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Gary Hall Snr attended the 2000 New Zealand Cup meeting on 14th November 2000 for both a holiday and again on the lookout for a prospective addition to his stable. The major support race on New Zealand Cup day is the Group One 3yo Sires Stakes final and Hall was taken with the luckless fifth, coming from near last five and six deep on the final corner, of a unfancied maiden 3yo called Falcon Strike. The winner of the Sires Stakes was Franco Heir and it wouldn’t be the last time the pair would clash. He went and inspected the Falcon Seelster colt in the stalls post-race and felt that, given the extra work that Hall was renowned for, that once fully fit he wouldn’t take a lot of time to break his maiden status. Hall’s group of Western Australian owners eventually agreed to the $NZ100,000 price tag and he was transferred into their names on December 20th. While waiting for a flight to Australia Falcon Strike had one final start in New Zealand in the $120,000 New Zealand Sales Classic on December 27th when he again finished fifth. The Falcon Strike made his Perth debut at Gloucester Park on 16th February 2001 and those present were agog at the performance. A massive on-course plunge saw him start a 5/2 second favourite to the 2000 Australian 2yo Pacer of the Year Disco Force. With his trainer Gary Hall Snr at the reins The Falcon Strike raced three-wide throughout and literally destroy Disco Force mentally blitzing Chandon’s State Record rate of 1:56.4 for the 1700 metres in the process. The Falcon Strike was early favourite for the WA Derby after winning his next three Perth starts including the Group Three Western Gateway Pace but a chequered run in the Derby saw him finish down the track behind the interstate trained pair of Manifold Bay and Franco Heir. Manifold Bay again proved his nemesis eight months later in the 2001 Group One 4yo Golden Nugget Championship after The Falcon Strike had won seven of his eight starts leading into the race including the Group Three McInerney Ford Classic. By this stage Gary Hall Snr had sacked himself as driver and handed the reins to his 20yo son after convincing The Falcon Strike’s owners of the merit of the change. A month after the Golden Nugget, in January 2002, The Falcon Strike won both the Group One WA Pacing Cup and Group One Fremantle Cup and the big race record of Gary Hall Jnr was under way. Winning the WA Pacing Cup and Fremantle Cup as a 4yo was remarkable and even champions Village Kid and Pure Steel had been unable to win the State’s two premier races for aged horses in the same season. The Falcon Strike was taken to Melbourne for the 2002 AG Hunter Cup and it was a decision that almost ended the young stallion’s career. In a roughhouse race that saw him effectively put out of action in the first 50 metres, The Falcon Strike was shoved from pillar to post and then had the temerity to hit the front turning for home before being mown down in the shadows of the post to finish fifth just 1.6 metres from the winner Safe And Sound. After the race the severe tendon injury was plain to see and The Falcon Strike was destined to spend the next 14 months recovering from the injury and he completed a short season at stud in the process. Mother and daughter Debbie and Kristy Padberg nursed The Falcon Strike throughout his convalescence with a series of laser treatments and a programme of walking and light exercise for which Gary Hall Snr was forever grateful. “Without the countless hours that Debbie and Kristy put into him he would never had made a successful return to the race-track”, he said in 2003. The Falcon Strike returned to the track in April 2003 with nine wins in 11 starts in Perth including the Easter and Winter Cups before Hall took him East for the 2003 Newcastle Mile which he won in a time of 1:54.5 to earn a start in that year’s Miracle Mile at Harold Park. Drawn in barrier one, which was hardly ideal for a horse whose only possible flaw was a lack of gate speed, The Falcon Strike was made a $2.40 favourite but was forced to race in the breeze throughout and he finished last behind Sokyola in a time of 1:54.6. He remained in Sydney for a week and despite a wide second row draw he finished fourth to Double Identity, Smooth Satin and Flashing Red in the Group One Treuer Memorial at Bankstown. The Falcon Strike returned to Perth and was straight back in the winners list with four straight wins in as many weeks in the Group Two Celebrity Sprint on New Year’s Eve 2003 and then wins in a trio of Group One races – the 2004 Fremantle Cup, 2004 Australian Pacing Championship and 2004 WA Pacing Cup before a short break leading into the 2004 Inter Dominion at Gloucester Park. The remarkable record of The Falcon Strike’s driver Gary Hall Jnr in the Inter Dominion began with a winning double behind his father’s horses in two of the three heats on the opening night of the 2004 Championship. Faking It won the first heat and The Falcon Strike won the third heat on opening night and with subsequent placings Hall qualified both horses for the final. It wasn’t a difficult decision for Gary Hall Jnr to choose The Falcon Strike as his drive in the nation’s biggest race despite the stallion drawing wide in barrier six. Faking It had drawn even wider and the drive on the 80/1 outsider went to Fred Kersley. After working early Hall settled The Falcon Strike outside the leader Jofess in a carbon copy of the pair’s second night clash which saw Jofess draw away in the straight to win comfortably by a little over a length. The Inter Dominion final was a lot closer as The Falcon Strike, carrying the hopes of his legion of Western Australian fans that had sent him out as a $3.30 favourite, dug deep with many on-course believing that he had got up in a desperate final lunge. The photo-finish showed otherwise with Jofess holding on to win by a nose from The Falcon Strike with a further nose to Sokyola in third place and Mister D G another nose away in fourth place in what ranks as one of the all-time great Inter Dominion finishes. He was sent for a break after the 2004 Inter Dominion and when The Falcon Strike resumed in the winter of 2004 he looked to be a shadow of his former self with just two placings in five starts before again being spelled. He was back on December 10th 2004 with a win and a second a fortnight later before a third placing to Baltic Eagle and La Valiente in the Celebrity Sprint on New Year’s Eve 2004. A 20 metre handicap in the Fremantle Cup proved too hard as he finished down the track behind Sandy Bay but seven days later he was back in the winners list with a win in the Group One Australian Pacing Championship over Ohoka Ace and Buck The Odds followed a week later with victory over Sandy Bay and Ohoka Ace in the WA Pacing Cup. The Falcon Strike then made another ill-fated trip to Melbourne for the 2005 AG Hunter Cup where he shared the 20 metre back-mark with Kiwi star Elsu. He showed little fight in finishing down the track and a post-race examination showed the stallion to be sore and announcements were made about his retirement to stud. So well did The Falcon Strike appear in the paddock he was put back into work and in May 2006, after a break of some 15 months he was again in the winner’s list at Gloucester Park with a pair of wins just a week apart. While that campaign in the winter of 2006 and extending into late spring was to yield six wins and a couple of placings in a dozen starts the wear and tear and his age were now starting to show and, after finishing fifth to Gee Whiz Fizz on December 1st 2006, The Falcon Strike was retired for good. His retired with a reputation as one of the toughest horses to look through a bridle with the only possible flaw in his makeup a lack of blinding gate speed. While his toughness on the racetrack was his trademark Gary Hall Snr revealed another side to The Falcon Strike in an interview after his retirement. “He was one of the family and a real sook at home. A tiny cut would get a reaction as if he was seriously injured and he hated needles when the vets tried to get a blood sample on race-night”, he said “He had the most amazing temperament for a stallion and he could be floated between two mares and completely ignore them”. “He had a real personality and knew that he was good and carried himself that way”. Enquiries about tickets to the 2019 WA Racing Industry Hall of Fame Induction night on 28th February should be directed to Hall of Fame Coordinator Suzy Jackson on (08) 9445 5371 or   Alan Parker    

