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Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri describes the lightly-raced harness racing seven-year-old Chief Thundercloud as "tough as old boots" and as one of the State's most consistent pacers. And he declares the New Zealand-bred gelding a major chance in the $22,500 Garrards Horse And Hound BOTRA Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Chief Thundercloud, to be driven by champion reinsmen Chris Lewis, certainly has the ability to overcome the 20m handicap and win the 2503m standing-start feature event. Lewis has already won the BOTRA Cup a record four times, having scored with Village Kid (1985), Elteei (1986), Mach Ruler (2009) and Tartary Gladiator (2011). The closest Olivieri has come to winning the race was in 2010 when Lewis drove 7/2 chance Jordangarry, who set the pace and finished a close second to Albert Jaccka. The BOTRA Cup has been run over 2902m in the past four years after being decided over 2503m the two previous years. Olivieri is impressed with Chief Thundercloud's staying ability and he said that the gelding is being set for the 3309m Marathon Handicap on August 14. Chief Thundercloud, a standing-start specialist, has raced 41 times for ten wins, 13 seconds and four thirds and his recent form is excellent, with his past four starts producing splendid seconds to The Bucket List, Pembrook Henry and Classic American and a thrilling victory over Classic American. At his latest appearance, over 2503m at Gloucester Park last Friday week, Chief Thundercloud worked hard in the breeze and finished second to Classic American. Olivieri said that much would depend on Chief Thundercloud beginning smartly from the 20m mark. "If he gets a good jump, which he's been doing well lately, and if some of the others don't get a good jump, he'll penetrate the line in front of him." Chief Thundercloud's main rivals appear to be classy four-year-olds Classic American and Elegant Christian, who are prepared by leading trainer Gary Hall sen. Gary Hall jun. will drive Classic American, who will share the back mark of 20m with Chief Thundercloud, while Clint Hall will be in the sulky behind Elegant Christian, who will share the 10m mark with Pembrook Henry, a stablemate of Chief Thundercloud, and the Bruce Hawkins-trained Danieljohn, who has won off back marks at three of his past six starts. Danieljohn started off 50m and sustained a powerful burst from the rear to win over 2503m at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night. However, he meets far stronger opposition in the BOTRA Cup. Hall sen. will be looking for Classic American (who burst back to his best form with a most impressive victory last Friday week,) or Elegant Christian to give him his third success in the BOTRA Cup, after victories with Spirit of Shard in 2008 and Albert Jaccka in 2010. Ken Casellas

Im A Peregrine has won only once from his past 16 starts, but reinsman Chris Voak is quite enthusiastic about the five-year-old's prospects in the final of the $25,000 Remote Foods Chandon final at the harness racing meeting at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Victorian-bred Im A Peregrine has drawn the coveted No. 1 barrier on the front line in the 2130m event and Voak plans to take full advantage of the gelding's sparkling early pace by denying speedy frontrunner Soho Lennon the opportunity to set the pace after starting from barrier two. "You saw what he did the last time he led in town," Voak said. "He started out wide at barrier eight, raced four wide for the first 300m and three wide for the next 300m before taking the lead and racing away to win by five and a half lengths with the ear plugs in, rating 1.58.1 over 2536m" "I think he will run 1.57 in front over 2130m." "He grows a leg if he leads, and I think he's got the speed to hold up." "Plan A will be to lead because he excels in front, and if he does he will be hard to beat." Im A Peregrine's trainer Ross Olivieri said that the gelding had been racing well, but without luck and agreed with Voak's prediction that he would prove hard to catch if he was able to set the pace. No doubt Gary Hall jun. will be anxious for Soho Lennon to burst to the front from the No. 2 barrier after the New Zealand-bred gelding was untroubled to jump to the front from the inside barrier and win comfortably over 2130m last Friday night. Apart from Soho Lennon, Serpentine trainer Gary Hall sen. has sound prospects with Cyamach, who is favourably drawn at barrier three. Cyamach surged home from seventh at the bell when a neck second to stablemate Vapour over 1730m last Friday week. That followed his fast-finishing victory over 2130m a week earlier when making his Australian debut. Condrieu, who set the pace and broke into a gallop approaching the home turn in the Higgins Memorial last Friday night, cannot be underestimated this week. He quickly regained his pacing action last week and did well to finish a close third to Another Vinnie and Delightful Offer. Trainers Greg and Skye Bond took Condrieu to the Byford trials on Sunday morning when the five-year-old, driven by Colin Brown, performed satisfactorily and finished a well-beaten third behind Dynamite Dude and Awesome Desire over 2150m. "He raced in a shadow roll in the trial and he got around without breaking," Brown said. "I didn't extend him and he went to the line with the ear plugs in." "So take no notice that he finished only third." "He raced one-out and one-back and I had him three wide on the final bend, just to make sure he didn't break." "He's a class horse." Ken Casellas

