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From the freezing cold to the scorching heat, in 2011 young harness racing driver Stuart McDonald made the daring move to leave his family and relocate to Australia to seek more opportunities within the harness racing industry. In 2013 at a small town track approximately 200km out of Perth, Stuart or Stewie as his friends call him, drove his first winner to victory with Greg Schofield-trained Mako Shadow.  He worked with Greg Schofield for 18 months before moving on to work for Byford trainer Ross Olivieri. With 73 wins this season, Stewie’s short-term career goal is to win a Group One race as a driver and has so far enjoyed success with Our Blackbird in the 2015 Inter Dominion Final to finish fifth.   On the March 4, 2014, Stewie drove a double with Imtheguy and Arousing at Gloucester Park for Ross. The 21-year-old from Christchurch describes Ross as his greatest influence and feels privileged that Ross is giving him the opportunities to help him achieve his career goal of being a freelance driver.   New Zealand or Australia:  Australia Favourite singer: Hilltop Hoods Favourite food: Chicken Bernard Childhood hero: My Dad Who do you think is the best driver: Gary Hall Jnr Best Track driven at: Pinjarra, WA Ashlea Brennan HRNSW

Smart harness racing youngster Bettor Not Bitter should prove to be the bet of the night at Gloucester Park on Friday evening by proving the master of his 11 older and more experienced opponents in the 2130m Led Goldfields Westbred Pace. “He’s a nice horse who is being set for the $100,000 Westbred Classic for three-year-old colts and geldings the following Friday night,” said Forrestdale horseman Greg Bond, who prepares the gelding in partnership with his wife Skye. Bettor Not Bitter will be driven by Colin Brown and will start from the No. 5 barrier. He has had 15 starts for four wins and five placings and should be too smart for his rivals, who have managed just 55 wins from a combined total of 633 starts. At his most recent outing Bettor Not Bitter set the pace and finished second to It Aint Royal over 2130m at Gloucester Park on May 27. That followed wins at Narrogin and Bunbury and a fighting second to Mach Time at Gloucester Park after working hard out three wide and then in the breeze. “He’s had a couple of easy weeks and this will be his tune-up for the Westbred final,” Bond said. “To have a chance of winning that race or if you’re going to be in the cut-up you would like to think that he’s got to be hard to beat this week. “All’s good at home with him. He had a few runs as a two-year-old and you could see he was going to improve with time. And he has done that. He’s a developing horse who is going to do a nice job.” Ken Casellas

Pinjarra harness racing trainer Michael Brennan advises punters to overlook talented five-year-old Billies A Star’s seventh behind Elegant Christian last week and predicts that the New Zealand-bred gelding will be prominent in the $23,000 Schneider Electric Pace over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Billies A Star led from the No. 1 barrier last Friday night, but was challenged relentlessly by Elegant Christian in the first circuit before Elegant Christian forged clear after a lap and then set the pace and won by a nose from Waylade at a 1.54.9rate over the 2130m journey. “He just couldn’t handle that pressure in that grade,” Brennan said. “This is a bit of a drop in grade and there’s no Elegant Christian there. Last week he was crunched by Elegant Christian, who is just phenomenal. He is one of those horses who just crushes you. And last week, unfortunately, Billies A Star was the one being crushed.”            At his previous outing, over 2692m at Pinjarra on June 6, Billies A Star raced three back on the pegs in fifth place before fighting on to finish third behind Phoenix Warrior and Our Jimmy Johnstone. Billies A Star will be driven by Nathan Turvey on Friday night and he should have the gelding in a forward position all the way after starting from barrier four. Brennan will also be represented by Jason Rulz, who is unfavourably drawn out wide at barrier eight. “His run first-up for five months was good when eighth behind Glenlochar last week,” Brennan said. “From his wide barrier it was impossible to get into the race. I’m very happy with him, but he’s drawn out at No. 8 again this week. He’s going to have to go back and it looks tough.” Serpentine trainer Gary Hall sen. said he expected the consistent Waylade (barrier seven) to be hard to beat. “It was a good effort to come from the rear to finish a very close second to Elegant Christian last week,” he said. “The first two beat the rest by the length of a cricket pitch.” Forrestdale trainer Greg Bond said that he expected Our Jimmy Johnstone to run a strong race from the No. 6 barrier.   “He’s going good are we’re hoping he can work forward from barrier six and find a forward position,” Bond said. “I like to think he can fight out the finish. I think he’s right up there with the other horses in the field.” Ken Casellas

