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Harness racing backmarker triumphs in Easter Cup. As Happy As Larry, a $10.40 chance, made light of being the sole backmarker off 50 metres when trainer Robbie Williams produced a near perfect drive to land him an impressive winner of the $40,000 Easter Cup over 2902m at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. The victory was a welcome compensation for the eight-year-old’s desperately close fast-finishing second to Mighty Conqueror in the 2019 Easter Cup. Punters rallied to send Taroona Bromac out as a hot $1.70 favourite despite the four-year-old not having contested a standing-start event. Taroona Bromac began safely from the 20m mark before breaking into a gallop moments after the start and dropping back to the rear in the field of eleven. Outsider On My Oath led for the first 550m before Always An Honour, who had begun brilliantly off 30m, swept into the lead. Ryan Warwick seized the initiative by sending Taroona Bromac forward with a swift move after the completion of a lap --- and this proved a vital ingredient in As Happy As Larry’s victory.   Williams followed Taroona Bromac’s three-wide burst and he then skilfully manoeuvred As Happy As Larry into the one-out, two-back position after Dylan Egerton-Green eased the polemarker Where Ya Bin off the pegs into the one-out, one-back position, behind Taroona Bromac in the breeze. After Always An Honour had sprinted over the third quarter of the final mile in 28.2sec., Taroona Bromac began to wilt, and Williams set As Happy As Larry alive with a four-wide burst from the 250m. This carried As Happy As Larry into the lead on the home turn and the New Zealand-bred gelding won comfortably by just over a length from Where Ya Bin, who finished with a determined surge. On My Oath ran on solidly to be third, just ahead of Rum Delight. Miss Sangrial did a fine job in finishing strongly from last at the bell to be a close-up fifth, with Taroona Bromac fading to tenth. As Happy As Larry is by American sire Live Or Die and is the third and last foal out of Smart Shelley, a mare who managed one win and five placings from nine starts in New Zealand before being retired. As Happy As Larry won twice from 17 starts in New Zealand and now has raced 53 times for Williams in WA for 14 wins and 21 placings for a career record of 16 wins, 28 placings and $219,964 in stakes. To watch the video replay of As Happy As Larry's victory click here. Four in a row for Shockwave Star four-year-old Shockwave enhanced his reputation as Western Australia’s best pacer when he overcame the disadvantage of starting from the outside barrier in a field of seven to score an exciting victory in the Simmonds Steel Free-For-All at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. The WA-bred stallion by Mach Three, prepared by Ryan Bell, extended his winning sequence to four and looms large as the State’s leading candidate for the Interdominion Pacing championship in New South Wales in November and December, as well as the rich WA Pacing Cup and Fremantle Cup at Gloucester Park in the New Year. Aiden de Campo stole a march on his rivals when he got Shockwave away speedily from behind the mobile barrier in the 1730m sprint and  immediately slotted into the ideal one-out, one-back position as Ocean Ridge set the pace, with stablemate Galactic Star in the breeze and Golden State behind the leader. De Campo bided his time before urging Shockwave forward, three wide, 300m from home. Galactic Star took a narrow lead at the 250m mark before Shockwave, the $2.05 favourite, burst to the front on the home turn and fought on grimly to win by a head from evergreen 11-year-old Our Jimmy Johnstone, who had raced three back on the pegs. Golden State was third and Galactic Star fourth in a blanket finish. Shockwave rated 1.53.4, with final quarters of 27.6sec. and 27.7sec. He now has had 36 starts for 14 wins, 11 placings and stakes of $370,057. To watch the video replay of Shockwave's win click here Sweet Maddison is Oaks bound New Zealand-bred filly Sweet Maddison is developing into a strong contender for the $150,000 WA Oaks on May 1. Prepared by Michael Brennan, Sweet Maddison ($2.80) notched her fifth win in a row and the sixth in a ten-start career when Michael Grantham drove her to a strong victory over Fifty Five Reborn and Advance Your Dream in the Mondo Doro Smallgoods Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. She began speedily from the No. 6 barrier and forged to the front after 220m, with a smart lead time of 36.5sec. The final quarters were covered in 27.7sec. and 28.9sec. and she rated 1.57.1. The Colin Brown-trained and driven Fifty Five Reborn also was impressive. She broke in the score-up and settled down a distinct last in the field of eight before sustaining a spirited three-wide burst from the rear at the bell. Advance Your Dream also did well to finish strongly, out three wide, to come from seventh at the bell to be third, just ahead of the $2.65 favourite Star Fromthepalace, who trailed the pacemaker Sweet Maddison and was hampered for room in the final stages. Sweet Maddison is by American sire Sweet Lou and is related to former good WA performers Pazam and Our Amazing Art. To watch the video replay of Sweet Maddison's victory click here. Machnificent is all class A quick glance at the pedigree of Machnificent is not particularly exciting. The colt is by super sire Mach Three and is the sixth foal out of Honourable Daughter, who was retired after finishing at the rear at each of her six starts in 2010. Honourable Daughter produced three modest performers, Master Flynn (five wins from 86 starts), Beach Landing (four wins from 30 starts) and For Honourandglory (two wins from 25 starts). But delving deeper, we discover that Honourable Daughter’s great granddam Chaangerr (six wins and $75,860 from 30 starts) is a full-sister to former champion pacer Chokin, who amassed $1,801,685 from 34 wins and 11 placings from 59 starts. Chaangerr’s progeny include the mighty Changeover (29 wins, 16 placings and earnings of $2,321,676 from 66 starts) and Change Stride (133 starts for 27 wins, 36 placings and $362,803). Two-year-old Machnificent, favourite at $1.50, trained at Byford by Katja Warwick and driven by Gary Hall jnr, gave a powerful frontrunning display to win from Star of Willoughby and Robbie Rocket at a 1.58.9 rate in the 1730m Happy Easter Pace at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. The disappointing runner was Lavra Joe ($3) who overraced and did not threaten danger. He finished last in the field of five. To watch the video replay of Machnificent's victory click here Typhoon Tiff returns in style Classy pacer Typhoon Tiff reappeared at Gloucester Park on Thursday night after an absence of almost ten months when she gave a dashing frontrunning display to win the 2130m Retravision Pace for mares. Produced in fine fettle by Banjup trainer-reinsman Colin Brown, the Bettor's Delight four-year-old was a $6.50 chance from barrier four at her first appearance since winning the $100,000 group 1 Westbred Classic for three-year-old fillies last June. Six-year-old Gotta Go Gabbana started from the outside barrier in the field of nine and Chris Lewis sent her forward, three wide, in a spirited bid to assume the breeze position. But Pick My Pocket (Michael Grantham) made his intentions clear that he was not about to relinquish the position outside the pacemaker, forcing Lewis to ease Gotta Go Gabbana back to the rear. Pick My Pocket performed strongly in the breeze and did well to finish third, just a half-head behind the second placegetter Millwood Molly, who finished gamely after enjoying an ideal passage, one-out and one-back. Balcatherine, having her first start for 12 months, was favourite at $2.50. She trailed the pacemaking Typhoon Tiff but was blocked for a clear passage in the home straight and finished an unlucky fourth. Dracarys found that barrier No. 8 was a major impediment and she raced at the rear before finishing in eighth place. Typhoon Tiff now has raced 12 times for breeder-owner Colleen Lindsay for eight wins, two placings and $151,539. To watch the video replay of Typhoon Tiff's victory click here Valbonne holds on grimly Smart four-year-old Valbonne gave owner Albert Walmsley a flying start to the Easter weekend when he set the pace and held on with grim determination to win the 2536m TABtouch Pace at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. This gave Walmsley the first of three winners in the space of 20 hours. He also was successful with Sweet Maddison on Thursday night and with three-year-old The Code Breaker, who led and won over 2185m at Pinjarra on Friday afternoon. Valbonne, favourite at $2.30 and driven by Michael Grantham, led from barrier three and was kept under pressure for much of the race by the $2.90 second fancy Soho Thunderstruck, who began from the outside of the back line and quickly dashed forward to the breeze position. After opening quarters of the final mile in 30.7sec. and 30.1sec., Valbonne increased the tempo with final 400m sections of 27.7sec. and 28.8sec. and held on to beat his adversary by a half-head at a 1.58.8 rate. Valbonne, by Mach Three and the second foal out of the unraced New Zealand mare Sayang, has had 42 starts for ten wins, nine placings and $88,010 in prizemoney. To watch the video replay of Valbonne's victory click here. The Bird Dance bounces back Promising New Zealand-bred four-year-old The Bird Dance bounced back to form after his unplaced effort when having a torrid run a fortnight earlier when he set the pace and held on to win by a neck from Iceenothink in the 2536m Etch Coating Pace at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. Prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond and driven by Ryan Warwick, The Bird Dance was favourite at $1.60 and he made life extremely tough for his rivals with solid quarters of the final mile in 29.4sec., 29.7sec., 29sec. and 28.9sec. Iceenothink ($6) maintained his excellent form. He started out wide at barrier eight and settled down in ninth place before he sustained a spirited three-wide burst over the final 650m. Talkerup did well to finish third after racing without cover throughout. By A Rocknroll Dance The Bird Dance has earned $65,693 from 11 wins from 15 starts. He won twice from five starts in New Zealand and has won at nine of his ten outings in Western Australia. To watch the video replay of The Bird Dance winning click here Good Times Ahead end losing run of 31 Even though he went into the Perth Plasterboard Centre Pace over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Thursday nighty with a losing sequence of 31 over the past 12 months, Good Times Ahead was favourite at $4.10. And the New Zealand-bred seven-year-old by Mach Three justified this confidence by setting the pace for star reinsman Gary Hall jnr and winning by a neck from Qtown Rip Roaring, who ran on strongly from sixth at the bell. This gave Good Times Ahead his third win from 55 starts at Gloucester Park, with his other wins in a 106-start career being at Albany (eight), Wagin (two) and one each at Pinjarra and Narrogin. To watch the video replay click here Bettor Be Oscar is consistent WA-bred four-year-old Bettor Be Oscar ($3.40) maintained his wonderful consistent form when he won for the fifth times from his latest eight starts, scoring by just over a length from the $2.80 favourite Miracle Moose in the 2130m Direct Trades Supply Pace at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. Aiden de Campo got Bettor Be Oscar away swiftly from barrier five and the gelding took over the role of pacemaker from polemarker Absolution after 550m. He sped over the final quarters in 28.7sec. and 28.1sec. and improved his record to 43 starts for 11 wins, 21 placings and $91,525 in stakes. By Bettor's Delight he has inherited much of ability of his dam Copper Beach Girl, who earned $156,851 from 14 wins and 24 placings from 84 starts. Miracle Moose, the Nathan Turvey-trained four-year-old, again revealed his excellent sit-sprint ability by finishing powerfully from ninth at the bell. He will pay to follow. To watch the video replay click here No trouble for Mighty Santana Leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond will be looking forward for further successes from their lightly-raced New Zealand-bred six-year-old Mighty Santana, who was untroubled to coast to victory in the 2130m Westral Pace at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. Favourite at $1.30, Mighty Santana began smoothly from barrier four and Ryan Warwick sent him past the polemarker Gangbuster and into the lead after 120m. Mighty Santana rated 1.58.5 and beat Gangbuster by just under two lengths. By Santanna Blue Chip, Mighty Santana won at five of his 17 starts in New Zealand and his 24 WA starts have produced six wins and nine placings. To watch the video replay click here By Ken Casellas

