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Western Australia’s sole representative in the 2018 Inter Dominion Series Galactic Star is well placed to make Saturday week’s final, following his third placing in the second round of heats at Ballarat last night. The Greg and Skye Bond-trained pacer sits third behind Cruz Bromac and Im Pats Delight in the rankings with one round of heats remaining at Cranbourne on Saturday night. Galactic Star won the opening heat at Melton last Saturday and continued his good form in last night’s 1710m second round of heats. The Bettors Delight gelding was posted wide in the early stages of last night’s heat, before he was able to settle in the running line in fourth spot. Reinsman Todd McCarthy then got the gelding into clear room at the top of the straight and he was able to run on strongly into third spot. Greg Bond said he was pleased to get another significant lot of points, which almost guaranteed him a spot in the final on December 15. “We were very happy with the performance, given the bad gate,” he said. “Nothing was coming from behind on the night, so we made the plan to follow Mach Doro out of the gate which we knew we may get posted three wide. “Eventually he was able to get a trail and he found the line really well.” Bond said he expected Galactic Star would only need to finish in the top eight of his heat on Saturday night to secure his spot in the final. Galactic Star has again drawn on the outside of the second line on Saturday night in barrier 10 and Bond said the stable wouldn’t take the race lightly, despite the fact a spot in the final looks assured. “The three main chances in Wrappers Delight, Spankem and Galactic Star are in eight, nine and 10 respectively,” he said. “We go in trying to win every race and Saturday night will be no exception. “He should finish in the top three or four depending on the run we get.” Galactic Star is a $9.75 chance with TABtouch to take out the Inter Dominion. Meanwhile, Bond said all of his four-year-olds were in good order following last Friday night’s Yes Loans 4YO Classic at Gloucester Park. He indicated Bettor Aim, who was scratched from the Group 1 event, was on track to make a full recovery in time for Friday week’s Golden Nugget.   Tim Walker

THE Inter Dominion rules have been addressed and top WA trainer Greg Bond has set his sights on Melbourne again. Bond was set to abort his plans with Galactic Star before the Inter Dominion Event Committee (IDEC) agreed to scrap a rule requiring all “visiting” horses to be in Melbourne five days ahead of the opening round of heats. Harness Racing Victoria, Harness Racing NSW and Harness Racing NZ successfully applied to for the rule to be deleted. “Today’s decision further highlights the willingness of our industry’s administrators to listen to participants in order to achieve industry best outcomes,” HRV chairman Dale Monteith said. Importantly, it solves what would have been an ongoing issue for the Auckland series next year and Sydney in 2020. Bond echoed the sentiments of the vast majority of trainers when he applauded the rule change. “Common sense has prevailed and we can all get on with things now,” he said. In Bond’s case, Galactic Star and, possibly Vampiro, were booked on a flight from Perth to Melbourne the Wednesday before the opening round of heats, which would’ve seen them ineligible. That’s because Bond wanted to give at least one of his possible contenders their final lead-up race at Gloucester Park this Friday night and the following Wednesday was the next available flight after that. The rule would also have significantly impacted the growing Kiwi contingent being set for the Inter Dominion trotting and pacing series. “Galactic Star is now a definite and we will decide on Vampiro in the next day or so,” Bond said. “It’s the Inter Dominion and I’m super keen to be part of it, but I wouldn’t have been if we needed to be there on the Monday.” Bond’s focus will be split between the Inter Dominion and WA’s string of major 4YO races in coming weeks. He and wife, Skye, could have as many as five runners in Group 1 races like the McInerney Ford and Golden Nugget over the next few weeks. On form, hype and potential, ex-Kiwi pacer Ana Malak is leading the way, especially after he thrashed a moderate field in slick time at Pinjarra on debut for the Bonds yesterday (Monday). “I’ve got a feeling when push comes to shove, Ryan (Warwick, stable driver) will pick Ana Malak as his drive,” Bond said. “I just wish we’d been able to get another couple of lead-up runs into him, but he missed some racing with a quarter crack. It’s fine now.” Bond’s other major players include Mighty Conqueror, who looked fantastic winning at Gloucester Park last Friday night, and Bettor Aim, who made it six wins from nine starts with an easy Pinjarra victory on Monday. But it’s Ana Malak who has most people talking. “I toyed with backing him up this Friday, but I won’t. He’ll go straight into the McInerney on Friday week,” Bond said. Adam Hamilton

