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Chicago Bull is simply the best Just over two years ago Chicago Bull cheated death in a freak stable accident in New Zealand, and at Gloucester Park on Friday night the superstar seven-year-old reinforced his standing as Australia’s best pacer with an incredible victory in the $300,000 Retravision Fremantle Cup. It was a notable triumph for the chunky little gelding as well as for champion trainer Gary Hall snr and reinsman Gary Hall jnr, who can lay claim as the country’s finest driver. Chicago Bull, presented in outstanding condition by Hall snr and driven in masterly fashion by his son, was favourite at $1.80 and he thrilled an excitable crowd with his sheer brilliance as he stormed to an effortless victory, beating $23 chance Galactic Star by just under two lengths, with up-and-coming star Shockwave ($2.65) a gallant third. “Chicago Bull was on the floor and we all thought he was taking his last breath,” said Hall jnr as he recalled the devastating moments after the gelding suffered an anaphylactic reaction to an intravenous injection in Auckland in October 2018 and fractured eight bones in his wither region. “I got a bit emotional in the cool-down lap tonight because memories came flooding back about what happened in New Zealand. To go from there to here, there’s so many people to thank. The horse has a heart bigger than himself and he’s an absolute marvel. “I think he is now as good as he was then, if not better, and it’s all credit to Dad, who has done a super job to get him back to this form. Hopefully, we will be able to take him away again (with the Hunter Cup in Melbourne next year the likely target).” Hall snr was ecstatic after Friday night’s magnificent performance, saying: “He’s unbelievable; he won so easily tonight, and I’m happy for Junior because he was nervous , and it was devastating for him to be over there in New Zealand when he was caretaking him. The accident wasn’t his fault. “This makes up for it now. Chicago Bull is running to the line better and is running away from them (his rivals). Before, he used to wait for them, but tonight it was amazing the way he went to the line. “I’ve won a few Fremantle Cups and I’m surprised at how overwhelmed I am the way Chicago Bull went tonight. He never ceases to surprise me. He’s the smallest horse I’ve trained, and he’s got a heart like a lion.” Friday night’s victory gave Hall a record tenth win in the Fremantle Cup, and his fifth success in the past six years. It was Hall junior’s ninth win in the big race. Vampiro ($31), from barrier four, was the smartest to begin, but the polemarker Bletchley Park set the pace for the first 300m before Colin Brown sent Vampiro to the front soon after Vampiro had locked sulky wheels with stablemate Mighty Conqueror, causing that pacer to break into a fierce gallop and drop back to the rear. Shockwave settled down in sixth position in the one-out, one-back trail, before Aiden de Campo urged him forward, three wide, 600m after the start, with Chicago Bull in ninth place in the one-wide line. Shockwave moved to the breeze, and after a lap of the 2536m journey had been completed, Hall sent Chicago Bull forward, three wide. The champion raced three wide for about 500m before he wrested the breeze position from Shockwave. Chicago Bull forged to the front approaching the home turn before he burst away to leave his rivals floundering in his wake. He rated 1.56.9 after a final quarter of 28.3sec. Galactic Star, who had raced in the breeze briefly in the early stages and was sixth in the one-wide line at the bell, finished powerfully to be second, with Shockwave in third place ahead of Bletchley Park. Vampiro wilted to finish sixth. Chicago Bull, who improved his record to 89 starts for 60 wins, 14 seconds, nine thirds and stakes of $2,228,843, will now tackle the $450,000 WA Pacing Cup next Friday week.   Balcatherine does it tough Four-year-old New Zealand-bred pacer Balcatherine warmed up in fine style for the $125,000 Westral Mares Classic next Friday night with a powerful performance in the 2130m Retravision, Your Fujitsu Air Conditioning Specialist Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The victory was a just reward for the aggression shown by champion reinsman Gary Hall jnr, who set Balcatherine the daunting task of pouring on the pressure on the pacemaker and $1.95 favourite Somebeachparty throughout the race. Somebeachparty was smartest into stride from barrier four, and Hall wasted no time from out wide at barrier eight to ensure that Somebeachparty, driven by Emily Suvaljko for Busselton trainer Barry Howlett, was able to have an easy time in front. With Balcatherine challenging Somebeachparty for ascendancy in the early stages, the lead time was a fast 36.8sec. before the four quarters of the final mile whizzed by in 29sec., 28.9sec., 27.9sec. and 28.7sec., with the mile rate a slick 1.54.3. The two mares were locked together in a titanic struggle over the final 400m before Balcatherine drew clear in the closing stages to win by a head. Angel In White, a $13 chance who trailed the pacemaker all the way, finished a sound third. Hall was well aware of Somebeachparty’s ability, having driven her three times for three wins. “I know she is pretty classy, and I knew that I had to put it to her,” said Hall. “Balcatherine is tough and I was pleasantly surprised the way she performed after doing all that work in the breeze.” This was Balcatherine’s third start after resuming from a spell and she now has had 16 starts for eight wins, four placings and $95,638 in prizemoney. The win completed a treble for Hall and a double for trainer Gary Hall snr.   Eldaytona is a Derby hope Smart Somebeachsomewhere colt Eldaytona emerged as a formidable player in the rich WA Derby next year when he gave a stylish frontrunning display to score an emphatic victory in the 2130m Retravision, 60 Day Price Promise Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Trained by Sue Wiscombe and driven confidently by Lindsay Harper, Eldaytona, third favourite at $5.50, had his rivals under pressure a long way from home when he sped over the second and third quarters of the final mile in 28.6sec. and 27.2sec. He covered the final 400m section in 29.2sec. and defeated the $3.30 favourite Lavra Joe by two lengths, rating 1.56.7. Robbie Rocket ($12) rattled home from seventh at the bell to be an eye-catching third, with Sugar Street ($8) fighting on to be a sound fourth after working hard in the breeze. Lavra Joe, a winner at his four appearances after resuming from a spell, was not bustled out from the outside barrier (No. 9) and settled down in tenth position. Chris Lewis sent him forward, three wide, approaching the bell and he sustained a spirited run. Eldaytona, named after Daytona Beach in Florida, is raced by Wiscome, Harper and the colt’s breeders Kevin and Annette Charles. “He keeps improving and has gone to a new level at each of his past four or five runs,” Harper said. “He’s not just a frontrunner, and I’m sure he can do it from behind.” Charles entered the colt in the 2019 Perth APG yearling sale and Wiscombe and Harper outlaid $15,000 to obtain a 75 per cent share, with Charles and his wife retaining a 25 per cent ownership. Eldaytona, the seventh foal and sixth winner out of Artsplace mare Hearty Franco, has now raced 13 times for three wins, seven seconds and $28,832 in stakes. He is a half-brother to Lady Luca, who won the group 1 Diamond Classic at Gloucester Park in 2016 and was retired with earnings of $134,568 from nine wins and eight placings from 65 starts. Lady Luca has just produced her first foal, by Captain Treacherous. Lady Luca and Eldaytona’s maternal granddam Heather Franco produced Franco Hat Trick (191 starts for 30 wins, 66 placings and $659,210) and Franco Heir (83 starts for 19 wins, 16 placings and $392,272).   Braeview Bondi enhances Cup prospects Braeview Bondi, a big, strong five-year-old enhanced his claims for a start in the $450,000 WA Pacing Cup next Friday week when he gave a splendid frontrunning performance to win the 2130m Pride Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Trained by Michael Brennan and driven by Michael Grantham, Braeview Bondi, favourite at $1.55, dashed over the final 8900m in 55.2sec. and won by a half-length from $8 chance American Brave, rating 1.56.1. American Brave, prepared by Gary Hall snr, impressed at his first appearance for eight months when he was sixth at the bell before charging home with a spirited late burst. “I reckon he is definitely in the top 12 to contest the Pacing Cup,” said Grantham. “I was impressed when he went 27.3sec. down the back. He’s versatile; he can come from behind and also can do it tough.” The Victorian-bred Braeview Bondi has had 28 starts in Western Australia for eight wins and nine placings, and his career record stands at 75 starts for 17 wins, 24 placings and $192,201.   To Fast To Serious sparkles West Australian-bred four-year-old To Fast To Serious continues his rise towards the top and reinsman Aldo Cortopassi confidently predicts he will be a star of the future. To Fast To Serious, prepared at Mt Helena by Ray Williams, was not extended in setting the pace and winning the 2536m RAC Members Save 5% Everyday at Retravision Pace by three lengths from Gran Chico and Sangue Reale at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “He is untapped,” said Cortopassi. “I’d love to see him sitting on the good horses before reeling off one quarter at them. He’s explosive and if he gets a chance in the big races, they’ll know he’s there. “His forte is his sit-sprint ability. He has that one devastating turn of foot. But when you get a barrier (like No. 1 tonight), you take advantage of it.” To Fast To Serious dashed over the first three quarters of the final mile in 29.4sec., 29.2sec. and 29.2sec. before sprinting over the final 400m in 27.9sec. to win at a 1.57.7 rate. To Fast To Serious is still comparatively inexperienced, with his 19 starts producing 13 wins and three seconds for stakes of $143,223.   First double for Wiscombe Former equestrian rider and trackwork jockey Sue Wiscombe notched her first training double in the sport of harness racing when Lindsay Harper brought outsider Beach Skipper home through a needle-eye inside opening to snatch a nose victory over the $1.60 favourite Headline Act in the 2130m Retravision, For All The Electrical Stuff You Love Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Beach Skipper, a $46.90 chance on the tote, started from the inside of the back line and trailed the pacemaking Headline Act throughout before Harper was able to squeeze the six-year-old New Zealand-bred gelding along the pegs to gain a last-stride verdict. Wiscombe and Harper had combined to win with Eldaytona earlier in the night. Wiscombe, in her first full season as a trainer of pacers, has enjoyed good success, with her 131 starters producing 20 wins (16 at Gloucester Park and four at Pinjarra). “I bought Beach Skipper for $20,000 from Melbourne in August last year and he has had issues with his feet and has been a little bit disappointing,” she said. Beach Skipper had won at two of his nine New Zealand starts and had raced 52 times in Victoria for five wins and 19 placings. His 20 West Australian starts for Wiscombe have produced three wins and two placings for stakes of $26,982.   Suvaljko’s bargain buys Byford trainer-reinsman Callan Suvaljkjo recently was looking to increasing the size of his team, and he has no regrets that he purchased experienced campaigners Extreme Prince and Tuas Delight. He paid just $5000 each for eight-year-old Extreme Prince and seven-year-old Tuas Delight. “I was looking for some town horses and I spoke to one of the owners of Tuas Delight,” he said. “I used to train some horses for him, and I mentioned to him that if Tuas Delight came up for lease or for sale, I would be interested. “The next day Gary Hall snr phoned me and said I could come and pick up Tuas Delight and Extreme Prince. They’re quite handy horses.” Extreme Prince was favourite at $1.90 at his third start for Suvaljko when he led all the way and won by a head from the Hall-trained Mister Bushido in the 2130m Retravision.com.au Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Extreme Prince also ran a third for Suvaljko, and at his three runs for his new trainer-reinsman he has earned $11,870. Tuas Delight has had five starts for Suvaljko for a dead-heat for first with Where Ya Bin and a second behind Caruba for stakes of $8126. Suvaljko has given both Extreme Prince and Tuas Delight to his wife Mandy as Christmas presents. He has always been successful in identifying handy horses, and pacers Franco Novella and Earl of Locksley and trotter Nacokee have been wonderful bargains for him. “I claimed Franco Novella for about $5000 in New Zealand and outlaid almost another $10,000 to get him to Perth,” he said. Franco Novella had 44 starts for Suvaljko, earning $113,985 from 20 wins and eight placings from 44 starts. Earl of Locksley cost Suvaljko $15,000 before he went on to race 158 times for him, amassing $251,797 from 22 wins and 45 placings.     Talkerup surprises his driver Veteran mare Talkerup went into the Retravision, Lowest Price Guarantee Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night an outsider at $32.50 from the back line and she surprised driver Emily Suvaljkjo when she raced in the breeze, took the lead 300m from home and won convincingly from the fast-finishing Whozideawasthis and the $1.55 favourite Liam Neil. “It was a surprise to me, and I think she had plenty left on the line,” said Suvaljko. The seven-year-old mare, owned and trained by Tony Svilicich, has been an iron horse and was having her 64TH start for the season on Friday night. She has raced 137 times for 13 wins, 29 placings and stakes of $176,054. Another oldtimer, nine-year-old Whozideawasthis, was an $11 chance who showed that he should pay to follow by unwinding a spirited three and four-wide burst from last in the field of 12 at the bell to be second.   Fast start paves the way for Tiffany Rose Three-year-old filly Tiffany Rose returned to her best form at her third appearance after a spell when she revealed sparkling gate speed from barrier eight before setting the pace and scoring an easy victory in the 2130m Retravision, 50 Months Interest Free Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Trained by Mike Reed and driven by his son Mark, Tiffany Rose was third favourite at $4.40 and she enjoyed a comfortable lead time of 38sec. and opening quarters of 30.2sec. and 29.8sec. before dashing over the final quarters in 28.6sec. and 29.1sec. to win  by just under two lengths from $20 chance Miss Eerie. The consistent Star Fromthepalace ($3.20) raced in the breeze and fought on gamely to finish third, with the $3 favourite Misstiano battling on to dead-heat for fourth place with Fifty Five Reborn. The New Zealand-bred Tiffany Rose has been a handy performer, with her 26 starts producing nine wins and ten placings for earnings of $149,148.   Bar shoes help Disco Under Fire The decision of owner-trainer Giles Inwood, in consultation with his farrier, to fit bar shoes on the front feet of Disco Under Fire is paying handsome dividends. The WA-bred seven-year-old is no longer affected by foot soreness and he notched his second all-the-way victory in the space of five days when Gary Hall jnr drove him to a comfortable victory in the 2503m Retravision, We Love Our Customers Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Disco Under Fire, favourite at $1.70 after his easy win at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon, relishes standing-start events and he impressed in covering the final 800m in 57.2sec. However, it was not all plain sailing, with Hall revealing that the gelding took a while to get his mind on the job. “He had trouble in switching on and he also was distracted when he had a good look at a horse (Gonzos Shadow) who had been pulled up early in the race and was on the outside of the track,” Hall said. Disco Under Fire has been an honest performer and has a record of 105 starts for ten wins and 42 placings for earnings of $95,466.   Ken Casellas