Nathans Courage, a typically small son of former champion pacer Courage Under Fire, looks set to give punters a flying start to the harness racing meeting at Gloucester Park on Friday night by winning the opening event, the 2130m Taylor Sulky Repairs Pace. The two-year-old, prepared at Pinjarra by Michael Brennan, made an auspicious debut when he set the pace and won by almost two lengths from El Hombre, his only rival in a qualifying heat of the Breeders Crown at Gloucester Park on Monday. He sprinted over the final quarter in a sparkling 27.3sec. Reinsman Chris Voak was impressed with the gelding, saying: "He's got potential and there's plenty of upside. I think he will have benefitted from his run on Monday." "He's drawn barrier four on Friday and that's the best of the main chances." "He showed good gate speed on Monday and I'll be looking to replicate that performance." "I'll be heading forward to take the lead; that's my game plan and I think that Mouse (Brennan) will agree." "This is a jump up in grade and will test him." "But he's up to the challenge." "He did it quite comfortably on Monday and I didn't pull the ear plugs or really get stuck into him." "He's got a quick quarter and can run a good half." "I don't expect too much pressure, but maybe Browny (Colin Brown) might have a crack with Franco Rayner." Franco Rayner, an effortless all-the-way winner at his Australian debut, over 2185m at Pinjarra on July 13, finished seventh behind Sprinter in the Golden Slipper at Gloucester Park four nights later when he started from the back line and was always well back. Franco Rayner will start out wide at barrier eight on Friday night. He dashed over the final 400m in 28.6sec. when an easy winner in a 2150m trial at Byford on Sunday morning. "He handled Pinjarra a lot better than he handled Gloucester Park," Brown said. "He's not a big horse, but he wasn't comfortable in the run at Gloucester Park." "I changed some gear on him for Sunday's trial, but it didn't work." "However, he still ran home very quickly." "Now he will have a lugging bit added and hopefully I will have a better steering horse." Ken Casellas  

Up-and-coming superstar Waylade erased the name of star pacer David Hercules from the record books with a dazzling performance at the harness racing meeting at Gloucester Park on Monday afternoon and his clash with Libertybelle Midfew and Bettors Fire in the 2536m Regency Foods Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night promises to be a highlight of the ten-event program. The four-year-old New Zealand-bred stallion simply sizzled on Monday when he sprinted brilliantly from seventh (and last) at the bell to burst to the front at the 400m mark and then race away and win by three and a half lengths from the pacemaker Fernleigh Rebel. He rated a dazzling 1.52.9 to smash the course record of 1.53.6 set by David Hercules on May 24, 2013. That gave Waylade his fifth win from five starts in his current preparation. His only defeat in his past nine starts was when he finished a gallant second to Libertybelle Midfrew in the Golden Nugget Championship over 2536m early last December. Now, this week Waylade gets his chance to get his revenge on Libertybelle Midfrew. It will not be a simple task. Libertybelle Midfrew will start from the No. 2 barrier on the front line and looks certain to lead. And Bettors Fire also demands great respect. Waylade is quite inexperienced, having raced only 15 times for ten wins and four seconds. Trainer Gary Hall sen. has given Waylade a comparatively easy program leading into this week's event, with his main objective being to give the horse much-needed experience and confidence. Libertybelle Midfrew, trained by Mike Reed, notched her 14th victory from 33 starts when she began from the outside in a field of nine and settled in last position before dashing forward, three wide, to burst to the front at the 1200m mark on her way to a 2m victory over Jungle Jewel, rating 1.55.9 over 1730m after a final quarter in 27.8sec. Bettors Fire, trained and driven by Kyle Harper, is a richly-talented six-year-old who has won 24 times from 57 starts. He made a wonderful return to racing after a five-month absence when he started from barrier six in a 1730m Free-For-All last Friday week. He raced in sixth position in the one-wide line before he sprinted home strongly, out five wide, to finish second to the pacemaker John of Arc, who rated 1.53.4 after final sectionals of 27.9sec. and 27sec. Harper, who celebrated his 25th birthday on Tuesday, was contemplating running Bettors Fire in the BOTRA Cup on Friday night --- after he had won the cup at his only two attempts, with 25/1 chance Outstandin in 2012 and with the 2/1 favourite Springsteen in 2013. "He was handicapped off 50m in the cup and I finally decided to start him in the mobile event," Harper explained. "It's a very good field in the mobile, Libertybelle Midfrew, Waylade and Northview Punter." "The beauty of my horse is that he's got the speed to go forward if he wants. And he can also sit and sprint like he showed at his first-up run." "At this point I haven't decided on my tactics. It's a classy field, but he's got some hope." "Running over 2536m second-up is no great worry. It's always hard to go from a mile to 2500m, especially in top grade." But Bettors Fire is a horse who on multiple occasions has been able to perform well when switching distances. "I was ecstatic with his first-up performance. I was expecting him to run fourth or fifth from his barrier draw and I was really pleased with his effort." "This will not be a long campaign for him." "Then he will have a short break before he goes back into work to be ready for the Interdominion championship series." Ken Casellas

