chloe Vargarita (4/1) trailed the pacemaker and finished third. “The horse’s head is in a good space at the moment,” Brown said. “He went through a period of about 12 months once where he would knock off in the run and wasn’t quite genuine. But his head has been in the right place for his past half dozen runs. “The horse has always had the ability and we think he is an open-class horse, providing his head is right. He’s certainly got the motor and the speed. And he can stick on as well. So as long as Skye (Bond) can keep his head right, we’re looking okay. Johnny Be was able to contest the M1-class event on Friday night because he had received a downgrading from M2 to M1 last May when he posted a losing sequence of ten. He has earned $118,605 from 14 wins and 31 placings from 82 starts. He is raced by Greg Bond, Kevin, Rob and John Gartrell, Andrew Foster and Craig Hampson, who also were successful on Friday night with At Princeton and Our Major Mark. Brad Collett also is a part-owner of Our Major Mark. KOROBEIT ANGEL BOOSTS HER CLAIMS FOR A RUN IN RICH EVENT Korobeit Angel, a Victorian-bred four-year-old, enhanced her prospects of gaining a start in the $100,000 group 1 Mares Classic at Gloucester Park on November 29 with a smart victory in the 2130m West Australian Mares Pace on Friday night. Favourite at 3/1 on, she started from the No. 5 barrier on the front line and raced three wide for the first 500m before getting to the breeze outside Hoylakes Firstlady. She began to overrace and Robbie Williams relinquished the lead to her with 1100m to travel. She went on to win by 4m at a 1.58.7 rate from Hoylakes Firstlady, with Terra Into The West running on from ninth (and last) at the bell to be third. “She’s probably going to be outclassed in the $100,000 race, but you’ve got to be in it to win it,” said reinsman Gary Hall jun. She’s just a crazy, crazy redhead, but she is a nice mare if we can get her to settle. “Obviously Robbie (Williams) wanted to hold the lead with Hoylakes Firstlady and I was happy to leave him in front. But Korobeit Angel just takes charge and you can’t do much about it. It was good that Robbie elected to sit and he’s earned second place by doing so.” Korobeit Angel, trained by Gary Hall sen., has won at six of her 12 WA starts and has an overall record of 25 starts for 11 wins, six placings and $71,420 in stakes. BETTOR STILL BREAKS A LOSING SEQENCE OF 21 Bettor Still made the most of the benefit of two concessions under the drop-down regulations when he scored a narrow victory over stablemate Lord Jowers in the 2536m McInerney Ford Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The New Zealand-bred eight-year-old, trained at Forrestdale by Greg and Skye Bond, had his classification reduced from M3 class to M1 class after two successive losing sequences of ten during this year and his victory broke a losing sequence of 21. He started at 13/1 on the tote and from out wide at barrier five on the front line and Colin Brown was content to drop him back to the rear in the small field of eight while 5/2 favourite The Feather Foot set the pace from barrier two. Brown started a three-wide move with 950m to travel and Bettor Still got to the front 140m from the post before he held on to win by a head from 16/1 chance Lord Jowers, who finished powerfully from the rear. “When he got out there three deep he was travelling very strongly and when the horse is right and you turn for home he drops into another gear, which he did tonight,” said Brown. “Fortunately, we had enough left on the line (to hold out Lord Jowers). “Skye was confident that he would run a race tonight. The company was less than impressive and it was a small field. His run when fifth at Kellerberrin last Sunday was quite good. He had to go four deep and didn’t get into the race.” Bettor Still is the second foal out of Holmes Hanover mare Dancinonmoonlight, who amassed $402,832 from 19 wins and 34 placings from 100 starts. She won four times in New Zealand, ten times in Australia and twice in America and three times in Canada. Bettor Still now has earned $110,670 from 16 wins and 13 placings from 69 starts. AT PRINCETON SURPRISES HIS DRIVER New Zealand-bred six-year-old At Princeton surprised Colin Brown when he began speedily from the No. 3 barrier and burst to the front after 100m before setting the pace and scoring a runaway victory in the 2130m