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Our Major Mama caused a massive upset when rocketing home to win the $150,000 Group 1 WA Oaks (2536m) at Gloucester Park tonight. The filly, who started at $139.80, had been unplaced in two recent starts and faced a tough task from barrier eight. Trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice weaved her between rivals in the last 50m to grab victory. Our Major Mama, believed to be Gloucester Park’s longest-priced Group 1 winner, scored by 2.5m from Detroit Lily and Cott Beach finished a close third. “The win has come as a complete surprise,” Prentice said. “Our Major Mama is raced by a big syndicate of owners, but only a few of them are on course tonight. “I had told them not to expect a lot with a bad draw against top opposition. “She tackled the race with only two wins from 17 starts. But luck went our way.” Our Major Mama, who rated 1:58.1, gave Prentice his second Oaks win after Major Reality’s success in 2015. Odds-on favourite Liberty Rose went straight to the lead, but Amelias Courage swept forward and maintained pressure on her. Liberty Rose and Amelias Courage were swamped on the home turn. Eight horses spread across the track when charging down the straight in a blanket finish. Detroit Lily, who had been in fourth position from the early stages, edged clear. But she had no answer when Prentice found a gap with Our Major Mama about four horses off the pegs. Prentice had driven patiently after being in sixth position at the 1600m. Cott Beach fought on tenaciously when looming four-wide from the 400m. She had looked the winner when hitting the front on straightening. Melbourne raider Soho Burning Love settled in eighth position before sprinting wide at the 600m. But she could not reach the leaders. Our Major Mama’s connections plan to tackle next season’s four-year-old features, culminating in the $200,000 Group 1 Golden Nugget (2536m). Ernie Manning Reprinted with permission of The West Australian

Boyanup harness racing trainer Justin Prentice is delighted at his smart two-year-old Has No Fear drawing the coveted No. 1 barrier in the $25,000 Western Crown for fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night and declared: “This looks ideal for her. She has got good gate speed, so if she can hold the front over the mile (1730m), she will be hard to beat. “At her most recent start (in the group 1 Sales Classic last Friday week) she fought all the way to the line, showing that she’s got a fair bit of toughness as well. It was the quickest time (1.57.6) she has run; she’s working well and is still improving.” Has No Fear was the only runner off the back line in that event and she raced in fifth position, one-out and one-back, before fighting on to finish a half-length second to the pacemaker Soho Interceptor. Before that, Has No Fear raced three times for a half-head second to Hong Kong Dolly on debut at Pinjarra and easy wins at Pinjarra and Gloucester Park. She has been driven in all her starts by Tom Buchanan, who will make every effort to jump to the front and set the pace on Friday night with the daughter of American stallion Western Terror. Prentice will also be represented by Delightfull (Aiden de Campo, barrier four) and She Said Diamonds (Shannon Suvaljko, barrier seven). “I was really happy with her latest run (third to Soho Interceptor and Has No Fear) and she has improved again from that,” he said. ”I would say that if you reversed the barrier draws with Delightfull and Has No Fear that Delightfull would be the horse to beat. “Barrier seven is not ideal for She Said Diamonds, but she’s a nice filly on the way up. Tommy (Buchanan) thought she was the winner at the 200m at Pinjarra on Monday. But she weakened to finish fifth behind Itz All About Magic. She’s still a bit fat and her run on Monday should prove beneficial.” Byford trainer Katja Warwick also has multiple runners in Friday night’s race in which she will be represented by Cap In Hand (Gary Hall jun., barrier two) and Hong Kong Dolly (Stuart McDonald, barrier five). Cap In Hand scored convincing wins at her first two starts, at Pinjarra and Gloucester Park in February, before she galloped at the start and then overraced when five back on the pegs and was distanced in the Sales Classic. Since then she has performed soundly in winning two trials at Byford and she should be prominent on Friday night from her favourable barrier at No. 2. Hong Kong Dolly was a winner on debut at Pinjarra early last month before she broke and raced roughly when a well-beaten sixth behind Has No Fear in a Sales Classic qualifying heat. She was checked and broke before recovering and winning a three-horse trial at Byford on Sunday morning. Ken Casellas

