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Harness racing driver Ryan Warwick, the leading reinsman in Western Australia this season, is planning to get Our Jimmy Johnstone away to a flying start in a bid to win the $50,000 Governor’s Cup over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Our Jimmy Johnstone, prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, is awkwardly drawn at barrier six on the front line in the group 2 event and his chief rival Im Full of Excuses is more favourably drawn at barrier four. “At this stage, I’ll probably adopt similar tactics as I used when Our Jimmy Johnstone won the RWWA Cup (2536m) last Friday night,” Warwick said. Our Jimmy Johnstone began brilliantly from the No. 8 barrier last week and sped to the front after 80m. Im Full of Excuses was restrained back to last from the outside barrier (No. 9) before he finished solidly from ninth at the bell to be fourth, three lengths behind Our Jimmy Johnstone. “I’ll probably come out as hard as we can,” Warwick said. “My initial thought was if we come out, we’ve got to come out full bore to be able to cross Im Full of Excuses. He’s the horse to beat. If we cross (to the front) we should win. You can’t afford to give him (Im Full of Excuses) a head start. He gave us a head start last week and we beat him. “The thing in our favour is that this week’s race is over 2130m and if we come out and don’t get to the front it’s not the end of the world. If it was a race over 2536m and to burn early would cost you a bit of petrol. Our Jimmy Johnstone has won from the breeze.” There is little doubt that Chris Lewis will make a bold bid to send the Ross Olivieri-trained Im Full of Excuses to an early lead. Drawn inside of Im Full of Excuses are Ohoka Kentucky, Shardons Rocket and Red Salute, all of whom possess good gate speed and have won races after setting the pace. A victory by Im Full of Excuses would give Olivieri, owner Merv Butterworth and Lewis their second success in a Governor’s Cup. The Butterworth-owned and Olivieri-trained Chief Thundercloud started from the No. 1 barrier when Stuart McDonald drove him to an all-the-way win over Dredlock Rockstar and Cyamach in last year’s Governor’s Cup. Lewis was successful behind the Tony Svilicich-trained Has The Answers in 2010. The Peter Anderson-trained Bronze Seeker is in top form and should be running home strongly in the final stages. He will be handled by Michael Grantham, with stablemate Lisharry, awkwardly drawn at barrier five, to be driven by Gary Hall jun. Bronze Seeker maintained his excellent form when he started out wide at barrier seven and was eighth at the bell before charging home late, out five wide, to be second to Our Jimmy Johnstone last Friday night. Ryan Bell will drive Our Jimmy Johnstone’s stablemate Condrieu (barrier seven) and Dylan Egerton-Green will be the new driver for the Mike Reed-trained Kiwi Legend (No. 8). Each pacer faces a tough task from an unfavourable barrier. Ken Casellas

A sparkling track workout on Tuesday morning has Major Reality in peak form for her attempt at Gloucester Park to become only the fourth harness racing mare to win the $50,000 Empress Stakes two years in a row in the 48-year history of the Group 2 feature event. Driven by Tom Buchanan, Major Reality set the pace and gave a powerful display to defeat her talented stablemate The Parade in the workout and astute Boyanup horseman Justin Prentice is full of confidence the five-year-old will make a successful defence of her crown. Prentice is due to return to Perth on Thursday after a ten-day trip to New Zealand and is looking forward to driving the Art Major mare, whose winning prospects soared when she drew the coveted No. 1 barrier in the 2536m event. Prentice was in New Zealand on a buying mission 12 months ago, when he had three runners in the 2016 Empress Stakes in which Major Reality made the most of starting from the No. 1 barrier when she started at 5/4 on and, with Brayden Green in the sulky, she scored a stylish all-the-way victory over Tricky Styx. Major Reality warmed up for Friday night’s big race with a stylish workout on Tuesday morning. “She worked very well with The Parade and I believe that if she is able to hold the front she will be extremely hard to beat on Friday night,” Buchanan said. “Major Reality led up (in the workout) and The Parade (Bailey McDonough) sat on her back, and they got home really good. Major Reality was doing it very easy on the line and won by about a neck.” Buchanan said that Prentice had been somewhat disappointed with Major Reality’s performance in the WA Pacing Cup three starts ago when she led from barrier one before fading to eighth behind Chicago Bull. “She had been backed up from her unplaced run in the Fremantle Cup a week earlier,” Buchanan said. “She seems to perform better when she is raced fortnightly. She won the Empress prelude a fortnight ago and her work since has been really good.” Major Reality, one of six New Zealand-bred mares in Friday night’s field of eight (after the scratching of Ideal Alice), has won at 19 of her 32 starts and has earned $366,596. The only mares to have won the Empress Stakes two years in a row have been Bellagena (1971-72), Golden Goddess (three in a row in 1997-98-99) and Sensational Gabby (2014-15). Kiwi Cloud won the event in 1977 and 1979. The six-year-old The Parade will be contesting the Empress Stakes for the third time. She finished third in 2015 and seventh last year. The Parade, who has earned $392,999 from 21 wins and 15 placings from 53 starts, was most impressive in winning a 2100m trial at a 1.57.2 rate at Bunbury’s Donaldson Park track on Wednesday of last week, is awkwardly drawn out wide at barrier seven on Friday night. “It was a very pleasing performance,” said Buchanan, who drove the mare in the trial. “She rolled to the front after 300 to 400m, led up and got home in 55.5sec. with the plugs still in. The 2536m on Friday night will suit her down to the ground. But she will definitely need a lot of luck from out there, with Major Reality and Bettor Be Supreme drawn inside of her. If she had drawn barrier one she would have been hard to beat.” The Parade will be driven for the first time by Gary Hall jun., who drove Aussie Made Lombo to victory in the 2013 Empress Stakes. Bettor Be Supreme, a winner at 12 of her 20 starts and trained at Busselton by Barry Howlett, is favourably drawn at barrier three on Friday night and will have many admirers. She is a splendid frontrunner and Chris Lewis, who has won the Empress Stakes a record eight times, could well make a spirited bid for the early lead. Bettor Be Supreme’s winning sequence of five was broken when she failed in the 2100m Manea Classic at Bunbury last Saturday night. She revealed dazzling speed from barrier seven to burst to the front after 50m and after opening quarters of the final mile in 30.2sec. and 29sec. she sped over the third quarter in 27.7sec. before wilting to finish seventh, five lengths behind Bettor Reward, with a final section of 27.8sec. Leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond are seeking their first win in an Empress Stakes and will be pinning their hopes with consistent six-year-old Jungle Jewel, who sat behind the pacemaker Major Reality and finished fourth behind her in last year’s Empress Stakes. Jungle Jewel, a winner of 16 races, has also chalked up 29 minor placings. She has a losing sequence of 26, but has been placed at six of her past seven starts. She will start from the No. 4 barrier and reinsman Ryan Warwick said that she was ready to perform strongly after several solid recent efforts. “She is going really well, but has lost that little bit of brilliance she had when she was at her best,” he said. “She just hasn’t got that 200m devastating run anymore and she’s now more one-dimensional. But she can figure in the placings.” Ken Casellas