Ron Huston made a wise decision when he outlaid $12,000 to purchase a Western Terror colt at the APG yearling sale in Perth two years ago. Now a three-year-old gelding by the name of Gee Jay Kay, he looks destined for an extremely bright career and he should resume after a two-month absence on a winning note. Trained at Byford by Vicki Lea, Gee Jay Kay will start from the coveted No. 1 barrier in the $18,000 Retravision Pace and Shannon Suvaljko’s intentions will be to set a solid pace over the 1730m sprint journey. Gee Jay Kay is the first foal out of the unraced Artistic Fella mare Case of Bubbly and the champagne should be flowing when Lea celebrates her 41st birthday next Thursday. Gee Jay Kay, who has raced six times for two wins and two seconds for earnings of $13,668, showed that he was ready for a powerful first-up performance with an outstanding trial over 2150m at Byford on Sunday morning when he dashed to an early lead and sprinted over the final quarters in 28.9sec. and 28.5sec. to win by seven lengths from Robbie Easton. Robbie Easton followed his trial effort with an easy four-length victory over Fulfil The Dream at Narrogin on Tuesday night when he finished strongly from sixth at the bell. Gee Jay Kay’s chief rival this week is sure to be the talented Ryan Bell-trained Shockwave, who has earned $86,990 from five wins, five seconds and three thirds from 15 starts. Shockwave will start from the No. 5 barrier with Gary Hall Jnr in the sulky. Gee Jay Kay has not raced since contesting a 2130m event at Gloucester Park on November 23 when he began speedily from barrier four and worked hard in the breeze before surging to the front 500m from home. He was still in front when challenged by Shockwave 250m later, but he then broke into a fierce gallop, losing about four lengths. He recovered and finished second, more than six lengths behind Shockwave. Shockwave covered a lot of extra ground before winning easily in moderate company at Bunbury two starts ago. He then raced at Gloucester Park a month ago when he raced in the breeze for much of the way before finishing third behind smart three-year-olds Patrickthepiranha and Its Rock And Roll. Ace trainer Gary Hall Snr has two runners in Friday night’s race, last-start winners Eloquent Mach (Stuart McDonald) and Major Survivor (Lauren Jones). But they will be tested from difficult draws, with Eloquent Mach starting from barrier six and Major Survivor from the outside (No. 9). Eloquent Mach has won at three of his past four starts and impressed at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon when he was sixth at the bell before finishing full of running to win from Galante and Bettor Be Oscar. Eloquent Mach covered a lot of extra ground before winning from Extradite at Pinjarra the previous Monday. Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri will be represented by Morant (Chris Voak) and Babyface Adda (Chris Lewis), but they will be tested from wide draws. Wanneroo trainer Debbie Padberg’s runners Antagonistic (Mark Reed) and Amadeo (Luke Edwards) have place prospects from barriers two and three, respectively.   Ken Casellas

Gary Hall Jnr has produced another masterful display of driving at Gloucester Park tonight, chalking up his eighth win in the Group 1 WA Pacing Cup (2936m) with the Justin Prentice-trained Rocknroll Lincoln. Three months ago it looked as if Hall Jnr would struggle to add to his seven Pacing Cup wins when his father’s superstar pacer Chicago Bull injured himself in New Zealand. But on the state’s biggest Harness Racing stage, Hall Jnr showed his class with the horse that filled the breach left by Chicago Bull. There was some doubt as to whether Rocknroll Lincoln would be able to find the lead from barrier two, but that doubt was quickly dispelled within the first 100m of the race, as the five-year-old crossed Maczaffair with ease. Fremantle Cup winner My Field Marshal elected to ease back in the early stages and eventually found himself only slightly better than midfield on the back of Galactic Star. Vampiro was forced to settle outside the leader, which gave Galactic Star, the best chance of Greg and Skye Bond’s six runners, the perfect trail into the race. Despite the high quality of horses behind him, Rocknroll Lincoln fought on strongly to the line and rated 1.56.8 in the 1.3m victory. El Jacko ran on well for second, while Maczaffair held on for third. Hall Jnr said he had some small concerns heading into the race, but was full of praise for Prentice’s training performance. “I was confident and hopeful, but I think I was more hopeful than I was confident,” he said. “The horse was in such good order. “He warmed up really well and he was nice and relaxed. “Hats off to Justin because in his last two starts he hadn’t really got a good crack at them. “For him to turn him out again tonight and lead and run that trip, it was a pretty special effort.” Hall Jnr returned later in the evening to drive a further two winners in You Gotta Have Faith and Caviar Star. You can hear from the beaten drivers from the WA Pacing Cup below. Review all of the action of TABtouch-WA Pacing Cup night here.   Tim Walker

It’s Prentice….again! Outstanding young horseman Justin Prentice has joined his father Kim as a winner of the state’s biggest event following the all the way victory of emerging talent Rocknroll Lincoln in the Gr.1 $450,000 TABtouch WA Pacing Cup at Gloucester Park tonight (Friday). The victory provides back to back triumphs for the Prentice family after Kim steered the Bryan Cousins trained Soho Tribeca to victory last year. Kim has also scored with Im Themightyquinn (2011 - driver) and Baltic Eagle (2003 – trainer/driver). But tonight was all about this young formidable combination. The Prentice prepared stayer was expertly handled by master reinsman Gary Hall Jnr who controlled the speed perfectly behind the five-year-old before holding off the fast finishing El Jacko and Maczaffair to claim the 2936m mobile start feature. For Hall Jnr, 35, the victory now provides him with his 8th Cup winner and he now passes legendary horseman Phil Coulson as the most successful driver in the events history. Amazingly, Hall Jnr has won 8 of the past 18 editions (The Falcon Strike x3, Tealsby Karita, Im Themightyquinn x 2 and Chicago Bull). Starting front gate two, Hall Jnr pounced on the early lead from Maczaffair while My Field Marshal and Galactic Star both took up handy positions in the moving line. The lead time was covered in 97.8 seconds. With positions sorted quickly and Hall Jnr controlling the early speed, the lack of pressure was obvious and the race was unfolding perfectly for the connections of Rocknroll Lincoln. The first half of the final mile was covered in identical splits of 29.4 and 29.4 seconds. Rocknroll Lincoln remained the leader from Vampiro who raced without cover with Maczaffair behind the leader while Galactic Star and My Field Marshal sat close in the moving line. Entering the back straight for the final time, Hall Jnr increased the pressure while Vultan Tin got My Field Marshal moving three wide which in turn flushed Galactic Star from the one out, one back position. And that’s when Hall Jnr really quickened the speed. The third quarter was covered in 27.7 seconds. In the home straight, Rocknroll Lincoln kicked clear before holding the late challengers El Jacko and Maczaffair. At the line, Rocknroll Lincoln ($3.50) scored by 1.3 metres from El Jacko ($8.50) who used inside runs with a similar margin back to Maczaffair ($41) in third. Race favourite My Field Marshal ($2.75) finished fourth. The final quarter was covered in 28.7seconds. The mile rate was 1:56.8 and established a new race record but was outside of the track record of Smolda at 1:55.8. “It’s a massive thrill and it’s great to win for this group of owners who have supported me from the start, it’s quite surreal and I was really nervous before the race but it played out well and it was a great drive from Jnr.” Prentice said. Rocknroll Lincoln has now 14 of his 42 starts and takes his earnings in excess of $464,000. He now joins Tiger Tara (Victoria Cup & Inter Dominion), Thefixer (New Zealand Cup) and Turn It Up (Auckland Cup) as winners on the 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit. The remaining legs for the current term include the Hunter Cup (February 2 - Melton), Miracle Mile (March 3 - Menangle) and the Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship (Albion Park – July 20).   Chris Barsby

Trainer Mike Reed has declared Maczaffair will be doing everything she can to hold the lead in the early stages of tomorrow night’s Group 1 TABtouch WA Pacing Cup (2936m) at Gloucester Park. The sole mare in the field had her chances of winning increase following the barrier draw on Tuesday morning, when she drew barrier one, with fancied runners Rocknroll Lincoln and My Field Marshal to her outside. Earlier this week, Gary Hall Jnr, who drives Rocknroll Lincoln tomorrow night, indicated on TABradio he would look to lead from barrier two, but Reed told the same station this morning Maczaffair would look to utilise her advantage from gate one with his son Mark Reed engaged to drive. “I couldn’t be happier with her and she’s ready to rock and roll,” he said. “I will leave it up to Mark, but he said when he worked her ‘she’s the best she’s ever felt’. “The only one we’d be handing up to would be My Field Marshal, but Mark said yesterday ‘why hand up’. “If she gets a lot of pressure from My Field Marshal we may let him go.” Maczaffair drew barrier six in last week’s Fremantle Cup and had little luck in the closing stages, before she eventually finished sixth behind My Field Marshal. The five-year-old will be out to become the first mare since 1972 to take out the state’s most prestigious race. She will also be looking to become just the 20th mare to win the race. Reed said he was confident Maczaffair was back to the form from the start of her preparation that saw her run second to Vampiro in the Mount Eden Sprint. “She ran the quickest half she’s ever run at Gloucester Park yesterday,” he said. “She ran second in the Mount Eden Sprint first-up and it might have just taken the edge off her a bit. “The last couple of weeks we have freshened her up and she’s jumping out of her skin. “12 months ago she ran second to Ultimate Machete in the Golden Nugget. “If Ultimate Machete had drawn one, he’d most probably be favourite.” My Field Marshal remains a solid $1.85 favourite for the WA Pacing Cup, while Rocknroll Lincoln ($4.20) and Galactic Star ($4.60) are the only other runners in single figure odds. Reed’s Henley Brook stable also has the in-form Golden State engaged in the second heat of the Nights Of Thunder Series (1730m). Golden State won back-to-back races after his sixth placing in the Golden Nugget last month, before he finished second at his most recent start behind Neighlor last Friday. The smart four-year-old has drawn barrier four tomorrow night and Reed said he expected him to be driven quietly. “I expect Tanaka Eagle will lead and we will be outside him or in the one-one position,” he said. “If you don’t burn him out of the gate, he definitely comes home a lot better.” Each of the three Nights Of Thunder heats have nine runners engaged, with the fastest nine horses across the heats qualifying for next week’s Final. Tomorrow night’s Gloucester Park meeting gets underway at 5.50.   Tim Walker