It was a month behind schedule but yesterday Ana Malak made his Western Australian debut, and was an impressive winner at Pinjarra Harness Racing Club. “He did what I was hoping he would,” said co-trainer Greg Bond following the win. “His work at home had been good so we expected a good run today, we had a slight setback with him otherwise he would have been racing a month ago so today was a bit of a fact-finding mission.” The 4yo Bettors Delight import was nursed out of the gate by driver Ryan Warwick who was able to find cover and race in the one-out-one-back position for a majority of the event. The $1.04 favourite made his move at the 750 metre mark and showed brilliant speed to level up with, and pass the leaders before the final quarter. Racing home in 56.8 seconds, covering the final 400 metres in 28.2, Ana Malak rated 1:56.0 for the 2185 metre mobile, winning by 37.1 metres. WATCH RACE REPLAY HERE  “He seems to be the sort of horse that you really have to ask him to perform, but as you saw today, when you ask him to do it, he does," said Bond. “He ticked all the boxes today, now onto the classics.” Ana Malak is nominated for the Golden Nugget Prelude this Friday night, with Bond aiming at gaining a start in the Gr.1 4yo Classic on November 30 at Gloucester Park. It was another successful meeting for the Bond camp; with Starlight Brigade ($1.30), and Bettor Aim ($1.04) both scoring effortless victories on the card.   Scott Hamilton

Two classy former Kiwi pacers will be the backbone Team Bond’s Melbourne Inter Dominion assault. Greg Bond said he and wife, Skye, had mapped-out plans for the emerging Vampiro and established open-class player Galactic Star to tackle the series. Vampiro continued his rise through the ranks with a victory in last Friday night’s Group 2 James Brennan Memorial at Gloucester Park, while Galactic Star resumes from a let-up at Pinjarra today (Monday). “Unless something changes, they’ll be going across,” Bond said. “The worry was getting a flight back to Perth after the series, but we’ve put plans in place to float them back because we’ve got the big races here in January. “Flights can be hard to get from Melbourne to Perth that close to Christmas. We’ll fly them if we can, but the transporter is in place to take them home back home on the Sunday or Monday after the final (December 15). “We need them back home quickly to have time for a little freshen-up, then have them spot on for the Fremantle and WA Cups.” Bond said the lure of the Inter Dominion’s history and prestige carried plenty of weight. “The stakemoney is well down on last year and the heats aren’t worth a lot at $30,000 when you think our Gloucester Park free-for-alls at $25,000, but it is still the Inter Dominion,” he said. “We’re taking two horses across who will need luck and are opportunists rather than being able to dominate their races, but we think will be competitive with the right luck. “Galactic Star went across (to Melton) and ran fifth in the Victoria Cup last year and he finished fifth in last year’s Inter Dominion final as well.” Galactic Star also won a heat of last year’s Perth Inter Dominion at Bunbury. “Vampiro has just kept getting better for us. He hasn’t finished further back than fifth in his 30 starts for us and won 15 of them. Even that fifth was in the Golden Nugget when he had to face the breeze for part of the race,” Bond said. In other stable news, Bond said buzz Kiwi import and early Golden Nugget favourite Ana Malak was close to racing. He hasn’t raced since a huge Addington win for then trainer Ken Barron and driver Blair Orange on August 17. “We found a quarter crack so he’s taken more time to get to the races than we expected, but he’s very fit now and we’ve still gone some time up our sleeve for the big 4YO races,” Bond said. “He looks and give you the feel or a really nice horse at home, but we’re keen to see him at the races.” Although Team Bond’s down on numbers, the quality is strong. “We’ve had up to 50 in work and about 40 is the right, but we’re only at around 25 now. That said, we’ve got some nice horse like Saving Grace, who ran a 55.8sec half at Northam to win easily last night (Saturday), Mitch Maguire is very fast and making his way through the grades,” Bond said. “Even Mighty Conqueror, who runs at Pinjarra tomorrow (Monday) shows us plenty at home and could be a Nugget horse as well.” Adam Hamilton

