Last week the ring-around produced five winners including my each-way bet of the week Dream Gal, which bolted in at odds of $6 and $1.80. Others to tip out winners included Mark Jones, Steve Richardson (TAB), Todd Mitchell, Matt Williamson, and Tim Williams. Let’s see what good oil we can dig up this week. Cambridge - Thursday Todd Mitchell: Has opted for unbeaten juvenile trotter The Driving God - race five. Scott Phelan: Thinks Seven Blue Chips can make the most of his ace alley in race number six. Stephen Richardson (T.A.B): Expects Thomas McBride to prove very hard to beat in the seventh race on the card. Simon Lawson: Has opted for Ton Tine as his Harnesslink Bet of the Week – race nine. Forbury - Thursday Nathan Williamson: Thinks the very consistent Nickelson will get some money in race three. Ricky May: Is very bullish about the chances of Pay Me Sush in the sixth race on the card. John Dunn: Has opted for Graduate Under Fire, who has been in brilliant form of late. He looks well placed in race number seven. Gavin Smith: Thinks Vincennes looks well suited to the short 1200 metre sprint distance in race nine on the card. Terry Chmiel: Expects Moondyne Joe, who was in need of a run when third in a good field last start at Addington, to prove too good - race eleven. Blair Orange & Mark Jones: Have both opted for Strike On Command, who is unbeaten from two appearances at Forbury Park - race twelve. Jonny Cox: Rates Sara Holley, who has drawn well for Thursday’s assignment, as a very good each-way bet. She also competes in the last race on the card. Tim Williams: Has added to the puzzle by tipping Bobbie McArdle in race twelve. Trifecta perhaps? Addington - Saturday Josh Dickie: Was impressed with how Speeding Spur trialled on Monday and expects him to highly competitive in the Two-year-old Trotting Stakes - race four. Anthony Butt: Has opted for impressive two-year-old trialist Curlimore, who looks a great chance from a good alley in race number six. Matthew Williamson: Expects Zhenya to appreciate the drop back in class in race number seven. Craig Thornley: Thinks Given only needs to trot to be competitive - race eleven. Ken Barron: Was very pleased with Pacquiao last start and expects him to prove very hard to beat in the last race on the card. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Best Bet: Snooki – Hawera (Saturday), race three. Each-way: Wanna Play – Addington (Saturday), race four. Curlimore - Addington (Saturday), race five Value: Dark Side - Forbury Park (Thursday), race five.
A quiet trial at Ashburton today should top pacing sensation Terror To Love off nicely as he heads into Saturday’s $100,000 Easter Cup at Addington. Given an easy time by Ricky May in the sedate two-horse trial, the bulky stallion was only pulled out very late in proceedings, dashing home for a narrow second behind 8-win pacer Smiling Star. “That is all he needed heading into Saturday,” said May, who was pleased with how the entire found the line. “I gave him a pretty stern warm-up and he is very forward so I’d say that the run was just perfect for him,” he added. “I know it was a very slowly run affair but he wouldn’t have blown a candle out afterwards. I was pretty happy with that to be honest,” concluded the champion reinsman. When asked what his confidence levels were like heading into Saturday, May admitted that he was very impressed with Adore Me last Friday. “She was just tremendous last week but I think ‘Terror’ only has to replicate his run in the Auckland Cup to beat her again. He has proven himself time and time again,” he enthused. “It’s obviously not going to be easy to give Adore Me 10 metres and beat her, especially if she goes like she did last week, but we all know how much he loves the two miles at Addington,” he concluded. The trial was run in a pedestrian 3-11.6, with quick sectionals of 55.5 and 26.7. As reported by Harnesslink last week, Adore Me will be driven by Blair Orange in Saturday’s Group One feature, with Purdon heading across the Tasman to drive Supersonic Miss in the APG semi-final. Orange will also steer the champion mare in the Taylor Mile 13 days later, with Purdon committing to star two-year-old Follow The Stars in the rich $A300,000 Australian Pacing Gold Colts & Gelding Final. “It is an absolute privilege to drive a horse like her,” said Orange, who is two from two on the champion mare. “It’s going to be a tactical affair with just the six horses in the field, so I will just see how the race unfolds, but I am confident she can win,” he added. The other four horses in the Easter Cup are: Arden Rooney, Jivin Cullen, Donegal’s Guest, and Pemberton Shard. By Mitchell Robertson
Talented North Island trotter Speeding Spur looks set to make a bold South Island debut in the Group 3 2YO Trotting Stakes at Addington on Saturday. The John and Josh Dickie trained trotter, who downed the smart Yagunnakissmeornot in his last start, trialled up stylishly at Ashburton today, so much so that Josh Dickie reversed his decision to make Millie Sampson his Harnesslink Bet Of The Week. After leading early, The Pegasus Spur two-year-old made a mid-race break, losing considerable ground before speeding home for fourth place. “He was getting an easy time in front and simply lost concentration and broke,” explained Dickie. “But he came down pretty quickly and really found the line stylishly,” he added. “They have been running some very good times down here but I think can match them on the clock,” said Dickie. “He is going to improve with a few more runs under his belt but I really do rate him quite highly,” he concluded The trial was won by Roydon’s Jewel, who will again be a rival of Speeding Spur’s on Saturday, while the classy Monbet as well as Wanna Play also pose as serious threats. The latter was unable to be driven out in her last start and could be a very good bet at good value. Other impressive trialists at Ashburton included Iceobar, who won easily by a length and a half, while Curlimore also caught the eye, dashing through tight quarters late to finish third in the same event. Both two-year-olds look to have strong chances in the fifth event at Addington on Saturday. By Mitchell Robertson
LONGFORD harness trainer Barrie Rattray has what some might consider a stranglehold on the Raider Stakes final for home grown four-year-olds at Devonport next Sunday week. In Launceston last night two heats of the sires' stakes classic were run and won by Rattray-trained four-year-olds and he also snared the quinella in one of the heats and a minor placegetter in the other to give him four genuine winning chances in the final. Pachacuti delivered a message that he will be very hard to beat in the final by defying a tough run facing the breeze for the last lap to go on and score convincingly over Melolyn and another of Rattray's band of talented four-year-olds Diva's Delight. Pachacuti spent a couple of months at James Rattray's stables in NSW where he failed to flatter in three of his five starts at Menangle. The gelding won a heat of the 3YO Breeders Crown last season and finished a gallant second to super star Bit Of A Legend in the $175.000 final. He was then transferred to James Rattray's care at Cobbitty and was placed at his first two attempts but his form went south and after he galloped away in a 4YO feature race on Inter Dominion day he was sent home to Tasmania. His first-up win in Hobart was solid but he confirmed he was back to his best with this latest victory on Sunday night. Lickyalips led and looked to be travelling comfortably turning for home but when driver Todd Rattray called on Pachacuti to extend he delivered the goods and went on to score by almost five metres from Melolyn that ran home strongly with Divas Delight doing his best work late. Rykov Leis (Ricky Duggan) then led his rivals a merry chase to score a strong win over stablemate Devendra in the remaining heat. Duggan ensured a solid tempo while Todd Rattray was content to allow his charge to travel in the one-out-one-back spot to the 400-metre peg. He had to wait until straightening to get the run three-wide to challenge but when Duggan called on Rykov Leis to sprint he sped clear and had enough in reserve to stave off a late surge from his stablemate. By Peter Staples
Four-year-old Alta Christiano, the youngest and least experienced runner in the Garrards Horse And Hound Easter Cup at Gloucester Park on Thursday night, is poised to give master trainer Gary Hall sen. his fourth victory in the $40,000 event and maintain his unbeaten record in Australia. Hall, who has won Easter Cups with The Falcon Strike (2003), Patches (who dead-heated with OK Windermere in 2006) and Rebel Scooter (last year) delights in setting challenges for himself and his pacers. And he is testing his skill by lining up Alta Christiano against several older and vastly experienced pacers with outstanding form in standing-start events and over marathon trips. Alta Christiano has had only 13 starts for nine wins and he has never contested a race over the Easter Cup journey of 2902m. Alta Christiano, to be driven by Clint Hall, has taken part in only one standing-start event, over 2200m at Forbury in October 2012, when he began safely off 10m before breaking into a fierce gallop 500m after the start and finishing tenth as favourite at 7/4 on, 66 metres behind the winner Alta Capone. Alta Christiano has not been extended in winning easily at his five starts in Western Australia, all in mobiles over 1684m to 2536m. He is a rising superstar who looks set to meet his latest challenge and emerge triumphant, despite the disadvantage of starting from the outside of the front line of six. Alta Christiano, a chunky stallion, has dashed to an early lead and coasted to victory in his first two starts in his four-year-old campaign. Hall sen. originally intended to take him to Sydney to contest the $100,000 group 1 Len Smith Mile at Menangle on Sunday April 27. But he scrapped those plans a couple of weeks ago when he discovered that Beautide, brilliant winner of the interdominion championship at Menangle on March 2, was being set for the Len Smith Mile. He explained that he decided to keep Alta Christiano at home and to give him more experience before tackling champions of the calibre of Beautide. Clint Hall's priority will be to get Alta Christiano away to a safe beginning. Once that is achieved he will formulate his tactics, which most certainly will be to dash forward in an attempt to get to an early lead. Polemarker Hez Got the Nod (Shannon Suvaljko) is a renowned frontrunner and Pembrook Henry (Chris Lewis) also revels in the role of pacemaker, but their drivers would be ill advised to try to retain the lead if seriously challenged by Alta Christiano. In a touch of irony, the main dangers to Alta Christiano appear to be pacers formerly prepared by Hall sen. They are the 40m backmarker Hokonui Ben and This Time Dylan, who will start off the 20m mark. Hokonui Ben, now in the stables of Aldo Cortopassi, and This Time Dylan, now trained by Michael Brennan, meet Alta Christiano on favourable terms. If all Cup runners had to start off their automatic handicap marks, Hokonui ben would be starting off 120m, not 40m under the discretionary conditions of the race. And This Time Dylan would start off 80m. Hokonui Ben resumed after a month's break at Gloucester Park last Friday night when he set the pace and won from the fast-finishing This Time Dylan over 2130m. He will be improved by the outing and looks a strong each-way hope this week. Hokonui Ben is a grand stayer. Clint Hall drove him to a memorable all-the-way victory in the $400,000 WA Pacing Cup over 2936m in mid-January. Three starts ago, at his second run for Cortopassi, Hokonui Ben covered a good deal of extra ground before finishing powerfully to win the $50,000 RWWA Cup over 2536m from Northview Punter and David Hercules. It is worth noting that Hokonui Ben, winner of a 3200m stand in New Zealand in December 2011, has started in only two stands in WA, winning them both, the group 2 $50,000 Navy Cup at Gloucester Park in November 2012 and another 2503m event a fortnight later. Cortopassi has high hopes that Hokonui Ben will give him his second training and driving success in an Easter Cup. He drove Total Defiance when the New Zealand-bred four-year-old raced in sixth position before unwinding a spirited three-wide burst from the 1000m to get to the front at the 250m mark and win from Real Life and Badboy Nitro. Brennan, who trained Anvils Big Punt for his all-the-way win in the 2011 Easter Cup, will be looking for another strong finishing effort from This Time Dylan, who will again be driven by Chris Playle. This Time Dylan has started in seven standing-start events for four wins. The Justin Prentice-trained Braemoor is a standing-start specialist whose past eight wins have all been in stands. The seven-year-old will start from 10m and cannot be underestimated. Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri, who has won the Easter Cup three times (Abmidas, 1997), OK Windermere (2006) and Arma Harris (2010), will be represented by three of the six front-line runners --- Pembrook Henry (Lewis), Compact Rocket (Stuart McDonald) and Finbar Abbey (Chris Voak). All are capable standing-start performers. Lewis will be aiming for his sixth Easter Cup after successes with Pallaton (1980), Gold Rowan (1984), Village Kid (1987), Abmidas (1997) and OK Windermere (2006). Hazelmere horseman Mike Reed, who trained and drove Just Packapunch for his win over Scanio in the 1995 Easter Cup, has five-year-old Polak primed for a strong effort. The gelding, who worked in dashing style in winning a Byford trial on Sunday morning, will start from 10m. He was the 7/4 favourite in last year's Easter Cup when he raced in the breeze in the middle stages and finished a sound fourth behind Rebel Scooter. LIBERTYBELLE MIDFREW CAN OVERCOME UNFAVOURABLE DRAW Libertybelle Midfrew has been most impressive at her first two Australian starts and she should maintain her winning form by proving too strong for her rivals in the Garrards Horse And Hound On Course Now WA Oaks Prelude over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. The daughter of Christian Cullen is unfavourably drawn at barrier four on the back line, but she has the ability to overcome that disadvantage and make it three wins from three starts for her new trainer Mike Reed and reinsman Shannon Suvaljko in the space of 17 days. Libertybelle Midfrew covered a lot of extra ground before finishing powerfully to beat All About Pink by more than two lengths at her WA debut over 1730m at Gloucester Park and then she rated 1.57.8 when she dashed to the lead in the middle stages and defeated Cielito over 2185m at Pinjarra after sprinting over the final 400m in 27.1sec. Reed is also hopeful that his other runner My Samantha Jane will be prominent and will earn a start in the $150,000 WA Oaks on May 9. My Samantha Jane has had 13 starts for two wins and five placings. She followed an all-the-way win over 2190m at Northam with a close second to Jungle Jewel at Kellerberrin and a fighting third behind Libertybelle Midfrew at Pinjarra after leading early and then sitting behind the pacemaker. She will start from the No. 3 barrier on the front line on Friday night with Stephen Reed in the sulky. Byford trainer David Thompson will be represented by smart fillies Harriet Elisabeth and Harper Grace. Harper Grace is ideally drawn at the No. 1 barrier. She has led and won at two of her four starts --- over 2130m at Gloucester Park and 1684m at a 1.55.5 rate at Pinjarra. Harriet Elisabeth has won five times from 11 starts, but her prospects diminished when she drew the outside barrier on the back line. She revealed improved toughness at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week when she worked hard in the breeze before finishing determinedly to win from Highest Royalty and Lipizzaner. Lipizzaner, who will start from barrier two on the front line, will be driven by Matt White for Byford trainer Ryan Bell, who will handle stablemate All About Pink from barrier three on the back line. Boyanup trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice has a high opinion of The Parade, who has won at six of her 14 starts. The Parade, a last-start Bunbury winner, is sure to be prominent after starting from the No. 4 barrier off the front. RED SALUTE GETS HIS CHANCE West Australian-bred five-year-old Red Salute has recovered from a hoof injury and he gets an ideal chance to return to the winning list when he contests the 2536m Garrards Horse And Hound Open Daily Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Ross Olivieri-trained gelding will appreciate a drop in class when he starts out wide at No. 5 on the front line. He has the ability to overcome that disadvantage. Red Salute, driven by Chris Voak, resumed after a three-week absence in a 2130m event last Friday night. He enjoyed a soft run when he raced on the pegs in fourth position before he finished strongly, out four wide, to be fourth, only two metres from the winner Hokonui Ben. Red Salute has won 15 times from 53 starts and Voak is confident the bay will develop into a contender for the major feature events at the next summer carnival. Thursday night's field is quite even and it is difficult to predict which horse will start favourite. Leading trainer Gary Hall sen. holds a strong hand with three of the eight runners, Whos Mistake (barrier two), Passion Stride (six) and Benjamin Banneker (the only runner on the back line). The Chris King-trained Lord Lombo is a versatile performer who will have many admirers after excellent seconds to Hokuri Handrail and Lovers Delight at two of his past four starts, following a victory over Uppy Son and Midnight Dylan. Copagrin, an M1-class performer, will be lining up against much better performed pacers, but cannot be discounted from the prized No. 1 barrier. SOHO VALENCIA LOOKS A STAR BET Soho Valencia is tough and versatile --- and these ingredients should guarantee him of victory in the 1730m Retravision Pace at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. He has had three starts for leading trainer Gary Hall sen. after being off the scene for 17 months, and his form has been most impressive. He worked hard in the breeze at his first two outings for seconds to Northview Punter and Sensational Gabby and then he revealed great determination to charge home, out wide, from eighth at the bell to get up and snatch a nose victory over the pacemaker Franco Torres. He sped over the final 800m in 56.4sec. and rated a smart 1.56.4 over 2130m last Friday week. Clint Hall is likely to send him forward from barrier three on the front line in a bid to take up the role as pacemaker from the two nine-year-old veterans on his inside, Lombo Air Express and Talk It Up. The Bob Mellsop-trained Little Boy Blue could also make a bid for the early lead, starting from the No. 4 barrier. The five-year-old mustered plenty of early pace when a brilliant all-the-way winner over I Am Legend and Mighty Flying Thomas at a 1.55.8 rate over 2130m last Friday week. by Ken Casellas
Barry Howlett, who runs a tree lopping business in Busselton, and Dunedin-born Matt White, who immigrated to Western Australia in late 2009, combined to cause a significant upset when White drove the lowly-credentialled Three Blind Mice to a stirring all-the-way victory in the $200,000 Sky racing WA Derby at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Three Blind Mice, a 17/1 chance on the tote, made the most of the prized No. 1 barrier by setting the pace before revealing splendid fighting qualities to hold three geldings prepared by champion trainer Gary Hall sen. at bay in the group 1 classic over 2536m. Three Blind Mice, prepared by 59-year-old hobby trainer Howlett, won by a metre from 11/1 chance Eyre Crusher (Morgan Woodley), with a neck to Machtu (13/4, Kim Prentice) and a further length to even-money favourite Elegant Christian (Clint Hall). All honours were with Three Blind Mice, a gelding by American stallion Santanna Blue Chip who was purchased as a yearling in New Zealand by Howlett. But there was a dramatic discovery after the event. The brilliant Elegant Christian, who went into the race with a record of six wins and a nose second from seven starts, had the major disadvantage of having to having to carry a flat tyre on the off side wheel of the sulky over the final 1800m. The tyre deflated mysteriously. It had not been struck by the hoof of another horse or any other object. Given this impediment, combined with the fact that Elegant Christian raced three wide early and then in the breeze, his effort was outstanding. Supporters of Elegant Christian were on good terms with themselves when the gelding levelled with the pacemaker 400m from home. But White kept his cool and Three Blind Mice resisted the challenge before drawing away to win in grand style at a 1.57.5 rate, which was just outside the track record for a three-year-old, the 1.57.2 shared by Robyns C C and Machtu. Eyre Crusher trailed the leader throughout and after getting into the clear in the late stages he rattled home to be second. Machtu raced in ninth position for the first two laps before Prentice sent him forward, three wide, approaching the bell. Machtu sustained his effort to finish third, with each of the final two 400m sections being covered in 28.5sec. Three Blind Mice was afforded the luxury of coasting through the first 400m of the final mile in 30.8sec. before White increased the tempo. The stewards fined Clint Hall $400 for his incorrect use of the whip in the home straight. Three Blind Mice won once from six starts in New Zealand before Brent Mangos brought him to WA late last year when he drove him in races at Pinjarra and Harvey in November for a seventh and third placing. Three Blind Mice notched his first Australian victory three starts before the Derby, when he worked hard without cover before winning over 2150m at Harvey. Then followed a splendid strong-finishing second to Machtu over 25346m at Gloucester Park and an eighth behind Elegant Christian in the Western Gateway Pace when he was hampered for room in the final lap. Three Blind Mice went into the Derby with a modest record of two wins from 13 starts for $15,917 in prizemoney. His earnings after the Derby have been boosted to $147,917. The 29-year-old White started working for Howlett at his Busselton stables just over three months ago and he thanked Howlett and his wife Lyn for the opportunity. "This is a dream come true and Three Blind Mice is a nice horse who will be even better next year," he said. "He's got a good high cruising speed and will go a long way." The Derby victory gave Howlett and White their biggest success in harness racing. Howlett's previous biggest most important victory was as the owner, trainer and driver of Lights Above in the $75,000 State Sires Series final for two-year-old fillies in May 1994. Among his winners since then have been Lights Above's daughter Up Above, Eliza Grace, Lil Miss Hilarious and Cielito. White, who guided Vancelot Lady to victory at 10/1 at Bridgetown in December 2009 for his first WA success, was one of New Zealand's leading junior drivers from 2006 to 2008, drove Safin to victory in the Diamond for three-year-old fillies at Cambridge in May 2008. He drove Miss Bay Point to victory in the $100,000 group 1State Sires Series for three-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park in July 2010, and won group 2 and 3 feature events with Lombo Navigator --- the Nights of Thunder, Harvey Cup and August Cup in 2011 and the Pinjarra Cup in 2012. He also finished third with Lombo Navigator in the group 1 2012 interdominion championship final won by Im Themightyquinn. Three Blind Mice is bred to be a good winner. His dam Time Again Franco (by Holmes Hanover) is out of Tango Franco, the mother of This Time Franco (36 starts for ten wins, 11 placings and $249,151) and Franco Thunder (178 starts for 44 wins, 43 placings and $199,928). Tango Franco is a half-sister to former superstar Franco Tiger (116 starts for 43 wins, 36 placings and $991,387) and OK Tiger (52 starts for 12 wins, nine placings and $142,866) Franco Tiger's successes included the Miracle Mile at Harold Park in 1992, the Australian Pacing Championship at Bankstown in 1992, the Queensland Championship at Albion Park in 1992 and the Treuer Memorial at Bankstown in 1993. He also finished second to Sinbad Bay in the $275,000 Victoria Cup at Moonee Valley in 1991 and second to Westburn Grant in the interdominion championship at Moonee Valley in March 1992. VOAK BRINGS UP HIS CENTURY AND GOES TO THE TOP Chris Voak maintained his grand form in the sulky when he brought 2/1 favourite Rocky Pop home with a determined burst to snatch a last-stride half-head victory over the pacemaker Fully Zapped (7/1) in the 2130m Sky Racing App Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. This gave the 25-year-old Voak his 99th winner for the season --- and he kept up the good work with a double with Allazar and Ultimate Fighter at Harvey on Saturday night. The Harvey double placed Voak in unfamiliar territory --- on top of the Statewide reinsmen's premiership table with 101 winners from 741 drives. He has wrested the lead from