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It should be another stellar night for the Halls - leading harness racing trainer Gary Hall and his youngest son, champion reinsman Gary Hall Jr - at Gloucester Park on Friday night, according to members of the WA Trotting Media Guild. Longshot king Pat Harding believes Junior could walk away with four winners when he completes his sixth drive on the card with favourite Runrunjimmydunn. “Junior should get punters off to a great start in the first with Red Hot Roxy,” Harding said. “This Pacing WA part-owned mare won well last week. She has banked more than $155,000 for her syndicate and from barrier two should account for the opposition.” Veteran tipster Bill Brindley believes WA superstar Chicago Bull will win the $50,000 RWWA Cup, but has made the “Little Bull’s” stablemate Ima Rocknroll Legend his star bet. “The meeting is packed full of interest,” Brindley said. “Chicago Bull appears to be a good thing, however Ima Rocknroll Legend is my best for the night.” The West Australian’s Ernie Manning thinks Runrunjimmydunn is ready to atone for his last-start defeat as an odds-on pop. “Runrunjimmydunn looks ready to re-enter the winner’s list after being unlucky when narrowly beaten at his past two appearances,” Manning said. “He faced the breeze two starts ago, then covered extra ground last Friday, when he also had a sulky tyre punctured. The four-year-old gelding, with five Gloucester Park victories, has won twice and run three seconds in his past five races.” TABradio’s Matt McDermott agrees with his colleague. “Runrunjimmydunn sustained a flat tyre when trucking wide late last week and it told at the end when he was beaten a half-neck,” McDermott said. “Though he’s drawn wide, the small field will help and he’s my best bet.” The racing co-ordinator at The West Australian, Ryan Havercroft, has labelled Chicago Bull as his best. “Chicago Bull has been in consistent form and looks hard to beat in the RWWA Cup,” Havercroft said. “With his main rival Bettors Fire drawn to his outside, he should be saluting at a short quote.” Guild president Wayne Currall agrees with Havercroft, albeit in a more succinct manner. “The little bloke’s the best horse in the race ... he just wins.” TABradio’s other Matt - Matt Young - believes the Mike Reed-trained Bechers Brook can win the $40,000 Caduceus Club Classic, a traditional stepping stone to the $200,000 Group 1 WA Derby. “Bechers Brook is a very talented three-year-old who has drawn well,” Young said. “From gate four he should be very handy to them and I think he will win the Caduceus Club Classic.” Two members who have won more Guild tipping competitions than anyone else - last season’s leading tipster Stuart Lowe and this season’s leader and favourite to take out the 2017/18 title Ken Casellas - agree that the Skye Bond-trained Tas Man Bromac will salute. “Consistency is a virtue and few pacers are as consistent as Tas Man Bromac,” Casellas said. “His 36 starts have produced 13 wins, eight seconds and eight thirds. He’s a splendid frontrunner and has impressed at his five starts in WA, leading and winning at three of them and being placed in the other two after being forced to cover a lot of extra ground. He’s my star bet.” And Lowe is in Casellas’ corner. “My best bet is Tas Man Bromac, a classy winner of the Northam Cup last start against a good field,” Lowe said. “Won three of his previous five. Ideally drawn and the one to beat.” VALUE BETS Pat: I think Mac Tiger should give punters a good sight. Didn't have much luck last week, but I think he will bounce back. Bill: Our Zac Whitby and Say It Now can surprise at odds. Ernie: Smo, with wins in New Zealand, NSW and Victoria, has a lengthy WA losing sequence. But he has drawn gate one and Aiden De Campo will take the reins. Matt M: Has been a long time between drinks for Bhagwan, but has been placed two from last four. He has good gate pace and should be fighting out the finish . Ryan: Sea Cider will be sitting in behind likely leader Red Hot Roxy and that would give her a good place chance in the opening event. Wayne: Most tipsters and punters will make Bechers Brook favourite in the Caduceus, but beware his stablemate, Golden State. Lewis jumps in the bike. Could be the blowout. Matt Y: Blissntheblack has been racing very well in the Great Southern and has drawn to get a soft run. Can work out late and win at each-way odds. Ken: Speed Man is capable of a bold showing in the Caduceus, despite the second-line draw. He’s inexperienced, but could develop into a top-flight performer. Stuart: My value bet is Maxentius who showed blistering speed to lead last start when a close-up third to Billy Mack and Runrunjimmydunn. This looks easier. Each way. To view all of the Media Guild Tips for this week click here. Good Punting.  Wayne Currall

Notching his twelfth victory in a group feature event should be just a formality for harness racing superstar Chicago Bull when he contests the $50,000 Group 2 RWWA Cup over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He will start from barrier six on the front line and should prove the master of his nine rivals as he seeks his 29th win from 48 starts. He has won four Group 1 events and seven Group 2 races and has already amassed $1,404,479 in prizemoney. After Chicago Bull coasted to an effortless win at a 1.56.3 rate over 2536m in the Group 2 Lord Mayor’s Cup last Friday week, champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr described the performance as “like a trial; he did it that easily.” Describing the gelding’s small stature and insignificant looks, Hall said: “when you look at him, he’s the last one you would pick out of a stable. It just goes to show you what’s on the inside, not what’s on the outside.” Leading trainer Gary Hall Snr said “Bettors Fire and Argyle Red are racing well, but you would think that Chicago Bull will be winning. He will go forward and will probably get to the breeze outside Argyle Red, and then Junior will make up his mind what to do from there. “I was going to spell him a week or two ago, but now I plan to race him for the next month. I have picked out the $50,000 Four and Five-Year-0ld Championship on March 16 as his final run before going for a spell.” Hall said that he expected his other runner Ohoka Punter would enjoy being the only runner on the back line. “He’s probably the equal second best in the race and I’d say that he and Bettors Fire will fight it out for second place.” The Kyle Harper-trained and driven Bettors Fire notched his 34th win last Friday night when he gave a strong frontrunning display from the No. 1 barrier to win over 2130m from Our Jimmy Johnstone and Cut For An Ace. A week earlier, he ran on from sixth at the bell to be fourth behind Chicago Bull. Argyle Red, trained at Pinjarra by Rob MacDonald and driven by Morgan Woodley, has excellent place prospects. He should be the early leader from the No. 1 barrier and is likely to take the sit behind Chicago Bull as the race unfolds. Ken Casellas

