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RWWA Stewards have been advised by the ChemCentre in Perth, that cobalt at a concentration in excess of 100 micrograms per litre, being the threshold prescribed in the Harness Rules of Racing, has been detected in a urine sample taken from ARTURUS NZ at Gloucester Park on 15 November 2017 prior to it completing and finishing fourth in Race 9. This finding has been verified by the Racing Analytical Services Laboratory (RASL) in Victoria. Accordingly, the Stewards will inquire into these reports on a date to be fixed which the Trainer of ARTURUS NZ, Mr Gary Elson has been requested to attend. Acting under the provisions of Harness Rule of Racing 183(d) Stewards have directed that Mr Elson’s licence to train be suspended forthwith pending the outcome of the Stewards inquiry to the extent that he is not permitted to nominate or present any horses to race. Harness – Stewards Inquiry – Trainer Mr Gary Elson – ARTURUS NZ Denis Borovica – General Manager Racing Integrity Ph: 9445 5427 Denis.borovica@rwwa.com.au

Champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr faces a busy time in the sulky at Gloucester Park on Friday night with eight drives and he has labelled speedy mare Ideal Alice as his best winning prospect. Ideal Alice, trained by Hall’s father Gary, is perfectly placed at barrier No. 1 on the front line in the Spring Pace, a $25,000 listed classic event over 2536m. She is a brilliant frontrunner whose 46 starts in Western Australia, all at Gloucester Park, have produced 16 wins and 15 placings after winning at three of her 11 starts in New Zealand. The daughter of American Ideal boasts a splendid record from the No. 1 barrier. She has started from the pole position ten times in WA for six wins, three seconds and one third. “She’s my best drive at the meeting and I reckon she’ll win,” said Hall Jnr “She should lead and she’s a hard horse to put pressure on because she runs so fast. The track is very fast and I reckon it is a three-length advantage for a leader at the moment.” Hall Snr holds a strong hand in Friday night’s feature event in which he will also be represented by American Boy (Corey Peterson), Norvic Nightowl (Stuart McDonald) and Beaudiene Boaz (Kim Prentice). Hall Jnr said that he expected Norvic Nightowl to perform strongly, even from out wide at No. 7 on the front line. Norvic Nightowl started from barrier eight in a 1730m sprint last Friday night when making his first appearance for 15 months. He was seventh at the bell before finishing strongly to be fifth behind Shandale. Ideal Alice started from the No. 9 barrier and ran on from ninth at the bell into sixth position. Vultan Tin, trained at Coolup by Phil Costello, and Sprinter, trained at Blythewood by Gary Elson, will have many admirers, despite starting from unfavourable barriers, at No. 6 and No. 8, respectively. Vultan Tin has been freshened up since he raced wide in the early stages, then worked hard without cover and fought on gamely to finish fourth behind El Hombre over 2130m on August 18. His form before that was outstanding, with his previous six starts producing an easy win over Sprinter, four seconds and one fourth. Sprinter maintained his wonderful form when he started from barrier eight, settled in eighth place, dashed forward to work in the breeze after a lap and took a narrow lead 100m from the post to win by a neck from the pacemaker Gaz Wannabet last Friday night. He has been driven in his past eight starts by Hall Jnr, who opted to drive Ideal Alice in this week’s race. Sprinter will be driven by Nathan Turvey, who has enjoyed tremendous success with the New Zealand-bred five-year-old. Turvey said that he was delighted to renew his association with Sprinter after having driven the gelding 30 times for 12 wins, six seconds and four thirds. Interest will also surround the return to racing of the enigmatic Condrieu, who will start from the inside of the back line, immediately behind Ideal Alice. Condrieu, trained by Skye Bond and a winner of 19 races, has been off the scene for three months. He should enjoy a perfect trip. Ken Casellas

Speedy pacer Franco Rayner will resume after a three-month absence when he will start from the outside of the front line (No. 9) in the 2130m $23,000 Retravision Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. But Banjup trainer-reinsman Colin Brown said that he is not intending to use the four-year-old’s blistering gate speed and that he would be driving the gelding conservatively. “I’m thinking that he is forward enough to be competitive, but we won’t be hurling out of the gate,” Brown said. “We know that he’s got very high gate speed, but I just don’t think he’s fit enough at this stage of his preparation to use that and still run a race at the end. “He is essentially a beach horse, and with the recent wintry weather we haven’t been able to work him how we would like. He’s had a lot of work, but I really don’t know where he’s at.” Two starts ago, on May 12, Franco Rayner started from the No. 9 barrier and revealed dazzling speed to charge straight to the front before setting a fast pace and winning easily from Naughty Maravu at a 1.55.8 rate over 1730m. Though most of his 16 wins from 45 starts have been when he has set the pace, Franco Rayner is also capable of unwinding a spirited finishing burst. The Justin Prentice-trained Natural Disaster is in top form and will have an army of supporters. He will start from the No. 7 barrier and should be prominent throughout in his bid to win for the ninth time from only 14 starts this season. In a strong field, Sprinter, Our Jericho, Vultan Tin, Mach Time and Harry Hoo will all have many admirers. Perhaps the main opposition to Natural Disaster will come from Sprinter and Our Jericho. Gary Elson, trainer of Sprinter, is confident the four-year-old will maintain his splendid form, even from the awkward draw of the inside of the back line. “He was superb in defeat at the hands of Vultan Tin at his latest run (last Friday week),” Elson said. In that event Sprinter started out wide at barrier seven and settled in ninth position before running home boldly from seventh at the bell to finish second, two and a half lengths behind the flying Vultan Tin, who opened up a lead of several lengths in the middle stages. The Ross Olivieri-trained Our Jericho will start out wide at barrier eight, but looks a strong chance after several excellent recent efforts, including two thirds behind star pacer Chicago Bull. Our Jericho has a losing sequence of 16, but is certainly capable of ending that run of outs. He has been freshened up since his good fourth behind Ideal Alice and Vultan Tin on July 21. Ken Casellas

