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Impressive four-year-old Ana Malak has withstood a number of challenges from a star-studded field to hold on and win the Group 1 Yes Loans 4YO Classic (2130m) at Gloucester Park. Ana Malak, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, was having just his second start in Western Australia last night and was able to hold the front from barrier one for reinsman Ryan Warwick. Jack Mac eventually made his move to sit outside the leader with 1200m to go, while the unbeaten Ideal Liner was three pairs back along the inside. Ideal Liner was eventually able to get away from the inside coming to the home turn to give chase to Ana Malak, but the Gary Hall Snr-trained pacer fell short by a head. Mighty Conqueror, another runner from the Bond stable finished third, while Ideal Liner’s stablemate Benhope Rulz was fourth. Warwick said Ana Malak was still learning his craft and would continue to improve with racing. “He was very credible,” he said. “He was off the bit and on the bit. “He was probably doing a bit wrong and he nearly cost himself on the line. “I’m sure there’s more motor then what you saw tonight but he probably doesn’t know how to use it properly.” Winning owner Rob Gartrell paid tribute to the Bond team, who recorded their first success in the $125,000 feature last night. “I haven’t been so nervous for a long time,” he said. “Ryan was really confident we could lead, I was hopeful. “Skye has done a magnificent job, she does a lot of the work with him. “That’s one of the great four-year-old fields.” Of the beaten brigade, reinsman Mark Reed said he was impressed with Golden State’s sharp form turnaround to finish fifth, while Chris Lewis said Jack Mac would take plenty of benefit from his sixth placing heading towards the Golden Nugget on December 14. Ana Malak was one of five winners on the night for the Bond stable and Ryan Warwick. Earlier in the night they teamed up to win the We Say Yes To Commercial Loans Pace (2130m) with Our Max Phactor. Following Ana Malak’s win, Mitch Maguire, Fizzing and Bright Diamond all recorded impressive wins. Fizzing and Bright Diamond were emergencies for the Group 1 feature on the night, but both put forward compelling cases to be included in the field for the Golden Nugget. Mitch Maguire was driven patiently in the standing start event of the evening, before he stormed over the top late to record a win that led to Gartrell describing him as the “fastest horse he had.” The Bond, Warwick and Gartrell combination will be hoping their successful Friday night can transition to Bunbury tonight with Vampiro in the Bunbury Cup, while they also have Galactic Star in Melbourne ahead of the opening night of Inter Dominion heats. Meanwhile, Maczaffair has stamped herself as one of two key contenders for next week’s Group 1 Mares Classic, taking out the $30,000 Howard Porter Memorial for the Mike Reed stable. Mark Reed said there was nothing between Maczaffair and last week’s Norms Daughter winner Eden Franco.   Tim Walker

Tisadream has managed just one third placing from three starts since resuming from a spell, but reinsman Aiden de Campo warned punters not to overlook the five-year-old when he contests the Chris Carr Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. De Campo pointed out that Tisadream, prepared in Capel by his father Andrew, was extremely unlucky when seventh behind Soho Wonder last Friday night. Tisadream, who was restrained at the start from barrier seven, was eighth in the one-wide line at the bell and was unwinding a spirited finishing burst when he broke gear and galloped in the home straight. “His was a really good run until he broke gear,” de Campo said. “He broke a breastplate, which caused the saddle to slip. If it hadn’t been for that mishap, he would have finished top three, second or third at worst. It was an encouraging run after disappointing efforts at his two previous starts after resuming from a spell.” “This is a nice race this week, but if he is able to lead from barrier two, he’ll go really well. I’m not sure about Kimani’s gate speed from barrier one. I’ll just have to wait and see.” Kimani’s trainer Gary Hall Snr said that the New Zealand-bred gelding had not before been drawn to lead. “But I’m sure he will go all right,” he said. Kimani sustained a powerful finishing burst from fifth at the bell when second to Walkinshaw last Friday week. He was most impressive a week earlier when he was restrained at the start from barrier eight and was eighth at the bell before surging home, three wide, to win easily from