Ross Olivieri, the leading trainer in Western Australia eight times, and champion reinsman Chris Lewis have combined to win the Channel 7 Marathon Handicap a record four times and they are confident that they can notch a fifth victory in the 3309m stand at Gloucester Park on Friday night. They are pinning their faith in the New Zealand-bred five-year-old Motu Premier, who at his 50th start in a race, will be attempting to become the first horse in the 25-year history of the Marathon Handicap to win the race twice. Motu Premier is a proven stayer owned by Merv Butterworth, who raced Chief Thundercloud and Our Jericho, who won the Marathon for the Olivieri-Lewis team in 2015 and 2016, respectively.  Before that, Olivieri and Lewis were successful with the Neville Dewhurst-owned Nickelmeldon in 2009. Motu Premier was the 5-4 favourite in last year’s race when he started off the 30m mark. Lewis stole a march on his rivals when he set Motu Premier alight soon after the start and the gelding burst to the lead after a lap. Then, after sections of 29.6sec., 31.2sec. and 29.3sec., Motu Premier sprinted over the final 400m in 28.9sec. to win by just over a length from The Bucket List, who started from 40m and sustained a strong three-wide burst from ninth in the middle stages. This year Motu Premier will share the 40m mark with Runrunjimmydunn and Devendra and Lewis is likely to adopt the same aggression as he used so successfully 12 months ago. In a field of nine and with only one horse (Cracka Star) off the front and two (Always Arjay and Swimbetweentheflags) off 10m, drivers off the back marks are expected to make strong attacking moves in the early stages. Cracka Star relishes the role of pacemaker, but he rises a great deal in class and it is difficult to suggest he can succeed against several far-better credentialled rivals. He will be handled by Luke Edwards for trainer Debbie Padberg, who prepared Rocket Reign for his Marathon victory in 2014 when he started off 40m and surged home from eighth at the bell to beat This Time Dylan. Always Arjay is a standing-start specialist with a record of 23 starts in stands for seven wins, four seconds, two thirds and five fourths. Confident part-owner and trainer Matt Scott said that he expected Always Arjay to run a super race. “Stands are his forte and if he can lead he is capable of beating the backmarkers,” he predicted. Always Arjay is in splendid form. Although he has a losing sequence of 16, he has finished second at each of his past four starts. He raced three wide early and then in the one-out, one-back position before finishing strongly to be second to Courage Tells in a 2130m mobile last Friday night. Two starts before that Always Arjay finished with great determination to be second to The Bucket List in the BOTRA Cup, a 2503m stand. Motu Premier, at his second outing after a spell, finished third. Last Friday night Motu Premier warmed up for the Marathon in fine style with a close-up third behind Ideal Tyson and Vampiro in a 2130m mobile after working hard in the middle stages. Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall Snr has sound prospects of winning the Marathon for the third time after successes with Im Themightyquinn off 80m in 2010 and Code Red, the sole frontmarker in 2012. He will be represented by Runrunjimmydunn (40m) and Lets Chase The Dream (20m). “The distance will suit Runrunjimmydunn and he’s a good each-way chance,” Hall said. ”He got home really well when a close third to Chicago Bull and Devendra last week and the distance won’t worry Lets Chase The Dream, who had a hard run before getting to the front and then finishing fourth behind Ideal Tyson last week.” Four-year-old Runrunjimmydunn’s only appearance in a stand from 26 starts in WA was when he began from 30m and finished a close third to Importer Exporter and Bettors Fire in the 2902m Easter Cup in March this year. Nathan Turvey, who set the pace with Baleybofey in 2013 and won the Marathon for trainer Ray Williams, said that Devendra’s frontrunning head second to Chicago Bull last Friday night was a good pointer to his prospects this week. “Devendra flies out from the stand and he must be considered,” said Turvey. The eight-year-old Devendra is an excellent stayer, who won five stands in Tasmania, including the 3020m Devenport Cup in March 2014. In the summer of 2015-16 he won two heats of the Inter Dominion championship at Gloucester Park before finishing second to My Hard Copy in the 2936m WA Pacing Cup. Star trainers Greg and Skye Bond will be looking for a strong performance from Vampiro, an up-and-coming four-year-old who has had 29 starts for 12 wins and nine placings. Ryan Warwick will handle Vampiro, the sole runner off the 30m mark. Vampiro was hampered for room in the home straight before flashing home on the inside to finish a half-head second to Ideal Tyson last Friday night.       Ken Casellas