Ocean Ridge, who failed to record a win from six starts as a two-year-old, has blossomed into an outstanding harness racing three-year-old who has excellent prospects of overcoming a back-line draw and winning the $200,000 Sky Racing WA Derby at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Victory in the 2536m classic would elevate Forrestdale horseman Greg Bond into the top bracket of successful trainers in the Derby which has been a highlight of every WA season since Freckles won the inaugural Group 1 event in 1917. Bond has won the WA Derby with New Zealand-bred pacers Richard Henry (2005), In The Force (2009) and Seel N Print (2011). The only trainers to have prepared four or more WA Derby winners are the late Fred Kersley Snr (five), the late Fred W Godecke (four) and Ross Olivieri (four). Leading trainer Gary Hall Snr has high hopes of notching his 100th winner of the season by winning the Derby with either King of Swing or Speed Man. A victory would give Hall his fourth success in the classic. Ocean Ridge, a colt by Mach Three, has won at five of his six starts this season and has revealed wonderful versatility. He led from barrier two and won easily in a modest C2-class event at Pinjarra at his WA debut two starts ago. And he was most impressive in scoring an effortless victory in a Derby prelude on Thursday of last week. He enjoyed a perfect trail, one-out and one-back, before Ryan Warwick sent him forward, three wide, with 600m to travel. The gelding took the lead at the 450m mark and won by just over two lengths from the 10/1 favourite King of Swing, with Speed Man finishing strongly from eighth (and last) at the bell to be third. Ocean Ridge rated 1.55.3 in the 2130m prelude and the 2536m journey on Friday night should prove to be no problem. He started his three-year-old campaign in dazzling style, setting the pace from barrier one and winning a 1950m event by five lengths at Addington on December 16. That was his first appearance for eight months. He then started from the inside of the back line in another 1950m event at Addington on January 26 when he was seventh at the bell before starting a three-wide move and working into the breeze position before finishing a close-up fourth behind Fizzing. Two starts ago Ocean Ridge was restrained to last from barrier seven in a field of nine over 1950m at Addington. He came from last, three wide, at the bell and then worked in the breeze before sprinting the final 400m section in 27.4sec. and hitting the front 130m from the post and winning, unextended. At his final appearance in New Zealand, over 1950m at Addington on February 16 he was beaten out from the No. 1 barrier and raced three back on the pegs before charging home from fifth on the home turn to win easily at a 1.55.7 rate, with a final quarter in 27.5sec. Ocean Ridge is the third foal out of Falcon Seelster mare There’s A Dancer, whose first two foals Bracken Ridge and McClinchie each won on WA debut for Bond. A win on Friday night by Ocean Ridge would help erase the disappointment suffered by Bond and his wife Skye when their smart colt Rock Diamonds, a 14/1 chance, finished a head second to Handsandwheels in the Derby 12 months ago after finishing strongly to take the lead in the final 70m. Their other runner, Mitch Maguire (9/4), was a luckless seventh after taking a narrow lead, out three wide, 350m from home and then locking wheels with 2/1 favourite Runrunjimmydunn.    Champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr has combined with his father to win the Derby with Alta Christiano (2013), Beaudiene Boaz (2015) and Chicago Bull (2016). Hall Jnr will handle King of Swing from barrier three on the front line and he gives the colt a strong winning chance. King of Swing raced three wide for the first 750m before setting the pace in last week’s prelude before lowering his colours to Ocean Ridge. “He’s got the draw to turn the tables on Ocean Ridge,” said Hall jun. “He has definitely got the ability to win.” Owner Albert Walmsley and Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed were naturally disappointed when their talented colts Bechers Brook (barrier seven) and Golden State (eight) fared poorly in the random draw. However, both pacers are strong sit-sprinters and are capable of winning. Reed prepared Tricky Vic (2002) and Ace of Spades (2003) for wins in the classic. Skye Bond prepares Bright Diamond, who despite only one win from 16 starts, will have admirers after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier. Bright Diamond will be driven by star reinsman Chris Lewis, who has won the Derby five times with Trunkey Maseratti (1994), Saab (1998), Talladega (2000), Argent Treasure (2008) and In The Force (2009). Ken Casellas