champion reinsman Gary Hall jun., who is serving a term of suspension. Hall has driven 99 winners from 359 drives this season. Rocky Pop, a Jet Laag four-year-old trained in Bunbury by Murray Hansen, started from barrier two on the back line and was favourite at 2/1 after covering a lot of ground and winning at Bunbury the previous Saturday night. Polemarker Fully Zapped set the pace and he looked hard to beat after coasting through the first quarter of the final mile in 31.8sec. This prompted Voak to send Rocky Pop forward with a three-wide move 1300m from home. Rocky Pop quickly moved to third, out wide, at the bell and he sustained his effort to gain the verdict in the final stride after a final 800m in a slick 57.4sec. Rocky Pop, owned by Adam and Philip Sofoulis and Dianne Knowles, is a half-brother to Hansen's stable star Truckers Ruffnut, who has earned $249,770 from 20 wins and 14 placings from 53 starts. Rocky Pop now has raced 31 times for seven wins, 14 placings and $54,830. Rocky Pop's five-year-old half-brother Tuxedo Tour resumed racing after a spell at Harvey on Saturday night when he won for the ninth time from 34 starts and took his earnings to $108,456. HOKONUI BEN SURVIVES EARLY AND LATE CHALLENGES The ability of hot favourite Hokonui Ben to muster sufficient speed to hold out brilliant mare Sensational Gabby in the early stages of the 2130m Big Sports Breakfast TV Channel 519 Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night paved the way for his narrow victory. Hokonui Ben, favourite at 6/4 on, began well from the No. 2 barrier, but was easily beaten out by Sensational Gabby, the 11/4 second fancy who began with a sparkling burst of speed from the No. 4 barrier. Sensational Gabby quickly charged to a one-length lead, but was unable to cross to the pegs. Chris Lewis then angled Sensational Gabby to the pegs to race in third position, with the polemarker Rocket Reign having gained the perfect sit behind the leader. After surviving the early challenge, Hokonui Ben was able to relax and Aldo Cortopassi sent her through the first 400m section of the final mile in a dawdling 31.8sec. before another comfortable quarter in 31.2sec. Lewis eased Sensational Gabby off the pegs with 1000m to travel to move to the breeze, a couple of lengths behind the pacemaker. The third quarter was covered in 28.5sec. and Sensational Gabby was beginning to show the pinch. Chris Playle, who was following Sensational Gabby with 22/1 chance This Time Dylan, switched the gelding three wide 250m from home. This Time Dylan sprinted home fast and just failed to overhaul Hokonui Ben, who scored in a photo by a half-head. Rocket Reign got clear in the final stages and flashed home to be a close third, just ahead of Red Salute, who finished strongly, out wide. The final 400m was covered in a fast 27.8sec. and the winner rated 1.57.7. "It's always a worry with a mare like Sensational Gabby, who can get off the gate as quick as she can," Cortopassi said. "It was lucky we got to a corner with our legs still inside her. And that helped us to keep the front. I was relatively confident after a 63sec. first half. "Hokonui Ben missed a bit of work when he got that bit of a bug. So I wanted to try to get a soft half and then run from there. It worked out pretty well, even though This Time Dylan gave us a bit of a scare on the line." Sensational Gabby faded to finish sixth in the field of seven, ahead of Dasher VC, who was at the rear throughout in his first appearance for almost three months. Hokonui Ben has amassed $596,339 in prizemoney from 19 wins and 15 placings from 55 starts. SUVALJKO DISCOVERS SECRET OF SUCCESS Byford trainer-reinsman Shannon Suvaljko has discovered the secret to winning races at Gloucester Park --- start a horse in the country the previous night. That was the formula which worked perfectly for the 45-year-old Suvaljko on Friday night when he took two horses, Love In The Dark and Celtic Crusader, to the course the night after they had competed at Narrogin, 198km south-east of Perth, on Thursday night. The long two-way float trip did not affect the pacers who scored decisive victories at Gloucester Park. They completed a driving treble for Suvaljko, who started the program by guiding the Mike Reed-trained Grand Cru to victory in the opening event. Love In The Dark failed at Narrogin when she was driven by Luke Edwards and galloped at the start before finishing sixth behind Jasper Freeway. Edwards also drove Celtic Crusader, who started at 25/1 and raced four back on the pegs before finishing solidly to be third behind Cuzin Judd. The stewards placed Love In The Dark on the outside of the back line in the 2130m In The Gig Mares Pace and the five-year-old Elsu mare was an outsider at 33/1. She raced in ninth position in the one-wide line and was eighth on the home turn before she flew home, six wide, to win by almost a length from 5/1 chance Korobeit Angel, who had set the pace after dashing to the front 550m after the start. This was Love In The Dark's third appearance in a race in Western Australia. She started favourite at 10/9 on at her first start in the State when she raced without cover and faded to eighth in a field of nine, more than ten lengths behind the winner Mississippi bell at Gloucester Park on March 28. "She's got the ability and the fast lead time (35.9sec.) and the slow last quarter (29.5sec.) probably helped her," said Suvaljko. "She raced at Narrogin the previous night --- and that might be something." Love In The Dark won once from 25 New Zealand starts and three times from 16 starts in Queensland. She now has earned $41,566 from five wins and 15 placings from 44 starts. Celtic Crusader started from the prized No. 1 barrier in the 2130m Sky Racing, No. 1 In Racing Pace and was a 6/1 chance who led for the first 150m before Suvaljko opted to take then sit behind 5/4 favourite Bettors Ace. Bettors Ace began to shorten stride in the home straight and Celtic Crusader ran on fast to burst to the front 20m from the post before defeating the pacemaker by just under a length at a 1.58.1 rate. Celtic Crusader, purchased for $10,000m by Gemma Davies and Klarry Andritsos a couple of years ago, is a hardy New South Wales-bred seven-year-old who has earned $143,751 from 19 wins and 33 placings from 140 starts. Suvaljko kept up the good work at Kellerberrin on Sunday when he drove Sir Ricky (5/2) and Laura Florence (11/8) to victory for Wanneroo trainer Debbie Padberg, who was also successful with even-money favourite Xupan Three, who was driven by Edwards. GRAND CRU IS BRED TO BE A WINNER Four-year-old New Zealand-bred gelding Grand Cru gave a sample of his class with an easy victory in the 1730m Sky Racing TV Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He is by Bettors Delight out of former champion mare Under Cover Lover, who earned $864,923 from 21 wins and 22 placings from 70 starts before being retired to the breeding barn. Tommy Smith, having his first start for just over four months for Pinjarra trainer Michael Brennan, was all the rage from the prized No. 1 barrier and was favourite at 7/4 on, with Grand Cru a 15/1 chance from barrier six on the front line. Shannon Suvaljko got Grand Cru away to a flying start and the gelding quickly moved to the breeze position, with Tommy Smith setting a moderate pace. Morgan Woodley attempted to shake off Tommy Smith's rivals with a sizzling third quarter in 27.3sec. But Grand Cru stuck with the flying pacemaker and got his head in front passing the 400m mark. Grand Cru then dashed away and won by 7m from Tommy Smith, rating a slick 1.56.2 rate and improving his record to seven wins and 17 placings from 41 starts. "He's racing well," said Suvaljko. "And we knew that we had to sit. So we sat up in the breeze and knew that Tommy Smith would be a bit underdone. We had to get it a bit easy so we could hold out Ohoka Kentucky (5/2 second fancy). So when he was coming, three wide, at the bell I said that we had done nothing and then had to get running. "Grand Cru got it very easy early with a first quarter of 31.1sec. and he was always on the bit. I'm sure he is capable of winning a couple more." EL MACHINE RESUMES IN FINE STYE Talented WA-bred five-year-old El Machine looks set for a successful campaign in feature events over the winter months when he resumed after a four-month absence in grand style at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Produced in splendid fettle by 26-year-old Pinjarra trainer-reinsman Kade Howson (who owns the gelding in partnership with Michael George), El Machine was a well-supported 7/2 chance and he produced an excellent effort to win the 2130m Mini Owners Club of WA Club Pace by a length from the 9/4 favourite Mighty Flying Thomas. Polemarker I Am Legend set a solid pace, with Mighty Flying Thomas working hard in the breeze. Howson restrained El Machine from the outside of the front line back to last before sending the gelding forward, three wide, approaching the bell. El Machine got on to the back of Pride of Colorado, but when that pacer began to wilt turning into the back straight Howson switched El Machine four wide. Morgan Woodley sent Mighty Flying Thomas to the front 380m from home, but El Machine was carrying too many guns and he forged to the lead at the 250m mark. Mighty Flying Thomas fought ion grandly and finished two and a half lengths in front of the third placegetter Quick Reflection. El Machine, purchased by Howson and George for $5000 at the 2009 Gloucester Standardbred yearling sale, has earned $143,514 from 17 wins and 13 placings from 43 starts. SHIRLZ SENSATION NOTCHES A HAT-TRICK West Australian-bred four-year-old Shirlz Sensation is one of the State's most improved pacers and he completed a winning hat-trick when Chris Lewis drove him to a stylish win in the second heat of the Riley Car Club Johnson Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Favourite at 11/8 from the outside of the front line, Shirlz Sensation was restrained to the rear by Chris Lewis while polemarker Ima Grumpy Jasper set the pace from 6/1 chance Vapour in the breeze. Shirlz Sensation improved to seventh at the bell, out three wide with cover, before Lewis switched him four wide with 700m to travel. He sustained his effort to hit the front 130m from the post and won by just under a length from 6/1 chance What The Blazes, who flew home from the rear. Vapour, who had got to the lead at the 450m mark, was a fighting third. Shirlz Sensation had won easily after racing without cover at his two previous starts, at Gloucester Park, and is sure to be a major fancy in the $25,000 final of the Johnson Pace next Friday week. Shirlz Sensation, raced by Margie Guy and Jandabup trainer Mike Beech, has earned $68,619 from eight wins and three placings from only 23 starts. by Ken Casellas
Last week the ring-around produced six winners, including my bet of the week and my two each-way bets of the week. Others to tip out winners were Jonny Cox, Steve Richardson, and Ken Barron. Let’s see if some of the trainers and drivers can hold up their end of the bargain this week! Forbury – Thursday Dexter Dunn: Has surprisingly opted for Phat Freddy’s Drop, who will look to break maidens in the first race on the card. Jonny Cox: Rates Mako Banner as a very good each-way chance in race three. Quinella with Katy Perry perhaps? Craig Thornley: Was pleased with U Can I Can at the recent Motukarara workouts - race four Mark Jones: Expects Ultimate CC to prove very hard to beat in the ninth race on the card Terry Chmiel: Is expecting a bold performance from Angus T Jones in the ninth race. Alexandra Park - Friday Scott Phelan: Expects Cheers Kathy to be very hard to roll in the first race on the card. Simon Lawson: Has opted for impressive last start winner Destination Moon - race six Todd Mitchell: Is a very big fan of Mach's Gladiator, and expects him to be hard to roll in the ninth race on the card. Addington - Friday Blair Orange: Is bullish about the chances of Paramount Queen, who looks very well placed in race two. Anthony Butt: Thinks Thebestlove is a big chance in the NZ Trotting Derby - race four David Butt: Warns punters not to drop One Over Da Moon, who also competes in the NZ Trotting Derby - race four Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Expects Locharburn to prove to strong in the NZ Derby - race nine Ken Barron: Rates the chances of capable two-year-old filly Livura, who has drawn well for Friday’s assignment - race twelve Gavin Smith: Thinks Dana Duke could be well over the odds in the same event - race twelve Invercargill - Sunday Matthew Williamson: Has opted for the capable yet enigmatic Bet's Sun, who would only need to trot to win the first race on the card. Tim Williams: Thinks Just A Delight, who has finished second in her last three outings, is overdue a winning turn - race ten Andrew Armour Thinks Blanco, who has raced well since joining the barn of Tom Kilkelly, is a good each-way chance in race eleven. Motukarara – Sunday Ricky May: Believes Franco Salisbury will take all sorts of beating from his ace draw – race seven. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Best Bet: Char Do Neigh – Invercargill, race five Each-way: Dream Gal – Forbury Park, race five Emmanuel – Addington, race three Value: Ranfurly Rulz – Addington, race one