For American Boy to achieve a winning strike rate of 62 per cent is an outstanding harness racing performance and he possesses the speed and strength to overcome a wide barrier and win the $25,000 Westside Auto Wholesale Lewis final over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The New Zealand-bred five-year-old, prepared by champion trainer Gary Hall sen. and to be driven by his son Gary, gets his chance to make amends for his shock defeat at 10/1 on in a 2536m event last Friday week. He started from the outside barrier (No. 9) and had a torrid run when beaten a half-length by 75/1 outsider Foxy Dame. He was trapped three wide for the first 700m and then was forced to work in the breeze before getting to the front 520m from home. A week earlier, he raced without cover before winning convincingly from Our Regal Ideal over 2130m. This week American Boy, who has raced 26 times for 16 wins and seven seconds, will start out wide at barrier eight and will need to be at his top to win from the Greg and Skye Bond-trained in-form trio of Bettor Offer, Our Regal Ideal and Bungalow Bill. Bettor Offer, to be driven by Ryan Warwick from the No. 6 barrier, makes strong appeal. He began speedily from barrier six to lead after 100m in a qualifying heat last Friday night. He rated 1.57.1 over the 2130m and was untroubled to win by just under two lengths from Commander Chapel, who fought on gamely after racing without cover. Warwick said that with fast beginners, particularly Kimba Bay, on his inside that Bettor Offer was unlikely to be able to lead this week. But he commended Bettor Offer for his wonderful turn of foot and predicted that the gelding would be able to unwind a powerful burst and prove hard to beat. Bungalow Bill, who challenged unsuccessfully for the early lead in a 2130m event last Friday night, will start from barrier seven and will be driven by Ryan Bell, who drove Our Regal Ideal when he set the pace and held on to win by a head from Twoandahalf Tigers in another 2130m event last week. Our Regal Ideal will be driven by Mitch Miller from the prized No. 1 barrier and Bell said he was impressed with the five-year-old’s win last week. “He was pretty tenacious,” Bell said. “He was taken on in a fast lead time and he is definitely a top three chance this week. The draw has made it a good race in which Bettor Offer is probably the class horse. “I was quite happy with the way Our Regal Ideal kicked on last week. At the 200m I thought I was gonzo, but he actually kept coming the more they came at him. I think he should be able to hold up this week. He held up easily last week when I just gave him a flick at the start and he held up quite comfortably.” Ken Casellas

Ryan Bell will replace Aiden de Campo as Sky Art’s harness racing driver when the New Zealand-bred five-year-old contests the Retravision Handicap, a stand over 2503m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Capel trainer Andrew de Campo engaged Bell after his son Aiden received a 21-day suspension for a driving infringement at Bunbury last Saturday night. Aiden de Campo drove Sky Art to an impressive victory at 5/1 in a 2536m mobile event at Gloucester Park last Friday night when the gelding was sixth, three back on the pegs at the bell, before easing off the pegs in the back straight and then charging home, five wide, to hit the front 75m from home and racing away to score by 5m from Eastwood Factor. That was the gelding’s tenth win from 57 starts and ended a losing sequence of 13. Sky Art returns to a standing-start event this week and will begin from barrier two on the front line. “I sat behind him at his previous start, in a stand at Pinjarra,” Bell said. “And he gave me quite a good feel. The race was run slowly up front and Sky Art sprinted home quite good in a slick (27sec.) final quarter.” Sky Art raced in fourth position in an Indian-file affair. Bell said that he did not expect Sky Art to be able to jump to the front at the start, with noted frontrunner Importer Exporter drawn ideally at barrier one. “Sky Art begins nice and safely and he’s the type of horse you don’t have to worry about too much at the start. You just let him settle and save him for his speed at the end.” The Chris Winston-trained Importer Exporter will be handled by Kyle Harper and makes strong appeal. He has had only 33 starts for eight wins, ten seconds and two thirds. He raced three back on the pegs and ran home solidly when third behind Cut For An Ace over 2503m last Friday week. Bell was a late replacement for the suspended Aiden de Campo behind Handsandwheels in a 2130m Westbred Pace at Gloucester Park on Tuesday afternoon and the Mach Three gelding gave a bold frontrunning display to win in good style from Tiza Wish and Bettor Be Lively. Ken Casellas