Harness racing driver Justin Prentice has quinella'd a Gr.1 race for mares before, but can he do it with fillies? He will saddle up Delightful and the TROTsynd owned pacer Has No Fear in this week's $100,000 Clipsal WA Sales Classic Fillies Final at Gloucester Park. Watch the interview below. << WATCH FULL INTERVIEW HERE >> 28 February 2018 | GPTV

Promising filly Beaudiene Beach Babe has suffered no ill-effects from being severely checked and breaking into a fierce gallop in a race at Wagin last Saturday night and Boyanup harness racing trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice is confident she will bounce back and fight out the finish of the AMF Ceiling Tiles Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Beaudiene Beach Babe will start from barrier five in the 2130m event restricted to three-year-old fillies. She is one of three Prentice-trained runners in the race, with Our Major Mama to be driven by Tom Buchanan from barrier four and Somersby to be handled by Gary Hall Jnr from the No. 6 barrier. Beaudiene Beach Babe was favourite at 7/4 on when she reappeared after an absence of six months in a 2180m event at Wagin on Saturday night. She did not handle the track at all well, but after being well back in the field, some 15 lengths behind the runaway pacemaker Reacher in the middle stages, she looked a strong winning chance when she forged forward in the back straight in the final circuit. She was in third place on the pegs, following Speed Man when that pacer broke in front of her with about 350m to travel. She galloped badly and finished seventh in a field of seven, 99 metres behind the winner, Reacher. “She was going roughly and didn’t handle the Wagin track at all,” Prentice said. “She’s still green and is still learning. I think she will be a nice filly, but will probably take a bit of time to learn what it is all about. “She was going to run first or second at Wagin until she got knocked over. I didn’t realise how tight the bends are at Wagin and she didn’t handle them that well. Hopefully, she handles Gloucester Park better. She was fine at her only other race start, at Gloucester Park early last April (when she raced in the breeze and finished fourth behind Ella Gant Player. She’s also fine at home.” Prentice said that Our Major Mama was capable of a strong first-up showing. “She is working well and seems to be a bit stronger this time than she was when she had five starts for three placings as a two-year-old,” he said. Somersby enjoyed an ideal passage behind the pacemaker before running on to win at her debut, at Pinjarra three starts ago. She set the pace before wilting to fifth behind Ladys Are Ideal at Pinjarra last Monday week. “Somersby is a bit behind Beaudiene Beach Girl and Our Major Mama and is drawn the worst as well,” Prentice said. Ken Casellas

Speedy pacer Franco Rayner will resume after a three-month absence when he will start from the outside of the front line (No. 9) in the 2130m $23,000 Retravision Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. But Banjup trainer-reinsman Colin Brown said that he is not intending to use the four-year-old’s blistering gate speed and that he would be driving the gelding conservatively. “I’m thinking that he is forward enough to be competitive, but we won’t be hurling out of the gate,” Brown said. “We know that he’s got very high gate speed, but I just don’t think he’s fit enough at this stage of his preparation to use that and still run a race at the end. “He is essentially a beach horse, and with the recent wintry weather we haven’t been able to work him how we would like. He’s had a lot of work, but I really don’t know where he’s at.” Two starts ago, on May 12, Franco Rayner started from the No. 9 barrier and revealed dazzling speed to charge straight to the front before setting a fast pace and winning easily from Naughty Maravu at a 1.55.8 rate over 1730m. Though most of his 16 wins from 45 starts have been when he has set the pace, Franco Rayner is also capable of unwinding a spirited finishing burst. The Justin Prentice-trained Natural Disaster is in top form and will have an army of supporters. He will start from the No. 7 barrier and should be prominent throughout in his bid to win for the ninth time from only 14 starts this season. In a strong field, Sprinter, Our Jericho, Vultan Tin, Mach Time and Harry Hoo will all have many admirers. Perhaps the main opposition to Natural Disaster will come from Sprinter and Our Jericho. Gary Elson, trainer of Sprinter, is confident the four-year-old will maintain his splendid form, even from the awkward draw of the inside of the back line. “He was superb in defeat at the hands of Vultan Tin at his latest run (last Friday week),” Elson said. In that event Sprinter started out wide at barrier seven and settled in ninth position before running home boldly from seventh at the bell to finish second, two and a half lengths behind the flying Vultan Tin, who opened up a lead of several lengths in the middle stages. The Ross Olivieri-trained Our Jericho will start out wide at barrier eight, but looks a strong chance after several excellent recent efforts, including two thirds behind star pacer Chicago Bull. Our Jericho has a losing sequence of 16, but is certainly capable of ending that run of outs. He has been freshened up since his good fourth behind Ideal Alice and Vultan Tin on July 21. Ken Casellas