Promising harness racing six-year-old Hot Fraternity has finished second from unfavourable barriers at his past three outings and will have to contend with the outside barrier (No. 9) in the 1730m TABtouch, The Brand That Funds The Industry Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. His young reinsman Bailey McDonough is quietly confident that Hot Fraternity, prepared by his grandfather, Bunbury trainer Frank Bonnett, has the ability to overcome the awkward and challenging draw. “He’s going really good when bad draws haven’t helped him,” he said. “He’s got another bad draw on Friday night, but it is a weaker field than the ones he has been racing in and he gets his chance to break through for a win. “I like him over the short 1730m trip. In the sprint races he travels well in running and seems to finish off a lot stronger on the bit. On Friday night he should land close enough to them (after the start) in the field of ten. Hopefully, he can make a move or track another horse up (as the race develops). “He was really good when second to Wesley at Bunbury last Saturday night.” In the Bunbury race over 2100m, Hot Fraternity started from barrier six and was restrained to the rear. He raced in eighth position until McDonough switched him three wide with a lap to travel. He sustained his three-wide effort to move to second at the 250m mark before fighting on grimly to be second to Wesley, with the final 400m being covered in 27.5sec. He started out wide at barrier nine at his previous outing, over 2536m at Gloucester Park and he impressed in sustaining a strong burst, out wide, and finishing second to Greenngold, with final sections of 28.7sec. and 29.1sec. He led from barrier five when beaten in the final stride by the fast-finishing Messi a week before that. McDonough, one of the State’s up-and-coming drivers, will handle outsiders from the Tony Svilicich stable in Looks Promising (race one) and Shardons Rocket (RWWA Cup) before driving the Bonnett-trained Estilo in the final event, the Chinese New Year Fireworks Night Pace over 2536m. Estilo has been unplaced at his past nine starts since McDonough drove him to victory over 2100m at Bunbury early last November. “Dean Miller drove Estilo when sixth behind Wesley at Bunbury on Saturday night and he said that he got home really well,” McDonough said. “I think he can hold up early and then I’ll assess my options from there. He’s definitely a top-four chance.” Ken Casellas

Astute Henley Brook harness racing trainer Mike Reed is bubbling with confidence that Victorian-bred colt Bechers Brook will triumph in the $40,000 Caduceus Club Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night. A victory would help to ease the anguish suffered by Reed when his filly Maczaffair (owned by Albert Walmsley) unwound a powerful burst to finish second in the 2017 Caduceus Club Classic, a nose behind Rock Diamonds. Walmsley, who owns Bechers Brook, a colt by Somebeachsomewhere, shares Reed’s optimism and is also upbeat about the prospects of his other runner, the Reed-trained Golden State. Bechers Brook, a winner at four of his seven starts, will begin from the No. 4 barrier on the front line in the 2130m classic and the New Zealand-bred colt Golden State will start from barrier five. Golden State impressed with the ease of his first-up victory over 2100m at Bunbury’s Donaldson Park last Saturday night when he led and sped over the final quarters in 28.7sec. and 27.9sec. Bechers Brook warmed up for this week’s assignment by running home determinedly from sixth at the bell to be a close second to Lady De La Renta over 2130m last Friday week. “I lean towards Bechers Brook, mainly because he has drawn inside of Golden State,” said Reed. “Bechers Brook’s latest run, on paper, was a bit disappointing. I was away and (reinsman) Shannon Suvaljko said that the colt had got away from us a bit. “So, I have up-tempoed his work and at Gloucester Park last Saturday morning it was the best he has ever worked. I drove him in a workout with two other horses and whoever beats him home on Friday night will win the race. But I think that he can find the top from barrier four and if he leads I think he will be winning. Shannon had the choice of drives and he picked Bechers Brook. Chris Lewis will handle Golden State. “I put Dolly Vardons on him for the workout and he worked the place down when he travelled well on the bit. Golden State is a good horse, too. But it is a big ask for him against the best ones at his second start after a spell.” Suvaljko, who leads the Statewide drivers’ premiership with 84 winners, has won the Caduceus Club Classic with Sir Mick Sloy (2005) and Jumbo Operator (2009). Lewis has won the event five times, scoring with Almagest (1990), Flashing Star (1993), Classy Claude (1996), Saab (1998) and Johnny Disco (2016). Bechers Brook is bred to be a star. He is a full-brother to Our Waikiki Beach, who has earned $912,294 from 23 wins and seven placings from 35 starts. He won five Group 1 feature events as a three-year-old, including the New South Wales Derby at Menangle. Twelve months ago, he finished second to Lazarus in the Chariots of Fire at Menangle. Walmsley said he named Bechers Brook after the notorious obstacle at Aintree, near Liverpool, where the horses had to jump this fearsome hazard twice during the running of the annual Grand National Steeplechase. Walmsley, an Englishman who migrated to Australia when he was 19, said that horses had to be brave and extremely gallant to leap over Becher’s Brook. “It’s an obstacle which is hard to get over,” he said. “And I would like to think that Bechers Brook will be hard to get over in his races.” Leading trainer Gary Hall Snr and star reinsman Gary Hall Jnr each has won the Caduceus Club Classic six times and they are hoping for a slice of luck with the promising but inexperienced Speed Man, who has fared badly in the random draw and will start from the outside of the back line. “I think he will go well,” said Hall Snr “Barrier 12 is a bit of a handicap, but he is a horse I have a lot of time for. Speed Man was a 9/4 on favourite at Gloucester Park last Friday week when he set the pace from barrier four before breaking into a gallop 250m from home and then recovering to finish third behind Lady De La Renta and Bechers Brook. “He was going from just cruising around to up-tempo when challenges came at him pretty quickly,” Hall said. “He’s inexperienced and not used to that and he’s also not really that well co-ordinated.” With Hall Jnr opting to drive Speed Man, Byford trainer Katja Warwick has engaged Aiden de Campo to handle Rock Me Over, a winner of three races as a two-year-old and producing solid efforts at his two runs after a spell for thirds at Northam and Pinjarra. “He is a versatile colt, but he will need the right trip on Friday night,” Warwick said. Ken Casellas