Ross Waddell’s Pacing WA and Trotsynd Pty Ltd, Gloucester Park Harness Racing’s licenced syndication arm, have entered into an exciting new partnership. Over the past two years, Ross Waddell has bought horses at the Perth yearling sales and set up partnerships. These included the Group One winners Red Hot Roxy and The Real Ideal. While Trotsynd had ten syndications for the Western Australian Trotting Association, which featured purchases of yearlings as well as tried horses from New Zealand, the best performers were Group One winner Hail The Judge and open class pacer Franco Amon. The two organisations have come to an agreement which will see the partnership buy and syndicate horses from the 2017 Perth yearling sales on Sunday 5 March, held at Belmont race track. “I cannot be happier with our new partnership” said Waddell “Pacing WA has had a lot of success with introducing new owners to harness racing through our partnerships, however having the ability to syndicate with Trotsynd should help take it to another level” The horses that are purchased will be syndicated into twenty shares each. “It’s an exciting opportunity” said Trotsynd Secretary Michael Radley “We have looked at what Ross has done over the past two years and think we can help grow the ownership base through our syndication licence. “Our discussions have been around how we can improve the owner experience and the syndicate members will receive regular newsletters and video updates from when the horse is bought, through to breaking-in, trialling, and hopefully racing and winning. There will also be social functions” said Radley. Chairman of Trotsynd, Chris Pye echoed Radley’s comments. “I’m delighted that Trotsynd has been reinvigorated and I’m looking forward to an exciting partnership with Ross and Pacing WA”. Once the horses have been secured by Pacing WA and Trotsynd a prospectus will be available on specific horses offered for syndication on the Gloucester Park website www.gloucesterpark.com.au and expressions of interest can be made through info@gloucesterpark.com.au. Fields for Gloucester Park, Friday 24 February 2017 Form guide for Gloucester Park, Friday 24 February 2017

Emerging star Im Full of Excuses is a Cups specialist and he should maintain his unbeaten record in Cup events by proving the master of his eight harness racing rivals in the $50,000 RWWA Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Owned by Merv Butterworth and to be driven by Chris Lewis for Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri, the lightly-raced New Zealand-bred five-year-old has the class to overcome the disadvantage of starting from the outside barrier (No. 9). After winning at seven of his 21 starts in New Zealand, Im Full of Excuses has been a revelation in Western Australia, winning at eight of his ten starts in this State. His WA wins included effortless victories at his three appearances in group 3 Cup events --- the Kalgoorlie Cup in September, the York Cup in November and the Northam Cup in January. He has been freshened up since his most impressive triumph in the 2560m Northam Cup in which he started off the 30m mark and raced in tenth position before storming home with a brilliant three-wide burst from ninth at the bell to hit the front at the 350m mark and race away to defeat This Time Dylan by 10m at a 1.58.1 rate, with final quarters of 27.1sec. and 28.6sec. He is a grand stayer and will be ideally suited over the 2536m of Friday night’s group 2 feature event. His final sections in 28.8sec. and 27.5sec. when he scored an easy win in the 2970m York Cup simply gave the opposition no hope of figuring in the finish. Im Full of Excuses, a son of American stallion Jeremes Jet, has already been successful in a group 2 event, having won the Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes over 2700m at Invercargill in April 2015. His maternal granddam Happy Hazel won two group 1 races in New Zealand, including the Great Northern Oaks by six lengths in April 1989, and she also won the group 2 Ladyship Stakes at Alexandra Park in May 1989. Our Jimmy Johnstone, a New Zealand-bred eight-year-old in the stables of Greg and Skye Bond, looms as the main danger to Im Full of Excuses. He will start from barrier eight with Ryan Warwick in the sulky. He will be making his first appearance for five weeks --- since he failed in the WA Pacing Cup, wilting from seventh (three wide) at the bell to eleventh behind Chicago Bull. But his form before that was excellent, finishing third behind Chicago Bull and Soho Tribeca in the Fremantle Cup and third behind Beaudiene Boaz and Chicago Bull in the 2130m Village Kid Pace after racing without cover for most of the journey. His most recent success was in the 2569m Bunbury Cup when he rated 1.55.4 in beating Mynameskenny and Rub of the Green in November. The Debbie Padberg-trained El Machine will be attempting to win the RWWA Cup for the second year in succession. He was a 35/1 outsider when he started from the inside of the back line and Michael Tenardi brought him from three back on the pegs with a well-timed burst to win easily from Cyamach and Ti Amo Franco 12 months ago. Since then the WA-bred eight-year-old has raced 25 times without success. However, he caught the eye last Friday night when he trailed the pacemaker Red Salute and finished strongly to be second, just a neck behind the winner Major Reality in a 2130m event at Gloucester Park. Chris Voak has been engaged to drive El Machine, replacing Shannon Suvaljko, who is under suspension. Voak drove El Machine when he won the Village Kid Sprint by a half-head from Uppy Son at Northam in January 2015. Shardons Rocket, an evergreen 12-year-old will start from barrier four and Lauren Jones is expected to be in search of getting to the front in the early stages. This will be the gelding’s 296th start. He was favourite at 5/2 on in a moderate field over 1730m at Gloucester Park mon Tuesday evening when he paced roughly at the start, worked hard in the breeze, took a narrow lead 120m from home and finished second to fast-finishing outsider Canyouseeme. Byford trainer Peter Anderson will be represented by Bronze Seeker and Lisharry, sprightly veterans who are racing with wonderful enthusiasm. Bronze Seeker is awkwardly drawn out wide at barrier seven. But he will be driven conservatively and should be able to unwind a typical powerful finishing burst. He will be driven by Gary Hall jun., who replaces Lewis, who has opted for Im Full of Excuses. Hall has handled Bronze Seeker only twice in his 156-start career for a fourth at Gloucester Park in February 2015 and a fourth at Bunbury in May 2015. Bronze Seeker, who has won at two of his past five starts, was most impressive last Friday night when he was last in the field of nine with 300m to travel before flooding home, out wide, to finish third behind Major Reality and El Machine. Lisharry (Nathan Turvey) came home strongly from seventh at the bell to be fifth in the same race. He will start from the No. 5 barrier this week and Anderson is hoping the nine-year-old will improve on his unplaced efforts in the past two RWWA Cups. Lisharry was an unlucky tenth behind Pacific Warrior in the 2015 RWWA Cup when he was hampered by a punctured tyre on his sulky and then was badly blocked for a clear passage in the final circuit behind the tiring Uppy Son. In last year’s Cup he started from barrier seven, was eleventh at the bell and was blocked for a run in the final stages when seventh behind El Machine. Ken Casellas

