Day At The Track
Search Results
1 to 16 of 3186
1 2 3 4 5 Next »

In 1913 Vincenzo Perrugia pulled off one of the greatest art thefts of the 20th century. The diminutive Italian coolly walked into The Louvre dressed as a worker, lifted the Mona Lisa off the wall, wrapped the painting in his smock and boldly made his exit out the same door. At Gloucester Park this Friday night, the equine Vincenzo Perrugia will attempt to land his own coup when he tackles 11 rivals for the major share of the $10,500 on offer in the opening event. And three WA Trotting Media Guild members - two of whom are in red-hot form - believe the aptly named six-year-old gelding (Art Official - Cee Ya Later) can give owner-trainer Tony Svilicich a grin as wide as the little Italian thief surely sported as he ambled down the steps of The Louvre with the Mona Lisa tucked under his arm. TABradio form analyst Hayden King, who tipped eight winners on last week’s card, Radio Great Southern’s form expert Warren Wishart, who finished with six from 10, and Guild president Wayne Currall have made Vincenzo Perrugia their best for the night. “Vincenzo Peruggia looks set to lead and be nigh on impossible to roll on Friday,” King said. “He smoked home late last week and this looks a gift for him.” Wishart is preaching from the same pulpit. “Expect another big night for leaders and Vincenzo Perrugia excels in that role,” Wishart said. “And from this draw he should lead all the way.” Currall makes it three. “Vincenzo Perrugia can steal this race if, as expected, Lindsay Harper can take control early doors from gate two,” Currall said. “Like his namesake, this enigmatic pacer has a few tricks up his sleeve but on his best behaviour he’ll prove the testing material.” Longshot king Pat Harding, yet to strike this season with his one at big odds, has labelled Patrickthepiranha as the standout for the evening. “Should be a good night at GP for favourites this week,” Harding said. “My best bet of the night comes up in race four with the return to racing of the top flight Patrickthepiranha. He had a good win at his last start before a spell and I think he can return with a good win coming out of barrier three.” The West Australian’s Ernie Manning believes potential topliner Wildwest can make it six from six. “Unbeaten four-year-old Wildwest, returning after his short break, appears a leading contender for the $200,000 Golden Nugget (2536m), $300,000 Fremantle Pacing Cup (2536m) and $450,000 WA Pacing Cup (2936m),” Manning said. “The gelding scored the first of his five wins when successful  by 37m in New Zealand last May. He then joined Gary Hall’s stable and opened his WA account with a 35m victory at Pinjarra. Three clear-cut wins were notched by the bay at Gloucester Park in August.” Renowned form guru Ken Casellas is keen on Overboard Again. “A splendid first-up performance last week by Overboard Again has influenced me to make the New Zealand-bred seven-year-old my best bet on Friday night where he is ideally drawn at barrier two in the eighth event,” Casellas said. “Overboard Again raced three wide for the first circuit and then in the breeze before fighting on determinedly to finish second to Mighty Flying Deal last Friday night, with final quarters of 28sec. and 27.7.” The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft believes Arma Indie can bounce back to winning form. “Arma Indie was upset three weeks ago when run over by Just Rockon Bye as a short-priced favourite,” Havercroft said. “She was unbeaten at four starts this campaign prior to that assignment and should be fresh and ready to return to the winner’s list.” VALUE BETS HAYDEN: There was nothing wrong with Carter Michael's last run - they just made it mathematically impossible for him to win. His previous form was excellent and he will be hard to beat. WARREN: Pradas Ideal Dahling was back in winning form last start and with that confidence boost can run a race at double-figure odds. WAYNE: Parisian Partygirl loves the pegs and from her pole draw she should get every opportunity to run a bold race. Should be at each-way odds and is capable of causing a boilover. PAT: Carrera Mach ran a creditable fourth last week but I think he will give punters a great sight. ERNIE: Clarenden Hustler, who broke an eight-run losing sequence by winning at Gloucester Park last month, has been forced to face the breeze when unplaced in two subsequent events. A winner of 18 races, he needs only a little luck to again figure prominently. KEN: Carrera Mach has a losing sequence of 11, but will pay to follow. He was eighth at the bell and fought, five wide, to finish fourth behind Our Perkins last Friday night. RYAN: Wesley has good recent form and is likely to be at a liberal each-way quote from an awkward draw. Has place claims. To view all of the Media Guild tips click here. Good Punting   Wayne Currall

Champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr is seriously contemplating a chance of tactics behind consistent pacer Carter Micheal when he drives the six-year-old from barrier five in the 2130m Christmas Sundowner Packages Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night and his advice to punters is to overlook the horse’s fourth placing last week. “He might have looked a bit disappointing,” Hall said. “But they went ridiculous time (with final quarters of 28.4sec., 29.1sec., 28.1sec. and 27.4sec.) after we had burnt out hard from the outside (barrier eight) to get a good spot.” With Major Pocket scorching along in front Carter Micheal enjoyed an ideal trail in the one-out, one-back position, but just battled on in the home straight to finish three lengths from the winner who rated a brilliant 1.52.6 over the 1730m journey.  “It was a catch 22 situation,” Hall explained. “We got a good spot but paid the price for the early burn. He’s probably better when you don’t use him out of the gate like that. We’ll probably try to slot him in on Friday night and see where we end up.” Carter Micheal, trained by Nathan Turvey, is a consistent performer who has had 63 starts for 16 wins, 14 seconds and eight thirds. His past 11 starts have produced two wins, three seconds, three thirds and three fourths. The John Ellis-trained Black Jack Zac has a losing sequence of seven but looks very hard to beat from the prized No. 1 barrier, with Kyle Harper in the sulky. He possesses good gate speed, but is certainly not a noted frontrunner, with all his eight wins from 59 starts coming in races in which he has produced a spirited finishing burst. Marquisard, a five-year-old prepared by Craig Abercromby, is capable of a bold showing at his second outing after a spell and following his first-up 12th behind Mighty Flying Deal at odds of 125/1. He is a speedy beginner and Chris Lewis could well try to steal a march on his rivals by bursting to the front in the early stages. Hall had no hesitation in declaring the best of his winning chances on the ten-event program was the inexperienced Raging Bull four-year-old Wildwest in the Melbourne Cup Luncheon Pace in which the New Zealand-bred gelding will start from the inside of the back line. Wildwest, trained by Gary Hall Snr and a leading candidate for the rich classic for four-year-olds in the coming months, has not been extended in win at his only five starts one in New Zealand and four in WA. “His work has been really good, and this is not a particularly strong field,” said Hall Jnr. “If it was a stronger field I might have elected to stay on the pegs. But here I’ll be looking to come off the inside as soon as I can.” Hall is also bullish about the prospects of Overboard Again in the eighth event in which the seven-year-old is favourably drawn at barrier two on the front line. Overboard Again impressed with his first-up second to Mighty Flying Deal last Friday night when he raced three wide in thee first lap and then without cover. “It’s a winnable race for him because of where he has drawn,” he said. “I’ve got options and he should improve a lot on last week’s performance.”   Ken Casellas