As the winner of the 2016 Garrard’s Junior Concession Driver Challenge, Stuart McDonald is the West Australian representative for the 2016 NSW Rising Stars Series being conducted this week. After an unlucky start to the Rising Stars Series, with his allocated drives in the first two races being scratched and unable to participate, Stuart is making up ground after a win with A LIFE UNDER FIRE NZ and fifth place with MISTER BIG SHOOT yesterday (22 June). Stuart has been driving for four seasons and has an impressive seventy one wins for this season, and we are both proud and excited to have him participating in NSW Rising Stars Series on behalf of WA. His career started with trainer Greg Schofield and more recently Stuart has joined the Ross Olivieri stable. Proving his potential in the last season as one of WA’s leading young drivers, Stuart was rewarded for his effort by gaining the drive behind Our Blackbird throughout the 2015 TABtouch Inter Dominion Series. We look forward to seeing Stuart driving in the upcoming days as the series continues and wish him the best of luck for another win. Points after Heat 5 & 6 Jason Grimson (63) Tom Pay (44) Ellen Rixon (42) Sam Ison (41) Mitch Turnbull (40) Stuart McDonald (38) Martelle Maguire (34) James Harding (32) Brad Elder (26) Ross Druitt (22)

Brilliant New Zealand-bred five-year-old Our Sky Major, a winner of five group 1 feature events and $777,717 in stakes, will make his Gloucester Park debut when he starts from the No. 2 barrier in the Nexans Olex Pace, a C10 to C15 event in which his clash with up-and-coming star American Boy will be a feature of the ten-event harness racing program. Our Sky Major, a winner at 15 of his 53 starts, is prepared at Boyanup by Justin Prentice, who took over the preparation of the horse just over two months ago. Prentice drove Our Sky Major at his West Australian debut when he was a 10/1 on favourite in a 1609m at Bunbury on June 4 and was surprisingly beaten. After starting from barrier five, Our Sky Major raced three wide early before taking the lead at the bell. He sprinted over the third quarter of the final mile in a sizzling 26.9sec. before wilting in the final stages to finish third behind Lord Lombo and Northern Assassin. The winner rated 1.53.6 after a final quarter of 28.2sec. That was Our Sky Major’s first run since he finished sixth in a 3200m stand at Addington on March 26. Our Sky Major has had 13 starts this season for just one second and two thirds. He shone as a four-year-old, winning at four of his eight starts, including the $200,000 Chariots Of Fire at Menangle in March 2015 (recording a time of 1.51.5 over 1609m) and the Four-Year-Old Emerald at Ashburton two months later. Our Sky Major, who finished a head second to Our Maxim in the 2240m Victoria Derby at Melton in February 2014, is sure to prove a worthy opponent for American Boy, who has shown tremendous promise in winning at 11 of his 14 starts. American Boy has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier and Gary Hall jun. will be determined to set the pace. Trainer Gary Hall sen. said he was looking forward to American Boy clashing with Our Sky Major. “It’s a strong field, but American Boy is in good form,” he said. “American Boy has good gate speed and will lead and prove hard to beat. His past two runs have been outstanding.” Fields for Gloucester Park, Friday 24 June 2016 Form guide for Gloucester Park, Friday 24 June 2016         Ken Casellas

