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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

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! Memories of one of Western Australia’s most loved heroes – Preux Chevalier - will be sparked at Gloucester Park tonight. The former idol will be honoured with the running of the Preux Chevalier Final for M0 mares. While Preux Chevalier is no longer with us, having died at the ripe age of 29 in 2007, the stallion’s feats will live on forever. Bred by Roy and Lil Adam, Preux Chevalier was trained by Barry Perkins throughout his career for owners Ken and Wendy Lavin. One of the greatest pacers produced on this side of the equator, Preux Chevalier’s exhilarating speed exciting onlookers, who affectionately referred to him as ‘The Frog.’ Given the moniker due to his French name, Preux Chevalier translates to Valiant Knight, which is fitting for a star which overcame numerous obstacles. By Lumber Dream from Heather Frost, Preux Chevalier was foaled on September 13, 1978, and after being broken in by Perkins, was due to make his debut as a two-year-old only to be scratched on the eve of the race. Perkins discovered the freshman was suffering from a minor injury, with the youngster undergoing a stifle operation, which kept him sidelined for the season. Fourth on debut in December 1981, Preux Chevalier took until his sixth start before breaking his maiden at the juicy odds of 40/1. Ironically, his victory was recorded on Inter Dominion night at Gloucester Park, but few would have guessed they’d seen a future Inter Dominion winner in the making! Racing his way into the West Australian Derby, Preux Chevalier was pulled out of the Blue Riband after travelling 200 metres and was subsequently found to have fractured his cannon bone. Returning as a four-year-old, Preux Chevalier raced nine times for seven wins and two thirds. One of those thirds came in the Golden Nugget behind fellow stars, Classic Garry and Wondai’s Mate, with Classic Garry leading throughout to equal the track record. In his final outing for the term, Preux Chevalier rated 2:00 at Gloucester Park to break the track record shared by dual Inter Dominion winner, Gammalite and Wondai’s Mate. Nine wins from 10 starts as a five-year-old saw Preux Chevalier earn $153,025 - placing him third behind champions, Gammalite and Popular Alm, as the nation’s richest earners for the 1983/84 season. Among his victories that term was the 1983 West Australian Cup, beating Wondai’s Mate and Black Irish – his 13th consecutive win. Despite his rise to the top of Australian racing, Perkins decided to bypass the 1984 Adelaide Inter Dominion, but made the trip to Sydney for the Miracle Mile in January. Favourite at 8/11, Preux Chevalier was settled at the tail of the field, and despite Perkins angling him three-wide at the bell, was a beaten conveyance along the back straight, finishing last as Double Agent raced to glory. Sent for a spell upon his return home, Preux Chevalier came back with a vengeance during his next campaign. Racing 21 times during the 1984/85 season for 18 wins and three placings, Preux Chevalier earned a record $448,678 for the term. Winning his first nine starts, the boom performer was on target for another east coast challenge – this time his true colours shone through. A hit and run mission to Moonee Valley resulted in victory in the Winfield Gold Cup, before returning home for a gutsy second behind Village Kid in the WA Cup. Taken back to Harold Park for the 1985 Miracle Mile, Preux Chevalier secured the prestigious sprint in a record 1:56.7. A week later Preux Chevalier dead-heated with Paleface Bubble in the Harold Park Cup – the first time a major race had produced a dead-heat at the Glebe circuit. Preux Chevalier was finally ready to contest an Inter Dominion, heading to Melbourne for the 1985 Championship. First stop on the road to the series was his triumph in the Hunter Cup, beating Wondai’s Mate and Panyan, while smashing Popular Alm’s world record by a second-and-a-half. A dominant pre-post favourite for the Inter Dominion, Preux Chevalier made a clean sweep of the series, beating Village Kid and Game Oro in the Final. Sent for a well-earned break after the Final, Preux Chevalier returned with a third and a second before rounding out the season with a WA Winter Cup win. Preux Chevalier was unbeaten from five Australian starts the following season, while lowering his best time to 1:54.3. Sent across the Tasman after a successful trip to Queensland, Preux Chevalier was unplaced in the New Zealand Cup before securing the NZ Free-For-All and finishing second in the Travelodge Free-For-All. Set for the Australian Pacing Championship at Moonee Valley, Preux Chevalier was scratched from the series by what was to be a career-ending suspensory injury. Later named Australian Horse of the Year, Preux Chevalier was retired to stud with 41 wins and 10 placings from 56 starts. PAUL COURTS

