Six-year-old Tuxedo Tour went within a whisker of causing a major upset last Friday night when he ran home with great determination to finish a head second to 5/1 on favourite Heez On Fire and he gets a chance to turn the tables on his brilliant rival when he meets him on better terms in the $35,000 Kennards Hire Christmas Gift final at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Tuxedo Tour, trained at Herne Hill by Kevin Keys, started from barrier three on the back line and settled down in ninth position before he surged forward to move to the breeze on the outside of the pacemaking Heez On Fire with 1200m to travel in a heat of the Gift last week. Heez On Fire, who was untroubled to lead from the prized No. 1 barrier, fought on grimly to stave off the late challenge from Tuxedo Tour, with the final two quarters being covered in 28.9sec. and 27.6sec. This week Tuxedo Tour will start from the No. 3 barrier on the front line, with Heez On Fire out at barrier five. Noted frontrunner Dashing Christian is likely to lead from the No. 1 barrier and there is a strong possibility that Tuxedo Tour will again have to work hard in the breeze. All Bettor (barrier two) and Ti Amo Franco (four) possess good natural gate speed and Chris Lewis will be anxious to slot Heez On Fire into a commanding position in the one-wide line. Heez On Fire is extremely versatile and is capable of unwinding a dazzling finishing burst, like he revealed when he thundered home from the rear to win from Medley Moose two starts ago. Despite his awkward draw, Heez On Fire is likely to start a short-priced favourite in his quest to extend his winning sequence to six and improve his record to 15 wins and four placings from only 27 starts. The WA-bred five-year-old was purchased as a four-month-old weanling by Cardup trainer Rod Oliver for $15,000 and has already amassed $178,005 in prizemoney for Oliver, his mother Doreen, brother Perry and friends Andrew Walker, Geoff Ramm, Darrell Dwyer and Kieren Eiffler. Tuxedo Tour has earned $122,876 from 11 wins and 18 placings from 41 starts after being purchased for $18,000 at the 2010 Gloucester Standardbred yearling sale by Tom Marsden, who races the stallion in partnership with his son Rod and Martin, Colin and Stephen Campbell. The Christmas Gift is one of the very few feature events in WA that has not been won by Lewis, who is in devastating form in the sulky. Champion trainer Gary Hall sen. is hoping that Dashing Christian can go one better than he did in a qualifying heat last Friday night when he set the pace and was overhauled in the final stride and was beaten by a head by the fast-finishing Mosquito Buzzin. Hall won the Christmas Gift for the fifth time when Kim Prentice drove the polemarker and 6/4 on favourite Toretto to a comfortable all-the-way victory over Our Major Mark and Red Salute 12 months ago. This followed wins with Nixons Creed (1993), Allioop (2004), McRaes Mate (2007) and Livingontheinterest (2012). Ti Amo Franco, trained in Collie by Dale Jackson, will have admirers from barrier four on the front line. He began brilliantly from the No. 5 barrier in a heat last week, but was unable to cross Dashing Christian. He then obtained a good sit, one-out and one-back, and moved to second on the home turn before wilting to fourth behind Mosquito Buzzin. He won in good style at two of his three previous starts. Matt White will resume as Mosquito Buzzin's driver this week after Aiden De Campo handled the six-year-old last week. De Campo will replace Chris Voak behind Mosquito Buzzin, with Voak on the sidelines serving a 19-day suspension after causing interference in a race last Friday night. Mosquito Buzzin has drawn ideally on the inside of the back line and should enjoy a perfect sit behind the likely pacemaker Dashing Christian. Woodley to drive This Time Dylan Outstanding young reinsman Morgan Woodley has been engaged to drive strong stayer This Time Dylan in the $22,500 Mount Eden-No Dill Christmas Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night and the nine-year-old looks capable of fighting out the finish of the 2503m stand at his fourth appearance after a spell. Woodley, who will be driving This Time Dylan for the first time, replaces Justin Prentice, who was in the sulky last Friday night when the gelding was prominent throughout and sustained a solid three-wide run to finish third behind Lisharry and Some Kinda Tactics in a 1730m sprint, with the final 800m being covered in a sparkling 55.6sec. Prentice was committed to driving Dardys Delight, a five-year-old he trains at Boyanup. Dardys Delight, who will share the front line with the Ross Olivieri-trained Chief Thundercloud, rises considerably in class, but is in sound form, with his past six starts (all in stands) producing two wins, two seconds and two thirds. Before that he had contested only one stand in 348 starts. He is closely related to Winter Strike, who earned $416,693 from 33 wins and 50 placings from 143 starts. He was a winner of eight stands, six at Gloucester Park and two at Pinjarra. This Time Dylan, trained at Pinjarra by Michael Brennan, will start off the 40m mark, but is capable of a bold showing. He has a losing sequence of 13, dating back to last May when he won a 2503m event off 30m at Gloucester Park. Four months earlier he finished a splendid third behind Hokonui Ben and Toretto in the 2936m WA Pacing Cup. He won four times (all off 10m) over 2503m in September-October 2013 and he impressed when he started off 40m and finished second to Rocket Reign in the 3309m Marathon Handicap in August this year. Some Kinda Tactics will share the 40m handicap with This Time Dylan on Friday night and should also prove hard to beat. He is racing consistently, with his 12 starts this season producing three wins, four seconds and three thirds. Chief Thundercloud, a lightly-raced New Zealand-bred seven-year-old, will be one of the main fancies after having four starts in WA for a win in a 2503m stand and three second placings. He raced without cover for the final two laps when a sound second to the frontrunning Avalon Bromac in a 2536m mobile at Gloucester Park last Saturday night. Olivieri will also be represented by veteran pacers Pembrook Henry and To Transcend and Wanneroo trainer Debbie Padberg will be looking for a stout-hearted effort from 11-year-old mare Salliwood, who will start off 20m and will be handled by Mark Reed,. Salliwood has finished second in the past two Christmas Handicaps. She was driven by Shannon Suvaljko when she finished strongly into second place behind Uncle Kracker in 2012 and then was awarded the race after the winner was disqualified. In last year's race Salliwood set the pace and was defeated by a half-head by the fast-finishing J Walker. It all points to Sensational Gabby Brilliant mare Sensational Gabby looks set to complete her preparation for the $60,000 Village Kid Sprint on Friday week in fine style by proving too speedy for her 11 male rivals in the 2130m Merry Xmas Del Basso Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Her prospects soared when she was dealt the No. 3 marble in the random barrier draw and Chris Lewis is likely to make a bold bid to dash her straight to the front. Drawn inside her are Soho Highroller and Go West U Terror, geldings with good gate speed, but susceptible to an early challenge from Sensational Gabby, who can begin with dazzling speed. In the event of Soho Highroller holding up and leading, Lewis would be anxious to gain a good sit in the one-wide line before asking Sensational Gabby to unleash her renowned sizzling finishing burst. She was seventh (on the pegs) at the bell before finishing fast to be third behind David Hercules and Soho Highroller over 1730m last Friday night. Soho Highroller certainly looks the pick of the four runners from the all-conquering Gary Hall sen. stable. He notched his third successive second placing last Friday night when he finished strongly from sixth at the bell to beat all but David Hercules. The prospects of seven-year-old Lisharry completing a winning