Up-and-coming star Patrickthepiranha is fit and ready for a strong showing at his first appearance for 119 days when he contests the Book Your Christmas Party Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Ace trainer Colin Brown is looking forward keenly to driving the WA-bred gelding, who is favourably drawn at barrier three on the front line in the 2130m event. And he predicts he will prove very hard to beat in his clash with outstanding five-year-old Mighty Conqueror. “The plan will be to go forward,” Brown said. “He’s got really good gate speed and is fresh. He’ll be very keen on the gate, I would suggest. So, we’ll go forward and play it by ear. He will be hard to beat. His heart rate after his track workouts has been lower than Its Rock And Roll’s heart rate.” Brown produced Its Rock And Roll in splendid condition for the four-year-old’s return to racing after a spell when the gelding gave a stylish frontrunning display to score an easy win at a 1.58.8 rate over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Tuesday afternoon. It was an enjoyable 61st birthday present for the outstanding horseman. Patrickthepirhana and Its Rock And Roll are firmly on target for the $50,000 Four-Year-Old Championship on November 15, the $125,000 Four-Year-Old Classic on November 29 and the $200,000 Golden Nugget on December 13. “Patrickthepirhana had a bit longer off than Its Rock And Roll, about two weeks,” Brown said. “But he’s done at least as much (this preparation) as Its Rock And Roll. They have been working with Eden Franco and Patrick has done plenty of miles. The big four-year-old races are only a month away, so both horses need to have a reasonable level of fitness.” Patrickthepirhana has won at ten of his 18 starts for stakes of $172,573. His victories include three three-year-old feature events earlier this year --- the Caduceus Club Classic, the Sales Classic and the Westbred Classic. He has been driven in all 18 races by Dylan Egerton-Green, who will drive his own nomination, six-year-old Tyler Brett, from barrier six in Friday night’s event. Brown said he was looking forward to driving Patrickthepirhana for the first time in a race --- “mainly to see for myself where he’s at,” he explained. “Dylan gives me good feedback, but there’s nothing like sitting behind yourself to make sure everything is ticketty-boo. “There’s not a lot between Patrickthepirhana and Its Rock And Roll, but Patrick is more versatile. He had a lot more runs on the board as a three-year-old (nine wins from 15 starts) compared with Its Rock And Roll (12 starts for no wins and eight placings as a three-year-old).” As two-year-olds Patrickthepirhana raced three times for one win and one placing, while Its Roc k And Roll had 11 starts for four wins and five placings. The clash between Patrickthepirhana and Mighty Conqueror should provide plenty of fireworks. Mighty Conqueror, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, has outstanding potential and has won at 13 of his 19 starts. Regular reinsman Ryan Warwick is serving a 14-day suspension and Chris Lewis will drive Mighty Conqueror from out wide at barrier seven.   Mighty Conqueror gave an excellent performance in a 2503m standing-start event last Friday night when, in a desperate attempt to gain an early ascendancy over his chief rival Space Junk, he broke into a gallop 150m after the start. He lost several lengths and was a long way behind the leaders in tenth position after a lap before surging forward to work hard in the breeze. He battled on with grim determination. That was Mighty Conqueror’s second appearance after a spell and followed an impressive win from 40m in a 2631m stand at Pinjarra 11 days earlier. Brown is hoping for better luck with Patrickthepirhana and Its Rock And Roll in the coming months after losing richly-talented six-year-old Maxentius about five weeks ago when he died during a trial at Byford. The New South Wales-bred Maxentius, who had raced 19 times for Brown for six wins and six placings for a career record of 45 starts for 13 wins, 12 placings and $113,771 in stakes, was being set for the Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups in the summer. “We had spelled him for six months and had been in work for four months,” Brown said. “He was going sensationally, and we were getting him ready for the Cups.”   Ken Casellas

Morgan Woodley was excited as an 18-year-old in October 2007 when he was booked for his first drive in the Mount Eden Sprint and Taihape Tickler drew the prized No. 1 barrier. The ten-year-old chestnut, favourite at 13/4, set the pace until the final 50 metres and finished a close third behind Hayton Brain and No Blue Manna. Two years later Woodley drove 25/1 chance Has The Answers in the group 2 event and the gelding surged home from the rear to finish third behind the pacemaker Aliveandwell. Taihape Tickler and Has The Answers remain Woodley’s only placegetters in the big race. And now Woodley is enthusiastic about his prospects in the $50,000 Mount Eden Sprint over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Friday night, with his drive, Argyle Red, drawing the coveted No. 1 barrier. No. 1 has been the most successful barrier in the rich sprint in recent years, with four pacers carrying the No. 1 saddlecloth setting the pace and winning the event in the past ten years, those winners being Aliveandwell (2009), Bettors Fire (2013), Sensational Gabby (2014) and Libertybelle Midfrew (2016). The inside barrier provides a big percentage of Gloucester Park winners and this was in evidence in the nine mobile events last Friday night when five pacers from the No. 1 barrier led and were successful, one led and finished third and three pacers from the No. 2 barrier set the pace and won. “The barriers and frontrunners play a big part in races at Gloucester Park,” Woodley said. “It is even more so in recent times with the quality of horses improving and the divide between the best and worst horses is getting less and less. “So, position is definitely everything at Gloucester Park and, from one, Argyle Red should be right there. Two starts ago he led and ran a nice race to win well over 2130m, rating 1.56.7.” Last Friday night Argyle Red, bred, owned and trained by Rob MacDonald, started from the inside of the back line in the Fred Doy Memorial over 2130m when he trailed the pacemaker Speed Man before finishing a well-beaten fourth behind that pacer. “Argyle Red had a fortnight between runs and last week I think he felt the pinch. He stepped up in class and he probably wasn’t as hard (in condition) than he needed to be. This week, drawn barrier one over the mile, should be in his favour. “There’s no set plan. I tend not to make anything rock solid. But the horse can lead and should be Able to run a nice time. So, we certainly have that option and also have the option of taking a trail on one of the fancies and be there right at the end, too. If he feels well at the gate and wants to lead, we may well take that option.” Taihape Tickler was owned by Rob Gartrell, who had to wait until last year to win the Mount Eden Sprint when Vampiro, a pacer he races in partnership with trainer Skye Bond, started from barrier six, raced three wide for the first 350m and then without cover before getting up to beat the No. 1 runner and pacemaker Maczaffair by a head. This year Gartrell is pinning his faith in Our Jimmy Johnstone, an 11-year-old who is racing with youthful enthusiasm but has to overcome an awkward draw at barrier seven. Our Jimmy Johnstone, to be handled by Bailey McDonough, led from barrier one and won the group 2 2536m Brennan Memorial three starts ago and then ran home strongly for thirds behind Our Corelli and Speed Man over 2130m at his next two outings. Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall Snr and his son, Hall of Fame reinsman Gary Hall Jnr, are seeking their seventh success in the Mount Eden Sprint after victories behind Bengeeman (2002), The Falcon Strike (2006), Im Themightyquinn (2011, 2012), Waylade (2015) and Chicago Bull (2017). He will drive Speed Man from the No. 3 barrier. Hall Snr trains Speed Man as well as Just Rockon Bye (Maddison Brown, barrier five) and Eloquent Mach (Stuart McDonald, barrier six). Speed Man returned to form when he started from barrier one, set the pace and won convincingly from Motu Premier at a 1.55.6 rate over 2130m last Friday night. “He’s a sound each-way chance,” said Hall Jnr. “I wanted to drive Simba Bromac (trained by Nathan Turvey) who has drawn barrier two. But Dad wanted me to drive Speed Man. He’s still not without a winning chance; he’s one draw away from being a good chance.” Just Rockon Bye, the only mare in the race, is in sparkling form with two smart wins from her past four starts, including an excellent second to Our Alfie Romeo last Friday night. Four-year-old Eloquent Mach is the youngest runner in the race and will be making his first appearance since he led and won the group 2 Binshaw Pace at a 1.55.2 rate over 2130m two months ago. That was his fourth win in a row and is capable of a bold first-up performance. Turvey will drive Simba Bromac, a smart beginner and good frontrunner who will have many admirers from the No. 2 barrier. He has won at 21 of his 45 starts (including an all-the-way success from barrier two over 2130m four starts ago). The Michael Brennan-trained veteran The Bucket List is racing keenly and is capable of causing an upset. He will start from the inside of the back line and should be prominent throughout for reinsman Michael Grantham. The Bucket List is a brilliant sit-sprinter who has finished strongly to win twice over 1730m.  The Ray Williams-trained Major Pocket steps up in class, but he showed last week that he is capable of running a fast time over a sprint journey when he led from barrier two and sped over the final quarters in 28.1sec. and 27.4sec. to score an easy victory over 1730m at a smart rate of 1.52.6. The Ross Olivieri-trained Motu Premier (Chris Voak) will start from barrier two on the back line and his solid second to Speed Man last week at his third outing after a year’s absence, was an indication that he should be prominent in this week’s event in which the Debra Lewis-trained Our Corelli, a two-time winner over 1730m, faces a difficult assignment from the outside barrier (No. 9).    Ken Casellas