Harness racing's leading reinsman Ryan Warwick has given punters a valuable lead by opting to drive Rock Diamonds ahead of stablemate Messi in the $50,000 Caduceus Club Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night. And part-owner Greg Bond, who prepares Rock Diamonds in partnership with his wife Skye, has high hopes that the Rocknroll Hanover colt will emulate the performance of Ohokas Bondy, a pacer he part-owned and trained for his dashing all-the-way victory in the 2011 Caduceus Club Classic. Dancing Diamonds, the dam of Rock Diamonds, is a full-sister to Ohokas Bondy, who recorded his twelfth win in a row when Colin Brown steered him to victory over Lovers Delight in the 2011 classic. Warwick has driven Rock Diamonds seven times for six wins and he has handled Messi in six races for four wins and a second. Nathan Turvey will drive Messi for the first time in Friday night’s event, while Ryan Bell, who has driven Messi twice for two wins, will be in the sulky behind his own nomination Bob Wheel, a last-start winner in much weaker company at Gloucester Park. Rock Diamonds has won at seven of his nine starts and is a versatile colt, having won when leading, after working in the breeze and when saved for a strong finishing effort. He has been freshened up since his latest outing, at Gloucester Park on January 13 when he raced wide early and then in the breeze before wilting to last behind Im Rockaria in a field of eight. It was determined that Rock Diamonds had simply not backed up after scoring an easy victory at Pinjarra four days earlier. The Michael Brennan-trained Im Rockaria comes into Friday night’s event with excellent credentials --- nine wins and two seconds from 14 starts. He will be driven by Gary Hall jun. from the No. 7 barrier. Im Rockaria raced below par at his latest outing, in a C2/C3-class event at Albury last Friday week. Driven by Daniel Jack, he started from the No. 2 barrier on the back line and after racing three wide early he worked hard in the breeze and he was fully extended in beating Magicnracing by a half-head at a 1.59.7 rate over 2170m. A week earlier, Im Rockaria raced three back on the pegs and battled on gamely when a well-beaten fifth behind Be Jacks Legend in a heat of the Victoria Derby. That followed a hat-trick of easy wins --- at Albany, Gloucester Park and Bunbury. Davinci Diamond, trained in Pinjarra by Rob MacDonald, will have admirers from barrier four after winning at his past three starts, two at Bunbury and one at Pinjarra. He will be driven by Aiden de Campo. Wesley, a winner at six of his 13 starts and trained by Sarah Wall in Bunbury, will start from barrier six with Kaiden Hayter in the sulky. The Sportswriter colt is blessed with wonderful gate speed and there is a possibility he could forge to an early lead.    Maczaffair, brilliant winner of the Daintys Daughter Classic last Friday night, is one of two fillies in the race, the other being Soho Angel, and Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed has high hopes that Maczaffair will become only the third filly in 29 runnings of the Caduceus Club Classic to be successful. Mazzini Magic won the inaugural running of the classic in 1989, and the other filly to win the race was Whitbys Miss Penny in 1991. “As a rule, I don’t like racing fillies against the colts and geldings,” Reed said. “The only reason she’s running this week is that she pulled up so well after her latest win. She has trained on really well. This will be her final run before she has a break and then gets ready for the Oaks. “Last week’s win was the best run of her career. It’s hard to be last at the 700m, then go three deep and hit the line so strongly. This week she is starting from the inside of the back line, so she’ll be on the fence and be driven for luck.” Ace reinsman Colin Brown will handle Maczaffair for the first time. He replaces Shannon Suvaljko, who is serving a term of suspension. Suvaljko has driven the filly in all her five starts as a three-year-old for three wins, a second and a fourth. Ken Casellas

Pinjarra breeder-owner-trainer Rob MacDonald is on a roll and he should continue his wonderful winning streak at Gloucester Park on Friday night with his improving harness racing five-year-old Argyle Red looming large as the winner of the $20,000 TABradio Pace, particularly after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier. Star reinsman Morgan Woodley, riding on the crest of a wave, is confident of success, declaring: “I think he will show what he is capable of. I have not driven him in front, but I have seen him lead and win.” Woodley has built up an excellent rapport with Argyle Red, having driven him six times for three wins and a second. He drove confidently last Friday night when Argyle Red raced wide early and then in the breeze before getting to the front on the home turn and winning by a length and a half from the favourite McClinchie. Argyle Red rated 1.55.9 over 1730m. “Sitting in the breeze, doing a bit of work and running away from them late was quite encouraging,” Woodley said. “I think the distance (2130m) this week is suitable and he should prove terribly hard to beat. “I’ll be aiming to lead on Friday night, even though he can be a bit of a strange customer, who has a tendency to look around and race a little bit greenly.” Argyle Red is by American stallion Dawn of a New Day and is the first foal out of Dekker Diamond, a mare owned and trained by MacDonald who had 109 starts for eight wins, 16 placings and $63,249 in stakes. Dekker Diamond, by crack New Zealand pacer Iraklis, the winner of the 1996 Miracle Mile at Harold Park, was driven once by Woodley for a ninth behind Fake Occasion at Gloucester Park on October 3, 2006. Argyle Red has set the pace and won four times, twice at Gloucester Park and twice at Pinjarra. MacDonald also bred, part-owns and trains Davinci Diamond, the second foal out of Dekker Diamond, who has sound prospects in the $50,000 Caduceus Club Classic on Friday night. Davinci Diamond, by Artiscape, has won at each of his past three starts, with Woodley in the sulky for the colt’s latest two wins, substituting for Aiden de Campo when he was serving a term of suspension. De Campo will resume as Davinci Diamond’s driver this week. Ken Casellas