Stewards have refused Skye Bond’s application to continue training from her Forrestdale harness racing stable in the wake of her husband Greg’s 12-month disqualification. Stewards determined Skye Bond was entitled to retain a licence to train pacers because Greg’s disqualification did not relate to the training of pacers. But she was not granted permission to train from the Forrestdale stable where the husband and wife training partnership are based. Stewards visited WA’s leading stable on Monday and noted the limited segregation of the Bonds’ house from the stabling complex. Under the rules of harness racing, a disqualified person cannot enter any premises used for the purposes of the harness racing industry. Greg Bond was disqualified for giving false information to stewards and behaving in a way that was prejudicial to the industry. He has lodged an appeal with the Racing Penalties Appeal Tribunal. Stewards also announced today a six-month disqualification for reinsman Mark Reed for refusing to comply with a direction from senior investigator Paul Criddle. Reed provided a urine sample when requested to on August 26 last year, but it did not meet the required criteria. He then refused to provide a second sample. By Jay Rooney Reprinted with permission of The West Australian  

RWWA Stewards have now completed their deliberations with respect to penalty for the two charges found against harness racing trainer Mr G Bond arising from an extensive investigation into all aspects of Race 1 conducted at Gloucester Park on 2 December 2016, in particular the disappointing performance of pre-post favourite FIFTH EDITION NZ and the wagering activity on that race. The inquiry was conducted over 4 sittings and heard evidence from multiple persons, which resulted in the tabling of 39 exhibits and some 420 pages of transcript. Having found Mr Bond guilty of both charges on 12 June 2017 and after hearing submissions on penalty on 4 July 2017, the Stewards have determined to impose a penalty of 6-months disqualification in relation to the offence under Rule 209 and a 12-month disqualification in relation to the offence under Rule 243 effective forthwith. The penalties are to be served concurrently. In assessing penalty in each instance the Stewards took into account, amongst other things; The seriousness of the matters. Mr Bond’s personal circumstances, level of current involvement in the racing industry and overall record in racing which did not contain any significant offences. The prejudice to the image and interest of racing as it related to Charge 2. The need to send a clear message that such actions in each instance are not acceptable or to be tolerated by the Stewards. As Mr Bond was licensed to train in partnership, Harness Regulation 90.1 (8)(c) states: (8) RWWA may grant a trainers licence to a person to train only in partnership. (a) The partnership shall not comprise more than two people. (b) Each partner must hold the same grade of trainers licence. (c) Each partner shall be subject to any disability, fine, suspension, disqualification or other penalty that may be imposed under the rules on any partner. Pursuant to these provisions this disqualification has the effect of disqualifying the training partnership. In view of the provisions of the above as it relates to Mrs. Bond and the training partnership, the Stewards have directed pursuant to Rule 183 that all training licenses held by her be suspended forthwith pending the outcome of inquiry concerning the application of this rule in relation to her. In that respect the Stewards have afforded the opportunity to receive submissions in relation to the application of this rule as it relates to Mrs. Bond. Details of charges follows. Details of Charges Charge 1 Rule 209 False Information A person employed, engaged or participating in the harness racing industry shall not knowingly or recklessly furnish false information to the Controlling Body, the Stewards or anyone else. Particulars Particulars of the charge are that you did knowingly furnish false information to the Stewards, namely that during a phone call with the Chief Steward Mr Carl Coady on 5 December 2016 you stated that you had included your runner FIFTH EDITION in a First Four bet on Race 1 at Gloucester Park on 2 December 2016 when that was false. Charge 2 Rule: 243 Behaviour detrimental to the industry A person employed, engaged or participating in the harness racing industry shall not behave in a way which is prejudicial or detrimental to the industry. Particulars The particulars of the charge are that you as a licensed trainer behaved in a way that was prejudicial to the industry as is set out in the matters below; Prior to Race 1 at Gloucester Park on 2 December 2016 in which FIFTH EDITION a horse trained by you was drawn to compete, you were aware from comments made to you by the Driver Mr R Warwick of the horse hanging and cross firing when he drove it in track work on Tuesday 29 November 2016. And; On TAB Radio on the morning of the race meeting, spoke positively as to the prospects of the horse in the race including indicating it was the best of the night for the Bond team but omitted to make any reference to the matter brought to your attention by Mr Warwick in relation to the horse hanging and cross firing when he drove it in track work on Tuesday 29 November 2016. And Expressed to the owner Mr Gartrell in a phone call to be beware given this matter that you were aware of from Mr Warwick. And In relation to this race in question you had multiple bets, by way of a First Four with multiple combinations and a Quadrella, which deliberately did not include FIFTH EDITION at all.   Denis Borovica – General Manager Racing Integrity Ph: 9445 5427 denis.borovica@rwwa.com.au