Outstanding young reinsman Dylan Egerton-Green will have a big and faithful following when he drives in six of the ten events at Gloucester Park on Friday night and he declares that Our Perkins is his best winning prospect. Our Perkins, a six-year-old prepared at Byford by Karen Thompson, has drawn the coveted No. 1 barrier in the third event, the 2130m Book Your Melbourne Cup Lunch at GP Pace, and Egerton-Green is planning an all-the-way victory. Our Perkins has been driven at his past four starts by Deni Roberts, but she is on the sidelines, recovering from a fractured big toe. She took full advantage of the No. 1 barrier when she guided Our Perkins to an all-the-way success in 1.56.7 over 2130m three Fridays ago. Egerton-Green also has a wonderful association with Our Perkins, having driven him to victory on six occasions. “He definitely gets his chance from gate one this week,” said Egerton-Green. “Franco Joaquin, from gate seven, has a fair bit of gate speed and there looks to be a bit of speed from Midnight Man and Sergeant Oats on the inside of Franco Joaquin. So, hopefully, they come out and hold out Franco Joaquin which should enable me to hold up. “I believe I have enough speed to hold the lead with Our Perkins, whose latest run was full of merit when he led and ran a good time.” The Ross Olivieri-trained Carrera Mach (Chris Lewis) and Sergeant Oats (Shannon Suvaljko) appeal as the toughest for Our Perkins to beat. Carrera Mach impressed when he charged home from the rear to finish third Bletchley Park and Dennis over 2130m last Friday week. “He has finally drawn a gate inside seven and this gives him a chance,” said Olivieri. Sergeant Oats, trained at Byford by Courtney Burch, is in good form and he finished strongly from the rear when a well-beaten second behind the flying Maras Ace Man over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. That followed a strong-finishing win over Budd Sidewinder over 2130m at Gloucester Park. Egerton-Green also expects a strong performance from six-year-old Wesley, who is prepared in Bunbury by Sarah Wall. Wesley, a noted frontrunner with blistering gate speed, is favourably drawn at barrier four. Egerton-Green has driven the horse ten times for four wins, two seconds and a third placing. He was in the sulky for Wesley’s most recent outing, over 2130m at Gloucester Park three Fridays ago when the horse began speedily from barrier five and then enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, before sprinting home strongly with final quarters of 28.4sec. and 28.8sec. to win from Smoldering Ashes and Ardens Concord. “Wesley is not purely a frontrunner,” said Egerton-Green. “He’s probably lost a bit of his early toe and it is to his credit and that of his trainer that he now races well with a sit. “In this week’s race I’ll probably roll forward and I give him a good each-way chance. If he shows his good gate speed, I give him a good chance of crossing, but if we don’t get to the front the ambition will be to slot into a nice position.” Egerton-Green has been booked by the powerful Greg and Skye Bond stable to drive Infinite Symbol (barrier one in the $22,000 Christmas Sundowner Packages Pace) and Twilight Saga (barrier three off the front in the eighth event, a 2503m stand). He will also drive Lord Lexus in the sixth event and Whitbys Gamble in race nine. Five-year-old Infinite Symbol is a consistent performer and a smart frontrunner who was an all-the-way 2130m winner over Parisian Partygirl and Delightfulreaction at her most recent outing. However, she meets stronger opposition this week, including brilliant stablemate Our Alfie Romeo, who has enjoyed a beneficial winter spell since she finished strongly to win from Maczaffair on May 24. Our Alfie Romeo has led and won five times in Western Australia where she boasts an enviable record of 20 starts for 12 wins, four seconds, three seconds and one third placing. Our Alfie Romeo is unlikely to have a comfortable time, first-up, when she meets several in-form mares, including Crystal Sparkles, Just Rockon Bye, Cott Beach and Parisian Partygirl. Twilight Saga is a capable standing-start performer, but she will be at handsome odds against horses of the calibre of her stablemate Mighty Conqueror, the lone backmarker off 30m, and the up-and-coming Ross Olivieri-trained Space Junk (20m). Five-year-old Mighty Conqueror’s past eight starts have all been in stands for six wins, one second and one fourth. He reappeared after a five-month absence when he gave a superb display to win, unextended, from Forgotten Highway when he began off 40m and settled in eighth position before moving forward to race without cover and then take the lead 520m from home and coast to victory with final sectionals of 28.9sec., 27.3sec. and 29sec. That was Mighty Conqueror’s first outing since he won the 2902m Easter Cup in April. Late last year he won the Four-Year-Old Championship and was a half-head second to Ana Malak in the Golden Nugget and third to Ana Malak in the group 1 Four-Year-Old Classic. Space Junk will have a 10m advantage over Mighty Conqueror and certainly is capable of testing his younger rival. Space Junk has returned to form with a vengeance, scoring decisive wins in stands at his past three starts. “At least Space Junk has a 10-metre head start n Mighty Conqueror,” said Olivieri. “But we’ve also got a lot of traffic in front of us. However, I expect Space Junk to fight out the finish. Mighty Conqueror is a very good horse and if you said I could have any horse in the Bond stable, I would take Mighty Conqueror. A year or two ago, it was El Jacko.”   Ken Casellas

Six-year-old Major Pocket is a model of consistency and reinsman Aldo Cortopassi is confident that he will end a losing sequence of 11 by proving the master of his 11 rivals in the opening event, the 1730m Better Your bet With TABtouch Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Major Pocket is ideally drawn at barrier No. 2 on the front line and should prove one of the star bets on the ten-event program.   “Major Pocket loves the mile; it’s his best distance,” said Cortopassi. “You don’t hold on to him, you don’t fight him, you drop the reins and just let him run. Some of his runs over 1730m from wide gates have been massive.” Drawn the pole on Major Pocket’s inside is veteran performer Mattjestic Star, who has been unplaced at his past 15 starts since he started from barrier one, overraced in the breeze and won from Vincenzo Peruggia over 1730m last March. Cortopassi said that he would make a strong bid for the early lead. “Overwise, if we can’t cross Mattjestic Star, I’ll be happy to sit outside him and crunch him,” he said. Major Pocket, trained at Mt Helena by Ray Williams, has a splendid record of 51 starts for 11 wins, 20 seconds and seven thirds for stakes of $146,960. Since his most recent success (when he led from barrier two and beat All Jokes Aside over 2130m on May 24 this year) his 11 starts have produced seven seconds and one third. “He just keeps on earning and averages about $10,000 a month,” Cortopassi said. Clarenden Hustler, a brilliant beginner and a smart frontrunner, will start from barrier five with Shannon Suvaljko in the sulky. However, trainer Matt Scott is pessimistic about the chestnut’s ability to burst to an early lead. Adding considerable interest to the race will be the appearance of Commander Chapel, who will be having his first start for 32 months. The eight-year-old to be driven by Jocelyn Young for trainer Debra Lewis, is awkwardly drawn at barrier seven. But the gelding, a winner at 13 and placed at 12 of his 40 starts, is capable of a bold first-up showing. There is plenty of good exposed form in the race, including Carter Micheal, Livura, Vincenzo Peruggia, Courage Tells and Smoldering Ashes, but Major Pocket should reign supreme. Cortopassi is hoping for a good slice of luck when he drives Roman Aviator from the outside in a field of nine in the 2130m Book Your NYE Packages Now Pace. The five-year-old has performed solidly with 13 wins and ten seconds from 50 starts. “It’s not a bad race for him,” Cortopassi said. “You’d think there will be a bit of speed on, coming from horses like Mad Robber and Bettor Reward --- and that will suit Roman Aviator, who I think will develop into a really nice sit-sprinter. “Hopefully, there’s a good genuine speed and that he said home at $81 like he did two starts ago.” Favourite for the race will be the Justin Prentice-trained Warfare, who is poorly drawn at barrier eight and will be having his first start for just over two months.   Ken Casellas