Western Australia’s two major mares’ events are firmly on the calendar for in-form harness racing star Sensational Gabby. A former outstanding youngster, Sensational Gabby has proven she is back to her best with victories at her last two outings, including Gloucester Park last night. A week after leading throughout the Members’ Sprint, the Ross Olivieri-trained mare has repeated the dose in the Stratton Cup. Thrilled with the daughter of Sensational Yankee, Olivieri has set his sights on the Norms Daughter Classic on November 21 and the Mares’ Classic the following week. “She has come up in top condition this preparation and still has a bit of improvement in her,” Olivieri said. “That was her third run back from a spell and will pretty much top her off for the rest of her campaign. “The two mares’ races in November are the obvious targets.” Driven by champion reinsman Chris Lewis, Sensational Gabby was never seriously challenged after finding the front from the pole as he accounted for Polak and Dredlock Rockstar. Covering the last half in 58.3 seconds, Sensational Gabby rated 1:56.4 for the 2130 metres, taking her record to 29 wins and six placings from 53 starts. The six-year-old’s triumph saw her become just the eighth member of the ‘fairer sex’ to capture the feature in its 65-year history. Star Queen was the groundbreaker in 1937, followed by Francisco (1940), Dainty’s Daughter (1969), Pyramus (1971), Virgil Queen (1977), Windy Jean (1978) and Whitby Heritage, who was successful in 1989 and 1990. As for Lewis, it was his seventh win the event having scored with Black Irish in 1983, followed by three wins with Village Kid (1985, ‘88 and ‘91), Ohoka Ace (2005) and Sneakyn Down Under (2009). Sensational Gabby’s win was the opening leg of a double for Lewis, who combined with Senator Whitby to secure the following race on the program. PAUL COURTS

Champion reinsman Chris Lewis is firmly on target to notch his seventh victory in the Stratton Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Lewis will partner former outstanding youngster Sensational Gabby, which gave every indication she is back to her best with a stylish win at the same venue last week. At her second run from a spell for trainer Ross Olivieri, Sensational Gabby led throughout to capture the Members’ Sprint in 1:54.9 for the 1730-metre trip. The daughter of Yankee Sensation has drawn to repeat the dose after drawing the coveted pole once again. Lewis’ previous victories in the Group Three are Black Irish (1983), Village Kid (1985, 1988 and 1991), Ohoka Ace (2005) and Sneakyn Down Under (2009). Meanwhile, Lewis is also set to partner Senator Whitby in the Mexican Vale Pace. Triumphant at three of his last four starts, the son of Artiscape is also expected to lead throughout from barrier one. Prepared by Darryl Howes, Senator Whitby is racing his way to towards some of Western Australia’s feature events during the summer. KEN CASELLAS

Former harness racing star Sensational Gabby gave every indication she is ready to return to her best with a stylish win at Gloucester Park last night. Arguably the premier filly of her crop as a two and three-year-old, Sensational Gabby has taken a while to adjust to the demands of open age races. Successful at 21 of her first 23 starts – when only beaten by the colts - Sensational Gabby has been restricted to seven wins from her following 29 outings…including her latest triumph. Based on her latest effort and the confidence of prominent trainer Ross Olivieri, the mare is ready to shine this campaign. “She is come up in great shape this time in,” Olivieri said. “That was only her second run from a spell and she will improve again from that. “I’m very happy with her and she should have a pretty good season.” Driven champion reinsman Chris Lewis, Sensational Gabby led throughout the Members’ Sprint to become just the third member of the ‘fairer sex’ to capture the feature. Beginning swiftly to find the front from the pole, the daughter of Yankee Sensation scored by seven-and-a-half metres from Famous Alchemist, with Leda Mcnally a head away third. In an all female finish, Sensational Gabby rated a slick 1:54.9 for the 1730-metre trip. Sensational Gabby’s victory saw her become just the fourth mare to secure the popular feature since its inception in 1975. Virgil Queen, which dead-heated with Little William, was the groundbreaker in 1977, followed by Norms Daughter in 1996 and Meggie Dear in 2002. PAUL COURTS