Starlight Brigade and The Redmeemer. Tisadream and Kimani are expected to receive stiff opposition from back-line runners El Jacko and Mister Ardee. El Jacko, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, resumed after a spell last Friday week and disappointed in finishing tenth behind Maczaffair. He began from the prized No. 1 barrier, but he dropped his head and raced roughly at the start, allowing Overboard Again to race to the front. Ryan Warwick then quickly moved El Jacko into the breeze before obtaining the one-out, one-back trail. He was forced wide at the 400m and resented this before taking the final turn awkwardly, thus losing momentum and dropping back. He has won at 16 of his 41 starts and is capable of bouncing back to his best form. Mister Ardee, to be driven by Madeleine Young for trainer Matt Saw, is racing in great heart and should fight out the finish.        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

The half-sister to Chicago Bull, Rockabilly Blues, lived up to her breeding when she won on debut at the Young Quinn Raceway at Wyndham today. The giant four year old mare by Rock N Roll Heaven is owned by her trainers Katrina and John Price and prior to today's race had had six workouts and a trial. She qualified at Ascot Park in September and has been given plenty of time to mature.  Rockabilly Blues drew four on the second line and driver Nathan Williamson settled her three back on the outside. At the 450 metre mark Williamson sent her forward and she was five wide at the 400. She came down the middle of the track resolutely and held on to beat Miss VC by three quarters of a length. Her winning mile time was 1-56.5. "I had to start my run a wee bit before I wanted because there was a bit of cat and mouse in front and I didn't want to be left with a 200 metre sprint. I came out early and forced their hand. She probably peaked on her run but she should improve. She lugged in a wee bit when I came wide on the track but that was expected because I was coming so wide," said Williamson. He also noted the mare was a bit more fired up today. "She's been good at the workouts but she was a lot more worked up today being her first race start. When she gets more seasoned she'll get better. She's not as good when she gets worked up. She's a very high speed mare."  Returning to the winners circle - Photo Bruce Stewart Rockabilly Blues is the third foal out of the three win Christian Cullen mare Chicago Blues. The first foal Chicago Bull, won two races as a two year old for the Price's before he was sold to Western Australia. There he has become a millionaire pacer for trainer Gary Hall Senior and has now won 40 races and $1,820,709. He was one of the early favourites for this Tuesday's New Zealand Cup but had to be withdrawn after suffering from fractures to his whither region. Winning connections - Photo Bruce Stewart  The mare's next foal Chicago Cub was sold at last year's yearling sales for the top price of $190,000. He was bought by Emilio and Mary Rosati and renamed Perfect Stride. He's won two of his three workouts for Ray Green in Auckland.  The Rosatis were on-course today and won the first race with their Muscles Yankee mare Zoey's Gift. Meanwhile maiden trotter Superfast Pat finally got his complete trotting game together when he won the Leithfield Nursery Gold Chip Final by an amazing thirty and a half lengths. The four year old Lauren Pearson trained trotter got away nicely and was taken straight to the front by driver Brent Barclay. The previous week at the Riverton meeting Missy Moo won by twenty three and three quarter lengths. Records suggest that David Moss's win by forty one lengths at Ascot Park in September 1990 is the widest winning margin ever recorded by a trotter in the south.    Bruce Stewart

Talented six-year-old El Jacko, one of the few pacers to have beaten champion Chicago Bull in Western Australia, will reappear after a brief spell when he contests the $30,000 Group 3 TABtouch York Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. For the New Zealand-bred gelding, who is being aimed at feature summer carnival events, this will be a rare experience starting from the coveted No. 1 barrier. El Jacko, owned by Skye Bond and prepared by her and her husband Greg, has had 33 starts in WA for 14 wins and 12 placings and the only time he started from the No. 1 barrier was at Pinjarra in February 2016 when he set the pace and won by four lengths from stablemate Donegal Kahlum. That remains as his only all-the-way victory in Australia. He has worked forward in the first lap to take the