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A flying start from the 30-metre mark and a masterly drive by champion harness racing reinsman Gary Hall jnr paved the way for Princess Mila’s thrilling last-stride victory over the pacemaker Sunnys Little Jestic in the $50,000 group 1 Retravision Trotters Cup at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. This gave Hall his first success in the State’s major event for square gaiters, and it was the second win in the race for champion trainer Gary Hall snr, who was successful with Makati Maximus in January 2013. The Victorian-bred Princess Mila further enhanced her reputation as WA’s best trotter as she extended her winning sequence to four and improved her record in the State to 16 starts for eight wins and five placings. “I’m pretty happy that David Jack decided to send Princess Mila to me to train about a year ago,” said Hall snr. Jack and his wife Anne bred and owned Princess Mila, who won seven times for trainer-driver Jack in Victoria. The mare now has a record of 50 starts for 15 wins, 16 placings and $158,936. Princess Mila, the second favourite at $3, began speedily at the first attempt to get Thursday night’s race underway. But a false start was declared when the 10m barrier strand failed to release. Hall jnr then got Princess Mila away brilliantly at the second attempt and the five-year-old settled down in fifth position in an Indian file affair, with the $2.80 favourite Always A Dreamer, Champagne Prince, My Mdina and the 40m backmarker Rock Tonight galloping at the start or breaking soon afterwards. Hall, anxious for Princess Mila not to be hemmed in on the pegs, eased the mare off the inside with about 1200m to travel, and she then raced without cover for the remainder of the event in which Dylan Egerton-Green drove with great skill, allowing $7 chance Sunnys Little Jestic to bowl along freely in front in a bid to make life as tough as possible for all the runners behind her. Sunnys Little Jestic’s fast third quarter of the final mile of 28.5sec. certainly made life tough for her rivals. But Princess Mila was up to the test and she fought on grandly to overhaul the frontrunner in the shadows of the post to score by a head at a smart 2.1.7 rate over the 2503m journey. Ton Tine ($61) raced in third place throughout for Maddison Brown and fought on gamely to be third, a length ahead of Champagne Prince, who finished with a resolute burst from tenth at the bell. “I might give Princess Mila a bit of a break, along with Finvarra and Alta Cinderella (who were fancied but were unplaced in their events on Thursday night),” said Hall snr. “Finvarra was affected by sore feet and Alta Cinderella is still learning to race.” To watch the video replay of Princess Mila victory click here First pacer, first winner for Bridgetown farmer Peter Bloxsome, a Bridgetown farmer and owner of a big transport business, enjoyed New Year’s Eve at Gloucester Park on Thursday night when his first pacer, Suing You, surged home from eighth at the bell to score a convincing victory in the $18,000 Retravision For All The Electrical Stuff You Love Pace. “I’m 66 and I don’t think it is a smart idea to retire fully,” he said. Bloxsome has become interested in harness racing through his friendship with Greenbushes farmer Ray Jones, who owns and trains brilliant juvenile pacer Lavra Joe. Pinjarra trainer-reinsman Shane Young said that Bloxsome was looking at purchasing a pacer, and he told him that he would investigate buying a horse from New Zealand. “I rang Damian Keating for advice because he has had success in buying horses from New Zealand,” Young said. “He said he would have a look for me, and a week or so later he told me that New Zealand was a bit quiet because of the coronavirus pandemic. “Damian was a part-owner of the Justin Prentice-trained Suing You, and he said that the filly was for sale. So, we went from there and decided to buy her for $45,000.” The filly is now part-owned by Young, Bloxsome and Gary Ralston, one of the original part-owners. “It was a good outcome because we didn’t have to worry about spending about $10,000 to get a horse from New Zealand to Perth, and we were able to go and watch Suing You before we decided to buy her. She had won seven races and at her most recent start she had finished strongly from the rear to be second to Blue Chip Adda in the group 1 Westbred Classic for three-year-old fillies.” On Thursday night Suing You was having her third start for Young and Bloxsome. She was a $51 chance ($61 on the fixed market) from the outside of the back line. Polemarker Fifty Five Reborn, the $2.05 favourite, was beaten for early speed, with $51 outsider Advance Your Dream first out from barrier four, but was unable to cross to the front, with $17 chance Altas Angel setting the pace from barrier two. Gary Hall jnr dashed Alta Cinderella forward to take up the breeze position after 450m. At the bell Suing You was eighth, and at the 700m Young switched her three wide to follow the run of Run For Mercy. Suing You went four wide approaching the home turn and she sprinted strongly to burst to the front 90m from the post before going on to win by just over a length from the fast-finishing pair of Askmeilltella and Savvy Bromac.    Suing You, a filly by Alta Christiano, now has had 23 starts for eight wins, five placings and $63,728. To watch the video replay of Suing You click here Lewis lands Powerplay at long odds Champion reinsman Chris Lewis surprised himself and shocked punters when he brought rank outsider Powerplay home with a spirited burst from last at the 300m to win from Eldaytona in the 2130m Retravision Half Yearly Clearance Pace at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. The two-year-old gelding, owned and trained by the driver’s wife Debra, paid $78.30 on the tote and was an unwanted $126 chance on the fixed market. Powerplay, by Rich And Spoilt and out of Mene Jaccka, started out wide at barrier seven in a race in which Finvarra ($1.65) and Eldaytona ($3.80) dominated betting. He raced four back on the pegs and was tenth and last with 300m to travel. Finvarra set the pace and was hotly challenged for most of the way by Eldaytona, who eventually got the upper hand and took the lead 450m from home. However, he was unable to hold off Powerplay, who flew home, out five wide. “We had low expectations of winning, coming off his eighth at his previous start --- and with better horses drawn inside of him,” said Lewis. “It looked pretty hard on paper and therefore I planned to race on the pegs and take the shortest way. “If you don’t draw (favourably) in these races, punters intend to exclude horses who are drawn wide. If there’s not a reasonable pace early, you’re probably out of the race. “Powerplay is a nice horse; he’s no champion but he’s got a bit about him. He’s got a bit of gate speed, has a good quarter in him and can run an overall (good) time. He might develop further and is going to be an honest earner. “Coming from last to win is a good feeling. Inside the 250m I was thinking he might be able to sneak into the first five, and when we turned for home I thought we could run a place. And then we were in front.” Powerplay, who has earned $37,093 from four wins and three placings from 15 starts, was despised and completely unwanted at the 2019 WA yearling sale when he was passed in after failing to reach his small reserve price of just $4000. Lewis explained that Powerplay’s breeder, the late Harry Capararo, had sent the yearling and others he had bred to the Lewis establishment to be prepared for the yearling sale, and when Powerplay was passed in he was keen for Lewis to take him. “So, we took him, and it wasn’t a huge amount,” said Lewis. “He has certainly paid his way.” Powerplay is the only foal out of the New Zealand-bred mare Mene Jaccka, who had 95 starts for seven wins, 17 placings and stakes of $48,105. Four of her wins came from her 83 starts in Western Australia when Lewis drove her seven times for two wins and two seconds for trainer Sonia Zucchiatti. To watch the video replay of Powerplay click here Hall’s magic gets Somebeachparty home The magical skill of Hall of Fame driver Gary Hall jnr continues to enthral harness racing followers, and he produced yet another sublime performance in the sulky to win the group 3 Coulson final over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. He was handling Somebeachparty for owner-trainer Barry Howlett and after the $1.50 favourite had started from the inside of the back line, she was looking in grave danger of being hemmed in as stablemate Millwood Gucci led the field into the home straight racing for the bell. Somebeachparty was racing four back on the pegs in sixth position when Hall deftly eased her off the inside and pushed Sameplace Sametime out three wide, without even causing the semblance of interference. Somebeachparty then sustained a strong finishing burst, out wide, to charge to the lead with 220m to travel before she surged away to win by two lengths from $10 chance Mini Mine Yet, who rattled home from ninth at the bell. Sameplace Sametime did a good job to finish third, just ahead of Millwood Gucci. The victory gave Hall a perfect record --- five drives for five wins with Somebeachparty, a New Zealand-bred five-year-old who has been most impressive at her 19 starts (all in WA) for eight wins, eight placings and stakes of $86,878. To watch the video replay of Somebeachparty click here Cups mission for Thats Perfect Stylish-looking five-year-old Thats Perfect broke through for his first win in Western Australia at his fourth start in the State when he crushed his rivals in the Retravision 60 Day Price Promise Pace at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. Astute trainer Ross Olivieri was delighted with the former Victorian pacer’s performance and predicted further successes for the Art Major gelding. “It was a drop in class for him --- and he treated them (his rivals) like it was a drop in class,” said Olivieri. “We’re hopeful that he will aim up at races like the Pinjarra Cup and/or the Northam Cup. He’s got more wins, going through the classes. “Chris Voak said that he would drive him patiently (after starting from the outside barrier at No. 9) and when the pace slackened, he would go forward. We couldn’t sit back and let them walk before trying to outsprint them. It was good that he got to the breeze at the earliest opportunity.” Thats Perfect, second fancy at $3.40, settled down in last place before Voak sent him forward after 500m to move outside the pacemaker and $2.60 favourite Mistahmistah after a lap had been completed. Thats Perfect led by a neck with a lap to travel, forcing Lindsay Harper to increase the tempo and getting Mistahmistah to sprint over the third quarter of the final mile in 28.1sec. Thats Perfect then swept to the front at the 300m and raced away to win by more than two lengths from Sergeant Oats, who ran on from seventh at the bell. Thats Perfect won four times in South Australia and ten times in Victoria for trainer Emma Stewart, and his career record now stands at 38 starts for 15 wins, 11 placings and $139,456 in stakes. To watch the video replay of Thats Perfect click here Brown fills in capably Veteran reinsman Colin Brown made the most of unexpected opportunities at Gloucester Park on Thursday night when he was called into action to replace Ryan Warwick, who was forced to forfeit six drives because he had just returned from a brief trip to Victoria and under Covid 19 regulations had go into isolation. Brown, one of the best reinsmen in the history of WA harness racing, relished his opportunities and was successful with the Greg and Skye Bond-trained Galactic Star and Taroona Bromac. Brown had driven Galactic Star only once before (in November 2019 when the gelding started from barrier eight and finished seventh behind stablemate Mighty Conqueror) and he made every post a winner when he drove Galactic Star to an all-the-way victory in the $25,000 Vale John Lohman Free-For-All over 2536m. The seven-year-old Galactic Star, favourite at $2.50, began brilliantly from the No. 4 barrier and he set a brisk pace, running the final quarters in 29.4sec., 29.6sec., 28sec. and 27.4sec. to win at a 1.56.6 rate from $5 chance Vultan Tin, who fought on doggedly after working in the breeze over the final 1500m. Bletchley Park ($5.50) sustained a strong burst from seventh at the bell to finish third. Galactic Star raced 12 times in New Zealand for four wins and six placings, and he now boasts an excellent record of 89 starts for 30 wins, 29 placings and stakes of $666,765. Brown adopted similar tactics with Taroona Bromac, the $1.80 favourite who set the pace and won by just over a length from the $3.50 second fancy Machs Gold, who trailed the pacemaker throughout. Taroona Bromac, who has raced 27 times in WA for 11 wins and one placing, is a half-brother to former outstanding pacer Tas Man Bromac, who had only 37 starts for 14 wins, 16 placings and $162,086 before he died a couple of years ago. Tas Man Bromac had only six starts in WA for four wins, including the group 3 Northam Cup in February 2018, and two placings. To watch the video replay of Galactic Star click here Mister Ardee ends 16-month drought Veteran pacer Mister Ardee followed several recent encouraging efforts by producing a flying finish to snatch a thrilling last-stride victory in the 2130m Get Back To School With Retravision Pace at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. An $8.90 chance, Mister Ardee was seventh on the home turn before charging home, out four wide, to score a head victory over $8 chance Quick Stride, who had come from the rear to hit the front in the final couple of strides. Mister Ardee, trained and driven by Madeleine Young, ended a 16-month drought and broke a losing sequence of 32. This was his 27TH win from 170 starts and took his earnings to $296,374. Baylan Jett ($6.50) made a fast early move to burst to the front after 500m. He then set a brisk pace and was swamped only in the final stages. To watch the video replay of Mister Ardee click here It’s The Kraken all the way Speedy Art Major four-year-old The Kraken has inherited much of the ability of his dam Before Night Falls, and he relished his pacemaking role to notch his tenth win from 51 starts when he beat Bettor Finish and The Cheddarnator in the 2130m Retravision Your Fujitsu Air Conditioning Pace at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. Driven by his trainer Aiden de Campo, The Kraken, the $2.40 favourite, virtually sealed the issue by recording a slow lead time of 38.3sec. and a dawdling opening quarter of the final mile in 31.3sec. Then, after a second 400m section of 29.7sec., The Kraken gave his rivals very little chance by speeding over the final quarters in 27.7sec. and 27.8sec. Smart three-year-old Alta Blues ($2.90) was not suited by the early slow tempo and he battled on doggedly to finish fourth. The Kraken is the fifth foal out of the Safely Kept mare Before Night Falls, who amassed $169,279 in prizemoney from 12 wins and eight placings from 38 starts. She won seven times as a two-year-old, with her victories that season including the Western Crown Classic and the group 1 Diamond Classic. View To A Kill, a full-brother to Before Night Falls, earned $234,516 from 26 wins and 66 placings from 196 starts. He won 14 times in Western Australia before notching 12 wins in America. To watch the video replay of The Kraken click here Bracken Sky at long odds New South Wales-bred five-year-old Bracken Sky continues to improve for Wanneroo trainer Debbie Padberg, and he produced a powerful finishing burst to come from ninth at the 400m mark to score an easy victory in the 2130m Retravision.com.au Pace at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. He started at the handsome odds of $30.10 and was handled in fine style by Jocelyn Young, who was content to race five back on the pegs before getting into the clear and taking the gelding five wide at the 250m. Bracken Sky surged to the front 50m from the post and won by a length and a half from $31 chance Babyface Adda, who had come from sixth at the bell to take the lead with 100m to travel. The four-year-old was at some disadvantage, having received a flat sulky tyre 400m from home. Patrickthepiranha, the $1.90 favourite, was third after racing in the breeze. Yes Hes A Ladies Man ($2.75) set a solid pace before wilting to finish tenth. Bracken Sky is a half-brother to Absolution, who won five races for the Padberg stable before continuing his career in South Australia where he notched his 14TH career victory with a fighting win over 1800m at Globe Derby Park two days before Bracken Sky’s latest success. Absolution and Bracken Sky are out of the New Zealand-bred Live Or Die mare Redemption, who won at her first eight starts in New South Wales in 2008 and 2009. Bracken Sky raced 45 times in NSW for ten wins and 14 placings and he has had 44 starts in WA for five wins and 14 placings. To watch the video replay of Bracken Sky click here By Ken Casellas

