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Brilliant seven-year-old Bettors Fire has returned to harness racing as good as ever and he looks set to become only the fourth pacer in the 66-year-history of the August Cup to be a multiple winner of the group 3 event by proving too strong for his rivals in the $35,000 Westralian August Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The winner of $465,000 Bettors Fire, trained and driven by Kyle Harper, overcame a wide draw to score an effortless last-to-first victory in the 2015 August Cup. This week he is much more favourably drawn at barrier No. 4 on the front line in the 2536m event. Harper produced Bettors Fire in great shape for a 1730m sprint at Gloucester Park last Friday week and the New Zealand-bred gelding was most impressive at his first appearance since finishing second to Cyamach in the Lord Mayor’s Cup on January 29. In his return to racing the Bettor's Delight gelding started from the outside barrier and raced in last position in the field of nine until Harper gave him his head with 250m to travel. The gelding was taken five wide on the home turn before he finished with a devastating burst to be second, a half-head behind Cyamach, rating 1.54.3. In last year’s August Cup, Bettors Fire was a 5/4 on favourite from out wide at barrier eight. Harper restrained him to the rear and he was still 12th and last with two laps to travel. Harper switched him three wide at the 1000m mark and Bettors Fire dashed into sixth position, three wide with cover, at the bell, before he took the lead on the home turn and coasted to an easy victory over the pacemaker Tuxedo Tour. The only other pacers to have won the August Cup more than once have been Tavis (1975 and 1976), Zakara (1991-92-93-94) and Shattering Class (1998 and 1999). Shattering Class was driven by Harper’s father Lindsay, who also won the August Cup with Ghost (2001) and Digger of Fortune (2003). Champion trainer Gary Hall sen., who prepared Zakara for his final three August Cup victories, has also been successful with Im Themightyquinn (2010) and Northview Punter (2014). He has three runners this year --- Cyamach (barrier six), Waylade (nine) and Run Oneover (No. 3 on the back line). Run Oneover, to be driven by Clint Hall, trailed the pacemaker Northern Assassin in a 2130m event last Friday night before he got off the pegs 500m from home and dashed forward to take a narrow lead 40m from the post. But he was beaten by a half-head by the fast-finishing Copagrin. Cyamach finished fifth and Waylade was 11th across the line. “Run Oneover is my best chance,” said Hall sen. “He got a flat tyre in the late stages and that didn’t help, while the other two were a bit disappointing.” Copagrin has returned to racing after a spell in fine fettle for owner-trainer John Guagliardo and reinsman Morgan Woodley. The WA-bred seven-year-old was seventh with 450m to travel before he flew home from fifth at the 100m to snatch victory from Run Oneover last week. He will start from barrier five on Friday night and will have many admirers. Five-year-old Libertybelle Midfrew, a winner of 16 races and $567,147, has the distinct advantage of starting from the No. 1 barrier as the only mare in the race under the preferential barrier draw. She has been unplaced at her past five starts, including her first-up tenth behind Ideal Justice over 2130m last week when she was restrained from a wide barrier and was always well back. Trained by Mike Reed, Libertybelle Midfrew will be driven by Mark Reed, who won the August Cup with Another Party in 2000 and Tricky Vic in 2005. Mike Reed trained and drove Manageable for his win in the 1989 August Cup. The in-form Phoenix Warrior, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, fared poorly in the draw and will start out wide at barrier eight. He will be driven for the first time by champion reinsman Chris Lewis, whose only success in the August Cup was behind the Andrew de Campo-trained Dasher VC, the 2/1 favourite who defeated Cromac Johnny and Sneakyn Down Under in 2012. Ken Casellas

Promising American Ideal four-year-old American Boy finished last in a field of 12 last Friday night, but his trainer Gary Hall sen. is confident that he is capable of bouncing back and winning the $25,000 harness racing final of the Southern Cross Schrader final over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. American Boy drew the prized No. 1 barrier and star reinsman Gary Hall jun. gave punters a strong lead by electing to drive the New Zealand-bred gelding ahead of stablemate Ideal Justice, a smart five-year-old he drove in preference to American Boy last Friday night. Ideal Justice, who won last Friday night, beating Im A Peregrine and Fernleigh Rebel, is handily drawn at No. 3 on the front line this week and will be handled by Clint Hall. American Boy was restrained from the outside barrier (N0. 9) last week and raced in last position before racing three wide in the final circuit. He failed to flatter and finished last. Asked if American Boy could turn around a twelfth last week to a win this week, Hall sen. replied: “Absolutely. He’s an excellent frontrunner and is strong. He should go close.” Explaining the gelding’s last placing last week Hall said: “There’s nothing to think about; he couldn’t get into the race the way the race was run. Gary dictated the terms (with Ideal Justice) in the breeze; he walked and sprinted. “Forget American Boy’s last run. He’s a quick beginner and should hold out Northern Assassin (a fast beginner and strong frontrunner, drawn at No. 2).” Two starts ago American Boy set the pace and sprinted over the final quarters in 28.4sec. and 27.2sec. to beat The Odd Lover at a 1.57.7 rate over 2130m. Four starts before that American Boy led and won at a 1.54.7 rate over 2130m. He rated 1.54.8 when he led and won over 1684m at Pinjarra in April. Northern Assassin, trained in Busselton by Peter Bell, will appreciate a drop back in class after he gave a solid display last Friday night when he set the pace and finished a close third to Copagrin and Run Oneover over 2130m. Northern Assassin’s regular reinsman Ryan Bell will drive the highly-promising New Zealand-bred four-year-old Risk, who looms as a major danger to American Boy. Ash Markham will handle Northern Assassin for the fourth time in a race. He drove the six-year-old three times last September and October for a close second to Phoenix Warrior in the 2100m Italian Cup in Bunbury, a win in the 2692m Alcoa Cup at Pinjarra and a third behind Soho Lennon and Mighty Flying Thomas over 2130m at Gloucester Park. Risk, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, gave a bold frontrunning display to score an easy victory from Kiwi Legend and Mattjestic Star at a 1.55.2 rate over 2130m last Friday night. The final quarters were run in 28.2sec. and 27.1sec . That improved the Changeover stallion’s record to 11 wins and eight placings from 32 starts. The Mike Reed-trained four-year-old Kiwi Legend is racing keenly, but will need a shade of luck to overcome barrier No. 8. Ken Casellas