Talkerup revealed a sparkling turn of speed in a smart trial over 2185m at Pinjarra on Sunday morning and she looks hard to beat on her return to racing in the Garrards Horse And Hound One Stop Shop Mares Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Talkerup, a New Zealand-bred five-year-old trained at Serpentine by Gary Hall Snr, has been out of action for exactly 12 months and should have derived great benefit from her trial in which she was driven by Stuart McDonald. McDonald restrained Talkerup back to last in the seven-horse trial after she had been trapped three wide in the early stages. She then accelerated brilliantly after 550m and burst to the front 200m later. She led by three lengths at the 400m before she showed signs of fatigue as she drifted out in the home straight. But she still had plenty in hand to win by 5m from Lightning Jolt on the rain-affected track. Talkerup, who will be handled by Gary Hall Jnr from the favourable No. 3 barrier on the front line, has raced only 24 times for six wins, 12 placings and $57,228 in prizemoney. At her most recent appearance, Talkerup raced behind the pacemaker and finished a sound third behind Donegal Rundlescreek and Forever Remembered over 2536m at Gloucester Park on July 21, 2017. Talkerup’s chief rival looms large as Dodolicious, who is awkwardly drawn out wide at No. 8 on the front line. Dodolicious, who has a losing sequence of 14, gave a strong frontrunning display last Friday night when she finished a close second to Your Excused over 2130m. Dodolicious, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, has amassed $486,216 in stakemoney from 18 wins, 11 seconds and three thirds from 45 starts. She was an M3-class pacer five starts ago before dropping back to an M2 classification. Talkerup is still an M0-class performer. The two four-year-old mares in Friday night’s race are Susie Rocks and Soho Changeling and both will have many admirers. Susie Rocks was an impressive all-the-way winner over 2130m last Friday night, rating 1.57.5 and beating Im Stylish by a length. She will again be handled by Chris Lewis and faces a sterner task this week from barrier No. 7. The Ross Olivieri-trained Soho Changeling was an encouraging second to Millwood Molly two starts ago before she finished an unlucky sixth behind Susie Rocks last Friday night when she was blocked for clear run in the final circuit. Ken Casellas

Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall Snr has earmarked the Inter Dominion Championship in Melbourne in December and the Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups in January as the main targets for champion pacer Chicago Bull, who will resume racing after a spell in the $25,000 Christmas In July at the Beau Rivage Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. This will be Chicago Bull’s first appearance in a race for 119 days and the five-year-old showed that he is fit and ready to maintain his magnificent record with an effortless win in a 2550m standing-start trial at Byford on Sunday morning. Driven by Gary Hall Jnr, Chicago Bull ambled to the front after 500m and coasted along in the lead before sprinting over the final 400m in 27.4sec to win by just under three lengths from M0-class performer Diamond Life. Chicago Bull, who has amassed $1,503,524 from 31 wins and 15 placings from 51 starts, last raced when he scored an easy victory over Maxentius and Runrunjimmydunn in the Group 2 Four and Five-Year-Old Championship over 2130m at Gloucester Park 17 weeks ago. Earlier in the season Chicago Bull finished a grand second to Lazarus in the Inter Dominion Championship final at Gloucester Park in December and won the Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups in January. Chicago Bull, who has raced over 2130m at Gloucester Park 19 times for 14 wins, two seconds, two thirds and one fourth, will start from the outside barrier in a field on nine on Friday night and should have no difficulty in defeating The Bucket List and Costa Del Magnifico. The Bucket List, trained by Michael Brennan, will be having his 100th start in a race and he should be prominent after good efforts to be placed at five of his past six starts. He finished strongly from seventh at the bell to be second to Galactic Star last Friday week. The Ross Olivieri-trained Costa Del Magnifico has not raced since mid-January and he looks set for a rewarding campaign after a smart effort when second to stablemate Motu Premier in a Byford trial last Sunday week. The powerful Hall stable will have a big following on Friday night, with smart three-year-old Speed Man and talented five-year-old Chok Chai resuming after spells. Speed Man has not appeared since finishing a close-up fifth behind stablemate King of Swing in the WA Derby on April 6 and he looks the winner of the Follow Gloucester Park on Facebook Pace in which he has drawn favourably at No. 2 on the front line and will clash with several in-form three-year-olds, including Fizzing, Our Corelli and Robb Stark. Speed Man finished strongly and was not extended in finishing a head second to the pacemaker Muffins in a 2150m trial at Byford on Sunday morning. Fizzing also will have many admirers at his third start in Australia. A winner of three races in New Zealand, the Mach Three colt raced without cover before winning at his WA debut, over 2190m at Northam before he again faced the breeze and finished second to Rocky The Outlaw at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week. Ryan Warwick will drive Fizzing for trainers Greg and Skye Bond and he should have a comfortable run after starting from the inside of the back line on Friday night. Justin Prentice trains and drives Our Corelli, who will start from barrier two on the back line. A versatile pacer, Our Corelli has won at three of his six starts, including wins at his most recent outings, at Pinjarra and Bunbury. Five-year-old Chok Chai will start from the outside barrier (No. 9) in the 2130m Book Your Next Conference at Gloucester Park Pace. A winner at ten of his 13 starts, Chok Chai will be attempting to extend his winning sequence to six. He has good natural pace and is capable of overcoming the disadvantage of the wide draw in a race in which his chief rivals appear certain to be The Freedom Fighter (inside of the back line) and Thereugo (barrier three on the front line). The Freedom Fighter, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, is in top form and will be attempting to win his fourth race in a row. Thereugo, trained and driven by Kyle Harper, is a brilliant frontrunner and he looks the likely leader. He started from 30m in a 2503m stand on Tuesday of last week and impressed when he sprinted home brilliantly to win from Swimbetweentheflags and Another Ayjay.   Ken Casellas