Former AFL player Lewis Jetta and his family were allegedly subjected to racial abuse at a New Year’s Eve harness racing event at Perth’s Gloucester Park racecourse. A Perth woman, who claimed to be sitting next to the Jetta family to ring in 2021, told 6PR radio on Monday that she was witness to the “disgraceful” and “horrible” verbal abuse at the function. “The way that they were treated was disgraceful. He was abused for his football, abused for being an Aboriginal,” Dee, who did not reveal her last name, said. “It was constant. Some horrible, horrible words. “The way they were harassed and verbally harassed for their race... it sickens me “We were there from 5.30pm until midnight and he just had it 24/7. “At the end of the night we even came up to him and his family and said how we were so proud of all of them and how sorry we were to watch it. “We have a 14-year-old and he said, ‘I’m going to become an ambassador’ to show that racism is not the right way to go. We are just the same no matter what colour our skins are. “This is why I’m speaking up today, for them.” Former AFL player Lewis Jetta and his family were allegedly racially abused at a New Year’s Eve event at Perth’s Gloucester Park racecourse. Credit: Matt Roberts/AFL Photos/via AFL Photos Gloucester Park chief executive Michael Radley told The West Australian no official complaints had been made from the event — which host about 4500 revellers. Mr Radley said he wished witnesses had reported the alleged incident to security and staff on the night so it could have been dealt with at the time. “We could have acted. We would have ejected the people and taken names,” he said. “It’s terrible. We don’t put up with that. It’s normally a family friendly venue. “If we had known we certainly would have acted. We would have liked to have known on the night, rather than Monday morning.” Mr Radley said it was otherwise a good family-friendly event, with pop-up bars and food venues, harness racing and a fireworks display, The West Coast Eagles confirmed last November that 31-year-old Jetta had not been offered a contract for 2021 season. He has since signed with WAFL club Swan Districts — a homecoming of sorts after wearing the black and white in their Colts side that claimed a 2007 Premiership win. Jetta had struggled for regular senior appearances in 2020, featuring just six times at AFL level. The Bunbury product finished up on 202 games, the last 75 as an Eagle after starting his career at Sydney. In his time at the Eagles, Jetta became a pivotal player across half back. He featured in the Swans’ 2012 flag triumph as well as West Coast’s premiership win in 2018. Jetta and his partner Jess Miller have a 10-year-old son Lewis Jnr and a seven-year-old daughter Daisy. Jetta has been contacted for comment. By Caitlyn Rintoul Reprinted with permission of Perth Now