Four-year-old Scoobys Delight has been unplaced at his past six starts, but in-form harness racing reinsman Aiden de Campo is bullish about the horse’s prospects of ending a losing sequence of 11 when he starts from barrier two on the front line in the 1730m Horse Shares Available With Trotsynd Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “If he can find the front I’d be very confident of winning, especially overt the mile,” said de Campo. “He’s been racing really well without luck.” Scoobys Delight, trained at Blythewood by Gary Elson , was a sound last-start fifth behind The Publisher over 2130m last Friday week when he started from the outside of the back line, raced wide early and then in the breeze. Scoobys Delight will need to be close to his top to beat Ima Rocknroll Legend, a promising four-year-old in the stables of Gary Hall sen. who has won at five of his past ten starts. Ima Rocknroll Legend will be driven by Gary Hall jun., who said that the gelding was most disappointing when a fading last behind Rock Diamonds in the Higgins Memorial last Friday night. “He definitely drops in class, but his run last week was terrible,” Hall said. “This was almost his worst run, but his previous run when third to Johnny Disco and Ideal Tyson at Pinjarra was nearly the best run he’s put in.” De Campo has several other handy drives on Friday night --- Muffins, Its My Lucknow, Ideal Tyson, Oneonthewood and Under The Tower. He rates Ideal Tyson, a stablemate of Scoobys Delight, as his best prospect. Ideal Tyson will start out wide at barrier nine in the first qualifying heat of the 2130m Schrader Pace. The four-year-old set the pace and finished third behind Rock Diamonds and Sprinter in the Higgins Memorial last Friday night. “It’s a tough draw and I might have to go back and make a run at them late,” he said. “He and Livura look the class runners. Last week I just had to grab him up round the corner to keep the horse on my back in a pocket. That probably didn’t suit him; once in front he likes to keep trucking.” Its My Lucknow, trained at Cardup by Sarah Suvaljko, has sound claims in the Own A Piece of the Action With Trotsynd Mares Pace. She had a tough run in the breeze before wilting to finish a close-up seventh behind Once Bitten over 2130m on Tuesday night. At her previous start she covered a lot of extra ground before winning over 1730m at a 1.57.7 rate. “She’s going pretty good and the 2500m will suit her down to the ground; she loves the longer distance,” de Campo said. “Under The Tower has a chance in the final race in which she has drawn well at No. 2. She went really good two starts ago when Chris (Lewis) drove her and she finished a close second to Soho Changeling.” Muffins will be having her first start in a race when she begins from the No. 1 barrier in the Owners Only Pace for two-year-old fillies. Trained by Michael Brennan, Muffins finished second in a 2185m trial at Pinjarra on Sunday morning. Hot favourite in this event will be the Shane Young-trained Rosies Ideal, who has impressed in winning at three of her seven starts. Justin Prentice will drive her for the first time and she should carry too many guns for her seven rivals. Ken Casellas