Star harness racing reinsman Gary Hall jun. has given punters a valuable lead by deciding to drive Soho Jackman in preference to Crusader Banner in the $22,500 TABtouch Cranley Memorial Sprint at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Hall drove both pacers to effortless victories last Friday night when Soho Jackman, at his first appearance for six months, came from tenth in the middle stages to race without cover before dashing away to score by more than a length over Walter James, rating 1.59.6 over 2536m, and Crusader Banner was equally impressive when he surged home from sixth and last at the bell to win by just under three lengths from Diamonds A Blaze, rating 1.55.5 over 1730m. The Cranley Memorial will be decided over 1730m and Hall is bubbling with confidence that five-year-old Soho Jackman will prove too speedy for his six rivals, including up-and-coming four-year-old Crusader Banner, who will be driven by his brother Clint. Both pacers are prepared by champion trainer Gary Hall sen. "Soho Jackman is a good horse who begins fast and I expect him to lead from barrier one and win," Hall jun. said. However, Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri is adamant that Soho Jackman is not a past-the post proposition. He gives his runner, the Victorian-bred six-year-old Real Hammer, a strong winning chance. Real Hammer, a winner at 13 of his 56 starts has been an erratic and hard-to-control pacer for much of his career, which included a stint under the care of Hall sen. when Hall jun. drove him eight times for two wins. Real Hammer has a history of racing erratically and pulling hard. Real Hammer has not appeared for six weeks, when he was inclined to hang in and raced at the rear before finishing last behind Zacs Nuggett over 2130m at Gloucester Park. Real Hammer, a noted frontrunner, charged home from the rear to win a race over 2185m at Pinjarra at his previous outing. He was an all-the-way winner, rating 1.55.6 over 1730m at Gloucester Park three starts before that. Olivieri said that Real Hammer was becoming far more tractable following some gear changes. "He went to Byford on Sunday morning and you wouldn't believe how well-mannered he was in his trial," he said. "He came out very well from behind the mobile and sat behind the pacemaker Sensational Gabby before finishing second to her, coming home in 57.8sec. and 27.1sec. "I was very pleased with the trial and the draw (No. 2) for Friday night. I'm using a new lugging bit on him and he raced tractably. Whether he does it in a race, I don't know. I have also made a change to his head gear and he will race with block blinkers. He ran with the blinkers in Sunday's trial and they are settling him down instead of stirring him up." Hall jun. said he considered Real Hammer to have no hope of beginning fast enough to wrest the early lead from Soho Jackman. "If Soho Jackman is to be beaten, it will be by Crusader Banner," he said. Crusader Banner has been untroubled to win at his past three starts in which his average winning margin has been 11 metres. Chris Lewis has chosen to handle Real Hammer in preference to speedy frontrunner Blissfull Boy, who will start from barrier three. Trainer Kevin Charles has engaged Dylan Egerton-Green to drive Blissfull Boy. The Hall camp has a third runner in the event, The Ragpickers Dream, who faces a tough task from the No. 6 barrier. The New Zealand-bred seven-year-old has a losing sequence of 16 and will be driven by Kim Prentice. The Cranley Memorial has been run nine times and Hall sen. and Hall jun. combined to win with El Padrino, who raced without cover before getting to the front 520m from home and then holding on to defeat the fast-finishing Dhoni by a nose in 2012, after finishing second with Im Themightyquinn in 2008 and third with My Jasami in 2011. Lewis was successful with the Alan Bell-trained Mister Veejays Fella in 2009. Williams to drive Zacs Nuggett Pinjarra trainer Kade Howson has engaged Robbie Williams to drive Zacs Nuggett in the McInerney Ford Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night and the eight-year-old should maintain his excellent form by proving too tough for his 11 rivals over his pet journey of 2536m. Zacs Nuggett is an M3-class performer and is able to contest Friday night's event restricted to M0 to M2-class runners with Howson taking advantage of Williams's concession as a junior reinsman. Zacs Nuggett has the ability to overcome the distinct disadvantage of starting from the outside of the front line. Williams, who will be having his first drive behind the West Australian-bred pacer, looks set to send Zacs Nuggett forward in the first lap to race in the breeze outside either Grand Cru or Tuapeka Kahu. Grand Cru (barrier two) and Tuapeka Kahu (three) are smart frontrunners, with the Mike Reed-trained Grand Cru bringing up his second win in a row with an all-the-way success over 2620m at Northam on Tuesday of last week and Tuapeka Kahu (trained by Greg and Skye Bond) finishing an encouraging second behind Jaccka Felix last Friday night after all-the-way wins in successive starts in August. Howson drove Zacs Nuggett at his most recent outing, last Friday week, when the hardy gelding raced three wide early and then in the breeze before winning from Bet Your Life and Romulus over 2130m. "He has thrived since that win and should again prove hard to beat," Howson declared. Williams also has bright prospects with Dashing Christian, who has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier in the 2130m Gannon's Pacing Colours Pace. Williams will attempt an all-the-way victory with the New Zealand-bred eight-year-old who has been unplaced at his past two starts from back-line draws, following an all-the-way success with Williams in the