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A notable first for Queen Shenandoah Speedy pacer mare Queen Shenandoah set a record when she became the first mare in the 15-year history of The West Australian Nights of Thunder to win the group 2 sprint with a fast-finishing victory in the $50,000 event at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Third favourite at $6.40, Queen Shenandoah gave Shannon Suvaljko his first win in the event, with his first drive behind the New Zealand-bred six-year-old. It was Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri’s second win in the event, after his triumph with Davisons Destiny in 2009. Davisons Destiny was owned by Merv and Meg Butterworth, who race Queen Shenandoah in partnership with New Zealand’s legendary Hall of Fame trainer Graeme Rogerson, and Friday night’s win brought back happy memories for Olivieri, who trained pacer Super Estate for Rogerson while he (Olivieri) was plying his trade in New Zealand in 1989. Rogerson, who prepares a big team of thoroughbreds at his magnificent training establishment in Tuhikaramea, near Hamilton in New Zealand’s north island, has also trained pacers and trotters during his illustrious career. However, he is much better known as a trainer of gallopers and has prepared more winners in New Zealand than any other person. Highlights of his remarkable career include the 2003 Golden Slipper with Polar Success at Rosehill, the 2004 Cox Plate with Savabeel at Moonee Valley, the 2006 Victoria Derby with Efficient at Flemington and the 2007 Melbourne Cup with Efficient at Flemington. Rogerson is also well known as the breeder and owner of Vegas Showgirl, dam of champion thoroughbred mare Winx. Queen Shenandoah, a fast-finishing heat winner a week earlier, started from the No. 2 barrier in the final on Friday night and Suvaljko quickly angled the mare across to the inside to take the trail behind the pacemaker Infatuation, the second fancy at $4 from the prized No. 1 barrier.       Suvaljko gained the chance drive behind Queen Shenandoah when leading reinsman Chris Voak opted to handle Thats Perfect, who rated a sparkling 1.52.1 in scoring an effortless victory in a qualifying heat.  Thats Perfect, a hot $1.60 favourite, began speedily from the No. 5 barrier and the six-year-old began to overrace badly on the outside of Infatuation, with the first 400m section of the final mile whizzing by in a sparkling 27.2sec, followed by the next quarter in 28.2sec. After a third quarter of 29.2sec., Infatuation and Thats Perfect began to wilt and were sitting shots for late swoopers. Suvaljko eased Queen Shenandoah off the pegs 300m from home and then switched the mare three wide with 225m to travel. Queen Shenandoah then burst to the front at the 100m and won by one and a half lengths from the strong-finishing $20 chance Im Rocknroll Magic, with Tellmetoattack ($91) running home solidly to be third. Infatuation faded to fifth and Thats Perfect finished sixth in the field of nine. The final quarter was run in a comparatively slow 30.1sec. and the winner’s mile rate was 1.53.7. “The race didn’t turn out the way we anticipated,” said Olivieri. “We thought that Thats Perfect would win, but that didn’t happen.” Queen Shenandoah, by American stallion Somebeachsomewhere, is the first foal out of the Christian Cullen mare Asajah, who managed just one three placings from seven starts before being retired to stud. Queen Shenandoah had 18 starts in New Zealand for one win and eight placings. Rogerson trained her for her final seven runs in New Zealand for three seconds. After that, Queen Shenandoah raced nine times in Victoria for four wins and four seconds and then had four starts in South Australia for three wins. Her 33 West Australian starts for Olivieri have produced six wins and eight placings to take her career record to 64 starts for 14 wins, 20 placings and $206,726 in prizemoney. Adelaide trainer Les Harding told Olivieri that Queen Shenandoah was a better mare than Crystal Sparkles, a pacer he had prepared for 16 wins before she was sent to Olivieri, who gave her 20 starts for five wins and seven placings in 2019. “We didn’t think Queen Shenandoah was as good as Crystal Sparkles, but now it seems that maybe Harding was right,” said Olivieri.   Minstrel stakes his claim Minstrel, who had finished last at his two previous outings, beaten by a combined total of 750 metres (or the equivalent of 250 lengths), burst back into the limelight and staked a claim for a start in next Friday night’s $125,000 Simmonds Steel Four-Year-Old Classic with an impressive victory in the 2130m The West Australian Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.  The lightly-raced Rocknroll Hanover gelding had ruined his chances by breaking in running at his two previous starts when tailed off behind Diego over 1730m at Gloucester Park and Howard Hughes over 2185m at Pinjarra. He then paced faultlessly when an easy winner in a Byford trial. On Friday night Minstrel was a $7.50 chance from the outside barrier in a field of nine. His stablemate See Ya Write, an $11 chance from barrier eight, raced fiercely after a false start and burst to the front after 250m. Minstrel dashed forward to quickly move into the breeze position. The $1.55 favourite Pocket The Cash was beaten for speed early when $91 outsider Carramar Arapaho surged to the front 100m after the start before surrendering the lead 150m later to See Ya Write. Minstrel got to the front on the home turn and went on to win by just under a length from See Ya Write, rating 1.56.1, with final quarters of 28.6sec. and 26.9sec. Boom Time ($31) ran on from sixth at the bell to finish third, with Pocket The Cash flashing home, out five wide, to be an unlucky fourth. He was in sixth position and badly blocked for a run approaching the home turn before Dylan Egerton-Green was able to ease him into the clear with about 130m to travel. Star reinsman Ryan Warwick now has driven Minstrel three times for three wins. Minstrel raced ten times in New Zealand for four wins and five placings and he has won at three of his five starts in WA. He gave a sample of his class when he was first out from barrier four and then raced three back on the pegs before finishing strongly from sixth at the 300m to be third behind Copy That in a group 2 event for three-year-olds at Addington last March.   Patronus Star on song for classics Brilliant New Zealand-bred pacer Patronus Star earned many admirers for the $125,000 Simmonds Steel Four-Year-Old Classic next Friday night and the $200,000 Retravision Golden Nugget a fortnight later with a stylish win in the 2536m Ray Duffy Memorial at Gloucester Park on Friday night. A hot $1.50 favourite from the No. 1 barrier, Patronus Star gave ace reinsman Ryan Warwick an armchair drive as he set a moderate early pace before sprinting over the final quarters in 27.9sec. and 26.8sec. to win by 4m from Bracken Sky ($15), with a neck to $23 chance Stroke Of Luck. Patronus Star, who rated 1.57.3, won the WA Derby last April and now boasts a fine record of 19 starts for 11 wins, five placings and stakes of $271,341. He raced seven times in New Zealand for two wins and three placings. Patronus Star’s talented stablemate Howard Hughes, who went into the race with a record of 12 wins from 16 starts, was second fancy at $6.50 from the No. 5 barrier. He raced three wide early and then in the breeze before breaking into a bad gallop about 230m from home. Patronus Star is by American Ideal and is the sixth foal out of the unraced In The Pocket mare Star Command, whose half-brother Anvil’s Star amassed $444,705 from 15 wins and 27 placings from 91 starts.   Chumani has a mind of his own Eight years ago, Wonnerup trainer Terry Ferguson and Ron Groves, a retired professor in psychiatry, outlaid $13,000 at the Melbourne autumn sale to acquire Storm Cat, a filly by American stallion Mister Big, with high hopes that she had the strong pedigree to become a successful pacing broodmare. They were greatly heartened two years later when Storm Cat’s half-brother The Storm Inside (by Rocknroll Hanover) was sold as a yearling for $60,000 and a year later was named Australian Two-Year-Old of the 2015-16 season after being unbeaten at six starts, including victories in the group 2 Fitzpatrick Memorial at Menangle and the group 1 $322,000 Australian Pacing Gold at Melton. The Storm Inside went on to win at his first 11 starts before he broke down and was retired after 16 wins and two placings for $311,125 in stakes from just 19 starts. Storm Cat, trained by Ferguson, was a failure on the racetrack and was retired to stud after four seconds and one third from 18 starts for earnings of $7209. Her first foal, by champion pacing stallion Bettors Delight, was named Chumani and owners Ferguson, Groves and his son Aaron (the chief psychiatrist in Tasmania) were full of hope that he would develop into a star pacer. However, much to their dismay, Chumani refused to pace as he preferred to trot. “I tried him as a pacer but all he wanted to do was to trot,” said Ferguson. “He couldn’t pace to save himself.” This was a setback for the hopeful owners, but it certainly hasn’t been a disaster. Chumani, now a four-year-old, is quickly developing into a very smart trotter, with his first 17 starts producing eight wins, four seconds and stakes of $45,208. Chumani, favourite at $1.50 in the Business News Live At Trot at Gloucester Park on Friday night, gave a strong performance to race in the breeze before getting the upper hand over the pacemaker Taimate Angus ($21) approaching the home turn and going on to win convincingly by more than a length from the $5 second fancy Champagne Prince, who finished gamely after enjoying an ideal passage in the one-out, one-back position. While Chumani is trotting in fine style, Firestorm Red, a half-brother to The Storm Inside, is maintaining is excellent form as a pacer, with his latest appearance producing a strong second to Alta Orlando in the 2240m group 3 Goulburn Cup on Sunday January 17 to improve his record to 68 starts for 17 wins, 21 placings and $159,375 in prizemoney.   Fifty Five Reborn is tough Fifty Five Reborn, described by her trainer-reinsman Colin Brown as “a very honest little mare” notched her ninth win from 28 starts and took her earnings to $105,920 when she set the pace and won from Black Jack Zac and Shadow Roll in the 2536m WA News First In The West Australian Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “She is also pretty tough and has had some tough runs and fought it out right to the line,” said Brown. “We’ll keep pottering around with her. Her syndicate of owners enjoy watching her, and they have also got her full-brother Arma Einstein, who has won three races, and a full-sister, who was foaled last year.” Happy members of the syndicate are Jim, Ron and Lisa Currie, Glen and Leisel Montague, Regan and Bob Farrant and Brown’s wife Lyn. Fifty Five Reborn, bred by her owners, is the first foal out of the unraced mare Arma Fifty Five, who is a daughter of Arma Xceptional, who had ten starts for three wins and four placings. Arma Xceptional is a half-sister to Arma Xpress, who was a brilliant two-year-old in 2012 when she won the group 1 Sales Classic, the group 1 Golden Slipper, group 2 events the Champagne Classic and Westbred Classic and the group 3 Golden Bracelet. She was retired after having just 18 starts for 12 wins and $279,890 in stakes.   Sweet Maddison loves to lead New Zealand-bred mare Sweet Maddison relishes setting the pace in her races and she gave her rivals little hope of beating her when she led and beat Mileys Desire by a length in the 2536m Subscribe To The West Online Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. She now has been the pacemaker in seven of her nine wins from 20 starts for earnings of $64,097. Sweet Maddison, driven by Dylan Egerton-Green, covered the first two quarters of the final mile in 30.2sec. and 30sec. before sprinting over the final 400m sections in 28.9sec. and 28.8sec. to record a solid mile rate of 1.58.5. Trainer Michael Brennan declared that Sweet Maddison was certainly not just a frontrunner, saying: “She has won most of her races by leading, but we haven’t really driven her tough. The longer trips and high tempo races will suit her when she gets up in grade because she is quite strong. “She has developed nicely and is now more sturdy and very strong. She is also starting to relax a lot more.” Sweet Maddison is the first foal out of Maddison’s Delight, whose second foal is smart colt American Dealer, who has had 16 starts for seven wins, five placings and $177,105 in stakes. American Dealer won the group 1 Sires Stakes final over 1700m at Alexandra Park last September and the group 2 Alabar Classic over 2200m at the same track in December.   Babyface Adda surprises Wallrodt Boyanup trainer-reinsman Cody Wallrodt is enjoying his association with Babyface Adda, with the WA-bred five-year-old maintaining his excellent form by leading all the way and scoring an easy victory in the 2536m Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Wallrodt races Babyface Adda on lease from Peter Capararo and the gelding has had 13 starts for him for two wins, three seconds and three thirds. Babyface Adda, a $3.10 chance ($3.60 on the fixed market), jumped straight to the front from the No. 2 barrier and set a fast pace, with quarters of the final mile in 29.3sec., 29.5sec., 28.5sec. and 28.6sec. He was not extended in defeating $3.20 chance Miracle Moose, who was tenth at the bell and charged home, out six wide on the home turn. Bettor Be Oscar maintained his consistent form by running home solidly from sixth at the bell to be third. “I was very pleased with the way Babyface Adda went,” said Wallrodt. “He was keen to stride out in front, so I let him roll. And I was a bit surprised at how easily he won. Now I’ll give him a few more runs before giving him a spell.” Babyface Adda, by Rich And Spoilt, is the first foal out of Sonatina, an Art Major mare who had 12 starts for three wins, three placings and $16,806. Sonatina’s four appearances in WA in 2013 produced one third placing at Pinjarra. However, Sonatina’s half-sister One Dream was an outstanding performer who amassed $846,467 from 18 wins and five placings from just 23 starts. She won at five of her seven starts in Australia, with her victories including the group 1 Australasian Breeders Crown in Ballarat in August 2006 and the group 1 Australian Oaks at Moonee Valley in July 2007.   Diego relishes drop in class New Zealand-bred five-year-old Diego found life pretty tough when he was unplaced behind open-class pacers Bletchley Park and Vultan Tin in the group 2 Village Kid Sprint on January 8, and he relished a considerable drop in class when he scored an easy victory in the 2130m Get The Latest News At Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Maddison Brown sent the $1.50 favourite straight to the front from barrier two and the son of Bettors Delight was able to amble through the lead time in 38.7sec. and the opening quarters in 31.1sec. and 30.1sec. before he dashed over the final sections in 28.5sec. and 27.6sec. Diego was untroubled to stroll to victory by just over a length from $8.50 third fancy Alta Rhett, who trailed the pacemaker throughout. Patrickthepiranha ($4.60) raced three back on the pegs before finishing a well-beaten third. Diego, a full-brother to Mister Bushido (78 starts for 12 wins, 22 placings and $164,175), won at three of his 17 New Zealand starts before arriving in Western Australia, where he has won at five of his seven starts.   Ken Casellas