Ace harness racing reinsman Colin Brown, on target to land his 100th winner of the season at Gloucester Park on Friday night, has bright prospects of driving Delightful Offer to victory in the $35,000 John Higgins Memorial. Delightful Offer, a richly-talented New Zealand-bred three-year-old, has the ability to overcome the disadvantage of an awkward barrier at No. 6 on the front line in the group 3 2130m feature event. He has won at seven of his nine starts in Western Australia after winning at three of his 13 starts in New Zealand. He is in devastating form, having won easily at each of his past four starts --- by a combined margin of 42.4 metres. He is strong and versatile, having won when leading, racing in the breeze and coming from well back with a powerful sprint. Delightful Offer, owned and trained by Greg and Skye Bond, warmed up for this week's event with a most convincing performance in a heat of the Higgins at Pinjarra on Monday of last week. He began speedily from barrier four, burst to the front after 100m and gave his rivals no chance by sprinting over the final 800m in a brilliant 54.7sec. He defeated stablemate Ima Connoisseur, who impressed in finishing boldly from eighth at the bell. Ima Connoisseur then set the pace and fought on grandly when a close second to up-and-coming star Waylade over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. Ima Connoisseur, who will be driven by Nathan Turvey, and Delightful Offer are the only three-year-olds in the final in which the Bond stable holds a powerful hand. The Bonds will also be represented by Condrieu (barrier two) and Phoenix Warrior (outside of the back line). Ryan Warwick will drive Condrieu and Lauren Jones has been engaged to handle Phoenix Warrior. Condrieu, a New Zealand-bred five-year-old, has resumed recently after an absence of ten months in good form, with wins at Pinjarra and Narrogin and second placings at Narrogin and Gloucester Park. His second to stablemate Jay Bees Grin over 2130m last Friday night was full of merit. He started out wide from the No. 9 barrier and raced three wide for the first 400m before working in the breeze and fighting on grandly to finish a head behind the pacemaking Jay Bees Grin, who sped over the final quarters in 28.4sec. and 27.4sec. Condrieu holds a special place in the 20-year history of the Higgins Memorial. He will become the first pacer to contest the race three times. No other horse has run in this feature more than once. Interestingly, Condrieu started a hot favourite in the past two Higgins Memorials. As a three-year-old in 2013 Condrieu was a 6/4 on favourite when he led from barrier three and was overhauled in the final stride by the fast-finishing Pacific Warrior, who scored by a nose. Then in 2014 Condrieu was favourite at 5/4 from the outside (barrier seven) on the front line. He had a torrid run and finished ninth, just under five lengths behind the all-the-way winner In The Perfect Storm. Condrieu raced three wide for the first 300m and was in third place when he was affected by a gear failure, broke and dropped back to the rear before Warwick dashed him forward, three wide for about 250m. Warwick then eased the gelding back to last and Condrieu was forced to travel six wide when making a run 350m from home. He made no impression on the leaders after such a difficult trip. Condrieu definitely deserves a change of luck in this event and he certainly cannot be underestimated. Ima Connoisseur also deserves serious consideration. Eight wins and nine placings from 24 starts underline his consistency. Four-year-old Phoenix Warrior is in dazzling form after resuming from a spell, with his six starts this preparation producing five wins and a second placing. He raced three wide for much of the way before winning in good style from Ima Tragedy over 2130m at Gloucester Park last Saturday night. Brown is enjoying yet another wonderful season and he should bring up his century of winners for the season on Friday night. Apart from Delightful Offer, he has sound prospects with Holy Grail, Our Jimmy Johnstone and Bungalow Bill. He has driven 98 winners this season and is in fifth place on the Statewide drivers' premiership table. Brown has a good record in the Higgins Memorial, having been successful with Valiant Soldier (2003), Money Magnet (2004) and Richard Henry (2005). Money Magnet and Richard Henry were prepared by Greg Bond. The only reinsman to have won the race more than Brown is Chris Lewis, who has been successful with Hail The Judge (1997), Our Graedy (1998), Ianalbert (2006) and Sneakyn Down Under (2008). Lewis has also driven a minor placegetter in the Higgins Memorial on six other occasions. This year Lewis will drive Khun Ratha for Capel trainer Andrew de Campo. Khun Ratha is a consistent performer, with eight wins and 16 placings from 34 starts. Ken Casellas