Gannon’s Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Unplaced at five previous starts, At Princeton was a 10/1 chance, with most punters pinning their faith with Soho Highroller and Rakatup from the stables of leading trainer Gary Hall sen. However, At Princeton relished his frontrunning role and after speeding over the final 400m in 28.7sec. he beat the fast-finishing Ardens Southee by just over three lengths at a 1.57.7 rate. Soho Highroller (5/4) and Rakatup (13/4) did not enjoy the best of luck in running and finished seventh and tenth, respectively. “Before the race I didn’t think I could lead,” Brown explained. “Last week I went wide (three wide early, the breeze after 300m and then in the one-out, one-back position before finishing fifth behind Mohegan Sun) which I thought was the right move. “But we got dragged back and I thought it was a good run and a pointer that he was ready to win. But we thought that he had to draw to lead to win, and it just goes to show you that you’re not always right.” At Princeton raced 24 times in New Zealand for four wins and seven placings and his 20 WA starts for trainers Greg and Skye Bond have produced four wins and two placings. He has earned $47,546. He is a half-brother to San Fran lady, who has won seven times in New South Wales and seven times in Queensland in the past three years and has earned $127,012. by Ken Casellas

Talented young horseman Kyle Harper said he would be taking things one step at a time with up-and-coming star Bettors Fire after he had driven the five-year-old to a superb all-the-way victory in the $35,000 TABtouch Navy Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. But in the same breath he predicted the New Zealand-bred gelding was capable of developing into a grand circuit performer. The lightly-raced son of Bettors Delight certainly looks on target to contest the $250,000 Yes Loans Fremantle Cup and the $400,000 Nepean Conveyors WA Pacing Cup in mid-January. “I’ll keep going with him until he tells me he needs a spell,” said the 23-year-old Harper. “If I can take him through to the summer carnival for those big races I’ll be delighted. He could develop into a grand circuit horse.” And Harper declared that Bettors Fire was going to get better. “We’re going to see improvement in him,” he said. “This is his first preparation since arriving from New Zealand, and horses from New Zealand always seem to come back better in their second prep.” Harper said that Bettors Fire went into the Navy Cup “a tiny bit underdone” at his first outing for 24 days because races in which he had entered him for had failed to eventuate because of insufficient nominations. “Since his previous start I have had to take him down to the beach every day to make sure he was right for this race,” he said. “And with the quick lead time and the early soften-up I was a little bit concerned.” Bettors Fire, owned by Frank Ranaldi, went into the Cup as a Metropolitan maiden performer matched against several seasoned open-class pacers of the calibre of Ima Rocket Star (on an M11 classification), Shardons Rocket (M7) and M6-class pacers Crombie, Franco Renegade, Passion Stride and Tsunami Lombo. Under the preferential barrier draw conditions of the race Bettors Fire started from the No. 2 barrier on the front line, with Ima Rocket Star on the outside of the back line. Punters rallied to support Bettors Fire, who was sent out a warm favourite at 5/4, with Ima Rocket Star at 3/1 and M5-class pacer Uppy Son at 13/2. Bettors Fire burst straight to the front, while Colin Brown immediately sent Ima Rocket Star forward, four and then three wide, to surge alongside Bettors Fire after only 450m. Shardons Rocket also charged forward early in a bid to get to the breeze. But he was beaten to that spot by Ima Rocket Star and was trapped out three wide before Morgan Woodley had no other option but to restrain the gelding back to last. The first lap was run at breakneck speed before Harper was able to ease the pace and give Bettors Fire a much-needed breather with am ambling first 400m section of the final mile in 32.5sec. Then Harper gave Bettors Fire more rein and the next quarters went by in 29.2sec., 28.2sec. and 29.1sec. Ima Rocket Star challenged Bettors Fire relentlessly in the final circuit, but was unable to gain the upper hand. He fought on grandly to be second, 2m from the winner, with Uppy Son