Members of the WA Trotting Media Guild are confident of steering punters in the right direction for Friday night’s meeting at Gloucester Park. The West Australian’s Ernie Manning and Radio Great Southern’s form analyst Warren Wishart believe Fifty Five Reborn can post an all-the-way victory in race six. “Fifty Five Reborn is likely to gain a vital advantage when starting from gate one and she could score her first win in eight starts since a spell,” Manning said. “The Colin Brown-trained four-year-old fought on gamely to run second after facing the breeze last Tuesday week. Seven of her eight wins have been at Gloucester Park.” And Wishart agrees. “My best bet is Fifty Five Reborn,” Wishart said. “She’s a very talented mate who finds the right race here and I expect her to lead throughout.” But TABradio’s Matt Young has different thoughts. He has made Roll With Me his best bet in the same race. “Roll With Me was unlucky last start and is suited at the trip and this class,” Young said. “His versatility should see him be very hard to beat.” The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft and Guild president Wayne Currall are keen on Diego in race three. “A winner at four of six local appearances, Diego is a big class-dropper on his last-start Village Kid Sprint run,” Havercroft said. “He couldn't get into a race run at blistering speed and gets his chance to return to winning form here in a much easier field.” Currall is thinking along the same lines. “Diego was most impressive when he led over 2130m four starts ago and carved out a slick mile rate of 1:55.1,” Currall said. “On that occasion he covered the last 800m in a blistering 55.1. Maddison Brown is expected to send him straight to the top from his good draw and they’ll struggle to get near him if he runs those sort of times.” TABradio’s Hayden King has made Divinia Bellezza his star bet on the eight-race card. “I can see Divinia Bellezza getting forward, then accepting cover on noted breeze horse Headline Act,” King said. “Although she was well beaten, she was making stealthy progress last start, so I can see her getting over the top here.” Veteran trotting journalist Ken Casellas, who was on fire last week with eight winners from the 10 events, and longshot guru Pat Harding have pinned their faith on Patronus Star in race four. “A deflated sulky tyre soon after the start knocked Patronus Star out of action in last week’s Four-Year-Old Championship, and I’m making the brilliant pacer my best bet this week to make amends for that misfortune by winning the Ray Duffy Memorial on Friday night,” Casellas said. “Last season’s WA Derby winner is poised to set the pace from the No. 1 barrier and he should carry too many guns for his rivals, including his talented stablemate Howard Hughes, who surged home along the sprint lane to beat him at Pinjarra at his previous outing.” Harding’s thoughts are aligned with Casellas. “On what is a light program at GP this Friday night, my best bet comes up in race four with Patronus Star,” Harding said.. “This Bond-trained horse has been very consistent since he returned from a spell. I expect him to win in a close tussle with his stablemate Howard Hughes.” VALUE BETS  ERNIE: Headline Act has been without a win in her past 15 starts, but she is among pacers from trainer Tony Svilicich’s stable who should not be underrated. She performed creditably when running second at Pinjarra and fifth at Gloucester Park in races last week. WARREN: Triroyale Brigade is better suited here from the low draw. Should settle nice and handy and give a good sight. MATT: Champagne Prince can fly the tapes and could get the start necessary to put himself in a winning position. RYAN: Bad Round loves an inside draw, placing behind Cyclone Banner last month when last drawing the pegs.  WAYNE: It’s been a long while between drinks for the connections of Mileys Desire, but the mare loves the pegs and can run a race at odds in race seven. HAYDEN: Bettor Finish is drawn to get a glorious run on the pegs over the long trip. He won in lesser company on Monday, but if there is any heat on he can be the one to capitalise. KEN: For value, I strongly suggest Divinia Bellezza in race seven, a 2536m event which will suit her perfectly. She stormed home with a six-wide sizzling late burst when eighth behind Extradite on Tuesday of last week. PAT: My value bet comes up in race two with No, 11 Delightfulreaction. She ran a good second last week and over the 2536 metre journey I think Aiden de Campo can bring her home with a strong finish. To view all of the Media Guild tips click here. Good punting.     