Veteran gelding Disco Under Fire was underperforming early last month before owner-trainer Giles Inwood sought the help from his farrier in a bid to cure the gelding’s feet problems. “My farrier fitted some bar shoes, known as Jim Blurtons, on his front feet, and that has solved the problem,” said Inwood. “His two runs back after a month off have been good. He ran a really good fourth, first-up, and then won well at Pinjarra on Monday (when he led in a 2631m stand at Pinjarra). “I now think that he can do the same thing (lead and win) in stronger company in a 2503m stand at Gloucester Park on Friday night.” The seven-year-old will start from the inside of the front line in the Retravision, We Love Our Customers Handicap and will be driven by Gary Hall jnr. “Disco Under Fire generally steps well and I’m hoping he can lead,” said Inwood. “If he begins safely and leads and rates 2min. it will make it difficult for good horses J B Mauney and Cyclone Banner off the 30m mark.” New Zealand-bred four-year-old J B Mauney, to be driven by star reinsman Ryan Warwick for leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, is a standing-start specialist who has won at ten of his past 19 starts and should fight out the finish.            Cyclone Banner, another New Zealand-bred four-year-old who will be driven by Aldo Cortopassi for Mt Helena trainer Ray Williams is a model of consistency, with his 30 starts producing 13 wins and eight placings. He will be having his second start after a spell and will pay to follow. The two other four-year-olds in the race, Where Ya Bin and Babyface Adda, were winners in mobile events at Gloucester Park on Sunday, and they will start from the 10m mark. Robbie Williams trains and drives Triroyale Brigade, who has shown promise with a win and four seconds in mobiles from his first seven starts in Western Australia. The five-year-old raced eight times in stands in New Zealand for a win and four placings. Three-year-old fillies will contest the final event on Friday night, the 2130m Retravision, 50 Months Interest Free Everyday Pace, in which the smart Peter Anderson-trained Star Fromthepalace looks hard to beat. However, she is unlikely to have matters all her own way from barrier seven and against some solid opposition, including Misstiano, Run For Mercy and Fifty Five Reborn. Chris Voak said that he expected a strong forward showing from the Ross Olivieri-trained Run For Mercy, who will start from the No. 5 barrier at her second appearance after a five-month absence. “She trialled well at Byford on Sunday morning and she will be much improved on her first-up half-head second to Aly Shar,” Voak said. Run For Mercy set the pace in the four-horse trial and rated 1.57.4 in beating Make It Happen by five lengths with final quarters in 28.6sec., 28.7sec. and 28.1sec.   Ken Casellas

The meeting at Gloucester Park on Friday night looks set to get underway with plenty of excitement with star two-year-old Lavra Joe, unbeaten at four runs in his current campaign, facing one of the stiffest tests of his brilliant career when he starts from the outside barrier (No. 9) in the opening event, the 2130m Retravision 60 Day Price Promise Pace. In an 11-horse field full of talent, Lavra Joe, to be driven by champion reinsman Chris Lewis for Greenbushes trainer Ray Jones, will need to be at his top to keep his challengers, notably Eldaytona, Jumpingjackmac, Machnificent, Robbie Rocket and Sugar Street, at bay. Lavra Joe, a powerful colt, is extremely versatile, having shown splendid ability as a frontrunner, a breeze horse and a pacer capable of unleashing a spirited finishing burst. Lavra Joe settled last in a field of six last Tuesday week before Lewis sent him forward, three wide, after about 150m. He then raced outside the pacemaker Eldaytona, who fought on grandly and was defeated by a nose in the final stride by Lavra Joe, with Machnificent finishing gamely to be third. The final quarters whizzed by in 27.3sec. and 27.8sec. and the winner rated 1.56.8, improving his record to 19 starts for ten wins, four placings and $106,481 in stakes. Eldaytona, trained by Sue Wiscombe and driven by Lindsay Harper, is a speedy beginner and he has a strong chance to set the pace from the No. 3 barrier, despite the last-start all-the-way Pinjarra winner Our Shelley Beach drawn on his inside at barrier two. The least experienced runner Jumpingjackmac shows great potential, and he looms as a serious contender for trainer Gary Hall Snr and in-form reinsman Stuart McDonald. Jumpingjackmac made a successful debut when he raced at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. He started from the inside of the back line and McDonald immediately eased him off the pegs. He settled down in ninth position and was about ten lengths from the leader after 600m. He then lost momentum with a lap to travel when checked by a galloping horse before he revealed sparkling speed to charge to the front with 650m to travel. The final 800m was covered in 56.7sec. and he was not extended in winning by a half-length from Disco Dynamo. That victory came eight days after he was a most impressive winner in a Byford trial. Robbie Rocket, to be driven by Shannon Suvaljko for Byford trainer Ron Huston, will have admirers after excellent wins in Byford trials on the past two Sundays. He raced in third place in an Indian file four-horse trial on Sunday before dashing to the front 450m from home and sprinting the final 400m in 27.6sec. to rate 1.58.1 in beating Squeezeme Pleaseme by ten lengths. A week earlier Robbie Rocket set the pace and covered the final 400m in 27.2sec. to win easily at a 2.2.8 rate in a five-horse 2150m trial. The Barry Howlett-trained Sugar Street has resumed after a spell in fine style with a close first-up second to Our Shelley Beach at Pinjarra after racing in the breeze. Then, at Gloucester Park last Sunday Sugar Street enjoyed the one-out, one-back trail before finishing strongly with a final 800m in 56.1sec. to easily beat the promising filly American Arma.   Ken Casellas