Harness racing trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice predicts classy four-year-old Natural Disaster can continue to improve on his brilliant winning performance at Gloucester Park last night. The gelding, starting a $1.30 favourite, sprinted clear of rivals in early stages and was never threatened before scoring by 9.75m with a 1:56.5 rate. Brotha Ofa Gangsta ($48.20) finished second and Hy Fyfe ($33.30) was a further 4.25m back in third place. “Natural Disaster has matured a lot in this campaign,” Prentice said. “He's set to keep improving and looks set to show his true talent.” The bay, with a career tally of 10 wins from 28 starts, has recorded four victories in five races since a spell. Prentice plans to aim Natural Disaster at the rich WA Inter Dominion Championship in November and December. The young horseman will make a bid to emulate his father Kim, who trained and drove 2003 Inters winner Baltic Eagle. Americanbootscoota ran sizzling time when an all-the-way winner of tonight's Vale Laurie Kennedy Pace (1730m) and is also an Inters hope. The gelding, a $1.90 favourite, beat El Hombre ($20.30) into second place by 5.5m and rated 1:52.6. Though not fully extended by reinsman Chris Lewis, four-year-old Americanbootscoota went close to Gloucester Park's 1730m track record set when Run Oneover clocked 1:52.5 last year. Lewis’ wife Debra trains Americanbootscoota, a winner at five of his past six starts. Seven pacers trained by Greg and Skye Bond were scratched from tonight's meeting by stewards. Greg Bond, who received a 12-month disqualification on Wednesday, applied for a stay of proceedings with a view to having starters tonight. However, the Racing Penalties Appeal Tribunal will not consider his application until Monday afternoon. “Without a stay of proceedings being granted today, the Bond-trained horses had to be scratched,” Racing and Wagering WA integrity chief Denis Borovica said. “The stewards wish to give their opinions at a tribunal sitting to consider the stay of proceedings application. A hearing could not be arranged today and it has been scheduled for 2pm on Monday.” Bond was banned for giving false information to stewards and behaving in a manner detrimental to harness racing. Stewards have held a marathon inquiry into betting on a Gloucester Park race last December, in which the Bond-trained Fifth Edition was an unplaced favourite. Bond's wife and co-trainer Skye has been suspended under rules which apply to penalties on training partnerships. By Ernie Manning Reprinted with permission of The West Australian  