lead only three times. Many of his wins have come after he has worked hard in the breeze. El Jacko possesses excellent gate speed and leading reinsman Ryan Warwick is sure to take advantage of the draw by attempting to hold up and set the pace. He has been out of action for 11 weeks since he was a 5/1 on favourite from barrier No. 8 and finished a 5m second to stablemate and pacemaker Mighty Mr Sharkey over 2536m at Gloucester Park on August 24 when the final 800m was covered in 56.8sec. It will not be an easy task for El Jacko to hold the early lead against several speedy beginners, including Overboard Again (barrier two), Eden Franco, Maczaffair, Devendra and Argyle Red. Overboard Again, prepared by Gary Hall Snr, will be strongly fancied, despite his seventh behind Vampiro in the James Brennan Memorial last Friday night when he was a $45 outsider from the outside of the back line. He raced four back on the pegs and was hampered for room in the closing stages. Overboard Again impressed a week earlier when he started from barrier four, raced three wide early and took the lead after 500m before bowling along in front and winning by a half-length from odds-on favourite Eden Franco, with final quarters of 27.8sec. and 28.2sec. Lauren Jones has been engaged to drive Overboard Again for the first time, in the absence of star reinsman Gary Hall Jnr (in New Zealand) and Stuart McDonald (serving a seven-day suspension). The Colin Brown-trained and driven Eden Franco was gallant in defeat when second to Overboard Again last Friday week and she is set to run a bold race. That strong effort followed Eden Franco’s excellent first-up all-the-way win over Mitch Maguire. Maczaffair, the other mare in Friday night’s Cup, will start from the No. 4 barrier and is capable of vast improvement after unplaced runs at her past two starts. She will again be driven by Dylan Egerton-Green for trainer Mike Reed. The prospects of the Justin Prentice-trained and driven Rocknroll Lincoln, a winner at five of his past nine starts, slumped when he drew the outside barrier (No. 9) on the front line. For the record, El Jacko raced without cover before winning from the pacemaker Franco Rayner and Chicago Bull (at his Australian debut) in a 1730m event for three-year-olds at Gloucester Park on November 27, 2015. Then, El Jacko again asserted his authority over Chicago Bull when he won the 2692 Alcoa Cup at Pinjarra on September 26, 2016, beating the runner-up, Chicago Bull, by 2.2m.   Ken Casellas

It's not often in Harness Racing that a first starter winning a mid-week race could throw a spanner in a Gr.1 market; but thats exactly what happened today when Gary Hall Snr produced Ideal Liner to victory in a C0 only event at Gloucester Park. Hall is confident that the 4yo will "just keep winning" giving handicappers no choice but to give the lightly raced NZ import a birth in the prestigious Golden Nugget. We also catch up on the recovery of WA champion pacer Chicago Bull, Snr's NZ Sires Series hopeful Major Trojan AND each of the Hall camp runners on York Cup night at Gloucester Park.   Ken Casellas  

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

A freakish injury to Chicago Bull has turned his connection’s New Zealand Trotting Cup dream into a nightmare. The brave little pacer surged to Cup favouritism with an incredible victory at Alexandra Park last Friday but an injury suffered just hours later means he won’t race again this season. The prolific pacing pony flipped over backwards when being treated on Saturday morning and fell on his back, ultimately suffering six or eight fractures to his whither region. “It didn’t look great but he seemed fine afterwards and we were able to jog him on Sunday and Monday,” says driver and caretaker trainer Gary Hall junior. “But then it got worse and his movement got worse so we took him to the vets where they discovered the fractures. “It is something I have heard of but never seen a horse get injured like that before. And the vet said he had seen a horse suffered a couple of fractures like that before but not six or eight. “The most important news is the long-term prognosis is good and they are confident he will be able to race again. “So he will have two months in a box here in Pukekohe, then two more months spelling and then maybe start jogging again. But this season is gone.” While Chicago Bull had numerous feature race options this season the one that burned brightest for the Halls was the New Zealand Cup in 13 days time. It is a race trainer Gary Hall senior has always cherished but been unable to get his best horses to