Ace reinsman Gary Hall Jnr was stunned at Sprinter’s explosive speed when the four-year-old scored an effortless victory last Friday night and he gives the Mach Three gelding a great chance of winning the $35,000 John Higgins Memorial at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Sprinter, trained at Blythewood by Gary Elson, has drawn poorly on the outside (No. 9) of the front line in the 2130m event but Hall is confident he has the ability to overcome that significant disadvantage. “I was hoping for a bit better draw, but he’s going super,” Hall said. “I’d say he’s the equal to any horse in the race. Last week I thought he was throwing out distress signals on the bend, but I gave him one good cut (with the whip) and he just took off like he had just joined in. He really surprised me how much he had left.” Sprinter certainly looked most impressive when he started from barrier seven in last week’s race and was ninth at the bell before unleashing a dazzling three-wide burst which took him into the lead 300m from home. He sprinted over the final quarters in 28.4sec. and 28.2sec. and won by three lengths from Blinding Light, rating 1.55.6. Sprinter, purchased for $34,000 at the Australasian Classic yearling sale in Auckland, has amassed $256,305 from his 16 wins and 13 placings from 38 starts. He should develop into a candidate for the rich summer carnival events, including the Inter Dominion championship, Fremantle Cup and WA Pacing Cup. Hall, who has won the Higgins Memorial behind Partywiththedevil in 2010, In The Perfect Storm (2014) and Rub of the Green, who led all the way and won easily from hot favourite Char Do Neigh 12 months ago, rates Sprinter a better pacer than Elson’s Victorian-bred four-year-old Ideal Tyson, who has raced 45 times for 18 wins, 15 placings and $164,294 in prizemoney. However, Aiden de Campo, who will drive Ideal Tyson from barrier three on the front line, has high hopes of victory. “He’s probably got better with every run this time in,” he said. “His was a good win last week and that should have topped him off pretty well for this week. “He’s drawn a good alley and I’ll be coming out hard and looking for the top. He’s a big horse who likes to roll, so I’ll be driving him like a truck, like I always do. If he gets to the front he will be very hard to beat.” Last Friday night Ideal Tyson started out wide at barrier nine and settled down in eighth position before de Campo sent him forward with a three-wide burst which took him to the lead after 600m. He then bowled along in front and won by two and a half lengths from Khun Ratha, rating 1.57.5 over 2536m. Hall also predicted a bold showing from Ima Rocknroll Legend, a New Zealand-bred four-year-old trained by his father Gary Hall Snr and to be driven by the trainer’s older son Clint. “Ima Rocknroll Legend will go very well,” said Hall Jnr “He ran third at Pinjarra at his latest start when they ran 26.3sec. off the front (for the final 400m) and he made up about four lengths. He’s really fast, although Pinjarra suits him better than Gloucester Park.” Another major chance in Friday night’s event is another four-year-old, the Debra Lewis-trained Americanbootscoota, the solitary runner on the back line. The big gelding has struck a purple patch, winning easily at each of his past four starts. Leading reinsman Chris Lewis is confident Americanbootscoota will prove hard to beat. “A front-line draw would’ve been nice, but things might pan out okay. We’ll be moving off (the pegs) as soon as we can and then work out our tactics from there. “Much will depend on the tempo of the race. He is versatile and in good form and I expect a good showing from him. He has always had ability; if you look back at his record when he was a three year old he ran some pretty good times and I’d say he’s now putting it all together. He’s now running times that mean he could be a carnival horse.” Lewis has been successful in the Higgins Memorial with Hail The Judge (1997), Our Graedy (1998), Ianalbert (2006) and Sneakyn Down Under (2008).    Leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond have two runners in Friday night’s race in smart three-year-olds Messi (Ryan Bell) and Rock Diamonds (Ryan Warwick), who are racing keenly. Messi has won at nine of his 19 starts and Rock Diamonds has won at nine of his 18 starts Ken Casellas

Blythewood trainer Gary Elson is full of praise for diminutive filly Cott Beach and he gives the aptly-named pacer an excellent chance of winning the $125,000 Choices Flooring Golden Slipper at Gloucester Park on Friday night The Golden Slipper has been run 49 times, but only eight fillies have been successful --- Sordice (1968), Omista (1971), Via Vista (1980), Mazzini Magic (1988), Whitbys Miss Penny (1990), Whitbys Merit (1993), Spirit of Navajo (2005) and Arma Xpress (2012). Cott Beach has won at six of her nine starts and is handily drawn at No. 4 on the front line. She possesses blistering gate speed and Nathan Turvey could well go for broke and attempt to send the filly to the front from the outset. While Cott Beach is a dashing frontrunner, she can also race back in the field and produce a powerful finishing burst. She has given superb frontrunning displays to win at her past two starts, in feature events for fillies. Cott Beach is owned by Peter King, an Englishman who trained and drove winners in England, his wife Barbara Pellick, a remarkable international marathon swimmer, and King’s 25-year-old son Michael. “Barbara is the queen of the Rottnest channel, with 28 solo crossings and one double,” King said. “The annual Rottnest swim starts from Cottesloe Beach, hence our filly’s name. She is also the first West Australian to get the triple crown of ocean swimming --- the English Channel, the 48km Manhattan Island swim and the Catalina Channel swim --- and she overcame the strong currents to do the Straits of Gibraltar swim two years ago. King and Pellick work at Alcoa and live in Coolup and King has always taken a keen interest in harness racing. “I grew up with horses,” King said. “My uncle was a jockey and my Dad always had thoroughbreds. I got into pacers when I was 16 and I owned and drove pacers. I won a few races as a driver on grass tracks and I came out to Australia in 1987 when I got a job working for Trevor Warwick.” King gained a licence to train and drive in WA. He bred Kings Tricks (by American stallion Just Ever Thankful out of the Racy Prince mare Sahara So Long) and at his first drive in a race in WA he finished second with Kings Tricks (behind Crash City Revhead) at Busselton on December 27, 1994. His first Australian winner was Kings Tricks, whom he drove to victory over Hard Copy (Grant Williams) in a three-year-old event in Collie on April 29, 1995. King drove Kings Tricks at 70 of his 130 starts for five wins (three at Collie and one each at Bridgetown and Busselton). His WA driving career ended with eight wins and 30 placings from 213 drives. He also trained nine winners from 232 starters. His only city training success was with Our Master Jamie in a 1700m $10,000 M0 event at Gloucester Park on February 15, 1991. King also has dabbled with breeding for many years and Cott Beach is the result of his decision to outlay $4500 to buy well-performed mare Back In The Black when she was in foal to Advance Attack. Back In The Black, a winner of seven races and $58,780, produced Cott Beach on October 10, 2014 and Cott Beach goes into this week’s Golden Slipper with a wonderful record of nine starts for six wins and two seconds for stakes of $136,550. Cott Beach’s breeding traces back to the champion world record-holder Dainty’s Daughter, a superstar of the 1970s and 80s. “The rest is history,” said King. “We ended up with this little filly who has turned out to be a pocket rocket.” The Golden Slipper on Friday night promises to be a fabulous spectacle, with Jack Mac, unbeaten at his five WA starts, a hot favourite, but facing serious challenges from Cott Beach and several other up-and-coming two-year-olds. Ryan Warwick and the powerful Bond stable will be out to notch their third win in the classic, with Warwick having been successful with Spirit of Navajo in 2005 and Mitch Maguire last year and the Bonds winning the race with Ohokas Bondy in 2010 and Mitch Maguire. Warwick will drive the Bond-trained Ella Gant Player, who warmed up for the classic with a strong-finishing third behind Rosies Ideal and The War Nurse in the group 3 Gold Bracelet last Friday night. Rosies Ideal, trained and driven by Shane Young, will have admirers after her superb victory last week when she settled down in last position and then started a three-wide move after a lap. She worked hard in the breeze before getting to the front 220m from home. Rosies Ideal was bred and is owned by Busselton businessman Craig Lynn, who also bred and owns Highroller Joe, a promising gelding who will be driven by his trainer Justin Prentice from the outside of the back line. Highroller Joe thundered home from sixth at the bell to score an easy win in the group 1 Westbred Classic last Friday week. Ken Casellas