Well-performed New South Wales-bred six-year-old Bebrave, a winner of six races in Queensland this season, will make his first appearance in Western Australia when  he contests the $18,000 Australian Marine Complex Pace over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Presidential Ball gelding has a formidable record of 17 wins and 16 placings from 68 starts for stakes of $172,156. However, he faces a stern task at his WA debut. Under the preferential barrier draw conditions he will start from the outside (No. 9) over the sprint journey and will clash with several in-form pacers, including American Boy, Sky Art and Holy Grail. Bebrave will be driven by Stuart McDonald for Busselton trainer Jamie Howlett, who claimed the gelding for $9000 in a 2138m event at Brisbane’s Albion Park on April 19 on behalf of Kelly Simmonds and Peter Bamess. In that race Bebrave was driven by Shane Graham and was first out from barrier five before sitting behind the pacemaker and running home strongly along the sprint lane to win by just over a length from Tallyho Bromac at a 1.55.7 rate. Bebrave, described by Howlett as a “nice horse,” has been in WA for six weeks. His early preparation in Busselton was hampered by wet weather which led to Howlett’s private 800m track being quite muddy. “I had the track resurfaced two weeks ago and it has changed everything,” Howlett said. “The track is beautiful and the horses have been able to work properly in the past fortnight. “Behave will be tested from the outside barrier over the short trip and we will be able to assess his ability when he races against several good pacers in this week’s race.” American Boy, a smart New Zealand-bred four-year-old in the stables of leading trainer Gary Hall sen., will start out wide at barrier seven and will be fancied to maintain his superb form. He has raced only 13 times for ten wins, one second and two fifths. American Boy enjoyed an ideal trip in the one-out, one-back position before sprinting home strongly in a final quarter of 27.8sec. to get up in the final stride to dead-heat for first with the pacemaker Burning, rating 1.55.3 over 2130m last Friday night. He charged home from ninth in the middle stages to win easily from Unsinkable Boxer over 2130m a week earlier. Sky Art, trained at Capel by Andrew de Campo, comes to town after stylish wins at Bunbury at his past two outings. Aiden de Campo will drive him from barrier eight. Holy Grail, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, will start from the No. 6 barrier and is sure to be storming home. He has been placed at his past eight starts after covering extra ground and winning at Northam on March 31. Ken Casellas

WA-bred five-year-old Importer Exporter is one of the State’s most improved harness racing pacers and he has bright prospects of maintaining his grand form by proving the master of his opposition in the $19,000 Homestyle Salad Makers Handicap over 2503m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Artesian gelding is a standing-start expert and a noted frontrunner and Chris Lewis will be anxious that he begins smoothly from barrier two on the front line in a bid to set the pace. Importer Exporter, bred, part-owned and trained by Chris Winston, has relished the role of pacemaker and standing-start racing, with his past seven starts producing five wins and two seconds. He was untroubled to lead from barrier two on Tuesday of last week and he gave his rivals virtually no hope when he sprinted over the final 400m in 28sec. He covered the final quarter in 27.2sec. when he won from Our Jericho over 2500m at Bunbury two starts before that.    However, Importer Exporter will have to be at his best to defy strong opposition from in-form performers Bashful Compton, Pelusiac, Change Gear and Naughty Maravu. Eight-year-old Bashful Compton, trained at Collie by David Hunter, is a noted frontrunner who is favourably drawn at No. 3 on the front line. He revealed his versatility at his latest appearance, when he started off the 50m mark in a 2503m event at Bunbury last Saturday week. He was 11th at the bell and finished powerfully, out wide, to get up and win from Waltzing With Cullen and Perfect Mach. The Ross Olivieri-trained Pelusiac also will have many admirers from barrier five on the front line. The Washington VC five-year-old is in excellent form, with his past four starts producing three wins and a second. At his most recent outing, he started off 20m and burst to the front after 950m before going on to win, untouched, from Firth of Forth after final quarters in 27.8sec. and 29.1sec. Ken Casellas