hat-trick diminished when he drew poorly at No. 5 on the front line. He set the pace for easy victories over 2503m and 1730m on the past two Friday nights. Unbeaten youngsters to clash The clash between highly-promising unbeaten three-year-olds Ima Connoisseur and Zennart in the 1730m Kennards Hire Pace should be a highlight of the ten-event program at Gloucester Park on Friday night. In the blue corner will be Ima Connoisseur, a gelding trained by Greg and Skye Bond who has not tasted defeat in four starts, and in the blue and gold corner is Zennart, a colt trained by Gary Hall sen. who has been most impressive in winning at his only two starts in New Zealand. Ima Connoisseur won by ten and a half lengths at his debut, over 2200m at Alexandra Park in June this year, and then was untroubled to win at Pinjarra at his first three Australian starts, scoring twice over 1684m and once over 2185m. He sprinted the final 400m in 27.3sec. in both his sprint wins and was timed at 27.5sec. when he won over 2185m. Zennart led from barrier three and set the pace when he won easily on debut, scoring by four and a half lengths and rating 1.59.9 over 2200m at Alexandra park on July 25 this year. He sprinted the final 800m in 57.2sec., with the final 400m taking 27.8sec. At his next start Zennart started from the outside in a field of six and was restrained to last (eight lengths from the leader) before moving to fourth at the bell and coming from third (three wide) on the home turn to hit the front 30m from the post to win by a half-length at a 1.59.9 rate. He dashed over the final 400m in 27.9sec. Hall has not produced Zennart at public trials, but the Art Major colt is sure to be strongly supported, particularly when he drew inside of Ima Connoisseur. Zennart will start from barrier five on the front line, with Ima Connoisseur at No. 6. Zennart is a half-brother to Zenas Art, who raced 51 times for 14 wins (four in New Zealand, two in Victoria and eight in New South Wales) for stakes of $100,298. Zennart and Ima Connoisseur look set to fight out the finish and each should develop into a worthy contender for the WA Derby next year. Colin Brown, who will drive Ima Connoisseur in the first event on the program, also has excellent prospects in the second event, the third heat of the Free Entry Boxing Day the Coulson Pace for mares, in which he will drive Harriet Elisabeth for Byford trainer David Thompson. Harriet Elisabeth, a winner at nine of her 25 starts, is ideally drawn at barrier two on the front line in the 2130m event in which she will clash with in-form mares Rivers of Babylon and Washington Express. by Ken Casellas
Brilliant pacer Bettors Fire is one of the most versatile performers in Western Australia, which has harness racing trainer Kyle Harper bubbling with confidence ahead of Friday night’s Fred Doy Memorial at Gloucester Park. Bettors Fire can switch from stand to mobile and from staying events to sprints without turning a hair and that’s why Harper believes the son of Bettors Delight can win despite awkwardly in barrier five. Bettors Fire’s clash with dashing sprinter David Hercules promises to be the highlight of the 10-event program, with Bettors Fire gaining an early advantage by drawing inside of David Hercules, which will start from six at his first appearance for three-and-a-half months. Bettors Fire won stands over 2503 metres in October and November and then mustered tremendous early speed before setting the pace and winning the Group Three Parliamentarians Cup over 2536 metre at Gloucester Park and the Group Two Bunbury Cup over 2569 metres at Donaldson Park last Saturday night. “I thought I could zap them in the Bunbury Cup and I did and he had a pretty happy trip in front,” Harper said. “In Friday night’s race there is a fair bit of speed inside him, but I’d say they would all would want to be taking a sit. However, you never know. “My plan is to go forward at the start and I’ll be moving forward beneath David Hercules. Hopefully, Bettors Fire will be able to find the front and he should take some beating. But you can never discredit David Hercules, who is a very good horse. “After the race Bettors Fire will have a couple of weeks off before he starts in the Village Kid Sprint over 1730 metres. Then he will contest the Fremantle Cup (2536 metres) and WA Pacing Cup (2936 metres). “It’s hard to say whether he is a better stayer or sprinter because he does everything so well. I think he’s a better stayer, but there’s not many at the moment who can run as quick a mile as he can.” Harper has nominated Bettors Fire for the Inter Dominion, with the Final to be run at Menangle on March 1. “Whether we go to Sydney will depend on how he performs in the Cups,” Harper said. “I don’t like to get too far ahead of myself. “I would have to say that Bettors Fire is the best horse I have driven. I have been fortunate to have driven some very nice horses like Has The Answers and Mysta Magical Mach and I think he is better than those two, which is a big call. “I rarely hopple Bettors Fire and he’s had just one hoppled run in this preparation. The rest has been gallop work on the beach and at home in the heavy sand. He also does plenty of wading at the beach.” Bettors Fire has raced superbly in Western Australia where his 21 starts have produced 13 wins and three placings. He won at 11 of his 30 starts in New Zealand and has earned $336,252 in prizemoney. KEN CASELLAS
This summer marks 30 years since Peter and Valerie Gannon first opened the on-course shops at Ascot and Belmont Park Racecourses. The concept arose out of a horseman’s book and video shop seen at Randwick race-course in Sydney and over time has expanded into the supply of trophies. In 2002 Gannons launched their own brand of racing and pacing colours and the company soon became a significant sponsor of racing and trotting clubs across the State. Gannons has been the naming rights sponsor of the WA Oaks for a number of years now and last season became a sponsor of the Gloucester Park Pony Trots and the Western Australian Standardbred Yearling Sale. As part of the celebration of 30 years as a supplier and sponsor of the Western Australian racing industry The West Australian newspaper’s harness writer Ernie Manning has written about the Gannon family. The story can be found here.
Champion reinsman Gary Hall jun. is not fazed at Waylade’s awkward barrier at No. 6 on the front line and has full confidence that the lightly-raced, inexperienced four-year-old will give him his 39th victory in a group 1 event by proving the master of his 11 rivals in the $175,000 Retravision Golden Nugget Championship at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The 32-year-old Hall, who has also driven the winners of 26 group 2 events and 40 group 3 races, is refusing to become flustered at the wide draw and he declared that the Nugget was “just another race for us.” However, he conceded that barrier six presented a great challenge for the immature New Zealand-bred gelding who has had only nine starts. But the Hall stable is used to confronting challenges head-on and overcoming them with monotonous regularity. “We’ll probably find out a lot about him,” Hall said. “And we’ll probably have to come from behind.” Waylade, prepared by master trainer Gary Hall sen., is well on truly on target of bringing up the third leg of the prestigious Triple Crown for four-year-olds, after his superb victories in the $50,000 Four-year-Old Championship and $125,000 McInerney Ford Classic in the past three weeks. Waylade has bright prospects of becoming the seventh pacer to complete the McInerney Ford Classic-Golden Nugget double in 19 years since the McInerney Ford Classic was first run. The double has been achieved by Salinger (1997), Saab (1998), Gee Whiz Fizz (2005), Mr Yankee (2006), Lombo Pocket Watch (2007) and Bonavista Bay (2009). Sixty-five-year-old Hall sen. had no hesitation in declaring that Waylade was the best of his six runners in the Golden Nugget. He said that the initial plans were for Waylade to go back from his wide barrier