New South Wales-bred gelding Challenging has returned from a spell in fine style and many punters will pin their faith on him to give them a flying start by winning the opening harness racing event, the TABtouch Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Herne Hill trainer Clint Kimes has engaged Lauren Jones to drive the five-year-old and by virtue of the concession Jones has as a junior driver, the gelding (classified as a C2 performer) was able to draw the prized No. 1 barrier in the race restricted to C1 to C4-class pacers. The draw is vital and Challenging has a good chance of setting the pace and winning. Jones drove Challenging for the first time when the gelding led from the No. 2 barrier and raced away to win by just under three lengths from Straittothebar over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week. Challenging, an all-the-way Penrith winner from his 14 starts in NSW, has been extremely consistent since being purchased by Robin Zec. His 13 WA starts have produced two wins, seven seconds and a third. His chief rivals this week appear to be Just Bet On Black, Questionable Gesture and The Storm Chief. Just Bet On Black, trained and driven by Colin Brown, is a promising four-year-old who has won at four of his 14 starts. He is handily drawn at No. 3 on the front line and possesses sparkling gate speed. He will be having his second start after a spell. He resumed at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week when he had a tough run without cover and fought on gamely to be third behind Challenging. The Peter Anderson-trained Questionable Gesture is maturing into a smart four-year-old and he has strong each-way claims from the outside of the back line. The New Zealand-bred Questionable Gesture is developing a good deal of toughness and his recent form has been excellent. He had a tough run in the breeze before finishing boldly to win from Star Armbro over 2130m last Friday week. He will be driven by Chris Lewis, replacing the suspended Michael Grantham. Ken Casellas

Speedy four-year-old Franco Rayner is relishing a program of beach work and astute Banjup trainer Colin Brown predicts the harness racing gelding to bounce back to his best when he contests the second qualifying heat of the Lewis Pace sponsored by Westral Plantation Timber Shutters at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Franco Rayner, a noted frontrunner, is the youngest runner in the 2130m event and Maddison Brown is planning an all-the-way win from the coveted No. 1 barrier in the field of eight. Franco Rayner gave dashing frontrunning displays to score easy wins over 2130m and 1730m on December 30 and January 6 before he started out wide at barrier eight in the group 2 Nights of Thunder final over 1730m on January 13. He began speedily, but was forced to race outside the pacemaker Nathans Courage before fading to finish last, eleven lengths behind the winner Nathans Courage. “They went too quick for him at his latest start,” said Colin Brown. “He was racing solid every week and running time. So, I backed off him for a little bit. “He needed a bit of a freshen up and he seems to have rallied. His recent beach work of galloping, wading and swimming has been terrific. He will lead on Friday night and should go close. His main danger is Bungalow Bill, who has drawn the outside barrier.” Franco Rayner has raced 38 times for 13 wins and nine placings and five-year-old Bungalow Bill, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, has a similar record, having had 31 starts for 12 wins and nine placings. Bungalow Bill, to be driven by leading reinsman Ryan Warwick, will appreciate a considerable drop in class, with his two most recent city starts being against open-class pacers, including Bronze Seeker, Kiwi Legend, Flaming Flutter, Lisharry, David Hercules and This Time Dylan. At his latest appearance, Bungalow Bill was not extended against much inferior competition, leading from barrier six and scoring an effortless victory from Responder and Dredlock Rockstar over 1828m at a 1.56.8 rate at Albany on January 28. The Bond stable has a good second string runner in Mighty Major, who is ready to return to his best form. He will start from barrier five and will be handled by Chris Lewis. He sustained a strong three-wide burst from the rear to be third at the bell before wilting to seventh behind Ohoka Kentucky over 2130m last Friday night. Ohoka Kentucky, trained and driven by Robbie Williams, impressed in scoring a one-length victory over Im Lisart after working in the breeze. He will have admirers again this week from barrier six. And Twoandahalf Tigers cannot be discounted from barrier seven. He fought on gamely from the one-out, one-back position to finish third behind Bronze Seeker and Major Rush over 2130m last Friday night. Ken Casellas