Leading WA trotting trainer Greg Bond has been charged with giving false information and behaviour detrimental to the harness racing Industry. Stewards inquired into the unplaced run of Bond-trained Fifth Edition and betting on the horse in a San Simeon Series heat over 2130m at Gloucester Park last December. Records showed Bond placed multiple wagers on the race, but did not include Fifth Edition in any of his bets. The inquiry has been adjourned to a date to be fixed. Bond and his wife Skye, who run a Forrestdale stable in partnership, have prepared more than 140 winners this season and are second on the Australian pacing trainers’ premiership. New Zealand import Fifth Edition was making his WA debut when he started $2.20 in the San Simeon heat. He hung in and faded from fourth at the bell to finish last of 12, almost 85m behind winner Limestone Bay. Racing and Wagering WA integrity general manager Denis Borovica said stewards began an inquiry after the race. Borovica alleged Bond gave false information to stewards. He alleged that Bond, in a phone conversation with then chief harness steward Carl Coady on December 5, falsely said he included Fifth Edition in a first four bet. Borovica said Bond had behaved in a way prejudicial to the industry after being told by reinsman Ryan Warwick the horse hung and cross-fired at trackwork on the prior Tuesday. In an interview on TABradio on the morning of the race, Bond said Fifth Edition was his stable’s best prospect that night. He did not mention Warwick’s information the horse had hung and cross-fired. However, Bond spoke of Warwick’s adverse comments in a phone call to a part-owner of Fifth Edition. Borovica said Bond had bets on Fifth Edition’s race, including a first four with multiple combinations and a quadrella. Ernie Manning Reprinted with permission of The West Australian

