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There is not much of Chicago Bull but it didn't stop the talented harness racing four-year-old beating the older horses in the $300,000 Group 1 Fremantle Pacing Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The New Zealand bred son of Bettor's Delight  is set to step into Grand Circuit company in next Friday's Western Australian Pacing Cup as favourite after rating 1.56.7 in his Fremantle Cup victory, which had trainer Gary Hall snr singing his praises "Chicago Bull is probably the smallest horse I've trained," Hall told the West Australian. "He's a little more than pony-sized. But he's a dynamic powerhouse."      

Leading WA harness racing driver Gary Hall Jnr has copped a one-month suspension for unacceptable driving in a standing-start event on Fremantle Cup night.   Hall Jnr drove superstar four-year-old Beaudiene Boaz to victory in the Group 1 Fremantle Cup (2536m) at Gloucester Park on Friday night.   Earlier in the night however, he would partner the Matthew Scott-trained eight-year-old gelding Bartowski in a Discretionary Handicap (2503m).   Hall Jnr tried to take the lead off Callan Suvaljko who drove Bettors Ace in the event with the pair matching motors for more than 400m at the beginning of the event.    Suvaljko showed his intent to hold the lead while Hall Jnr drove Bartowski “like a man possessed,” according to race caller Richy Bell.    Bettors Ace ran through a lead time of 66.2 seconds, which was 0.6 seconds quicker than the Fremantle Cup which is run from the mobile.   Chief harness racing steward Carl Coady stated that Hall Jnr persisted for too long at the start of the event, but would be right to drive Beaudiene Boaz in Friday night’s Group 1 WA Pacing Cup (2936m). “He persevered after it was clear Bettors Ace was being driven to hold the lead,” Coady told Seven West Media. “Suspended reinspersons can fulfil engagements for up to nine days after suspensions. Gary Hall will begin his suspension at midnight on Friday, after driving in the WA Pacing Cup.” Trainer Gary Hall Snr prepared the quinella in the Fremantle Cup after Beaudiene Boaz defeated My Hard Copy by 1.5m in a mile rate of 1:55.9.    Hall Snr had six of the 12 runners in the event and five of the six are expected to start this week with Classic American in doubt after running 11th. “They head my WA Pacing Cup entries,” Hall Snr told Seven West Media. “I’ll also nominate Run Oneover, John Of Arc and Waylade. “Our other Cup hope Classic American is in doubt. He disappointed when he was near-last in the Fremantle Cup.” Jason Rulz could also be under the microscope when the handicapper assesses the WA Pacing Cup nominations after running last in the Fremantle Cup.   By Trent Orwin   Reprinted with permission of the site    

Champion reinsman Gary Hall jun. has pledged he will drive Beaudiene Boaz aggressively in a bold attempt to win the $300,000 Retravision Fremantle Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Hall has won the rich group 1 event six times (twice with The Falcon Strike, three times with Im Themightyquinn and with Im Victorious in 2014) and a win by Beaudiene Boaz would give his father Gary Hall sen. his sixth success in The Fremantle Cup as a trainer. Beaudiene Boaz, a comparatively lightly-raced New Zealand-bred gelding, is the youngest runner in the Cup, but Hall jun. is confident the Badlands Hanover stallion has the class and versatility to prove the master of his 11 older rivals. Beaudiene Boaz notched his 20th win from 27 starts when he made the most of the No. 1 barrier by leading all the way and beating stablemates My Hard Copy, John of Arc and Waylade at a 1.52.9 rate in the 1730m Village Kid Sprint last Friday night. “Stepping up 2536m won’t be a problem,” Hall jun. said. “Winning the Golden Nugget over 2536m at a 1.55.7 rate at his previous start suggests that this week’s race won’t worry him.” Beaudiene Boaz will start from barrier four on the front line on Friday night, with Hall declaring: “It’s a pretty good draw, really; it could’ve been worse. I’ll press forward and see what everyone wants to do. I expect John of Arc (barrier three) to get past Waylade (two) early and then I’d expect Beaudiene Boaz to run past John of Arc.” Hall said he also anticipated that Chris Lewis to make a strong bid for the early lead from barrier five. “I held Lovers Delight with Waylade once when I drew three and he drew five. He tried to cross and Waylade held him comfortably,” he said. “I’d say Beaudiene Boaz is a lot better beginner than Waylade. He’s got more natural speed. Ideally, I’d like Beaudiene Boaz to get to the front. Obviously, if Chris (Lewis) is coming out, Kyle (Harper) will have questions to answer with Bettors Fire from the No. 1 barrier. I can’t let Lovers Delight go because if he gets to the breeze he would be able to control the race. “So I’ll be coming out hard and if I can’t get to the front I’ll be happy to race in the breeze. Beaudiene Boaz is race hard and he has pulled up well after last Friday night’s win.” The Hall stable has six runners in Friday night’s Cup --- Beaudiene Boaz, Waylade, John of Arc, Run Oneover (No. 6), Classic American (seven) and My Hard Copy (nine) and Hall sen. would dearly love to repeat his feat of landing the trifecta like he did with Im Themightyquinn, Alzona and Dartmoor in the Fremantle Cup in December 2009 when the race was a stand over 2902m. Since then the Fremantle Cup has been a mobile event. GPTV spoke with Gary Hall Jnr about the chances of Beadiene Boaz, and all of his drives - watch the video HERE... Related Links Fields for Gloucester Park, Friday 08 January 2016 Form guide for Gloucester Park, Friday 08 January 2016

