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Four-year-old Alta Christiano, the youngest and least experienced runner in the Garrards Horse And Hound Easter Cup at Gloucester Park on Thursday night, is poised to give master trainer Gary Hall sen. his fourth victory in the $40,000 event and maintain his unbeaten record in Australia. Hall, who has won Easter Cups with The Falcon Strike (2003), Patches (who dead-heated with OK Windermere in 2006) and Rebel Scooter (last year) delights in setting challenges for himself and his pacers. And he is testing his skill by lining up Alta Christiano against several older and vastly experienced pacers with outstanding form in standing-start events and over marathon trips. Alta Christiano has had only 13 starts for nine wins and he has never contested a race over the Easter Cup journey of 2902m. Alta Christiano, to be driven by Clint Hall, has taken part in only one standing-start event, over 2200m at Forbury in October 2012, when he began safely off 10m before breaking into a fierce gallop 500m after the start and finishing tenth as favourite at 7/4 on, 66 metres behind the winner Alta Capone. Alta Christiano has not been extended in winning easily at his five starts in Western Australia, all in mobiles over 1684m to 2536m. He is a rising superstar who looks set to meet his latest challenge and emerge triumphant, despite the disadvantage of starting from the outside of the front line of six. Alta Christiano, a chunky stallion, has dashed to an early lead and coasted to victory in his first two starts in his four-year-old campaign. Hall sen. originally intended to take him to Sydney to contest the $100,000 group 1 Len Smith Mile at Menangle on Sunday April 27. But he scrapped those plans a couple of weeks ago when he discovered that Beautide, brilliant winner of the interdominion championship at Menangle on March 2, was being set for the Len Smith Mile. He explained that he decided to keep Alta Christiano at home and to give him more experience before tackling champions of the calibre of Beautide. Clint Hall's priority will be to get Alta Christiano away to a safe beginning. Once that is achieved he will formulate his tactics, which most certainly will be to dash forward in an attempt to get to an early lead. Polemarker Hez Got the Nod (Shannon Suvaljko) is a renowned frontrunner and Pembrook Henry (Chris Lewis) also revels in the role of pacemaker, but their drivers would be ill advised to try to retain the lead if seriously challenged by Alta Christiano. In a touch of irony, the main dangers to Alta Christiano appear to be pacers formerly prepared by Hall sen. They are the 40m backmarker Hokonui Ben and This Time Dylan, who will start off the 20m mark. Hokonui Ben, now in the stables of Aldo Cortopassi, and This Time Dylan, now trained by Michael Brennan, meet Alta Christiano on favourable terms. If all Cup runners had to start off their automatic handicap marks, Hokonui ben would be starting off 120m, not 40m under the discretionary conditions of the race. And This Time Dylan would start off 80m. Hokonui Ben resumed after a month's break at Gloucester Park last Friday night when he set the pace and won from the fast-finishing This Time Dylan over 2130m. He will be improved by the outing and looks a strong each-way hope this week. Hokonui Ben is a grand stayer. Clint Hall drove him to a memorable all-the-way victory in the $400,000 WA Pacing Cup over 2936m in mid-January. Three starts ago, at his second run for Cortopassi, Hokonui Ben covered a good deal of extra ground before finishing powerfully to win the $50,000 RWWA Cup over 2536m from Northview Punter and David Hercules. It is worth noting that Hokonui Ben, winner of a 3200m stand in New Zealand in December 2011, has started in only two stands in WA, winning them both, the group 2 $50,000 Navy Cup at Gloucester Park in November 2012 and another 2503m event a fortnight later. Cortopassi has high hopes that Hokonui Ben will give him his second training and driving success in an Easter Cup. He drove Total Defiance when the New Zealand-bred four-year-old raced in sixth position before unwinding a spirited three-wide burst from the 1000m to get to the front at the 250m mark and win from Real Life and Badboy Nitro. Brennan, who trained Anvils Big Punt for his all-the-way win in the 2011 Easter Cup, will be looking for another strong finishing effort from This Time Dylan, who will again be driven by Chris Playle. This Time Dylan has started in seven standing-start events for four wins. The Justin Prentice-trained Braemoor is a standing-start specialist whose past eight wins have all been in stands. The seven-year-old will start from 10m and cannot be underestimated. Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri, who has won the Easter Cup three times (Abmidas, 1997), OK Windermere (2006) and Arma Harris (2010), will be represented by three of the six front-line runners --- Pembrook Henry (Lewis), Compact Rocket (Stuart McDonald) and Finbar Abbey (Chris Voak). All are capable standing-start performers. Lewis will be aiming for his sixth Easter Cup after successes with Pallaton (1980), Gold Rowan (1984), Village Kid (1987), Abmidas (1997) and OK Windermere (2006). Hazelmere horseman Mike Reed, who trained and drove Just Packapunch for his win over Scanio in the 1995 Easter Cup, has five-year-old Polak primed for a strong effort. The gelding, who worked in dashing style in winning a Byford trial on Sunday morning, will start from 10m. He was the 7/4 favourite in last year's Easter Cup when he raced in the breeze in the middle stages and finished a sound fourth behind Rebel Scooter. LIBERTYBELLE MIDFREW CAN OVERCOME UNFAVOURABLE DRAW Libertybelle Midfrew has been most impressive at her first two Australian starts and she should maintain her winning form by proving too strong for her rivals in the Garrards Horse And Hound On Course Now WA Oaks Prelude over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. The daughter of Christian Cullen is unfavourably drawn at barrier four on the back line, but she has the ability to overcome that disadvantage and make it three wins from three starts for her new trainer Mike Reed and reinsman Shannon Suvaljko in the space of 17 days. Libertybelle Midfrew covered a lot of extra ground before finishing powerfully to beat All About Pink by more than two lengths at her WA debut over 1730m at Gloucester Park and then she rated 1.57.8 when she dashed to the lead in the middle stages and defeated Cielito over 2185m at Pinjarra after sprinting over the final 400m in 27.1sec. Reed is also hopeful that his other runner My Samantha Jane will be prominent and will earn a start in the $150,000 WA Oaks on May 9. My Samantha Jane has had 13 starts for two wins and five placings. She followed an all-the-way win over 2190m at Northam with a close second to Jungle Jewel at Kellerberrin and a fighting third behind Libertybelle Midfrew at Pinjarra after leading early and then sitting behind the pacemaker. She will start from the No. 3 barrier on the front line on Friday night with Stephen Reed in the sulky. Byford trainer David Thompson will be represented by smart fillies Harriet Elisabeth and Harper Grace. Harper Grace is ideally drawn at the No. 1 barrier. She has led and won at two of her four starts --- over 2130m at Gloucester Park and 1684m at a 1.55.5 rate at Pinjarra. Harriet Elisabeth has won five times from 11 starts, but her prospects diminished when she drew the outside barrier on the back line. She revealed improved toughness at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week when she worked hard in the breeze before finishing determinedly to win from Highest Royalty and Lipizzaner. Lipizzaner, who will start from barrier two on the front line, will be driven by Matt White for Byford trainer Ryan Bell, who will handle stablemate All About Pink from barrier three on the back line. Boyanup trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice has a high opinion of The Parade, who has won at six of her 14 starts. The Parade, a last-start Bunbury winner, is sure to be prominent after starting from the No. 4 barrier off the front. RED SALUTE GETS HIS CHANCE West Australian-bred five-year-old Red Salute has recovered from a hoof injury and he gets an ideal chance to return to the winning list when he contests the 2536m Garrards Horse And Hound Open Daily Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Ross Olivieri-trained gelding will appreciate a drop in class when he starts out wide at No. 5 on the front line. He has the ability to overcome that disadvantage. Red Salute, driven by Chris Voak, resumed after a three-week absence in a 2130m event last Friday night. He enjoyed a soft run when he raced on the pegs in fourth position before he finished strongly, out four wide, to be fourth, only two metres from the winner Hokonui Ben. Red Salute has won 15 times from 53 starts and Voak is confident the bay will develop into a contender for the major feature events at the next summer carnival. Thursday night's field is quite even and it is difficult to predict which horse will start favourite. Leading trainer Gary Hall sen. holds a strong hand with three of the eight runners, Whos Mistake (barrier two), Passion Stride (six) and Benjamin Banneker (the only runner on the back line). The Chris King-trained Lord Lombo is a versatile performer who will have many admirers after excellent seconds to Hokuri Handrail and Lovers Delight at two of his past four starts, following a victory over Uppy Son and Midnight Dylan. Copagrin, an M1-class performer, will be lining up against much better performed pacers, but cannot be discounted from the prized No. 1 barrier. SOHO VALENCIA LOOKS A STAR BET Soho Valencia is tough and versatile --- and these ingredients should guarantee him of victory in the 1730m Retravision Pace at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. He has had three starts for leading trainer Gary Hall sen. after being off the scene for 17 months, and his form has been most impressive. He worked hard in the breeze at his first two outings for seconds to Northview Punter and Sensational Gabby and then he revealed great determination to charge home, out wide, from eighth at the bell to get up and snatch a nose victory over the pacemaker Franco Torres. He sped over the final 800m in 56.4sec. and rated a smart 1.56.4 over 2130m last Friday week. Clint Hall is likely to send him forward from barrier three on the front line in a bid to take up the role as pacemaker from the two nine-year-old veterans on his inside, Lombo Air Express and Talk It Up. The Bob Mellsop-trained Little Boy Blue could also make a bid for the early lead, starting from the No. 4 barrier. The five-year-old mustered plenty of early pace when a brilliant all-the-way winner over I Am Legend and Mighty Flying Thomas at a 1.55.8 rate over 2130m last Friday week. by Ken Casellas

Young Serpentine trainer Stephanie Smith boosted her reputation as a first-up specialist when she produced Dundee Three in superb condition at Gloucester Park on Friday night for a fighting victory in the 2503m Big Sports Breakfast TV Channel 519 Handicap. Driven by her partner Morgan Woodley, Dundee Three, an 8/1 chance, galloped out from the 20m mark and was last with two laps to travel with noted frontrunner Hez Got The Nod bowling along in the lead. Woodley started a three-wide move with 1150m to travel and the New Zealand-bred seven-year-old sustained a spirited effort to get to the front 30m from the post and win by a metre from Hez Got The Nod after final quarters in 28.4sec. and 28.7sec. The $11,220 first prize was a wonderful reward for Smith, who has worked assiduously to get the injury-plagued Dundee Three fit enough to make a comeback. She was given Dundee Three as a gift from leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond after she, her father Stewart, Lee Bunney and Ian Sermon had outlaid $10,000 to claim Gate Bender (trained by the Bonds) last June. “Greg and Skye asked me if I wanted a chance to rehabilitate Dundee Three (who had a damaged off fore suspensory ligament) and they said I could have him for nothing,” Smith said. “So I thought I would have a go and now I want to say thanks to Greg and Skye.” Smith, in her second season as a trainer, is a qualified veterinary nurse and she has managed to get Dundee Three sound enough to resume racing. The Mach Three gelding was having his first start for 11 months on Friday night and if he retains his fitness looks sure to win more races. Smith gave Dundee Three six months off in the paddock and then she had to work hard to cure several other problems, apart from his suspensory damage. “He has got bad feet problems, contracted heels, front and back,” she said. “He also has funny knees and jars up after almost every run.” Dundee Three now races in egg bar shoes on top of silicon filling and Smith treats his knees almost daily. She also takes the small gelding to the beach at Kwinana about every second day and rush wades him (riding him as he trots in the water). He also wades and rolls in the sand. Woodley was thrilled at Dundee Three’s performance, saying: “All credit to Steph; she has done a fantastic job. I’m so proud of her and so proud of the horse as well. He is a tremendous competitor. He is just a little horse, but is so brave. He showed courage tonight, winning after a quick last half and out three wide. “He just clawed his way right to the post and never gave it away. I thought it was probably curtains down the back straight when I didn’t quite get past Copagrin (in the breeze) like I had anticipated. And I then thought that the leader was probably going to hold on and I thought if we could hang on for a place I would be delighted with his performance. “Steph does all the on per cent things that I think make a big difference. She down there (at the stables) from early morning until late at night, doing things like icing their feet, wrapping their legs and taking them out for a pick in the grass, just keeping them in a happy place. She deserves all the accolades she gets.” Dundee Three, a half-brother to Scruncher (69 starts for 20 wins, 18 placings and $137,002), has earned $205,378 from 20 wins and 22 placings from 75 starts. Smith also showed great skill in preparing Gate Bender and Big Town Drive for first-up victories and she has also been successful with Sovereign Grange and Bolshevic in the past 12 months. Gate Bender won at his first start for Smith when he beat Shardons Rocket in a stand at Gloucester Park in December. Big Town Drive then won first-up for Smith at Williams in February before winning again at his next three starts, at Pinjarra, Narrogin and Harvey. By Ken Casellas