Champion horseman Tim Butt, who has prepared more grand circuit winners than any other harness racing trainer in Australasia, is poised to set more records when his brilliant seven-year-old My Field Marshal contests the $450,000 TABtouch WA Pacing Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The 51-year-old New Zealand-born Butt, who relocated from Christchurch to Menangle in New South Wales early last year, is confident that My Field Marshal will prove the best stayer and win the testing 2936m mobile group 1 classic in the stallion’s first attempt over a distance beyond 2700m. “He’s fantastic and has come through his wins in the Village Kid Sprint and Fremantle Cup absolutely terrific,” he said. Asked if the 2936m was a concern, Butt said: “It’s only 400m longer than last week’s Cup and I couldn’t be happier with the barrier draw (No. 3 on the front line).” Queried about the likely driving tactics to be employed by his elder brother Anthony, he said: “We haven’t done the form yet, but we’ve got options from that draw. “The horse hasn’t done a lot since he led and won the Fremantle Cup. He had a hoppled run this morning (Tuesday) and I just ticked him over like I normally do. He’s bright and he loves it here.” The Butt brothers are full of hope that they will be able to go one better than they did when Flashing Red finished second to Tealsby Karita in the 2007 WA Pacing Cup. Flashing Red, second favourite at 3/1 from barrier five, raced wide early and three wide again in the middle stages before working hard in the breeze. He fought on doggedly behind Tealsby Karita, the 11/4 favourite who made most of the running. “Flashing Red was a great horse and a great stayer, but My Field Marshal has got a bit more brilliance,” Tim Butt said. If My Field Marshal is successful this week, it will give the famous Butt family a special record, with the first set of brothers training a WA Pacing Cup winner. Roddy Butt, the youngest of the three Butt brothers, prepared Justaboyden, who was driven by Fred Kersley jnr and produced one of the most spectacular bursts of speed in a Pacing Cup when he was ninth at the 400m and sprouted wings to charge to the front at the 250m mark and career away to beat Southern Knight by more than three lengths in the big race in 1995. The WA Pacing Cup was first run in 1913 and the inaugural Fremantle Cup was in 1928 and, if successful, My Field Marshal will become only the eighth pacer to have won the WA Pacing Cup-Fremantle Cup double in the one season, a feat that has been performed by Black Bertha (1942), Pure Steel (1980), Village Kid (1988 and 1989), The Falcon Strike (2002 and 2004), Baltic Eagle (2003), Im Themightyquinn (2011 and 2012) and Chicago Bull (2017). My Field Marshal, bred and owned by Syd and Shona Brown (who also bred and owned the horse’s dam Foreal, a winner of 18 races and $664,800 in stakes. My Field Marshal has earned $1,324,712 from 26 wins and 21 placings from 61 starts, has won six group 1 features --- the Taylor Mile and Messenger Championship at Alexandra Park, the Four-Year-Old Emerald at Cambridge (in successive starts in 2016), the Len Smith Mile at Menangle in 2017, the Miracle Mile in 1.46.9 on the same track last February and last week’s Fremantle Cup at Gloucester Park. Anthony Butt, who will return to Perth from Sydney on Friday, was full of praise for My Field Marshal after the horse’s exciting all-the-way victory in the 2536m Fremantle Cup last Friday night, saying: “To lead and cop that pressure just shows what a great horse he is. He did a mighty job; he had to burn out of the gate and then never got any peace. “He kept running fast quarters and it was a great effort. It won’t be easy this week when I’m sure it will again be a truly-run affair. But he has got that class on his side and no matter what race he’s in, he’s always hard to beat.” Tim Butt said that My Field Marshal would not contest the $500,000 Hunter Cup at Melton on February 2 and that the horse’s main mission after the WA Pacing Cup would be the Miracle Mile at Menangle on March 3. “My Field Marshal will return to Sydney next Wednesday and he’ll probably have one lead-up run before the Miracle Mile.” With My Field Marshal starting from barrier three on Friday night, Anthony Butt will be ready to make snap decisions after the mobile barrier releases the quality field of 12 runners. He knows that Maczaffair (barrier one) and Rocknroll Lincoln (two) will come out flying in bids to take the early lead. Whether the speedy My Field Marshal can burst straight to the front is highly problematical. Sharing the Butt camp’s confidence is Mike Reed, the trainer of Maczaffair, and Gary Hall Jnr, who will be in the sulky behind the Justin Prentice-trained Rocknroll Lincoln. Maczaffair is the only mare in the field and Reed is bullish about her prospects of becoming the first of her sex to win the WA Pacing Cup since Pyramus beat Chief Attain and Sir Alex in 1972. She will again be handled by Reed’s son Mark, who was most impressed with her effort when an unlucky sixth in the Fremantle Cup, only one and a half lengths behind the winner. She was ninth at the bell and was badly blocked for a clear passage before flying home along the pegs in the final few strides. Maczaffair, the winner of five group feature events, showed her class against all-male opposition when second to Ultimate Machete in the group 1 2536m Golden Nugget championship in December 2017. Hall, who has driven the winner of seven WA Pacing Cups, said that Rocknroll Lincoln was travelling strongly and was a sound winning chance before being badly checked approaching the home turn in the Fremantle Cup. Rocknroll Lincoln broke into a gallop and finished 11th. Hall said that the 2936m journey this week would not worry Rocknroll Lincoln. “Barrier two looks good on paper and he’s got genuine gate speed,” he said. “If we get to the front, and I think he can, I won’t consider handing up.” Galactic Star, a gallant second in the Fremantle Cup, is in peak form and must be considered, despite drawing awkwardly at barrier seven. Ryan Warwick looks certain to opt out of any early speed battle and is likely to drive conservatively before deciding when to send the six-year-old forward. Galactic Star raced in eighth position in the one-wide line in the Fremantle Cup before Warwick sent the gelding forward, with a three-wide, burst approaching the bell. He sustained the effort and his performance was full of merit. Galactic Star is prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, who will also be represented in the Cup by Our Max Phactor (Dylan Egerton-Green), Vampiro (Colin Brown), Our Jimmy Johnstone (Michael Grantham), El Jacko (Aiden de Campo) and Saying Grace (Chris Lewis). El Jacko and Saying Grace will start from the back line and have sound place prospects after unlucky runs in the Fremantle Cup in which El Jacko, a smart sit-sprinter, was badly blocked for a clear passage in the final circuit before going across the line, full of running, in seventh position. Saying Grace, who trailed the pacemaking My Field Marshal throughout, went to the line, bolting under lock and key, in fourth place. Champion trainer Gary Hall Snr, who has won the WA Pacing Cup a record 11 times, is pinning his faith on Runrunjimmydunn, who will be driven by Clint Hall from barrier five. Runrunjimmydunn fought on from tenth in the middle stages to be a sound fifth in the Fremantle Cup. The WA-bred Vultan Tin, trained in Coolup by Phil Costello, is the only non-New Zealand-bred runner in the race. He will be driven by Chris Voak and will start from the outside of the back line. Vultan Tin was seventh at the bell in the Fremantle Cup before finishing fast, out six wide, to be an eye-catching third. Ace trainer Ross Olivieri, who prepared Saab for his WA Pacing Cup victory in 1999, has engaged Shannon Suvaljko to drive Im Full of Excuses from the awkward No. 6 barrier. Im Full of Excuses bounced back to form and ended a 22-month drought when he charged home with as three-wide burst from eighth at the bell to win narrowly from Gotta Go Gabbana in a 2130m mobile event last Friday night. He will again be at long odds this week.   Ken Casellas

