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In-form reinsman Shannon Suvaljko has given punters an important lead by choosing to drive Clarenden Hustler in preference to Four Starzzz Forsa in the 2130m Caduceus Club Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Suvaljko handled both pacers when each turned in an eye-catching performance to finish in second place at their most recent outing. Clarenden Hustler, trained by Debbie Padberg, revealed explosive gate speed to lead from barrier seven in a 1730m event last Friday week. After quarters of 28.6sec., 29.4sec. and 27.9sec. the chestnut gelding, a recent arrival from South Australia, wilted slightly in a final quarter of 29.3sec. to finish a half-length second to Chok Chai. Four Starzzz Forsa started from barrier six in a 2130m event last Friday night and impressed when he was ninth on the pegs at the bell before finishing strongly to be second to Be On Guard. “I have chosen Clarenden Hustler ahead of Four Starzzz Forsa because he is the better horse,” was Suvaljko’s simple explanation. “Clarenden Hustler will win two or three in town. He’s a good horse, as good as Always Arjay. Once he becomes properly acclimatised and learns the pattern of WA racing, he’ll win races. He works as good as Neighlor. “From the back line this week I’ll driver him quietly and let him sprint home,” Suvaljko said. He should run in the top three.” Asked for his best prospect this week, Suvaljko said: “Take the place treble Neighlor, Clarenden Hustler and Absolution.” Suvaljko had the choice of driving Tactile Sensation and Another Ajay in race eight, the Join The Caduceus Club Today Handicap, and he opted for the Peter Tilbrook-trained Tactile Sensation, a five-year-old with a losing sequence of 31. Ten-year-old Another Ajay, a winner at Northam four starts ago for Serpentine trainer Matt Scott and a last-start third behind Back To The Beach and Debt Free Charlie at Gloucester Park last Friday night, will be driven by Michael Grantham. Grantham has high hopes of notching another win with Miss Sangrial, who is favourably drawn at barrier two in the Sports Daily On TABradio Pace. Miss Sangrial, trained by Michael Brennan, impressed when she led for the first 550m and then trailed the pacemaker Veiled Secret before running home strongly to win from that mare over 2130m at a 1.55.7 rate last Friday night. Miss Sangrial is capable of winning again, either by leading or by racing with a sit. She is likely to be tested by smart mares Gotta Go Gabbana, Mary Catherine and Lady De La Renta. Ken Casellas

Outstanding young reinsman Dylan Egerton-Green is delighted at Patrickthepiranha drawing the coveted No. 1 barrier in the $40,000 Caduceus Club Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night and is confident the WA-bred gelding will continue on his winning ways. “He gets away good from the arm and he’s got better with every run,” he declared. “And I’m confident that Patrickthepiranha is quick enough to hold the lead. He’s shown that at his previous runs. “Having his first run for a month is not a concern; he’s down the beach a fair bit and has also been working well. He hoppled today (Tuesday) and went really good, working by himself. Last Friday he worked with a few others and I was very happy with him.” Patrickthepiranha is aiming to extend his winning sequence to seven. He is unbeaten at six starts as a three-year-old and Egerton-Green (who has driven the gelding at all of his nine starts for seven wins, a first-up fifth and a third placing) said he was “probably” the best three-year-old he has driven. “I was fortunate to have driven Bechers Brook as a three-year-old last season (when he won the Battle of Bunbury and the Group 2 Western Gateway Pace before finishing a fast-finishing head second to King of Swing in the WA Derby),” he said. “They are two different horses. Bechers Brook was more of a sit and kick horse and Patrickthepiranha is more versatile; he can lead, sit-kick and is tougher.” Patrickthepiranha is prepared by ace Banjup trainer Colin Brown, who trained and drove The Hard Ball Get when he won the 2002 Caduceus Club Classic from Roadless Travelled and Sacre Bleu. Brown also won the Classic as a driver with David Hercules in 2010 and Ohokas Bondy in 2011. Patrickthepiranha’s chief rivals Shockwave and Franco Edward will need luck after drawing out wide. Shockwave, the winner of seven races from 17 starts, will begin from barrier No. 7, with Franco Edward, a winner at eight of his 12 starts, on his outside. Shockwave is in sparkling form and his seven starts this season have produced four wins and three placings. He is trained at Baskerville by Ryan Bell and will be driven by champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr, who has won the classic behind Latte (2003), Ulrich (2004), Alberts Fantasy (2006), Gracias Para Nada (2012), Northview Punter (2013) and Beaudiene Boaz (2015). Shockwave has revealed sparkling gate speed from barrier five at his past two starts for easy all-the-way wins over 1730m and 2130m. Whether he can cross to the front from barrier seven this week is debatable. Franco Edward, trained and driven by Kyle Harper, made most of the running when beaten into second place by the fast-finishing Sweet N Fast over 2536m last Friday night. That followed two convincing wins over 2185m at Pinjarra at his two previous starts. Champion trainer Gary Hall Snr, who has won the classic seven times, will be represented by the consistent and improving Eloquent Mach, who will be driven by Stuart McDonald from the outside of the back line. Eloquent Mach notched his fourth win from ten starts when he raced wide early and then in the breeze before fighting on determinedly to win from Know When To Run over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening. He faces a far tougher assignment against much stronger opposition on Friday night. Shannon Suvaljko, last season’s leading driver, is hoping for a change of fortune with the highly-promising Gee Jay Kay, who will start from, the No. 3 barrier for trainer Vicki Lea. Gee Jay Kay is still somewhat green, but has performed meritoriously at his three outings as a three-year-old with a second, a third and a fourth behind Shockwave. “His trial at Byford on Sunday was really good,” Suvaljko said. “He needs to sit and come over the top. He’s got some good horses to beat, but he’s up to them. It’s a good draw, but not a great draw.” Gee Jay Kay dashed over the final quarters of the 2150m trial in 28.9sec. and 27.1sec. and finished second to Another Snag. Ken Casellas

