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The Skye Bond-trained El Jacko won’t start at any fancy price, but several members of the WA Trotting Media Guild have labelled the five-year-old gelding as the best of good things at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The West Australian’s Ernie Manning, last season’s leading tipster Stuart Lowe, Guild president Wayne Currall and veteran tipster Bill Brindley have all made El Jacko their star bet. Manning spoke for his colleagues when he said El Jacko should atone for his defeat at headquarters last week by Whozideawasthis. “El Jacko confirmed his quality when winning from The Accumulator two starts ago,” Manning said. “He then endured a tough run when he faced the breeze and ran second to Whozideawasthis last Friday night. He has the impressive tally of six wins and four places from 13 starts at GP.” TABradio’s Matt Young is keen on Bad Round. “Bad Round comes up with a good controlling draw and looks the leader and the one to beat,” Young said. “Doesn’t appear to be much mid-race pressure and I think he'll go the trip.” GPTV’s Ken Casellas believes WA Derby runner-up Bechers Brook can go one better on Friday night. “Victorian-bred Bechers Brook possesses a sizzling late burst of speed and this vital ingredient should carry him to victory on Friday night,” Casellas said. “He gave a superb performance in the WA Derby last Friday week when he was 11th on the home bend before charging home, six wide, to finish second, just a head behind King  Of Swing. He is my best bet on a somewhat tricky 10-event card.” The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft agrees with his colleague. “Bechers Brook should relish a massive drop in class on his recent outings,” Havercroft said. “His finishing effort when second in the WA Derby was ridiculously good, making ground when six wide on the home turn from a near impossible position.” Longshot king Pat Harding is prepared to give the disappointing Tuas Delight another chance. “Although the heavily backed Tuas Delight put in a shocker last Friday night, I think he can redeem himself in the opening event this week,” Harding said. “Obviously Lord Willoughby and The Accumulator will be his main rivals, but I think Tuas Delight can get punters off to a good start.” VALUE BETS Ernie: Smackwater Jack, an Auckland and Gloucester Park winner this season, has been out of luck when checked and caught on the inside at his past two starts. Stuart: My value bet is Bad Round, who ran a good third at Pinjarra on Monday after breezing. Held up at previous run here. Well drawn in not an overly strong field.  Wayne: Ohoka Darcy flew home last Friday for a most unlucky third. Goes up in class but has drawn to get a soft run and could surprise at odds. Bill: Major Catastrophe back down to a mile, held himself in good stead during the Nights Of Thunder series, should run very well even from a tough barrier. Matt: Besotted, in the last, is getting back to his better form. It’s an even race and he was unlucky last start. Ken: Oneonthewood has been unplaced at his past five starts, but he caught the eye with his strong-finishing fourth behind Jimmy Mack at GP on Tuesday of last week. Ryan: Springsteen never got a look when held up in the Kellerberrin Cup on Sunday. His prior form hadn’t been too bad and this isn’t a strong field. Pat: A good win by The Bucket List a fortnight ago. Nice to see him return to form and I think he can repeat the dose this week in the eighth race. Good punting.

The Skye Bond-trained El Jacko won’t start at any fancy price, but several members of the WA Trotting Media Guild have labelled the five-year-old gelding as the best of good things at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The West Australian’s Ernie Manning, last season’s leading tipster Stuart Lowe, Guild president Wayne Currall and veteran tipster Bill Brindley have all made El Jacko their star bet. Manning spoke for his colleagues when he said El Jacko should atone for his defeat at headquarters last week by Whozideawasthis. “El Jacko confirmed his quality when winning from The Accumulator two starts ago,” Manning said. “He then endured a tough run when he faced the breeze and ran second to Whozideawasthis last Friday night. He has the impressive tally of six wins and four places from 13 starts at GP.” TABradio’s Matt Young is keen on Bad Round. “Bad Round comes up with a good controlling draw and looks the leader and the one to beat,” Young said. “Doesn’t appear to be much mid-race pressure and I think he'll go the trip.” GPTV’s Ken Casellas believes WA Derby runner-up Bechers Brook can go one better on Friday night. “Victorian-bred Bechers Brook possesses a sizzling late burst of speed and this vital ingredient should carry him to victory on Friday night,” Casellas said. “He gave a superb performance in the WA Derby last Friday week when he was 11th on the home bend before charging home, six wide, to finish second, just a head behind King  Of Swing. He is my best bet on a somewhat tricky 10-event card.” The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft agrees with his colleague. “Bechers Brook should relish a massive drop in class on his recent outings,” Havercroft said. “His finishing effort when second in the WA Derby was ridiculously good, making ground when six wide on the home turn from a near impossible position.” Longshot king Pat Harding is prepared to give the disappointing Tuas Delight another chance. “Although the heavily backed Tuas Delight put in a shocker last Friday night, I think he can redeem himself in the opening event this week,” Harding said. “Obviously Lord Willoughby and The Accumulator will be his main rivals, but I think Tuas Delight can get punters off to a good start.”   VALUE BETS Ernie: Smackwater Jack, an Auckland and Gloucester Park winner this season, has been out of luck when checked and caught on the inside at his past two starts. Stuart: My value bet is Bad Round, who ran a good third at Pinjarra on Monday after breezing. Held up at previous run here. Well drawn in not an overly strong field.  Wayne: Ohoka Darcy flew home last Friday for a most unlucky third. Goes up in class but has drawn to get a soft run and could surprise at odds. Bill: Major Catastrophe back down to a mile, held himself in good stead during the Nights Of Thunder series, should run very well even from a tough barrier. Matt: Besotted, in the last, is getting back to his better form. It’s an even race and he was unlucky last start. Ken: Oneonthewood has been unplaced at his past five starts, but he caught the eye with his strong-finishing fourth behind Jimmy Mack at GP on Tuesday of last week. Ryan: Springsteen never got a look when held up in the Kellerberrin Cup on Sunday. His prior form hadn’t been too bad and this isn’t a strong field. Pat: A good win by The Bucket List a fortnight ago. Nice to see him return to form and I think he can repeat the dose this week in the eighth race. Good punting.   Wayne Currall

