Day At The Track
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Twenty-six-year-old Rebecca Bartley is the youngest harness racing driver in the $1.1 million TABtouch Inter Dominion championship final at Gloucester Park on Friday night and she will be handling San Carlo, the least-experienced runner in the Group 1 feature over 2936m. San Carlo gave a powerful frontrunning display to win a 2536m qualifying heat last Friday night and Bartley is confident the Victorian-bred seven-year-old by Mach Three will be strongly competitive in the biggest test of his short career. San Carlo was considered almost a hopeless case as a young pacer and he did not race as a two and three-year-old before making his debut as a late four-year-old with an easy victory in a $3000 R0 event in Bendigo in June 2015. He has blossomed since then for Steve O’Donoghue, a trainer from Kialla in the Goulburn Valley, and he goes into this week’s final with an impressive record of 21 wins and three placings from just 27 starts, all of which has seen Bartley in the sulky. His winning record of 78 per cent is bettered by only one of the other nine finalists --- the champion New Zealander Lararus, who has an 82 per cent winning record. Bartley and O’Donoghue never lost faith in San Carlo despite his wayward behaviour as a young horse. “He was really immature as a youngster and we couldn’t work him out,” said Bartley. “He kept galloping in his trials, at the start and in running. Finally, we just chucked him out with the broodmares. We didn’t really think much of him. “He came back into training as a four-year-old and his work became better. He’s pretty quiet, but is still a bit of a funny horse and every now and then has a brain fade. He’s probably more like a thoroughbred than a standardbred. “Small tracks are still a bit of an issue, getting him around the bends. But he was a lot better last Friday and he hit the line really well. The distance of the final will really suit him.” Bartley was born and bred into harness racing. Her father David used to train a small team and her parents encouraged her through pony trot ranks until she gained her A grade licence to drive at 18. She has driven 298 winners and will become only the second female to drive in an Inter Dominion championship final at Gloucester Park. The previous female to drive in an Inters final in Perth was Kellie Kersley, who drove Norms Daughter into fifth place behind the winner Young Mister Charles in 1996. O’Donoghue is thrilled to have a runner in the final, saying: “We’re stoked. We were excited to be just part of the series. San Carlo was at No. 43 in the early rankings and when he got to 30 to gain a start we weren’t thinking about making the final. It’s just a bonus.” Ken Casellas

Lightly-raced five-year-old El Jacko won a heat of the International Health Products San Simeon Pace with such authority that he should overcome a back-line draw and win the $50,000 harness racing final over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He will start from the inside of the back line and Ryan Warwick is sure to make every effort to manoeuvre the New Zealand-bred gelding off the pegs in the early stages. These were the tactics when El Jacko started from the inside of the back line in a qualifying heat last Friday week when El Jacko sustained a spirited three-wide burst in the first circuit to get to the breeze outside the pacemaker Touch of Success after failing in a determined challenge for the lead. However, El Jacko (Elsu) paced strongly in the breeze before surging to the front 300m from home and winning from Stroke of Luck and Major Stare, with final quarters in 27.7sec. and 28.7sec. The Kerryn Manning trained and driven Stroke of Luck will have many admirers in the final in which he will start from barrier four on the front line. Mista Shark, Reaza Grunter and Fanci A Dance all come into the final with sound each-way prospects. Mista Shark, to be driven by Michael Grantham for his uncle, Blythewood trainer Michael Brennan, will be attempting to stretch his winning sequence to seven. He has worked hard before winning at Bunbury at his past two outings and, from barrier five, will have a legion of followers. Reaza Grunter, the only mare in the final, gave a sample of her class with a record-breaking victory in a heat last Friday night when she made most of the running before racing away to beat Touch of Success by four lengths. Fanci A Dance flew home from seventh at the bell to be a half-head second to Mista Shark in a heat at Donaldson Park, Bunbury, on Tuesday of last week. Several runners will be supported in the final of the $50,000 Princi Butchers Binshaw Pace, with Talktomeumattjesty and Mary Catherine expected to head the markets ahead of Livura, Aussie Delight, Thereugo and The Trilogy. Talktomeurmattjesty disappointed at 3/1 on when he raced to an early lead, set a solid pace and wilted to third behind Mary Catherine and Assassinator in a qualifying heat at Bunbury. However, he won so effortlessly, first-up, at his previous outing that he deserves a chance to atone for that defeat. However, Mary Catherine is sure to prove hard to beat after superb victories at her past two starts for Capel trainer Andrew de Campo. Ken Casellas

Champion New Zealand harness racing trainer-reinsman Mark Purdon was disappointed when his horse Mr Mojito, the 2-1 favourite, hung in badly in the final circuit and finished fifth behind Soho Tribeca in the Golden Nugget last December and he is full of confidence he will make amends by driving the brilliant Ultimate Machete to victory in the $200,000 Retravision Golden Nugget at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “I’m looking forward to Ultimate Machete lining up in the Nugget; he’s in a really good place,” Purdon said. Ultimate Machete, a runaway winner of the Group 1 Yes Loans Four-Year-Old Classic last Friday week, will dominate betting on the 2536m event after drawing perfectly at barrier one on the front line. He also began from the No. 1 barrier in the Four-Year-Old Classic when he led for the first 150m before being crossed by Rock Diamonds. Purdon then immediately eased Ultimate Machete off the pegs and dashed the horse to the front 350m later, with the lead time a sizzling 34.6sec. Ultimate Machete was not extended as he sped over the final quarters in 28.2sec. and 28sec. and he beat the strong-finishing Handsandwheels by just under four lengths, rating 1.53.8 over the 2130m. A week before that he was in Christchurch where he raced without cover before bursting to the front in the final stages to win the group 1 Woodlands New Zealand Free-For-All at Addington, rating 1.51.9 over 1950m and beating the pacemaker Tiger Tara. He is a half-brother to the West Australian owned and trained mare Major Reality, who will contest the Group 1 $125,000 Mares Classic earlier in the 11-event program. Major Reality, trained and driven by Justin Prentice, has earned $389,739 from 20 wins and nine placings from 37 starts. Her victories include the 2015 WA Oaks, the Norms Daughter Classic and Empress Stakes in 2016 and the Golden Girls Classic at Pinjarra in March of this year. Major Reality will be fancied from her favourable barrier at No. 2 on the front line. She also started from barrier two in the Mares Classic 12 months ago when she raced without cover early before being shuffled back to tenth. Purdon also has high hopes of victory in the Mares Classic on Friday night. He will handle five-year-old A Piccadilly Princess, who will start from the inside of the back line, immediately behind speedy beginner and noted frontrunner Eden Franco. A Piccadilly Princess warmed up for this event in fine style last Friday night when she started favourite at 10/9 on from barrier two in the Parliamentarians Cup. She dashed to the front after 400m and gave a bold frontrunning display to win easily from Ideal Alice and Ameretto, rating 1.55.8 over 2130mk. A Piccadilly Princess was the 2/1 on favourite in last year’s Mares Classic when she was fourth, one-out and one-back at the bell before she locked wheels with another runner and met severe interference in the home straight. She dropped back to finish at the rear. She now has a record of 38 starts for 16 wins, eight seconds and a third for stakes of $681,718. She should enjoy an ideal passage and prove very hard to beat this week. Her chief rivals could be Ameretto and Ideal Alice. Ameretto, a six-year-old trained and driven by Kerryn Manning, will start from barrier five on the front line and she is likely to be sent forward in the early stages in a bid for the lead or for the breeze. She had a tough run in the breeze for much of the way when a fighting third behind A Piccadilly Princess last Friday night. That followed Ameretto’s victory in the Norms Daughter Classic a week earlier when she raced wide early and then in the breeze before surging to the front 700m from home. Ken Casellas