Natural Disaster is one of the State’s most promising pacers, but so far winning a feature harness racing event has eluded the son of American stallion Shadow Play. However, his recent outstanding form is a strong indication that he will break through at Gloucester Park on Friday night for a well-deserved victory in the $25,000 Kerry Clarke Westbred final, a listed classic for four and five-year-olds. Natural Disaster, a four-year-old bred and owned by Rob Tomlinson’s Oz-West Pacing and trained and driven by Justin Prentice, warmed up for this week’s assignment in splendid fashion with his fast-finishing third behind Motu Premier and Mach Time in the Chandon final, a listed classic, last Friday night. That followed wins at his three previous outings, at Bunbury and Gloucester Park in May and at Gloucester Park early last month. He is handily drawn at barrier three on the front line on Friday night and Prentice should have the gelding in a commanding position throughout. Natural Disaster, a winner at nine of his 27 starts, finished second to Johnny Disco in the group 3 Country Derby at Pinjarra in March 2016, third behind New World Order in the group 1 $100,000 Westbred Classic in July 2016, third behind Chicago Bull in the McInerney Ford Classic in November 2016 and fourth behind Soho Tribeca in the Golden Nugget two weeks later. He is closely related to former smart pacer Hy Falutin, whose 18 wins from 43 starts included the Christmas Gift in 1999 and the Celebrity Mile in December 2001. Natural Disaster’s most serious rival looms large as five-year-old Military Master, who will start from the No. 4 barrier. Trainer Ross Olivieri is confident of a bold showing from Military Master, a winner of ten races from 30 starts. The stallion was a disappointing in finishing sixth behind Thereugo last Friday week. But Olivieri explained that there were excuses for that run, saying: “He was a bit below par and then I found that he was affected by a greasy heel. I’ve fixed that and, hopefully, he goes better this week. I’m very pleased with him and his form has been top-class. “Three starts ago Military Master ran the fastest quarter (26.4sec.) that I can remember at Gloucester Park for any quarter of any race.” In that event, Military Master set the pace and had to withstand a spirited challenge for the lead in the first lap, during which he sped over the first 400m section of the final mile in 26.4sec. He wilted only over the final stages and finished fourth behind Zach Maguire. Argyle Red, Fanci A Dance, Tommy Be Good and Abraxas Blues will have plenty of admirers in Friday night’s 2130m event.   Argyle Red, trained at Pinjarra by Rob MacDonald, will be making his first appearance for four months. He is the only runner off the back line and will be handled by Morgan Woodley. He impressed in winning a 2185m Pinjarra trial at a 1.57.7 rate last Sunday when he dashed over the final quarters in 28.1sec. and 27.3sec. Fanci A Dance, trained in Busselton by Barry Howlett, has won at six of his past ten starts and is capable of overcoming the disadvantage of starting out wide at barrier seven. Tommy Be Good and Abraxas Blues warmed up with excellent efforts at Gloucester Park last Friday night. Ken Casellas

Oldbury trainer-reinsman Kim Prentice admits that Abraxas Blues is not particularly tough, but he admires the four-year-old’s sit-sprint ability. Abraxas Blues will start from the inside of the back line in the In Memory of Max Johnson Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night and Prentice gives the gelding a good chance of notching his seventh win at his 25th start. Abraxas Blues caught the eye last Friday night when he started from the outside of the front line and settled down in 11th position before moving to ninth (three wide) at the bell and sustaining the effort to finish a half-head second to hot favourite The Publisher over 2130m. He sprinted fast from the 400m and looked likely to overhaul The Publisher but The Publisher dug deep to prevail in a thrilling finish. “The way he sprinted I thought he was going to run past The Publisher,” Prentice said. “But The Publisher just nodded off and when I got alongside of him, he picked up. However, it was a very good run by Abraxas Blues. “Drawn the inside of the back line on Friday night, I’m hoping the pole marker Attack On Command holds up and leads. Then we’ll just be sitting along the fence and, hopefully, we’ll get the run at the right time. He loves just sitting back and it gives him a good chance.” Another four-year-old in Fanci A Dance, trained in Busselton by Barry Howlett and with Chris Lewis in the sulky, will start from the No. 2 barrier on the back line and he looks a major winning chance after scoring at six of his past nine starts. He maintained his splendid form at Bunbury at his latest appearance, on July 8, when he raced wide in the middle stages and then in the breeze before winning from Our Zac Whitby, rating 1.57 over 2100m. Another well-fancied runner will be the Justin Prentice-trained and driven Quite A Delight, a winner at ten of her 27 starts, who will start from barrier five on the front line. She made a most impressive return to racing after an absence of almost seven months last Friday week when she finished powerfully to win from Mary Catherine and Donegal Rundlescreek, rating 1.58.3 over 2536m. Ken Casellas