for one reason or another. Now he has found the cruellest way of all to be ruled out of it. The way he won last Friday night Chicago Bull deserved favouritism for the Cup, especially in a year when the New Zealand open class ranks are lacking a genuine superstar. Instead for Team Hall the New Zealand Cup 2018 will forever be the one that got away. He joins a remarkable list of open class pacers who will be missing from this year’s Cup due to injury, sale or retirement. Of the biggest names who contested the Cups, Inter Dominion and/or the Miracle Mile carnival last season Lazarus, Vincent, Heaven Rocks, Soho Tribeca, My Field Marshal, Jilliby Kung Fu and Lennytheshark will not be around for the pivotal next six weeks during which the Cup and Inter Dominion will be decided. It is rare case of the Cup non-starters far outweighing the star power of those left in the great race, held for $800,000 at Addington on November 13. Tiger Tara is now the only Australian-trained pacer in the Cup and could well start favourite depending what happens at Addington on Friday night. One-time Cup favourite Ultimate Machete could snare that role back if he wins his final lead-up race over 2600m standing start in which he meets stablemate Dream About Me. But much like the Dominion Trot on November 16, which has been shorn of injured champion trotter Monbet, the Cup is the most open in years. One horse who won’t be coming to Cup week is in-form Victorian trotter Tornado Valley, with trainer Andy Gath deciding to stay home and concentrate on the Inter Dominion starting December 1 as the gelding doesn’t travel well. Michael Guerin

Gary Hall knows two things heading into Chicago Bull’s Alexandra Park debut tonight — he has the best horse in the race, and that may still not be enough to win. Hall is one of the biggest stars in Australian harness racing, doing most of the driving for the superstar team trained in West Australia by his father Gary senior.  “Junior” as he is universally known has unofficially taken over the training duties as Chicago Bull counts down to the New Zealand Cup in two and a half weeks, with tonight’s race a chance to keep him fit and get some much-needed standing start experience.  But while Hall is happy with the last-start Victoria Cup runner-up he admits there are some concerns tonight.  “I don’t really like the idea of a 20m back mark over the 2200m,” he says.  “It could make he race really tricky and it is also his first standing start, so while I’d be surprised if he blew it, he could settle last.  “That means we could be chasing for a while in his first start right-handed so there are a few things against us.” Hall says last season’s Inter Dominion runner-up has been working well right-handed and if this race was at his home track of Gloucester Park he would be red hot but the reality is punters should be careful with him tonight.  A crucial stage of the race will be the start because if Jack’s Legend can step safely from his 10m handicap and stay in front of Chicago Bull then he has a tactical advantage, especially if the field slows at any stage and it looks the lead is there.  Two runs back into his Cup campaign, Jack’s Legend should be fit enough to win and looks the best bet if Chicago Bull’s presence pushes him toward $3-$3.50.  Chicago Bull isn’t the only group one winner facing a stiff handicap tonight as Lemond and Temporale share a 50m backmark in the main trot but such has been their dual dominance of similar races in the past whoever settles in front of the other will probably still win.   Michael Guerin

On the eve of his return to racing in New Zealand Chicago Bull’s managing owner Beth Richardson was last night awarded Life Membership of the WA Trotting Association at the 2018 Annual General Meeting. Chicago Bull is scheduled to start at Auckland’s Alexandra Park tomorrow night on his way to next month’s New Zealand Cup in Christchurch. Chicago Bull’s last start in New Zealand was on 30th May 2015 when he finished seventh in the Group One 2yo Emerald won by Lazarus. Mrs Richardson has raced horses since the mid 1960’s and Beth has now owned or part-owned 971 winners (127 individual horses). To date 702 of those winners have been in Perth at Gloucester Park and Richmond Raceway with 107 individual horses involved and Mrs Richardson owned her first Gloucester Park winner some 54 years ago courtesy of Pukka Sahib. Mrs Richardson has had 30 individual trainers of her 971 winners with Gary Hall training 855 of them. The first winner Hall trained for Mrs Richardson was Wilby Rich at Northam on 23rd May 1987. Wilby Rich