Champion reinsman Gary Hall jun. is delighted to be reunited with talented harness racing pacer The Bucket List, who looks a star bet at Gloucester Park on Friday night, despite starting from the back mark of 40 metres in the 2503m Book A Private Box Handicap. Hall has driven the New Zealand-bred eight-year-old only once --- 504 days ago when he brought the 14/1 chance home with a spirited burst from sixth at the bell to finish second to the 5/1 on favourite Hectorjayjay in a 2536m heat of the Interdominion championship at Gloucester Park on December 2, 2016. Hall replaces the Michael Brennan-trained gelding’s regular reinsman Michael Grantham, who is recovering from a broken hand. Grantham was in the sulky when The Bucket List smashed superstar Im Themightyquinn’s track record for a 2503m stand with a runaway victory by more than eight lengths from the pacemaker The Real Nadal last Friday week. The Bucket List started off the 20m mark and revealed sparkling speed when he took off three wide from last in a field of ten 750m from home, surged to the front at the 300m mark and rated 1.57.1 which lowered Im Themightyquinn’s record rate of 1.57.9 set when he started from 30m and ran on from tenth in the middle stages to beat Christopher Three by three lengths on July 23, 2010. The Bucket List, who has raced 91 times for 21 wins, 24 seconds and 11 thirds for stakes of $408,301, has a remarkable record in standing-start events. He had 39 starts in New Zealand for eight wins and 16 placings. Seven of those starts were in stands for three wins and three placings. In Western Australia The Bucket List has contested 16 standing-start races for eight wins, five seconds, two thirds and one fourth. That means that he has had 23 starts in stands for 11 wins, ten placings, one fourth and one sixth. Shannon Suvaljko, who will drive frontmarker The Real Nadal, said that the gelding, trained at Serpentine by Amber Sparks, has close to returning to the winning list. “The Real Nadal ran a good race when he led and finished second to The Bucket List at his most recent start,” Suvaljko said. “But The Bucket List beat him pretty easily. However, The Real Nadal meets The Bucket List on 20m better terms.” Tommy Be Good (30m) and Importer Exporter (20m) should be prominent, along with The Real Nadal. Tommy Be Good warmed up for this week’s assignment in fine style when he finished full of running to win easily from All The Whispers and Red Hot Roxy in a 2150m mobile trial at Byford on Sunday morning. He dashed over the final 400m in 27.5sec. Importer Exporter, trained at Oakford by Chris Winston, is a capable standing-start performer who impressed when he raced in fifth position before finishing strongly to win the 2902m Easter Cup from Bettors Fire and Runrunjimmydunn last Friday fortnight. A new drive for Hall will be behind the Nathan Turvey-trained Carter Micheal, who will start out wide at barrier No. 7 in a field of nine in the final event, the TABtouch --- The Brand That Funds The Industry Pace. Carter Micheal, a New Zealand-bred four-year-old who has won at 12 of his 31 starts, is sure to be a short-priced favourite. But he is certainly far from being a good thing after disappointing efforts when a beaten favourite at each of his past three starts. Carter Micheal, a 2/1 on fancy at Narrogin last Saturday night, set a dawdling early pace, with opening quarters of the final mile in 31.6sec. and 30.7sec. before covering the final sections in 28.4sec. and 28.6sec. He was overhauled 25m from the post by McArdles Gem, who finished fast after enjoying a perfect sit behind the pacemaker. Carter Michael has had 25 starts in Western Australia for 11 wins and seven placings. But his nine appearances at Gloucester Park have produced no wins and just three placings. His chief opposition is likely to come from Walkabout Creek, Shes Artful and Shardons Rocket. Walkabout Creek (barrier one) and Shes Artful (No. 2) possess good gate speed and are capable frontrunners. The 13-year-old Shardons Rocket will start from the outside barrier and will have admirers at his 360th start after his sound second to Raffaello after racing in the breeze last Friday night. Ken Casellas

Smart New Zealand-bred harness racing five-year-old El Jacko still has difficulty in negotiating the final bend in his races at Gloucester Park, but he has the class to overcome this wayward habit and win the 2130m Book Your Next Conference at Gloucester Park Pace on Friday night. The Skye Bond-trained El Jacko will start from the No. 4 barrier on the front line and Ryan Warwick is likely to adopt similar tactics he used last Friday night by using the gelding’s gate speed to forge forward in the early stages in a bid for the lead or to race outside the pacemaker. Last week El Jacko raced three wide early and then outside the pacemaker Courage To Live before taking the lead 450m from home. He was still in front approaching the home turn, but began to hang in and went inside some marker pegs before being overhauled in the final 110m by Whozideawasthis and finishing a 4m second to that pacer. Hardest for El Jacko (a winner at 13 of his 29 starts) to beat is likely to be Arthur Lowe, who will be driven by Jocelyn Young from barrier two on the back line. Arthur Lowe, trained by Nathan Turvey, was restrained from barrier eight in a 2536m event last Friday night when he impressed in finishing strongly from ninth at the bell to be second to Futurist. McArdles Gem also will have admirers after his victory over Carter Micheal at Narrogin last Friday night when he sat behind the pacemaking Carter Micheal before finishing with a strong burst. Warwick will start the program on Friday night with new drives from outside the Bond stable. He will handle Tisadream from the favourable barrier two in the opening event and The Spinster from barrier five in race two. He will drive Tisadream for Capel trainer Andrew de Campo in the Book Into the $50 Beau Rivage Buffet Special Pace, with the handy four-year-old resuming after a three-month absence. Tisadream, who finished third to stablemate Handsandwheels in the WA Derby in April 2017, is capable of a bold first-up showing. However, Aiden de Campo gave punters a valuable lead by opting to drive stablemate The Accumulator from barrier eight. The Accumulator started from the No. 9 barrier in the Clarke final last Friday night and maintained his excellent form when he was last in the middle stages and sustained a strong three-wide burst from seventh at the bell to finish fourth behind Whozideawasthis. This followed The Accumulator’s splendid second to El Jacko the previous week when he fought on grandly after racing without cover. The Accumulator is expected to vie for favouritism with The Ross Olivieri-trained Lord Willoughby, who looks an excellent chance from the favourable No. 3 barrier on the front line. Lord Willoughby Was buried in eighth position at the bell before flashing home to finish third to Whozideawasthis and El Jacko last Friday night. Ken Casellas