fighting on doggedly to be almost two lengths farther back in third place after enjoying a soft run, three back on the pegs. Bettors Fire rated 1.58.4 over the 2536m mobile journey. It was the fastest time recorded by a winner of a Navy Cup, which had been run from a stand in the previous 22 years. The five-year-old has had six starts in WA for five wins and a head second to Northview Punter. His record stands at 37 starts for 17 wins, eight placings and stakes of $125,907. Bettors Fire’s dam Sparks A Flyin amassed $510,133 from 21 wins and 20 placings from 78 starts. She raced seven times in Australia in 2001 for four wins, including the New South Wales Oaks at Harold Park and the Breeders Crown for fillies at Moonee Valley. SLEEPY BUT TOUGH MEIN GUY RISES TO THE CHALLENGE Mein Guy, a New Zealand-bred five-year-old making only his fourth appearance at Gloucester Park, caused a major upset when he sustained a spirited finishing burst to beat 5/1 on favourite Northview Punter in the $25,000 TABtouch Western Bonanza Preux Chevalier final on Friday night. The solid pace suited Mein Guy, who was having his first start for trainer Colin Brown, after spending most of his time in Western Australia in Kalgoorlie. Mein Guy, a 14/1 chance from the No. 2 barrier on the back line, settled down in eighth position, with Ballas Arockstar, Myouri and Kiss Chasey all taking turns of leading in the first 1000m. Northview Punter, a winner at five of his previous six starts, settled in sixth spot in the one-wide line before Gary Hall jun. sent him forward, three wide, after 550m. He was kept out wide by Kiss Chasey for 450m and did not get to the breeze until Chris Lewis got Kiss Chasey to the front at the 1100m. Northview Punter finally got to a narrow lead 450m from home, but was unable to hold out Mein Guy, who started a three-wide move at the 950m mark and got the upper hand over Northview Punter 120m from the post. The final 800m was covered in 57.7sec. and Mein Guy rated 1.56.4 over the 2130m. “That’s the way he likes to run, with consistent quarters,” Brown said. “There’s absolutely no brilliance there, but he is as tough as nails. He has done a lot of travelling and is booked on a float to return to Kalgoorlie on Sunday for as race up there. “He was asleep in the stall before tonight’s race and coming out of the gate he was asleep as well. Fortunately, he’s there when you want him.” Mein Guy is raced by Kalgoorlie folk Peter and Kirsten Gianni, John Sangalli and Leonard Burns and he has earned $85,337 from 14 wins and 17 placings from 47 starts. He finished second to Waltzing With Cullen at his debut, as a two-year-old at Invercargill, before finishing eighth at Wyndham and then being exported to New South Wales where he had 18 starts for six wins and seven placings. His 27 WA starts have produced eight wins (six at Kalgoorlie and one each at Northam and Gloucester Park) and nine placings. MIGHTY FLYING THOMAS A 2536m SPECIALIST A pre-race plan hatched by Bickley trainer Peter Anderson and reinsman Morgan Woodley paid handsome dividends when 21/1 chance Mighty Flying Thomas sustained a spirited three-wide burst over the final 1200m to get up in the final couple of strides to defeat 10/9 on favourite The Ragpickers Dream in the $21,000 Dr Ern Manea Memorial over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “We thought that this maybe was the right time that we could put him into the race,” Woodley said. “He is a good stayer and had won at his only three starts over 2536m at Gloucester Park. Everything worked out really well, particularly when we got the trail behind The Ragpickers Dream.” The well-supported polemarker Some Kinda Tactics (7/4) set the pace and when Matt White moved outside the pacemaker with Western Cullen 450m after the start The Ragpickers Dream gained the perfect trail in the one-out, one-back position. Mighty Flying Thomas settled in ninth place. Woodley eased Mighty Flying Thomas three wide passing the 1200m mark and the New Zealand-bred six-year-old surged forward. This flushed out The Ragpickers Dream, who was switched three wide by Gary Hall jun. 950m from home and gave Mighty Flying Thomas a good trail. The Ragpickers Dream forged to the front in the final 40m, but was unable to hold out the strong-finishing Mighty Flying Thomas. “I would have been quite happy to have led up the three-wide line because Mighty