sulky, over 2130m on August 29. Dashing Christian is one of five runners in Friday night's race who are prepared by ace trainer Gary Hall sen. The other Hall runners are Soho Highroller (Micheal Ferguson), Some Kinda Tactics (Stuart McDonald), Heez Orl Black (Tom Buchanan) and Jaccka Felix (Dylan Egerton-Green). Heez Orl Black is racing keenly and is capable of a bold showing from barrier two on the back line. The richly-talented Bettors Fire also makes strong appeal at his second appearance after a lengthy spell. Bettors Fire, to be driven by his trainer Kyle Harper, is the class runner and should fight out the finish, despite the disadvantage of starting from the outside of the front line. He covered a lot of extra ground when a splendid first-up sixth behind Some Kinda Tactics over 1730m last Friday week. Three Blind Mice poised for first-up win Brilliant, lightly-raced pacer Three Blind Mice should make a triumphant return to racing and send punters home on a happy note by winning the final event, the 2130m Alltools Pathway Pace, at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Busselton trainer-reinsman Matt White said that Three Blind Mice was on target to contest the feature events for four-year-olds this season, including the McInerney Classic and Golden Nugget Championship. "That's the plan, to have him peaking for those big races," said White, who has taken over the preparation of Three Blind Mice from the gelding's part-owner Barry Howlett. White recently acquired his A-grade trainer's licence and has already prepared five winners. Three Blind Mice gave a superb performance to set the pace and win the WA Derby from Elegant Christian and Machtu early last April. He then led and won at Bunbury and Harvey at his following two starts before going for a spell. White took Three Blind Mice to Pinjarra to contest a 2185m trial on Sunday morning and was fully satisfied with his performance, finishing a head second to the pacemaker Awesum Teddy, rating 1.58 after dashing over the final two 400m sections in 28.4sec. and 27.9sec. "It was a good hit-out," White said. "Three Blind Mice sat behind the leader before finishing strongly," he said. "They rolled along a bit and he hit the line together with Awesum Teddy. "From barrier four on Friday night I'll probably roll forward and I'd like to think he will get to the front. He's only a C2-class pacer and his next start probably will be in the country." The only possible danger to Three Blind Mice on Friday night appears to be smart four-year-old High Courage, who will be driven by Gary Hall jun. for his father, leading trainer Gary Hall sen. High Courage, who has won at six of his 18 starts, will begin from the outside of the front line. An easy all-the-way winner over 2130m at Gloucester Park three starts ago, he had an extremely tough run in the breeze when a fighting third behind stablemate Crusader Banner over 1730m last Friday night. "He's race fit and will make a race of it with Three Blind Mice," said Hall jun. "However, the draw makes it tough for High Courage." Prentice hoping for winning run to continue Boyanup trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice, fresh from winning with Tasmanian Bromac at Pinjarra on Monday and Kiralin and Bettor Dreams at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening, has high hopes of ending the week on a high note by driving promising four-year-old Where Dreams Grow to victory in the first heat of the Melbourne Cup Luncheon Preux Chevalier Pace for mares at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The WA-bred Where Dreams Grow has struck a purple patch with four wins and a second placing from her past six starts. She has fared poorly in the random draw and will start from the outside of the back line. However, Prentice is quietly confident that she will prove to be an excellent each-way chance, with her chief rivals Harriet Elisabeth (barrier three on the back line), Diamonds A Blaze (barrier seven) and Robyns C C (six) drawing poorly. "Where Dreams Grow has the ability to win from the No. 12 barrier," Prentice said. "She has been going very well and felt super at her latest outing, at Pinjarra on Monday of last week. "She felt really good and switched on at Pinjarra and repeating that performance she should finish in the money on Friday night and qualify for the final. She's reasonably strong and pretty quick as well. "She has got a tricky draw, but the three who appear hardest to beat have all drawn awkwardly. I'll see how things pan out early and then I'll probably put her into the race at some stage." Prentice said that he would nominate Kiralin for the second heat of this event in a bid to qualify her for the final. He has been training Kiralin, a five-year-old by Elsu, for four weeks and produced her in fine fettle for her first start since mid-August. Prentice is also looking forward to driving standing-start specialist Multibet for the first time on Friday night when the Jess Moore-trained seven-year-old begins from the inside of the front line in the Sky Racing