Champion harness racing reinsman Chris Lewis will drive brilliant last-start winner The Spinster in the $18,000 Team Trolio Spearwood Pace for three-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He will replace Kim Prentice, who will be in South Australia taking part in an Invitation Drivers’ series at Port Pirie on Friday night. Millendon trainer and part-owner Sonia Zucchiatti is delighted with The Spinster’s form (wins at Northam and Gloucester Park at her past two outings), but said that the American Ideal filly probably would struggle to beat star filly Dodolicious. “The Spinster has met Dodolicious four times and Dodolicious has finished in front of her every time,” Zucchiatti said. The Spinster revealed blistering gate speed from barrier six when she gave a dashing frontrunning display to win easily from Im Zuleika and Maia Maguire at a 1.55.4 rate over 1730m at Gloucester Park last Friday week. She sped over the final quarters in 27.9sec. and 28.9sec. The Spinster will start from the No. 7 barrier in the field of eight on Friday night, with Dodolicious (Colin Brown) in the outside barrier. Four of The Spinster’s five wins (from 11 starts) have been when she has set the pace, but Zucchiatti said she had not yet determined tactics for Friday night’s event. Dodolicious is trained by Greg and Skye Bond, who will also be represented by newcomer Shes Artful, a winner at one of her nine starts in New Zealand. Shes Artful will start from barrier two with Ryan Bell in the sulky. Zucchiatti said she planned to study Shes Artful’s style of racing before determining the tactics for The Spinster. Sheer Rocknroll, a talented filly in the stables of Ross Olivieri, has won at eight of her 21 starts and is an excellent frontrunner who will be suited by the No. 1 barrier. She warmed up for this week’s race with an impressive win in a 2150m trial at Byford on Sunday morning when she dashed over the final quarter in 27.8sec. and beat El Barcelona by 2m at a 1.58.7 rate. However, Dodolicious has been almost invincible in races restricted to fillies in this State and she is certain to be at short odds to win and improve her record to 13 wins from 20 starts. Ken Casellas

Young Hopeland Harness Racing trainer Courtney Burch, fresh from a double at Northam on Tuesday night, has bright prospects of maintaining her winning form with promising two-year-old Sergeant Oats in the $25,000 Gloucester Motel and Restaurant Pace for Westsired colts and geldings at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Sergeant Oats, to be driven by Morgan Woodley, has the ability to overcome the disadvantage of starting from the outside barrier in a field of nine in the 2130m event. The Rich And Spoilt gelding has won in good style at Narrogin (1823m) and Bunbury (in 1.56.8 over 1609m) at his past two starts. Purchased for $9000 at the 2015 Gloucester Standardbred yearling sale, Sergeant Oats has earned $23,495 from his two wins and four seconds from eight starts. He is a full-brother to four-year-old Captain Oats, a $6500 yearling who has raced 28 times for eight wins and ten placings for earnings of $84,241. Sergeant Oats began speedily from the No. 4 barrier when he set the pace and won from Back To The Beach at Narrogin on April 30 and then he started from the back line and finished strongly to win by a neck from Heza Head Honcho at Bunbury on May 7. Since then he contested a two-horse trial over 2100m at Bunbury on Wednesday of last week when he set the pace and rated 1.579 in winning by 40 lengths from Iam The Real Thing, with final quarters in  29sec. and 29.3sec. The only other winner in Friday night’s race is the Robbie Williams-trained Itz Dynamo, who was an all-the-way winner at his debut at Northam in early March. He was placed once from his only other three starts, finishing a close and encouraging second to The Beachcomber over 1730m at Gloucester Park. Then he finished gamely when a sound fourth behind Allmightyjoelouis in the group 1 Sales Classic on April 22. He will start out wide at barrier seven on Friday night. Woodley gave punters a good lead when he opted to drive Sergeant Oats in preference to the John Graham-trained pair of Combat Crusade and Enemy Lines. He has driven Combat Crusade in each of his two starts for a first-up third behind Im Rockaria at Narrogin and ninth behind Adda Courage at Bunbury. He has been in the sulky for Enemy Lines’ three unplaced efforts at Pinjarra. Combat Crusade, who finished a 4m second to Luvthecuz in a 2100m trial at Bunbury on June 1, will be driven by Nathan Turvey and Chris Lewis has been engaged for Enemy Lines. The 27-year-old Burch is enjoying another successful season and is in third place on the Statewide trainers’ premiership table with 69 winners and 104 placings from 375 starters. She had four runners at Northam on Tuesday night this week when she won with Blacknsweet Adda and Where Dreams Grow and finished second with Vincenzo Peruggia and Im Despicable. Gary Hall sen. leads the trainers’ list with 161 winners and 134 placings from 551 starters, with Greg and Skye Bond in second place with 159 winners and 216 placings from 772 starters. Ken Casellas