Bettors Fire and Runrunjimmydunn are two horses that members of the WA Trotting Media Guild have earmarked as star bets for Friday night’s harness racing meeting at Gloucester Park. Last season’s leading tipster Stuart Lowe and veteran tipster Bill Brindley are both keen on Bettors Fire. Lowe spoke for himself and Brindley when he said Bettors Fire was poised to return to the winners’ list. “My best bet is Bettors Fire, who is a speedy beginner and should be able to lead from the pole,” Lowe said. “If he does find the top, he will be very hard to beat.” TABradio’s Matt McDermott and Guild president Wayne Currall are fans of Runrunjimmydunn. McDermott summed up his and Currall’s thoughts when he said Runrunjimmydunn had found the right race on Friday night. “Runrunjimmydunn finished a close second in the Village Kid Sprint at Northam last start,” McDermott said. “On that occasion, he met a bit of early trouble, went wide to race around to the breeze and finished a neck behind Bettor B Chevron. Returning to his preferred distance where all nine wins have come. Looks very hard to beat.” Longshot king Pat Harding is looking forward to the three-year-old fillies clashing in the Dainty Daughters and has singled out the promising Lady De La Renta as his star bet. “This is a great field of fillies and it should be an excellent race,” Harding said. “I think there are plenty of chances in a race which has great depth. However, I think Lady De La Renta coming out of barrier five might have the edge on the rest. This Annie Belton-trained filly has Chris Voak aboard and has some great form to her name.” GPTV’s Ken Casellas, who is in great form and is leading the Guild’s tipping competition, has made Major Catastrophe his best for the night. “He’s big and tough and determined - that’s Major Catastrophe, who is my star bet on Friday night in the stand over 2503m,” Casellas said. “The nine-year-old, trained by his breeder-owner David Young, is racing with great heart and has bright prospects of notching his 25th win at his 101st start. He raced wide early and ran home powerfully to finish a half-head second to Tas Man Bromac in the 2560m Northam Cup last Saturday night.” The West Australian’s Ernie Manning is keen on former Kiwi pacer Arthur Lowe. “Arthur Lowe has strong prospects of maintaining an unbeaten WA record when he makes his Gloucester Park debut,” Manning said. “To be driven for the first time by Gary Hall Jr, the gelding was most impressive when he opened his local career with three Pinjarra wins last month. The New Zealand import, a winner at only four of 48 starts before arriving in WA, appears to have improved sharply for trainer Nathan Turvey.” TABradio’s Matt Young feels punters can get off to a flyer by supporting Overboard Again in the opening event. “Overboard Again returned with a great run on Tuesday night and strips fitter here and looks very hard to beat,” Young said. Racing co-ordinator at The West Australian Ryan Havercroft is at odds with Young and has made his best bet Real Lucky in the same race. “Real Lucky, though up in grade here, was very impressive when leading and saluting last week,” Havercroft said. “He looked to have something in reserve in the run to the line, even after rattling off a 55.6 last half.”   VALUE BETS Stuart: The value bet is Infinite Symbol, who followed a Northam win with a fast-finishing fifth here last week. Draw brings her in with big claims. Bill: My value bet is Madam Meilland in the last race. Matt M: Mon Lillies has exceptional gate pace to take advantage of barrier one to make it four wins this prep. Wayne: Go West U Terror returns to the track after 10 months and has raced against better fields than this. Can run a race at odds if his fitness levels are there. Pat: Mac Tiger should give punters a good sight. Michael Grantham will drive and I believe he can prevail in a field where there is not a great deal of exposed form. Ken: For a shade of value, I’m looking to C C Chevron. She has been unplaced at her past seven starts, but she should be in a commanding position from her pole draw. Ernie: Mac Tiger would only need to reproduce form shown in a first-up GP win last November and he could be prominent. The widely-travelled gelding has won 14 races. Matt Y: Mighty Flying Thomas, coming from a last-start sixth in the Albany Cup, will get the trip. Just needs some luck from the draw. Ryan: Ella Gant Player has the draw to surprise in a strong Daintys Daughter 3YO Fillies feature. The better chances have drawn wide. To view all of the Media Guild Tips for this week click here. Good Punting.  Wayne Currall

Veteran pacer Bettors Fire fared the best in the random draw and harness racing trainer-reinsman Kyle Harper is set to attempt an all-the-way victory in the $25,000 Chinese New Year Fireworks Night Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The nine-year-old noted frontrunner is sure to start a short-priced favourite after drawing the coveted No. 1 barrier in the field of nine. Bettors Fire, who led and won the Village Kid Sprint over 1730m from Soho Tribeca and Chicago Bull four starts ago, is certain to appreciate the absence of those star performers but he will have to contend with spirited opposition from Ohoka Punter and Norvic Nightowl, who are prepared by Gary Hall Snr and are racing with commendable spirit. Gary Hall Jnr will drive Ohoka Punter from barrier four and Nathan Turvey will be in the sulky behind Norvic Nightowl, who is favourably drawn at barrier two. Leading trainer Gary Hall Snr, who will be represented by Ohoka Punter, Norvic Nightowl, American Boy (barrier five) and Zach Maguire (eight), said: “Bettors Fire looks set to lead and Ohoka Punter will put it to him late and Norvic Nightowl will have the last crack at them.” Bettors Fire was an 18/1 chance last Friday night when he began speedily from barrier three in the 2536m Lord Mayor’s Cup. He was in the breeze early before gaining a good passage in sixth position, one-out and two-back, before fighting on doggedly to finish fourth behind the brilliant Chicago Bull, Ohoka Punter and Master Jaxon. The final quarters whizzed by in 27.9sec. and 27.1sec. Ohoka Punter started from the inside barrier last week and trailed the pacemaker Chicago Bull before finishing solidly. That extended his losing sequence to 16, but he is getting close to recording an overdue victory. Forrestdale trainer Skye Bond has two runners in Friday night’s race Our Jimmy Johnstone (Ryan Warwick) and Delightful Offer (Colin Brown). However, their winning prospects diminished when they drew unfavourably at barriers six and nine, respectively. Eight-year-old Heez On Fire will start from the No. 3 barrier at his first appearance for just over three months. He has won standing-start trials at Byford and Pinjarra late last month. However, he faces a tough first-up assignment. Harper has high hopes of completing a double by driving the James Sortras-trained Mon Lillies to victory in the final event on the ten-event program, the second heat of the Book Into The Beau Rivage Pace over 2130m. Mon Lillies is ideally drawn at barrier one in a field of seven and Harper is sure to use her sparkling gate speed in a bid to set the pace and go on and record the mare’s 14th victory. Mon Lillies will need to be close to her best form to beat Better B Chevron (barrier six) and Madame Meilland (No. 3). Better B Chevron impressed with her smart all-the-way win over Runrunjimmydunn in the 1780m Village Kid Sprint at Northam last Saturday night. That was Better B Chevron’s ninth win from 12 starts in Western Australia. She has won at her past four appearances at Gloucester Park. The New South Wales-bred former Victorian performer Madame Meilland is also in splendid form, with her ten starts this season producing five wins, two seconds and two thirds. Ken Casellas  

Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall Snr has nine runners at Gloucester Park on Friday night and he has little hesitation in declaring his brightest prospect is harness racing four-year-old Runrunjimmydunn in the Trotsynd The Cheapest And Easiest Way To Own A Horse Pace. Runrunjimmydunn has drawn out wide at barrier eight on the front line in the 2130m event, but Hall does not see this as a serious problem. “His run when second to Better B Chevron in the Village Kid Sprint at Northam last Saturday was super and he should win on Friday night,” declared Hall. Runrunjimmydunn met with a nasty check soon after the start of the race at Northam when New World Order broke into a gallop and he settled down in sixth position. Gary Hall Jnr then dashed the son of American Ideal forward and into the breeze 400m later and the New Zealand-bred gelding fought on determinedly to be a neck second to the pacemaker Better B Chevron after final quarters of 28.6sec. and 27.2sec. The main danger to Runrunjimmydunn could well be Chuck Norris, who is favourably drawn at No. 2 on the front line. Chuck Norris led from barrier one last Friday night when a fighting half-head second to Brotha Ofa Gangsta. The Hall stable also has excellent prospects in the opening event, the 2130m TABtouch Pace in which Overboard Again makes strong appeal at his second appearance after a five-month absence. Overboard Again, a lightly-raced New Zealand-bred five-year-old, is favourably drawn at the No. 2 barrier on the front line in the 2130m event and Gary Hall Jnr is expected to make use of the gelding’s good gate speed. Overboard Again was driven by Corey Peterson when he gave a splendid first-up performance at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening. He was restrained at the starts and impressed when he sustained a powerful three-wide burst to charge home from last at the bell to finish third behind stablemate and pacemaker Machiatto, with final quarters in 28.6sec. and 28.2sec., with the winner rating 1.57.7 over 2130m. “It was a super first-up run and he should go close on Friday night,” said Hall Snr. Overboard Again will not have things all his own way against last-start winners Real Lucky, Messi and Ima Rocknroll Legend. Real Lucky, driven by Hall Jnr for Waroona trainer Bob Mellsop, was a stylish all-the-way winner over Lord Lexus and El Machine last Friday night. That was his sixth victory from his past nine starts and Mellsop has engaged Deni Roberts to drive Real Lucky this week in order to use her junior concession and gain a favourable barrier. Roberts drove Real Lucky to a strong win over Tisadream over 2100m at Bunbury four starts ago. “He’s a good frontrunner, but is not one-dimensional,” Mellsop said. “And he’s got strings to his bow we haven’t seen yet. He will be going forward at the start on Friday night.” Messi, trained by Skye Bond, will start from barrier four on the front line and should be prominent after his impressive last-start victory last Saturday week when Ryan Warwick brought him home with a strong burst from ninth at the bell and sixth with 220m to travel. Ima Rocknroll Legend, with Peterson in the sulky, will start out wide at barrier seven, but cannot be underestimated following his brilliant all-the-way victory by four lengths over Bronze Seeker last Friday night when he rated 1.55.6 over 2130m. Ken Casellas

Experiments with gear have enabled smart harness racing filly Miss Sangrial to recapture her sparkling gate speed, leaving her trainer Michael Brennan confident that she will be a major player in the $50,000 Daintys Daughter Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “We consider that Miss Sangrial is one of the best fillies in the State, and from barrier six the daughter of Art Major is going to have to show that she is as good as we think she is,” said Brennan. Miss Sangrial, to be driven by Michael Grantham, has had a somewhat unusual lead-up to the Group 2 classic for three-year-old fillies, contesting a heat and final of a C0-C4-class event for fillies and mares in Albany late last month. She began speedily from barrier three, set the pace and won both a heat and the final to improve her record to ten wins, seven placings and stakes of $103,406 from 21 starts. “At this early stage, I’d imagine we’ll go forward at the start,” Brennan said. “How hard we’ll go forward will depend on what happens underneath her and also from the outside. The good thing with my filly is that she seems to have found her gate speed again. At her latest two runs in Albany she was really good off the arm. We tried a few things and they seemed to have worked.” “While it would be nice to be able to lead on Friday night, she doesn’t need to lead to win. She’s got a great sit-sprint capacity. However, she’s up against some very good fillies, including Lady De La Renta and Cott Beach.” Lady De La Renta and Cott Beach warmed up for this week’s assignment with strong last-start victories. Lady De La Renta, trained by Annie Belton, raced without cover before winning from colts Bechers Brook and Speed Man at Gloucester Park last Friday night and Cott Beach, trained by Kristy Elson, overcame a bad start to dash to an early lead and win effortlessly at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. Cott Beach was placed outside the draw after galloping at the start of a race the 2185m event at Pinjarra. “Hopefully (galloping) was just a one-off thing,” said reinsman Nathan Turvey. “I’d say that there is every chance that she’ll be coming out (in a bid for the lead) on Friday,” Cott Beach won by just under five lengths on Monday when she impressed in speeding over the final quarters in 28.8sec. and 27.6sec. She has already amassed $180,932 in prizemoney from her ten wins and five placings from 17 starts. Turvey has high hopes that she will win the Daintys Daughter Classic to make amends for his runner Chevrons Champion’s second placing, beaten a head by Dodolicious in the classic two years ago. Chris Voak is upbeat about the prospects of Lady De La Renta (barrier five) after driving her for the first time when she was successful last Friday night after racing in the breeze. “It wasn’t the plan to sit in the breeze, but with the pedestrian early speed, we just landed there,” Voak said. “However, it didn’t seem to worry her and her final three quarters were solid. Obviously, we had a bit of luck when the favourite Speed Man galloped. But I wouldn’t have missed the first three. If we had drawn to lead this week, I think Lady De La Renta would be nearly unbeatable.” Boyanup trainer Justin Prentice is hoping for a change of luck after having trained the runner-up three times in the Daintys Daughter Classic. His seconds have been with Racketeers Girl (2011), The Parade (2014) and Quite A Delight (2015). Prentice will be represented by Beaudiene Beach Babe (Tom Buchanan) and Our Major Mama (Chris Lewis). Beaudiene Beach Babe will start from the No. 3 barrier on the front line, with Our Major Mama out wide at No. 8. “They’re both working super and Beaudiene Beach Babe is the better prospect because of the better barrier,” Prentice said before leaving for New Zealand on Wednesday to attend yearling sales in Auckland next Monday and Christchurch two days later. “We’re going to do everything we can to try to punch through (and take the lead) with Beaudiene Beach Babe. If Our Major Mama had got a (favourable) draw, she would have been a big chance as well. But I’m not saying that she can’t win. She’ll need luck from that barrier, but she is working well enough to be a definite place chance and even a winning chance.” Leading trainer Gary Hall Snr, who has won the classic with Majorly Foxy Styx (2014) and Nuala (2015), considers his runner Slick Artist as just a rough place chance. Slick Artist, who will start from barrier two on the back line, set the pace and held on to win by a half-head from Lady De La Renta at Gloucester Park last Saturday week. That followed Slick Artist’s close second to Infinite Symbol at Northam four nights earlier. Infinite Symbol, to be handled by Wayne Reid for Wanneroo trainer Julie O’Neill, has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier. She is a speedy beginner and strong frontrunner and Reid is expected to make a bold bid to set the pace. Ken Casellas