Harness racing drivers Lewis and Harper are certainly not about to concede defeat in the Cup. “Lovers Delight (trained in Bunbury by Stephen Reed) is going super and his second to Lennytheshark in the interdominion championship final was simply brilliant,” Lewis said. “Barrier five is the big question. It’s somewhat of an awkward draw and I’d say, without speaking to Stephen or the owners, we’ll probably get a forward position. We’ll come out and have a look and getting to the front would be perfect. But the front mightn’t be on offer. However, you never know. “If we end up racing in the breeze it wouldn’t be a problem. He’s tough and is better on the pace. He’s definitely a player in the race. He can put himself into a race, so we will be using those attributes.” Lovers Delight, who set the pace when second in the Inters final, gave a sample of his sparkling gate speed in a 2536m heat of the Inters when he began fast from the No. 7 barrier and crossed to the front after 450m before going on to set the pace and sprint over the final 800m in 54.5sec. to beat Lennytheshark. Lewis has won the Fremantle Cup six times --- with Black Irish (1983), Village Kid (1988 and 1989), John Albert (1995), Sandy Bay (2005) and Dasher VC (2013). Harper said he was hoping it would be a case of third time lucky with Bettors Fire, who led and finished second to Im Victorious in the 2014 Cup and then was fourth behind David Hercules last year. “I’m very happy with the draw and we’ll be leading from barrier one,” he declared. “Bettors Fire has the gate speed to hold up quite comfortably. The 2536m shouldn’t worry him first-up. He’s a lot further forward than he was in the first set of interdominion heats in November when his fifth behind Philadelphia Man was quite impressive, considering the power of work he did early. “He shouldn’t have to do that much work this time and he should be further forward than he was for his first-up Inters run. He should run a nice bold race. “Things haven’t been ideal in the lead-up. He had setbacks a month ago. He had a lot of soundness issues going into the first Inters heat which we couldn’t pick. He missed a bit of work due to lameness, but he came good before the first heat. “After his run in the second set of heats (ninth behind My Hard Copy in Bunbury)he pulled up a bit sore behind and wasn’t quite himself. His run was disappointing. Then three days later quite a large abscess burst in his nearside hind, which pretty much explained everything. “I then scratched him from the rest of the championship series and after a week off he’s had plenty of work. He’s forward enough to run an honest race and whatever he does he will improve on. I think he will be about 90 per cent this week and 100 per cent the following week for the WA Pacing Cup.” Bettors Fire, a winner of 27 races from 65 starts and $428,332 in prizemoney, worked impressively in a 2150m mobile trial at Byford last Sunday week when he rated 1.56.4 in finishing strongly to win from Formyeyesonly. The final quarters were covered in 303sec., 28.9sec., 28.9sec. and 28.1sec. “He’s had plenty of beach work and galloping since then and if we don’t cop a lot of unnecessary pressure early I think he will run a very good race, with Devendra, sitting on my back, the main danger,”” Harper said. “Beaudiene Boaz is a class animal and he might be just too good on the night.” Devendra, trained and driven by James Rattray, showed his class with wins in Inters heats over 2130m and 2536m, is now being prepared at Pinjarra by Gary Elson. Rattray will travel from Sydney to drive the six-year-old on Friday night. In the first market available on Tuesday night Devendra was favourite at $2.90, ahead of Beaudiene Boaz ($3), Waylade ($8), Bettors Fire and Lovers Delight ($9), My Hard Copy ($10) and John of Arc and Run Oneover ($18).  GPTV has interviews with connections for both Lovers Delight and Bettors fire... by Ken Casellas VIDEO: Lovers Delight ready to go one better. VIDEO: Harper to tighten screws on Bettors Fire Fields for Gloucester Park, Friday 08 January 2016 Form guide for Gloucester Park, Friday 08 January 2016

Shane Graham, the reigning Australian harness racing driver of the year, is heading back to Perth again this Friday. But the Queensland reinsman is set for something different. Originally, Graham was hoping to drive the Ian Gurney trained Avonnova in the Gr.1 $300,000 Retravision Fremantle Cup at Gloucester Park but a career worst performance last week in the Village Kid Sprint has drastically changed plans. Avonnova finished at the rear of the field, beaten over 25m behind boom four-year-old Beaudiene Boaz in the 1730m feature after racing without cover and therefore leaving his Perth campaign in jeopardy. It has since been revealed that Avonnova is battling a viral infection and Gurney is hopeful his star prospect will be right to take his spot in next week’s Gr.1 $450,000 TABtouch WA Pacing Cup. Mach Alert, a stablemate of Avonnova was nominated for the Fremantle Cup but was made the first emergency but will line-up in the Shop Audio & Visual at Retravision Pace, a consolation of some type for the Fremantle Cup. So Graham was left without a drive in the main event. But a chance phone call from the leading stables of Gary Hall has provided an opportunity for Graham to drive in the feature and will now partner emerging prospect Run Oneover. “It’s very strange how the racing game works at times but you just have to roll with the punches and take your opportunities. The main mission with the Perth campaign was clearly Avonnova but things deviated quickly after last week and then we thought Mach had done enough to secure a start but it wasn’t to be and then a call out of the blue landed the drive in the Cup after all.” Graham explained. While Graham is yet to drive for the Hall stable, he’s fully aware of the power the stable possesses and is excited by the opportunity. Graham has been competing regularly at Gloucester Park in recent weeks owing to the Inter Dominion series and has watched Run Oneover with interest. Regular reinsman Clint Hall has elected to stick with proven performer My Hard Copy in the 2536m classic. “He’s definitely surprised a few people with his efforts in the age classics and he knocked me off last week in the Village Kid Sprint consolation and he did a really good job. He’s strong and he’s very fast so he’ll be thereabouts with normal luck. “It was Clint who originally asked if I was interested in driving for the stable and I’ve since spoken with Gary and its all systems go for Friday night. The draw looks a little tricky on paper but the pressure is obvious so hopefully we can get a piece of the action.” Team Hall has a total of six runners engaged in the Cup including Waylade (2), John Of Arc (3), Beaudiene Boaz (4), Run Oneover (6), Classic American (7) and My Hard Copy (9). Fellow Queensland driver Lauren Jones will take the on Classic American for the stable. Gary Hall has trained the winner of the Fremantle Cup on five occasions, twice with The Falcon Strike and three times with champion pacer Im Themightyquinn. by Chris Barsby