The last meeting at Gloucester Park for 2020 will be run on Thursday night and members of the WA Trotting Media Guild are confident of ending the year with a bagful of specials. The West Australian’s Ernie Manning and longshot guru Pat Harding are confident Taroona Bromac can end the year with a victory. “New Zealand import Taroona Bromac, co-trained by Greg and Skye Bond, impressed when he led and ran second to stablemate Justasec at Gloucester Park last Monday,” Manning said. “Barrier two has boosted Taroona Bromac’s prospects of breaking a six-run losing sequence. He showed a lot of potential when winning twice at Christchurch and now has a career record of 13 victories from 30 starts. Six of his wins have been at Gloucester Park.” And Harding, who looks likely to add another longest-priced winner title to his CV, agrees. “It has been a tough year for tipsters and punters alike and this New Year's Eve meeting looks like being more of the same,” Harding said. “My best bet of the night comes up in race nine with Taroona Bromac coming out of barrier two. There's not a great deal of exposed form in this race, but a last-start second and a good barrier draw gives this horse a great chance.” Radio Great Southern’s form analyst Warren Wishart, who has a stranglehold on this year’s tipping contest, and Guild president Wayne Currall, who pulled off the impossible by tipping the card last week, believe punters can fill their pockets early doors with smart two-year-old Finvarra. “My best bet comes up in the first with Finvarra, who has drawn favourably in gate two,” Wishart said. “Brilliant debut then had to face the breeze last run when he showed great determination to hang on for third. Well drawn and should lead and win. Let’s hope it’s another big night for punters.” Currall is singing from the same hymn sheet. “I expect Gary Hall Jr to send Finvarra straight to the top in the opening event,” Currall said. “The American Ideal colt eventually wrested the lead away from rivals and ran them ragged at his debut victory at Pinjarra earlier this month when he scored by more than 10m in a slick mile rate of 1:54. This is a better field but he can record his second win from three outings.” Veteran trotting journalist Ken Casellas is keen on Thats Perfect, despite his horror draw. “It’s always pretty tough to win from the outside barrier, but I’m confident that Thats Perfect can overcome the disadvantage of starting from the No. 1 barrier and win race three on Thursday night,” Casellas said. “He’s my best bet on a good, competitive program after putting in a marvellous effort to finish fifth behind Vivere Damore in the Christmas Gift when he had no luck at all and ran on from last at the bell.” TABradio’s Hayden King, who is poised to take second place in the tipping competition, has made Black Jack Zac his star bet for the meeting. “Black Jack Zac is flying,” King said. “The polemarker Destined To Rule is a slow beginner, so even though Blackq Jack Zac doesn't fly out, I think he will get to the front. He should close 2020 out on the right note.” The West Australian’s racing co-ordinaror Ryan Havercroft has opted for classy squaregaiter Princess Mila as his best bet. “Princess Mila looks the measuring stick in the Trotters Cup,” Havercroft said. “She has been consistent since arriving from Victoria and the 30m handicap holds no fears after stepping safely and winning from 20m two starts ago in metropolitan company.” TABradio’s Matt Young believes brother David can end the year on a high with Baylan Jett in  “Baylan Jett finds a winnable race and has early speed,” Young said. “He should get close enough to them and can win this.”   VALUE BETS ERNIE: Just Makemine Diamonds has not won in her past 15 starts, but showed a glimpse of form when she ran fourth after starting from the second row at Gloucester Park on December 18. Has now drawn gate one and is in line for her 10th win. PAT: My value bet comes in race six with the Ross Olivieri-trained Just Makemine Diamonds. With Chris Voak aboard and the barrier one draw, I think she can give punters a nice return. WARREN: Jesse Allwood is in great form and put in a good effort in a handy field here on  Monday. I think this race sets up well for him. Great each-way bet. WAYNE: Old Maximum Demand will line up for his 242nd and final start at headquarters on Thursday night and wouldn’t it be fitting if the rising 14-year-old bowed out a winner. I’ll be having something each way on the old bloke. KEN: For value, I suggest Mr Kiwi, unplaced at his past five starts, to be prominent in race nine in which he is capable of showing up strongly, despite his awkward draw at barrier six. He had a tough first-up run when eighth behind Free To Air last week and he will be improved by that effort. HAYDEN: Roll With Me has trialled up well. Although drawn awkwardly, he cannot be disrespected and will be further improved from last week's first-up effort. RYAN: The Kraken just doesn’t know how to run a bad race and I’d expect improvement from this draw. It’s a strong field so we get a price about a good horse from the best draw. MATT: War Spirit is a big price, but his form is good enough to win this at a big opening price. To view all of the Media Guild tips click here. Good punting and many more winners in 2021.   Wayne Currall

The No. 1 barrier in mobile events provides a major percentage of winners at Gloucester Park with pacers relishing the golden opportunity to set the pace and dictate the terms of the race. However, the burning question at Gloucester Park on Thursday night is whether veteran performer Destined To Rule can break through for his first victory after starting from the No. 1 barrier in a mobile event. The seven-year-old part-owned and trained by Sonia Zucchiatti and to be driven by her daughter Deni Roberts has begun from barrier No. 1 in mobiles 17 times without success recording six seconds, three thirds, four fourths, three fifths and one sixth placing. Destined To Rule has reasonable gate speed but has not once attempted to set the pace in those 17 events. He generally has trailed the pacemaker or raced three back on the pegs before finishing solidly. He started from the No. 1 barrier at Gloucester Park on Monday afternoon when he lacked early sparkle and raced four back on the pegs before finishing with a determined burst to be second to stablemate Ideal Investment. Ten days before that Destined To Rule was eighth at the bell before following the three-wide burst of Roman Aviator and finishing an excellent second to that pacer. Destined To Rule has a losing sequence of 27 and a career record of 147 starts for 12 wins, 50 placings and $192,580 in prizemoney. He should race in a commanding position throughout in Thursday night’s event and is sure to be running home strongly. Some of his chief rivals also have disturbing losing sequences Always Arjay (29), Black Jack Zac (44) and Mister Ardee (32). But they all will have many admirers.   Ken Casellas

Chris Voak, the State’s leading driver for the 2019-20 season, admires the strong competitive nature of Thats Perfect, a former Victorian performer who is ready to break through for his first win in Western Australia when he starts from the outside barrier (No. 9) in the Retravision 60 Day Price Promise Pace at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. Thats Perfect, trained by Ross Olivieri, has a 38 per cent winning record, and looks set for a bright career in WA where his first two runs were strong-finishing efforts for seconds to Bettorgrinanbarit and Cant Refuse before an outstanding last-start fifth behind Vivere Damore in the Group 2 Christmas Gift. “He is a horse to follow,” said Voak. “He was extraordinary in my opinion in the Christmas Gift.” An $11 chance from barrier seven in the Gift, Thats Perfect raced three wide for the first 500m and was unable to get to the breeze (when held out by the breeze horse To Fast To Serious) before Voak had no option but to restrain the five-year-old back to last in the field of 12. Thats Perfect was still in last place 400m from home before he charged home, out five wide, to finish fifth. He drops in class in this week’s race, in which Mistahmistah (barrier one) and Sergeant Oats (two) loom as his most serious opponents. Mistamistah, trained and driven by Lindsay Harper, is a smart frontrunner and looks the likely leader. He set the pace from barrier two when he dead-heated for first with Miss Limelight over 2130m at a 1.56.5 rate on December 21. Sergeant Oats, trained by Courtney Burch at Byford, is a wonderfully consistent six-year-old who will be handled by Dylan Egerton-Green. Recent seconds to Wainui Creek and Thereugo were pointers to better things to come. This event will mark the compulsory final appearance of the evergreen 13-year-old Maximum Demand, who will start from the No. 3 barrier for part-owner, breeder and trainer Kevin Egerton-Green. Maximum Demand, who has raced 241 times for 20 wins, 44 placings and stakes of $204,014, will be driven by Jocelyn Young. It was in 1999 that Young’s father Kim was working at the Alcoa refinery and convinced his workmates Kevin and Tim Egerton-Green and Cole Smith to buy Victorian mare Waranga Scooter. They agreed and Waranga Scooter gave them their first interest in harness racing. Waranga Scooter was successful at her WA debut when Kim Young drove her to victory in a 2272m stand at Williams on February 13, 2000. Waranga Scooter had 32 starts for her new owners for eight wins and two placings before being retired to stud where all her five foals have been winners. Maximum Demand’s siblings were Dilinger Magic (136 starts for seven wins, 25 placings and $54,938), Fifty Hertz (84 starts for six wins, 21 placings and $40,831), Heez Down To Earth (42 starts for four wins, nine placings and $23,286) and Sheez Edgy (50 starts for eight wins, nine placings and $68,453). Maximum Demand has won eight times at Gloucester Park, four times at Bunbury and Pinjarra, twice at Busselton and once each at Narrogin and Harvey. He has proved to be an iron horse this season during which he has raced 81 times for three wins and 11 placings. His latest success was four starts ago when Jocelyn Young brought him home with a spirited burst to defeat McArdles Gem and Burning Rubber over 2536m at Gloucester Park on December 5. “He has been a wonderful old campaigner,” said Kevin Egerton-Green. “After racing so many times this season it is strange to say that he was able to have only three starts the previous season when he had tendon problems. “His legs began to swell up and we had to put him out. It is the regulations that pacers have to retire at 14 years of age. Now, we will breed from him.”   Ken Casellas