Champion harness racing trainer Gary Hall sen. is poised to notch his eighth victory in the $50,000 Worldwide Printing Lord Mayor’s Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He will be represented by five of the ten runners and has no hesitation in declaring that outstanding five-year-old Chicago Bull will be the horse to beat in the group 2 feature to be run over 2536m.   Chicago Bull is ideally drawn at barrier two on the front line and star reinsman Gary Hall jun. is aiming for an all-the-way triumph. “That’s the plan,” said Hall sen. “Stablemate Ohoka Punter will start from barrier one and Stuart McDonald will be told to hand over which will be in Ohoka Punter’s best interests and give him his best winning chance.” Hall said that he considered that Kyle Harper was likely to make a bid for the early lead with the speedy beginner Bettors Fire from the No. 3 barrier. However, he said that he was confident that Chicago Bull had the natural speed to withstand an early challenge from Bettors Fire. Remarkably, Chicago Bull goes into Friday night’s Cup with a losing sequence of four --- the longest losing run in his 39 starts in Western Australia which have produced 25 wins, five seconds, eight thirds and one fourth. Chicago Bull, who won twice from seven starts in New Zealand, has been outstanding in defeat at his past four starts which resulted in a second to Lazarus in the final of the TABtouch Interdominion championship, third to Bettors Fire and Soho Tribeca in the Village Kid Sprint, third to My Hard Copy and Lazarus in the Fremantle Cup and second to Soho Tribeca in the WA Pacing Cup. “He’s probably an over-achiever, an insignificant little horse,” said Hall. “And he’s got a terrific record.” Hall’s previous successes in the Lord Mayor’s Cup have been with Tricky Bey (1994), Abit Rich (1997), Live To Reign (2007), Talk To Me Courage (2010), Livingontheinterest (2014), Northview Punter (2015) and Cyamach (2016). And for good measure he has had four second-placed runners in the Lord Mayor’s Cup --- Our London Pride (2000), Aussie Reactor (2012), Im Themightyquinn (2013) and Hokonui Ben (2014). Hall jun. has driven one winner of the Lord Mayor’s Cup --- when 10/9 favourite Live To Reign began speedily off 10m and made most of the running to beat Demoralizer by just under two lengths when the Cup was last run from a standing start. The past four Lord Mayor’s Cups have been decided over 2130m, but this year the race will be run over 2536m. Apart from Chicago Bull and Ohoka Punter, the Hall stable will be represented on Friday night by Norvic Nightowl (Nathan Turvey), American Boy (Lauren Jones) and My Hard Copy (Clint Hall). “Barrier nine is a stumbling block for My Hard Copy, but he is in top form, having won at three of his five starts in his current campaign,” Hall sen. said. “His two unplaced runs were when he was held up for a run and I’m sure he will go well this week.” My Hard Copy, an equine millionaire like Chicago Bull and Ohoka Punter, maintained his wonderful form when he enjoyed the perfect sit, one-out and one-back, before sprinting home fast to win the 2536m Duffy Memorial from the pacemaker Vultan Tin and Norvic Nightowl. My Hard Copy rated 1.56.3, with the final quarters in 27.5sec. and 28.9sec. Norvic Nightowl (barrier five) and Vultan Tin (six) have to contend with awkward draws, but they are racing keenly and have place prospects. Abraxas Blues (Kim Prentice) and Argyle Red (Morgan Woodley) are comparative newcomers to group racing and they face a difficult assignment. Prentice has driven the winner of the Lord Mayor’s Cup with Livingontheinterest and Cyamach and Woodley has won the race with Taihape Tickler (2006), Mysta Magical Mach (2009), Another One For Me (2012) and Mysta Magical Mach (2013). Ken Casellas

Several members of the WA Trotting Media Guild have made the Bob Mellsop-trained Real Lucky their star harness racing bet at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The $50,000 Worldwide Printing Lord Mayors Cup (2536m) highlights an action-packed nine-event program where finding winners will test punters. But The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft, leading tipster Stuart Lowe, TABradio’s Matt Young and Guild president Wayne Currall all believe the polemarker Real Lucky can score an all-the-way victory for champion reinsman Gary Hall Jr. Havercroft spoke for his colleagues when he said Real Lucky had been flying of late and had drawn perfectly to score his third win from his past four starts. “Real Lucky ran a close second to Abraxas Blues in a heat of the Nights Of Thunder but failed to qualify for the final at his last outing,” Havercroft said. “This Friday he has drawn the pole and should be returning to winning form in the fourth race.” The West Australian’s Ernie Manning is a fan of consistent mare Alkiras Desire. “Alkiras Desire looks set to break through for her first Gloucester Park win in the seventh race after being placed at six of seven starts there,” Manning said. “Champion reinsman Chris Lewis, who had a choice of drives in the race, elected to stay with her. Second and third at headquarters in her past two appearances, she should be solidly conditioned after six starts since a spell.” On-course announcer Ken Casellas has pinned his hopes to another mare in an earlier race. “Forget Tajies Girl’s last-start failure at Northam and support her to lead all the way in the second event on Friday night,” Casellas said. “The Kevin Keys-trained eight-year-old excels as a frontrunner as she showed two starts ago when she set the pace and won from Gotta Go Gabbana. She is my star bet this week.” Longshot king Pat Harding believes finding winners will be a tough task on Friday night. “However, in the Lord Mayors Cup I expect Chicago Bull to bounce back to the winners’ circle,” Harding said. “He’s ideally placed from barrier two and this should prove a great opportunity for Hall Jr to take him to an early lead and land an all-the-way win.” Veteran tipster Bill Brindley thinks punters can get off to a flyer by supporting Speed Man in the opening event. “My best bet is Speed Man in the first race for the three-year-olds,” Brindley said. “He has plenty of ability and should prove too classy for the opposition. Stablemate Ima Rocknroll Legend can give Gary Hall and his son, Junior, a winning double by taking out the third race.” VALUE BETS Ryan: Ohoka Punter is drawn to get an economical run in the Lord Mayors Cup. With Bettors Fire the likely leader, expect one of five Gary Hall runners to keep the leader honest.  Stuart: Chuck Norris is back to a mobile here and is well drawn. His recent efforts have been good and he can figure at each-way odds. Matt: Chuck Norris has come up with the good draw and gets the nod for me as best value. Wayne: Hot Fraternity has drawn the outside gate, but he drops in class and if Bailey McDonough can work him to the top he’ll prove the testing material. Ernie: Whitbys Gamble, who returned in fine fettle from a Kalgoorlie campaign, has impressed when third at Pinjarra and fourth at GP during the past fortnight. Ken: Its My Lucknow begins from the inside of the back line in the Worldwide West Perth Pace. The Sarah Suvaljko-trained mare continues to compete with refreshing enthusiasm Pat: The consistent Alkiras Desire should prevail. With Chris Lewis aboard I feel she could be a good bet for punters. Bill: Albany pacer Good Times Ahead has displayed his talent in previous trips to GP and with Aldo Cortopassi in the cart is my value bet at the meeting.    Good punting. Wayne Currall