To dominate the rich Fremantle Cup and WA Pacing Cup the way Gary Hall Snr has done over the past two decades cannot be a fluke. His mastery and amazing run of success must be attributed to his genius as a peerless, professional preparer of pacers. And at Gloucester Park on Friday night Hall will produce his pugnacious little champion Chicago Bull in peak condition to tackle the $300,000 Retravision Fremantle Cup over 2536m. “Chicago Bull is as good as I can possibly get him, and he’s better now than he was when he won the Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups in January 2017,” said the 71-year-old Hall, who in the past 18 years has prepared the winner of the Fremantle Cup a record nine times and the WA Pacing Cup a record 11 times. And that’s a mind-boggling performance from a true wizard of harness racing, a magician or a person of exceptional or prodigious talent, who has passed on this ability to his 38-year-old son Gary, who is aiming for his ninth win as a driver in a Fremantle Cup. Hall Jnr will handle the charismatic Chicago Bull from the awkward barrier at No. 6 on the front line. The New Zealand-bred seven-year-old has won at each of his past five starts and has won at 11 of his past 12 starts, with the only defeat coming in the Brennan Memorial at Gloucester Park on September 11 when he was beaten a short half-head by Shockwave. Shockwave, trained at Baskerville by Ryan Bell, is favourably drawn at barrier three, and the majority of harness racing aficionados are predicting that Friday night’s big race will develop into a thrilling duel between Chicago Bull and the four-year-old Shockwave, who has finished second to the champion at each of his past four starts. “I think it is a two-horse race,” said Hall snr. “If I haven’t got the best horse in the race, I’ve got the equal best horse. I think Shockwave is the equal of Bully, but I don’t think Shockwave has quite got the stamina that Bully has. However, Shockwave certainly has the speed and is a high-class horse, there’s no doubt about that. “This year Chicago Bull has gone from strength to strength and he’s had plenty of groundwork put into him. He’s also had a few nice and easy runs which have helped him a lot and improved his confidence.” Hall said that his son had many options from barrier six. “He can go forward (at the start); he can look to go forward after they have all settled, and he can try to slot in,” he said. “Gary’s tactics will depend on the tactics of the runners beneath him, horses like Jack Farthing, Vampiro, Shockwave and Mighty Conqueror, or whether Bletchley Park holds up from barrier one. “I’m happy to say that I’ve got the driver who can adapt to whatever happens around him. Chicago Bull is sharper than he’s ever been; he doesn’t have to lead or sit in the breeze. He’s got a lot of strings to his bow. “However, if Shockwave is able to stroll to the front, then it’s probably game over. But I don’t see that happening, though I might be wrong.” Hall said that the secret of his amazing successes in the major Cup races was having his horses primed and in peak condition. “The secret is not to have your horses ready too early,” he explained. “I know what work they require, and I space their runs.” Bell, who, as an 18-year-old, drove Ohoka Ace into second place behind Sandy Bay in the 2005 Fremantle Cup and drove Power of Tara to victory over Divisive and Im Themightyquinn in the 2009 Fremantle Cup, said he could not be happier with Shockwave’s form and fitness. “Everything continues to go as planned and the horse is in tip-top condition after his second to Chicago Bull on Sunday (when he finished strongly from fifth at the bell when the final quarters were run in 27.5sec. and 26.4sec.),” Bell said. “The barrier draw has made into a race; it will not be a walk in the park for any horse. It won’t be just a Bully versus Shockwave race, and I’d like to give Bully something to chase. I respect all rivals, including the two (Bletchley Park and Mighty Conqueror) who are drawn inside Shockwave.” Shockwave will be handled by Aiden de Campo, who said that he had been very pleased with the horse’s recent efforts. “He hasn’t been conceding defeat,” he said. “I’ve been looking after him in the run and he has been running to the line and running quick last halves. “We have done the right thing by him in the past four to five weeks, and, hopefully, he will repay us for that in the coming weeks. I don’t need to lead, but we don’t want Chicago Bull to lead.” Bell said that he had not yet discussed tactics with de Campo, but ideally it would be advantageous if Shockwave was able to set the pace. “I’m very confident that Vampiro (barrier four) will not be able to cross Shockwave,” he said. “If Shockwave doesn’t get to the front, it won’t be a problem. He’s adaptable and can sprint home in fast time.” Both Bletchley Park (barrier one) and Mighty Conqueror (two) possess excellent gate speed and are proven strong frontrunners. Mighty Conqueror (Dylan Egerton-Green) won the WA Pacing Cup last January but has been somewhat disappointing at his three appearances after a lengthy spell. However, he must be respected from his favourable barrier. Mighty Conqueror is one of five Cup runners prepared by leading trainers Greg and Sky Bond, the others being Vampiro (Colin Brown), Our Jimmy Johnstone (Michael Grantham), Ocean Ridge (Deni Roberts) and Galactic Star (Ryan Warwick). Vampiro led from barrier nine and finished a head second to the Hall-trained Caviar Star in the Fremantle Cup last January. Galactic Star was an unlucky last in the latest Fremantle Cup in which he was travelling strongly on the pegs 250m from home when he met with interference and galloped badly. He is racing keenly, with his past two outings producing a win over Vampiro and a close second to that pacer. He will start from the outside of the back line and is capable of causing an upset at handsome odds. The Ross Olivieri-trained Perfect Major will be driven by Chris Voak from the inside of the back line and his fighting third behind Chicago Bull and Shockwave on Sunday was full of merit after racing in the breeze over the final 1500m. “It was a slow early tempo, bit it was a fast last half,” said Voak. “He proved that he was up to the big boys and I was very impressed that he didn’t give up the fight and attacked the line. I think he will race three or four back on the pegs and if the heavens open up about the 400m he will sprint strongly.” Lindsay Harper, who won the 1997 Fremantle Cup behind Havago, is hoping to lead or to sit behind the pacemaker in a concerted bid to fight out the finish with the Stephen Reed-trained four-year-old Bletchley Park. Bletchley Park has started from the No. 1 barrier six times for two wins, two seconds, one third and an eighth placing. A victory would be an enjoyable present for Reed, who celebrates his 37th birthday on Thursday.   Ken Casellas

No trouble for Chicago Bull Champion pacer Chicago Bull warmed up in style for Friday night’s $300,000 Fremantle Cup when he was not extended in winning the 2130m $25,000 Pat Cranley Memorial at Gloucester Park on Sunday afternoon. “Stewie drove him perfectly,” said trainer Gary Hall snr after Stuart McDonald, substituting for the suspended Gary Hall jnr, drove Chicago Bull to an effortless victory over Shockwave and the up-and-coming Perfect Major. The race was due to be run on Friday night, but that meeting was postponed after three events when the mobile barrier was unable to gain traction on the waterlogged track. “Missing the race on Friday night wasn’t ideal,” said Hall snr. “So, I was a little bit relieved that Chicago Bull came out and cemented his position as favourite for the Fremantle Cup. It’s moving into the unknown when Junior is not driving him. “But Stewie did everything right; he’s a very good horseman and he has all the attributes to progress to the top as a reinsman.” The 26-year-old McDonald was driving Chicago Bull for only the second time --- after he was in the sulky when the gelding finished third behind Bettors Fire and Soho Tribeca in the Village Kid Sprint 1052 days ago (on December December 29, 2017) and he admitted that he was somewhat apprehensive in the week before the race. “The past week has been a little bit nerve wracking, but I think I handled it pretty well,” he said. “The delay from Friday to Sunday didn’t help and I had to go through the nerves again. I put more pressure on myself than what Senior has been putting on me. But I slept well last night, and nerves are not connected to the track. As soon as I’m behind the mobile I’m fine. “Senior told me not to push him early (from barrier three), but I was able to cross to the front anyway, and everything worked out perfectly. Our plan was to sit in the breeze but Convert Denarion (barrier one) didn’t hold up, and as long as we stayed in front of Shockwave was all that mattered. That was our goal. “Chicago Bull was bolting at the 400m mark when I pulled the plugs as soon as I saw Shockwave pull out. I was making sure Shockwave didn’t catch us and Chicago Bull was bolting in the straight --- and I was struggling to pull him up. He did it easily and didn’t turn a hair. He certainly feels good and is the best horse I’ve sat behind.” There was an early surprise in the race when $126 outsider Argyle Red began speedily and burst straight to the front. McDonald then urged Chicago Bull, favourite at $1.30, forward and he sped to the front after 250m. The lead time was an ambling 38sec. and after opening quarters of the final mile in 31sec. and 30.1sec. Chicago Bull gave his rivals no hope by speeding over the final 400m sections in 27.5sec. and 26.4sec. to win at a 1.55.6 rate. He won by just under two lengths from the $4.60 second fancy Shockwave, with $26 chance Perfect Major fighting on grandly to be third after working in the breeze for much of the way. The win, Chicago Bull’s 59TH from 88 starts, gave Hall snr his fourth success in the Cranley Memorial, after winning with El Padrino (2012), Soho Jackman (2014) and Run Oneover (2017).   Bond quinella in classic Champion trainers Greg and Skye Bond will go into the $125,000 Westral Mares Classic on Friday week full of confidence after an impressive quinella result in the $50,000 group 2 Norms Daughter Classic at Gloucester Park on Sunday afternoon. Our Alfie Romeo, the $3.40 second favourite, set the pace for Ryan Warwick and dashed over the final 800m in 56.1sec. but was unable to hold off a spirited late challenge from stablemate and $7.40 chance Wainui Creek, who rated 1.56.4 over the 2130m journey. Dylan Egerton-Green got Wainui Creek away fast from the No. 5 barrier and raced in the breeze for the first 500m before $14 chance Typhoon Tiff sustained a strong three-wide burst to move outside the pacemaking Our Alfie Romeo. Wainui Creek then enjoyed the perfect passage, one-out and one-back, before surging to the front about 45m from the post. The $3 favourite Gotta Go Gabbana started from the No. 1 barrier and was beaten for early speed by Our Alfie Romeo. She trailed that mare all the way and was badly hampered for room for much of the home straight before getting clear late and finishing solidly to be third. Queen Shenandoah ($23) maintained her excellent form and finished strongly, out wide, from sixth at the bell to be third. Balcatherine ($4.40) was eighth at the bell and battled on gamely into sixth place.   Gran Chico back on track High-priced New Zealand import Gran Chico has recovered from a tendon injury and he looks set for a successful campaign after a fighting victory in the 2536m Trevor Itzstein Pace at Gloucester Park on Sunday afternoon. The New Zealand-bred four-year-old, making his second appearance after a five-month absence, was a $7.60 chance from out wide at barrier seven, and reinsman Mark Reed enlivened proceedings when he dashed the gelding forward (from last) to take a narrow lead from Sokys Big Bullet after about 550m. Sokys Big Bullet withstood the challenge and he had a much-needed breather with a comfortable opening quarter of the final mile in 31sec. before the tempo lifted and the speed was right on with the following 400m sections in 28.4sec. and 27.5sec. Gran Chico eventually gained the upper hand and got to the front about 500m from home. He held on in a slow final quarter of 30.6sec. to beat Roman Aviator by a half-head. Gran Chico, a winner at six of his 13 New Zealand starts, was having only his sixth Australian start for owners Jim and Wilma Giumelli and trainer Mike Reed. He made his Australian debut with a Gloucester Park win on November 15, 2019 before finishing sixth in the Four-Year-Old Classic and tenth in the Golden Nugget Championship on December 13, 2019. His next run was on May 29 this year when he led and faded to fifth behind Destined To Rule. It was then discovered he was affected by a leg problem. “Scans revealed tendon damage to his nearside foreleg,” said Mike Reed. “The problem wasn’t too serious, and a recent scan showed that the injury has healed well. “He is a good horse, and I will nominate him for the Fremantle Cup, and hope he gets a start. The quicker they go, the better he likes it. Mark said before the race that we wouldn’t die wondering. The horse has a lot to prove, but I think he will.”   Dead-heat and a protest There was plenty of action on and off the track when Tuas Delight and Where Ya Bin fought out a thrilling dead-heat in the 2130m Bob Carlier Pace at Gloucester Park on Sunday afternoon. After the race Ryan Warwick, the driver of Where Ya Bin, lodged a protest, contending that Tuas Delight’s driver Callan Suvaljko had not complied with the new whip rule --- and this had given Tuas Delight an advantage. Suvaljko contended that he had not breached the new rule. After considering submissions from both drivers, the stewards deliberated at length and finally dismissed Warwick’s protest. They advised both drivers that each had failed to comply with the whip rule that drivers must wield the whip with only a flicking motion and they must not use the whip outside the confines of the sulky. Tuas Delight, an $8.50 chance trained by Suvaljko, sustained a strong three-wide burst from seventh at the bell to hit the front about 90m from the post. Where Ya Bin ($11) was ninth at the bell and finished solidly.   Copy N Pace on the way up Copy N Pace showed that he has the ability to develop into a contender for the rich four-year-old classics early next year when he scored a decisive victory in the Colin Cowden Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The American Ideal gelding, favourite at $2.70, prepared by Gary Hall snr and driven by Stuart McDonald, raced wide early and then in the breeze before gaining the one-out and one-back trail on his way to bursting to the front on the home turn and winning by just over a length from the fast-finishing Riverina Flash. Tiffany Rose, the only filly in the 2130m event, was a $23 chance who surprised by beginning brilliantly from the outside barrier (No. 9) and charging to the front after 80 metres. She fought on gamely at her second outing after a spell to finish fourth. The New Zealand-bred Copy N Pace gave part-owner Tina Chapman an enjoyable birthday present. She races the three-year-old in partnership with her husband Steve and their children Danielle and Ben. Copy N Pace, who was making his second appearance after a spell, has earned $41,576 from six wins and four seconds from 16 starts. He is a full-brother to two other talented pacers owned by the Chapman family --- My Hard Copy and My Carbon Copy. My Hard Copy retired after racing 89 times for 27 wins, 23 placings and stakes of $1,271,592. His major victories were the WA Pacing Cup in 2015 and 2016, the 2018 Fremantle Cup and 2018 Pinjarra Cup. Four-year-old My Carbon Copy has had 33 starts for ten wins, 14 placings and $116,468 in prizemoney.   Euphoric Moment ends a lean run Euphoric Moment, a hardy four-year-old who thrives on racing, ended a losing sequence of 17 when he finished with a spirited burst to defeat the pacemaker and $1.38 favourite The Kraken in the 2536m Enrique Aldana Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Starting at the handsome odds of $13.40 after finishing second four times from his previous six starts, Euphoric Moment made the most of an unusual lucky break. Deni Roberts had Euphoric Moment travelling well in sixth position in the one-out, two-back position when Western Arterra suffered an atrial fibrillation about 1250m from home, forcing Dylan Egerton-Green to ease the gelding out of the race. This enabled Roberts to assume the favourable one-out, one-back position while The Kraken was bowling along in front. Euphoric Moment swept to the front 90m from the post and won by just under a length from The Kraken, with Blue Blazer ($7.50) flying home between horses after being badly blocked for a clear passage to finish an eye-catching third. Euphoric Moment is trained in Collie by Errol Ashcroft, who said that the gelding relished a strenuous racing program. “I’ve always been a past master at looking after my horses and keeping them going,” he said. Euphoric Moment has had 81 starts for 12 wins, 26 placings and $103,929. The well-named gelding is by American stallion and former star pacer Mr Feelgood and is out of the Kinney Hanover mare Barleys Hope, who had 59 starts for six wins, 15 placings and $50,126. “I gave Barleys Hope to Scott and Cathy Glover, who live in New South Wales, and they bred Euphoric Moment at Mike Hackett’s property,” Ashcroft said. “I’m also training Euphoric Moment’s two-year-old half-sister Sats Maloo, who is showing promise.”   Chloe’s birthday present Chloe Brown received a surprise 29TH birthday present on Friday night when her partner Dylan Egerton-Green drove a brilliant race to land $51 outsider Tyler Brett the winner of the 2130m Chris Carr Pace at Gloucester Park. Brown, who races Tyler Brett on lease from Collie breeder John Bell, was at work as a receptionist at St John of God Murdoch Hospital while Egerton-Green was saturated and covered in mud as he guided Tyler Brett to his upset win. It was a daring drive by Egerton-Green which paid dividends. Tyler Brett began brilliantly from the outside barrier (No. 9) on the front line, but he was unable to wrest the early lead from the polemarker and $1.38 favourite Chiaroscuro. The lead time was a fast 36.3sec. and Egerton-Green was able to angle Tyler Brett across to the pegs and take the trail behind Chiaroscuro, relegating the $5.50 second fancy As Happy As Larry to three back on the pegs. When the breeze horse Jimmy Mack began to wilt approaching the home turn, Egerton-Green was able to get Tyler Brett into the clear and the six-year-old finished strongly to get to the front with about 65m to travel. Tyler Brett won comfortably from the fast-finishing As Happy As Larry and Chiaroscuro. Egerton-Green said that he had no preconceived plan to get Tyler Brett away so fast and to make a bid for the lead. “I just wanted to see how the horse felt, and he wanted to go,” he said. “So, I persuaded him to go a bit quicker, and we managed to find a spot behind the leader; it was a race-winning move. “If we had been forced to race without cover, we would have found it harder to win. But I’m sure he still would have run a good race. He has been racing really well.” Tyler Brett has been a good moneyspinner, with his 51 starts producing 16 wins, 15 placings and $144,721. He is by the Fake Left stallion Robin Hood, who amassed $796,567 from 24 wins and 18 placings from 77 starts. His wins included the 2005 Kilmore Cup, the 2005 Cranbourne Cup, the 2006 Ballarat Cup, the 2007 Victoria Cup and the 2008 Treuer Memorial at Bankstown. Robin Hood also finished third to Be Good Johnny and Slipnslide in a three-way photo in the 2005 Miracle Mile. Tyler Brett is the only one of four foals out of Jossies Belle to race. Jossies Belle, by Orleans, won only three times from 51 starts.   Sugar Street beats the fillies The adage that a good colt will always beat a good filly was proved to be correct when Sugar Street, the only colt in the field, proved the master of his five rivals, all fillies, in the Coco Hseq Pace at Gloucester Park on Sunday afternoon. Sugar Street, second fancy at $2.70 for Busselton trainer Barry Howlett, was driven confidently by Chris Voak and the Bettors Delight colt chalked up his second win from ten starts when he defeated the $1.65 favourite American Arma, who had won impressively against her own sex at her first two starts. Joelene, third fancy at $9, galloped badly when attempting to lead 120m after the start, and Bettor Beach Belle ($17) set the pace in an Indian file affair until Colin Brown eased American Arma off the pegs in fifth position after a lap had been covered. Voak then followed Arma, who raced in the breeze before taking the lead 220m from home. Sugar Street enjoyed the benefit of a comfortable passage throughout, sprinted home strongly to get to the front on the home turn and then win by a length and a half from American Arma.   Babyface Adda enjoys leading Boyanup horseman Cody Wallrodt took full advantage of Babyface Adda’s ability as a frontrunner when he drove the four-year-old to a smart all-the-way victory in the 2130m Graham Compson 80TH Birthday Pace at Gloucester Park on Sunday afternoon.    Babyface Adda, the $1.22 favourite from the No. 1 barrier, had to withstand a spirited bid for the early lead from The Black Cardinal ($16) before covering the first two quarters in 30.7sec. and 30.5sec. and then sprinting over the final 400m sections in 28.1sec. and 28.4sec. on his way to winning by 2m from $23 chance Henwood Bay, who fought on determinedly after working in the breeze. Wallrodt races the Rich And Spoilt gelding on lease and has prepared him for his past six starts for Sunday’s victory and two placings. Babyface Adda, who ended a losing sequence of ten, is a noted frontrunner who has set the pace in seven of his 11 wins in a 50-start career.   It’s Therugo at last Speedy seven-year-old Thereugo, beaten on the 13 previous occasions when he set the pace, broke through for an overdue win and ended a losing sequence of 23 when he enjoyed the benefit of a slow lead time of 38.9sec. and a leisurely opening quarter of 31.8sec. to win the 2130m It’s Your Birthday Casey Greenfield Pace at Gloucester Park on Sunday afternoon. Favourite at $2, the Lindsay Harper owned, trained and driven Thereugo revealed his normal sparkling gate speed from barrier six to burst straight to the front and he was not seriously challenged before he sped over the final quarters in 27.8sec. and 28.2sec. to win by just under a length from $6 chance Sergeant Oats, rating 1.58. Nineteen of Thereugo’s 21 victories have been achieved when he has set the pace and Sunday’s win boosted his earnings to $192,180. By American stallion McArdle, Thereugo is out of the Live Or Die mare Janice Franco, who earned $76,782 from eight wins and 19 placings from 110 starts.   Ken Casellas

