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Eight-year-old Machrie has turned the corner in the past few weeks with two eye-catching placings after a sequence of 15 unplaced efforts and the Chris King-trained gelding has sound prospects of ending a losing sequence of 32 when he starts from the coveted No. 1 barrier in the final event, the Westral Crimsafe Security Doors Pace over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Chris Voak is expected to be anxious to take full advantage of Machrie’s good gate speed in a bid to score an all-the-way win. Machrie is not a noted frontrunner, but he did lead from barrier one and win well from Hilo Rex over 2242m at Narrogin in March 2017. He was a $92 outsider two starts ago when he started from the inside of the back line and raced three back on the pegs in fifth position before running home strongly to be a one-length second to outstanding young mare Our Angel of Harlem. Then, he was a $29.20 chance from the outside barrier (No. 9) last Friday week when he raced in eighth position, four back on the pegs, before finishing powerfully, out wide, to be a close third behind Free To Air and Luis Alberto. One of Machrie’s main rivals is likely to be the somewhat disappointing Luis Alberto, who will be driven by Gary Hall jnr from the No. 2 barrier. Luis Alberto, who has a losing sequence of 13, has had 27 starts in WA for five wins and 13 placings. He has set the pace seven times in WA for three of his wins. However, he is generally regarded as a better prospect when held up for a late finishing burst. His was a sound effort last Friday night when he began out wide at barrier eight, settled in ninth and last position and sustained a strong three-wide last-lap burst to finish an 8m second to the pacemaker Beltane over 2130m. A week earlier Luis Alberto was tenth in the middle stages and sustained a three-wide run from the 1000m to take a narrow lead in the final 50m before wilting to finish second to the fast-finishing Free To Air, a stablemate of Machrie. Two of the better bets on the program should be The Art Form in the opening event, the Westral Roller Blinds Pace, and Jack Mac in the Westral Outdoor Patio Blinds Golden Nugget Prelude. The Art Form should have the class to overcome the disadvantage of starting out wide at barrier nine. He is sure to have derived considerable benefit from his solid second to the pacemaker Fizzing after working hard without cover throughout. Jack Mac, trained in Busselton by Barry Howlett, will have his final warm-up before contesting the Golden Nugget Championship the following Friday when he starts as the lone runner on the back line in the 2130m prelude. He resumed after a 25-day absence in the group 1 Yes Loans Four-Year-Old Classic last Friday night when he was at a disadvantage, starting from the outside barrier (No. 9). He covered extra ground in the first lap and moved into the breeze 1270m from home before wilting to sixth. Ken Casellas

Five-year-old New Zealand-bred gelding Simba Bromac boasts a winning record of 61 per cent and he has good prospects of making a successful return to racing after a spell when he starts from the No. 2 barrier in the $25,000 Westral Vertical and Panel Blinds Free-For-All at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He will be driven by Chris Lewis for Ravenswood trainer Nathan Turvey and should be prominent against stiff opposition from the three smart pacers from the Forrestdale stables of Greg and Skye Bond, Our Jimmy Johnstone, El Jacko and Rock Diamonds. Simba Bromac, whose 31 starts have produced 19 wins, six seconds and three thirds, warmed up for his first-up assignment in fine style with a dashing win over Chiaroscuro in a 2185m trial at Pinjarra last Sunday morning when he was not asked for an effort until the final stages when he sprinted over the final 400m in 27.7sec. This will be Simba Bromac’s first appearance since he began speedily from barrier seven, set the pace and sprinted over the final quarters in 27.9sec. and 27.3sec. to win by three lengths from Mitch Maguire at a 1.57 rate over 2130m on August 31. Ten-year-old Our Jimmy Johnstone, to be handled by Dylan Egerton-Green, still possesses excellent gate speed and a strong competitive attitude. He will begin from barrier four and looks set to fight out the finish. So, too, does the enigmatic, but highly talented El Jacko, who will be driven by Ryan Warwick from the coveted No. 1 barrier. El Jacko notched his 17th victory from 42 starts last Friday week when he started from the outside of the back line and charged to the front after 550m on his way to a stylish victory over Kimani. Turvey also holds a strong hand in the Westral Timber Blinds Pace in which he will be represented by the polemarker Livura and Carter Micheal at barrier two in the 2130m event. He will handle Carter Micheal and Chris Lewis will be in the sulky behind Livura. Lewis drove Livura to an effortless victory over Bad Round and El Machine, rating 1.57.3 over 2130 at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week. That ended a losing sequence of 16 and was the seven-year-old’s 20th win from 87 starts. Carter Micheal is racing with refreshing enthusiasm and looks hard to beat. He raced in seventh position on the pegs and was eighth 100m from the post before he sprinted fast to finish an eye-catching third behind Our Max Phactor over 2130m last Friday night. In what appears to be a highly competitive race, the Greg and Skye Bond-trained Saying Grace will have many admirers after winning at six of his past nine starts. He began off 40m and worked forward in the middle stages to race in the breeze when a close second to Carrera Mach over 2503m at Bunbury last Saturday night. He won easily at Kellerberrin and Pinjarra at his two previous outings.     Ken Casellas