Barry Howlett, who runs a tree lopping business in Busselton, and Dunedin-born Matt White, who immigrated to Western Australia in late 2009, combined to cause a significant upset when White drove the lowly-credentialled Three Blind Mice to a stirring all-the-way victory in the $200,000 Sky racing WA Derby at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Three Blind Mice, a 17/1 chance on the tote, made the most of the prized No. 1 barrier by setting the pace before revealing splendid fighting qualities to hold three geldings prepared by champion trainer Gary Hall sen. at bay in the group 1 classic over 2536m. Three Blind Mice, prepared by 59-year-old hobby trainer Howlett, won by a metre from 11/1 chance Eyre Crusher (Morgan Woodley), with a neck to Machtu (13/4, Kim Prentice) and a further length to even-money favourite Elegant Christian (Clint Hall). All honours were with Three Blind Mice, a gelding by American stallion Santanna Blue Chip who was purchased as a yearling in New Zealand by Howlett. But there was a dramatic discovery after the event. The brilliant Elegant Christian, who went into the race with a record of six wins and a nose second from seven starts, had the major disadvantage of having to having to carry a flat tyre on the off side wheel of the sulky over the final 1800m. The tyre deflated mysteriously. It had not been struck by the hoof of another horse or any other object. Given this impediment, combined with the fact that Elegant Christian raced three wide early and then in the breeze, his effort was outstanding. Supporters of Elegant Christian were on good terms with themselves when the gelding levelled with the pacemaker 400m from home. But White kept his cool and Three Blind Mice resisted the challenge before drawing away to win in grand style at a 1.57.5 rate, which was just outside the track record for a three-year-old, the 1.57.2 shared by Robyns C C and Machtu. Eyre Crusher trailed the leader throughout and after getting into the clear in the late stages he rattled home to be second. Machtu raced in ninth position for the first two laps before Prentice sent him forward, three wide, approaching the bell. Machtu sustained his effort to finish third, with each of the final two 400m sections being covered in 28.5sec. Three Blind Mice was afforded the luxury of coasting through the first 400m of the final mile in 30.8sec. before White increased the tempo. The stewards fined Clint Hall $400 for his incorrect use of the whip in the home straight. Three Blind Mice won once from six starts in New Zealand before Brent Mangos brought him to WA late last year when he drove him in races at Pinjarra and Harvey in November for a seventh and third placing. Three Blind Mice notched his first Australian victory three starts before the Derby, when he worked hard without cover before winning over 2150m at Harvey. Then followed a splendid strong-finishing second to Machtu over 25346m at Gloucester Park and an eighth behind Elegant Christian in the Western Gateway Pace when he was hampered for room in the final lap. Three Blind Mice went into the Derby with a modest record of two wins from 13 starts for $15,917 in prizemoney. His earnings after the Derby have been boosted to $147,917. The 29-year-old White started working for Howlett at his Busselton stables just over three months ago and he thanked Howlett and his wife Lyn for the opportunity. "This is a dream come true and Three Blind Mice is a nice horse who will be even better next year," he said. "He's got a good high cruising speed and will go a long way." The Derby victory gave Howlett and White their biggest success in harness racing. Howlett's previous biggest most important victory was as the owner, trainer and driver of Lights Above in the $75,000 State Sires Series final for two-year-old fillies in May 1994. Among his winners since then have been Lights Above's daughter Up Above, Eliza Grace, Lil Miss Hilarious and Cielito. White, who guided Vancelot Lady to victory at 10/1 at Bridgetown in December 2009 for his first WA success, was one of New Zealand's leading junior drivers from 2006 to 2008, drove Safin to victory in the Diamond for three-year-old fillies at Cambridge in May 2008. He drove Miss Bay Point to victory in the $100,000 group 1State Sires Series for three-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park in July 2010, and won group 2 and 3 feature events with Lombo Navigator --- the Nights of Thunder, Harvey Cup and August Cup in 2011 and the Pinjarra Cup in 2012. He also finished third with Lombo Navigator in the group 1 2012 interdominion championship final won by Im Themightyquinn. Three Blind Mice is bred to be a good winner. His dam Time Again Franco (by Holmes Hanover) is out of Tango Franco, the mother of This Time Franco (36 starts for ten wins, 11 placings and $249,151) and Franco Thunder (178 starts for 44 wins, 43 placings and $199,928). Tango Franco is a half-sister to former superstar Franco Tiger (116 starts for 43 wins, 36 placings and $991,387) and OK Tiger (52 starts for 12 wins, nine placings and $142,866) Franco Tiger's successes included the Miracle Mile at Harold Park in 1992, the Australian Pacing Championship at Bankstown in 1992, the Queensland Championship at Albion Park in 1992 and the Treuer Memorial at Bankstown in 1993. He also finished second to Sinbad Bay in the $275,000 Victoria Cup at Moonee Valley in 1991 and second to Westburn Grant in the interdominion championship at Moonee Valley in March 1992.   VOAK BRINGS UP HIS CENTURY AND GOES TO THE TOP Chris Voak maintained his grand form in the sulky when he brought 2/1 favourite Rocky Pop home with a determined burst to snatch a last-stride half-head victory over the pacemaker Fully Zapped (7/1) in the 2130m Sky Racing App Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. This gave the 25-year-old Voak his 99th winner for the season --- and he kept up the good work with a double with Allazar and Ultimate Fighter at Harvey on Saturday night. The Harvey double placed Voak in unfamiliar territory --- on top of the Statewide reinsmen's premiership table with 101 winners from 741 drives. He has wrested the lead from champion reinsman Gary Hall jun., who is serving a term of suspension. Hall has driven 99 winners from 359 drives this season. Rocky Pop, a Jet Laag four-year-old trained in Bunbury by Murray Hansen, started from barrier two on the back line and was favourite at 2/1 after covering a lot of ground and winning at Bunbury the previous Saturday night. Polemarker Fully Zapped set the pace and he looked hard to beat after coasting through the first quarter of the final mile in 31.8sec. This prompted Voak to send Rocky Pop forward with a three-wide move 1300m from home. Rocky Pop quickly moved to third, out wide, at the bell and he sustained his effort to gain the verdict in the final stride after a final 800m in a slick 57.4sec. Rocky Pop, owned by Adam and Philip Sofoulis and Dianne Knowles, is a half-brother to Hansen's stable star Truckers Ruffnut, who has earned $249,770 from 20 wins and 14 placings from 53 starts. Rocky Pop now has raced 31 times for seven wins, 14 placings and $54,830. Rocky Pop's five-year-old half-brother Tuxedo Tour resumed racing after a spell at Harvey on Saturday night when he won for the ninth time from 34 starts and took his earnings to $108,456. HOKONUI BEN SURVIVES EARLY AND LATE CHALLENGES The ability of hot favourite Hokonui Ben to muster sufficient speed to hold out brilliant mare Sensational Gabby in the early stages of the 2130m Big Sports Breakfast TV Channel 519 Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night paved the way for his narrow victory. Hokonui Ben, favourite at 6/4 on, began well from the No. 2 barrier, but was easily beaten out by Sensational Gabby, the 11/4 second fancy who began with a sparkling burst of speed from the No. 4 barrier. Sensational Gabby quickly charged to a one-length lead, but was unable to cross to the pegs. Chris Lewis then angled Sensational Gabby to the pegs to race in third position, with the polemarker Rocket Reign having gained the perfect sit behind the leader. After surviving the early challenge, Hokonui Ben was able to relax and Aldo Cortopassi sent her through the first 400m section of the final mile in a dawdling 31.8sec. before another comfortable quarter in 31.2sec. Lewis eased Sensational Gabby off the pegs with 1000m to travel to move to the breeze, a couple of lengths behind the pacemaker. The third quarter was covered in 28.5sec. and Sensational Gabby was beginning to show the pinch. Chris Playle, who was following Sensational Gabby with 22/1 chance This Time Dylan, switched the gelding three wide 250m from home. This Time Dylan sprinted home fast and just failed to overhaul Hokonui Ben, who scored in a photo by a half-head. Rocket Reign got clear in the final stages and flashed home to be a close third, just ahead of Red Salute, who finished strongly, out wide. The final 400m was covered in a fast 27.8sec. and the winner rated 1.57.7. "It's always a worry with a mare like Sensational Gabby, who can get off the gate as quick as she can," Cortopassi said. "It was lucky we got to a corner with our legs still inside her. And that helped us to keep the front. I was relatively confident after a 63sec. first half. "Hokonui Ben missed a bit of work when he got that bit of a bug. So I wanted to try to get a soft half and then run from there. It worked out pretty well, even though This Time Dylan gave us a bit of a scare on the line." Sensational Gabby faded to finish sixth in the field of seven, ahead of Dasher VC, who was at the rear throughout in his first appearance for almost three months. Hokonui Ben has amassed $596,339 in prizemoney from 19 wins and 15 placings from 55 starts. SUVALJKO DISCOVERS SECRET OF SUCCESS Byford trainer-reinsman Shannon Suvaljko has discovered the secret to winning races at Gloucester Park --- start a horse in the country the previous night. That was the formula which worked perfectly for the 45-year-old Suvaljko on Friday night when he took two horses, Love In The Dark and Celtic Crusader, to the course the night after they had competed at Narrogin, 198km south-east of Perth, on Thursday night. The long two-way float trip did not affect the pacers who scored decisive victories at Gloucester Park. They completed a driving treble for Suvaljko, who started the program by guiding the Mike Reed-trained Grand Cru to victory in the opening event. Love In The Dark failed at Narrogin when she was driven by Luke Edwards and galloped at the start before finishing sixth behind Jasper Freeway. Edwards also drove Celtic Crusader, who started at 25/1 and raced four back on the pegs before finishing solidly to be third behind Cuzin Judd. The stewards placed Love In The Dark on the outside of the back line in the 2130m In The Gig Mares Pace and the five-year-old Elsu mare was an outsider at 33/1. She raced in ninth position in the one-wide line and was eighth on the home turn before she flew home, six wide, to win by almost a length from 5/1 chance Korobeit Angel, who had set the pace after dashing to the front 550m after the start. This was Love In The Dark's third appearance in a race in Western Australia. She started favourite at 10/9 on at her first start in the State when she raced without cover and faded to eighth in a field of nine, more than ten lengths behind the winner Mississippi bell at Gloucester Park on March 28. "She's got the ability and the fast lead time (35.9sec.) and the slow last quarter (29.5sec.) probably helped her," said Suvaljko. "She raced at Narrogin the previous night --- and that might be something." Love In The Dark won once from 25 New Zealand starts and three times from 16 starts in Queensland. She now has earned $41,566 from five wins and 15 placings from 44 starts. Celtic Crusader started from the prized No. 1 barrier in the 2130m Sky Racing, No. 1 In Racing Pace and was a 6/1 chance who led for the first 150m before Suvaljko opted to take then sit behind 5/4 favourite Bettors Ace. Bettors Ace began to shorten stride in the home straight and Celtic Crusader ran on fast to burst to the front 20m from the post before defeating the pacemaker by just under a length at a 1.58.1 rate. Celtic Crusader, purchased for $10,000m by Gemma Davies and Klarry Andritsos a couple of years ago, is a hardy New South Wales-bred seven-year-old who has earned $143,751 from 19 wins and 33 placings from 140 starts. Suvaljko kept up the good work at Kellerberrin on Sunday when he drove Sir Ricky (5/2) and Laura Florence (11/8) to victory for Wanneroo trainer Debbie Padberg, who was also successful with even-money favourite Xupan Three, who was driven by Edwards. GRAND CRU IS BRED TO BE A WINNER Four-year-old New Zealand-bred gelding Grand Cru gave a sample of his class with an easy victory in the 1730m Sky Racing TV Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He is by Bettors Delight out of former champion mare Under Cover Lover, who earned $864,923 from 21 wins and 22 placings from 70 starts before being retired to the breeding barn. Tommy Smith, having his first start for just over four months for Pinjarra trainer Michael Brennan, was all the rage from the prized No. 1 barrier and was favourite at 7/4 on, with Grand Cru a 15/1 chance from barrier six on the front line. Shannon Suvaljko got Grand Cru away to a flying start and the gelding quickly moved to the breeze position, with Tommy Smith setting a moderate pace. Morgan Woodley attempted to shake off Tommy Smith's rivals with a sizzling third quarter in 27.3sec. But Grand Cru stuck with the flying pacemaker and got his head in front passing the 400m mark. Grand Cru then dashed away and won by 7m from Tommy Smith, rating a slick 1.56.2 rate and improving his record to seven wins and 17 placings from 41 starts. "He's racing well," said Suvaljko. "And we knew that we had to sit. So we sat up in the breeze and knew that Tommy Smith would be a bit underdone. We had to get it a bit easy so we could hold out Ohoka Kentucky (5/2 second fancy). So when he was coming, three wide, at the bell I said that we had done nothing and then had to get running. "Grand Cru got it very easy early with a first quarter of 31.1sec. and he was always on the bit. I'm sure he is capable of winning a couple more." EL MACHINE RESUMES IN FINE STYE Talented WA-bred five-year-old El Machine looks set for a successful campaign in feature events over the winter months when he resumed after a four-month absence in grand style at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Produced in splendid fettle by 26-year-old Pinjarra trainer-reinsman Kade Howson (who owns the gelding in partnership with Michael George), El Machine was a well-supported 7/2 chance and he produced an excellent effort to win the 2130m Mini Owners Club of WA Club Pace by a length from the 9/4 favourite Mighty Flying Thomas. Polemarker I Am Legend set a solid pace, with Mighty Flying Thomas working hard in the breeze. Howson restrained El Machine from the outside of the front line back to last before sending the gelding forward, three wide, approaching the bell. El Machine got on to the back of Pride of Colorado, but when that pacer began to wilt turning into the back straight Howson switched El Machine four wide. Morgan Woodley sent Mighty Flying Thomas to the front 380m from home, but El Machine was carrying too many guns and he forged to the lead at the 250m mark. Mighty Flying Thomas fought ion grandly and finished two and a half lengths in front of the third placegetter Quick Reflection. El Machine, purchased by Howson and George for $5000 at the 2009 Gloucester Standardbred yearling sale, has earned $143,514 from 17 wins and 13 placings from 43 starts. SHIRLZ SENSATION NOTCHES A HAT-TRICK West Australian-bred four-year-old Shirlz Sensation is one of the State's most improved pacers and he completed a winning hat-trick when Chris Lewis drove him to a stylish win in the second heat of the Riley Car Club Johnson Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Favourite at 11/8 from the outside of the front line, Shirlz Sensation was restrained to the rear by Chris Lewis while polemarker Ima Grumpy Jasper set the pace from 6/1 chance Vapour in the breeze. Shirlz Sensation improved to seventh at the bell, out three wide with cover, before Lewis switched him four wide with 700m to travel. He sustained his effort to hit the front 130m from the post and won by just under a length from 6/1 chance What The Blazes, who flew home from the rear. Vapour, who had got to the lead at the 450m mark, was a fighting third. Shirlz Sensation had won easily after racing without cover at his two previous starts, at Gloucester Park, and is sure to be a major fancy in the $25,000 final of the Johnson Pace next Friday week. Shirlz Sensation, raced by Margie Guy and Jandabup trainer Mike Beech, has earned $68,619 from eight wins and three placings from only 23 starts. by Ken Casellas  

Hall of Fame reinsman Frederick Ross (FR) Kersley will return to Gloucester Park on Friday night as a driver, when he partners another superstar of the sport, Im Themightyquinn. Kersley, who dominated Perth harness racing winning 14 trainers premiership and 17 drivers premierships, will return to the sulky and drive champion pacer Im Themightyquinn in  special ‘workout’ between races five and six on Friday night. Kersley has not driven competitively for almost a decade, but will come out of retirement for this special occasion to partner one of the greatest pacers of all time, Im Themightyquinn as the three-time Inter Dominion winner prepares for his race track return in the coming weeks. Two Champions of two different era’s will combine for a special harness racing moment. The special promotion was proposed by ‘Quinny’s’ trainer Gary Hall Sr. “I grew up idolising Fred (Kerlsey)” said Hall “He dominated and gave all the trainers and drivers of my era something to aspire to, and to have the great FRK drive a champion I train is simply amazing” Kersley travelled to Hall’s Serpentine stable during the week to get a feel of the champ and have a practice run before his return to Gloucester Park. “He feels like a Rolls Royce” enthused Kersley “He’s an amazing animal, it’s a big thrill for me” he added Im Themightyquinn Total money won - $4,377,016 102 starts 52 wns 19 seconds 13 3rds Best time 1:53.5 Fred Kersley 2377 career wins as driver (1735 in Perth) 2282 career wins as trainer (1570 in Perth) (last winner & last drive - Precious Dylan for trainer Grant Williams at Pinjarra on 7th August 2006) 17 Perth Drivers Premierships 14 Perth Trainers Premierships First Australian to drive 100+ Metro Winners in a season - 113 in 1984/85 Five times 100 winners in a season as a driver 1993 Australian Harness Racing Council Distinguished National Service Award 2007 Inaugural Inductee into The West Australian Racing Industry Hall Of Fame Group One wins 1st 1961 WA Pacing Cup with Beau Travis (driver) beating Peppercorn & Moonspeed 1st 1967 Fremantle Cup with Coneeda (driver) beating Paula Nelson & Reggie John 1st 1972 WA Pacing Cup with James Eden (trainer) beating Yankee Rhythm & Dark Adair 1st 1973 WA Pacing Cup with Local Product (driver & trainer) beating Mitchell Victory & Wee Cent 1st 1974 South Australian Pacing Cup with James Eden (driver) 1st 1975 WA Derby with Pure Steel (driver & trainer) beating Yerilla Court & Hodgens Son 1st 1976 WA Derby with Nixon Adios (driver & trainer) beating Lord Thurber & Mister Karamea 1st 1979 WA Oaks with Wannerie (driver & trainer) beating Lady Delmer & Pleasant Waratah 1st 1980 WA Oaks with Capricciosa (driver & trainer) beating Paris Trick & Phrynie 1st 1985 WA Oaks with Countess Gina (driver & trainer) beating Penny Opera & Bremer Bay 1st 1986 Golden Slipper Stakes with Paavo (driver & trainer) beating Big Bucks & Judge Thomas 1st 1987 ACFOS Cup with Raceaway Too (driver & trainer) beating Trunkey Westerner & Morgan James 1st 1992 Golden Slipper Stakes with Chandon (driver) beating Flashing Star & Shaw To Win 1st 1993 WA Derby with Chandon (driver) beating Parky Kid & Classic Earl 1st 1993 Fremantle Cup with Justaboyden (driver) beating Tricky Bey & Keyera 1st 1995 WA Pacing Cup with Justaboyden (driver) beating Southern Knight & Hot Mix 1st 1996 Golden Slipper Stakes with Salinger (driver & trainer) beating Hail The Judge & Kinda Red 1st 1997 WA Derby with Salinger (driver & trainer) beating Heros Knight & Upstanding Poplar 1st 1997 Golden Nugget with Salinger (driver & trainer) beating The Accelerator & Record High 1st 2002 Golden Slipper Stakes with Cams Legend (driver) beating Magic Albert & Fletcher Christian 1st 2004 WA Derby with Global Force (driver) beating Ulrich & Am I Tough Michael Radley Chief Executive Gloucester Park Harness Racing  