Experienced five-year-old One For Dave Andme has a modest eight per cent winning record, but his young trainer Corey Peterson is confident he will be hard to beat, second-up, when he starts from the No. 2 barrier in the 2536m Trevor Itzstein Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “He worked pretty good at Byford this morning (Tuesday) when he was nice and sharp and ran his final quarter in 27.4sec.,” Peterson said. One For Dave Andme resumed after a spell when sixth behind Headline Act at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week. “They came home in 56.4sec. and he was held up for a clear run,” Peterson said. Peterson, who drove One For Dave Andme to a notable victory over up-and-coming star To Fast To Serious in the John Higgins Memorial two starts ago, on July 24, has decided not to handle the gelding this week, with the drive going to Kim Prentice. Peterson has opted to travel to Bunbury on Friday night where he will have a drive in seven of the eight events, with Join The Que (race four) and Rollsoffthetongue (race six) having excellent winning prospects.   “One For Dave Andme should be able to lead from barrier two,” Peterson said. “But it will be up to Kim to decide on tactics. Roman Aviator drops in class and should be hard to beat.” Another horse who looks sure to be prominent is ten-year-old Sokys Big Bullet, who will start from barrier seven with Chris Voak in the sulky. Sokys Big Bullet impressed last Friday week when he settled down in tenth and last position before starting a three-wide move 1150m from home and finishing second to the fast-finishing Rocknroll Whitby. “His latest run was very good, and I thought he was pretty unlucky,” said trainer Giles Inwood. “He had to do all the work and the mile rate (1.55.6) was pretty slick. I think we will go back at the start. He used to be a noted breeze horse, but I think he goes better when you sit him up.”   Ken Casellas

Leading concession driver Emily Suvaljko is looking forward to celebrating her wonderful achievement of chalking up a century of winners this season by guiding speedy six-year-old Chiaroscuro to an all-the-way win in the 2130m Chris Carr Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. A well-deserved victory would enable the Murray Lindau-trained gelding to end a 15-month drought and a losing sequence of 17. Chiaroscuro will start from the coveted No. 1 barrier and Suvaljko (who took her tally of wins this season to 102 with victories behind $34 chance Seeknyoushallfind at Pinjarra on Monday and Cavalry Call ($2.90) at Gloucester Park on Tuesday) aims to take advantage of the ideal draw and the gelding’s sparkling gate speed. “He is one of my best chances on the night and he should be right in it, in this class,” the 20-year-old Suvaljko said. “I have driven him at his past two starts and haven’t driven him forward. But Murray says he has very good gate speed, and he has been running the sectionals that the Free-For-All horses have been running. The main danger is probably As Happy As Larry.” Chiaroscuro had no luck last week when tenth, three lengths behind the winner Vampiro. He was blocked for a clear run in the final circuit. Chiaroscuro has started from barrier one in 2130m events at Gloucester Park seven times, leading and winning three times, sitting behind the pacemaker three times for two seconds and a third, and galloping out and racing in the breeze and finishing fourth once. Suvaljko said she was excited to bring up a century of winners in a season. “I knocked off my personal best of 60 winners last season when I had 78 winners at the usual end of this season (at the end of August) and my goal each season is to break my personal best.” She is also enthusiastic about the prospects of Jack William in the 2130m It's Your Birthday Casey Greenfield Pace in which the Nathan Turvey-trained seven-year-old will start from the inside of the back line. Jack William has been a model of consistency. His six starts before his last-start fifth (from the inside of the back line when he did not get clear until late) produced four seconds and two thirds. “Barrier ten (inside of the back line) is definitely not his favourite draw,” Suvaljko said. “With any other horse I wouldn’t mind drawing ten, but with him, definitely not. “We will probably have to see what comes out of the gate. It’s a very suitable race for him, if he can get to the breeze. I’m not sure whether we can get to the breeze and if we can’t get out early, we’ll probably have to push out later to try to get into the race. “He pulled up with a bit of a cold after his latest run and he’s had a week’s break. He should be back to his best this week.” Jack William, a winner of 13 races from 84 starts, certainly has the ability to win this week in a race with many chances, including Just Makemine Diamonds, Black Jack Zac, Angel In White, Delightfulreaction and Thereugo. Matt Scott, who has recently taken over the preparation of Black Jack Zac from owner John Ellis, who is “a bit sore in the hips,” said the six-year-old with a losing sequence of 42 was a winning chance from the awkward barrier at No. 7. Black Jack Zac was most impressive last Friday night when he sustained a powerful burst from the rear to finish a half-head second to Alta Rhett. “He has been racing well from bad draws and his work has been excellent,” said Scott.   Ken Casellas