Seven months ago, Chicago Bull had his right eye removed from the socket while a veterinary surgeon operated to cure an eye ulcer, known as a melting eye, and West Australian Hall of Fame harness racing trainer Gary Hall Snr had doubts about the small, inconspicuous-looking gelding recovering fully and being able to maintain his status as the State’s best pacer. The operation was successful, but then Chicago Bull had a few issues which concerned Hall and his son, champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr. “So, we had a few little concerns, but now everything has gone smoothly and I give Chicago Bull a very good chance of winning the Inter Dominion championship at Gloucester Park on Friday night,” said an upbeat Hall Snr. “He’s had the fastest finishing sectionals of any horse during the series and you would have to say that he’s going to get a very good run from his barrier (the only horse off the back line in the outstanding field of ten). And I’ve got the best driver. “Chicago Bull is a bit of a sniper. He’s a little, tiny horse and even though he has been phenomenal, you look at him and get overawed looking at all the other horses against him. “He should have the last crack at his rivals and I think that there will be a few people (drivers) in the race who will be looking over their right shoulder.” There is little doubt that Chicago Bull is the best sit-sprinter in the $1.1 million TABtouch Inter Dominion championship final over the 2936m journey. Hall Jnr said that he was planning to take the sit behind the likely pacemaker Tiger Tara, who has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier and that it was simply a matter of when and how he would be able to get the gelding off the pegs and into the clear to issue a serious challenge. Chicago Bull began the series with a convincing all-the-way victory over 2130m on the opening night and then started from the back line in a 2100m heat at Bunbury’s Donaldson Park before having to turn sideways 120m from the post to get clear when he flashed home to finish a splendid third behind Soho Tribeca. He then was not extended in setting the pace and sprinting over the final two quarters in 26.8sec. and 27.7sec. to beat Tiger Tara in a 2536m heat at Gloucester Park last Friday night. “That last run gave me so much confidence, the way he hit the line,” said Hall Jnr. “Going back three months ago he was just a rough chance, at best, I thought but I have been very pleased with his form in the series. The 26.8sec. he ran for the third quarter was done on his ear. He was really relaxed and had plenty left on the line. He’s the one horse in the final who maybe can win from anywhere.” Hall Snr explained that Chicago Bull had been in danger of losing his damaged eye. “And I’m still not confident that his vision is unimpaired,” he said. “After he got over the operation I brought him back and he was unbelievable, with four wins from four starts in the space of five weeks in June and July. We were very happy with him and I spelled him before getting him ready for the Inters. “I think that was a mistake and he was a first-up fourth behind Jambiani early in September when he was a bit big (in condition) and then he tied up one day. I have hardly ever had a horse who has tied up. So, we had our concerns but it has been smooth sailing lately and he has had the right draws in the heats and I think he’s got the right draw in the final.” Hall Snr said that he thought that he would never win an Inter Dominion championship after The Falcon Strike, the warm favourite, raced without cover and finished a nose second to the pacemaker Jofess in the Inters final at Gloucester Park in 2004. However, that was not to be the case and Hall and his son have won the big event three times --- with Im Themightyquinn, in Auckland, Sydney and Perth. “There is no comparison between Im Themightyquinn and Chicago Bull,” said Hall Snr “We thought that Quinny would win all three of them. Chicago Bull is not as good as Quinny, but he can win this year’s title.” Im Themightyquinn, who retired with a record of 111 starts for 58 wins, 21 seconds, 13 thirds and $4,567,456 in prizemoney, will lead the field out on to the track on Friday night. Five-year-old Chicago Bull, who was a $110,000 purchase, has already amassed $1,112,069 in stakes from 27 wins and ten placings from 42 starts. The ten runners in Friday night’s Group 1 event have won a combined total of 224 races and have notched 159 placings for combined earnings of $10,746,880. Retaining favouritism is the New Zealand star five-year-old Lazarus, who is favourably drawn at the No. 2 barrier for champion New Zealand trainer-reinsman Mark Purdon, who has won the big race with Mark Hanover (Alexandra Park in 1991) and Smolda, at Gloucester Park 12 months ago. Lazarus is a grand stayer who has won at 32 of his 39 starts and was at his imperious best at Gloucester Park last Friday night when he started out wide at barrier seven and settled down in eighth position before surging forward to take up the running 1450m from home. He was not extended in winning from his stablemate Have Faith In Me, rating 1.54.5 which broke Im Themightyquinn’s track record for 2536m by 0.2sec. This followed excellent seconds to Soho Tribeca and Tiger Tara from wide barriers in the first two rounds of qualifying heats. “He’s come through the heats well,” said Purdon. “And I’m happy with his barrier. I think it is an ideal draw for him. It’s better than being out wide and he’s going to be handier than he has been in the heats. “I will play it by ear at the start. There will be plenty of speed on and the connections of Tiger Tara (No. 1 barrier) have made it quite clear that they intend to hold the lead. So, rather than getting into any speed duels, I’ll just try to be handy. If we’re caught in the breeze it won’t worry me, no. Lazarus can win from the breeze. I think that if I’ve got a horse capable of winning from the breeze, it is this horse.” Purdon said that he was far more confident of winning with Lazarus than he was with 12/1 chance Smolda last December. “I wasn’t really confident of taking it out last year, but you never know how a race is going to be run on the night. The speed was so torrid up front last year that it took a toll of the horses doing the early work --- and this played into our hands. The level of confidence as far as Lazarus is concerned is much higher than it was with Smolda.” Purdon said that he was pleased with the way Have Faith In Me was progressing. “He’s improving with every run and he might be getting back to his four-year-old form,” he said. “He will go back at the start from the outside barrier and then I’ll leave the tactics up to Chris (Lewis). He knows the track as good as anyone, probably better than most, so I’ll leave the tactics up to him.” Lewis has won the Inter Dominion championship twice --- with Carclew (Adelaide, 1976) and Village Kid (Brisbane, 1986). West Australian Kim Prentice, who trained and drove Baltic Eagle to victory in the championship final at Addington in 2003, has high hopes of victory with five-year-old Soho Tribeca, the leading points scorer after two wins and a close second to San Carlo in the qualifying heats. Soho Tribeca will start from barrier four and Prentice said that he did not intend to get involved in a battle for the early lead. “Hopefully, we’ll be one-out and one-back or one-two,” he said. “Three or four of the ten finalists might not front up the way they started the series, whereas my horse has pulled up an absolute treat after three runs in a week. “I know that I’ve got a very, very special horse and if luck goes our way we can definitely win. To get an easy run in the final heat was very good. I wasn’t out there to break any records or peel off a 27sec. flat quarter.” Trainer David Aiken said that the 2015 Inters champion Lennytheshark was primed for a bold showing in the final after winning an opening-round heat followed by thirds behind Galactic Star and San Carlo. “He has pulled up really well after his last run,” said Aiken. “I don’t know where he is going to end up, really. A few things that are going to happen early will determine how the race is going to be run. Lenny is versatile and is a tough horse capable of doing it tough. “If they go really hard and it develops into a war, he’ll come off pace and run home well. Six is a tricky draw for Chris (Alford), but I think that a lot of drivers have to contend with a tricky draw. I’m not going to take any part in determining tactics. I’ll let Chris work it out for himself. “Listening to all the experts, they still don’t know how the race is going to be run. Chicago Bull has a great draw, but if Tiger Tara gets crossed, then it’s not so good.” New South Wales trainer Kevin Pizzuto was ecstatic when tough and talented seven-year-old Tiger Tara drew the No. 1 barrier and reinsman Todd McCarthy will be determined to jump straight to the front and attempt an all-the-way victory. “He’s been massive and I’ve been booming him all the way,” Pizzuto said. “I can’t ask any more of the horse. He has been prepared for this race and he’s getting better and better with every run.” Twenty-six-year-old Rebecca Bartley, the youngest driver and the only female driver in the final, is confident the inexperienced seven-year-old San Carlo will overcome his wide barrier (seven) and figure prominently in the final stages. San Carlo raced without cover for much of the way when a fighting third to Tiger Tara and Lazarus in a 2100m heat in Bunbury before his strong all-the-way win over Soho Tribeca and Lennytheshark in a final-round 2536m heat. “He’s a strong stayer and the distance will really suit him,” she said. “He hit the line really well last Friday and as long as the speed is genuine he shouldn’t be too far away.” Ryan Warwick will drive the Skye Bond-trained Galactic Star, who unwound a spirited finishing burst to win a 2100m heat at Bunbury from Yayas Hot Spot and Lennytheshark. He will start from the No. 5 barrier and Warwick will have the option of taking advantage of the five-year-old’s excellent gate speed or preferring to angle toward the pegs and rely on a strong finishing burst. Ken Casellas