Outstanding horseman Kim Prentice has gone close to winning the WA Derby a couple of times and now he feels that the time is right for him to put the record straight by winning the $200,000 Sky Racing WA Derby at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He will drive the New Zealand-bred three-year-old Machtu for leading trainer Gary Hall sen. and both men believe the gelding has the ability, the form and the barrier draw to win the 2536m classic. Prentice drove Machtu for the first time in a race last Friday night when he covered a good deal of ground, starting a three-wide run from eighth with 1200m to travel in the 2130m Western Gateway Pace in which stablemate Elegant Christian set the pace from the No. 1 barrier and won at a 1.56.1 rate from two other Hall runners Classic American and Eyre Crusher. Machtu, who moved to third, out three wide, at the bell, battled on gamely to finish fifth, just one and a half lengths behind the winner. Prentice went close to winning the Derby when he drove the filly Dilingers Reign into third place behind Mr Yankee and Devastating in 2006. In the previous year's Derby Prentice trained Alberta Retreat, who was driven by Chris Lewis and turned for home in front before finishing a close second to Richard Henry. "Machtu will definitely be a big player on Friday night," Prentice said. "I'm happy with the draw at barrier three on the back line and I've just spoken to Senior and he thinks that Machtu might be the pick of the stable runners, from that draw. "Machtu gave me a good feel last week and I'm happy to be sitting behind him in the Derby. I had driven him only once before, on the track, and I think the 2500m will be right up his alley. All he needs is a nice run into the race and then we'll go from there. Definitely he can fight out the finish and hopefully, if things go our way, it will be my first Derby." Hall said he considered Machtu to be a "good chance," pointing out that the gelding faced the breeze before winning a 2536m Derby prelude by 20 metres last Friday week. "Over 2130m last week it was too much rush and tear for him, and he was up there pulling at the bell," he said. "And it was too much to ask of him with Elegant Christian running those sectionals. I think he will be a big improver." Hall, who prepared his first Derby winner 12 months ago when his son Gary drove Alta Christiano to a runaway victory over Victorian pacer Macha after racing without cover for much of the journey, has four runners in Friday night's classic, Machtu, Elegant Christian (barrier No. 4 on the front line), Eyre Crusher (inside of the back line) and Classic American (barrier four on the back line). "The draw hasn't done our runners any favours," he said. "I think the draw has made it a very interesting race. It has brought Three Blind Mice into contention after drawing barrier one. And it probably has taken a couple out, like Bettor Offer and Mister Jadore. I think they will find it a lot harder from back-line draws. "Before the draw I thought those two horses would be the main dangers to our stable runners. If either had been drawn to lead I would have been really worried about them. I certainly think that Elegant Christian can win. "I think he was out of his comfort zone last week, being pushed out to lead by Ultimate Major and Bettor Offer. This led to a fast lead time of 35.6sec. and I think those two horses paid the penalty, with both of them finishing well back. "So taking a line through that I think that Elegant Christian's run was pretty good. This week I think he will be better off just coming out at his leisure and just getting across to the breeze or to the front. It's a Derby and horses drawn favourably generally do go forward in a bid to lead. I think Three Blind Mice has shown enough ability, and he can stay a bit, to maybe want to lead. And Bettor Rules (No. 3) generally likes to get to the front. If Elegant Christian gets to the breeze outside Three Blind Mice I think he would win." Clint Hall will again drive Elegant Christian and he declared that the gelding was the horse to beat. "I'm not going to put all my eggs in one basket, so I won't be going flat out for the lead," he said. "I would like to lead and if the lead is there for the taking I'll certainly take it. However, I believe that I can sit outside any of the three horses drawn on my inside and win the race." Pelusiac, trained by Andrew De Campo, is favourably drawn at the No. 2 barrier and reinsman Aiden De Campo said that he was very happy with the draw. Pelusiac, a winner at five of his 11 starts, was unlucky in last week's Western Gateway Pace when he was distanced. "He was travelling pretty well, three wide and three back and was definitely getting into the race in the back straight in the final lap when he was knocked over by his stablemate, who was going roughly," de Campo said. "From barrier two he won't have to do too much early and we should get into a nice position. "He worked well this morning (Tuesday) and hopefully he will get a nice sit on the speed and get a bit of luck over the final 500m. And then, hopefully, he'll finish over the top of them." Hall sen. said that if Three Blind Mice set the pace it would bring Eyre Crusher (Morgan Woodley) into the race with a chance. "Morgan said that Eyre Crusher probably should have won last week's race by three or four lengths if he had got out in the home straight. He said he was bolting." Eyre Crusher finished third, just behind Classic American, who flew home from last at the bell. "It was exciting to see Classic American come back to form," Hall sen. said. "Obviously we have been driving him wrong. Soft driving helped him a lot." Henley Brook trainer-reinsman Robbie Williams will not push out with Calais from the No. 5 barrier and is hoping to obtain a favourable sit before asking the promising gelding to produce a strong finishing sprint. "It's no use worrying about the barrier," Williams said. "I will drive him softly and hope to be able to use his speed late in the race. He can run a fast 400m." Boyanup trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice had no luck at the draw, with Mista Rush drawing barrier six on the front line and Tasmanian Bromac No. 7. Both geldings will need plenty of luck to figure in the finish. The lightly-raced Mista Rush has impressed in winning the South-West Derby at Pinjarra and the Country Derby at Bunbury at his past two starts. SENSATIONAL GABBY SET TO MAKE THE SPARKS FLY The clash between noted frontrunners Hokonui Ben and Sensational Gabby in the 2130m Big Sports Breakfast TV Channel 519 Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night looks set to produce plenty of fireworks and should be a major highlight on the nine-event program. Hokonui Ben, the all-the-way winner of the 2936m WA Pacing Cup in January, gained a significant early advantage by drawing barrier two in the seven-horse field and trainer-reinsman Aldo Cortopassi is sure to attempt to burst past the polemarker Rocket Reign in the early stages. However, Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri hopes that Sensational Gabby's sizzling early speed from barrier four will enable her to outpace the three runners drawn inside of her and assume her favoured role of pacemaker. "She has very good gate speed and obviously Plan A will be to lead," Olivieri said. "If Chris (Lewis) feels that there is something happening inside of him that he doesn't like, then he will go to plan B. She has been working really well since she led and won easily from Soho Valencia two Fridays ago." In that event Sensational Gabby rated 1.54.8 over 2130m. Olivieri also has an excellent second string in Red Salute, who will start from the No. 5 barrier and will again be handled by Chris Voak. "Red Salute is a consistent performer, but he has been suffering from a sore foot," Olivieri said as he offered that problem as a legitimate excuse for the five-year-old fading to fifth behind Northview Punter and Soho Valencia after setting the pace at his latest appearance, over 2130m three Fridays ago. "Chris said that Red Salute was going like a camel down the back. The horse then blew an abscess out in a foot at his next track run, and that was obviously bothering him in the race when his effort, on the surface, was disappointing compared to his previous run (when he led and won from Sensational Gabby over 2130m). Adding considerable interest to Friday night's race will be the reappearance of star pacer Dasher VC, who will start from the outside in the field of seven. The seven-year-old and winner of the 2013 Fremantle Cup when he defeated Im Themightyquinn will be having his first start since finishing tenth in the WA Pacing Cup on January 17. His driver Aiden De Campo (son of Capel trainer Andrew De Campo) said that Dasher VC had been working strongly. "He worked with a galloping pacemaker on our track this morning (Tuesday) and worked really well," he said. "He'll probably need the run on Friday, but hopefully he's coming back to his best. "During his previous preparation we were trying to patch up a lot of holes with him, trying to be nice to him and getting him sound. This time it will be either make or break for him." Also resuming after a spell will be Rocket Reign, who should enjoy an ideal passage from the No. 1 barrier. Wanneroo trainer Debbie Padberg said that the ten-year-old was working really well, was sound and is looking a million dollars. GOOD DRIVE FOR LEWIS Champion reinsman Chris Lewis has been engaged to drive promising lightly-raced four-year-old Leftrightgoodnight in the Sky Racing Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night and he should send punters home on a winning note. Leftrightgoodnight, trained at Baskerville by Sonia Zucchiatti, impressed at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon when he overcame the disadvantage of a punctured sulky tyre to finish strongly from eighth at the bell to win easily from Deimos at a 1.56 rate over 1684m. He was driven by Kim Prentice, who will handle Zucchiatti's other runner Sir Kale in Friday night's race. Sir Kale, who will start from barrier four on the front line, has a losing sequence of 23 stretching back to a win in Bunbury in June 2011. He has been placed at three of his past seven starts. Prentice has driven Leftrightgoodnight at seven of his eight starts for three wins and one placing. Lewis has driven the gelding only once --- for an easy all-the-way victory over 2130m at Gloucester Park in mid-February. Leftrightgoodnight will start from barrier two on the front line and Lewis will be keen to get the gelding to an early lead. COMPACT ROCKET FAVOURED TO TURN THE TABLES Handy five-year-old Compact Rocket gets an ideal opportunity to turn the tables on his stablemate Pembrook Henry when he starts from barrier three on the front line of the 2503m Big Sports Breakfast TV Channel 519 Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Last Friday night Compact Rocket sat behind the pacemaking Pembrook Henry and was hampered for room in the closing stages when a sound third to that pacer in a 2503m stand. Pembrook Henry faces a tougher task this week off the 10m mark. Trainer Ross Olivieri said that he was confident of a bold showing this week from Compact Rocket, whose barrier manners were improving. "He was a bit hit and miss in stands, but we think that we've got him (to get away smoothly)," Olivieri said. "He went from a pole to a line pole to nothing and since we've got rid of the pole he seems a lot better." Olivieri also warned punters not to discount the winning chances of the nine-year-old Pembrook Henry, who led and won from Copagrin last week. "Starting from 10m won't be as good for him," he said. "However, I do believe that Pembrook Henry is a better horse from behind than in front, and he is beginning quickly, so he could be handily placed." MATTHEW LANDS FIRST CITY WINNER Twenty-two-year-old Harley Matthew gave a polished exhibition in the sulky to bring Loving You with a spirited burst from last to win the Young Drivers Pace at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night. Loving You, trained at Herron by Clive Dalton, started at 7/1. The four-year-old mare started from the outside of the front line and Matthew wisely restrained her back to last in the field of ten before starting a three-wide burst approaching the bell. Scuba Steve got past the pacemaker Visigoth 450m from home before being overhauled at the 250m mark by Loving You, who won by a half-length from the fast-finishing Blue McCool. by Ken Casellas