The official barrier draw for the $300,000 RETRAVISION Fremantle Cup to be held at Gloucester Park, was held at RWWA HQ in Perth today, with speedy pacer Bettors Fire claiming the coveted number 1 saddle cloth. Harness racing trainer/driver Kyle Harper is expected to try and lead all the way in the Group 1 event, after having to withdraw the horse from the Inter Dominion series in December. “It was very disappointing but it could have been worse, we still have a horse… He is pacing better than ever at the moment” said Kyle to GPTV in a recent interview. “He had an abscess in his foot which came out during the series… We could have sent him around but it wouldn’t have been fair on the horse” Village Kid Sprint winner Beaudine Boaz has drawn in the 4 hole and is also expected to be sent forward early. Stablemates Waylade and John of Arc, an impressive last start placegetter, have drawn inside Beaudine Boaz in gates two and three respectively. Hall’s other three runners have drawn unfavourably – with Run Oneover and Classic American drawing six and seven, and My Hard Copy lining up from the outside barrier of 9. NSW pacer Devendra will get a good run through on the marker pegs as it comes out from barrier 10 (bl1) behind Bettors Fire. The other two runners joining Devendra on the backline is top WA mare Libertybelle Midfrew, and the Ross Olivieri trained Our Blackbird. Inter Dominion runner-up Lovers Delight will have a tricky run ahead of him after drawing post position 5. A known fast beginner, the son of Bettors Delight could be a challenger for the lead if master reinsman Chris Lewis decides to fire him out of the mobile. The official barrier draw can be viewed HERE. FINAL FIELD HERE by Scott Hamilton Race programme for Gloucester Park, Friday 08 January 2016

Harness racing superstar Beaudiene Boaz will progress to the Fremantle Cup following his win in the Group 2 Village Kid Sprint (1730m) at Gloucester Park on Friday night.   Trainer Gary Hall Snr had five of the eight runners engaged in the $60,000 Village Kid Sprint as they finished first, second, third, fourth and seventh.   Beaudiene Boaz led throughout with Gary Hall Jnr in the cart to defeat My Hard Copy by 2.7m in a mile rate of 1:52.9. A further 1.3m away was John Of Arc and Waylade.   Hall Jnr said Beaudiene Boaz was not fully extended as he brought up win number 19 from 26 starts.   "He was keen right from the start", Hall Jnr told Seven West Media.   "I could have got him to go a bit quicker. He had something left at the finish".   Beaudiene Boaz would be the pre-post favourite for the Group 1 Fremantle Cup (2536m) which will be run at Gloucester Park on January 8.    The son of Badlands Hanover is currently the $3.50 favourite with online bookmaker Sportsbet to capture the Group 1 WA Pacing Cup (2936m) which is run at Gloucester Park on January 15. Devendra and Lovers Delight are equal second favourites at $5 ahead of Waylade ($6), John Of Arc ($8), My Hard Copy ($10) and Avonnova ($10).   Avonnova was forced to sit parked in the Village Kid Sprint and failed to beat a runner home as he finished 25.7m away from Beaudiene Boaz.   Another smart four-year-old from Hall Snr’s stable captured the Village Kid Sprint Consolation (1730m) as Run Oneover wore down Mach Alert in the shadows of the post to win by a pixel in 1:53.4.   Mach Alert set the pace with Fernleigh Rebel a surprise breeze horse while Run Oneover made his move three-wide at the bell behind Cyamach who was the first to make his move.   Smokey The Bandit finished a neck away in third place after flashing late and taking considerable ground off the first two runners home.   To watch Beaudiene Boaz win this race click on this link.   By Trent Orwin   Reprinted with permission of site

Star Tasmanian pacer Devendra fell victim to a horror harness racing draw that led to him finishing last in the Inter Dominion final at Gloucester Park yesterday. With his trainer James Rattray in the sulky, Devendra was taken back at the start from his near outside front row draw (8) while eventual winner and race favourite ($2.20) Lennytheshark was allowed to settle outside of the leader Lovers Delight that worked hard early to retain the lead. Rattray allowed Devendra to remain in last place with the hope something ahead would make a move but it was left to him to instigate a three-wide train at the bell (final lap). He gradually eased his way into the race three-wide and for a fleeting moment down the back stretch he looked set to stake a claim but when the leaders also increased the tempo he was unable to get into the race at the business end of proceedings. Once he realised it was a futile exercise he didn't knock his horse about and he finished at the rear of the field. Lennytheshark went on to defeat Lovers Delight with Flaming Flutter, that trailed the leader throughout, sticking on well to finish third. Rattray indicated he would leave Devendra in WA in the care of former Tasmanian Gary Elson who hosted Rattray and Devendra during their stay. "We'll see how the horse pulls up and if everything looks OK he will go on and contest the Fremantle Cup in a fortnight and the WA Pacing Championship a week later," Rattray said.   Peter Staples