Champion trainer Gary Hall sen. is confident that four-year-old Soho Lennon will end a losing sequence of eight by leading all the way in the first qualifying heat of the TABtouch Chandon Pace at the harness racing meeting at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Soho Lennon's prospects soared when he drew the prized No. 1 barrier and punters will be keen to recoup their losses after the gelding's defeat as favourite at three of his past five starts. He was a 10/9 on favourite last Friday night when he started from the No. 3 barrier and raced three wide early before enjoying a good passage in seventh place in the one-wide line. He battled on doggedly, but was a well-beaten fifth behind Jay Bees Grin over 2130m. "Soho Lennon is good in front," said Hall, who pointed out that the gelding had made full use of the No. 1 barrier when he started at 7/2 and led all the way when he defeated In The Perfect Storm and Machtu in the 1730m Nights of Thunder final at Gloucester Park early last January. At his previous outing, a fortnight earlier, Soho Lennon finished strongly from seventh at the bell to finish second to Crusader Banner over 2130m. Leading reinsman Gary Hall jun. has elected to drive Soho Lennon in preference to stablemate A Boy Named Rosie, who will be resuming after a spell. A Boy Named Rosie will be driven by Clinton Hall from barrier six on the front line. Clint Hall drove A Boy Named Rosie when the four-year-old finished strongly to come from last to win a 2150m trial at a 1.58.4 rate at Byford on Sunday morning. Hall jun. has opted to drive Run Oneover in preference to Hez The Jazz Man in the 2130m Sky Racing Pace for three-year-olds. The stablemates raced at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon when Run Oneover raced three wide for much of the way before winning by four lengths at a 1.55.5 rate over 1684m. But Hez The Jazz Man, favourite at 5/1 on, disappointed when he raced in the one-out, one-back position and finished third behind Machrihanish over 2185m. Run Oneover is poorly drawn, out wide at No. 8 on the front line on Friday night, and he is sure to receive stiff opposition from Machrihanish, Mynameskenny and the Greg and Sky Bond trio of Change Stride, Holy Grail and Assassinator. Run Oneover, a winner at three of his 16 starts in New Zealand, has won easily at his first three starts in WA. "He's pretty smart and was impressive at Pinjarra," said Hall sen. "But he's no superstar." Ken Casellas  

Star four-year-old Libertybelle Midfrew has drawn the outside at barrier nine in the 1730m Cyril Lilleyman Memorial for mares at the harness racing meeting at Gloucester Park on Friday night, but she should prove too talented for her eight rivals. She drops back to mares' company after competing in open-class company against many of the State's best pacers, including My Hard Copy, David Hercules and Machtu, in recent weeks. Her most recent run, in a 2130m Free-For-All at Gloucester Park last Friday week, was full of merit. She raced in sixth place in the one-wide line before sprinting home strongly to finish a close-up fourth behind My Hard Copy, Our Blackbird and Machtu. Trainer Mike Reed and reinsman Mark Reed were delighted with Libertybelle Midfrew's effort and the mare is certain to be a major drawcard at Gloucester Park's summer carnival. Mark Reed will continue in the sulky behind Libertybelle Midfrew in this week' race in which she will clash with stablemates Mon Lamour and Flyin The Ointment. Clint Kimes will handle Mon Lamour and Aldo Cortopassi has been engaged to drive Flyin The Ointment. Half-sisters Jungle Jewel and Jungle Genie will start from barriers three and eight, respectively, but, though each has plenty of ability, it is difficult to suggest that either will be able to fully extend Libertybelle Midfrew. Ryan Warwick will drive Jungle Jewel for trainers Greg and Skye Bond and Colin Brown will drive stablemate Jungle Genie. Polemarker Typhoon Tan is a smart frontrunner and is the likely pacemaker. But she is sure to be put under plenty of pressure in the middle stages by Libertybelle Midfrew. Jungle Jewel is a talented sit-sprinter and she makes strong appeal as the mare most likely to finish second behind Libertybelle Midfrew. Ken Casellas  