Alta Cinderella is, by far, the least experienced filly in the Retravision, For All Your Electrical Stuff You Love Pace at Gloucester Park on Thursday night, but she has the potential to prove too speedy for her 11 rivals who have won a combined total of 70 races. Alta Cinderella, who has won at four of her six starts, is on track to develop into a top-class performer, according to champion trainer Gary Hall Snr. “She has enormous ability and is as good as any filly I’ve ever trained,” he said. “However, she is a bit nutty. She pulls and overraces and she brought herself undone when she overraced and dropped back to finish fifth in the Group 1 Westbred Classic in June.” Alta Cinderella impressed, second-up, when she settled at the rear and was ninth at the bell before sustaining a powerful three-wide burst to get to the front 420m from home and then race away to win by three lengths from Livy Jay at a 1.55.5 rate over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Monday afternoon. “Even in that race you could see that in running she was charging,” said Hall. “On Thursday night from barrier three she might have to face the breeze. But, if she doesn’t overrace, she will still be hard to beat. There are some good fillies in the race, and I have been impressed by Savvy Bromac.” Alta Cinderella is a big, long-striding filly who races in a 63 and a half inch hopple. The only pacers prepared by Hall in his long and distinguished career who have used a longer hopple have been Dayman (65 inch hopple) and King of Swing (64 inch). Hall, who hopes Princess Mila can overcome the 30m handicap and win the Group 1 Retravision Trotters Cup, also predicted strong performances from Finvarra (race one) and Alta Blues (race ten). Both youngsters will be driven by champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr. Finvarra, a two-year-old colt by American Ideal, is ideally drawn at barrier two and Hall snr said: “I’d say we’ll try to come out and lead, but I’ll leave it up to Gary.” Finvarra made an excellent debut when he raced wide early and then in the breeze before getting to the front after 500m and going on to win by three and a half lengths from the breeze horse El Casanova at a 1.54.9 rate over 2185m at Pinjarra on December 14. He then had a torrid run, three wide early and then without cover before finishing third behind the pacemaker Strike Team and Burghley Shard over 2130m at Gloucester Park a week later when the final quarters were run in 27.9sec. and 27.7sec. “That was his second start in a race, and he needed the run,” said Hall Snr. “He sat in the breeze and they ran home in 55.6sec. Long-term, he will be a very good horse.” Finvarra is likely to be tested by Eldaytona, who has showed excellent speed to notch three wins and eight second placings from 15 starts for trainer Sue Wiscombe and reinsman Lindsay Harper. He possesses sparkling gate speed and is far more experienced that Finvarra. Eldaytona set a fast pace and refused to give in when an excellent second, beaten a head by the brilliant Lavra Joe over 2130m on December 18. “Eldaytona ran his final mile in 1.53.7, and it was a super run,” said Harper. “He is close to having a break before coming back to work in preparation for the WA Derby.” El Casanova, trained and driven by Robbie Williams, should enjoy an ideal passage after starting from the No. 2 barrier on the back line. His two appearances have produced a fighting second to Finvarra and an easy all-the-way victory over Roll Up and Seeryanfly at Northam. Williams also trains Seeryanfly, who will be driven by leading reinsman Chris Voak from the No. 4 barrier. Capel horseman Aiden de Campo will be represented by two smart Mach Three geldings, The Good Life (barrier six) and Strike Team (inside of the back line). He will handle The Good Life, and Ryan Warwick will be in the sulky behind Strike Team. De Campo will drive his speedy and consistent four-year-old The Kraken in the final event, the 2130m Retravision, Your Fujitsu Air Conditioning Specialist Pace. The Kraken has good gate speed and also is versatile. Three-year-old Alta Blues has won at six of his 11 starts and is handily drawn at barrier four. “He probably will have to race in the breeze outside The Kraken, but he is quite strong,” said Hall. “He lacks a bit of point-to-point speed but is a good stayer. “His stablemate Antero will start from the outside barrier, but he is going very well and should run a good race,” Antero’s four runs since resuming from a spell have produced two wins at Gloucester Park and strong-finishing seconds to Al Guerrero and Diego.   Ken Casellas

Six-year-old mare Always A Dreamer started her career as a pacer before developing into one of the State’s best square-gaiters. She was bred on pacing lines and her first 18 starts were as a pacer and resulted in one win and five placings before she changed stables and experienced trainer Peter Anderson converted her to race as a trotter. Thirteen starts as a trotter for Anderson produced three third placings at Pinjarra before Waroona trainer Bob Mellsop took over the preparation of Always A Dreamer, who is a leading candidate in the $50,000 Retravision Trotters Cup, a stand over 2503m at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. The WA-bred Always A Dreamer has raced 21 times for nine wins, six seconds and three thirds for Mellsop, who will drive her on Thursday night with a strong desire to take advantage of her front-line draw and her favourite role as a pacemaker. Mellsop certainly will be hoping to repeat the performance of the 2014 Trotters Cup winner, the 5/2 favourite The Beau Brummell, who set the pace for him from the No. 1 barrier and won from Hot Holiday and Prince Eddie. Always A Dreamer is in splendid form and has impressed with excellent seconds to Princess Mila in mobiles over 2536m and 2130m at Gloucester Park at her past two starts. Those seconds followed successive all-the-way victories over 2692m and 2185m at Pinjarra. Recent form provides a strong indication that Princess Mila, a five-year-old Victorian-bred mare, is the best trotter in the State. However, she faces a stern test, starting from the 30m mark, after strong wins at each of her past three starts, two of them in mobiles and one when she finished strongly from sixth at the bell to easily beat Dark Secret and Champagne Prince in a 2096m standing-start event in which she began off the 20m mark. Princess Mila is prepared by champion trainer Gary Hall Snr and will be driven by Gary Hall Jnr, who drove three pacers for Mellsop at Narrogin on Tuesday night for victories with Allwood Wizard and Breanna. Allwood Wizard and Breanna were bred at the Allwood Stud by Bob Fowler, who also bred and owns Always A Dreamer, whose three siblings to have raced all performed as pacers. They include Compact Rocket, who has had 211 starts in WA for 16 wins, 43 placings and $114,890 in prizemoney. Hall Snr is looking for his second win in the Trotters Cup. He was successful with the even money favourite Makati Maximus, who led for reinsman Shane Butcher and won the 2013 Cup from Xenon and the Hall-trained Tuhimata Glass, who was driven by Hall Jnr, who is seeking his first success in the Group 1 feature event. Hall Snr said that Princess Mila had proven to be the best trotter in the State. “But it is never easy to win from 30 metres,” he added. “I’m reasonably confident she will step safely, and if she does, she should fight out the finish. She has begun safely at her past three stands. Always A Dreamer is the main danger. She gets away well, and she’s off the front.”   Busselton owner-trainer Barry Howlett is hoping his four-year-old New Zealand-bred mare Sunnys Little Jestic will emulate the performance of her half-sister Sunnys Little Whiz, who led and won the Trotters Cup from Lightning Calder and Sammy Charles in December 2016. Sunnys Little Jestic, a winner at eight of her 35 starts, will be driven by Dylan Egerton-Green from the front line. She broke soon after the start and dropped back to last before fighting on gamely to finish second to Tears of Joy in a mobile event on Monday. Champion reinsman Chris Lewis, who won the Cup with the Ross Olivieri-trained Mr Sundon last January, has given punters an important lead by choosing to drive War Spirit off the 30m mark in preference to the in-form Champagne Prince off 10m. War Spirit set the pace and won easily from Princess Mila in a 1730m mobile event five starts ago. He has been unplaced at four subsequent starts after having broken gait in three of them. Nigel Johns, who prepared Compressor (Morgan Woodley) for his victory in the 2009 Trotters Cup, has two runners in this year’s event Dark Secret (10m) and the 40m backmarker Rock Tonight. Johns will handle Dark Secret and Woodley will drive the talented but unreliable Rock Tonight   Ken Casellas