FORMER star Kiwi stayer Tiger Tara is ready and waiting for Lennytheshark. Tiger Tara arrogantly posted his fifth successive win when he strolled home in the Group 3 Sydney Cup (2140m) at Bankstown last Friday night. In contrast to recent wins where he’s done all the work, this time driver Todd McCarthy found the front and Tiger Tara won as he liked in a 1min57.5sec mile rate for 2140m. He zipped home in 56.3 and 27.7sec. “He’s thriving on the hard racing and I can’t wait to get a crack at Lennytheshark next weekend,” trainer Kevin Pizzuto said. “I know he hasn’t been beating the absolute best in his recent runs, but the way he’s been going means I’m not afraid of taking any horse on.” Miracle Mile winner Lennytheshark hasn’t raced since winning the Cranbourne Cup on March 18, but sharpened-up with a slashing second in a Menangle trial last Tuesday. Lennytheshark and Tiger Tara are set to clash in next Saturday night’s Group 2 Bulli Cup at Menangle. FORMER classy Kiwi pacer Hughie Green was always going to enjoy life in Queensland. It’s started as most expected with two easy wins from as many starts in his new home state for trainer-driver John Cremin. He won first Queensland outing in all-the-way style at Albion Park on April 7, then did exactly the same, but looked even better doing it last Saturday night. The five-year-old cruised through a 62.6sec middle half then ripped home in 55.5 and 27.0sec to win by 11.7m in a 1min57.3sec mile rate for 2138m. Hughie Green is going to have a good grounding at Albion Park ahead of the Winter Carnival up there when the likes of Lennytheshark, Hectorjayjay and Tiger Tara are expected to spice things up. CLASSY Victorian mare Rockstar Angel remains a “big hope” of contesting the Harness Jewels if the invite comes her way. Trainer David Aiken set the four-year-old for the $40,000 Platinum Mares’ Championship three months ago and snared the final with a tough and dominant win last Saturday night. It was a huge effort to come from outside the back row, do the work outside the leader and win in a blazing 1min53sec mile rate for 1720m. Given the lack of Our Dream About Me and probably Golden Goddess, the Jewels’ 4YO Mares’ division looks a good target for Rockstar Angel if Aiken and owner Brendan James opt to give it a crack. Also at Melton, Major Crocker made a one-act affair of the Westburn Grant free-for-all (2240m) by leading throughout in a 1min54.3sec mile rate. And rejuvenated trotter Vincennes caused a minor upset winning the Group 3 Uncle Petrika Trotters’ free-for-all (1720m) in a 1min56.3sec mile rate. The other eye-catching winner on the night was one-time Harness Jewels contestant, Burnaholeinmypocket, who looks to be regaining the sort of form he showed as a three and early four-year-old for Andy and Kate Gath. He sat parked and dug deep for a blisterining 1min53.1sec win over 1720m. ONE of the most stirring battles of last weekend came at Gloucester Park. It was an epic stoush between brothers Clint and Gary Hall Jr and a couple of exciting three-year-old pacers Runrunjimmydunn and El Barcelona. The pair cleared out from the rest of the field with El Barcelona in front and looking the winner on the home bend, but Runrunjimmydunn just kept coming and snatched victory by a nose on the line in a slick 1min55.8sec mile rate for 2130m. Runrunjimmydunn brilliantly won his first Aussie run for trainer Gary Hall Sr then had little go right in the WA Derby before bouncing back last Friday night. At the same meeting, another exciting three-year-old Maczaffair appreciated dropping back from racing the boys when 11th in the WA Derby to thrashing her rivals in a WA Oaks Prelude. Trained by Mike Reed and driven by Shannon Suvaljko, Maczaffair led throughout from the pole to win by 13.2m in a 1min56sec mile rate for 2140m, including closing splits of 56.4 and 27.9. The other highlight of the Gloucester Park card came when Bill Horn – of Village Kid fame – produced his injury-plagued pacer Heez On Fire for a first-up win in the fast-class race. It was the gelding’s first run since a failed tilt at the Perth Inter Dominion late last year. STILL in WA and leading trainer Greg Bond has been charged with behaviour detrimental to the industry from a race held during the Perth Inter Dominion series late last year. After an exhaustive probe, Perth West Australian newspaper reported RWWA had charged Bond in relation a former Kiwi pacer Fifth Edition at Gloucester Park in December. An iquiry was opened straight after the pacer drifted alarmingly in betting, hung badly and wilted to finish last. The inquiry focused on Bond’s comments in Perth radio on the morning of the race and his betting activity on race night. RWWA’s general manager of integrity, Denis Borovica, said Bond initially told RWWA’s former chief steward, Carl Coady, he included Fifth Edition in a “first four bet” on the race, but subsequence evidence showed none his bets did include Fifth Edition. Additionally, Borovica said Bond said on local radio on race morning that Fifth Edition was his “best prospect” that night, neglecting to mention information he had been given by stable foreman Ryan Warwick about the pacer hanging and cross-firing in trackwork the prior Tuesday. The charges are serious and the inquiry has been adjourned to a date to be set. Bond and his wife, Skye, are backbones of the WA industry with a huge stable – mostly Kiwi imports – and have trained almost 150 winners so far this season. LATE last year there was plenty of prepost money around for San Carlo to win the Victoria and/or Hunter Cups. San who may of you might ask? San Carlo is a six-year-old gelding, who, if he could stay sound, would be a Grand Circuit horse. Not long after the money came for him late last year, he had yet another setback and was put out for a spell by trainer Steve O’Donoghue. San Carlo returned to the races with a sparkling win at Kilmore last Friday night. It was his 10th win from just 11 starts. Despite being three-wide and outside the leader, driver Bec Bartley had an armchair ride as he coasted to a 9.8m win in a brisk 1min57.6sec mile rate for 2180m. KIWI pacer Motu Premier gives Mark Purdon another major feature race player at Menangle next Saturday night. The four-year-old made it two wins from as many runs during this NSW raid when he finished strongly to win a heat of the Carousel series at Bankstown last Friday night. Motu Premier looks one of the major players along with the likes of Anything For Love and Lord Zin Zan in the $50,000 Group 2 Carousel final next Saturday night. Lord Zin Zan won an epic battle with Anything For Love in a scorching 1min49.6sec mile at Menangle last Tuesday then backed-up last Saturday night for an easy all-the-way win at the same track in 1min52.1sec. HARNESS Racing Victoria continues to tinker with its pacing races after abolishing standing-start races for pacers at the start of this season. The move came under the microscope most on the country cup circuit where so many of the former standing-start races became mobiles and had short-priced favourites. Overall, HRV revealed betting turnover across all country cups was up 3.9 per cent on last season, but they conceded some races – most notably the Shepparton Cup which was down 24.7 per cent – suffered as a result. Hectorjayjay started $1.20 and dominated at Shepparton. In a quest to combat this, HRV’s CEO David Martin confirmed the country cups of Group 2 and 3 status would switch from free-for-alls to preferential draw races next season. It’s a fair compromise with a marquee Cup, like the Group 1 Ballarat Cup, remaining a random draw. The upside to scrapping stands has been more of stars like Lennytheshark and Hectorjayjay in the country cups and the preferential draws should at least make some of those Group 2 and 3 races more competitive. MATTY Craven showed why he is regarded as one of the emerging training forces in Australia with an “on-the-road” treble at Menangle last Saturday night. Craven, who is building a name for rejuvenating trotters, won with two trotters at Menangle – El Paco and Our Dreamlover – who have been both regained form since being switched to his stable. Craven’s other win came with tough pacer Desdon Murruffy, who led throughout in a slick 1min54.7sec mile rate for 2300m.   Adam Hamilton