Talented New Zealand-bred pacer Motu Premier has not made all the running in any of his 28 starts in Western Australia, but eight-time premier trainer Ross Olivieri is planning a bold change of tactics with the seven-year-old in the $25,000 Fred Doy Memorial Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Motu Premier, who boasts a winning record of 33 per cent (18 wins, 14 seconds, six thirds and $361,258 in prizemoney from 55 starts), has drawn ideally at barrier No. 2 on the front line and will be handled by Chris Voak, who replaces Chris Lewis, who has opted to drive Our Corelli from the wide barrier at No. 8. “I think we’ll probably have a crack at trying to lead,” said Olivieri. “Motu Premier gets out pretty good and you saw that at his first-up run two starts ago.” Speed Man, one of the three runners from the stables of champion trainer Gary Hall Snr, has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier, but Olivieri gives Motu Premier a strong chance of being able to beat Speed Man in the battle for the role of pacemaker. Star reinsman Gary Hall Jnr has given punters a strong lead by choosing to drive Speed Man in preference to better-performed stablemate King of Swing, who will start from barrier six with Stuart McDonald in the sulky. The other runner from the Hall camp is relatively inexperienced four-year-old Robbie Easton, who will be driven by Maddison Brown from the No. 3 barrier. Speed Man has led and won from barrier one and also has been crossed on other occasions from the inside barrier. He has been unplaced from unfavourable barriers at his past four starts since he finished solidly from the one-out, one-back position to win from Walkinshaw and Carter Micheal over 2130m on August 30. Motu Premier revealed excellent gate speed from barrier five but had to race in the breeze before finishing determinedly to snatch a last-stride victory over the pacemaker King of Swing in the 2536m Media Guild Cup three starts ago, in September of last year. He then went for a spell and has made two appearances in his current campaign. Voak has driven the gelding only once and that was at his first-up outing in the 2536m Brennan Memorial four Fridays ago when he was given a soft run, three back on the pegs, before being hampered for room in the home straight and finishing fifth behind Our Jimmy Johnstone. Motu Premier’s second run in this campaign was in the 2019 Media Guild Cup last Friday week when he enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, but was blocked for a run and finished full of running when fifth behind Waylade. Motu Premier’s 28 starts in WA have produced eight wins, six seconds and three thirds, with Lewis in the sulky for seven of those victories. However, Lewis has stuck with the vastly-improved Our Corelli, a five-year-old who is prepared by his wife Debra. Our Corelli has won at eight of his 12 starts for Debra Lewis, with Lewis the successful driver in seven of those wins. Our Corelli is a speedy beginner and smart frontrunner. But he is versatile and is capable of unwinding a spirited finishing burst. El Jacko, prepared by Greg and Skye Bond, is handily drawn at barrier four and will be driven by Ryan Warwick. The seven-year-old has been placed at each of his past three starts --- behind Handsandwheels, Our Jimmy Johnstone and Our Corelli. He has excellent winning prospects. The Bond camp will also be represented by in-form 11-year-old Our Jimmy Johnstone (Bailey McDonough) who will need plenty of luck from the outside of the back line. Ten-year-old The Bucket List will start from barrier two on the back line and trainer Michael Brennan is happy with the draw and expects the gelding to be running home strongly, particularly if the race is run at a strong tempo. The Caris Hamilton-Smith-trained Waylade (Kyle Harper) impressed with his all-the-way victory in the 2536m Media Guild Cup last Friday week when he defeated The Bucket List and King of Swing. But his prospects this week diminished when he drew awkwardly at barrier No. 7. Morgan Woodley, who drove the Rob MacDonald-trained Argyle Red to an all-the-way victory over 2130m last Friday week, is happy with the gelding’s draw on the inside of the back line and said that the eight-year-old was capable of figuring in the finish. However, reinsman Aldo Cortopassi was bitterly disappointed when the Ray Williams-trained Walkinshaw drew the outside barrier (No. 9). Williams’s wife Dot is the daughter of the late trainer-reinsman Fred Doy and Cortopassi said he would have dearly loved to land Walkinshaw a winner this week in the event dedicated to the memory of Fred Doy. “Walkinshaw drew barrier one last week, but the meeting was abandoned,” Cortopassi said. “We were hoping for the same draw this week because I would love to win the race for the family. However, from out wide a lot of things would have to go in Walkinshaw’s favour and a lot of things would have to go against all the others.”     Ken Casellas

Outstanding concession driver Maddison Brown has formed a strong and successful association with four-year-old pacer Highly Flammable and ten-year-old trotter Lord Liam and she has high hopes of landing a double with them in the first and final events at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “I’ve got the horses to do that,” she said after guiding Highly Flammable to a decisive three-length victory over Mondooley Mach over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Tuesday afternoon. “Hopefully, Highly Flammable can repeat what he’s done tonight, and that’s to get to the front and set the pace. He hasn’t been showing great gate speed, but tonight I just revved him up a bit more in the preliminary and he came out really good. He can switch off, with the hood, but when I got up him, he ran away from them.” Highly Flammable was not extended and impressed with the ease in which he dashed over the final three quarters in 29.8sec., 28.9sec. and 28.5sec. to win at a 1.58.4 rate. That followed a win and a close second at his two previous starts getting to the lead early from barrier six and winning by four lengths from Northview Orator over 2536m and then racing wide early and in the breeze before finishing a half-neck second to My Master of Disguise at a 1.56.6 rate over 1730m. Brown has driven Highly Flammable at his past nine starts for three wins, three seconds, one third and two fourths and trainer Gary Hall Snr said: “He’s getting better with every run. He had a leg injury and we had to turn him out when he got big in condition. It has taken a long time to get him fully fit.” Hardest for Highly Flammable to beat is likely to be the John Oldroyd-trained Lightning Jolt, who will be driven by Chris Voak from barrier four. The seven-year-old has a losing sequence of ten, but his recent efforts, including a last-start fourth behind Bletchley Park, have been quite encouraging. Waroona trainer Bob Mellsop has Lord Liam, a veteran of 89 starts for 29 wins and  29 placings, in superb form, with Brown guiding him to impressive wins at each of his past six starts for a combined winning margin of 49.7m, an average winning margin of 8.2m. Lord Liam set the pace from barrier five when an easy winner from Diamond Geezer over 2100m at Bunbury at his most recent outing, five weeks ago. “Bob has given him a freshen-up and the horse has the gate speed if you need to use it. I’ll see what Bob wants to do from the draw (barrier eight) in the 2536m race. Spud has drawn inside us, and he looks the main danger.” Spud, a seasoned veteran of 133 starts for 17 wins and 36 placings, has flourished under the care of trainer-reinsman Kim Prentice and has won in fine style at his first two starts in Western Australia. He raced without cover before beating Diamond Geezer in a 2631m stand at Pinjarra at his latest appearance and before that he finished strongly to beat Lifes Delight in a 2096m stand at Gloucester Park. Hall Snr is hoping for strong efforts from Robb Stark and Overboard Again, who will be resuming after spells on Friday night. Five-year-old Robb Stark, resuming after a two-and-a half-month absence, is awkwardly drawn at barrier seven in the Retravision Pace in which stablemate The Arsonist has drawn perfectly at barrier one and impressive last-start winner Our Perkins will be strongly fancied from the No. 2 draw. “The barrier draw is against Robb Stark, but he’s still a chance,” said Hall. “He’s had a few little problems, including an infection in his lungs. But we’ve cleared all that up. He’s working well and he should be in the mix, even from barrier seven.” Seven-year-old Overboard Again will be having his first start since April when he begins out wide at barrier eight in the Intersport Slater Gartrell Pace over 2536m.A winner at 12 of his 41 starts, Overboard Again has not appeared since he finished a good second to stablemate Herrick Roosevelt over 2130m at Gloucester Park on April 26. “If he had drawn a favourable barrier, he probably would’ve won,” said Hall. “But from out there, he will need some luck.”   Ken Casellas