and then hope for a bit of luck. “He will be as good as he was when he won the McInerney Ford Classic,” he said. “He hasn’t been extended in his past three wins and I’m sure he’s the one to beat. If it is a truly-run race, as I’m sure it will be, he will be very hard to beat.” At his most recent start, in the 2536m McInerney Ford Classic last Friday week, Waylade was smartest into stride from the No. 2 barrier before setting a solid pace and strolling to victory by just under four lengths from Bettor Offer, who fought on doggedly after working hard in the breeze for most of the journey. A week earlier Waylade started from barrier four on the front line and raced without cover before winning the 2130m Four-Year-Old Championship from VC Manoeuvre and Bettor Offer. And a week before that Waylade raced in the breeze and won a Nugget Prelude over 2536m from Classic American and Soho Lennon. The Hall camp’s other five runners are Majorly Foxy Styx (No. 2 barrier on the front line), Soho Lennon (No. 3), A Boy Named Rosie (No. 7), VC Manoeuvre (inside of the back line) and Classic American (outside of the back line). Majorly Foxy Styx, a brilliant all-the-way winner of the group 1 Mares Classic at a 1.56.3 rate over 2130m last Friday night, will be driven for the first time by champion reinsman Chris Lewis and looks certain to be a freewheeling pacemaker. “Much depends on how she settles, but she should be there at the finish,” Hall sen. said. “Soho Lennon worked in great style this morning and he should gain the one-out, one-back position. He will be an improver.” Soho Lennon will be driven by Hall’s elder son Clint, with Kim Prentice engaged for A Boy Named Rosie, Nathan Turvey for VC Manoeuvre and Lauren Jones for Classic American. Hall sen. discounted A Boy Named Rosie’s chances from the outside barrier, but said that VC Manoeuvre and Classic American were capable of winning. “VC Manoeuvre should race three back on the pegs and he’s a definite blowout chance,” he said. “Classic American will be driven quietly and will be looking to follow through behind VC Manoeuvre. He’s flying and 2536m will be right up his alley.” Majorly Foxy Styx and the Mike Reed-trained Libertybelle Midfrew are the only mares in the 12-horse field and each will have admirers, even though only one mare, the frontrunning Countess Kala, in 1999, has been successful in the 34-year history of the Nugget. Reed, who trained Tricky Vic for his Nugget win in 2002, predicted that Libertybelle Midfrew would run a big race, saying: “Barrier two on the back line is a really good draw for her, particularly being behind such a quick beginner as Majorly Foxy Styx. Libertybelle Midfrew has won over 2536m and she’ll be doing nothing on Friday night, while the others will be doing all the work. She’s a great each-way chance.” Michael Brennan, who prepared Im Victorious for his Nugget win two years ago, will be represented by Billies A Star, who has just arrived in Western Australia after having ten starts in New Zealand for four wins and three placings. His best and most impressive effort was at his most recent appearance, when he was successful at a 1.57.9 rate in a 2600m mobile at Addington on November 14. He settled in tenth position , started a three-wide move at the 1500m mark before gaining a one-out, one-back sit and bursting to the front 200m from home and winning by just over two lengths. Billies A Star has drawn the coveted No. 1 barrier and Luke McCarthy is generally expected to take the trail behind the free-running Majorly Foxy Styx. Trainers Greg and Skye Bond are hoping for a change of fortune with Bettor Offer after the gelding’s third and second placings behind Waylade at his latest starts. Bettor Offer has not drawn well at No. 5 on the front line. “He has trained on in great style after his second in the McInerney Ford after racing in the breeze,” Greg Bond said. “We’ll be rolling forward and this might work for us or it might work against us. This horse has a bright future and he goes well in big races.” Colin Brown will again be in the sulky behind Bettor Offer and he will be drawing confidence on the fact that Bettor Offer set the pace and won by more than two lengths from Waylade over 2130m at Gloucester Park on October 31. Boyanup trainer Justin Prentice is confident that Mista Rush will be prominent after starting from barrier four on the back line. Mista Rush has won at eight of his 17 starts. “If he runs up to his ability he will be right there,” the 26-year-old Prentice said. “I really like the horse and I think he is right up there with the best four-year-olds in the State. His work yesterday was as good as it has ever been.” Kade Howson, who has driven Mr Yankee (2006) and Schinzig Buller (2008) to victory in the Nugget, trains the promising Ohoka Cooper, who will be driven by Chris Voak from barrier four on the front line. “It’s a tricky draw and we will need to find a nice spot,” Howson said. “He’ll run out the 2536m and that’s in his favour.” Three Blind Mice, the WA Derby winner last season, will start from barrier three on the back line and trainer-reinsman Matt White said that he would be relying on a good tempo in the race. “That will help him to ruin on solidly late,” he said. The latest market: 7/4 Waylade, 7/2 Bettor Offer, 5 Libertybelle Midfrew, 6 Majorly Foxy Styx, 7 Billies A Star, 25 Soho Lennon, Classic American, 40 VC Manoeuvre, 66 Ohoka Cooper, 100 Three Blind Mice, Mista Rush. Tricky Styx will be hard to catch Brilliant filly Tricky Styx, who is noted for her devastating finishing bursts, looks set to be seen in the role of pacemaker when she contests the 2130m Retravision Air Conditioning Pace for three-year-olds at Gloucester Park on Friday night. She has drawn perfectly at barrier one on the front line and reinsman Aiden de Campo said he expected her to set the pace and prove hard to run down. Tricky Styx, a winner of five races as a two-year-old, has resumed this season in grand form for Northam trainer Jesse Moore and looks set to be a leading contender for the WA Oaks early next year. At her first two starts as a three-year-old Tricky Styx has scored runaway wins (by a combined margin of 64.8 metres) over 2190m and 1780m at Northam last month. She has won at seven of her 11 starts and her clash on Friday night with unbeaten fillies Nuala and Im Justforyou will be a highlight of the meeting. The fillies will be opposed by three colts and one gelding. “I’ll speak to Jesse regarding tactics,” de Campo said. “We’ve always wanted to see if she can lead. She did lead from barrier two and easily won a heat of the Diamond Classic last May. She has come back in this preparation a lot more relaxed and in my opinion I’ll be trying to hold the front, not wanting to give the others a head start. “Her final 800m is really dazzling and I think that she can produce a similar sprint after bowling along in front. She’s quite a big, tough filly and I can’t see toughness being a problem for her. The opposition is pretty good and the three fillies are probably the best horses in the race, even though the other runners are pretty smart. Jesse said that Tricky Styx probably would have four or five starts before giving her a spell and then getting her primed for the Oaks.” Nuala, to be driven by Clint Hall for his father, leading trainer Gary Hall sen., will be making her first appearance since she made an auspicious Australian debut, winning easily over 2185m at Pinjarra on August 25 after racing wide early and then setting the pace. She also won easily at her only start in New Zealand, over 2000m at Oamaru in mid-May. “Nuala is a high-class filly and will go well,” said Hall sen. “She will need the run, but is still a winning chance. She has a tricky draw and this is a tough race.” Im Justforyou (who will be driven by Chris Lewis from barrier three) has not been seriously challenged at her three starts, winning in New Zealand in September and at Pinjarra in October and November. “She has won at both her WA starts pretty impressively and I think she is a genuine Oaks filly,” said