Nowuseemegirl did not win from eight starts as a two-year-old and it took her 18 starts to break through for her first harness racing victory. But she has blossomed into a smart three-year-old, with six wins this year, three at Bunbury and one each at Bridgetown, Albany and Wagin. She will start from the coveted No. 1 barrier on the front line in the $18,000 Westralian Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night and has sound prospects. Trained at Capel by Andrew de Campo and driven by his son Aiden, Nowuseemegirl notched her third win from four starts after a spell when she gave a splendid performance to win from Legendary Lou and Sea Me Smile in 1.54.6 over 1609m at Bunbury last Saturday night. She started from barrier five and raced wide early before bursting to the front after 200m. The 400m sections whizzed by in 28.2sec., 29.9sec., 28.3sec. and 28.2sec. She began fast from the No. 7 barrier and set the pace before winning over 2100m at a 1.58.9 rate at Bunbury a week earlier. Nowuseemegirl is by American stallion Rocknroll Hanover and she is following a strong family tradition. She is the first foal out of Christian Cullen mare Nowuseeme, who earned $287,234 from 23 wins (13 at Gloucester Park) and 25 placings from 88 starts. Nowuseeme’s dam Nowuseemenowudont (by Holmes Hanover) was also a smart performer who had 65 starts for 16 wins (nine at Gloucester Park), 20 placings and stakes of $116,931 from 65 starts. Nowuseemegirl looks assured of breaking through soon for her first Gloucester Park success. She has raced on that track five times for two seconds, one fourth and two fifths. There is plenty of exposed form in Friday night’s race in which the inexperienced and lightly-raced Ladys Are Ideal appears hard to beat. She will start from the inside of the back line and should enjoy a favourable passage behind Nowuseemegirl, the likely pacemaker. Ladys Are Ideal won once from two starts in New Zealand in June and impressed with her stylish pacing action and natural speed at her Australian debut, when she led and won convincingly from Eyes On The Money and Gunna Get Lucky over 2130m on Tuesday of last week. “She’s a bit light on, but I think she’s a winning chance if she can get a clear crack at them,” said trainer Gary Hall sen. “There’s quite a few chances and I think she is a better horse with a sit.” Trainer Ross Olivieri’s noted frontrunner Sheer Rocknroll has been an odds-on favourite at her past two starts in which she began from the No. 2 barrier and set the pace over 1730m and 2130m at Gloucester Park. She will be at a reasonable quote after drawing awkwardly at the No. 6 barrier on the front line. But the filly with a record of ten wins and eight placings from 29 starts cannot be underestimated.     Eyes On The Money (Shane Young) and The Shadow Knows (Ron Young) have drawn favourably at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively and should be prominent.  A case can be made for all 12 runners in an event which should get the ten-event program away to an exciting start. Ken Casellas

Outstanding Jereme's Jet mare Tricky Styx warmed up for her return to harness racing at Gloucester Park with a brilliant trial at Byford on Sunday morning when she rated 1.55.9 over 2150m and won by four lengths from smart pacer The Revolution. Tricky Styx, aimed by Northam trainer Jesse Moore at the Interdominion championship series at Gloucester Park late this year, was handled by her race driver Aiden de Campo in the trial in which she sped over the final quarters in 28.9sec. and 26.8sec. She will be having her first start since finishing fourth behind Run Oneover in the 2536m Winter Cup on July 1 when she contests the $23,000 Westralian Mares Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. A week before her Winter Cup run Tricky Styx was a fast-finishing winner over Ideal Alice over 2130m. Tricky Styx will be a short-priced favourite and should not be extended in overcoming the disadvantage of starting from the outside barrier (No. 9) in the $23,000 Westralian Mares Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. She is an M5-class mare who looks classes above her rivals, seven M0-classified mares and Lady Willoughby, who graduated to an M2 mark after finishing strongly from eighth at the bell to win by a head from the fast-finishing Jaxon Fella over 2130m last Friday night. Lady Willoughby, to be driven by Chris Voak for Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri, will start out wide at barrier eight. She will be fancied to finish second. Auctioneers Elsu, a veteran of 119 starts, has place prospects from barrier two. She caught the eye when she came from the rear with a spirited burst to finish fourth behind Tajies Girl over 1780m at Northam on Tuesday night. Ken Casellas