New Zealand-bred mare Divinia Bellezza has won only seven times from 61 starts, but she looms as a great value bet when she contests the 2536m Subscribe to The West Online Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. She is a splendid stayer who has won over 2500m and 2600m in New Zealand and her four runs over 2536m at Gloucester Park have resulted in two wins, a third placing and an eye-catching eighth. Her eighth was at her most recent outing, behind Extradite over 2536m on Tuesday of last week. She was ninth at the bell before charging home, out six wide. It was a most impressive performance. She dashed over the final 800m in 55.8sec. and the last 400m in 27.7sec. Divinia Bellezza, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, will start from the No. 7 barrier and Ryan Warwick is likely to make full use of the mare’s powerful finishing burst. Her chief rivals are expected to be the Michael Brennan-trained Sweet Maddison and Ross Olivieri’s Run For Mercy, a last-start all-the-way winner who will start from the No. 6 barrier. The Bond stable also appears to have a stranglehold on the $25,000 Ray Duffy Memorial over 2536m in which they will be represented by the two youngest and least experienced runners, New Zealand-bred four-year-olds Patronus Star and Howard Hughes. Ryan Warwick will drive Patronus Star, winner of the WA Derby last April, from the prized No. 1 barrier, while Howard Hughes (who finished fast along the sprint lane to beat Patronus Star at Pinjarra two starts ago) will be handled by Deni Roberts from barrier five. Patronus Star is a good frontrunner who looks the likely leader who will make life tough for his opponents. He was unlucky in the $50,000 Four-Year-Old Championship last Friday night when he began smartly before a tyre of his sulky deflated, forcing Warwick to ease him out of the event only 300m after the start. Howard Hughes started from the inside of the back line in that event and raced three back on the pegs but was badly hampered for room in the final circuit and finished ninth behind Magnificent Storm.   Ken Casellas

Boyanup trainer-reinsman Cody Wallrodt is happy with Babyface Adda’s form and is hoping the WA-bred five-year-old will return to the winning list when he starts from the No. 2 barrier in the 2536m Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Babyface Adda is a good frontrunner whose most recent success was six starts ago when he led and beat Henwood Bay over 2130m at Gloucester Park two months ago. However, Wallrodt, who races the Rich And Spoilt gelding on lease, is mulling over his possible tactics for Friday night’s race. “The 2536m makes it a bit harder,” he said. “We’ll have a look and see if we can cross (to the front) and if we do, then maybe hand up to something better. On the other hand, if I think he is going good enough in the lead I’ll consider holding the lead.” Babyface Adda, who has won over 2503m and 2569m, has raced over 2536m for two thirds and three ninth placings. He gave a solid performance when third behind Carrera Mach and Bettor Be Oscar in a fast-run race over 2130m last Friday night. He started from the outside of the back line, settled four back on the pegs before moving to the breeze after 550m and then gaining the one-out, one-back trail at the 1200m. He went three widen 450m from home to move to second approaching the home turn and then fought on doggedly to finish third. At his previous appearance, over 2130m on New Year’s Eve, Babyface Adda impressed when he raced in sixth position, one-out and two-back, before being hampered by a flat sulky tyre at the 400m. He managed to take a narrow lead 100m from the post and finished second to the fast-finishing Bracken Sky. Babyface Adda meets solid opposition on Friday night, with Aiden de Campo’s Bettor Be Oscar and the Robbie Williams-trained and driven Triroyale Brigade looming as two of his most dangerous rivals. Bettor Be Oscar, who will start from the No. 5 barrier, has bright prospects of ending a losing sequence of 13. He has worked hard in the breeze at his past two starts for second placings behind Jack William and Carrera Mach. Triroyale Brigade continues to race keenly and will pay to follow. He was checked and broke early and caught the eye when he was eighth at the bell and switched five wide 220m from home before running home strongly to be fourth behind Bettor Copagoodone last Friday night. Trainer Gary Hall snr will use Maddison Brown’s concession to enable Antero to contest this event, and the six-year-old, a smart last-start winner over Pocket The Cash and Roll With Me, will have many admirers. Hall will also use Brown’s concession to enable Diego to run in the 2130m third event. Diego, a winner at four of his past six starts, is ideally drawn at barrier two and looks capable of setting the pace and holding Waltzingwithsierra and Patrickthepiranha at bay in the closing stages.   Ken Casellas

Outstanding young reinsman Dylan Egerton-Green has given punters a valuable lead by choosing to drive Pocket The Cash in preference to another smart four-year-old See Ya Write in the opening event, The West Australian Pace, at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He made the choice after the Stephen Reed-trained Pocket The Cash drew the No. 1 barrier in the 2130m event and See Ya Write, prepared by Greg and Skye Bond, drew out wide at barrier eight. Colin Brown has been engaged to drive See Ya Write at the gelding’s fourth appearance in Western Australia, after four wins from 11 starts in New Zealand. Minstrel, another New Zealand-bred four-year-old from the powerful Bond stable, will start from the outside in the field of nine and will be handled by the stable’s No. 1 driver Ryan Warwick. Minstrel, a winner at six of his 14 starts, was an easy winner in a 2150m trial at Byford last Sunday week when he dashed over the final 400m in 28.7sec. to beat Longreach Bay by eight metres. Pocket The Cash is racing keenly and is a good frontrunner who will need to be at his top to beat the Bond runners as well as smart performers Master Publisher, Boom Time, Jesse Allwood and Pradason. Pocket The Cash started out wide at barrier eight in a 2536m event last Friday night when he came from last in the middle stages with a three-wide burst to move to second in the back straight in the final circuit before battling on into fourth place behind Master Publisher. That followed a comfortable win over 2100m at Bunbury and a close fast-finishing second to Antero over 2536m at Gloucester Park. Master Publisher will start from the No. 4 barrier this week and reinsman Gary Hall jnr said that the four-year-old faced a stern test. “It’s a red-hot field,” he said. “He can play a part, but he certainly faces a test.” Chris Voak said he was looking forward to driving Boom Time, a lightly-raced seven-year-old trained by Ross Olivieri who will be racing first-up after a four-month absence. “He has an average draw (barrier five) but is working well and is an each-way chance.” Boom Time has had only 27 starts for nine wins and five seconds. He finished strongly two starts ago to win convincingly from Triroyale Brigade and Just Wing It. Pradason, trained and driven by Aiden de Campo, has had 25 starts for eight wins and ten placings. He has won in weaker company at Albany at his past two starts and looks tested from the No. 6 barrier. The Phil Duggan-trained Jesse Allwood is racing with great enthusiasm and will have admirers from the No. 2 barrier with Deni Roberts in the sulky. He maintained his excellent form when he finished strongly to be third behind Bettor Copagoodone in a 2503m stand last Friday night. Pocket The Cash is the first of several good drives for Egerton-Green, who will be strongly fancied to win the final two events with Sweet Maddison in race seven, a 2536m event for mares, and with Chumani in the final event, a 2096m stand for square gaiters.   Ken Casellas