Nominal favourite Cott Beach appeals as the horse to beat in Friday night's $100,000 Owners Only Westbred 2YO Fillies Pace (2130m) at Gloucester Park. The lightly framed harness racing  filly has won at five of her eight starts and banked more than $72,000 for her lucky connections. The Advance Attack two-year-old will bump her earnings past the $136,000 mark, courtesy of the $64,000 winner's cheque, if she can salute in the Group 1 feature and it would take a brave man to suggest that she couldn't. Blythewood trainer Gary Elson has done a remarkable job to keep Cott Beach racing at her peak. She has been very consistent in her first season of racing with five wins, two seconds and a fourth in an ominous warning to Cott Beach's 11 rivals, Elson said his filly would be an improved horse from last week when she was sent straight to the front by regular reinsman Nathan Turvey and ran the opposition ragged to win by an ever-increasing margin. "She was short of a run last week," Elson said. "She's a lot fitter after that run last week and I expect her to be hard to beat. I was pleased that she had a relatively easy time of it in front last week." Cott Beach has drawn awkwardly in gate five for Friday night's assignment, but Elson doesn't see the draw as being a hindrance. "I'll talk to Nathan about the tactics," he said. "But it's hard not to use her at the start because she's got such good gate speed. It may have looked like she was a bit slow out last week when she took a while to get past the inside horse (Infinite Symbol) but it's always hard to cross the horse drawn directly on your inside. She also had a little bit of a skip and hop just before they sent them away. I think she'll be able to muster more pace from the middle of the line." Elson said Cott Beach was continually surprising him in her work at home. "I work her with the older horses, like Sprinter," he said. "She's a headstrong little thing and can sit on the back of a horse like Sprinter and follow speed really well and she's got a great turn of foot when she follows pace - she can really ping when she's held up for one run." Elson said Cott Beach would, in all likelihood, have one more start this campaign. "If she goes as well as I expect her to on Friday night then we'll set her for the Golden Slipper in a couple of weeks," he said. "I know a horse like Jack Mac would be hard to beat, but she'd give him a run for his money if she happened to get a sit on him." Hardest for Cott Beach to beat could be the polemarker Infinite Symbol, who finished second to her last week, and the Diamond Classic winner Cimorene, who upset odds-on favourite Miss Sangrial but Cimorene's chances were dealt a severe blow when she came up with gate nine at Tuesday's barrier draw. Wayne Currall

Brilliant two-year-old filly Cott Beach has been given a freshen up by Blythewood harness racing trainer Gary Elson and will prove the testing material in the $30,000 Westsired 2YO Pace (2130m) at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Cott Beach burst on to the scene with a slashing last-to-first victory in the $50,000 Champagne Classic (2130m) in April. On that occasion, race driver Nathan Turvey dropped the Advance Attack filly to the rear of the field and then brought her with a barnstorming finish that saw her swamp the leaders in the straight to win running away. It was the run of a horse with the potential to add much more to her stakes of more than $52,000. Since Cott Beach's win in the Champagne Classic, she has finished fourth and second behind the smart Miss Sangrial - and there were legitimate excuses for the filly's efforts on both occasions. Her run to finish fourth behind Miss Sangrial at Bunbury in May was out of character. Turvey told stewards after the race that Cott Beach became unsettled after a false start and when the race did get under way she over-raced and pulled herself into the ground after racing wide and at the back of the field behind winner Miss Sangrial. Then at headquarters at her next start she finished second, beaten only 4.6m behind Miss Sangrial after matching motors down the back straight and all the way to the line. At GP on Friday night, Cott Beach will come out of gate two and most punters will expect Turvey to give her her head at the start and take up the running from her inside draw. Cott Beach has shown a blistering turn of foot from the mobile in the past. Her first three wins were recorded after Turvey sent her to the front after she sped out of the machine. She was always going to draw well in the preferential barrier draw that gives fillies the inside marbles over the colts and geldings and when she came up with gate two it guaranteed that Cott Beach would be sent out as the favourite with punters. Her sire Advance Attack has been a revelation this season. He is the leading 2YO sire in WA with eight wins, four seconds and a third from 29 starts. Hardest for Cott Beach to beat on Friday night could be the filly who is drawn directly inside of her, Infinite Symbol. This Julie O'Neill-trained filly recorded a hat-trick of wins when she downed The War Nurse and Miss Sangrial at headquarters last Friday night over the sprint trip of 1730m. It was a tough win from the Indomitable Saab filly, following her earlier victories at Pinjarra and Bunbury. She has speed out of the machine - evidenced by her all-the-way victory at Pinjarra when she was sent forward from a wide draw to take up the running - but her driver Wayne Reid may elect to take the trail behind the speedy Cott Beach. Either way, the two fillies are set to dominate the event and the early speed battle could very well determine the outcome of the race. Wayne Currall