Enigmatic five-year-old King of Swing has won only once from his past 14 starts, but he looks the winner of the $50,000 J. P. Stratton Cup over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier. The wonderful combination of Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall Snr and his son, Hall of Fame reinsman Gary Hall Jnr, have won the Stratton Cup with Bengeeman (2002), Alzona (2011), Waylade (2015) and Chicago Bull (2018) and King of Swing has the class to add to their successes in this Group 2 feature event. “Leading has been his forte,” said Hall Snr. “He’s quick out and should be able to lead and take beating. He raced in the breeze in the 2536m Media Guild Cup last week and didn’t throw in the towel when third behind Waylade and The Bucket List.” King of Swing also worked hard without cover when he won the WA Derby by a head from Bechers Brook in April 2018, but most of his 18 wins from 44 starts have been when he has set the pace. His most recent success was seven starts ago when he led from barrier two and ran a smart lead time of 36.4sec. His previous successes were when he led and beat Saying Grace by eight lengths at a 1.56.3 rate over 2536m, with a final quarter of 26.8sec., and when he rated 1.54.5 in an easy win over 2130m. “In his third most recent win he held out a strong early challenge from Thereugo and ran a lead time of 34.7sec.,” Hall said. “So, he should be able to lead this week and I believe he will go close.” The Hall stable also will be represented in this week’s Stratton Cup by Speed Man (Stuart McDonald) and Mad Robber (Maddison Brown). Speed Man is handily drawn at barrier two on the back line and is capable of figuring in the finish, but nine-year-old Mad Robber faces a stern task from barrier six and will be at liberal odds. Hall of Fame reinsman Chris Lewis is seeking his eighth win in a Stratton Cup, after victories with Black Irish (1983), Village Kid (1985, 1988 and 1991), Ohoka Ace (2005), Sneakyn Down Under (2009) and Sensational Gabby (2014). He will handle five-year-old Our Corelli, who is prepared by his wife Debra and will start from the No. 4 barrier. Our Corelli possesses excellent gate speed and is also versatile and capable of unwinding a spirited finishing burst. He surged home from sixth at the bell to gain a last-stride victory over El Jacko in the 2130m Navy Cup last Friday week. That was his eighth win from his past 12 starts. The Ross Olivieri-trained Motu Premier will start from barrier No. 5 with Chris Voak in the sulky. Olivieri, who has won the Stratton Cup with Just Packapunch (1993) and Sensational Gabby, said that the New Zealand-bred Motu Premier was ready for a strong showing at his third start after a 12-month absence. “Motu Premier has finished fifth at each of his two runs in this preparation and he’s come through those runs really well,” Olivieri said. “They have been very soft runs and he should be getting somewhere near his best form.” Ten-year-old The Bucket List is racing with youthful enthusiasm and his trainer Michael Brennan is hoping that the race will be run at a strong tempo. The Bucket List, who will be handled by Michael Grantham, impressed in last week’s Media Guild Cup when he raced in sixth position and was eighth and last at the 400m mark before switching five wide on the home turn and flying home to finish second to the pacemaker Waylade. “He probably had no right at all to run second,” said an admiring Brennan. “The key to his prospects will be if there are some strong challenges for the lead and the pace is on. We’re relying heavily on tempo in this race. At the top end there’s going to be some quality horses who can run serious sectionals. “If the race is run up-tempo, The Bucket List can definitely win. You saw last week that he’s got an electrifying turn of foot, and he’s very strong as well. But, unfortunately, he’s a one-trick pony and you’ve got to drive him that way (as a sit-sprinter). I think he now races just as well as he did as a younger horse.” The Bucket List raced in the breeze for much of the way when a fading fifth behind Chicago Bull in last year’s Stratton Cup. He sat behind the pacemaker Libertybelle Midfrew when second to that mare in the 2016 Stratton Cup. Brennan has fond memories of the 2013 Stratton Cup when he prepared star pacer Im Victorious for his three-length victory over Ima Rocket Star. Ima Rocket Star was trained by Greg and Skye Bond, who will be represented in this week’s Cup by El Jacko and Our Jimmy Johnstone. El Jacko is a brilliant pacer who has won 21 times from 59 starts and has been placed at each of his past three starts. He will start out wide at barrier eight with Ryan Warwick in the sulky. He is capable of producing a powerful finish and fully testing King of Swing. Simba Bromac (barrier two) and Waylade (three) are racing keenly and should be prominent. Simba Bromac trailed the pacemaker Waylade and was hopelessly blocked for a run when an unlucky fourth to that pacer last week. Kyle Harper, who drives Waylade for trainer Caris Hamilton-Smith, said that the nine-year-old faced a tougher task this week from the No. 3 barrier than he did when he led from barrier one in last week’s Media Guild Cup.   Ken Casellas

Champion reinsman Chris Lewis was born in 1955, the year that famous American rocknroll singer and songwriter Bill Haley topped the charts with Rock Around The Clock. Bill Haley, in the form of five-year-old New Zealand-bred pacer by Rock N Roll Heaven, is sure to have punters singing his praises at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he makes his West Australian debut in the Direct Trades Supply Pace over 2130m. Prepared at Hopeland by Lewis’s wife Debra, Bill Haley will start from barrier No. 1 and Lewis should take advantage of the draw by leading all the way with the gelding and beating his chief rival Major Pocket. Bill Haley has been purchased by Debra and Chris Lewis’s son Mark, Luke Montgomery, Nathan Morrone, Julie Champion, Paul Webster and Victorian harness racing personality Cameron Lee. He is lightly raced, having had 32 starts in New Zealand for four wins and five placings and six starts in Queensland for four wins. He is renowned for his blistering finishing bursts but is also a speedy beginner and highly capable frontrunner. He led from barrier three four starts ago when he won a 2040m event by ten lengths at a 1.58.5 rate at Redcliffe. Bill Haley was most impressive in unwinding dazzling late bursts to win a $31,600 Four-Year-Old Championship over 2138m at Albion Park and a 2280m $25,500 feature event at Redcliffe at his two most recent outings in late July. Two starts ago, he was a 14/1 chance when he raced three wide for the first 300m and then in the breeze for a while before settling in sixth position in the one-wide line. He was sixth with 350m to travel and went five wide on the home turn for reinsman Mark Purdon and flew home to get up and win by a head at a 1.54.5 rate with the final three quarters run in 28.4sec., 28.3sec. and 27.3sec. Six days later at Redcliffe Bill Haley, a 22/1 outsider driven by Kylie Rasmussen, unleashed a devastating burst from sixth at the 400m to get up and win by a half-length from the pacemaker Our Uncle Sam. Bill Haley is out of Presidential Ball mare Elite Belle, who raced 73 times for 11 wins, 15 placings and $102,927 in prizemoney. Elite Belle’s half-sister Five Card Draw has had 163 starts for 31 wins, 49 placings and stakes of $647,224. Her 17 wins in Queensland before going to America in 2016 included the Group 3 Four-Year-Old Championship at Albion Park in July 2014 and the Group 3 Redcliffe Cup in July 2016.   Ken Casellas