Boyanup horseman Justin Prentice has trained the runner-up in the Westral Dainty’s Daughter Classic three times and now he is confident he can break the drought and win the $50,000 feature event for harness racing three-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The 28-year-old Boyanup trainer has four of the ten runners and he has chosen to drive Lady Luca in preference to Im Stylish, Betshes Precious and Somehereonlyiknow in the 2130m group 2 classic. Lady Luca, a winner at two of her 13 starts, has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier and Prentice declared: “She’ll be hard to get around. She has good gate speed and should hold up. “I was happy with her latest run (when she raced on the pegs in fourth position before finishing solidly to be a close-up third behind Hit It Rich and Maczaffair over 2130m last Friday night). It took a bit to get her off the fence because she wanted to hang down a little bit. “I’ve made a gear change to cure that and I’m confident she will get straight to the front. Im Stylish is also a very nice filly and her work has been really good.” Im Styish has drawn awkwardly at barrier five and will be handled by Tom Buchanan. Nathan Turvey will drive Somewhereonlyiknow (barrier six) and Betshes Precious will be driven by Dylan Egerton-Green from the No. 3 barrier. “Im Stylish certainly has a good winning chance and, swap the barrier draws with Lady Luca, I would have driven Im Stylish,” Prentice said. “It’s a good field and I have been impressed by Maczaffair and Hit It Rich, who won in good style last week. Maczaffair, to this stage, has proved the best filly in the State, but she has drawn out wide this week.” Shannon Suvaljko was suspended for 21 days last Friday night after finishing an unlucky second to Hit It Rich with Maczaffair. He pleaded guilty for causing interference to Somewhereonlyiknow and Susies Desire on the home turn. He has been granted a stay of proceedings and will drive the Mike Reed-trained Maczaffair from the outside (No. 9) on the front line. Maczaffair has won seven timers from 14 starts and looks set to fight out the finish, despite her outside barrier. Two starts ago she started from barrier six and raced in sixth position before charging home to win easily from the pacemaker Susies Desire.    Im Stylish has not appeared since she raced in the one-out, one-back position and finished fifth behind Herrick Roosevelt on December 16. At her previous start, she worked hard without cover when a fighting second to talented gelding El Barcelona. Hit It Rich has won at each of her three starts for leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond since arriving from New Zealand and she cannot be overlooked, even though she has drawn out wide at barrier eight. She raced in the breeze and impressed in finishing strongly to win from Maczaffair last Friday night when the final 400m was covered in 28.1sec. Prentice-trained fillies to have finished second in the Dainty’s Daughter Classic have been Racketeers Girl, The Parade and Quite A Delight. Prentice drove Racketeers Girl when she started at 10/1 and finished second to Artemis Belle in 2011. The Parade (16/1) was handled by Chris Lewis when second to Majorly Foxy Styx in 2014 and Lewis also drove 4/1 chance Quite A Delight when she was second to Nuala in 2015. Prentice was in New Zealand, buying yearlings when the race was run in 2014 and 2015. He will leave Perth on Monday to attend the New Zealand yearling sales. Adding considerable intrigue and interest in Friday night’s classic will be the first appearance in WA of the WA-bred filly Soho Angel, who is prepared in Victoria by Michael Stanley and has raced 14 times in that State for five wins, four placings and $93,500 in stakes. Bred and owned by Robert Watson, Soho Angel will start from the No. 7 barrier and will be driven by Kim Prentice. Soho Angel, by champion stallion Bettors Delight, is the first of the progeny of Soho Champagne, whose only win from 12 starts was by a half-length over Bus To Cardiff in a three-year-old 2180m event at Wagin on December 23, 2011.         Soho Champagne’s second foal is Soho All Shook Up, a two-year-old filly who won at her debut for Stanley at Maryborough on Thursday of last week when she dashed over the final sections in 27.7sec. and 29.4sec. and ran the 1609m journey in 1.56.8. Soho Angel and Soho All Shook Up are related on the dam’s side to The Suleiman (292 starts for 65 wins, 90 placings and $521,270) and Highland Park (51 starts for 11 wins, 15 placings and $173,032). Both those pacers were trained and driven in their West Australian races by Andrew de Campo. Ken Casellas

Harness racing veteran pacer Cut For An Ace ended a losing sequence of 40 and a 39-month drought when Gary Hall jun. drove him to an all-the-way victory in a 2500m stand at Bunbury three Tuesdays ago. And now Hall is upbeat about the Victorian-bred nine-year-old’s ability to maintain his winning form for Blythwood trainer Michael Brennan when he starts from the No. 3 barrier on the front line in the Westral Outdoor Patio Blinds Handicap, a stand over 2503m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “Cut For An Ace’s win at Bunbury was good and he went to the line with something in hand,” Hall said. “On form, and provided he gets away to a good start he’s the one to beat.” Two of Cut For An Ace’s chief rivals, Major Rush and Assassinator, will start off the 10m mark. Major Rush, to be driven by Morgan Woodley for Myalup trainer Graham Gilbert, drops in class after his splendid effort last Friday night when he trailed the pacemaker Bronze Seeker and finished gamely to be second to that pacer over 2130m last Friday night. A week earlier, Major Rush finished strongly to win a 2503m stand from Twoandahalf Tigers and Another Ayjay. Assassinator, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, impressed at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night when he came from tenth in the middle stages with a sustained three-wide burst to be a head second to Gaz Wannabet in a 2503m stand. Hall is also full of confidence about the prospects of American Boy, who will start from the outside in a field of nine in the $23,000 Westral Vertical and Panel Blinds Pace. “The 2536m is ideal for American Boy and he should win,” said Hall. American Boy, trained by Gary Hall sen., boasts an outstanding winning record of 64 per cent, with his 25 starts producing 16 wins and six seconds. American Boy burst to an early lead and was untroubled to set the pace and win from Our Regal Ideal and Kimba Bay at a 1.57.2 rate last Friday night. Hall will be reunited with New Zealand-bred nine-year-old Tommy Smith when he contests the Westral Timber Blinds Pace. He has driven the Brennan-trained gelding only once --- at Northam in May 2014 when he finished second to Lord Lexus. Hall will replace Michael Grantham, who is serving a term of suspension. Grantham drove Tommy Smith at his most recent outing, when he made much of the running and won narrowly from Bettor Not Knowing in a 2631m stand at Pinjarra last Monday week. Ken Casellas