was bred by Mrs Richardson in partnership with her husband John. The 855 winners trained by Gary Hall for Beth Richardson includes a remarkable 26 at Group One level,  32 at Group Two level and 19 at Group Three level, The first of those Group One winners was Tealsby Karita which won the WA Pacing Cup on 23rd March 2007 which means the 26 Group One wins have come in just 11 years. The balance of Mrs Richardson’s Group One winners comprises three-time Inter Dominion winner Im Themightyquinn, Chicago Bull, Beaudiene Boaz, Alta Christiano and the 2018 WA Derby winner King Of Swing. An emotional Mrs Richardson, in accepting her Life Member’s badge from Gloucester Park President John Burt, described the great joy her and her husband have got from harness racing and the thrills of racing Im Themightyquinn. Mrs Richardson is just the second woman to be made a Life Member of the WA Trotting Association which was formed in 1910 and currently trades under the name of Gloucester Park Harness Racing.   Alan Parker    

For the second consecutive year, pint-sized pacer CHICAGO BULL NZ has taken out the Western Australian Harness Horse of the Year, announced at the 2018 Harness Horse of the Year Awards function held at Optus Stadium on Sunday, 21 October. Trained by Gary Hall Snr, the impressive Bettors Delight USA gelding earned WA harness racing’s top honour after completing the 2017/18 racing season with 15 wins and 7 places from 23 starts and accruing over $660,000 in stakes money. SOHO INTERCEPTOR was awarded 2YO Filly of the Year with Group One wins in the Fillies WestBred Classic and the Fillies Sales Classic Final. Impressive dual Group One wins for FRANCO EDWARD NZ helped him to beat out other contenders to claim honours as the 2YO Colt or Gelding of the Year having won the Golden Slipper and the Pearl Classic Final. OUR MAJOR MAMA NZ was crowned 3YO Filly of the Year after winning the Group One WA Oaks, while KING OF SWING NZ was awarded 3YO Colt or Gelding of the Year after five wins from 10 starts including the Group One SKY Racing WA Derby. Gary Hall Snr was awarded Trainer of the Year (566 races for 153 wins and $2.7m stakes), Shannon Suvaljko took home Driver of the Year (1,249 races for 179 wins and $1.8m in stakes), while Aged Mare of the Year went to IDEAL ALICE NZ and the Trotters Cup winner ITSGETTINGCALDER was crowned Trotter of the Year. Kyle Harper won the Young Achiever of the Year award after recently notching up his 500th win. Kyle has trained and driven three Group One winners, amassing over $5m in stakes on horses he has driven and a further $1.3m on horses he has trained. The RWWA Service to Industry Award was presented to Craig Murphy for his outstanding contribution to the harness racing industry demonstrated by his incredible efforts at the Byford Training Club  as a respected and valued club man, volunteer, Committee member and President.  Media Personality of the Year went to Gareth Hall, a talented sports journalist with some of the nation’s leading media outlets, Gareth has increased the coverage of WA Harness Racing in the media since moving to Perth a few years ago. Scott Hamilton Media won Best Feature Story with ‘Junior Achiever’, an engaging story on the winner of the RWWA Junior Achiever Award for the 2017 season. Scott Hamilton ventured down to the Boyanup stables of Justin Prentice to film this documentary style video. Full list of award winners: • Young Achiever of the Year – Kyle Harper • RWWA Service to Industry Award – Craig Murphy • Trainer of the Year – Gary Hall Snr • Driver of the Year – Shannon Suvaljko • Best Harness Racing Feature Story – Scott Hamilton Media  for ‘Junior Achiever’ • Best Harness Racing Media Personality – Gareth Hall • 2YO Filly of the Year – Soho Interceptor • 2YO Colt or Gelding of the Year – Franco Edward NZ • 3YO Filly of the Year – Our Major Mama NZ • 3YO Colt or Gelding of the Year – King of Swing NZ • Aged Mare of the Year – Ideal Alice NZ • Trotter of the Year – Itsgettingcalder • WA Harness Horse of the Year – Chicago Bull NZ RWWA