trainer Clive Dalton. “She’s got a bit of depth about her and I expect her to run a good race on Friday night. “She’s got a bit of class and rated 1.57.5 in each of her wins over 1684m at Pinjarra. In the first of those runs she started from barrier seven and came from well back and ran the final 400m in 27.1sec. At her next start, her first run for five weeks, she breezed and fought it out very well. “Tricky Styx has the draw in her favour and will be hard to beat. Im Justforyou will be running on whatever happens.” Opposing the fillies will are three pacers (Red Hot Major, Mister Ardee and Arturus) trained by Gary Elson and the Callan Suvaljko-trained Blacklist. Mister Ardee is extremely consistent, with his 21 starts producing four wins, nine seconds, six thirds, a fourth and a seventh placing. Olivieri likes Earl Or Nothing Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri is proud of Earl Or Nothing’s consistency and he has high hopes that the Queensland-bred eight-year-old will keep up the good work by winning the 2503m Hisense Trotters Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Earl Or Nothing, to be driven by Chris Lewis, is ideally drawn in the stand at No. 1 on the front line and he meets many of his rivals on better terms than he has in recent months. “He has been consistent and compared with some of the races he’s been in lately he gets a really good pull on the handicaps,” Olivieri said. “He’s given these horses starts or has been on the same mark as them. “He’s off the front and I’m happy about that. He’s versatile and has won after leading. I reckon he’s a shade better coming from behind, but I’ll leave the tactics up to Chris. It won’t be easy on Friday night and of all the barriers No. 1 off the front is not my favourite draw. But I suppose I shouldn’t complain; I don’t get No. 1 very often.” Earl Or Nothing started off 60m over 2631m at Pinjarra on Monday of last week and finished a creditable fourth behind Enjoy A Coldie, who started off the 30m mark. Enjoy A Coldie, trained and driven by Nathan Turvey, will start off 10m on Friday night, meaning that Earl Or Nothing will meet Enjoy A Coldie on 40m better terms. Earl Or Nothing has had eight starts in Western Australia for five wins, two seconds and a fourth. Looming as some of the main dangers to Earl Or Nothing are Retained and Enjoy A Malabu. The nine-year-old Retained (10m) should figure in the finish. He has been driven in all of his 18 WA starts by his trainer Clive Dalton for five wins and three placings. He raced wide early and then had a tough run in the breeze before finishing a head second to Enjoy A Malabu over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week. “That was a big run and I have put Luke McCarthy on him this week. I’ll tell Luke to go forward to the breeze.” Enjoy A Malabu (20m) is in splendid for Wundowie trainer Bruce Stanley and has won at three of his past six starts. He unwound a typical strong finishing burst to win from Retained at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week. by Ken Casellas
Waylade draws awkwardly – Mares Classic winner draws to lead again Waylade has dominated the 4yo features at Gloucester Park this season with wins in the Group Two 4yo Championship and Group One McInerney Ford Classic at his past two starts. His prospects for a clean sweep of Western Australia’s 4yo classics took a hit at this afternoon’s barrier draw when he draw barrier six on the front line. Stablemate Majorly Foxy Styx drew ideally in barrier two however the daughter of Art Major is yet to race beyond 2200 metres and the Golden Nugget over the 2536 metres will be the unknown factor. Trainer Gary Hall has engaged Chris Lewis to drive Majorly Foxy Styx and while Lewis hasn’t driven the mare before he is the most successful driver in the history of the race having won it four times. The 2014 Group One Retravision Golden Nugget Championship (in barrier draw) order is as follows: Number Horse Driver Trainer 1 BILLIES A STAR NZ L A (Luke) McCarthy M G (Michael) Brennan 2 MAJORLY FOXY STYX NZ A C (Chris) Lewis G E (Gary) Hall (Snr) 3 SOHO LENNON C W (Clinton) Hall G E (Gary) Hall (Snr) 4 OHOKA COOPER NZ C D (Chris) Voak K K (Kade) Howson 5 BETTOR OFFER NZ C D (Colin) Brown G S (Greg and Skye) Bond 6 WAYLADE NZ G E (Gary) Hall (Jnr) G E (Gary) Hall (Snr) 7 A BOY NAMED ROSIE NZ K N (Kim) Prentice G E (Gary) Hall (Snr) 8 VC MANOEUVRE NZ N A (Nathan) Turvey G E (Gary) Hall (Snr) 9 LIBERTYBELLE MIDFREW NZ M B (Mark) Reed M G (Mike) Reed 10 THREE BLIND MICE NZ M W (Matthew) White M W (Matthew) White 11 MISTA RUSH J K (Justin) Prentice J K (Justin) Prentice 12 CLASSIC AMERICAN NZ L C (Lauren) Jones (C) G E (Gary) Hall (Snr) Em 1 TASMANIAN BROMAC J K (Justin) Prentice J K (Justin) Prentice Em 2 ULTIMATE MAJOR NZ A C (Chris) Lewis A L (Andrew) De Campo Race 7 – Retravision Golden Nugget Championship Betting now open. Paul Hurley Harness Book Manager T +61 2 9218 1209 M +61 417 698 793 495 Harris Street, Ultimo, NSW 2007
Waylade can become youngest winner of 4yo Golden Nugget Championship. Waylade has dominated the 4yo features at Gloucester Park this season with wins in the Group Two 4yo Championship and Group One McInerney Ford Classic at his past two starts. Should Waylade complete the 4yo treble for trainer Gary Hall in Friday night’s Group One $175,000 Retravision Golden Nugget Waylade will become the youngest winner of the race. Waylade was born on New Years Day 2011 so in fact will not become a 4yo until next month. Even more remarkable is that Waylade was born in New Zealand and that country’s breeding season commences on August 1st compared to the Australian season commencement date of September 1st. . Seven of the 34 previous winners of the Golden Nugget were born in the month of December with the youngest winner of the race being Im Victorious which was foaled on 16th December 2008. Waylade will be giving away four months to the oldest of the runners in this year’s Nugget – Bettor Offer was foaled on 1st September 2010. Other trainers records The outstanding mares Majorly Foxy Styx and Libertybelle Midfrew will become the 34th and 35th mares to contest a Golden Nugget Championship when they line up in Friday’s Group One feature. The 33 mares among the 368 starters in previous Golden Nuggets represents just 8.96% of the total starters and between them the mares have tallied just one win three seconds and three thirds. The mares previously placed in a Golden Nugget are listed below. Date Trainer Driver Mare Place Sire 24/01/1992 R J (Rod) Chambers R J (Rod) Chambers Whitbys Miss Penny 2 Booth Hanover 27/01/1995 N J (Neil) Lloyd N J (Neil) Lloyd Norms Daughter 2 Northern Lights 10/12/1999 N J (Noel) Keiley L B (Lindsay) Harper Countess Kala NZ 1 Bard From Wagering 15/12/2000 G L (Grant) Williams G L (Grant) Williams Black And Blue 3 Northern Lights 20/02/2004 A R (Aiden) Warwick D G (Darren) Kerr Lombo La Fe Fe 2 Troublemaker 20/02/2004 A R (Aiden) Warwick A R (Aiden) Warwick Party Date 3 Panorama 8/04/2005 S (Sam) Torre S (Sam) Torre Spicey Hot 3 Classic Garry Party Date’s 5yo son Bettor Party won at Gloucester Park last Friday night