Six-year-old Our Max Phactor arrived in Western Australia completely unheralded at the end of August and has been a revelation under the care of leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, with his 11 starts in the State producing ten wins and a close second placing. And this remarkable run of success follows his modest career in New Zealand where he managed just nine wins from 70 starts. He has also shown exceptional qualities here as a standing-start specialist, with six wins from six stands, whereas he had ten runs in stands in New Zealand for one victory by a nose over the marathon trip of 3150m on the grass track at the spacious Hawera circuit. Ryan Warwick, in dazzling form in the sulky, has driven Our Max Phactor in all his races for the Bond camp and he is hoping that the Art Major gelding will maintain his winning ways when he starts off 20m (virtually 10m because there are no runners off the front) in the Mount Eden-No Dill Christmas Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. However, it is unlikely to be simply a walk in the park for Our Max Phactor, who will clash with other smart New Zealand-bred pacers in Mr Mojito and As Happy As Larry. Mr Mojito, to be driven by Chris Lewis for Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri, will start off 20m at his second appearance after a year’s absence. The six-year-old has raced only 28 times for 11 wins (seven in New Zealand, one in WA and three in Victoria). He resumed racing when he began off the 40m mark in a 2631m event at Pinjarra on Monday of last week when he moved forward in the first lap and then worked hard in the breeze before finishing an excellent first-up second to Saying Grace, with final quarters in 27.8sec. and 27.9sec. Mr Mojito was brought to Perth by ace New Zealand trainer-reinsman Mark Purdon at the end of 2016 when the gelding won the $50,000 Four-Year-Old Championship, beating Nathans Courage at a 1.56.2 rate over 2130m. A week later he was the 2/1 favourite in the Group 1 Golden Nugget, but wrecked his chances by hanging badly and he finished fifth behind Soho Tribeca, Nathans Courage, Chicago Bull and Natural Disaster. Victorian trainer-driver Kerryn Manning brought Mr Mojito to Perth late last year to contest the Inter Dominion Championship series in which he was unplaced in three heats. He has spent the past year in rehabilitation with Olivieri and he has the class to seriously test Our Max Phactor on Friday night. Seven-year-old As Happy As Larry is prepared and driven by Robbie Williams and he has been impressive in four outings since resuming from a spell. He raced wide in the early stages and then had a tough passage in the breeze when a fighting second to Mitch Maguire in a 2503m stand last Friday night. Ken Casellas

Former Victorian pacer Beltane has been strongly fancied when placed at Narrogin, Bunbury and Wagin at his first three starts in Western Australia and Ravenswood horseman Nathan Turvey is confident that the four-year-old can break through at his Gloucester Park debut by leading all the way in the final event, the Yes Loans Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “It’s the best I’ve had him; he’s got gate speed and is tough,” Turvey said. Turvey, who owns and trains Beltane, has driven him at his first three WA starts, but has engaged champion reinsman Chris Lewis to drive him on Friday night when he will start from the No. 1 barrier in a field of nine. After finishing second to smart mare Come Dance With me at Narrogin at his WA debut, Beltane had no luck at all at his next two outings when he raced three wide early and in the middle stages and then worked hard in the breeze before fighting on doggedly to finish third to Baylan Jett at Bunbury and then he had a tough run without trail when a fighting second to the pacemaker Hoiho at Wagin. Beltane also covered extra ground and had tough runs when winning at his final three starts in Victoria before arriving in WA early last month. He showed his liking for leading when he won a 1720m event for two-year-olds at Melton in April 2017, and in July that year he set a track record, rating 1.57.4 when he sat behind the pacemaker and won over 2190m at Maryborough. The Greg and Skye Bond-trained Lincs Tiger looks likely to be favourite and should prove hard to beat from barrier five. The four-year-old Lincs Tiger, a winner at eight of his 26 starts, is sure to appreciate a drop in class.   Anime, to be driven by Chris Voak for Coolup trainer Phil Costello, will have many admirers from the favourable No. 2 barrier. He has been racing in considerably stronger company and is set to fight out the finish. He is a smart sit-sprinter, but also possesses excellent gate speed and has led and won over 1684m at Pinjarra and twice over 2130m at Gloucester Park. The Mike Reed-trained All The Whispers and Luis Alberto, prepared by Gary Hall Snr, are other runners with each-way prospects. “All The Whispers has had a bit of a freshen-up, but he’s a bit of a hit and miss type,” said reinsman Mark Reed. “There’s two of him and if the real All The Whispers turns up, he’s a chance.” Hall said that Luis Alberto was a horse who seemed to not like winning, but he said that the five-year-old (second to Free To Air last Friday night) could not be left out of calculations. Hall is also looking forward to former smart New South Wales performer Lets Cut Loose making his West Australian debut when he starts from barrier five in the 1730m We Say Yes To Personal Loans Pace. The seven-year-old New Zealand-bred Lets Cut Loose has not raced since finishing last behind Let It Ride over 1609m at Menangle on June 2 this year. He has performed well in good company at Menangle and should prove hard to beat, first-up.   Ken Casellas