When Stuart McDonald takes the reins behind superstar pacer Chicago Bull in the $25,000 Global Premium Funcding Pat Cranley Memorial at Gloucester Park on Friday night it will mark 1050 days since the only previous time he has driven the New Zealand-bred gelding in a race. The 26-year-old McDonald replaces champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr, who is serving a brief term of suspension, and he hopes that Chicago Bull will warm up for the $300,000 Fremantle Cup the following Friday night with a strong victory. The only time McDonald has handled the champion pacer who has won at 58 of his 87 starts was in the Village Kid Sprint at Gloucester Park on December 29, 2017 when Chicago Bull was a $3.30 chance from the No. 3 barrier who enjoyed a perfect passage, one-out and one-back, before running home strongly, out four wide to finish third behind $56 outsider Bettors Fire and the $1.60 favourite Soho Tribeca. Champion trainer Gary Hall Snr declared that Chicago Bull was at the top of his game ahead of the Fremantle Cup and the $450,000 WA Pacing Cup on December 4. “I expect him to lead and win,” Hall said. “He needs a bit of a hit out before the Fremantle Cup and this run should top him right off.” Chicago Bull possesses brilliant gate speed and McDonald should be able to send the nuggetty little gelding to the front when the mobile barrier sends the field on its way. The polemarker Convert Denario is a fast beginner and proven frontrunner, but his reinsman Aldo Cortopassi is likely to give the six-year-old a comfortable passage behind the leader. Oakford trainer Ross OIivieri has three runners in the race Im Full Of Excuses, Perfect Major and Stroke Of Luck and leading reinsman Chris Voak has opted to handle the exciting up-and-coming four-year-old Perfect Major, with Chris Lewis to drive Im Full Of Excuses and Mitch Miller to handle Stroke Of Luck. The comparatively inexperienced Perfect Major has won at his past six starts., He will start from the No. 4 barrier and faces an acid test at his first appearance in open-class company. “You can’t fault Perfect Major’s form and I think he will measure up to this rise in class,” Olivieri said. “Chris Lewis will drive Im Full Of Excuses at his first start since early in May. He is a very classy animal and his wins in trials at Pinjarra on the past two Sundays have been very good.” The Ryan Bell-trained four-year-old Shockwave has finished second to Chicago Bull at his past three starts in the Stratton Cup, Mount Eden Sprint and Howard Porter Memorial. He has drawn the No. 5 barrier but should still provide tremendous opposition to Chicago Bull.   Ken Casellas

To Fast To Serious is a rising star Top-flight reinsman Aldo Cortopassi lavished praise on To Fast To Serious after driving the brilliant four-year-old to a runaway victory in the group 3 Im Themightyquinn Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He declared the gelding, a $10,000 purchase at the 2017 Perth yearling sale, had the raw ability to develop into a star performer in top company and said that he would not be out of place in the Fremantle Cup and WA Pacing Cup in the next few weeks. “To Fast To Serious is doing a great job going through the classes and it would be very hard not to be pleased with his first-up performance tonight,” Cortopassi said. “He’s matured into a lovely horse, just looking at his body shape. “I think the connections are thinking about throwing their hat into the ring and hoping he can get a start in the big Cups. Looking at the criteria, I think he matches up okay. “The only problem with running in the Cups is that they are so close at hand and he’ll be pretty fresh. But in saying that, class horses are always better fresh. “I’m excited at the prospect of To Fast To Serious racing against Chicago Bull and Shockwave. He can sit back off them in genuinely-run races and let them have their fight out --- and their drivers would have to keep an eye on the rear vision mirror. To Fast To Serious will follow speed all day; he’s on the way up, and it’s exciting times.” To Fast To Serious, produced in superb condition for his first run for 15 weeks by astute Mt Helena trainer Ray Williams, was favourite at $2.40 from barrier two on the back line in Friday night’s $30,000 feature event. He settled in sixth position, one-out and two-back, with the $3.30 second fancy Triroyale Brigade leading for the first 80m before being crossed by the speedy Radiant Amber ($31). Robbie Williams was not content to take the sit behind Radiant Amber and he dashed Triroyale Brigade back into the lead 230m later. Cortopassi sent To Fast To Serious forward with a three-wide burst 900m from home and he was able to take the one-out, one-back position at the 650m mark when rank outsider Beach Skipper began to tire. To Fast To Serious then charged forward, three wide at the 300m mark and he burst to the front 80m later before racing away to win by three lengths from Triroyale, with Radiant Amber finishing third and $5 chance Euphoric Moment running strongly into fourth place. To Fast To Serious sprinted over the final 800m in 56.2sec. and rated 1.56.1 over the 2130m journey. By American stallion Shadow Play out of former smart New Zealand-bred mare Smile With Me, To Fast To Serious has earned $131,737 from 12 wins and three seconds from just 18 starts.   Gear change aids Our Alfie Romeo Classy pacer Our Alfie Romeo bounced back to her best form and warmed up in style for the coming rich feature events for mares with a dashing all-the-way victory in the $22,000 Etch Coatings Free-For-All over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Star reinsman Ryan Warwick attributed Our Alfie Romeo’s stylish performance to a well thought-out gear change, describing the addition for the first time of a one-legged spreader as a major secret of her success. Our Alfie Romeo, prepared by champion trainers Greg and Skye Bond, was third favourite at $4.10 and revealed sparkling gate speed from the No. 4 barrier to burst to the front after 80m. She then relished her frontrunning role and sped over the final quarters in 28.8sec. and 27.9sec. to win by just over a half-length from Somebeachsomeparty ($3.80), with the fast-finishing Queen Shenandoah ($21) finishing powerfully from the rear to be an eye-catching third. The winner, a New Zealand-bred five-year-old by Washington VC, rated 1.56.6 and improved her record to 53 starts for 21 wins, 12 placings and $317,130 in prizemoney. Among her four feature victories, Our Alfie Romeo set the pace and easily beat Arma Indie in the Norms Daughter Classic 12 months ago. She is sure to be a leading candidate for the $50,000 Norms Daughter Classic next Friday night and the $125,000 Westral Classic two weeks later. “Our Alfie Romeo has been close to hitting her knees, and I think she has been sitting on about 80 per cent,” Warwick said. “So, we put the one-legged spreader on to give her a bit of confidence, in case she needed it. And she’s won pretty easily tonight. “She does like it in front, and she wasn’t 80 per cent tonight; she was closer to 95 per cent. And I think there’s a little bit more there.” Mandy Joan, the $3 favourite in Friday night’s race, enjoyed the one-out, one-back trail, but did not threaten danger and finished sixth, while Gotta Go Gabbana ($4.80) worked hard in the breeze and finished fourth.   Wainui Creek overcomes serious setback Quality four-year-old Wainui Creek, a group 1 winner at Addington last February, overcame a major setback before scoring an effortless victory in the 2130m Direct Trades Supply Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. She raced for the entire race with a completely flat nearside sulky tyre and shrugged off that disadvantage as she set the pace and won by 5m from Sergeant Oats, rating 1.58. It was a commanding performance from the $3.90 chance after finishing a nose second to Millwood Molly and then fading after a tough run to finish ninth behind Balcatherine at her first two starts in Western Australia. Star reinsman Ryan Warwick said that it was an impressive display, revealing that the nearside sulky tyre was flat from the outset. “I think that going on to the track I might have pinched the tube,” he explained. “As soon as we took off the tyre was flat.” Warwick said that Wainui Creek was fitted with hood type blinkers for the first time in WA. “They said in New Zealand that we should try them, but her work at home was so good that we thought we didn’t need to. But she wasn’t bringing her form to the races, so we tried the blinkers tonight, and obviously it worked. “At her first run here, I thought she should have run past the leader, but she didn’t. He second run was a hard race to win, but I thought she should have finished closer.” Outstanding trainers Greg and Skye Bond are now likely to have two strong prospects in next Friday night’s $50,000 Norms Daughter Classic --- Wainui Creek and Our Alfie Romeo, who was also an impressive all-the-way winner on Friday night. His would leave Warwick a difficult choice. “Decisions like that are good because you’ve got two bullets in the gun,” said Warwick. “The wins by both the mares were good. That’s what we needed both of them to do, to get some confidence.”   Vampiro on target for the Cups Tough frontrunning pacer Vampiro showed that he is well and truly on target for the $300,000 Fremantle Cup on next Friday week and the $450,000 WA Pacing Cup a fortnight later when Colin  Brown drove that New Zealand-bred six-year-old to an all-the-way victory in the 2536m Cowden The Insurance Brokers Free-For-All at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Rocknroll Hanover gelding, prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, was favourite at $1.70 and after final quarters of 27.7sec. and 28.3sec. he held on determinedly to beat stablemates Galactic Star ($18) and Our Jimmy Johnstone ($12) in a punishing finish. Vampiro ran out slightly in the home straight and locked spider wheels with Galactic Star (Dylan Egerton-Green) in the final couple of strides. Egerton-Green contemplated lodging a protest, but he decided against it after viewing the finishing stages of the race in the stewards’ room. Mighty Conqueror ($3.60) gave the Bond stable the distinction of preparing the first four placegetters when he fought on doggedly into fourth place, just ahead of $51 outsider Vultan Tin, who impressed in charging home, out four wide, from tenth at the bell. Brown said that the distances of the 2536m Fremantle Cup and the 2936m WA Pacing Cup would not worry Vampiro. “He showed that last January when he led in both the Cups and finished a head second to Caviar Star in the Fremantle Cup and a head second to Mighty Conqueror in the Pacing Cup, rating 1.54.2 and 1.56.5, respectively,” he said. Vampiro’s win on Friday night came two weeks after he had set the pace and finished a close second to Galactic Star over 2536m. “I was aware of the horse (Stroke Of Luck) sitting on his back, and I don’t think it suited Vampiro (holding him back to deny a clear run for Stroke Of Luck),” Brown said. “Tonight, I let him run pretty well from the 900m, and he’s more suited to that. He’ll be one of the contenders for the Cups, with his gate speed. If he draws the front line, his gate speed is enormous. “He is getting fitter and Greg and Skye have got him pretty well on target.” Vampiro has been a grand campaigner for his owners Skye Bond and Rob Gartrell and the six-year-old has now amassed $562,634 from 25 wins and 21 placings from 66 starts. Star reinsman Ryan Warwick, who drove Mighty Conqueror in Friday night’s race, was disappointed with the five-year-old’s fourth placing after enjoying an ideal trip one-out and one-back, saying: “He just flatlined a little bit. I think he’s sitting about 80 per cent. He should have been on the horse’s back in front of him a lot better. He should have been able to pull out and sprint. But he didn’t.”   Six in a row for Perfect Major Up-and-coming four-year-old Perfect Major improved his winning sequence to six when Chris Voak drove him to an effortless victory in the 2130m Simmonds Steel Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He was a red hot favourite at $1.04 and his 19m win over Angel In White greatly impressed outstanding trainer Ross Olivieri, who is toying with the idea of setting him for the upcoming Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups. “He won with the plugs in and now I might have to reassess his program,” Olivieri said. “I don’t know whether we’re biting off more than we can chew, but I’ve got to think about the big Cups. I think he can measure up, and so can Stroke Of Luck, who is no slouch. “Perfect Major is a funny horse. He looks after himself at home where his trackwork is good but he’s very laid back. Going on what he’s like at home, you wouldn’t believe what he is doing in his races.” From the No. 1 barrier on Friday night, Perfect Major led for the first 100m before the flying Dominate The Dojo burst to the front. Voak then switched Perfect Major off the pegs and regained the lead 100m later and the Art Major gelding left his rivals in his wake when he sizzled over the final three quarters in 28.6sec., 28.4sec. and 28.2sec. Perfect Major now has raced 30 times for 12 wins, nine placings and stakes of $109,965.   Star Fromthepalace is getting better Ultra-consistent pacer Star Fromthepalace boosted her earnings past the $100,000 mark and showed that she would be not out of place in the upcoming Norms Daughter Classic and the $125,000 Westral Classic when she gave a strong frontrunning performance to win the 2130m Westral Pace for three-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Aldo Cortopassi took full advantage of the prized No. 1 barrier and he rated the Peter Anderson-trained filly perfectly, who after a modest lead time of 38.1sec. and slow opening quarter of 31.2sec., sped over the final three 400m sections in 28.4sec., 28.4sec. and 28.1sec. to beat Miss Lamarr and Misstiano. “She went super,” said Cortopassi. “She has matured into a nice horse who is not so revvy now. Peter has taken a lot of gear off her and has made her not so angry. “If she gets a good draw in the big races for fillies and mares, the others will know that she’s there. I’m sure that she wouldn’t have been disgraced if she had contested tonight’s race for mares (won by Our Alfie Romeo).” Star Fromthepalace, bred and owned by Bob Fowler, won twice from 14 starts as a two-year-old and now boasts a splendid record of 34 starts for nine wins, 13 placings and $108,306 in prizemoney.   Argyle Red likes the No. 1 barrier Veteran pacer Argyle Red continues to race with admirable enthusiasm for owner-breeder Rob MacDonald and the eight-year-old excels when he draws the perfect No. 1 barrier. Going into the 2130m Catalano Truck And Equipment Sales Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night with a sequence of seven unplaced efforts, Argyle Red was a solidly-supported $3 favourite, with Morgan Woodley in the sulky. Woodley jumped Argyle Red straight into the lead and after a slow lead time of 38.1sec . and leisurely opening quarters of 32.2sec. and 29.6sec. the gelding sped over the final quarter in 27.7sec. and 27.6sec. to win at a 1.57.2 rate from Jimmy Mack (who trailed the leader throughout) and Rock me Over (who raced three back on the pegs). Argyle Red has won six times after starting from the No. 1 barrier at Gloucester Park and he has also run two seconds from the inside draw. He has been a wonderful moneyspinner for the Pinjarra based MacDonald, with his 143 starts producing 19 wins and 32 placings for earnings of $283,755. Makoczar the first leg of Voak double The battle for the honour of the State’s leading driver for the 2019-20 season continued at Gloucester Park on Friday night with Ryan Warwick and Chris Voak each landing a double. Warwick took a one-win lead with an early double behind Our Alfie Romeo before Voak regained the lead with wins late in the program with Makoczar and Perfect Major. Voak now has landed 238 winners from 1356 drives and Warwick has 237 winners from 766 drives. Makoczar, trained by Voak’s mother Linley, was the $3 second fancy in the 2503m standing start Retravision Handicap, and despite racing roughly early Makoczar dashed to an early lead and went on to set the pace and win by a neck from $16 chance Allwoods Rocknroll, who trailed the pacemaker throughout. The $1.85 favourite J B Mauney was slow into stride from the 20m back mark and was ninth with just 550m to travel before finishing solidly, out five wide, to be fifth. This was Makoczar’s fourth Gloucester Park victory and the big four-year-old was raced 30 times for ten wins, four placings and $57,057 in prizemoney.   Rejuvenated Maras Ace Man shines Veteran pacer Maras Ace Man, who managed one win from his first 95 starts, is thriving under the care of Capel trainer-reinsman Aiden de Campo and he notched his eleventh win from his past 37 starts when he caused an upset by finishing powerfully to beat the pacemaker and $3.10 favourite Thereugo in the 2130m Westside Auto Wholesale Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Maras Ace Man, owned by talented young reinsman Michael Grantham and Kurt Pellington, was a $12.30 chance who was restrained at the start from the No. 5 barrier. De Campo cleverly angled Maras Ace Man across to the pegs and the eight-year-old raced in sixth position on the inside before getting into the clear and finishing strongly to hit the front 25m from the post. This improved his record to 132 starts for 12 wins, 18 placings and stakes of $101,523.    Alta Rhett holds on Four-year-olds Alta Rhett and Taroona Bromac were the youngest runners in the 2130m Better Your Bet With TABtouch Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night and they dominated betting, with Taroona Bromac starting favourite at $2.20 and Alta Rhett quoted at $2.80. However, the anticipated struggle did not eventuate, with Nathan Turvey jumping Alta Rhett straight to the front, and Taroona Bromac breaking into a fierce gallop moments after the mobile barrier had sent the field of 11 on its way. Alta Rhett, trained in Bunbury by Sarah Wall, bowled along in front with Im Rocknroll Magic ($12) in the breeze. Taroona Bromac was tailed of a distant last. Alta Rhett held on grimly to hold on and defeat $34 outsider Black Jack Zac by a head, with $41 outsider Extreme Prince finishing strongly from sixth at the bell to be a nose away in third place. Mister Ardee came from three back on the pegs with an inside run to be a good fourth.   Taroona Bromac, who had begun brilliantly when an impressive all-the-way winner at Gloucester Park on Wednesday afternoon, made up ground to finish ninth. Reinsman Ryan Warwick explained that Taroona Bromac had himself to blame. “He is too big and uncoordinated,” Warwick said. “He did it on Wednesday (getting away fast) and was trying to do it even quicker tonight. But he couldn’t.”   by Ken Casellas