Crack reinsman Chris Voak has high hopes of bringing up his century of winners for the season by guiding Miss Twiggy Whitby to victory in the $25,000 R. H. Trotter and Co. Pace for Westsired two-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Miss Twiggy Whitby is trained at Meelon by her breeder and part-owner Ed Dewar and Voak would dearly love to land the Rich And Spoilt filly a winner this week. He made a difficult choice a week ago when he opted to drive Im Rockaraia for trainer Michael Brennan in the group 1 $100,000 Pearl Classic in preference to Dewar’s smart colt Our Zak Whitby. Im Rockaria won the classic, with Our Zack Whitby an unlucky, fast-finishing fourth after he was badly inconvenienced by a tiring runner in the back straight in the final circuit. Voak has had 817 drives this season for 99 wins, 116 seconds and 83 thirds and is in fourth place on the reinsmen’s premiership table, behind Chris Lewis (131 wins), Gary Hall jun. (120) and Nathan Turvey (113). Miss Twiggy Whitby will start from the No. 4 barrier in the field of six runners and has excellent prospects. She is one of only two winners in the field, the other being the Kevin Keys-trained Sarah Goody, who will be driven by Matt White from the No. 2 barrier. Miss Twiggy Whitby’s only win from nine starts was when she led from barrier four and defeated Tell Me More over 1730m at Gloucester Park in January. At her most recent appearance she was first out from the No. 1 barrier before Voak decided to take the sit behind brilliant filly Angel Bromac. Angel Bromac sped over the final 800m in 57.3sec. and won by three lengths from Miss Twiggy Whitby. Friday night’s event appears quite an open affair, with the Justin Prentice-trained Allamerican Queen sure to be prominent after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier. Allamerican Queen was a 112/1 outsider in the WA Oaks last Friday week when she finished solidly from tenth at the bell to be sixth, five and a half lengths behind the winner, her stablemate Lady Luca. Sarah Goody was a winner at Bunbury four starts ago when she led from barrier one and beat Rich Maiden by a neck, rating 1.58.8 over 1609m. She was a fighting second to Maczaffair at Bunbury two starts ago. The Royal Lady, trained at Harvey by Kevin Egerton-Green, will start from barrier five and will be driven by Kim Young. She will have admirers. She trailed the pacemaker Red Hot Roxy and finished third behind her in the group 1 Sales Classic three starts ago. Before that she finished a sound second to Betshes Precious, with Miss Twiggy Whitby in third place. Sweet Gina, a filly by Legacy of Power and trained at Oldbury by Kim Prentice will start from the outside in her race debut. She will be driven by Gary Hall jun. She warmed up for her first assignment in fine style, winning a 2150m trial at Byford on Sunday morning by three lengths from Flying Phoebe. That followed an easy trial win over 1750m the previous Sunday. Ken Casellas

Im Rockaria, or “Nelson” as he is known at the harness racing stables of Brennan Racing, repaid the faith installed in him by reinsman Chris Voak on Friday with an impressive victory in the 2016 Princi Smallgoods Pearl Classic. WATCH: 2016 Princi Pearl Classic Replay + GPTV Interviews Chris Voak qualified Im Rockaria and Our Zak Whitby for the final but chose to steer the Rocknroll Hanover colt who was purchased at the APG sales in Melbourne for $16,000. After lobbing the one-out-one-back from barrier 4, Im Rockaria led the three-wide line at the 750 meter mark and found a position outside the leader within a few hundred meters. He did battle with the favourite Wesley in the run to the line but outstayed him to take home the largest share of the $100,000 Group 1 Prizemoney. Chis Voak was full of praise for the horse and his Pinjarra based trainer Michael Brennan who has nursed the colt through soundness issues throughout his 5 start career. “You really don’t understand what this horse has gone through to get here tonight… I thought he had the ability to do what he did tonight, and he proved to me he did” he said. Next on Im Rockaria’s hit-list is the July 15 Golden Slipper. “We’ll be heading to the Golden Slipper next and if he goes well enough in that, we’ll look at heading over for the Breeders’ Crown” said trainer Michael Brennan... “We bought him at the APG Sale and he has turned out to be a great buy, he is a lovely horse, which has the looks, manners and engine…there is plenty of upside to him”. Scott Hamilton