Our Jimmy Johnstone has been freshened up since finishing an excellent third behind My Hard Copy and Crusader Banner over 1609m at the harness racing meeting at Bunbury five Fridays ago and he gets a good opportunity to end a sequence of four placings when he contests the $22,500 Tom Thompson Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Our Jimmy Johnstone, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, will start from barrier five on the front line and Colin Brown is likely to press forward in the early stages to take up a forward position. Polemarker Little Boy Blue is blessed with sparkling early speed and Bob Mellsop is sure to make the most of the No. 1 barrier by setting the pace. This should result in Our Jimmy Johnstone racing outside the leader, with Brown relying on his horse to outstay the pacemaker. However, Our Jimmy Johnstone will need to be at his top to stave off the leading trainer Gary Hall senior's quartet of My Hard Copy (barrier nine), Crusader Banner (seven), Hokonui Ben (No. 2 on the back line) and Northview Punter (three on the back line). Clint Hall stole a march on his rivals when he got Crusader Banner away brilliantly from the No. 9 barrier two starts ago to quickly take up the running before winning by a length from Soho Lennon at a 1.54.7 rate over 2130m. The stable could plan similar tactics on Friday night, but it is problematical whether Crusader Banner could burst past Little Boy Blue in the early stages. My Hard Copy can never be underestimated. He is sure to settle down at the rear and Clint Hall will be relying on the five-year-old's dazzling finishing sprint. Ken Casellas

Brilliant New Zealand-bred five-year-old John of Arc has broken down again after his superb first-up victory at the harness racing meeting at Gloucester Park last Friday night and will undergo surgery next Monday in a bid to resurrect his career. Prominent veterinary surgeon Trevor Lindsay will employ the Platelet Rich Plasma treatment on the strongly-built gelding's damaged near-side front leg. "John of Arc had filling in the leg after his win last Friday night," said trainer Gary Hall sen. "This latest injury is to his near-side front suspensory ligament." "He has damaged all his legs except his off-side hind leg." "After the operation on Monday he'll have three weeks off, doing nothing, and then I'll get him ready for another preparation." "He is only ever going to stand up for one or two runs; he's that type of horse." "I'm getting used to it; the best horses are the ones who have the most problems." "He has always had leg problems because he has bad conformation, and poor gait and he's a very heavy horse." "He can't get around the corners and runs out in the straight." "He's probably got as much ability as any horse I've got." "The Interdoms are still a hope." John of Arc reappeared after a three-month absence at Gloucester Park last Friday night when he began speedily from barrier three and gave a powerful frontrunning performance to score an effortless victory at a 1.53.4 rate over 1730m, scoring by 10m from Bettors Fire. Ken Casellas  

One of the World’s best harness racing reinsman, Tim Tetrick will drive at the 2015 Inter Dominion Carnival at Gloucester Park in November and December. Tetrick, who represented the USA at the World Driving Championships in Sydney earlier this year, running third overall behind New Zealand’s Dexter Dunn, has driven over 8500 career winners and amassed almost $200 Million in stakes, including the $1 Million North America Cup at Mohawk race track (Canada) in June aboard Wakizashi Hanover.   Tetrick will drive in two separate series during the Inter Dominion, the first being an International Drivers Challenge, with two heats on the third night of Inter Dominion series (Friday, 4 December) and a heat on TABtouch Inter Dominion Grand Final Day (Sunday 13 December) both at Gloucester Park. Affectionately known as the ‘Bionic Man’, Tetrick will drive against an invitation only field of elite reinsman, with all states and New Zealand represented. From Western Australia, Inter Dominion champions Gary Hall Jr, Chris Lewis and Kim Prentice have been chosen to compete. The second series will see Tetrick compete against Western Australia’s most promising drivers including, Tom Buchanan (WA representative Australasian Young Driver’s Championship), Kristy Sheehy (Garrard’s JCD Challenge Winner) and RWWA Invitational defending Champion Kaiden Hayter. Adding to the series, Harness Racing NSW have a reciprocal arrangement with Western Australia to give a young driver the experience to compete in a series in the other state. This will mean that this year, Jack Trainor will represent his home state in this exciting series against Tetrick. Heats will be conducted at Pinjarra (Monday 7 December), York’s meeting the following day (Tuesday 8 December), with the final heat at Gloucester Park (Friday 11 December). “Im excited to head back to Australia” Tetrick said from his New York base. “I got my first taste of Australian racing in March and loved it, so I can’t wait to get back and compete against Australia’s best drivers in Perth. “I'm a big fan of the Inter Dominion and I love the uniqueness of the series, it’s something special to ‘down under’ harness racing and I looking forward to being a part of it” said Tetrick. Tetrick will also be available for selected outside drives during his stay in Perth. “Maybe my good mate Luke (McCarthy) or even the Hall barn (Gary Hall Sr’s stable) will throw a drive my way as well!!!” joked the star American driver Michael Radley