With a winning double at yesterday’s Pinjarra meeting trainer Gary Hall Snr brought up his 2900th win as a trainer courtesy of Caviar Star in the last race. Hall, the most successful trainer in WA Pacing Cup history, trained his first winner with Plebette at Collie on 5th March 1971 and the first of  2159 city winners with Tobaree at Gloucester Park on 16th September 1972. Hall will gear up his 58th starter in a WA Pacing Cup when Runrunjimmydunn starts in Friday night’s big race. He has already trained a remarkable 11 winners of the State’s major race courtesy of The Falcon Strike (3 wins), Im Themightyquinn (3 wins), My Hard Copy (2 wins), Chicago Bull, Hokonui Ben and Tealsby Karita. Even more remarkable is that those 11 wins have come in the last 17 seasons and Hall has also had eight placings in the race since The Falcon Strike brought up Hall’s first win in the race in 2002. For the record Gary Hall’s first runner in a WA Pacing Cup was the stallion Zakara which finished 4th behind Westburn Grant, Franco Ice and Imprimartar on 3 January, 1992 in what will always be remembered as the most emotional win in the 106 year history of the race. The story of that WA Pacing Cup, A Summer of Frost and Ice, won producer/commentator John Hunt a Joseph Coulter Award in 1993. While his son Gary Hall Jnr won’t be behind Runrunjimmydunn on Friday night, Hall Jnr has an undeniable chance of recording his eighth win in the WA Pacing Cup when he takes the reins of the Justin Prentice trained Rocknroll Lincoln which has drawn well in barrier two inside the pre-post favourite My Field Marshal. Hall Jnr will be having his 18th drive in the race and will be out to eclipse the Cup record seven winners tally he presently shares with former champion reinsman Phil Coulson. Hall Jnr’s seven WA Pacing Cup wins have come behind The Falcon Strike (3), Im Themightyquinn (2), Chicago Bull and Tealsby Karita while Coulson’s seven winners in 22 Cup drives came per medium of Pure Steel (3), Lord Mina, Color Glo, Gammalite and Village Kid. Coulson may well have won eight WA Pacing Cups had it not been for a stewards decision to refuse him the choice of drives on his two stable runners in the 1965 WA Cup. Coulson trained both Hycraft and Pacing Lawn and the Chairman of Stewards Don Thomas refused to allow Coulson to drive Hycraft as no other driver had ever sat behind the sprint sensation Pacing Lawn whereas Hycraft had been driven by other drivers. Ironically Don Thomas was Phil Coulson’s uncle but the family ties meant nothing when it came to his job as Chairman of Stewards. (see hoofnote) As history records Hycraft, with Laurie Robinson at the reins, downed the champion Mercedes in the shadows of the post after the pair staged a veritable dogfight up the Gloucester Park straight. Coulson watched on some distance back as Pacing Lawn finished third. HOOFNOTE: Don Thomas has one WA Pacing Cup record which will never be broken. He was just 15 years of age when he drove Adonaldson into 18th place in the WA Pacing Cup on Boxing Night 1935 for his father, trainer Fred Thomas. He is the youngest person to drive in the race. Don was one of three Thomas brothers who drove in the Cup that year with Charlie winning the race with the Harry Moran trained Connie Glo and John Thomas driving his own nomination Nelson Pronto. In addition two of Don Thomas’s brothers-in-law in Arthur Hough and Charlie Coulson drove Huon Pic and Con Derby respectively in the 1935 Cup. Coincidentally Con Derby was a three-quarter brother to the winner Connie Glo and the brother and sister came to WA after each had won a Victoria Derby.   Alan Parker