Brilliant Bettor's Delight three-year-old Chicago Bull has come back better than ever, according to champion trainer Gary Hall sen. and the harness racing gelding is poised to extend his winning sequence to eight by proving too good for his 11 rivals in the Fifth Leg Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “He should win,” Hall declared. “His was a super run first-up at Bunbury last Saturday night when he ran a 55.6sec. last half and won, unextended. He just cruised in. “He is being set for the Golden Nugget and the McInerney Ford Classic in the summer, but I will not nominate him for the interdominion championship series.” Chicago Bull rated 1.56.1 when he set the pace and won by two lengths from Sky Art over 2100m at Bunbury last Saturday night when having his first start for four months. He gave further proof of his outstanding ability at his previous start when he sprinted home brilliantly to win the $200,000 WA Derby from Lets Chase The Dream last April. Chicago Bull will have to overcome the disadvantage of starting from the outside barrier (No. 9) on the front line on Friday night. But this should prove no obstacle, even considering the strength of the opposition, which includes classy stablemates Overboard Again and Beaudiene Beaufighta, Banjup trainer Colin Brown’s speedy pair Franco Rayner and Just Bet On Black, the Greg and Skye Bond-trained Gaz Wannabet, Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri’s smart pair El Hombre and On My Oath and Kristian Hawkins’s speedy filly Mary Catherine. Hall said that the inexperienced Overboard Again had excellent potential. The American Ideal gelding scored an easy win at his second start in New Zealand last January before arriving in WA where he finished eleventh at his only start in the State, in a WA Derby prelude in early April. “He had no luck in his first preparation here,” Hall said. “He had a hard trial and a hard race and then I spelled him. He has come back reasonably good and should be improved by the run. “I was happy with Beaudiene Beaufighta’s run at Bunbury last Saturday night (when he dashed to an early lead and won easily from stablemate Our Magical Miracle in 1.54.1 over 1609m).” Greg Bond is pleased with Gaz Wannabet’s progress and despite the gelding’s awkward draw at No. 6 on the front line, he considers he is capable of a strong effort and being placed behind Chicago Bull. “The best that Gaz Wannabet was going to do last week was to run second to The Odd Lover --- and that’s what he did,” Bond said. Franco Rayner and Just Bet On Black revealed tremendous gate speed in a 2130m event at Gloucester Park last Friday week when they finished second and third, respectively, behind the frontrunning Galactic Star. Ken Casellas  

Richly-talented harness racing four-year-old Delightful Offer has made a complete recovery from a damaged suspensory ligament and will reappear after a nine-month absence when he contests the Devils Lair Classic Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Greg Bond, who prepares the New Zealand-bred Bettor's Delight gelding in partnership with his wife Skye, said that Delightful Offer would be set for feature summer carnival events, including the rich interdominion championship series in November and December if he remained sound and regained the wonderful form which saw him win at nine of his 12 starts in Western Australia. “He’s been back in work a fair while and he’s fit and forward and ready to run a good race,” he said. “If he stands up I’ll probably nominate him for the big races. We’ll see what he does in the next month to six weeks and go from there.” Delightful Offer has been off the scene since finishing fourth behind Run Oneover and Beaudiene Boaz in a listed classic for four-year-olds at Pinjarra on November 9 last year. He had won at his six previous starts, including victory in the group 3 Higgins Memorial at Gloucester Park when he finished second behind Another Vinnie after a torrid run in the breeze and then being severely checked 250m from home when his stablemate Condrieu broke in front. Later, Delightful Offer was awarded the race after Another Vinnie was disqualified. Delightful Offer, to be driven by Colin Brown, is unlikely to have things all his own way on Friday night when he will have to overcome the awkward drawn at No. 5 on the front line. The unfancied Bettor Party (who has a losing sequence of nine) runs his best races when he leads and Bronson Chabros is likely to attempt to take full advantage of the favourable No. 1 barrier by setting the pace. Serpentine trainer Gary Hall sen. holds a strong hand in the race, with Ideal Justice (a winner at nine of his 16 starts) and American Boy (a winner at 14 of his 19 starts) sure to be prominent. Gary Hall jun. will drive Ideal Justice from barrier two, with his elder brother Clint in the sulky behind American Boy, who faces a hard task from barrier nine. Hall sen. said that he was confident that Ideal Justice would run a big race, saying: “He’s getting better with every run.” Ideal Justice was far from disgraced last Friday night when he worked hard without cover and fought on gamely to finish third behind the pacemaker Northern Assassin. Bond said that it would be wise not to discount the prospects of his second string runner Ima Connoisseur, who has been placed at each of his past four starts. “He is racing very well and must be considered from the inside of the back line,” he said. Adding considerable spice to the race will be the return to racing of star mare Libertybelle Midfrew, an M9-class performer who will start out wide at barrier eight with Mark Reed in the sulky. This will be Libertybelle Midfrew’s first appearance since she finished last in the WA Pacing Cup last January. She is the winner of 16 races and $567,147 in prizemoney and she warmed up for her first-up assignment with a smart trial win at a 1.58.3 rate over 2150m at Byford on Sunday morning. She dashed over the final 400m in 27.9sec. and she was timed at 27.3sec. over the final quarter when second to Smo in a trial a week earlier. Ken Casellas