David Hercules, a $15,000 yearling in 2008, is poised to become harness racing’s latest millionaire. Engaged at Gloucester Park tomorrow night, David Hercules is expected to prove too good in the Fremantle Cup, which will see the pacer pass the magical million barrier. Trainer David Thompson declared the eight-year-old was “spot on” and that he “couldn’t be happier with his preparation” ahead the 2536-metre Group One. Reinsman Morgan Woodley echoed Thompson’s sentiment when he said: “We’re brimming with confidence and it’s his time to shine.” David Hercules, which has amassed $936,044 as a result of 35 wins and 31 placings from 95 starts, drew favourably at barrier three - after having no luck 12 months ago when he started from the outside of the back line in the Cup. David Hercules also drew along the back line in the Western Australia Pacing Cup. “He was gallant in both those big cups, finishing third to Im Victorious and Bettors Fire in the Fremantle Cup and fourth behind Hokonui Ben, Toretto and This Time Dylan in the Pacing Cup,” Woodley said. “He finished less than two lengths from the winner in both events. “I’m exceptionally happy with the way the horse has been racing. He couldn’t have come back in any better fashion than he has. “He has been doing it with ease and I understand his training since his last run has been exceptional.” While David Hercules has been installed a firm favourite, there is no lack of confidence from rival trainers, particularly Kevin Keys, who prepares Tuxedo Tour, and Rod Oliver, trainer of Heez On Fire. Ace reinsman Chris Lewis and Gary Hall junior gave punters a ‘heads up’ by opting to drive Tuxedo Tour and Heez On Fire. Lewis and Hall share the record of six Fremantle Cup wins, with Lewis scoring behind Black Irish (1983), Village Kid (1988 and 1989), John Albert (1995), Sandy Bay (2005) and Dasher VC (2013). Hall was successful with The Falcon Strike (2002 and 2004), Im Themightyquinn (2010, 2011 and 2012) and Im Victorious (2014). Lewis will drive the inexperienced and lowly-assessed Tuxedo Tour in preference to the brilliant mare Sensational Gabby, which he drove to a dashing all-the-way victory over Hokonui Ben and Tuxedo Tour last week. Champion trainer Gary Hall has three Cup runners, Toretto, Northview Punter and Soho Jackman, but Junior has opted to stick with Tuxedo Tour. Keys laid down the gauntlet to the rest of the field by stating Tuxedo Tour is capable of leading throughout. “My instructions to Gary will be to lead from barrier two,” he said. “There will be only one instruction and that is to lead. “Tuxedo Tour is a better horse on the pole and he’s one of those horses who is better rolling than being held up. “I’ve left no stone unturned…he’s had plenty of work and plenty of swimming.” KEN CASELLAS

Record-breaking harness racing trainer Gary Hall will take aim at the Western Australia Cup with rising star Soho Lennon. Hall revealed his plans to tackle the Grand Circuit event following Soho Lennon’s success in last night’s Nights Of Thunder at Gloucester Park. The state’s premier feature, the Cup is scheduled to be run at the same venue on January 16. There is a chance the son of Mach Three may also line up in next week’s Fremantle Cup. “He’s had three runs in the last fortnight and iS right at his peak at the perfect time,” Hall said. “The Pacing Cup is where I will head with him. “Depending on how he is in the next couple of days, I may put him in the Fremantle Cup as well. “He’s only a four-year-old and I don’t want to burn him out, so how he is after each run will be the guide.” Driven by Hall’s son, Clinton, Soho Lennon led throughout from the pole to score by a metre-and-a-half from In The Perfect Storm. Machtu – a WA Cup-bound stablemate of the winner – was a head away third. Covering the last half 57.1 seconds, Soho Lennon rated a slick 1:54.1 for the 1730 metres to provide Hall with his third victory in the Group Two since its inception in 2007. Hall captured the inaugural running with Tealsby Karita before securing last season’s edition with Hokonui Ben. Gary junior drove the pair. PAUL COURTS