Patience with Balcatherine pays off Up-and-coming mare Balcathertine notched her third group success when Gary Hall jnr drove her to an emphatic victory in the group 3 Christmas Belles Pace at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. Having only her 19TH start Balcatherine, who turns five next week, is rewarding champion trainer Gary Hall snr and owners Steve and Tina Chapman and their children Danielle and Ben for their patience. The Chapmans were disappointed when Balcatherine suffered a leg injury and had to be scratched from the rich WA Oaks early in 2019 after she had won a prelude of the classic in fine style from her smart stablemate Fake News. The lightly-framed Balcatherine was then found to be suffering from a slight suspensory problem, and Hall wisely decided to give her plenty of time to mature and gain weight and muscle. She was off the scene for 12 months and resumed racing last April as a more robust mare. Since resuming she has had 14 starts for seven wins and three placings. Her wins have included the group 1 $125,000 Westral Mares Classic, the group 3 Pure Steel Pace and Thursday night’s group 3 feature event as well as a second to Millwood Molly in the group 3 Johnson final, a third behind Arma Indie in the group 2 WASBA Breeders Stakes, a fourth in the group 2 Lord Mayor’s Cup and a fifth behind Wainui Creek in the group 2 Norms Daughter Classic. Balcatherine is racing with such authority that Chapman is considering a start in the $200,000 Ladyship Mile at Menangle on February 27. Much will depend on the lifting on travel restrictions between the Australian States. Balcatherine started from out wide at barrier seven in Thursday night’s 2130m event in which she was a hot $1.60 favourite. Vivere Damore, second fancy at $3.50 after smart wins at her past two outings, began speedily from the No. 4 barrier and dashed to the front after 100m, with Balcatherine settling in fifth position. Hall jnr sent Balcatherine forward, three wide after a lap and into the breeze. She got to the front 220m from home and won in fine style from the fast-finishing Queen Shenandoah ($11) and Vivere Damore, rating 1.54.5. This took Balcatherine’s record to 19 starts for ten wins and four placings for earnings of $197,338. She won at her only two starts in New Zealand as a three-year-old before being purchased by Steve Chapman.   Magnificent Storm set for Pinjarra classic Star youngster Magnificent Storm will contest the Four-Year-Old Classic at Pinjarra next Monday providing he recovers well after his splendid victory in fast time in the 2130m Murphy’s Lore Live At GP on NYE Pace at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. Driven with supreme confidence by Aldo Cortopassi, Magnificent Storm, favourite at $1.20, raced three wide early and then in the breeze, with the $5.50 second fancy Gardys Legacy setting a scorching pace. Magnificent Storm took the lead 375m from home and won by a neck from $61 outsider Jaspervellabeach at a 1.54 rate, with the final quarters whizzing by in 27.8sec., 28sec., 28.2sec. and 29.7sec. Copy N Pace ($50) charged home from last at the bell to be an eye-catching third, a length ahead of the wilting Gardys Legacy. Magnificent Storm, prepared at Mt Helena by Ray Williams, is unbeaten at his ten starts in Western Australia, after finishing ninth at his only start in New Zealand.    “The heat didn’t seem to worry him, and he pulled up pretty good and his heart (rate) was good,” said an admiring Williams. “Nothing worries him too much and though it might appear that he pulled up on the line, that’s just one of his little things at the moment. “It seems that once he’s there (in front), he looks around. Aldo said that he had the race in his keeping all the way. I think that the horse is just smart, and I’m pretty excited about him. If he pulls up all right in the next few days, he will run in the Pinjarra classic. That’s the plan at this stage.”   Young targets Northam Cup Hopelands trainer Michael Young declared that Yes Hes A Ladys Man would be set for the Northam Cup, a 2500m stand early in February, after the New Zealand-bred five-year-old had scored an impressive all-the-way victory in the 2096m Book Your Tickets To NYE At GP Online Pace at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. This was the Auckland Reactor gelding’s fifth win from seven starts in Western Australia, with his latest three wins being in standing-start events. “After this win he will go back to racing in mobiles,” said Young. “And he will be aimed at the Northam Cup.” Leading reinsman Chris Voak sent Yes Hes A Ladys Man straight to the front, and after a leisurely opening first quarter of the final mile in 31.1sec. the gelding dashed over the next three 400m sections in 29sec., 28.6sec. and 27.8sec. to give his rivals little chance to threaten him. He won by just under two lengths from $51 outsider Major Artist, who trailed him throughout. Triroyale Brigade ($7.50) finished a neck away in third place after working in the breeze all the way. Yes Hes A Ladys Man has now earned $66,803 from eight wins, eight seconds and two thirds from 42 starts. He is raced on lease from New Zealand owner Cheree Wigg by Young, Matt McMahen, Samantha Grantham and Matt Joss.   American Brave overcomes fractured leg American Brave, a beaten favourite at four successive starts, bounced back to his best form with an effortless victory in the 2536m Book Your NYE Hospitality Pace at Gloucester Park on Thursday night.    He began brilliantly from barrier three before setting the pace and leaving his rivals in his wake by sprinting over the final quarters in 28.2sec. and 26.8sec. on his way to winning by three lengths at a 1.58.1 rate from Sangue Reale, who trailed him throughout. This was the New Zealand-bred five-year-old’s ninth win from 26 starts for earnings of $99,105. He won at five of his 11 New Zealand starts and has raced 15 times for premier trainer Gary Hall snr in Western Australia for four wins and four placings. His latest success was his first taste of victory for just over 12 months. “He is a horse who we will never see him reach his full potential because he has had too many serious issues,” said his reinsman Gary Hall jnr.  American Brave won at his WA debut when he beat Parisian Partygirl by 22.7m over 2130m at Gloucester Park on July 14, 2018. Then at his second start in the State, a month later, he finished eighth behind Our Corelli when he fractured a hind leg during the race. “It took forever to heal,” said Hall. “The vets said that the break was an inch away from ending his career. The bone he broke is unusual because normally you could hit the leg with a baseball bat without causing any serious damage.” The fracture resulted in American Brave being out of action for 15 months and since he resumed (when eighth behind Pradas Ideal Dahling on November 1, 2019) he has had 12 starts for three wins and four placings. “He did it pretty easily when he ran the final 400m in 26.8sec., but I’m afraid he won’t realise his potential,” said Hall. “He is settling down a bit better now and I’ve got him dropping the bit after hunting him out of the gate. His biggest asset is his point-to-point speed, and he should show that when he gets up in class.”   Brief spell for American Arma Talented filly American Arma will have a brief spell before tackling the Daintys Daughter Classic and the Sales Classic in February as part of her program leading into the WA Oaks later in the season. American Arma, trained and driven by Colin Brown, is a coming star who notched her fifth win from only six starts when she was not fully extended in winning by a length from Rumour has It in the 2130m Merry Christmas Pace at Gloucester park on Thursday night. Favourite at $1.60 from the No. 6 barrier, American Arma was not bustled early and settled down in sixth position, seven lengths behind the early leader Our Shooting Star before Brown sent her forward, three wide, after a lap to quickly move alongside the pacemaker Rumour Has It. Armerican Arma got to the front 220m from home and won convincingly at a 1.56.7 rate. “I wasn’t worried at any stage and she had Rumour Has It covered the whole way,” said Brown. “She is showing all the signs of maturing into a very nice racehorse. Her work has been super and she seems to be improving all the time, even on the track where she attacks the line and runs right through it. ”It’s nice to drive a horse when you don’t have to worry about how to drive her. You don’t have to fly the gate; we have plenty of alternatives. “She has grown a lot and I’d like to give her a good spell, but I don’t think that is possible with the calendar the way it is. We made a conscious decision to keep her racing for the two-year-old dollars because of the 75 per cent discount.”   Bond stars stake claims for classics Brilliant New Zealand-bred three-year-olds Howard Hughes and Patronus Star have returned to racing after spells in superb form for leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond and will be major candidates for the rich classics for four-year-olds in the coming season. Howard Hughes, the $1.70 favourite, shone at his first appearance for 16 weeks when he raced wide early and then in the breeze before bursting to the front 200m from home to score an easy victory over older and more experienced rivals in Shadow Roll and Babyface Adda in the 2130m Retravision Pace. He sprinted over the final 800m in 55.8sec. and rated 1.56.4. It was his fifth win in a row since he was the $2.50 favourite and finished eighth behind Patronus Star in the WA Derby on April 3 this year. Patronus Star was favourite at $1.20 from the No. 1 barrier in the 2130m NYE At Gloucester Park Pace and was untroubled to set the pace and dash over the final 800m in 55.1sec. in defeating open-class performer Patrickthepiranha at a 1.57.3 rate. This was Patronus Star’s second outing after a spell and it improved his West Australian record to eight wins and a second placing from nine starts. Patronus Star and Howard Hughes were driven in fine style by Dylan Egerton-Green, who was delighted at the opportunity with the Bond stable’s No. 1 driver Ryan Warwick enjoying a well-deserved Christmas holiday. Howard Hughes, a winner at one of his two New Zealand appearances, has been successful at ten of his 12 starts in Western Australia and is set for stardom.   Free To Air surprises Evergreen pacer Free To Air, unplaced at his eight previous starts, caused an upset when he started at $11 and finished fast to beat the pacemaker and $3.40 favourite A Boy Named Rosie in the 2536m www.gloucesterpark.com.au Pace at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. He started from the inside of the back line and enjoyed the perfect trail behind A Boy Named Rosie before getting clear on the home turn and charging to the front in the final 45m to surge away and win by just over a length at a 1.58.2 rate. Free To Air, an eight-year-old having his 163RD start in a race, was driven by Emily Suvaljko, whose previous drive behind the veteran pacer was nine starts earlier, when he trailed the pacemaker Star Armbro and finished fast to win from Machrie on September 22. Free To Air, trained at Pinjarra by Chris King, has earned $114,819 from 11 wins and 29 placings. Diego and Roman Aviator each took full advantage of the No. 1 barrier at Gloucester Park on Thursday night when they led and scored comfortable victories. Diego, the $1.10 favourite for trainer Gary Hall snr and reinsman Gary Hall jnr, rated 1.55.1 when he beat stablemate Antero ($34) in the 1730m Celebrate New Year’s Eve at Gloucester Park Pace. It was his fourth win from five WA starts and his seventh in a 22-start career. “He is still very laid back and is a bit green,” said Hall jnr. Roman Aviator, a fast-finishing winner over American Brave the previous week, relished his pacemaking role and was untroubled to win by two lengths from the fast-finishing Bracken Sky, rating 1.55.1 in the 2130m Pre Book for NYE Pace. The five-year-old gelding, trained and driven by Aldo Cortopassi, has had 83 starts for breeder-owner Peter George for 18 wins, 19 placings and $191,149 in stakes.   Ken Casellas