Handicap over 2503m. Multibet ran home solidly on the inside from eighth at the bell to finish third behind Medley Moose and Bashful Compton in the group 3 Kalgoorlie Cup at huis latest outing. Earl of Charity a real bargain Young horseman Michael Young, Courtney Burch and Brett Archibald made a wise decision to out lay just $6000 six weeks ago to purchase Victorian-bred trotter Earl of Charity. The seven-year-old will start from the inside of the front line in the $17,500 Slater Gartrell Sports Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night and reinsman Gary Hall jun. is full of confidence that he will maintain his winning form. "If he gets away in the stand and leads I don't think they'll see which way he went," Hall said. "If he doesn't lead, he could still win. He's quite a nice horse and as long as he settles, he can come from anywhere." Earl of Charity is trained by Gary Hall sen. and he made an impressive debut for the Hall stable when he started from the 30m mark, and despite breaking in running, he was prominent throughout before winning from Keepyaguardup and Conquer All over 2503m last Tuesday week. "He was in good form when we got him, but had a few issues, with pulling," Hall jun. said. "I think that being in a big stable has helped him and he has settled down a lot. He never used to get away in stands. He got away at his first start for us, off 30m. And he did get away off the front in a trial. "Late in August Michael Young approached the owners, but he didn't really expect them to sell. However, they agreed to sell him for $6000." Young seized the opportunity to buy the gelding, who was due to contest a race at Pinjarra a couple of days later. He agreed to let part-owner Terry Wegner start him at Pinjarra, with the proviso that the two parties share any prizemoney. Earl of Charity, who had won at his previous start, repeated the dose with Wegner guiding the gelding to victory over Idle Maple and All Flair. The new owners had an immediate return and gained half of the $4485 first prize. Then Earl of Charity earned $4550 with his first-up success with the Hall camp. by Ken Casellas

Western Australia is set to hold the world’s richest harness racing event in 2015. Thanks to a sensational deal with TABtouch, Racing and Wagering WA has not only returned the Inter Dominion to its ‘spiritual home’, but has ensured the time-honoured Championship will once again be the pinnacle point of the industry. Although a three-heat tournament named the Inter Colonial Free-For-All was conducted at Moonee Valley on March 4, 1896, the Inter Dominion’s beginning is recognised as the 1936 Perth series won by Logan Derby. For the records, the Moonee Valley edition was captured by Fritz, which made a clean sweep of the event. As for next season’s Inter Dominion, RWWA’s arrangement will see the Final staged for a mouth watering $1.3million, with the overall series worth a whopping $1.8million. The Inter Dominion’s first million-dollar Final was at Moonee Valley in 2000 thanks to the vision and hard work of the Ian McEwen-led Harness Racing Victoria board. It also marked the first time a million-dollar harness racing feature was run in the Southern Hemisphere. As a result of their Betfair deal, Tasracing’s 2006 Inter Dominion – won by Blacks A Fake – boasted a massive $1.5million Final, the richest harness race in Australasian history. Along with the 2015 Championship, RWWA will retain the Inter Dominion until 2017 as a result the three-year TABtouch sponsorship. RWWA has also moved the Inter Dominion to an earlier timeslot, with the first heat to be run on Friday, November 27 heading into the decider on December 11. Purists will also be pleased to note the traditional three heats and a Final in a fortnight will return. Gloucester Park will host two heats and the Final, with Pinjarra set to conduct a qualifying round. With the $250,000 Fremantle and $400,000 WA Cups scheduled to be run a month later, Western Australia is destined to become the ‘Mecca’ for every top pacer in the Southern Hemisphere….perhaps the world! RWWA chief executive Richard Burt is confident the record prizemoney on offer will ensure global interest. “The prize money will showcase the best of harness racing, not only here in Australia, but throughout the world,” Burt declared. “To attract the best horses, drivers and trainers to WA is a major boost for our industry and a golden opportunity to highlight our sport to a wider audience. “Perth has a proud heritage with the Inter Dominion and we look forward to promoting our broader racing industry on this international stage.” Gloucester Park President, John Burt, echoed Burt’s sentiments stating the announcement marks a positive move forward for the local industry, which is bound to boost investor confidence leading to an increase of ownership and sponsorship. Gloucester Park last hosted the Inter Dominion in 2012 when hometown hero Im Themightyquinn made a clean sweep of the three heats and Final. Tabcorp Park Menangle, which held the 2013 and ‘14 Inter Dominions, will stage this