Shez Our Eye Candy has not raced for ten months, but Coolup harness racing trainer David Young is confident the filly will prove hard to beat when she starts from the prized No. 1 barrier in the Head of the Family Matua Special Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. His confidence was boosted when he drove Shez Our Eye Candy to an all-the-way win in a 2185m trial at Pinjarra on Sunday morning. “She’s a bit green and didn’t like leading very much,” Young said. “I’ve changed the gear because she wants to get down the track. I had block blinkers on her in the trial and I think that the problem was that she couldn’t see the horses outside of her. “When the horse who was on her back pulled out and put three quarters of a length on her she got going and kicked back and won the trial. I’ve also put a Murphy blind on the near side to stop her from running down, and she’ll have a Dolly on the outside. These changes should sharpen her up.” Shez Our Eye Candy won the trial by a nose from Dai Ben De, rating 2.3.8, with a final quarter in 29sec. At her previous trial the previous Sunday she led early and then sat behind the pacemaker The Shadow Knows, who went on to win easily, with Shez Our Eye Candy a distant fourth in a field of four. “She hung down badly and lost her momentum,” Young said. “However, she still ran home in about 58sec. and now I hope her problem of hanging has been cured.” Young started this week in style when he produced Bush Chook in fine fettle for an easy all-the-way win at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. This ended the five-year-old’s losing sequence of 17. Shez Our Eye Candy was purchased for $4500 by John Hope at Rob Tomlinson’s dispersal sale about 11 or 12 weeks ago. The filly had four starts at Pinjarra as an early three-year-old last September and October, with her best effort a first-up third behind Jaxine Jones. She is well bred, being by champion sire Bettor's Delight and out of the Courage Under Fire mare Priscilla Rocks, who raced 31 times for eight wins and ten placings for earnings of $115,710. She finished a neck second to Silver Tail Adda in the group 1 Golden Slipper in July 2007 and was a close third behind Ruby Dazzler in the group 1 WA Oaks in 2008. The main dangers to Shez Our Eye Candy on Friday night are likely to be Gunna Get Lucky, Delightful Days, Parisian Partygirl and Melimac. Ken Casellas

New Zealand-bred Bettor's Delight four-year-old Bungalow Bill was gallant in defeat when second to Mattjestic Star last Friday night and Greg Bond, who trains the harness racing gelding in partnership with his wife Skye, considers he will go one better and win the $20,500 The Seppelt Long Drive Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Bungalow Bill, to be driven by Ryan Bell, has drawn perfectly at No. 1 in the 2130m event and Bond declared: “He’ll definitely hold up and lead and prove very hard to run down. I was very happy with his effort last week when he started from the outside in the field of nine over 1730m.” Bungalow Bill raced three wide in the early stages and then worked hard in the breeze outside Calais before taking a narrow lead 350m from home. He was overhauled 60m from the post by the fast-finishing Mattjestic Star, who rated 1.55.4. The lightly-raced Bungalow Bill (20 starts for nine wins and fiver placings) is one of three Bond runners in Friday night’s event, the others being Assassinator (barrier three) and Holy Grail (six). “Assassinator and Holy Grail will need luck, but are capable of being placed,” Bond said. Royal Mach, to be driven by Chris Lewis for Collie trainer David Hunter, appears Bungalow Bill’s chief rival from the favourable No. 2 barrier. Another Vinnie, a smart all-the-way winner last Friday night, should be prominent, despite starting from the outside of the front line. And Rycroft, trained by Mike Reed and a winner at two of his past three starts, will have admirers from the inside of the back line. The Bond camp also has good winning prospects with Ohoka Squire (Penfold Max Classic) and Risk (third heat of the Spring Into Summer Schrader Pace). Ohoka Squire ended a losing sequence of ten when Mitchell Miller drove him in fine style to score an impressive victory at a 1.54.8 rate over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night. The seven-year-old sustained a powerful three-wide burst from the rear to hit the front 270m from home. He then drew away from the opposition. Ohoka Squire has drawn the coveted No. 1 barrier on Friday night and Miller is expected to make use of the gelding’s gate speed and attempt an all-the-way win over the 2130m journey. Before Tuesday night’s success, Ohoka Squire’s previous win was when he led from the No. 1 barrier and beat Znana and Major Dancer over 1730m at Gloucester Park last November. Risk will be handled by Ryan Bell from the No. 2 barrier on Friday night and the New Zealand-bred four-year-old looks hard to beat. He made a successful Australian debut when he began badly from 40m at Northam on Tuesday of last week and raced in the breeze in the middle stages before winning by a head from Tuapeka Kahu over 2560m. “He’s a nice type of horse who raced in good company in New Zealand --- in the Messenger, Taylor Mile and the Jewels --- against some good horses,” Bond said. “He has impressed us and won in good style, first-up at Northam. He was quite clear (of the opposition) on the corner. Ryan (Warwick) sat up on him and the horse took advantage of that and switched off a bit. That won’t happen again. I expect him to be pretty hard to beat on Friday night.” Ken Casellas