Flying Thomas is quite a dour horse,” Woodley said. “But it could not have been scripted any better when we got the trail and the horse has gone extremely well. “I had my doubts on the home turn when it seemed as though The Ragpickers Dream was finding plenty. But Mighty Flying Thomas has a lot of tenacity and he clawed his way to the front. “After he had won his first two races earlier in the year, with good barrier draws in relatively good circumstances, I thought that because of his poor racing manners that we could be waiting a while before another win popped up. However, to his credit and to Peter’s credit the horse has been going from strength to strength. “The manners are getting a lot better. He does have a tendency to hang, which he still did tonight. But we’re learning how to manage this better. The horse is a lot happier with a lot of gear changes. Peter has removed a lot of gear that was aiding in getting him to go straight, but was making us encounter other problems with the horse. We have removed a lot of that gear and it has just been a learning process.” Mighty Flying Thomas has now raced 21 times in Western Australia for seven wins, five placings and $65,384 in prizemoney. His career record stands at 48 starts for 13 wins, 12 placings and $105,423. Mighty Flying Thomas is owned by Ian and Hazel Brandon, Ian Sermon, Lee Bunney and Ken Casellas and somehow the gelding’s victory was prophetic, considering that Sermon, Bunney and Casellas race Bronze Seeker, who won the $25,000 Manea Classic at Bunbury’s Donaldson Park last March. BETTOR DREAMS STAKES HER CLAIM FOR A START IN RICH EVENT New Zealand-bred four-year-old Bettor Dreams improved her record to nine wins and six placings from just 17 starts for earnings of $115,060 when trainer Kim Prentice drove her to an all-the-way victory in the Clipsal And Schneider Electric Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “She’s got a great record and that gets her, hopefully, into the $100,000 Mares Classic next month,” Prentice said. “There is a preference for M1s and now she’s an M1. If she keeps improving and gets a start and draws one or eight, or gets a nice run on the fence, she could be in the finish. This is the only $100,000 race she’ll run in for the rest of her life, so we might as well have a crack at it. “There’s not much of her and Gaz’s horse (Korobeit Angel, Gary Hall jun.) overraced a bit on our outside, but she toughed it out well. She was going to win quite easily, and she’s only just got there by the skin of our teeth. For a while now she just won’t find the line. So that’s something for me to work on.” Bettor Dreams, from the prized No. 1 barrier, was a 7/4 on favourite and she set a fast pace. She rated 1.55.9 in holding on to win by a half-head from Korobeit Angel (3/1), with Millies Girl in third place after trailing the leader throughout. Bettor Dreams, who ran on when second to Frith in the WA Oaks last May, is related to several prolific winners. Her maternal granddam produced O’Hara (138 starts for 22 wins, 26 placings and $134,131), Sovereign Hill (84 starts for 25 wins, 24 placings and $432,555) and Black Reef (180 starts for 37 wins, 54 placings and $326,846). Sovereign Hill won the Australian Pacing Championship in Newcastle in November 1997 and was second to Try A Fluke in the 1998 A. G. Hunter Cup after finishing third to Surprise Package and Anvils Star in that event the previous year. ROWCHESTER IS A WORK IN PROGRESS New Zealand-bred gelding Rowchester warmed up for the rich feature events for four-year-olds in the next two months with an effortless all-the-way win in the 2536m Chaff City Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Trained at Serpentine by Gary Hall sen., Rowchester was favourite at 7/4 on and Gary Hall jun. jumped him straight to the front from the No. 2 barrier. Black Cracker (20/1) raced in the breeze for much of the journey before wilting to fifth. Polemarker Ardens Southee (13/2) trailed the leader and finished solidly to be second, with Grand Cru (20/1) third after enjoying the one-out, one-back trail. Rowchester gave his rivals little hope when he sprinted over the final 800m in 56.4sec. and he won by four metres at a 2.0.9 rate. This was his third win from 11 WA starts after he had won at three of his five starts in New Zealand. “He is his own worst enemy at times,” said Hall jun. “He does lack a yard