Outstanding horseman Kim Prentice has gone close to winning the WA Derby a couple of times and now he feels that the time is right for him to put the record straight by winning the $200,000 Sky Racing WA Derby at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He will drive the New Zealand-bred three-year-old Machtu for leading trainer Gary Hall sen. and both men believe the gelding has the ability, the form and the barrier draw to win the 2536m classic. Prentice drove Machtu for the first time in a race last Friday night when he covered a good deal of ground, starting a three-wide run from eighth with 1200m to travel in the 2130m Western Gateway Pace in which stablemate Elegant Christian set the pace from the No. 1 barrier and won at a 1.56.1 rate from two other Hall runners Classic American and Eyre Crusher. Machtu, who moved to third, out three wide, at the bell, battled on gamely to finish fifth, just one and a half lengths behind the winner. Prentice went close to winning the Derby when he drove the filly Dilingers Reign into third place behind Mr Yankee and Devastating in 2006. In the previous year's Derby Prentice trained Alberta Retreat, who was driven by Chris Lewis and turned for home in front before finishing a close second to Richard Henry. "Machtu will definitely be a big player on Friday night," Prentice said. "I'm happy with the draw at barrier three on the back line and I've just spoken to Senior and he thinks that Machtu might be the pick of the stable runners, from that draw. "Machtu gave me a good feel last week and I'm happy to be sitting behind him in the Derby. I had driven him only once before, on the track, and I think the 2500m will be right up his alley. All he needs is a nice run into the race and then we'll go from there. Definitely he can fight out the finish and hopefully, if things go our way, it will be my first Derby." Hall said he considered Machtu to be a "good chance," pointing out that the gelding faced the breeze before winning a 2536m Derby prelude by 20 metres last Friday week. "Over 2130m last week it was too much rush and tear for him, and he was up there pulling at the bell," he said. "And it was too much to ask of him with Elegant Christian running those sectionals. I think he will be a big improver." Hall, who prepared his first Derby winner 12 months ago when his son Gary drove Alta Christiano to a runaway victory over Victorian pacer Macha after racing without cover for much of the journey, has four runners in Friday night's classic, Machtu, Elegant Christian (barrier No. 4 on the front line), Eyre Crusher (inside of the back line) and Classic American (barrier four on the back line). "The draw hasn't done our runners any favours," he said. "I think the draw has made it a very interesting race. It has brought Three Blind Mice into contention after drawing barrier one. And it probably has taken a couple out, like Bettor Offer and Mister Jadore. I think they will find it a lot harder from back-line draws. "Before the draw I thought those two horses would be the main dangers to our stable runners. If either had been drawn to lead I would have been really worried about them. I certainly think that Elegant Christian can win. "I think he was out of his comfort zone last week, being pushed out to lead by Ultimate Major and Bettor Offer. This led to a fast lead time of 35.6sec. and I think those two horses paid the penalty, with both of them finishing well back. "So taking a line through that I think that Elegant Christian's run was pretty good. This week I think he will be better off just coming out at his leisure and just getting across to the breeze or to the front. It's a Derby and horses drawn favourably generally do go forward in a bid to lead. I think Three Blind Mice has shown enough ability, and he can stay a bit, to maybe want to lead. And Bettor Rules (No. 3) generally likes to get to the front. If Elegant Christian gets to the breeze outside Three Blind Mice I think he would win." Clint Hall will again drive Elegant Christian and he declared that the gelding was the horse to beat. "I'm not going to put all my eggs in one basket, so I won't be going flat out for the lead," he said. "I would like to lead and if the lead is there for the taking I'll certainly take it. However, I believe that I can sit outside any of the three horses drawn on my inside and win the race." Pelusiac, trained by Andrew De Campo, is favourably drawn at the No. 2 barrier and reinsman Aiden De Campo said that he was very happy with the draw. Pelusiac, a winner at five of his 11 starts, was unlucky in last week's Western Gateway Pace when he was distanced. "He was travelling pretty well, three wide and three back and was definitely getting into the race in the back straight in the final lap when he was knocked over by his stablemate, who was going roughly," de Campo said. "From barrier two he won't have to do too much early and we should get into a nice position. "He worked well this morning (Tuesday) and hopefully he will get a nice sit on the speed and get a bit of luck over the final 500m. And then, hopefully, he'll finish over the top of them." Hall sen. said that if Three Blind Mice set the pace it would bring Eyre Crusher (Morgan Woodley) into the race with a chance. "Morgan said that Eyre Crusher probably should have won last week's race by three or four lengths if he had got out in the home straight. He said he was bolting." Eyre Crusher finished third, just behind Classic American, who flew home from last at the bell. "It was exciting to see Classic American come back to form," Hall sen. said. "Obviously we have been driving him wrong. Soft driving helped him a lot." Henley Brook trainer-reinsman Robbie Williams will not push out with Calais from the No. 5 barrier and is hoping to obtain a favourable sit before asking the promising gelding to produce a strong finishing sprint. "It's no use worrying about the barrier," Williams said. "I will drive him softly and hope to be able to use his speed late in the race. He can run a fast 400m." Boyanup trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice had no luck at the draw, with Mista Rush drawing barrier six on the front line and Tasmanian Bromac No. 7. Both geldings will need plenty of luck to figure in the finish. The lightly-raced Mista Rush has impressed in winning the South-West Derby at Pinjarra and the Country Derby at Bunbury at his past two starts. SENSATIONAL GABBY SET TO MAKE THE SPARKS FLY The clash between noted frontrunners Hokonui Ben and Sensational Gabby in the 2130m Big Sports Breakfast TV Channel 519 Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night looks set to produce plenty of fireworks and should be a major highlight on the nine-event program. Hokonui Ben, the all-the-way winner of the 2936m WA Pacing Cup in January, gained a significant early advantage by drawing barrier two in the seven-horse field and trainer-reinsman Aldo Cortopassi is sure to attempt to burst past the polemarker Rocket Reign in the early stages. However, Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri hopes that Sensational Gabby's sizzling early speed from barrier four will enable her to outpace the three runners drawn inside of her and assume her favoured role of pacemaker. "She has very good gate speed and obviously Plan A will be to lead," Olivieri said. "If Chris (Lewis) feels that there is something happening inside of him that he doesn't like, then he will go to plan B. She has been working really well since she led and won easily from Soho Valencia two Fridays ago." In that event Sensational Gabby rated 1.54.8 over 2130m. Olivieri also has an excellent second string in Red Salute, who will start from the No. 5 barrier and will again be handled by Chris Voak. "Red Salute is a consistent performer, but he has been suffering from a sore foot," Olivieri said as he offered that problem as a legitimate excuse for the five-year-old fading to fifth behind Northview Punter and Soho Valencia after setting the pace at his latest appearance, over 2130m three Fridays ago. "Chris said that Red Salute was going like a camel down the back. The horse then blew an abscess out in a foot at his next track run, and that was obviously bothering him in the race when his effort, on the surface, was disappointing compared to his previous run (when he led and won from Sensational Gabby over 2130m). Adding considerable interest to Friday night's race will be the reappearance of star pacer Dasher VC, who will start from the outside in the field of seven. The seven-year-old and winner of the 2013 Fremantle Cup when he defeated Im Themightyquinn will be having his first start since finishing tenth in the WA Pacing Cup on January 17. His driver Aiden De Campo (son of Capel trainer Andrew De Campo) said that Dasher VC had been working strongly. "He worked with a galloping pacemaker on our track this morning (Tuesday) and worked really well," he said. "He'll probably need the run on Friday, but hopefully he's coming back to his best. "During his previous preparation we were trying to patch up a lot of holes with him, trying to be nice to him and getting him sound. This time it will be either make or break for him." Also resuming after a spell will be Rocket Reign, who should enjoy an ideal passage from the No. 1 barrier. Wanneroo trainer Debbie Padberg said that the ten-year-old was working really well, was sound and is looking a million dollars. GOOD DRIVE FOR LEWIS Champion reinsman Chris Lewis has been engaged to drive promising lightly-raced four-year-old Leftrightgoodnight in the Sky Racing Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night and he should send punters home on a winning note. Leftrightgoodnight, trained at Baskerville by Sonia Zucchiatti, impressed at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon when he overcame the disadvantage of a punctured sulky tyre to finish strongly from eighth at the bell to win easily from Deimos at a 1.56 rate over 1684m. He was driven by Kim Prentice, who will handle Zucchiatti's other runner Sir Kale in Friday night's race. Sir Kale, who will start from barrier four on the front line, has a losing sequence of 23 stretching back to a win in Bunbury in June 2011. He has been placed at three of his past seven starts. Prentice has driven Leftrightgoodnight at seven of his eight starts for three wins and one placing. Lewis has driven the gelding only once --- for an easy all-the-way victory over 2130m at Gloucester Park in mid-February. Leftrightgoodnight will start from barrier two on the front line and Lewis will be keen to get the gelding to an early lead. COMPACT ROCKET FAVOURED TO TURN THE TABLES Handy five-year-old Compact Rocket gets an ideal opportunity to turn the tables on his stablemate Pembrook Henry when he starts from barrier three on the front line of the 2503m Big Sports Breakfast TV Channel 519 Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Last Friday night Compact Rocket sat behind the pacemaking Pembrook Henry and was hampered for room in the closing stages when a sound third to that pacer in a 2503m stand. Pembrook Henry faces a tougher task this week off the 10m mark. Trainer Ross Olivieri said that he was confident of a bold showing this week from Compact Rocket, whose barrier manners were improving. "He was a bit hit and miss in stands, but we think that we've got him (to get away smoothly)," Olivieri said. "He went from a pole to a line pole to nothing and since we've got rid of the pole he seems a lot better." Olivieri also warned punters not to discount the winning chances of the nine-year-old Pembrook Henry, who led and won from Copagrin last week. "Starting from 10m won't be as good for him," he said. "However, I do believe that Pembrook Henry is a better horse from behind than in front, and he is beginning quickly, so he could be handily placed." MATTHEW LANDS FIRST CITY WINNER Twenty-two-year-old Harley Matthew gave a polished exhibition in the sulky to bring Loving You with a spirited burst from last to win the Young Drivers Pace at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night. Loving You, trained at Herron by Clive Dalton, started at 7/1. The four-year-old mare started from the outside of the front line and Matthew wisely restrained her back to last in the field of ten before starting a three-wide burst approaching the bell. Scuba Steve got past the pacemaker Visigoth 450m from home before being overhauled at the 250m mark by Loving You, who won by a half-length from the fast-finishing Blue McCool. by Ken Casellas

Elegant Christian ran a dazzling trial for the $200,000 WA Derby next Friday night when he gave a sparkling frontrunning display to win the $50,000 TABtouch Western Gateway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. "I'll take them on again next week and I think we'll have a similar result," declared Clint Hall after driving the inexperienced New Zealand-bred gelding, hot favourite at 3/1 on, to a stylish victory over Classic American (54/1) and Eyre Crusher (14/1) to give master trainer Gary Hall sen. the trifecta which returned a dividend of $340.10 for a $1 investment. Hall sen. now has won the Western Gateway Pace three times, having driven The Falcon Strike to victory in 2001 and scoring with Alta Christiano in 2013 when the colt was driven by Gary Hall jun. Elegant Christian now has won at six of his seven starts, all in Western Australia, with his only defeat coming at the start before Friday night's success, when he was suffering from a mouth ulcer and hang in badly throughout before finishing a half-head second to Mister Jadore. This problem has been cured and the Hall camp is looking forward to the Derby with great confidence. Elegant Christian burst straight to the front from the prized No. 1 barrier on Friday night and dashed over the lead time in a slick 35.6sec. when challenged early by Bettor Offer, who mustered plenty of early pace from the outside of the front line. Hall then was able to get Elegant Christian to relax and go through the first two 400m sections of the final mile in 30.3sec. and 30.5sec. before sprinting the third quarter in 28.2sec. and coming home in 29.1sec. to record a smart mile rate of 1.56.1 over the 2130m. Elegant Christian's stablemate Machtu, second favourite at 4/1, settled in eighth place before Kim Prentice sent him forward to move to third, out three wide, at the bell. Machtu fought on grandly to finish fifth, with Bettor Offer wilting to seventh. Fourth place went to Mister Jadore, who had followed the three-wide run of Machtu. The win boosted Elegant Christian's earnings to $92,540. Classic American, driven by Chris Voak, was most impressive. He was last in the field of 12 at the bell before unleashing a brilliant finishing burst, out wide of the track. Eyre Crusher trailed the pacemaking Elegant Christian throughout and was badly blocked for a clear passage in the concluding stages. "We expected some early pressure after his last-start defeat," said Clint Hall. "But we were very happy and confident with the horse leading into the race. I thought it would be detrimental to the chances of any horse who took Elegant Christian on early, and I think that was shown in the end. "Elegant Christian is a terrific horse. Down the back I wasn't quite sure how much he had left. He never really travels like that he's got that much left. But once I let him down he had plenty left. I knew I had the two outside of him beaten and I was just worried about Eyre Crusher then. "He's a typical Christian Cullen. He goes to the gate charging and as soon as they move away from his head he just drops the bit and does what we ask him to do." SOHO VALENCIA GETS UP IN THE FINAL STRIDE Victorian-bred five-year-old Soho Valencia further illustrated his wonderful potential and showed that he would be a major player in the feature summer carnival events next season with a fighting victory in the 2130m Princi Butchers Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Shannon Suvaljko drove a canny race in front with polemarker Franco Torres, the 8/1 third favourite behind Soho Valencia (7/4 on) and Lovers Delight (11/2) and he just failed, with Soho Valencia being fully extended in getting up to snatch victory by a nose. Soho Valencia, trained by Gary Hall sen., started from barrier three on the back line and Clint Hall settled the horse into eighth position in the one-wide line after Franco Torres had recorded a modest lead time of 37.4sec. and a first quarter in only 30.6sec. Suvaljko then increased the tempo and Franco Torres reeled off the next three quarters in 29.7sec., 27.8sec. and 28.6sec.Hall started a three-wide move with Soho Valencia approaching the bell and the horse was eighth with a lap to travel. Hall had to drive Soho Valencia hard to gain a last-stride victory by the barest possible margin. The winner rated 1.56.4 and boosted his record to 20 wins, nine placings and $320,902 from 36 starts. He has raced four times in Western Australian for two wins and two seconds. "They drove clever races up front and our hands were tied," said Clint Hall. "We had to come with one run. We thought we would save him up a bit longer tonight and come out about the 800m. If we had come out at the 1200m it might have made the difference (winning more convincingly). "Once I pulled the plugs (after turning for home) he felt like he was going to get the leader. But the leader kept kicking and made him fight it out right to the line." The stewards fined Hall $200 for an incorrect whip action in the final stages of the race. MISTER SHEEDY GIVES JONES A BIRTHDAY PRESENT Former Victorian pacer Mister Sheedy gave Lauren Jones, a recent arrival in Western Australia from Queensland, a wonderful 19th birthday present at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he scored a game win in the 2130m TAB Funding The Industry Pace. Mister Sheedy was driven confidently by Jones and his win gave master trainer Gary Hall sen. the first of four winners on the ten-event program. He was also successful with Alta Christiano, Soho Valencia and Elegant Christian. But celebrations were dampened somewhat when Mister Sheedy pulled up after the race with a fractured nearside pedal bone, an injury which will keep him out of action for at least 12 months and could quite likely spell the end of his racing career. For Jones, who answered an advertisement a couple of months ago to work for the powerful Hall training establishment in Serpentine, this was her first Metropolitan-class success in the State. Mister Sheedy, a six-year-old and winner of 13 races from only 39 Victorian starts, was making his WA debut on Friday night. He was drawn to start from the outside (barrier two) on the back line in a field of nine and was heavily supported to start favourite at 6/4 on. Polemarker Kotare Ash, second fancy at 9/2, withstood an early challenge from Anvils Big Punt and after she went through the lead time in a reasonable 37.1sec., Jones, who had settled Mister Sheedy in the favourable one-out, one-back position, seized the initiative and sent the gelding forward with a three-wide burst to move into the breeze 100m later. Kotare Ash began to wilt approaching the home turn and Jones sent Mister Sheedy to the front with 150m to travel. He went on to win at a 1.59.9 rate over the 2130m journey by one metre from 22/1 chance Rojen Cruz, who was seventh at the bell and charged home out six wide on the track. A close third was 12/1 chance Anvils Big Punt, who raced without cover early before gaining the one-out, one-back sit behind Mister Sheedy. Mister Sheedy, by American stallion Presidential Ball, has earned $85,688 from 14 wins and 13 placings from 40 starts. He had been unplaced at his final four Victorian starts and was having his first start since finishing ninth in a 1720m event at Melton last November. He is the second foal out of New South Wales-bred mare Intoxicating (by Chandon) who had 47 starts for 12 wins, ten placings and $79,060. PEMBROOK HENRY ENDS LOSING RUN OF 34 Veteran New Zealand-bred pacer Pembrook Henry is thriving on racing and after breaking a losing sequence of 34 by winning the 2503m TAB Bet Today Collect Today Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night reinsman Chris Lewis predicted further successes for the hardy nine-year-old. "If he begins as fast as he did tonight there's definitely a few more wins in him," said Lewis after Pembrook Henry, a 9/1 chance, had begun speedily from barrier five on the front line in the stand and led all the way. "You like to see them jump away that quick and that was a boost to his confidence (getting straight to the front). Then we were able to get the sections we needed and he hit the line fairly solidly." Pembrook Henry, trained by Ross Olivieri, had finished second at each of his four runs since resuming in late February after a two-month break. His task on Friday night was made easier by the scratching of noted frontrunner and last-start winner Major Fury and the bad manners of polemarker and 5/2 favourite Copagrin, who galloped at the start and dropped back to fifth. Frontmarker Maggies Mystery also was slow to begin and Lewis was able to shoot Pembrook Henry straight to the front. Callan Suvaljko dashed Copagrin forward, three wide, in the first lap to move into the breeze after a lap had been completed. After opening sections of the final mile in 31.1sec. and 30.8sec., Lewis gave the opposition little chance as he urged Pembrook Henry to move up a gear. The oldstager, owned by Montana Stark, sprinted the final quarters in 29sec. and 28.2sec,. and he won by just over a length from Copagrin, with Compact Rocket finishing third after trailing the leader all the way. Pembrook Henry, whose previous win was at Melton in July 2012, is the latest beneficiary of the drop-down rule which enables pacers handicapped M2 or better to drop down one classification after every losing sequence of ten. Pembrook Henry arrived in Western Australia in the winter of 2012 as an M3-class pacer and he has dropped back to an M1 mark which enabled him to start off the front line in Friday night's event. Now a winner of one race from 21 WA starts, Pembrook Henry won three races in New Zealand and 11 times in Victoria. WILKINS LUCINDA RELISHES THE INSIDE DRAW The tremendous advantage of the No. 1 barrier at Gloucester Park was further illustrated on Friday night when Wilkins Lucinda, a four-year-old mare with a losing sequence of nine, made full use of the inside draw by setting a fast pace and scoring an easy win in the 1730m Gannons Pace for mares. Most punters took little heed of her favourable barrier and the Noel Keiley-trained mare was a 10/1 chance, with Jungle Genie favourite at 7/4 on from barrier two on the back line. Aldo Cortopassi got Wilkins Lucinda away to a flying start and the mare gave her rivals very little chance by speeding over the final four 400m sections in 28.5sec., 29.5sec., 29sec. and 28.4sec. She recorded a slick 1.54.8 rate and took her record for owner Stan Wilkins to 39 starts for seven wins, 13 placings and stakes of $80,979, a figure boosted by her third to Lucky Joy in the group 1 $100,000 State Sires Series for two-year-old fillies in July 2012 and her win in a $25,000 listed classic for three-year-olds last June. By Rich And Spoilt, Wilkins Lucinda is the fourth foal out of Shoneer Lobell, who won five races in New South Wales and five in WA for earnings of $52,353. Wilkins Lucinda is a full-sister to Sheer Dreams (157 starts for 19 wins, 47 placings and $153,994) and Sweet Charlee (67 starts for 11 wins, 17 placings and $77,630). Cortopassi said that he had given Wilkins Lucinda an excellent winning chance after driving her the previous Friday night when she had to be retired with broken gear. "Forget last week," he said. "She was going extremely well when she broke a hopple. And tonight I was not worried after she had run the opening quarter in 28.5sec. She actually had her ears pricked. She was happy in doing what she was doing, just happy to be rolling along. So I let her do what she wanted." AROUSING FOLLOWING IN HER DAM'S FOOTSTEPS Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri's honest mare Arousing maintained her consistent form when she was driven a treat by Kristian Hawkins to win the 2130m The West Australian Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Arousing, who has earned $86,818 from nine wins and 22 placings from 82 starts, is following the steps of her dam Roustabout, who showed considerable promise with two wins in New Zealand and two in WA before being retired with earnings of $33,171 after only 12 starts. Roustabout, by Christian Cullen, showed her class by winning the group 3 Empress Stakes from Precious Maiden and Sovereign Beejay at Gloucester Park in March 2006. Arousing is her first foal and Arousing's younger half-sister Loving You finished third behind Frith in the group 1 WA Oaks last year and has a record of 33 starts for seven wins, 11 placings and $70,292. Hawkins drove Arousing at Gloucester Park for the second time at her previous start three weeks earlier when the mare finished sixth behind Southern Legacy. He admitted after Friday night's victory that he was to blame for the mare's unplaced effort, saying: "I slaughtered her at her last start, so I knew I had to be patient this week whereas I wasn't at her previous run." Arousing, favourite at 11/4 from the No. 2 barrier, challenged unsuccessfully for the early lead, but polemarker Chillin Dylan (13/4) held up and Hawkins cleverly slotted Arousing in behind the pacemaker 200m after the start. The Oyster Bar (3/1) broke into a gallop after 200m and outsider Touch Me Toes moved up to race in the breeze, giving My Bachelors Delight a perfect sit, one-out and one-back. Arousing appeared to be in all sorts of trouble half-way down the back straight in the final circuit when Chillin Dylan began to weaken, shuffling Arousing back to fifth. Hawkins kept his composure and eventually was able to ease Arousing off the pegs 350m from home. Arousing finished determinedly to hit the front close to home and win by a half-length from My Bachelors Delight, who had taken the lead with 520m to travel and had opened up a, lead of two lengths at the 100m mark. "I knew I had plenty of horse in my hands, but Aiden's horse (Aiden De Campo's My Bachelors Delight) had a pretty handy break on me at the right time," Hawkins said. "It just came down to a bit of luck when we got out." LITTLE BOY BLUE IS A GREAT INVESTMENT How do you multiply an investment by five times? It's simple. Buy your wife a pacer for $10,000 and watch it as he earns $50,660m in the space of eight months. That's what Waroona horseman Bob Mellsop did last July. He outlaid $10,000 to purchase Little Boy Blue Blue to give to his wife Val as a birthday present. Little Boy Blue, driven by Kiara Davies, set a fast pace and outclassed his rivals in the TAB Radio Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. His four-length victory over I Am Legend took his record for his new owner to five wins and six placings from 19 starts. And that boosted the New Zealand-bred five-year-old's career record to 58 starts for 13 wins, 20 placings and $117,276. Everything fell into place for Little Boy Blue, who started from the No. 3 barrier on the front line and second favourite at 11/4. Polemarker Carters Rocket, an all-the-way winner the previous week, galloped badly at the start and dropped back to a distant last and I Am Legend paced roughly after starting from barrier two. Davies grabbed the heaven-sent opportunity to dash Little Boy Blue straight to the front and the gelding charged through the lead time in a fast 35.4sec. as he established a three-length lead over I Am Legend. This left the 7/4 favourite Mighty Flying Thomas in the breeze. Davies let Little Boy Blue roll along in the lead and he sped over the final two quarters in 29.2sec. and 28.6sec. to leave his nine rivals floundering in his wake. I Am Legend fought on to be second, almost a length in front of Mighty Flying Thomas. The winner rated a smart 1.55.8 over the 2130m trip. "When the one galloped and the two went rough, I just went for it," Davies said. "And once I saw them coming (in the back straight in the final lap) I thought I'd get them running because Little Boy Blue is pretty hard to catch once he gets going." CONNIVING MAJOR DAVE BOUNCES BACK Tenth placings at each of at his past two appearance and just one minor placing from his past seven starts did not deter many smart punters who cashed in when Aiden De Campo drove Conniving Major Dave to victory in the 2130m British Night Next Friday Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Conniving Major Dave started from barrier four on the front line and he enjoyed a perfect passage in the one-out, one-back position before finishing boldly to defeat the pacemaker Ohoka Squire (9/2) by a neck, with Grand Cru fighting on from sixth at the bell to be third. "His past two starts weren't his fault," said de Campo. "It was probably my fault, hitting a couple of wheels. He trialled well on Wednesday when he got over Dasher VC, sitting on him and running a quick last half. "Tonight I was pretty confident if he got the right sit and steered tractably. He got down a bit on the last bend which cost us a length or so. But he was still good enough to win. He's got a lot to learn and I really like the horse. He's got a bit of toughness and, hopefully, he can win a couple more." Conniving Major Dave, trained by de Campo's father Andrew, has earned $44,913 from eight wins and six placings from 29 starts. He has raced 17 times in WA for five wins and five placings. His dam Kind Martar is a younger sister of Pocket of Grace, who had 210 starts for 30 wins (16 in Queensland and 14 in New South Wales) and 41 placings for stakes of $160,975. HIGH FIVE MOZZA BREAKS THROUGH AT LAST Punters rallied to support High Five Mozza in the 2130m Sky Racing Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night, not because he went into the race with a losing sequence of 34 and had not managed a minor placing at his most recent nine starts, but because he had drawn the coveted No. 1 barrier. He was solidly supported to start favourite at 11/8 in a particularly weak field. Then everything went according to the script. Shannon Suvaljko jumped the New South Wales-bred six-year-old straight to the front. After a moderate lead time of 38.2sec. and a slow first quarter in 31.2sec. High Five Mozza broke 30sec. for the next three quarters to win by just under a length from 9/2 chance Will of Iron, who ran on from sixth at the bell. High Five Mozza, prepared at Wanneroo by Debbie Padberg, finally repaid the trainer for her perseverance and patience. The gelding had managed six placings from his first 32 starts in WA before Friday night's success. He won ten races in New South Wales (eight at Penrith and once each at Bankstown and Newcastle and had six starts in Victoria for one win before arriving in WA. by Ken Casellas  