The Ross Olivieri-trained Thats Perfect is a popular choice as a best bet with members of the WA Trotting Media Guild for Friday night’s meeting at Gloucester Park. Veteran trotting journalist Ken Casellas and TABradio’s Matt Young believe punters can add to their banks by supporting Thats Perfect in race nine. “Thats Perfect drops down in class when he starts from an awkward draw at barrier six in the third heat of the 1730m Nights of Thunder on Friday night and he is my best bet for the evening,” Casellas said. “He was doing his best work at the finish when fifth behind Bletchley Park in the Group 2 Village Kid Sprint last week. He is likely to have to work hard in the breeze this week, but I’m sure his class will tell at the finish.” Young agrees. “Thats Perfect is coming out of a stronger race and with that run under his belt this should be a good race for him,” Young said. “Small field suits and looks to be speed on.” Radio Great Southern’s form analyst Warren Wishart is keen on Master Publisher in the opening event. “No. 2 Master Publisher in the first race is a capable type who looks well placed in this,” Wishart said. “Has gate speed, so he should lead and will be too good for them.” The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft has made prolific winner Magnificent Storm his star bet. “Magnificent Storm is undefeated through 10 local starts, jumping as an odds-on favourite on each occasion,” Havercroft said. “The son of American Ideal did all of the work at his last outing when tiring late and will be favoured to start his four-year-old season with Group 2 success.” The West Australian’s Ernie Manning believes Jack William can make it back-to-back victories. “Jack William has barrier one for the second time in a week and looks capable of repeating the front-running victory he notched last Friday night,” Manning said. “Trainer Nathan Turvey has elected to retain leading reinswoman Emily Suvaljko as Jack William’s driver when he attempts to record the 15th win of his career. The Victorian import, who last week broke a 14-run losing sequence, appears to have regained his best form.” Longshot guru Pat Harding is pinning his hopes on Carrera Mach. “A tough night for tipsters and punters alike at GP last week, hopefully we can all do better this week,” Harding said. “My best bet comes in race three with No.11 Carrera Mach. This horse is overdue for a win and has been about the place in four starts since a spell. I think this is his best chance to reward punters.” TABradio’s Hayden King has opted for Touch Of Success as his best bet for the meeting. “Although drawn awkwardly, I feel Touch Of Success may have a class edge over rivals,” King said. “He has tremendous gate speed, however they may be reluctant to use it. In any case, he can sit off them and be strongest late if the speed is honest, which I think it will be.” Guild president Wayne Currall believes Kilowatt Kid can post an all-the-way victory in the first heat of the Nights of Thunder series. “Kilowatt Kid has come up with the ace and driver Ryan Warwick will attempt to lead from start to finish,” Currall said. “The horse has had five starts back from a spell and should be at his peak now. He can carve out some strong sectionals and should prove too strong for his rivals.” VALUE BETS KEN: For value, I suggest Vivere Damore off the 20m mark in the 2503m Westral Blinds And Awnings Handicap. She is in wonderful form and will be flying home. MATT: Quick Stride is racing well and just needs tempo on to power over the top for victory. WARREN: Jesse Allwood hasn’t had much luck lately and off the front can land a nice forward position and run a race at odds. RYAN: Rabchenko would come into calculations should Hayden Charles be able to find the top. Unsuited when breezing last time out. ERNIE: Cavalry Call has been beaten in his past eight races and he faces a big class jump after running third at Busselton on January 1. But gate one is a bonus and his trainer Peter Tilbrook is inform. PAT: My value bet comes up in race six with No. 5 Delightful Reaction. Coming off the inside of the 10 metre line, I think Aiden De Campo can steer her to victory. HAYDEN: If you put a pen through Gran Chico's last run where he worked hard, he was building into some really promising form. I think he can regather his handicap and he may be too good for rivals at a generous price. WAYNE: Race two is an open affair and I think Marquisard will get out to a good each-way price. He’s drawn awkwardly on the inside of the backline, but if Aldo Cortopassi can get him into the clear he will be charging late. To view all of the Media Guild tips click here. Good punting.    Wayne Currall

Champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr declares “that it is time we got the picket fence going for him” when assessing superstar Chicago Bull’s prospects in the $25,000 Joe and Margaret Petricevich Memorial Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Chicago Bull has enjoyed a brief respite from racing over the past six weeks after finishing second at his past two outings, behind Perfect Major in the Group 2 RWWA Cup and Vultan Tin in the Group 1 WA Pacing Cup. Before those defeats as an odds-on favourite Chicago Bull had built a picket fence of six firsts in succession. “He’s had a little freshen up, and I think he had only a week off,” said Hall. “Looking at the field, there’s not a huge issue that I can see. I think that the biggest obstacle for him will be fitness. “However, his trackwork has been good; he’s been working with Balcatherine and is keen to be out there.” Hall said that he would be going into the race with no set plans but said that Chicago Bull (who will start from the outside barrier No. 9) would have to be driven tough at some stage. “The runner I’m most concerned about is Bletchley Park, particularly if he leads,” Hall admitted. “Bletchley Park (drawn wide at barrier eight) hasn’t got scintillating gate speed, and if he happens to end up in front, it will want to be without him doing a bit of work.” Bletchley Park, to be driven by Lindsay Harper for Bunbury trainer Stephen Reed, gave a bold frontrunning display (from barrier two) to score an easy victory over the strong-finishing Vultan Tin in the Village Kid Sprint, rating 1.52.4 over 1730m last Friday night. Ravenswood trainer-reinsman Nathan Turvey will be looking for a strong performance from Simba Bromac from a favourable draw at barrier two on the front line. Simba Bromac caught the eye with an excellent fourth in the Village Kid Sprint. He started from the outside of the back line, was seventh on the pegs at the bell and was hampered for room in the home straight. Trainer Ray Williams said that Cyclone Banner, a winner at two of his past three starts, faced a stiff test from out wide at barrier seven. “However, I’m sure he will run an honest race,” Williams said. “He’ll be finding a spot and, hopefully, he will be coming home.”   Ken Casellas

Three heats of the Nights of Thunder will be decided over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Friday night and Capel trainer-reinsman Aiden de Campo holds a strong hand. There is only one last-start winner in each of the three heats and de Campo will drive each of them The Kraken, Tellmetoattack and Blue Blazer. De Campo is not bursting with confidence, but he considers that all three pacers have each-way prospects. The Kraken, a brilliant beginner and fine frontrunner, will start from the outside barrier in the field of seven in the first heat. He has won in dashing style at his past two appearances (over 2130m) at Gloucester Park when he has led from the No. 1 and the No. 8 barriers. “There are some quick beginners inside of him on Friday night,” said de Campo. “So, I’ll be playing it by ear. He is not a one-trick pony who doesn’t have to go forward.” The likely favourite in this heat is the Greg and Skye Bond-trained Kilowatt Kid, who has drawn perfectly at barrier one for star reinsman Ryan Warwick. Kilowatt Kid has a losing sequence of eight and is not a noted frontrunner who has fair gate speed, but certainly is not blessed with sparkling early speed. Nineteen of his 38 starts have been in stands, and he has drawn the No. 1 barrier in two of his 19 appearances in mobiles for a second over 2400m at Winton in December 2017 when he sat behind the pacemaker and then raced three back on the pegs before finishing fast, and a fading sixth behind Duke of Wellington after setting the pace in the 2700m group 2 Supremacy Stakes at Invercargill in April 2018. Kilowatt Kid has contested only three mobile events in his 13 WA appearances running on from sixth at the bell to be a head second to Cyclone Banner over 2130m at Gloucester Park on May 19, 2020, covering a lot of extra ground before winning by a neck from Shadow Roll over 2185m at Pinjarra on May 25, 2020, and racing wide early and then in the one-out and one-back position before finishing solidly to be third behind stablemates Justasec and Taroona Bromac at a 1.56.2 rate over 2130m at Gloucester park on December 28 last year. Tellmetoattack has excellent prospects in the second heat in which he is favourably drawn at barrier No. 2. He warmed up for this assignment with a smart all-the-way victory over 2265m at Albany last Saturday week. “He is up in class a little bit,” said de Campo. “If he had drawn one, I would have been quite confident. But I’m not quite sure whether he will be able to cross Im Rocknroll Magic. I’ll have a crack for the top, but if we can’t get there I’ll just drop in behind the leader.” The Debra Lewis-trained Im Rocknroll Magic has a losing sequence of 16, but his past two efforts have been encouraging thirds behind Tellmetoattack at Albany and behind Walsh and Carrera Mach at Gloucester Park last week. A most interesting runner is the Bond-trained six-year-old Bettor Aim, who will start from the outside in the field of seven at his first start in a race for 23 months. He has won at nine of his 16 starts and is capable of causing a surprise. The Bonds also will be represented by Infatuation, who has won at ten of his 19 starts and will have many admirers at his first appearance since last July. He set the pace and won a 2150m Byford trial last Sunday morning, beating Sergeant Oats by two lengths and rating 2.0.4. The Ross Olivieri-trained Queen Shenandoah has been performing soundly in strong company and is capable of a bold showing from the No. 3 barrier. “She will go well,” said reinsman Chris Voak. “She should get a nice soft trip and if she gets a split inside the 300m she will storm home.” Blue Blazer, who ran home gamely to beat Rock Me Over by a neck over 2536m last Friday night, will start from the outside in the field of seven in the third heat. “He went good last week, but the sprint distance this week is probably not his go,” said de Campo. However, if the speed is on, he will be coming home late.” The Olivieri-Voak combination looks very hard to beat in this heat in which former Victorian pacer Thats Perfect will start from the No. 6 barrier. He finished strongly when fifth behind Bletchley Park in the Village Kid Sprint last Friday night. “If it was a 2130m race I’d say that Thats Perfect would be unbeatable,” said Voak. “But average horses can run a good mile. He will probably have to do it the tradesman’s way again.”   Ken Casellas