of pace early, and we’re working on that. He now has won comfortably at his past two runs and has done everything we have asked of him. The ability is there and he’s a work in progress at this stage. But it was good to hit the rail with him tonight and get what, for him, was a soft run.” Rowchester is a half-brother to The Musics Over, who has earned $123,446 from 16 wins and 30 placings from 140 starts in New Zealand and Tasmania. He is also closely related to Banana Dana and Smart Son. Banana Dana is a handy WA performer who has had 55 starts for 14 wins, 13 placings and $139,949. Smart Son, who campaigned in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland in the 1990s, amassed $347,805 from 41 wins and 59 placings from 226 starts. DOLLY VARDONS DO THE TRICK FOR MOHEGAN SUN A decision by Darling Downs trainer Aldo Cortopassi to race Mohegan Sun in Dolly Vardon blinkers did the trick when the Victorian-bred five-year-old began speedily from the No. 1 barrier and gave a bold frontrunning display to score an easy win in the 2130m Schweppes Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The 5/4 favourite, who had been somewhat disappointing when a well-beaten seventh behind Johnny Be over 2185m at Pinjarra four days earlier after racing in the one-out, two-back position, relished his pacemaking role and he sped over the final 800m in 58.6sec. to defeat 15/1 chance Zurbaran by two lengths after that pacer had trailed him all the way. Northview Cardle (16/1) was a fighting third after working hard without cover. “I was really happy once we drew the No. 1 barrier,” Cortopassi said. “I thought he didn’t put in that hard on Monday, so I put the Dollys on him tonight, especially after drawing one. This was to switch him on. He has sort of gone through the motions a fair bit. But he’s a nice horse and now he’s switched on he should just keep going on. “I was a little bit worried that Senor Jet might have run him down, but I didn’t pull the plugs in the end. He was travelling pretty well, so I just let him stride and if they were going to beat him, then they were going to beat him. But he held them off pretty easily in the end.” Mohegan Sun, owned by Kevin Jeavons and Gino Monaco, has done all his racing in WA where he has had 30 starts for nine wins, five placings and $56,059 in prizemoney. SMIRKING AND LORD COBURN HAVE OLIVIERI GRINNING Oakford trainer Ross Olivier, taciturn and undemonstrative, wore a contented smile at Gloucester Park on Friday night when Smirking and Lord Coburn, six-year-old geldings by American stallion Grinfromeartoear, gave him a double by setting the pace and winning easily. Smirking, a 3/1 chance driven by Chris Voak, romped home by just under two lengths from 25/1 chance Talk It Up in the 2130m Channel 9 Pace and Lord Coburn, a 3/1 chance driven by Chris Lewis, was untroubled to win by more than a length from False Promise (9/1) in the 2503m MMJ Real Estate Handicap. “Once we got the lead time (37.1sec.) that we did, it was a matter of sitting there and getting going when the main dangers were rolling into the race,” Voak said. “Talk It Up (trailing the pacemaker) was a big danger, but to this horse’s credit he did travel a lot stronger than he did when he won the last time. “After his previous win, when he was real dour the whole way and really made a dog fight of it, Ross changed a few things around and to his credit he picked the right routine and the horse was a lot better tonight.” Smirking, bred in South Australia, has had 11 starts in WA for four wins and three placings to take his record to 32 starts for 13 wins, 11 placings and $53,207. The Victorian-bred Lord Coburn has had 41 starts for 11 wins, 11 placings and $60,930. Friday night’s victory was his first success from three WA starts. Lord Coburn began speedily from the pole position in the stand and was not extended in cruising over the first two 400m sections of the final mile in 31.1sec. and 31sec. before Lewis increased the tempo and the gelding dashed over the final quarters in 29sec. and 28.5sec. “He won with a bit in hand,” Lewis said. “He was never truly challenged.” OLDSTAGER CONQUER ALL SMASHES TRACK RECORD Veteran square gaiter Conquer All still possesses sparkling speed and he smashed the track record for 1730m when he rated 1.59.8 in beating Backas Cobber and Ushaka Bromac in the Make Smoking History Trot at Gloucester Park