Leading reinsman Chris Voak has seven drives at Gloucester Park on Thursday night, and he is particularly bullish about the prospects of Yes Hes A Ladies Man, who will start on the front line in the Book Your Tickets To NYE At GP Online Handicap, a 2096m standing-start harness racing event. “I think he can win; he went really good last Friday night,” he said. Yes Hes A Ladies Man, prepared by Michael Young, galloped at the start in a stand last Friday night and was tenth at the bell before unwinding a powerful finishing burst to be fifth behind Triroyale Brigade. “At the start last week I got left out there, three wide, and he put in a little bubble when I chased him a bit,” Voak said. “It was probably a driver error more than the horse’s fault. He used petrol tickets early and had to go back to last. Then he tracked up three wide and still had some petrol at the finish. They ran home in fast time and he was very impressive. “He has improved with every run, and I think there is further improvement in him.” Yes Hes A Ladies Man set the pace and won by more than three lengths from Kilowatt Kid in a 2631m stand at Pinjarra two starts ago, and he made most of the running when he won from Bettorgrinanbarit in a 2116m stand at Pinjarra two starts before that. Lawrence and Triroyale Brigade loom large as Yes Hes A Ladies Man’s chief rivals on Thursday night. Lawrence, to be handled by Dylan Egerton-Green for leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, raced roughly early and then worked hard in the breeze when a fighting second to Triroyale Brigade last week. That followed an easy win at Narrogin and a solid second to Diego at Gloucester Park at his first two appearances in Western Australia. Triroyale Brigade, a New Zealand-bred five-year-old trained and driven by Robbie Williams, is in peak form and commands great respect from the 10m line. He gave a bold frontrunning display to win last Friday night when he sped over the final 800m in 56.6sec. One of the most interesting clashes on the program looks set to be the duel between top-flight mare Balcatherine and the up-and-coming Vivere Damore in the Christmas Belles Pace over 2130m. The four-year-old New Zealand-bred Balcatherine, prepared by Gary Hall Snr and to be driven by his son Gary Jnr, drops considerably in class and should prove extremely hard to beat, even from the awkward barrier draw at No. 7. Balcatherine was eighth at the bell before surging home, out five wide, to finish an excellent fourth behind Mighty Conqueror, Vampiro and Argyle Red in the 2130m Group 2 Lord Mayor’s Cup last Friday week. She raced in the breeze before scoring a devastating victory in the group 1 $125,000 Westral Mares Classic at her previous start. Vivere Damore, prepared by Peter Tilkbrook and to be driven by Shannon Suvaljko, has struck top form with stylish victories on the past two Friday nights. She will start from the No. 4 barrier and Suvaljko is sure to be anxious for her to get her away speedily and to settle in front of Balcatherine.   Ken Casellas

Mista Shark, described by his part-owner and trainer Michael Brennan as “a big, kind gentle giant,” will reappear after a 22-month absence when he contests the 2130m NYE At GP Brought To You By Retravision Pace on Thursday night. The powerful New Zealand-bred seven-year-old will be driven by Michael Grantham from the No. 1 barrier and should take plenty of beating after an impressive win in a 2185m trial at Pinjarra on Wednesday December 9. He has recovered from a damaged suspensory ligament which halted his career after he had started off 20m and finished second to Veiled Secret in a 2116m stand at Pinjarra in early February 2019. Mista Shark started from, barrier four in the five-horse trial at Pinjarra. He raced three wide for the first 250m before being restrained to the rear before he made a fast move 250m later to burst to the front. The opening quarters were very casual (30.4sec. and 33.5sec.) before he dashed over the final 400m sections in 29.4sec. and 28.7sec. and won by seven lengths from Heez About To Rock. “He’s a day-by-day proposition, but if he stands up and his body sticks together it will be an exciting time for us all,” said Brennan. “The desire, the ability and the speed is still there. “He is a big, gross horse who is probably lighter than I’ve ever had him. He has done a lot of long, slow work to get fit over the past six months when we’ve been going steady-steady.” Mista Shark had four starts in New Zealand as a three-year-old in late 2015 for a win and one placing before arriving in Western Australia in November 2015. His 29 starts in the State have produced 14 wins, five seconds and two thirds. He won eight in a row between August 2017 and January 2018, with his victories including an easy triumph in the group 2 San Simeon final at Gloucester Park in December 2018 when he defeated El Jacko, Major Stare and Walkinshaw, rating 1.55.5 over 2130m. Mista Shark certainly won’t have an easy first-up task when he clashes with the brilliant Howard Hughes and in-form performers in Waltzingwithsierra, Babyface Adda, Henwood Bay, Shadow Roll and Kilowatt Kid. Howard Hughes, a talented New Zealand-bred three-year-old prepared by leading trainers Greg and Sky Bond and to be driven by Dylan Egerton-Green is expected to be a short-priced favourite from barrier four at his first appearance after a 16-week absence. Howard Hughes was untroubled to win at his four starts in his previous preparation and he goes into this week’s event with the enviable record of 13 starts for ten wins, one second and two eighth placings. The Katja Warwick-trained Waltzingwithsierra will also have many admirers. She will be driven by Emily Suvaljko from barrier six and should be storming home. She charged home, out wide, from eighth at the bell to finish an eye-catching second to Justasec over 2130m last Friday night and was a fast-finishing winner over Henwood Bay and American Brave two starts before that. Babyface Adda, trained and driven by Cody Wallrodt, also cannot be overlooked in discussions. She was tenth at the bell before finishing with a spirited burst to be fourth behind Vivere Damore and Patronus Star last Friday night.   Ken Casellas