Star reinsman Mark Reed rubbed his hands together in delight when he saw that outstanding mare Maczaffair had drawn the coveted No. 1 barrier in the $30,000 Howard Porter Memorial over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night and agreed wholeheartedly that the five-year-old looked a virtual certainty. “We’ll be coming out on roller skates and it should be a case of see you later,” Reed enthused. “Leading is her greatest attribute and she should win. However, she’s versatile and can do it at both ends. She came from a fair way back to beat Eden Franco two starts ago.” This will be Maczaffair’s final warm-up before she clashes with the brilliant Eden Franco in the $125,000 Westral Mares Classic on Friday week. The Colin Brown-trained Eden Franco rated 1.56.2 when she dashed to an early lead, set a solid pace and won by just over four lengths from Alfa Queen in the Norms Daughter Classic last Friday night. Maczaffair, who started from the inside of the back line and raced in fifth place three back on the pegs, charged home along the inside and was badly hampered for room when fourth. “Maczaffair never got a crack at them at all,” Reed said. “Eden Franco won well, but I got caught up in a bit of traffic. She was bolting. “There’s not much between Eden Franco and Maczaffair; it just gets down to barrier draws. Maczaffair has proven herself in Free-For-All class.” Reed, fresh from a double at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening with Mighty Major ($39.80) and American Dynasty ($1.30), also is confident that The Art Form will be hard to beat in the Yes Loans Insurance Pace over 2130m. The Art Form, a lightly-raced New Zealand-bred six-year-old, resumed after an eight-week absence at Northam on Saturday night when he set the pace and romped to an easy victory over Makinchanges. It was his sixth win in a row and the tenth in a 23-start career. “He curbed a hock and that was the first time he’d had the hopples on since his previous start (when he led and won from Benhope Rulz at Pinjarra on October 1),” Reed said. “So, he was very underdone and he’s probably still a bit underdone but he will benefit a lot from the run. He’s a class horse and Fizzing appears as the only serious threat.”   Ken Casellas

Ana Malak is an inexperienced and laid-back pacer who has not revealed sparkling gate speed and has not led all the way in any of his seven starts that have produced five wins and two placings. The New Zealand-bred stallion has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier in the $125,000 Yes Loans Four-Year-Old Classic over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night and leading reinsman Ryan Warwick is expected to take full advantage of the draw by attempting to hold up at the start and then set the pace in the Group 1 classic. The exciting son of Bettors Delight has been driven conservatively in his brief career in which he has created a wonderful impression with his tractability and his determination, will to win and brilliant turn of foot. Ana Malak, prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, goes into this week’s race with only one start in Australia in modest company at Pinjarra last Monday week when he was not bustled out from barrier five and settled down in sixth place before enjoying a perfect trail in the one-out, one-back position. Warwick sent him forward with a sizzling burst three wide 650m from home to take the lead 100m later. Ana Malak then careered away from his seven rivals and rated 1.56 over 2185m in winning, unextended, by more than 12 lengths from Eely Point Bomber. The final three quarters were run in 28.7sec., 28.6sec. and 28.2sec. That was his first appearance for three months when he was not driven out hard from barrier five before mustering good early pace to take the lead after 120m. He then surrendered the lead 200m later and sat behind the pacemaker Wrangler before easing off the pegs with 300m to travel and taking the lead 150m later and winning by four and a half lengths at a 1.57.4 rate over 1980m, with a final quarter of 27.8sec. At his previous outing, over 2200m at Invercargill on January 27, Ana Malak gave an outstanding performance to finish second to the brilliant Sheriff. He started from the outside of the back line in a field of 12 and settled down last, almost 15 lengths behind the leader, Sheriff. He was last with 750m to travel and eighth at the 300m before going five wide on the home turn and surging home in grand style. He was not pushed out at the start at any of his four previous starts which produced three easy victories and an excellent dead-heat for third behind Anthem over 1950m at Addington when he was restrained to the rear from barrier five on the back line. The Bonds hold a powerful hand in Friday night’s event and Warwick gave punters a strong lead by electing to drive Ana Malak in preference to Bettor Aim (six wins from nine starts) and Mighty Conqueror (seven wins from eight starts). Warwick’s only success in the Four-Year-Old Classic was behind the Steve Burton-trained Gee Whiz Fizz in 2005. Colin Brown will drive Bettor Aim from the No. 5 barrier and Dylan Egerton-Green will be in the sulky behind Mighty Conqueror from the No. 2 barrier on the back line. Mighty Conqueror has not been extended in winning at each of his four starts in Western Australia. He led and beat Bechers Brook by two and a half lengths in the $50,000 Group 2 Four-Year-Old Championship last Friday week. Gary Hall Snr, who has been successful in the Four-Year-Old Classic eight times with Love of Glory (1990), Valley Champ (1993), Slick Vance (1995), The Falcon Strike (2001), Im Themightyquinn (2008), Waylade (2014), Beaudiene Boaz (2015) and Chicago Bull (2016) has four runners in this year’s classic - Think About Me (barrier two), Benhope Rulz (three), King of Swing (eight) and Ideal Liner (inside of the back line). Gary Hall Jnr has opted to drive the inexperienced Ideal Liner, who should enjoy a perfect passage and is capable of unwinding a spirited finishing burst. Stuart McDonald will drive Think About Me, Clint Hall will handle Behope Rulz and Kim Prentice will handle the 2017 WA Derby winner King of Swing. Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed, who has won the classic with Manageable (1988) and Bonavista Bay (2010), will be represented by Golden State (barrier four) and Bechers Brook (outside of the back line). Mark Reed, son of the trainer, has chosen to drive Golden State, and Shannon Suvaljko has been engaged for Bechers Brook. Initially, Mark Reed has been in two minds about the tactics he will use with Golden State, a winner at seven of his 17 starts and disappointing with last placings at his two latest appearances. “Golden State hasn’t been himself at his past couple of starts and I’m hoping that Dad can turn him around, because if the real Golden State turns up, he would be right in it up to his eyeballs,” he said. “Golden State is very quick out of the gate and I’m not too sure about Ana Malak’s gate speed. “I’m still not sure what I’ll do, but I really wouldn’t mind driving him, sit and kick, so we might drive him for a bit of luck.” Adding to the intrigue of what should be an exciting spectacle is the appearance of Jack Mac, an enigmatic superstar who after five unplaced efforts in New Zealand has raced 16 times in Western Australia for 15 wins and one second placing. Jack Mac has been raced sparingly over the past 12 months and his part-owner and trained Barry Howlett remains reluctant to discuss the horse’s wellbeing and prospects from the outside barrier (No. 9) on the front line. Jack Mac has raced four times this season and has not been fully tested and he certainly has the raw ability to overcome the distinct disadvantage of the outside draw. Chris Lewis, who has driven the horse in all of his 16 WA starts, is a big-race specialist and he is sure to pick the right moment to issue a strong challenge. Lewis has won the Four-Year-Old Classic with Village Kid (1984), Tamai Boy (1985), Vero Prince (1986), Flashing Star (1994) and Saab (1998). He combined with trainer Ross Olivieri for Saab’s win, and Olivieri, who also trained the 2010 winner Crombie, will be hoping for a touch of luck with his talented stallion Stefsbest, who will be handled by Chris Voak from the awkward No. 7 barrier. Stefsbest has been most impressive in winning stylishly at his past three appearances.   Ken Casellas