Gary Hall is hoping a change of trainer can transform Chicago Bull from a Victoria Cup runner-up to a New Zealand Cup winner. The pride of Perth arrives in New Zealand on Thursday and is likely to stay a month with the $800,000 Cup at Addington on November 13 his main aim. Had Chicago Bull won the Victoria Cup at Melton last Saturday he could well have threatened for favouritism in New Zealand’s greatest harness race but he had to settle for a well-beaten second behind Tiger Tara, who is also bound for Addington but will race at Menangle this Saturday first. Hall’s usually unshakable confidence was initially dented by the Victoria Cup defeat. “I first glance I thought he was disappointing,” he admits. “But then when I analyzed it and the lead time was so slow, it was like sitting parked outside Tiger Tara over a mile. “You are not going to win doing that and obviously we didn’t. But at the top of the straight our fella was all done and he still fought on really well for second. “So he can still win the New Zealand Cup.” Not that Hall will have as much input as usual into Chicago Bull’s preparation with his son and regular driver Gary junior taking over the hands-on training for almost all the New Zealand campaign, albeit in an unofficial capacity. “Gary is going over with him this week and staying right through until after the New Zealand Cup, he won’t be coming back to drive here in Perth. “Gary actually did most of the training with Quinny (I’m Themightyquinn) when he raced in the Inter Dominion in Auckland in 2011, which we ended up winning after Smoken Up was disqualified.  “So he thinks he is the man for the job so I will only come over a few days before the Cup,” laughs Hall. Chicago Bull flies into Auckland in the hope the Auckland Trotting Club will hold the programmed open class race at Alexandra Park next Friday as his final lead-up to the Cup.  With Star Galleria already in the south and Northview Hustler and No Doctor Needed nominated for the Flying Stakes at Ashburton on Monday the northern open class stocks will be getting pretty thin by next week.  But Let’s Elope and Jacks Legend, who quinellaed last Friday’s Holmes D G, are likely to accept for next Friday along with a few others and the Auckland Trotting Club have been keen to support pre-NZ Cup open class racing in recent years so the race should get off the ground.  “That would be ideal for us because he needs the standing start practice, he has never been from one in a race,” says Hall.  “He has had a couple of trials over here from a stand but that is a lot diferent from a race.” Chicago Bull versus Jacks Legend is very much a spring treat for Alexandra Park regulars as they were both runner-ups to Lazarus at the highest level last season, Jacks Legend in the New Zealand Cup and Chicago Bull in the Inter Dominion.  The pair staying in the north for their final lead-up races also adds to the intrigue of an already fascinating New Zealand Cup, which in recent years has seen most of the top chances race each other and establish a clear pecking order before they get to Addington.  That won’t be the case this season because while some of the Cup favourites like Ultimate Machete and Dream About Me will head to Ashburton on Monday others like Star Galleria and Methven Cup winner Cruz Bromac will bypass that race, ensuring lots of varying formlines heading into the Cup.   Michael Guerin

Trainer Gary Hall Sr couldn’t have scripted Chicago Bull’s build-up to tomorrow night’s $200,000 Group 1 Victoria Cup (2240m) any better. Well, maybe he’d have drawn the pole and not barrier three, but everything else has been world perfect. “I won’t have any excuse in the world if he’s beaten,” Hall Sr said. “He’s had a perfect build-up, handled the trip across really well on Wednesday, settled in superbly and the draw is certainly good enough. “This has been his first major target for six months now and everything has fallen into place. “It’s now just a matter of whether he’s good enough and we certainly think he is.” Chicago Bull has eased slightly from $2.20 to $2.25 with the Aussie TAB since Tuesday’s barrier draw, mainly because of strong support for rivals Shadow Sax ($6.50 to $5.50) and Mach Doro ($26 to $10) along with talk barrier three could prove tricky. “Of course we’ve looked long and hard at the draw and thought of all the possibilities, but it’s over to Junior (driver Gary Hall Jr). That’s his job and there’s nobody better at it in these big races,” Hall Sr said. “He’s got more speed than a lot people realise, but the danger in going too hard early is how much petrol we have to spend and the risk of not finding the lead.” Hall Sr did, however, hint at his preferred driving tactics. “My horses traditionally go better when they’re not used too hard at the start. It’s always been the case. It must be the way I train them,” he said. “Ultimately it’s Junior’s call what he does at the start, but this little bloke is versatile enough to win a few different ways. I even think he could win sitting parked as long as the leader had to do some early work to hold the front.” Hall Sr conceded tomorrow night was an obvious class