Search Results
1 to 16 of 1974
1 2 3 4 5 Next »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Champion harness racing trainer Gary Hall has sounded an ominous warning to rivals ahead of Friday night’s Sully's Painting New Seasons Pace at Gloucester Park. Set to launch a four-pronged attack on the feature, Hall is confident he only requires one runner – promising pacer, Northview Punter. Although drawn awkwardly on the outside of the second row, Northview Punter only has to repeat last week’s August Cup performance to emerge triumphant once again. “Even though he is a noted front runner and loves leading, he’ll be the one to beat,” Hall said. “The journey (2536 metres) is right up his alley.” Northview Punter led throughout on a rain-affected track to complete a decisive win from Ima Rocket Star in the Cup, which was contested over the same distance. Northview Punter, the youngest runner in the field, will again be driven by Gary Hall junior, who combined with his father to win the New Seasons Pace with Southern Ruler in 2005 and Talk To Me Courage in 2009. Hall’s other runners are Our Arlington, which will begin from the outside of the front line, Benjamin Banneker, barrier five, and Livingontheinterest, gate 11. Seven-year-old Livingontheinterest adds considerable interest to the race. A winner at 20 of his 44 starts, he will be first-up since his unlucky 10th behind Beautide in the Inter Domnion at Menangle last March. Before that the son of Dream Away was a nose second to Im Victorious over 2536 metres at Gloucester Park, and at his previous outing. he led throughout the Lord Mayor's Cup. “Livingontheinterest probably needs the run,” Hall said. A Hall victory will see the Serpentine mentor equal the race record held by veteran Byford horseman, Tony Svilicich, who captured the event with Taihape Tickler (2006) and Has The Answers (2010 and 2011). Ken Casellas

Woodley to break through in August Cup Morgan Woodley, who has driven a placegetter in three of the past four August Cups, has high hopes of breaking through for his first victory in the winter feature event by scoring with David Hercules in the $35,000 Curtin FM August Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. David Hercules, trained at Byford by David Thompson, has drawn fairly at barrier four on the front line, but is likely to be left in the breeze outside the likely pacemaker Northview Punter, who will start from the coveted No. 1 barrier in the 2536m event. Trainer Gary Hall sen. conceded that he was slightly disappointed at Northview Punter's effort when second behind stablemate Our Arlington in a 2503m stand last Friday night. But his spirits were boosted after the random barrier draw. David Hercules proved the master of Northview Punter three starts ago when he started from the No. 5 barrier and worked hard in the breeze before finishing strongly to beat the pacemaking Northview Punter by a half-length, rating 1.55.7 over 2130m. David Hercules was gallant in defeat when fourth behind Reuben Brogden in a 1730m sprint last Friday night. He was at a significant disadvantage, starting from the outside of the back line. He settled at the rear before Woodley started a three-wide move 1100m from home. The seven-year-old sustained a strong effort to finish just under two lengths from the winner. David Hercules had been most impressive in winning at his four previous starts (after resuming from a spell), winning twice each over 2130m and 2536m. Friday night's event will be the 63rd running of the August Cup and Thompson is hoping that David Hercules will become just the eighth horse to complete the Winter Cup-August Cup double in the one season. Those to have achieved this feat are Tavis (1975), Peter Anstey (1977), High Moore (1979), Preux Chevalier (1985), Manageable (1989), Shattering Class (1998 and 1999) and Another Party (2000). Woodley's placegetters in recent August Cups have been Mysta Magical Mach (third behind Im Themightyquinn in 2010), Has The Answers (third behind Lombo Navigator and Rocket Reign in a thrilling three-way photo finish in 2011) and Has The Answers (second to Uppy Son last year). Mysta Magical Mach and Has The Answers were prepared by Tony Svilicich, who won the August Cup with Digger of Fortune in 2003. Svilicich has trained six minor placegetters in the past six August Cups. In 2008 he was represented by Roydon Holmes and Demoralizer. Roydon Holmes (9/1) led until the final 20m and finished a close second to Glencadam, and Demoralizer was third. He did not have a runner in 2009 before Has The Answers led until the final 50m when second to Im Themightyquinn in 2010. His other runner Mysta Magical Mach was third. A year later Has The Answers (6/4 on) set the pace when third. In the 2012 August Cup Mysta Magical Mach (6/1) set the pace and was two lengths in front with 120m to travel before being swamped and was relegated to fifth behind Dasher VC. Twelve months ago Has The Answers was favourite at 6/4 when set the pace from barrier two and led until the final 90m when beaten by the fast-finishing Uppy Son. This year Svilicich will be represented by outsider Shardons Rocket, who will be driven by Chris Lewis, but faces an extremely difficult task from the outside of the back line. The August Cup is a particularly significant event for Hall sen., who had the distinction of training Zakara for his four wins in the race --- in 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1994. Hall's other August Cup winner was Im Themightyquinn, who started at 5/2 on in 2010 when he got to the front 50m from the post before defeating the pacemaker Has The Answers. The Cup prospects on Friday night of last-start winners Reuben Brogden and Our