Serpentine horseman Matt Scott achieved a significant milestone notching his 300th winner as a trainer when Shannon Suvaljko drove outstanding square gaiter Glenferrie Typhoon to an effortless all-the-way victory in 2130m mobile event at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night. Glenferrie Typhoon revealed dazzling gate speed from the outside barrier (No. 8) to burst to an early lead and he was untroubled to defeat the well-performed Sun of Anarchy. ”If all goes well, he’ll be set for the Trotters Inter Dominion at Melton in early December,” the 41-year-old Scott said. “He is a very good horse and I have never trained a Group 1 winner, let alone have a Group 1 runner. There will be three mobile heats and a mobile half-a-million dollar final. “Glenferrie Typhoon will have another four to six starts before having a freshen-up and then resume racing to get ready for the Inters. That’s the plan and, hopefully, all goes well. There’s a lot of water to go under the bridge, but I’m sure he will keep improving. I’d say he’s the best trotter WA has had, and that includes Cardigan Boko, Sunnys Little Whiz and some others. “He has had only 12 runs in the past 18 months when it wasn’t known what exactly was wrong with him. He had a full body X-ray in Melbourne where he was racing and this found a few hot spots. This required four months off and then last Christmas he suffered from a quarter crack.” Glenferrie Typhoon came to Western Australia early this year and he has won at three of his five starts in the State. “John Gullace and his partner Cathy Cousins are the majority owners and they were keen for him to race here, instead of watching most of his Victorian races on Sky Channel,” Scott said. Glenferrie Typhoon boasts a wonderful record of 57 starts for 25 wins, 12 placings and $480,043 in stakes. His wins include three wins, a second and a third in Group 1 events and he has also won two Group 3 events. His most recent Group 1 success was when he rated 1.58.8 in beating Speeding Spur by a head in the 2760m $300,000 Great Southern Star final at Melton on February 4, 2017. In March 2016 he finished second in the 1720m Great Southern Star final, with the winner Speeding Spur rating 1.55.5. Scott is enjoying his most successful season and is currently in seventh position on the Statewide trainers’ premiership table with 481 starters for 46 wins, 44 seconds, 59 thirds and 58 fourths. His first training success was when he drove Glenn Agro to victory over Prince of Stone in a 2120m C0-class event at Merredin on March 15, 1997. “My first 200 winners took a long time,” Scott said. “But I’ve had a hundred over the past 16 months.” He has three runners at Gloucester Park on Friday night and said that Neighlor and Qtown Rip Roaring had each-way prospects in race one. “They were unplaced behind Eden Franco last Friday night when she produced a sensational effort,” he said. ”Neighlor has a chance of crossing to the front from barrier six if we light him up at the start, and if he does he’ll go good. Qtown Rip Roaring is an each-way chance if the race is run upside down. Always Arjay faces a tough task from barrier five in race three.” Ken Casellas

“She’s improving with every run,” is the ominous warning to rival trainers from Boyanup horseman Justin Prentice when predicting that his outstanding filly Dracarys would be very hard to beat in the $35,000 Choices Flooring Gold Bracelet at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The New Zealand-bred Dracarys is unbeaten at her four starts for Prentice since arriving in Western Australia from New Zealand just over three months ago. Prentice prepares Dracarys at his Boyanup property and has a powerful hand in Friday night’s Group 3 classic for two-year-old fillies. He also trains last-start winners Iona Diamond and Majorpride. He had little hesitation in choosing to drive Dracarys, whose prospects improved significantly when she drew the No. 2 barrier on the front line. Stuart McDonald will handle Iona Diamond from barrier one and Gary Hall Jnr will continue as the driver of Majorpride, the all-the-way winner of the Group 1 $100,000 Diamond Classic two starts ago. Prentice, who trained and drove Major Reality when she scored an effortless victory in the Gold Bracelet in 2014, said: “This will be her first time for Dracarys to race against the top fillies but I definitely think she’s up with them. “From barrier two, we’ll come out hard and look for the front if it is there. Iona Diamond is also a quick beginner, but Dracarys might be a bit quicker, point to point. Her latest run (when she raced three wide for much of the way and beat Starlight Destiny and Rollsofthetongue at Pinjarra) was super. “At all of her four runs for me Dracarys has given me the impression that there’s still more there. She’s not just a frontrunner; she’s really versatile. She has been educated by the best trainer (Mark Purdon) probably in the world and he has probably taught her all those strings to her bow.” Purdon gave Dracarys three starts in New Zealand for one win, when she finished powerfully and was not extended in beating Kayla Marie in the Group 3 Leonard Memorial Stakes over 200m at Addington on March 4 this year. Dracarys was bred and is owned by Christchurch businessman Trevor Casey, a part-owner of superstar Lazarus, the Inter Dominion Championship winner at Gloucester Park last December. Purdon had a few fillies he considered better than Dracarys and Casey decided to send Dracarys to WA to be prepared by Prentice, who trains smart trotter Sun of Anarchy for Casey. Prentice catches up with Casey at the New Zealand yearling sales every year and they are both good friends of John Lohman, the owner of Majorpride. Prentice expects strong showing from Iona Diamond and Majorpride. “Iona Diamond went really well at her latest start when she led and won easily at a 1.56.8 rate at Gloucester Park,” he said. “She’s going to come out as hard as she can from No. 1. “Majorpride has beaten these fillies before. She’s versatile and Junior (Hall) said that it was probably the best she has sprinted when she won at Bunbury last Saturday. “Soho Interceptor and Starlight Destiny are racing in good form and along with Lady Valasca and Mandy Joan they are probably our major dangers. It’s a good field and it won’t be a walk in the park for Dracarys.” Soho Interceptor, trained by Glenn Elliott, set the pace and held on to win narrowly from Delightful Reaction and Lady Valasca in the Group 1 Westbred Classic last Friday night. She is handily drawn at barrier three this week. Elliott prepared Generally Outspoken when she was driven by Hall to victory in the 2013 Gold Bracelet. Ryan Warwick will drive Starlight Destiny for trainers Greg and Skye Bond, who prepared Dodolicious for her victory (with Warwick in the sulky) in the 2015 Gold Bracelet. Warwick also was successful in this event with Spirit of Navajo (2005) and Apache Sunrise (2007). Chris Lewis will handle Lady Valasca for trainer Annie Belton. Lewis has won the Gold Bracelet with Smooth Sensation (1991), Flames And Flowers (1997), Lady Maryclaire (2002), Vinnies Sister (2003), Fidelius Charm (2008) and Sensational Gabby (2011). Ken Casellas