In 1983, trainer-reinsman Gary Hall Sr was broke, jobless and with four kids under five. Things were looking decidedly grim for Hall, his then-wife Sue and their young family until the relatively unknown, unheralded and unwanted Maru Adios entered his stable. Maru Adios was the only horse the trainer could get hold of, having returned to Hazelmere following an unsuccessful stint as a private trainer for Ron Davies. Without the acquisition of Maru Adios, Hall Sr may have given the game away decades ago and his champion driver son Gary Hall Jr and the re-emerging Clinton Hall might not have become involved in the sport. Furthermore, Zakara, The Falcon Strike and Im Themightyquinn – and numerous other outstanding horses – may not have ever graced Gloucester Park. No one wanted Maru Adios. Little wonder because the horse hadn’t run a place in three years. Fortunately Hall was able to lease the horse off Wally Wright and in that season he won 11 races and ran 22 places, banking $38,000 in stakes and kept the wolf from the door. It’s no surprise that Hall is invariably quick to name Maru Adios as his favourite horse. “Without old Maru Adios there’s no doubt that I would have had to give the game away,” Hall said. “He helped to put us back on our feet, fed the kids and it wasn’t that long afterwards that Roy Annear, a big owner at the time, offered me a bad knee-knocking Adios Vic gelding named Colt Eightytwo.” Colt Eightytwo won a number of races for Hall during that period, and the success he had with him led to Annear offering him the half-brother Zakara. According to Hall, people still remember what a magnificent physical specimen Zakara was. “I don’t know whether it was his good looks or my bad drives that cause people to remember Zakara, but to be fair, I didn’t really think I drove all that bad, having driven over 600 winners in my career,” he said. “We were struggling at the time and needed the money and in the WA Pacing Cups and other big races I overdrove Zakara a few times through anxiety and trying too hard. “That’s why I’m lucky to have Gary (Hall Jr) now. He just doesn’t make those mistakes.” While harness racing fans have lasting memories of Zakara’s glistening coat and long flowing mane, Hall is quick to point out Zakara wasn’t initially an eye-catching animal. “Zakara was a 15-and-half to 16 hands two-year-old and was the worst-looking horse you would ever see. He looked terrible and had about six inches of hair all over and was full of ringworm,” Hall said. “I put him in one of the boxes down back and fed him up and just looked after him and never put him into work, as I was just going to get him looking good and then send him back home. “He had been broken in and I had a couple of staff working for me at the time and I needed to find something for them to do, so they jogged him up then put the hopples on him and he paced reasonably well. “From there we gave him some pacework then one morning we took him to Guildford with Love Of Glory and Almagest, who had run first and third in the Golden Slipper that year and were my first real good horses. “I put young Travis Gardiner on Zakara and asked him to sit last with him and if he couldn’t keep up not to knock the horse around. “Turning for home Love Of Glory was tackling Almagest and along came Zakara with Travis just sitting on him and he went straight past them. It was a shock for us but an even bigger shock for Travis as he never got behind the horse again.” Hall subsequently took Zakara to Wagin for his debut, where he sat five-wide throughout and won easily despite the horse nearly ending up on the outside fence in the straight as he used to bore out. Hall fondly remembers that it was quite a good night as they had a show on there and Zakara also won the prize for best-looking horse. “We didn’t realise what we had at the time, but when we put a pole on his outside it straightened him right up and he went from strength to strength,” he said. In stark contrast to the dark days of the early 1980s the Hall stable is about to claim their eighth WA Metropolitan trainers title, with Gary Hall Jr also having already sewn up his seventh WA Metro drivers title with both winning their first Metro premierships during the 2005/2006 pacing season. Older brother Clinton Hall enjoyed his greatest success earlier this year when he drove Hokonui Ben then trained by his father Gary to an all-the-way upset win in this year’s Group 1 $400,000 WA Pacing Cup. Hall Sr is now well on the way to establishing a powerful family dynasty the likes of which hasn’t been since the dominant days of the Kersley and Warwick families. But unlike the Kersleys and the Warwicks, who ruled WA pacing for decades, Gary Hall Sr had no harness racing background. Hall did, however, have a rapidly-growing love of the sport, the punt and a natural affinity for horses, having ridden recreationally from a young age. “The fact that I didn’t have any preconceived notions worked in my favour as I actually think it was an advantage to become involved without any background in the sport,” Hall said. “I spend a lot of time gaiting them, teaching them to race properly and working on their overall health and fitness. “Zakara taught me this as the more regular his routine was, the better he worked and raced.’’ “Rather than varying their routine with the conventional wisdom being that horses need variation in their work and working them with inferior horses in order to boost their confidence and give them a kill, I try to bring out their competitive instinct by working them with better horses in an attempt to get them to a higher level of fitness and competitiveness.” Hall though is also quick to admit that he learned a lot by watching master horseman Fred Kersley at work. “I learnt more from watching Fred Kersley over the years than he’ll ever know and always admired the way he went about it and Gary (Hall Jr) is named Jr because I wanted him to be exactly like Fred,” Hall said. It’s hard to argue with Hall’s methods, with 30 Group 1 wins later with a record 8 WA Pacing Cups, 5 Fremantle Cups, 3 Inter Dominion Finals, 2 Auckland Cups, Golden Nuggets, Derbies, and virtually every feature race worth winning on the WA harness racing calendar. It means it’s the Hall father and son’s combination that is now the most lethal in WA harness racing. Andrew Carter Courtesy of Harness Racing Victoria