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

Leading Western Australian trainer Greg Bond is chuffed to have classy Kiwi pacer Franco Nelson join his stable albeit just for a short stint. A lack of suitable travel prompted connections to this week abandon plans to take Franco Nelson back home for the Auckland Cup and, instead, leave him with Bond for a trio of feature races in Gloucester Park. The first of those will be the $60,000 Group 2 Village Kid (2130m) on December 30. Then follows the $300,000 Group 1 Fremantle Cup (2536m) on January 6 and the $450,000 Group 1 WA Pacing Cup (2936m) another week later. “It’s a buzz to have a horse of his talent join the team, even if it’s just for a few weeks,” Bond said. “We’d kept him ticking along because John wanted him to head back for the Auckland Cup so he hasn’t lost any fitness. “He’s a got a lot of things going for him and these races will really suit him if he holds his Inter Dominion form.” Franco Nelson ran third, fifth and fifth in his three Inter Dominion heats before a totally luckless fifth to Smolda in the final last Friday night. Driver Dexter Dunn was bailed-up on the marker pegs and dragged back to last when the leader, Run Oneover, compounded in the last lap. Franco Nelson stormed home for fifth. Dunn is likely to return to drive in the Fremantle and WA Cups. “That first race clashes with Auckland Cup time so John’s happy for Ryan Warwick to drive him then. We’d expect Dexter to come across for the other two big ones,” Bond said. Bond is also targeting the Fremantle and WA Cups with his stable star, Our Jimmy Johnstone, who was unlucky to miss an Inter Dom final berth and ran a fighting third in the consolation. “It all went wrong for him in the last heat when he was kicking the sulky and took charge. He ran himself into the ground and that’s why he missed the final,” Bond said. “He did all the work and ran really in the consolation and has had a freshen-up since. “He might skip the Village Kid and go straight to the Freo Cup. I’ll decide over the next week.” Bond has opted to give another of his open-class pacers – Simply Susational and Ima Connoisseur – short spells and will bypass the upcoming features. In other WA news, the state’s former top pacer David Hercules returns from injury and retirement in the free-for-all at Gloucester Park tonight (Friday). The David Thompson-trained $1.25 million earner has not raced since a fifth at Gloucester Park on July 10, 2015. “He’s had three trials and it’s time to race. I’m actually glad he’s drawn the outside (nine) because he’s not quite ready to really burn at the start,” Thompson said. “He’ll go back and hopefully finish it off really well.” It will be hard for him to beat Cyamach, who starts from three and looked very good leading throughout to win the Inter Dominion consolation last Friday night. Adam Hamilton

Star pacer Dodolicious finished third in a trial at Byford on Sunday morning, but harness racing co-trainer Greg Bond is bubbling with confidence about the four-year-old’s prospects in her first-up assignment in the $18,500 TABtouch Interdominion Barrier Draw December 4 Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “She’s ready to go and it’s a nice drawing barrier two,” Bond said. “It looks a good race for her to start this campaign. She’s ready to win first-up. We’ve been taking our time with her; she has been in work for a fair time and we’re very happy with her work.” Dodolicious, winner of the WA Oaks last season and amassing $405,613 in prizemoney from 13 wins and seven seconds from just 22 starts, finished third, two and a half length behind the winner New World Order in a 2185m trial at Byford on Sunday morning. But Bond warned punters to take little notice of her defeat, saying: “It was just a quiet trial for her. We have changed some gear on her, including removing the lugging pole,” he said. “So we took her to the trials just to get accustomed to the change of gear and to make sure that we were happy with it all. “She went back to last and hit the line full of running. Her final half was pretty slick and she did it well within herself.” Bond explained that Dodolicious was not asked for a strong effort in the trial because she had worked impressively on the stable’s private track on Friday morning. “It was a pretty good hit-out on Friday morning when we asked her to knuckle down to it --- and she beat one of our open-class horses,” he said. Dodolicious, who will be having her first start since the second week of July, will be set for the $125,000 Mares Classic at Gloucester Park on December 9 if her form warrants a start. “She has just turned four and we’re going to let her tell us if she’s ready for these big races,” Bond said. “We’re hoping that her form in the next three to four weeks dictates that she  is worthy of going into a race like that.  It’s her in our own back yard and we won’t be afraid to have a crack.”  Dodolicious, the least experienced runner in Friday night’s race, will be driven by Ryan Warwick, who has shot to an early lead on the Statewide drivers’ premiership table. Warwick has driven 37 winners and leads from Gary Hall jun. (27) and Chris Lewis (23). Dodolicious, a smart frontrunner, might have to be content racing in the breeze because the Mike Reed-trained Foxy Dame has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier and is an excellent frontrunner. Mary Catherine will start from barrier three and should also be prominent. She has finished second to Royal Myth and Hidden Bad at her past two outings and is sure to break through for another win in the near future. Ken Casellas

