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The remarkable run continues. Champion harness racing trainer Gary Hall has won his 11th TABTOUCH WA Pacing Cup at Gloucester Park after pint-sized pacer Chicago Bull sat without cover for the bulk of 2936m event to defeat John Of Arc and Soho Tribeca. Amazingly, the Hall of Fame horseman has now won the past seven editions. Chicago Bull now joins The Falcon Strike (x3), Tealsby Karita, Im Themightyquinn (x3), Hokonui Ben and My Hard Copy (x2) as Hall trained WA Pacing Cup winners. The victory provides winning reinsman Gary Hall Jnr with his 7th Cup winner and he now joins legendary horseman Phil Coulson as the most successful driver in the events history. Bettors Fire, considered by many as a main challenger was declared a late scratching earlier in the day which forced massive changes to speed maps. Taken back at the start from his wide draw, Chicago Bull was allowed to settle at the rear of the field while the classy mare Major Reality set the early temp before being joined by Beaudiene Boaz. Soon after, Beaudiene Boaz fired up and started to over race which forced driver Clint Hall to challenge for the lead. The lead time was covered in 98.1 seconds. With a moderate speed being set by Beaudiene Boaz, Hall Jnr pounced on the opportunity to make his move and sent Chicago Bull three wide before parking outside his stablemate. The first half of the final mile was covered in 29.5 and 30.4 seconds. Despite racing without cover, Chicago Bull was able to control the race outside the leader. Soho Tribeca pulled three wide at the 1000m point and took up the fight to the Hall stablemates who continued to control the speed. The third quarter was clocked in 27.9 seconds. Racing off the back straight, Chicago Bull raced past Beaudiene Boaz while Soho Tribeca continued to chase strongly. In the straight, Hall Jnr urged Chicago Bull and the gritty four-year-old dug deep and held the fast finishing John Of Arc while Soho Tribeca fought tenaciously for third.  The last quarter was posted in 28.3 seconds. The overall time was 3:34.2 which gives the winner a mile rate of 1:57.4. The victory completes a sweep of the Fremantle/WA Pacing Cups double and Chicago Bull becomes the first pacer since the incomparable Im Themightyquinn (2102) to complete the double in the same season while he joins The Falcon Strike to win the Cups double as four-year-olds.  “He’s a great little horse, his versatility is so good and that makes him such a great racehorse. I made the move once they backed off and I knew that Beaudiene Boaz worked hard early, I was fairly confident once I got outside the leader.” Winning driver Gary Hall Jnr declared. Following four legs of the Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit this season, Chicago Bull joins Lazarus and Dream About Me on 100 points while Inter Dominion winner and New Zealand Cup placegetter Smolda leads the way with 120 points. Interestingly, the Grand Circuit takes on a refreshing look with youth given that Lazarus, Dream About Me and Chicago Bull are all four-year-olds. The next leg of the APG Grand Circuit is the $400,000 Eynesbury Victoria Cup at TABCORP Park, Melton on January 28. Chris Barsby

Greg and Skye Bond, celebrating their century of winners this season when they landed a double at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon, repeated the dose with a double at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening. And they should give punters a flying start by winning the opening event, the TABtouch Pace for three-year-olds at Gloucester Park on Friday night.    The Forrestdale master trainers will be pinning their hopes on Rock Diamonds, who is unbeaten at his first seven starts in Western Australia. The Bonds and reinsman Ryan Warwick are proving an all-conquering combination and they are on top of the national trainers’ and drivers’ premiership tables. An indication of the ability of Rock Diamond, a colt by Rocknroll Hanover who finished third at his only start in New Zealand, is that he has won his seven races in WA by a combined total of 64.7 metres --- an average winning margin of 9.14m. Rock Diamonds warmed up for Friday night’s assignment with an impressive victory at Pinjarra on Monday when he started from the back line, settled at the rear and then charged forward to move into the breeze before surging to the front 400m from home on his way to a four-length victory over Hindu Kumara, rating 1.58.6 over 2692m. Rock Diamonds is closely related to a former star from the Bond stables in Ohokas Bondy, who amassed $388,148 from 22 wins and nine placings from 44 starts. Among his victories were The Golden Slipper in 2010, the Caduceus Club Classic, the Western Gateway Pace and Battle of Bunbury in 2011 and the Nights of Thunder, the Four-Year-Old Classic at Pinjarra and the WA Triple Crown in 2012. Ohokas Bondy’s dam Asabella is the mother of Dancing Diamonds, the dam of Rock Diamonds. Ohokas Bondy’s half-brother Code Red won 12 races, six of them for trainer Gary Hall sen., including the 3309m Marathon Handicap at Gloucester Park in August 2012. Rock Diamonds certainly will not have things all his own way on Friday night when he will rise considerably in class, with his rivals including smart last-start winners in Im Rockaria, Maczaffair and Allmightyjoelouis and talented pacers El Barcelona and Major Pocket. Gary Hall jun. has given punters a strong lead by opting to drive the Michael Brennan-trained Im Rockaria in preference to El Barcelona, trained by his father Gary Hall sen. and the winner at four of his nine starts. “Im Rockaria can beat Rock Diamonds,” declared Hall jun., who drove Im Rockaria to an effortless all-the-way win by more than seven lengths from Bethany Aitch over 2285m at Albany on New Year’s Eve. “He led from barrier one at Albany, which is not a good draw on that track,” said Hall who was driving there for only the second time in his illustrious career. Im Rockaria, the winner of six of his ten starts, will be strongly fancied from the prized No. 1 barrier on Friday night. The Bonds and Warwick, apart from heading the national lists, hold commanding leads in the Statewide premierships. The Bonds have prepared 102 winners from 347 starters this season and lead from Gary Hall sen. (47 winners from 214 starters) and Warwick has had 245 drives for 84 winners and leads from Chris Lewis (70 wins from 393 drives) and Gary Hall jun. (66 wins from 289 starts).   Gloucester Park