Gary Elson has fond memories of winning the 2010 WA Derby as an owner with 9/1 chance Crombie and now he has high hopes of winning the $200,000 Sky Racing classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night as a trainer with either Ideal Tyson or Sprinter. He has a high opinion of both three-year-olds and has a slight leaning towards Ideal Tyson after the colt drew the prized No. 1 barrier, with Sprinter faring badly, drawing out wide at barrier eight. There is no obvious leader in the 2536m classic. But Elson declared that he would instruct Aiden de Campo to attempt to take advantage of the inside draw by setting the pace. I wish Sprinter had drawn a bit closer, but he can still win,” he said. “Obviously we will try to lead with Ideal Tyson and if he leads we won’t be handing up to Lets Chase The Dream, just because he’s the favourite. People are saying that Ideal Tyson is a risk from barrier one because he broke soon after the start of the Golden Slipper last year when he began from the inside barrier. He had a bone chip in his off hind leg, and that was the reason why he broke. He’s now as good as gold.” After breaking into a gallop in the Golden Slipper Ideal Tyson, the 2/1 on favourite, worked hard outside the pacemaker Dodolicious and finished fifth behind Sprinter, who started at 11/1 from barrier six and charged home from 11th at the bell (and fifth on the home turn) to win by just under two lengths from Dodolicious. Elson said that Sprinter, a winner at ten of his 17 starts and to be driven by Nathan Turvey, could not be ruled out of calculations because of his wide barrier. “I know how much ability he’s got and he can mix it with the best of them,” Elson said. “He makes his own luck and the side draw will not be a concern for Nathan. “Sprinter drew off the track in the Victoria Derby at Melton and he finished eighth after running the quickest last half-mile of all the runners. He started from barrier eight in the New South Wales Derby and made up a lot of ground to finish fifth after running the fastest last half-mile of all the runners.” Sprinter ran a splendid trial for the Derby when he trailed the pacemaker The Art Form before running home solidly to be a half-length second to Chicago Bull in the 2536m Western Gateway Pace last Friday week. The final quarters whizzed by in 28.4sec. and 27.8sec. Ideal Tyson also warmed up for the classic in fine style last Friday night when he started from the No. 5 barrier and raced in sixth position in the one-wide line before being switched five wide at the 400m and running home strongly into third place behind Lets Chase The Dream and Mach Time in a 2130m Derby prelude. In a 2185m trial at Byford the previous Sunday Ideal Tyson showed his liking for the No. 1 barrier when he set the pace and rated 1.55.9 in winning the trial by more than three lengths after dashing over the final three quarters in 29.6sec., 29.1sec. and 27.9sec. Ken Casellas

The three heats for the Victoria Derby were held tonight at the harness racing meeting at Ballarat and Mark Purdon produced the champion New Zealand three year old Lazarus to throw down the gauntlet to the locals with an outstanding win in quick time in his heat. Heat One Even though he had drawn poorly on the second line for Mark Purdon behind the rank outsider Designer Arden, Lazarus was sent out a $1:30 favourite in the first Victoria Derby heat on the strength of winning ten from twelve in his homeland and nearly $500,000. Allowed to settle four back in the running line by Purdon early, Lazarus looped the field to sit outside the leader Zee Dana and Nathan Jack with just over a lap to go. Purdon never applied any real pressure down the back straight but past the 400 metres he got serious and Lazarus quickly shot to the front on straightening and ran away for a super impressive win with Purdon hardly moving in the bike. Zee Dana stuck on gamely for second in front of Born To Rocknroll who did plenty early and never flinched in holding on for third. Can't Refuse was another to do plenty of work early and hold on for fourth and qualify for the final. The Bettor's Delight colt paced the 2200 metres in 2:39.2, a mile rate of 1:56.5 with closing sectionals of 55.5 and 26.9. Heat Two Heading into the second heat, three horses stood out from the pack on paper and although the three of them had challenging runs in a fast run heat, they still filled the first three placings at the finish. Greg Sugars burned Don't Hold Back off the gate from barrier six to grab an early lead but was immediately challenged by Three Ways and Kate Gath who assumed the lead after 600 metres after a tussle with Don't Hold Back that never got too serious. With a lap to go Brallos Pass and Nathan Jack moved up into the death seat but applied no real pressure until passing the 400 metres mark. Mastering Three Ways on straightening, Brallos Pass looked the winner but Dont Hold Back and Greg Sugars eased out from the trail and flew late for a narrow but impressive victory. Brallos Pass lost no admirers in just going under after sitting parked the last lap while Code Black flew late to grab third from a very game Three Ways late in the piece. The Courage Under Fire colt trained by Mario Attard paced the 2200 metres in 2:39.6, a mile rate of 1:56.7 with closing sectionals of 56.1 and 27.4 which was only .4 of a second slower than Lazarus ran in heat one. Heat Three Again on paper three horses stood out for us on exposed form and they duly ran the trifecta but certainly not in the order that everyone expected. Kingofthestars and Nathan Jack lead with ease from barrier three but the early pace was moderate as several of the poorly drawn horses moved from the back to get handy. The West Australian raider Sprinter was parked for a couple of hundred metres before receiving a trail on the back of the very smart Power Of Red and Amanda Turnbull who took up the death seat. The pace really went on from the half in this heat with Kingofthestars brushing down the back in 27.7 but Power Of Red and Sprinter were still in touch as they turned for home. Just when it looked like Kingofthestars would prevail, Sprinter flew late to grab the favourite for a very smart win. Kingofthestars was slightly disappointing in being beaten after having his own rules in front while Power Of Red stuck on gamely after doing plenty mid race. Iceenothink was a fair way from the first three in fourth which earned him a spot in the Victoria Derby final. The Mach Three gelding trained by Gary Elson and driven by Nathan Turvey paced the 2200 metres in 2:39.2, a mile rate of 1:56.5 with closing sectionals of 55.2 and 27.5 Sprinters winning time was the same as Lazarus ran in winning heat one. Harnesslink Media