World champion James MacDonald has sound prospects of making a flying start to the International Drivers series at Gloucester Park by guiding the tough, consistent and in-form Your Excused to victory in the Sky Racing opening heat on Friday night. Your Excused, trained at Waroona by Bob Mellsop, is handily drawn at the No. 4 barrier on the front line and should be prominent. The seven-year-old is a good frontrunner, but can also perform strongly when in the breeze. He faces a hard task to get to an early lead, with speedy beginners Bad Round (barrier one) and Abraxas Blues (three) on his inside. He has performed well in his current campaign after being forced to race without cover. He could be seen in a similar role on Friday night. MacDonald, a 31-year-old Canadian, drove six winners and won the world drivers championship in Canada in August this year. Up-and-coming American reinsman Marcus Miller, who finished third, will also compete in the Gloucester Park series. He will handle eight-year-old Ona Happy Note, who will start from barrier five. Ona Happy Note has a losing sequence of 26 and has been unplaced at his past ten starts. Todd McCarthy, a brilliant young reinsman from New South Wales, will drive the Debbie Padberg-trained Bad Round, who excels as a frontrunner and is sure to take plenty of catching. In Friday night’s second heat, sponsored by Slater Gartrell Sports, local champion Chris Lewis will drive the favourite Eden Franco, a Colin Brown-trained mare blessed with sparkling gate speed. Eden Franco is a brilliant frontrunner who has won at six of her past seven starts and looks hard to beat. Victorian star Chris Alford will be in the sulky behind Madame Meilland, who is in top form for trainer Ross Olivieri and is sure to be prominent from the No. 2 barrier on the front line. MacDonald will drive A Boy Named Rosie from barrier five and Miller will handle Extreme Prince, who will start from the outside of the back line. Ken Casellas