Oldbury harness racing horseman Kim Prentice knows what’s needed to win a TABtouch WA Pacing Cup after winning drives behind Baltic Eagle in 2003 and Im Themightyquinn in 2011--- and he gives brilliant four-year-old Soho Tribeca a great chance in the $450,000 Cup over 2936m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. And this is despite the distinct disadvantage of drawing the outside (barrier three) on the back line. “Barrier 12 is not ideal, but over this long journey things could fall in our favour,” the 55-year-old Prentice said. “After the draw, it’s very hard to read how the race will be run and with Soho Tribeca sitting back and doing nothing could work in our favour. I was absolutely ecstatic at his run in the Fremantle Cup last Friday night when second to Chicago Bull. “And I’m even more happy this week. The son of American Ideal has trained on unbelievably well and I feel that he has benefitted immensely from last week’s run. I think he will run an incredible race. I hoppled him at Byford on Tuesday morning and he worked better than he has ever worked. His recovery has been brilliant and I’m extremely happy. ‘’Last week when Chicago Bull got the gap and put three lengths on us I thought I had no hope. I was just hoping he might be able to run second or third. But Soho Tribeca was hitting the line so well that 100 metres out I thought had him. Whether little Bully saw me coming and picked up the bit and got going again, I don’t know. “It’s an extra 400m in this week’s race and I know that my horse will run that on his ear.” Prentice declared that Soho Tribeca was, by far, the second-best pacer he has trained --- behind Baltic Eagle, who in 2003 won the WA Pacing Cup and Fremantle Cup at Gloucester Park and the Interdominion championship in Addington. “I honestly believe that Soho Tribeca has the potential to go all the way to the very, very top,” Prentice said. Last week Soho Tribeca was having his first start for four weeks --- since he raced three wide early, took the lead after 600m and went on to win the Golden Nugget Championship by just under two lengths from Nathans Courage and Chicago Bull. Prentice is convinced that the horse is even stronger and better now. Gloucester Park

Quality harness racing five-year-old Major Reality leapt into serious calculations for the $450,000 TABtouch WA Pacing Cup when she drew the prized No. 1 barrier for the 2936m group 1 event at Gloucester Park on Friday night. But Major Reality will have to end a 45-year drought to win the big race if she is to become the first mare to win WA’s major pacing event since Les Marriott drove seven-year-old Pyramus to victory over Chief Attain and Sir Alex in the 1972 $20,000 WA Pacing Cup, rating 2.6.6 over the two miles. Among the unplaced runners were outstanding pacers Daintys Daughter, Red Vicar, Radiant Oro and Roscott. Pyramus won the inaugural WA Oaks in 1968 and she remains the only pacer to have won the Oaks and WA Pacing Cup. Pyramus is one of only five mares to have won a WA Pacing Cup in the past 70 years, the others being Winsome Bobbie (1946), Portree (1958), Color Glo (1967) and Daintys Daughter (1970). Major Reality, purchased in New Zealand as a yearling for $31,000, won the 2015 WA Oaks from stablemate Quite A Delight and she now boasts a splendid record of 17 wins and eight placings from 29 starts for earnings of $331,736. Trained and driven by Justin Prentice, the daughter of Art Major is a smart beginner and excellent frontrunner who has started from the No. 1 barrier at two of her past four starts for two wins --- when she led and beat The Parade and Hidden Bad in the 2130m Norms Daughter Classic on November 25 (with final quarters in 28sec. and 27.1sec.) and when she led for the first 700m and then sat behind Run Oneover before finishing powerfully to beat that pacer by a length in a 2536m Free-For-All on December 23. Major Reality had no luck at all when she started at 15/1 from the outside of the back line in the Fremantle Cup last Friday night. She raced in seventh position in the one-wide line and was unwinding a strong burst when she locked wheels with John of Arc on the home turn and then was hampered for room in the straight, finishing tenth behind Chicago Bull. John Wulff, who bought Major Reality as a yearling and races the mare in partnership with his father Ron and friends Ryan Hughes and Andrew Ditri, said he expected Prentice to be keen to set the pace. If that is the case there is certain to be fireworks early, with Bettors Fire and Cyamach certain to begin speedily in attempts to take up the running. Ken Casellas