Arlington were boosted when they drew favourably at No. 2 and No. 3 on the front line. Reuben Brogden, trained by his owner Gary Elson, was most impressive last Friday night when he was tenth at the 500m mark and stormed home from sixth, five wide, on the home turn to defeat Old McDonald at a 1.54.4 rate over 1730m. Our Arlington also caught the eye last Friday night when he galloped soon after the start and settled down a distant ninth before dashing forward to move into the breeze 1400m from home and then gained the one-out, one-back trail and then finishing boldly to snatch victory from Northview Punter. Hall predicts big things for Machtu Champion trainer Gary Hall sen. has labelled Machtu the second best pacer in his Serpentine stables and is bubbling with confidence that the New Zealand-bred three-year-old will make a triumphant return to racing by proving too powerful for his rivals in the 2130m Glengarry Spectacles Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Machtu will be making his first appearance for 20 weeks when he starts out wide at No. 4 on the back line for champion reinsman Gary Hall jun. This will be the gelding's first start since he finished a close third behind Three Blind Mice and Eyre Crusher in the WA Derby early last April. "He has returned in great shape and his trials at Byford on the past two Sundays have been phenomenal," said an enthusiastic Hall sen. "He won both his trials, beating open-class horses and you would think that he would just win on Friday night. "In a 2550m stand on Sunday Machtu led and beat his open-class stablemate Livingontheinterest by a length after sprinting the final 400m in 27.9sec. In a 2150m mobile the previous Sunday he led and covered the final 800m in 56.5sec. and beat top-class pacer David Hercules on his merits. "Machtu is the second best horse in our stable, behind Im Themightyquinn. We are really happy with him and his long-term mission is the interdominion championship in Perth in 2016. At the moment we will take races as they come and see how he goes. "Quinny is back in work and is coming along nicely. He should resume racing towards the end of October and his main target is the $700,000 New Zealand Cup on the second Tuesday in November. It's a stand and he will draw the front line." Machtu, who has won at seven of his 12 starts, is one of three Hall runners in Friday night's race, the others being High Courage (No. 3 on the front line) and Classic American (outside of the back line). High Courage and Classic American are smart colts, but appear a class below Machtu. Nonetheless, each will be fancied to figure in the finish along with Burning, the promising Mach Three colt in the stables of Greg and Skye Bond. Burning, a speedy frontrunner and winner at seven of his 16 starts, will begin from the inside of the back line. An all-the way Pinjarra winner three starts ago, he lost few admirers when a fighting second to Elegant Christian over 2130m last Friday night after working hard without cover. Hall sets sights on 250 winners There is no stopping the all-conquering Hall training complex and now champion horseman Gary Hall sen. has lifted the bar and is setting himself fresh challenges as the 2013-14 season comes to an end. The Hall camp has 14 starters on the ten-event program at Gloucester Park on Friday night and punters would be well advised to include all 14 runners in their thoughts. Hall, a runaway winner of the trainers' premiership, would dearly love to end the season in a blaze of glory on Friday night. Leading reinsman Gary Hall jun. also would love to wind up the city season by winning the final event with honest performer Globalization in the Pedrini Painting Westbred Pathway Pace. Hall sen. leads the Metropolitan trainers' premiership with 169 wins --- a mile head of Greg and Skye Bond (63), Ross Olivieri (62), Debbie Padberg (32) and Andrew De Campo (25). On all tracks in Western Australia during the season he has had 814 starters for 209 winners, 116 seconds and 96 thirds for prizemoney of $2,966,533. In second place is the Bond stable with 146 winners and 128 placegetters from 817 starters. This is the first time a trainer has prepared more than 200 winners in a season in this State. Hall currently has 50 horses in work and he wants to keep the winners rolling in. "My aim for the 2014-15 season is to train 250 winners and to win the WA Pacing Cup for the ninth time," he declared. "Im Themightyquinn will run in the Cup, providing the wheels stay on." Hall is also looking for big things from exciting three-year-old Machtu and he also predicted bright futures for many of his horses, including Beaudiene Boaz, Nuala, Zennart and Juliana Bromac. Get on Machs A Pearler Unfavourable barriers have dogged Machs A Pearler in recent weeks and the New Zealand-bred four-year-old should greatly appreciate starting from the prized No. 1 barrier in the first event at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The honest gelding, trained at Forrestdale by Greg and Skye Bond, looks a good thing and punters should establish a good bank for the night by supporting him to end a losing sequence of seven. Machs A Pearler has enjoyed little luck recently after starting from the back line three times and from the outside of the front line twice at his past five outings. He is a smart frontrunner ideally suited over the sprint trip of 1730m. Punters should take it into serious consideration that he has led in ten of his 490 starts for five wins and five second placings. The Bond stable has 13 runners on Friday night, including six starters in the $25,000 King's Park Fashion Schrader final over 2130m. Four of those runners --- Tuapeka Kahu, Lunar Tide, Bettor Offer and