Follow Dylan Egerton-Green. That was the message to punters after he had landed four winners Our Mista Kalle ($4.10), Talks Up A Storm ($1.80), Nigel Ernest ($8) and Chumani ($2.60) at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening. Egerton-Green has a great opportunity to get away to a flying start at Gloucester Park on Friday night by driving Pocket The Cash to victory in the opening event, the 2536m TABtouch Pace in which he will start out wide at barrier eight. Pocket The Cash, a New Zealand-bred four-year-old trained in Bunbury by Stephen Reed, is racing with great heart and looks set to be very hard to beat this week. He started from barrier six in a 2536m event last week and settled down in eighth position before losing ground in the back straight, racing for the bell. He was sixth with 550m to travel before finishing with a spirited burst to be second, a short half-head behind Antero. Reed was impressed with the performance, saying: “He got inconvenienced at about the 1200m when the horse in front of him galloped. This probably cost him at least ten metres. It may have been the difference. But in saying that, we had our chance down the straight to run down Antero, who was strong enough to hold us off.” Pocket The Cash, a smart winner at Bunbury at his previous outing, has been a model of consistency, with his 37 starts producing eleven wins, ten seconds and five thirds. His major rival this week, and the likely favourite is another New Zealand-bred four-year-old in Master Publisher, who will be having his first start for two months and is ideally drawn at the No. 2 barrier on the front line. Master Publisher, trained by Gary Hall Snr, was unplaced at his three starts in New Zealand and has raced 15 times in WA for six wins and a second placing. He has won first-up after a spell for the Hall stable at his WA debut when he led from the No. 1 barrier over 2536m in December 2019 and over 2100m at Bunbury last April. His reinsman Gary Hall Jnr said that he gave Master Publisher a good winning chance. “It is a pretty suitable race for him, particularly if he can get to the top. If he’s anywhere near right he should go close to winning. If he had drawn in the middle of the line, I’d be a bit concerned first-up. But he’s got the barrier advantage, so he should be hard to beat.”   Ken Casellas

Chris Voak celebrated his wonderful performance to be the State’s leading driver last season with a treble at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon, and is looking forward to a busy night at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he will have a drive in nine of the ten events. He has chosen the Terry Ferguson-trained mare Bettor Copagoodone as his best winning prospect. The five-year-old, a winner at seven of her past 16 starts, has been racing in fine form on South-West and Great Southern tracks. She has had made only six appearances at Gloucester Park and has yet to be placed there. She has won five mobile events at Albany, two stands at Pinjarra and one stand at Bunbury in her 43-start career. Bettor Copagoodone will start from the inside barrier on the front line and Voak is hoping the mare will maintain her sound form from a standing start. She gave an excellent frontrunning performance to win by four lengths from Be On Guard and Kilowatt Kid in a 2631m stand at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. “She went really good at Pinjarra, and she went even better when she ran on to win a 2265m mobile at Albany at her previous start,” said Voak. “She can win again. At Pinjarra she felt strong and that’s why I let her slide (in front) and just kept her company. “She won very easily and her last 1200m was excellent. If she can lead again, there’s no reason why on the half-mile track she can’t repeat the dose if she steps away like she did on Monday.” Bettor Copagoodone’s chief rival appears the Peter Tilbrook-trained Vivere Damore, who will start off 20m and will be handled by Emily Suvaljko. Vivere Damore ran on powerfully from eighth (and last) at the bell to finish second to Waltzingwithsierra in a 2130m mobile last Friday night. She looks set to fight out the finish. Voak has given punters a good lead by opting to drive Carrera Mach in preference to Rock Me Over in the 2130m Retravision Pace. Voak drove the Matt Scott-trained Rock Me Over last Friday night when the six-year-old, favourite at $1.50, set the pace and finished second to the fast-finishing Blue Blazer over 2536m. Gary Hall jnr has been engaged to drive Rock Me Over, who has solid winning claims from barrier four. Carrera Mach, prepared by Ross Olivieri, will start from the No. 2 barrier on the back line. Carrera Mach started from the No. 9 barrier in a 2130m event last Friday night and impressed in sustaining a powerful three-wide burst from last at the bell to finish a half-head second to Walsh. “He will go well this week,” said Voak. “Hopefully, he won’t get too far back; we don’t want to be any worse than one-out, two-back. His past two runs have been very good.”   Ken Casellas

Star pacer Magnificent Storm has recovered from the debilitating effects of racing in blistering heat at 3 o’clock three Thursdays ago and is fighting fit and poised to extend his winning sequence to eleven when he contests the $50,000 Four-Year-Old Championship at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The New Zealand-bred gelding has drawn awkwardly at barrier six in the 2130m Group 2 feature event which has attracted a quality field and has left astute Mt Helena trainer Ray Williams considering that Magnificent Storm is facing the biggest test in his short but dazzling career. “lt will be a test for him, but I think he will come through all right,” Williams said. “I’m excited and am looking forward to Friday night. It is a good field, and this will tell us where we’re at with the horse. “No doubt, this will be his biggest test and he will tell us whether he’s up to it (to be set for the Group 1 Four-Year-Old Classic in a fortnight and the Group 1 Golden Nugget two weeks later). “We decided not to contest the Pinjarra Four-Year-Old Classic last Monday week because it was pretty hot when he won at Gloucester Park eleven days earlier. He has come through that pretty well and he has worked well. “The draw hasn’t done us any favours, but I’m not too concerned about that. He doesn’t have to lead; he’s a nice horse who is easy to drive. So, we’ll grab a spot and see what happens. “He doesn’t do any track work and the only time he sees the track and is hoppled is when he’s in a race. He gallops in the cart and enjoys galloping up the hill at home.” Aldo Cortopassi will determine his tactics with Magnificent Storm as the race unfolds. The major danger looms large as the Greg and Skye Bond-trained Patronus Star, a winner at ten of his 17 starts. Patronus Star, to be driven by Ryan Warwick from the No. 3 barrier on the front line, is in top form. He started out wide at barrier seven in the Pinjarra Classic and raced three wide in the middle stages and then in the breeze when a fighting second to talented stablemate Howard Hughes, who notched is twelfth win from just 15 starts when he raced three back on the pegs and finished strongly along the sprint lane. Howard Hughes is handily drawn on the inside of the back line on Friday night when he will be handled by Deni Roberts. Stuart McDonald will drive Copy N Pace for trainer Gary Hall Snr, and will have admirers from barrier two on the back line. Copy N Pace impressed two starts ago with his fast-finishing third behind Magnificent Storm and Jaspervellabeach. Michael Grantham has chosen to drive the Mike Reed-trained Power And Grace from the No. 1 barrier in preference to trainer Michael Brennan’s Withoutthetuh (barrier No. 8). Gary Hall Jnr has been engaged to handle Withoutthetuh, who faces a difficult assignment from his wide draw. Chris Voak is looking forward to driving Henrik Larsson, who won for the fifth time from eight starts when he covered extra ground early before taking the lead and winning easily from The Stars Above at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. However, barrier No. 7 is likely to make life tough for Henrik Larsson. Henrik Larsson’s trainer Luke Edwards said that the horse was on track to contest the coming feature events for four-year-olds. “I was very happy with his run at Pinjarra,” he said. “He did a lot of work early and finished the race in good fashion, with the ear plugs in. We will be going back at the start and hopefully he hits the line strongly. “He is still on the way up and I aim to have him peaking for the big events over the next four weeks.” Voak was impressed with Henrik Larsson at Pinjarra, saying: “He still had gears left. But the draw on Friday certainly won’t help his cause.” Capel trainer-reinsman Aiden de Campo said that Alta Engen, a winner at eight of his 12 starts, was capable of a solid showing. “But the draw (No. 9) hurts,” he said. “He has improved a lot since his last-start sixth behind Howard Hughes and Patronus Star at Pinjarra, and his work since then has been good.”   Ken Casellas