Star reinsman Ryan Warwick chalked up his 100th winner for the season when he drove Hasani to a hard-fought victory in a 2536m event at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night and he is quietly confident of keeping up the good work by steering Bettor Aim to victory in the Better Your Industry With TABtouch Pace on Friday night. Hasani, a promising Courage Under Fire five-year-old prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, was Warwick’s only drive on Tuesday night and came after he and the Bonds landed a treble with Ana Afreet, Our Alfie Romeo and Mighty Conqueror at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. The Bond camp and Warwick will have a comparatively quiet night on Friday night with three runners Courage Tells, Bettor Aim and Mitch Maguire and Warwick declared that Bettor Aim would prove hard to beat, saying with typical conservatism: “He’ll be thereabouts.” Bettor Aim, a New Zealand-bred four-year, has raced exclusively in Western Australia and, with Warwick in the sulky in all of his 18 starts for eight wins, three seconds and two thirds, has a bright future. Bettor Aim, who is handily drawn at No. 3 on the front line, finished last in a field of nine at his latest appearance, last Friday fortnight when he began from barrier nine, raced four wide early and then raced roughly when he contacted his own sulky. He then was hampered by a flat tyre, which was punctured 600m from home. Therefore there were many valid excuses for the failure. A week earlier he led and won very easily from Better Be Lively over 1730m and at his previous outing he finished stoutly to be second to Handsandwheels over 2130m. 40-year-old Warwick holds a commanding lead in the WA drivers’ premiership table, with 100 wins from 259 drives a winning percentage of 38.5 which is, by far, the best in Australia this season. He has now topped the century five seasons in a row 124 wins in 2014-15 (a winning percentage of 52), 124 (53.9%) in 2015-16, 176 (55.7%) in 2016-17 and 135 (59.3%) in 2017-18. Warwick’s 100 wins gives him a big lead on the WA premiership table over Chris Lewis (71 wins) and Gary Hall Jnr (63). Asked if he dreamt of heading the WA list for the first time this year, Warwick replied: “I’m not too worried about it. I never thought I was good enough to win a premiership, to be honest. But Greg (Bond) is pushing hard for it. It’s an ambition of Greg’s for me to be leading driver. “I work more on strike rates. If my strike rate is good, I’m happy. If I drove 50 winners and was running at 30 per cent I’d be stoked. As long as I’m fit and healthy I’ll keep driving, but I don’t see myself still driving at 65.” Warwick drove his first winner at 16 or 17 years of age when he was successful behind Neurology (trained by his father Colin) at Northam. He named Lookslikelightning as the best horse he has driven and the Glenn Pellew-trained Three Half Whites as the fastest he has sat behind. “When you start comparing them with all the outstanding Bond-trained horses, it gets too hard,” Warwick said. “Mitch Maguire is quick and so is El Jacko. Ana Malak is good and so is Dodolicious, Galactic Star and many, many others.” Warwick drove Ana Malak to victory in the Group 1 Four-Year-Old Classic and the Group 1 Golden Nugget late last year and he was excited at driving that horse’s full-brother Ana Afreet, a three-year-old colt, at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon.           Ana Afreet made a splendid debut in the 2185m event, winning a helter-skelter affair in which a couple of horses galloped in the first lap and another ran off the pegs. Ana Afreet settled in sixth position and after avoiding interference he took the sit behind the pacemaker and then moved off the pegs 500m from home, dashed to the front at the 420m mark and raced away to win by five lengths from Tuakana, with a final quarter in 28.8sec. “There was a lot of traffic and a lot of scenarios that were thrown at him,” Warwick said. “It was his first start in a race and he didn’t seem fazed by any of them. The ability is there and I was pleased with his effort. He and Ana Malak look identical and their attitudes are laid back. You don’t even know that they are stallions; they’re very similar, very chilled out. They save their energy and don’t do anything stupid.” Warwick also said that he was delighted at the progress being shown by Mighty Conqueror, who showed commendable adaptability and composure to overcome difficulties before winning at Pinjarra on Monday. He started off 20m in a 2631m stand and settled in sixth position in the breeze, six lengths from the leader Rocknroll Beachboy before he broke gear, became unbalanced and galloped after a lap. He lost a couple of lengths before returning to a pace and then continued in the breeze before getting to the front 470m from home and holding on to win from Tactile Sensation. That was Mighty Conqueror’s eighth win from 12 starts. While Warwick has posted his century, Greg and Skye Bond are poised to reach this milestone. They have had 278 starters this season for 99 wins in WA and lead the trainers’ premiership table from Gary Hall Snr and Ross Olivieri, who have each prepared 45 winners this season.   Ken Casellas

Lightly-raced five-year-old Herrick Roosevelt has made a full recovery from leg surgery and champion trainer Gary Hall Snr is confident the New Zealand-bred gelding can make a successful return to racing after an absence of 421 days by winning the $50,000 RWWA Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. This will be Herrick Roosevelt’s first start since he led and held on grimly to win the $50,000 Christmas Gift by a short half-head from Walkinshaw in December 2017 and his first-up prospects have been enhanced by drawing the prized No. 1 barrier in this week’s Group 2 feature event over 2130m. The Christian Cullen pacer has not appeared in recent trials, but Hall said he was fit and ready to run a big race. “His work in this preparation has been the best of his career and he’s a quick beginner and smart frontrunner,” he said. Herrick Roosevelt, to be driven by Gary Hall Jnr, underwent surgery after winning the Christmas Gift when he developed a cyst in a stifle joint in a back leg. He has raced only 18 times (all in Western Australia) for ten wins and six placings for stakes of $138,206. The Halls are seeking to win the RWWA Cup for the second year in succession. They were successful last year when Chicago Bull, favourite at 10/1 on, raced four wide early, took the lead after 650m and defeated stablemate Ohoka Punter by four lengths. Herrick Roosevelt is likely to be tested seriously by dependable iron horse Vultan Tin, who is in grand form for Coolup trainer Phil Costello and reinsman Chris Voak. Vultan Tin will start from barrier four and Voak is expected to make full use of the hardy seven-year-old’s good gate speed. “The worst case scenario will be working in the breeze,” Voak said. Vultan Tin maintained his excellent form when he was first out from the No. 4 barrier, but was unable to cross the polemarker Mr Mojito and then raced without cover before taking a narrow lead in the final stages and being beaten by a head by the fast-finishing Mitch Maguire over 2130m last Friday night. The final quarters were run in 28.2sec. and 27.7sec. A week earlier, Vultan Tin led from barrier two and gave a bold frontrunning display to win the Group 2 2536m City of Perth Cup by just under two lengths from the flying El Jacko. The final sections were run in 28.2sec. and 27.8sec. Talented reinsman Aiden de Campo warned punters not to underestimate Handsandwheels, who is awkwardly drawn at barrier No. 6. “He raced four back on the pegs and didn’t get a clear run in the last lap when sixth behind Mitch Maguire last week,” de Campo said. “He was unlucky and if he’d got a run he would’ve gone close to winning. He’s got another tricky draw this week and I haven’t yet decided on my tactics.” Mitch Maguire, prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, is a brilliant sit-sprinter who is capable of overcoming his wide barrier at No. 7. He won for the ninth time from his past 15 starts and for the 23rd time from just 38 starts when he was sixth at the bell and finished powerfully to beat Vultan Tin last week. Shannon Suvaljko said that he was expecting the lone back-line runner Always Arjay to gain a perfect run behind the likely pacemaker Herrick Roosevelt and then figure in the finish. The Nathan Turvey-trained and driven Simba Bromac will reappear after a month’s absence, but the gelding faces a stern test from the outside barrier (No. 9). Simba Bromac warmed up for the race with a stylish all-the-way victory in a 2185m trial at Pinjarra on Sunday morning when he was unextended in dashing over the final 400m in 26.9sec. in beating Chelsea Royale by 19 metres.   Ken Casellas