There were tears and cheers aplenty at Gloucester Park last Saturday night when a joyful band of harness racing owners celebrated the debut victory of Tims Portrait in a minor event. They had gathered together in the determined hope of honouring the wish of Tim Earnshaw, who died at the age of 43 last February after losing a gallant fight against cancer. Emotional scenes from nine of the ten part-owners followed Tims Portrait’s all-the-way win in a $3000 R0-class event. They were ecstatic that the WA-bred four-year-old gelding, trained by Kevin Keys and driven by Gary Hall jun., had won and realised a dream hatched by Earnshaw almost four years ago. The New Zealand-born Earnshaw settled in WA about 25 years ago and he quickly made his mark as an astute trainer and reinsman. Earnshaw gained Tims Portrait as a yearling from breeder Mick Cunnold and at the time he said that he had no intention of racing the pacer until he was at least four years old. He wanted to give the youngster every chance to mature and fill out. This was because Tims Portrait’s dam Just Helen’s previous foals had all been finely built and lightly framed. They had all taken time to develop and five of her first six foals had all been winners. They included Menelaus of Sparta (21 wins and 29 placings for stakes of $176,536), Ultimate Hanover (six wins, four placings and $47,674) and Twisk (nine wins, 17 placings and $42,365). Serpentine trainer Jarrad Humphries, a friend of Earnshaw for many years, said that shortly before his death Earnshaw had said it was his dream that Tims Portrait would develop sufficiently to be able to race. “Grant Bracken owned the horse with Tim and I decided it would be great to get a group of Tim’s friends together to take a small share in the pacer,” Humphries said. Bracken, the major shareholder was away working and missed Tims Portrait’s first-up triumph. But the other owners, Humphries, Earnshaw’s widow Karen, Nick Bidner, Colin Lavin, Mark Maguire, Brad Seinor, Lewis Maxwell, Graeme Smith and Lannie Bell, were at Gloucester Park to cheer the horse home. Humphries said that Keys had done a fantastic job to produce Tims Portrait in such fine fettle to achieve victory at his first start. “And credit is also due to Phil Duggan, who gave the pacer a good preparation before the gelding went to Keys,” Humphries said. “This was an important stepping stone. Tims Portrait is still very green and Kevin did a marvellous job to get him right for his first-up win. He certainly knew how important it was for the horse to realise Tim’s dream. “All of us were on course for the win and it was a pretty emotional time. This took a lot of pressure off and now whatever the horse does will be a bonus. It was also a special moment for Karen, who has had health problems in the past year.” Tims Portrait, a black gelding by American sire Modern Art, is the seventh foal out of Just Helen, a mare by American stallion No Fission. Just Helen managed three wins and five placings from 20 starts for earnings of $10,623. Her dam Happy Helen (by Judge Hanover) was a handy performer in WA, with her 98 starts producing 18 wins and 29 placings for stakes of $59,310. Earnshaw, born in Melton, not far from Christchurch, gained his licence to drive and was only 16 when he landed his first couple of winners in the south island of New Zealand. He also was a highly-promising rugby player. He took an immediate liking to Perth on a visit to WA as a teenager and he decided to settle here. He worked in the stables of prominent trainers Bill Horn (for 12 months) and Trevor Warwick (for six months). Early in 1993 he got his first pacer, Majuka, from trainer Colin Brown, and at his first start for his new trainer Majuka was narrowly beaten in a race at Wagin on April 24, 1993. Then for the next eight years Earnshaw worked diligently as an underground miner, drilling for gold in the Northern Territory, The Simpson Desert and in Kalgoorlie and for diamonds at Argyle. It was while living in Kalgoorlie for six years that Earnshaw regained his interest in pacing.  He telephoned Humphries, who sent him Mister Recall and Duke Humphrey. And at his second start for Earnshaw, in Kalgoorlie on October 5, 2001, Duke Humphrey gave Earnshaw his first winner in Australia when he raced three back on the rails before charging home along the sprint lane to beat Zalambi. That win came 3086 days after Earnshaw failed by a nose, first-up, with Majuka at Wagin. This was followed by a stream of winners in Kalgoorlie with Mister Recall (two), Eight Ball (two), Striking Fella (four), Classiconia, The Little Hill, Gretskie, Panjandrum and North of Virginia. Striking Fella, trained by Brett Snell, and driven by Earnshaw, gave an outstanding performance to win three feature events over vastly different distances in the space of eight days. First came a four-length victory over Double Your bet in a mobile 1718m sprint on November 30, 2002. Then, three nights later, Striking Fella galloped from the 50m mark in a 2518m event before he finished powerfully to win from Straight There. The remarkable hat-trick came up four nights later when Striking Fella started from 40m in the 2918m Kalgoorlie Cup and he won by a head from Sovereign Heir. Soon after that Earnshaw left Kalgoorlie and set up stables in Banjup. Neighbouring trainer Ian Davie gave him the drive behind Harkin in an event for fillies in Bunbury. Harkin raced in the breeze before bursting to the front in the final stages to win from Go On Tempt Me, paying the massive straight-out dividend of $101.80. More winners followed and Earnshaw enjoyed considerable success with Long Shot Lou, winning 13 races with him in the mid-2000s.   Ken Casellas