Shannon Suvaljko, the State’s leading harness racing driver, is looking forward to driving smart three-year-olds Our Angel of Harlem and Golden State at Gloucester Park on Friday night and he gives both Mike Reed-trained pacers excellent prospects of winning. Our Angel of Harlem is drawn awkwardly at barrier six on the front line in the 2130m Bridal Expo at Gloucester Park Pace, a prelude of the WA Oaks in which she faces a strong challenge from Liberty Rose, who has drawn the coveted No. 1 barrier. “From the inside draw, Liberty Rose is probably the one to beat,” Suvaljko said. “However, Our Angel of Harlem is versatile. We have a few options; she can lead, sit or breeze. And she’s spot on for the grand final (the $150,000 WA Oaks on May 4).” Our Angel of Harlem won an Oaks prelude last Friday night when she started from the outside of the back line, settled at the rear and dashed forward after 900m to race outside the pacemaker Amelias Courage before getting to the front 80m from the post and winning by a neck from Amelias Courage, with Lady De la Renta in third place. She sprinted home over the final 400m in 27.5sec. and rated 1.58.1 over the 2536m journey. Friday night’s 2130m event will pose no great problems for Our Angel of Harlem, but Suvaljko said that the filly’s favourite distance was 2536m. “That’s her best distance; it gives her time to relax,” he said. Leading trainer Gary Hall sen. spoke with confidence about Liberty Rose’s chances on Friday night, saying that the filly was talented and tough and that he was confident she would set the pace and prove very hard to catch. The New Zealand-bred Liberty Rose won impressively at Pinjarra and Gloucester Park at her first two starts in Western Australia before a broken carrier strap forced Gary Hall jun. to retire her mid-race in last week’s event won by Our Angel of Harlem. The Michael Brennan-trained Miss Sangrial will have admirers and should run a bold race after she had no luck in last week’s prelude when she was cast back in the field behind a tiring runner in the final circuit. Miss Sangrial, to be driven by Chris Lewis, will start and should enjoy a perfect passage behind the expected pacemaker Liberty Rose. The Colin Brown-trained and driven Amelias Courage should clinch a start in the Oaks final with another stout-hearted performance. She will start from barrier five on the front line and should be in a prominent, forward position throughout. Golden State will start out wide at barrier eight in a field of nine in the www.gloucesterpark.com.au Pace over 2130m spoke with confidence about the New Zealand-bred colt’s prospects in an event which is likely to be dominated by Golden State, his stablemate Bechers Brook and the Aiden Warwick-trained Sweet N Fast. Golden State began brilliantly from barrier eight in the 2536m WA Derby last Friday week and he set a solid pace before wilting in the final stages to finish eighth behind King of Swing. He was an all-the-way winner over 2130m two starts before that. “Golden State doesn’t have to lead,” Suvaljko said. “He’s probably better if you don’t have to use him from out there (barrier eight). There’s nothing between him and Bechers Brook and most of the time Golden State can beat Bechers Brook over 2130m.” Bechers Brook, who will again be handled by Dylan Egerton-Green, should prove hard to beat, even from the outside barrier (No. 9). He was most impressive in the WA Derby when he charged home, six wide, from 11th on the home to finish a head second to King of Swing. Adding considerable interest to the race will be the appearance of Christian Cullen gelding Sweet N Fast, who will be driven by Aldo Cortopassi for trainer Aiden Warwick. Sweet And Fast possesses good gate speed and there is a strong chance he could be set alight in the early stages. His four WA starts have produced three wins and a second placing. Ken Casellas

Three members of the WA Trotting Media Guild believe punters can line their pockets early if they support the in-form Raffaello in the opening event at Gloucester Park tomorrow night. The West Australian’s Ernie Manning, Guild president Wayne Currall and The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft have all made the Peter Kimberley-trained gelding their star bet. Manning believes Raffaello can make it four wins in a row. “Raffaello has never won in 30 Gloucester Park starts, but gets his chance to break through with the advantage of barrier one,” Manning said. “He has been most impressive when a Pinjarra winner at his past three starts. He displayed gate speed to lead for Shannon Suvaljko, who is booked to resume driving him, after crossing from barrier four on March 26 and April 2.” Currall agrees with his colleague. “Raffaello is in the best form of his career,” Currall said. “He has drawn the pole, has Shannon Suvaljko in the bike and is putting together a picket fence. Should lead and win.” Havercroft is singing from the same hymn sheet as Manning and Currall. “The versatile Raffaello has been in sparkling form, winning his last three starts, all at Pinjarra,”Havercroft said. “He showed blistering gate speed two starts ago when crossing from barrier four, which suggests he can lead and give them something to chase.” Last season’s leading tipster Stuart Lowe is keen on three-year-old filly Lady De La Renta. “My best bet is Lady De La Renta, who had a torrid run last week in the WA Derby before weakening to run 11th,” Lowe said. “Won brilliantly at two of three previous runs and the pole draw will make her the one to beat.” GPTV’s Ken Casellas has labelled Our Zak Whitby as his best for the night. “Meelon trainer Ed Dewar has Our Zak Whitby in top form and the speedy four-year-old has bright prospects of completing a winning hat-trick by proving too good for his 11 rivals,” Casellas said. “The WA-bred entire was most impressive in scoring convincingly in fast time last Friday night and he is my best bet this week.” Veteran tipster Bill Brindley believes El Jacko can continue on from his strong win last week. “The best bet for me is the classy El Jacko, who should improve even further after an impressive victory last week at his second run back from a spell,” Brindley said. TABradio’s Matt Young likes Ideal Investment in the last race. “Ideal Investment finally finds the right race to lead and has a brilliant front-running driver on in Kyle Harper,” Young said. “I think he’s the best bet of the night.” Longshot maestro Pat Harding believes it’s another tough night coming up at GP this Friday for punters. “My best bet of the night comes up in the fourth with the Gary Hall-trained Liberty Rose,” Harding said. “She was a good winner last week, but I think she can make it four wins in a row with Lady De La Renta the toughest opposition.” Value Bets Ernie: Sarah Goody, who showed class when a WA Oaks runner-up last season, looks well placed by trainer Kevin Keys for her first-up race. She will be chasing her eighth win at headquarters. Wayne: Aussie Jet is working his way back to race fitness after six runs since a spell. He is drawn favourably on the inside of the back line and could surprise at odds. Ryan: Terraforce has placed first-up in the past and is well drawn in a moderate field. Looks an each-way prospect and the stable has been firing. Stuart: My value bet is the talented, but luckless All Jokes Aside, who has not won since New Year’s Eve. Trialled at Pinjarra, since last start, for easy win. Can handle this class and should go close. Ken: For value, I suggest eight-year-old Shirlz Sensation, who resumed after a spell with a solid effort when a close-up seventh behind Campora on Tuesday of last week when he fought on determinedly after racing three wide for much of the way. Bill: My value bet is the consistent Auctioneers Elsu as she is capable of a brilliant finish.  Matt: Ideal Investment is my best bet and best value. He’s a great each-way chance. Pat: I think Soho Changeling can provide punters with some value. She has run some good places but is due for a change of luck and with Shannon Suvaljko aboard has every chance. To view all of the Media Guild Tips for this week click here. Good Punting.  Wayne Currall