Talented young trainer-reinsman Kyle Harper will gauge Franco Edward’s prospects in the $200,000 WA Derby when the colt competes over the Derby distance of 2536m in the Westral Crimsafe Doors Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Franco Edward, a dual Group 1 winner as a two-year-old last winter, has yet to race beyond 2185m in a brilliant career of eight wins and two seconds from 11 starts. “It was part of the reason why I put him in this race to see how he handles the 2500m,” Harper said. “I don’t think it will worry him at all. “From barrier four this week, I reckon he will find the front early. He hasn’t reached his peak in this current campaign (five starts for four wins) and after this week’s race I plan to run him in the Caduceus Club Classic the following Friday night as part of his preparation for the WA Derby (April 5).” Harper, who has a healthy respect for several smart three-year-olds, including Shockwave and Patrickthepiranha, singled out the Justin Prentice-trained four-year-old Sweet N Fast as Franco Edward’s most serious rival on Friday night. Sweet N Fast, who has won by big margins at Bunbury and Pinjarra at his past two starts, has an impressive record of nine wins and five placings from 22 starts. He will start from barrier five, alongside Franco Edward on Friday night. Anime (barrier one) and Mister Bushido (two) also will have admirers. Anime, trained at Coolup by Phil Costello, has a losing sequence of 15, but has been knocking on the door, with five seconds from his past six starts. He worked hard in the breeze and fought on grandly when second to Thisbeachrighthere over 2130m last Friday night. Mister Bushido, a former New Zealand performer and a newcomer to the stables of Gary Hall Snr, will pay to follow. He enjoyed a good passage in the one-out, one-back position before running home solidly into third place behind Thisbeachrighthere and Anime last Friday night. Vrai Amour, a lightly-raced seven-year-old with three wins from seven starts, will have many admirers when Jocelyn Young drives him for trainer Debra Lewis from the prized No. 1 barrier in the final event, the Westral Plantation Shutters Pace over 2130m. Vrai Amour reappeared after an absence of 19 months in a 1730m sprint last Friday night. From barrier six, he raced at the rear and was eighth, out five wide, on the home turn before charging home with a powerful burst to finish an eye-catching sixth behind Chok Chai. He will clash with the promising Our Rhythm N Blues, who faces a first-up test from the No. 8 barrier. Our Rhythm N Blues, a five-year-old trained by Gary Hall Snr, raced three times in WA last April and May after arriving from New Zealand for a first-up second to Pick My Pocket at Pinjarra and two wins over 2130m at Gloucester Park after setting the pace.   Ken Casellas

Smart pacers El Jacko and Vultan Tin have developed a keen rivalry this season and their clash in the $25,000 Westral Outdoor Patio Blinds Pace over 2130m will be a highlight of the ten-event program at Gloucester Park on Friday night. El Jacko, prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, produced an eye-catching performance when a fast-finishing second to Vultan Tin in the Group 2 City of Perth Cup last Friday night and he has excellent prospects of turning the tables on his arch rival this week. Leading reinsman Ryan Warwick resumes as El Jacko’s driver this week after handling stablemates in El Jacko’s past five starts. Warwick and El Jacko have formed as powerful combination, with Warwick in the sulky at 14 of the New Zealand-bred six-year-old’s 17 wins in Western Australia. El Jacko is the only runner on the back line in Friday night’s race and Warwick will have many tactical options. Vultan Tin, to be driven by Chris Voak for Coolup part-owner and trainer Phil Costello, will start from the No. 4 barrier and Voak looks set to take advantage of the seven-year-old’s good gate speed. Vultan Tin set the pace from barrier two in last week’s Cup. He had an easy time and was not challenged in front. After leisurely opening quarters of the final mile in 31.1sec. and 29.3sec. Vultan Tin sprinted over the final 400m sections in 28.2sec. and 27.8sec. as he strolled to a two-length victory over El Jacko. El Jacko, driven by Dylan Egerton-Green, started from the back line and raced in seventh position in the one-wide line. He was six wide on the home turn, ninth at the 100m mark and eighth with 60m to travel as he flew home into second place. He made up three lengths on Vultan Tin in the straight. Vultan Tin and El Jacko should again fight out the finish this week as their trainers prepare them for an assault on Group 2 $50,000 features in the next few weeks the RWWA Cup, Governor’s Cup and Pinjarra Cup.  Apart from El Jacko, the Bond stable will be represented in this week’s Free-For-All by Mitch Maguire (Nathan Turvey) and Our Jimmy Johnstone (Egerton-Green). Byford trainer Ross Olivieri has three runners, Mr Mojito (Shannon Suvaljko), Im Full of Excuses (Chris Lewis) and Itz Bettor To Win (Stuart McDonald), who have drawn barriers one, two and three, respectively.  Capel trainer Andrew de Campo is hoping for a strong forward showing from Handsandwheels (Aiden de Campo) and Blythewood trainer Michael Brennan will be represented by veteran The Bucket List (Michael Grantham).     Handsandwheels ran home determinedly from sixth at the bell to finish third in the City of Perth Cup, and The Bucket List was tenth at the bell before surging home, out wide, into fifth place. Ken Casellas