Ace trainer-reinsman Colin Brown should be rewarded for his patience and thoughtful planning by guiding Typhoon Tiff to victory in the $100,000 Owners Only Westbred Classic for two-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Typhoon Tiff, a Bettors Delight filly, has shown wonderful ability at her five starts which have resulted in three wins, a second and a third and she has the class to overcome the disadvantage of starting from the outside of the back line in the 2130m classic. Bred and owned by Colleen Lindsay, Typhoon Tiff is following in the footsteps of her dam Tiffany Twisted and great granddam Blithe Spirit, each of whom were smart winners as a two-year-old. Tiffany Twisted won three in a row at Gloucester Park as a two-year-old in the 2009-10 season, with Brown in the sulky for the third of those wins. Blithe Spirit won at Pinjarra and Kilmore as a two-year-old in the 1993-94 season. Typhoon Tiff gave a sample of her ability at her latest outing, at Gloucester Park four Fridays ago, when she started from barrier No. 6 on the front line in the Group 1 Diamond Classic and finished a gallant neck second to the pacemaker Majorpride after racing three wide for the first circuit and then in the breeze. The final sections were covered in 28.9sec. and 27.9sec. That followed stylish victories at her three previous starts, all from wide barriers and being forced to cover extra ground. Looming as the most serious rival for Typhoon Tiff is Soho Interceptor, an Art Major filly trained at Hopeland by Glenn Elliott and a winner at two of her seven starts. Soho Interceptor possesses good gate speed and Shannon Suvaljko is sure to be anxious to take full advantage of the favourable draw by attempting to burst to an early lead and then dictate terms from the front. Two starts ago, Soho Interceptor raced three back on the pegs before running home fast in a final quarter of 27.7sec. to finish a nose second to Lady Valasca over 2130m at Gloucester Park. That was Lady Valasca’s only win from 11 starts, but she has also finished second six times and third once for trainer Annie Belton. Lady Valasca, the first of the progeny of former star pacer Alta Christiano to win a race in Western Australia, will start from barrier five on the front line in Friday night’s race in which she will handled by Chris Lewis. My Prayer has been placed at four of her six starts for Busselton trainer Barry Howlett and, from the inside of the back line she has sound place prospects. Ken Casellas

Mach Three colt Shockwave has contested two Group 1 events and has finished second on each occasion. He has drawn the No. 2 barrier on the back line in the $100,000 Group 1 Owners Only Westbred Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park on Friday night and gets an excellent chance to notch his first victory in a rich feature event. The clash between Shockwave and the richly-talented Its Rock And Roll promises to be a highlight on the ten-event program. Its Rock And Roll won the Group 1 Sales Classic seven weeks ago when he defeated Shockwave by a head and last Friday week Shockwave turned the tables on Its Rock And Roll when he finished second to the brilliant New Zealand-bred colt Franco Edward in the Pearl Classic, with Its Rock And Roll finishing third. They were two of the stand-out youngsters at the 2017 APG yearling sale in Perth when Shockwave was sold for $46,000 and Its Rock And Roll for $37,500. Shockwave, raced by Kevin Jeavons and Howard King, has won at three of his eight starts for earnings of $49,799. Its Rock And Roll, raced by Liam O’Connor and Jim Currie, has won three times from seven starts for $115,188 in prizemoney. He will start from the No. 5 barrier on the front line on Friday night. Both two-year-olds performed in grand style in the Pearl Classic when Shockwave (barrier seven) and Its Rock And Roll (nine) settled at the rear. Shockwave, trained and driven by Ryan Bell, started a three-wide move 1350m from home and impressed in sustaining the strong burst to finish a length from the pacemaker Franco Edward, who dashed over the final three 400m sections in 28.3sec., 28.8sec. and 28sec. Its Rock And Roll, trained and driven by Colin Brown, ran home powerfully from tenth at the bell to finish third, two lengths behind Shockwave. Shockwave and Its Rock And Roll have inherited much of their ability from their dams. Shockwave is out of Here For The Money, who earned $81,874 from seven wins and 18 placings from 79 starts and Its Rock And Roll’s dam Miss Worthy Whitby, won at Bathurst, Albion Park and Gloucester Park as a two-year-old before being retired with $40,154 in stakes from three wins and three seconds from 14 starts. Outstanding trainers Greg and Skye Bond, who prepared Baylan Jett when he finished third behind The Real Ideal and Major Pocket in this event two years ago, are pinning their hopes on the promising Bitcoin, a winner at Pinjarra and Bunbury. Bitcoin is the first foal out of Am Opulent, who earned $269,515 from 18 wins and 24 placings from 85 starts. The Bond stable will also be represented by $30,000 yearling Sports Central, who has yet to win a race. He will start from barrier three and will be driven by Chris Lewis, who has won this classic event with Johnny Disco in 2015 and The Real Ideal a year later. To Fast To Serious, a $10,000 yearling, adds considerable interest to the race. He is the only runner in the race who has not appeared at Gloucester Park, but has shown great promise in winning easily at his only three starts two at Bunbury and one at Narrogin for trainer Aiden Warwick and reinsman Aldo Cortopassi. He possesses good gate speed and is favourably drawn at the No. 2 barrier. His dam Smile With Me raced 40 times for ten wins, 15 placings and $80,819 in stakes. Watch Me React, trained at Collie by Dale Jackson, will be at long odds, despite drawing the coveted No. 1 barrier. He is a last-start winner at Narrogin and won a trial in good style at Pinjarra on Sunday morning. Watch Me React’s reinsman Trent Wheeler is hoping that history repeats itself. The previous time he drove a pacer from barrier one in a Group 1 event was in 2015 when he was successful with 12/1 chance Once Bitten, who trailed the pacemaker and 10/9 favourite Delightful Jade before getting up to beat that filly in the Westbred Classic for three-year-old fillies. Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri’s Babyface Adda will start from the inside of the back line and will have admirers. Babyface Adda gave a tough staying performance last Friday night when he worked hard in the breeze before finishing determinedly to win from My Prayer and Sheza Spoilt Miss. Kyle Harper, successful with the Robert Wood-trained All Aussie Boy in the inaugural running of this classic in 2014, will drive Errol Ashcroft’s consistent Euphoric Moment from barrier eight. Justin Prentice trained and drove last year’s winner Highroller Joe and he will be in the sulky on Friday night behind Chetak, who has yet to win from ten starts and faces a difficult assignment from the outside of the back line. Ken Casellas