Harness Racing trainer Gary Hall provides half the field for the hardest race for him to win Western Australia’s leading trainer Gary Hall will provide six of the 12 starters in Friday night’s Group One $175,000 Retravision Golden Nugget 4yo Championship at Gloucester Park. In the 34 previous runnings of the race Hall has provided a total of 29 starters for an unspectacular result of one win, five seconds and one third placing. His first starter was High Leverage in 1986 which finished fourth behind the Victorian Vanderport. Hall’s previous biggest representation in a Golden Nugget was three starters in the 2005 Nugget won by Gee Whiz Fizz. It is not as if his starters lacked quality either as his champions Im Themightyquinn and The Falcon Strike were placed in the race while his only win came courtesy of millionaire New Zealand pacer The Gold Ace in 2011. Other trainers records The most successful trainer in the history of the Golden Nugget is Greg Harper whose ten runners produced four winners and a third placing. Three of the State’s younger trainers in Justin Prentice (Mista Rush), Kade Howson (Ohoka Cooper) and Matthew White (Three Blind Mice) will have their first Golden Nugget starters this year in their capacity as trainer. Both Howson (Schinzig Buller and Mr Yankee) and Prentice (Im Victorious) have driven previous winners of the race. The Mike Reed trained mare Libertybelle Midfrew will become his eighth starter in a Golden Nugget. Reed’s previous seven starters have produced a winner in Tricky Vic in 2002 a second and two thirds. In addition the 2009 winner Bonavista Bay was stabled at Reed’s Hazelmere property by Victorian trainer Emma Stewart. Pinjarra trainer Michael Brennan will gear up just his second Golden Nugget starter in New Zealand import Billies A Star on Friday night. Brennan’s only previous starter in the race was the 2012 winner Im Victorious which was driven for Brennan by Justin Prentice. The 2013 Golden Nugget winner Nowitzki was stabled with Brennan by trainer Daniel Jack and should Billies A Star win this year’s Nugget it will provide an unusual stabling record. Greg and Skye Bond will gear up their ninth Nugget starter with Bettor Offer on Friday night. Their previous eight runners in the race have produced a solitary third placegetter. Greg Bond had seven Golden Nugget starters in his own name before he and his wife formed their training partnership and those seven runners produced one third placegetter. This year, for just the fifth time in what will be the 35th running of the Golden Nugget, there is no Eastern States or New Zealand trained runner in the race. That is not a bad thing for local trainers in that Eastern States trainers have won 15 of the 30 Golden Nuggets in which they have had a starter. The 2014 Retravision Golden Nugget Field (Not in Barrier Order) Horse Trainer Possible Driver Status A BOY NAMED ROSIE NZ G E (Gary) Hall (Snr) G E (Gary) Hall (Jnr) Starter BETTOR OFFER NZ G S (Greg and Skye) Bond C D (Colin) Brown Starter BILLIES A STAR NZ M G (Michael) Brennan L A (Luke) McCarthy Starter CLASSIC AMERICAN NZ G E (Gary) Hall (Snr) G E (Gary) Hall (Jnr) Starter LIBERTYBELLE MIDFREW NZ M G (Mike) Reed M B (Mark) Reed Starter MAJORLY FOXY STYX NZ G E (Gary) Hall (Snr) G E (Gary) Hall (Jnr) Starter MISTA RUSH J K (Justin) Prentice J K (Justin) Prentice Starter OHOKA COOPER NZ K K (Kade) Howson C D (Chris) Voak Starter SOHO LENNON G E (Gary) Hall (Snr) G E (Gary) Hall (Jnr) Starter THREE BLIND MICE NZ M W (Matthew) White M W (Matthew) White Starter VC MANOEUVRE NZ G E (Gary) Hall (Snr) G E (Gary) Hall (Jnr) Starter WAYLADE NZ G E (Gary) Hall (Snr) G E (Gary) Hall (Jnr) Starter TASMANIAN BROMAC J K (Justin) Prentice J K (Justin) Prentice Emergency1 ULTIMATE MAJOR NZ A L (Andrew) De Campo A C (Chris) Lewis Emergency2 Previous placegetters Golden Nugget Championship Date Place Trainer Driver Winner 6/02/1981 1 A L (Tony) Peacock A L (Tony) Peacock JUSTIN HANOVER 6/02/1981 2 G E (George) Turner G D (Greg) Harper CRYSTAL GLENMAR 6/02/1981 3 W A (Wilf) Powell P C (Phil) Coulson PRIDE OF KENTUCKY 12/02/1982 1 G D (Greg) Harper G D (Greg) Harper SINN FEIN 12/02/1982 2 I J (Ian) Petricevich I J (Ian) Petricevich NALAARA BOY 12/02/1982 3 M J (Michael) Day M J (Michael) Day GUNDARY FLYER 11/02/1983 1 G D (Greg) Harper F R (Fred) Kersley CLASSIC GARRY 11/02/1983 2 M D (Merv) Reinke D M (Darryl) Reinke WONDAIS MATE 11/02/1983 3 B J (Barry) Perkins R (Bob) Pollock PREUX CHEVALIER NZ 20/01/1984 1 T B (Trevor) Warwick T B (Trevor) Warwick YARRACOOLA 20/01/1984 2 A C (Chris) Lewis A C (Chris) Lewis LINCOLN LAND 20/01/1984 3 V D (Val) Pereira V D (Val) Pereira GAY BOYDEN NZ 8/02/1985 1 T B (Trevor) Warwick T B (Trevor) Warwick MORANO MAGIC NZ 8/02/1985 2 J H (Jim) Schrader J H (Jim) Schrader TAC WARRIOR NZ 8/02/1985 3 F R (Fred) Kersley F R (Fred) Kersley BOSUN AWEIGH 7/02/1986 1 D F (Don) Murphy A (Anne) Frawley VANDERPORT 7/02/1986 2 T B (Trevor) Warwick T B (Trevor) Warwick TRUNKEY WESTERNER 7/02/1986 3 G N (Graham) Taylor G N (Graham) Taylor GRAYMOORE DREAM NZ 13/02/1987 1 A C (Chris) Lewis A C (Chris) Lewis VERO PRINCE 13/02/1987 2 R V (Bob) Knight V J (Vin) Knight ALPINE FELLA NZ 13/02/1987 3 T B (Trevor) Warwick C G (Colin) Warwick MY LORD GRACE NZ 12/02/1988 1 R V (Bob) Knight V J (Vin) Knight OUR MAESTRO NZ 12/02/1988 2 I R (Dick) Lee I R (Dick) Lee RUFUS YOUNG BLOOD 12/02/1988 3 T B (Trevor) Warwick T B (Trevor) Warwick TRUNKEY STING 10/02/1989 1 R V (Bob) Knight V J (Vin) Knight SINBAD BAY 10/02/1989 2 G R (Gary) Barton G A (Gavin) Lang ANOTHER BART 10/02/1989 3 M G (Mike) Reed M G (Mike) Reed MANAGEABLE 10/02/1989 10 C G (Colin) Warwick C G (Colin) Warwick ABLE SEAMAN NZ 15/12/1989 1 V W (Vic) Frost V W (Vic) Frost WESTBURN GRANT 15/12/1989 2 R J (Rod) Chambers R J (Rod) Chambers WHITBY TIMER 15/12/1989 3 G D (Greg) Harper F R (Fred) Kersley SUR CARAGH NZ 15/12/1989 10 W D (Bill) Duffy P C (Phil) Coulson JULIAN DOE 25/01/1991 1 B A (Bryan) Rogers B A (Bryan) Rogers ADMIRAL HOLLIDAY NZ 25/01/1991 2 A F (Frank) Bratovich L B (Lindsay) Harper BANK MANAGER 25/01/1991 3 K B (Kevin) Bailey K B (Kevin) Bailey HEADLINER 24/01/1992 1 T E (Ted) Demmler T E (Ted) Demmler IMPRESSIONIST NZ 24/01/1992 2 R J (Rod) Chambers R J (Rod) Chambers WHITBYS MISS PENNY 24/01/1992 3 R (Ray) De Campo A L (Andrew) De Campo SMOOTH BUSINESS 22/01/1993 1 D T (Des) Parr G E (Gary) Hall (Snr) VALLEY CHAMP 22/01/1993 2 L B (Lindsay) Harper P C (Phil) Coulson LAKE STREET 22/01/1993 3 C L (Colin) Cummins A C (Chris) Lewis HILARION STAR 28/01/1994 1 C L (Colin) Cummins A C (Chris) Lewis FLASHING STAR 28/01/1994 2 D K (Dudley) Anderson D K (Dudley) Anderson SOUTHERN KNIGHT 28/01/1994 3 G N (Glen) Tippet B R (Brian) Gath MCRANDLE NZ 27/01/1995 1 R (Reg) Trevean T B (Trevor) Warwick SLICK VANCE NZ 27/01/1995 2 N J (Neil) Lloyd N J (Neil) Lloyd NORMS DAUGHTER 27/01/1995 3 R P (Ronan) Hargadon R P (Ronan) Hargadon SIR LEKTOR 8/12/1995 1 J P (John) Green R J (Rod) Chambers BEEFY T NZ 8/12/1995 2 G C (Geoff) Small M W (Maurice) McKendry TABARET NZ 8/12/1995 3 T B (Trevor) Warwick T B (Trevor) Warwick RIWAKA VANCE NZ 6/12/1996 1 R J (Rod) Chambers R J (Rod) Chambers MON POPPY DAY 6/12/1996 2 G A (Garry) Torto C D (Colin) Brown LORD BROOK NZ 6/12/1996 3 S D (Shane) Moore G J (Greg) Kersley TUR BEAU 5/12/1997 1 F R (Fred) Kersley F R (Fred) Kersley SALINGER 5/12/1997 2 J W (Bill) Phillips M S (Scott) Eyre THE ACCELERATOR 5/12/1997 3 W A (Dick) Moore T B (Trevor) Warwick RECORD HIGH NZ 18/12/1998 1 R A (Ross) Olivieri A C (Chris) Lewis SAAB 18/12/1998 2 K A (Ken) White J D (Jason) Fry TOUCH OF ZAM 18/12/1998 3 L M (Laurel) Schofield K D (Kim) Young GOLDEN GEARS 10/12/1999 1 N J (Noel) Keiley L B (Lindsay) Harper COUNTESS KALA NZ 10/12/1999 2 G E (Gary) Hall (Snr) A C (Chris) Lewis MAKE THE RULES NZ 10/12/1999 3 A L (Andrew) De Campo A L (Andrew) De Campo PAULAS MATE NZ 15/12/2000 1 D W (Dennis) Wilson D W (Dennis) Wilson SEELSTER SAM NZ 15/12/2000 2 M G (Mike) Reed M B (Mark) Reed RICH AND SPOILT 15/12/2000 3 G L (Grant) Williams G L (Grant) Williams BLACK AND BLUE 14/12/2001 1 G K (Grant) Crane G (Gavin) Lang MANIFOLD BAY 14/12/2001 2 G E (Gary) Hall (Snr) G E (Gary) Hall (Jnr) THE FALCON STRIKE NZ 14/12/2001 3 M G (Mike) Reed M B (Mark) Reed ASTRA NOM MCCOOL NZ 13/12/2002 1 M G (Mike) Reed M B (Mark) Reed TRICKY VIC NZ 13/12/2002 2 W G (Bill) Walker G A (Gavin) Lang LOMBO SKYRIDER 13/12/2002 3 C J (Cameron) Edwards L B (Lindsay) Harper ATLANTA GEORGIA 20/02/2004 1 G R (Graeme) Watts G R (Graeme) Watts TE KANARAMA 20/02/2004 2 A R (Aiden) Warwick D G (Darren) Kerr LOMBO LA FE FE 20/02/2004 3 A R (Aiden) Warwick A R (Aiden) Warwick PARTY DATE 8/04/2005 1 K F (Kevin) Keys K F (Kevin) Keys TARTARY GLADIATOR 8/04/2005 2 P B (Paul) Flemming C D (Colin) Brown ADAMS MATE 8/04/2005 3 dh B E (Bryan) Cousins F R (Fred) Kersley GLOBAL FORCE 8/04/2005 3 dh S (Sam) Torre S (Sam) Torre SPICEY HOT 16/12/2005 1 S D (Steven) Burton R (Ryan) Warwick GEE WHIZ FIZZ 16/12/2005 2 G L (Grant) Williams G L (Grant) Williams PRECIOUS DYLAN NZ 16/12/2005 3 S H (Stuart) Hunter J F (Joel) Rees SIR GALVINATOR 15/12/2006 1 G D (Greg) Harper K K (Kade) Howson MR YANKEE NZ 15/12/2006 2 G E (Gary) Hall (Snr) G E (Gary) Hall (Jnr) FAC ET SPIRO 15/12/2006 3 J S (Jarrad) Humphries J S (Jarrad) Humphries NODDY BROMAC NZ 14/12/2007 1 P R J (Paul) Fitzpatrick G J (Gavin) Fitzpatrick LOMBO POCKET WATCH 14/12/2007 2 P G (Phillip) Henwood K N (Kim) Prentice CAPTAIN JACK SPARROW NZ 14/12/2007 3 A L (Andrew) De Campo A L (Andrew) De Campo CAPTAIN BLUFF 28/11/2008 1 G D (Greg) Harper K K (Kade) Howson SCHINZIG BULLER 28/11/2008 2 T (Tony) Svilicich K J (Kyle) Harper MYSTA MAGICAL MACH NZ 28/11/2008 3 G E (Gary) Hall (Snr) G E (Gary) Hall (Jnr) IM THEMIGHTYQUINN NZ 27/11/2009 1 E J (Emma) Stewart M B (Mark) Reed BONAVISTA BAY 27/11/2009 2 S M (Susan) Hunter G (Gavin) Lang CAPTAIN JOY 27/11/2009 3 G F J (Greg) Bond C D (Colin) Brown IMA ROCKET STAR NZ 26/11/2010 1 R A (Ross) Olivieri A C (Chris) Lewis DASHER VC NZ 26/11/2010 2 G E (Gary) Hall (Snr) K N (Kim) Prentice WHY LIVE DANGEROUSLY NZ 26/11/2010 3 B D (Barry) Morrison W R (Wayne) Reid INDOMITABLE SAAB 25/11/2011 1 G E (Gary) Hall (Snr) G E (Gary) Hall (Jnr) GOLD ACE NZ 25/11/2011 2 D F (Dean) Braun M L (Morgan) Woodley MUSTANG MACH NZ 25/11/2011 3 G S (Greg and Skye) Bond C D (Colin) Brown ELIMINATOR NZ 7/12/2012 1 M G (Michael) Brennan J K (Justin) Prentice IM VICTORIOUS NZ 7/12/2012 2 G E (Gary) Hall (Snr) G E (Gary) Hall (Jnr) BETTOR REASON NZ 7/12/2012 3 N J (Noel) Keiley B N (Ben) Keiley REUBEN BROGDEN NZ 6/12/2013 1 D W (Daniel) Jack D W (Daniel) Jack NOWITZKI 6/12/2013 2 M A (Michael) Callegari A C (Ashleigh) Markham SMOKEY THE BANDIT 6/12/2013 3 R F (Rodney) Oliver A C (Chris) Lewis HEEZ ON FIRE
The stage is set for another enthralling harness racing tussle between Sensational Gabby and Libertybelle Midfrew when they clash at Gloucester Park tomorrow night. The two top performers are engaged in the $100,000 Del Basso Smallgoods Mares Classic, with rival reinsmen Chris Lewis and Mark Reed poised for an intriguing cat-and-mouse duel. Lewis won the battle of tactics last week when he guided Sensational Gabby to a superb victory over Libertybelle Midfrew in the Norms Daughter Classic. Sensational Gabby, from the back line, settled midfield, two lengths in front of Libertybelle Midfrew, which was eased back to the rear after starting from the outside of the front line. Approaching the bell, with Deluxe Edition setting a fast pace, Lewis had Sensational Gabby ready to strike. He bided his time until Reed sent Libertybelle Midfrew forward three-wide at the 950-metre mark when he angled Sensational Gabby into a trail. Libertybelle Midfrew sustained her powerful burst to hit the front turning for home, but couldn’t hold out Sensational Gabby, which swept to the lead to rate rating a slick 1.54.4. This time Sensational Gabby has drawn awkwardly in barrier five, with Libertybelle Midfrew directly on her outside. Polemarker Bettor Dreams possesses good gate speed, but appears likely trail Dontdoubtme or Majorly Foxy Styx. There is a strong chance Dontdoubtme will get to an early lead before handing up to the speedy Majorly Foxy Styx. This surely will leave Lewis and Reed weighing up their options, whether to press forward or to restrain to the rear. Adding further interest will be Victorian mare Bellas Delight, which is unfavourably drawn on the back line. Driver Greg Sugars could wait until the bell before sending Bellas Delight forward with a three-wide burst. This could provide Sensational Gabby with a perfect trail. Much of this is pure conjecture in an event in which tactics are sure to play a significant part in the outcome. KEN CASELLAS
Two of Victoria’s harness racing stars will make their Western Australian debut at Gloucester Park tonight. Top flight mare Bellas Delight will contest the Norms Daughter Classic, with talented reinsman Zac Phillips to partner the multiple feature race winner. A member of the Kari Males stable, Bellas Delight has received the visitors’ draw, which will see her begin from the inside of the second row. Successful at her last two starts, the daughter of Bettors Delight has settled into well according to Phillips, who is looking forward to the campaign across the Nullarbor. “I’m really looking forward to competing in Perth,” Phillips said. “It’s an awkward draw, especially over the short trip, but she’s in top form and will do her best again. “She’s settled in well over there and her work during the week has been solid. “It is a strong field, but with a bit of luck she will be right in the finish.” A popular driver in his home state, Phillips, unlike most of his counterparts, entered the world of harness racing with no solid ties to the industry. Widely regarded as a family-based sport, harness racing typically breeds generation after generation of participants, who usually ‘get the breaks’ thanks to their successful relatives. So to forge a successful career in the ‘game’ with no ready-made background is always going to be difficult. Although his father Lucky, has “knocked around” with astute horseman Robbie O’Connell “since they were kids”, life in a stable wasn’t a ‘given’ for Phillips. After spending the majority of his teenage years in Queensland, Phillips returned to Melbourne where he soon discovered his passion and talent for driving. “I was born in Melbourne, but spent a lot of years growing up in Queensland,” Phillips said. “Up there I didn’t have anything to do with horses, but once we moved back to Victoria and I started to go to Robbie’s with Dad, I just caught the bug. “As soon as I got my trials licence and starting getting out on the track, I knew there nothing else for me. “Robbie was insistent I had plenty of trial drives before I went anywhere near the races. His advice proved spot on as it gave me plenty of ground work during those early days.” Despite his unorthodox beginning, Phillips has wasted no time proving he belonged among the top concession drivers in the state. Although he finished unceremoniously last upon debut, Phillips quickly found his way into the winners’ circle, scoring with the O’Connell-trained Driving Withtess at Bendigo on July 14, 2012. Since his initial victory, Phillips has cut a regular path to the number one stall to cement his place among the leading concession drivers. During his first year in the sulky, Phillips registered a half century, followed by 44 wins last term. Citing a Group One triumph as his ultimate high, Phillips would like to train a small team a few years down the track. “Like everyone, I’d like to win a Group One,” Phillips declared. “Other than that, I’ve got no real goals. I just love getting out there and driving as much as possible. “Maybe a long way down the track I might look at training, but for now, I just love driving and hopefully I can keep repaying the owners and trainers for their faith by driving winners.” PAUL COURTS