Start and finish the nine-event harness racing program at Gloucester Park on Friday night by backing Shannon Suvaljko to win the opening and final events. That’s the advice from Suvaljko, who is setting a hot pace in the Statewide drivers’ premiership table. He leads with 76 winners from Chris Lewis (69), Chris Voak (68) and Gary Hall jun. and Ryan Warwick (55). Suvaljko has eight drives on Friday night and said: “My best drives will be in the first and last races --- with Bechers Brook and Brookies Jet. My best drive is Brookies Jet in the last.” Brookies Jet, trained at Serpentine by Matt Scott, will start from the No. 3 barrier on the front line in the final event, the 1730m Worldwide Bentley Pace and Suvaljko gives the New Zealand-bred six-year-old a strong winning chance. “He gets his chance from this barrier over the sprint trip, particularly if he can find the front,” Suvaljko said. “It’s an even field in which Tactile Sensation is a pretty good horse.” Brookies Jet warmed up for Friday night’s assignment with a solid performance at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening. He was beaten for early speed from barrier three and settled in sixth position. He was tenth (and last) with 400m to travel and about 180m later was inconvenienced and forced out very wide. However, he recovered and finished with a determined burst to be fifth behind The Spinster. Brookies Jet showed his liking for pacemaking five starts five starts earlier when he set the pace and won from Attack On Command and Backpage Screamer over 2100m at Bunbury in mid-December. Suvaljko has had 11 drives behind Brookies Jet for one win and three third placings. The win came when Brookies Jet started from the No. 1 barrier and set the pace over 2130m at Kellerberrin early last October. Four-year-old Tactile Sensation, trained and driven by Peter Tilbrook, is racing with admirable enthusiasm and will have many admirers, despite the stallion’s awkward draw at barrier eight. Tactile Sensation, a winner at Gloucester Park and Northam in December, worked hard in the breeze and finished an extremely close fourth behind Nothingbutadream at Bunbury on Sunday. Whitbys Gamble, the only other four-year-old in Friday night’s race, is racing with plenty of spirit for trainer-reinsman Aldo Cortopassi. The mare will start out wide at barrier seven and Cortopassi predicted that a win was not far away for the mare. Whitbys Gamble gave an encouraging performance as a $126.90 outsider at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening when she was last in a field of ten with 450m to travel and was four wide on the home turn before finishing strongly from seventh at the 100m mark to be fourth behind Lord Willoughby. Suvaljko spoke in glowing terms of Bechers Brook, a talented colt who has raced only six times for four wins, a second and a fifth. Bechers Brook, trained by Mike Reed, will start from barrier five in the field of nine in the opening event, the Worldwide Osborne Park Pace for three-year-olds. Bechers Brook was untroubled to set the pace from barrier one and win easily at a 1.58.2 rate from Captured Delight and Murphys Bettor over 2130m last Friday week. “He is a really nice horse and whatever he does this week he will continue to improve,” Suvaljko said. “He doesn’t have to lead; he’s got good versatility and can sit up and come home. He’s definitely a WA Derby prospect.” Bechers Brook’s clash with several talented three-year-olds, including stablemates Speed Man and One Off Delight (trained by Gary Hall sen.), should prove to be one of the highlights of the program. Speed Man shows excellent promise and his first five starts have produced three wins and two seconds. Gary Hall jun. will drive him from the No. 4 barrier. “Speed Man is still pretty inexperienced, but he’s a strong stayer who gave a good performance at his latest start when he raced in the breeze outside Mistahmistah and finished a close second to that horse,” said Hall sen. One Off Delight, to be driven by Stuart McDonald from the coveted No. 1 barrier, has resumed after a spell in fine style and impressed at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon when he led and held on to win from Carrera Mach and Play The Boys. Adding interest to the race will be the first appearance in Western Australia of Victorian filly Amelias Courage, a seasoned performer who has raced 25 times for eight wins, ten seconds and two thirds. She will be driven by her new trainer Colin Brown and faces a stern test from the outside barrier in the field of nine. Amelias Courage has finished second at each of her past four starts, the latest being over 2240m at Melton three Fridays ago. The other fillies in the race, Infinite Symbol and Lady De La Renta, are in good form, but have drawn out wide at barriers seven and eight, respectively. Ken Casellas

Waterloo harness racing trainer Vanessa Brockman has Alkiras Desire racing in fine fettle and the five-year-old mare looks set to chalk up her eighth win from only 23 starts when she contests the $18,000 Worldwide West Perth Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Alkiras Desire put the writing on the wall last Saturday night when she was ninth at the bell before storming home to finish a close second to Dame Puissant. That followed stout-hearted efforts when third behind Handsandwheels at Bunbury and third to Dior Mia More at Gloucester Park. The Real Desire mare will start from the No. 4 barrier on the front line on Friday night and ace reinsman Chris Lewis should have her in a prominent position throughout the 2130m event. Leading reinsman Shannon Suvaljko gave punters a lead when he opted to drive Lady Azalea in preference to Our Jeremes Gem, who impressed two starts ago with a fast-finishing second to Kerrin Joseph at Gloucester Park. Lady Azalea, trained by Matt Scott, will start from the No. 6 barrier. She worked hard without cover before winning narrowly from Alluring Attitude over 2030m at Busselton two starts ago. Our Jeremes Gem will be handled by Callan Suvaljko from the outside barrier (No. 9). Dame Puissant, who was eighth at the bell and went five wide approaching the home turn, charged home to win from Alkiras Desire last Saturday night and she gets a good chance to notch her 12th win from 46 starts when she starts from barrier seven in a field of eight in the 2130m first heat of the Worldwide Malaga Lewis Pace on Friday night. Henley Brook trainer-reinsman Robbie Williams is expected to adopt similar tactics this week and save Dame Puissant for a spirited finishing burst. There is likely to be plenty of early pace with an anticipated battle for the role of pacemaker between Tajies Girl (barrier No. 2) and Mon Lillies (eight). Tajies Girl (Gary Hall jun.) and Mon Lillies (Kyle Harper) are excellent frontrunners. Tajies Girl led and won from Gotta Go Gabbana over 2130m two starts ago before she started from the outside of the back line and was forced to cover a lot of extra ground before finishing eighth behind Rich Yankee at Northam on Tuesday of last week. Mon Lillies, trained at Boyanup by James Sortras, possesses sparkling gate speed and Harper is likely to attempt to steal a march on his rivals by getting a flying start. Mon Lillies has led and won from barriers No. 4 and No. 1 at Pinjarra at her past two outings, scoring from Twentynine Twelve and Major Stare and from Copagrin and Hindu Kumara. Ken Casellas