Im Terrific --- are last-start winners, while the other two, Jay Bees Grin and Condrieu each finished third at their most recent outing and have sound prospects. Libertybelle Midfrew runs a sizzling trial Star filly Libertybelle Midfrew looms large as the best bet on the ten-event program at Gloucester Park on Friday night after running a superb trial at Byford on Sunday morning. Libertybelle Midfrew, trained by Mike Reed and to be driven by his son Mark, has the class to overcome the disadvantage of starting from barrier seven, the outside of the front line in the 1730m Casey Australia Pace. She warmed up for the race in dashing style at Byford on Sunday morning when she raced wide early and then took up the running before careering away from her four rivals to win the 2150m trial by almost 19 lengths from Shezablaze, rating 1.57.1 after sprinting over the final 800m in 56sec. This performance showed that the filly was poised to make amends for her shock first-up defeat at 10/1 on when she raced without cover and finished third behind Harriet Elisabeth and Jungle Jewel over 2130m on August 1. That was her first appearance since scoring a runaway victory in the WA Oaks on May 9 to take her West Australian record to five starts for five wins. Making good appeal as a placegetter is the Andrew De Campo-trained Maddy White, who should be prominent throughout from the No. 2 barrier on the front line. The David Thompson-trained Harriet Elisabeth has won at seven of her 18 starts and is capable of a bold showing from barrier three on the back line. Where Dreams Grow, trained and driven by Justin Prentice, has won at each of her past three starts, two at Bunbury and then one at Gloucester Park, when she set the pace from barrier two. But she faces a stern test from the No. 6 barrier.  Ken Casellas  

In 1983, trainer-reinsman Gary Hall Sr was broke, jobless and with four kids under five. Things were looking decidedly grim for Hall, his then-wife Sue and their young family until the relatively unknown, unheralded and unwanted Maru Adios entered his stable. Maru Adios was the only horse the trainer could get hold of, having returned to Hazelmere following an unsuccessful stint as a private trainer for Ron Davies. Without the acquisition of Maru Adios, Hall Sr may have given the game away decades ago and his champion driver son Gary Hall Jr and the re-emerging Clinton Hall might not have become involved in the sport. Furthermore, Zakara, The Falcon Strike and Im Themightyquinn – and numerous other outstanding horses – may not have ever graced Gloucester Park. No one wanted Maru Adios. Little wonder because the horse hadn’t run a place in three years. Fortunately Hall was able to lease the horse off Wally Wright and in that season he won 11 races and ran 22 places, banking $38,000 in stakes and kept the wolf from the door. It’s no surprise that Hall is invariably quick to name Maru Adios as his favourite horse. “Without old Maru Adios there’s no doubt that I would have had to give the game away,” Hall said. “He helped to put us back on our feet, fed the kids and it wasn’t that long afterwards that Roy Annear, a big owner at the time, offered me a bad knee-knocking Adios Vic gelding named Colt Eightytwo.” Colt Eightytwo won a number of races for Hall during that period, and the success he had with him led to Annear offering him the half-brother Zakara. According to Hall, people still remember what a magnificent physical specimen Zakara was. “I don’t know whether it was his good looks or my bad drives that cause people to remember Zakara, but to be fair, I didn’t really think I drove all that bad, having driven over 600 winners in my career,” he said. “We were struggling at the time and needed the money and in the WA Pacing Cups and other big races I overdrove Zakara a few times through anxiety and trying too hard. “That’s why I’m lucky to have Gary (Hall Jr) now. He just doesn’t make those mistakes.” While harness racing fans have lasting memories of Zakara’s glistening coat and long flowing mane, Hall is quick to point out Zakara wasn’t initially an eye-catching animal. “Zakara was a 15-and-half to 16 hands two-year-old and was the worst-looking horse you would ever see. He looked terrible and had about six inches of hair all over and was full of ringworm,” Hall said. “I put him in one of the boxes down back and fed him up and just looked after him and never put him into work, as I was just going to get him looking good and then send him back home. “He had been broken in and I had a couple of staff working for me at the time and I needed to find something for them to do, so they jogged him up then put the hopples on him and he paced reasonably well. “From there we gave him some pacework then one morning we took him to Guildford with Love Of Glory and Almagest, who had run first and third in the Golden Slipper that year and were my first real good horses. “I put young Travis Gardiner on Zakara and asked him to sit last with him and if he couldn’t keep up not to knock the horse around. “Turning for home Love Of Glory was tackling Almagest and along came Zakara with Travis just sitting on him and he went straight past them. It was a shock for us but an even bigger shock for Travis as he never got behind the horse again.” Hall subsequently took Zakara to Wagin for his debut, where he sat five-wide throughout and won easily despite the horse nearly ending up on the outside fence in the straight as he used to bore out. Hall fondly remembers that it was quite a good night as they had a show on there and Zakara also won the prize for best-looking horse. “We didn’t realise what we had at the time, but when we put a pole on his outside it straightened him