Promising young harness racing mare Reaza Grunter made an inglorious Gloucester Park debut last Friday night when she was retired after breaking twice but Shane Tritton, who prepares her in partnership with his wife Lauren, is confident she will be on her best behaviour and will make amends by winning the third heat of the San Simeon Pace on Friday night. Reaza Grunter, a Christian Cullen mare, was a 6/4 favourite last week when she dashed straight to the front from barrier three before breaking into a gallop 350m after the start. She dropped back to last and was still at the rear when she again broke into a gallop 550m from home and was retired from the race. “She had a hood on after she had looked around a bit at her previous start,” Tritton said. “But she fired up and when Lauren tried to settle her, she fumbled out of her gear. It was a simple thing; she didn’t want to slow down. Another horse contacted Reaza Grunter’s wheel, causing her to break the second time. “We then decided to remove the hood and change a little bit of gear and gave her a trial at Byford on Sunday when she was comfortable and went a lot better.” Reaza Grunter set the pace and won by just under five lengths from Courageous Disco, rating 1.57.3 over 2150m, with two 28.1sec. final quarters. “Lauren never let her go in the trial and said she was jogging, and I’m confident she will not break in running again. From barrier one we’ll let her roll and hope for the best.” The only other mare in Friday night’s race is promising five-year-old Dior Mia More, trained by Annie Belton. Dior Mia More notched her fourth win from only eight starts when she raced at the rear before unwinding a powerful burst to beat Mileys Desire by two lengths, rating 1.55.2 over 1684m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. Dior Mia More faces a stern test from the No. 7 barrier, but should still be capable of a bold showing. “She won well at Pinjarra, especially the way she went through the line,” said reinsman Kim Prentice. “She’s a very good horse, ability-wise and will run a good race. However, she is sure to find Reaza Grunter hard to beat.” Another runner sure to be fancied is New Zealand-bred stallion Walkinshaw, who will be driven by Nathan Turvey for trainer Ray Williams. Walkinshaw, whose 43 starts have produced ten wins and six placings, has won at four of his six starts this season and is sure to take beating from barrier four. Outstanding Victorian trainer-driver Kerryn Manning describes Ameretto as “our little star” and is confident the six-year-old will prove hard to beat in the $30,000 Parliamentarians Cup over 2130m on Friday night. Ameretto will start out wide at barrier seven on the front line and will clash with several smart mares, including Ideal Alice, A Piccadilly princess, Donegal Rundlescreek, Sheer Rocknroll and Dodolicious. Ameretto chalked up her 25th win from 58 starts when she began speedily from the No. 7 barrier, burst to the front after 700m and won the Daintys Daughter Classic from Ideal Alice last Friday night. She and the other runners in Friday night’s race will be on trial for the group 1 $125,000 Mares Classic the following Friday night. “Ameretto is a very versatile horse who can do a bit of work or sit back and sprint,” Manning said. “You have got to be near the front on the small track here, so that will be the plan.” Ken Casellas

Top-flight harness racing reinsman Ryan Warwick is poised to take full advantage of the coveted No. 1 barrier and make use of the sparkling early speed of Rock Diamonds by attempting an all-the-way victory in the $50,000 Westral Four-Year-Old Championship over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Rock Diamonds (Rocknroll Hanover), prepared by leading trainer Skye Bond, warmed up for this group 2 feature event with a solid third behind star New Zealand pacer Ultimate Machete in the Group 1 Yes Loans Classic last Friday night in which he began speedily from barrier five to burst to the front after 150m. Warwick then took the sit 250m later when Mark Purdon urged the outstanding New Zealand pacer forward. Rock Diamonds fought on determinedly to be third behind Ultimate Machete, who dashed over the final quarters in 28.2sec. and 28sec. Rock Diamonds has set the pace and won four times in a 24-start career of 11 wins and seven placings. His most dangerous rival looms large as smart Victorian performer Motor Meteor, who is trained and driven by Kerryn Manning. Motu Meteor caught the eye in last Friday night’s classic when he was 12th and last at the bell before finishing with a spirited burst, out wide, to be sixth which took his record to 25 starts for ten wins and nine placings. “The run was really good,” said Manning. “He’s more of a stayer, generally, than a sprinter. But he certainly had to go pretty quick last week. He just kept coming on in the straight. We will need a bit of luck, but if he gets it, he’ll be running on.” The lightly-raced Ross Olivieri-trained Space Junk has sound prospects from an ideal barrier at No. 2 on the front line. His driver Chris Voak has guided him to victory at his first three starts in Western Australia, at Pinjarra, Narrogin and Northam, and has a high opinion of the gelding. Trainer Michael Brennan has engaged star Victorian reinsman Chris Alford to driver Im Rockaria, a speedy pacer who is handily drawn at barrier two on the back line. Im Rockaria has won at 14 of his 25 starts and is capable of a bold showing. The Bond camp has a second runner in the well-performed Mighty Mr Sharkey, who will be driven by Todd McCarthy from barrier three on the front line.   Ken Casellas

New Zealand harness racing superstar Lazarus has lost very few admirers after being beaten into second place on the first two nights of qualifying heats for the TABtouch Inter Dominion championship and he gets his chance to break through for an overdue success when he contests the ninth and final Princi Butchers heat of the series at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Again, he has drawn poorly, out wide at No. 7 in the 2536m heat. However, he has a decisive edge in class over his eight rivals and he should warm up for the $1.1 million final on the following Friday night with his first victory in Western Australia. Lazarus has not been punished in finishing second to Soho Tribeca over 2130m at Gloucester Park and second to Tiger Tara over 2100m at Bunbury’s Donaldson Park and he should be in peak condition after two excellent performances after working hard, three wide in the middle stages and then in the breeze. His was a marvellous effort when second to Tiger Tara in Bunbury on Tuesday night. He started from barrier six, settled in eighth place and started a three-wide move after a lap before moving to the breeze 800m from home. After the second and third quarters in 27.7sec. and 28.2sec. Tiger Tara sped over the final 400m in 26.5sec. to give Lazarus virtually no hope of overhauling him. Lazarus did not shirk the issue and finished only a half-length behind Tiger Tara. Galactic Star, to be driven by Ryan Warwick for leading WA trainer Skye Bond, has drawn ideally at barrier No. 2 in the field of nine and appears to be the chief danger to Lazarus. He impressed at Bunbury’s Donaldson Park on Tuesday night when he was fifth at the bell, three back on the pegs, before charging home, out four wide, from fourth at the 100m to snatch a narrow victory from Yayas Hot Spot and Lennytheshark. That followed his third behind Chicago Bull on the opening night of the series at Gloucester Park after working hard without cover. Yayas Hot Spot’s prospects in Friday night’s heat deteriorated when he drew out wide at barrier eight. He impressed on Tuesday night when he took advantage of the No. 1 barrier to lead for the first 700m before trailing Lennytheshark and then getting through on the inside to take a narrow lead 25m from the post before being overhauled in the final stride by Galactic Star. Vultan Tin, trained at Coolup by Phil Costello, has been the surprise packet of the series and he needs to finish in the top four or five to qualify for the final on Friday week. He will again be driven by Chris Voak and faces a stern test from the awkward No. 5 barrier. However, he did a fine job from barrier five in a heat on Tuesday night when he raced three wide in the early stages and then in the breeze before fighting on grimly to be a close-up fourth behind Soho Tribeca. That followed his encouraging effort on the opening night of the series when he sat behind the pacemaker Lennytheshark and finished third to that grand performer. Ken Casellas