Bletchley Park excels in front A sizzling opening 400m section of 26.6sec. paved the way for Bletchley Park’s superb victory in the $50,000 Village Kid Sprint over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “I haven’t seen many faster quarters at Gloucester Park,” said Bunbury trainer Stephen Reed after Lindsay Harper had driven the Victorian-bred five-year-old to an effortless win over Vultan Tin and Cant Refuse. “I was happy that Vampiro was unable to cross to the front, and then Bletchley Park looked like he was doing that first quarter under his own steam. I was quietly confident that he could run that early speed and still have it at the end. “He excels when he’s leading and he seems to run his best races when he is out in front, rolling. He has been racing in an open bridle and being a mile tonight I decided to put some pull-downs on him to sharpen him up. “However, it turned out that we didn’t actually need them. Lindsay said that he still had another gear.” After his sparkling opening quarter Bletchley Park, favourite at $2.30, reeled off the next three quarters in 28.2sec., 27.9sec. and 29.4sec. and he rated a smart 1.52.4 which was 0.8sec. outside the 1730m track record of 1.51.6 recorded by Chicago Bull when he beat Soho Tribeca by a head in the Mount Eden Sprint in October 2017. Vampiro, an $8.50 chance, was fastest away from the outside barrier (No. 9), with Balcatherine ($4.60) and Galactic Star ($5) also showing considerable early speed. However, Bletchley Park held up from the favourable No. 2 barrier. Balcatherine covered a lot of extra ground before getting to the breeze after about a lap, and she wilted to finish eighth. Vultan Tin, a $26 chance from barrier seven, maintained his splendid form and impressed greatly by sustaining a spirited three-wide burst from the rear at the bell to finish second, just over a length behind Vultan Tin. Bletchley Park, by American stallion American Ideal and out of the New Zealand-bred mare Alldatglittersisgold, is owned by Albert and Julie Walmsley and has earned $310,436 from 16 wins and 18 placings from 46 starts. Friday night’s win gave Harper his third success in the Village Kid Sprint, originally known at the Celebrity Sprint, following successes with Shattering Class in 1998 and 2002. Albert Walmsley paid tribute to the skill of Reed and, wonderful stable worker Aimee-Lee Wood and Harper, and said he was looking forward to Bletchley Park contesting feature events in the coming year. “We have no real plans,” said Reed. “He has pulled up well and there’s no reason to have a break. We’ll try to target the feature races with him.”   Talktomeurmattjesty is exciting Speed machine Talktomurmattjesty bounced back to his brilliant best with a runaway victory in the 2130m Better Your Bet With TABtouch Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night, a dazzling performance which left reinsman Kyle Harper singing the praises of the New Zealand-bred nine-year-old and the gelding’s part-owner and trainer Barry Howlett. Talktomeurmattjesty started favourite at $2.30 from the prized No. 1 barrier and ran his five rivals ragged as he led by eight lengths after 500m and extended the margin to 12 lengths at the bell before coasting to a five-length victory over Whozideawasthis, rating 1.54, following quarters of 29.6sec., 28.8sec., 27.8sec. and 28.8sec. This remarkable performance, at his second appearance after a seven-month absence, followed unplaced efforts at his five previous outings when he was beaten by a combined total of 320 metres, an average losing margin of 64m or 21 lengths. In most of those failures Talktomeurmattjesty ruined his chances by overracing badly. “When the horse is on song, like he was tonight, he’s very exciting, very pleasing and very much fun,” said Harper “When he is in a feature race with some better horses drawn inside him, he can be a bit unruly, and it isn’t all that much fun. But when he is at his best, he makes up for that. He is a very impressive horse. I’ve been lucky enough to have driven some impressive horses in my short career and he’s right up there with the best of them. “It is very taxing on a horse to race the way he does, and that’s the only downside; it’s something that can affect the longevity of his campaigns. He is incredible to drive and he was a lot more settled tonight. “Sometimes he’s a dead-set runaway and wants to run the first half in 55sec., reefing and pulling. Tonight, he opened up a big lead and did it quite comfortably. When he is not reefing and tearing and he’s doing it within himself, he is very hard to run down because he doesn’t stop. “Sometimes he does get a bit too big for his boots and grabs the chewy, and that’s when he brings himself undone. This was definitely one of his more impressive runs tonight. I didn’t even turn the stick on him, and he went to the line with the plugs in and not having to touch him with the whip. “It was an impressive performance, second-up, and a terrific training performance by Barry and his team, Katie and Jimmy.” Talktomeurmattjesty, by American stallion Royal Mattjesty and the ninth and last foal out of New Zealand mare Talk To Me Later, had three starts in New Zealand in late 2015 for two wins and a placing and his WA record for the Howlett family stands at 47 starts for 14 wins and 11 placings. His career record is 50 starts for 16 wins, 12 placings and $192,585. He is a half-brother to Talk To Me Courage, who earned $649,507 from 47 wins and 82 placings from 288 starts. Talk To Me Courage finished a close third behind Aikido Whitby in the 2006 Golden Slipper at Gloucester Park and eleven of his wins in Western Australia included the 2010 Lord Mayor’s Cup before he developed into a consistent performer in America.   Slow pace worries Turvey Normally a dawdling lead time is highly beneficial for the pacemaker. But when the $2.10 favourite and polemarker Jack William ambled through the lead time in a very slow 39.1sec. and followed that with a pedestrian opening quarter of 31.4sec., Ravenswood trainer Nathan Turvey was quite concerned. “A slow pace doesn’t suit him because he likes to get out and run,” explained Turvey. “So, I was worried when the lead time was that slow. I was getting nervous because I wanted him to go quicker. He’s not quick, but he’s tough and doesn’t need to be driven pretty. “You’ve seen in many of his runs that if he’s engaged in a war, he doesn’t let you down.” Driver Emily Suvaljko was not put under undue pressure in the first lap and a bit by the breeze horse Bettor Be Oscar before she lifted the tempo and Jack William dashed over the final 400m sections in 28.5sec. and 28.3sec. and went on to win by a half-neck from the strong-finishing Bettor Be Oscar, with Mr Kiwi a length away in third place after trailing the pacemaker all the way. Jack William’s rate was a modest 1.59.1 and the victory ended a losing sequence of 14 and improved his record to 88 starts for 14 wins, 28 placings and $128,807 in stakes. “He has been a ripper for me,” said Turvey, who races the Bettors Delight eight-year-old in partnership with his stable lieutenant Maddie Coles. “He was only a cheap purchase from Victoria and although I thought he would do an okay job here; he has exceeded all expectations.” Jack William won four times from 42 starts in Victoria and since Turvey purchased him about 17 months ago he has raced 46 times for his new owners for ten wins, 19 placings and $95,049 in prizemoney. Jack William is out of American-bred mare Western Ideal, who has also produced Bettor Be Sorry (12 starts for eight wins, one placings and $51,850) and Reactor Now (20 starts for 11 wins, one placings and $86,330).   De Campo’s flying start Talented trainer-reinsman Aiden de Campo has made a flying start to the 2021 season, landing a driving treble at the opening city meeting at Gloucester Park on Friday night. His band of ardent supporters cashed in when he was successful behind Walsh ($8.90), The Kraken ($7.50) and Blue Blazer ($24.20). He prepares Walsh and The Kraken in Capel, and Blue Blazer is trained by Baskerville horseman Ryan Bell. And the 28-year-old de Campo continued his magical streak by driving five winners at the Albany meeting on Saturday night, leaving him as the State’s leader driver after the first nine days of the season when his 19 drives resulted in eight wins and three seconds. He had seven drives at the Albany meetings for wins with Keptain Courageous, All The Bells, Pradason, Dominus Factum and Strike Dream and second placings behind Shoot Through and Major Jade. Walsh, purchased for $34,000 at the 2017 Perth yearling sale, appreciated a drop in class when he started from barrier No. 5 in the 2130m Westral Pace on Friday night. Unplaced at his previous nine starts and with a losing sequence of 11, Walsh enjoyed a perfect passage in the one-out, one-back position before de Campo sent him forward to hit the front on the home turn and then fight on grimly to beat $4.80 chance Carrera Mach, who sustained a strong three-wide burst from ninth and last at the bell to fail by just a half-head. Carrera Mach followed the three-wide run of $6.50 chance Im Rocknroll Magic, who finished a creditable third, with the pacemaker and $2.60 favourite Beach Skipper wilting to fourth. Walsh, an Art Major five-year-old, now has raced 65 times for ten wins, 18 placings and $89,483 in stakes. His dam the Courage Under Fire mare Dontgetmeruffled earned $71,685 from 13 wins, 24 placings from 97 starts. She was a winner of six races in South Australia and seven in Western Australia.    The Kraken started from the outside in the field of eight in the 2130m Allwood Stud Farm Pace in which the polemaker and last-start Northam winner Valbonne was the $1.75 favourite. Valbonne was beaten for early pace by $26 outsider Dominate The Dojo before de Campo made full use of The Kraken’s sparkling speed to send the Art Major five-year-old to the front after 400m. The Kraken then relished his pacemaking role. After a fast lead time of 35.4sec. The Kraken relaxed and was able to amble through the opening quarter in 31.9sec. before covering the following 400m sections in 30.2sec., 28.8sec. and 28.7sec. He won by just under a length from Dominate The Dojo, with Bad Round ($41) running on from the rear to finish third, ahead of Valbonne, who raced three back on the pegs in fifth position and was badly blocked for a run until getting clear on the home turn. The Kraken has been a consistent performer and has earned $101,218 from 11 wins and 22 placings from 52 starts. Blue Blazer, an Auckland Reactor six-year-old, started from the outside barrier in the field of seven in the 2536m APG Perth Yearling Sales Pace and de Campo was content to race in last position in the Indian file affair, with the $1.50 favourite Rock Me Over setting a moderate pace.         When Corey Peterson eased One For Dave Andme off the pegs to lead the one-wide line approaching the bell, de Campo was quick to dash Blue Blazer forward to enjoy the one-out, one-back trail. Blue Blazer was switched three wide about 260m from home before he hit the front on the turn and went on to win by a neck from Rock Me Over. Blue Blazer, owned by Gloucester Park Harness Racing vice-presidents Kevin Jeavons and Gino Monaco, won twice in New Zealand and six times in New South Wales before arriving in Western Australia where his 23 starts have produced three wins and four placings.   The Last Drop bred to succeed With close relatives Parthenon and Mon Poppy Day, group 1 winners in the 1990s, five-year-old Allamerican Ingot gelding The Last Drop was bred to be a good winner.   The Last Drop, trained by Kristy Sheehy and owned by her and Josh Dunn on lease from breeder Bob Fowler, started favourite at $1.60 when Shannon Suvaljko drove him to a smart all-the-way win in the 2130m Cowden The Insurance Brokers Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Sheehy and Dunn took the lease ten months ago and now The Last Drop has had 12 starts for them for four wins, three placings and stakes of $40,795 to take his career record to 35 starts for ten wins, eight placings and $74,412. The Last Drop was unextended in setting a moderate early pace and then dashing over the final 800m in 56.3sec. to beat Black Jack Zac by 7m, with Machlani a neck away in third place. The Last Drop’s maternal granddam Broncroft Castle produced eight winners, including Parthenon, winner of the 1995 WA Oaks in a 25-start career of six wins and $79,920, and Mon Poppy Day, who was retired with earnings of $318,558 from 20 wins and 16 placings from 50 starts. Mon Poppy Day, trained and driven by Rod Chambers, was a brilliant three-year-old in 1996 when he won the Tasmania and WA Derbies and finished a half-head second to Sharp And Telford in the Victoria Derby at Moonee Valley before he won the Golden Nugget at Gloucester Park in December 1996, the Christmas Gift in 1997 and the 1998 Mount Eden Sprint.   Antero enjoys a perfect passage Six-year-old Auckland Reactor pacer Antero has flourished since entering the stables of Gary Hall snr and he enjoyed a perfect passage in the one-out and one-back position before finishing solidly to win by a nose from the fast-finishing Pocket The Cash in the 2536m Direct trades Supply Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Antero, driven by Gary Hall jnr, was the $2.50 favourite who boosted his record for the Hall stable to six starts for three wins and two seconds. Hall snr is the fifth trainer to have prepared Antero during his 62-start career for owner Jodie Gray. Antero is the first foal out of Adda My Way, who raced 47 times in WA for seven wins, ten placings and $32,968.   Suvaljko’s double Shannon Suvaljko completed a double at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he drove skilfully to land $19 chance Waltzingwithsierra an easy winner in the 2130m Retravision Pace. He was a winner earlier in the program with The Last Drop. Waltzingwithsierra, trained by Katja Warwick, is regarded as a smart sit-sprinter who is best suited when racing on the pegs. From the No. 2 barrier, Waltzingwithsierra raced three back on the pegs in an Indian file affair, with the $1.40 favourite Somebeachparty racing in sixth position in the field of eight. Gary Hall jnr urged Somebeachparty forward approaching the bell, and with a lap to travel Suvaljko eased Waltzingwithsierra off the pegs, forcing Somebeachparty out three wide. Waltzingwithsierra forged to the front 430m from home and quickly established a commanding lead. She went on to win by three and a half lengths from $11 chance Vivere Damore, who was last at the bell and finished powerfully, out four wide on the home turn. Somebeachparty was a half-head away in third place. Waltzingwithsierra is by American stallion Always A Virgin and is out of the Village Jasper mare Sierra Tango, who produced seven filly foals. She is one of the four of those foals to have raced, the others being Dancingwithsierra (38 starts for 13 wins, 12 placings and $161,544), Tangoingwithsierra (21 starts for nine wins, ten placings and $174,130) and Rockingwithsierra (30 starts for three wins, 11 placings and $74,660).   Ken Casellas