Sound the alarm. Harness Racing Champion Lennytheshark is back. Resuming in the Group 3 Tabcorp Golden Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle tonight for trainer David Aiken and regular driver Chris Alford, the reining TABtouch inter Dominion champion was sensational in his first up run from a spell. Starting from barrier 10, Alford was forced to park outside speedster Bettor Bet Black who burned out of the gate in 26.4. Sitting in the death set, Alford controlled the tempo with the 2nd quarter being cut out in 30.5. Darren McCall starting to up the tempo with 800 to run and was obviously hoping that with Lenny missing a trial and working early, that he would be able to outstay his opponent with a third quarter in 28.7. But that was put to bed when Lenny and Alford powered on past at the 200m mark to finish off with a sizzling 26.6 last quarter. The overall time was 1.52.2 and Lennytheshark looks well on his way to victory in the Len Smith Mile before heading for another spell to prepare for this years running of the TABtouch inter Dominion at Gloucester Park. Andrew Fitzgerald

Speedy frontrunner Wesley is certain to be installed a warm favourite for the Princi Smallgoods Pearl Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier in the $100,000 group 1 2130m feature event for two-year-olds. But Harness Racing reinsman Chris Voak is in no mood to concede that Wesley has an unbreakable grip on the race and he considers that he has sound winning prospects with the Michael Brennan-trained Rocknroll Hanover colt Im Rockaria. Voak’s decision to drive the lightly-raced Im Rockaria in preference to Our Zak Whitby, the most experienced runner in the event, will surprise many keen followers of the light harness racing sport. Voak drove Our Zak Whitby and Im Rockaria to impressive victories in qualifying heats of the Pearl on Tuesday of last week. Im Rockaria was untroubled to set the pace from barrier three and was not extended in winning from American Dynasty, covering the 2130m in 2min. 40.2sec. Our Zak Whitby was smartest into stride from the No. 1 barrier in his heat in which he led for the first 600m and then trailed the pacemaker Michael Joseph before unwinding a sparkling late burst to win convincingly from Writing On Thewall and Allmightyjoelouis. His time for the journey was 2min. 35.9sec. Voak has disregarded the considerable difference of 4.3sec. in opting for Im Rockaria. Wesley simply coasted to an all-the-way heat win in 2min. 39.7sec. Voak said that a better barrier (No. 4) had swayed him to choose Im Rockaria ahead of Our Zak Whitby, who will start from the No. 6 barrier on the front line. “Our Zak Whitby, from six, might have to go back at the start,” Voak said. “Wesley looks sure to lead, but I’m hoping to get a good sit in the one-out, one-back trail with Im Rockaria, who is an improving horse. I certainly wouldn’t have chosen him if I didn’t think he could win.” Im Rockaria has raced four times for two wins and two seconds, while Our Zak Whitby has been driven by Voak in all his 12 starts for three wins, five seconds and two thirds. Wesley, a Sportswriter colt who will be driven by Reon Tither for young Bunbury trainer Sarah Wall, is a brilliant frontrunner who has had seven starts for five wins and one third. When Voak opted for Im Rockaria, Ed Dewar, the breeder, part-owner and trainer of Our Zak Whitby, wasted no time in securing champion reinsman Chris Lewis to drive the WA-bred Mach Three colt on Friday night. Dewar prepared Henry Te Whitby when Rod Chambers drove him to victory over Tempestuous Whitby in the 1998 Pearl Classic. Lewis will be seeking to win the Pearl for the fourth time, after scoring with Lombo Laredo in 1994, Mitemptation in 1995 and Argent Treasure in 2007. Byford trainer David Thompson, who won the Pearl in 2014 with the frontrunning Isaiah Artois, holds a strong hand in Friday night’s classic with Allmightyjoelouis and Whoswhointhezoo, who will start from barriers one and two, respectively, on the back line. “Allmightyjoelouis is my pick of the two,” Thompson said. “I couldn’t be happier with the way he’s going. He needed the run when he was third in his heat which was run considerably faster than the other two heats. “He did all the work in the heat and I wouldn’t swap him with any other runner in the final. There’s not much of him and he’s not much to look at, but he’s a lovely little horse with a great attitude.” Champion reinsman Gary Hall jun. will continue as the driver of Allmightyjoelouis, who settled in seventh place in his heat before starting a three-wide move 1200m from home and getting to the front at the 250m mark before wilting slightly to be third to Our Zak Whitby. He led and won by just under three lengths from The Real Ideal in the $100,000 group 1 Sales Classic at his previous outing. Whosewhointhezoo, a gelding by Major In Art, is not as advanced as Allmightyjoelouis, but Thompson expects him to be prominent. He will be handled by Peter Tilbrook and is likely to have the perfect trail behind the likely pacemaker Wesley. He was bred and is owned by Thompson’s wife Karen. “He’s a big horse and is just a work in progress,” Thompson said. “But he is coming along quite nicely.” Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri said that Writing On Thewall (placed at four of his seven starts) was capable of a strong effort from the favourable No. 3 barrier. “He worked nicely this (Tuesday) morning and I’m very happy with him,” he said. Writing On Thewall was fifth at the bell and after getting off the pegs at the 450m mark he went three wide on the home turn and took a narrow lead 50m from the post before finishing second to Our Zak Whitby in a qualifying heat. Olivieri won the Pearl with Lombo Laredo (1994) and Argent treasure (2007).    Ken Casellas