Shannon Suvaljko continues to set a cracking pace in the state-wide drivers’ premiership and punters should get a flying start to the ten-event program at Gloucester Park on Friday night by supporting Raffaello in the opening event, the $20,000 The Sports Daily On TABradio Pace. Raffaello, a New Zealand-bred seven-year-old trained at Warawarrup by Peter Kimberley, has struck a purple patch and looks a star bet after drawing the coveted No. 1 barrier on the front line in the 2130m event. Three weeks ago Raffaello had a losing sequence of 38 before he chalked up three wins in the space of 15 days. He was driven by Deni Roberts when he gave a splendid performance to win a heat of the Garrard’s Junior Drivers Challenge at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. He was restrained from barrier five and was seventh at the bell before sustaining a powerful late burst to get up and beat Our Jaccka Mara and Attack On Command. This victory played a pivotal part in Roberts winning the series. Suvaljko drove Raffaello to victory at Pinjarra on the two previous Mondays. The gelding led from barrier four and fought on grimly to defeat The Freedom Fighter by a head and a week later Raffaello again set the pace from the No. 4 barrier and won by a half-head from Pick My Pocket. He should again be capable of setting the pace, despite the presence of 13-year-old Shardons Rocket in barrier two. Shardons Rocket, owned and trained by Tony Svilicich, is in the twilight of his 358-start career and boasts a losing sequence of 33, with only one placing in that sequence (a second 19 starts ago). He still has good gate speed, but Suvaljko should be able to hold him at bay in the early stages. Another veteran performer, nine-year-old El Machine, has excellent place prospects. He has won once from his past 64 starts but should enjoy a trouble-free run at the rear after starting from the outside of the back line before unwinding a spirited late charge. Kimberley also prepares experienced performer Terraforce, who is capable of a bold first-up showing in the final event, the Christmas In July at the Beau Rivage Pace over 1730m. Terraforce, to be handled by Jocelyn Young, is favourably drawn at the No. 2 barrier on the front line. The WA-bred gelding is a winner at ten of his 92 starts. His latest success was when he made most of the running and defeated Red Hot Roxy over 2100m at Bunbury on December 2 last year. For the record, Suvaljko leads the premiership table with 115 wins from Chris Lewis (102), Gary Hall Jnr (101) and Chris Voak (95). Ken Casellas

Champion reinsman Chris Lewis is a keen judge of form and he has sent harness racing punters an important message by choosing to drive Sheer Rocknroll in preference to stablemate Johnny Fox in the $22,000 Steelo’s Bistro Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Ross Olivieri trained Sheer Rocknroll and Johnny Fox are the highest-assessed pacers in the 2536m event and have the ability to overcome the outside barriers on the front line, with Sheer Rocknroll starting from barrier eight and Johnny Fox from barrier nine. Lewis has been in the sulky behind Johnny Fox at each of his past five starts, which include two powerful fast-finishing wins over 2130m but he has opted for Sheer Rocknroll, a mare he has handled at three of her past six starts. Sheer Rocknroll is an M5-classified performer, but she has a losing sequence of 19, with her most recent victory being her win in the Race For Roses 11 months ago. Sheer Rocknroll has been placed at three of her five starts since resuming after a spell with an encouraging first-up second to Dana Duke in late February. She also impressed two starts ago with her strong-finishing third to Major Reality and Better B Chevron in the Golden Girls Classic over 1684m at Pinjarra. Chris Voak has been engaged to drive Johnny Fox, who was far from disgraced when fifth behind Importer Exporter in the 2902m Easter Cup. The nine-year-old raced without cover for a while before taking the lead 550m from home and wilting late to finish just over two lengths behind the winner. Astute punters are likely to rally to support the Skye Bond-trained Risk, who has been unplaced at his past five starts and has a losing sequence of ten. However, Risk looms as a major player after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier on the front line, an advantage made possible with the New Zealand-bred six-year-old moving from an M3 classification to an M2 mark under the drop-down regulations. Ryan Warwick is expected to make every post a winner by setting a brisk pace with Risk, whose most recent success was when Warwick guided him to an all-the-way win over Twoandahalf Tigers at Gloucester Park in November 2016. In an open affair on Friday night the lightly-raced, but richly talented Zennart also has strong claims. He is sure to appreciate a significant drop in class after finishing sixth behind Bettors Fire last Friday night after racing wide and then enjoying the one-out, one-back trail. His previous eight starts in his current preparation produced five wins, two seconds and a third placing. Michael Grantham will be unable to drive evergreen performer Bronze Seeker after fracturing a hand in a work accident with the family-owned horse transport business on Tuesday. He will be replaced in the sulky by Gary Hall Jnr, who should have the Peter Anderson-trained nine-year-old in a handy position throughout after starting from the inside of the back line. Stablemate Mighty Flying Thomas, a winner of one race from his past 37 starts, but racing with admirable zest, will start alongside Bronze Seeker on the back line. He will be driven by Aiden de Campo. Ken Casellas