Veteran pacer My Hard Copy has been matching strides with harness racing star performers Lazarus, Chicago Bull and Soho Tribeca in recent months and he is sure to appreciate their absence when he contests the $25,000 Ray Duffy Memorial over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Saturday night. The American Ideal eight-year-old will start from barrier three on the front line and Clint Hall should have him in a favourable forward position all the way before relying on his dazzling finishing burst. My Hard Copy was extremely unlucky when ninth behind Soho Tribeca in the WA Pacing Cup on Friday of last week when he raced four back on the pegs in fifth and sixth positions and was hopelessly blocked for a clear run in the final stages. He was ninth in the middle stages before charging home from sixth (three wide) at the bell to win the 2536m Fremantle Cup from Lazarus and Chicago Bull the previous week. Premier trainer Gary Hall Snr holds a powerful hand in Saturday night’s race with four runners My Hard Copy, Norvic Nightowl, American Boy and Ohoka Punter. Eight-year-old Norvic Nightowl has not been successful for 20 months, but he is very close to recording his 20th victory. He looms as a serious threat to My Hard Copy, Our Jimmy Johnstone and Vultan Tin. Norvic Nightowl will start from barrier two on the back line with Nathan Turvey in the sulky. Norvic Nightowl’s past two runs have been full of merit. He started from the outside of the back line and surged forward after a lap to race in the breeze for the final two laps when a fighting third to Our Jimmy Johnstone and Delightful Offer over 2536m last Friday night. He sustained a strong run from seventh in the middle stages when a close second to American Boy over 2536m the previous week. Lauren Jones will drive American Boy from barrier five on Saturday night. The six-year-old led early from barrier five and then raced behind Soho Tribeca in the WA Pacing Cup on Friday of last week. He was handled by Stuart McDonald, who will switch to Ohoka Punter this week. Ohoka Punter raced five back on the pegs last week and was held up in the final stages when eighth behind Soho Tribeca. He is capable of improving from barrier four this week. Our Jimmy Johnstone burst back to his best form for trainer Greg Bond last week when Ryan Warwick took full advantage of the No. 1 barrier and set the pace with the nine-year-old who scored a convincing victory over Delightful Offer and Norvic Nightowl. Our Jimmy Johnstone will start out wide at barrier seven this week, but has excellent each-way prospects. The Phil Costello-trained Vultan Tin also will have many admirers from barrier No. 2 on the front line. He is a splendid frontrunner and if Chris Voak is able to take the gelding to the lead in the early stages from the polemarker Tricky Styx he should prove difficult to run down. Ken Casellas

Promising lightly-raced harness racing four-year-old Covered N Diamonds, a costly first-up failure at Narrogin last Saturday week, has sound prospects of making amends by winning the Direct Trades Supply Pace at Gloucester Park on Saturday night. A 7/4 on favourite at Narrogin, Covered N Diamonds overraced in the breeze and faded to finish last, 18 lengths behind the winner Hot Fraternity. She was much more tractable when Dylan Egerton-Green handled her for trainer Skye Bond in a 2150m trial at Byford last Sunday morning. She raced in the breeze under a tight hold, a few lengths from the pacemaker Im Simply Red in the field of seven before she took the lead 300m from home and was not extended in winning narrowly from the fast-finishing Big Spending Telf. The final quarters were run in 29.4sec. and 29.1sec. Ryan Warwick will drive Covered N Diamonds from the No. 3 barrier on the front line on Saturday night and she should be prominent. She possesses excellent gate speed, but whether she can muster sufficient pace to get past the polemarker Sheez Edgy in the early stages is problematical. However, even if Covered N Diamonds is forced to race without cover she should still prove hard to beat. Most punters are likely to support either Covered N Diamonds (six wins from 14 starts) and the Vanessa Brockman-trained Alkiras Desire (seven wins from 21 starts) but eight-year-old Auctioneers Elsu is capable of a bold showing at her 194th start. Auctioneers Elsu, to be driven by Jocelyn Young for Cardup owner-trainer Sarah Suvaljko, impressed on Friday of last week when she finished resolutely from seventh at the bell to be second to Real Zeal. Three starts before that Auctioneers Elsu trailed the pacemaker Maczaffair and fought on doggedly when second to that star mare. Ken Casellas