Inexperienced three-year-old Chok Chai, a brilliant winner over 1730m in fast time on Tuesday of last week, will not be troubled by a big increase in distance to 2536m when he contests the Prince Smallgoods Free Range Bacon Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night, according to harness racing driver Gary Hall jun. Hall declared Chok Chai a good thing and punters should get away to a flying start by supporting him to win the opening race of the ten-event program. Hall had no hesitation in opting to drive Chok Chai (who has had five starts for three wins and two seconds) ahead of his more seasoned stablemate Harry Hoo, who has raced 22 times for five wins and six second placings. Hall drove Harry Hoo to a stylish all-the-way win at a 1.57 rate over 2130m on Tuesday of last week. Hall’s elder brother Clint will drive Harry Hoo, who will start out wide at barrier eight on the front line on Friday night. Chok Chai and Harry Hoo are prepared by leading trainer Gary Hall sen. “Jumping up from 1730m to 2536m should pose no problem for Chok Chai and he should just win,” said Gary Hall jun. “He’s got good gate speed and is tough. He’s a little bit immature at home and does some silly things. But when he comes to the races he just puts it all together. This might be his last run before going for a spell. “His latest run was really good, rating 1.54 after working in the breeze. He did it pretty comfortably and he’s learning all the time and getting better. Harry Hoo is going very well in weaker company. But I don’t think he is in the same class as Chok Chai. If the draws were reversed on Friday night I would still drive Chok Chai.” Pinjarra trainer Gary Elson will be represented by promising three-year-olds Estocada and Scoobys Delight and the Stephen Reed-trained James Coburn has sound place prospects after a win and three seconds at his latest four runs. Estocada will be having his first run for five months and is favourably drawn at barrier two on the front line. He will be handled by Nathan Turvey. He dashed over the final 400m in 27.7sec. when he won a three-horse trial at Pinjarra last Sunday week. The consistent Scoobys Delight will be driven by Aiden de Campo, but he faces a stern test from the No. 7 barrier on the front line. Ken Casellas