Banjup trainer Annie Belton has made several gear changes to Lady De La Renta in a bid to cure her wayward habit of over racing, and the promising filly should prove hard to beat in the $18,000 Book Your Next Conference at Gloucester Park Pace at harness racing headquarters on Friday night. Lady De La Renta is on trial for the $150,000 Gannon’s WA Oaks on May 4 and reinsman Chris Voak has high hopes that the talented three-year-old will be more tractable and notch her sixth win from 13 starts. “We’ve taken all the head gear off her - no Dollies, no blocks and changed the bit to a soft (rubber) apple bit and put on a fly veil,” Voak said. “I drove her on the track at Byford this (Tuesday) morning with all these changes and she was beautiful. She didn’t pull and track-worked the best she has ever track-worked. Her manners were good and the times were good. “Annie thought she may have had the filly a touch underdone for her past two races and she thinks that may have contributed to the over-racing with the head gear she had on. So, we are now hoping that she doesn’t over race on Friday and if that’s the case, she will be right in it. “Annie can’t do much more than what she has done with the gear changes. If Lady De La Renta jumps to the front from the inside barrier and settles and I am able to rate her how I’d like to rate her, she will be hard to beat. “You saw what she did two starts ago when she almost beat the colts in the Western Gateway Classic. The winner Bechers Brook rated 1.56.4 over the 2536m and Lady De La Renta finished third less than a length behind Bechers Brook and Cott Beach. “Lady De La Renta rated 1.56.5 which was faster than the time recorded by King of Swing in winning the WA Derby last Friday night, rating 1.57.0 Lady De La Renta wasn’t entitled to finish third after running the first half in 58sec. and over racing in the lead. “Lady De La Renta has beaten every horse in Friday night’s race except Our Angel of Harlem, and that’s because she has never raced against her. She also is the fastest filly over 2536m bar Cott Beach, who finished in front of her at her latest outing. I have no doubt about Lady De La Renta’s ability. The question mark is over her manners.” Lady De La Renta contested the 2536m WA Derby last Friday night when she started from the back line and over raced. After being in eighth position after a lap Lady De La Renta moved to sixth, three wide, at the bell and was tiring 200m from home when she met with interference and wilted to finish 11th behind King of Swing. Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed conceded that starting from the outside (barrier three) on the back line was far from ideal for Our Angel of Harlem, but he expects that the New Zealand-bred filly will fight out the finish of Friday night’s Oaks prelude. Our Angel of Harlem had a tough run from the No. 7 barrier in an Oaks prelude last Friday night when she finished a close third behind Liberty Rose and Miss Sangrial. She raced three wide early and then in the breeze with the odds-on favourite Amelias Courage setting a fast pace. She took a narrow lead with 400m to travel before wilting slightly in the closing stages. “The barrier draw will make it hard, but I think she will improve on last week’s run,” Reed said. “The 2500m will suit her right down to the ground and she’ll be running on. I couldn’t be happier with her.” Liberty Rose, another New Zealand-bred filly who is prepared by Gary Hall Snr, will be attempting to extend her unbeaten record in Australia when she starts from an awkward draw at No. 7 on the front line. She started from the inside of the back line and enjoyed a soft passage, three back on the pegs, before obtaining a clear run in the home straight to charge home and get up and defeat Miss Sangrial, who finished fast after racing behind the pacemaker Amelias Courage. Miss Sangrial, to be driven by Chris Lewis for Blythewood trainer Michael Brennan, will start from the inside of the back line and will be strongly fancied as an each-way prospect. The Colin Brown-trained Amelias Courage cannot be overlooked despite her fading fourth after setting the pace in last week’s prelude. That followed her brilliant victory at her previous outing and she should be prominent from barrier four on the front line. by Ken Casellas

King Of Swing has delivered Gary Hall Snr his fourth WA Derby (2536m) success in the past six years, with an outstanding effort in the time honoured harness racing event at Gloucester Park tonight. The Rocknroll Hanover colt joins Alto Christiano (2013), Beaudiene Boaz (2015) and Chicago Bull (2016) as Hall Snr’s Derby winners, but for the champion trainer this one was special. Since he was purchased for close to $400,000 from New Zealand, it has been far from smooth sailing for King Of Swing, who was having just his second start in Perth in the Derby. He has battled illness and a rough plane trip on his way to the Derby, and Hall Snr said he thought it would take its toll in tonight’s $200,000 event. “I didn’t think he could win,” he said. “I didn’t want to give any negative vibes to anyone, but I didn’t really think he could win. “He hasn’t worked that well, and he has been lethargic and dour and not wanting to be here. “The trip over knocked him around, and then he got the cold, and I couldn’t work him how I wanted to. “For him to come out and win, it was just outstanding.” The pace was on early in the WA Derby, with Golden State powering to the lead out of the straight the first time from barrier eight, while King Of Swing was close to 25m off the lead in the early stages. Driver Gary Hall Jnr was able to work to the breeze outside of Golden State at the end of the first lap. Golden State was still in front on the turn for home, but King Of Swing quickly went past him and was left in front a long way out from home, with his rivals behind lining up to have the last crack at him. Western Gateway winner Bechers Brook stormed home from last, but narrowly missed King Of Swing, going down by a head, while Cott Beach produced one of her career best performances in back in third, which suggested she could figure prominently in the WA Oaks. Hall Snr’s other key chance in the race Speed Man was held up on the home turn, but was able to work home well and finish fifth. King Of Swing will now be set for open class races, with Hall Snr suggesting he could join some of his star stablemates in Group 1 races in a little under 12 months time. “He’s up there for sure, because he is only half the horse he could be right now,” he said. “With a spell, going out and doing well, he will come back in fantastic order.” Tim Walker     5 7:24pm SKY RACING WA DERBY MS PACE (SKY 1) 2536M $200,000 3YO. 3C0 Or Better. RBD. Mobile Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 KING OF SWING NZ      Fr3 3 Gary Hall Snr Gary Hall Jnr   $ 2.60 fav  PRBT 3WM L1W 2 D/F $500 UW SWAB   BAY COLT 3 by ROCKNROLL HANOVER USA out of TWIST AND TWIRL NZ (ARTSPLACE (US))  Owner(s): B V Richardson, M A Congerton, Go Racing, K A Hall, G L Moore, S D MacGregor, R Patriarca, F Patriarca  Breeder(s): Breckon Farms Ltd 2 BECHERS BROOK      Fr7 7 Mike Reed Dylan Egerton-Green HD $ 11.50   RAS 8 SWAB 3 COTT BEACH      Fr9 9 Kristy Elson Nathan Turvey HD $ 43.40   OPS RAS 3WMLT W3 SWAB 4 OCEAN RIDGE NZ      Sr1 10 Greg Bond Ryan Warwick 2.10 $ 3.50   3WMLT W2 5 SPEED MAN NZ      Fr2 2 Gary Hall Snr Stuart McDonald 3.10 $ 5.80   GS L1W OTM 4 6 BRIGHT DIAMOND NZ      Fr1 1 Skye Bond Chris Lewis 3.40 $ 21.60   PRBT GS 3 HUE 7 MISTER SPOT      Sr3 12 John Graham Dean Miller 5.00 $ 146.40   7 HU 8 GOLDEN STATE NZ      Fr8 8 Mike Reed Shannon Suvaljko 7.70 $ 12.10   GS L 1 QP 9 BENHOPE RULZ NZ      Fr6 13 Gary Hall Snr Clinton Hall 8.20 $ 125.30   3WE RTR 9 HU 10 CIMORENE      Fr4 4 Terry Ferguson Michael Grantham 11.80 $ 144.40   GS 5 D/F$200 CMP 11 LADY DE LA RENTA      Sr2 11 Annie Belton Chris Voak 27.90 $ 19.10   OVR 3WML W1 C 12 BETTOR B ABELIEVER NZ      Fr5 5 Paula Petricevich Kyle Harper 71.40 $ 45.10   GS 3WE RP OVR 6 GG Scratchings   FIZZING NZ 6 CARRERA MACH NZ 14 Track Rating: GOOD Gross Time: 3:04:3 Mile Rate: 1:57:0 Lead Time: 66.9 First Quarter: 29.6 Second Quarter: 29.5 Third Quarter: 28.4 Fourth Quarter: 29.9 Margins: HD x SHFHD  