Three of the State’s best two-year-old fillies American Arma, Rumour Has It and Black Jack Baby --- will clash in the final event, the $18,000 Merry Christmas From Gloucester Park Pace at Gloucester Park on Thursday night and ace trainer-reinsman Colin Brown is looking forward to another powerful showing from American Arma. ” I couldn’t be happier with her; she’s still on the improve and should run a mighty race,” he said. “She worked exceptionally well on Monday morning.” American Arma will start from barrier six in a field of seven and Brown is likely to determine his tactics soon after the mobile barrier sends the field on its way. American Arma, an early fancy for the WA Oaks next season, has been most impressive in winning at four of her five starts. Her only defeat was when second to a smart colt Sugar Street three starts ago. At her latest appearance, American Arma had a tough run in the breeze before she overhauled the pacemaker Rumour Has It 60m from the post and went on to win by a half-length from that filly in an exciting event in which the final quarters were run in 28.6sec. and 27.1sec. Rumour Has It, prepared by Debra Lewis and driven by her husband Chris, relished her frontrunning role at her first outing since last March, and she should be improved significantly by that effort. She will start from the No. 5 barrier on Thursday night. Adding great interest to the race will be the return to action of breeder-owner-trainer Shane Quadrio’s outstanding filly Black Jack Baby, who will start from the outside barrier in her first race since she led from barrier five and won easily from Lady Bella Anne and Our Shooting Star at Gloucester Park on July 24.    Black Jack Baby created a tremendous impression early this season when she raced nine times for seven wins and one second placing. Race driver Chris Voak handled Black Jack Baby in a 2150m Byford trial on November 29 when the filly was the sole back-line runner in a field of six. She sat behind the pacemaker Verano and veered very wide on the turn out of the front straight in the final circuit before forging forward to take the lead 450m from home and then finishing a close second to the fast-finishing Roll Up. Dylan Quadrio drove Back Jack Baby in a Byford trial three Sundays ago when she was restrained from barrier five in a field of seven and settled in fifth place in an Indian file affair. She assumed the one-out, one-back trail with 1400m to go and went three wide at the 400m before plugging on to finish fourth, 35 metres behind the winner Finvarra.   Ken Casellas

Outstanding young reinsman Dylan Egerton-Green will replace ace harness racing driver Ryan Warwick in the sulky behind the brilliant Patronus Star in the $25,000 NYE At Gloucester Park Free-For-All at Gloucester Park on Thursday night with high hopes of maintaining his unbeaten record behind the New Zealand-bred three-year-old. Warwick, who has handled Patronus Star at his past four starts for a total of five drives for four wins and a last-start second when the son of American Ideal gave an excellent performance first-up after a spell to finish second to Vivere Damore in the Group 2 Christmas Gift last Friday night. Egerton-Green is excited at the opportunity to drive Patronus Star after Warwick decided to take a brief holiday over the festive season. Egerton-Green has driven the Greg and Skye Bond-trained pacer three times for a superb victory in the WA Derby in April this year and in two events at Pinjarra in July. Patronus Star is perfectly drawn at the No. 1 barrier in the 2130m race on Thursday night and Egerton-Green is certain to take full advantage of the draw by using the gelding’s excellent gate speed in a strong bid for an all-the-way victory. Patronus Star was far from disgraced at his first outing after a four-month absence when he began out wide at barrier eight last Friday night. He was restrained to last in the field of 12 before surging forward, three wide, to be fourth at the bell and second with 500m to travel. He then issued a strong challenge to the pacemaker Vivere Damore before wilting in the home straight to finish two and a half lengths behind that mare. With Patronus Star certain to lead, Braeview Bondi, the only runner on the back line, should enjoy a perfect run behind that pacer. Braeview Bondi, a big heavily built five-year-old, has been freshened up since he raced at the rear on the pegs and finished tenth behind Vultan Tin in the 2936m WA Pacing Cup three Fridays ago. “It took a bit of time for him to get over his Pacing Cup run,” said his trainer Michael Brennan. “However, his work has been good, and he looks good.” Emily Suvaljko will resume as the driver of the Phil Costello-trained Vultan Tin, replacing her father Shannon, who handled the tough eight-year-old at his past two starts --- for his fast-finishing win over Chicago Bull and Mighty Conqueror in the WA Pacing Cup and his last placing from a wide barrier in the 2130m Lords Mayor’s Cup the following week. Vultan Tin will start from the outside barrier (No. 9) and faces a stern test. However, he is versatile and has the ability to fight out the finish. Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri has Stroke Of Luck racing keenly, and the seven-year-old should be prominent from barrier four. He finished solidly from eighth, five back on the pegs, at the bell when a sound fourth behind Vampiro last Friday night.   Ken Casellas

Talk about forgiving souls. Two members of the WA Trotting Media Guild are that and more after nominating American Brave as their star bet on an action-packed 10-event card at Gloucester Park on Friday night. American Brave has got any amount of ability, but he has proved extremely costly for punters at his last three starts when defeated as an odds-on favourite. Racecaller Richie Bell has even labelled him the “money muncher”, but that hasn’t stopped TABradio’s Hayden King and veteran trotting journalist Ken Casellas making the Gary Hall-trained pacer their best bet. “I think the market may shy away from American Brave this time as he is becoming costly for favourite punters,” King said. “However, he had a flat tyre last start and did well considering. He has enormous potential and I think it's a matter of time before he puts it all together.” And Casellas agrees. “American Brave has been beset by misfortune at his four runs after resuming from a spell, and he is long overdue for a change of luck,” Casellas said. “He fared poorly in the random draw in race two on Friday night, but he has the ability to overcome barrier seven. He is my best bet this week after his gutsy effort last Friday night when he raced for almost the entire event with a flat offside sulky tyre, was seventh at the bell and badly blocked for a run in the back straight before getting clear and charging home, five wide, to finish fourth behind One For Dave Andme.” The West Australian’s Ernie Manning and Radio Great Southern’s form analyst Warren Wishart are keen on Perfect Major in race six. “Perfect Major drops in class after winning the RWWA Cup and running a creditable fifth from gate eight in the WA Pacing Cup,” Manning said. “The Ross Olivieri-trained Victorian import impressed when recently scoring wins at his first four WA starts and he earned cups runs when a Pat Cranley Memorial placegetter. Should be hard to beat now that he is back in grade.” Wishart supports that view. “Perfect Major just looks a good thing here,” Wishart said. “Drops massively in class from the WA Pacing Cup. Defeated Chicago Bull two starts ago and despite the wide draw and gap between runs should win.” The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft believes Lawrence can continue add to his impressive form. “Lawrence hasn’t done anything wrong since arriving from New Zealand,” Havercroft said. “Led and won easily at Narrogin at his local debut before chasing home Diego at this track a fortnight ago. He is drawn to find the top and has experience in standing-start races.” TABradio’s Matt Young has opted for Justasec as his star bet. “Justasec was eye-catching last start,” Young said. “The gelding has the draw advantage with plenty of gate speed and should lead and win in a slight class drop.” But longshot guru Pat Harding doesn’t see it that way. “Finding winners at GP is as tough as ever and this week may not be any different,” Harding said. “I am sticking with Liam Neil as my best bet of the meeting. Coming out of barrier five in race three, I think Hall Jr can have him well placed to blitz this field in the final lap. Guild president Wayne Currall believes punters can add to their bank early doors by supporting Mighty Ronaldo in the opening event. “Mighty Ronaldo returns to the track after a five-month spell,” Currall said. “But he’s drawn to get an economical run just off the pace and impressed with an easy trial win earlier this month. He’s a classy colt who just might pack too many guns for his rivals.” VALUE BETS HAYDEN: I'm going to try something a little different this week - a place all-up. Quick Stride to run a place in the fifth race into Bad Round a place in the sixth. They both are good sit-sprinters and have good draws in races where there is a standout selection, so they should get good runs. KEN: For value, I suggest Extradite from barrier two on the back line in the third event. He fought on tigerishly to be second to Blue Blazer last week after working hard in the breeze all the way. ERNIE: Triroyale Brigade has been beaten at his past seven starts, but he was placed in four of those defeats. He fought on gamely to finish fourth after facing the breeze a fortnight ago. WARREN: Advance Your Dream hasn’t had clear running at her last two starts. I can see some early pressure here and at bolters’ odds I can see her flashing home into the money. RYAN: The $100,000 earner Mighty Ronaldo resumes in a strong two-year-old race. Trailing draw helps and could show-up if the fancies engage each other. MATT: Mister Ardee has the perfect draw but no gate speed to use it. He should be cuddled up and saved for one run again. His form is continuously improving and he is ready to win. PAT: My value bet comes in race two with the ever consistent Queen Shenandoah coming out of barrier two. She ran a good second last week but I believe Chris Voak can drive her to a much-needed victory. WAYNE: Gran Chico is not suited from 30m behind in the stand, but he’s racing “out of his skin” and could surprise with a clean getaway. To view all of the Media Guild tips click here. Good punting.   Wayne Currall