“He’s not just a frontrunner; he’s just as good as a sit-sprinter,” declared a buoyant harness racing trainer-reinsman Kim Prentice when expounding the versatility of his star pacer Soho Tribeca. So, Prentice is far from fazed that Soho Tribeca (American Ideal) has drawn the outside barrier (No. 9) in the Retravision eighth heat of the TABtouch Inter Dominion championship at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “Over the 2536m journey, we’ll try to get an easy run as possible if that’s in the breeze or sitting up,” he said. Prentice said that Soho Tribeca had not been extended in winning heats over 2130m and 2100m on the first two nights of the rich series. “I haven’t released the ear plugs yet, and, hopefully, I won’t have to pull them until the final,” he said. Soho Tribeca, an effortless winner by almost four lengths over New Zealand superstar Lazarus on the opening night of the carnival at Gloucester Park last Friday night, maintained his superb form when he began speedily from barrier six and took the lead after 350m on his way to strolling to victory over Devendra and Chicago Bull at Bunbury’s Donaldson Park on Tuesday night. Soho Tribeca rated 1.55.2 over the 2100m, the slowest of the three heat winners at Bunbury, but Prentice said that it would be wise for punters to disregard that fact when assessing the five-year-old’s prospects in the eighth heat and in the $1.1 million final over the long trip of 2936m. Soho Tribeca had the luxury of running the first two 400m sections of the final mile in 31.3sec. and 28.8sec. before final quarters of 28.4sec. and a sizzling 26.2sec. “If I had let him go earlier, he would have run a lot quicker,” Prentice said. “Once we got to the front and Voaky (Chris Voak) came around with Vultan Tin to sit at our wheel and with Bully (Chicago Bull) three back on the fence, we just wanted to go as slow as we could. “Soho Tribeca did become quite keen coming into the bell. And down the back he wanted to rock n roll like I did on Friday night, to make Lazarus chase. He was pulling pretty hard, but we didn’t have to go until we turned for home. If I had got running down the back, he would have put a bit of space on his rivals. I was just trying to do the right thing by him and give him a real easy heat.” There is likely to be a keen battle for the early lead between speedy beginners San Carlo (barrier one) and Devendra (three) in Friday night’s heat. San Carlo showed his liking for leading when he set the pace for Rebecca Bartley and won the 2690m Maryborough Gold Cup from My Field Marshal three starts ago. He showed good gate speed and plenty of zip when a well-beaten third behind Tiger Tara and Lazarus in the sixth heat in Bunbury on Tuesday night. Devendra (Todd Rattray) led from barrier one in the fifth heat in Bunbury and led for the first 350m before trailing the pacemaker Soho Tribeca and fighting on gamely to be second to Soho Tribeca. Veteran Lennytheshark will start out wide at barrier seven in Friday night’s eighth heat after his shock defeat at 5/2 on in the fourth heat in Bunbury when he wilted in the home straight to finish third behind Galactic Star and Yayas Hot Spot. Ace Victorian reinsman Chris Alford said that Lennytheshark could be excused for a rare below-par performance and that he was confident the eight-year-old would bounce back with a strong performance on Friday night. Soho Tribeca, Inter Dominion Heat One 2017 Soho Tribeca, Inter Dominion Heat Five 2017 Ken Casellas

Champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr retains his unbending faith in Chicago Bull and insists that the many admirers of the plain-looking little harness racing gelding should stick with him in the TABtouch Inter Dominion championship. Chicago Bull (Bettor's Delight) certainly lost no fans after finishing third behind Soho Tribeca and Devendra in the fifth qualifying heat at Bunbury’s Donaldson Park on Tuesday night. The five-year-old looks to have a great chance of returning to the winning list when he starts from the prized No. 1 barrier in the seventh heat at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Chicago Bull started from the inside of the back line at Bunbury and was under lock and key in fifth position, three back on the pegs, before Hall was able to ease him into the one-wide line 250m from home. He was still badly hampered for room until 120m from the post when Hall was able to get him into the clear. Chicago Bull flew home in the final stages, leaving an admiring Hall to comment: “He did all he could do really, and I was really happy with him. He went super. We had to go sideways to get a run and that probably cost him a little bit of ground. He was thundering home.” Hall is certain to use Chicago Bull’s good gate speed and will attempt an all-the-way victory on Friday night, with his major rivals Tiger Tara (barrier six) and Shandale (five) awkwardly drawn. Tiger Tara looms as powerful opposition to Chicago Bull after his impressive record-breaking win in the sixth heat at Donaldson Park in Bunbury on Tuesday night. He rated 1.52.3 to smash Run Oneover’s course record for 2100m of 1.53.8. Brilliant young reinsman Todd McCarthy described Tiger Tara’s performance as awesome and is looking forward to challenging Chicago Bull on Friday night. He said that he would have preferred Tiger Tara to have run a second or two slower. But he added that did not think that the effort would have an adverse effect on the stallion. Trainer Mike Reed and reinsman Shannon Suvaljko will be anxious for Shandale to maintain his solid form and to run in the first three or four to clinch a place in the $1.1 million final on Friday week. Shandale raced in the breeze for much of the way and was on terms with the leader Lennytheshark 300m from home before fighting on doggedly to finish a very close fourth in a four-way photo finish in fourth heat at Donaldson Park. The five-year-old finished strongly from sixth on the pegs at the bell to be third behind Soho Tribeca and Lazarus on the opening night of the series. Chicago Bull, Inter Dominion Heat Three 2017 Ken Casellas