right up and he went from strength to strength,” he said. In stark contrast to the dark days of the early 1980s the Hall stable is about to claim their eighth WA Metropolitan trainers title, with Gary Hall Jr also having already sewn up his seventh WA Metro drivers title with both winning their first Metro premierships during the 2005/2006 pacing season. Older brother Clinton Hall enjoyed his greatest success earlier this year when he drove Hokonui Ben then trained by his father Gary to an all-the-way upset win in this year’s Group 1 $400,000 WA Pacing Cup. Hall Sr is now well on the way to establishing a powerful family dynasty the likes of which hasn’t been since the dominant days of the Kersley and Warwick families. But unlike the Kersleys and the Warwicks, who ruled WA pacing for decades, Gary Hall Sr had no harness racing background. Hall did, however, have a rapidly-growing love of the sport, the punt and a natural affinity for horses, having ridden recreationally from a young age. “The fact that I didn’t have any preconceived notions worked in my favour as I actually think it was an advantage to become involved without any background in the sport,” Hall said. “I spend a lot of time gaiting them, teaching them to race properly and working on their overall health and fitness. “Zakara taught me this as the more regular his routine was, the better he worked and raced.’’ “Rather than varying their routine with the conventional wisdom being that horses need variation in their work and working them with inferior horses in order to boost their confidence and give them a kill, I try to bring out their competitive instinct by working them with better horses in an attempt to get them to a higher level of fitness and competitiveness.” Hall though is also quick to admit that he learned a lot by watching master horseman Fred Kersley at work. “I learnt more from watching Fred Kersley over the years than he’ll ever know and always admired the way he went about it and Gary (Hall Jr) is named Jr because I wanted him to be exactly like Fred,” Hall said. It’s hard to argue with Hall’s methods, with 30 Group 1 wins later with a record 8 WA Pacing Cups, 5 Fremantle Cups, 3 Inter Dominion Finals, 2 Auckland Cups, Golden Nuggets, Derbies, and virtually every feature race worth winning on the WA harness racing calendar. It means it’s the Hall father and son’s combination that is now the most lethal in WA harness racing. Andrew Carter Courtesy of Harness Racing Victoria

Rich feature events at Gloucester Park in November are on the agenda for outstanding filly Libertybelle Midfrew, who will resume after a brief spell in the Rigbys Bar Pace over 2130m on Friday night. Hazlemere trainer Mike Reed is setting the New Zealand-bred Libertybelle Midfrew for the $40,000 Norm's Daughter Classic and the group 1 $100,000 Mares Classic and she should have no difficulty in overcoming the disadvantage of starting from the outside of the front line on Friday night. She has not appeared since she outclassed her rivals in the $150,000 WA Oaks in early May when she beat The Parade by more than seven lengths to take her Australian record to five starts for five wins. If Libertybelle Midfrew continues her dazzling form Reed and owners Albert and Julie Walmsley will be sorely tempted to tackle the $175,000 Golden Nugget championship at Gloucester Park on December 5. She will be driven for the first time in a race by Mark Reed on Friday night and there appears to be no filly in the race capable of extending her or ending her winning sequence. Jungle Jewel and Maddy White are smart fillies, but do not appear to be in the same class as Libertybelle Midfrew. Jungle Jewel, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, has won at eight of her 22 starts and will be attempting her fourth win in a row. But her task from out wide at the No. 6 barrier looks extremely difficult. She was most impressive at Gloucester Park on Monday afternoon when she raced three back on the pegs in a field of three before being sent forward at the 600m mark and sprinting over the final 400m in 27.6sec. to beat Harriet Elisabeth and Casey Isabella at a 1.59 rate over 2130m. Maddy White, a winner of seven races, has plenty of ability and she should enjoy a soft run from the inside of the back line and should be running on solidly at the business end of the race. By Ken Casellas

Champion harness racing trainer Gary Hall sen. achieved a notable milestone at Gloucester Park on Monday afternoon when his only runner, Massive Attack, scored an easy all-the-way victory over Show You A Trick and Mister Atomic in the 2130m Lancaster Park Pace for two-year-olds. This gave him the distinction of becoming the first man to train 200 winners in a season in Western Australia. Hall has no stand-out performers at Friday night's meeting at Gloucester Park. But he has good prospects of opening the program with a winner when he will be represented by improving four-year-old Globalization in the Legends Bar Westbred Pathway Pace. Globalization is handily drawn at No. 3 on the front line and is sure to be prominent throughout the 2130m event. He set the pace and won two in a row at Gloucester Park, over 2130m and 1730m at Gloucester Park before he did not enjoy the best of luck in finishing fourth behind the classy Our Jerry Lee at Pinjarra three Mondays ago. Globalization's stiffest opposition is likely to come from Captain Proud and Justlikelindt. Captain proud, trained at Capel by Andrew De Campo, is in sparkling form and the four-year0-old gave a spirited display when third behind El Machine and Leda McNally in the Manea Classic at Bunbury last Saturday night. He worked hard before winning from Just Moses at Bunbury two starts before that. by Ken Casellas