The win of Highly Flammable at Gloucester Park tonight brought up the 3000th career win for trainer Gary Hall Snr and he is the first trainer in Western Australia to achieve this milestone. Somewhat remarkably Highly Flammable wasn’t driven by Hall’s son Gary Hall Jnr with Maddison Brown taking the drive. Hall brought up win number 3001 later in the night when Robbie Easton saluted with Gary Hall Jnr at the reins. It was win number 1733 for the father/son combination and Robbie Easton became Hall Snr’s 2246th winner in Perth. The fascination of Gary Hall for harness racing began in 1964 when he used to sneak out of his family home in Mount Lawley and ride his pushbike to Gloucester Park on a Saturday night. Hall and a mate would jump the fence into the course and boost their meagre funds per medium of betting on the horses that graced the track during its halcyon days. Hall was the form student and his mate closer to the legal betting age. “I remember having five shillings on a horse called Yamagee that paid three pounds seventeen and six for the place and I thought it was Christmas”, Hall recalled years later. After building his bank to a bit more than 30 pounds, Hall took a fancy to a gelding called Prince Land and had his mate put ten pounds on the horse. “He told me that he had managed to get 66/1 and the bookie hadn’t wound the price down. I gave him another ten pounds for a second bet at the price”. The horse duly won and Hall was counting out his £1320 winnings on his bed at home when he was sprung by his mother who was more than a little concerned at where the money had come from. Hall came clean and after that night his parents would take him to Gloucester Park. After leaving school Hall got a job as a trainee auctioneer at the Midland saleyards where he met Arthur Jones. Jones, known to all and sundry as Buck, was enjoying success at the time with a gelding called Satin Son and Hall soon began jogging horses for Jones. Like all stable-hands who aspired to being drivers, Hall bought a quiet gelding and went through the Reinsman’s School at Gloucester Park under the tutelage of Cyril Lilleyman. He got his licence to drive in races as an 18yo at a time when driving concessions and junior driver races didn’t exist. Drives were hard to come by and Hall began leasing and training a couple of horses, starting with Silent Revel which he managed to run a couple of places with without winning. A mare called Plebette gave Hall his first win as a trainer when she won at Collie on 5th March 1971 Tobaree gave Hall his first success at Gloucester Park as both a trainer and driver when she won on 16th September 1972. Hall continued to work a regular job as he had a young family to support and a job as a clerk in Perth’s Crown Law Department saw him meet Crown Prosecutor Ron Davies who was equally as big a harness fanatic as Hall. In 1982 Hall’s direction in harness racing was changed when Ron Davies gave him a position as his private trainer and this gave Hall the confidence to branch out on his own as a public trainer in 1983. Another big change occurred for Hall in 1982 but the impact wasn’t quite so immediate. His son Gary was born and from the outset developed a similar obsession with horses to that of his father. With a young family to support, Hall struggled to make ends meet until he leased Maru Adios which had not been placed in three years. Hall turned the gelding around and in his first year at Hall’s Hazelmere stables, Maru Adios won 11 races and almost $39,000 in stakes. Soon owners began to recognise a training talent and better quality horses began to become available. Among them was a Racy Prince stallion called Vero Prince which won six on end and was favourite for the 1986 Golden Nugget Championship before Hall copped a disqualification for a swab. “I was never guilty of giving the horse anything. I may have been guilty of having inadequate stable security but never of giving anything to my horses”, Hall said. Hall managed to get the 12 months penalty reduced to three on appeal but he had lost the momentum and again had to battle to put a team of competitive horses together. Well-known breeder Roy Annear offered to lease Hall a 3yo colt by Racy Prince from the good race-mare Honest Talk with an option to purchase for $5,000. Hall had a couple of smart youngsters at the time in Love Of Glory and Almagest and Hall decided that the Racy Prince colt would have his first run with hopples with the pair. “I got the young stable-hand to drive the colt with instructions to follow us around and not be too concerned if he struggled to keep up in the last lap”, Hall recalled. No one was more surprised than Hall when the colt sprinted past his more illustrious stable-mates in the last lap. Hall, and good mate Glen Moore, exercised the option of purchase the next day. Named Zakara, the colt went on to win 44 of his 134 starts and more than $477,000 in stakes including the historic feat of winning four successive August Cups. Zakara was the first outstanding horse trained by Hall and he gave Hall a taste of just what success was there for the taking if the horse had the natural ability. “I don’t train any differently now to what I did when I started in the sixties but the horses I train now have a lot more ability that what the early ones did”. “I am basically self-taught and although I have watched other trainers closely I have made up my own mind of what is best for each horse. Phil Coulson and Fred Kersey have had a major influence on my training.” Hall believes there is no substitute for plenty of hard work and aerobic work in a jog cart in the sand. “My horses are strong which they need to be if they are to be put into a race”, Hall said. Putting his horses into a race was a characteristic of Gary Hall’s driving style and although he has driven more than 600 winners he was never regarded as a great driver. His record as a trainer is second to none and he has obliterated the training records of the previous Western Australian benchmarks Fred Kersley and Trevor Warwick and has trained 600 more winners than his current closest rival Ross Olivieri. Hall is the leading trainer in the 106 year history of the WA Pacing Cup having trained 11 winners of the race. He is also the leading trainer in the history of the Fremantle Cup with eight wins in that race. Zakara gave Hall a taste for Grand Circuit racing when the stallion finished third to Imprimartar and Time Symbol in the 1991 Fremantle Cup. A month later Zakara finished fourth in the famous 1992 WA Pacing Cup behind Westburn Grant, Franco Ice and Imprimartar and this prompted Hall to take the horse to Victoria where he finished third in the 1992 Victoria Cup behind Franco Ice and Impressionist. “Zakara was the first really good horse I had and he would have had a better record if I hadn’t stuffed four or five big races driving him”, a reflective Hall said some years later. On 16th July 1998 Hall watched his son Gary celebrate his 16th birthday that afternoon by driving Enhancer to victory at Pinjarra. It was the first of more than 1730 winners for the combination and the younger Hall’s aptitude at the reins hastened his father’s scaling back from driving duties. Hall imported his first New Zealand horses in the early nineties but it wasn’t 2001 that he struck the jackpot with the arrival of a 3yo colt called The Falcon Strike. Racing in New Zealand as Falcon Strike, the son of Falcon Seelster had finished fifth to Franco Heir in the Group One New Zealand Sires Stakes before being sold to clients of Hall’s stable. The Falcon Strike was the early favourite for the WA Derby after winning his first four races in Perth including the Group Three Western Gateway Pace but a chequered run in the Derby saw him finish down the track behind the interstate runners Manifold Bay and Franco Heir. Manifold Bay again proved his nemesis eight months later in the 2001 Group One Golden Nugget Championship after The Falcon Strike had won seven of his eight starts leading into the race including the Group Three McInerney Ford Classic. While Manifold Bay was to only win one further Group One race, the 4yo Chariots of Fire at Harold Park in February 2002, The Falcon Strike won both the Group One WA Pacing Cup and Group One Fremantle Cup as a 4yo and then backed that up with a further two WA Pacing Cups, two Australian Pacing Championships and a second Fremantle Cup in the ensuing three seasons. Zakara was Hall’s first runner in an Inter Dominion series when he took part in the 1992 Championship held at Moonee Valley. He was placed third in two heats behind Christopher Vance and Lord Muckalee before he struck trouble in the third round of heats and just missed a spot in the final won by Westburn Grant. He started favourite and finished fourth in the consolation won by Imperial Atom. Twelve years later on his home circuit of Gloucester Park, Gary Hall went within the virtual nostril of winning the Inter Dominion when The Falcon Strike was beaten in the last stride by Jofess. It was an even more remarkable performance given the work Hall had put in to get The Falcon Strike back to the track after an absence of more than 14 months following a fifth placing in the 2002 Victoria Cup won by Safe And Sound. The Falcon Strike broke down that night and didn’t resume racing until April 2003 and for the remainder of his career Hall needed all his experience to keep the stallion sound and fit to compete at the highest level. A campaign through the Perth winter of 2003 was followed by a Newcastle Mile win that earned The Falcon Strike a berth in the 2003 Miracle Mile won by Sokyola. Returning to Perth, The Falcon Strike reeled off four straight wins including a second WA Pacing Cup/Fremantle Cup double and an Australian Pacing Championship for good measure. His form, combined with a home track advantage saw The Falcon Strike installed as pre-post favourite for the 2004 Perth Inter Dominion although some experts, including the Inter Dominion king Brian Hancock expressed doubts as to the horse’s ability to get through four runs in a fortnight. Hall has stuck to his training methods throughout four decades and sees little reason to change. “I train the way I want to train and whenever I have tried to change has been when I have got into trouble”, Hall said. “I am conservative in how fast I work them and when they are racing there are some weeks when they don’t get fast-worked at all”. Most trainers would regard a horse like The Falcon Strike as a once in a lifetime occurrence but in 2008 Hall struck gold a second time when he arranged the purchase for his stable of  the 3yo Im Themightyquinn after the gelding had finished third in the $200,000 Harness Jewels final. It took some time for the high-speed son of Washington VC and his new trainer to gel and at each of his first eight starts in Perth Im Themightyquinn followed the normal Hall stable pattern and either raced in the lead or outside the leader’s wheel. The first time Im Themightyquinn was driven with a sit was in the 2009 Fremantle Cup when, with Shayne Cramp at the reins, he finished third to Power Of Tara and Divisive. “He always had high speed but he pulled very hard so he was worked a lot of long slow work until he eventually learned to relax”, Hall explained. “When a horse with his speed can learn to relax they can do great things”. Commencing with his 4yo season and after learning to relax more in his races, Im Themightyquinn proved almost unbeatable at Group One level and in 28 starts against the Southern Hemisphere’s best over six seasons of racing Im Themightyquinn at Group One level recorded a remarkable 15 wins, four seconds and seven thirds. Hall is the first however to give a big chunk of the credit to his son for the success the pair have enjoyed over the past dozen seasons. “Junior is a natural big-race driver and while I was a decent driver in my own right at Gloucester Park I wasn’t up to driving against the other top-shelf drivers” Hall said. “To beat the likes of Gavin Lang, Chris Lewis, Tony Herlihy and Anthony Butt you need to be in the big races all the time and you also need a relaxed personality which Junior has in spades”. While the self-deprecating Hall may be under-selling his ability at the reins, his record this century as a trainer is without peer in Australia as evidenced by 51 wins at Group One level including a record 11 WA Pacing Cups, three Inter Dominions, eight Fremantle Cups, five Australian Pacing Championships, two Auckland Cups, five WA Derbies, two Golden Nugget Championships, four FHRC 4yo Classics and a Blacks A Fake Championship at Albion Park. Not surprisingly Gary Hall Snr was indicted into The West Australian Racing Industry Hall of Fame in 2014.   Alan Parker