Trainer Michael Brennan and reinsman Michael Grantham are delighted at the way veteran pacer The Bucket List is performing and they are full of hope that the New Zealand-bred gelding will make amends for his desperately close second to Tricky Styx in the Winter Cup 12 months ago by winning the $25,000 feature event over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Bucket List is racing keenly and notched his fourth consecutive placing when he raced in the one-out and one-back position before finishing determinedly to be a neck second to Bettors Fire over 2130m last Friday night. In last year’s Winter Cup The Bucket List was favourite at 2/1 and after starting from barrier six he ran home strongly from the one-out, one-back position to finish a half-head behind Tricky Styx. He will start from the No. 6 barrier on Friday night and gets a good chance to turn the tables on outstanding nine-year-old Bettors Fire, who boasts a splendid record of 100 starts for 39 wins and 22 placings for stakes of $787,142. The Bucket List (21 wins and 39 placings from 97 starts) has been placed behind Bettors Fire at each of his past three starts. Friday night’s Cup appears quite an open affair, with the likely pacemaker Maczaffair, Tommy Be Good, Whozideawasthis, Major Catastrophe, Galactic Star and Our Jimmy Johnstone all having each-way prospects. Whozideawasthis impressed last Friday night when he thundered home from tenth at the bell to win a 2536m event at a 1.55.8 rate from Major Catastrophe and Lets Chase The Dream. Champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr said that Whozideawasthis faced a stern test and a rise in class, but he said that the gelding was definitely an each-way chance from barrier three on the front line. “It’s a tough race and he will need a soft run off the speed,” he said. Hall has driven the winner of the Winter Cup eight times scoring with The Falcon Strike (2003), Lookslikelightning (2005), Washakie (2008), Im Themightyquinn (2009), Davy Maguire (2012), Im Themightyquinn (2013), Machtu (2015) and Run Oneover (2016) and his father, Gary Hall Snr, has won the Winter nine times as a trainer with Kaydee (1994), The Falcon Strike, Iontheball (2006), Washakie, Im Themightyquinn (twice), Davy Maguire, Machtu and Run Oneover. Nine-year-old Major Catastrophe rises in class, but he is a tough stayer, capable of a bold showing. He worked hard in the breeze for almost two laps before taking the lead 500m from home and finishing a head second to Whozideawasthis last Friday night. Aiden de Campo, who drives Tommy Be Good for part-owner and trainer Katja Warwick, said that the six-year-old was getting close to returning to the winning list. Tommy Be Good trailed the pacemaker Bettors Fire in a 2130m event last Friday night and fought on gamely when third to that pacer. He is favourably drawn at the No. 2 barrier on the front line this week. “Tommy Be Good is flying and isn’t far off from winning,” said de Campo. “Two starts ago he carted Bettors Fire into the race and finished a half-length second to him.” Ken Casellas

Catch me if you can will be champion reinsman Gary Hall Junior’s mantra when he plans to take full advantage of the prized No. 1 barrier with One Off Delight in the $100,000 Westbred Classic for three-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “The last time he led was four starts ago at Gloucester Park when he won pretty convincingly,” said Hall. “So, setting the pace will be my intention on Friday night.” One Off Delight warmed up for this week’s assignment with a sound third behind Major Pocket and Slick Artist last Tuesday fortnight when he finished solidly after enjoying the one-out, one-back trail. One Off Delight is the first foal out of New Zealand-bred mare Tiger Su, who won once from 11 starts in New Zealand and three times from nine starts in WA in 2012. Tiger Su’s dam Tigerish was an outstanding juvenile performer in New Zealand and retired with earnings of $491,957 from 15 wins and 21 placings from 79 starts. The main dangers to One Off Delight appear to be Thisbeachrighthere and Murphys Bettor. Thisbeachrighthere (barrier five) was a winner at Ballarat and Melton as a two-year-old and he has impressed with three wins and a third placing from five starts in WA for owner-trainers Greg and Skye Bond. Thisbeachrighthere was untroubled to set the pace from barrier two and win by 8m from Arma Rich Girl over 2185m at Pinjarra three Mondays ago when he dashed over the final quarters in 27.9sec. and 28.1sec. Murphys Bettor, an inexperienced gelding with two wins from eight starts, will begin from barrier four with Chris Voak in the sulky. He resumed after an absence of four months when he made most of the running and won easily from Kamendable Joe over 2190m at Northam on May 29. “Murphys Bettor has had a bit of an interrupted campaign, but is certainly capable of winning,” said Voak. “He is one of those horses who does just what he needs to do. He’s a casual, cool dude.” Murphys Bettor is prepared by Ross Olivieri, who has trained 98 winners this season and has several good each-way prospects among his ten runners on Friday night. Highroller Joe, trained in Busselton by Jamie Howlett, has shown promise with three wins from nine starts and has each-way prospects from the inside of the back line. He impressed when he scored an easy win in a 2185m trial at Pinjarra on Sunday morning, with final quarters in 27.1sec. and 27.8sec. Ken Casellas

Star reinsman Chris Voak wrestled for hours and changed his mind several times before finally opting to drive Lady De La Renta in the $100,000 Westbred Classic for three-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “It’s been a predicament trying to decide between Lady De La Renta and Veiled Secret,” he said. Voak is a great admirer of the Annie Belton-trained Lady De la Renta and the Ross Olivieri-trained Veiled Secret and said: “Touch wood, I hope I have picked the right one. Hopefully, history repeats itself for me.  “The previous time I faced such a dilemma was two years ago when I chose Im Rockaria ahead of Our Zak Whitby in the Pearl Classic.” On that occasion, Voak’s judgment was spot on. Im Rockaria won the Group 1 classic and Our Zak Whitby finished fourth. Voak has driven Lady De La Renta at her past 12 starts for five wins, two thirds and five unplaced efforts and he has driven Veiled Secret nine times for five wins, a second, a third and two unplaced runs. His past four drives behind Veiled Secret resulted in wins at Narrogin, Bunbury, Pinjarra and Gloucester Park. Leading reinsman Shannon Suvaljko has been engaged to drive Veiled Secret, who will start from the No. 3 barrier on the front line. Lady De La Renta will start from barrier four and the talented Infinite Symbol, a winner of seven races, including three wins from her past four starts, will begin from the No. 5 barrier. “Lady De La Renta won the Group 2 Diamond Classic three starts ago and she is a very classy filly,” Voak said. In that event Lady De La Renta started from barrier four, got to the front after 250m and set the pace before winning by three lengths from WA Oaks winner Our Major Mama, with Veiled Secret a nose away in third place after racing without cover for much of the way. “Veiled Secret has stepped up in the past six weeks,” Voak said. “I always knew she had the ability, but she had tractability issues. However, she seems to be putting it all together now. I normally keep Veiled Secret pretty comfy out of the gate because I don’t want her to break by putting her out of her comfort zone. “Lady De La Renta is a bit the same; you’ve got to let her find her feet early. If either of the two finds the lead I think that filly would be almost unbeatable. Infinite Symbol, Cimorene and Cott Beach are good fillies and must be respected. “Regarding my choice, I would say that if you were to go on just pure times, it would be a no-brainer. Veiled Secret is the fastest three-year-old filly in WA ever (rating 1.53.6 in winning from Our Major Mama over 1684m at Pinjarra two starts ago). “Millwood Meg and Arctic Fire each rated 1.54.8 in winning over 1670m at Pinjarra in 2010 and that was a world record time for a filly on a 1000m track.” Ryan Warwick is likely to attempt to steal a march on Veiled Secret and Lady De La Renta by taking advantage of Infinite Symbol’s sparkling gate speed in a concerted bid to burst to an early lead. Infinite Symbol has set the pace and won at Pinjarra at two of her past three starts. At her latest outing, at Gloucester Park last Friday night, Infinite Symbol gave a splendid performance to race in the breeze, take a narrow lead 80m from the post and finish a close second to Veiled Secret in the Westsired Pace. Veiled Secret enjoyed an ideal; passage, one-out and one-back, before getting to the front in the final couple of strides. Cott Beach, the best-performed filly in Friday night’s Group 1 feature with 13 wins, 11 placings and $249,872 in prizemoney, disappointed as a 10/9 on favourite in last week’s event when she set the pace and wilted over the final stages to finish fourth, will start from the No. 6 barrier on Friday night. She is capable of unwinding a brilliant finishing burst and is capable of bouncing back to top form. Ken Casellas