Brilliant Pinjarra-trained three-year-old Sprinter fared badly when he drew the outside barrier (No. 7) in the third heat of the Victoria Derby to be run over 2200m at Ballarat on Saturday night. However, harness racing trainer Gary Elson and reinsman Nathan Turvey have high hopes that Sprinter will qualify for the $200,000 final at Melton the following Saturday night. Elson and Turvey will also have to contend with barrier No. 7 with Sprinter’s classy stablemate Ideal Tyson in the first heat of the classic. Sprinter has won at his first two starts as a three-year-old, at Narrogin on December 9 and at Gloucester Park on January 1 when he worked hard without cover before finishing with great determination to snatch victory from the pacemaker Harry Hoo. Sprinter warmed up for his Victorian mission with an outstanding win in a 2185m trial at Pinjarra last Sunday week when he beat Nathans Courage at a 1.55.9 rate, with the final two quarters in 28.3sec. and 27.7sec. Ideal Tyson also won a trail at a 1.58 rate later in the morning. The New Zealand-bred Sprinter has raced 11 times for eight wins, two seconds and a third, with his victories including the group 2 Champagne Classic and the group 1 Golden Slipper as a two-year-old. The Victorian-bred Ideal Tyson has had 11 starts for eight wins and three unplaced runs. Among Sprinter’s rivals on Saturday night are Power of Red, who has won at five of his six starts, and last-start winner Soho Tribeca, who was bred and is owned by WA businessman Rob Watson. Ideal Tyson will clash with sensational New Zealand colt Lazarus, who has earned $488,262 from ten wins and two placings from 12 starts. Ken Casellas

Talented harness racing trainer-reinsman James Rattray is delighted at drawing the coveted No. 1 barrier with Devendra in the $450,000 TABtouch WA Pacing Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night and he declares that the six-year-old will lead at all costs and prove hard to run down. Caretaker trainer Gary Elson said that he spoke with Rattray after the barrier draw and that he had no intention of relinquishing the lead to any other runner. “James told me that he would not surrender the lead regardless of how much pressure was applied to Devendra,” Elson said. “He sees it as vitally important not to hand up, particularly with a proven frontrunner.” Elson has taken over the preparation of Devendra at his Pinjarra property while the Tasmanian-born Rattray tends to his stable of pacers in New South Wales. “We were really happy with Devendra’s fourth behind Beaudiene Boaz in the Fremantle Cup last Friday night,” Elson said. Devendra started from the inside of the back line and raced in fifth place three back on the pegs before being held up for a clear run on the home turn. The gelding eventually got clear and impressed in sprinting home strongly. “Devendra is fit, well and happy and is enjoying swimming in the dam at my place twice a day,” Elson said. “I gave him a light hoppled run today (Tuesday) and he ran home nicely. He’s pretty sharp. With the Pacing Cup in mind I have been working him over two miles.” Devendra, a winner of 25 races and $314,973 in prizemoney, is a versatile performer who raced in fine style at the recent interdominion championship series. He led from barrier four and scored an easy win over Waylade in a 2130m heat and flew home from last to win a 2536m heat. Lovers Delight, trained in Bunbury by Stephen Reed, revealed sparkling early speed from the No. 7 barrier when he led and gave a bold frontrunning performance to win a 2536m Inters heat from Lennytheshark. He set the pace until the final stages when a wonderful second to Lennytheshark in the $1.3 million final. Chris Lewis looks certain to rev up Lovers Delight at the start in a bid to burst past Devendra or to take up the position in the breeze. Run Oneover (barrier two) and stablemate John of Arc (five) also are likely to go forward at the start. Bettors Fire, who led for the first 650m in last Friday night’s Fremantle Cup and then sat behind the pacemaker before finishing solidly into third place behind Beaudiene Boaz, is awkwardly drawn out wide at No. 7 on the front line. Trainer-reinsman Kyle Harper will weigh up his options in the early stages. Bettors Fire possesses sparkling gate speed, but Harper could well decide to restrain the handsome gelding before determining his tactics as the race unfolds. He spoke with GPTV soon after the barrier draw - to see what he had to say; Libertybelle Midfrew, the only mare in the Cup, is a proven group 1 performer, having won the WA Oaks and Golden Nugget. And she gave further proof of her class by setting the pace and winning a 2536m Inters heat from Philadelphia Man. She will start from the No. 4 barrier on the front line. Trainer Mike Reed said that his son Mark would “come out and have a look” at the start in a bid to gain a prominent forward position. She started from the back line and raced four back on the pegs before finishing eighth in the Fremantle Cup. “They walked early and ran the final 1100m hard,” Mike Reed said. “This made it impossible for horses to come from behind. She has done well since that race and she’ll love the 2936m.” Libertybelle Midfrew faces a stern test. No mare has won the WA Pacing Cup since Pyramus was successful in 1972. Mike spoke with GPTV after the barrier draw function, the interview is below; by Ken Casellas Fields for Gloucester Park, Friday 15 January 2016 Form guide for Gloucester Park, Friday 15 January 2016