The 67-year-old Hall, who has won the rich feature harness racing event a remarkable ten times in the past 15 years, will be represented by exciting four-year-old Chicago Bull, equine millionaire Beaudiene Boaz and Cyamach in the $450,000 Group 1 WA Pacing Cup event over the marathon trip of 2936m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.. Asked if the weight of expectation of a seventh straight Cup victory was a heavy burden, Hall replied that he was not concerned about the law of averages. “No, I go into these races with an open mind,” he said. “And, hopefully, we’ve got the right horses to do the right job. And I think we have.” He ranked Chicago Bull, winner of the 2536m Fremantle Cup last Friday night, as his best hope. But he said that Beaudiene Boaz was ready to run a big race. Chicago Bull, a diminutive New Zealand-bred Bettor's Delight gelding, is a rising star who has amassed $583,329 from 17 wins and eight placings from only 29 starts. He gave another sample of his class when he raced without cover for the first lap and then enjoyed the ideal one-out, one-back trail before bursting to the front 250m from home and winning by a half-length from fellow four-year-old Soho Tribeca in last week’s Fremantle Cup. Chicago Bull fared poorly in the barrier draw for this week’s big race in which he again will be handled by the trainer’s son Gary Hall jun. (who has driven the winner of the WA Pacing Cup six times). A win on Friday night would result in Hall jun. equalling the record of seven Pacing Cup wins, a feat achieved by Phil Coulson. Chicago Bull will start out wide at barrier eight on the front line. “Obviously, Chicago Bull won’t be involved in the early battle; he’ll go back and will be running home strongly,” said Hall sen. “I’m sure there will be a fair bit of action and that there will be a few people (drivers) looking over their right shoulder in the last lap. “Chicago Bull has done super since his Fremantle Cup win. He was holding Soho Tribeca quite easily on the line.” Beaudiene Boaz, who trailed the pacemaker Devendra before finishing determinedly to be third behind stablemate My Hard Copy in last year’s WA Pacing Cup, is awkwardly drawn at barrier six in this week’s Cup in which he will be driven by Clint Hall, who is aiming to become the first person to drive the winner of the WA Pacing Cup four years in a row --- after winning the past three Cups with Hokonui Ben (2014) and My Hard Copy (2015 and 2016). Beaudiene Boaz a son of Badlands Hanover had a tough run before wilting to ninth in last week’s Fremantle Cup. He paced roughly at the start after one of his hind legs struck a wheel of his sulky. He dashed forward, three wide, in the first lap and moved outside the pacemaker Franco Nelson after a lap before hitting the front 480m from home. He was still in front at the 250m mark (when Chicago Bull surged to the lead). “You can’t discount Beaudiene Boaz’s prospects and I think he’s a good each-way chance,” said Hall sen. “Cyamach a son of Mach Three will be driven by Nathan Turvey from barrier four and he will go forward early in an attempt to lead. He’s essentially a frontrunner.” Hall jun. predicted that there would be abundant early speed and that Chicago Bull would not be bustled in the early stages. “The long journey will suit him.” Greg and Skye Bond, who hold a commanding lead in the Statewide trainers’ premiership table and are the leading trainers in Australia this season, are hoping to break through for their first success in a WA Pacing Cup. They have strong each-way prospects in Our Jimmy Johnstone and Delightful Offer. Our Jimmy Johnstone, an eight-year-old to be driven by Ryan Warwick, will start from out wide at No. 7 on the front line, with five-year-old Delightful Offer (Ryan Bell) starting from barrier No. 3. Our Jimmy Johnstone was an excellent third in last week’s Fremantle Cup and Delightful Offer impressed in running home solidly from last at the bell to be fifth. Our Jimmy Johnstone began fast from barrier seven, but was trapped three wide for the first 500m before Warwick restrained him. He finished boldly from sixth at the bell into third place. “Our Jimmy Johnstone measures up to this class and 2900m is right up his alley,” said Greg Bond. “He’s probably our better chance. Delightful Offer is a developing horse on the way up and I expect him to finish this week’s race as well as most.” Trainer Michael Brennan and reinsman Michael Grantham are looking for a strong effort from seven-year-old The Bucket List from his favourable draw at No. 2 on the front line. “The distance will suit him,” said Brennan. And Grantham said: “I’ll be going out as hard as I can in an attempt to hold on to the back of the speed battle.” Ken Casellas

There is one constant in the TABtouch WA Pacing Cup in recent years --- and that is the appearance of grand stayer Bettors Fire, a New Zealand-bred eight-year-old by Bettor's Delight whose harness racing trainer-driver Kyle Harper has high hopes of breaking through for a win in the $450,000 group 1 event at his fourth attempt.      Bettors Fire, a winner of 31 races and $620,522 from 82 starts, will be the only pacer to have run in the big race in 2014, 2015, 2016 and this year for a fifth behind Hokonui Ben in 2014 and ninths behind My Hard Copy in the past two years. He has a record of four runs in the Fremantle Cup for a second to Im Victorious, fourth to David Hercules, third to Beaudiene Boaz and an excellent eye-catching fourth behind Chicago Bull last Friday night when he surged home from eleventh at the bell. And his form before last week’s effort was good, including victory over Smolda in a 2130m heat of the recent Interdominion championship and a solid sixth behind Smolda in the 2936m final. Bettors Fire will start from the No. 5 barrier on the front line in Friday night’s 2936m Cup and Harper is considering using the gelding’s sparkling gate speed in a bid to burst to an early lead. “We’d certainly like to lead,” Harper said. “But you’ve always got to be a bit careful over the 2900m. I suppose a lot will depend on the speed shown by the four runners drawn on our inside. However, I think we’ve got the speed to cross to the front. But on the other hand, over the long journey the big question is whether you really want to open the floodgates and burn that fuel early. “I think that if he can lead without changing too many gears he will be very hard to beat. These races are not easy to win whether you have a good barrier or not. And you’ve got to respect Major Reality’s gate speed and her ability, and I also rate Soho Tribeca and Delightful Offer as major dangers. “Looking at last week’s Fremantle Cup, the winner Chicago Bull went good, but Bettors Fire went even better. I was really happy with his run. The barrier draw (No. 9) got us. Bettors Fire was about six deep on the home bend and he got home super. No horse likes being six deep on the bend and he probably lost just that quarter of a length turning for home. He was hitting the line just as good as any runner in the race.” Harper agreed that Bettors Fire was finally due to win a big cup. He still has fond memories of his first drive in a WA Pacing Cup on January 21, 2011 when he was in the sulky behind 16/1 chance Mysta Magical Mach, who set the pace and finished a half-length second to superstar Im Themightyquinn. Harper managed to set a dawdling pace with opening quarters of the final mile in 32.7sec. and 31.1sec. before final sections of 27.6sec. and 27.9sec. If Bettors Fire manages to get to an early lead on Friday night Harper certainly will not enjoy the benefit of getting away with such leisurely sectionals. Gloucester Park