Boyanup trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice is hoping that Maia Maguire will be on her best behaviour and can cause an upset by winning the $35,000 Race For Roses at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Four-year-old Maia Maguire is one of four frontmarkers in the 2503m standing-start group 3 event and she showed her ability as a pacemaker five starts ago when she was racing first-up and won in good style in a minor mobile event at Narrogin. She revealed her versatility with strong-finishing efforts to win at Narrogin and Bunbury at her next two starts before failing at her past two outings. She began badly in a stand and was never in contention in an event won by McClinchie at Pinjarra last Monday week. A win by Maia Maguire on Friday night would complete a hat-trick of victories for Prentice in the Race For Roses. Prentice brought 15/1 chance Digital Art home with a powerful burst from three back on the pegs to snatch a head victory from the pacemaker Blacknsweet Adda in last year’s Race For Roses. He trained and drove The Parade to victory in the Race For Roses the previous year. The Parade started off 20m and won from Hoylakes Firstlady and My Samantha Jane. Maia Maguire is owned by Bob Fowler, who has two other runners --- frontmarker Hugmeifuluvme and Sheer Rocknroll, the lone backmarker off 30m. Four-year-old Hugmeifuluvme set the pace and won a stand over 2116m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. That was her second win from nine starts and she faces a much more difficult task on Friday night. However, four-year-old Sheer Rocknroll has the class to overcome the back mark in her first attempt in a standing-start event. The Ross Olivieri-trained mare (a stablemate of Hugmeifuluvme) is in sparkling form and is ready to meet strong challenges from another talented WA-bred four-year-old Dodolicious and the smart New Zealand-bred five-year-old Foxy Dame. Olivieri boasts the best record as a trainer in the Race For Roses which was first run in 1997. He has been successful with Yippy Yi Yo (1998), Arctic Fire (2011) and Selkie (2014). Chris Lewis, who will drive Sheer Rocknroll, has the best record as a driver in the feature event, having been successful with Lady De Beau (2007), Arctic Fire and Selkie. Dodolicious, winner of the WA Oaks 12 months ago, and Foxy Dame also will be contesting a standing-start event for the first time. They will share the 20m mark with Sheer Rocknroll maintained her excellent form and won for the 12th time from her past 20 starts when she started from the outside barrier (No. 9) last Friday night and raced four and three wide for the first 500m before working in the breeze outside the pacemaking Dame Puissant and getting to the front with 250m to travel and then resisting a strong late challenge from Foxy Dame, who impressed in finishing determinedly from ninth at the bell. Foxy Dame is trained by Mike Reed and will be driven by Shannon Suvaljko. She has a record of 56 starts for nine wins and 21 placings and performs at her best when saved up for a last-lap burst. Dodolicious, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, will share the 20m mark with the Nathan Turvey-trained pair of Chevrons Champion and Hidden Bad. She is an outstanding pacer who has amassed $441,433 from 15 wins, seven seconds and one third from 26 starts and though this will be her first appearance for five months she cannot be underestimated. Ken Casellas

Boyanup harness racing trainer Justin Prentice described Tenniele Erin’s performance when beaten into second place by Lady de la Renta on Tuesday of last week as massive and he is confident that his youngster can turn the tables on Lady de la Renta when they clash in the $95,000 Clipsal By Schneider Electric WA Sales Classic for harness racing two-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night. A thrilling showdown between the classy fillies looms after they drew favourably in the 1730m classic. Lady de la Renta, trained at Banjup by Annie Belton and to be handled by Kim Prentice, will start from the No. 2 barrier on the front line, with Tenniele Erin on her outside at No. 3 and with Chris Lewis in the sulky. Tenniele Erin was favourite at 5/2 on when she started from barrier four in a 1730m event on Tuesday of last week. Lady de la Renta was a 6/1 chance from barrier five. Tenniele Erin began speedily and was trapped three wide for the first 300m before she surged into the lead after 420m. Lady de la Renta was not bustled out at the start and settled down in seventh position. She was sixth with 500m to travel and impressed with her acceleration when she burst to the front on the home turn and won by just over two lengths from Tenniele Erin. “Tenniele Erin went massive in that race,” Justin Prentice said. “The first quarter was run in 27.5sec. and there’s not too many two-year-olds capable of finishing off the race the way she did after that very fast first section. She has done well since.” The Belton camp also has every reason to feel confident about winning with Lady de la Renta on Friday night. She sprinted strongly with a final quarter of 28.6sec. and won in most convincing fashion. There were excuses for her fifth placing behind Cott Beach at Pinjarra at her only other start. She raced roughly soon after the start and broke into a gallop before racing five back on the pegs and finishing solidly. Lady de la Renta is well bred, being by American stallion Well Said and out of Flylika Bird Lombo, a winner of seven races in Victoria and a half-sister to ten winners, including Lombo Skyrider, who amassed $841,611 from 63 wins and 84 placings from 321 starts.  Lady de la Renta is also closely related to former star mare Misty Maiden (37 starts for 12 wins, 11 placings and stakes of $245,449) who produced nine winners, including Lombo Pocket Watch, who earned $1,522,638 from 45 wins and 17 placings from 83 starts. Tenniele Erin, by American stallion Sportswriter, is the fourth foal, and the first one to race, out of Lilianna Beauty, who had 134 starts in America for ten wins, 41 placings and $135,274. Princess Major, to be driven by Gary Hall jun. for Byford trainer Katja Warwick, has sound each-way prospects from the inside of the back line. She has been placed at each of her three starts, including her last-start third behind Lady de la Renta when she worked hard in the breeze for most of the way. Cool Sassi, an easy all-the-way debut winner at a 2.1.9 rate over 1730m on Tuesday of last week for trainer-reinsman Aldo Cortopassi, faces a stern task after drawing out wide at barrier eight. Ken Casellas