Morgan Woodley is poised to notch a record third victory in the $35,000 Next Payment ATM Howard Porter Memorial at Gloucester Park on Friday night and chalk up his century of winners in the 2013-14 season. The brilliant young reinsman has formed a tremendous liaison with David Hercules and the seven-year-old is sure to prove extremely hard to beat in the 2536m feature event in which he has drawn barrier four on the front line. Woodley, one of four drivers to have won the Porter Memorial twice, looks set to make a bold bid to take up the role of pacemaker in the early stages. Brilliant mare Leda McNally has drawn the coveted pole position, but Chris Voak is unlikely to attempt an all-the-way win if Woodley, as expected, applies considerable early pressure. Leda McNally is a smart frontrunner, but she is even better suited when held up for a late charge. She produced a powerful finishing burst to win a 2503m stand at Gloucester Park two starts ago and then she surged home from eighth in the middle stages to finish second to El Machine in the 2100m Manea Classic at Bunbury last Saturday night. Ten-year-old Rocket Reign will start from barrier two. The veteran possesses good gate speed, but it would come as a surprise if Mark Reed attempts to set the pace with a pacer who has a losing sequence of 20. David Hercules is in sparkling form and is unbeaten at three outings in his current campaign, setting the pace to beat Im Themightyquinn over 2130m and then working hard in the breeze to beat Please Release Me in the 2536m Winter Cup and again when he defeated the pacemaker Northview Punter over 2130m last Friday night. "I was pleasantly surprised when he was able to get up and beat Northview Punter," Woodley admitted. And Byford trainer David Thompson is delighted at the way David Hercules is racing. "He went super last week and has thrived since then," he said. Northview Punter is a strong stayer, but his prospects of winning the Porter Memorial diminished when he drew out wide at No. 6 on the front line. The New Zealand-bred four-year-old, the youngest runner in the race, is trained by Gary Hall sen., who has won the Porter Memorial as a trainer-driver with Makes The Rules in 1999 and Its Written In The Stars the following year. Woodley has won the event with All In Teck (2008) and Has The Answers (2011) and the other reinsmen to have won the race twice were Phil Coulson (Pure Steel in 1978 and Gammalite four years later) and Fred Kersley jun. (Gap Road, 1983, and Quecee, 1990). Pinjarra trainer Chris King, who has brought Leda McNally back to top form in the past fortnight, is seeking his second success in the Porter Memorial, a race he won with 41/1 tote outsider Flamin Tact in 2010 when the gelding was handled by Robbie Williams. King also has a handy second string in Lord Lombo, who is not well drawn at barrier five. An interesting runner is former Victorian open-class performer Our Blackbird, a New Zealand-bred six-year-old by Bettors Delight who will be making his first appearance in Western Australia. Our Blackbird, now trained by Ross Olivieri, has won at 15 of his 64 starts. He faces a stern test from the outside of the front line, even though he has been performing soundly against quality opposition in Victoria. Four starts ago, in the 1720m Sokyola Sprint at Melton, he finished fourth behind Five Star Anvil, Smoken Up and Chilli Palmer and three starts before that he was third behind Chilli Palmer and Smoken Up in the group 3 Geelong Cup. Our Blackbird will be driven by Chris Lewis, whose only success in the Porter Memorial was with Hilarion Star in 1992. Lewis seeking a birthday gift Champion reinsman Chris Lewis will celebrate his 59th birthday on Friday and he hopes to celebrate the occasion with a winner or two at Gloucester Park in the evening. One of his best prospects appears to be veteran pacer Tee Pee Village, who is ideally drawn at the No. 2 barrier on the front line in the Moondyne Joes Fremantle Claiming Pace. Trainer Clive Dalton has brought the 12-year-old back to racing after a spell in fine fettle and the gelding followed his first-up second to Pride of Colorado with a strong effort to win a 1730m claimer from The Oyster Bar at Gloucester Park last Saturday week after he had worked hard in the breeze for most of the way. Tee Pee Village is a good frontrunner, but Lewis may have to be content to race without cover, with The Oyster Bar the likely pacemaker from the prized No. 1 barrier. Looming as the hardest for Tee Pee Village to beat are Pride of Colorado (barrier six) and Our Arlington (seven). Trainer Aldo Cortopassi has engaged Mark Reed to drive Pride of Colorado, who will have many admirers after dropping in class. After sitting in the breeze and beating Tee Pee Village three starts ago, Pride of Colorado finished boldly from sixth at the bell to be second to Heez Orl Black over 1730m and then was a fighting fifth behind David Hercules over 2130m last Friday night. Reed looks certain to go forward with Pride of Colorado from the wide barrier and seek a forward position, most probably on the outside of the pacemaker. Our Arlington, trained by Gary Hall sen. and to be driven by his son Gary, has the ability to overcome the wide barrier. The six-year-old finished strongly to win the Past Presidents Cup from Dundee Three and Please Release Me two starts ago before setting the pace and finishing fifth behind David Hercules in the 2536m Winter Cup four Fridays ago. By Ken Casellas  