Tisadream has managed just one third placing from three starts since resuming from a spell, but reinsman Aiden de Campo warned punters not to overlook the five-year-old when he contests the Chris Carr Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. De Campo pointed out that Tisadream, prepared in Capel by his father Andrew, was extremely unlucky when seventh behind Soho Wonder last Friday night. Tisadream, who was restrained at the start from barrier seven, was eighth in the one-wide line at the bell and was unwinding a spirited finishing burst when he broke gear and galloped in the home straight. “His was a really good run until he broke gear,” de Campo said. “He broke a breastplate, which caused the saddle to slip. If it hadn’t been for that mishap, he would have finished top three, second or third at worst. It was an encouraging run after disappointing efforts at his two previous starts after resuming from a spell.” “This is a nice race this week, but if he is able to lead from barrier two, he’ll go really well. I’m not sure about Kimani’s gate speed from barrier one. I’ll just have to wait and see.” Kimani’s trainer Gary Hall Snr said that the New Zealand-bred gelding had not before been drawn to lead. “But I’m sure he will go all right,” he said. Kimani sustained a powerful finishing burst from fifth at the bell when second to Walkinshaw last Friday week. He was most impressive a week earlier when he was restrained at the start from barrier eight and was eighth at the bell before surging home, three wide, to win easily from Starlight Brigade and The Redmeemer. Tisadream and Kimani are expected to receive stiff opposition from back-line runners El Jacko and Mister Ardee. El Jacko, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, resumed after a spell last Friday week and disappointed in finishing tenth behind Maczaffair. He began from the prized No. 1 barrier, but he dropped his head and raced roughly at the start, allowing Overboard Again to race to the front. Ryan Warwick then quickly moved El Jacko into the breeze before obtaining the one-out, one-back trail. He was forced wide at the 400m and resented this before taking the final turn awkwardly, thus losing momentum and dropping back. He has won at 16 of his 41 starts and is capable of bouncing back to his best form. Mister Ardee, to be driven by Madeleine Young for trainer Matt Saw, is racing in great heart and should fight out the finish.        Ken Casellas

New South Wales-bred square gaiter Rocknroll Baby is a highly unusual trotter, whose sire and dam were outstanding pacers. Rocknroll Baby, a recent addition to the Serpentine stables of champion trainer Gary Hall Snr, will create much interest when she makes her West Australian debut in the $18,000 Cowden Since 1972 Trot, a 2503m stand at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “She was sent over to me from Adelaide about three months ago and she goes good,” said Hall. “She was the South Australian Horse of the Year last season (against the pacers).” A five-year-old mare, Rocknroll Baby is an experienced trotter who has raced 64 times for 19 wins and 15 placings. She has had 27 starts in stands for 12 wins and has led in 13 of her 19 victories. Her American sire Rock N Roll Heaven was a world champion as a two and three-year-old before being retired to stud. He amassed $2,774,478 from 20 wins and eight placings from just 30 starts, winning at four of his nine starts as a two-year-old and at 16 of his 21 starts the following season. Rocknroll Baby’s dam is the Canadian-bred Our Ice Baby, who had 56 starts for eight wins and nine placings for earnings of $240,293. Hall will be starting a trotter for the first time for a couple of years but he has enjoyed great success with trotters, including Makati Maximus (nine wins from 13 starts), Tuhimati Glass (six wins, eight seconds and two thirds from 20 starts), Prince Eddie (11 wins from 22 starts) and Armed Force (11 wins, including five in succession in early 2016). Gary Hall Jnr will drive Rocknroll Baby, who is sure to be fully tested by Ross Olivieri’s Sunoflindenny, Jocelyn Young’s Our Summer Vacation, Bruce Stanley’s Lightning Calder and Tonia Stampalia’s Balmoral Boy. Sunoflindenny (Chris Lewis) resumed after a spell in fine style at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon when he led for much of the way and won from Lightning Calder. He is a standing-start specialist, with ten of his 11 wins coming in stands. Our Summer Vacation has won seven stands in his tally of 14 wins, five in New Zealand, seven at Menangle and two in Launceston. He is capable of surprising at his first appearance in WA. Lightning Calder, a winner of 25 races and in excellent form, looks set to fight out the finish. Ken Casellas