As we approach the 106th running of the WA Pacing Cup it is timely to look at the driving record of Gary Hall Jnr who, with seven wins in the race, is currently equal with harness racing Hall of Fame inductee Phil Coulson in terms of the most successful driver in the history of the event. Gary Hall Jnr has been nominated for the 2019 WA Racing Industry Hall Of Fame and is in line to join his father as an inductee when announcements are made on 28th February. In 1996 Sue Hall approached WA Trotting Association officials seeking permission for her 14yo son to be allowed to join his parents behind the railing in the stable area at Gloucester Park. The request revolved around her horse-mad son being more than capable at handling horses for the remainder of the week but the race-night restrictions saw him left to his own devices and away from the watchful eye of his parents. WATA Racing Manager Ray Holloway was sympathetic to the request but he needed a workable solution to maintain a level of control in what was potentially a risky area restricted to trainers, drivers, stablehands and owners of horses engaged at the meeting. The minimum age for issue of a Stablehand Licence was lowered from 15 years to 14 years and Gary Hall Jnr was the first applicant and first approval of the new licence. The young Hall’s first recollection of the mere existence of harness racing was when, at the age of six, he experienced the fuss when his father trained the trifecta in the Group One Golden Slipper Stakes for two-year-olds in June 1989. “Dad won the race with Love Of Glory and I can remember the celebrations with John and Eileen Dunstone who bred and owned him”, Hall recalled recently. “We used to spell the horses at the Dunstone’s in Baldivis and their grand-son Mark Lewis and I used to bet against each other at a very early age”. With a backyard full of horses it was only natural that the young Hall gravitated to the stables and soon graduated from cleaning boxes and delivering feeds to helping his father with the working of the horses. “I have never really modelled my driving on anybody and I can remember watching replays of Dad’s first really good horse Zakara competing in Cup races and being told to take notice of the way Fred Kersley and Chris Lewis drove”. “I am not really sure though that I knew what I was supposed to be looking at”, Hall laughed. The advice was clearly on the mark as even now Hall ranks Lewis as the hardest driver to beat. “Chris is tough and his skills are better than anyone else. He always seems to be in the position you don’t want him to be in”, Hall said. A couple of years after receiving his Stablehand’s licence Gary Hall Jnr got his licence to drive in races and promptly celebrated his 16th birthday at the Pinjarra trots by driving a horse called Enhancer to victory for his father Gary Hall Snr. It was his first drive in a race and the first of more than 1850 winners and the first of more than 1100 winners recorded by the father/son combination. Enhancer was raced by Mike and June Van Rens who were later involved with the father/son combination in owning champion The Falcon Strike in partnership with Sydneysider Alex Kay. Somewhat ironically Alex Kay and Mike Van Rens were to later become part-owners of Victorian champion Smoken Up which became one of the great race-track rivals of the Hall’s subsequent star Im Themightyquinn. With seven winners and 11 placegetters in his first 30 race drives the younger Hall’s aptitude at the reins hastened his father’s scaling back from driving duties. He has maintained a highly creditable strike rate across more than 8300 drives with 48.5% of his drives finishing in the first three. Hall had some 70 winners under his belt when his father negotiated the purchase from New Zealand of the Falcon Seelster colt The Falcon Strike. Racing in New Zealand as Falcon Strike, he had finished fifth to Franco Heir in the Group One New Zealand Sires Stakes before coming to Perth. The Falcon Strike was early favourite for the WA Derby after winning his first four races in Perth including the Group Three Western Gateway Pace but a chequered run in the Derby saw him finish down the track behind the interstate trained pair of Manifold Bay and Franco Heir. The Falcon Strike Manifold Bay again proved his nemesis eight months later in the 2001 Group One 4yo Golden Nugget Championship after The Falcon Strike had won seven of his eight starts leading into the race including the Group Three McInerney Ford Classic. A month after the Golden Nugget, in January 2002, The Falcon Strike won both the Group One WA Pacing Cup and Group One Fremantle Cup and the big race record of Gary Hall Jnr was under way. He became the youngest driver to win Western Australia’s premier race at 19 years 177 days beating the 53 year old record of Alan Woodworth who was 20 years and 296 days old when he won with Bintravis in 1949. The euphoria of a pair of Group One wins was soon to be followed by the despair of injury a month later after the 2002 Hunter Cup at Moonee Valley. The Falcon Strike not only galloped at the start but was checked shortly afterwards by a galloping Tailamade Lombo and, despite being forced off the track, the stallion made up a massive amount of ground to finish less than two metres from the winner Safe And Sound in fifth place. “He had broken down during the Hunter Cup and we were devastated as the run had shown just how good and gutsy he was”, Hall recalled. While The Falcon Strike was off the scene for more than 12 months he lost none of his ability although it was to take all of Gary Hall Snr’s considerable skill and expertise as a trainer to keep the stallion sound and fit to compete at the highest level. And compete at the highest level he did as he added a further two WA Pacing Cups, two Australian Pacing Championships and a second Fremantle Cup on his way to more than a million dollars in earnings. So strong were his performances, and with a home track advantage, The Falcon Strike was installed as pre-post favourite for the 2004 Perth Inter Dominion. The remarkable record of Gary Hall Jnr in the Inter Dominion began with a winning double behind his father’s horses in two of the three heats on the opening night of the 2004 Championship. Faking It won the opening heat and The Falcon Strike won the third heat on opening night and with subsequent placings Hall qualified both horses for the final. It wasn’t a difficult decision for Hall to choose The Falcon Strike as his drive in the nation’s biggest race despite the stallion drawing wide in barrier six. Faking It had drawn even wider and the drive on the 80/1 outsider went to Fred Kersley. After working early Hall settled The Falcon Strike outside the leader Jofess in a carbon copy of the pair’s second night clash which saw Jofess draw away in the straight to win comfortably by a little over a length. The Inter Dominion final was a lot closer as The Falcon Strike, carrying the hopes of his legion of Western Australian fans that had sent him out as a $3.30 favourite, dug deep with many on-course believing that he had got up in a desperate final lunge. The photo-finish showed otherwise with Jofess holding on to win by a nose from The Falcon Strike with a further nose to Sokyola in third place and Mister D G another nose away in fourth place in what ranks as one of the all-time great Inter Dominion finishes. It was to be another seven years before Gary Hall Jnr was to have a second drive in an Inter Dominion final as his father continued to search for a second champion with a series of purchases from New Zealand and the Eastern States of Australia. “I don’t have any input into the horses that Dad gets for his owners and in fact Dad gets cranky when he tells me about the new one and I don’t bother looking them up on the internet”, Hall laughed. In June 2008, less than a month after he had finished third in the $200,000 Harness Jewels final for three-year-olds in New Zealand, a diminutive brown gelding called Themightyquinn arrived at the Hall’s Hazelmere stables. Despite his high price-tag Hall was hardly impressed with the new arrival. “He arrived as a late three-year-old and I didn’t think much of him as he appeared pretty runty and not much to look at. I guess it just goes to show that good things come in small packages”. Re-named Im Themightyquinn, to avoid a clash with an average Australian bred gelding of the same name, the son of Washington VC was given a short break before being prepared for the 2008 Summer Carnival at Gloucester Park. A third placing behind Schinzig Buller and Mysta Magical Mach in the Group One Golden Nugget 4yo Championship was followed by an all-the-way win from barrier one in the Group One McInerney Ford Classic. An attempt to emulate the four-year-old performances of The Falcon Strike in the WA Pacing Cup and Fremantle Cup failed but the following season Im Themightyquinn won the Fremantle Cup from his stablemates Alzona and Dartmoor and then finished second to Washakie in the WA Cup. His tendency to pull hard in his races and over-race wasn’t helping Im Themightyquinn and Gary Hall Snr spent many hours teaching the horse to relax. As a six-year-old Im Themightyquinn established himself as the best pacer in the Southern Hemisphere with a series of sensational performances. Im Themightyquinn Wins in the 2011 Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups were followed by a third placing as favourite behind the New Zealand pair Stunin Cullen and Smiling Shard in the Hunter Cup at Melton. Hall missed the WA Pacing Cup drive due to a suspension and Kim Prentice proved a more than able substitute. Hall was back in the sulky when Im Themightyquinn returned to his homeland for that year’s Inter Dominion series. Originally scheduled to be held in Christchurch, the Championships were transferred at the eleventh hour to Auckland after an earthquake devastated the Canterbury region in February that year. Racing at Auckland is conducted in a clockwise direction as opposed to the anti-clockwise racing at Australian tracks and Gary’s father decided that a couple of starts at the track would benefit the horse. After finishing a close third to Power Of Tara and Monkey King in the Group Two City of Auckland FFA a typically cool and calculated drive from the younger Hall saw Im Themightyquinn sprint over Mr Feelgood and Pembrook Benny in the straight to win the Group One Auckland Cup. The Inter Dominion was shortened to two rounds of heats and final and after a pair of brilliant heat wins Im Themightyquinn started a warm favourite in the final but failed to run down Smoken Up in the straight. Months after the actual race Im Themightyquinn was announced as the winner following the discovery of the anti-inflammatory dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) in the swab taken from Smoken Up. While he was feted as the winner of the 2011 Inter Dominion it didn’t sit particularly well with Hall. “It was a pretty flat feeling as we hadn’t had the chance to celebrate the win at the time and had I not won the Inter Dominion again I would never have felt that I had actually won the race”, Hall said. After returning to Perth Im Themightyquinn was given a long spell with the 2012 Inter Dominion series, at his home track of Gloucester Park, the target. After winning the 2012 WA Pacing Cup from Dasher VC and Lightning Raider a week later he obliterated the field in the Fremantle Cup winning easing down by ten metres from Raglan and Lombo Navigator. That night Im Themightyquinn entered the back straight at Gloucester Park near last in the quality field and literally exploded to the front in the space of 150 metres before cruising to the line. The 2012 Inter Dominion series was run in the time-honoured format of three heats and a final over a fortnight and Im Themightyquinn joined elite company in going through the series undefeated and providing the on-track euphoria for the connections that was absent a year earlier. “I guess I was a bit over the top in 2012 but it was just such a great feeling and being able to share it in front of so many of Quinny’s fans at home was very very special” Hall said. “I was also so pleased for Dad as the four runs in a fortnight really is the ultimate test of the skill of a trainer”, he added. “As a driver I probably shouldn’t admit it but the trainer is the key. There is an old saying that the driver can't get a horse to go any better than the trainer has it ready to go”. The format of the Inter Dominion changed after the Perth Championship and in 2013 Im Themightyquinn qualified for the final at Menangle in New South Wales with another brilliant win in a qualifying heat run at Gloucester Park a fortnight before the $750,000 final. Yet another quality big race drive from Hall saw Im Themightyquinn come from last with 1000 metres to travel to win by more than a length from the pace-making Mah Sish and Excel Stride and record his third straight Inter Dominion win. “Sydney was his best win and it well and truly put the seal on his greatness”, said Hall. Following his 4yo season, and after learning to relax more in his races, Im Themightyquinn has proven almost unbeatable and in 18 starts against the Southern Hemisphere’s best over four seasons of racing Im Themightyquinn has never been unplaced at Group One level recording a remarkable 12 wins, three seconds and three thirds. Those 12 wins include three Inter Dominion Championships and Hall has the amazing record of having driven four starters in the country’s biggest harness race with just the nose second for The Falcon Strike standing between the driver and an unblemished record at the top level. His coolness as a driver at the Inter Dominion level is underlined when comparing his career placings percentage of 48.5% with his record in Inter Dominion heats and finals. His 22 drives at this level have resulted in 11 wins, five seconds and one third which means he has been placed a remarkable 77% of the time when it really matters. Gary Hall Jnr with Gary Hall Senior While he credits his laid-back attitude as a major factor in his big-race success, and may appear nerveless and relaxed, as horses complete their preliminaries Hall is far from relaxed inside. “Yes I do get nervous before a big race especially on the day of the race with all the advice and as the various scenarios go through your head”, he explained. “The Sydney Inter Dominion was the worst I have been and I had no idea how I was going to drive Quinny that day. Once the barrier let us go I was fine and just in the zone”. Enquiries about tickets to the 2019 WA Racing Industry Hall of Fame Induction night on 28th February should be directed to Hall of Fame Coordinator Suzy Jackson on (08) 9445 5371 or By Alan Parker

Champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr has given punters a strong lead by opting to drive Bronze Seeker in the opening event, the $20,000 Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Hall chose to handle the Peter Anderson-trained Bronze Seeker in preference to smart performer Kimani, who is prepared by his father Gary Hall Snr. He made that decision after driving Bronze Seeker to victory over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon and after Bronze Seeker drew the coveted No. 1 barrier and Kimani drew out wide at barrier eight. Kimani will be driven by Stuart McDonald, whose previous drive behind the gelding was eight starts ago when he began from barrier eight and impressed in charging home from eighth at the bell to win easily from Starlight Brigade, after final quarters of 28.7sec. and 28.8sec. in a 2130m event at Gloucester Park. Hall, one of 25 drivers to have handled Bronze Seeker in his 191 starts in Western Australia, will be driving the versatile ten-year-old for only the fifth time. His record behind the gelding is a win, a second and two fourths. Bronze Seeker broke an 11-month drought and ended a losing sequence of 26 at Pinjarra on Monday when he began speedily from barrier three to take up the running after 50m. Hall then opted to take a sit behind Lagoon Stride and Bronze Seeker finished strongly along the sprint lane to win from Lagoon Stride and Thisbeachrighthere, rating 1.57.4. At his previous start, over 2130m on New Year’s Eve, Bronze Seeker (driven by Hall) was restrained from barrier seven and was not suited by the dawdling pace over the first 1200m. He was ninth at the bell and impressed when he sustained a powerful three-wide burst from the 700m to finish a very close fourth behind Carrera Mach. Bronze Seeker has been a credit to Anderson, who has given the Mach Three gelding 191 starts for 15 wins and 35 placings. Bronze Seeker, who had 26 starts in New Zealand for 11 wins (one as a two-year-old and ten as a three-year-old), has earned $407,424 from 26 wins and 39 placings from 217 starts. Among Bronze Seeker’s rivals this week are three from the Hall stable Kimani, Benhope Rulz and Campora. Benhope Rulz, to be driven by Corey Peterson from barrier six, is in splendid form and will have many admirers. He was an excellent second to star four-year-old Jack Mac four starts ago and was an effortless all-the-way winner at a 1.55.1 rate over 1730m two starts ago. Another fancied runner will be the evergreen Mister Ardee, who will again be driven by Madeleine Young for Pinjarra trainer Matt Saw. Mister Ardee is sure to figure prominently from barrier two on the front line.   Ken Casellas

When Rocknroll Lincoln lines up in this Friday night’s Retravision-Fremantle Cup (2536m), it will deliver his owner Glen Mortimer his proudest moment in a sport he has held dear to him for more than 40 years. Mortimer will have a dual role to play in Friday night’s feature, as an owner of a runner in the $300,000 event, as well as being the major sponsor of the race with Retravision. Mortimer recalls spending a countless number of hours at Richmond Raceway as a teenager, where his love for Harness Racing grew. “I used to go and watch trials at Richmond Raceway when horses like Mount Eden were racing,” he said. “My parents often played tennis at a tennis court across the road from the Raceway, so I would sneak across and watch Mount Eden trial. “Watching participants like Fred Kersley and Chris Lewis and horses like James Eden, Binshaw then Preux Chevalier and Village Kid, I thought it was a great spectacle. “Seeing the horses go around the track two or three times a race and being really close to the action, it’s exhilarating.” Mortimer first got involved in ownership as an 18-year-old and said he has now had more than 150 winners as an owner, the highlight of those being Kim Prentice’s Breeders’ Stakes winner Absolutely Ruthless. The success with Absolutely Ruthless prompted Mortimer to continue investing in the industry, which has also provided a few speed bumps for him along the way. “I had a horse called Alberta Retreat, who was beaten as a $1.30 favourite in the WA Derby,” he said. “He won eight of his first nine starts and we thought he was a real good one. “Since then, we have tried to get that really good horse. “I had one win an Easter Cup, but he hurt his leg and we lost him. “That kept me motivated to find a really good one.” The persistence and patience Mortimer has shown to try and get ‘the good one’ is now a realistic chance to pay off over the next fortnight. Rocknroll Lincoln has emerged as a genuine Fremantle Cup contender over the past month, taking out the Bunbury Cup and a Free-For-All at Gloucester Park. It was a ride that Mortimer almost wasn’t a part of. Mortimer had a small team of pacers with Rocknroll Lincoln’s trainer Justin Prentice a couple of years ago, a team he was happy to keep small. When Prentice went to New Zealand in 2017, he called Mortimer to try and get him involved in the son of Rocknroll Hanover. “I had four or five horses with Justin and I said to him ‘I’ll sit with what I’ve got’,” Mortimer said. “He called me from New Zealand and said ‘I know you’re not interested in getting anymore horses, but just watch the video on this link and let me know what you think’. “I was taken with his gate speed, so I called Justin straight back and told him that I’d be in. “I called up another mate after that and said ‘I’ve just bought the best horse I’ll ever have’.” In a further boost for Rocknroll Lincoln’s Fremantle Cup prospects, champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr has elected to stick with him instead of his father Gary Hall Snr’s horse Runrunjimmydunn. The five-year-old will start from barrier four in the Fremantle Cup, with short price favourite My Field Marshal to start from barrier two. Mortimer said it would be a tough task for Rocknroll Lincoln to beat My Field Marshal, the fastest horse in Australasia, but was elated with Hall Jnr sticking by his charge. “Junior is worth two or three lengths because he’s the best in the sport,” he said. “I would’ve thought he’d bustle him out of the gate and maybe get to the breeze and see what happens from there. “My Field Marshal is an outstanding horse and he’s drawn very well. “Galactic Star was unlucky in the Inter Dominion where he stormed home and ran sixth.” After years of watching the champions win one of the state’s biggest races in the sport he loves, Mortimer said he was daring to dream about having his own horse win it. “It’s one of the great time-honoured events in WA pacing,” he said. “Last year we had one of the greatest races of all time at Gloucester Park with Lazarus and My Hard Copy. “It would be one of the biggest thrills in life…I love Harness Racing. “I’d love to be up there on Friday night handing myself the trophy.” Rocknroll Lincoln is on the fourth line of betting with TABtouch for the Fremantle Cup at $12, with Miracle Mile and Village Kid Sprint winner My Field Marshal rated a $1.50 chance.   Tim Walker