Up-and-coming star Northview Punter is working in grand style and champion reinsman Gary Hall jun. is confident the four-year-old will make a successful return to harness racing by proving the master of outstanding pacer David Hercules in the 2130m Yes Loans Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “He has come back (from a spell) pretty well and he should work to the front and prove hard to beat,” said Hall, who will celebrate his 32nd birthday on Saturday. “I think he can beat David Hercules. He loves leading and he’s a hard horse to get to.” However, Hall has great respect for David Hercules, saying: “I wouldn’t be surprised if he sat outside Northview Punter and beat him.” Northview Punter, the youngest and least experienced runner in the race, has not appeared since he raced in the one-out, one-back position before finishing strongly to win the $35,000 Four and Five-Year-Old Championship from stablemate Soho Valencia at Gloucester Park on March 21. That was his 18th win from only 38 starts. Hall was in Brisbane on Sunday morning after driving Im Themightyquinn to a thrilling victory in the group 1 Blacks A Fake Championship at Albion Park on Saturday night when his brother Clint drove Northview Punter in a trial at Byford. Northview Punter impressed when he set the pace and beat David Hercules by just over a length in the 2150m trial, rating a sizzling 1.55.6. “From all reports he went super at the trials,” said Hall jun. “He is showing that he is improving all the time.” Northview Punter has drawn to lead from the No. 3 barrier, and this should prove an important advantage over David Hercules, who will start from barrier five. Clint Hall said that Northview Punter had been lazy in the trial and that he required constant urging. However, he said that drawing inside of David Hercules should give him an edge over his classy rival. Morgan Woodley, who has driven the David Thompson-trained David Hercules to dashing and decisive wins at his first two starts after a spell, conceded that the barrier draw would make life tough for his horse. “The one horse I wanted to draw inside was Northview Punter,” he said. “Northview Punter went fast in Sunday’s trial and he rated a fast 1.55.6, which is low flying. However, David Hercules did a tremendous job. He sat last in the four-horse trial and he made good ground and finished at the winner’s wheel. “You definitely can’t take anything away from his performance. However, I would love it if the barrier draws were reversed on Friday night. Probably, realistically, we’ll end up in the breeze because we can’t afford to spot Northview Punter a big start. “If we go back at the start Northview Punter would be able to waltz to an easy lead. So if we were to give him three of four lengths at the 1000m mark it would make our job near on impossible. So I’d say we’ll look to get up outside him and try to turn it into a staying competition. “I expect it to be a fast-run race and the Halls will assess David Hercules as the hardest opposition, and they are likely to drive in a manner which will make it difficult for David Hercules to win. We expect a real hard tussle.” Ken Casellas

Talented four-year-old Condrieu has resumed after a spell in sparkling form and Forrestdale trainers Greg and Skye Bond have high hopes that he will make amends for his narrow defeat in the 2013 John Higgins Memorial by winning the $35,000 group three event at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Ryan Warwick has driven the New Zealand-bred gelding assertively for decisive victories at his first two starts after a spell and he is racing with such zest that he is capable of overcoming the distinct disadvantage of starting from the outside (barrier seven) on the front line in the 2130m feature event. Condrieu possesses dazzling gate speed and it would come as no surprise if Warwick takes advantage of that wonderful asset by dashing the gelding forward in an attempt to burst to an early lead. Condrieu reappeared after a four-month absence at Pinjarra last Monday week when he began from the back line and settled in seventh position before Warwick dashed him forward, three wide, after 300m to take the lead 250m later. Condrieu relished his pacemaking role and revelled in the heavy conditions as he sped over the final two quarters in 2u8.1sec. and 27.6sec. to win by two lengths from In The Perfect Storm. Then in a 2536m event at Gloucester Park last Friday night Condrieu started from barrier six on the front line and raced four wide for the first 350m before bursting to the front. He relaxed and meandered through the first 400m section of the final mile in 33.3sec. before he coasted through the next quarter in 31.3sec. He gave his rivals little hope by sprinting over the final sections in 28.7sec. and 28.4sec. and winning easily from stablemate Jays Bee Grin. Twelve months ago Condrieu was the only three-year-old in the Higgins Memorial and he was favourite at 5/4 on when he began speedily from barrier three and was in front after 120m. After easy opening sections of the final mile in 31.2sec. and 31.1sec. Condrieu sped over the final 800m in 57.7sec. and was overhauled in the final stride by the fast-finishing Pacific Warrior, who gained the verdict by a nose. Greg Bond has an excellent record in the Higgins Memorial, winning with Money Magnet in 2004 and Richard Henry the following year. Richard Henry, a 7/2 chance, started out wide at barrier six and raced in the breeze before getting up in the final stride to defeat the pacemaker Bank The Money by a nose. Colin Brown, who was successful with Money Magnet and Richard Henry, will drive Lunar Tide for the Bonds in Friday night's feature. Lunar Tide, favourably drawn at No. 2 on the front line, is sure to be prominent. He raced wide early and then without cover when fourth behind Condrieu at Gloucester Park last Saturday night. Before that Lunar Tide had