Pinjarra trainer-reinsman Aldo Cortopassi was delighted with Theo Aviator’s sparkling trial at Byford on Sunday morning and he predicts a successful campaign for the three-year-old. Theo Aviator will be appearing after a beneficial spell when he starts from barrier two in the Matt Allen Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “He’s got gate speed and I wouldn’t be surprised if he wins first-up,” said Cortopassi, who has taken over the preparation of the lightly-raced gelding after Aiden Warwick decided last week to take a break away from harness racing. “Theo Aviator was probably a bit further forward than I thought he was when he ran such a good trial on Sunday. I didn’t even pull the plugs and he ran a pretty good last half (in 57.1sec.). He has developed into a lovely horse; the break has done him the world of good. He has grown a bit and filled out a lot. “Even though he has drawn well it won’t be an easy task for him on Friday night against some very smart three-year-olds in Gee Jay Kay, Bletchley Park, Shockwave, The Lightning Strike, Babyface Adda and Machlani. “However, if we find the front, which I think he can, they’ll definitely know he’s there. He’s a funny gaited horse, a little daisy-cutter, and when he actually gets up and running, he’s in a better rhythm. The faster they run, the better he is.   “He will be set for the Westbred Classics and the WA Derby this season.” Theo Aviator was not driven out from barrier four in Sunday’s trial and he settled down in third place on the pegs before Cortopassi sent him forward with about 1200m to travel. Theo Aviator then took the lead 950m from home and was challenged strongly by Franco Edward for much of the final circuit. He fought on grandly to win narrowly from Franco Edward. Also resuming after a spell on Friday night will be the Vicki Lea-trained Gee Jay Kay (barrier four) and Bletchley Park (six). Both should prove hard to beat. Gee Jay Kay won very easily at Pinjarra and Gloucester Park in July before going for a spell and Bletchley Park won at five of his eight starts as a two-year-old. He was a half-head second to Franco Edward in the group 1 Golden Slipper in July before being turned out. Cortopassi declared that his best winning chance ion Friday night was the Ray Williams-trained  Walkinshaw , who will start from the No. 4 barrier in the 2130m Colin Cowden Pace. Cortopassi drove Walkinshaw for the first time when the resumed racing after a four-month absence last Friday week when he scored an effortless victory over Kimani and Suspicious Life. “He’s a serious horse; he’s got a motor and I didn’t realise just how well he was travelling until I went back and looked at the times,” Cortopassi said. “He won in a jog.”       Ken Casellas

The all-conquering Greg and Skye Bond stable is in dazzling form and punters will follow their eight runners at Gloucester Park on Friday night with keen interest. All have winning prospects, with, perhaps, Vampiro appearing to be the stable’s brightest prospect, despite drawing the outside barrier (No. 9) in the $25,000 Enrique Aldana Free-For-All over 2130m. Vampiro, a talented New Zealand-bred five-year-old, again will have the services in the sulky of leading reinsman Ryan Warwick, who will have options from the outside barrier. Warwick is likely to give Vampiro time to settle down before choosing the right moment to send him forward into the firing line. Vampiro has been freshened up since he was a stylish winner of the group 2 James Brennan Memorial three Fridays ago when he began fast from barrier three, took up the running after 120m and sped over the final quarters in 28.1sec. and 27.8sec. in beating his Our Jimmy Johnstone at a 1.57.1 rate. That followed his head victory over Maczaffair, rating 1.55.2 in the group 2 Mount Eden Sprint over 1730m two weeks earlier. From barrier six, he raced three wide for the first 350m and then had a tough run outside the pacemaker Maczaffair. Nine-year-old Devendra has drawn perfectly at barrier one and Aiden de Campo (who will be driving the gelding for the first time) is likely to make use of his good gate speed. Another veteran in Sokys Big Bullet is favourably drawn at barrier three and Lindsay Harper appears certain to issue a strong challenge for the early lead. Vampiro’s main dangers appear to be Rocknroll Lincoln (barrier seven), Runrunjimmydunn (eight) and Rock Diamonds (the solitary runner off the back line). Greg and Skye Bond have struck a purple patch and when Warwick drove Thisbeachrighthere to victory at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening it gave the outstanding trainers nine winners from ten starters, with Warwick driving all those runners. The winning run began at Gloucester Park last Friday night when Galactic Star won race five and Mighty Conqueror race six before Lincs Tiger had no luck when blocked for a clear passage until late when third behind Sunrose Village in race eight. Then the Bonds and Warwick had three starters Bitcoin, The Lightning Strike and Saying Grace for three wins at Kellerberrin on Sunday. Another three runners Starlight Destiny, Ana Malak and Bettor Aim were all successful at Pinjarra on Monday and the winning sequence continued with Thisbeachrighthere on Tuesday. The Bonds hold a commanding lead in the Statewide trainers’ premiership with 59 wins, 17 seconds and 16 thirds from 118 starters to lead from Gary Hall snr (25 wins, 20 seconds and eight thirds from 100 starters). Warwick leads the drivers’ premiership table with 61 winners, 24 ahead of Chris Lewis and 30 more than Dylan Egerton-Green in third place. Apart from Vampiro, the Bond camp will be represented on Friday night by El Jacko, Our Max Phactor, Dodolicious, Rock Diamonds, Fizzing, Lincs Tiger and The Lightning Strike. Ken Casellas