Victorian-bred four-year-old Perfect Major should appreciate a considerable drop in class and win the $19,000 Catalano Trucks Kenwick WA Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.   Trained by Ross Olivieri and driven by the State’s leading reinsman Chris Voak, Perfect Major finished solidly when an excellent fifth behind Vultan Tin in the 2936m WA Pacing Cup last Friday week after setting the pace and winning from Chicago Bull in the 2130m Group 2 RWWA Cup the previous week. He also finished third behind Chicago Bull and Shockwave four starts ago. Perfect Major has won at seven of his past ten starts and this week, from barrier six, he should prove too strong for his nine rivals who include Sir Galahad (barrier seven) and Cyclone Banner (eight). Sir Galahad, to be driven by Gary Hall Jnr for trainer Gary Hall Snr, impressed at his second appearance after a spell when he was sixth in a field of seven at the bell before finishing strongly, out four wide, to be a head second to Cyclone Banner over 2130m last Friday night. The Ray Williams-trained Cyclone Banner enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, before he finished determinedly to score in a three-way photo finish. Williams will use Emily Suvaljko’s junior concession to rule Cyclone Banner eligible for this week’s event.   Voak has given punters a good lead by choosing to drive Millwood Gucci in preference to the Ross Olivieri-trained pair of Just Makemine Diamonds and Zozo Ma Gogo in the Sefs Assets Finance Specialists Pace. Millwood Gucci, a four-year-old Christian Cullen mare trained by Barry Howlett, will be having her first start for 15 weeks and is ideally drawn at barrier No. 1. She finished strongly when an easy Gloucester Park winner four starts ago and is capable of a solid first-up performance. Just Makemine Diamonds will be driven by the in-form Mitch Miller, and Chris Playle will handle Zozo Ma Gogo. Howlett holds a powerful hand in the race and will be looking for Somebeachparty to end a sequence of three second placings and notch her seventh win from just 18 starts. She will start from the No. 3 barrier and Hall jnr is expected to make full use of the five-year-old’s excellent gate speed.   Ken Casellas

Talented seven-year-old Galactic Star has had to lower his colours in recent weeks to stablemates Vampiro and Mighty Conqueror as well as Chicago Bull and Vultan Tin, but in the $25,000 Catalano Trucks Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night he gets an ideal opportunity to bounce back to winning form. He will be driven by Ryan Warwick from the No. 6 barrier in the 2536m Free-For-All, and this should give him the edge over his classy stablemate Mighty Conqueror, who faces a stern test from the outside barrier (No. 9). Galactic Star began speedily from barrier seven in last Friday night’s Lord Mayor’s Cup and was forced to work hard without cover before wilting late to finish fifth, two lengths behind the winner Mighty Conqueror, who set the pace from barrier two, and after moderate opening quarters of 30.8sec. and 29.4sec., sprinted over the final 400m sections in 27.9sec. and 28sec. A week earlier, in the 2936m WA Pacing Cup, Galactic Star raced without cover for almost two laps before gaining an ideal trail in the one-out, one-back position and finishing a sound fourth behind Vultan Tin, Chicago Bull and Mighty Conqueror. Mighty Conqueror trailed the leader Vampiro and was held up until late before finishing strongly. Form suggests that Galactic Star, a winner of 29 races and $649,559, should fight out the finish with Mighty Conqueror, a winner at 17 of his 33 starts and $558,843 in stakes. Stablemate Vampiro, who finished fast when second in the Lord Mayor’s Cup, should again be prominent this week after drawing the inside of the back line. A fourth runner from the Bond stable, 11-year-old Our Jimmy Johnstone, will start from barrier two on the back line. The Bonds, who have prepared 265 winners this season, have sound winning prospects in several other races with Justasec (race three), Patronus Star (race five) and Lawrence (race nine). Justasec, a New Zealand-bred five-year-old, will be at a short quote in the 2130m Catalano Trucks Your One Stop Shop Pace, in which he is favourably drawn at barrier three on the front line. Justasec, who has a 50 per cent winning record, raced in last position in a field of seven last Friday night before finishing fast and being hampered for room when third in a three-way photo behind Cyclone Banner and Sir Galahad. Lawrence, a recent arrival from New Zealand, led when an easy winner at Narrogin at his Australian debut on November 28, and then he finished gamely from the one-out, one-back position to be second to Diego over 2130m at Gloucester Park last Friday week. He will start from the front line in the 2503m standing-start Sefs, You Name It, We Fund It Handicap, in which he will be handled by Warwick, with Dylan Egerton-Green in the sulky behind stablemate Kilowatt Kid. Lawrence, an experienced pacer in stands in New Zealand, should carry too many guns for several in-form horses, including Yes Hes A Ladies Man, Gran Chico, Kilowatt Kid, Triroyale Brigade and Jesse Allwood.   Ken Casellas

Promising colt Mighty Ronaldo will reappear after a 23-week absence when he contests the Catalano Truck And Equipment Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The two-year-old, who is prepared by Justin Prentice, has enjoyed a beneficial spell since he gave a superb performance to win the $100,000 Golden Slipper on July 10 and he showed that he is ready for a strong first-up performance with an effortless win in an eight-horse trial over 2185m at Pinjarra on Wednesday of last week. Driven by Cody Wallrodt, Mighty Ronaldo began from the back line and raced in third place on the pegs before moving into the breeze with 1000m to travel. He took the lead 300m later and was not extended in coasting to an 8m win over Disco Dynamo. Mighty Ronaldo is the only runner on the back line in Friday night’s 2130m event in which he will be handled by Gary Hall Jnr and will surely meet stiff opposition from Eldaytona and Lavra Joe. Eldaytona, to be driven by Lindsay Harper for trainer Sue Wiscombe, is ideally drawn at barrier No. 2. He possesses sparkling gate speed and Harper is sure to be keen to take an early lead and set a solid pace. However, Eldaytona could be tested in the battle for the early ascendancy by the polemarker, the Mike Reed-trained Our Shelley Beach, who has good gate speed and is a capable frontrunner. Eldaytona last appeared when he began speedily from barrier eight but was unable to cross to the front before obtaining a good sit in the one-out, one-back position. He then did not threaten danger and finished sixth, four and a half lengths behind the winner Jumpingjackmac over 2130m last Friday week. Eldaytona was most impressive at his previous start when he led from barrier three and dashed over the final three quarters in 28.6sec., 27.2sec. and 29.2sec. and won by two lengths from Lavra Joe, rating 1.56.7. He also led at the start before that when he finished a nose second to Lavra Joe. Lavra Joe has made a terrific start to what should develop into an outstanding career for Greenbushes trainer Ray Jones, earning $111,000 from ten wins and six placings from 21 starts. He is extremely versatile and, from out wide at barrier seven, Chris Lewis will have many options. Prentice has a good second string in Friday night’s race, with El Chema at barrier six to be handled by Wallrodt. El Chema led and won at his first two appearances after a spell, at Pinjarra last month, before starting at barrier No. 6 and racing at the rear before finishing ninth behind Jumpingjackmac last Friday week. Sugar Street, trained by Barry Howlett, and trainer-reinsman Aiden de Campo’s The Good Life show plenty of promise and are capable of forward showings in what should prove to be an exciting affair.   Ken Casellas

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