Bletchley Park and The Dali Express are two horses singled out by members of the WA Trotting Media Guild as good things for Friday night’s meeting at Gloucester Park. The West Australian’s Ernie Manning and the newspaper’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft both believe Bletchley Park can score again. “Bletchley Park looks primed to notch the third win from four starts since a spell and he can consolidate his credentials for the $200,000 Golden Nugget (2536m) in December,” Manning said. “The WA Derby runner-up scored his ninth victory when setting the pace and drawing almost 12m clear of rivals last Friday night. Trainer Mike Reed is likely to also enter him in the $300,000 Fremantle Pacing Cup (2536m) and $450,000 WA Pacing Cup (2936m), both to be run next January.” Havercroft agrees with his colleague. “Bletchley Park cruised to an easy all-the-way victory here from the same draw last Friday,” Havercroft said. “His main rival again, Ocean Ridge, couldn’t get around him on that occasion and it’s hard to see it happening this week.” Radio Great Southern’s form analyst Warren Wishart and Guild president Wayne Currall   are keen on The Dali Express making it successive wins. “The Dali Express was able to lead and win from this draw last start defeating a good horse in Ocean Ridge,” Wishart said. “No problem with the extra distance - he leads and wins again.” Currall agrees. “Champion reinsman Chris Lewis will send The Dali Express straight to the top and it could be race over,” he said. “Doesn’t appear to be too much pressure and he is poised to post another all-the-way victory.” Longshot king Pat Harding has made Walkinshaw his best for the night. “Walkinshaw had a great win last week after three runs back from a spell and I see no reason why he can't repeat the dose on Friday night,” Harding said. TABradio’s Matt Young believes Space Junk can record a hat-trick of victories. “Space Junk has returned to his best after his last two runs and should go on his winning way again in the stand this Friday night,” Young said. Young’s colleague at TABradio Hayden King is keen on Starlight Brigade at odds. “Starlight Brigade flashed home last week and now has come up with the pole,” King said. “He will be in the finish at each-way odds.” But on-course announcer Ken Casellas has earmarked Hy Leexciting, in the same race, as his star bet. “Veteran pacer Hy Leexciting is racing with tremendous verve for owner-trainer Ian Barker and the eight-year-old is my best bet on Friday night,” Casellas said. “Colin Brown, one of the State’s finest frontrunning drivers, will be keen to take up the running in the early stages and then lead his rivals on a merry dance. Hy Leexciting over raced in the breeze last Friday night but still fought on doggedly when a close third behind James Butt and Major Pocket.” VALUE BETS ERNIE: Cott Beach, unplaced at her past five starts, is due for a return to form. The five-year-old, a winner of 15 races and almost $300,000, covered extra ground when a recent first-up  eighth. RYAN: Major Pocket looked the winner until being claimed in the shadows of the post by James Butt last time out. Drawn to be handy again and can go one better. WARREN: The Bucket List is fitter following three runs back this time in and has shown a liking for the 2536m. In a small field he is likely to be each-way odds and look for him late. WAYNE: Destined To Rule has finished in the placings at seven of his past 10 starts. He’s overdue for a win and he is handicapped to turn the tables on favourite Space Junk. PAT: My value bet comes up in the Media Guild Cup. I expect a great run from The Bucket List. Trainer Michael Brennan has high hopes for this horse over the summer and after a good fourth last week I think he can win over the 2536m. MATT: Regal Ambition has the gate speed to find the top and is a good frontrunner and will handle the distance fine. If connections choose to lead I believe he is a great winning chance. HAYDEN: Mighty Flying Deal found the line well from an unpromising position last week and he has drawn handily this time. Michael Grantham has been engaged and he will be in the finish. KEN: For value, I suggest Regal Ambition in race eight. He is a splendid frontrunner and if he is able to get to an early lead he should have sound prospects of ending a sequence of nine unplaced efforts. To view all of the Media Guild tips click here. Good Punting Wayne Currall

Astute Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed landed a double with Bletchley Park and Arma Indie last Friday night and he is bubbling with confidence about repeating the dose with the brilliant four-year-olds at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The talented stablemates will be driven by Mark Reed, with Bletchley Park ideally drawn at barrier two in the $30,000 Warwick Pace over 2130m and Arma Indie handily drawn at barrier three in the $22,000 Media Guild Tips Pace over the same journey. Bletchley Park notched his ninth win from 17 starts when he led from the No. 2 barrier and rated a smart 1.56.4 in winning a 2536m event by four lengths from Ocean Ridge. The final quarters whizzed by in 29.9sec., 28.3sec., 28sec. and 28.5sec. Arma Indie gave further proof of her ability when she also scored an effortless victory at a 1.59.7 rate over 2536m last week. She sped home with quarters of 28.2sec. and 28.1sec. to win by just over a length from Hit It Rich, who trailed the pacemaker and fought on grimly. That splendid performance extended Arma Indie’s winning sequence to four and she should have the speed to again beat the promising Hit It Rich, who is prepared by Greg and Skye Bond and is sure to appreciate starting from the No. 1 barrier. “Bletchley Park pulled up really good after last Friday night,” said Mike Reed. “Originally, I wasn’t going to start him this week, but he pulled up so well that I changed my mind. Hopefully, he will be able to lead and be able to hold fast beginner Franco Joaquin at bay. He’s on target for the Golden Nugget.” Bletchley Park should carry too many guns for his main rivals, Joe With The Flow and Ocean Ridge. Trainer Ross Olivieri has engaged Gary Hall jnr to drive Joe With The Flow, who caused an upset last Friday week when he was driven by Chris Lewis, set the pace and won from Bletchley Park, rating 1.57.2 over 2130m. Lewis will drive Joe With The Flow’s stablemate Dennis, who will start from the inside of the back line. Lewis drove Dennis when the six-year-old led from barrier one and won from Machlani at a 1.58 rate over 2185m at Pinjarra last Monday week. Four-year-old Ocean Ridge, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, will start from barrier two on the back line with Ryan Warwick in the sulky. He has won at seven of his 18 starts and cannot be underestimated after strong seconds to The Dali Express and Bletchley Park at his past two appearances. Praising Arma Indie, Mike Reed said: “She has done everything she has had to. Mark didn’t pull the plugs at her latest start and he said that she was just jogging. It’s a good field on Friday night and she doesn’t have to lead. If she does, she’ll roll along. She will have two or three more starts before I freshen her up for the feature events for mares in the summer.” Ken Casellas

Stylish stallion Walkinshaw ended a losing sequence of 12 when he overcame an awkward barrier at No. 6 to score a dashing victory over 2130m last Friday night. And reinsman Aldo Cortopassi is enthusiastic about the New Zealand-bred seven-year-old’s ability to repeat the dose in the Leading Tipster Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Cortopassi said that trainer Ray Williams had freshened the horse up and that he was back to his best last week. “He’s drawn No. 6 again this week,” Cortopassi said. “He’s versatile; he can sit and sprint --- and he can go forward. He’s got plenty of speed and there might be a chance to work forward and go from there.” Walkinshaw certainly impressed with a sparkling burst of speed last Friday night when he was restrained from barrier six and raced in sixth position in the one-wide line before he made a fast move 450m from home and left his rivals flat-footed as he charged to the front on the home turn before racing away to win by 4m from Vincenzo Peruggia. The final quarters were run in 28.4sec. and 28.2sec. and Walkinshaw rated a smart 1.55.6. Walkinshaw also revealed a tough side of his nature two starts before last week’s win, when he worked hard in the breeze and finished second to Speed Man over 2130m. His chief rivals this week are likely to be Argyle Red, James Butt, The Trilogy and Bettor Party. Argyle Red, to be driven by Morgan Woodley for Pinjarra trainer Rob MacDonald, will start from the coveted No. 1 barrier and is sure to have many admirers despite having a losing sequence of 24, stretching back to 12 months ago when he led and won over 2130m from Overboard Again and Mister Versace. Argyle Red was an 80/1 outsider last week when he was restrained from barrier seven and raced at the rear throughout, finishing eighth in a field of nine behind Roman Aviator. The Ross Olivieri-trained James Butt notched his eighth win from 31 starts when he enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and two-back, before running home strongly to win by a head from Major Pocket, with Hy Leexciting a close third after overracing in the breeze outside the pacemaker Presidentmach over 2130m last Friday night. Reinsman Chris Voak said that James Butt faced a hard task this week from the outside barrier in a field of nine. “He’s a pretty low-priced purchase from New Zealand and he has exceeded expectations with five wins, four in city-class events, from 11 starts in WA,” Voak said. “He’s got more wins in store. However, it looks tough from the draw on Friday night. It’s a step up for him, but he is improving with every run.” The Trilogy and Bettor Party are in good form but will need all the breaks from wide barriers. Voak and Olivieri are optimistic about Atmospherical’s prospects in the Second Leading Tipster Pace. The six-year-old has struck form with a vengeance, unwinding strong finishing bursts to win convincingly at each of his past two starts. “Barrier two on the back line is a good draw for him,” said Olivieri. And Voak said: “He’s a good sit-and-sprint horse and is a sound each-way hope.” In Friday night’s race, Colin Brown will handle the Ian Barker-trained Hy Leexciting from barrier two. Brown has driven Hy Leexciting at 12 of his 93 starts for one victory ---- when the gelding finished strongly to defeat Cerato at Pinjarra in August 2016. The Midas Touch also will have plenty of support. He will be driven by Shannon Suvaljko from barrier six. The gelding impressed when he set the pace and won from Major Shard in a 2150m trial at Byford on Sunday morning.   Ken Casellas