Nathans Courage, beaten into second place by Franco Rayner in a qualifying heat of The West Australian Nights of Thunder, can turn the tables on his harness racing arch rival in the $50,000 final over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. That’s the verdict reached by Michael Grantham, whose confidence was boosted after Nathans Courage, trained by Michael Brennan, drew barrier No. 4 and Franco Rayner drew out wide at No. 8. “Obviously, it’s great to draw inside Franco Rayner,” Grantham said. “I’m sure Browny (trainer Colin Brown) will tell Maddison (his daughter) to go forward as hard as they can. It looks a race in two if I get the top and Franco Rayner sits outside of me. If that’s the case I don’t think Franco Rayner can beat me. But it promises to be a great race. “I think that Nathans Courage, who has blistering speed, can cross to the front and then go all the way. Nathans Courage has matured a lot in this preparation and has a lot of bottom to him now. However, Franco Rayner also has a lot of bottom, too.” Colin Brown said that his daughter would make us of Franco Rayner’s brilliant early speed from his wide draw. “Maddison knows the horse well and, obviously, you can’t go back. “It’s a huge advantage to lead at Gloucester Park, but Franco Rayner doesn’t have to lead to be in the thick of it. I’m not saying that we’re going to win it from the breeze, but Franco Rayner has done super since his win in a heat. “All my horses are down at the beach most days now, unless there’s a howling southerly. All the horses love the beach and Franco Rayner struts around like a bantam rooster, puffing his chest out and telling everybody how good he is.” Maddison Brown certainly has built up a great rapport with Franco Rayner. She has driven him ten times for six wins. The New Zealand-bred four-year-old has already earned $137,481 from 13 wins and nine placings from 37 starts. Ace reinsman Gary Hall jun. does not agree that the Nights of Thunder will be a two-horse affair and he gives five-year-old American Boy an excellent winning chance, particularly after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier over the sprint journey. American Boy, trained by Gary Hall sen., has a wonderful 68 per cent winning record, with his 22 starts producing 15 wins and four seconds. American Boy resumed after an absence of just over four months when he raced wide early and then in the one-out, one-back position before sprinting strongly to burst to the lead on the home turn and win by almost two lengths from Char Do Neigh at a 1.54.1 rate in a heat of the Nights of Thunder last Friday night. “I’ll be trying to hold the lead,” Hall jun. said. “American Boy is good enough to win and we’ll certainly be making it tough for his rivals. I know that the other two are going really well, but I would say that American Boy is equally as good as them, if not better. He can win.” Rock Diamonds set for eight in a row Greg and Skye Bond, celebrating their century of winners this season when they landed a double at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon, repeated the dose with a double at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening. And they should give punters a flying start by winning the opening event, the TABtouch Pace for three-year-olds at Gloucester Park on Friday night.    The Forrestdale master trainers will be pinning their hopes on Rock Diamonds, who is unbeaten at his first seven starts in Western Australia. The Bonds and reinsman Ryan Warwick are proving an all-conquering combination and they are on top of the national trainers’ and drivers’ premiership tables. An indication of the ability of Rock Diamond, a colt by Rocknroll Hanover who finished third at his only start in New Zealand, is that he has won his seven races in WA by a combined total of 64.7 metres --- an average winning margin of 9.14m. Rock Diamonds warmed up for Friday night’s assignment with an impressive victory at Pinjarra on Monday when he started from the back line, settled at the rear and then charged forward to move into the breeze before surging to the front 400m from home on his way to a four-length victory over Hindu Kumara, rating 1.58.6 over 2692m. Rock Diamonds is closely related to a former star from the Bond stables in Ohokas Bondy, who amassed $388,148 from 22 wins and nine placings from 44 starts. Among his victories were The Golden Slipper in 2010, the Caduceus Club Classic, the Western Gateway Pace and Battle of Bunbury in 2011 and the Nights of Thunder, the Four-Year-Old Classic at Pinjarra and the WA Triple Crown in 2012. Ohokas Bondy’s dam Asabella is the mother of Dancing Diamonds, the dam of Rock Diamonds. Ohokas Bondy’s half-brother Code Red won 12 races, six of them for trainer Gary Hall sen., including the 3309m Marathon Handicap at Gloucester Park in August 2012. Rock Diamonds certainly will not have things all his own way on Friday night when he will rise considerably in class, with his rivals including smart last-start winners in Im Rockaria, Maczaffair and Allmightyjoelouis and talented pacers El Barcelona and Major Pocket. Gary Hall jun. has given punters a strong lead by opting to drive the Michael Brennan-trained Im Rockaria in preference to El Barcelona, trained by his father Gary Hall sen. and the winner at four of his nine starts. “Im Rockaria can beat Rock Diamonds,” declared Hall jun., who drove Im Rockaria to an effortless all-the-way win by more than seven lengths from Bethany Aitch over 2285m at Albany on New Year’s Eve. “He led from barrier one at Albany, which is not a good draw on that track,” said Hall who was driving there for only the second time in his illustrious career. Im Rockaria, the winner of six of his ten starts, will be strongly fancied from the prized No. 1 barrier on Friday night. The Bonds and Warwick, apart from heading the national lists, hold commanding leads in the Statewide premierships. The Bonds have prepared 102 winners from 347 starters this season and lead from Gary Hall sen. (47 winners from 214 starters) and Warwick has had 245 drives for 84 winners and leads from Chris Lewis (70 wins from 393 drives) and Gary Hall jun. (66 wins from 289 starts). Ken Casellas

The Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit harness racing action returns west this weekend. And it’s without the dominant forces of the All Stars stable and their now very familiar livery of blue with silver stars. The all-conquering Christchurch based combination of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen have swept all three legs to date. From the headshaking performance of Lazarus in the New Zealand Cup back in November followed by the heroics of Smolda in the Inter Dominion in December and then completed by the sublime performance of Dream About Me in the Auckland Cup on New Year’s Eve, it’s fair to say it’s been a whitewash to date for the power couple. Or more accurately, a bluewash! But the Gr.1 $450,000 TABTOUCH WA Pacing Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night doesn’t feature a runner from the All Stars nor does it feature a runner from an eastern states stable which therefore paves the way for a local stable to grab the lion’s share of the loot on offer. The WA Pacing Cup is steeped in tradition and the roll of honour boasts some of the greatest names possible. First staged back in 1913 and won by Letty Lind, the great race has been won by the likes of Beau Don, Radiant Oro, James Eden, Just Too Good, Don’t Retreat, Pure Steel, San Simeon, Gammalite, Preux Chevalier and Village Kid among others. In recent times, names like Westburn Grant, Our Sir Vancelot, The Falcon Strike, Baltic Eagle, Im Themightyquinn and My Hard Copy are listed as winners. Many of these great names listed above have won the Cup on more than occasion. The WA Pacing Cup is a race of strength and toughness, only the best survive the arduous battle of the 2936m mobile start event. Champion trainer Gary Hall has won the Cup more than any other trainer; the wily veteran has won the past six editions while he has won 10 of the past 15 Cups. The haul of Hall includes The Falcon Strike (x3), Tealsby Karita, Im Themightyquinn (x3), Hokonui Ben and My Hard Copy (x2). On Friday night, he will have three runners engaged. Last week’s Fremantle Cup winner Chicago Bull shoots for the big double while multiple feature race winner Beaudiene Boaz and the classy Cyamach represent his Serpentine stable. Again Gary Hall Jnr will partner the pint sized four-year-old Chicago Bull and if successful, he will join the legendary Phil Coulson as the most successful driver in Pacing Cup history. Coulson steered to victory Lord Mina, Colour Glo, Pure Steel (x3), Gammalite and Village Kid, his victories spanning from 1965 to 1985. Hall Jnr victories include The Falcon Strike (x3), Tealsby Karita and Im Themightyquinn (x2). Ironically, the last four-year-old to win the Pacing Cup was The Falcon Strike back in 2002. While the Hall stable has claimed the Pacing Cup during the past six years, no driver has won the Pacing Cup four straight times. Enter Clint Hall. The talented horseman has won the past three editions with Hokonui Ben and My Hard Copy (x2), this year he will partner Beaudiene Boaz. The Hall runners have drawn gates 4 (Cyamach), 6 (Beaudiene Boaz) and 8 (Chicago Bull). Nathan Turvey partners Cyamach. Star mare Major Reality landed the inside gate (1) but must defy recent history to win the Cup; the last mare to win the state’s showcase event was Pyramus back in 1972 while Dainty’s Daughter won in 1970. Outstanding young horseman Justin Prentice prepares Major Reality and is yet to taste Cup success while his father Kim is a dual winner after Baltic Eagle (2003) and Im Themightyquinn (2011) proved triumphant. This year, Kim will aim for another Cup trophy with Soho Tribeca, a richly talented pacer racing in excellent form but he must overcome gate 12, the outside of the second-line. The speedy Bettors Fire has drawn ideally in gate 5 for talented young horseman Kyle Harper, his father Lindsay won the Pacing Cup back in 2001 with Havago. Champion reinsman Chris Lewis recently celebrated his 5000th career winner and again takes a drive in the Pacing Cup aboard John Of Arc (gate 10), Lewis is a five times winner. Lewis drove Village Kid (x3), Hilarion Star and Saab. Trainer Ross Olivieri prepares Our Jericho (gate 11) and tasted Cup success back in 1999 with Saab. Morgan Woodley takes the drive aboard Our Jericho. The state’s leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond are chasing their maiden success in the Pacing Cup and have a dual pronged attack through Delightful Offer (gate 3) and Our Jimmy Johnstone (gate 7). Ryan Warwick will partner Our Jimmy Johnstone, the Warwick name features on the honour roll through Trevor (Our Ian Mac – 1987) and Justin (Admirals Avenue – 2002) while Ryan Bell will take the drive behind Delightful Offer. Also chasing their maiden Cup success are Mick Brennan (The Bucket List) and John Oldroyd (Mynameskenny). The Bucket List will start from gate 2 for driver Michael Grantham while Mynameskenny starts from gate 9 for driver Chris Voak. The TABTOUCH WA Pacing Cup is scheduled as race 7 and listed to start at 8.10pm local time. Chris Barsby

The all-important barrier draw for the harness racing 2017 G1 $450,000 TABtouch WA Pacing Cup will be conducted in JP’s Sports Bar at Gloucester Park tomorrow. The Field will be released by Racing and Wagering Western Australia at approximately 9am, with the draw scheduled to take place at approximately 2pm WA time and streamed live on the Gloucester Park Harness Racing Facebook page – www.facebook/gloucesterpark. Boom four-year-olds and last week’s G1 Retravision Fremantle Cup quinella, Chicago Bull and Soho Tribeca, will head the field after both produced a brilliant performance in their first test in open company. Chicago Bull finished on top, but Soho Tribeca, the G1 Retravision Golden Nugget winner for Kim Prentice lost no admirers with a courageous second. Third place-getter Jimmy Johnstone is certain to back-up along with regular big race contender Bettors Fire. Beaudiene Boaz, who finished down the track after a tough run and carrying a flat tyre should also take his place in the line-up. Franco Nelson will not start after a disappointing last placed performance despite leading-up the Fremantle Cup, paving the way for Cyamach, a stablemate to Chicago Bull, to force his way into the field after taking out a virtual Consolation of the Fremantle Cup last Friday night. Throughout this week, GPTV will have an extended preview of the TABtouch WA Pacing Cup, speaking to all the main players. GPTV can be found at www.gloucesterpark.com.au A big crowd is expected at Gloucester Park on Friday Night, there is fun for the whole family, with kids entertainment from the Radio Lollipop Roadshow, live music on the trackside stage and a new menu in JP’s, created by Gloucester Park Head Chef Daniel Batson. The evening will be capped off with a display of the famous Gloucester Park fireworks after the last race. Gates open at 4.30 pm on Friday 13 January, with the first race at 5.20 pm. Bookings can be still made for the all-you-can-eat Beau Rivage Seafood Buffet by calling 08 9323 3530. For more details visit www.gloucesterpark.com.au Race programme for Gloucester Park, Friday 13 January 2017

There is not much of Chicago Bull but it didn't stop the talented harness racing four-year-old beating the older horses in the $300,000 Group 1 Fremantle Pacing Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The New Zealand bred son of Bettor's Delight  is set to step into Grand Circuit company in next Friday's Western Australian Pacing Cup as favourite after rating 1.56.7 in his Fremantle Cup victory, which had trainer Gary Hall snr singing his praises "Chicago Bull is probably the smallest horse I've trained," Hall told the West Australian. "He's a little more than pony-sized. But he's a dynamic powerhouse."      