Liberty Rose has stormed into WA Oaks calculations, following a convincing win in the harness racing WA Oaks Prelude (2130m) at Gloucester Park tonight. It required a patient drive by Gary Hall Jnr on the Mach Three filly, but he was able to push in the clear at just the right time, and storm to victory by a half-neck. Liberty Rose was in an awkward spot on the turn for home caught three back on the pegs, but when the gap opened she was good enough to finish over the top of her rivals. The Gary Hall Snr-trained filly was having just her second start in Australia, and fifth career start, and the move to Australia has worked wonders for her so far, winning at Pinjarra on March 19, before her success tonight. Miss Sangrial was also able to find clear running in the home straight, and finished off well to run second, while Mike Reed’s New Zealand import Our Angel Of Harlem finished third after taking the lead on the home turn. Amelia’s Courage was sent out a warm favourite in the $20,000 event following her win at Gloucester Park on Tuesday, and led throughout for trainer and driver Colin Brown, but couldn’t hold out the barnstorming finish from Liberty Rose. After the race, Hall Jnr said he was pleased with the filly’s performance. “We are really happy with her,” he said. “She has done everything right.” Hall Snr said the filly would start again prior to the WA Oaks next month, and was pleased with the way she went to the line. Later in the night, Military Master continued his good form since returning this campaign, with an effortless nine metre win in the #SkyHarness Pace (2536m). Military Master had never previously won over the distance, but there were no concerns tonight, as he powered to victory over Addfueltofire. Tim Walker

Ocean Ridge, who failed to record a win from six starts as a two-year-old, has blossomed into an outstanding harness racing three-year-old who has excellent prospects of overcoming a back-line draw and winning the $200,000 Sky Racing WA Derby at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Victory in the 2536m classic would elevate Forrestdale horseman Greg Bond into the top bracket of successful trainers in the Derby which has been a highlight of every WA season since Freckles won the inaugural Group 1 event in 1917. Bond has won the WA Derby with New Zealand-bred pacers Richard Henry (2005), In The Force (2009) and Seel N Print (2011). The only trainers to have prepared four or more WA Derby winners are the late Fred Kersley Snr (five), the late Fred W Godecke (four) and Ross Olivieri (four). Leading trainer Gary Hall Snr has high hopes of notching his 100th winner of the season by winning the Derby with either King of Swing or Speed Man. A victory would give Hall his fourth success in the classic. Ocean Ridge, a colt by Mach Three, has won at five of his six starts this season and has revealed wonderful versatility. He led from barrier two and won easily in a modest C2-class event at Pinjarra at his WA debut two starts ago. And he was most impressive in scoring an effortless victory in a Derby prelude on Thursday of last week. He enjoyed a perfect trail, one-out and one-back, before Ryan Warwick sent him forward, three wide, with 600m to travel. The gelding took the lead at the 450m mark and won by just over two lengths from the 10/1 favourite King of Swing, with Speed Man finishing strongly from eighth (and last) at the bell to be third. Ocean Ridge rated 1.55.3 in the 2130m prelude and the 2536m journey on Friday night should prove to be no problem. He started his three-year-old campaign in dazzling style, setting the pace from barrier one and winning a 1950m event by five lengths at Addington on December 16. That was his first appearance for eight months. He then started from the inside of the back line in another 1950m event at Addington on January 26 when he was seventh at the bell before starting a three-wide move and working into the breeze position before finishing a close-up fourth behind Fizzing. Two starts ago Ocean Ridge was restrained to last from barrier seven in a field of nine over 1950m at Addington. He came from last, three wide, at the bell and then worked in the breeze before sprinting the final 400m section in 27.4sec. and hitting the front 130m from the post and winning, unextended. At his final appearance in New Zealand, over 1950m at Addington on February 16 he was beaten out from the No. 1 barrier and raced three back on the pegs before charging home from fifth on the home turn to win easily at a 1.55.7 rate, with a final quarter in 27.5sec. Ocean Ridge is the third foal out of Falcon Seelster mare There’s A Dancer, whose first two foals Bracken Ridge and McClinchie each won on WA debut for Bond. A win on Friday night by Ocean Ridge would help erase the disappointment suffered by Bond and his wife Skye when their smart colt Rock Diamonds, a 14/1 chance, finished a head second to Handsandwheels in the Derby 12 months ago after finishing strongly to take the lead in the final 70m. Their other runner, Mitch Maguire (9/4), was a luckless seventh after taking a narrow lead, out three wide, 350m from home and then locking wheels with 2/1 favourite Runrunjimmydunn.    Champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr has combined with his father to win the Derby with Alta Christiano (2013), Beaudiene Boaz (2015) and Chicago Bull (2016). Hall Jnr will handle King of Swing from barrier three on the front line and he gives the colt a strong winning chance. King of Swing raced three wide for the first 750m before setting the pace in last week’s prelude before lowering his colours to Ocean Ridge. “He’s got the draw to turn the tables on Ocean Ridge,” said Hall jun. “He has definitely got the ability to win.” Owner Albert Walmsley and Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed were naturally disappointed when their talented colts Bechers Brook (barrier seven) and Golden State (eight) fared poorly in the random draw. However, both pacers are strong sit-sprinters and are capable of winning. Reed prepared Tricky Vic (2002) and Ace of Spades (2003) for wins in the classic. Skye Bond prepares Bright Diamond, who despite only one win from 16 starts, will have admirers after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier. Bright Diamond will be driven by star reinsman Chris Lewis, who has won the Derby five times with Trunkey Maseratti (1994), Saab (1998), Talladega (2000), Argent Treasure (2008) and In The Force (2009). Ken Casellas