A back-line draw contributed to harness racing champion Lennytheshark’s shock defeat when a 2/1 on favourite in a qualifying heat in Bunbury 12 months ago, but the revitalised eight-year-old is racing so keenly that he should overcome his back-line barrier and win the fourth heat of the TABtouch Inter Dominion championship at Bunbury’s Donaldson Park on Tuesday night. Lennytheshark (Four Starzzz Shark), whose earnings are rapidly approaching the $3 million mark, will start from the No. 2 barrier on the back line and again will be an odds-on fancy. He notched his fourth win from four starts in his current preparation when he gave a strong frontrunning performance to beat Tiger Tara by a length in a 2130m heat at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night. With a back-line draw he will be seen in a different role in Bunbury, particularly as Yayas Hot Spot has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier and looks set to lead. Yayas Hot Spot, trained by Shane Tritton, is noted for his sparkling gate speed and his ability as a frontrunner. He has set the pace and won 17 times in a 76-start career which has produced 23 victories and 25 placings. The Mike Reed-trained Shandale is favourably drawn at barrier two on the front line and Shannon Suvaljko should have the gelding in a prominent position throughout the 2100m event. Shandale maintained his excellent form when he finished solidly from sixth on the pegs at the bell to be third behind Soho Tribeca and Lazarus in a first-round heat at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Part-owner Martin Riseley said trainer David Aiken had Lennytheshark “as good as he’s ever been” and that the stallion’s runs in his current campaign could not be faulted. Lennytheshark started from the inside of the back line in an Inters qualifying heat in Bunbury 12 months ago. He raced in eighth position in the one-wide line before Chris Alford sent him forward, three wide, 650m from home. He fought on gamely to be fourth behind the fast-finishing Bling It On. At his only other appearance at Donaldson Park, in an Inters heat over 1609m in December 2015, Lennytheshark started from barrier three and raced in the breeze before finishing powerfully to win in 1.52.8 from Easy On The Eye. The Skye Bond-trained Galactic Star should finish in the top three in Tuesday night’s heat after his splendid third behind Chicago Bull and Egodan in a 2130m heat at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Galactic Star, driven by Ryan Warwick, started out wide at barrier seven and worked hard in the breeze. He will appreciate starting from the inside of the back line and should produce a strong finishing burst. Lennytheshark's first round heat win Ken Casellas

Champion New Zealand five-year-old Lazarus has never tasted defeat in two successive starts and he should keep that harness racing record intact by rebounding after Friday night’s second behind Soho Tribeca by winning the sixth heat of the TABtouch Inter Dominion championship over 2100m at Donaldson Park in Bunbury on Tuesday night. Lazarus (Bettor's Delight) boasts a remarkable record of 37 starts for 31 wins, six placings and stakes of $2,663,139. He has never finished out of the top three placings. However, he is not facing a walk in the park on Tuesday night when he will start out wide at barrier six on the front line, with his main danger, Tiger Tara, drawn perfectly at barrier No. 1. Tiger Tara, trained by Kevin Pizzuto, possesses good gate speed, but is not a noted frontrunner. Many of his 24 victories have come after he has covered extra ground and has worked hard in the breeze. Whether reinsman Todd McCarthy can get Tiger Tara to an early lead is problematical, with the speedy beginner San Carlo favourably drawn at barrier three. San Carlo has led all the way in seven of his 20 wins, the latest of those wins being two starts ago when Rebecca Bartley guided the lightly-raced seven-year-old to an all-the-way victory over My Field Marshal in the 2690m Maryborough Gold Cup. San Carlo began from barrier six and settled down in eighth position before finishing solidly from seventh at the bell to be fifth behind Chicago Bull in a 2130m heat at Gloucester Park last Friday night. Lazarus was not extended in finishing second to Soho Tribeca on the opening night of the series. An extremely slow lead time of 37.9sec. set by 7/4 on favourite Soho Tribeca left Lazarus (who had been restrained at the start from the outside barrier in the field of nine) with a virtually impossible task. Mark Purdon sent Lazarus forward, with a three-wide move after 700m and the champion quickly moved to the breeze 200m later. Lazarus lost few admirers after he finished gamely into second place, almost four lengths behind Soho Tribeca, who sped over the final quarters in 27.3sec. and 27.2sec. Tiger Tara’s 3m second to Lennytheshark on the opening night was full of merit. He started out wide from the No. 7 barrier and raced three wide before getting to the breeze after about 500m. He issued a strong, but unsuccessful challenge to the pacemaking Lennytheshark down the back straight in the final circuit before dropping back a little to finish an excellent second. Tiger Tara has yet to beat Lazarus. He finished second and third behind Lazarus at Addington 12 months ago and renewed his rivalry with the superstar pacer at Addington two Tuesdays ago when he finished a wonderful third behind Lazarus in the 3200m New Zealand Cup in which he raced without cover before breaking into a gallop 800m from home. He lost four lengths and dropped back to eighth before finishing doggedly. The WA-trained Motu Premier appeals as a sound place prospect against Lazarus and Tiger Tara. He will start from the No. 4 barrier and Chris Lewis should have the New Zealand-bred five-year-old in a prominent position throughout. Motu Premier maintained his good form when he started from the outside barrier and ran home determinedly from eighth at the bell to finish fourth behind Lennytheshark in the second heat at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Ken Casellas