Our Jimmy Johnstone is rapidly developing into one of Western Australia’s leading harness racing contenders for the TABtouch Interdominion championship late this year and he will enhance his reputation if he overcomes a wide draw and wins the $23,000 Hi Temp Services Pace over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Though the New Zealand-bred seven-year-old trained by Greg and Skye Bond is not generally regarded as a sprint specialist, he is, indeed, a talented sprinter, with his four appearances over 1730m producing a win at a 1.53.7 rate, two seconds and a sixth. He also finished third to My Hard Copy over 1609m at Bunbury in June last year. To notch his third win in a row Our Jimmy Johnstone will have to overcome the disadvantage of starting out wide at barrier eight in the field of nine on Friday night. He has the ability, the class and the form to do that. Our Jimmy Johnstone showed good gate speed from barrier five in a 2130m event last Friday night and Ryan Warwick dashed him to the front after 500m. The gelding was untroubled to reel off quarters in 29.5sec., 28.7sec., 27.8sec. and 28.8sec. and he was not extended in winning by just over two lengths from Waylade at a 1.54.2 rate. A week earlier Our Jimmy Johnstone started from the back line in a 2536m event. He raced in sixth position in the one-wide line before moving to fourth, three wide, at the bell and then taking the lead 320m from home and winning easily by two and a half lengths from the fast-finishing Mighty Flying Thomas at a 1.55.8 rate. Ricimer, trained by Gary Hall sen., has struck a purple patch and the brilliant frontrunner has strung together five wins in a row at Gloucester Park. He will start from the No. 4 barrier, but is no certainty to set the pace, with speedy beginner and smart frontrunner Dredlock Rockstar drawn the coveted No. 1 barrier. Dredlock Rockstar, trained in Busselton by Jamie Howlett, has been freshened up and will be having his first start for eight weeks. The most recent time Dredlock Rockstar started from the No. 1 barrier was five starts ago, over 1730m at Gloucester Park on April 15 when Ash Markham drove him to a convincing all-the-way victory over Bronze Seeker, rating 1.53.9. His final quarters were run in 27.2sec., 30.4sec., 29.4sec. and 27.2sec. A repeat of that performance would make him hard to beat this week. Copagrin, to be driven by Morgan Woodley for West Swan trainer John Guagliardo, is favourably drawn at barrier two and is capable of a strong showing. His two runs after a spell have been encouraging. He impressed last Friday week when he was ninth at the bell before rattling home to finish a close-up fifth behind Our Jimmy Johnstone. The Hall stable will be represented by Ricimer, Waylade and Cyamach, with Waylade and Cyamach facing tough tasks from wide draws. However, Waylade started from barrier six last Friday night and caught the eye when he finished strongly from seventh at the bell to be second to Our Jimmy Johnstone. Considerable interest will surround the reappearance of top-flight pacer Bettors Fire, a brilliant sprinter as well as being a powerful stayer. Bettors Fire is trained and driven by Kyle Harper and is being set for the TABtouch interdominion championship series in November and December. He has not raced since finishing second to the pacemaker Cyamach in the 2130m Lord Mayor’s Cup at Gloucester Park on January 29. Proof of Bettors Fire’s sprinting ability is in the fact that he has won the 1730m Mount Eden Sprint in November 2013, rating 1.53.8 in defeating Im Victorious and Dredlock Rockstar. He was third behind Sensational Gabby and Dredlock Rockstar in the 2014 Mount Eden Sprint and fourth behind Waylade, My Hard Copy and Libertybelle Midfrew in that event last November. Ken Casellas

Oldbury harness racing trainer-reinsman Kim Prentice has a high opinion of classy four-year-old The Odd Lover, who should return to the winning list when he contests the Westside Auto Wholesale Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The New Zealand-bred stallion has finished a close second at each of his three starts since resuming from a spell and punters will be keen to support him this week when he starts out wide at barrier eight in an event which should develop into a match between him and promising three-year-old Gaz Wannabet. The Art Major stallion was gallant in defeat last Friday night when a neck second to the pacemaker American Boy. The Odd Lover started from the outside of the back line and Prentice sent him forward, three wide, in the early stages. He met with a check on the turn into the home straight in the first lap, but was quickly able to move to the outside of American Boy. After slow opening quarters of the final mile in 32.2sec. and 31sec., the final sections whizzed by in 28.4sec. and 27.2sec., with American Boy winning by a neck. That followed The Odd Lover’s first-up half-length second to Sky Art over 2569m at Bunbury and his neck second to the pacemaker Galactic Star in a 2096m stand at Gloucester Park when he had a tough run in the breeze. “He was a little bit underdone when beaten by Galactic Star,” Prentice said. “However, it was a very good run, considering that the leader ran home in 55sec. flat, with a 26.9sec. final quarter. ”The Odd Lover is in the early stages of a long campaign. I’d like him to be an interdominion runner at the end of next year. In the short term I’ll see if we can pick some good races for him during the summer carnival.” The Odd Lover has already earned $98,560 from ten wins and seven seconds from just 19 starts. Gaz Wannabet, to be driven by Ryan Warwick for trainers Greg and Skye Bond, has raced 15 times for four wins and four placings. He had a tough run, three wide early and then in the breeze, when second to Rocknroll Whitby over 2130m last Friday week.     Ken Casellas

Forrestdale trainers Greg and Skye Bond and No. 1 stable driver Ryan Warwick are riding high after landing five winners from six starters at Northam on Tuesday night and harness racing punters would be well advised to follow the stable throughout the ten-event program at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The stable will have 11 runners (plus two emergencies) and it should produce the best bet of the night in up-and-coming New Zealand-bred six-year-old Char Do Neigh, who is in dazzling form and has the ability to overcome the wide barrier (No. 7) and prove too strong for his 11 rivals in the 2130m second heat of the Slater Gartrell Sports Schrader Pace. Char Do Neigh has been most impressive since arriving in WA from New Zealand and his first five starts in the State have produced four wins and a fighting second to the pacemaker Rub of the Green after racing wide early and then in the breeze. The Bettor's Delight gelding was not extended when he set the pace and won from Three Kings at a 1.56.8 rate over 2130m last Friday night. His chief rivals this week appear to be Ideal Justice (barrier six) and Northern Assassin (barrier one). Ideal Justice, a winner at nine of his 15 starts, reappeared after a ten-month absence at Gloucester Park last Friday night when he was the only runner off the back line and trailed the pacemaker Billies A Star before surging forward to get on terms with the leader 90m from the post. However, his fitness gave out slightly in the final stages of a 56.7sec. final 800m and he was a gallant second, just a neck from the winner. He is sure to be improved by the outing. Northern Assassin cannot be underestimated from the prized No. 1 barrier. The WA-bred six-year-old, trained in Busselton by Peter Bell, is a speedy beginner and noted frontrunner who could take plenty of catching. Ryan Bell, son of the trainer, will be in the sulky and he is sure to attempt an all-the-way victory. Northern Assassin’s recent form has been quite sound. His past six starts have produced one second (beaten a head by Lord Lombo after a very tough run over 1609m at Bunbury), two thirds and three fourths. Apart from Char Do Neigh, the Bonds have excellent prospects with last-start winners Ima Tragedy and Assassinator in race five, Phoenix Warrior (race seven), Bungalow Bill (eight) and Gaz Wannabet (nine). The Bond stable had six starts at Northam on Tuesday night and was successful with Kinda Black, Risk, Cerato, Messi and Stroganoff, all driven by Warwick. The camp was celebrating a tremendous milestone of training 200 winners in WA this season. This was achieved at Bunbury on Monday afternoon when Warwick was successful with 11/2 chance Pay Me Cullen, who overcame the back mark of 70m to finish boldly from eighth at the bell to beat the pacemaker and hot favourite James Coburn by a neck over 2503m. The Bonds now look set to take out the title as the State’s leading trainers this season. The stable has landed 205 winners and leads from Gary Hall sen. (183 winners) and Courtney Burch and Justin Prentice (each with 76 winners). Ken Casellas  