Astute Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed is aiming to win the $50,000 Westral Daintys Daughter Classic for a record-equalling third time when high-priced New Zealand-bred filly Arma Indie contests the Group 2 feature event at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Arma Indie arrived in Perth less than two weeks ago and she has the raw ability to overcome the disadvantage of starting from the outside barrier in the field of nine at her first appearance in Australia. She and the Colin Brown-trained and driven Typhoon Tiff are likely to dominate betting on the 2130m event in which the connections of all runners are anxious to press claims for a start in the $150,000 WA Oaks on May 3. Arma Indie was purchased three weeks ago by Jim and Wilma Giumelli from owner-breeders Davinia Harrison and Johnny Mathers for what they (the owners) described as a “sizeable” figure. Co-trainer David Butt said that Arma Indie had come back as a three-year-old stronger and more sensible than she was as a two-year-old when she raced eight times for no wins, one second and two thirds. Arma Indie ended her two-year-old campaign on a high note at Cambridge last June when she was a 72/1 outsider and finished second to the classy Princess Tiffany in the Group 1 Diamond Classic when the quarters were covered in 27.7sec., 30.7sec., 27.6sec. and 28.2sec. She revealed excellent gate speed and took the lead after 450m before sitting behind the pacemaker Princess Tiffany 400m later. She fought on with admirable spirit. The filly resumed after a spell and an absence of exactly seven months when she started from the No. 1 barrier and led for the first 450m before taking a sit in a 2000m event at Otago on January 2. Taking full advantage of the sprint lane Arma Indie burst to the front 120m from the post and won by more than two lengths from Vergeofgreatness, rating 2.1.6, with a final quarter of 28.6sec. She started from barrier No. 6 over 2200m at Invercargill on January 10. She began speedily and dashed to the front after 250m before taking a sit 400m later. She then regained the lead with 1100m to travel and went on to win in fine style from the fast-finishing colt Mighty Flying Art. Arma Indie rated 1.59.4 and covered the final 40m section in 27.7sec. Arma Indie is by American stallion Well Said and is the second foal (and only one to have raced) out of Arma Courage, who won three minor races and $17,410 from 21 starts. Arma Indie is closely related to Armalight, an outstanding mare who had 36 starts for 18 wins, 11 placings and $277,520 in prizemoney. Armalight, the New Zealand Horse of the Year in 1982, won seven Group 1 events, including the New Zealand Oaks at New Brighton in April 1980, the New Zealand Cup at Addington in November 1981 and the Auckland Cup at Alexandra Park in February 1983. Mark Reed will drive Arma Indie for his father, who has trained the winner of the Daintys Daughter Classic with Sheer Royalty (driven by Chris Lewis) in 2009 and Maczaffair (driven by Shannon Suvaljkjo) in 2017. Champion trainer Gary Hall Snr holds the record with three winners of the classic Majorly Foxy Styx (2014), Nuala (2015) and Slick Artist (2018). Brown has won the Daintys Daughter Classic twice. He was successful with the Deb Sweet-trained Centrefold Angel in 2010 and he prepared 8/1 chance Gota Good Lookadda, who led and beat 6/4 on favourite Bettor Dreams by a half-length. Centrefold Angel, a 3/1 chance, showed great courage to race in the breeze before getting to the front on the home turn and beating the 5/4 favourite Ella Sue by a head. Centrefold Angel was owned by Colleen Lindsay, who bred and owns Typhoon Tiff, who will start from barrier five on Friday night. Mrs Lindsay also bred and owns Typhoon Tiff’s full sister Tiffany Twirl, who was a 75/1 chance when she finished eighth behind Slick Artist in last year’s Daintys Daughter Classic. Typhoon Tiff was produced in outstanding shape by Brown for her first-up run at Pinjarra last Monday week. She led from barrier three and gave an outstanding frontrunning exhibition to win by 8m from Dracarys, rating 1.55.2 over 1684m, with final quarters of 26.7sec. and 27.8sec. That was Typhoon Tiff’s first outing since she raced wide early and then in the breeze before finishing a neck second to Majorpride in the Diamond Classic for two-year-old fillies last June. Gary Hall Jnr has been engaged by Busselton trainer Barry Howlett to drive Millwood Gucci for the first time. The filly, a winner this year at Bunbury and Albany, steps up a lot in class, but has place prospects from the coveted No. 1 barrier. Mandy Joan, a winner at two of her nine starts for Byford trainer David Thompson, will be having her first start since August, but also has place prospects from barrier No. 3. She dashed over the final quarters of a 23150m trial at Byford on Sunday morning in 28.5sec. and 27.9sec. She will be handled by Dylan Egerton-Green. Champion trainers Greg and Skye Bond and leading reinsman Ryan Warwick, who combined for the fighting head victory by Dodolicious in the 2016 Daintys Daughter Classic, will be pinning their faith in Starlight Destiny, an all-the-way Northam winner over 1780m last Saturday night. Starlight Destiny will need a shade of luck from barrier seven, but she is an ultra-consistent filly who has had 15 starts for five wins, six seconds and three thirds. Ken Casellas

The big question is: Can Campora break through for an overdue win in the Crystalpack Stakes? And the simple answer is: Yes, he certainly can end a losing sequence of 16. Six-year-old Campora, trained by Gary Hall Snr, has been unplaced at his past ten starts and has managed just one win from his past 31 outings. However, he should relish the luxury of starting from the No. 1 barrier against moderate opposition in the 1730m sprint event. He has been dogged by unfavourable draws in recent months and he showed his liking for the No. 1 barrier and his ability as a frontrunner when he set the pace for Lauren Jones and sprinted over the final quarters in 28.4sec. and 27.9sec. to win from Soho Chelsea and Chevrons Champion over 2130m late last July. Looming as the toughest for Campora to beat is Touch of Success, who will be driven by Dylan Egerton-Green from barrier two. Touch of Success, trained by Nathan Turvey, has a losing sequence of 12, but he showed signs of better things to come when he began from the back line and trailed the pacemaker Ohoka Darcy and ran home solidly to finish second to Caviar Star over 2130m last Friday week. He has set the pace in six of his 11 victories. Two pacers with substantial losing sequences will be two of the best backed runners in the Kyra’s Canter Pace. They are Luis Alberto (with a losing run of 21) and Sea Me Smile, who boasts a losing sequence of 46. Luis Alberto will be driven by Gary Hall Jnr from the No. 2 barrier and Sea Me Smile will be driven by Jocelyn Young from barrier three. Luis Alberto showed little sparkle from barrier No. 1 in a 2536m event last Friday night and he raced in fifth place, three back on the pegs, before finishing a well-beaten eighth behind James Butt. A week earlier, he raced three back on the pegs and ran on solidly, out wide, to finish fifth behind Hasani. Sea Me Smile enjoyed a perfect trip in the one-out, one-back position in a 2130m event last Friday night when she battled on gamely to finish fourth behind Caviar Star. Wanneroo trainer Debbie Padberg has two runners in this week’s event, Regal Ambition and Absolution, and both have realistic winning prospects. Ken Casellas