New Zealand-bred five-year-old Valbonne, unplaced at his previous seven starts, bounced back to form at Northam on Tuesday night when he sustained a spirited burst from last at the bell to snatch a harness racing victory from the pacemaker Im Spiderman. After being restrained to the rear from the outside barrier (No. 7) in the front line, Valbonne, driven by Michael Grantham, moved forward 750m from home and trailed the three-wide burst of I Am Labros before easing four wide passing the 400m mark and getting up to score in the final couple of strides. It should be a different scenario in the 2130m Allwood Stud Farm Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night when the Mike Reed-trained Valbonne starts from then prized No. 1 barrier. Grantham is likely to use Valbonne‘s excellent gate speed in a bid to set the pace. Valbonne has led at four of his eleven wins in a 54-start career. The most recent time Valbonne has started from barrier one was 30 starts ago, over 2130m at Gloucester Park on October 11, 2019 when he led all the way and won by one and a half lengths from Hit It Rich. Dominate The Dojo, who has a losing sequence of 34, is a speedy beginner and will have some admirers from the No. 4 barrier. However, Machs Gold (barrier five), Shadow Roll (six) and The Kraken (eight) appear to be Valbonne’s most serious rivals. The race after Valbonne’s event is the ninth and final event, the 2536m APG Perth Yearling Sales Pace in which Grantham will drive the strongly fancied Michael Brennan-trained Sangue Reale, who will start from barrier three and appears the chief rival for the polemarker Rock Me Over, who has a losing sequence of ten and gets an ideal opportunity to return to winning form for trainer Matt Scott and last season’s leading driver Chris Voak. Ken Casellas

Veteran harness racing New Zealand-bred pacer Heez About To Rock has managed just one placing from his past 12 starts and has a losing sequence of 28 over 26 barren months. But owner Haydn Charles and his father, trainer Kevin Charles are cautiously optimistic that the nine-year-old will take advantage of the coveted No. 1 barrier in the 2130m Westral Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr has been engaged to drive Heez About To Rock for the first time in the gelding’s 79-start career. Hall will be the 16th driver to handle Heez About To Rock and he is expected to use the gelding’s sound gate speed in a bid to set the pace. None of the nine experienced geldings in the race has managed to win at any of his past five starts, with Carrera Mach (barrier No. 9) and Im Rocknroll Magic (eight) expected to be well supported. The Ross Olivieri-trained Carrera Mach should prove hard to beat, following his encouraging last-start fourth behind Mister Ardee over 2130m on New Year’s Eve when he began from the No. 8 barrier and sustained a strong three-wide burst from the rear. He has a losing sequence of nine and has been unplaced at his past eight starts. Im Rocknroll Magic, trained by Debra Lewis and to be handled by her husband Chris, has a losing sequence of 15 and has been placed only once from his past 14 starts. That placing was his third behind Tellmetoattack and Miss Stonebridge over 2265m at Albany last Saturday night, and he is certainly capable of improving on that performance. The Craig Abercromby-trained Marquisard has been unplaced from unfavourable draws at his past five starts, following smart wins from barriers one and two at Pinjarra and Gloucester Park at his two previous outings. He is best suited when leading or racing on the pegs close to the lead, and from barrier No. 4 this week he gets a reasonable chance to obtain an advantageous position. Ken Casellas