Harness racing can be a hard game at the best of times and after the $125,000 Golden Slipper at Gloucester Park last night, Gary Elson would be the first to agree. Gary had two of the better supported runners in Ideal Tyson (American Ideal) who had drawn beautifully at barrier one and Sprinter (Mach Three) who had drawn poorly at barrier six on the front line. Gary was on record as saying that Ideal Tyson was by far the better of his two and he felt he would be very hard to beat from barrier one. But as soon as the gate went, Ideal Tyson was in trouble. Dodolicious with Ryan Warwick in the bike burned the gate from barrier two and Ideal Tyson galloped when he tried to match her speed early. Chris Voak immediately settled Ideal Tyson and sent him forward to sit outside Dodolicious and pressure her for the lead. No sooner had he done so, Ideal Tyson went off stride for a short time going out of the straight with two laps to go which made his task even more difficult. Settled again, Ideal Tyson again applied pressure on Dodolicious but Ryan Warwick was having none of it and held the lead. All the while Sprinter with Nathan Turvey in the bike was doing nothing out the back and moved into the three wide line with 800 metres to go. Dodolicious shook off Ideal Tyson at the 500 metres mark and turning for home looked to have the race in safe keeping. However Sprinter had peeled four wide at the 400 metres and just breezed on by in the straight for a super impressive victory. Dodolicious hung on gamely for second in front of Sheer Rocknroll who after trailing the leader the whole way battled into third. Sprinter paced the 2130 metres in 2:34.3 a 1:56.5 mile rate. A $34,000 purchase by Gary Elson at last years Australasian Classic Yearling sale at Auckland, Sprinter was bred by the Parkers at Drury who are renowned as the breeders of Auckland Reactor. Sprinter is by Mach Three out of the Bettor's Delight mare Forgotten Dreams who is out of Dreaming Spies by Dream Away. Last nights win was Sprinters sixth from just nine starts and with three placings as well took his earnings over the $120,000 mark. Harnesslink Media

Champion trainer Gary Hall sen. has not given up hope of having the brilliant but injury-plagued John of Arc fit and ready to contest the rich harness racing TABtouch interdominion championship series in November and December. The lightly-raced New Zealand-bred five-year-old will reappear after a three-month absence when he starts from barrier four in the 1730m Suzuki Swift Sport Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Hall has six of the nine runners in the $22,500 sprint and it is quite significant that his younger son Gary will be in the sulky behind John of Arc, thus foregoing the opportunity to drive crack four-year-old Machtu, with whom he scored a superb victory over David Hercules last Friday week. Hall jun. has driven Machtu at each of his past 14 starts and to victory at ten of his 11 wins from 21 starts in Western Australia. Machtu is ideally drawn on Friday night at barrier two and has excellent prospects. Kim Prentice will drive Machtu.            Machtu enjoyed an ideal sit in the one-out, one-back position when a sound third behind My Hard Copy and Our Blackbird over 2130m at Gloucester Park last Friday night. Hall sen. said he expected Machtu to be prominent this week. “He was forced out early last week and had to do the work,” he said. “He is immature and is going to keep on improving.” Hall explained that John of Arc had a history of leg problems, saying that the gelding had damaged his off-side front suspensory following an impressive Gloucester Park win  when he worked hard out three wide and then without cover. “Before that he had damaged tendons in two other legs,” he said. “I didn’t send him for a spell." "Sending them out doesn’t help." "I seem to be able to stand them up. "I’ve stood up quite a few horses now, horses who have had really bad suspensory injuries, and they include Famous Alchemist, Notabadexcuse and Crusader Banner.” He explained that Gary junior would be driving John of Arc because of his intimate knowledge of the horse and his peculiarities. “John of Arc is not that easy to drive and I’m trying to nurse him back to some sort of health,” Hall sen. said. “John of Arc is always competitive, no matter what." "He’s a pretty smart horse." "Apart from Machtu and Beaudiene Boaz, he probably has as much ability, or even more, than both of them." “If he was a sound horse the sky would be the limit for him." "At this stage we’re just trying to hold him together." "My Hard Copy is going pretty good, but he can’t get near Machtu or John of Arc at home." If he sits behind either one of them, they beat him easily.” Clint Hall will again drive My Hard Copy, who has resumed after a spell in dazzling form, unleashing devastating finishing bursts from the rear to win from Crusader Banner and Our Jimmy Johnstone over 1609m at Bunbury and to defeat Our Blackbird and Machtu over 2130m at Gloucester Park last Friday night. My Hard Copy will start out wide at barrier eight in the field of nine. “If they go hard, My Hard Copy will come right into the race,” Hall sen. said. “If the pace is not so hot then I suppose Machtu and John of Arc are good chances.” Apart from John of Arc, Machtu and My Hard Copy, the Hall stable will be represented in Friday night’s event by Hokonui Ben, Soho Highroller and Zacs Nuggett. Young trainer-reinsman Kyle Harper will produce Bettors Fire in good condition for his first-up run since finishing second to Pacific Warrior in the RWWA Cup in February. Bettors Fire sprinted over the final quarters in  27.8sec. and 28.3sec. when he won a 2150m trial at Byford on Sunday morning at a 1.56.6 rate. He defeated Dynamite Dude by a head. Adding further interest to the race will be the presence of the Stephen Reed-trained Lovers Delight, who has worked hard before winning at Bunbury at his past two starts. Lovers Delight (Chris Lewis) has won at 12 of his past 21 starts. Ken Casellas