Up-and-coming harness racing star Waylade is poised to complete a hat-trick in the space of 15 days by proving too slick in the $125,000 McInerney Ford Classic at Gloucester Park tomorrow night. Champion trainer Gary Hall is highly optimistic, particularly after the inexperienced New Zealand-bred gelding drew favourably at barrier two over 2536 metres. “He will definitely go better this week,” Hall said. “He’s getting better with every run and hasn’t reached his peak yet. “By Friday night I reckon he’ll be at his peak, and he should maintain peak form for the Golden Nugget a fortnight later.” Waylade has been most impressive in winning a Nugget prelude and the $40,000 Four-Year-Old Championship durign the past two weeks and he is firmly on target to complete a clean sweep of the rich age-restricted features by winning the McInerney Ford and the Nugget. “He has always shown a bit of ability, but until now he hasn’t revealed that sort of depth,” Hall said. “He’s got fitter and a bit more mature --- and he’s shown a lot more depth. “He’s certainly got the speed…his 27.7-second quarter down the back last week proved that.” Waylade has started from barrier four at his past two starts and has been untroubled to score after racing without cover in both events. From two this week, driver Gary Hall junior is likely to make a bold bid for the lead. Drawn on his inside is classy stablemate Soho Lennon, a winner at eight of his 24 starts. He is a versatile pacer which should be prominent throughout. Hall advised punters to disregard Soho Lennon’s 11th in the Four-Year-Old Championship last Friday night when the gelding started from barrier five and was restrained to the rear by Lauren Jones. Soho Lennon was at the tail of the field at the bell and was forced wide during the final circuit before a wheel of his sulky became locked with a wheel of stablemate Classic American’s sulky on the home turn. “Soho Lennon was off the track in the final lap and even though he wasn’t going to run anywhere before locking wheels, I’d recommend that you forget that he even raced,” Hall said. “I’d say he’ll be an improver.” Hall also has A Boy Named Rosie, Classic American and Vc Manoeuvre in the feature, with each a chance of playing a role in the finish. KEN CASELLAS
Waylade, the youngest and most inexperienced runner in the field, is poised to provide harness racing duo Gary Hall and Gary junior with their third success in Four-Year-Old Championship at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Waylade has raced only seven times for three wins, three seconds and earnings of $29,465 - all his rivals have had more starts, won more races and earned more prizemoney. Regardless of records, Waylade, one of six entrants from the all-conquering Hall stable, appeals as the warm favourite following his convincing sample of his class when he started from barrier four in a Golden Nugget Prelude last week. After racing three-wide early before being settled in the breeze, Waylade outclassed his rivals to score with ease from stablemates Classic American and Soho Lennon. Waylade has drawn four again, with Junior expected to send the son of Washington Vc forward in search of the lead. The most likely scenario, however, is Waylade will have to work in the breeze outside the polemarker Ohoka Cooper, which is in sparkling form for Pinjarra trainer Kade Howson. Ohoka Cooper’s last seven starts have netted five wins, a second and a third. The Halls have won the Championship twice, firstly with The Gold Ace in 2011 then Bettor Reason the following year. The Gold Ace started as an odds-on favourite and gave a powerful display to race without cover before winning from Lovers Delight and Ohokas Bondy. Favourites have a poor record in the feature, with Bonavista Bay (5/4) finishing sixth behind Ima Rocket Star in 2009, Motu Crusader (1/2) finishing last behind Dasher VC in 2010, Im Victorious (11/8) finishing 11th behind Bettor Reason in 2012, and Bit of a Legend (evens) finishing 11th behind Nowitzki last year. Hall will also be represented by Soho Lennon, A Boy Named Rosie, Vc Manoeuvre, High Courage and Classic American, with each capable of a forward showing. Waylade certainly has the breeding to be a star, with his family tracing back to Party Party, Another Party and Champagne Party. Another Party heads the clan, with his 31 wins including the Fremantle and A G Hunter Cups. KEN CASELLAS
In The View From The Clouds, the pervading theme throughout is of one man’s love for all things horses, particularly harness racing, given vent through the arcane pursuit of race broadcasting. Gifted a microphone and a pair of field glasses at an early age, John Hunt’s metamorphosis through myriad adventures from aspiring tennis pro to national media is a compelling tale of a man with an innate sense of timing, on a journey through an industry in a constant state of development. His career, spanning 32 years, was fuelled by his affection for both horses and horse people and re-invigorated daily by the public’s passionate response to that affection. In his role, Hunt would relate and bring to life the deeds of some of the nation’s greatest equines, particularly in the world of harness racing. But it is the journey he takes us on through the labyrinthine corridors behind the scenes, that makes this tale unique. The story focuses on a select group of legendary champions, the icons of harness racing, that passed beneath the broadcast box at Gloucester Park in Perth from the early 1970s to the contemporary era. With them came triumph and tragedy, drama and pathos, passion, tears, fun, romance and humour - and there was plenty of that. The first was Mount Eden, a freakish rogue which re-defined the word champion in Australian folklore, breaking all the rules to become arguably the greatest, and certainly the most improbable, champion in history. He was followed a few years later by Pure Steel, the fearsome stallion which remains today the benchmark for standardbred bravery and elegance of gait, and with whom Hunt would form a friendship that would affect his evolution as a caller. He would also make a friend and mentor of the horse’s famous owner and fall head-over-heels in love with that man’s daughter. Then there was Satinover, Pure Steel’s magnificent and aggressive black rival in the Match Race Of The Century; seemingly on a firm course to greatness until that fateful and unforgettable night. At the same time and on a parallel rise to fame with Satinover, was a youthful phenomenon called San Simeon; destined to be responsible for the greatest winning sequence in thoroughbred or standardbred history - 29 - and whose trainer-driver left nothing hidden in exhibiting his heart-rending bond with this amazing animal. No sooner was San Simeon gone than Preux Chevalier appeared on the scene, devouring all opposition, often by massive margins and at speeds that had never before been seen. Then, just as an aura of invincibility began to cloak him, an unheralded tyro at top level stunned the pacing world by humbling the champion. His name was Village Kid and the decade-long legend that he would pen is unlikely to be matched in the next thousand years, nor the adoration from the masses, which both he and his jovial and whimsical trainer enjoyed. Nor is there likely to be a similar swansong performance, to that of this noblest of all gentlemen steeds. It was a night when the impossible was made real. As his light waned, a drama was played out in Perth that would rival Shakespeare for its glorious despair. Westburn Grant and Franco Ice, visitors both to western shores, played their epic roles with alacrity in a race for the ages, to the backdrop of an industry in shock. Soon after, Jack Morris was the name on everyone’s lips. His meteoric ascendancy to national champion mirrored that of his trainer-reinsman, an Irish-Australian with the laugh and wit of a leprechaun and an outlandish bent for big statements that greatly magnified his time in the sun. A time that was ended by cancer at the age of 39, before his mighty horse had even finished racing. With the new millennium came two new champions; Baltic Eagle - who would change stables mid-career and conquer Australasia - and The Falcon Strike, the final champion of Hunt’s career and the one who would redirect his life as the aging caller would later marry one of the pacer’s principle owners. In all these tales, the attachments and friendships that Hunt formed through his profession, would provide him with an unmatched provenance from which to comment, and later, from which to write. And he is, first and foremost, a storyteller. It has defined him and enabled him to peel back the layers of horse racing and reveal the core truths beneath its skin. The most important of these being the career-guiding belief and conviction that for all the money, colourful characters and plain skull-duggery that accompanies an industry whose life blood is pumped by gambling, the driving motivation that subtly lures its thousands of fans is the absolute innocence, nobility and aristocracy of the horse. As a commentator, the broadcast box window allowed John Hunt a unique point of view. It was a view no-one else could share.