Exciting three-year-old Jack Mac faces a moment of truth at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he clashes with the highly-promising Bettor Aim in the Visit Princi Butchers in North Perth Pace. Neither youngster has tasted defeat in Australia and Jack Mac has the brilliance to overcome the outside barrier in the field of eight and beat Bettor Aim, who will be driven by Ryan Warwick for trainers Greg and Skye Bond from the No. 6 barrier in the 2130m event. Jack Mac will be strongly fancied to chalk up his tenth victory at his tenth start in Western Australia after scoring decisive victories at his two outings after resuming after a four-month absence. He followed his first-up win over 2130m at Gloucester Park on May 25 with a commanding victory by 12 lengths over Blackjack Anna over the same distance on Tuesday of last week when he raced three wide early, sped to the front after 550m and was unextended in careering away from his rivals. Busselton trainer Barry Howlett certainly is more than happy that he rejected a tempting offer of $100,000 for the Mach Three colt in April last year. Howlett, who races Jack Mac in partnership with his wife Lyn and their son Jim, was purchased for $31,000 at the Auckland weanling sales and a win this week will take the colt’s earnings to $236,181. Howlett picked out a couple of youngsters who were being offered for sale as weanlings and he asked experienced New Zealand trainer-reinsman Brent Mangos to have a look at them. Mangos took a liking to Jack Mac and he purchased him at the sale on behalf of Howlett. Mangos broke in the colt and gave him five starts for five unplaced efforts against the best two-year-olds in New Zealand. Those five runs netted his owners $7450 and few pacing pundits predicted that the colt, the seventh foal out of unfashionable mare Matavutu, would develop into a juvenile champion. Bettor Aim also looks destined to become a star performer. A winner at his farewell appearance in New Zealand, over 1950m at Addington in early April this year, the Bettors Delight gelding has been ultra-impressive in winning effortlessly at his first two starts in WA, both over 2185m at Pinjarra in the space of eight days this month. Bettor Aim sustained a powerful three-wide burst to beat Itsnotova by almost three lengths at a 1.57.3 rate and a week later, on Monday of this week, he was untroubled to lead from barrier one and coast to victory by two lengths from Seeknyoushallfind at a 1.57.8 rate, with a final quarter in 27.8sec.   Ken Casellas  

Rival reinsmen Kyle Harper (Franco Edward) and Shannon Suvaljko (Bletchley Park) are excited at the sheer brilliance of their colts who look set to make the sparks fly in the $100,000 Princi Smallgoods Pearl Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The New Zealand-bred Franco Edward earned favouritism after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier in the 2130m Group 1 classic for two-year-old colts and geldings but Bletchley Park has drawn favourably at barrier three on the front line and will have a legion of admirers, particularly after he rated a sizzling 1.53.6 when he gave a dazzling frontrunning display to beat Euphoric Moment by four lengths over 1730m at Gloucester Park last Friday night. The Victorian-bred Bletchley Park was not extended in speeding over the quarters of the final mile in 28.5sec., 28.9sec., 28.2sec. and 28.5sec. and his rate smashed the 1730m track record for two-year-olds, the 1:55.0 rate set by El Barcelona in May 2016. Franco Edward and Bletchley Park are by American stallion American Ideal and will be meeting in a race for the first time, with Harper upbeat about his colt’s prospects in the Pearl, declaring after driving him to a superb victory in a qualifying heat on Tuesday of last week that “I think that he’s a bit special.” Franco Edward, who had set the pace and won easily at a 1.54.2 rate (with final quarters of 28sec. and 27.2sec.) over 1684m at Pinjarra at his previous start, was surprisingly beaten out from barrier one in the qualifying heat but there was a particular reason for that: The colt was racing with a splash sheet on for the first time and he became scared when the sheet touched him on the rump in the mobile score-up. “So, I had to nurse him out of the gate and this allowed him to be crossed,” said Harper. “And then when we got to the first corner I had to ease him when the sheet touched him again. He ran out with a little bit of fright and then when we got to the breeze he over raced a bit. To his credit, all these things went wrong and he still won and did a fantastic job.” Franco Edward’s gross time in the 2130m heat was 2min. 35.1sec. which was considerably faster than the time recorded by Bletchley Park (2min. 38sec.) and quicker than the other heat winner, Shockwave (2min. 35.3sec.). However, Suvaljko was full of praise for Bletchley Park’s heat win and then with the colt’s superb performance over 1730m last Friday night when he was unextended and scored with ridiculous ease. “Bletchley Park is probably the best two-year-old I’ve driven, better than Jumbo Operator,” said Suvaljko. “I didn’t pull the plugs and he had plenty left and was still going strong on the line. He’s a versatile horse who is suited by rolling along in front, but he can also come from behind as he showed when he came from second-last to win his heat.” The WA-bred Jumbo Operator was unbeaten at two starts as a two-year-old in August 2008 before having ten starts as a three-year-old for seven wins, two seconds and a most unlucky fifth in the WA Derby. He was retired with earnings of $313,175 from 24 wins, eight seconds and one third from 43 starts. Bletchley Park is trained by Mike Reed, who has won the Pearl twice with Rich And Spoilt in 1999 and Willowleaf Boy in 2003. Shockwave, a Mach Three colt trained and driven by Ryan Bell, notched his third win from seven starts when he began from out wide at barrier eight and raced in seventh position before starting a three-wide burst approaching the bell in his qualifying heat. He dashed over the final 400m in 28sec. and beat the talented Its Rock And Roll by almost a length. Shockwave has the ability to overcome his wide draw (No. 7) in the final. Its Rock And Roll, trained and driven by Colin Brown, has impressed with his three wins and three seconds from six starts. He is speedy and tough, but has fared poorly in the random draw and will need all the breaks to overcome the disadvantage of the outside barrier (No. 9) on the front line. Brown drove the David Thompson-trained Isaiah Artois to victory in the 2014 Pearl. Bitcoin, to be driven by Ryan Warwick for trainers Greg and Skye Bond, is racing keenly, with two wins and two seconds from five starts and, from barrier four, will have friends. Three starts ago, Bitcoin finished powerfully to win from the Barry Howlett-trained colt Smart Fortune over 1609m at Bunbury. Smart Fortune, a winner at Alexandra Park in December, faces a stern test from barrier eight, but cannot be underestimated with Chris Lewis in the sulky. Lewis has won the Pearl four times with Lombo Laredo (1994), Mitemptation (1995), Argent Treasure (2007) and Jack Mac (2017). Ken Casellas