Star reinsmen Ryan Warwick and Chris Voak will continue their titanic struggle for ascendancy when they share the spotlight at the ten-event program at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Both are desperately keen to win the West Australian drivers’ premiership for the first time in this extended 2019-20 season. Warwick landed a double with Nikasa and Taroona Bromac at Gloucester Park on Wednesday afternoon and Voak was successful behind Wattabout Rioli as well as driving three second placegetters. Voak heads the premiership table with 236 winners from 1348 drives, with Warwick in second spot with 235 winners from 761 drives. Warwick has six drives on Friday night and Voak will appear in nine events. Warwick will be particularly keen to succeed with Mighty Conqueror, who has drawn favourably at barrier No. 3 in the Cowden The Insurance Brokers Free-For-All over 2536m, a race which is expected to be dominated by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond. Apart from Mighty Conqueror, the Bonds will be represented by Vampiro, The Bird Dance, Galactic Star, Our Jimmy Johnstone and Ocean Ridge. Vampiro, a freewheeling frontrunner, is ideally suited from the prized No. 1 barrier and Colin Brown is sure to be anxious to lead his rivals on a merry dance. The New Zealand-bred six-year-old should be improved by his last-start effort, his fourth run after a spell, when he set the pace and sprinted over the final 400m in 27.2sec. but was beaten into second place by the Warwick-driven Galactic Star, who finished strongly after enjoying the ideal one-out, one-back trail. In that event Mighty Conqueror, driven by Dylan Egerton-Green, started from the outside barrier and dashed forward, three wide, in the early stages to work hard in the breeze for the rest of the race. He fought on gamely to finish fourth. A fortnight earlier, when appearing for the first time since winning the 2936m WA Pacing Cup last January, Mighty Conqueror started from the No. 7 barrier, and after going forward three-wide in the early stages he had a tough run in the breeze and battled on grandly to finish second to the pacemaker Convert Denario over 2130m. This week Galactic Star will be handled by Egerton-Green, who will need to weave some magic for the outstanding seven-year-old to overcome the outside barrier at No. 9 on the front line in the field of 12. However, it would be unwise to overlook Galactic Star’s claims because Egerton-Green is in superb form in the sulky. When he landed a double at Pinjarra on Monday after a treble at Narrogin two nights earlier, it gave him 13 winners in the space of 17 days, with Tyler Brett and Feeling Aces both starting at $31, Victory Medal at $16 and Ifeel Sikdarl at $8.50. Warwick has sound each-way prospects on Friday night with Our Alfie Romeo, Wainui Creek, Taroona Bromac, Misstiano and Flying Mister Ideal. The best of Voak’s nine drives is Perfect Major in the 2130m Simmonds Steel Pace, in which the Ross Olivieri-trained four-year-old will be strongly favoured to extend his winning sequence to six. From the No. 1 barrier, Perfect Major is poised to set the pace and prove too strong for his rivals. Voak will also be looking for promising filly Askmeilltellya to bounce back to top form after a disappointing last-start seventh behind Waltzingwithsierra when she started from a wide draw, raced at the rear and was not suited by a moderate early pace and a fast 57.1sec. final 800m. Askmeilltellya is handily drawn at barrier No. 3 on Friday night and should be prominent against other smart three-year-old fillies Star Fromthepalace, Blue Chip Adda and Fifty Five Reborn. The Peter Anderson-trained Star Fromthepalace is wonderfully consistent and, with Aldo Cortopassi in the sulky, she looks the likely leader from the No. 1 barrier and will take beating. Aiden de Campo’s Blue Chip Adda also looks set to fight out the finish after starting from barrier two. She ran home powerfully to win from the pacemaker Radiant Amber over 2130m last Friday night.   Ken Casellas

Quality mare Gotta Go Gabbana will reappear after an absence of just over five months when she starts from an awkward draw at barrier seven in the $22,000 Etch Coatings Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night, and she showed that she is ready to run a big race first-up when she scored effortlessly in fast time in a 2185m trial at Pinjarra last Sunday week. Gotta Go Gabbana, prepared by Annie Belton, impressed in the four-horse trial in which she was driven by Nathan Turvey and sat behind the pacemaker American Brave before being eased off the pegs 250m from home, and after a 27.5sec. third quarter, she coasted home to get up in the final couple of strides to beat American Brave by a head, rating 1.54.2, with a final quarter in 29.7sec. Champion reinsman Chris Lewis has elected to drive Gotta Go Gabbana in preference to the Barry Howlett-trained five-year-old Somebeachparty, who is perfectly drawn at barrier one and has good prospects of setting the pace for Emily Suvaljko. Lewis drove Somebeachparty when she set the pace and finished second to Typhoon Banner over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. Before that, Somebeachparty had won at her three starts after being out of action for 25 months. She led and won at Narrogin and Pinjarra before she raced three back on the pegs and sprinted home over the final 400m in 27.4sec. to easily beat Louie The Horse over 2185m at Pinjarra. The nine mares in Friday night’s event will be on trial for the $50,000 Norms Daughter Classic on Friday week and the $125,000 Westral Mares Classic two weeks later. Gotta Go Gabbana finished boldly from the rear when fourth behind Our Alfie Romeo in the Norms Daughter Classic 12 months ago before she led from the No. 1 barrier and won easily from Our Alfie Romeo in the Westral Mares Classic. Our Alfie Romeo, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, will start from the No. 4 barrier in Friday night’s event. A winner of 20 races, Our Alfie Romeo has been slightly disappointing when unplaced at her past three starts from wide barriers. She has the ability to bounce back to her best form here from a reasonable barrier. Capel trainer Aiden de Campo will be represented by Mandy Joan and Millwood Molly. He will drive Mandy Joan from barrier three, and Dylan Egerton-Green will be in the sulky behind Millwood Molly, who faces a stern test from the outside barrier.         Ken Casellas