Talented but lightly-raced pacer Chok Chai will resume after an absence of almost seven months when he contests the Crystal Printing Pacing Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night and he should have too much class for his eight rivals. Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall Snr has not produced Chok Choi in trials, but the big gelding is sure to be fit enough to give a spirited first-up performance. The New Zealand-bred son of Washington VC has raced only 15 times for ten wins and two seconds. He had seven starts as a three-year-old for five wins and two seconds and then suffered a hairline fracture of a sesamoid in 2016 and was out of action for 11 months. Patient care and rest cured the problem. Chok Chai had two starts as a four-year-old for a first-up win and an 11th placing before being off the scene for nine months. He resumed in February 2018 and won four in a row before finishing eighth and 11th last July and then being spelled. He will start from barrier five in Friday night’s field of nine and Gary Hall Jnr could be tempted to use the gelding’s noted gate speed in a bid for the early lead in a race in which the Ross Olivieri-trained four-year-old Carrera Mach will be fancied from the prime No. 1 barrier. Adding interest to the race will be the reappearance after an absence of 19 months of Vrai Amour, a seven-year-old gelding who has had only six starts for three wins, two at Pinjarra and one at Bunbury. Bred, owned and trained by Debra Lewis, Vrai Amour has yet to race at Gloucester Park. He will start from the No. 6 barrier with Jocelyn Young in the sulky. Vrai Amour’s half-sisters Artemis Belle and Eagle Rox were outstanding juvenile performers, with Artemis Belle winning the Group 1 Sales Classic and the Group 3 Gold Bracelet for two-year-old fillies, the Group 3 Dainty’s Daughter Classic and the Group 1 WA Oaks in 2011. She was retired with a record of 31 starts for 19 wins, nine placings and stakes of $359,559. Eagle Rox won the Group 1 Diamond Classic as a two-year-old in a 29-start career of 16 wins and eight placings for earnings of $225,656. Chok Chai is one of several excellent drives for champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr who will supported strongly to win the opening two events, with Shockwave in the first and Bronze Seeker in the second. The Ryan Bell-trained Shockwave will start from barrier five and is sure to meet with plenty of opposition from the polemarker Gee Jay Kay, who will be handled by Shannon Suvaljko for trainer Vicki Lea. Gee Jay Kay also started from the No. 1 barrier when he resumed after a spell in a 1730m sprint last Friday night. He was a $1.45 favourite and led for the first 150m before Hall urged Shockwave ($2.70) past him and into the lead. Shockwave relished his pacemaking role and reeled off quarters of 28.3sec., 29sec., 28.7sec. and 28.4sec. to win by just over three lengths from Eloquent Mach, with Gee Jay Kay a neck away in third place. Gee Jay Kay had a tough run in the breeze and was at a disadvantage when one shortener failed to release. Like Shockwave and Eloquent Mach, Gee Jay Kay is developing into a serious candidate for the $200,000 WA Derby on April 5. Bronze Seeker is racing in grand style for Byford trainer Peter Anderson and will be favoured by the No. 1 barrier in the 1730m Worldwide East Perth Pace. He also started from barrier one three starts ago when he gave a splendid frontrunning display to win over 2130m from Benhope Rulz. Baylan Jett and Luis Alberto will be driven by Hall late in the program and the five-year-olds have sound prospects against moderate opposition.   Ken Casellas

Outstanding young reinsman Dylan Egerton-Green will be aiming to maintain his perfect record behind Wesley when he drives the speedy five-year-old in the 1730m Worldwide East Perth Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Bunbury trainer and part-owner Sarah Wall engaged Egerton-Green after the horse’s regular driver Kaiden Hayter was suspended for 17 days last Friday night for causing interference in the Nights of Thunder final. Hayter has formed a splendid alliance with Wesley and has driven the horse at his past nine starts and at 14 of his past 15 starts. Egerton-Green has driven Wesley only twice for all-the-way victories over 2100m at Bunbury and 2185m at Pinjarra in December 2017. Wesley is a specialist sprinter, having won twice over 1609m and once each over 1684m, 1730m and 1823m. He revealed typical early brilliance when he started from the No. 4 barrier in the final of the 1730m Nights of Thunder last Friday night when he zoomed past As Happy As Larry to take up the running after 100m. After a blistering opening quarter of the final mile in 27.8sec., Wesley ran the next three 400m sections in 29.6sec., 28sec. and 29.6sec. Benhope Rulz, who raced in the breeze, took the lead on the home turn and Wesley wilted to finish seventh. His effort in a qualifying heat the previous week was full of merit. From barrier four he raced in the breeze and fought on doggedly to finish fourth behind Bettor Aim, who rated a sizzling 1.52.4. There is plenty of speed inside Wesley this week, with Bronze Seeker at barrier one and Good Times Ahead at No. 2. Tanaka Eagle (barrier six) and Debt Free Charlie (seven) can also muster considerable early pace. Egerton-Green also has several other sound each-way prospects on the program, including the Greg and Skye Bond-trained El Jacko in the $50,000 City of Perth Cup. El Jacko looks ideally suited from barrier two on the back line. He maintained his excellent form when he raced three back on the pegs and flew home along the inside to finish a half-length second to Rocknroll Lincoln in the 2936m WA Pacing Cup last Friday week. His other drives Touch of Success, Talkerup, Hy Leexciting, Ultimate Major and Kid Colossus will have admirers.   Ken Casellas

New Zealand-bred pacers Hasani and Caviar Star were two of the most impressive winners last Friday night and their clash in the $30,000 Cowden The Insurance Brokers Im Themightyquinn Pace should provide one of the highlights on Friday night’s ten-event program at Gloucester Park. Neither pacer was extended in winning over 2130m, with Caviar Star giving a brilliant performance to race three wide for the first 600m and then in the breeze before careering away to win by two lengths from Touch of Success. His time of 2min. 34.5sec. was superior than the 2min. 35.1sec. recorded by Hasani.  However, Hasani makes strong appeal as the winner this week, given the fact that he has drawn perfectly at barrier one on the front line, with Caviar Star drawn at the No. 2 barrier on the back line. Ryan Warwick, who drives Hasani for the powerful Greg and Skye Bond stable, is sure to take full advantage of the superior barrier by giving the lightly-raced Courage Under Fire gelding the task of leading all the way. Hasani possesses excellent gate speed and should be capable of holding out  Roman Aviator (barrier three) after the mobile barrier releases the field. Hasani is a five-year-old who has raced only 13 times for seven wins, four seconds and a third and he looks set for a bright career. Caviar Star, trained by Gary Hall Snr, is a four-year-old who has won at seven of his 19 starts and reinsman Gary Hall jnr was full of praise after his victory last week, saying: “He’s still a bity of a baby in the head, but he’s got speed and toughness and that will get him a long way.” Four-year-old Roman Aviator, trained and driven by Aldo Cortopassi, boasts a splendid record of 30 starts for nine wins, seven seconds and a third and he should be prominent. Eight-year-old Machrie is racing enthusiastically for Pinjarra trainer Chris King, and though he has a losing sequence of 38, he has sound place prospects from the inside of the back line. He ran home strongly from last at the bell when third behind Hasani and Anime last Friday night. Ken Casellas