Clint Hall was full of praise for Alta Christiano after driving the star four-year-old to a runaway victory in the 2130m first heat of the Make Smoking History Johnson Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “I can’t take much credit as a driver for these ones,” he said. “You just sit back and enjoy the ride. I did try to get the plugs out, but was unable to do so.” Hall explained that his father, leading trainer Gary Hall sen., had wanted him to give the stallion a tougher run than he had when he reappeared after a ten-month absence in a race at Gloucester Park 11 days earlier (winning easily after dawdling through the first two quarters of the final mile in 32.6sec. and 31.7sec.). “Senior is sitting on my shoulder and he wants this horse to start doing a bit more than he did at his first-up run,” Clint Hall said. “But I just couldn’t get them (ear plugs) out. The only concern was getting out of there (from the inside of the back line). And once he was out of there I was quite comfortable. I didn’t wait for him to settle and balance out. With a horse like this you just don’t have to.” Hall made his intentions clear from the start when he restrained Alta Christiano, the 5/1 on favourite, back more than a length behind polemarker Oneheart Twofists, in the late stages of the mobile score-up. Alta Christiano was eased back to last in the field of 12 and Hall sent him forward with a three-wide burst after 450m. Alta Christiano charged past the pacemaker Oneheart Twofists and into the lead with 1050m to travel. He strolled over the final 800m in 57.6sec. and was unextended in beating 50/1 chance Mantoman by three lengths at a 1.56.2 rate over 2130m. Mantoman did a fine job after settling at the rear and then sustaining a spirited burst. Firebomb (25/1) was an excellent third after working hard in the early stages and then running on from seventh at the bell. Alta Christiano has already amassed $256,213 from nine wins and one placing from only 13 starts. He is unbeaten at his five starts in Western Australia for earnings of $183,479. The stewards fine Clint hall $300 for failing to come up into position with Alta Christiano at the start. By Ken Casellas

High-priced New Zealand import Libertybelle Midfrew gave a sample of her class with an effortless victory at her Australian debut in the 1730m Make Smoking History Pace at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening. Trained at Hazelmere by Mike Reed and driven by Shannon Suvaljko, Libertybelle Midfrew, favourite at 3/1 on, started from the outside of the front line and was restrained to last before sustaining a powerful three-wide burst which took her from sixth at the bell to the front 400m from home. She dashed over the final quarters in 28.4sec. and 29.8sec. and was not extended in beating All About Pink by more than two lengths at a 1.58.5 rate. The filly was bought by Perth businessman Albert Walmsley and is being set for the $150,000 WA Oaks on May 9. “I went to New Zealand two months ago to buy a yearling at the sales in Christchurch, but changed my mind and bought Libertybelle Midfrew instead,” Walmsley said. Libertybelle Midfrew (by Christian Cullen) had 11 starts in New Zealand for one win and four placings for stakes of $131,012. She scored a five-length victory in the $156,000 Sales Classic for two-year-old fillies at Alexandra Park in April of last year. She was placed at three of her final four New Zealand starts behind star Mach Three filly Venus Serena, who has amassed $503,622 from 11 wins from 16 starts. By Ken Casellas

Reinsman Clint Hall declared that inexperienced gelding Elegant Christian was spot on for the WA Derby on Friday week and was supremely confident that he would wind up his preparation for the $200,000 classic by winning the $50,000 TABtouch Western Gateway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Elegant Christian stunned punters when he started at 25/1 on and was beaten in a minor event at Gloucester Park on Monday of last week. However, Hall said that there was a significant excuse for that defeat (by a nose behind Mister Jadore) and that the lightly-raced three-year-old had bounced back to his brilliant best with a dazzling performance in a 2150m trial at Byford on Sunday morning when he romped to a 15-length victory after flying home over the final 800m in 55.5sec. "He drew the outside of the front line in the trial and I kept him four and five wide on the first corner before easing him back to last," he said. "And then after we got through the first quarter I asked him to come out and he went up and took the breeze and he raced there for a lap until he went to the front at the bell. "I sent him around the last two corners and he was fine, back to normal. We added a nearside lugging pole, a Murphy blind and an underhead check --- and he felt super. "I made him run round the corner from the 800m to the 600m and made him run again from the 400m to the 200m. I then let him ease up going to the line and I was quite surprised when I saw he had run 26.9sec. for the last quarter." Six days earlier Elegant Christian hung very badly in a 2130m event at Gloucester Park when he raced in the breeze outside Mister Jadore. He fought on gamely, but just failed to overhaul the pacemaker. Trainer Gary Hall sen. then discovered that the gelding was suffering from an ulcer in his mouth which caused him to hang inwards. This has been cured. That was Elegant Christian's first defeat in a six-start career and now Clint Hall is bubbling with confidence that the gelding will be untroubled to set the pace from the prized No. 1 barrier on the front line in Friday night's group 3 event. Elegant Christian is one of four runners from the powerful Hall stable, the others being Machtu, Eyre Crusher and Classic American. Kim Prentice will drive Machtu from barrier two on the back line, Morgan Woodley has been booked to handle Eyre Crusher (inside of the back line) and Chris Voak will drive Classic American from barrier four on the back line. Clint Hall drove Machtu when he gave a superb performance to score a runaway victory in a 2536m Derby prelude last Friday night. But he had no hesitation in choosing to drive Elegant Christian this week. Machtu settled at the rear in last week's event before surging forward to the breeze in the middle stages and then charging away from his rivals to win by just under seven lengths from Three Blind Mice. "It was a super run by Machtu and he is sure to be prominent in this week's race," Hall said. "Eyre Crusher will appreciate drawing the inside of the back line and should follow Elegant Christian. He should finish in the top three." Eyre Crusher has had nine starts for four wins and four seconds. Classic American has won at six of his nine starts, but faces a stern test from barrier four on the back line. Mister Jadore, a winner of ten races, also faces a tough task from the outside of the back line. Pelusiac, with a record of five wins and three seconds from ten starts, left Hall's stables last Sunday week and will be making his first appearance for Capel trainer Andrew De Campo. He will be handled by Aiden De Campo from barrier three on the back line. Adding further interest to the race will be the Australian debut of Ultimate Major, who has entered de Campo's stables this year after winning at three of his four starts in New Zealand late last year. He will start from barrier four on the front line. Three Blind Mice (barrier two) and Calais (three) are smart geldings who are racing keenly and should be prominent. However, Elegant Christian appears likely to carry too many guns for his rivals and should give Hall sen. his third success in the Western Gateway Pace. He trained and drove The Falcon Strike when he beat Knightwatchman and Shadow Maker in 2001 and he prepared Alta Christiano for his success 12 months ago. HALL SAYS SOHO VALENCIA IS "GOING PLACES" "I think he's going places and is a Christmas horse, and a Christmas horse should take care of these," said Clint Hall when assessing the prospects of Soho Valencia in the 2130m Princi Butchers Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Hall will drive the five-year-old, who will start from barrier three on the back line and is likely to make a sweeping move in the first lap in a bid to burst to the front. Soho Valencia is one of four runners in the race prepared by leading trainer Gary Hall sen., the others being last-start winner Dashing Christian (Kim Prentice), Benjamin Banneker (Kiara Davies) and Our Arlington (Lauren Jones). They are better-assessed pacers than Soho Valencia, who is an M1-class performer. But Soho Valencia has greater ability and potential than that trio and he is certain to prove very hard to beat after second placings as favourite on the past two Friday nights. They were his first two runs after an injury-enforced absence of 17 months and they were full of merit. He had a tough run when a fighting second to his classy stablemate Northview Punter last Friday week and then he raced without cover all the way when second to the brilliant mare Sensational Gabby last Friday night. "He drops down a bit in class this week after last week's Free-For-All," said Clint Hall. "His run last week was super. Chris Lewis (Sensational Gabby) didn't make the mistake of letting Soho Valencia into the race after having the advantage of the barrier draw. This week Soho Valencia will be hard to beat." The prospects of Lovers Delight, the impressive winner of the Clarke final last week when he worked hard in the breeze before getting up to defeat Lord Lombo, deteriorated when he drew the outside of the front line in the preferential barrier draw. Dashing Christian has drawn ideally at No. 2 on the front line and is capable of a bold showing. He should be prominent throughout. He impressed last Friday night when he raced three back on the pegs before charging home to snatch a nose victory over Mighty Flying Thomas. Adding interest to the race will be the return of smart eight-year-old Ohoka Samson for Pinjarra trainer-reinsman Kade Howson. Ohoka Samson has been off the scene for four months, but impressed when he sprinted over the final 400m in 27.6sec. to win a 2185m trial at Pinjarra on Sunday morning, rating 1.55.9. He will start from barrier four on the back line. DROP-DOWN RULE SHOULD HELP MAGGIES MYSTERY When smart five-year-old mare Maggies Mystery was an unlucky fourth behind Erris Lad last Friday night she increased her losing sequence to ten and immediately became the latest beneficiary of the drop-down rule, with her classification being altered from an M3 to an M2 mark. This has enabled her to be handicapped off the front line in the discretionary M1 and better Bet Today Collect Today Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night, thus boosting her prospects. Maggies Mystery, to be driven by Aldo Cortopassi for Burekup trainer Colin Reeves, was unlucky last week. She was in ninth position on the pegs at the bell and was finishing strongly, but was hampered for room when fourth, just over a length behind the winner. She caught the eye four days earlier when a fast-finishing fourth behind Soho Jackman in a 1730m, sprint at Gloucester Park. There is plenty of exposed form in Friday night's standing-start event over 2503m and punters should get great value for their investments, with polemarker Copagrin and last-start all-the-way winner Major Fury (barrier two) sure to be prominent. Hez Got The Nod, J Walker, Pembrook Henry, Balleybofey, Danieljohn and Erris Lad all have sound claims. QUINNY GETS ALTA CHRISTIANO ON THE MOVE Richly-talented New Zealand-bred four-year-old Alta Christiano was beaten in a track workout last Saturday morning. But it was an effort which enhanced his prospects of winning the first heat of the Making Smoking History Johnson Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Why? The answer is simple. He was beaten on the home track of Serpentine master trainer Gary Hall sen. by none other than superstar Im Themightyquinn. Alta Christiano, driven by Clint Hall, set the pace in then workout before being beaten comfortably by Im Themightyquinn (Gary Hall jun.). "We ran the mile and a half on the 1000m track in 3min. 3sec. and the last quarter took 27.1sec.," said Clint Hall. "It was Quinny's first real hit-out and his first workout with another horse in this preparation. He went to the line under a strong hold. "Alta Christiano should be too good for his rivals on Friday night. His first-up run was very good. He was nice and relaxed and sharp at the end, and he wanted to run another quarter." In that 2536m event at Gloucester Park last Monday week Alta Christiano made most of the running and won easily from Jungleface Jake after sprinting over the final 800m in 55.8sec. and the last 400m in 27sec. It was his first appearance after a ten-month absence. Alta Christiano will start from the inside of the back line on Friday night and Hall is likely to attempt to get him off the pegs and to go forward as early as possible. Im Themightyquinn will return to Gloucester Park on Friday week with an exhibition workout. He is expected to return to racing on the same track a fortnight later. SCHOOLBOY LANDS FIRST CITY WINNER Sixteen-year-old schoolboy Micheal Ferguson took time off from his studies to go to Gloucester Park with his parents Brian and Allison on Tuesday evening --- and he landed his first city winner by driving 5/2 chance Barkers Hall to an all-the-way victory over the even-money favourite Dashing Major in the 2536m Schweppes Pace. A day earlier, he got permission to take the afternoon to attend the meeting at Pinjarra where he drove Adda Notherzero to a thrilling nose victory over Chooks Reward after bringing Guilty Grin from the rear to finish a nose second to Director Whitby Ferguson now has driven four winners in his brief career after learning the ropes from his father, a Byford trainer-reinsman who has been concentrating on breaking in young pacers in recent years. Young Ferguson also has been assisting at the Serpentine stables of leading trainer Gary Hall sen. during school holidays and on weekends. Barkers Hall, a Victorian-bred five-year-old, is trained by Hall and his win on Tuesday night was his first in 12 starts in Western Australia. Ferguson jumped Barkers Hall straight to the front from the No. 2 barrier and he stole a march on his rivals when he was able to get the gelding to amble through the first two 400m sections of the final milem in 32.7sec. and 30.7sec. before increasing the tempo with two final quarters in 28.4sec. by Ken Casellas  

Saturday’s Geelong Pacing Cup winner, Chilli Palmer, is coming to New Zealand to contest the two Group One 4-year-old events at Alexandra Park, and then if he can earn enough dollars, the Harness Jewels Final at Cambridge Raceway on May 31. Victorian trainer Dean Braun all but confirmed the New Zealand trip after Chilli Palmer’s 3.8 metre victory over the $1.40 Geelong Cup favourite, Smoken Up. “I’m meeting with the owners on Tuesday night but I can virtually say it’s a done deal. He will contest the Taylor Mile (May 2), the Messenger (May 9), and then hopefully the Jewels Final (May 31),” Braun told Harness Racing New Zealand. He said Chilli Palmer was likely to contest a race at Alexandra Park on Anzac Day - a week before the $100,000 Group One events. “We got tripped up last  time we were here. You need to have a good look at the track before you line a horse up at Alexandra Park. “The first bend is vital. I’ll probably fly the horse in the Saturday before Anzac Day or possibly even the Wednesday so we can trial him on the Saturday. “I don’t want to make the same mistake twice,” he stressed. He was referring to his 2012 New Zealand Messenger champion, Mustang Mach, who went a shocker a week before in the Taylor Mile. “He finished last on the first night and then he and Dexter (Dunn) came out and won the Messenger beating good horses like Gold Ace and Terror To Love. He later ran an unlucky fourth in the Jewels Final at Cambridge,” Braun said. The 37-year-old Lara (near Geelong) horseman said he was delighted with Chilli Palmer’s $30,000 Group Three victory on Saturday, but rated his Group One $125,000 McInerney 4yo Ford Classic victory at Gloucester Park as his best. “What he did that night was unbelievable. He sat back, launched and killed them. I’ve only ever seen one other horse do that on that track. “I’m not saying he’s in the same class as ‘Quinny’ (Themightyquinn), but it was a run I’ll never forget. That’s why I think he will go great on the bigger Alexandra Park track. I’ve trained him that way and it doesn’t seem to be a problem,” Braun said. Like Mustang Mach, Chilli Palmer was bred in New Zealand. Terry and Glenys Chmiel did his early preparation with him. They won two trials at Rangiora and a workout at Motukarara before he was exported to Australia on February 11 last year. Chilli Palmer has now won 10 of his 14 starts and $175,594. He recorded his quickest mile rate of 1:51.5 when winning the Group Three $30,000 Garrards 4yo Bonanza at Tabcorp Park on February 8. He is likely to stay at Tony Herlihy’s stable at Ardmore with Herlihy’s former employee Amanda Grieve. She has been employed by Braun for the last seven weeks and will travel with the 4-year-old Elsu gelding. Chilli Palmer is owned by Braun, Mara Scarpino, K. Farah, A Kheir, J. R. Pezzimenti, S. Parkinson, A Mathews, C Badcock, and A. Badcock. He was bred by Graeme Henley and S. R. Henley. Braun regarded his 2012 NZ Messenger win with Mustang Mach as his career highlight. “It’s hard enough beating the Kiwis on any track but to do it in their own backyard was special. I want to repeat the dose. In fact we are coming to win all three of your Group one races. “I wouldn’t be sending him there if I didn’t think we could achieve that,” Braun said. By Duane Ranger (Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand)