Jocelyn Young looks set to get away to a winning start by guiding smart harness racing four-year-old Carter Micheal to victory in the opening heat of the Garrards Junior Drivers Challenge at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Nathan Turvey-trained Carter Micheal has made an impressive start to his career, with his first 29 starts producing 12 wins and seven placings. The first heat looks likely to develop into a spirited challenge between Carter Micheal and another New Zealand-bred four-year-old Heez Manly, who will be handled by Deni Roberts. Heez Manly set the pace and held on to win narrowly from Courage To Live over 2130m on Thursday of last week. That took the Gary Hall Snr trained gelding’s record to seven wins and seven placings from 18 starts.       Jack Justins will drive Athabascan from barrier three and the gelding is capable of a bold showing from the No. 3 barrier. Young and Roberts also have strong claims in the second heat of the challenge, at Bunbury on Saturday night when Young will drive Riri Rihanna from the outside of the back line and Roberts will be in the sulky behind Mago Man, who will start from barrier two on the back line. Others with sound prospects include Jimmy Recard (Madeleine Young) and The Marble Ridge (Mitch Miller). One of the best bets on the ten-event program at Gloucester Park on Friday night should prove to be nine-year-old Bettors Fire in the $25,000 Sky Racing.com.au Pace over 2130m. Bettors Fire, trained and driven by Kyle Harper, will start from barrier six and his clash with dual WA Pacing Cup winner My Hard Copy, up-and-coming star Zennart, Our Jimmy Johnstone, Vultan Tin and Runrunjimmydunn should produce plenty of fireworks. Bettors Fire gave a wonderful performance when a close second to outsider Importer Exporter in the 2902m Easter Cup on Thursday of last week when he was the backmarker off 50m and charged home from tenth at the bell. “His run was outstanding,” said Harper. “And if he carries his form across from last week he’s a very good chance.” Ken Casellas

Colin Brown has been training and driving pacers for more than 40 years and he now declares that he is preparing the fastest pacer of his harness racing distinguished career a small, insignificant-looking filly by the name of Amelias Courage. The Victorian-bred Amelias Courage emerged as a major WA Oaks contender with a superb victory in a modest C1-class event at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night, a performance which was a strong indication that she would prove hard to beat in the Follow@skyracing.com.au on Twitter WA Oaks prelude at Gloucester Park on Friday night.    Amelias Courage will start from barrier two on the front line in the $20,000 prelude over 2130m and Brown is confident that she will seriously challenge boom filly, the high-priced New Zealand import Our Angel of Harlem. Amelias Courage raced without cover outside the pacemaker The Freedom Fighter before getting to the front 600m from home and then easily withstanding a challenge from Pavarotti to beat the promising New Zealand-bred five-year-old by more than a length, rating a slick 1.55.2 over 2130m. It was an exceptional performance after a fast lead time of 35.6sec. followed by quarters of 29.5sec., 29.3sec., 28.8sec. and 29.2sec. Brown was lavish in his praise of the filly, saying: “She has run 3sec. quicker on the track than any horse I’ve trained. If I told you the times she’s run at Jandakot you wouldn’t believe me. I don’t doubt her ability. She has just run 1.55.2 in the breeze and Our Angel of Harlem will have to be good to beat me. Amelias Courage could have gone better if something had really come at her. “We really had to make a statement before the Oaks and I always like to show the handicapper something.” Brown said that Amelias Courage had the potential to be classed alongside two outstanding mares he has trained in Sand Pebbles and Franco Eden. The WA-bred Sand Pebbles raced 81 times for 26 wins, ten placings and $313,102 in prizemoney. She won the $100,000 Ladyship Mile at Harold Park in November 2004 and a week later finished second to Sokyola in the $550,000 Miracle Mile. Eden Franco, a New Zealand-bred five-year-old, arrived in WA last September and in nine starts for Brown in October, November and December, she was successful seven times. Brown lauded Amelias Courage’s toughness, saying: “The problem has been that we haven’t drawn barriers from which we could use her stamina. She’s only a small horse and she has run a 26sec. quarter on the track but she doesn’t seem to do that in her races.” Amelias Courage was purchased at the Victorian yearling sales by Graham Searle and Geoff Waters and was prepared in Victoria by Peter Manning. “What happened was the Victorian handicapping system changed and this disadvantaged a horse like her who had won a bit of prizemoney, and she wasn’t eligible in three-year-old company and she drew badly against good horses in open races,” Brown said. “The owners made the decision to send her over here to me and Liam O’Connor and Jim Currie bought shares in her. It has taken us a bit of time to get the best out of her. Over in Victoria she pulled very hard and was just an aggressive, attack, attack filly. “Her main aim is the WA Oaks and you cannot have a horse who is going to attack over 2536m. We have put gear on her and taken gear off and it has taken a fair bit of time to get her sorted. She goes best when driven tough and I don’t mind if she leads or has to sit in the breeze on Friday night.” The polemarker in Friday night’s race is noted frontrunner Miss Sangrial, who led for much of the way when a half-length second to Pick My Pocket over 2100m at Bunbury last Saturday week. Amelias Courage, who has earned $85,164 from nine wins, ten seconds and two thirds, is also a smart frontrunner, who led at five of her eight Victorian wins. Our Angel of Harlem, to be driven by Shannon Suvaljko for Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed, is awkwardly drawn out wide at barrier No. 7, but is expected to be a warm favourite. Our Angel of Harlem began from the inside of the back line at her latest start, at Gloucester Park last Friday week, and was trailed the pacemaker when she choked down, galloped and disrupted the field 1100m from home. The race was abandoned. At her previous outing, at her Australian debut at Pinjarra, Our Angel of Harlem raced three wide in the first lap and then in the breeze before finishing third behind Bettor A Believer. That followed a superb runaway victory in a Byford trial.   Suvaljko is confident of success on Friday night, saying: “I think she is close to her top and we can work forward from the wide barrier. She is definitely the one to beat.” Star reinsman Gary Hall Jnr, who needs two wins to bring up his century for the season, said that he expected a strong effort from Liberty Rose, who will start from the inside of the back line, immediately behind the freewheeling Miss Sangrial. Liberty Rose was travelling easily in the breeze at her most recent outing when a horse choked down, fell and caused interference to other runners. This forced the stewards to stop the race. “She felt as though she had them all covered,” Hall said. “She’s got toughness and a good turn of foot and I give her a really good chance.” Ken Casellas