Elegant Christian ran a dazzling trial for the $200,000 WA Derby next Friday night when he gave a sparkling frontrunning display to win the $50,000 TABtouch Western Gateway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. "I'll take them on again next week and I think we'll have a similar result," declared Clint Hall after driving the inexperienced New Zealand-bred gelding, hot favourite at 3/1 on, to a stylish victory over Classic American (54/1) and Eyre Crusher (14/1) to give master trainer Gary Hall sen. the trifecta which returned a dividend of $340.10 for a $1 investment. Hall sen. now has won the Western Gateway Pace three times, having driven The Falcon Strike to victory in 2001 and scoring with Alta Christiano in 2013 when the colt was driven by Gary Hall jun. Elegant Christian now has won at six of his seven starts, all in Western Australia, with his only defeat coming at the start before Friday night's success, when he was suffering from a mouth ulcer and hang in badly throughout before finishing a half-head second to Mister Jadore. This problem has been cured and the Hall camp is looking forward to the Derby with great confidence. Elegant Christian burst straight to the front from the prized No. 1 barrier on Friday night and dashed over the lead time in a slick 35.6sec. when challenged early by Bettor Offer, who mustered plenty of early pace from the outside of the front line. Hall then was able to get Elegant Christian to relax and go through the first two 400m sections of the final mile in 30.3sec. and 30.5sec. before sprinting the third quarter in 28.2sec. and coming home in 29.1sec. to record a smart mile rate of 1.56.1 over the 2130m. Elegant Christian's stablemate Machtu, second favourite at 4/1, settled in eighth place before Kim Prentice sent him forward to move to third, out three wide, at the bell. Machtu fought on grandly to finish fifth, with Bettor Offer wilting to seventh. Fourth place went to Mister Jadore, who had followed the three-wide run of Machtu. The win boosted Elegant Christian's earnings to $92,540. Classic American, driven by Chris Voak, was most impressive. He was last in the field of 12 at the bell before unleashing a brilliant finishing burst, out wide of the track. Eyre Crusher trailed the pacemaking Elegant Christian throughout and was badly blocked for a clear passage in the concluding stages. "We expected some early pressure after his last-start defeat," said Clint Hall. "But we were very happy and confident with the horse leading into the race. I thought it would be detrimental to the chances of any horse who took Elegant Christian on early, and I think that was shown in the end. "Elegant Christian is a terrific horse. Down the back I wasn't quite sure how much he had left. He never really travels like that he's got that much left. But once I let him down he had plenty left. I knew I had the two outside of him beaten and I was just worried about Eyre Crusher then. "He's a typical Christian Cullen. He goes to the gate charging and as soon as they move away from his head he just drops the bit and does what we ask him to do." SOHO VALENCIA GETS UP IN THE FINAL STRIDE Victorian-bred five-year-old Soho Valencia further illustrated his wonderful potential and showed that he would be a major player in the feature summer carnival events next season with a fighting victory in the 2130m Princi Butchers Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Shannon Suvaljko drove a canny race in front with polemarker Franco Torres, the 8/1 third favourite behind Soho Valencia (7/4 on) and Lovers Delight (11/2) and he just failed, with Soho Valencia being fully extended in getting up to snatch victory by a nose. Soho Valencia, trained by Gary Hall sen., started from barrier three on the back line and Clint Hall settled the horse into eighth position in the one-wide line after Franco Torres had recorded a modest lead time of 37.4sec. and a first quarter in only 30.6sec. Suvaljko then increased the tempo and Franco Torres reeled off the next three quarters in 29.7sec., 27.8sec. and 28.6sec.Hall started a three-wide move with Soho Valencia approaching the bell and the horse was eighth with a lap to travel. Hall had to drive Soho Valencia hard to gain a last-stride victory by the barest possible margin. The winner rated 1.56.4 and boosted his record to 20 wins, nine placings and $320,902 from 36 starts. He has raced four times in Western Australian for two wins and two seconds. "They drove clever races up front and our hands were tied," said Clint Hall. "We had to come with one run. We thought we would save him up a bit longer tonight and come out about the 800m. If we had come out at the 1200m it might have made the difference (winning more convincingly). "Once I pulled the plugs (after turning for home) he felt like he was going to get the leader. But the leader kept kicking and made him fight it out right to the line." The stewards fined Hall $200 for an incorrect whip action in the final stages of the race. MISTER SHEEDY GIVES JONES A BIRTHDAY PRESENT Former Victorian pacer Mister Sheedy gave Lauren Jones, a recent arrival in Western Australia from Queensland, a wonderful 19th birthday present at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he scored a game win in the 2130m TAB Funding The Industry Pace. Mister Sheedy was driven confidently by Jones and his win gave master trainer Gary Hall sen. the first of four winners on the ten-event program. He was also successful with Alta Christiano, Soho Valencia and Elegant Christian. But celebrations were dampened somewhat when Mister Sheedy pulled up after the race with a fractured nearside pedal bone, an injury which will keep him out of action for at least 12 months and could quite likely spell the end of his racing career. For Jones, who answered an advertisement a couple of months ago to work for the powerful Hall training establishment in Serpentine, this was her first Metropolitan-class success in the State. Mister Sheedy, a six-year-old and winner of 13 races from only 39 Victorian starts, was making his WA debut on Friday night. He was drawn to start from the outside (barrier two) on the back line in a field of nine and was heavily supported to start favourite at 6/4 on. Polemarker Kotare Ash, second fancy at 9/2, withstood an early challenge from Anvils Big Punt and after she went through the lead time in a reasonable 37.1sec., Jones, who had settled Mister Sheedy in the favourable one-out, one-back position, seized the initiative and sent the gelding forward with a three-wide burst to move into the breeze 100m later. Kotare Ash began to wilt approaching the home turn and Jones sent Mister Sheedy to the front with 150m to travel. He went on to win at a 1.59.9 rate over the 2130m journey by one metre from 22/1 chance Rojen Cruz, who was seventh at the bell and charged home out six wide on the track. A close third was 12/1 chance Anvils Big Punt, who raced without cover early before gaining the one-out, one-back sit behind Mister Sheedy. Mister Sheedy, by American stallion Presidential Ball, has earned $85,688 from 14 wins and 13 placings from 40 starts. He had been unplaced at his final four Victorian starts and was having his first start since finishing ninth in a 1720m event at Melton last November. He is the second foal out of New South Wales-bred mare Intoxicating (by Chandon) who had 47 starts for 12 wins, ten placings and $79,060. PEMBROOK HENRY ENDS LOSING RUN OF 34 Veteran New Zealand-bred pacer Pembrook Henry is thriving on racing and after breaking a losing sequence of 34 by winning the 2503m TAB Bet Today Collect Today Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night reinsman Chris Lewis predicted further successes for the hardy nine-year-old. "If he begins as fast as he did tonight there's definitely a few more wins in him," said Lewis after Pembrook Henry, a 9/1 chance, had begun speedily from barrier five on the front line in the stand and led all the way. "You like to see them jump away that quick and that was a boost to his confidence (getting straight to the front). Then we were able to get the sections we needed and he hit the line fairly solidly." Pembrook Henry, trained by Ross Olivieri, had finished second at each of his four runs since resuming in late February after a two-month break. His task on Friday night was made easier by the scratching of noted frontrunner and last-start winner Major Fury and the bad manners of polemarker and 5/2 favourite Copagrin, who galloped at the start and dropped back to fifth. Frontmarker Maggies Mystery also was slow to begin and Lewis was able to shoot Pembrook Henry straight to the front. Callan Suvaljko dashed Copagrin forward, three wide, in the first lap to move into the breeze after a lap had been completed. After opening sections of the final mile in 31.1sec. and 30.8sec., Lewis gave the opposition little chance as he urged Pembrook Henry to move up a gear. The oldstager, owned by Montana Stark, sprinted the final quarters in 29sec. and 28.2sec,. and he won by just over a length from Copagrin, with Compact Rocket finishing third after trailing the leader all the way. Pembrook Henry, whose previous win was at Melton in July 2012, is the latest beneficiary of the drop-down rule which enables pacers handicapped M2 or better to drop down one classification after every losing sequence of ten. Pembrook Henry arrived in Western Australia in the winter of 2012 as an M3-class pacer and he has dropped back to an M1 mark which enabled him to start off the front line in Friday night's event. Now a winner of one race from 21 WA starts, Pembrook Henry won three races in New Zealand and 11 times in Victoria. WILKINS LUCINDA RELISHES THE INSIDE DRAW The tremendous advantage of the No. 1 barrier at Gloucester Park was further illustrated on Friday night when Wilkins Lucinda, a four-year-old mare with a losing sequence of nine, made full use of the inside draw by setting a fast pace and scoring an easy win in the 1730m Gannons Pace for mares. Most punters took little heed of her favourable barrier and the Noel Keiley-trained mare was a 10/1 chance, with Jungle Genie favourite at 7/4 on from barrier two on the back line. Aldo Cortopassi got Wilkins Lucinda away to a flying start and the mare gave her rivals very little chance by speeding over the final four 400m sections in 28.5sec., 29.5sec., 29sec. and 28.4sec. She recorded a slick 1.54.8 rate and took her record for owner Stan Wilkins to 39 starts for seven wins, 13 placings and stakes of $80,979, a figure boosted by her third to Lucky Joy in the group 1 $100,000 State Sires Series for two-year-old fillies in July 2012 and her win in a $25,000 listed classic for three-year-olds last June. By Rich And Spoilt, Wilkins Lucinda is the fourth foal out of Shoneer Lobell, who won five races in New South Wales and five in WA for earnings of $52,353. Wilkins Lucinda is a full-sister to Sheer Dreams (157 starts for 19 wins, 47 placings and $153,994) and Sweet Charlee (67 starts for 11 wins, 17 placings and $77,630). Cortopassi said that he had given Wilkins Lucinda an excellent winning chance after driving her the previous Friday night when she had to be retired with broken gear. "Forget last week," he said. "She was going extremely well when she broke a hopple. And tonight I was not worried after she had run the opening quarter in 28.5sec. She actually had her ears pricked. She was happy in doing what she was doing, just happy to be rolling along. So I let her do what she wanted." AROUSING FOLLOWING IN HER DAM'S FOOTSTEPS Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri's honest mare Arousing maintained her consistent form when she was driven a treat by Kristian Hawkins to win the 2130m The West Australian Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Arousing, who has earned $86,818 from nine wins and 22 placings from 82 starts, is following the steps of her dam Roustabout, who showed considerable promise with two wins in New Zealand and two in WA before being retired with earnings of $33,171 after only 12 