rise from Chicago Bull’s recent WA dominance which has seen him win past nine starts and 12 of his past 13. “You could say he’s been beaten glorified claimers at home, but it’s the way he’s been doing it and the sectional times he’s been running,” he said. “And let’s not forget he competed so well against the best of the best in the Inter Dominion last year. “I’ve got no doubt, none at all, that’s he’s a better horse now than when he ran second to Lazarus in last year’s Inter final. “And I couldn’t have asked for a better preparation. I’ve left something in tank along the way, but I’ve wound him up for this and then it’s onto NZ.” Chicago Bull is booked on a flight from Melbourne to Auckland next Thursday and plans remain for him to tackle a 2200m standing-start race at Alexandra Park on October 26 ahead of going south for the NZ Cup. “He’ll thrive on this hard racing. Look how well he handled the Inter Dominion series last year,” Hall Sr said.   Adam Hamilton

Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall Snr has no hesitation in declaring Im Themightyquinn as the best horse he has prepared. The retired champion won 58 races, including three Inter Dominion Championships and earned $4,567,456 in prizemoney. But Hall was unable to win the prestigious Victoria Cup with three attempts with Im Themightyquinn. “He didn’t have any luck in his three Victoria Cup runs and now I’m hoping it will be fourth-time lucky with Chicago Bull in the Cup on Saturday night,” Hall said. Chicago Bull has won at 39 of his 59 starts and is in peak form after effortless wins at his past nine starts. He is handily drawn at the No. 3 barrier on the front line in this week’s $200,000 Victoria Cup over 2240m. He possesses excellent gate speed, but it is problematic that he will be able to cross the speedy Tiger Tara, who begins from the No. 2 barrier. Champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr said “There’s a bit of speed on the inside and the outside and I’ll have a few decisions to make early. But he’s good enough to win.” Tiger Tara, trained by Kevin Pizzuto and to be handled by Todd McCarthy, appeals as the toughest for Chicago Bull to beat. Tiger Tara and Chicago Bull last clashed when they met in the final of the Inter Dominion Championship over 2936m at Gloucester Park last December. Tiger Tara led from the No. 1 barrier and was still in front on the home turn.  He fought on grandly to finish third behind Lazarus and Chicago Bull. Before that, he raced in the breeze when second to Chicago Bull in a 2536m qualifying heat, led and won a 2100m heat from Lazarus (at Bunbury) and had a tough run in the breeze when second to Lennytheshark over 2130m. Im Themightyquinn contested the Victoria Cup at Melton in 2010, 2011 and 2012. He was favourite at $3.50 in 2010 when he was in 11th place in the one-wide line, under lock and key with 500m to travel before getting clear approaching the home turn and thundering home, six wide, to finish third to Mr Feelgood. In 2011, Im Themightyquinn was the $4.20 second favourite from the No. 2 barrier. He raced in sixth position in the one-out, two-back position and was held up for most of the final circuit before finishing last behind Smoken Up. Then a year later he was the $1.60 favourite from barrier three. He led for the first 500m and then trailed the pacemaker Terrorway before getting clear 300m from home and after going three wide on the home turn and hitting the front 130m from the post he wilted slightly and finished third behind Caribbean Blaster. Ken Casellas

The time for talk is over. Following the departure of superstar pacer and reigning Grand Circuit champion Lazarus to the northern hemisphere earlier this year, the debate has raged. Who holds the mantle as the best pacer in this part of the world? And everybody has an opinion. Many believe pint-sized Perth based pacer Chicago Bull is the heir apparent, his form is without doubt sensational in his home state but he’s yet to prove himself on the eastern seaboard. Until now. The ‘Wonder from The West’ has arrived in Melbourne in preparation for Saturday night’s Gr.1 $200,000 Pryde’s Easifeed Victoria Cup, the opening leg of the 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit series. Prepared by the masterful father/son combination of Gary Hall Snr and Jnr, the Bettors Delight six-year-old has won his past 9 starts - all at his home track of Gloucester Park. But history is against the millionaire pacer. Since first being staged back in 1974 when Kings Mead scored, only once has a sandgroper proven triumphant and that was the mighty Preux Chevalier back in 1984. And since the turn of the millennium, Perth trained pacers haven’t fired in the Garden State feature. That list also includes champion pacer Im Themightyquinn (58 wins - $ 4,567,456). Six runners have attempted to grab glory but the best result is a 6th placing (twice). 