Shannon Suvaljko, last season’s leading reinsman, has given punters a handy tip by electing to drive Regal Ambition in preference to Brookies Jet in the 1730m Garrards Horse And Hound Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Regal Ambition, trained at Wanneroo by Debbie Padberg, has managed just one placing from his past 11 starts. But Suvaljko chose him as his drive after the seven-year-old drew the coveted No. 1 barrier over the sprint journey. He drove Brookies Jet for Serpentine trainer Matt Scott last Friday night when the gelding set the pace before wilting over the final stages of the 2536m event to finish fifth behind Ace Bromac. Brookies Jet, a smart frontrunner who has been placed at four of his nine starts this season, will be handled by Chris Voak. Regal Ambition is an honest performer and a good frontrunner, and Suvaljko will be anxious to get the horse to jump in front and then dictate terms. He is proving a handy acquisition for Debbie and John Padberg, who outlaid $12,000 to purchase him 12 months ago after he had won nine minor events in Victoria. He has raced 30 times for the Padbergs for two wins, four placings and earnings of $20,814. Regal Ambition could be challenged for the early lead by the Graham Cummins-trained nine-year-old Blissntheblack, who has a losing sequence of 26, but has shown encouraging form in recent weeks with three placings from his past four starts. Blissntheblack was first out from barrier three in a 2130m event on Tuesday afternoon and then, after 200m, trailed the pacemaker Thisbeachrighthere before finishing a sound third to that pacer. Suvaljko will also drive Cracka Star (race one), Three Kings (two) and Bad Round (seven) for the Padbergs.  Cracka Star will appreciate a drop in class in a qualifying heat of the Retravision Kersley Pace, in which he will start from barrier No. 6. He raced three back on the pegs in sixth position before finishing solidly to be third behind Maczaffair and Eden Franco in the $30,000 York Cup last Friday night. He will clash with in-form pacers Our Max Phactor, Tyler Brett and Ace Bromac, but is capable of a bold showing. Our Max Phactor, a New Zealand-bred six-year-old is blossoming under the care of leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond and should prove hard to beat. He will start from the inside of the back line, with Ryan Warwick in the sulky. Our Max Phactor has raced 78 times for 17 wins and 21 placings. He is unbeaten in eight starts for the Bonds in WA (six in stands and two in mobiles) and his average winning margin is 5m. He is unbeaten at six appearances at Gloucester Park. Tyler Brett, trained and driven by Dylan Egerton-Green, has resumed after a spell in fine form with a first-up victory over Kerrin Joseph and Thereugo at Pinjarra and a second placing behind Saying Grace at Northam after covering a lot of extra ground. The Kyle Harper trained and driven Ace Bromac bounced back to his best form last Friday night when he was last in the middle stages before thundering home from eighth at the bell to win by two and a half lengths from Estocada over 2536m last Friday night. Ken Casellas

The Bond juggernaut looks set to sustain its relentless dominance of harness racing with crack sprinter Galactic Star poised to prove mighty hard to beat in the $25,000 Pat Cranley Memorial over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Some pacing aficionados contend that Galactic Star is a better stayer than a sprinter, pointing to his head second to Assassinator in the 2902m Easter Cup last year and six wins over distances ranging from 2503m to 2631m but the New Zealand-bred six-year-old is a splendid sprinter, having won twice over 1609m at Bunbury in 1.53.1 and 1.53.8 and twice over 1730m at Gloucester Park, rating 1.52 and 1.55.4. He is awkwardly drawn at barrier six in the field of nine across one line and Ryan Warwick will seriously consider giving Galactic Star time to settle before sending him forward. Galactic Star began off the 10m mark in a $30,000 standing-start feature event at Pinjarra on Monday of last week and he settled down in seventh place before he surged forward to take the lead after 800m. He covered the final quarters in 28.3sec. and 27.8sec. and won by a neck from stablemate Rock Diamonds. That was his first appearance since August 24 and he is sure to have derived great benefit from the outing.        Galactic Star and his smart stablemate Vampiro are still on track to contest the Interdominion championship in Victoria next month. Greg and Skye Bond, who prepare Galactic Star, will also be represented in Friday night’s event by evergreen veteran Our Jimmy Johnstone and up-and-coming five-year-old Rock Diamonds. Our Jimmy Johnstone is handily drawn at barrier three and will be driven by Dylan Egerton-Green. The ten-year-old resumed after a spell in fine style last Friday week when he raced wide early and then enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, before running home strongly to be an eye-catching second to Vampiro in the 2130m James Brennan Memorial. A winner of 27 races, Our Jimmy Johnstone is a smart sprinter who rated 1.54.3 when he led from the No. 2 barrier and won the 1730m Members Sprint at Gloucester Park in May of last year, rating 1.54.3 and beating Beaudiene Boaz by one length. Another proven sprinter in this week’s race is Tricky Styx, who will be driven by Aiden de Campo from the prized No. 1 barrier. The Jesse Moore-trained seven-year-old mare is in good form and looks the likely leader. She has had eight starts over 1730m for four wins and has also won over 1609m, 1684m and 1780m. The Bond stable which was successful in the Cranley Memorial with Motu Treasure in 2010 and Midnight Dylan in 2013, is setting a cracking pace and leads the trainers’ premiership with 50 winners from 109 starters. This gives them a 26-win lead over Gary Hall Snr. Warwick also has a commanding lead on the drivers’ premiership table. He has driven 52 winners from 113 starters and leads by 18 from Chris Lewis. The Bonds also have strong claims in several events on Friday night. Apart from Galactic Star and Our Jimmy Johnstone, the Bond camp has excellent prospects with Our Max Phactor, Dodolicious, Mighty Conqueror, Lincs Tiger and Infinite Symbol. Ken Casellas