Punters will face a curious dilemma when determining the prospects of the speedy but enigmatic pacer Thereugo in the Westside Auto Wholesale Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night, a 2130m event in which he is perfectly drawn at barrier No. 1. He possesses dazzling gate speed and 18 of his 20 wins have been achieved when he has set the pace and he appears certain to burst straight to the front for trainer-reinsman Lindsay Harper. The seven-year-old gelding is sure to be at a short quote, following his performance when he led from barrier nine and finished second to Quick Stride over 2130m last Friday week. But Thereugo will need to lift his rating if he is to succeed this week. He has a losing sequence of 23 and the past 12 occasions he has set the pace he has been unable to go on and win. Several of his rivals this week have the credentials to win the race. They include the two back-line runners Arma Indie and Quick Stride, Whozideawasthis (barrier eight), Liam Neil (four), Maras Ace Man (five), Roman Aviator (seven) and Dredlock Rockstar (six). Four-year-old mare Arma Indie, the youngest and least experienced runner in the race, makes strong appeal after she bounced back to her best form last Friday night when she set the pace from barrier two and sprinted over the final 400m in 27.3sec. to win over 2536m in good style from McArdles Gem. The Mike Reed-trained Arma Indie will start from the inside of the back line and reinsman Mark Reed should be happy to take the trail behind Thereugo before attempting to get into the clear in a concerted bid for victory. Whozideawasthis is capable of making amends for his wilting fourth behind Rocknroll Whitby last Friday night when he raced three wide before getting to the front after 600m. Quick Stride revealed his sit-sprint capacity two starts ago when he charged home from eighth at the bell to win convincingly from Thereugo, and Liam Neil, Maras Ace Man and Dredlock Rockstar are all racing keenly. Punters face another ticklish decision when assessing the prospects of 163-race veteran Mister Ardee, who is ideally drawn at barrier one in the 2130m Better Your Bet With TABtouch Pace. Trained and driven by Madeleine Young, Mister Ardee has an excellent winning chance after he sustained a spirited three-wide burst from eighth in the middle stages to finish third behind Rocknroll Whitby and Sokys Big Bullet last Friday night. That was a solid effort at his second start after a two-month absence. But he was unplaced at his previous 13 starts and has a losing sequence of 26. Perhaps punters should lean slightly towards Alta Rhett, a handy four-year-old trained in Bunbury by Sarah Wall, as well as Taroona Bromac. Alta Rhett, to be handled by Nathan Turvey, is favourably drawn at barrier two. He caught the eye when he finished solidly from sixth at the bell to be third behind Quick Stride over 2130m last Friday week. Taroona Bromac, a four-year-old trained by Greg and Skye Bond, ran a terrific trial for this race when he bounced back to his best form with a dashing victory in fast time at Gloucester Park on Wednesday afternoon. Taroona Bromac began speedily from the No. 6 barrier and burst to the front after 150m before setting a brisk pace and winning by a half-length from Burning Rubber, rating 1.56.3, with the final three 400m sections being run in 29.7sec., 28.7sec. and 27.7sec. If he repeats that performance from barrier six on Friday night, he will be very hard to beat.      Ken Casellas

A sparkling trial at Byford on Sunday morning was a strong indication that inexperienced four-year-old To Fast To Serious will make a successful return to racing after a spell by proving too speedy for his rivals in the $30,000 Im Themightyquinn Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Astute Mt Helena trainer Ray Williams produced the lightly-raced WA-bred gelding in fine fettle for the 2150m seven-horse trial in which To Fast To Serious revealed early speed before taking the trail behind American Brave. Valbonne dashed to the front after a lap, with Aldo Cortopassi content to race three back on the pegs in fourth position before To Fast To Serious ran home strongly to finish second to the talented American Brave, who rated 1.56.9 on a heavy track. The final 400m was covered in 27.7sec. To Fast To Serious is a versatile pacer, with speed his greatest asset. He will start from the No. 2 barrier on the back line in Friday night’s 2130m Group 3 feature event. He has raced only 17 times for 11 wins and three seconds. His eight appearances at Gloucester Park have produced four wins and two seconds. Another four-year-old Euphoric Moment has a losing sequence of 17, but the Errol Ashcroft-trained gelding will have many admirers after most encouraging efforts at his past two outings when he ran on fast from ninth at the bell to be a neck second to The Last Drop over 2536m three Fridays ago and then when he set the pace and finished a half-length second to Perfect Major over 2130m the following week. He will again be handled by Deni Roberts and will start from the inside of the back line, immediately behind the New Zealand-bred Triroyale Brigade, whose past ten starts have produced three wins and six seconds. Trainer Robbie Williams is sure to be anxious to set the pace with Triroyale Brigade, a smart frontrunner. Baskerville trainer Ryan Bell has four-year-old Radiant Amber racing with refreshing enthusiasm and Aiden de Campo could make a bold bid for the early lead with the mare who will start from barrier six. She began brilliantly from the No. 5 barrier last Friday night when she set the pace and finished second to Blue Chip Adda over 2130m. Another runner with sound prospects is Alta Intrigue, a New Zealand-bred six-year-old who will be driven by Stuart McDonald for champion trainer Gary Hall Snr. He has the ability to overcome a wide draw at barrier eight. He started from the outside of the back line in a 1730m event last Friday night and settled down in eighth position before sustaining a spirited three-wide burst approaching the bell when a splendid second to The Kraken.   Ken Casellas