Outstanding trainer Ross Olivieri is bubbling with confidence that veteran square gaiter Sunoflindenny will give him his first Group 1 success for seven and a half years by overcoming a 20m handicap and proving the master of his 11 rivals in the $50,000 WA Trotters Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Olivieri, an eight-time premiership trainer in Western Australia and the fourth most successful trainer in the history of WA harness racing (behind Gary Hall Snr, Trevor Warwick and Fred Kersley Jnr), said: “Sunoflindenny is a second-to-none chance; he’s good at the stand and is the one to beat.” Sunoflindenny, a New Zealand-bred nine-year-old, will again be handled by champion reinsman Chris Lewis, who has combined with Olivieri in 21 of the trainer’s 27 Group 1 triumphs, including his most recent Group 1 victory with Western Cullen on debut in the Golden Slipper at Gloucester Park in July 2011. Olivieri has yet to taste success in the WA Trotters Cup which was first run 13 years ago. Lewis drove the Clive Dalton-trained 5/4 favourite Earl of Charity to a runaway victory in the Cup just over three years ago. In the most recent Cup, Lewis drove the Olivieri-trained Blue Sky Commander into third place behind the pacemaking Itsgettingcalder, and the combination also finished second to Nacokee with Apache Blue Jean in January 2010 and third behind Enjoy A Coldie in January 2015 with the 11/8 favourite Earl Or Nothing, who was hampered by a flat sulky tyre. Sunoflindenny, who is raced by Merv Butterworth’s racing syndicate, is in sparkling form, scoring stylish victories at each of his three appearances after resuming from a spell. He has reinforced his reputation as a foolproof beginner in stands and has relished the role of pacemaker in those three victories after dashing to the front soon after the start. He was an easy first-up winner from Lightning Calder and Tenno Sho over 2503m at Bunbury on November 17 before smart victories over Rocknroll Baby and Lightning Calder over the same distance at Gloucester Park and by four lengths over Ton Tine and Balmoral Boy over 2631m at Pinjarra. On Friday night Sunoflindenny, who has had 71 starts for 13 wins and 24 placings, will share the 20m back mark with Sun of Anarchy, Lightning Calder, Balmoral Boy and Diamond Geezer. His most serious rival appears certain to be Sun of Anarchy, who is prepared at Boyanup by his driver Justin Prentice, who made the most of an untimely suspension imposed on trainer Shannon Suvaljko to guide Scusi Doctor (backed from 7/1 to 3/1) to a one-length win over the pacemaker, the Merv Jupp-trained 2/1 favourite Nicky Eileen who was driven by Lewis. Sun of Anarchy, like Sunoflindenny a New Zealand-bred nine-year-old by super sire Sundon, is also in excellent form, with his impressive victory in a 2100m mobile event at Bunbury on December 18 improving his record to 105 starts for 20 wins, 39 placings and stakes of $180,496. He managed just three thirds from 20 starts as a three and four-year-old in New Zealand before racing 70 times in Victoria for 15 wins (eight in stands) and 29 placings. He has had 14 starts in Western Australia for five wins (four in stands) and seven placings. Prentice prepares Sun of Anarchy for leviathan New Zealand owner Trevor Casey, who bred the gelding, who is out of Niamey, who has also produced Pocaro (42 starts for 13 wins, 11 placings and $232,773) and Daenerys Targaryen (43 starts for 15 wins, 14 placings and $143,723). Casey also bred and raced champion trotter Stent, a winner of ten Group 1 events in a 70-start career of 30 wins, 25 placings and $1,130,406 in prizemoney. He also was a part-owner of superstar pacer Lazarus, a dual New Zealand Cup winner and winner of the Interdominion championship at Gloucester Park in December 2017. Another of Casey’s pacers was Our Sky Major, who has been retired after earning $796,486 from 15 wins and 16 placings in a 52-start career, which included five group 1 feature wins, highlighted by his victory over Bling It On in the 2015 Chariots of Fire at Menangle. Prentice trained Our Sky Major for a win and two placings in a brief seven-start campaign in Western Australia in 2016. Wundowie trainer Bruce Stanley has two runners, Lightning Calder and The Male Model, in Friday night’s Cup. He will drive the ultra-consistent Lightning Calder off 20m and he has engaged Michael Grantham to handle The Male Model, who will start off the 10m mark. Lightning Calder simply does not know how to perform below par and cannot be underestimated. The eight-year-old’s past 18 starts have produced seven wins, four seconds, two thirds and five fourths. Stanley trained and drove 20/1 chance Dance To Victory for a surprise win over Smooth Criminal in the 2008 Trotters Cup. The Tonia Stampalia-trained Balmoral Boy warmed up for the big race with a decisive victory over Tenno Sho and Lightning Calder in a 2130m mobile trot at Gloucester Park on Monday night.    The oldest runner is 11-year-old Nigel Johns-trained Diamond Geezer, who will begin off the 20m mark with Morgan Woodley in the sulky for the gelding’s 181st start. Woodley drove Diamond Geezer when he finished second to Enjoy A Coldie in the Cup in January 2015. Enjoy A Coldie was trained and driven by Nathan Turvey, who will be hoping for another success this week with the Victorian-bred Tenno Sho, whose five starts in his current campaign have produced two wins, two seconds and a third placing. Ken Casellas

A comparatively small field will tackle the final event on Friday night, the NYE at Gloucester Park Pace for three-year-olds. However, what is lacking in quantity is surely matched in the quality of the six contestants. Its Rock And Roll, a Group 1 winner at two, has come up with the advantage of the pole. He boasts the fastest winning mile-rate of 1:53.9, which he set at his last run before being turned out for a spell. He resumed at Pinjarra more than three weeks ago where he was able to lead before finishing a well-beaten second behind stablemate Patrickthepiranha. From the draw he will have the option to lead or trail once more. Babyface Adda has proven himself a worthy adversary as a sit-sprinter and will likely drop behind Its Rock And Roll at the start. He breezed last start in quick sectionals and dropped out to finish ninth behind the promising Rockaball at Pinjarra. Shockwave has established himself as one of the stars of this season's local 3YO crop. He was forced to work from well off the speed to take up the breeze when beaten into third place behind Patrickthepiranha two starts ago. He followed that up with a dominant win at Bunbury. Driver Gary Hall Jr could push for the early lead with Shockwave. Patrickthepiranha is shooting for five on the trot and appears to be the horse they all have to beat. He was able to lead and control the early pace before whizzing home in an astounding 54.1sec for the final 800m at Pinjarra last start. He will be forced to work harder this Friday night, but must be respected on his winning form. Bitcoin appears to hail from weaker form lines than some of his opponents but has looked classy in his three victories since resuming from a spell. He faces his stiffest test in some time and will need to produce a career-best performance to win. Franco Edward, the reigning WA 2YO of the Year, rounds out the elite line-up but barrier six makes his task that much harder. He showed commendable bravery when getting up in the final stride first-up, before an emphatic second-up victory when coming from well back to win drawing away.  Franco Edward will be in a similar position but has speed to burn and seems certain to make his presence felt. A cracker of a race, whoever you fancy.   Hayden King

Eight-year-old Machrie has turned the corner in the past few weeks with two eye-catching placings after a sequence of 15 unplaced efforts and the Chris King-trained gelding has sound prospects of ending a losing sequence of 32 when he starts from the coveted No. 1 barrier in the final event, the Westral Crimsafe Security Doors Pace over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Chris Voak is expected to be anxious to take full advantage of Machrie’s good gate speed in a bid to score an all-the-way win. Machrie is not a noted frontrunner, but he did lead from barrier one and win well from Hilo Rex over 2242m at Narrogin in March 2017. He was a $92 outsider two starts ago when he started from the inside of the back line and raced three back on the pegs in fifth position before running home strongly to be a one-length second to outstanding young mare Our Angel of Harlem. Then, he was a $29.20 chance from the outside barrier (No. 9) last Friday week when he raced in eighth position, four back on the pegs, before finishing powerfully, out wide, to be a close third behind Free To Air and Luis Alberto. One of Machrie’s main rivals is likely to be the somewhat disappointing Luis Alberto, who will be driven by Gary Hall jnr from the No. 2 barrier. Luis Alberto, who has a losing sequence of 13, has had 27 starts in WA for five wins and 13 placings. He has set the pace seven times in WA for three of his wins. However, he is generally regarded as a better prospect when held up for a late finishing burst. His was a sound effort last Friday night when he began out wide at barrier eight, settled in ninth and last position and sustained a strong three-wide last-lap burst to finish an 8m second to the pacemaker Beltane over 2130m. A week earlier Luis Alberto was tenth in the middle stages and sustained a three-wide run from the 1000m to take a narrow lead in the final 50m before wilting to finish second to the fast-finishing Free To Air, a stablemate of Machrie. Two of the better bets on the program should be The Art Form in the opening event, the Westral Roller Blinds Pace, and Jack Mac in the Westral Outdoor Patio Blinds Golden Nugget Prelude. The Art Form should have the class to overcome the disadvantage of starting out wide at barrier nine. He is sure to have derived considerable benefit from his solid second to the pacemaker Fizzing after working hard without cover throughout. Jack Mac, trained in Busselton by Barry Howlett, will have his final warm-up before contesting the Golden Nugget Championship the following Friday when he starts as the lone runner on the back line in the 2130m prelude. He resumed after a 25-day absence in the group 1 Yes Loans Four-Year-Old Classic last Friday night when he was at a disadvantage, starting from the outside barrier (No. 9). He covered extra ground in the first lap and moved into the breeze 1270m from home before wilting to sixth. Ken Casellas