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

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

Smart harness racing youngster Bettor Not Bitter should prove to be the bet of the night at Gloucester Park on Friday evening by proving the master of his 11 older and more experienced opponents in the 2130m Led Goldfields Westbred Pace. “He’s a nice horse who is being set for the $100,000 Westbred Classic for three-year-old colts and geldings the following Friday night,” said Forrestdale horseman Greg Bond, who prepares the gelding in partnership with his wife Skye. Bettor Not Bitter will be driven by Colin Brown and will start from the No. 5 barrier. He has had 15 starts for four wins and five placings and should be too smart for his rivals, who have managed just 55 wins from a combined total of 633 starts. At his most recent outing Bettor Not Bitter set the pace and finished second to It Aint Royal over 2130m at Gloucester Park on May 27. That followed wins at Narrogin and Bunbury and a fighting second to Mach Time at Gloucester Park after working hard out three wide and then in the breeze. “He’s had a couple of easy weeks and this will be his tune-up for the Westbred final,” Bond said. “To have a chance of winning that race or if you’re going to be in the cut-up you would like to think that he’s got to be hard to beat this week. “All’s good at home with him. He had a few runs as a two-year-old and you could see he was going to improve with time. And he has done that. He’s a developing horse who is going to do a nice job.” Ken Casellas

Pinjarra harness racing trainer Michael Brennan advises punters to overlook talented five-year-old Billies A Star’s seventh behind Elegant Christian last week and predicts that the New Zealand-bred gelding will be prominent in the $23,000 Schneider Electric Pace over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Billies A Star led from the No. 1 barrier last Friday night, but was challenged relentlessly by Elegant Christian in the first circuit before Elegant Christian forged clear after a lap and then set the pace and won by a nose from Waylade at a 1.54.9rate over the 2130m journey. “He just couldn’t handle that pressure in that grade,” Brennan said. “This is a bit of a drop in grade and there’s no Elegant Christian there. Last week he was crunched by Elegant Christian, who is just phenomenal. He is one of those horses who just crushes you. And last week, unfortunately, Billies A Star was the one being crushed.”            At his previous outing, over 2692m at Pinjarra on June 6, Billies A Star raced three back on the pegs in fifth place before fighting on to finish third behind Phoenix Warrior and Our Jimmy Johnstone. Billies A Star will be driven by Nathan Turvey on Friday night and he should have the gelding in a forward position all the way after starting from barrier four. Brennan will also be represented by Jason Rulz, who is unfavourably drawn out wide at barrier eight. “His run first-up for five months was good when eighth behind Glenlochar last week,” Brennan said. “From his wide barrier it was impossible to get into the race. I’m very happy with him, but he’s drawn out at No. 8 again this week. He’s going to have to go back and it looks tough.” Serpentine trainer Gary Hall sen. said he expected the consistent Waylade (barrier seven) to be hard to beat. “It was a good effort to come from the rear to finish a very close second to Elegant Christian last week,” he said. “The first two beat the rest by the length of a cricket pitch.” Forrestdale trainer Greg Bond said that he expected Our Jimmy Johnstone to run a strong race from the No. 6 barrier.   “He’s going good are we’re hoping he can work forward from barrier six and find a forward position,” Bond said. “I like to think he can fight out the finish. I think he’s right up there with the other horses in the field.” Ken Casellas

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