Champion harness racing trainer Gary Hall has seven of the 10 runners in Friday night’s Golden Nugget Prelude at Gloucester Park and has no hesitation in nominating Soho Lennon as his brightest prospect. “He is the best of my runners and should prove hard to beat,” Hall said. Hall then ranked Classic American as second best, followed by High Courage, Waylade, Vc Manoeuvre, A Boy Named Rosie and Eliseos Falcon. Soho Lennon, Classic American and High Courage were impressive in winning trials by big margins in dashing style at Byford last Sunday. Soho Lennon, who will be driven by Clint Hall, is a highly-talented and versatile four-year-old, which has drawn ideally in barrier two. Classic Courage will start from five, with High Courage to begin from barrier three, while Vc Manoeuvre has the back line to content with. Soho Lennon will be first-up since winning at the same venue last July when he raced three-wide for most of the 2130 metre trip. He beat Black Mr Mach by four lengths in recording his fifth win from his past seven starts and improving his record to eight wins and six placings from 22 starts. Last weekend, the son of Mach Three set the pace during his trials to account for Vc Manoeuvre in 1:57.6 for the 2150 metres, covering the last half in 55.4 seconds. “He needed the run and went a phenomenal time and bolted in,” Hall declared. “I expect So Ubettabelieveit to lead from the pole, but that could be to his detriment.” Classic American rated 1.58.3 in his trial, dashing over the final 800 metres in 55.9 seconds. He has won nine of his 17 starts, with Hall describing him as a “really good horse” which would be running home strongly in Friday night’s race. High Courage rated 1.58.1 when he beat Bhagwan by five lengths during their trial. “If he had drawn to lead on Friday night I would have rated him a good chance,” Hall said. “Waylade is a nice horse on the way up and Vc Manoeuvre, A Boy Named Rosie and Eliseos Falcon all have plenty of ability. “Vc Manoeuvre went well in Sunday’s trial, but he pulls hard and I’m a little worried about that.” Chris Voak, who will drive So Ubettabelieveit for Pinjarra trainer Kade Howson, predicted the gelding would run a solid race. “He’s got good gate speed and I will determine my tactics after speaking to Kade and also will be guided by the speed he and others show out of the barrier,” Voak said. KEN CASELLAS
Classy mare Sensational Gabby joined an elite harness racing sorority at Gloucester Park last night. Continuing her super form for leading trainer Ross Olivieri, Sensational Gabby upstaged the ‘boys’ again to capture the prestigious Mount Eden Sprint. In doing, Sensational Gabby became just the seventh mare to secure the event since its inauguration almost six decades ago. Sensational Gabby’s six ‘sorority sisters’ include Dainty’s Daughter, which was triumphant in 1970, followed by Pyramus (‘71), Virgil Queen (‘77), Kiwi Cloud (‘78), Line On (‘86) and Whitby Miss Penny in 1992. Showing her usual gate speed with Chris Lewis in the cart, Sensational Gabby was untroubled to lead from the pole as Famous Alchemist worked on her outside. Fending off the initial challenge on the home turn, the daughter of Yankee Sensation was untouched on her way to a three-metre win from Dredlock Rockstar, with Bettors Fire three-and-a-half metres away third. Successful at three of her last four starts, Sensational Gabby rated a brilliant 1:53.7 for the 1730 metres, with her time just six tenths of a second outside Livingontheinterest’s track record established in June 2013. To be given a light week, the six-year-old has been aimed towards the Norms Daughter Classic in a fortnight, followed by the Mares’ Classic the next week. PAUL COURTS
It’s that time of the week as Harnesslink presents another ‘Flashback Friday’, written by multiple award-winning journalist PAUL COURTS. If you have any past champions or magical moments you’d like to relive, contact Paul who will be glad to hear from you…enjoy! One of the greatest pacers produced anywhere in the world – Mount Eden - will return to the spotlight at Gloucester Park tonight. The former idol will be honoured with the running of the $50,000 Mount Eden Sprint. While the highly-talented performer’s career ended almost four decades ago, his incredible feats on the racetrack will live on for some time. In fact, just earlier this week, former media man Bill Hutchison declared Mount Eden’s 1971 Miracle Mile performance as the greatest he has seen. In a time when the Group One was still in its infant stage, Mount Eden produced an effort still unequalled in the rich sprint. Having bettered two-minutes on five consecutive occasions leading into the Miracle Mile, the Jack Miles-trained stallion was the star attraction for the fifth edition of the Harold Park-based feature. As expected a top field was assembled for the encounter, with Mount Eden competing against Deep Court, Neutrodyne and Bay Foyle, along with New Zealander raiders, Stella Frost and Manaroa. The most-lightly raced runner in the field, Mount Eden boasted 13 wins, a second and a third from just 19 starts for earnings of $21,790. The field had a mixture of speed and stamina, but no one was aware they were about to witness one of the greatest efforts seen in Australasia. Mount Eden’s legion of supporters, who backed him into 6/4 favouritism, felt their hearts slump, however, when he wanted to trot in the score-up. The son of Morris Eden then went into a wild gallop just before the field was released, but to the delight of punters, the starter, Clive Salkeld, declared a false start. The field re-assembled, but once again Mount Eden preferred to trot a few strides in his hopples. Miles restrained him as he broke into a gallop, but this time there was no third chance. Just as everyone was expecting another false start, Salkeld let them go, resulting in loud booing from the big crowd. The official stewards’ report read: “The starter deferred the start when Mount Eden mixed its gait and became out of touch with the field. In the second run-up Mount Eden repeated this behaviour, but as the starter believed that on this occasion it was in touch with the field, he proceeded with the start”. Galloping wildly, Mount Eden was 10 lengths off the field as Stella Frost and Bay Foyle raced head-and-head into the first turn. In what was regarded at the time to have been the fastest quarter run by a standardbred, Mount Eden caught the field and was a close fourth as they hit the first blue light. Miles allowed his charge to ‘catch a breath’ during the middle stages before sending Mound Eden to the lead with a lightning move at the 600-metre mark. Bolstered by a huge roar from the stellar crowd, Mount Eden careered away for a 15-yard win from Deep Court and Bay Foyle. “The terrific roar at the home turn really excited me,” Miles was quoted as saying. Mount Eden stopped the clock in 1:58.8, with his time only two-tenths of a second outside the track record set by Halwes in the 1968 Miracle Mile. He became the eighth pacer to run two minutes or better at Harold Park, joining Avian Derby, Ribands, James Scott, Robin Dundee, Halwes, Adaptor and Lucky Creed. Hutchison referred to Mount Eden’s success “like when JFK got shot, or man first landed on the moon, for me it was one of those occasions when you remember exactly where you were at the time…which for me, was the Botanic Hotel in South Yarra. “No horse should be able to do what he did that night in a field as strong as that and win. “Shame he didn’t have the brain to go with his ability, but pound-for-pound on sheer ability, I have never seen a better horse.” Mount Eden was sold to American interests not long after when Miles and Ogden received an offer too good to refuse. Although no figure was released at the time, it was later reported to be $300,000 – the highest price paid for a horse – galloper, pacer or trotter - in Australia. The previous highest was $250,000 for South Australian thoroughbred, Tobin Bronze. Mount Eden was spelled in Sydney before his journey America, where he was set for the $180,000 International Pace series at Yonkers Raceway in June. The ‘Aussie Wonder’ tragically broke down with a bowed tendon in the near-side front leg before making his American debut and was retired to stud. Ironically, unlike Australian breeders, who thrive on imported stallions, Americans were unwilling to risk sending their mares to a ‘foreigner’. In 1978 Mount Eden returned to stand at stud in Western Australia, but by then broodmare owners had all but forgotten his great feats, which saw him receive little patronage. In 1991, the New South Wales Harness Racing Club brought Mount Eden out of his retirement paddock in Victoria to lead the Miracle Mile field onto the track in what was his final public appearance. Miles, who was too frail from illness to make the trip from Western Australia to join Mount Eden, passed away the morning after Christopher Vance captured the Miracle Mile in 1:57.2. Having enjoyed a peaceful retirement, Mount Eden died a couple of years later. PAUL COURTS
Classy mare Sensational Gabby is poised to join an elite harness racing sorority. Engaged in Friday night’s Mount Eden Sprint at Gloucester Park, Sensational Gabby is looking to become just the seventh member of the ‘fairer sex’ to capture the Group Two. Formerly known as the State Sprint Championship, the feature has been run 59 times, with only six mares managing to upstage the ‘boys’. The ‘sorority sisters’ include Dainty’s Daughter, which was triumphant in 1970, followed by Pyramus (‘71), Virgil Queen (‘77), Kiwi Cloud (‘78), Line On (‘86) and Whitby Miss Penny in 1992. Sensational Gabby’s prospects of becoming the latest ‘pledge’ were bolstered by a favourable draw. Blessed with her share of gate speed, the daughter of Yankee Sensation should be untroubled finding the front from the pole, which will see her hard to pass over 1730 metres. Racing in stylish form for trainer Ross Olivieri, Sensational Gabby captured the Members’ Sprint in 1:54.9 earlier this month, with a repeat performance bound to see her return to the winners’ circle. Rising star Soho Highroller shapes as the six-year-old’s main danger despite his second row draw for premier trainer Gary Hall. Soho Highroller has won four of his five starts this season, with Hall confident the son of Bettors Delight can play role in Western Australia’s majors during the next few months. PAUL COURTS