Promising six-year-old Space Junk, crippled by a fractured pelvis 14 months ago, is on the way to developing into a contender for the rich summer feature events, including the Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups. “He’s definitely a Christmas horse,” declared star reinsman Chris Voak, who is confident of completing a hat-trick of wins with Space Junk, who will start off the 10m mark in the 2503m Third Leading Tipster Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Space Junk, prepared at Oakford by eight-time WA premier trainer Ross Olivieri, has bounced back to his best this month with decisive victories in stands at Gloucester Park and Pinjarra. He enjoyed the one-out, one-back trail before finishing powerfully to win easily from Estocada over 2631m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon, rating 1.58.6. Ten nights before that Space Junk set the pace in a 2096m stand at Gloucester Park and rated 1.58.7, with final quarters of 27.5sec. and 27.4sec. “The track record over 2096m is 1.57.9 and Space Junk finished with the plugs in,” Voak said. “He is still on the improve and not yet a hundred per cent. He went a very good time in winning at Pinjarra on Monday when I did not pull the ear plugs. “They were running 29sec. quarters and that’s what they run in Free-For-Alls and the final mile was run in 1.57.5. He made up 40 metres and probably ran his last mile in 1.55.8. And that’s pretty good going.” A winner at five of his 12 starts in Victoria, Space Junk was purchased for $45,000 by Bernie Eales and a Sydney syndicate of five, including Ric Giometti and Anthony Moujalli. “He was bought as a horse we thought would we could take through the grades and do a good job,” Voak said. “But soon after he got here and worked on the track, we realised he was a serious horse.” Space Junk won at his West Australia debut, beating El Jacko at a track record rate of 1.56.9 in a 2116m stand at Pinjarra in October 2017. After winning from Michael Joseph and Simba Bromac over 2242m at a track record rate of 1.56.5 rate at Narrogin in July last year the gelding fractured his pelvis when galloping in a jog cart on the heavy sand track at Olivieri’s property. This kept him on the sidelines for ten months. “I was about 50 metres away when Space Junk hurt himself,” OIivieri said. “I heard a crack, like a 0.22 rifle,” he said. “My wife Jemma came up with a plan for him two months in a box, two months in a bigger yard, two months in a small paddock and then agisting him and then back in work. We took a conservative approach and it has been a long road back.” Voak revealed that after recovering fully from the fractured pelvis, Space Junk had given Olivieri some problems during his current preparation. “They were only minor issues and Ross has treated them,” Voak said. Space Junk managed only two placings from his first six appearances on the comeback trail. “But overcoming the minor issues have made a major difference to his performance,” he said.   Ken Casellas

Excellent performances at his past two starts have convinced trainer-reinsman Nathan Turvey that Simba Bromac will prove hard to beat in the $25,000 Media Guild Cup over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The New Zealand-bred seven-year-old is favourably drawn at barrier two in a feature event of many chances and Turvey declared: “We’ll have a go at leading and I think he can win. “I have been impressed with his past two runs (third to Our Jimmy Johnstone in the 2536m Brennan Memorial and fifth behind Our Corelli in the 2130m Navy Cup) and those two runs on the past two Fridays showed that he should be ready to win. “Simba Bromac led and won over 2130m three starts ago, but I wasn’t impressed with him, so I tried to work out what was wrong. He didn’t race for six weeks and then his latest two runs have been very good, even better than his winning effort. “I didn’t want to give him a gut-buster first-up, so I drove him on the cold side (when he was seventh at the bell and ran home strongly on the inside to be third) and last week he came from last (12th) at the 300m and finished fifth (out six wide) behind Our Corelli. If we want to play a part at Christmas (in the Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups) he should be able to be hard to beat on Friday night.” Simba Bromac, a winner of 21 races from 44 starts for his owner, West Australian businessman Karl Deiley, has blossomed under Turvey’s care, with 20 wins and ten placings from 38 WA starts after her raced six times in Victoria for just one win (by a half-head in a $7000 three-year-old event at Cobram in February 2017. The son of Canadian sire Art Official, Simba Bromac is bred to be a good winner. He is out of unraced Live Or Die mare Sabrina Bromac and is a half-brother to eight winners of 151 races, including Smudge Bromac (36 wins, 50 placings and stakes of $460,958), Ardle McArdle (28 wins, 69 placings and $280,014) and Slick Bromac (33 wins, 39 placings and $256,107). Simba Bromac is sure to receive strong opposition from King of Swing (barrier three) and Motu Premier (barrier four). Champion trainer Gary Hall snr said that King of Swing’s sixth behind Our Corelli last week was a good run. “He ran home strongly, and if he happens to lead this Friday night, he’ll win for sure. And if he gets a sit just off the pace, he might have some hope. But, generally speaking he’s a frontrunner.” King of Swing’s reinsman Gary Hall jnr has won the Media Guild Cup with The Falcon Strike (2003), Kotare Flame (2007), Washakie (2008) and Tuxedo Tour (2015). King of Swing,  winner of the 2018 WA Derby, was the 2/1 on favourite from barrier one in last year’s Media Guild Cup when he set a solid pace and finished a half-head second to 15/2 chance Motu Premier, who started from the No. 5 barrier and after racing wide early, worked hard in the breeze. Motu Premier, trained by Ross Olivieri, will again be handled by Hall of Fame driver Chris Lewis, who has won the Media Guild Cup behind Village Kid (1988 and 1991), Paly (2002), Has The Answers (2010) and Motu Premier (2018). “Here we go again, and, yes, he can win again,” said Olivieri. “I was delighted with his first-up run (fifth behind Our Jimmy Johnstone last Friday week). And he has gone forward since then.” Kyle Harper has driven Waylade in his four starts after resuming from a six-month absence and said that he has been heartened by the nine-year-old’s solid efforts which included a first-up third behind Tommy Be Good and a fourth behind Vampiro. Waylade, prepared by Caris Hamilton-Smith, has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier. He has a losing sequence of 23 and has not been successful since finishing strongly to beat Beaudiene Boaz in the Brennan memorial in November 2016. “Caris has done a terrific job with him and he is racing better than his form reads,” Harper said. “He just hasn’t had a lot of luck. Barrier one definitely suits him, and without yet talking to Caris, I’ll probably like to race on the leader’s back. “But it is hard to say who will be the early leader Simba Bromac or King of Swing or maybe Motu Premier. Who knows? I can see that Waylade is a good each-way chance. He’s got enough speed to hold up and what horse to sit behind.”    Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed will be pinning his faith on Kiwi Legend, who will be making his first appearance for six weeks and faces a stern test from the outside barrier in the field of eight. Reed, who prepared Kiwi Legend for ten wins in 2015-16-17, has taken over the preparation of the eight-year-old from his son Stephen, who is taking a break from the sport because of heavy work commitments as an engineer in Bunbury. “Kiwi Legend’s work has been really good, but it’s going to be hard from the outside barrier,” he said.   Ken Casellas

1 to 16 of 3186
1 2 3 4 5 Next »