Inexperienced New Zealand-bred gelding Mighty Conqueror will make his first appearance at Gloucester Park when he contests the $50,000 Four-Year-Old Championship on Friday night and owner-trainers Greg and Skye Bond have high hopes that he will extend his winning sequence to four to strengthen his claims for a start in the $125,000 Yes Loans Four-Year-Old Classic in a fortnight and the $200,000 Retravision Golden Nugget two weeks after that. Mighty Conqueror arrived in Western Australia five months ago and has scored an effortless victory at Kellerberrin and two stylish wins at Pinjarra in considerably weaker company than he will meet this week. This will be a serious test for the son of American Ideal who has won at six of his seven starts. He will be handled by Ryan Warwick and has drawn favourably at barrier two on the front line of the 2130m event. Mighty Conqueror possesses excellent gate speed, but so does several of his handily-drawn opponents, Think About Me (barrier one), Bechers Brook (three) and Golden State (five). Mighty Conqueror led and won by more than six lengths at Kellerberrin before leading and sprinting the final 400m in 27sec. to beat Carrera Mach by a length at Pinjarra. He revealed his versatility at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon when Warwick restrained him from barrier six and the gelding settled down in tenth position before he showed sparkling speed to dash forward and take up the running about 1200m from home and then cover the final three quarters in 29.1sec., 29.1sec. and 26.9sec. He won by 19.6m from Danny Del Vito. Mighty Conqueror showed splendid gate speed at his final appearance in New Zealand, in a 2200m event at Invercargill on May 26 when he was first out from barrier four. He was restrained after 200m to take the sit behind Smooth Mara and was eased off the pegs 300m from home, took the lead 150m from the post and won from the fast-finishing Young Conqueror, his elder half-brother. The Bonds will also be represented in Friday night’s race by Bright Diamond, who will be driven by Chris Lewis from barrier six. Bright Diamond is in fine form, with his past ten starts producing six wins, three seconds and one third. Mighty Conqueror’s toughest rivals loom large as the Mike Reed-trained pair of Bechers Brook and Golden State and the polemarker Think About Me, who has won at each of his past four starts and will be driven by Stuart McDonald. He is prepared by Gary Hall snr, who is in New Zealand. Dylan Egerton-Green will handle Bechers Brook, who has raced 19 times for ten wins, seven placings and $143,143 in stakes. Bechers Brook warmed up for his important assignment this week when he finished stoutly from sixth at the bell to be second to the brilliant Jack Mack over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday of last week. He is generally recognised as a powerful sit-sprinter, but he also possesses excellent gate speed. Golden State, a winner at seven of his 16 starts, has wonderful potential and has impressed with his sizzling gate speed. He will be driven by Mark Reed, who could well attempt to steal a march on his rivals by using the horse’s early brilliance. Pinjarra trainer Aiden Warwick has two runners, Shadow Maker (Nathan Turvey) and Sweet N Fast (Aldo Cortopassi). Each show considerable promise, but they face hard tasks this week from wide draws. Our Corelli’s prospects also slumped when he drew the outside barrier (No. 9) and the Justin Prentice trained and driven gelding will lead a lot of luck to overcome this significant disadvantage. Our Corelli has set the pace and won at three of his past four outings, one at Gloucester Park and two at Pinjarra, but he will be at liberal odds from his poor draw. Ken Casellas 

Two strong performances in recent trials are a firm indication that Gotta Go Gabbana is poised for a forward showing at her return to racing in the second event, the TABtouch Pace, at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Gotta Go Gabbana, trained at Banjup by Annie Belton and bred and owned by her and her husband Colin, will start from the No. 5 barrier, with regular reinsman Chris Voak in the sulky. The five-year-old with an imposing record of 33 starts for ten wins, eight seconds and five thirds, has completed a solid preparation for her first-up assignment with three trials, two at Pinjarra and one at Byford. At Pinjarra on October 14, Gotta Go Gabbana broke 30m after the start and made up several lengths to be a nose second to the pacemaker Walkabout Creek. A fortnight later at Byford, Gotta Go Gabbana raced without cover in the middle stages and took the lead with 500m to travel before winning from the fast-finishing Brotha Ofa Gangsta, rating 1.59.2 over 2150m. At Pinjarra on Sunday morning, Gotta Go Gabbana rated 1.57.2 over 2185m when a nose second to Bettor Reward. She raced in the breeze over the final 1400m and sprinted over the third 400m section of the final mile in 27.6sec. before a final quarter in 29.3sec. She got to the front 50m from the post and was joined on the line by the experienced campaigner Bettor Reward. Gotta Go Gabbana, a last-start winner at Gloucester Park on June 29, will start from the No. 5 barrier on Friday night and will meet with stiff opposition from Im Soxy, Soho Chelsea, Maxentius, Arthur Lowe, Always Arjay and Forever Remembered. Maxentius is sure to fight out the finish and deserves a change of fortune after very unlucky seconds at his past two starts. However, he will need all the breaks from an awkward draw at barrier six. Maxentius, trained and driven by Colin Brown, settled in seventh position, started a three-wide burst with 1100m to travel and then raced in the breeze before getting to the front at the 450m and then being outgunned in the final stages by Khun Ratha, who had enjoyed a perfect passage behind the pacemaker Handsandwheels. Maxentius had torrid run and covered a lot of extra ground when an unlucky second to Bechers Brook at his previous appearance, a fortnight earlier. Im Soxy will also have many admirers after drawing the No. 1 barrier. He led early from barrier one and then took the sit behind Thereugo before finishing fast to win from Carter Micheal and Thereugo last Friday night.   Ken Casellas