Harness Racing Owner-trainers Greg and Skye Bond will use Lauren Jones’s junior concession to enable talented New Zealand-bred five-year-old Phoenix Warrior to contest the Princi Smallgood Estd. 1979 Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Phoenix Warrior is an M3-class performer and is eligible to run in Friday night’s $20,000 event over 2536m which is restricted to pacers handicapped M0 to M2. The 21-year-old Jones’s claim effectively gives Phoenix Warrior a M2 classification. Phoenix Warrior will start out wide at barrier eight on the front line, but he should be able to overcome this disadvantage and win from the in-form pair of VC Manoeuvre and Shirlz Sensation. Phoenix Warrior has returned to his best form in the past fortnight with superb victories over 2185m (rating 1.55.8) and 2692 (1.57.1) when driven with great confidence by Jones on the Pinjarra track. Phoenix Warrior raced four wide early and then in the breeze outside Royal Mach before getting to the front 380m from home and beating the pacemaker by more than three lengths last Monday week. Then Phoenix Warrior repeated the dose on Monday afternoon when he raced outside the pacemaker and top-flight stablemate Our Jimmy Johnstone before taking the lead with 150m to travel and defeating Our Jimmy Johnstone by a metre. That improved Phoenix Warrior’s record to 51 starts for 17 wins and 18 placings for earnings of 148,180. The Justin Prentice-trained V C Manoeuvre will start from the outside (No. 9) on the front line, but cannot be underestimated. He raced without cover for the first circuit and then enjoyed the one-out, one-back trail before dashing to the front at the 150m mark and beating Shirlz Sensational by a half-length at a 1.55.7 rate over 2130m last Friday week. His past seven starts have produced four wins, two seconds and a third placing. Shirlz Sensation finished with great determination from last in the middle stages. He will start from the No. 6 barrier on Friday night and will have many admirers. The Bond stable will be represented by 11 runners on Friday night and all will have a strong public following. Burning (Ryan Bell) impressed with a strong all-the-way victory over 2536m last Friday night and he will start from the No. 1 barrier and should prove hard to catch in the 2130m Princi Smallgoods Sopressa Pace and Bell will drive Baileys Gold in the 2130m second heat of the Princi Smallgoods Free Range Ham the Lombardo Pace in which she should fight out the finish. Bettor Offer (Lauren Jones) and Our Ideal Act (Bell) have each-way claims in the Princi Smallgoods Porchetta Handicap; Holy Grail (Dylan Egerton-Green) has excellent prospects from the inside of the back line in the Princi Smallgoods Free Range Salami Pace and Simply Susational (Nathan Turvey) and Jungle Jewel (Colin Brown) look set to fight out the finish of the Princi Smallgoods Capretto  Pace. Ken Casellas

Powerful harness racing trotter Armed Force chalked up his ninth win from 19 starts in Western Australia when he romped home to an easy victory in a 2503m standing-start event at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night. He will return to mobile racing when he starts from the outside in a field of nine in the 2536m Princi Smallgoods Purely Australian Naturally Italian Pace on Friday night. Star reinsman Gary Hall admitted that he and punters would have their hearts in their mouths in the early stages of Friday night’s race. Armed Force has won standing-start events at his past two runs, but he finished last at each of his two previous starts, both in mobiles, after galloping badly at the start. “Mobiles used to be the easiest way to get him away,” Hall said. “Now it’s gone the other way, even though the stands can be tricky. I think that he only needs to trot to be very hard to beat on Friday night. You’re punting on the first 50 metres and that’s not a nice feeling. “The problem is that he likes to come out too hard. The secret is to try to get him to relax.” Hardest for Armed Force to beat appear to be the Michael Brennan-trained Invasive and the Nathan Turvey-trained Enjoy A Coldie. Invasive gave an impressive performance to win a 2100m mobile at Bunbury last Saturday night. He began speedily from the outside barrier, but after being trapped four wide was restrained to the rear. He finished strongly from sixth and last 550m from home to win in good style from Enjoy A Coldie. Ken Casellas  

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