Champion reinsman Chris Lewis drove four winners at the Bunbury New Year's Eve harness racing meeting and the fourth of them was the appropriately named Im The Best which will go down as Lewis’s 5000th career winner. Only the Victorian duo of Chris Alford and Gavin Lang have previously passed the 5000 wins milestone in Australia. Lewis’s achievement is all the more remarkable in that he only has access to four meetings per week to compete at compared to the seven days per week schedule in Victoria and he has averaged more than 110 winners per season across 45 seasons as a reinsman. The master reinsman seemed destined for a career with horses when he was born on the horse’s birthday of 1st August in 1955. He drove his first winner as a 16yo on 11th January 1972 behind Classic Heir at Kapunda and his second winner at Globe Derby Park on 4th February 1972 with Carclew in the South Australian Guineas – it was Chris’s first feature race win. It is worth noting that in 1972 there were no junior or novice drivers concessions and young drivers had to compete from the outset with senior drivers including in Chris’s case the likes of Dick Webster, Kevin Brook, Max Evans and Bill Shinn. Chris became the youngest driver of an Inter Dominion winner when he was successful in his then home-town of Adelaide in the 1976 final behind Carclew which was trained by his father Allen. Carclew upset a massive betting plunge on the WA trained Pure Steel, which finished second. Chris won a second Inter Dominion in 1986 in Brisbane with the legendary Western Australian pacer Village Kid. Chris also finished second with Village Kid in the 1985 Inter Dominion held in Melbourne and won by fellow West Australian pacer Preux Chevalier. Chris first drove at Gloucester Park on 11th June 1976 when he took part in the inaugural Australian Young Drivers Championship. While he didn’t win the title that year he did win a race that night behind the Ben Geersen trained Burgundy. That was the first of 2577 Perth winners and his career total of 5000 winners includes two in Moscow and one in the USA. His 2577 Perth winners have seen Chris win Nine Perth Driver’s Premierships and an unprecedented 33 successive Top Five finishes between the 1983/84 and 2015/16 seasons. Chris became one of only four West Australians to win the national title when he beat Victorian ace Chris Alford to claim Australia’s Leading Driver Title (wins) in 1995 with an Australian Record tally of 211 winners. He has driven a total of 52 Group One winners in races that include the Inter Dominion (SA & QLD), WA Pacing Cup, Fremantle Cup, WA Derby, WA Oaks, WA Golden Slipper Stakes, Australian Pacing Championship, M H Treuer Memorial (NSW), Australian Pacing Gold (Vic), WA Golden Nugget Championship , Bathurst Gold Tiara (NSW), NSW Miracle Mile. In 2010 Chris was inducted into The West Australian Racing Industry Hall of Fame. Alan Parker