Ryan Warwick is setting a cracking pace in the race for the title of Western Australia’s leading harness racing driver this season and is very close to notching his century of winners for the season. He has six excellent drives at Gloucester Park on Friday night, all from the powerful stables of leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, starting with Gaz Wannabet in race two, the Westral Security Doors and Screens Pace, a 2130m mobile event. His other drives, Robyns Raider (race four), Jungle Jewel (five), Condrieu (six), Hit It Rich (seven) and Bungalow Bill (eight) all have sound each-way prospects. The 37-year-old Warwick leads the 2016-17 drivers’ premiership table with 95 wins (and 75 placings) from 295 drives. He holds an eight-win advantage over Chris Lewis, with Gary Hall jun. (78 winners) in third position. Gaz Wannabet, a New Zealand-bred four-year-old, is an extremely versatile and consistent pacer with a record of ten wins and 11 placings from just 31 starts. The Bettors Delight gelding warmed up for Friday night’s assignment with a fighting victory in a 2503m stand at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night. He started off the 10m mark and broke into a gallop (after an earlier false start had been declared) before Warwick urged him forward, three wide, in the first circuit. Gaz Wannabet then raced without cover outside the pacemaker Another Ayjay before getting to a narrow lead 400m from home. He then revealed excellent tenacity in staving off a spirited late challenge from stablemate Assassinator to win by a nose. The final quarters were run in 28.2sec. and 29.5sec. At Gloucester Park the previous Tuesday Gaz Wannabet set the pace and dashed over the final 800m in 56sec. when second, beaten a head by Ohoka Darcy over 2130m. In an even field of nine on Friday night, Gaz Wannabet is sure to meet stiff opposition from James Galleon (barrier two), Irockmyworld (one) and the Nathan Turvey-trained mares Our Gamma Lady (six) and Bethany Aitch (four). James Galleon has been forced to race without cover at his past three starts and on Friday night Gary Hall jun. will be anxious to get to an early lead and then dictate terms. However, Chris Lewis will be attempting to hold up from the No. 1 barrier and set the pace with the Peter Anderson-trained Irockmyworld, a smart frontrunner. Irockmyworld raced without cover early and then was shuffled back to fifth before getting to the lead 250m from home and fighting on to finish second to Soho Chelsea last Friday night. James Galleon, trained by Gary Hall sen., has managed only one placing (a third behind Mister Daytona and Pay Me Cullen) from five starts in his current preparation, but still boasts a splendid record of 18 starts for eight wins and three placings. Another runner who will be fancied is the Garry Butler-trained six-year-old Letztorqueaboutyou, who reappeared last Friday night after an absence of 18 months when he flew home from last at the bell to be an eye-catching third behind Soho Chelsea. Ken Casellas

Subtle changes to his gear have made Kiwi Legend a happier horse and astute Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed is already mapping out an ambitious harness racing program for the New Zealand-bred five-year-old. Reed is confident that Kiwi Legend will maintain his splendid form and win the $23,000 TABtouch Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night despite an awkward draw at barrier six on the front line. He said that Kiwi Legend, having his third run after a spell, would have another three or four starts before being spelled and then being brought back into work later in the year with the specific aim of contesting the Interdominion Championship series and WA Pacing Cup. “That’s where we’re heading for,” said Reed. “I think he’s a very good horse and is an Inters hope. People think that he’s more of a one-paced horse, but his major asset is his speed. “Barrier six on Friday night is a bit tricky and I’m not sure whether to go forward or back at the start. I’ll leave the tactics up to Shannon (Suvaljko). I wouldn’t mind if Kiwi Legend goes back. There’s likely to be a fairly quick lead time --- and when the pace slackens off Kiwi Legend will be able to pop around.” Kiwi Legend is lightly raced, with ten wins and 11 placings from just 26 starts. He was untroubled to lead from the No. 1 barrier in the 2130m Lord Mayor’s Cup last Friday night and after a slow lead time of 37.9sec. and modest opening quarters of 30.4sec. and 30sec. he sped over the final sections in 28.6sec. and 27.8sec. to beat Bettor Offer by two lengths at a 1.56.9 rate. First-up a fortnight earlier, Kiwi Legend flew home from last at the bell to finish second to Bronze Seeker over 2536m. Reed said that fellow trainer Clint Kimes had assisted him in making changes to Kiwi Legend’s gear. “We made the changes before his first-up run, when he went huge, and I think he will be getting better and better,” Reed said. “He used to get on one knee a little bit and now we’ve got him off his knee. We put a different bit on him and put a winker on one side of him, while keeping the Murphy blind on the other side. These changes and a few other little things are making him happier and he’s now pacing better than he has ever paced. He has pulled up extremely well after last week’s win and he’ll do better this week.” Kiwi Legend, an Art Major gelding, did not race as a two-year-old before scoring easy wins at his only two starts in New Zealand, as a three-year-old in February 2015. Reed picked him out and he was purchased by Albert and Julie Walmsley. At his West Australian debut in March 2015 Kiwi Legend was successful in a WA Derby prelude in which boom pacer Beaudiene Boaz finished eighth. “I think that run knocked him about a little bit,” Reed said. Kiwi Legend then was unplaced behind Beaudiene Boaz in the Western Gateway Pace and WA Derby. After a spell, he finished second to Beaudiene Boaz in the group 1 Golden Nugget in December 2015. Looming as the major danger to Kiwi Legend on Friday night is the Greg and Skye Bond-trained Bettor Offer, who will start from barrier two on the back line. “From this draw, he can turn the tables on Kiwi Legend,” declared reinsman Ryan Warwick. “Last week Browny (Colin Brown) rated Kiwi Legend really well. After a slow lead time, he rated every quarter a second quicker, without letting us into the race. “This week it’s a drop in grade for Bettor Offer and Kiwi Legend won’t get it as easy as he did last week. So, I don’t think it is game over for Kiwi Legend. “Before last week’s second placing Bettor Offer performed really well at his two previous starts, after resuming from a spell. He finished third behind both the frontrunners Franco Rayner and Nathans Courage, with the winners each rating 1.53.4 over 1730m. He made ground on both the leaders.” Bronze Seeker, who finished powerfully when he won from Kiwi Legend over 2536m three starts ago, has drawn the coveted No. 1 barrier and Michael Grantham will make a bold bid to assume control in front after the mobile barrier releases the field of 12. Major Rush (barrier No. 2) and Mon Lillies (three) each possesses sparkling gate speed, but Grantham is confident that Bronze Seeker will be able to hold them out in an early battle for the lead. Bronze Seeker, trained at Byford by Peter Anderson, has drawn the No. 1 barrier only six times from his first 120 starts in mobile events in WA for two seconds, two thirds, a fourth and a twelfth placing. The most recent occasion Bronze Seeker started from barrier one was seven starts ago when he set the pace with a solid lead time of 36.1sec. and sections of 29.5sec., 29.3sec., 29.1sec. and 28.6sec. He withstood a strong early challenge from My Samantha Jane and fought on grandly to finish second, beaten by one metre by the 2/1 on favourite Rub of the Green. Bronze Seeker’s stablemate Lisharry is in grand form, but he faces an extremely difficult task from the outside (No. 9) mon the front line. He will be handled by Nathan Turvey, with Chris Lewis opting for Commander Chapel, who is trained by Debra Lewis and is favourably drawn on the inside of the back line at his first appearance after a short spell. Ken Casellas