It’s looming large as one of the most exciting and beguiling clashes of the TABtouch Inter Dominion championship series the confrontation between star harness racing five-year-olds Chicago Bull (Bettor's Delight) and Soho Tribeca (American Ideal) at Bunbury’s Donaldson Park tomorrow night. The brilliant West Australian pacers have established a keen rivalry and they will continue their enthralling struggle for supremacy when they clash in the fifth heat of the Inters. This 2100m heat is intriguing, inasmuch as it will pit the big, handsome Soho Tribeca against the much smaller, plain and insignificant-looking gelding Chicago Bull and the race also gives promise of producing a battle of tactics between star reinsmen Kim Prentice (Soho Tribeca) and Gary Hall Jnr (Chicago Bull). Chicago Bull and Soho Tribeca have met eight times, with Chicago Bull finishing ahead of his arch-rival five times and Soho Tribeca crossing the finish line ahead of his opponent on three occasions. Mere millimetres have separated the pair in their past two clashes with Soho Tribeca finishing second to Chicago Bull on each occasion, by a margin of a head in the Mount Eden Sprint over 1730m and by a nose in the 2536m Brennan Memorial. Their only other meeting as five-year-olds was in the Stratton Cup in early October when Shandale beat Soho Tribeca by a head, with Chicago Bull finishing in third place. Details of their five clashes as four-year-olds are as follows: Four-Year-Old Classic at Pinjarra (Soho Tribeca first; Chicago Bull third), McInerney Ford Classic (Chicago Bull first, Soho Tribeca fifth), Golden Nugget (Soho Tribeca first, Chicago Bull third), Fremantle Cup (Chicago Bull first, Soho Tribeca second), WA Pacing Cup (Chicago Bull first, Soho Tribeca third). Both pacers scored impressive and convincing all-the-way victories in the opening round of Inters heats over 2130m at Gloucester Park last Friday night when each took full advantage of starting from the No. 2 barrier on the front line. On Tuesday night Soho Tribeca will start out wide at barrier No. 6 on the front line of seven runners, with Chicago Bull somewhat awkwardly drawn on the inside of the back line of two runners. Adding further intrigue to this clash is the fact that Soho Tribeca has not raced on the 960m Donaldson Park track, whereas Chicago Bull has excelled in Bunbury, having raced there twice, as a three-year-old in August 2016 for two easy wins over 2100m, with final quarters of 27.9sec. and 27.7sec. and 28.4sec. and 27.6sec. Prentice was full of praise when commenting on Soho Tribeca’s 2130m heat win at a 1.54.2 rate when the stallion sauntered in the early stages with an excessively slow lead time of 37.9sec. before opening quarters of 30sec. and 28.8sec. He than gave the opposition no hope of threatening his superiority by sprinting over the final two 400m sections in 27.3sec. and 27.2sec. Prentice did not release the ear plugs and Soho Tribeca strolled to victory by 11 metres from New Zealand superstar Lazarus. “We got away with a very easy lead time and we could’ve gone another lap,” said Prentice. Chicago Bull has been outstanding since arriving in Western Australia after racing seven times in New Zealand for two wins and one placing. Chicago Bull has been unplaced only once from 33 WA starts when fourth behind Jambiani in the Porter Memorial at Gloucester Park on September 8 when having his first start for two months. His 33 WA starts have produced 24 wins and eight placings. Champion trainer Gary Hall Snr is an unabashed admirer of Chicago Bull and he considers the gelding’s great versatility and his dazzling point-to-point speed will prove vital in the remaining qualifying heats and in the $1.1 million final over 2936m on Friday week. He admitted that he was feeling somewhat apprehensive before the opening set of heats, saying: “Ï was a little bit nervous because I wanted him to show that he is something special. I think the final is the right race for him because the three big guns, Lazarus, Soho Tribeca and Lennytheshark, are all work horses whereas Bully has got the ability to just camp on them and take advantage of that. “If he gets a nice draw and takes a good trail just off them, they’ll know he’s there, for sure. He’s very, very quick and if the big guns take each other on a bit we can camp on them and capitalise on that.” Prentice will be extremely anxious for Soho Tribeca to be in front of Chicago Bull throughout Tuesday night’s heat. However, he might not be able to send Soho Tribeca to an early lead. Hall’s other runner in the heat, Ohoka Punter, is a powerful frontrunner and is ideally drawn at barrier two on the front line. If Ohoka Punter is seen in the role of pacemaker, it appears certain that Soho Tribeca will be in the breeze. And if that is the case, Chicago Bull could outsprint his noted rival in the concluding stages. First round heat Soho Tribeca First round heat Chicago Bull Ken Casellas

Punters hoping to make a flying start to the harness racing meeting at Bunbury’s Donaldson Park on Tuesday night should seriously consider supporting Courage To Live in the opening event, the second heat of the International Animal Health Products San Simeon Pace. There is a lot of exposed form and Courage To Live (Courage Under Fire) makes strong appeal despite starting a rank outsider at $89.20 in a Golden Nugget prelude at Gloucester Park last Friday week. From out wide at barrier seven, Courage To Live raced at the rear and then out three wide in the final circuit before finishing tenth behind stablemate Rocknroll Lincoln. At his previous outing, Courage To Live started from the outside of the back line and raced in seventh position in the one-wide line before he surged forward to be second 500m from home in a 2130m event at Gloucester Park. He hit the front 80m from the post and won stylishly from the 5/2 on favourite and pacemaker Neighlor, rating 1.57.6, with a final quarter in 27.9sec. Courage To Live will be driven by Justin Prentice, who bred, owns and trains the four-year-old. He will start from the No. 3 barrier on the front line on a track where he has at three of his four starts. Tuesday night’s race is sure to produce strong support for several runners, including Courage To Live’s smart stablemate Bravo Tex, who is sure to be prominent from the No. 2 barrier, with Tom Buchanan in the sulky. Bravo Tex has raced 12 times at Donaldson Park for four wins and four placings. Neighlor, to be driven by Shannon Suvaljko for trainer Matt Scott, is handily drawn at No. 4 on the front line. A winner at eight of his 22 starts, Neighlor is showing improvement with every run and now has had 11 starts in Western Australia for six wins and three placings. Adding considerable interest to the race is the appearance of the Michael Brennan-trained Mista Shark, who will be driven by Michael Grantham from the outside (No. 7) on the front line. Mista Shark is a winner at ten of his 21 starts, including his past five outings, four of which have been in stands. He gave an outstanding performance at Donaldson Park at his most recent appearance. He galloped off the 40m mark and settled last, 12 lengths from the early leader. He accelerated quickly with a sparkling three-wide burst after a lap to burst to the front with 1400m to travel. He went on to score convincingly. Tyler Brett, Fanci A Dance, Twentynine Twelve and Chuck Norris have all been racing with plenty of enthusiasm and will have admirers in Tuesday night’s race. Ken Casellas