Millionaire star pacer Beaudiene Boaz is poised to notch his twelfth win in a group feature event by proving too strong and speedy for his 11 harness racing rivals in the $60,000 Village Kid Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The brilliant New Zealand-bred five-year-old boasts the longest losing sequence (eight) of his magnificent 42-start career, but he is cherry ripe to bounce back to winning form. And his task of winning the 2130m Village Kid Pace was made significantly easier when he drew favourably at the No. 2 barrier on the front line. Gary Hall jun. should have no difficulty in sending Beaudiene Boaz straight to the front, with Shannon Suvaljko appearing certain to be content to take the trail with veteran pacer and polemarker El Machine, who has managed just one placing from his past 19 starts. Twelve months ago Beaudiene Boaz set the pace from the No. 1 barrier and won the 1730m Village Kid Sprint in convincing fashion from stablemates My Hard Copy, John of Arc and Waylade. He went on to win the Fremantle Cup before finishing third in the WA Pacing Cup at his next two starts. Now owners Beth Richardson, Glen Moore, Karen Hall, Andrew Curran, Gary Ralston and Matt Walker are looking forward confidently to Beaudiene Boaz going one better by winning the treble of the $60,000 Village Kid Pace, the $300,000 Fremantle Cup and the $450,000 WA Pacing Cup. Curiously, the Village Kid Sprint has been renamed the Village Kid Pace to be run over 2130m. The Village Kid Sprint was formerly known as the Celebrity Sprint and was renamed in 2012 to honour the former superstar pacer who died earlier that year. The first 18 runnings of this feature event were decided over 1609m in its first year (1998) and then over 1700m (six times), 1740m (twice), 1742m (twice) and 1730m (seven times). Beaudiene Boaz will be a hot odds-on favourite in Friday night’s event, a far cry from when he won the first of his six group 1 events, the $150,000 Emerald for two-year-olds at Cambridge in May 2014 when he was making his final appearance in New Zealand. Driven by Zac Butcher, Beaudiene Boaz was a $38.90 outsider when he raced three back on the pegs before charging home, four wide, to snatch a last-stride head victory from Bettor Spirits, rating 1.54, a track record for a two-year-old over 1700m. Since then Beaudiene Boaz has won another five group 1 events --- the 2014 Golden Slipper, the WA Derby, McInerney Ford Classic and Golden Nugget Championship in 2015 and the 2016 Fremantle Cup. He has also won three group 2 events and two group 3 races. Beaudiene Boaz has been freshened up since competing strongly at the TABtouch Interdominion Championship series in which he finished second to Lennytheshark, fourth to Hectorjayjay and second to Smolda in qualifying heats before finishing a splendid third behind Smolda and Hectorjayjay in the final. He holds the track record for 2130m --- a 1.52.9 rate which he set when he came from last in the middle stages to easily beat Bettors Fire in the Navy Cup last September. Beaudiene Boaz is one of four runners trained by Gary Hall sen. In Friday night’s race, the others being star four-year-old Chicago Bull, Cyamach and Ideal Alice. Chicago Bull, a winner at 16 of his 27 starts, cannot be underestimated. He gave another sample of his class two starts ago when he was 11th in the middle stages before surging home, out wide, from ninth at the bell to score an easy win over Vanquished in the group 1 McInerney Ford Classic over 2536m at a 1.54.9 rate. Then, two weeks later, Chicago Bull started out wide at barrier eight and was 11th with two laps to travel before finishing determinedly from seventh at the bell to be third behind Soho Tribeca and Nathans Courage in the 2536m group 1 Golden Nugget Championship. The final two quarters, off the front, were covered in 28.1sec. and 27.5sec. Hall has won the Village Kid Sprint (Celebrity Sprint) a record four times --- with The Falcon Strike (2003), Rakarebel (2011), Hokonui Ben (2013) and Beaudiene Boaz (12 months ago). He has also trained three second placegetters --- Franco Amon (2007), Talk To Me Courage (2009) and My Hard Copy (on January 1 this year). The State’s leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond have three runners in the Village Kid Pace, with Our Jimmy Johnstone (Ryan Warwick) their best prospect from the No. 5 barrier on the front line, ahead of Franco Nelson (Ryan Bell at barrier six) and Change Stride (Chris Lewis) facing a difficult task from the outside of the back line. Our Jimmy Johnstone is a quality performer who maintained his good form with an excellent, close-up third behind Cyamach and Ultimate Art in the 2936m Interdominion Championship Consolation three Fridays ago after racing three wide in the early stages and then in the breeze. Mynameskenny, a smart five-year-old trained at Byford by John Oldroyd, has won at 21 of his 40 starts and is handily drawn at barrier three on the front line. Reinsman Chris Voak will be hoping to gain an ideal passage, one-out and one-back with Mynameskenny, who enjoyed a similar run when he sprinted home fast to beat the pacemaker Cyamach and Waylade over 2130m last Friday week. Ken Casellas

Busselton tree lopping contractor Barry Howlett’s dream run of successes looks set to continue when he starts Bettor Be Supreme in the $25,000 final of the Coulson Pace for harness racing mares at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The big, powerful lightly-raced five-year-old has drawn ideally at the No. 2 barrier on the front line in the 2130m event and Chris Lewis will be aiming for an all-the-way victory. Howlett trains Bettor Be Supreme and races her in partnership with his wife Lyn and their son Jim. He is riding high and has a remarkable strike rate this season, with his first 64 starters producing 25 wins, ten seconds and three thirds to have him in fourth place in the Statewide trainers’ premiership table, behind Greg and Skye Bond (93 winners from 308 starters), Gary Hall sen. (42 winners from 196 starters) and Courtney Burch (26 wins from 166 starters). Howlett purchased Bettor Be Supreme in New Zealand as a yearling and the filly won at her debut when Tony Herlihy drove the Brent Mangos-trained pacer to victory at 7/1 at a 2.0.2 rate over 1700m at Alexandra Park on March 21, 2014. She raced behind the pacemaker before finishing strongly along the sprint lane to win by a half neck after sprinting the final 400m in 27.9sec. She finished third behind Joanne’s Delight in the group 1 Sires Stakes Championship at Alexandra Park and was 3rd behind Katy Perry in another classic event for two-year-old fillies. Her six New Zealand starts produced one win, three placings and $45,499 and she travelled to Western Australia in November 2014. Howlett gave the filly plenty of time to mature and she raced only twice as a three-year-old --- for wins at Pinjarra and Bunbury in August 2015. Seven wins from nine WA starts have boosted her career figures to $85,929 from just 15 starts. Bettor Be Supreme warmed up for this week’s assignment with a smart all-the-way victory over the fast-finishing Jungle Jewel, rating 1.58.4 over the 2185m journey at Pinjarra last Monday week when she dashed over the final 400m in 27.2sec. Howlett will also be represented in this week’s event by Fay Darling, another New Zealand-bred five-year-old who has had 20 starts for five wins and seven placings. However, Fay Darling, a last-start third behind Giuliana Rancic at Pinjarra, will be at liberal odds after drawing out wide at barrier eight on the front line. Bettor Be Supreme is a versatile pacer, who has won races by leading and has also impressed with some powerful finishing bursts. Eastwood Crystal (barrier one) and My Samantha Jane (three) also possess excellent gate speed and excel as pacemakers. Therefore, there should be a keen tussle for the early lead. The Justin Prentice-trained Quite A Delight, to be handled by Tom Buchanan, has a losing sequence of ten and is awkwardly drawn at barrier five. However, she is a talented mare who has won at nine of her 25 starts and is capable of causing an upset. Blacknsweet Adda and Forever Remembered are racing with commendable verve and also cannot be discounted. Bettors Gem, trained and driven by Shane Young, has had no luck in recent starts and should be prominent from the inside of the back line. Howlett also has sound prospects with Major Stare in the $14,999 TABtouch New Year’s Eve Cup over 2100m at Bunbury on Saturday night. Major Stare, who has had seven starts in WA for five wins and two seconds, will clash with Master Jaxon (a winner at each of his past four starts), the Gary Elson-trained pair of Sprinter and Scoobys Delight and last-start Gloucester Park winner Mister Daytona. Ken Casellas