worked hard before winning first-up at Narrogin and then he covered a lot of extra ground before finishing second to Jasper Freeway at the same track. The Bonds will also be represented in this week's race by Galactic Galleon, who will start from No. 4 on the back line and will be handled by Morgan Woodley. Galactic Galleon finished strongly when a head second to Erskine Range at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. Condrieu is overdue for a change of luck in a feature event. He has contested seven group races in his 23 starts in Western Australia for three minor placings last year --- second to Chilli Power in the group 1 McInerney Ford Classic, second in the Higgins Memorial and third in the group 3 Caduceus Club Classic. His dam Oaxaca Lass won three group 1 events (the Queensland derby at Albion Park and the Australian Oaks at Moonee Valley in 2002 and the Chariots of Fire at Harold Park in 2003. She also won three group 2 features and was placed in four other group events. Looming as the main dangers to Condrieu are polemarker In The Perfect Storm, Jasper Freeway, Wynberg Terror and Shnappy. In The Perfect Storm, trained at Pinjarra by Michael Brennan, resumed after a five-month absence when he started from barrier three and led early before taking the trail behind Condrieu and then finishing doggedly along the sprint lane to be second to that pacer at Pinjarra last Monday week. "His first-up run was good," said reinsman Gary Hall jun. "We've got the speed to hold up, but I'll wait to see what Mouse (Brennan) says. Hall won the Higgins Memorial in 2010 when he guided Partywiththedevil (barrier two) to an all-the-way victory over Son of Fergie and Lombo Navigator. Northview Punter ready to fire Up-and-coming star Northview Punter is working in grand style and champion reinsman Gary Hall jun. is confident the four-year-old will make a successful return to racing by proving the master of outstanding pacer David Hercules in the 2130m Yes Loans Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. "He has come back (from a spell) pretty well and he should work to the front and prove hard to beat," said Hall, who will celebrate his 32nd birthday on Saturday. "I think he can beat David Hercules. He loves leading and he's a hard horse to get to." However, Hall has great respect for David Hercules, saying: "I wouldn't be surprised if he sat outside Northview Punter and beat him." Northview Punter, the youngest and least experienced runner in the race, has not appeared since he raced in the one-out, one-back position before finishing strongly to win the $35,000 Four and Five-Year-Old Championship from stablemate Soho Valencia at Gloucester Park on March 21. That was his 18th win from only 38 starts. Hall was flying back from Brisbane on Sunday morning after driving Im Themightyquinn to a thrilling victory in the group 1 Blacks A Fake Championship at Albion Park on Saturday night when his brother Clint drove Northview Punter in a trial at Byford. Northview Punter impressed when he set the pace and beat David Hercules by just over a length in the 2150m trial, rating a sizzling 1.55.6. "From all reports he went super at the trials," said Hall jun. "He is showing that he is improving all the time." Northview Punter has drawn to lead from the No. 3 barrier, and this should prove an important advantage over David Hercules, who will start from barrier five. Clint Hall said that Northview Punter had been lazy in the trial and that he required constant urging. However, he said that drawing inside of David Hercules should give him an edge over his classy rival. Morgan Woodley, who has driven the David Thompson-trained David Hercules to dashing and decisive wins at his first two starts after a spell, conceded that the barrier draw would make life tough for his horse. "The one horse I wanted to draw inside was Northview Punter," he said. "Northview Punter went fast in Sunday's trial and he rated a fast 1.55.6, which is low flying. However, David Hercules did a tremendous job. He sat last in the four-horse trial and he made good ground and finished at the winner's wheel. "You definitely can't take anything away from his performance. However, I would love it if the barrier draws were reversed on Friday night. Probably, realistically, we'll end up in the breeze because we can't afford to spot Northview Punter a big start. "If we go back at the start Northview Punter would be able to waltz to an easy lead. So if we were to give him three of four lengths at the 1000m mark it would make our job near on impossible. So I'd say we'll look to get up outside him and try to turn it into a staying competition. "I expect it to be a fast-run race and the Halls will assess David Hercules as the hardest opposition, and they are likely to drive in a manner which will make it difficult for David Hercules to win. We expect a real hard tussle." Hall sticks with Soho Lennon Star reinsman Gary Hall jun. drove Crusader Banner to an effortless first-up victory at Northam on Tuesday night, but he has elected to handle stablemate Soho Lennon in the 2130m Slater Gartrell Sports Pace for three-year-olds at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Crusader Banner and Soho Lennon are two of champion trainer Gary Hall senior's five runners in Friday's event, the others being Eliseos Falcon, Themightynadal and High Courage, and Hall junior's decision to drive Soho Lennon comes as an important guide to punters. Soho Lennon, driven by Hall jun., overcame the disadvantage of starting from the outside of the back line when he raced wide in the middle stages before finishing powerfully to win by a length from the pacemaker Local Rogue at a 1.58.4 rate in a 2536m