All-conquering trainers Greg and Skye Bond are full of hope that history will repeat itself when they send Saying Grace, Our Jimmy Johnstone and Our Max Phactor out to do battle in the $25,000 Glenroy Chaff Ray Duffy Memorial over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. They are hoping that they will get a trifecta result to replicate their performance when they last had three runners in the Duffy Memorial in April 2013 when Russley Rascal, the 9/4 favourite from the No. 1 barrier and driven by Morgan Woodley, set the pace and won from stablemates Can Return Fire (Nathan Turvey) and Ima Rocket Star (Ryan Warwick).    This week the Bonds have excellent prospects of a 1-2-3 finish with Warwick in the sulky behind Saying Grace, Dylan Egerton-Green driving veteran Our Jimmy Johnstone from the No. 2 barrier and Colin Brown handling Our Max Phactor from an ideal draw at No. 2 on the back line. The New Zealand-bred Saying Grace is the least experienced runner in the field, with a record of 11 wins and five placings from 27 starts. He drops considerably in class after stout-hearted efforts in the Fremantle Cup and WA Pacing Cup on the past two Fridays and he should be capable of setting the pace and notching another victory. Saying Grace raced in seventh position in the one-wide line for much of the way in the 21936m Pacing Cup and battled on gamely to finish seventh, less than three lengths from the winner Rocknroll Lincoln. In the 2536m Fremantle Cup the previous week, he trailed the pacemaker My Field Marshal and was hopelessly blocked for a clear passage when a close and unlucky fourth being My Field Marshal. Our Jimmy Johnstone impressed in the Pacing Cup when he ran home solidly from last at the bell to finish fifth, while Our Max Phactor was always at the rear and was forced to cover a lot of extra ground in the final circuit. Our Max Phactor gave a sample of his class three starts ago when he raced wide early and then in the breeze before finishing second to My Field Marshal in the 1730m Village Kid Sprint. His previous 13 starts in Western Australia resulted in 12 wins and one second placing. Trainer Ross Olivieri and reinsman Chris Lewis combined to win the Duffy Memorial with Sensational Gabby in 2014 and Flaming Flutter in 2017 and they will be looking for Mr Mojito to cause an upset from barrier five. Olivieri will also be represented by Itz Bettor To Win, who will start from barrier six with Mitch Miller in the sulky. Handsandwheels, Vultan Tin and Runrunjimmydunn are racing with plenty of spirit, but will need luck from wide barriers. Handsandwheels warmed up for the race by starting from 60 metres over 2503m at Bunbury last Saturday night. He sustained a spirited burst, out wide, from the rear to win by a half-length from Attack On Command. He is a noted frontrunner, but reinsman Aiden de Campo contends that the powerful five-year-old will develop into a strong sit-sprinter. The Matt Scott-trained Always Arjay steps up in class, but has place prospects from the inside of the back line. The seven-year-old won for the fifth time this season when he started from 20m, raced three wide early and then without cover before finishing determinedly to snatch victory from Carrera Mach last Friday night.   Ken Casellas

Ron Huston made a wise decision when he outlaid $12,000 to purchase a Western Terror colt at the APG yearling sale in Perth two years ago. Now a three-year-old gelding by the name of Gee Jay Kay, he looks destined for an extremely bright career and he should resume after a two-month absence on a winning note. Trained at Byford by Vicki Lea, Gee Jay Kay will start from the coveted No. 1 barrier in the $18,000 Retravision Pace and Shannon Suvaljko’s intentions will be to set a solid pace over the 1730m sprint journey. Gee Jay Kay is the first foal out of the unraced Artistic Fella mare Case of Bubbly and the champagne should be flowing when Lea celebrates her 41st birthday next Thursday. Gee Jay Kay, who has raced six times for two wins and two seconds for earnings of $13,668, showed that he was ready for a powerful first-up performance with an outstanding trial over 2150m at Byford on Sunday morning when he dashed to an early lead and sprinted over the final quarters in 28.9sec. and 28.5sec. to win by seven lengths from Robbie Easton. Robbie Easton followed his trial effort with an easy four-length victory over Fulfil The Dream at Narrogin on Tuesday night when he finished strongly from sixth at the bell. Gee Jay Kay’s chief rival this week is sure to be the talented Ryan Bell-trained Shockwave, who has earned $86,990 from five wins, five seconds and three thirds from 15 starts. Shockwave will start from the No. 5 barrier with Gary Hall Jnr in the sulky. Gee Jay Kay has not raced since contesting a 2130m event at Gloucester Park on November 23 when he began speedily from barrier four and worked hard in the breeze before surging to the front 500m from home. He was still in front when challenged by Shockwave 250m later, but he then broke into a fierce gallop, losing about four lengths. He recovered and finished second, more than six lengths behind Shockwave. Shockwave covered a lot of extra ground before winning easily in moderate company at Bunbury two starts ago. He then raced at Gloucester Park a month ago when he raced in the breeze for much of the way before finishing third behind smart three-year-olds Patrickthepiranha and Its Rock And Roll. Ace trainer Gary Hall Snr has two runners in Friday night’s race, last-start winners Eloquent Mach (Stuart McDonald) and Major Survivor (Lauren Jones). But they will be tested from difficult draws, with Eloquent Mach starting from barrier six and Major Survivor from the outside (No. 9). Eloquent Mach has won at three of his past four starts and impressed at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon when he was sixth at the bell before finishing full of running to win from Galante and Bettor Be Oscar. Eloquent Mach covered a lot of extra ground before winning from Extradite at Pinjarra the previous Monday. Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri will be represented by Morant (Chris Voak) and Babyface Adda (Chris Lewis), but they will be tested from wide draws. Wanneroo trainer Debbie Padberg’s runners Antagonistic (Mark Reed) and Amadeo (Luke Edwards) have place prospects from barriers two and three, respectively.   Ken Casellas