Outstanding young reinsman Dylan Egerton-Green has given harness racing punters an important lead by choosing to drive Pocket The Cash in preference to Lawrence in the opening event, the 2536m Direct Trades Supply Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. In what must have been an extremely difficult decision, Egerton-Green ostensibly opted for the Stephen Reed-trained four-year-old Pocket the Cash because he had drawn a slightly better barrier, No. 7 compared to Lawrence’s outside barrier (No. 9) on the front line. He has driven Lawrence twice at the New Zealand-bred five-year-old’s past two outings for fighting victories at Gloucester Park and Pinjarra after racing wide and then working hard in the breeze. Lawrence, prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, won at five of his 28 starts in New Zealand before impressing with three wins and two seconds at his first five starts in Western Australia. Lawrence will be handled for the first time in a race by Deni Roberts, who is driving in splendid form. Egerton-Green has driven Pocket The Cash seven times for one win, three seconds, one third, one fourth and one fifth placing. Pocket The Cash was handled by Trent Wheeler when he scored a convincing victory over Carramar Arapaho over 2100m at Bunbury on New Year’s Eve. He was beaten for early speed and raced without cover for the first 400m before surging to the front after 400m and then dictating terms in front. Egerton-Green also has sound prospects in the second event on Friday night, the 2130m Westside Auto Wholesale Pace, in which he will drive the Bond-trained Kilowatt Kid, who has the ability to overcome the disadvantage of his wide draw at barrier eight. Kilowatt Kid covered extra ground when an encouraging last-start third behind stablemates Justasec and Taroona Bromac over 2130m, and two starts before that he finished determinedly to be second to Yes Hes A Ladies Man in a 2631m stand at Pinjarra. Kilowatt Kid’s main opposition is likely to come from Forgotten Highway, Jack William and Bettor Be Oscar. Forgotten Highway, a recent addition to Ross Olivieri’s Oakford stable, adds considerable interest to the race at his first start for eleven weeks. He has a good record when racing first-up. He won on debut in New Zealand and also was a first-up winner there. Racing first-up in WA, in September 2019, Forgotten Highway raced in the breeze and finished second to Saleahs Comand, and later he was a first-up winner at Pinjarra last April when he defeated Vivere Damore. Forgotten Highway, a big Bettors Delight seven-year-old, won six races in New Zealand and has had 21 starts in WA for six wins and eight placings. He will be driven for the first time by Chris Voak and will be attempting to break a losing sequence of eight. The Nathan Turvey-trained Jack William has a losing sequence of 14 but is likely to start favourite after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier. He has covered extra ground from unfavourable barriers at his past two starts. The most recent time Jack William has started from the No. 1 barrier was ten starts ago when he led and finished a close third to Patronus Star over 2130m on September 11. The only other time he has started from the inside barrier at Gloucester park was on October 22, 2019 when he finished a close third behind Robbie Easton and Sangue Reale. Trainer-reinsman Aiden de Campo’s five-year-old Bettor Be Oscar has drawn somewhat awkwardly at barrier five but is capable of bouncing back to his best form and ending a losing sequence of 11. Ken Casellas

Harness racing driver Lindsay Harper has the distinction of winning the inaugural Celebrity Sprint (renamed the Village Kid Sprint in 2012) when Shattering Class defeated Allwoods Chief and Nebulizer on December 31, 1998 and now he has high hopes of winning the $50,000 feature for the third time when he drives Bletchley Park in the 1730m event at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Bletchley Park, trained in Bunbury by Stephen Reed, has drawn favourably at the No. 2 barrier on the front line and Harper is sure to use the talented five-year-old’s gate speed in a bid to get to an early lead and set the pace. The Harper family has a splendid record in this Group 2 sprint, with Harper also scoring with Shattering Class on December 31, 2002, and his sons Donald and Kyle each being successful, with Donald driving Hayton Bain (3/1) to victory over Mr Yankee and Sneakyn Down Under in 2008 and Kyle winning with Mysta Magical Mach (9/2) in 2012 and $56 outsider Bettors Fire, who led from barrier seven and beat Soho Tribeca and Chicago Bull in 2017. Bletchley Park warmed up for this week’s assignment in good style when he started from barrier six and raced in tenth position before he started a three-wide move with 870m to travel. He quickly moved into third place 300m later and fought on gamely to finish a well-beaten third behind Galactic Star and Vultan Tin over 2536m when he covered the final 800m in 55.49sec. He showed his ability over 1730m when he started from barrier five and raced three back on the pegs before finishing solidly to be fourth behind Chicago Bull, Shockwave and Vampiro in the Mount Eden Sprint in October, with the winner rating 1.53.2. Bletchley Park’s owner Albert Walmsley is hoping that the all-the-way victory by his four-year-old The Code Breaker at Northam on Tuesday night will be a good omen for Friday night’s race. The Code Breaker is a full-brother to Bletchley Park. Another full-brother is Bling It On, who made a successful trip to Western Australia in late 2016 when he won a heat of the Interdominion championship at Bunbury’s Donaldson Park and then finished fourth behind Smolda in the final at Gloucester Park. Bling It On raced 100 times for 49 wins, 24 placings and stakes of $1,882,957. Baby Bling, a half-sister to Bletchley Park, The Code Breaker and Bling It On, also made a successful trip to Perth in November-December 2012 when she won the group 1 Mares Classic and finished third behind Lucie Boshier in the group 3 Norms Daughter Classic. Looming large as Bletchley Park’s most serious rivals are last-start winners Balcatherine, Galactic Star and Vampiro as well as WA Pacing Cup winner Vultan Tin. Balcatherine, the only mare in the field, is handily drawn at barrier three for trainer Gary Hall Snr and driver Gary Hall Jnr. A winner at ten of her 19 starts, she is in superb form. She worked hard in the breeze for much of the way before winning the Group 3 Christmas Belles Pace at a 1.54.5 rate over 2130m on Thursday December 24.  Two starts before that she gave an outstanding performance to race without cover before scoring an easy victory over Somebeachparty in the Group 1 Mares Classic. She is sure to prove hard to beat, but she will need to set a record if she is to prove the master of her 11 male rivals. No mare has been successful in the 22-year history of this event, and only three mares have been placed Lombo Rapida (2000), Meggie Dear (2002) and Ima Spicey Lombo (2012). However, the Halls have a wonderful record, with Hall Snr winning the race five times, scoring with The Falcon Strike (2003), Rakarebel (2011), Hokonui Ben (2013) and Beaudiene Boaz (2015 and 2016) and Hall Jnr winning with all of those pacers except Rakarebel. For good measure, Hall Snr has also prepared eleven placegetters six seconds and five thirds. Leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond are seeking their second success in the Village Kid Sprint, and they will be represented by Galactic Star (barrier six), Vampiro (nine) and Justasec (No. 3 on the back line). Dylan Egerton-Green will handle Galactic Star and he is hoping to go one better than he did when he drove the Bond-trained Our Max Phactor into second place behind Our Field Marshal in December 2018. Galactic Star started from the outside of the back line in the Village Kid Sprint in December 2019 when he was seventh at the bell and charged home, out five wide, to finish third behind Vampiro and Herrick Roosevelt.     Vampiro, a $12.70 chance, set the pace for Michael Grantham from barrier four and won by a length at a 1.52.9 rate. This week he will be driven by Colin Brown, who won this event with The Accelerator in 1999. Vampiro maintained his strong form when he raced three back on the pegs and finished powerfully to win from Bletchley Park and Galactic Star in a 2536m Free-For-All three Fridays ago. Justasec, to be driven by Deni Roberts, has wonderful potential, but he faces a considerable rise in class at his first appearance in a race over a shorter distance than 2130m. Thirteen wins from 24 starts underline his tremendous ability. Ken Casellas

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