Pathway Pace last Friday night. Again, Soho Lennon is not ideally drawn at No. 3 on the back line in Friday night's race in which Crusader Banner is much better drawn at No. 3 on the front line. "I'll drive Soho Lennon and will be putting him in the race at some stage," said Hall jun. "I think he can win. Black Mr Mach is obviously improving and he's probably the danger from the draw." Black Mr Mach, to be driven by Colin Brown for trainers Greg and Skye Bond, has excellent prospects from the coveted No. 1 barrier. He has won at his past two starts, running on to beat Tarsao at Gloucester Park and then setting the pace and winning narrowly from Ima Tragedy over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. Crusader Banner was having his first start for 12 months when he gave a sparkling frontrunning display to score an easy victory from Your Excused, rating 1.59.1 over 2190m at Northam on Tuesday night. "He's still very green and very much a baby in the head," said Hall jun. "He pulled a little bit and did a few things you'd expect from a two-year-old. But he hasn't had much racing. He's had a lot of time off with a damaged ligament in his shoulder. "His best asset is his speed and he's probably best sat up. But while he's going through the grades he will race in front if the lead is there for him." Eliseos Falcon, a former Victorian pacer, made an impressive WA debut when he produced a strong finishing burst to win from Machs A Pearler over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. It was his seventh win from 19 starts. Slick Chapel to lead all the way Noted frontrunner Slick Chapel will be a short-priced favourite for the $25,000 City Livestock The Chandon final over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier. He is one of four runners in the race prepared by Gary Hall sen. and when he drew the inside barrier Gary Hall jun. had no hesitation in opting to drive him in preference to last-start winners Rowchester and Heez Orl Black and Notabadexcuse, a winner two starts ago. "Slick Chapel is probably the best of our runners and he's drawn the best," said Hall jun. "It's a good draw for more than one reason. He's got the lead and has Dynamite Dude drawn behind him. So I should be able to control the result and I won't be letting Dynamite Dude out." Dynamite Dude, trained by Ross Olivieri and to be driven by Chris Lewis, will start from the inside of the back line and will need plenty of luck to get a chance to beat Slick Chapel. Dynamite Dude won at his first five starts in Western Australia before he started from barrier four ion the back line and raced three wide for much of the way when a fighting fourth behind Condrieu at Pinjarra last Monday week. Slick Chapel has had 32 starts for ten wins and ten placings. He was an all-the-way winner two starts ago and then started from the back line and raced without cover for most of the way before winning from Soho Monza last Friday week. The No. 1 barrier also will greatly enhance the prospects of Miss Atomic in the $40,000 McInerney Ford Pace for mares. A winner at ten of her 23 starts, she should be able to hold up and set the pace for Chris Lewis. Speedy My Lady of the Night was a smart all-the-way winner over 1730m last Friday night, but though she is blessed with sparkling gate speed it is problematic whether she will be able to cross Miss Atomic. Lucky Joy, a brilliant winner at Gloucester Park last Saturday night, will start from barrier three on the back line and is capable of a bold showing. by Ken Casellas

Over a long period now, New Zealand bred horses have enjoyed great success in the major harness racing age and group classics in Western Australia. Already this season in Western Australia, the New Zealand bred Three Blind Mice 1:56.7 ($161,891) has taken out the Western Australian Derby while the New Zealand bred filly Libertybelle Midfrew 1:56.1 ($261,267) was way too good in the West Australian Oaks. Last night (Friday 18th July) at Gloucester Park in the $125,000 Premier Suzuki Golden Slipper for two year olds, it was the recent New Zealand import Beaudiene Boaz who reinforced that Kiwi dominance with a outstanding performance to win convincingly over all the best two year olds in Western Australia. Wide early from barrier five and then checked by The Odd Lover, Gary Hall (Jnr)sent Beaudiene Boaz around to the death seat outside the leader Major Reality after 500 meters. With a lap to go Gary Hall (Jnr) really applied some pressure to the leader with a 28.5 quarter down the back straight before shooting clear at the 400 for an emphatic victory. Two New Zealand breds filled the minor placings with Mister Ardee finishing well for second and Major Reality battling on well for third. Beaudiene Boaz paced the 2130 meters in a smart 2:35.3, a mile rate of 1:57.3 with closing sectionals of 56.1 and 27.6. It was the second major win of the season for Beaudiene Boaz who scored a stunning win in the $150,000 Harness Jewels for two year old colts and geldings at Cambridge in New Zealand in a very quick 1:54 for the mile on the 1000 metre circuit. Bought at last years yearling sales for $62,000 by Ray Green on behalf of Lincoln Farms, Beaudiene Boaz was sold to clients of leading Western Australian trainer Gary Hall after his Harness Jewels win. A son of the Nevele R based sire Badlands Hanover, Beaudiene Boaz is a full sister to the former outstanding filly Beaudiene Bad Babe 1:55.7 ($404,898) who was also a Harness Jewels winner during her career. Judging by the ease of last nights win Beaudiene Boaz looks to be set for a huge future in Western Australia. Beaudiene Boaz Clint Hall on Beaudiene Boaz Harnesslink media    

1 to 16 of 1974
1 2 3 4 5 Next »