Former New Zealand pacer King Of Swing, the consistent Wabi Sabi and prolific winner Red October have been labelled as star bets on Thursday night’s harness racing card at Gloucester Park. Several members of the WA Trotting Media Guild believe punters who follow King Of Swing, Wabi Sabi and Red October will finish on top at the pre-Easter meeting. Last season’s leading tipster Stuart Lowe and Guild president Wayne Currall have labelled newcomer to the State King Of Swing as a good thing in the WA Derby Prelude. “My best bet is King Of Swing, who has won at seven of 13 lifetime starts for stakes of $225,000,” Lowe said. “He looks to have an edge on class against his rivals here at his first run in WA and should win.” Currall agrees with Lowe. “The wraps on King Of Swing are huge,” he said. “The colt easily accounted for classy filly Our Angel Of Harlem in a Pinjarra trial earlier this month in good time. Leading trainer Gary Hall appears to have him tuned up to make a winning debut in WA.” GPTV’s Ken Casellas and TABradio’s Matt Young are keen on the speedy Wabi Sabi. “Wabi Sabi gets a perfect chance to finally break through and notch his first metropolitan-class victory at Gloucester Park,” Casellas said. “He has drawn perfectly at barrier one for trainer-reinsman Clint Hall and gets my nod as the best bet of the night. The most recent time the six-year-old started from the No. 1 barrier was five starts ago when he led throughout and scored an easy win over 2242m at Narrogin in mid-January.” And Young is singing from the same hymn sheet as Casellas. “Wabi Sabi has been hitting the line powerfully in his last couple of starts,” he said. “He has the draw to lead and control this race to win.” The West Australian’s Ernie Manning believes Red October will continue on his winning ways. “Red October looks set for his sixth straight win after drawing favourably at gate three,” Manning said. “The New Zealand import showed strength when he overcame a tough run outside the leader two starts ago, then displayed a professional style when an all-the way winner last Friday. He is shaping for success in top company.” The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft agrees with his colleague. “Punters didn’t miss Red October last week when he saluted at $1.20,” Havercroft said. “Drawn the same barrier again, the five-year-old gelding looks to have a rich future and should be too good for his rivals.”  Veteran tipster Bill Brindley is keen on Rocknroll Lincoln. “Interesting program for punters, tough for tipsters,” Brindley said. “My best bet is the promising Rocknroll Lincoln in race three. His recent efforts have been first class.” Longshot king Pat Harding believes it’s a pretty tough Easter meeting at GP this Thursday, but he has good news for punters. “In the fourth, the WA Derby Prelude, I have a good feeling about the Greg Bond-trained Ocean Ridge,” Harding said. “With four wins from five starts and Ryan Warwick aboard, punters should get their reward. The small field will also be a great advantage.” VALUE BETS Stuart: My value bet is Max Meridius, who has hit the line very strongly at his last two starts. If he gets a reasonable run from this good draw he should go close. Wayne: Johnny Fox finished like a train at his last start after being dragged back through the field. Only needs to step cleanly from his 20m handicap to be in the money. Ken: For value, I suggest Khun Ratha in the final event. He unwound a spirited burst from the rear when fourth behind Our Zak Whitby at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. Matt: Chevrons Champion has a beautiful draw just in behind them and if she can get a run in the last quarter, she'll respond well and can knock them off at odds. Ernie: Mister Ardee, a prolific winner on the WA country circuit, is making an impressive transition to city ranks with placings at his last two starts at headquarters. He ran an eye-catching third after facing the breeze last Friday. Ryan: Devendra could sweeten up Easter for his followers when he contests the Easter Cup. The 40m handicap should not be a concern, with the field spread over all handicaps, and he has won five of 12 lifetime stand appearances. Bill: My value bets are the consistent Sheez Edgy and squaregaiter Balmoral Boy.  Pat: The Michael Brennan-trained Futurist with Gary Hall Jr aboard should prove to be more than a match for his competitors, particularly over the 2536m journey. To view all of the Media Guild Tips for this week click here. Good Punting.  Wayne Currall

King of Swing, a recent arrival from New Zealand and a harness racing colt bred in the purple, looks set to retain his unbeaten record in Australia by proving too smart for his seven rivals in the $20,000 Owners Only WA Derby prelude over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. King of Swing arrived in Western Australia two and a half weeks ago and has recovered from a virus. He gave a sample of his class in a 2185m trial at Pinjarra on Sunday morning when he set the pace and coasted to victory, by more than five lengths, over talented filly Our Angel of Harlem, rating 1.55.6. After a comfortable first 400m section of the final mile in 31sec. King of Swing dashed over the next quarters in 28.9sec., 27.4sec. and 29.1sec. He looks spot on to produce a strong first-up effort on Thursday night when he will start from barrier three in a classy field of eight. This will be his final start before contesting the $200,000 WA Derby on Friday week. King of Swing, prepared by champion trainer Gary Hall Snr and to be driven by star reinsman Gary Hall Jnr, has not raced since he contested a $225,000 listed classic on the clockwise Alexandra Park circuit in Auckland on December 31. He started from the inside barrier on the front line in a field of 11 and was beaten for early speed. He raced four back on the pegs before David Butcher started a three-wide move at the bell. The colt raced three wide without cover in the final lap and moved into third place approaching the home turn before wilting to ninth behind the brilliant Chase Auckland. Two starts before that, King of Swing finished an excellent second to Chase Auckland in a field of 13 in the Group 1 Sires Stakes over 1950m at Addington in Christchurch when the winner rated 1.52.2, with a final 800m in 55.1sec. King of Swing has had two starts in Australia, winning a 2150m semi-final of the Breeders Crown for two-year-old colts and geldings at Bendigo and the 2240m final at Melton last August. He raced three wide for much of the way in the semi-final and he led all the way at Melton. He rated 1.55.1 after a final 800m in 55.2sec. when he beat Colt Thirty One by a short half-head in the semi-final and he rated 1.55.2 when he defeated Poster Boy and Colt Thirty One in the final. King of Swing, by American stallion Rocknroll Hanover, is the first foal out of Artsplace mare Twist And Twirl, who amassed $283,258 from seven wins and eight placings from 22 starts. She won two Group 1 features for three-year-old fillies in New Zealand, including the Northern Oaks. She also had five starts in Victoria in the winter of 2012 for two wins and two seconds. An up-beat Hall Jnr said that King of Swing’s trial at Pinjarra was “super” and that he expected the colt to prove very hard to beat, first-up.  The Hall stable will also be represented in Thursday night’s prelude by Benhope Rulz and Speed Man. Clint Hall will drive Benhope Rulz from the prized No. 1 barrier and the gelding looks set to lead, with King of Swing in the breeze. Speed Man (Stuart McDonald) will start from the outside barrier (No. 9) and is likely to have a soft run before finishing strongly. Ocean Ridge, a newcomer from New Zealand and prepared by Greg Bond, is a promising gelding who made an impressive West Australian debut when he set the pace and won easily at a 1.56.2 rate over 2150m at Pinjarra last Monday week. A winner at Addington at three of his final four starts in New Zealand, Ocean Ridge will start from barrier five. Cott Beach, the only filly in the field, will be driven by Nathan Turvey from barrier four. A winner at 11 of her 23 starts, she was restrained from barrier nine in the Western Gateway Pace last Friday night before flying home from 12th (and last) at the bell to be a neck second to Bechers Brook. Ken Casellas

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