When former champion juvenile Sensational Gabby managed just one win and one third placing from 11 starts between December 2012 and January this year her harness racing future was in extreme doubt. She was wrecking her winning prospects by overracing fiercely and hanging and her connections were seriously considering retirement plans. But astute Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri did not give up the battle and after months of experimenting he has cured her bad habits of pulling hard and hanging in her races and now she has regained all the brilliance which enabled her to win at 23 of her first 27 starts. She paced generously and faultlessly when she revealed blistering speed to outclass her rivals in the Ray Duffy Memorial at Gloucester Park on Friday night, recording a smart 1.54.8 rate over the 2130m after speeding over the final mile in 1min.53.9sec. Sensational Gabby now has several feature events for mares over the next two months at her mercy. These include the $20,000 Golden Girls Mile at Pinjarra on April 21, the $35,000 Race For Roses at Gloucester Park on May 9, the $40,000 WASBA Breeders Pace on May 23 and the $30,000 Westbred Fillies and Mares Classic on May 30. And so well is Sensational Gabby performing that there are plans to set her for rich feature events next summer, including the Fremantle Cup and WA Pacing Cup. Olivieri is well pleased that Sensational Gabby is now tractable in her races, but he remains tight-lipped about what gear changes he has made to cure her bad habits. Sensational Gabby was an easing 13/4 second favourite on Friday night when most punters pinned their faith on Soho Valencia, who was a heavily-supported 2/1 on favourite from the No. 2 barrier on the front line. However, the anticipated battle for supremacy never really eventuated, with Chris Lewis firing out Sensational Gabby from the No. 1 barrier and establishing a decisive early lead on the opposition, leaving Soho Valencia in the breeze, but a couple of lengths behind the flying pacemaker. After a 29.3sec. first 400m section of the final mile Sensational Gabby left the opposition floundering in her wake as she sped of the next quarters in 28.5sec., 27.7sec. and 28.4sec. Sensational Gabby won by two lengths from Soho Valencia, with almost a length to Code Red (9/1) in third place after he had trailed the leader throughout. The five-year-old WA-bred Sensational Gabby has now amassed $527,495 from 27 wins and six placings from 48 starts. Sensational Gabby's win gave Lewis the third leg of a winning treble in consecutive events --- after wins with Shirlz Sensation and Lovers Delight. Lewis almost landed four wins in a row (in the four legs of the quadrella) when Pembrook Henry set the pace and finished second to Erris Lad. MACHTU EQUALS STATE RECORD Crack New Zealand-bred gelding Machtu is now a clear favourite for the $200,000 WA Derby on Friday week after his devastating performance to crush his rivals in the Cowden Ltd Derby Prelude at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Machtu, prepared by leading trainer Gary Hall sen., is spot on for the rich classic and he equalled the State record for three-year-olds over 2536m when he rated 1.57.2 in beating Three Blind Mice by almost seven lengths. Robyns C C also rated 1.57.2 when she finished strongly to win a race for fillies last August. What made Machtu's performance all the more impressive was that he worked hard without cover for much of the way before storming away from his rivals in the final stages with a final 400m in 28.2sec. After unplaced runs at his first two starts in New Zealand as a two-year-old in December 2012, Machtu has won at seven of his next eight starts. His five WA starts have produced four wins and a fighting second to stablemate Elegant Christian. Machtu, favourite at 3/1 on, started from barrier four and raced three wide for the first 200m before Clint Hall restrained him back to settle in ninth position. Hall started a three-wide run after 900m and Machtu quickly moved alongside the pacemaker So Ubettabelieveit. Machtu surged to the front 270m from home and careered away from his rivals. Three Blind Mice, trained by Barry Howlett, was a 19/1 chance who raced without cover during the first lap and then gained the one-out, one-back trail behind Classic American before being shuffled back to seventh at the bell. He finished powerfully, out wide, to be a splendid second. Life Live Fast (66/1) enjoyed an ideal pegs run throughout and fought on along the inside to be third, with Zacharia finishing solidly into fourth place. Machtu, who has earned $51,038 from seven wins and a second from ten starts, is the fourth foal out of Holmes Hanover mare Letatalk, who managed to win only once from 20 New Zealand starts for stakes of just $3938. SHIRLZ SENSATION IS ON THE RISE Four-year-old Shirlz Sensation looks set for a bright career after another outstanding performance to score an effortless victory in the Community Newspaper Group Westbred final at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Starting favourite at evens from barrier two on the back line, Shirlz Sensational was driven aggressively by Chris Lewis before scoring by three lengths from Smooth Caesar (6/1), with the strongly-supported 9/4 second fancy Soho Jackman one and a half lengths farther back in third place. Oneheart Twofists jumped straight to the front from barrier three and he was joined by Shirlz sensation 700m after the start after a slow 37.9sec. lead time and 30.9sec. opening quarter of the final mile. The third quarter whizzed by in 28.1sec. before Lewis sent Shirlz Sensation to the front with 230m to travel. The final quarter was covered in a sparkling 27.8sec. and Shirlz Sensation rated a smart 1.57 over the 2130m. Soho Jackman started from the outside of the back line and did a good job to finish third. He was last 1050m from home before sustaining a solid three-wide burst. Shirlz Sensation, part-owned and trained by Mike Beech, has turned the corner this season, with his past seven starts producing five wins, a second and a third. He was also extremely impressive last Friday week when he raced without cover before winning by more than ten lengths. He now has raced 22 times for seven wins and three placings for stakes of $58,720. LOVERS DELIGHT IS GETTING TOUGHER Lightly-raced six-year-old Lovers Delight, a noted frontrunner, revealed improved stamina and determination when he raced in the breeze before beating the pacemaker Lord Lombo in the $25,000 Pick Of The Little Scrapbooking Clarke final at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Trained at Capel by Andrew De Campo and driven by Chris Lewis, Lovers Delight, the heavily-supported 3/1 favourite, simply carried too many guns for his 11 rivals. Lord Lombo, a 9/1 chance, was first into stride from barrier two and Lewis then was quite content to allow Lovers Delight to settle in the breeze. After a third section of the final mile in 28.1sec. Lord Lombo looked set to score an upset win. But he was unable to withstand the finishing effort of Lovers Delight who got to the front in the final 25m and scored by 2m at a 1.57.6 rate over 2130m. Outsider Franco Torres overcame the disadvantage of starting from the outside of the back line when he ran on from eighth (on the pegs) at the bell to be third, a half-head in front of polemarker Benjamin Banneker. The New Zealand-bred Lovers Delight has raced 22 times in WA for eight wins and eight placings to take his career record to32 starts for 12 wins, ten placings and $170,203. He now graduates to an M3 classification and looks set for many more successes. BREAKTHROUGH SUCCESS FOR MISSISSIPPI BELL Four-year-old Mississippi Bell, unplaced at her only seven previous appearances at Gloucester Park, made a significant breakthrough when her Waroona trainer Bob Mellsop drove her to a convincing victory in the 2130m Ross North Group Mares Pace on Friday night. Mississippi Bell, a 12/1 chance from the inside of the back line, relished the run of the race behind the pacemaker Awesome Desire (13/4) before Mellsop eased her into the clear in the closing stages. She ran on determinedly to hit the front 80m from the post and draw away to beat Awesome Desire by almost a length, with 20/1 chance Mene Jaccka coming from three back on the pegs to fill third position. Love In The Dark, a newcomer from Queensland, was strongly supported to start favourite at 10/9 on at her WA debut for Byford trainer-reinsman Shannon Suvaljko. She was beaten for early speed from the No. 3 barrier and worked hard in the breeze before fading to finish eighth. Mississippi Bell rated 2.0.3 and took her record to 28 starts for six wins and one placings for stakes of $33,032. She is by American stallion Riverboat King out of Northern Lights mare Firestorm Whitby and is certainly bred to be a good winner. Firestorm Whitby's dam Tempting Franco produced five winners, including Typhoon Whitby, who had 46 starts for 17 wins, seven placings and $163,751. Typhoon Whitby finished second to The Kindly One in the $100,000 1999 Bathurst Gold Tiara, won the $60,000 State Sires Series for two-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park in August 1999 and was fourth behind Tupelo Rose in the 2000 Victoria oaks. Mississippi bell also is closely related to former outstanding pacer Franco Tiger, who amassed $991,387 from 43 wins and 36 placings from 116 starts. Franco Tiger's victories included the 1992 Miracle Mile, the 1992 Australian Pacing Championship, the 1992 Queensland Pacing Championship and the 1993 Treuer Memorial. He also finished second to Westburn Grant in the 1992 interdominion championship at Moonee Valley and third behind The Harlem Boy and Jack Morris in the 1993 WA Pacing Cup. SPRINT TRIP SUITS CARTERS ROCKET Carters Rocket, a flop when he led and faded to third behind Wolowitz over 2190m at Northam last Tuesday, appreciated returning to a sprint journey when he scored an all-the-way victory in the 1730m Kennards Hire Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. His one-length win over Ima Grumpy Jasper at a 1.57.78 rate ended a losing sequence of 12, which included only two placed efforts. Polemarker Im Clean Cut, a surprising 5/4 on favourite after finishing ninth, twelfth and eleventh at his three previous starts, was beaten out at the start by Carters Rocket (second fancy at 17/4) from the No. 2 barrier. This proved decisive. Colin Brown gave Carters Rocket his head and the New Zealand-bred five-year-old by Elsu sped through the first 400m section of the final mile in 28.7sec. before Brown was able to give the gelding a breather with a leisurely second quarter in only 31.9sec. Carters Rocket covered the final quarters in 29.8sec. and 28.2sec. and won from Ima Grumpy Jasper, a 12/1 chance who ran on from eighth in the middle stages. Im Clean Cut trailed the pacemaker before getting a clear passage in the final stages to finish gamely into third place. Carters Rocket, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, won twice from seven New Zealand starts and has been a handy performer in Western Australia where his 38 starts have produced eight wins and seven placings. He now has a record of 46 starts for ten wins, ten placings and $57,931. Carters Rocket is out of the unraced Pocket Rose, whose full-sister Tupelo Rose was a champion performer who earned $879,867 from 35 wins and 25 placings from 101 starts. Hollywood Rose, a mare by Butler B G, failed to win from 20 starts in the early 1990s. However, Tupelo Rose quickly developed into a superstar who won several group 1 and group 2 events as a juvenile. She won two group 1 classics for fillies as a two-year-old at Alexandra Park in 1999 before winning the New Zealand Great Northern Oaks, the Victoria Oaks, the Queensland Oaks and Australian Oaks the following year. Tupelo Rose won 12 races in New Zealand, 12 in Australia, one in Canada and ten in America. AM OPULENT Four-year-old Am Opulent, a group 1 classic winner as a two-year-old in New Zealand, took full advantage of the coveted No. 1 barrier at Gloucester Park when she gave a bold frontrunning display to win the 2130m Gannons Mares Pace on Friday night. Favourite at 7/4 on, Am Opulent was driven with supreme confidence by Ryan Warwick, who gave the mare her head when she dashed over the final 800m in 57.5sec. She won by a neck at a 1.57.3 rate from 15/1 chance Bettor Whitby, who trailed her throughout. Jungle Genie (13/2), a stablemate of the winner, sustained a three-wide burst from last in the middle stages to be a neck away in third place. Am Opulent, who ended a losing sequence of ten with an easy victory at Harvey at her previous outing, gives every indication of many more wins. She has earned $162,757 from ten wins and eight placings from 31 starts. A winner of three races from seven starts in New Zealand, Am Opulent has had 24 starts in WA for seven wins and seven placings. She revealed abundant early promise and was successful in the group 1 Caduceus Club Classic for two-year-old fillies at Alexandra Park in April 2012. Her dam Imprint (by Life Sign) earned only $22,622 from three wins and three placings from 14 starts, but she is closely related to Smart Son, who earned $347,805 from 41 wins and 59 placings from 226 starts. He was successful in New Zealand, Australia and the United States. Am Opulent completed a double in the first two events on Friday night's program for Forrestdale trainers Greg and Skye Bond, who prepared Carters Rocket for his win in the opening event. The Bonds continued on their winning ways with a double at Kellerberrin on Sunday afternoon when Showstopper and Jungle Jewel scored all-the-way victories. DASHING CHRISTIAN ENDS LOSING RUN OF 14 New Zealand-bred seven-year-old Dashing Christian ended a losing sequence of 14 when he unleashed a powerful burst which enabled him to get up in the final stride to snatch victory by a nose over 7/4 favourite Mighty Flying Thomas in the 2536m Plscrapbooking.com.au Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Dashing Christian, third favourite at 5/1, started from the inside of the back line and Clint Hall had him in fifth position, three back on the pegs, for most of the race, with Shifting Sand (14/1) setting the pace. Mighty Flying Thomas settled in tenth place before Morgan Woodley sent him forward after 550m to move into the breeze. After a third quarter of the final mile in a brisk 28.2sec., Mighty Flying Thomas got his head in front with 375m to travel and looked set for victory when he led clearly in the home straight. But Dashing Christian sprouted wings and gained the verdict by the barest of margins after a final quarter in 28.9sec. The Feather Foot (9/2) ran on strongly from sixth at the bell to be third. Dashing Christian, who had finished encouraging seconds at his two previous starts, gave trainer Gary Hall sen. and Clint Hall a double after they had combined to win the previous event with Machtu. Dashing Christian, a winner at one of his seven New Zealand starts, raced seven times in New South Wales for seven wins and six placings. He has had 23 starts in WA for three wins and nine placings to take his career earnings to $105,955 from 11 wins and 19 placings. He is then second foal out of Falcon Seelster mare Dreamy Dash, who managed just one win and seven placings from 33 starts for earnings of $17,165. ERRIS LAD MAKES THE MOST OF DROP-DOWN RULE The drop-down rule introduced a couple of years ago which enables pacers assessed M2 and better to drop down a grade has proved a tremendous boon for WA-bred Erris Lad, who has returned to winning form three times after receiving this advantage. Horses handicapped M2 or better drop down a grade after completing a losing sequence of ten. Erris Lad, trained at Hazelmere by Mike Reed, dropped back from an M2 to an M1 classification after chalking up a losing run of ten when a sound fourth behind Major Fury last Friday week. This enabled the seven-year-old to start from the front line in Friday night's 2503m TABtouch Handicap, an event for M1 and better-class pacers. Colin Brown took advantage of the front-line draw and had Erris Lad, a 20/1 outsider, poised to strike from the one-out, one-back position, with 3/1 chance Pembrook Henry setting the pace. Erris Lad finished full of running to take the lead 100m from the post. He went on to beat Pembrook Henry by a half-length, with a neck back to 16/1 chance Hez Got the Nod, who finished strongly out five wide after racing three back on the pegs. Flyalong Falcon, favourite at 5/2, lost his chance by galloping at the start. Mister Sarkozy also galloped and The Pacing Priest broke soon after the start. Flyalong Falcon came from tenth in the middle stages to be fifth before breaking on the home turn and dropping back to finish last. Erris Lad has been the beneficiary of the drop-down rule three times. His previous victory was last November when having his first start after a losing run of ten. His previous win before that success came after he had also enjoyed a downgrade. Under the old handicapping regulations Erris Lad would now have an M5 classification. His win on Friday night returns him to an M2 mark. FLYING START PAVES THE WAY FOR LA PASSIONE A flying start from the outside barrier paved the way for New Zealand-bred five-year-old La Passione's impressive victory in the 2536m McInerney Ford Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Darling Downs trainer Aldo Cortopassi revved up La Passione from the unfavourable No. 7 barrier and the gelding quickly charged past polemarker Good Luck Dollar and into the lead. Cortopassi was able to get La Passione to relax and the 4/1 second favourite coasted through the first two sections of the final mile in 31.8sec. and 30.7sec. before dashing over the next two quarters in 28.7sec. and 29.1sec. to win by two lengths from Black Cracker, who fought on doggedly after racing without cover. Good Luck Dollar trailed the leader and finished a neck away in third place. La Passione, by American stallion Pacific Rocket, is beginning to realise his potential after arriving in Western Australia about 14 months ago after having had 18 starts in New Zealand for four wins and seven placings. His 21 WA starts have produced four wins and six placings and he should develop into a handy and consistent city performer. Ken Casellas  