Blythewood harness racing trainer Michael Brennan and his 22-year-old nephew, star reinsman Michael Grantham, are brimming with confidence that veteran Aces N Sevens pacer Cut For An Ace will make full use of his brilliant natural speed to outpace his eight rivals in the $50,000 The West Australian Nights of Thunder at Gloucester Park on Saturday night. The evergreen Victorian-bred ten-year-old has overcome setbacks since he arrived in Western Australia in mid-2015 when a suspensory ligament injury kept him out of action for 18 months and in recent years hoof problems have prevented Grantham from working the gelding on the track. “It’s simply a matter of keeping him sound and his feet issues under control,” Brennan explained. “I can’t give him any trackwork, and his training is confined to Michael (Grantham) galloping him in the heavy sand. “He’s a happy horse and loves to be spoilt. All credit must go to my wife Lara, who looks after the horse. He’s her pet project.” Cut For An Ace, the fastest of the three heat winners last Friday night, was untroubled to set the pace from the No. 1 barrier. He sped over the four quarters of the final mile in 27.8sec., 28.3sec., 27.7sec. and 28.4sec. to record a sizzling mile rate of 1.51.8, which is the second fastest recorded over 1730m at Gloucester Park. The track record for 1730m is 1.51.6, set by champion five-year-old Chicago Bull when he stormed home to win by a head from Soho Tribeca in the Mount Eden Sprint last October. “He’s flying at the moment,” Brennan said. “You saw how good he was last week. Obviously, after drawing barrier two, the aim is to lead. We will just see what happens at the start. If he doesn’t lead, I think he is still good enough to win from the breeze or from the one-out, one-back position.” Brennan and Grantham are planning the same tactics that proved highly successful for them 12 months ago when Grantham drove the Brennan-trained four-year-old Nathans Courage to a superb all-the-way victory in the Nights of Thunder. Nathans Courage, second favourite at 2/1, burst straight to the front from barrier four and won by a length and a half from the evens favourite American Boy. Drawn inside Cut For An Ace on Saturday night in the coveted No. 1 position is speedy beginner and noted frontrunner Fernleigh Rebel. Trainer Clint Hall is expected to make use of Fernleigh Rebel’s excellent gate speed in a bid to set the pace with the seven-year-old, whose most recent victory was eight starts ago when he led from barrier four and beat Don’t Wanadie and Im Lisart over 2130m. Hall has a good record in the Nights of Thunder, having been successful with Soho Lennon (who led from barrier one in 2015) and Mohegan Sun (who started from the No. 2 barrier and enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, before finishing strongly to beat Ti Amo Franco in 2016). Six-year-olds Talktomeurmattjesty and Argyle Red loom large as the main dangers to Cut For An Ace after they gave outstanding performances in the first qualifying heat last Friday night. Talktomeurmattjesty, trained in Busselton by Barry Howlett, will start from the No. 6 barrier on the front line, with Argyle Red, trained at Pinjarra by Rob MacDonald, at barrier five. Talktomeurmattjesty (Chris Lewis) revealed wonderful fighting qualities when he worked hard outside the flying pacemaker Shes Artful before getting to the front 450m from home and holding on to defeat Argyle Red (Morgan Woodley) by a half-head, rating 1.52.6. The opening quarter was run in a blistering 26.8sec., with the following sections in 28.4sec., 28.7sec. and 29sec. “I didn’t quite expect that we had to go that time to win,” said Lewis. “But I wasn’t terribly worried by being in the breeze.” Talktomeurmattjesty had three starts in New Zealand, all as a four-year-old, for two wins and a head second. He has impressed greatly in Western Australia where his 18 starts have produced nine wins and six placings. He is the ninth foal out of Falcon Seelster mare Talk To Me Later and is a half-brother to noted speedy sprinter Talk To Me Courage, who raced in WA between 2006 and 2011 when he finished a close third behind Aikido Whitby in the 2006 Golden Slipper, won the Lord Mayor’s Cup in 2010 and was a close second to Our Malabar in the 1730m Celebrity Sprint in 2009.    Talk To Me Courage finished fourth behind Davisons Destiny in the 2009 Nights of Thunder and two months earlier he was a neck second to Sneaky Down Under in the 1780m Village Kid Sprint at Northam. Talk To Me Courage won six races in Victoria, 11 in WA and 29 in America before retiring with earnings of $646,669. Lewis has a high opinion of Talktomeurmattjesty and is hoping that the gelding will give him his second success in the Nights of Thunder after his thrilling victory with the Ross Olivieri-trained 9/1 chance Davisons Destiny, who was seventh at the bell and flew home to snatch victory from the 7/4 favourite and pacemaker Indian Giver. Cut For An Ace is proving an excellent investment for Sam Godino and James Michell, who claimed the gelding for about $8000 in a race at Melton in September 2013. Since then the gelding has had 68 starts for six wins, 19 placings and stakes of $138,982. There have been hiccups along the way, but Cut For An Ace has never raced better. Ken Casellas

Im Rockaria, on target to contest a rich classic event in the Eastern States in the winter, is a superb frontrunner who should lead his 11 harness racing rivals on a merry dance in the $25,000 International Animal Health Products Im Themightyquinn Final over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Saturday night. “Win, lose or draw, he will go for a spell after this week’s race,” said trainer Michael Brennan. “And then he will come back later to be prepared for either the Vicbred Super Sires Series for four-year-olds at Melton or the New South Wales Breeders Challenge at Menangle. These races will be run either late in June or early in July and Im Rockaria is eligible for both.” Im Rockaria is an outstanding frontrunner who is sure to prove hard to beat after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier. He has started from the number one barrier six times in his 31-start career for five all-the-way wins. His only defeat from No. 1 was when he set the pace and finished fourth behind Handsandwheels in the 2536m WA Derby in April 2017. He has also won five other times after dashing to the front in the first circuit or in the middle stages. “It will be a case of leading at all costs,” said a confident Grantham. “He’s got the speed to hold up and we’ll be aiming to take full advantage of the barrier and his gate speed. Maczaffair will have to be at her best to sit outside Im Rockaria and beat him.” Im Rockaria started out wide from barrier seven when he raced in the breeze outside the pacemaking Maczaffair before wilting to fourth behind that brilliant mare in a qualifying heat three Fridays ago. Im Rockaria then contested a standing-start event over 2503m at Gloucester Park a week later and he sustained a spirited three-wide burst (with cover) from the 1100m mark to hit the front 250m from home and win from Idealindiamonds. Brennan said that he had started Im Rockaria in a stand to add another string to the Rocknroll Hanover gelding’s bow and to take the succession of wide draws in mobiles out of the equation. Maczaffair and Im Rockaria, at four years of age, are the youngest runners in the field of 12 and look set to dominate the event. Maczaffair, trained by Mike Reed, has won at 16 of her 34 starts and has not been extended in winning easily at her past three starts. Maczaffair will again be driven by Shannon Suvaljko, fresh from driving four winners at Northam on Tuesday night and a clear leader in the State drivers’ premiership. The New Zealand-bred mare is a speedy beginner and excellent frontrunner. However, she also is a stout-hearted performer who can never be underestimated. At her latest appearance, Maczaffair revealed dazzling early speed when she was fastest to begin from the outside barrier (No. 9) last Friday week. She raced five wide in the early stages, but was unable to cross to the lead. She then gained an ideal trail, one-out and one-back, before starting a three-wide move at the bell on her way to winning by more than five lengths from Ayana at a 1.58.3 rate over 2536m. Livura and Bronze Seeker look the best of the opposition and should fight out the finish for third place. Livura is a model of consistency for trainer-reinsman Nathan Turvey and he was most unlucky at his latest appearance when he was hopelessly blocked for a run in the home straight when fifth behind Abraxas Blues last Friday week. Bronze Seeker, to be driven by Chris Lewis for Byford trainer Peter Anderson, has finished solidly when placed at two of his past three starts and he should enjoy a perfect passage behind the likely pacemaker Im Rockaria after drawing the inside of the back line. Ken Casellas

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