Champion trainers Greg and Skye Bond are poised to set a record by preparing the first horse to win the $50,000 The West Australian Nights of Thunder at Gloucester Park on Friday night from the outside barrier. They are pinning their hopes on classy four-year-old Bettor Aim, the least experienced runner in the Group 2 feature event whose prospects diminished slightly when he drew the outside (No. 9) barrier. No pacer has been successful from either barrier eight or nine in the 12-year history of the 1730m event but Bettor Aim was so dominant in winning one of the three qualifying heats last Friday night that he should be able to overcome the significant disadvantage of the wide draw. Bettor Aim started from the No. 2 barrier, dashed to the front after 200m and gave his rivals little chance when he set a scorching pace in his heat in which he won by just over three lengths from Bettor Be Lively, rating 1.52.4, a time faster than that recorded by the winner of the 12 finals. The 400m sections of the heat whizzed by in 27.6sec., 27.8sec., 27.9sec. and 29.3sec. The race record rate of 1.53 was set by Mohegan Sun when he enjoyed the one-out, one-back trail and finished strongly to beat the pacemaker Ti Amo Franco three years ago. The Bonds have an excellent record in the Nights of Thunder, winning the race from awkward draws with Quick Draw McCaw from barrier five in 2008 and with Ohokas Bondy from barrier seven in 2012. Both those winners started at 13/2 and were driven by Colin Brown.   Quick Draw McCaw, trained by Greg Bond, began speedily and set the pace before winning by a neck from Glitzy Miss. Four years later, Ohokas Bondy, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, was restrained at the start, was seventh with 600m to travel and fifth on the home turn before finishing powerfully to win by a half-length from stablemate Dundee Three, with other stablemates Seel N Print (barrier four) and Nimrod (barrier three) finishing eighth and ninth, respectively. Bettor Aim, to be driven by leading reinsman Ryan Warwick, raced four times in New Zealand for one win. That victory was as a three-year-old in his final appearance in New Zealand when he revealed his undoubted ability as a sprinter when he led early from barrier one, then raced three back on the pegs and moved to the breeze with 900m to travel before bursting to the front at the 150m mark and easily beating the favourite Ohanzee, rating 1.56.7 over 1950m at Addington in April of last year, with a final quarter in 27.9sec. He boasts an outstanding record in Western Australia seven wins, one second and one fifth (behind stablemate Ana Malak in the Golden Nugget championship last month). A wide barrier in the Nights of Thunder in 2015 contributed to the disappointment for the Bond camp when Our Jimmy Johnstone started favourite at 6/4 from barrier No. 6 and finished sixth behind Soho Lennon after racing four wide early and then in the breeze. In the final the following year, the Bond-trained Phoenix Warrior was a 2/1 favourite from the No. 1 barrier. But he broke in the early stages and finished last. The stable also has had two third placegetters in the Nights of Thunder final --- Pablito in 2009 and Bettor Offer in 2017. One of Bettor Aim’s toughest opponents on Friday night is likely to be Benhope Rulz, the only other four-year-old in the race. Benhope Rulz, prepared by Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall Snr, has won at nine of his 24 starts and impressed in a qualifying heat last week when he began out wide at barrier seven, raced wide early and then in the one-out, one-back position before finishing strongly to be second to Mattjestic Star. Benhope Rulz will be handled by Gary Hall Jnr who is in dazzling form and has driven ten winners in the past week. Hall Snr will also be represented by Bettor Vision (Stuart McDonald) who led early and then trailed the pacemaker when a fighting third to Bettor Aim last Friday night. The five-year-old boasts a fine record of 30 starts for nine wins, seven seconds and five thirds.           The master trainer has a wonderful record in the Nights of Thunder with four winners (Tealsby Karita, Hokonui Ben, Soho Lennon and Mohegan Sun) as well as two second and three third placegetters. The oldest and most experienced runner in Friday night’s final is the Julie O’Neill-trained eight-year-old Mattjestic Star, who notched his 17th victory from 127 starts when he charged home from fifth at the 100m mark to win convincingly from Benhope Rulz and As Happy As Larry in the opening qualifying heat, rating 1.53.4. Mattjestic Star will begin from the No. 6 barrier and Darren Kerr will employ similar sit-sprint tactics on Friday night. Kerr has happy memories of driving Scan Air to a thrilling victory over hot favourite Scruncher in the 2010 Nights of Thunder final. Scan Air was eighth at the bell and flew home to overhaul the pacemaking Scruncher in the final 25 metres. Henley Brook trainer-reinsman Robbie Williams has high hopes of winning with As Happy As Larry, who has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier. As Happy As Larry revealed great gate speed from barrier three last week before setting a scorching pace and wilting only over the final stages. Williams is sure to take full advantage of the inside draw and As Happy As Larry will take plenty of catching.   Ken Casellas

Veteran pacer The Bucket List has finished in eighth position in 2130m mobile events on the past two Friday nights, but he should relish a return to standing-start conditions and a considerable drop in class when he begins off the back mark of 30 metres in the TABtouch Better Your Industry Handicap over 2503m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The New Zealand-bred nine-year-old has the credentials to bounce back to winning form: He has won eight stands in Western Australia and is the track record-holder for a 2503m stand. The Bucket List rated 1.57.2 when he started off the 50m mark and came from tenth at the bell and went five wide at the 400m to charge to the front 110m from home and win the BOTRA Cup from Always Arjay and Motu Premier last July. This gave him the track record for a 2503m stand, beating the 1.57.9 rate recorded by superstar Im Themightyquinn when he began from 30m and beat Christopher Three and Our Mercurio in July 2010. The Bucket List was not suited by the fast early tempo in a 2130m mobile event last Friday night when he started from the No. 4 barrier, raced three wide early and then in the breeze before gaining the one-out, one-back sit after a lap. He was left without any sting when the final quarters went by in 28.4sec. and 29.4sec., but he finished less than three lengths behind the winner Im Full of Excuses, who won from smart pacers Gotta Go Gabbana and Simba Bromac. The Bucket List, to be handled by Michael Grantham (who has won seven races with the Christian Cullen gelding), is sure to appreciate much inferior opposition this week. His most serious rivals loom as Always Arjay (20m) and frontmarkers Carrera Mach, Bright Diamond and Destined To Rule. The Matt Scott-trained Always Arjay is in splendid form and will take a power of beating. He impressed in a 2503m stand two starts ago when he worked hard in the breeze and finished determinedly to get up and win from the pacemaking Carrera Mach and Bettor Not Bitter. That followed Always Arjay’s fast-finishing second to Lord Willoughby in a 2130m mobile event a week earlier. His two previous runs were in stands at Narrogin (for a hard-working win by four lengths over dead-heaters Keeper of Keys and Gaz Wannabet) and a strong third from the breeze behind Crime Scene at Bunbury. Carrera Mach, a small New Zealand-bred four-year-old trained by Ross Olivieri, is extremely consistent, with seven wins and nine placings from 25 starts. He makes strong appeal as the likely pacemaker and will take beating if left alone in front. Bright Diamond, a four-year-old in the Greg and Skye Bond stables, returns to standing-start racing after a series of excellent efforts against quality opposition in mobile events. This will be his first appearance in a stand at Gloucester Park, but he has impressed at his two standing-starts runs in WA both off the 30m mark last October when he worked forward early to set the pace and win from Rum Delight and Rafaello at Bunbury and when a close second to Cut For An Ace, after final quarters of 27.7sec. and 27.1sec.   Ken Casellas