Outstanding New Zealand-bred harness racing four-year-old Elegant Christian will contest a standing-start event for the first time when he begins off the 10m mark in the 2503m Suzuki Jimny Sierra Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Clint Hall will handle the brilliant gelding, who is on target to extend his winning sequence to six. Elegant Christian has not started since he raced three wide early and then set the pace and won easily from Mohegan Sun in a 2130m mobile event at Gloucester Park on May 1. His 13 starts (all in WA) have produced 11 wins, a second and a fourth. "He's had pretty bad leg injuries," said trainer Gary Hall sen. "I'm not sure how quickly he'll get away, but he's forward enough to win." Elegant Christian gave a sample of his class early last year when he won the group 3 Caduceus Club Classic and the group 2 Western Gateway Pace. The clash between Elegant Christian, his talented stablemate Classic American, Chief Thundercloud and My Good Deed promises to one of the main highlights on the ten-event program. Four-year-old Classic American, who has won 14 times from his 30 starts, will begin from 10m alongside the Ross Olivieri-trained Chief Thundercloud, who is in splendid form. My Good Deed, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, will start off the front and will have many admirers. He is a standing-start specialist and has won at 11 of his 29 starts. Chief Thundercloud worked hard before winning narrowly from the fast-finishing Classic American at Bunbury two starts ago before he started from 20m and ran home solidly when second to stablemate Pembrook Henry in a 2503m stand at Gloucester Park last Friday week. My Good Deed maintained his consistent form at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon when he started from 50m and dashed to the front after a lap before finishing a close second to Major Rush over 2631m. Ken Casellas

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

Harness racing two year old filly Dodolicious appears to be going from strength to strength with each win looking easier than the last. It is a trait of the Bettor Delights that they continue to improve with racing and Dodolicious fits the mould perfectly. Last night at Gloucester Park in the $35,000 Golden Bracelet for two year old fillies, Dodolicious gave the small but talented field a good old fashioned spanking. Sent straight to the front by driver Ryan Warwick from barrier one, Dodolicious kept up a steady tempo before upping the pace down the back straight the last time with a 29 quarter and then cruising to the line with a 28.4 last quarter for an emphatic 15 metre victory and still in second gear. Dodolicious paced the 2130 metres in 2:37.2, a mile rate of 1:58.7 with closing sectionals of 57.4 and 28.4 Bred, owned and trained by leading Perth trainer Greg Bond, Dodolicious took her record to five wins and two seconds from seven starts and with last nights win her stakes topped the $100,000 mark.   My Hard Copy This five year old son of American Ideal just keeps winning at the moment due in no small part to some lovely drives from the rejuvenated Clinton Hall. Part of a six pronged attack by the Gary Hall barn in the ten horse field, Clint settled My Hard Copy four back in the running line as Soho Highroller put the foot to the floor in front. Kim Prentice on Soho Highroller applied the pressure from the 1200 metres mark with a series of sub 29 quarters that had most of the field under pressure coming off the back straight. Passing the 400 metres, Clinton launched My Hard Copy and although he was pushed six wide on the last corner, My Hard Copy flashed down the outside late for another memorable victory. Our Blackbird got home well from deep on the inner for second in front of a very disappointing Machtu who after getting the one by one the whole way just battled into third. My Hard Copy paced the 2130 metres in a quick 2:33.1, a mile rate of 1:55.7 with closing sectionals of 56.8 and 28.6 It was My Hard Copy's sixth win this season from just eleven starts and his lifetime earnings are closing in on the $500,000 mark. The way he has come on this season, My Hard Copy looms as a major local chance in the Inter-Dominions later in the year. Harnesslink Media  