Superstar pacers Im Themightyquinn and Alta Christiano will start from the outside barrier in their events at Gloucester Park on Friday night and this disadvantage will not stop either from winning with something in reserve. Under the preferential barrier draw system each had to draw the No. 7 barrier on the front line. But Im Themightyquinn has a massive class advantage over his eight rivals in the 2536m Abbott And Company Printers Pace and Alta Christiano is vastly superior to his opposition in the 1730m Sully's Painting Pace. The star pacers from the Serpentine stables of leading trainer Gary Hall sen. will be driven by Gary Hall jun., fresh from four winners at Gloucester Park last Friday night and a treble at outer country track Narrogin on Tuesday night. Asked how he would rate Alta Christiano on a scale out of one hundred, Hall jun. didn't hesitate in replying with a 90. Unsurprisingly, he gave Quinny a rating of 100. The all-conquering father and son combination then agreed that the lightly-raced four-year-old Alta Christiano is a better pacer than Im Themightyquinn was at the same age. And that's high praise indeed, considering that as a four-year-old Im Themightyquinn won the group 1 McInerney Ford Classic, was third behind Power of Tara and Divisive in the group 1 Fremantle Cup, won the group 3 Winter Cup from Mysta Magical Mach and finished a head second to Maffioso in the group 1 $200,000 Chariots of Fire at Harold Park. "Alta Christiano hasn't quite got the high speed that Quinny's got," said Hall sen. "But he's got a high cruising speed," declared Junior. Hall jun. was delighted with Im Themightyquinn's superb first-up victory last Friday night when the nine-year-old made light of the heavy, rain-soaked track to rate 1.56.4 in easily defeating Rocket Reign and Hokonui Ben over 2130m. That was his first appearance after a seven-month absence as he recovered from a hairline fracture in his off hind cannon bone. "He felt just as good as he always has," he said. Hall surprised almost everyone last week when he drove Im Themightyquinn assertively from barrier five to send the gelding to the lead after about 170m before setting the pace over the 2130m journey. Over the longer journey of this week's event Hall is unlikely to set Im Themightyquinn alight from the No. 7 barrier and will bide his time before urging the champion forward. Please Release Me (barrier two) and Polak (three) are speedy beginners and noted frontrunners. Both Matt White (Please Release Me) and Mark Reed (Polak) are sure to be anxious to win the early speed battle. However, there is a possibility they might have to contend with a contest against the polemarker Whos Mistake, a speedy beginner and an all-the-way winner at Gloucester Park five starts ago. But whatever the outcome of the early speed battle there appears no possible chance that the pacemaker (or any other runner) will be able to withstand the blistering speed of Im Themightyquinn at the business end of the race. Hall almost certainly will adopt aggressive tactics with Alta Christiano by urging him forward from the wide barrier in the sprint event. There is no brilliance whatsoever among the six runners drawn inside of Alta Christiano. The polemarker Life Boat is an eight-year-old and the five are seven-year-olds. Life Boat has a losing sequence of 21 (without a placing), Courage On Fire has a losing sequence of six (one placing), The Burnside Flyer has a losing sequence of 23 (no placings), Terrifying has a losing sequence of 22 (no placings), Dominus Vobiscum has a losing sequence of 22 (two placings) and Ticket To Nowhere has a losing sequence of 23 (one placing). Even a casual student of form would reach a quick conclusion that Alta Christiano will be bursting to the front in the early stages of the race and that Arousing, an in-form mare drawn the inside of the back line, will enjoy a soft passage three back on the pegs before finishing into the placings. OLIVIERI SET TO STRIKE AGAIN Astute Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri will be out to enhance his reputation as a first-up specialist when Victorian pacer Shelby Cruzin makes his WA debut in the 2130m Alltools Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Followers of the Olivieri stable have cashed in recently when he scored victories with Finbar Abbey and Selkie when they were having their first start for him. Finbar Abbey won at Northam at his first appearance for almost three months and then won at his next two starts at Gloucester Park, including the Easter Cup. Then Selkie, at her first outing for Olivieri, gave a bold frontrunning display to win the Race For Roses last Friday night. Shelby Cruzin has been unplaced at his past five starts (all at Melton and against considerably more formidable opposition than he will meet at his WA debut). A half-brother to seven winners, he was successful six starts ago when he unwound a powerful finishing burst and sprinted over the final 800m in 57.4sec. and the last 400m in 28.4sec. when as an 80/1 outsider he beat Ginger Bliss at a 1.57.4 rate over 2190m at Maryborough on January 20. Shelby Cruzin has had 46 starts for nine wins on Victorian country tracks and ten placings and is the tightest assessed runner in Friday night's field, with a C7 classification. He fared poorly in the random draw and will start from the outside of the front line. One of his toughest rivals is sure to be Sign In, who broke a losing sequence of 17 when he begun speedily from barrier five, set the pace and beat Kristoff over 1780m at Northam on Thursday of last week. He is trained at Wanneroo by Debbie Padberg and reinsman Shannon Suvaljko is likely to make full use of his sparkling early speed from barrier three in a bid for the lead. LEDA McNALLY IS SET TO ATONE Outstanding mare Leda McNally should make amends for her defeat in the Race For Roses last Friday night by outsprinting her rivals in the 2130m TABtouch Breeders Stakes Prelude at Gloucester Park on Friday night. She is the class runner of the field and she has the ability to overcome her back-line draw to defeat another quality mare in Famous Alchemist, who fared badly in the random draw and will start from the outside of the front line. A victory on Friday night will exclude the winner from the ballot for the $40,000 final of the Breeders Stakes over 1730m the following Friday night. Leda McNally, trained at Pinjarra by Chris King, is an M10-class mare who has won 19 races and earned $284,458. Famous Alchemist, trained at Serpentine by Gary Hall sen., has an M6 classification and has amassed $262,349 from her 13 wins. Apart from Alkira Jetstar, an M3-class performer, all the other mares in the race are classified M0, M1 or M2. Leda McNally, driven by Chris Voak, was outstanding in defeat last week when she started off the back mark of 50 metres in the 2536m Race For Roses. A rain-soaked track made her task virtually impossible, but she put up a grand effort, running home determinedly from tenth at the bell to be third behind the pacemaker Selkie and Salliwood. Famous Alchemist finished last behind Pacific Warrior in a field of twelve in a 1730m event last Friday week. But punters should completely overlook that performance. Famous Alchemist started out wide at barrier six and raced three wide for most of the event in which she faded from third at the bell to last. She was superb at her previous appearance when she worked hard without cover before winning the $20,000 Golden Girls Mile from Maggies Mystery at Pinjarra, rating 1.54.4 over 1684m. Maggies Mystery, unplaced at her past two starts, is handily drawn at No. 2 on the back line and she is capable of a bold showing. THAT IS CORRECT GETS HIS CHANCE Eight-year-old That Is Correct has returned to racing after a spell in excellent form and he appeals as a good value bet in the 2503m Ross North Homes Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Trained at Serpentine by Matt Scott, That Is Correct will start from the No. 1 barrier on the front mark and Aiden De Campo will be keen to get the experienced standing-start performer away smoothly. That Is Correct impressed at his second appearance after a spell when he started rom 10m and raced four back on the pegs in seventh position before moving to fifth at the 400m mark and running home with a resolute burst to finish second to veteran performer Shardons Rocket over 2503m last Friday week. That followed his good first-up performance a week earlier when he finished strongly to be fifth behind Dundee Three over 2503m. That Is Correct was a fast-finishing winner over 2503m last September when he defeated smart performer Gday Mate. Shardons Rocket, from the back mark of 40m, and last-start winner Hez Got The Nod, off 20m, are likely to vie for favouritism and they look set to be prominent. Hez Got The Nod began fast off the 20m mark last Friday night and he came from eighth in the middle stages to move to fifth, three wide, at the bell before sustaining his strong effort to take the lead 300m from home and then hold on and win from Will Of iron and Sonic Classic. He is in peak form and cannot be underestimated. 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 |    