Bettor Finish is proving costly to punters, but he has bright prospects of breaking a losing sequence of ten by winning the ninth event, the Better Your Bet With TABtouch Pace, at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Barry Howlett-trained five-year-old has been strongly fancied in several recent starts and will again be driven by Chris Lewis. From his perfect draw at barrier one this week he looks set to lead and is sure to take plenty of catching. He started from the No. 1 barrier three starts ago, but was surprisingly beaten out by Ultimate Major (barrier five) and Thereugo (seven). He then raced three back on the pegs in fifth position before running home strongly, out five wide, to be third behind Thereugo and Chiaroscuro, with the final 800m being covered in a smart 55.9sec. The previous time Bettor Finish started from the No. 1 barrier was 11 starts ago when he set the pace and dashed over the final 800m in 56.3sec. to win from Righteous Brother and Forever Faster over 2130m last May. Howlett has a good second string in Hes Royal Blue, who fought on gamely when a well-beaten third behind the talented Our Corelli over 2185m at Pinjarra three Mondays ago. Challenging the Howlett pair will be The Arsonist and Luis Alberto, from the stables of champion trainer Gary Hall Snr. The Arsonist (Micheal Ferguson) will start from barrier six and Lauren Jones will drive Luis Alberto from barrier four. The Arsonist, at his second appearance after a 25-month absence, gave an encouraging performance last Friday night when he started out wide at barrier eight and came from last in the middle stages to finish third behind Wesley over 1730m. In the same event Luis Alberto disappointed as the 10/9 on favourite when he lacked sparkle and finished seventh. That followed his sound first-up second to stablemate Benhope Rulz when he enjoyed a soft run behind the pacemaker.   Another good winning prospect from the Howlett stable in Busselton will be Major Stare in race six, the HLB Mann Judd Pace, in which the lightly-raced New Zealand-bred seven-year-old will start from the outside of the back line and will be driven for the first time by Aiden de Campo. Major Stare will be having his first start for six months, but is capable of a bold first-up showing. He has raced only 33 times for ten wins, seven seconds and seven thirds. He is a half-brother to Chancellor Cullen, a winner of $327,973 from 38 starts in Australia and New Zealand for 13 wins and nine placings. Chancellor Cullen won the group 1 McInerney Ford Classic for four-year-olds at Gloucester Park in November 2012, beating Bronze Seeker in a desperately close finish by a half-head. Major Stare gave a sample of his ability when he set the pace for Lang Inwood and won the Albany Cup last February from classy pacers Galactic Star and Handsandwheels.     Ken Casellas

In-form reinsman Ado Cortopassi, with 20 wins in the first two months of the 2018-19 season, has been engaged to drive Walkinshaw for the first time when the New Zealand-bred six-year-old stallion starts from the prized No. 1 barrier in the opening event, the Ballantyne Showcase Jewellers Pace, at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Walkinshaw, trained at Mt Helena by Ray Williams, will resume his rivalry with the exciting Kimani and their clash should be one of the highlights on the ten-event program. Kimani showed that he will win many more races with a dashing performance last Friday night when he started from barrier eight and thundered home from eighth at the bell to hit the front 120m from the post and win easily from Starlight Brigade, rating 1.57.5 over 2130m. That was Kimani’s second outing after a spell (following his excellent second to Chiaroscuro) and he looms large as the chief rival for Walkinshaw, who will be resuming racing after an absence of 15 weeks. Walkinshaw made his debut when he started in a heat of the Young Guns (for two-year-olds) at Alexandra Park on December 31, 2014 and finished a sound fifth behind Lazarus and just a neck behind Kimani in fourth place. The two pacers met again in two heats of the three-year-old Sires, with Kimani holding the upper hand with a second and a third to Walkinshaw’s fifth and fourth placings. Then they clashed again, with Walkinshaw finishing third behind Lazarus and Chase The Dream in the Group 1 Great Northern Derby at Alexandra Park, and Kimani finishing ninth. Walkinshaw won at six of his 17 starts in New Zealand and his 16 starts in Western Australia have produced seven wins and five placings. He has an impeccable first-up record for Williams, having scored strong victories at each of his two first WA runs after a spell. This will be the first time in WA that Walkinshaw will start from the No. 1 barrier. He has started three times from the No. 8 barrier for two seconds and a sixth, five times from barrier six for four wins and a sixth, twice from barrier five for a first and a second, twice from barrier four for a win and a fourth and four times from the back line for a first, second, third and a fourth placing. Young Banjup trainer-reinsman Dylan Egerton-Green will be anxious to be the fly in the ointment by upstaging Walkinshaw and Kimani with his smart, lightly-raced seven-year-old Suspicious Life, who is ideally drawn at barrier two on the front line. Suspicious Life has sparkling gate speed and Egerton-Green will be strongly tempted to make a spirited bid for the early lead. Egerton-Green restrained Suspicious Life from barrier six last Friday night and the gelding raced in ninth position before he sustained a powerful three-wide burst from eighth at the bell to finish third behind Danieljohn and Bettor Not Bitter. Suspicious Life was hampered by a flat tyre over the final 400m. At his previous appearance, Suspicious Life began from the inside of the back line and impressed when he finished fast to win from Scotlynn Beach at a 1.55.6 rate over 1730m. Serpentine trainer Clint Hall has engaged Michael Blakemore to drive Mattjestic Star to take advantage of Blakemore’s claim as a novice. Mattjestic Star ended a losing sequence of 38 when he raced fiercely in the breeze for the first 1000m before charging to the front and racing away to win by almost seven lengths over 2130m. He is the solitary runner off the back line this week. Ken Casellas

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