Champion harness racing trainer Gary Hall sen. will have seven runners in the field of 12 to contest the $22,500 Sky Racing Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night and he has laid down the gauntlet to equine millionaire and WA's best standardbred David Hercules, who has drawn favourably at No. 2 on the front line. Hall has engaged Kim Prentice to drive the polemarker Soho Highroller and he will instruct him to make full use of the six-year-old's frontrunning ability. Last Friday night Hall's brilliant four-year-old Machtu started at 4/1 and caused a minor upset when he finished fast to dash to the front in the final 90m and beat David Hercules, the 2/1 on favourite, by a head in the 2536m Winter Cup. David Hercules, the winner of 39 races and $1,258,569 in prizemoney, is likely to be an odds-on chance again this week. But Hall is not about to concede defeat. However, he admitted that David Hercules would take a power of beating. "He's going to be very hard to beat from barrier two; there's no doubt about it and dropping back to 2130m this week should be in his favour," he said. "Soho Highroller is a proven frontrunner and if we let David Hercules go to the front we can't beat him." I'm not out there to run second; I'm out there to win." Hall recalled how Soho Highroller set a brisk pace from barrier one over 2130m and finished a fighting second to stablemate My Hard Copy at Gloucester Park last December. "My Hard Copy took all his time to get over Soho Highroller in that race and he rated 1.54.1," he said. "A repetition of that run would give Soho Highroller a very good chance." "He's a really good frontrunner." Soho Highroller has not led in several recent starts when he has drawn out wide or started off the back line. But his form is good. He is a last-start winner, winning the 2100m Past Presidents Cup at Bunbury last Friday week when he started from the back line, settled in ninth position and sustained a strong three-wide burst from sixth at the bell to take the lead 350m from home and hold on to defeat the fast-finishing Our Blackbird. While Hall is upbeat about Soho Highroller's prospects this week, he also is expecting strong performances from Machtu and My Hard Copy. Machtu impressed with his win in the Winter Cup last week when he enjoyed the one-out, one-back trail, before outsprinting David Hercules in the home straight after that pacer had worked hard outside the pacemaker Libertybelle Midfrew before gaining the upper hand 500m from the post. He will start from barrier two on the back line, immediately behind David Hercules. Gary Hall jun. will drive Machtu and his elder brother Clint will drive WA Pacing Cup winner My Hard Copy, who thundered home with a withering burst from last at the bell to win from stablemate Crusader Banner at a 1.55.5 rate over 1609m at Bunbury three Fridays ago when making his first appearance for five months. My Hard Copy will start from the No. 5 barrier on the front line and Clint Hall will again be relying on the New Zealand-bred five-year-old's devastating finishing sprint. Micheal Ferguson will drive Crusader Banner from barrier six on the front line, Justin Prentice has been engaged for Northview Punter (inside of the back line) and Lauren Jones will be in the sulky behind Hokonui Ben from the outside of the back line. Hall sen. has yet to name a driver for Soho Jackman (No. 3 on the front line). Crusader Banner was a brilliant winner over stablemates Soho Lennon and Vapour, rating 1.54.7 over 2130m at Gloucester Park last Friday night when he began with great speed from the outside (No. 9) of the front line to set the pace. He sped over the lead time in a remarkable 34.7sec., which equates to running a 400m section in 26.3sec. Hokonui Ben and Northview Punter each will be resuming after a spell. Hall sen. said that both pacers were working in splendid style. "Northview Punter won a standing-start trial at Byford on Sunday by about 40 metres and is definitely a place chance," he said. "Hokonui Ben has been trialling quite well after spell and seems to be approaching something like his best form. But starting from barrier 12 is not going to help him." Hall senior's seventh runner is Soho Jackman, whose recent form is sound, but appears to be facing a stern test from No. 3 on the front line. Byford trainer David Thompson certainly was far from being disappointed when David Hercules finished a head second to Machtu last Friday night. The evergreen eight-year-old was having his first start for just over a month and was a sitting shot for Machtu after racing without cover. Ken Casellas

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