starts. Roustabout, by Christian Cullen, showed her class by winning the group 3 Empress Stakes from Precious Maiden and Sovereign Beejay at Gloucester Park in March 2006. Arousing is her first foal and Arousing's younger half-sister Loving You finished third behind Frith in the group 1 WA Oaks last year and has a record of 33 starts for seven wins, 11 placings and $70,292. Hawkins drove Arousing at Gloucester Park for the second time at her previous start three weeks earlier when the mare finished sixth behind Southern Legacy. He admitted after Friday night's victory that he was to blame for the mare's unplaced effort, saying: "I slaughtered her at her last start, so I knew I had to be patient this week whereas I wasn't at her previous run." Arousing, favourite at 11/4 from the No. 2 barrier, challenged unsuccessfully for the early lead, but polemarker Chillin Dylan (13/4) held up and Hawkins cleverly slotted Arousing in behind the pacemaker 200m after the start. The Oyster Bar (3/1) broke into a gallop after 200m and outsider Touch Me Toes moved up to race in the breeze, giving My Bachelors Delight a perfect sit, one-out and one-back. Arousing appeared to be in all sorts of trouble half-way down the back straight in the final circuit when Chillin Dylan began to weaken, shuffling Arousing back to fifth. Hawkins kept his composure and eventually was able to ease Arousing off the pegs 350m from home. Arousing finished determinedly to hit the front close to home and win by a half-length from My Bachelors Delight, who had taken the lead with 520m to travel and had opened up a, lead of two lengths at the 100m mark. "I knew I had plenty of horse in my hands, but Aiden's horse (Aiden De Campo's My Bachelors Delight) had a pretty handy break on me at the right time," Hawkins said. "It just came down to a bit of luck when we got out." LITTLE BOY BLUE IS A GREAT INVESTMENT How do you multiply an investment by five times? It's simple. Buy your wife a pacer for $10,000 and watch it as he earns $50,660m in the space of eight months. That's what Waroona horseman Bob Mellsop did last July. He outlaid $10,000 to purchase Little Boy Blue Blue to give to his wife Val as a birthday present. Little Boy Blue, driven by Kiara Davies, set a fast pace and outclassed his rivals in the TAB Radio Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. His four-length victory over I Am Legend took his record for his new owner to five wins and six placings from 19 starts. And that boosted the New Zealand-bred five-year-old's career record to 58 starts for 13 wins, 20 placings and $117,276. Everything fell into place for Little Boy Blue, who started from the No. 3 barrier on the front line and second favourite at 11/4. Polemarker Carters Rocket, an all-the-way winner the previous week, galloped badly at the start and dropped back to a distant last and I Am Legend paced roughly after starting from barrier two. Davies grabbed the heaven-sent opportunity to dash Little Boy Blue straight to the front and the gelding charged through the lead time in a fast 35.4sec. as he established a three-length lead over I Am Legend. This left the 7/4 favourite Mighty Flying Thomas in the breeze. Davies let Little Boy Blue roll along in the lead and he sped over the final two quarters in 29.2sec. and 28.6sec. to leave his nine rivals floundering in his wake. I Am Legend fought on to be second, almost a length in front of Mighty Flying Thomas. The winner rated a smart 1.55.8 over the 2130m trip. "When the one galloped and the two went rough, I just went for it," Davies said. "And once I saw them coming (in the back straight in the final lap) I thought I'd get them running because Little Boy Blue is pretty hard to catch once he gets going." CONNIVING MAJOR DAVE BOUNCES BACK Tenth placings at each of at his past two appearance and just one minor placing from his past seven starts did not deter many smart punters who cashed in when Aiden De Campo drove Conniving Major Dave to victory in the 2130m British Night Next Friday Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Conniving Major Dave started from barrier four on the front line and he enjoyed a perfect passage in the one-out, one-back position before finishing boldly to defeat the pacemaker Ohoka Squire (9/2) by a neck, with Grand Cru fighting on from sixth at the bell to be third. "His past two starts weren't his fault," said de Campo. "It was probably my fault, hitting a couple of wheels. He trialled well on Wednesday when he got over Dasher VC, sitting on him and running a quick last half. "Tonight I was pretty confident if he got the right sit and steered tractably. He got down a bit on the last bend which cost us a length or so. But he was still good enough to win. He's got a lot to learn and I really like the horse. He's got a bit of toughness and, hopefully, he can win a couple more." Conniving Major Dave, trained by de Campo's father Andrew, has earned $44,913 from eight wins and six placings from 29 starts. He has raced 17 times in WA for five wins and five placings. His dam Kind Martar is a younger sister of Pocket of Grace, who had 210 starts for 30 wins (16 in Queensland and 14 in New South Wales) and 41 placings for stakes of $160,975. HIGH FIVE MOZZA BREAKS THROUGH AT LAST Punters rallied to support High Five Mozza in the 2130m Sky Racing Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night, not because he went into the race with a losing sequence of 34 and had not managed a minor placing at his most recent nine starts, but because he had drawn the coveted No. 1 barrier. He was solidly supported to start favourite at 11/8 in a particularly weak field. Then everything went according to the script. Shannon Suvaljko jumped the New South Wales-bred six-year-old straight to the front. After a moderate lead time of 38.2sec. and a slow first quarter in 31.2sec. High Five Mozza broke 30sec. for the next three quarters to win by just under a length from 9/2 chance Will of Iron, who ran on from sixth at the bell. High Five Mozza, prepared at Wanneroo by Debbie Padberg, finally repaid the trainer for her perseverance and patience. The gelding had managed six placings from his first 32 starts in WA before Friday night's success. He won ten races in New South Wales (eight at Penrith and once each at Bankstown and Newcastle and had six starts in Victoria for one win before arriving in WA. by Ken Casellas
April 6, 2014 - HANA Harness is pleased to announce additional sponsors (one new and one returning) to the 2014 HANA Harness Grand Circuit 'Shoot-Out' Handicapping Contest presented by The Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs. New as a Silver Sponsor this year is the Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA) which presently represents horsemen at WEG tracks. Returning for a third year of sponsorship at the Silver level is Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at Charlottetown Driving Park. As Canadian sponsors, their donations will be used to benefit Canadian Standardbred rescues. We encourage all followers of the handicapping challenge to visit our sponsors' websites by visiting the contest website and clicking on their logos. Sponsorship opportunities remain available. Tracks, horsemen associations, racing stables, and those vendors who market to the harness racing industry and/or fans are welcome to become sponsors. For additional information regarding sponsorship, click here. HANA is also pleased to announce the roster of handicappers has been finalized with the addition of Brian McEvoy. McEvoy, works for Harnesslink in various capacities. This will be his first appearance in a HANA handicapping contest and he will be playing for Horse Rescue United. The first leg of the 2014 Grand Circuit 'Shoot-Out' is scheduled for April 26, 2014 when the finals of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pace and the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series will be contested at Yonkers Raceway. A complete list of contest days may be found here. by Al Schott, for HANA
Early Bird Registration extended to April 7th A Guided Tour of Equine Anatomy is a dissection workshop offered to horse enthusiasts and professionals alike to help them understand equine anatomy first hand. Led by Ontario Veterinary College researcher and anatomy instructor, Dr. Jeff Thomason, this unique educational workshop is offered at the Ontario Veterinary College. Early bird sign up has been extended to April 7th for workshops offered on April 26 and 27, 2014. Well known for his ability to bring anatomy to life, Thomason guides participants through plenty of hands-on exploration of the anatomy of a horse in a way most do not get to experience. An overview of the large muscle groups of the neck, trunk and legs is followed by an exploration of the abdomen and chest. The latter part of the laboratory is designed to allow individual students to explore their areas of interest in further detail. This one day workshop can be followed by a second day of advanced exploration which would allow the participants to get even more specific in learning how different systems function. Some of the second day topics have included looking at the mechanics of the leg or the complexities of the respiratory system. Students leave with a much broader understanding of how form and function intertwine. Dr. Thomason, is not only an internationally recognized researcher but he also teaches anatomy to veterinary students at the OVC and is excellent at explaining basic to advanced anatomy topics. Registration is online at: http://tinyurl.com/anatomyworkshop. For more information about this workshop: http://www.equineguelph.ca/pdf/workshop/Equine%20Anatomy%20Workshop%20Flyer%20-%202014.pdf or contact Equine Guelph. 519-824-4120 ext 54205 email: email@example.com
Congratulations to David Butt, Josh Dickie, Mark Jones, Simon Lawson, and Tim Williams who all tipped out winners last week. Unfortunately Blair Orange came up a ½ length short of tipping six consecutive winners, with the stablemate that he did highlight as the horse to beat holding on to win narrowly. Let’s find out what the boys have sorted out for us this week: Andrew Armour: Expects Armbro Courage to break maidens at very short notice – Winton, race six. Anthony Butt: Thinks Ideal Power can make it three straight victories – Addington, race seven. Blair Orange: Has opted to go head-to-head with Anthony, tipping Rocknroll Arden in the same event - Addington, race seven. Craig Thornely: Believes Gotta Grunter can break maidens after a string of seconds to open her career. She competes in the sixth race at Rangiora on Sunday. David Butt: Has a big opinion of One Over Da Moon and expects him to win the second race at Addington on Friday. Gavin Smith: Thinks the unbeaten Karanga Red Fantasy, who trialled well behind Adore Me on Monday, will prove hard to beat in race three at Addington on Friday. Jonny Cox: Expects Goodness Gracious Me, who was a game third in the Southland Oaks, to be very hard to beat in the seventh race at Winton on Sunday. Josh Dickie: Has opted for Sunny Vacation as his bet of the week – Alexandra Park, race ten. Ken Barron: Was keen around the chances of Quality Invasion but in the end opted for Majestic Time who will take all sorts of stopping in the NZ Trotting Oaks – Addington, race four. Mark Jones: Is very happy with Master Lavros and expects him to bounce back to winning for in the race ten at Addington on Friday. Matthew Williamson: Thinks talented but enigmatic trotter Bet’s Sun can bet its best foot forward in the third race at Rangiora on Sunday. Nathan Williamson: Thinks the consistent Defy is overdue a winning turn – Winton, race six. Ricky May: Expects extremely talented two-year-old trotter Monbet to prove too good in the first race at Rangiora on Sunday. Simon Lawson: Rates the chances of Besotted in the Kumeu Stakes at Alexandra Park on Friday. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Likes the chances of speedy filly God Forbid who should be better for her fresh up run – Alexandra Park, race five. Terry Chmiel: Thinks Little Less can get some money in the seventh race at Addington on Friday. Tim Williams: Has opted for Popular, who should be just that with punters after a very good run behind Raksdeal last start – Winton, race two. Todd Mitchell: Expects his stable star Prime Power to prove very hard to beat in the eighth race at Alexandra Park on Friday. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Best Bet: Saratoga – Alexandra Park, race ten. Each-way: Hug The Wind – Addington, race eleven. Smiles For Miles – Winton, race six. Value: Pomme Roy – Addington, race six.