Champion horseman Tim Butt, who has prepared more grand circuit winners than any other harness racing trainer in Australasia, is poised to set more records when his brilliant seven-year-old My Field Marshal contests the $450,000 TABtouch WA Pacing Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The 51-year-old New Zealand-born Butt, who relocated from Christchurch to Menangle in New South Wales early last year, is confident that My Field Marshal will prove the best stayer and win the testing 2936m mobile group 1 classic in the stallion’s first attempt over a distance beyond 2700m. “He’s fantastic and has come through his wins in the Village Kid Sprint and Fremantle Cup absolutely terrific,” he said. Asked if the 2936m was a concern, Butt said: “It’s only 400m longer than last week’s Cup and I couldn’t be happier with the barrier draw (No. 3 on the front line).” Queried about the likely driving tactics to be employed by his elder brother Anthony, he said: “We haven’t done the form yet, but we’ve got options from that draw. “The horse hasn’t done a lot since he led and won the Fremantle Cup. He had a hoppled run this morning (Tuesday) and I just ticked him over like I normally do. He’s bright and he loves it here.” The Butt brothers are full of hope that they will be able to go one better than they did when Flashing Red finished second to Tealsby Karita in the 2007 WA Pacing Cup. Flashing Red, second favourite at 3/1 from barrier five, raced wide early and three wide again in the middle stages before working hard in the breeze. He fought on doggedly behind Tealsby Karita, the 11/4 favourite who made most of the running. “Flashing Red was a great horse and a great stayer, but My Field Marshal has got a bit more brilliance,” Tim Butt said. If My Field Marshal is successful this week, it will give the famous Butt family a special record, with the first set of brothers training a WA Pacing Cup winner. Roddy Butt, the youngest of the three Butt brothers, prepared Justaboyden, who was driven by Fred Kersley jnr and produced one of the most spectacular bursts of speed in a Pacing Cup when he was ninth at the 400m and sprouted wings to charge to the front at the 250m mark and career away to beat Southern Knight by more than three lengths in the big race in 1995. The WA Pacing Cup was first run in 1913 and the inaugural Fremantle Cup was in 1928 and, if successful, My Field Marshal will become only the eighth pacer to have won the WA Pacing Cup-Fremantle Cup double in the one season, a feat that has been performed by Black Bertha (1942), Pure Steel (1980), Village Kid (1988 and 1989), The Falcon Strike (2002 and 2004), Baltic Eagle (2003), Im Themightyquinn (2011 and 2012) and Chicago Bull (2017). My Field Marshal, bred and owned by Syd and Shona Brown (who also bred and owned the horse’s dam Foreal, a winner of 18 races and $664,800 in stakes. My Field Marshal has earned $1,324,712 from 26 wins and 21 placings from 61 starts, has won six group 1 features --- the Taylor Mile and Messenger Championship at Alexandra Park, the Four-Year-Old Emerald at Cambridge (in successive starts in 2016), the Len Smith Mile at Menangle in 2017, the Miracle Mile in 1.46.9 on the same track last February and last week’s Fremantle Cup at Gloucester Park. Anthony Butt, who will return to Perth from Sydney on Friday, was full of praise for My Field Marshal after the horse’s exciting all-the-way victory in the 2536m Fremantle Cup last Friday night, saying: “To lead and cop that pressure just shows what a great horse he is. He did a mighty job; he had to burn out of the gate and then never got any peace. “He kept running fast quarters and it was a great effort. It won’t be easy this week when I’m sure it will again be a truly-run affair. But he has got that class on his side and no matter what race he’s in, he’s always hard to beat.” Tim Butt said that My Field Marshal would not contest the $500,000 Hunter Cup at Melton on February 2 and that the horse’s main mission after the WA Pacing Cup would be the Miracle Mile at Menangle on March 3. “My Field Marshal will return to Sydney next Wednesday and he’ll probably have one lead-up run before the Miracle Mile.” With My Field Marshal starting from barrier three on Friday night, Anthony Butt will be ready to make snap decisions after the mobile barrier releases the quality field of 12 runners. He knows that Maczaffair (barrier one) and Rocknroll Lincoln (two) will come out flying in bids to take the early lead. Whether the speedy My Field Marshal can burst straight to the front is highly problematical. Sharing the Butt camp’s confidence is Mike Reed, the trainer of Maczaffair, and Gary Hall Jnr, who will be in the sulky behind the Justin Prentice-trained Rocknroll Lincoln. Maczaffair is the only mare in the field and Reed is bullish about her prospects of becoming the first of her sex to win the WA Pacing Cup since Pyramus beat Chief Attain and Sir Alex in 1972. She will again be handled by Reed’s son Mark, who was most impressed with her effort when an unlucky sixth in the Fremantle Cup, only one and a half lengths behind the winner. She was ninth at the bell and was badly blocked for a clear passage before flying home along the pegs in the final few strides. Maczaffair, the winner of five group feature events, showed her class against all-male opposition when second to Ultimate Machete in the group 1 2536m Golden Nugget championship in December 2017. Hall, who has driven the winner of seven WA Pacing Cups, said that Rocknroll Lincoln was travelling strongly and was a sound winning chance before being badly checked approaching the home turn in the Fremantle Cup. Rocknroll Lincoln broke into a gallop and finished 11th. Hall said that the 2936m journey this week would not worry Rocknroll Lincoln. “Barrier two looks good on paper and he’s got genuine gate speed,” he said. “If we get to the front, and I think he can, I won’t consider handing up.” Galactic Star, a gallant second in the Fremantle Cup, is in peak form and must be considered, despite drawing awkwardly at barrier seven. Ryan Warwick looks certain to opt out of any early speed battle and is likely to drive conservatively before deciding when to send the six-year-old forward. Galactic Star raced in eighth position in the one-wide line in the Fremantle Cup before Warwick sent the gelding forward, with a three-wide, burst approaching the bell. He sustained the effort and his performance was full of merit. Galactic Star is prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, who will also be represented in the Cup by Our Max Phactor (Dylan Egerton-Green), Vampiro (Colin Brown), Our Jimmy Johnstone (Michael Grantham), El Jacko (Aiden de Campo) and Saying Grace (Chris Lewis). El Jacko and Saying Grace will start from the back line and have sound place prospects after unlucky runs in the Fremantle Cup in which El Jacko, a smart sit-sprinter, was badly blocked for a clear passage in the final circuit before going across the line, full of running, in seventh position. Saying Grace, who trailed the pacemaking My Field Marshal throughout, went to the line, bolting under lock and key, in fourth place. Champion trainer Gary Hall Snr, who has won the WA Pacing Cup a record 11 times, is pinning his faith on Runrunjimmydunn, who will be driven by Clint Hall from barrier five. Runrunjimmydunn fought on from tenth in the middle stages to be a sound fifth in the Fremantle Cup. The WA-bred Vultan Tin, trained in Coolup by Phil Costello, is the only non-New Zealand-bred runner in the race. He will be driven by Chris Voak and will start from the outside of the back line. Vultan Tin was seventh at the bell in the Fremantle Cup before finishing fast, out six wide, to be an eye-catching third. Ace trainer Ross Olivieri, who prepared Saab for his WA Pacing Cup victory in 1999, has engaged Shannon Suvaljko to drive Im Full of Excuses from the awkward No. 6 barrier. Im Full of Excuses bounced back to form and ended a 22-month drought when he charged home with as three-wide burst from eighth at the bell to win narrowly from Gotta Go Gabbana in a 2130m mobile event last Friday night. He will again be at long odds this week.   Ken Casellas

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