season’s Final on March 1, 2015. As a result of WA’s date adjustment, it will be the first time the Inter Dominion has been run twice in a calendar year. “This is exciting news for all racing fans” Burt said. “The Inter Dominion was created in Western Australia and for the series to return home at such a level will honour the legacy of James Brennan and JP Stratton, who created the Inter Dominion in 1936. “Moving the Championship to before Christmas will allow Gloucester Park to capitalise on our already well-established races, with Grand Final night to feature the Group One Golden Nugget and Mares’ Classic. “The TABtouch Inter Dominion is not about Gloucester Park hosting a big event, but rather a three-year series that will give the industry confidence to invest and I’m sure we will see positive effects throughout the broader WA harness racing industry.” EXCLUSIVE by PAUL COURTS

A favourable draw could be just the change of fortune Red Salute needs to break a drought from the winners’ circle at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Engaged in the Media Guild Cup, Red Salute hasn’t scored since March, with a second in April his best result from his last 10 starts. That could change this week for the Ross Olivieri-trained gelding, as the noted front runner has drawn to find the lead from the pole. Adding weight to Red Salute’s prospects is the fact the last six Cup winners have led throughout. Washakie, Banana Dana and Ima Rocket Star began from one, with Hombre Higgins coming out of four, while Has The Answers registered his pair of victories from gates six and seven. Olivieri is confident the six-year-old can reverse his form having been hampered by unfavourable draws this preparation. “You can’t take much notice of those efforts because he never really got into the race," Olivieri said. “He doesn’t go well from back in the field and this week he will certainly appreciate number one. “He’s done well since his latest run and I think he’s the horse to beat. In saying that, I must admit Northview Punter is a smart horse who should prove hard to beat.” Chris Lewis, who has drove Red Salute at his last start, has opted to partner in-form veteran Shardons Rocket, which will start from the back line. Lewis combined with Shardons Rocket for an upset win in last week’s New Seasons Pace. Connections of former rising star Ima Rocket Star are also hoping a return to the Media Guild Cup can bring a change of fortune with the gelding. The Greg Bond-trained nine-year-old was a regular visitor to the winners’ stall early in his career, but hasn’t been able to add to his tally since capturing the 2013 Cup. Fifth behind Shardons Rocket last week, Ima Rocket Star caught the eye with a solid second in the August Cup two starts ago, with driver Ryan Warwick convinced the son of Badlands Hanover can emerge triumphant this time around. “I’d like to think he will fight out the finish again this year,” Warwick said. “His latest run was good and I liked it. When I pulled him out he really put on a turn of foot, but probably not for long enough. “He’s showing glimpses in this preparation that he is getting back to where he really needs to be, but he still needs to put it all together. PAUL COURTS

Veteran Byford harness racing mentor Tony Svilicich extended his record in the Sullys Painting New Seasons Pace at Gloucester Park last night. Heading into the popular feature, Svilicich topped the event’s honour roll with three victories - Taihape Tickler in 2006 and Has The Answers in 2010 and 2011. Svilicich’s fourth success came courtesy of Shardons Rocket’s upset win with champion reinsman Chris Lewis in the cart. Paying an inviting $34.30 on the tote, Shardons Rocket was caught in the breeze early before being allowed to roll to the front during the middle stages as Courage Tells was eased to take a trail. Proving too slick along the home straight, the veteran son of Pacific Rocket scored by a metre-and-a-half from Ballas Arockstar, with Courage Tells a metre-and-a-half away third. Completing his first win since last May, Shardons Rocket rated 1:57.4 for the 2536-metre journey, with the last half covered in 57.8 seconds. With no major plans in mind for the 10-year-old, Svilicich will follow his usual training method of racing Shardons Rocket on a weekly basis. Another highlight of the program was Libertybelle Midfrew’s impressive triumph for trainer Mike Reed as the mare continues her rapid transition through the grades. Driven by Reed’s reinsman-son, Mark, Libertybelle Midfrew was three-wide into the lead from the second row before registering an arrogant 15-metre win from Adda Rising Star, with Courtneys Best 26 metres away third. Covering the last half in 58.4 seconds, the daughter of Christian Cullen rated a slick 1:56.7 for the 2170 metres. Boasting seven wins from eight starts since joining Reed’s stable, Libertybelle Midfrew is likely to tackle the ‘boys’ in the four-year-old features such as the Golden Nugget during the next few months. - PAUL COURTS

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