Reinsman Clint Hall declared that inexperienced gelding Elegant Christian was spot on for the WA Derby on Friday week and was supremely confident that he would wind up his preparation for the $200,000 classic by winning the $50,000 TABtouch Western Gateway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Elegant Christian stunned punters when he started at 25/1 on and was beaten in a minor event at Gloucester Park on Monday of last week. However, Hall said that there was a significant excuse for that defeat (by a nose behind Mister Jadore) and that the lightly-raced three-year-old had bounced back to his brilliant best with a dazzling performance in a 2150m trial at Byford on Sunday morning when he romped to a 15-length victory after flying home over the final 800m in 55.5sec. "He drew the outside of the front line in the trial and I kept him four and five wide on the first corner before easing him back to last," he said. "And then after we got through the first quarter I asked him to come out and he went up and took the breeze and he raced there for a lap until he went to the front at the bell. "I sent him around the last two corners and he was fine, back to normal. We added a nearside lugging pole, a Murphy blind and an underhead check --- and he felt super. "I made him run round the corner from the 800m to the 600m and made him run again from the 400m to the 200m. I then let him ease up going to the line and I was quite surprised when I saw he had run 26.9sec. for the last quarter." Six days earlier Elegant Christian hung very badly in a 2130m event at Gloucester Park when he raced in the breeze outside Mister Jadore. He fought on gamely, but just failed to overhaul the pacemaker. Trainer Gary Hall sen. then discovered that the gelding was suffering from an ulcer in his mouth which caused him to hang inwards. This has been cured. That was Elegant Christian's first defeat in a six-start career and now Clint Hall is bubbling with confidence that the gelding will be untroubled to set the pace from the prized No. 1 barrier on the front line in Friday night's group 3 event. Elegant Christian is one of four runners from the powerful Hall stable, the others being Machtu, Eyre Crusher and Classic American. Kim Prentice will drive Machtu from barrier two on the back line, Morgan Woodley has been booked to handle Eyre Crusher (inside of the back line) and Chris Voak will drive Classic American from barrier four on the back line. Clint Hall drove Machtu when he gave a superb performance to score a runaway victory in a 2536m Derby prelude last Friday night. But he had no hesitation in choosing to drive Elegant Christian this week. Machtu settled at the rear in last week's event before surging forward to the breeze in the middle stages and then charging away from his rivals to win by just under seven lengths from Three Blind Mice. "It was a super run by Machtu and he is sure to be prominent in this week's race," Hall said. "Eyre Crusher will appreciate drawing the inside of the back line and should follow Elegant Christian. He should finish in the top three." Eyre Crusher has had nine starts for four wins and four seconds. Classic American has won at six of his nine starts, but faces a stern test from barrier four on the back line. Mister Jadore, a winner of ten races, also faces a tough task from the outside of the back line. Pelusiac, with a record of five wins and three seconds from ten starts, left Hall's stables last Sunday week and will be making his first appearance for Capel trainer Andrew De Campo. He will be handled by Aiden De Campo from barrier three on the back line. Adding further interest to the race will be the Australian debut of Ultimate Major, who has entered de Campo's stables this year after winning at three of his four starts in New Zealand late last year. He will start from barrier four on the front line. Three Blind Mice (barrier two) and Calais (three) are smart geldings who are racing keenly and should be prominent. However, Elegant Christian appears likely to carry too many guns for his rivals and should give Hall sen. his third success in the Western Gateway Pace. He trained and drove The Falcon Strike when he beat Knightwatchman and Shadow Maker in 2001 and he prepared Alta Christiano for his success 12 months ago. HALL SAYS SOHO VALENCIA IS "GOING PLACES" "I think he's going places and is a Christmas horse, and a Christmas horse should take care of these," said Clint Hall when assessing the prospects of Soho Valencia in the 2130m Princi Butchers Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Hall will drive the five-year-old, who will start from barrier three on the back line and is likely to make a sweeping move in the first lap in a bid to burst to the front. Soho Valencia is one of four runners in the race prepared by leading trainer Gary Hall sen., the others being last-start winner Dashing Christian (Kim Prentice), Benjamin Banneker (Kiara Davies) and Our Arlington (Lauren Jones). They are better-assessed pacers than Soho Valencia, who is an M1-class performer. But Soho Valencia has greater ability and potential than that trio and he is certain to prove very hard to beat after second placings as favourite on the past two Friday nights. They were his first two runs after an injury-enforced absence of 17 months and they were full of merit. He had a tough run when a fighting second to his classy stablemate Northview Punter last Friday week and then he raced without cover all the way when second to the brilliant mare Sensational Gabby last Friday night. "He drops down a bit in class this week after last week's Free-For-All," said Clint Hall. "His run last week was super. Chris Lewis (Sensational Gabby) didn't make the mistake of letting Soho Valencia into the race after having the advantage of the barrier draw. This week Soho Valencia will be hard to beat." The prospects of Lovers Delight, the impressive winner of the Clarke final last week when he worked hard in the breeze before getting up to defeat Lord Lombo, deteriorated when he drew the outside of the front line in the preferential barrier draw. Dashing Christian has drawn ideally at No. 2 on the front line and is capable of a bold showing. He should be prominent throughout. He impressed last Friday night when he raced three back on the pegs before charging home to snatch a nose victory over Mighty Flying Thomas. Adding interest to the race will be the return of smart eight-year-old Ohoka Samson for Pinjarra trainer-reinsman Kade Howson. Ohoka Samson has been off the scene for four months, but impressed when he sprinted over the final 400m in 27.6sec. to win a 2185m trial at Pinjarra on Sunday morning, rating 1.55.9. He will start from barrier four on the back line. DROP-DOWN RULE SHOULD HELP MAGGIES MYSTERY When smart five-year-old mare Maggies Mystery was an unlucky fourth behind Erris Lad last Friday night she increased her losing sequence to ten and immediately became the latest beneficiary of the drop-down rule, with her classification being altered from an M3 to an M2 mark. This has enabled her to be handicapped off the front line in the discretionary M1 and better Bet Today Collect Today Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night, thus boosting her prospects. Maggies Mystery, to be driven by Aldo Cortopassi for Burekup trainer Colin Reeves, was unlucky last week. She was in ninth position on the pegs at the bell and was finishing strongly, but was hampered for room when fourth, just over a length behind the winner. She caught the eye four days earlier when a fast-finishing fourth behind Soho Jackman in a 1730m, sprint at Gloucester Park. There is plenty of exposed form in Friday night's standing-start event over 2503m and punters should get great value for their investments, with polemarker Copagrin and last-start all-the-way winner Major Fury (barrier two) sure to be prominent. Hez Got The Nod, J Walker, Pembrook Henry, Balleybofey, Danieljohn and Erris Lad all have sound claims. QUINNY GETS ALTA CHRISTIANO ON THE MOVE Richly-talented New Zealand-bred four-year-old Alta Christiano was beaten in a track workout last Saturday morning. But it was an effort which enhanced his prospects of winning the first heat of the Making Smoking History Johnson Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Why? The answer is simple. He was beaten on the home track of Serpentine master trainer Gary Hall sen. by none other than superstar Im Themightyquinn. Alta Christiano, driven by Clint Hall, set the pace in then workout before being beaten comfortably by Im Themightyquinn (Gary Hall jun.). "We ran the mile and a half on the 1000m track in 3min. 3sec. and the last quarter took 27.1sec.," said Clint Hall. "It was Quinny's first real hit-out and his first workout with another horse in this preparation. He went to the line under a strong hold. "Alta Christiano should be too good for his rivals on Friday night. His first-up run was very good. He was nice and relaxed and sharp at the end, and he wanted to run another quarter." In that 2536m event at Gloucester Park last Monday week Alta Christiano made most of the running and won easily from Jungleface Jake after sprinting over the final 800m in 55.8sec. and the last 400m in 27sec. It was his first appearance after a ten-month absence. Alta Christiano will start from the inside of the back line on Friday night and Hall is likely to attempt to get him off the pegs and to go forward as early as possible. Im Themightyquinn will return to Gloucester Park on Friday week with an exhibition workout. He is expected to return to racing on the same track a fortnight later. SCHOOLBOY LANDS FIRST CITY WINNER Sixteen-year-old schoolboy Micheal Ferguson took time off from his studies to go to Gloucester Park with his parents Brian and Allison on Tuesday evening --- and he landed his first city winner by driving 5/2 chance Barkers Hall to an all-the-way victory over the even-money favourite Dashing Major in the 2536m Schweppes Pace. A day earlier, he got permission to take the afternoon to attend the meeting at Pinjarra where he drove Adda Notherzero to a thrilling nose victory over Chooks Reward after bringing Guilty Grin from the rear to finish a nose second to Director Whitby Ferguson now has driven four winners in his brief career after learning the ropes from his father, a Byford trainer-reinsman who has been concentrating on breaking in young pacers in recent years. Young Ferguson also has been assisting at the Serpentine stables of leading trainer Gary Hall sen. during school holidays and on weekends. Barkers Hall, a Victorian-bred five-year-old, is trained by Hall and his win on Tuesday night was his first in 12 starts in Western Australia. Ferguson jumped Barkers Hall straight to the front from the No. 2 barrier and he stole a march on his rivals when he was able to get the gelding to amble through the first two 400m sections of the final milem in 32.7sec. and 30.7sec. before increasing the tempo with two final quarters in 28.4sec. by Ken Casellas
Two harness racing horses died on impact Thursday night at Flamboro Downs after they collided in a tragic accident. The accident occurred in the 12th and final race for the evening. It was a $3,800 pace for $5,000 claimers. As the field went into the first turn, Buckbuckbuck Mach, driven by James MacDonald, was in third place and made a break, stuck in his toes and was immediately run into from behind by Stonebridge Wish, driven by Scott Coulter. Both drivers were unseated and Buckbuckbuck Mach fell to the track and broke off his race bike. The drivers were able to get their feet and walked off into the infield. But Buckbuckbuck Mach had the misfortune to get back up and started to run the wrong way on the track. As the field past the opening quarter mile and headed around the second turn, Buckbuckbuck Mach was at a full gallop the wrong way of the track, had ducked in towards the rail, avoided three horses, but then ran head first into A Sudden Twist, driven by Alfie Carroll. The end result was that both horses died immediately on impact and luckily Alfie Carroll was able to escape serious injury. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