2015 - David Hercules - 6th behind Christen Me 2013 - Im Victorious - 12th behind For A Reason 2011 - Im Themightyquinn - 12th behind Smoken Up 2005 - Ohoka Ace - 8th behind Be Good Johnny 2003 - Baltic Eagle - 9th behind Young Rufus 2000 - Saab - 6th behind Breenys Fella So, can the ‘Bull’ etch his name into the record books? Can Snr and Jnr claim more Grand Circuit glory? As it stands, Snr has trained 26 Grand Circuit winners while Jnr has driven 22 Grand Circuit winners. Standing in their way is 11 rivals boasting outstanding credentials headlined by local ace Shadow Sax, prepared by record breaking Emma Stewart, fresh from her 309 win season last term. Triple Victoria Cup winning reinsman Chris Alford will partner Shadow Sax and aims for his 19th Grand Circuit victory. The late Vin Knight remains the most winningest driver of the Victoria Cup with 5 victories. Fellow Victorian based trainer David Aiken, a dual Cup winner with recently retired Lennytheshark, prepares both Im The Boss and Wrappers Delight. Im The Boss, a winner of the Cobram, Mildura, Shepparton and Kilmore Cups will be handled by Greg Sugars while Kima Frenning sticks with in-form pacer and last start Smoken Up Sprint winner Wrappers Delight. The last female driver to land success in the Victoria Cup was Kate Gath (Caribbean Blaster) back in 2012. Three female drivers have won the Victoria Cup – Kate Gath, Amy Tubbs and Natalie Rasmussen. Speaking of the fairer sex, both Carlas Pixel and Ameretto are both looking to become the first mare to win the Victoria Cup. The Dean Braun trained Carlas Pixel, the recently crowned Australian Mare of the Year; finished an eye-catching 5th last week while the Kerryn Manning prepared Ameretto finished a close-up second behind Wrappers Delight after sitting in the trail. But both mares have drawn awkwardly off the second-line. The state of New South Wales has a proud and strong history in the Victoria Cup and head south with strength in numbers this year. Winners that have come from north of the Murray River include Don’t Retreat (1976), Paleface Adios (1977), Koala King (1978, 79 & 80), Frosty Imp (1981), Jofess (2002), Double Identity (2003), Mr Feelgood (2010) and For a Reason (2013). Koala King remains the only pacer to have claimed three Victoria Cups. The team from the Harbour City this year has five representatives including a trio from the Shane and Lauren Tritton stable with Gotta Go Ya Hu, Franco Nelson and My Alpha Rock as they chase their biggest victory. Lauren Tritton will partner Franco Nelson and like Kima Frenning, is aiming to become the latest female to drive a winner of the Victoria Cup. Kevin Pizzuto is duly represented with millionaire Tiger Tara and last start Paul Fitzpatrick FFA winner Majordan stepping out while Craig Cross will start last start Les Chant Cup winner Mach Doro. Dual Victorian Cup winning driver Luke McCarthy will take the drive behind the speedy beginner. Surprisingly, there is no representation from New Zealand this year. The 2018 Victorian Cup field has won 263 races collectively while amassing more than $6.7 million in stakes. The Australian Pacers Grand Circuit began in 1977 and was designed to be the showpiece of the Australian Harness Racing Industry with horses competing from every State within Australia.  In 1992 New Zealand was admitted and the Circuit was renamed the Australasian Grand Circuit.   The best horses available are brought together to race for very attractive prizemoney.  With the associated opportunities for promotion and marketing, this benefits owners and harness racing clubs as well as the industry overall.  In its first season in 1977, total stakemoney for the eight races forming the Circuit was $554,020.  Now, the Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit series is racing for total stakemoney of $3.65 million. Points are awarded during the Circuit, 100 points for a win, 60 points for second, 40 points for third, and so on, to last placing. The horse with the greatest number of points is crowned Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit Champion. So, who will strike the first blow in the new season of Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit racing? Time will tell.   Chris Barsby

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