Champion New Zealand harness racing trainer-driver Mark Purdon, deeply disappointed when his horse Mr Mojito, hot favourite at 10/9, sustained a flat sulky tyre soon after the start and raced at the rear before finishing 11th behind Chicago Bull in the McInerney Ford Classic at Gloucester Park 12 months ago, has high hopes of make amends for that unfortunate setback by driving Ultimate Machete to victory in the $125,000 Group 1 Yes Loans Four-Year-Old Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Yes Loans Classic replaces the McInerney Ford Classic, which has been a summer carnival feature event since 1996. Ultimate Machete, whose 21 starts have produced nine wins and ten placings for stakes of $574,905, will be a dominant favourite after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier in the 2130m classic. The Bettors Delight stallion earned a trip to Perth after scoring a superb victory over the experienced top-flight pacer Tiger Tara in the $234,000 Woodlands New Zealand Free-For-All at Addington last Friday when he had a tough run in the breeze before surging past the pacemaker Tiger Tara 70m from the post and beating that pacer by a neck, rating 1.51.9 over 1950m, with final quarters in 27.9sec. and 26.9sec. The $234,000 Woodlands New Zealand Free-For-All at Addington last Friday Ultimate Machete was driven by Natalie Rasmussen, who described him as a “serious horse” who would love the style of West Australian racing. “He’s got good gate speed and can also sit out wide and run home strongly,” she said. “He just keeps on going and doesn’t lie down; getting into a dog fight is his go in life.” Ultimate Machete gave a sample of his class on his only previous visit to Australia, when he finished third in a heat of the New South Wales Derby at Menangle last February before finishing a 1m second to his brilliant stablemate Vincent in the 2400m final in which the final 400m was covered in a sizzling 25.5sec. Late last year Ultimate Machete’s wins included the Group 1 $156,000 Sires Stakes at Addington, the Group 2 Alabar Classic at Alexandra Park and a listed $195,000 classic at Alexandra Park when he dashed over the final 800m of the 2200m event in 55.5sec. Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall Snr and star reinsman Gary Hall Jnr have combined to win the McInerney Ford Classic five times, including the past three years, with Waylade, Beaudiene Boaz and Chicago Bull. They also won with The Falcon Strike in 2001. Hall Snr won the event, previously known as the Coca Cola Pace and 6PR Classic, as a reinsman with Love of Glory (whom he trained) in 1990, Valley Champ (1993) and Slick Vance in 1995. Hall Snr has two runners in Friday night’s classic --- Herrick Roosevelt (Hall Jnr) and Runrunjimmydunn (Michael Grantham) --- who are capable of fighting out the finish after starting from back-line draws. Boyanup trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice is hoping for a powerful performance from Rocknroll Lincoln, who warmed up for the Group 1 event with an impressive all-the-way victory over Herrick Roosevelt and Wrappers Delight in a Golden Nugget prelude last Friday night. Rocknroll Lincoln will start from the No. 3 barrier on the front line, with the Ross Olivieri-trained Wrappers Delight (Chris Voak) at No. 2. Prentice said that he has been a fan of Ultimate Machete and held the horse in high regard. “I’ve always watched him because he is a half-brother to my good mare Major Reality and I have always liked him,” he said. Major Reality has had all her 36 starts for Prentice in WA for 20 wins, nine placings and stakes of $389,239. Her victories have included the Group 3 Gold Bracelet as a two-year-old, the 2015 Group 1 WA Oaks, the Group 2 Empress Stakes, the Group 2 Norms Daughter Classic and the Group 3 Golden Girls Classic at Pinjarra. Prentice will drive Major Reality from barrier six in the $50,000 Clipsal By Schneider Electric Norms Daughter Classic on Friday night. He has engaged ace Victorian reinsman Chris Alford to handle his other runner, Quite A Delight, who should be prominent from barrier two on the front line. It is an outstanding field which includes the outstanding Victorian six-year-old mare Ameretto, who will be driven by her trainer Kerryn Manning from barrier seven. Ameretto is in dazzling form, with seven wins from her past eight starts, with her only defeat in this period coming two starts ago with a wonderful second to Lennytheshark in the Victoria Cup at Melton. She will take a power of beating at her WA debut. Among WA’s hopes in the race are the Hall-trained Ideal Alice, who is drawn to lead from the No. 1 barrier, the speedy Eden Franco (a winner at each of her past six starts), the impressive Skye Bond-trained Donegal Rundlescreek and the speedy New South Wales grey mare My Rona Gold, a dashing all-the-way winner over millionaire pacer Bling It On in a 1609m trial in 1.54.2 at Menangle on Tuesday of last week. Ken Casellas

Lennytheshark, brilliant harness racing winner of the Inter Dominion championship in Perth two years ago, is still racing with youthful enthusiasm as an eight-year-old and looks a certainty in the second heat of the Choices Flooring Inter Dominion championship at Gloucester Park on Friday night.     He has no difficulty in handling the tight 805m circuit at Gloucester Park where he has appeared five times for three wins and two seconds. Trainer David Aiken and reinsman Chris Alford are looking confidently to Lennytheshark winning in the opening set of qualifying heats for the third successive year. The handsome stallion is unbeaten in his current campaign of three starts, making most of the pace in all three wins, scoring decisive victories over My Field Marshal in the Smoken Up Sprint at Melton (rating 1.51.9 over 1720m), beating Ameretto and Tiger Tara in the 2240m Victoria Cup at a 1.53.2 rate at Melton and smashing the track record when he rated 1.55.4 in defeating My Field Marshal in the Yarra Valley Cup over 2650m. Lennytheshark is favourably drawn at barrier three on Friday night and Alford should be able to send him to an early lead, with the drivers of his inside runners Majordan (Luke McCarthy) and Vultan Tin (Chris Voak) expected to be happy to enjoy handy runs on the pegs behind the champion. Voak said that he expected Vultan Tin (a runaway winner in considerably weaker company over 2536m two starts ago) to slot in three back on the pegs and was hopeful that the Phil Costello-trained six-year-old would finish in the top four or five. Tiger Tara (barrier seven) and Motu Premier (No. 9) have excellent place prospects. Tiger Tara, to be driven by Todd McCarthy for trainer Kevin Pizzuto, is in splendid form and his past 19 starts have produced 11 wins and five placings. He has won twice and been placed three times from his five starts in his current campaign. Tiger Tara dashed to the lead 100m after the start and set a brisk pace when a neck second to Ultimate Machete in the $234,000 Group 1 Woodlands New Zealand Free-For-All at Addington last Friday. That followed his outstanding third behind Lazarus and Jacks Legend in the 3200m $800,000 New Zealand Cup three days earlier when he worked hard in the breeze, broke into a gallop 800m from home and lost four lengths in dropping back to eighth before recovering to run on from seventh with 200m to travel. Before his two excellent New Zealand runs, Tiger Tara had worked hard, three wide and then in the breeze, at his two previous outings before scoring in fine style over 1609m at Menangle, with times of 1.51.3 and 1.51.8. Motu Premier, to be handled by dual Inter Dominion winning driver Chris Lewis for trainer Ross Olivieri, fared badly in the draw and faces a very difficult task from the outside in the field of nine.           “It looks tough from out there,” said Lewis. “But I expect Motu Premier to perform well in the series.” Gary Hall Jnr said that Ohoka Punter also faced a difficult assignment from barrier six. “However, if he draws to lead in the remaining heats he will prove hard to catch,” he said. An interesting runner is the Greg Bond-trained nine-year-old Our Jimmy Johnstone, who has not raced for seven weeks, since finishing a well-beaten 11th behind Shandale at Gloucester Park. That followed a close-up second to Run Oneover at his previous outing, five weeks earlier.   Ken Casellas

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