New South Wales-bred square gaiter Rocknroll Baby is a highly unusual trotter, whose sire and dam were outstanding pacers. Rocknroll Baby, a recent addition to the Serpentine stables of champion trainer Gary Hall Snr, will create much interest when she makes her West Australian debut in the $18,000 Cowden Since 1972 Trot, a 2503m stand at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “She was sent over to me from Adelaide about three months ago and she goes good,” said Hall. “She was the South Australian Horse of the Year last season (against the pacers).” A five-year-old mare, Rocknroll Baby is an experienced trotter who has raced 64 times for 19 wins and 15 placings. She has had 27 starts in stands for 12 wins and has led in 13 of her 19 victories. Her American sire Rock N Roll Heaven was a world champion as a two and three-year-old before being retired to stud. He amassed $2,774,478 from 20 wins and eight placings from just 30 starts, winning at four of his nine starts as a two-year-old and at 16 of his 21 starts the following season. Rocknroll Baby’s dam is the Canadian-bred Our Ice Baby, who had 56 starts for eight wins and nine placings for earnings of $240,293. Hall will be starting a trotter for the first time for a couple of years but he has enjoyed great success with trotters, including Makati Maximus (nine wins from 13 starts), Tuhimati Glass (six wins, eight seconds and two thirds from 20 starts), Prince Eddie (11 wins from 22 starts) and Armed Force (11 wins, including five in succession in early 2016). Gary Hall Jnr will drive Rocknroll Baby, who is sure to be fully tested by Ross Olivieri’s Sunoflindenny, Jocelyn Young’s Our Summer Vacation, Bruce Stanley’s Lightning Calder and Tonia Stampalia’s Balmoral Boy. Sunoflindenny (Chris Lewis) resumed after a spell in fine style at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon when he led for much of the way and won from Lightning Calder. He is a standing-start specialist, with ten of his 11 wins coming in stands. Our Summer Vacation has won seven stands in his tally of 14 wins, five in New Zealand, seven at Menangle and two in Launceston. He is capable of surprising at his first appearance in WA. Lightning Calder, a winner of 25 races and in excellent form, looks set to fight out the finish. Ken Casellas

Mighty Conqueror has emerged as the horse to beat for the Group 1 Golden Nugget on December 14, following his dominant win in the Group 2 Four-Year-Old Championship at Gloucester Park last night. Despite WA Derby winner King Of Swing and last week’s Pinjarra Four-Year-Old Classic winner Jack Mac both missing last night’s event, Mighty Conqueror produced a performance that put his Nugget rivals on notice. The Gary Hall Snr-trained Think About Me was sent out a $2.35 TABtouch favourite from barrier one, but Ryan Warwick drove aggressively on Mighty Conqueror to find the front in the early stages. Think About Me was forced to settle on the back of Mighty Conqueror, while Golden State settled in the breeze. Bechers Brook enjoyed a perfect run throughout and was left as the final challenger to Mighty Conqueror on the home turn, but the Greg and Skye Bond-trained gelding fought off Bechers Brook to win by 7m. A winner at six of his seven starts now, Mighty Conqueror ran home in 57.1 and maintained his unbeaten record in Australia. Bechers Brook and Think About Me filled the minor placings, while the other Bond runner Bright Diamond was fourth. As impressive as the performance was from Mighty Conqueror, Greg Bond suggested post-race his most exciting four-year-old, and potentially his best, was yet to run in Australia. Ana Malak lines up at Pinjarra on Monday over 2185m, where he will be looking to enhance his Golden Nugget credentials, as will Bettor Aim, the only pacer to beat Jack Mac in Perth. Mighty Conqueror was the second leg of a feature double on the night for the Bond team, after Galactic Star took out the Pat Cranley Memorial (1730m). The Bond stable have expressed their interest in getting the six-year-old to Melbourne for next month’s Inter Dominion Series and he showed last night he would be more than competitive against some of Australasia’s best pacers. The race panned out perfectly for Galactic Star, who was second-up from a spell, with Warwick able to find the one out one back position from barrier six, while Tricky Styx held the front from barrier one. Galactic Star was well poised coming into the home straight and went on to win by 3m to Devendra and Our Jimmy Johnstone. Arguably the most impressive winner of the night was Our Angel Of Harlem in the Glenroy Chaff Pace (2130m). The mare was first-up without a trial last night and subsequently drifted to $2.05 second favourite with TABtouch, while Infinite Symbol was $1.70. Infinite Symbol led throughout, while Our Angel Of Harlem sat in the breeze, but when reinsman Mark Reed called upon the mare to make her run she responded brilliantly to win by 3m. Reed said there was still plenty of improvement left in the four-year-old. “She’s still very big in condition,” he said. “I knew she’d benefit from whatever she does tonight but she just got a little bit keen in the run.” Trainer Mike Reed said he would consider running Our Angel Of Harlem in the Golden Nugget as well as the Mares Classic a week earlier. It was also a landmark night trainer-reinsman Kaiden Hayter, who recorded his first Gloucester Park Friday night winning double in the sulky.   Tim Walker

Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall Snr is delighted at the progress being made by lightly-raced four-year-old Benhope Rulz and said the gelding was firmly on track for a start in the $200,000 Golden Nugget next month. Hall expects Benhope Rulz, the youngest and least experienced runner in the field, to maintain his splendid form by proving too talented for his rivals in the $20,000 Book Your Xmas Function at the Beau Rivage Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Benhope Rulz won for the fifth time from seven starts in his current preparation when he started from barrier five, dashed to the lead after 300m and sprinted over the final sections in 28.5sec. and 28.1sec. to win from stablemate Luis Alberto at a 1.56.8 rate last Friday night. With Gary Hall Jnr in New Zealand, Stuart McDonald will again be in the sulky behind Benhope Rulz, who is handily drawn at No. 2 on the back line. “He’s a pretty good horse and only bad luck will beat him this week,” said Hall Snr. “Danieljohn looks the one to beat, and Suspicious Life also has claims. Hall produced another Nugget hopeful at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening when McDonald drove former Victorian performer Think About Me to victory by a head over Shadow Maker, dashing over the final 400m in 27.8sec. and rating 1.57.4 over 2130m. “At the moment I have Nugget contenders in Benhope Rulz, Speed Man, King of Swing, Think About Me and another one I haven’t produced,” Hall said. Mundijong trainer Kristian Hawkins has three runners up against Benhope Rulz in Friday night’s race over 2130m. He will drive veteran Danieljohn from barrier one, Ryan Warwick will handle Bettor Not Bitter (barrier three) and Corey Peterson will be in the sulky behind Runaway Three at barrier five. “I’ll be desperately disappointed if Danieljohn leads and gets beaten, given the way he is going,” Hawkins said. “He is a much superior horse in front. He is just a freak of a horse who loves being in work. He tries really hard and is always eager to please.” The ten-year-old Danieljohn certainly looks the leader on Friday night and should take catching. He is still racing enthusiastically after 145 race starts for 34 wins and 44 placings for earnings of $312,379. Hawkins also has sound prospects on Friday night with several stable runners, including The Trilogy, Dontstopbelievin, Stroganoff and Starlight Brigade. Dontstopbelievin, a winner at seven of her past ten starts, is poorly drawn at barrier seven in the 2536m Book Your Next Conference at Gloucester Park Pace. “I know she won well last Friday, but her past two runs haven’t left me as happy as I would have liked,” Hawkins said. “It was just in the manner in which she raced, sort of dour. Now I want to give her one run over 2536m before the classic races come up. After this week’s race she’ll probably have three and a half weeks off until the $125,000Four-Year-Old Classic on December 30. “That will mean she will miss a couple of $50,000 races, but I think that will be better for her. “From barrier six on Friday night I’ll probably driver her with a sit, something I haven’t driven her before, apart from the time I butchered it. I daresay my hand probably will be forced on Friday and it will be more of a learning curve on how she will go, sitting up. I’ll probably have one crack at them, whether we go at the bell or at another stage of the race; it depends on the tempo of the race.” Hawkins said he had good prospects with Stroganoff in race six and Starlight Brigade in the seventh event. Both are favourably drawn at barrier two on the front line. “I’ll be doing my best to find the front with Stroganoff,” Hawkins said. “When we get serious out of the gate he’s always had plenty of toe. If he finds the front, he’s a big show. Starlight Brigade should find the front and should go well in his race. At his latest start, at Kellerberrin, he sat in the breeze which is not his go and was just beaten (by a head) by Patrickthepiranha, rating 1.59.3 which was a quicker time than that recorded by The Trilogy in the main race that day.” Ken Casellas

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