Harness racing Punters who burnt their fingers when the heavily-supported Ultimate Major finished second to This Time Dylan in the Mount Eden-No Dill Christmas Handicap last Friday night should forgive the six-year-old for his defeat and support him to win the Entertainment With Horsepower Handicap, a stand over 2503m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Ultimate Major, favourite at 9/4, ruined his chances when he broke into a gallop at the start of last week’s race. He was eighth at the bell before unwinding a spirited burst to finish second, just one metre behind This Time Dylan. There were excuses for Ultimate Major’s poor start. Like some of his rivals, he was edgy when the race got under way at the second attempt --- after a malfunction with the tapes caused a false start to be called. A week earlier Ultimate Major, trained at Capel by Andrew de Campo and driven by his son Aiden, impressed with a powerful burst to finish third behind Galactic Star and Straight Thru Blue. The Dylan Egerton-Green-trained Waltzing With Cullen is the lone backmarker off 20m and he looks the main danger to Ultimate Major. Waltzing With Cullen started off 20m last Friday night and he gave a strong performance to run home boldly, out wide, from last in a field of 12 at the bell to be a very close third behind This Time Dylan and Ultimate Major.      Waltzing With Cullen is a seasoned veteran of 106 starts for 20 wins and 46 placings. The eight-year-old has resumed after a spell in grand style, with his seven starts this season producing two wins, two seconds and three thirds. Ken Casellas

As at 24th December 2016, harness racing driver Chris Lewis had driven 4994 winners since he began driving in 1972 in South Australia. His first winner in Perth was on 11th June 1976 and he and his family moved to Western Australia in 1979 when his career wins tally stood at 143. His 4994 winners include at least one in each Australian State plus a double at a meeting in Moscow and a winner in the USA. He was Australia’s leading driver in 1995 with 211 winners and has driven 100 winners in each of the past 23 seasons. Follow the journey over the next few weeks as Chris heads towards 5000 winners. Gloucester Park

The Christmas Gift is one of the very few feature harness racing events that has eluded Chris Lewis and at Gloucester Park on Friday night he will have an excellent opportunity to right that wrong by winning the $35,000 group 3 race with rising star Im Full of Excuses. Im Full of Excuses, a lightly-raced New Zealand-bred five-year-old trained by Ross Olivieri, has captured the imagination of harness racing fans with superb victories at each of his past seven starts. However, he faces a serious moment of truth on Friday night when he starts out wide at the No. 8 barrier on the front line in the 2130m event and clashes with another up-and-coming star in Rub of the Green, who has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier. Lewis, who is riding on the crest of a wave with three winners at Gloucester Park last Saturday night, four at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon and two at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening, has driven in more than 30 Christmas Gift finals without success. He has finished in second place five times --- behind Nippy Rendina (1990), Downtown Boy (1992), Regunya Boy (1993), Michael Leslie (1998) and Heez On Fire (2014). He has driven six Olivieri-trained pacers in a Christmas Gift without success --- Grand Canyon (third in 1995), Chequered Flag (fifth in 1996), Our Dream Scene (fourth in 2007), Few Good Men (fifth in 2010), Mon Gee (fourth in 2011) and Sensational Gabby (seventh in 2013). Lewis, who is on the doorstep of notching his 5000th winner, is excited at the potential of Im Full of Excuses, declaring the Jeremes Jet gelding is still on a learning curve, but has a high cruising speed, an asset he revealed in a qualifying heat last Friday night when he set the pace and sped over the final quarters in 27.9sec. and 27.8sec. and rated 1.55.6. Rub of the Green was equally impressive in winning his heat, rating 1.55.3, and trainer Michael Brennan said at the time: “If we draw to lead in the final and Im Full of Excuses had to sit outside of us, I don’t think he could beat Rub of the Green.” Gary Hall jun. again will be in the sulky behind Rub of the Green and has a high opinion of the New Zealand-bred Mach Three five-year-old who has a splendid record of 28 starts for 16 wins, six seconds and one third. Rub of the Green started from the outside barrier in his heat and raced at the rear before Hall sent him forward, three wide, approaching the bell. Rub of the Green quickly dashed into second place at the 500m mark and he sustained his effort to hit the front 100m from the post and win by a metre from the pacemaker Bronze Seeker. “I was a little bit worried on the home bend,” Hall explained. “He’s a bit lazy and didn’t really knuckle down until I really got up him. I went from thinking I was in trouble on the home turn to knowing ‘we’re good’ within a stride. And that’s the good thing about him.” Hall has already won the Christmas Gift twice, scoring with Livingontheinterest in 2012 and Tuxedo Tour in 2014. A win to Im Full of Excuses would give Olivieri his third Christmas Gift after scoring with Savette (driven by Gary Lilleyman) in 1992 and Im A Peregrine (Stuart McDonald) last year. Gary Hall sen. Is pinning his hopes on a sixth Christmas Gift on four-year-old King Lebron, who will be driven by his elder son Clint from the favourable No. 2 barrier. King Lebron won for the tenth time from 27 starts when he trailed the pacemaker Padabing Stride and finished powerfully to win a qualifying heat from Bounty Eyre last Friday night. Hall sen. Has won the Christmas Gift with Nixons Creed (1993), Allioop (2004), McRaes Mate (2007), Livingontheinterest (2012) and Toretto (2013). Livura, one of nine New Zealand-bred pacers in this week’s final, is in top form for trainer-reinsman Nathan Turvey. But his prospects diminished when he drew out wide at barrier seven. He gave a bold frontrunning performance to win his heat by four lengths from Rusty Rockets. But this week Turvey will be looking to give the five-year-old a soft run before relying on a strong finishing burst. Ken Casellas  

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