Chicago Bull equals Quinny Superstar pacer Chicago Bull maintained his magnificent form and was not extended in winning the group 3 Howard Porter Memorial at Gloucester Park on Friday night. This was his 58TH win from 87 starts and it equals the number of wins recorded by Im Themightyquinn, who amassed $4,567,456 from his 58 wins and 34 placings from 111 starts. Chicago Bull, who has been placed 23 times, has earned $2,021,731. Champion trainer Gary Hall snr has prepared six $1 million earners, the others being The Falcon Strike (41 wins and $1,224,094), Beaudiene Boaz (25 wins and $1,256,587), My Hard Copy (27 wins and $1,271,592)  and King of Swing (26 wins and $1,483,136). When queried about rating these star performers Hall had no hesitation in ranking Im Themightyquinn on top, stating that three wins in the Interdominion championship, three in the Fremantle Cup, three in the WA Pacing Cup and two in the Auckland Cup made it a comparatively easy decision. He ranked Chicago Bull in second position but added that one horse who could have ranked close to his best was the ill-fated Alta Christiano, who broke down after winning 13 times from 18 starts. Perhaps the major news from the Hall stable is that Chicago Bull will have one more run before having a new reinsman at his next appearance, in an open-class event at Gloucester Park on Friday week. Champion reinsman Gary Hall jnr, who has driven Chicago Bull at each of his past 45 starts, has started a 19-day suspension for driving infringements and will not be able to drive for the next fortnight. This leaves Stuart McDonald as the frontrunner to drive Chicago Bull at his next appearance. McDonald has handled Chicago Bull once in a race --- when the gelding finished third behind Bettors Fire and Soho Tribeca in the Village Kid Sprint at Gloucester Park on December 29, 2017. Chicago Bull, favourite at $1.10, was untroubled to lead from the No. 1 barrier in the Porter Memorial, and after a comparatively slow lead time of 38.1sec. and comfortable opening quarters of 30.3sec. and 29.3sec. he sprinted brilliantly over the final 400m sections in 27.5sec. and 26.6sec. He rated 1.54.7 and beaty Shockwave by a length, with Jack Farthing, hampered for room on the inside, a half-head away in third place. Shockwave, the second fancy at $10, again was gallant in defeat. He started from the No. 5 barrier and raced in sixth position in the one-wide line until he started a three-wide move with 650m to travel. He quickly moved into second place at the 300m mark and fought on determinedly.   Reed back in the swing of things Talented New Zealand-bred mare Arma Indie bounced back to her best form with a stylish all-the-way victory in the 2536m Vili’s Family Bakery Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “The distance was never going to worry her; she has led and won over 2500m before,” said reinsman Mark Reed. “She was never in danger, and, hopefully, as the saying goes ‘when the surf’s up, keep rolling on.’ Our Shelley Beach led and won at Pinjarra on Monday and it’s good to get back into the swing of things. I was battling to salute the judge for a while and I’m happy to get a couple of winners and back into a bit of form. “When Arma Indi is right, she’s a really good mare. Tonight, she won well within herself, and it’s good to see the whole team (prepared by Reed’s father Mike) racing better. They were a bit disappointing a month or so ago, and now they’re all starting to go a bit better.” Arma Indie, favourite at $1.60 from the favourable No. 2 barrier, led from Bettorstartdreaming in the breeze and Qtown Rip Roaring on the pegs. She dashed over the final quarters in 28.8sec. and 27.3sec. and beat McArdles Gem ($17) by just under a length. McArdles Gem enjoyed the perfect sit in the one-out and one-back position before finishing gamely with a three-wide burst. Arma Indie, a winner at two of her ten New Zealand starts, now has had 21 starts in Western Australia for eight wins and six placings for owners Jim and Wilma Giumelli.   Champagne Prince sparkles A gelding, bred in the purple by outstanding pacing sire McArdle and out of a brilliant pacing mare Champagne Princess, is a natural square-gaiter and looms as a key player in the $50,000 Trotters Cup at Gloucester Park on New Year’s Eve. There is no rhyme or reason why a horse with such a strong pacing background is such a talented trotter. But that’s the story of seven-year-old Champagne Prince, who made an auspicious Western Australian debut with a striking all-the-way victory in the 2503m Catalano Truck And Equipment Trot at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Champagne Prince, a $5.60 chance, began safely from the inside of the front line in the stand and he was perfectly rated in front by champion reinsman Chris Lewis, who guided him to a 2m victory over the $3 favourite Princess Mila, who improved from eighth in the middle stages. King of the Roses ($5), a newcomer from South Australia, was an encouraging third. Champagne Prince is trained by Michael Young, who is delighted that a gentleman from Sydney and someone he has not met, convinced him to join him in purchasing the gelding a month ago. “Champagne Prince was advertised for sale,” Young explained. “I didn’t see it, but Eddie Burchill did, and he asked he if I was interested, and I said yes. So, we bought him for $10,000. “A few months ago, Eddie had Fireplay up for sale and I asked him if he wanted to send him to Perth.” Fireplay has raced eight times for Young for a win and four placings. Now Young and Eddie Burchill and his wife Erica race Champagne Prince in partnership, and the first prize of $10,881 on Friday night has made the trotter an instant bargain. The gelding is a bit smaller than the average trotter, but Young said that he was “pretty muscled up and strong.” “He came from Adelaide by truck and I gave him a week off,” Young said. “I had never trained a trotter and I didn’t really know what to expect. However, his work at home has been top notch and the Trotters Cup is his aim. “All his brothers and sisters are pacers, but he trots like a machine.” McArdle, who is by Falcon Seelster, has been a hugely successful pacing stallion for many years and he has been in the spotlight in recent years by the deeds of McWicked, the 2018 American Horse of the Year, who has just been retired to stud after winning 40 races and earning $5,103,271. Champagne Princess excelled as a young pacer in New Zealand where she had 23 starts for 12 wins, eight placings and stakes of $143,484. Her victories included group 2 events as a two and three-year-old. Champagne Prince, who raced 28 times in New Zealand for one win and seven placings, 14 times in Victoria for three wins and nine placings and 14 times in South Australia for five wins and six placings, is a half-brother to successful pacers Our Princess Royal, Lenola Stride, Jay Dub, Prince McArdle and Krug. Krug, by Bettors Delight is Champagne Princess’s most recent foal and he has created a big impression in New Zealand, with his first 13 starts producing nine wins, three placings and $247,900. As a two-year-old he won the group 1 Cardigan Bay Stakes at Alexandra Park and a group 2 feature event at Ashburton. In September this year Krug finished a head second to American Dealer in the group 1 Sires Stakes final for three-year-olds at Alexandra Park and won a $200,000 feature event a week later.   Rocknroll Whitby turns back the clock West Australian-bred seven-year-old Rocknroll Whitby has overcome some gaiting problems and he notched his fifth win of the season when trainer Callan Suvaljko brought him home with a sparkling late burst to beat the well-supported $2.90 second fancy Sokys Big Bullet by one and a half lengths in the 2130m Westral Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Fourth fancy at $9.10, Rocknroll Whitby stormed home with a four-wide burst from seventh at the 400m mark. A $20,000 yearling, Rocknroll Whity is raced by Suvaljko’s wife Amanda and he now has had 121 starts for 17 wins, 15 placings and $189,076 in stakes. He revealed splendid early promise, leading and winning by six lengths on debut at Northam in March 2015 and then, three starts later, winning the $60,000 group 1 Sales Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park. But while he has remained sound throughout his career, Rocknroll Whitby did not live up to his early potential and he developed problems with cross-firing. “He used to be one-dimensional and would only run when he was leading,” said Suvaljko. “And then he was cleaned up (badly checked) a few times on the first bend after starting in races over 1730m and 2536m. After that, he didn’t show any gate speed. Racing with spreaders and go-straights helped to get him off his knees and to go a lot straighter. “Lately, he has been sitting and sprinting home strongly. Last week, after a 27.9sec. third quarter, he made up four to five lengths over the final 450m when fourth behind Captain Kirk and I was very confident of winning tonight.” Suvaljko said that he had just added to his stable seasoned pacers Tuas Delight and Extreme Prince.     Stroke Of Luck aimed at Cups Ace trainer Ross Olivieri is confident Stroke Of Luck will continue to improve and earn a shot at the Fremantle Cup and WA Pacing Cup in the coming weeks. “He’s still a run or two away from his best,” he said after the seven-year-old produced a strong finish to win the 2536m Retravision Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “He has made his way to fast class and is a really good competitor.” Stoke Of Luck completed a double for Chris Voak, who was successful in the previous event with Roman Art. Voak gained an ideal passage for Stroke Of Luck in sixth position, one-out and two-back, before the $6.20 chance finished solidly to beat Patrickthepiranha ($6.50) by a half-length at a 1.57.4 rate. Bettor Be Oscar, the $1.65 favourite, set the pace but was swamped in the closing stages and finished fifth. Patrickthepiranha, who started from the outside barrier the field of nine, raced outside the pacemaker Bettor Be Oscar for most of the way before taking a narrow lead about 220m from home. Colin Brown, Patrickthepiranha’s trainer-reinsman, lodged a protest against Stroke Of Luck, on the grounds that Voak had used more than the flicking action with the whip. The protest was unsuccessful. Stroke Of Luck is raced by the Merv Butterworth Racing syndicate which also was represented by the Olivieri-trained  Jimmy Mack, who started at $23 and impressed in finishing with a spirited burst from seventh at the bell to be third. Stoke Of Luck has raced 62 times for 15 wins, 19 placings and stakes of $201,888.   Warriors Legacy causes an upset Warriors Legacy, the rank outsider at $39.10, caused an upset when he thundered home to snatch a last-stride victory over the $3.10 equal favourite The Ideal Touch in the 2130m Westside Auto Wholesale Pace for three-year-olds at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Owner-trainer Jocelyn Young did not bustle Warriors Legacy early from the No. 5 barrier and the gelding raced in sixth position on the pegs in the field of seven before he was switched out wide 250m from home and sprinted fast to win at by a short half-head at a 1.57.1 rate. Stormyskyes, the only filly in the event and a $19 chance, led from the No. 1 barrier and defied challenges for the lead in the first lap. Master Publisher, the $3.10 equal favourite and one of the three runners trained by Gary Hall snr, raced without cover early before gaining the one-out, one-back trail when stablemate Copy N Pace, a heavily supported $3.50 third favourite, dashed forward into the breeze. Copy N Pace took a narrow lead about 220m from home before The Ideal Touch got to the front 60m from the post. Warriors Legacy, by Auckland Reactor, is the second foal out of the unraced mare Titans Legacy and is related to Scram Jet, who earned $235,076 from 24 wins and 42 placings from 172 starts. Warriors Legacy has raced 20 times for four wins, ten placings and $34,147 in prizemoney.   American Arma following in dam’s footsteps Eight years ago, Arma Xpress won at 12 of her first 14 starts, and now her daughter, the exciting two-year-old filly American Arma, is following in her footsteps. American Arma, trained and driven by Colin Brown, gave a sample of her class when she scored a decisive victory in the 2130m Choices Flooring Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. That was her second convincing victory from her first two starts. American Arma, the $1.70 favourite from barrier six, raced wide early before taking the lead after about 600m and was not extended in winning by three lengths from her stablemate and $13 chance Joelene, who impressed greatly by flashing home, out wide, from last in the field of nine with 400m to travel. The Terry Ferguson-trained Bettor Beach Belle ($5.50) maintained her excellent form when she finished solidly from sixth at the bell to be third. The winner rated 1.57.5 after final quarters of 29.6sec. and 28.7sec. Arma Xpress was retired after her 18 starts produced 12 wins and one placing for earnings of $279,890. In 2012 she won two group 1 features, the Sales Classic for fillies and the Golden Slipper, as well as winning three group 2 events, the Champagne Classic, the Westbred Classic and the Golden Bracelet.   The Kraken breaks through Speedy four-year-old The Kraken notched his first Gloucester Park victory at his tenth appearance at the track when he revealed admirable fighting qualities to work hard in the breeze before running home determinedly to beat Alta Intrigue and Bolta in the 1730m Etch Coatings Pace on Friday night. He was the second fancy at $4.10 from barrier five, with the polemarker Bolta favourite at $1.90. The Kraken was having his fifth start in the space of a month and trainer Aiden de Campo made the most of an important edge in fitness by applying pressure on the pacemaker Bolta, who was making his first appearance for three months. The Kraken took the lead 55m from the post and won by a neck from $6 third fancy Alta Intrigue, rating 1.55.7. Alta Intrigue fought on strongly after racing wide in the final circuit. The Kraken is the fifth foal out of former smart juvenile Before Night Falls, who won the group 1 Diamond Classic for two-year-old fillies in June 2008 and was retired after 38 starts that produced 12 wins, eight placings and stakes of $169,279. The Kraken now has had 44 starts for nine wins, 18 placings and $68,141.   Pinjarra Cup on the cards for Roman Art Coolup owner-trainer Vic Bryers is delighted with Roman Art’s successful return to racing after a spell and said he was nurturing a long-range plan for the four-year-old to contest the Pinjarra Cup next March. Roman Art, having his third start after a five-month absence, was favourite at $1.75 when Chris Voak drove him to an easy all-the-way victory in the 2130m Simmonds Steel Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. After a slow lead time of 39.1sec. and a pedestrian open quarter of 31.5sec., Roman Art dashed over the next 400m sections in 28.2sec., 27.9sec. and 27.8sec. and beat Vivere Damore by 5m at a 1.56.7 rate. Roman Art now boasts a 50 per cent winning record, with his 20 starts producing ten wins, six placings and stakes of $66,560.   Filly too fast for mares Three-year-old Blue Chip Adda, the only filly against eight mares in the 2130m Allwood Stud Farm Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night, showed her class when she unwound a spirited finishing burst to win easily. This completed a double for trainer-reinsman Aiden de Campo, who had been successful with The Kraken in the opening event on the program. Blue Chip Adda, the $1.90 favourite, raced in sixth position in the one-wide line before she finished with a powerful burst to hit the front 250m from home and race away to win by two lengths from $7.50 chance Radiant Amber, who set the pace after showing great gate speed to lead from the No. 5 barrier. The race was marred by a mishap on the home turn on the final circuit when Shannon Suvaljko (Iona Diamond) and Deni Roberts (Tiffany Twirl) were dislodged from the sulky and Just Makemine Diamonds (Chris Voak) met with severe interference. The win took Blue Chip Adda’s earnings to $101,119 from seven wins and seven placings from 25 starts. The filly is the first foal out of former smart pacer Adda Rising Star, who raced 84 times for 16 wins, 27 placings and $184,608 in prizemoney. Adda Rising Star finished second twice in group 1 feature events --- behind Lucky Joy in the State Sires Series for two-year-old fillies in June 2012 and behind Lucky Diva in the State Sires Series for three-year-olds in July 2013.   Ken Casellas

After brilliant pacing filly Double Expresso underwent a CT examination under anaesthetic, it was decided that the three-year-old did not require surgery to cure a cyst on her nearside hind pastern. Jemma Hayman, wife of Double Expresso’s trainer Ross Olivieri and a qualified veterinarian, said that veterinary surgeon Dr David Murphy was against surgery. “We knew from radiographs that Double Expresso had quite a large bone cyst in her short pastern bone, and in addition to that she had some bone changes to her cannon bone and her sesamoides,” she said. “In many cases the way to treat a cyst is to put a screw across. But In Double Expresso’s case the cyst was two-thirds below the coronary band, meaning that surgery could be really difficult and could cause more harm than good. At this stage we are looking at giving Double Expresso four months off before re-evaluating her and making a decision whether to bring her back into training or to give her a further two months off. “The good thing is that age is on her side and the healing capacity of a younger horse is greater than that of an older horse. We’re optimistic about her chances of returning to racing. She will have gold star treatment.”     Ken Casellas

Star reinsman Gary Hall Jnr has given punters a good lead by deciding to handle Bolta in preference to Alta Intrigue in the opening event, the 1730m Etch Coatings Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.    “I have chosen Bolta (trained by Michael Young) because he will start from the No. 1 barrier in the sprint,” Hall explained. Alta Intrigue, trained by Gary Hall Snr, will be driven by Stuart McDonald from the outside of the back line. “Bolta is quick out and I’ll be trying to lead,” Hall said. “He’s probably good enough to pinch it. Alta Intrigue is racing well and is also capable of winning.” Hall Jnr also fancies his chances with Whozideawasthis in the Westral Pace, a 2130m event in which he is unfavourably drawn out wide at barrier eight. “It’s a drop in grade for him,” said Hall. “He could have drawn better, but it probably doesn’t matter with him because he’s probably best when he’s sat up. It’s a race he can definitely win.” One of the most interesting races on the program looks to be the final event, the 2130m Westside Auto Wholesale Pace for three-year-olds. It is an event in which champion trainer Gary hall snr has three of the seven runners Master Publisher, The Ideal Touch and Copy N Pace. Hall Jnr will drive The New Zealand-bred The Ideal Touch, who is undefeated at his first four starts in Western Australia but is sure to be fully tested after starting from the outside barrier. Micheal Ferguson, who has handled The Ideal Touch for three of his four WA wins, will drive Master Publisher, who is favourably drawn at barrier two. Stuart McDonald will drive Copy N Pace from barrier four.   Ken Casellas

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