Outstanding juvenile Cott Beach looks set to notch her 14th win when she starts from the coveted No. 1 barrier in the $25,000 Princi Smallgoods Gourmet Range Westsired Three-Year-Old Fillies Pace. She has sparkling gate speed and Nathan Turvey is sure to attempt an all-the-way win with the filly who is trained at Coolup by Kristy Elson. Leading will be in stark contrast to her excellent efforts when third in both the WA Derby and WA Oaks in the past two months. Cott Beach started from the outside barrier (No. 9) and charged home from tenth at the bell to finish third behind King of Swing and Bechers Brook in the 2536m WA Derby, with the margins a head and a nose. Then she started from the outside of the back line in the Oaks and settled in 11th position before sustaining a strong run from ninth at the bell to finish third, less than a length behind the winner Our Major Mama. After her grand effort in the Oaks Cott Beach has won at Narrogin and Bunbury and she looks to have the measure of smart in-form fillies Infinite Symbol and Veiled Secret in Friday night’s race. One of the best bets on the ten-event program should be Better Scoot, a standing-start specialist who has resumed racing after an absence of 19 months in fine fettle. The lightly-raced New Zealand-bred six-year-old in the stables of Greg and Skye Bond, will start from barrier five on the front line in the Princi Smallgoods Handicap, a stand over 2503m, and Ryan Warwick is expected to make a spirited bid to send the gelding to an early lead and then dictate terms in front. Better Scoot took an early lead and went on to win in fine style from Lord Willoughby in a 2503m stand last Friday week when he sped over the final quarters of the last mile in 27.8sec. and 28.3sec. His chief rival looms as the Ross Olivieri-trained Lord Willoughby whose 21 starts this season have produced eight wins, nine seconds and four thirds. Ken Casellas

Evergreen pacer Bettors Fire looks a certainty to celebrate his 100th start in style by proving too fast and strong for his seven rivals in the $25,000 Princi Smallgoods Free Range Salami Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He drew the No. 1 barrier and trainer Kyle Harper looks certain to make use of the nine-year-old’s sparkling gate speed and attempt an all-the-way victory. Owner Frank Ranaldi declared after Bettors Fire’s stylish come-from-behind win over 2536m last Friday night that the New Zealand-bred gelding was the best horse he has raced. And that was high praise indeed, considering that Ranaldi raced wonderful pacers Classic Garry and Admiral’s Avenue. Classic Garry and Admiral’s Avenue were successful in Group 1 feature events, whereas Bettors Fire has not been able to record a victory in a Group 1 feature event. Classic Garry’s 16 West Australian wins (14 at Gloucester Park) included the 1983 Group 1 Golden Nugget (beating Wondai’s Mate and Preux Chevalier) and the 1983 Mount Eden Mile when he defeated Sinn Fein and Garry John in 1.56.6, a race record. Classic Garry also became Australia’s first sub-1.55 performer when, as a four-year-old in March 1983, he sped over a mile in 1.54.9. In the late 80s Ranaldi campaigned with Classic Garry in America where the stallion won races and contested a World Cup series at the Meadowlands. Admiral’s Avenue earned $439,482 from 32 wins and 30 placings from 130 starts. He won the group 1 WA Pacing Cup in January 2000, beating The Accelerator and Saab, and a month later won a 2540m heat of the Inter Dominion championship at Moonee Valley. The level of prizemoney has risen substantially since then and Bettors Fire boasts a splendid record of 99 starts for 38 wins and 22 placings for stakes of $772,029. He was sold to Ranaldi after winning at 11 of his 30 New Zealand starts for his breeders Jim and Susan Wakefield. Bettors Fire’s 69 starts for Ranaldi and Harper in Western Australia have produced 27 wins and 15 placings. The gelding has not been successful in a Group 1 event, but has been wonderfully consistent and his wins include five in Group 2 events and three in Group 3 races. In last Friday night’s 2536m event, Harper restrained Bettors Fire from the No. 6 barrier and the gelding raced in seventh position for almost two laps before being sent forward, three wide, at the bell. Bettors Fire burst to the front with 500m to travel and he covered the final quarters in 27.5sec. and 28.5sec. to win by a metre from the strong-finishing Tommy Be Good, with The Bucket List running on from fifth (on the pegs) at the bell to be third. This week Bettors Fire appears certain to set the pace, with none of his rivals able to seriously challenge him for the early lead. Tommy Be Good, placed at five of his past six starts, should enjoy a perfect passage behind the pacemaker and looks a strong place prospect, with Shandale, Galactic Star and The Bucket List fighting it out for a minor placing. Ken Casellas

 “Maczaffair has good gate speed and if she leads she will be very hard to beat,” declared trainer Mike Reed when assessing the four-year-old’s prospects in the $25,000 RSM Australia Rotary Club Fremantle Pace over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Maczaffair will start from the No. 2 barrier on the front line and Shannon Suvaljko will be hellbent on beating out polemarker Dodolicious. “She loves the 2536m and the further they go, the better she likes it,” said Reed, who will also be represented by Shandale, who will be driven by Chris Lewis from the outside (No. 9) on the front line. Maczaffair, who has amassed $379,787 from 18 wins, seven seconds and two thirds from 38 starts, gave further proof of her ability as a frontrunner two starts ago when she began from barrier three, took the lead after 300m and won the group 2 $50,000 WASBA Breeders Stakes at a 1.55.6 rate over 2130m. Then, last Friday night she started off the 30m mark in a 2503m stand and raced in eighth position in the one-wide line before starting a three-wide move 700m from home. She fought on determinedly to be fifth behind the pacemaker Better Scoot, who dashed over the final quarters in 27.8sec. and 28.3sec. “I clocked her to run the final half-mile, out three deep, in 55.5sec.,” said Reed.  Dodolicious, the only other mare in Friday night’s race, will start from the No. 1 barrier and Ryan Warwick is likely to use the five-year-old’s good gate speed in a bid to withstand Maczaffair’s early bid for the lead. It is problematic whether Dodolicious will be able to hold out Maczaffair. Dodolicious will be driven by Colin Brown, with Greg and Skye Bond’s other runner, Our Jimmy Johnstone, to be handled by the stable’s No. 1 driver Ryan Warwick. Our Jimmy Johnstone, who will start from barrier five, is in top form, with his past eight starts producing two wins and five placings. He started from barrier six in a 2130m event last Friday night when he raced three wide before charging to the front after 550m. He then gave a bold frontrunning display to win by a length from stablemate Galactic Star at a 1.55.4 rate. Maczaffair, Our Jimmy Johnstone and Bettors Fire look set to fight out the finish. Trainer-reinsman Kyle Harper said that he was confident that the nine-year-old Bettors Fire would run a bold race. “Barrier draws are not so important in races over 2536m,” he said. “We’ll play our cards according to the way things unfold at the start. If the race is run to suit Bettors Fire will be a very big chance of winning. Maczaffair and Our Jimmy Johnstone look to be the horses to beat.”   Ken Casellas

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