Boyanup trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice has got the well-performed former New Zealand pacer Our Sky Major back on track after two disappointing efforts by the five-year-old at his first two starts in Western Australia in June and he has high hopes of a harness racing victory in the $25,000 Marathon Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Our Sky Major will need to be at his best to overcome the disadvantage of starting off the 30m mark. But he is undoubtedly the class runner in the field of 12, with earnings of $786,407 from 16 wins and 18 placings from 56 starts, None of his rivals can boast such an outstanding record, which includes three group 1 victories --- the $100,000 Messenger Championship at Alexandra Park, the $150,000 Emerald at Canterbury and the $120,000 Chariots of Fire at Menangle as a four-year-old, as well as a win in the group 2 Paleface Adios Stakes at Menangle. He also has been placed in two other group 1 events. Our Sky Major warmed up for this week’s assignment in fine style with a stylish victory at a 1.57.4 rate in a 2536m mobile event at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week. The son of Art Major started from the outside (barrier No. 9) on the front line and was restrained to the rear. He was still in 12th position after a lap before Prentice sent him forward, three wide, with 1250m to travel. He was sixth at the bell and got to the front 250m from the post and went on to win by a length from Livura, with final sectionals of 28.4sec. and 28.3sec. Prentice will be looking for his second success in the Marathon after he scored a thrilling last-stride victory by a head over the pacemaker Move Over in 2011. He also has driven placegetters in three other Marathons, finishing third with Global Force in 2008, second with Anvils Big Punt in 2012 and second with This Time Dylan in 2014. This Time Dylan’s trainer Michael Brennan is confident of a strong showing from his emerging five-year-old Naughty Maravu, who will start off the 10m mark and will be driven by Gary Hall jun. Naughty Maravu has returned to top form in recent weeks. He dashed to the front after 650m and set a solid pace when he beat Our Sky Major in a 2503m stand at Gloucester Park two starts ago. Our Sky Major finished determinedly from seventh at the bell to finish a half-length from the winner. Then Naughty Maravu started from 50m in a 2503m stand when he raced three wide for much of the way and finished a head second to Assassinator. Hall has won the Marathon behind Im Themightyquinn in 2010 and Code Red in 2012, as well as finishing head seconds with Vintage Concerto in 2007 and Norvic Nightowl last year. e also droive Why Live Dangerlusly into bthird place behind Glacier Star in 2011.  He also finished third with Why Live Dangerously in 2011. Phoenix Warrior, who will share the 30m back mark with Our Sky Major and Courage Tells, will have many admirers. Phoenix Warrior, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, impressed with a strong win in a 2536m mobile at Gloucester Park last Friday week when he started from the outside of the back line and sustained a powerful burst over the final 1500m to beat Courage Tells at a 1.58.1 rate. Phoenix Warrior started off 20m and 30m, respectively, at his two previous outings over 2503m when he covered a good deal of extra ground and fought on grandly to finish third to Our Jericho and second to Ohoka Cooper. Ken Casellas

New Zealand-bred gelding Galactic Star appeals as a rising star and he should give leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond a flying start to the ten-event harness racing program at Gloucester Park on Friday night by proving too speedy for his 11 rivals in the opening event, the Pace for three-year-olds. The Bonds and reinsman Ryan Warwick will also be strongly fancied to continue the good work by winning the second and third events with Bettor Offer and Char Do Neigh. The Bond stable also has sound winning prospects later in the night with Offtocullect, Our Jimmy Johnstone and Delightful Days. Galactic Star will begin from the prized No. 1 barrier and he is expected to set a brisk pace and prove too good for the opposition, which includes several smart three-year-olds. The son of Bettor's Delight returns to mobile racing after stands at Gloucester Park and Pinjarra at his past two starts. He warmed up for Friday night’s assignment in dashing style with a smart all-the-way win from A Bit Ruthless over 2631m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon when he sped over the final quarters in 27.7sec. and 27.1sec. That improved his record to seven wins, five seconds and two thirds from 17 starts. Considerable interest in this race will be focused on Beaudiene Beaufighta, a full-brother to champion four-year-old Beaudiene Boaz who will be making his Australian debut after having four starts at Alexandra Park last October for a first-up victory (when he led after 400m and sprinted over the final 400m in 27.5sec.) and two placings. Beaudiene Beaufighta is trained by Gary Hall sen. and will be driven by Gary Hall jun. He will start from the inside of the back line, immediately behind Galactic Star. “This is the deep end for him,” said Hall jun. “But he’s drawn to get a soft run and his trials have been pretty good.” Hall has driven Beaudiene Beaufighta in 2150m trials at Byford on the past two Sunday mornings for very easy wins. “He only does what he has to and it’s hard to get a real guide on him. I’ll say he’ll do enough to run second to Galactic Star,” Hall said. Ohoka Darcy is another New Zealand-bred youngster in the race who has shown excellent ability for trainer-reinsman Nathan Turvey. A winner at three of his eight New Zealand starts, he has raced five times in WA for three wins and a nose second to Vanquished. “He’s done a good job so far,” Turvey said. “I think that we’re as good as anything in the race, but the barrier draw (No. 6) probably hurts. I’ll probably push forward and see what happens.”    