Highly-promising Mach Three gelding Sprinter will be aiming to retain his undefeated harness racing record at Gloucester Park when he contests the $18,000 Ross North Homes Pace on Friday night. He is ideally drawn at barrier two in the field of six and owner-trainer Gary Elson and reinsman Nathan Turvey are full of hope that the smart three-year-old will prove too smart for his strong opposition and improve his Gloucester Park record to five starts for five wins and enhance his Western Australia Derby prospects. Sprinter was WA’s star two-year-old last season, winning the $50,000 Champagne Classic and the $125,000 Golden Slipper. He reappeared after a five-month absence and had his first outing as a three-year-old in a field of three over 1823m at Narrogin on December 9 when he set the pace and was not extended in winning by a half-length from the fast-finishing Navy Blues. Leading trainer Gary Hall sen. will be looking to upset Sprinter with either of his last-start winners Harry Hoo or Chicago Bull. Harry Hoo, to be driven by Clint Hall from the No. 1 barrier, is showing steady improvement and has won at three of his four starts in Western Australia. He overcame the disadvantage of a punctured sulky tyre and of racing without cover to win easily from Mister Versace over 1684m at Pinjarra on Monday of last week. Gary Hall jun. will drive Chicago Bull from the outside barrier in the small field and the Bettors Delight gelding is sure to prove hard to beat following his impressive victory over El Jacko, rating 1.55.9 over 2130m three Fridays ago. Rocknroll Whitby, trained and driven by Callan Suvaljko, should make his presence felt from barrier four. He notched his third win from 11 starts when he worked hard without cover before finishing solidly to beat Soho Wolverine at a 1.58.2 rate over 1780m at Northam on December 17.  by Ken Casellas Fields for Gloucester Park, Friday 01 January 2016 Form guide for Gloucester Park, Friday 01 January 2016

Massive colt Ideal Tyson will tower above his rivals in the $125,000 group 1 Premier Suzuki Golden Slipper Stakes at  the harness racing meeting at Gloucester Park on Friday night and Blythwood trainer Gary Elson is bubbling with confidence that the Victorian-bred two-year-old will prove too classy for the opposition. Elson's confidence was boosted significantly when Ideal Tyson drew the prized No. 1 barrier in the random draw, with star filly Dodolicious favourably drawn at No. 2. Ideal Tyson is a powerful frontrunner and Chris Voak is sure to attempt an all-the-way win, which would give Elson his second success in the rich classic after scoring with 13/4 chance Class of Tara in 2013. For good measure Elson's runner Mister Ardee finished second to Beaudiene Boaz in the 2014 Golden Slipper. Ideal Tyson will start a warm favourite in an event in which favourites have flopped in recent years. Only one favourite, Western Cullen (evens) has been successful in the past 14 years. He gave a power-packed display to sustain a spirited three wide burst to win easily from Major Catastrophe in 2011. Elson also has smart youngsters in last-start winners Sprinter and Good Times Ahead in the field for Friday night's 2130m feature. But he declares that Ideal Tyson is superior to those New Zealand-bred pacers. Elson has survived some anxious moments to have Ideal Tyson and Sprinter fit for the big race. Both were affected by a virus in mid-May after Ideal Tyson had set the pace and beaten Sprinter into second place in a 2100m event at Bunbury. This disrupted their preparation, but Elson is extremely relieved that each two-year-old was able to resume racing last week. Ideal Tyson was a 10/1 on favourite when he started out wide at barrier seven before surging to the front in the first lap and winning easily by three lengths from Anime at a 1.59.6 rate over 2130m at Gloucester Park last Monday week. Then Sprinter took full advantage of the No. 1 barrier when he set the pace and won convincingly by 4m from Mister Versace at a 2.0.7 rate over 2130m at Gloucester Park last Friday night. Nathan Turvey will again handle Sprinter, who has drawn somewhat awkwardly at barrier six. Sprinter has raced eight times for five wins, two seconds and a third placing. Ideal Tyson has had nine starts for eight wins. His only defeat came when he was involved in an early speed battle before getting to the front and wilting late to finish fourth behind Sprinter in the $50,000 Champagne Classic at Gloucester Park on May 1. Good Times Ahead, to be driven by Kim Young, will start from barrier two on the back line. Young drove a well-judged race when he brought the heavily-supported Good Times Ahead home with a spirited burst to snatch victory from the pacemaker Saleahs Comand over 1823m at Narrogin on Sunday afternoon. Good Times Ahead had enjoyed an ideal passage behind Saleahs Comand and he rated 1.58.6. This was his first win at his fifth start. Elson's only minor concern is that he had hoped Ideal Tyson would have had a tougher first-up run last week. "He came in with a heart rate of 88 and I was very happy with his run, although I would have preferred that he'd had a harder run," Elson said. "He's a good horse in front and can also perform strongly with a sit." "He's a very good horse and I think he should win." "However, I don't rate him as good as Class of Tara, who was an exceptional horse." Dodolicious, owned and trained by Greg and Skye Bond, is tough, durable, pacy and versatile and she will have many admirers after scoring runaway victories on the past two Fridays nights at Gloucester Park, defeating Jasmin Amal by 16m in the group 1 Westbred Classic for fillies, rating 1.58 over the 2130m, and then excelling as a frontrunner in beating Safari Storm by 15m at a 1.58.7 rate in the 2130m Gold Bracelet. She has had seven starts for five wins and two seconds and Ryan Warwick would dearly love to win the classic for the second time, after driving 9/1 chance Spirit of Navajo to victory over Devastating in 2005. Greg Bond trained the 2010 winner Ohokas Bondy. Fillies do not have a particularly good record in the Golden Slipper, with only eight being successful in the 47-year history of the event. Winning fillies have been Sordice (1968), Omista (1971), Via Vista (1980), Mazzini Magic (1988), Whitbys Miss Penny (1990), Whitbys Merit (1998), Spirit of Navajo (2005) and Arma Xpress (2012). Chris Lewis, who has won the Slipper a record seven times, will be in the sulky behind the speedy Ross Ashby-trained Johnny Disco, who gave a bold frontrunning display to win the group 1 Westbred Classic for colts and geldings last Friday week. Johnny Disco's prospects slumped when he drew the outside (No. 9) on the front line. Lewis has won the classic with Pardon Me Boys (1987), Harry Gunn (1995), Saab (1997), Talladega (1999), The Jobs On (2004), Aikido Whitby (2006) and Western Cullen (2011). Byford trainer Ross Olivieri has been successful with Harry Gunn, Saab, Talladega and Western Cullen and this year he will be relying on handy filly Sheer Rocknroll, a winner at six of her 11 starts. She is perfectly drawn on the inside of the back line and Stuart McDonald should obtain a wonderful trail behind Ideal Tyson. Byford trainer John Oldroyd is full of hope that the promising Lightning Jolt will cause an upset. Lightning Jolt has won at two of his six starts and will begin from barrier four on the front line for Clint Hall, who drove 44/1 outsider Mynameskenny into fourth place behind Beaudiene Boaz in last year's Golden Slipper for Oldroyd. Banjup trainer Colin Brown, who has driven Western Apache (2003) and Ohokas Bondy (2010) in previous Slippers, will be represented by the smart New Zealand-bred colt Franco Rayner, who made an impressive Australian debut when he set the pace and romped to a five-length win over El Hombre in a 2185m event at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. Franco Rayner, who dashed over the final quarters in 28.1sec. and 27.8sec. at Pinjarra and rated 1.58.5, faces a stern test from the outside of the back line. Ken Casellas  