Superbly-bred harness racing filly Pick My Pocket arrived in Perth from New Zealand three weeks ago and is being set by owner Bob Fowler and trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice for the $150,000 WA Oaks on May 5. The daughter of champion sire Bettor's Delight will make her West Australian debut when she starts from the No. 5 barrier on the front line in the Happy Birthday Tanya Smeeth WA Oaks Prelude over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Prentice is unsure how well Pick My Pocket will perform at her first appearance in a race in Australia. “I have had her only a short time,” he said. “She’s a nice filly and I’ve had only one trial with her.” Pick My Pocket was not extended in finishing second to Jumping At Shadows in a 2100m trial at Bunbury’s Donaldson Park on Wednesday of last week. The winner rated 1.58.8 and the final quarters were run in 29.5sec. and 28.5sec. Pick My Pocket is out of In The Pocket mare La Filou, who raced only eight times in New Zealand for one win and one placings for stakes of $7315. La Filou is out of the remarkable broodmare Scuse Me, the dam of 12 winners, including Adore Me and Have Faith In Me. Adore Me raced only 36 times for 26 wins and seven placings for earnings of $1,677,032. She was successful in 12 group 1 events, including the New Zealand Cup at Addington in November 2014 and the Ladyship Mile in 1.47.7 and by a margin of six lengths at Menangle in March 2015.    Have Faith In Me has had 32 starts for 15 wins, eight placings and $1,446,592. His five group 1 wins include the Chariots of Fire at Menangle in February 2016 and the Miracle Mile in 1.47.5 when he defeated Lennytheshark. Pick My Pocket has had five starts in New Zealand for one win and a third placing, for earnings of $12,735. She won on debut over 2400m in a 14-horse field at Winton last December when she began speedily from barrier five and led after 250m before being restrained 300m later to trail the new pacemaker. She then raced three back on the pegs and took advantage of an inside passage to hit the front 120m from the post to win at a 1.58.2 rate. Her most recent appearance was at Addington on February 17 when she started from the outside in a field of five and was restrained to the rear and raced in fifth place in an Indian-file affair before fighting on gamely, three wide, to be fourth behind Spanish Armada, who dashed over the final two quarters in 28.5sec. and 27sec. The New Zealand-bred Maczaffair looks outstanding in Friday night’s race, especially after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier on the front line. Maczaffair has won at eight of her 19 starts and is maintaining her splendid form for Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed and reinsman Shannon Suvaljko. Apart from Pick My Pocket, Prentice has two other runners in Friday night’s race, Im Stylish (Tom Buchanan) and Lady Luca (Hayden Charles). Im Stylish has won at each of her past three starts, but is poorly drawn out wide at barrier eight. However, she is capable of doing plenty of work in a race and is sure to be prominent. In an Oaks prelude last Friday week, Im Stylish started from the back line and began a three-wide move after 450m to race without cover for much of the way before taking the lead 270m from home and defeating the fast-finishing Red Hot Roxy, who had enjoyed an ideal passage behind the pacemaker Lady Luca. The consistent Red Hot Roxy (Gary Hall jun.) will start from the outside of the back line this week and should be finishing with plenty of gusto. Soho Angel (Kim Prentice) will start from the inside of the back line and is also capable of a spirited effort. Ken Casellas