Champion trainer Gary Hall sen. has a massive opinion of five-year-old Soho Valencia and he has decided to throw the stallion in at the deep end by starting him in open-class company in the 2130m Ray Duffy Memorial at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Hall has thrown down the gauntlet by opting to start the stallion, at his second appearance after an injury-enforced absence of 17 months, against seasoned campaigners, including WA Pacing Cup winner Hokonui Ben and brilliant mare Sensational Gabby. The Duffy Memorial is a $21,000 event for pacers handicapped M5 or better. Soho Valencia is on an M1 mark and Hall had the option of starting him against weaker opposition in the $17,500 PLSScrapbooking.com.au Pace. But Hall is confident that Soho Valencia has the class to defeat his rivals in the Duffy Memorial, saying: "I'd like to see him lead in a Free-For-All over 2130m and see how good they are. I know how good he is." Whether Soho Valencia, to be driven by Clint Hall, is capable of leading in Friday night's race is a moot point. He will start from barrier two on the front line, with the five-year-old Sensational Gabby on his inside. Sensational Gabby possesses sparkling gate speed and Chris Lewis is certain to attempt to jump in front and set a merry pace. Soho Valencia had his first start since October 2012 when he contested the Four And Five-Year-Old Championship last Friday night. He started from barrier four on the back line, was sent forward, three wide, after 600m and then raced on the outside of the pacemaker Red Salute before getting to the front 250m from home and finishing second to Northview Punter. Soho Valencia finished more than two lengths in front of Sensational Gabby, who started from the outside of the front line and impressed in sustaining a spirited three-wide burst (with cover) from tenth at the bell to be sixth. Looming large as the horse to beat for both Soho Valencia and Sensational Gabby is Hokonui Ben, the all-the-way winner of the $400,000 WA Pacing Cup over 2936m on January 17. He finished with a powerful burst from eighth at the bell to win from Northview Punter and David Hercules two starts ago and then covered a lot of extra ground when fourth behind Red salute and Sensational Gabby last Friday week. Hokonui Ben will start from the outside of the front line for trainer-reinsman Aldo Cortopassi , but the seven-year-old with an M11 classification has the class to overcome this disadvantage. Hall, who has trained 122 winners this season, prepares five of the eight runners in the Duffy Memorial. His other four starters are Famous Alchemist, Whos Mistake, Passion Stride and Code Red. MACHTU LOOKS THE GOODS IN DERBY PRELUDE New Zealand-bred gelding Machtu looks set to return to the winning list by proving too fast and too strong for his nine rivals in the 2536m Cowden Ltd WA Derby Prelude at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He will start from barrier four on the front line for trainer Gary Hall sen. and reinsman Clint Hall, who will replace his younger brother Gary, who has driven the gelding at his four starts in Western Australia for three runs and a last-start second to stablemate Elegant Christian over 2536m at Gloucester Park last Friday week. Gary Hall jun. is serving a 30-day suspension. Machtu was far from disgraced at his most recent appearance when he raced wide and then worked hard outside the pacemaking Elegant Christian. Machtu refused to give in and was beaten by less than a length after dashing over the final 800m in 55.3sec. His most serious rival on Friday night is likely to be his stablemate Classic American, who will start from the outside of the back line with Kim Prentice in the sulky. Classic American, a seven-length winner at his only appearance in New Zealand, over 2200m at Cambridge last June, made his Australian debut at Gloucester Park early last December when he raced in the breeze and finished second to Calais. He then chalked up wins at his next five starts before his defeat at Bunbury last Saturday night. He went to Byford on Sunday morning where he rated 1.58.6 in winning a 2150m trial after trailing the pacemaker Keeper of Keys. The final 400m took 28.1sec. Pinjarra trainer Kade Howson has three New Zealand-bred runners in Friday night's event --- polemarker So Ubettabelieveit, Live Life Fast (barrier six) and Ohoka Cooper (barrier three on the back line) and Forrestdale trainers Greg and Skye Bond will be represented by Black Mr Mach (barrier three) and Zacharia (barrier seven). The Hall camp will take the highly-promising Elegant Christian to the Byford trials on Sunday morning after the gelding suffered a shock defeat at 25/1 on in a 2130m event at Gloucester Park on Monday afternoon. Elegant Christian, who went into the race with a perfect record of five wins from five starts, started from the No. 3 barrier on the front line and jumped a length clear of polemarker Mister Jadore. But he was unable to cross to the pegs and then proved a handful for Clint Hall as he hung in badly when racing in the breeze. He finished determinedly to be a half-head second to Mister Jadore. The stewards then ordered the gelding back to trials. Trainer Gary Hall sen. said that Elegant Christian was affected by an ulcer in his mouth which caused him to hang. "We'll clear that up and then he should be okay," he said. Another WA Derby prospect Pelusiac left Hall's Serpentine training establishment last Sunday morning and has entered the Capel stables of Andrew De Campo. Pelusiac had ten starts for Hall for five wins and three seconds. He was a 5/2 on favourite in a Derby prelude at Gloucester Park last Friday night when he worked in the first 500m before taking the lead. He set the pace before wilting to fifth behind stablemate Eyre Crusher. PACIFIC WARRIOR WILL NEED LUCK FROM TRICKY DRAW Rising star Pacific Warrior, the fastest of the three heat winners,has drawn awkwardly on the inside of the back line and will need luck when he contests the $25,000 final of the Litter Scrapbooking Clarke Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Pacific Warrior, trained at Mt Helena by Ray Williams, has won in dashing style at his past three starts and would have been a warm favourite if he had drawn a favourable barrier on the front line. The race now appears a far more open affair. Reinsman Kade Howson is likely to determine his tactics as the race unfolds. There is reasonable doubt whether the polemarker Benjamin Banneker possesses the necessary gate speed to hold up. If Benjamin Banneker, who has shown gate speed in a couple of his starts, does set the pace and Howson decides to trail him there will be the distinct possibility of Pacific Warrior being denied a clear passage in the final circuit. Benjamin Banneker, trained by Gary Hall sen., has not led all the way in any of his 30 starts which have produced ten wins and eight placings. Most of Benjamin Banneker's victories have come when he has unwound a spirited finishing burst. He has drawn the No. 1 barrier only once before. That was at Gloucester Park last May when he started at 5/2 on and galloped at the start before racing three wide for much of the 2130m journey and finishing gamely to snatch victory by a head. Pacific Warrior relished the task of racing without cover before winning narrowly from the pacemaker Lovers Delight in the third qualifying heat of the Clarke Pace. He rated 1.56 which was significantly better than the rates recorded by the other heat winners, Franco Torres (1.56.7) and Hokuri Handrail (1.58.5). Hokuri Handrail rated 1.56 when he flooded home from eighth on the pegs at the bell to win from Little Boy Blue and Korobeit Angel over 1730m last Friday night. He is a speedy beginner and noted frontrunner who will start from barrier three on the front line and could be seen in the role of pacemaker in Friday night's race. Lord Lombo is a versatile in-form pacer who has good gate speed and is a smart frontrunner. Chris Voak could well attempt to burst to an early lead from the favourable No. 2 barrier. Lord Lombo rattled home from eighth at the bell when second to Hokuri Handrail last Friday week and he was a fast-finishing winner over Uppy Son at his previous start. Lovers Delight and Our Arlington are in fine form and each is capable of winning without surprising. Back-line runners Braemoor and Rocky Marciano can produce strong finishing bursts, but they will need plenty of luck from wide draws. BONDS HOLD STRONG HAND IN MARES EVENT Forrestdale trainers Greg and Skye Bond hold a strong hand with four-year-olds Am Opulent and Jungle Genie in the 2130m Gannon's Mares Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Am Opulent returned to form and broke a losing sequence of ten when she made full use of the coveted No. 1 barrier by leading and winning by three lengths from Adda Rising Star over 2150m at Harvey last Saturday week. Jungle genie started from the outside of the front line and fought on gamely from sixth at the bell to be third. Am Opulent fared the best in the random draw and again will start from the No. 1 barrier. She should lead and prove hard to catch. Jungle Genie, a winner at 11 of her past 22 starts, cannot be dismissed, even from out wide at No. 6 on the front line. Adda Rising Star followed her Harvey second to Am Opulent with a solid win at Bunbury last Saturday night when she raced without cover before beating Lucky Drew by a length. She should be prominent from barrier two. The Debbie Padberg-trained Lavra Florence impressed at Gloucester Park on Monday afternoon when she trailed the pacemaker Showstopper before finishing powerfully to win from that mare and Cieleto at a 1.58.1 rate over 2130m. The New Zealand-bred former Victorian performer will start from barrier five on the front line and looks sure to win many more races. MAJORLY FOXY STYYX TO MISS OAKS Outstanding filly Majorly Foxy Styx has broken down and will miss the $150,000 WA Oaks at Gloucester Park on May 9. "She has bowed a tendon in the nearside foreleg," said trainer Gary Hall sen. Majorly Foxy Styx looked a near certainty in the Oaks after winning in convincing style at her past seven starts. At her most recent outing she romped to victory by six lengths over The Parade in the group 2 Dainty's Daughter Classic at Gloucester Park. That took her record to 15 starts for seven wins and three placings for stakes of $90,530. Meanwhile, star four-year-old Alta Christiano reappeared after an injury-enforced absence of ten months at Gloucester Park on Monday afternoon when he scored an effortless all-the-way victory in a modest C3-class event over 2536m. Driven by Clint Hall, Alta Christiano, produced in big and burly condition by leading trainer Gary Hall sen., took the lead 250m after the start and after ambling through the first two quarters of the final mile in 32.6sec. and 31.7sec., he sprinted over the next two sections in 28.8sec. and 27sec. to beat Jungleface Jake by two and a half lengths at a 2.1.4 rate. Alta Christiano is unbeaten at his first four Australian starts after four wins from eight starts in New Zealand. The easy winner of the WA Derby last April will have his next start at Gloucester Park on Friday week. De CAMPO COMEBACK AT WAGIN Outstanding Capel trainer Andrew De Campo is planning a surprise comeback to race driving. The 47-year-old horseman has nominated himself to drive stablemates Vibrate and Trojan Bromac at the meeting at Wagin on Friday night. He has not driven in a race since 33/1 chance Zenthura raced in the breeze and wilted to seventh behind Paddy Whacked over 1750m at Kalgoorlie on November 13, 2011. His most recent winner was Nowuseeme, who started at 5/1 on and made most of the running to score easily from Mabel Rose over 2100m at Bunbury on June 26, 2009. Vibrate has a losing sequence of 12, stretching back to January 2012. The seven-year-old will start from barrier five in the 2180m Fleay Grocery Store Darkan Pace. Trojan Bromac, a winner of 18 races, will start from the outside in a field of six in the 2180m Darkan Cup, in which the main fancies are expected to be Major Catastrophe (David Young) and Im Riddick (Aaron Beckett). by Ken Casellas

Supersonic four-year-old Alta Christiano looks on track for the remainder of the season after an effortless resumption at Gloucester Park yesterday. The injury prone pacer, who has been sidelined twice already in his short career to date, was sent forward to the lead early. He then enjoyed a nice run in the van before unleashing a strong last quarter to dash away and win easily in the hands of Clinton Hall, who replaced his brother Gary Hall Jnr, who is out on a 30 day suspension. The former West Australian Derby winner looked very big in condition and is sure to take plenty of benefit out of yesterday’s win. Alta Christiano has now won eight of his twelve career starts and remains unbeaten in Australia. But, while Alta Christiano justified his stinking hot favouritism, those who backed his stablemate Elegant Christian into a $1.04 were left with a sour taste in their mouth. The Christian Cullen three-year-old, who will start one of the favourites in the upcoming Derby, was forced to race parked and after lugging in for the majority of the journey he was beaten a head by another capable type in Mister Jadore. This prompted stewards to stand Elegant Christian down for a period of six days. He will also have to trial once before returning to the races. Meanwhile, champion pacer Im Themightyquinn has thrilled the Hall clan in his first week back hoppling. By Mitchell Robertson