The transformation of Mister Daytona from a desultory and disinterested worker at Greg and Skye Bond’s Forrestdale stables to an enthusiastic and spirited harness racing performer on the racetrack is quite remarkable. The New Zealand-bred four-year-old continues to delight the Bonds, who own the stallion, and he now boasts a 75 per cent winning record, something that could be improved after he contests the first heat of the Lewis Pace, the WA Racing Hall of Fame Nominee Andy Sheahan event over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He fared badly in the random draw and will start from the outside in the field of six. However, it would be most unwise to discount the winning prospects of a pacer who has raced 20 times for 15 wins and one third placing for earnings of $95,174. “If you drive him at home you wouldn’t think that he’s that good,” said reinsman Ryan Warwick. “But when he comes to the racetrack he feels so much different. “He never worked particularly well, so we stopped hoppling him. We now just gallop him on the sand and don’t hopple him at all. At home, he’s very ordinary, but at the racetrack he has that desire to win. He’s won at 15 of his 20 starts in which he galloped in three of them. So, realistically, it is 15 from 17.” Mister Daytona overcame the disadvantage of starting from the outside barrier (No. 9) in the Im Themightyquinn final last week when he charged forward, three wide early, dashed over the lead time in 36sec. and burst to the front after 500m before going on to win convincingly from Pay Me Cullen and James Galleon, with final quarters of 27.9sec. and 28.2sec.   He worked hard and covered extra ground before winning easily at his two previous outings, over 2130m at Gloucester Park and 2258m at Albany. On Friday night Mister Daytona is sure to receive stiff opposition from the polemarker Atlastalone and the talented five-year-old American Boy. Reinsman Michael Grantham declared that nine-year-old Atlastalone would set the pace from the No. 1 barrier and had the ability to defeat Mister Daytona. “He grows a leg in front and can repeat his all-the-way win last Friday night when he beat American Boy and Bounty Eyre,” he said. Warwick concedes that Atlastalone is a serious rival and said that he would be left with the task of making the decision to make his move from the rear with Mister Daytona. Ken Casellas

Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed holds the whip hand in the WA Hall of Fame Pace for harness racing three-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night after his last-start winners Beach Goddess and Maczaffair drew barriers one and two, respectively, in the 2130m event. Beach Goddess, tipping her to be the fastest to begin. “I think that Maczaffair may be too quick (early) for Beach Goddess,” he said. “Beach Goddess is also a good beginner and good pacemaker, like she showed when she led from the No. 1 barrier, set the pace and won from Allmightyjoelouis last Friday night. “I’ll speak to the owners to see what we’ll do. I’d say that one of them will be the leader and the other will be sitting behind the leader. I’ve always liked Maczaffair, but both fillies are very good and are racing very well. Beach Goddess can sit and sprint.” The stablemates have clashed three times in races, with Beach Goddess finishing ahead of Maczaffair twice. At their most recent clash, last Friday week, Maczaffair (barrier six) finished boldly from sixth at the bell to win from the pacemaker Susies Desire, while Beach Goddess (barrier seven) fought on from fifth on the pegs at the bell to be fourth. Reed is confident that both Maczaffair and beach Goddess will perform strongly on Friday night to clinch a place in the field for the $50,000 Dainty’s Daughter Classic on Friday week.       “It’s a good field this Friday night, but we’ve had the luck with the draws and hold the key to the race,” he said. Boyanup trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice has three runners (Lady Luca, Somewhereonlyiknow and Betshes Precious) in the race and he has decided to drive Lady Luca, who will start from the No. 3 barrier in the field of eight. “Lady Luca is my major chance and she is going very well,” Prentice said. “Unfortunately, I didn’t get the barriers I wanted. At her latest start, Lady Luca’s fitness told on her a bit when she hit the front and then got a bit tired. I thought that if she had drawn inside the two Reed fillies she would take a lot of beating. However, she’s not impossible.   Somewhereonlyiknow is resuming after a spell and will be driven by Nathan Turvey from barrier 6. Betshes Precious (Tom Buchanan) will start from the outside barrier. Somewhereonlyiknow went for a spell after winning four in a row in August-September and Betshes Precious notched her fourth win when she finished solidly to beat Soho Changeling at Pinjarra on Monday of last week. “Somewhereonlyiknow is a nice filly on the way up, but the barrier draw hurts her,” Prentice said. “Betshes Precious needed to draw really well to figure in this field.” Ryan Warwick said that the Greg and Skye Bond-trained filly Hit It Rich was a smart type who had impressed in winning at Bunbury and Albany at her first two appearances in WA after arriving from New Zealand where she finished third at her only start. “She can run and is a pretty nice filly,” Warwick said. “I’m pretty confident that Hit It Rich is better than Beach Goddess and I expect that she will develop into a filly who is just as good as Maczaffair.” Ken Casellas  

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