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

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

Quality harness racing five-year-old Major Reality leapt into serious calculations for the $450,000 TABtouch WA Pacing Cup when she drew the prized No. 1 barrier for the 2936m group 1 event at Gloucester Park on Friday night. But Major Reality will have to end a 45-year drought to win the big race if she is to become the first mare to win WA’s major pacing event since Les Marriott drove seven-year-old Pyramus to victory over Chief Attain and Sir Alex in the 1972 $20,000 WA Pacing Cup, rating 2.6.6 over the two miles. Among the unplaced runners were outstanding pacers Daintys Daughter, Red Vicar, Radiant Oro and Roscott. Pyramus won the inaugural WA Oaks in 1968 and she remains the only pacer to have won the Oaks and WA Pacing Cup. Pyramus is one of only five mares to have won a WA Pacing Cup in the past 70 years, the others being Winsome Bobbie (1946), Portree (1958), Color Glo (1967) and Daintys Daughter (1970). Major Reality, purchased in New Zealand as a yearling for $31,000, won the 2015 WA Oaks from stablemate Quite A Delight and she now boasts a splendid record of 17 wins and eight placings from 29 starts for earnings of $331,736. Trained and driven by Justin Prentice, the daughter of Art Major is a smart beginner and excellent frontrunner who has started from the No. 1 barrier at two of her past four starts for two wins --- when she led and beat The Parade and Hidden Bad in the 2130m Norms Daughter Classic on November 25 (with final quarters in 28sec. and 27.1sec.) and when she led for the first 700m and then sat behind Run Oneover before finishing powerfully to beat that pacer by a length in a 2536m Free-For-All on December 23. Major Reality had no luck at all when she started at 15/1 from the outside of the back line in the Fremantle Cup last Friday night. She raced in seventh position in the one-wide line and was unwinding a strong burst when she locked wheels with John of Arc on the home turn and then was hampered for room in the straight, finishing tenth behind Chicago Bull. John Wulff, who bought Major Reality as a yearling and races the mare in partnership with his father Ron and friends Ryan Hughes and Andrew Ditri, said he expected Prentice to be keen to set the pace. If that is the case there is certain to be fireworks early, with Bettors Fire and Cyamach certain to begin speedily in attempts to take up the running. Ken Casellas

Five-year-old mare Major Reality is ready for her most serious test in a wonderful harness racing career when she clashes with some of the State’s best pacers, including Bettors Fire, Run Oneover, Delightful Offer, David Hercules and Waylade, in the 2536m Functions At Gloucester Park Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Boyanup trainer-driver Justin Prentice declared that Major Reality’s second to stablemate The Parade last Friday week was the best run of her career. “Now I think she can take the next step up, particularly from the No. 1 barrier,” Prentice said. “The plan will be to lead. The others will need to get the right run; we’ve got the draw advantage on them. “The 2536m will be no trouble for Major Reality or for The Parade. I give both mares a realistic winning chance.” Major Reality, by Art Major winner of the WA Oaks over 2536m two seasons ago, was purchased as a yearling in New Zealand for $31,000 and she has already earned $313,556 for owners John and Ron Wulff, Andrew Ditri and Ryan Hughes. She has had 27 starts for 16 wins, five seconds and three thirds. The Parade, who will be driven by Tom Buchanan, is handily drawn at barrier three on Friday night and she should be in a prominent position throughout. The Parade won for the 21st time from 52 starts when she trailed the pacemaker Dodolicious before sprinting home fast to beat Major Reality by just under three lengths. Major Reality had no luck whatsoever after starting from barrier two. She was badly inconvenienced when the pace slackened in the first lap and was shuffled back to tenth in the middle stages before sustaining a strong three-wide burst from seventh at the bell. Chris Lewis gave punters a significant lead when he opted to drive Flaming Flutter in preference to Our Jericho. The Ross Olivieri-trained pacers are handily drawn at barrier two and four, respectively. Flaming Flutter raced three back on the pegs and met with interference on the home turn before finishing strongly, out wide, to be fourth behind Cyamach in the Interdominion Consolation last Friday week. His most recent success was in the South Australian Cup at Globe Derby Park last January, but he will pay to follow. Our Jericho, a winner at nine of his past 26 starts, will be handled by Chris Voak. It is well worth considering that he finished second to star pacer Hectorjayjay in an Inters heat at Bunbury three starts ago. Run Oneover, Bettors Fire and Delightful Offer are top-flight performers who will start from the back line and are all capable of winning. Ken Casellas