Champion trainer Gary Hall sen. maintained his dominance of feature events at Gloucester Park when his younger son Gary produced a near-perfect drive to land up-and-coming star Northview Punter a decisive and impressive winner of the $35,000 Alltools Four And Five-Year-Old Championship at Gloucester Park on Friday night. And to emphasise the 64-year-old's overwhelming superiority in West Australian harness racing he produced the trifecta, with Soho Valencia (Clint Hall) finishing second, a neck ahead of Benjamin Banneker (Justin Prentice). The trifecta paid $514.70 for a $1 investment. Hall sen. is now mapping out plans for the New Zealand-bred four-year-old Northview Punter to contest the rich feature events at next summer's Gloucester Park carnival. "He has taken his time to hit his straps," Hall jun. said. "He's always had the ability, but it has taken a little while to get it out of him. He's a bull and he's starting to mature at the right time. "I always thought that he was just below them (the State's top pacers), but the way he's going now, and if he keeps heading in that direction, he's going to be a player come Christmas." In a keen betting race, Northview Punter was solidly supported to start third favourite at 7/2, with five-year-olds Soho Valencia and Red Salute sharing favouritism at 2/1. Benjamin Banneker was a 52/1 tote outsider. Red Salute, as expected, jumped straight to the front from the No. 1 barrier and Hall jun. urged Northview Punter forward from the No. 4 barrier to race three wide for the first 200m before applying some pressure on Red Salute. Northview Punter then gained the one-out, one-back trail after a lap when Soho Valencia (sent forward, three wide, after 600m) moved into the breeze. After moderate first sections of the final mile in 30.8sec. and 30.4sec., the third 400m section whizzed by in a sizzling 27.7sec. when Soho Valencia challenged Red Salute for supremacy. Finally, Soho Valencia took the lead 250m from home, but he was unable to withstand the powerful late burst from Northview Punter, who burst to the front with 70m to travel and went on to win by just under a length at a 1.57.1 rate after a final quarter of 28.8sec. Benjamin Banneker raced three back on the pegs before finishing strongly to be third, with Rocky Marciano sustaining a spirited three-wide burst to be a splendid fourth. Red Salute wilted to fifth. Northview Punter, by Bettors Delight, has now earned $256,915 from 18 wins and 12 placings from 38 starts. Hall jun. admitted that he was "not really confident" after the third quarter in 27.7sec., saying: "He did sort of drop the bit at that stage. He does struggle a bit with point-to-point speed. But that quarter down the back definitely brought me into the race and on the bend he was charging, full of running." HALL SUSPENDED FOR 30 DAYS AND WILL MISS WA DERBY Champion reinsman Gary Hall jun. has been denied the opportunity of winning the $200,000 WA Derby on April 11 after being suspended for 30 days for causing interference in the Alltools Red Lithium Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The 31-year-old Hall, in the sulky behind 7/4 favourite Korobeit Angel, was suspended for severely checking the early pacemaker Lord Lexus rounding the first turn shortly after the start of the 1730m event. Korobeit Angel, who started from barrier three and raced three wide early, contacted the off fore leg of Lord Lexus, causing the 5/1 third favourite to break into a gallop and drop back to the rear. Korobeit Angel then went on to set the pace. She pulled hard in the lead and wilted to finish third behind the fast-finishing last-start winner and 20/1 chance Hokuri Handrail and Little Boy Blue. The 30-day suspension is the heaviest penalty in recent years imposed on a driver causing interference in a race in WA. The stewards intended to hand down a 34-day suspension before reducing the penalty to 30 days after Hall pleaded guilty to the charge of careless driving in that he allowed Korobeit Angel to shift in and check Lord Lexus. Hall decided to start his suspension immediately and did not drive at the Bunbury meeting on Saturday night. He has driven 99 winners in WA this season and will be eligible to resume at the Pinjarra meeting on Monday April 21. Korobeit Angel sprinted over the first 400m section of the final mile in 28.4sec. and sustained a smart pace with the next quarters in 29.3sec., 29.3sec. and 29.1sec. Hokuri Handrail, an M3-class pacer, became eligible to contest Friday night's event restricted to M0 and M2-class performers when trainer Kristie Morrone engaged Luke Edwards to make use of his concession as a junior driver. Hokuri Handrail started from the outside of the back line and was on the pegs in eighth position at the bell before Edwards brought the New Zealand-bred six-year-old home with a brilliant burst. Edwards eased the gelding off the pegs with 250m to travel and after going four wide on the home turn Hokuri Handrail charged home from fifth at the 100m mark to burst to the front 50m from the post. He rated 1.56 in scoring his 13th win from 39 starts in WA. He now has earned $129,752 from 18 wins and ten placings from 61 starts. DALTON MAKES A GREAT START TO WA CAREER Former Victorian trainer-reinsman Clive Dalton made a wonderful debut as a trainer at Gloucester Park on Friday night when Major Fury set the pace and held on to win the 2503m Alltools The Name Says It All Handicap. The 55-year-old Dalton, who has driven about 500 winners and trained almost 700 winners in Victoria, prepares Major Fury for New South Wales breeder-owner Matthew Sandblom at Neven Botica's Herron property, 60km north of Bunbury. Dalton took over the preparation of Major Fury from Peter Tilbrook after the NSW-bred five-year-old had finished second to Hez Got The Nod at Gloucester Park a fortnight before Friday night's success. In an unusual coincidence, Next Dawn, the winner of the final race on Friday night's program, was trained and driven by Dalton for 17 starts in 2011 for three wins at Shepparton and one win at Cobram. Major Fury was a firm even-money favourite on Friday night and his supporters were on good terms with themselves when Callan Suvaljko got the gelding away to a flying start from the inside of the front line. After an opening quarter of the final mile in 30.7sec., Suvaljko increased the tempo and Major Fury covered the next three sections in 29.7sec., 28.9sec. and 29.2sec. Major Fury fought on tenaciously to beat 10/1 chance The Pacing Priest, who finished strongly from fifth at the bell to go down by only one metre. A neck away in third place was Black Cracker, who trailed the pacemaker throughout. "As soon as he jumped away I was pretty confident," Suvaljko said. "He can roll 30sec. quarters and sprint home pretty well. That was the plan to roll along and make it difficult for the backmarkers. He should win more races." Major Fury, a winner of four races in NSW as a two and three-year-old, has had 16 starts in WA for six wins and three seconds to boost his career earnings to $63,189 from ten wins and five seconds from only 27 starts. His dam The Kindly One (by American stallion Praised Dignity) raced 42 times in NSW for eight wins, 11 placings and $95,562. She has produced six winners, including Art Princess, an earner of $179,364 from 14 wins and 21 placings from 62 starts. The Kindly One's dam, the Queensland-bred Kotare Fury, had 100 starts form 19 wins and 38 placings for stakes of 72,958. EYRE CRUSHER STAKES HIS DERBY CLAIMS Leading trainer Gary Hall sen. has a vice-like grip on the $200,000 WA Derby on April 11 with a team of brilliant three-year-olds, including Elegant Christian, Machtu, High Courage, Pelusiac and Classic American. And Eyre Crusher emerged as another realistic prospect for the Hall camp in the group 1 classic when Clint hall drove him to a thrilling fast-finishing victory in the 2130m Milwaukee Nothing But Heavy Duty WA Derby Prelude at Gloucester Park on Friday night. "Eyre Crusher will beat any of my three-year-olds, sitting on them, as long as he doesn't work early," Hall sen. said. "When Gary drives him at home he says he feels the closest to Im Themightyquinn. But he's not strong. He's got a lightning burst for about two furlongs, and once he's at the end of that he falls in a heap. He's an opportunist." Pelusiac was all the rage in Friday night's race and was sent out favourite at 5/2 on, with Eyre Crusher second favourite at the gift odds of 15/2 and Bettor Offer, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, at 8/1. Pelusiac lacked sparkle from the No. 2 barrier and raced without cover for the first 500m taking over as pacemaker from 33/1 chance Back On Board. Bettor Offer then was left in the breeze and Eyre Crusher gained the perfect one-out and one-back trail. Colin Brown sent Bettor Offer to the front 140m from the post, but he was overhauled in the final stride by the flying Eyre Crusher, who gained the verdict in the photo by a nose. Both the final 400m sections were covered in 28.1sec. and Eyre Crusher rated 1.56.7. Eyre Crusher won once from two starts as a two-year-old in New Zealand and his record now stands at nine starts for four wins and four seconds for earnings of $39,623. He is the first foal out of Mach Three mare Lucasta Midfrew, who won twice from 30 starts. Lucastra Midfrew's half-sister (by Christian Cullen) Libertybelle Midfrew won the $156,000 Yearling sales final for two-year-old fillies by five lengths at Alexandra Park in April 2013. DELIGHTFUL JADE OVERCOMES A CHECK TO WIN Delightful Jade, who is closely related to former star performer Whitbys Miss Penny, remained unbeaten after two starts when she unwound a spirited finishing burst to win the $21,000 Alltools Western Crown Classic for two-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night. She overcame a check approaching the home turn to get up and beat the pacemaker and 7/4 on favourite Mohito, who dead-heated for second with 20/1 chance Lady Willoughby. Mohito was two lengths clear of her nearest rival with 100m to travel before she wilted and was defeated by Delightful Jade, who trailed her throughout. Tricky Styx, a 6/1 chance driven by Aiden De Campo, raced in last place in the field of six before starting a three-wide move at the 550m mark. She sprinted strongly to get three-quarters of a length in front of Mohito 250m from home. She had not crossed to a clear lead when she broke into a gallop approaching the home turn. "When I got checked when Aiden's horse galloped I didn't think I was going to pick up the leader," said Delightful Jade's driver Matt White. "To her credit she knuckled down and did the job. She has got a great attitude and will only improve. This is the first time I have driven her and I was pretty impressed." Delightful Jade, second favourite at 9/4 and trained at Capel by Andrew De Campo for breeder-owner Melissa Howie, is by Bettors Delight out of Booth Hanover mare Whitbys Solitaire, who raced only nine times for two wins, four placings and $5443. Delightful Jade has earned $18,620 for her two wins from two starts. Whitbys Solitaire is out of Fiscal Miss, a mare who won 15 races and earned $53,854. The first foal out of Fiscal Miss was Whitbys Miss Penny, who was retired after having had 50 starts for 32 wins and six placings for $568,289 in prizemoney. Whitbys Miss Penny won the $80,000 Edgar Tatlow Stakes at Moonee Valley in March 1990 at her third start and her victories in 1991 included the Western Gateway Pace, the Battle of Bunbury, the WA Oaks, the WA Derby, the Caduceus Club Classic, the Sires for three-year-old fillies, the Pink Diamond and the Four-Year-Old Coca Cola Pace. In 1992 she finished second to Impressionist in the Golden Nugget Championship and won the Fremantle Cup, the Mount Eden Sprint, the Bunbury Cup and a prelude of the WA Pacing Cup. RED HOT MAJOR CALLS THE TUNE Red Hot Major, the 11/4 second favourite, made the most of an abominable start by 2/1 favourite Artillery Major by leading all the way in the $21,000 Alltools Western Crown Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Artillery Major galloped badly and lost about 200m and this enabled Kim Young to drive Red Hot Major hard from the No. 4 barrier to cross to the front soon after the start. Red Hot Major was joined in the lead in the first lap by 13/4 third favourite Out Of The Shadow and he looked set for an easy victory when that gelding began to wilt in the final circuit. But debutant Military Master, a 7/1 chance who had trailed Red Hot Major all the way, loomed as a serious threat when he got into the clear approaching the home turn and ran home determinedly. However, Red Hot Major revealed splendid fighting qualities to resist the challenge and go on and win by 1m at a 1.59.6 rate over 1730m. "The other horse (Military Master) went really well and surprised me a bit," said Young. "I was probably driving to beat two of the others (Artillery Major and Out Of The Shadow) and when Military Master came at me I thought we were going to get beaten. Military Master was not the worst horse, but one we didn't know anything about. However, my horse showed good endeavour." Red Hot Major, owned and trained by Gary Elson, has won at his first two starts and has earned $18,035. His dam Red Hot Rita earned $32,564 from 11 wins and 13 placings from 46 starts. Red Hot Rita also produced smart performers Just Live Life (43 starts for ten wins, 16 placings and $60,440) and Im Smouldering, who had 31 starts for 14 wins, 14 placings and $262,475 in prizemoney. Im Smouldering won the group 2 Tatlow Stakes for two-year-old fillies at Melton in May 2012, defeating the brilliant Frith, and the group 1 $100,000 Vicbred Super Series final for three-year-old fillies at Melton last July. NEXT DAWN SHINING FOR CUMMINGS Former Victorian pacer Next Dawn maintained his sound form for his new trainer Graham Cummings when he finished in dashing style to score an easy victory in the 1730m Make Smoking History Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. A winner at Northam four starts earlier, Next Dawn was a 14/1 chance from barrier two on the back line, with polemarker I Am Legend (boasting a losing sequence of 17 and unplaced at his previous 12 starts) a well-supported favourite at 5/2, with Absolute Cool, placed once at his previous eight starts, a strong second fancy at 13/4 from barrier four on the front line. Next Dawn, driven for the first time by Robbie Williams, raced in seventh position, three back on the pegs while I Am Legend set the pace with Absolute Cool working hard in the breeze. Williams got Next Dawn off the pegs and into the clear approaching the home turn and the Victorian-bred six-year-old finished strongly to take the lead 90m from the post. He won by one and a half lengths from I Am legend, with two lengths to Im Terrific in third place after that pacer had trailed the pacemaker all the way. Next Dawn, who rated 1.56.3, has won 11 times from 42 starts in Western Australia to take his record to 75 starts for 16 wins, 14 placings and $97,947. By American stallion Dawn Of A New Day, he is the fifth and final foal, and only winner, out of unraced What's Next mare Next Interest. PACIFIC WARRIOR A MAJOR CHANC E IN CLARKE FINAL New Zealand-bred six-year-old Pacific Warrior emerged as the horse to beat in the $25,000 final of the Clarke Pace next Friday night when he gave another powerhouse performance to score a narrow but impressive victory in the third qualifying heat at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Pacific Warrior was a 6/1 chance from barrier five on the front line, with most punters pinning their faith in the polemarker Lovers Delight, who started favourite at 6/4 on. Our Arlington (barrier three) and Menelaus of Sparta (four) were smartest into stride, but neither was able to get to an early lead, with Chris Lewis driving hard to keep Lovers Delight in front with a slick lead time of 36.6sec. Kade Howson did not bustle Pacific Warrior early before he sent the gelding forward to move into the breeze after about 600m. After the first two sections of the final mile in 30.5sec. and 30sec. Howson applied more pressure on the leader and the next two quarters whizzed by in 28.4sec. and 28.1sec. Pacific Warrior got his head in front 400m from home and he and Lovers Delight matched strides down the home straight, with Pacific Warrior prevailing by a half-head, with 5m to Pride of Colorado, who trailed the leader all the way. "Lovers Delight ran the lead time (a brisk 36.6sec.) and we stayed out of that," Howson said. "And from there we just had to keep at him. Lovers Delight had burnt early and was a bit vulnerable. Pacific Warrior just keeps coming. He's a tough, big horse and hopefully he will develop into a Cups prospect." Pacific Warrior, trained at Mt Helena by Ray Williams, has had 30 starts in WA for 16 wins, six seconds and two thirds to take his career record to 57 starts for 20 wins, 15 placings and $176,293 in stakes. SHIRLZ SENSATION LOOKS SET FOR A BRIGHT CAREER Lightly-raced four-year-old Shirlz Sensation has taken his time to develop and is now giving promise of becoming a good winner for Jandabup trainer Mike Beech. Shirlz Sensation started from the outside of the front line at the gift price of 15/2 in the third qualifying heat of the 2130m Community Newspaper Group Westbred Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night and gave a most impressive display to score an effortless victory. Atlastalone, favourite at 11/8 from barrier three on the front line, hung out in the score-up and locked sulky wheels with Kissed Flush when the mobile sent the field on its way. Outsider Mako Shadow was smartest into stride, but was unable to wrest the lead from polemarker Atomic Chip (4/1) in a fast lead time of 36.1sec. Ryan Warwick then sent Firebomb to the front after 520m and soon after that Chris Lewis dashed Shirlz Sensation forward to work hard in the breeze. Shirlz Sensation led by a half-length at the bell and remained in that position for the next 500m before forging to a clear lead 300m from home. Shirlz Sensation then careered away from his rivals to cover the final 400m in 28.4sec. and win at a 1.56.7 rate by a margin of 31 metres from Soho Monza, with a head to Firebomb. Shirlz Sensation has had 21 starts for six wins, three placings and stakes of $48,971. COMPACT ROCKET DELAYS THE START AND THEN BEHAVES PERFECTLY West Australian-bred five-year-old Compact Rocket, who has been unreliable at the start in several recent stands, again was fractious behind the tapes and delayed the start of the 2503m Alltools.com.au Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Chris Voak then got Compact Rocket away to a perfect flying start and the gelding burst straight to the front before bowling along in the lead and scoring an easy victory, beating Pacific Playboy by one and a half lengths, with Veitchy flashing home along the pegs to be third. Compact Rocket, a 7/1 chance trained by Ross Olivieri, kept his rivals, particularly 2/1 favourite Trojan Bromac, well at bay in the middle stages when he dashed through the second and third quarters of the final mile in 29.9sec. and 28.2sec. Trojan Bromac, who moved into the breeze with two laps to travel, wilted to finish fifth. Compact Rocket is by American sire Dr Drew and is the only winner out of New Zealand-bred mare Pipe Dreamer, who raced eight times in New Zealand and eight times in Victoria for just one win, at Cranbourne in August 2001. Compact Rocket, bred and owned by Bob Fowler, has been a handy performer who has earned $64,396 from nine wins and nine placings from 55 starts. by Ken Casellas

Up-and-coming pacer Red Salute has started from the prized No. 1 barrier four times in his 51-start career for four all-the-way victories over 2130m and Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri is confident that the gelding will continue this trend when he starts from the inside barrier in the $35,000 Alltools Four And Five-Year-Old Championship over 21230m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. "I was rapt with his performance last week and he can go faster than that," said Olivieri when commenting on Red Salute's strong frontrunning performance to win over 2130m at a 1.56.9 rate last Friday night. "That was a controlled, aggressive type race and he'll probably need to go faster this week. To hold up and lead will be Plan A. Polak (barrier three) can begin fast, but they might also respect Red Salute's gate speed. And I don't think that Northview Punter (barrier four) is capable of crossing Red Salute." Red Salute will again be handled by Chris Voak, who has driven the WA-bred pacer at 12 of his 15 wins. Red Salute is an M6-class performer and the highest-assessed runner in the race. Answering a query that he should be overjoyed at the gelding drawing the No. 1 barrier against lesser-performed horses, Olivieri said: "It's a good field which contains several horses who are on M3, M4 and M5 marks, and they are going to get to an M6 mark and better. "Red Salute was immature and had a gaiting problem as a young horse. But we've ironed out that problem and now he's more fluent and a bit quicker (at the start). Red Salute is like an AFL footballer with his first pre-season under his belt. He's a new kid on the block in fast class and he's shown that he's up to them in that company. I'm not saying that he's better than them, but he's not out of place in top company." Owners Denise Trobe, Jeanine Diederich, Adrian Staltari and Anthony Jones are hoping that Red Salute will make amends for his distant last in the Four And Five-Year-Old Championship 12 months ago when he started from the No. 4 barrier and raced three wide early before getting a length in front of Your Good Fortune and was about to cross to the pegs and lead when he broke into a bad gallop and dropped back to the rear. Your Good Fortune, favourite at 7/4 on, went on to set the pace and win by a length from Famous Alchemist. These two pacers will again contest the race this year, with Famous Alchemist at No. 5 on the front line and Your Good Fortune on the outside of the back line and each facing a stern test. Olivieri will also be represented by star mare Sensational Gabby, who has fared badly in the draw and will start from the outside (No. 7) on the front line, with Chris Lewis in the sulky. "The draw is against her," Olivieri said. "Her biggest hope is if Polak and Northview Punter charge forward and try to beat out Red salute and they run some ridiculous lead time. Then she would be right in the race. But if they come out under normal speed and run normally she will not have much hope." Leading trainer Gary Hall sen. holds a powerful hand in Friday night's event with five runners --- Northview Punter, Famous Alchemist, Benjamin Banneker, Real Hammer and Soho Valencia. He conceded that Red Salute would be hard to beat from the No. 1 barrier, but said that Soho Valencia should not be underestimated despite drawing the No. 4 barrier on the back line and having his first start for 17 months. "Soho Valencia is easily the best horse in the race, but he will need the run," Hall said. "He's going along nicely, but being first-up is the problem. However, he will still acquit himself well, particularly if he gets a favourable passage." Soho Valencia, an M1-class performer, will be making his first appearance since he made his WA debut in a prelude of the Golden Nugget when he worked hard in the breeze before winning easily from Midnight Dylan and Bronze Seeker over 2130m at Gloucester Park in October 2012. He has raced 33 times for 19 wins and seven placings for stakes of $298,942. It was then discovered that he had bone chips in his off fore knee, a condition which required surgery. Clint Hall will drive the five-year-old on Friday night and his younger brother Gary will handle four-year-old Northview Punter, who notched his 17th victory from 37 starts when he raced without cover before beating Shirlz Sensation at a 1.53 rate over 1684m at Pinjarra three Mondays ago. Kim Prentice will drive Famous Alchemist, his son Justin will handle Benjamin Banneker and Robbie Williams will be in the sulky behind Real Hammer, who will be the rank outsider in the race. HALL TIPS PELUSIAC TO SET THE PACE AND WIN Champion trainer Gary Hall sen. is bubbling with confidence that lightly-raced gelding Pelusiac will prove too speedy for his ten rivals in the $17,000 Milwaukee Nothing But Heavy Duty WA Derby Prelude over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. "He should lead and win," he said. "I'd like him to make amends for last week when he didn't get a clear run." Pelusiac, driven by Robbie Williams, raced three back on the pegs and was blocked for a clear passage in the final circuit when eighth behind outstanding stablemate Elegant Christian in the 2536m Caduceus Club Classic. Gary Hall jun. will resume in the sulky behind Pelusiac this week and he should have little trouble in getting him straight to the front from the No. 2 barrier on the front line. Drawn inside of him is Major Rush, who has won once from 27 starts and invariably is driven with a sit. Two starts ago Pelusiac raced wide early before getting to the front and going on to win the 2100m Battle of Bunbury. He worked hard in the breeze before winning at a 1.53.9 rate over 1684m at Pinjarra five days earlier. He has now raced nine times for five wins and three seconds. His major rival appears to be his speedy stablemate Eyre Crusher, who has had eight starts for three wins and four seconds. Eyre Crusher gave a sample of his class at Northam on Thursday of last week when he dashed to an early lead and went on to win by more than five lengths at a 1.57.2 rate from Calais over 2190m. Calais was having his first start for three months and he should be greatly improved by the outing. He will start from barrier four on the front line on Friday night and should be prominent. Forrestdale trainers Greg and Skye Bond have three smart New Zealand-bred three-year-olds in the race in Bettor Offer (Colin Brown), Zacharia (Chris Lewis) and Black Mr Mach (Ryan Warwick). The Ross Olivieri-trained Tarsao was most impressive at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon when making his first appearance for four months when Chris Voak drove the gelding to an effortless all-the-way victory over 1684m, rating 1.55.6 when he defeated Slurp Alert by more than eight lengths. However, Tarsao's prospects slumped when he drew the outside of the front line. LADY WILLOUGHBY INHERITS THE SPEED OF HER DAM Amongst Royalty is one of the smartest fillies to have raced in Western Australia in recent years and her first foal Lady Willoughby has inherited much of her sparkling speed and brilliance. Lady Willoughby, bred and owned by Bob Fowler, will make her Gloucester Park debut when she contests the $21,000 Alltools Western Crown for two-year-old fillies on Friday night. "She's going to be a sensation," said trainer Ross Olivieri. "But she will be meeting stiff opposition from Mohito and Straittothehilton. I'm very impressed with those fillies and it wouldn't surprise me if she can't match them at this stage. "Lady Willoughby went out and won at her first start, going no time (2.7.2 over 1823m) at Narrogin and then she disappointed us when we thought she would win, but finished only third at Northam." In the Northam race on Thursday of last week Lady Willoughby competed against colts and geldings and after racing one-out and two-back in a field of five she lacked sparkle and finished third, almost four lengths behind the winner Artillery Major. However, Olivieri's hopes were boosted on Tuesday morning when Chris Voak drove Lady Willoughby in trackwork. "He said that she was a different horse to the one who went around at Northam," he said. "Hopefully, her Northam effort was just an aberration and, hopefully, she will go just as well on Friday night as we know she can. Her Mum was good and so is she." Lady Willoughby will start from the No. 2 barrier in a field of six, flanked by unbeaten fillies, Delightful Jade and Mohito. Olivieri hopes that Lady Willoughby will go one better than Amongst Royalty, who finished second in the Western Crown in February 2006 when she finished a nose behind Sheza Clout. Delightful Jade, trained at Capel by Andrew De Campo, finished strongly from three back on the pegs to win by just over two lengths from Torrevean Mio over 1730m at Gloucester Park at her only appearance, on Tuesday of last week. She is closely related to former champion filly Whitbys Miss Penny. Mohito, trained at Bakers Hill by Mike Williams, has won at her only two starts, at Northam and Pinjarra, when she set the pace for Ryan Warwick, who will be anxious on Friday night to get her to an early lead from barrier three. Straittothehilton, trained at Byford by Katja Warwick, will start from the outside barrier and is the most experienced filly in the race, with her four starts producing a debut victory at Pinjarra followed by three second placings. She has been beaten at her past two outings (at Bunbury and Pinjarra) by the Jesse Moore-trained Tricky Styx. Tricky Styx will start from barrier five on Friday night and must come under serious consideration in what should prove to be a highly competitive event. She is a half-sister to Go West U Terror, who won the 2010 Western Crown for colts and geldings. ARTILLERY MAJOR SET TO GUN DOWN THE OPPOSITION Astute Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri firmly believes that Artillery Major has the firepower to remain unbeaten by proving too strong for the enemy in the $21,000 Alltools Western Crown for two-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park on Friday night. "I think that Artillery Major is a huge chance," Olivieri said. "He's fast and he's strong." Artillery Major, handily drawn at barrier three on the front line, will be at a far shorter quote than he was when he made his debut at Northam on Thursday of last week when he was a 25/1 chance who led early and then raced without cover before beating Nitro Lad, rating 2.0.7 over 1780m. Chris Voak will drive Artillery Major and Chris Lewis, back after an ocean cruise, will handle Olivieri's second-string runner Coeur de Whitby, who will start out wide at barrier six. "I put him in a race at Pinjarra on Monday in preference to running in a trial and he ran second in 1.58 and did it really well," Olivieri said. "He will improve his own weight on that run and if he improves as much as I think he will he'll be competitive on Friday night." by Ken Casellas  