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

Pinjarra trainer Michael Brennan declared that star five-year-old Im Victorious would strip fitter and stronger for the $400,000 Nepean Conveyors WA Pacing Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night than he was when he scored a brilliant victory in the Fremantle Cup last Friday night. "He has improved since that run and has tightened right up," he said. "You've got to remember that was his first run for three weeks and he has got through the weekend heatwave in great shape and he felt super in his work yesterday (Monday) and today (Tuesday). "I couldn't be happier with the horse and the way he's going. The 2936m is going to be right up his alley. He'll have plenty of time to find his feet and then it will be up to Junior (Gary Hall jun.)." Brennan and Hall are bubbling with confidence that Im Victorious will be able to overcome the tricky draw on the inside of the back line and become just the eighth pacer to complete the Fremantle Cup-WA Pacing Cup double in the one season and the first horse to win the WA Derby, Golden Nugget, Fremantle Cup and WA Pacing Cup. Horses to have won the Cups double in the one season are Black Bertha (1942), Pure Steel (1980), Village Kid (1988 and 1989), The Falcon Strike (2002 and 2004), Baltic Eagle (2003) and Im Themightyquinn (2011 and 2012). The 31-year-old Hall, the second most successful reinsman in the 101-year history of the WA Pacing Cup with six winners (behind Phil Coulson with seven), is far from fazed about Im Victorious starting from the inside of the back line and the possibility of becoming hemmed in and unable to obtain a clear run. He aims to get Im Victorious off the inside and into the clear as soon as possible. "A lot of these races are won by horses who race on the leader's back, three back on the fence or even further back on the pegs," he said. "But when you've got a horse like Im Victorious and consider the artillery he carries, the fence is the last place you want to be. "So I plan to get off as soon as we can. You have just got to make sure you survive the early hustle and bustle in the race and then I'll just play things by ear. You've just got to weigh up the option and when things change out there your options change. With Im Victorious we're not screwed down to any set tactics. He's very versatile and we'll let the race tell us when to make our move." Hall used bold tactics last week when he charged forward from the rear with Im Victorious 650m after the start and raced the gelding in the breeze outside the pacemaker and favourite Bettors Fire before getting the upper hand on the home turn and beating Bettors Fire by a comfortable 2-metre margin. This week Hall may have to employ different tactics, mainly because young trainer-reinsman Kyle Harper said that he expected to race in the breeze with the five-year-old. Bettors Fire led from the No. 1 barrier in the Fremantle Cup, but he unlikely to have the gate speed to be able to burst to the front from the No. 4 barrier. The general consensus among the Cup trainers and drivers is that Hokonui Ben, trained by Gary Hall sen., will set the pace after starting from barrier two, on the outside of his younger and less experienced stablemate Toretto. Hall sen. reinforced this general opinion by saying: "Toretto is at his best when leading, but I think that his best chance will be if he takes a sit behind Hokonui Ben. I think that Toretto is about a year away from being up to this class. And from second on the fence Toretto is still going to have a great chance. "The problem I've got when I've got multiple runners is that I don't want to look to be involved in team driving. I know that the stewards are always aware of that, but I wouldn't team drive purposely. I send horses out there to try to make sure that they all finish in the best possible position. And I think Toretto's best chance is to be sitting on Hokonui Ben. "I expect Hokonui ben to lead. He is quite talented in front. Obviously, the best two horses in the race are Im Victorious and David Hercules." Hall jun. said that he was not concerned at starting from the inside of the back line as he recalled the first public barrier draw he attended, for the 2002 WA Pacing Cup, a week after he had driven The Falcon Strike to victory in the Fremantle Cup. "Mike van Rens, major owner of The Falcon Strike, told me that I would be picking the barrier," he said. "I walked up to the stage and pulled out barrier nine, the outside of the front line in those days, and I spent the rest of the night and the rest of the week really depressed and thinking that I had ruled myself out of the race. "The Falcon Strike came out and won the race and I decided I would not put too much focus on future barrier draws and let what happens happen and just believe in your horse and your ability as a driver." Brennan, in his second season as a trainer after serving an apprenticeship with Hall sen., said that he had high hopes that his other Cup runner This Time Dylan, who flashed home with a sparkling late burst to finish sixth in the Fremantle Cup, could be placed in this week's big group 1 feature. "His finishing burst was sensational and he's done a massive job in the past eight weeks," he said. "I was just fortunate that Brian Ridley claimed him three Fridays ago and he came to me in such good order from the Hall stable." Harper advised punters that Bettors Fire was capable of a bold effort, saying: "I think he's right up there with the top of the bunch and he'll definitely be there fighting out the finish. He was a touch underdone and not 100 per cent last week and he has improved after that run. However, there are no excuses for his defeat. He was beaten by a better horse on the night and probably a better horse generally at this stage. "I think that Hokonui Ben will find the front and if we find the breeze, as I expect, I'll be aiming to stay there. If anything tries to get past us, they'll be three deep for a pretty long time." Harper said it was a surreal feeling to have his first starter in a WA Pacing Cup and he recalled fondly one of his first memories of the big race --- back in 2001 when his father Lindsay prepared and drove Havago to victory. "I remember going down to the beach and watching Havago work," he said. "It has always been an ambition to work a horse on the beach for a Pacing Cup, and here I am all this week doing just that, and it's amazing." Ace reinsman Morgan Woodley, who drove outsider Mysta Magical Mach to victory in the 2009 WA Pacing Cup, was naturally disappointed when the David Thompson-trained David Hercules drew poorly at barrier four on the back line. But he has certainly not given up hope and he declared that the speedy seven-year-old