on Friday night. This eclipsed the record rate of 2.1.6 set by Gondola Guy when he won from Dave Star and Drop of Gin on September 22, 2007. Conquer All began with great speed from out wide at No. 6 on the front line and Shane Young had him in the lead after 450m after the 11-year-old had raced four and five wide in the early stages. The opening quarter of the final mile whizzed by in 29sec. before Conquer All covered the final three sections in 30.8sec., 30.1sec. and 30.7sec. He started second favourite at 5/2 and won by just under a length from Backas Cobber, who ran home solidly from seventh at the bell. Conquer All, prepared at Pinjarra by David Young, has won at his past four starts to take his record to 19 wins, 20 placings and $170,581 from 101 starts. “He’s been a bit of a temperamental old fellow,” said Shane Young. “The plan tonight was to go back at the start, but he had other ideas. Once he got out of the gate quickly we just went for it. He didn’t want to go back at the start, so I just let him do what he wanted to do. His class got him through. He has been a good trotter all his life and at the moment he’s really enjoying himself.” Conquer All won a group 3 event at Moonee Valley in July 2006 and the group 3 Central Victorian Trotting Championship at Charlton the following January. Last-start winner Hot Holiday, favourite at 2/1, met with severe interference soon after the start and did well to fight on from eighth at the bell to be sixth. Stablemate Idle Maple, driven by Ryan Bell, was smartest into stride from barrier five and he caused the interference. The stewards suspended Bell from driving for 28 days. He was granted a four-day stay of proceedings and at Narrogin on Saturday night he drove 2/1 on favourite Itsa Seelster to an easy all-the-way win over Twisk in the 2242m Aquinas College Pace. COOPER TROOPER MAKES FULL USE OF THE No. 1 BARRIER Eight-year-old Cooper Trooper, with one win from his previous 24 starts, made the most of the prized No. 1 barrier at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he started at 13/4 and was driven to an all-the-way win by Chris Voak in the 1730m Community Newspaper Group Westbred Pathway Pace. Soho Monza, favourite at 6/4, was forced to work hard in the breeze before wilting to finish third. Soho Cannes (10/1), who trailed the pacemaker, ran on to be second. Cooper Trooper, bred by John Chapman and raced by him and Chris Norris, is trained at Barragup by Darren Schofield. The Parsons Den gelding has earned $50,504 from seven wins and 28 placings from 93 starts. He showed good early promise and finished second to Banana Dana at his debut as a two-year-old at Gloucester Park in June 2008. Cooper Trooper is the last foal out of Diamonds And Lace, who was placed once from five starts. Diamond And Lace’s second foal was Flames And Flowers, who earned $254,558 from 39 wins and 42 placings from 180 starts. Flames And Flowers won the State Sires Series final for two-year-old fillies in August 1997 and won the four-year-old leg of the Sires in March 1999. by Ken Casellas  

Champion harness racing reinsman Chris Lewis produced a masterful front running drive to win with Dasher VC and topple Im Themightyquinn in Friday night's $250,000 Yes Loans Fremantle Cup (2936m) at Gloucester Park.

Im Themightyquinn has drawn awkwardly on the inside of the back line in his attempt for a record fourth Group One $250,000 Yes Loans Fremantle Cup. The Champion pacer won his third successive SEW-Eurodrive WA Pacing Cup last Friday night and will be an odds on favourite to create harness racing history this week at Gloucester Park despite the challenging draw.

Matty White has no regrets about leaving his homeland for a new harness racing life in Western Australia. In fact the 26-year-old Kiwi has no intentions of returning home - except to visit family and friends.

The Fremantle Harness Racing Club (FHRC) and the Western Australian Trotting Association (WATA) have amalgamated to become Gloucester Park Harness Racing, after the Commissioner for Consumer Protection, Ms Anne Driscoll, gave the unification her seal of approval.

Harness racing rivers in the Alabar Gold Bracelet Stakes at tonight's Fremantle Harness Racing Club meeting at Gloucester Park will wear black armbands to mark the passing last night of FHRC Life Member John Brindley.

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