The $200,000 WA Derby on April 11 is shaping up as an enthralling two-horse showdown between exciting stablemates Elegant Christian and Machtu after the New Zealand-bred three-year-olds had the crowd at Gloucester Park on Friday night in raptures as they obliterated the opposition in the $40,000 Caduceus Club Classic. Master trainer Gary Hall sen. produced Elegant Christian in superb condition for his first appearance for six months and the big, powerful son of Christian Cullen gave further convincing proof of his enormous potential with a magnificent all-the-way victory. But Elegant Christian, favourite at 2/1 on, was fully tested by Machtu, the 5/1 second fancy who started from barrier four on the back line. Machtu settled at the rear before Gary Hall jun. set him alight towards the end of the first circuit to move into the breeze 1500m from home. Clint Hall used Elegant Christian's sparkling early speed to dash the gelding straight to the front from the No. 3 barrier. The first two 400m sections of the final mile went by in moderate times of 31.1sec. and 30.9sec. before the stablemates became engaged in a thrilling battle for ascendancy over the final circuit when sizzling quarters of 27.7sec. and 27.6sec. left their rivals floundering. Machtu tried valiantly to gain the upper hand, but Elegant Christian responded to every challenge and won the 2536m classic by 2m at a 1.58.5 rate. There was a gap of more than eight lengths to the third placegetter, Mister Jadore, with a further length to Tasmanian Bromac in fourth place. This meant that Elegant Christian remained unbeaten after five starts and that Machtu's winning sequence of six had been brought to an end. "It was an outstanding effort," said Clint Hall. "Elegant Christian is a special horse. He couldn't shake off Machtu, but he only does what he has to. If Machtu had come at us again I think that Elegant Christian would have dug deep and held him off. "If Machtu had led tonight and Elegant Christian had sat outside of him I couldn't have beaten him. I looked back after the finish and there was a bit of a gap between second and third, and that's a bit exciting." Elegant Christian, the sixth foal out of English Elegance, a New Zealand mare by American sire Camtastic, was purchased as a yearling for $27,000 and should prove a wonderful moneyspinner for Karen Hall, Neven Botica, Garry Ralston, Glen Moore, Mark Congerton, John Burt, Andrew Curran and Ross North. His five wins have netted $58,265 in prizemoney. Friday night's victory gave Hall sen. his fifth success in the Caduceus Club Classic. He was successful with The Falcon Strike (2001), Ulrich (2004), Gracias Para Nada (2012) and Northview Punter (2013). Apart from Elegant Christian and Machtu, Hall has several other smart three-year-olds, including Pelusiac, High Courage, Eyre Crusher, Classic American, Courage Rules, Avalon Bromac, Get Outta Eyre, VC Manoeuvre and the talented filly Majorly Foxy Styx. RED SALUTE PASSES HIS ACID TEST WITH FLYING COLOURS West Australian-bred five-year-old Red Salute stamped himself as a genuine open-class performer when he set the pace and scored an impressive victory in the $21,000 HBF Run For A Reason Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. "This was his acid test tonight," said delighted reinsman Chris Voak. After Red Salute had finished second to David Hercules at his previous start a fortnight earlier Voak had told trainer Ross Olivier and the gelding's owners Denise Trobe, Jeanine Diederich, Adrian Staltari and Anthony Jones that it was the first time he had felt like a group 1 horse. "He stepped up and followed a fast speed in that race and tonight we were willing to lead and cop the pressure to see how he would handle it," Voak explained. "But thankfully we didn't have to do that." Red Salute, with the distinct advantage of starting from the prized No. 1 barrier, was a heavily-supported 5/4 favourite, with WA Pacing Cup winner and smart last-start winner Hokonui Ben's tote price easing from 10/9 on to 2/1. Red Salute easily won the start and Hokonui Ben, from barrier four, raced three wide for the first 300m before Aldo Cortopassi restrained the gelding to the rear after failing in an early bid to get past Red Salute and Passion Stride (breeze) into the lead. This enabled Voak to get Red Salute to relax and amble through the first quarter of the final mile in 31.6sec. The moderate pace left Cortopassi little or no option but to send Hokonui Ben forward and the seven-year-old began a three-wide move with 1000m to travel. After a third quarter in 29.8sec., Red Salute sprinted over the final quarters in 28.2sec. and 28.5sec. Red Salute went on to defeat stablemate and 7/1 chance Sensational Gabby, who trailed the leader throughout before finishing fast. Famous Alchemist (45/1) was seventh at the bell and flew home, five wide, to snatch third place from Hokonui Ben. Red salute rated 1.56.9 over the 2130m journey and took his record to 15 wins and 13 placings from 51 starts for stakes of $178,289. "With Aldo baling out early with Hokonui Ben, it helped us," Voak said. "I expected to cop a lead time of 36.5sec. If it was any faster I thought that none of the three of us (Red Salute, Hokonui Ben and Passion Stride) could win the race." The lead time was 36.5sec. and then being able to get a soft first quarter was ideal for Red Salute. "With 400m to travel and with Hokonui Ben and Passion Stride struggling, the only danger was the horse on my back, and this was stablemate Sensational Gabby," Voak said. "I couldn't hold Red Salute's momentum any further round the corner, so I just cut the ribbons at the top of the straight, and he was good enough to hang on." OUR ARLINGTON COMES FROM LAST TO END LOSING SEQUENCE OF 19 Former Victorian performer Our Arlington went into the Marandoo Boys From Rio Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night with a losing sequence of 19 and the distinct disadvantage of starting from the outside of the front line. But this did not deter his admirers who rallied to support the six-year-old New Zealand-bred gelding from an opening on-course tote price of 12/1 to start a warm 7/4 favourite. Clint Hall restrained Our Arlington at the start and the gelding settled down in last position in the field of eleven while Vance Stampalia had 6/1 second fancy Shifting Sand bowling along in front. Our Arlington started a three-wide move 1200m from home and this flushed out Mighty Flying Thomas, which gave the favourite a perfect trail. Mighty Flying Thomas moved to second at the 400m after a 28.5sec. third quarter. Our Arlington sustained a powerful sprint to charge to the front 100m from the post and he won by a half-length from the fast-finishing Little Boy Blue (7/1), with 25/1 chance The Feather Foot rattling home, out wide, from ninth on the pegs at the bell. The winner, making his fourth appearance in WA, rated 1.56.9 over the 2130m. He had not been successful since his win in the $25,000 Hamilton Cup in Victoria in January 2013. He won twice from three starts as a three-year-old in New Zealand in March 2011 and then raced 50 times in Victoria for 11 wins and 12 placings. He now has earned $131,267 from 14 wins and 14m placings from 57 starts. By Washington VC, Our Arlington is out of Holmes Hanover mare People's Princess, who was unsuccessful from ten starts before she produced Hot Night In Paris (129 starts for 11 wins, 26 placings and $85,584) and The Forger (78 starts for 11 wins, 18 placings and $91,650). Our Arlington is also related to former star Roydon Glen, who amassed $463,244 from 22 wins and 15 placings from 56 starts. TURVEY WEAVES HIS MAGIC WITH OUTSIDER HOKURI HANDRAIL Nathan Turvey produced a masterly exhibition in the sulky to land 63/1 outsider Hokuri Handrail an easy winner of the 2130m first heat of the Caduceus Club Come Up And Join Us The Clarke Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Hokuri Handrail, placed only once at his previous 15 starts, was written off by most punters, who gave him little hope from the No. 5 barrier on the front line. In an open betting race punters pinned their faith on Lovers Delight (3/1), Adda Paternal Suit (7/2), Code Red (6/1), Rocky Marciano (13/2) and Lord Lombo (7/1). Adda Paternal Suit was first out from the inside barrier and Hokuri Handrail was trapped three wide for the first 200m before Turvey restrained the gelding and cleverly eased him to the pegs in fifth position. Almost immediately Turvey eased into the one-wide line. But then 150m later he angled Hokuri Handrail back to the pegs. Justin Prentice then made an early move after 550m, easing 14/1 chance Braemoor from the one-out, two-back position to start a three-wide move which saw him take up the breeze. Then Braemoor received cover when Aiden De Campo moved Lovers Delight to the outside of the pacemaking Adda Paternal Suit. At the bell Hokuri Handrail was tucked away in fifth place, three back on the pegs, covered by Braemoor. But Braemoor momentarily dropped the bit and Turvey was able to get Hokuri Handrail off the pegs and force Braemoor three wide 700m from home. Braemoor sustained a strong three-wide burst to take the lead 125m from the post before Hokuri handrail charged to the front in the final 90m to win by 5m from Lord Lombo, who was eighth at the bell and thundered home, seven wide. Braemoor was third and Rocky Marciano was an excellent fourth after finishing strongly from last in the middle stages. Hokuri Handrail, trained at Baldivis by Kristie Morrone, struck a purple patch in the first half of last year when he won ten times from 11 starts in the space of four months. He now has earned $117,356 from 17 wins and ten placings from 60 starts. SMOOTH CAESAR IS PROVING A BARGAIN AT $10,000 Giant pacer Smooth Caesar, recognised for much of his career as a big amiable gelding who refused to do his best, has turned the corner in remarkable style since being claimed for $10,000 last November. He again revealed his new-found strength and speed when Pinjarra trainer Kim Young drove him to a splendid victory in the 2130m Caduceus Club Positive For Pacing Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Since entering Young's stables after being claimed on November 15 by Marie Bingham, the eight-year-old has had 18 starts for three wins, five seconds and two thirds for earnings of $31,503. Friday night's win boosted his record to 84 starts for 12 wins, 22 placings and $99,557 in prizemoney. Smooth Caesar started from barrier five on the front line and raced three wide for the first 500m before getting to the breeze outside the pacemaker and 9/4 favourite Myouri. The well-fancied Galactic Galleon settled down in the one-out, two-back position before Colin Brown started a three-wide move 570m after the start. Galactic Galleon moved to the breeze and gave Smooth Caesar the one-out, one-back trail 1300m from home. Galactic Galleon took the lead with 270m to travel before being overhauled by the fast-finioshi9ng Smooth Caesar 25m from the post. The winner rated 1.58.3. Despite winning the previous Friday night and then finishing a good third at Pinjarra the following Monday, Smooth Caesar was neglected by punters and started at 201/1. "We tried to change his racing pattern and finally he has caught on," Young said. "He's finishing strongly now." He explained that Smooth Caesar was kept out three wide in the early stages because Kyle Harper, driving Im Clean Cut, was having difficulty in restraining his horse in the breeze because he was kicking a wheel and was fired up. SOUTHERN LEGACY COMPLTES A TRAINING DOUBLE FOR Justin Prentice Boyanup trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice has no regrets that he accepted an offer two years ago from Pinjarra horseman Ray Grantham to lease unraced three-year-old filly Southern Legacy. Southern Legacy has proved to be a wonderful acquisition for Prentice and when Kaiden Hayter drove her to a smart all-the-way win in the 1730m The West Australian Mares Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night she boosted her earnings to $81,131 from six wins and ten placings from only 24 starts. The win completed a training double for the 25-year-old Prentice, who was successful earlier in the program with Jezalenkoubeauty. He also trained and drove third placegetters Braemoor and Mister Sarkozy and Tasmanian Bromac, who finished fourth in the Caduceus Club Classic. Prentice engaged Hayter, his stable foreman, to drive Southern Legacy in order to receive a concession for a junior driver. This prevented Southern Legacy from automatically being drawn an outside barrier. Southern Legacy drew the prized No. 1 barrier and Hayter made the most of this advantage and he rated the five0-year-old well in front. After opening quarters of the final mile in 30.1sec. and 31.5sec., Southern Legacy sprinted over the final sections in 28.7sec. and 28.6sec. Southern Legacy rated 1.58.1 in defeating 7/1 chance Blue Jean Baby by a half-length, with 2m back to La Stella Del Mare (11/1) in third place. "She has been a most consistent performer," Prentice said. "She now has backed up three weeks in a row. I normally space her runs and try to keep her racing against fillies and mares." NUCLEAR BUNNY IS JUST A ONE-TRICK PONY Ace reinsman Colin Brown describes WA-bred six-year-old Nuclear Bunny as a one-dimensional pacer who refuses to do his best unless he races in the lead. Nuclear Bunny was drawn to lead in the 1730m Make Smoking History Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night and astute punters rallied to the cause and the gelding who boasted a losing sequence of 21 was sent out a strongly-supported second favourite at 7/2 behind the polemarker Stealthy Shannon (3/1). Nuclear Bunny began speedily from barrier three and surged straight to the front, giving Stealthy Shannon an ideal passage behind the pacemaker. A first quarter of the final mile in 28.7sec. was followed by sections of 31.9sec. and 29.2sec. before Nuclear Bunny sprinted the final 400m in 28.8sec. and defeated Stealthy Shannon by just over a length, rating 1.57.8 Nuclear Bunny, trained at North Dandalup by Vivienne Moran, had not been successful since Brown drove her to an all-the-way win over 1700m at Gloucester Park on December 21, 2012. He then had managed only one placing from his next 21 starts. He won at his first three starts, all at Harvey, as a three-year-old in 2010-11. He had 15 starts in Victoria in 2012 for four wins --- two at Warragul and one each at Geelong and Cranbourne. Nuclear Bunny's dam Shoalwater (by What's Next) won at Narrogin and Gloucester Park in 2003. Shoalwater is out of Tasmanian mare Crystal Wrist, who had 91 starts for 13 wins, 18 placings and $64,699. Crystal Wrist won ten times in Victoria and three times in WA. Brown drove her only once ---m for her final victory, in an M1 event at Gloucester Park in April 1996. Crystal Wrist then produced five winners, including Hilton Mile High (1156 starts for 13 wins, 23 placings and $80,949) and Hilton Fly High (100 starts for 20 wins, 20 placings and $267,095). "There was some talk about him being retired recently, Brown said. "But we saw this race coming up and thought he could draw (favourably) and could lead. And he showed that tonight. He just loves it in front and he simply doesn't try unless he's in front." Nuclear Bunny now has earned $47,110 from ten wins and five placings from 51 starts. TALK IT UP GIVES NEW OWNERS A REASON TO CELEBRATE Recently-elected Gloucester Park Harness Racing committeemen Laurie Kennedy and a handful of friends celebrated in style at Gloucester Park on Friday night when veteran pacer Talk It Up stormed home to cause an upset by beating 2/1 on favourite Real Hammer in the 2130m 25 Years And Still Going Strong Pace. They had outlaid $10,000 to claim the nine-year-old in the last week of December and the gelding has earned his new connections $16,565 from this win and two placings from eight starts for his new trainer Barry Morrison. Talk It Up was an 8/1 chance from barrier two on the back line and his win completed a double for reinsman Nathan Turvey, who had been successful earlier in the program with brank outsider Hokuri Handrail. Real Hammer was smartest into stride from barrier four on the front line and Robbie Williams had him in front after 120m. After opening quarters of the final mile in 30.9sec. and 30.8sec. Real Hammer looked very hard to beat. But he wilted slightly after final quarters in 29sec. and 29.3sec. to lose by a half-head to Talk It Up, who finished fast after enjoying an ideal trail ibn sixth place, one-out and two-back. Talk It Up went four wide on the home turn and finished strongly to get up in the final stride. Robbery, second fancy at 6/1, finished gamely to be a head away in third place. Talk It Up, who ended a losing sequence of 11, has raced 116 times for 13 wins and 44 placings for stakes of $113,420. JEZALENKOUBEAUTY GIVES PRENTICE A GOOD FEELING "In the preliminary he felt like a different horse and when he gets strong and feels good he normally goes good," said Justin Prentice after driving 10/1 chance Jezalenkoubeauty to a convincing victory in the first heat of the 2130m Caduceus Club Members Westbred Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. "In the preliminary I thought I might have a different horse tonight than the one I've had for a while." This feeling gave Prentice the confidence to go forward at the start from barrier five on the front line. Jezalenkoubeauty raced three wide in the early stages before getting to the breeze, with 13/4 second fancy Reminder Call setting the pace. Boofshalfbrother started a three-wide move 1200m from home and moved to third, out three wide, at the bell, with 2/1 favourite Truckers Buckeroo poised to strike in fifth position in the one-wide line. Truckers Buckeroo loomed as a danger approaching the home turn, but when third on the corner he hit a wheel and broke into a gallop. At the 250m mark Jezalenkoubeauty was hard under the whip and appeared most unlikely to figure in the finish. But Prentice continued to drive the gelding hard under the whip. He responded and got to the front in the final 80m to win by just over a length from outsider Senator Whitby, who finished solidly from the rear. Jezalenkoubeauty was purchased for $12,500 as a yearling by Craig Lynn and now has had 80 starts for eight wins, 25 placings and $64,909. SUVALJKO SEIZES THE OPPORTUNITY WITH HEZ GOT THE NOD Shannon Suvaljko made the most of the three inside horses on the front line galloping at the start of the Caduceus Club Oh What A View Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night by spearing through from the 10m line and bursting to the front after 50m with Hez Got the Nod. Suvaljko then dictated terms and noted frontrunner Hez Got The Nod fought on doggedly to win narrowly from 18/1 chance Pacific Black, who finished strongly after trailing the leader all the way. Punters groaned when 5/2 on favourite Ben Cartwright, from barrier No. 2, broke into a gallop when the tapes released the field of eleven. Polemarker Compact Rocket and I Am legend (barrier three) also galloped and Suvaljko seized his opportunity to dash Hez Got The Nod through a widening opening caused by Ben Cartwright veering outwards as he galloped. "To win the race I had to find the front off 10m," Suvaljko said. "My plan was to watch Ben Cartwright.I had watched his last starts and noticed that he veered out at the start. So I was waiting for the outward movement at the start. "Hez Got The Nod is a good rolling type. I probably ran the race upside down just to beat Ben Cartwright. Down the back we just blocked everyone in and just sprinted down the straight." Ben Cartwright settled in seventh position before Gary hall jun. sent him forward, three wide, after 350m to move into the breeze. Ben Cartwright was still second with 220m to travel before he began to fade. He dropped back to finish eighth. Hez Got the Nod has had 16 starts in WA for trainer Debbie Padberg for six wins and four seconds. He has earned $77,436 from 11 wins and 20 placings from 49 starts. by Ken Casellas  

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