could not be in any better shape than he is at the moment. Woodley said that the 2936m posed no problems for the gelding. He said that he was going into the race with no set plans and would decide on his tactics as the race unfolded. Eight-year-old Ima Rocket Star has drawn favourably at barrier three on the front line and co-trainer Greg Bond said that the gelding would relish the 2936m journey. "Staying is his forte," he said. "He is fit and well and he'll probably work forward at the start and get into the running line. If Bettors Fire gets to the breeze, we could get the ideal trail behind him." Tern-year-old iron horse Washakie, winner of the 2010 WA Pacing Cup (when he defeated Im Themightyquinn), is a resolute stayer, but his prospects faded when he drew the outside of the front line. Capel trainer Andrew De Campo has two runners --- Dasher VC and Lombo Navigator --- and they are outsiders after drawing poorly. Dasher VC, winner of the 2013 Fremantle Cup, will start from the outside of the back line after breaking into a bad gallop soon after the start of the Fremantle Cup last week. Lombo Navigator, who will be having his first start since finishing last in a sprint vat Gloucester Park on September 20, will start out wide at No. 6 on the front line. Bookmaker Steve Mulhall has Dasher VC at 33/1 and Lombo Navigator at 50/1, with Im Victorious favourite at even money. The market: evens Im Victorious, 5/1 Hokonui Ben, 7/1 Bettors Fire, 9/1 David Hercules, 20/1 Washakie, Ima Rocket Star, This Time Dylan, 25/1 Hez the Bart Man, 33/1 Toretto, Dasher VC, 50/1 Lombo Navigator, Livingontheinterest. HALL FANCIES FAMOUS ALCHEMIST OVER THE LONG JOURNEY New Zealand-bred mare Famous Alchemist has never won a race beyond 2200m, but reinsman Gary Hall jun. is confident she will lead all the way in the Nepean Conveyors WA Pacing Cup Consolation over the marathon journey of 2936m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. "She's pretty tough and I don't think the long trip will worry her," he said. Hall's optimism bubbled to the fore after the five-year-old drew the prized No. 1 barrier. "She will hold up early and is a great leader," Hall said. "There is nothing in the race who could sit outside her and then hold off the late challengers." Hall has good reason to be confident. Famous Alchemist has started 18 times in Western Australia and has not been beaten in the five events in which she has set the pace. She is undefeated in the three starts in which she has begun from the No. 1 barrier in WA. Famous Alchemist, trained by Gary Hall sen., was an all-the-way winner over 2130m two starts ago, when she defeated Maggies Mystery, before she contested the consolation of the Fremantle Cup over 2536m last Friday night. She started from barrier three and raced three back on the pegs before getting clear in the final stages and flying home to be third behind Hez The Bart Man and Danieljohn. The major danger to Famous Alchemist looms as the Justin Prentice-trained Gday Mate, who will start from the inside of the back line and looks set to enjoy a perfect sit behind the likely pacemaker. Gday Mate bounced back to top form last Friday night when he started from barrier five on the front line and raced in ninth position before charging home to win at a 1.57.2 rate over 2536m from J Walker and Hokurin Handrail. The Hall camp hopes to complete a successful night by winning the final event, the Nepean Conveyors Three-Year-Old Fillies Pace with the highly-promising Majorly Foxy Styx, who has won at each of her past four starts, including her first three outings this season. "She has drawn out wide at barrier six, but she should have the measure of her seven rivals," Hall jun. said. "She is a big filly with plenty of ability." WILLIAMS EXPECTS OHOKA Kentucky TO FLOURISH IN FRONT Promising New Zealand-bred five-year-old Ohoka Kentucky produced a sparkling burst of speed to cruise to an effortless victory at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week and trainer-reinsman Robbie Williams predicted that the Christian Cullen gelding would be seen in a different role at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Ohoka Kentucky will start from the No. 1 barrier and Williams will be aiming for an all-the-way win in the 2130m first heat of the San Simeon Pace. The gelding started from barrier four at his latest appearance and Williams was content to keep him in sixth opposition in the one-wide line before setting him alight with a fast three-wide sprint 450m from home. Ohoka Kentucky burst to the front 150m later and raced away to beat The Oyster Bar by five lengths at a 1.56.3 rate over 1730m. It was his fourth win from eight starts in Western Australia. "He has worked on super since his latest outing, he's got good gate speed and is good in front," Williams said. Ohoka Kentucky should be at reasonable odds because there is a lot of exposed form in the race, with Rowchester, Jay Bees Grin, Heez On Fire, Clifford, Mister Sarkozy and Borntobeanartist all worthy of serious consideration. DELUXE EDITION HAS SOUND CLAIMS IN QUALIFYING HEAT Four-year-old Deluxe Edition still has a tendency to pull hard in her races, but she looks a good bet in the second heat of the Im Themightyquinn Mares Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The daughter of Jet Laag, who is trained at Oakford by Ross Olivieri, warmed up for this event in fine style when she bowled along in front for Chris Voak and beat Jezaenkoubeauty and Firebomb over 2130m at a 1.58 rate at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week. She has had 30 starts for eight wins and 12 placings and gave a sample of her class five starts ago when she finished second to star mare Leda McNally and ahead of the talented Famous Alchemist over 1730m at Gloucester Park. She will start out wide at barrier five on the front line on Friday night and Voak looks sure to get her away to a fast start in a bid to take the lead in the early stages. Olivieri has a good second string in the race in Arousing, whose prospects diminished when she drew the outside of the front line. Eight-year-old Kotare Ash is out of form and has managed one placing from her past ten starts. But she should appreciate the No. 1 barrier and is capable of causing an upset. The consistent Arch On Fire will have many admirers from the inside of the back line. She has had 94 starts for 13 wins, 31 placings and $130,532 in stakes and should enjoy a perfect run on the pegs. She was ninth in the middle stages and sustained a strong three-wide burst to dead-heat for fourth behind Pure Empathy over 2130m last Friday night. by Ken Casellas  

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  

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