The ring-around continues to gain momentum, so much so that it debuted on The Box Seat last night and will now hold a weekly spot on the show. Last week the Harnesslink ring-around produced seven winners with the best result being the Stephen Richardson tipped Djokovic who romped in by 8 & ½ lengths at odds of $6.20. Other winners included Sunhaven Express, who was victorious at a nice each-way price of $5.30 and $2.20. So, let see what the boys have come up with for us this week! Andrew Armour: Rates Armbro Courage as his best chance of the week – Invercargill, race three Blair Orange: Who is shooting for six winning tips in a row, expects Itz Bettor To Win to remain unbeaten after the first race at Invercargill on Sunday. Craig Thornely: Has opted for Smithy in the eighth race at Addington on Friday. David Butt: Rates Lotalov as a very good each-way bet in the seventh race at Addington on Friday. Dexter Dunn: Thinks the highly capable trotter Sheemon will prove very hard to beat in race seven at Addington on Friday. Gavin Smith: Has opted for Zena Mac, who was a bold second last start at Methven – Akaroa @ Motukarara, race four. Jonny Cox: Expects Smiles For Miles to be very hard to beat on Sunday – Invercargill, race three. Josh Dickie: Is bullish about the chances of Destination Moon in the last race at Cambridge tonight. Ken Barron: Expects Mighty Major to be very hard to stop from his inside barrier draw – Addington, race four. Mark Jones: Is prepared to give The Ultimate Storm one last chance - Addington, race eleven. Matthew Williamson: Rates Zhenya as his best chance of the week – Addington, race ten. Nathan Williamson: Thinks talented filly I Smart can get some money in the Southland Oaks – Invercargill, race eight. Simon Lawson: Has a high opinion of Unforgiving, and expects her to be very hard to beat in the third race at Cambridge tonight. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Thinks Robyn's Raider can make it back-to-back wins in the tenth race at Invercargill on Sunday. Terry Chmiel: Expects Swarozki to be competitive in the second race at Addington on Friday. Tim Williams: Has opted for Bobbie McArdle, who looks a good each-way chance in race five at Invercargill on Sunday. Todd Mitchell: Thinks It's All On will offer some good each-way value for punters – Cambridge, race ten. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink) Best Bets: Alleluia – Addington, race eight Tokohoka – Invercargill, race five Each-way: Blue Eyed Suzie – Invercargill, race seven Value: Holy Grail – Addington, race nine
Champion trainer Gary Hall sen. has a massive opinion of five-year-old Soho Valencia and he has decided to throw the stallion in at the deep end by starting him in open-class company in the 2130m Ray Duffy Memorial at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Hall has thrown down the gauntlet by opting to start the stallion, at his second appearance after an injury-enforced absence of 17 months, against seasoned campaigners, including WA Pacing Cup winner Hokonui Ben and brilliant mare Sensational Gabby. The Duffy Memorial is a $21,000 event for pacers handicapped M5 or better. Soho Valencia is on an M1 mark and Hall had the option of starting him against weaker opposition in the $17,500 PLSScrapbooking.com.au Pace. But Hall is confident that Soho Valencia has the class to defeat his rivals in the Duffy Memorial, saying: "I'd like to see him lead in a Free-For-All over 2130m and see how good they are. I know how good he is." Whether Soho Valencia, to be driven by Clint Hall, is capable of leading in Friday night's race is a moot point. He will start from barrier two on the front line, with the five-year-old Sensational Gabby on his inside. Sensational Gabby possesses sparkling gate speed and Chris Lewis is certain to attempt to jump in front and set a merry pace. Soho Valencia had his first start since October 2012 when he contested the Four And Five-Year-Old Championship last Friday night. He started from barrier four on the back line, was sent forward, three wide, after 600m and then raced on the outside of the pacemaker Red Salute before getting to the front 250m from home and finishing second to Northview Punter. Soho Valencia finished more than two lengths in front of Sensational Gabby, who started from the outside of the front line and impressed in sustaining a spirited three-wide burst (with cover) from tenth at the bell to be sixth. Looming large as the horse to beat for both Soho Valencia and Sensational Gabby is Hokonui Ben, the all-the-way winner of the $400,000 WA Pacing Cup over 2936m on January 17. He finished with a powerful burst from eighth at the bell to win from Northview Punter and David Hercules two starts ago and then covered a lot of extra ground when fourth behind Red salute and Sensational Gabby last Friday week. Hokonui Ben will start from the outside of the front line for trainer-reinsman Aldo Cortopassi , but the seven-year-old with an M11 classification has the class to overcome this disadvantage. Hall, who has trained 122 winners this season, prepares five of the eight runners in the Duffy Memorial. His other four starters are Famous Alchemist, Whos Mistake, Passion Stride and Code Red. MACHTU LOOKS THE GOODS IN DERBY PRELUDE New Zealand-bred gelding Machtu looks set to return to the winning list by proving too fast and too strong for his nine rivals in the 2536m Cowden Ltd WA Derby Prelude at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He will start from barrier four on the front line for trainer Gary Hall sen. and reinsman Clint Hall, who will replace his younger brother Gary, who has driven the gelding at his four starts in Western Australia for three runs and a last-start second to stablemate Elegant Christian over 2536m at Gloucester Park last Friday week. Gary Hall jun. is serving a 30-day suspension. Machtu was far from disgraced at his most recent appearance when he raced wide and then worked hard outside the pacemaking Elegant Christian. Machtu refused to give in and was beaten by less than a length after dashing over the final 800m in 55.3sec. His most serious rival on Friday night is likely to be his stablemate Classic American, who will start from the outside of the back line with Kim Prentice in the sulky. Classic American, a seven-length winner at his only appearance in New Zealand, over 2200m at Cambridge last June, made his Australian debut at Gloucester Park early last December when he raced in the breeze and finished second to Calais. He then chalked up wins at his next five starts before his defeat at Bunbury last Saturday night. He went to Byford on Sunday morning where he rated 1.58.6 in winning a 2150m trial after trailing the pacemaker Keeper of Keys. The final 400m took 28.1sec. Pinjarra trainer Kade Howson has three New Zealand-bred runners in Friday night's event --- polemarker So Ubettabelieveit, Live Life Fast (barrier six) and Ohoka Cooper (barrier three on the back line) and Forrestdale trainers Greg and Skye Bond will be represented by Black Mr Mach (barrier three) and Zacharia (barrier seven). The Hall camp will take the highly-promising Elegant Christian to the Byford trials on Sunday morning after the gelding suffered a shock defeat at 25/1 on in a 2130m event at Gloucester Park on Monday afternoon. Elegant Christian, who went into the race with a perfect record of five wins from five starts, started from the No. 3 barrier on the front line and jumped a length clear of polemarker Mister Jadore. But he was unable to cross to the pegs and then proved a handful for Clint Hall as he hung in badly when racing in the breeze. He finished determinedly to be a half-head second to Mister Jadore. The stewards then ordered the gelding back to trials. Trainer Gary Hall sen. said that Elegant Christian was affected by an ulcer in his mouth which caused him to hang. "We'll clear that up and then he should be okay," he said. Another WA Derby prospect Pelusiac left Hall's Serpentine training establishment last Sunday morning and has entered the Capel stables of Andrew De Campo. Pelusiac had ten starts for Hall for five wins and three seconds. He was a 5/2 on favourite in a Derby prelude at Gloucester Park last Friday night when he worked in the first 500m before taking the lead. He set the pace before wilting to fifth behind stablemate Eyre Crusher. PACIFIC WARRIOR WILL NEED LUCK FROM TRICKY DRAW Rising star Pacific Warrior, the fastest of the three heat winners,has drawn awkwardly on the inside of the back line and will need luck when he contests the $25,000 final of the Litter Scrapbooking Clarke Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Pacific Warrior, trained at Mt Helena by Ray Williams, has won in dashing style at his past three starts and would have been a warm favourite if he had drawn a favourable barrier on the front line. The race now appears a far more open affair. Reinsman Kade Howson is likely to determine his tactics as the race unfolds. There is reasonable doubt whether the polemarker Benjamin Banneker possesses the necessary gate speed to hold up. If Benjamin Banneker, who has shown gate speed in a couple of his starts, does set the pace and Howson decides to trail him there will be the distinct possibility of Pacific Warrior being denied a clear passage in the final circuit. Benjamin Banneker, trained by Gary Hall sen., has not led all the way in any of his 30 starts which have produced ten wins and eight placings. Most of Benjamin Banneker's victories have come when he has unwound a spirited finishing burst. He has drawn the No. 1 barrier only once before. That was at Gloucester Park last May when he started at 5/2 on and galloped at the start before racing three wide for much of the 2130m journey and finishing gamely to snatch victory by a head. Pacific Warrior relished the task of racing without cover before winning narrowly from the pacemaker Lovers Delight in the third qualifying heat of the Clarke Pace. He rated 1.56 which was significantly better than the rates recorded by the other heat winners, Franco Torres (1.56.7) and Hokuri Handrail (1.58.5). Hokuri Handrail rated 1.56 when he flooded home from eighth on the pegs at the bell to win from Little Boy Blue and Korobeit Angel over 1730m last Friday night. He is a speedy beginner and noted frontrunner who will start from barrier three on the front line and could be seen in the role of pacemaker in Friday night's race. Lord Lombo is a versatile in-form pacer who has good gate speed and is a smart frontrunner. Chris Voak could well attempt to burst to an early lead from the favourable No. 2 barrier. Lord Lombo rattled home from eighth at the bell when second to Hokuri Handrail last Friday week and he was a fast-finishing winner over Uppy Son at his previous start. Lovers Delight and Our Arlington are in fine form and each is capable of winning without surprising. Back-line runners Braemoor and Rocky Marciano can produce strong finishing bursts, but they will need plenty of luck from wide draws. BONDS HOLD STRONG HAND IN MARES EVENT Forrestdale trainers Greg and Skye Bond hold a strong hand with four-year-olds Am Opulent and Jungle Genie in the 2130m Gannon's Mares Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Am Opulent returned to form and broke a losing sequence of ten when she made full use of the coveted No. 1 barrier by leading and winning by three lengths from Adda Rising Star over 2150m at Harvey last Saturday week. Jungle genie started from the outside of the front line and fought on gamely from sixth at the bell to be third. Am Opulent fared the best in the random draw and again will start from the No. 1 barrier. She should lead and prove hard to catch. Jungle Genie, a winner at 11 of her past 22 starts, cannot be dismissed, even from out wide at No. 6 on the front line. Adda Rising Star followed her Harvey second to Am Opulent with a solid win at Bunbury last Saturday night when she raced without cover before beating Lucky Drew by a length. She should be prominent from barrier two. The Debbie Padberg-trained Lavra Florence impressed at Gloucester Park on Monday afternoon when she trailed the pacemaker Showstopper before finishing powerfully to win from that mare and Cieleto at a 1.58.1 rate over 2130m. The New Zealand-bred former Victorian performer will start from barrier five on the front line and looks sure to win many more races. MAJORLY FOXY STYYX TO MISS OAKS Outstanding filly Majorly Foxy Styx has broken down and will miss the $150,000 WA Oaks at Gloucester Park on May 9. "She has bowed a tendon in the nearside foreleg," said trainer Gary Hall sen. Majorly Foxy Styx looked a near certainty in the Oaks after winning in convincing style at her past seven starts. At her most recent outing she romped to victory by six lengths over The Parade in the group 2 Dainty's Daughter Classic at Gloucester Park. That took her record to 15 starts for seven wins and three placings for stakes of $90,530. Meanwhile, star four-year-old Alta Christiano reappeared after an injury-enforced absence of ten months at Gloucester Park on Monday afternoon when he scored an effortless all-the-way victory in a modest C3-class event over 2536m. Driven by Clint Hall, Alta Christiano, produced in big and burly condition by leading trainer Gary Hall sen., took the lead 250m after the start and after ambling through the first two quarters of the final mile in 32.6sec. and 31.7sec., he sprinted over the next two sections in 28.8sec. and 27sec. to beat Jungleface Jake by two and a half lengths at a 2.1.4 rate. Alta Christiano is unbeaten at his first four Australian starts after four wins from eight starts in New Zealand. The easy winner of the WA Derby last April will have his next start at Gloucester Park on Friday week. De CAMPO COMEBACK AT WAGIN Outstanding Capel trainer Andrew De Campo is planning a surprise comeback to race driving. The 47-year-old horseman has nominated himself to drive stablemates Vibrate and Trojan Bromac at the meeting at Wagin on Friday night. He has not driven in a race since 33/1 chance Zenthura raced in the breeze and wilted to seventh behind Paddy Whacked over 1750m at Kalgoorlie on November 13, 2011. His most recent winner was Nowuseeme, who started at 5/1 on and made most of the running to score easily from Mabel Rose over 2100m at Bunbury on June 26, 2009. Vibrate has a losing sequence of 12, stretching back to January 2012. The seven-year-old will start from barrier five in the 2180m Fleay Grocery Store Darkan Pace. Trojan Bromac, a winner of 18 races, will start from the outside in a field of six in the 2180m Darkan Cup, in which the main fancies are expected to be Major Catastrophe (David Young) and Im Riddick (Aaron Beckett). by Ken Casellas