Boyanup trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice sounded an ominous warning to the harness racing connections of Major Reality’s rivals in the $125,000 Westral Mares Classic over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he said that Major Reality ran times on his home track that not many other horses were capable of recording. After Major Reality had given a bold frontrunning performance from the No. 1 barrier to win the 2130m Norms Daughter Classic last Friday week Prentice said that he was delighted with the ease in which Major Reality ran such fast times in training. “She probably needed the run and I think that there is more improvement in her,” he added. The clash between Major Reality, the2015 WA Oaks winner, with Dodolicious, the 2016 WA Oaks champion, the richly-talented and highly impressive A Piccadilly Princess (winner of the Victoria Oaks and the New Zealand north island Oaks early this year), outstanding open-class performers Tricky Styx, Ideal Alice and The Parade as well as up-and-coming mares Sheer Rocknroll and Bettor Be Supreme promises to be a highlight on a magnificent ten-event program. Dodolicious, whose 25 starts have produced 15 wins and seven seconds, has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier and Ryan Warwick will be keen to make full use of her gate speed in a bid for an all-the-way victory which would give leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond their second success in the Mares Classic, after Luke McCarthy had driven Baby Bling to a decisive win over Aussie Made Lombo in the group 1 feature event in November 2012. At her most recent outing Dodolicious started from barrier two and had a tough run in the breeze before wilting late to finish fifth behind the pacemaking Major Reality in the Norms Daughter Classic. The final quarters were run in 28sec. and 27.1sec. At her previous start, Dodolicious raced without cover before winning from Mon Lillies over 2130m. It will be interesting to see whether Prentice makes a strong bid to outpace Dodolicious and take up the early running or whether he will be content to control the tempo of the race from the breeze. A Piccadilly Princess was a certainty beaten when second to Ideal Alice in the 2130m Parliamentarians Cup last Friday night. She trailed the pacemaking Ideal Alice and was hopelessly blocked for a clear passage in the final circuit. She went to the line full of running, but with nowhere to go. A week earlier she gave a sample of her class when she finished with a devastating sprint to win easily from Ideal Tyson and Johnny Disco over 2536m. Star New Zealand trainer-reinsman Mark Purdon will be anxious to slot A Piccadilly Princess into a favourable forward position in the one-wide line before setting her alight in the final stages. She has won at ten of her 21 starts and looks destined for a wonderful career. Ideal Alice, to be driven by Gary Hall jun. from barrier No. 5 for trainer Gary Hall sen., also is likely to be held up for a late charge. She notched her 17th win from 46 starts when she was untroubled to lead and win from A Piccadilly Princess last Friday night. $125,000 Westral Mares Classic over 2536m 1 - Dodolicious by Bettor's Delight 2 - Major Reality NZ by Art Major 3 - Sheer Rocknroll by Rocknroll Hanover 4 - A Piccailly Princess NZ by Bettor's Delight 5 - Ideal Alice NZ by American Ideal 6 - Bettors Gem by Bettor's Delight 7 - Bettor Be Supreme NZ by Bettor's Delight 8 - Hidden Bad NZ by Badlands Hanover 9 - Tricky Styx NZ by Jereme's Jet ................................................................ 10 - The Parade NZ by Real Desire 11 - Quite A Delight NZ by Bettor's Delight 12 - My Samantha Jane NZ by Extreme Three 13 - Mon Lillies (EM 1) by Artesian 14 - Paid Twice (EM 2) by Blissful Hall   Ken Casellas

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