Outstanding harness racing four-year-old Beaudiene Boaz is on a steep learning curve and he faces a stern test when he starts from the outside barrier (No. 9) on the front line in the $23,000 TABtouch Interdominion final on Friday December 9 Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night, according to champion reinsman Gary Hall jun. A comparative novice in open-class ranks, Beaudiene Boaz is expected to start a warm favourite despite his surprise failure when sixth at 2/1 on behind Our Jimmy Johnstone over 2536m last Friday night. Hall is not fazed or unduly concerned at the loss, considering the horse was having his second start after a six-month absence. Beaudiene Boaz started from barrier nine last week and Hall restrained him to the rear. Beaudiene Boaz raced in last position before starting a three-wide move approaching the bell. He fought on gamely out wide to finish sixth behind Our Jimmy Johnstone. “Over the line he was stuffed,” Hall said. ”The winner went just over a second outside the track record and Beaudiene Boaz came from last. Getting ready for the Inters, he needs runs like that --- and lots of them. He can do it and run those times when he’s up there (in front or close to the lead). “But he’s got to learn; he’s got to have those runs to get ready for the Inters. He’s just not used to having to do that (coming from behind). He’s been used to being up there and running those times. He’s not used to being off the track, and it’s a different ball game. “But I’m not too worried. I well remember The Falcon Strike as a four-year-old. He’s a horse who I liken his racing style to that of Beaudiene Boaz. At his first run in a genuine Free-For-All he was three wide at the 1200m. They ran a super quick time and he dropped out and ran fourth (behind Another Party in January 2002). “The following week The Falcon Strike won the Fremantle Cup (by five lengths from Big Town Walton) and a week later he won the WA Pacing Cup (from Lombo Rapida). So it’s just a matter of a horse getting used to it (coming from behind and racing in top company).” Trainer Gary Hall sen. holds a strong hand in Friday night’s race, with five of the 12 runners --- Beaudiene Boaz, Run Oneover, Cyamach, My Hard Copy and Waylade. All five are capable of fighting out the finish in a race in which they will be tested by Our Jimmy Johnstone, who caused an upset last Friday night when he started from barrier two on the back line and raced in sixth position before starting a three-wide burst approaching the bell. Our Jimmy Johnstone surged to the front 320m from home and won from the fast-finishing Mighty Flying Thomas and Im Riddick. Our Jimmy Johnstone has struck top form for leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond and reinsman Ryan Warwick and most pundits consider that the seven-year-old will begin speedily from barrier five and dash to an early lead, with the in-form Run Oneover (Clint Hall) expected to go forward in the first lap in a bid to race in the breeze. Ken Casellas

Star harness racing reinsman Chris Lewis has been snapped up to drive Master Jaxon by owner-breeder John Bell and Collie trainer David Hunter in the $25,000 Kerry Clarke Westbred Four and Five-Year-Old final at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Master Jaxon has drawn awkwardly at barrier seven in the 2130m event, but Lewis, fresh from landing a treble at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night, has excellent prospects of overcoming that disadvantage. Lewis will be handling Master Jaxon for the first time in a race. He replaces Stuart McDonald, who has driven the four-year-old in both his starts for Hunter, but is now serving a term of suspension. The son of Cams Fool boasts an excellent record of 11 wins, eight seconds and two thirds from 32 starts and the stable’s confidence was boosted by the horse’s eye-catching performance in a 2100m event at Bunbury last Saturday night. Master Jaxon was restrained from barrier six and was last in the field of 12 with a lap to travel before he unwound a spirited finishing burst to be second to Sky Art. The third quarter of the final mile was covered in a slick 27.7sec. before a final section in 29sec. A fast pace in Friday night’s race will suit Master Jaxon, and this is a strong possibility, with Jax Or Better (barrier one), Bhagwan (two) and Three Bears (three) all possessing good gate speed and being proven frontrunners. Jax Or Better will be driven by Kyle Harper for Pinjarra owner-trainer Mark Lee. The gelding’s most recent success was when he started from the No. 1 barrier and set the pace before beating Spendthelot over 2190m at Northam last February. Three Bears, to be driven by Kiara Davies for Busselton owner-trainer Barry Howlett, is a brilliant frontrunner who has won at nine of his 20 starts this season. He led and won by almost six lengths from Master Jaxon at Pinjarra three starts ago before he made most of the running and held on to win narrowly from the talented Bungalow Bill on the same track a week later. Then he started from barrier seven at Gloucester Park last Friday night when he was restrained to the rear. He fought on doggedly, out wide, from 12th at the bell to finish eighth behind Rub Of The Green. Bhagawn, to be driven by Kristy Sheehy for Oakford trainer Neil Lloyd, runs his best races in front and he will prove hard to beat if he gets to the lead in the early stages on Friday night. He was a 42/1 outsider when he started from the outside of the back line in a 2536m mobile event at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night. He battled on from last at the bell to finish seventh, eight lengths behind the winner Our Sky Major. Choccy Mac, to be driven from barrier four by his trainer Justin Prentice, is capable of a bold effort. He has won at ten of his 31 starts and was an effortless all-the-way winner at Narrogin two starts ago. Ken Casellas

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