Highly-promising New Zealand bred harness racing two-year-old Sprinter is poised to warm up for the $125,000 Golden Slipper Stakes on Friday week by winning the $17,500 TABtouch Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He will reappear after a two-month absence when he starts from barrier one and Nathan Turvey will be looking for an all-the-way win Turvey drove the Mach Three gelding when he dashed over the final 400m section in 27.8sec. and won a 2185m trial from Not Small at Pinjarra on Sunday morning. Sprinter is owned and trained by Gary Elson, who was pleased with the first-up effort of Ideal Tyson, who looks certain to be a warm favourite for the Golden Slipper after his easy first-up win over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Monday afternoon to improve his record to eight wins from nine starts. Sprinter should win from the Phil Costello-trained Anime and trainer Glenn Elliott's pair of Soho Wall Street and Soho Wolverine. Anime trailed the pacemaking Ideal Tyson when a sound second to Ideal Tyson on Monday, while Soho Wall Street was a winner over Rocknroll Whitby at Narrogin two starts ago and Soho Wolverine finished second to Rich Yankee in the Pearl Classic at Bunbury two starts ago. Ken Casellas  

The harness racing pundits in Western Australia thought last nights Champagne Classic for two year olds at Gloucester Park was a one horse affair with the unbeaten Ideal Tyson a very warm favourite. And why wouldn't he be with six wins in a row and a best time of 1:55.5. The Gary Elson trained son of American Ideal was given time by driver Chris Voak to find his feet early from barrier five before before pressing on to the front with just over a mile to go. Another Gary Elson trained runner in Sprinter with Nathan Turvey in the bike was also well supported but he dropped out to the rear from the outside of the front line as soon as the gate went. Chris Voak kept Ideal Tyson bowling along in front and passing the 600 metres mark he looked to still have plenty left in the tank until Rich Yankee attacked the leader and Ideal Tyson was immediately under pressure. Rich Yankee turned for home in front with first starter Lightning Jolt in hot pursuit but both were bloused late by a flying Sprinter , who came from last at the 400 metres for an emphatic victory. Sprinter paced the 2130 metres in 2:36.7, a mile rate of 1:58.4 with closing sectionals of 58.9 and 29.6. Gary Elson, who had three runners in last nights race may have come up empty with the hot favourite Ideal Tyson but still scooped the major share of the $50,000 race with one of his other his other runners, Sprinter. A $34,000 purchase at last years Australasian Classic yearling sale at Auckland by Gary, the son of Mach Three had won three of five before last night and looked like a horse on the up. Last night was the first time that a lot of those two year olds had gone much further than a mile and Sprinter looked to really appreciate the extra distance of the Champagne Classic. Harnesslink Media 

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