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Champion reinsman Gary Hall jun. is delighted to be reunited with talented harness racing pacer The Bucket List, who looks a star bet at Gloucester Park on Friday night, despite starting from the back mark of 40 metres in the 2503m Book A Private Box Handicap. Hall has driven the New Zealand-bred eight-year-old only once --- 504 days ago when he brought the 14/1 chance home with a spirited burst from sixth at the bell to finish second to the 5/1 on favourite Hectorjayjay in a 2536m heat of the Interdominion championship at Gloucester Park on December 2, 2016. Hall replaces the Michael Brennan-trained gelding’s regular reinsman Michael Grantham, who is recovering from a broken hand. Grantham was in the sulky when The Bucket List smashed superstar Im Themightyquinn’s track record for a 2503m stand with a runaway victory by more than eight lengths from the pacemaker The Real Nadal last Friday week. The Bucket List started off the 20m mark and revealed sparkling speed when he took off three wide from last in a field of ten 750m from home, surged to the front at the 300m mark and rated 1.57.1 which lowered Im Themightyquinn’s record rate of 1.57.9 set when he started from 30m and ran on from tenth in the middle stages to beat Christopher Three by three lengths on July 23, 2010. The Bucket List, who has raced 91 times for 21 wins, 24 seconds and 11 thirds for stakes of $408,301, has a remarkable record in standing-start events. He had 39 starts in New Zealand for eight wins and 16 placings. Seven of those starts were in stands for three wins and three placings. In Western Australia The Bucket List has contested 16 standing-start races for eight wins, five seconds, two thirds and one fourth. That means that he has had 23 starts in stands for 11 wins, ten placings, one fourth and one sixth. Shannon Suvaljko, who will drive frontmarker The Real Nadal, said that the gelding, trained at Serpentine by Amber Sparks, has close to returning to the winning list. “The Real Nadal ran a good race when he led and finished second to The Bucket List at his most recent start,” Suvaljko said. “But The Bucket List beat him pretty easily. However, The Real Nadal meets The Bucket List on 20m better terms.” Tommy Be Good (30m) and Importer Exporter (20m) should be prominent, along with The Real Nadal. Tommy Be Good warmed up for this week’s assignment in fine style when he finished full of running to win easily from All The Whispers and Red Hot Roxy in a 2150m mobile trial at Byford on Sunday morning. He dashed over the final 400m in 27.5sec. Importer Exporter, trained at Oakford by Chris Winston, is a capable standing-start performer who impressed when he raced in fifth position before finishing strongly to win the 2902m Easter Cup from Bettors Fire and Runrunjimmydunn last Friday fortnight. A new drive for Hall will be behind the Nathan Turvey-trained Carter Micheal, who will start out wide at barrier No. 7 in a field of nine in the final event, the TABtouch --- The Brand That Funds The Industry Pace. Carter Micheal, a New Zealand-bred four-year-old who has won at 12 of his 31 starts, is sure to be a short-priced favourite. But he is certainly far from being a good thing after disappointing efforts when a beaten favourite at each of his past three starts. Carter Micheal, a 2/1 on fancy at Narrogin last Saturday night, set a dawdling early pace, with opening quarters of the final mile in 31.6sec. and 30.7sec. before covering the final sections in 28.4sec. and 28.6sec. He was overhauled 25m from the post by McArdles Gem, who finished fast after enjoying a perfect sit behind the pacemaker. Carter Michael has had 25 starts in Western Australia for 11 wins and seven placings. But his nine appearances at Gloucester Park have produced no wins and just three placings. His chief opposition is likely to come from Walkabout Creek, Shes Artful and Shardons Rocket. Walkabout Creek (barrier one) and Shes Artful (No. 2) possess good gate speed and are capable frontrunners. The 13-year-old Shardons Rocket will start from the outside barrier and will have admirers at his 360th start after his sound second to Raffaello after racing in the breeze last Friday night. Ken Casellas

Smart New Zealand-bred harness racing five-year-old El Jacko still has difficulty in negotiating the final bend in his races at Gloucester Park, but he has the class to overcome this wayward habit and win the 2130m Book Your Next Conference at Gloucester Park Pace on Friday night. The Skye Bond-trained El Jacko will start from the No. 4 barrier on the front line and Ryan Warwick is likely to adopt similar tactics he used last Friday night by using the gelding’s gate speed to forge forward in the early stages in a bid for the lead or to race outside the pacemaker. Last week El Jacko raced three wide early and then outside the pacemaker Courage To Live before taking the lead 450m from home. He was still in front approaching the home turn, but began to hang in and went inside some marker pegs before being overhauled in the final 110m by Whozideawasthis and finishing a 4m second to that pacer. Hardest for El Jacko (a winner at 13 of his 29 starts) to beat is likely to be Arthur Lowe, who will be driven by Jocelyn Young from barrier two on the back line. Arthur Lowe, trained by Nathan Turvey, was restrained from barrier eight in a 2536m event last Friday night when he impressed in finishing strongly from ninth at the bell to be second to Futurist. McArdles Gem also will have admirers after his victory over Carter Micheal at Narrogin last Friday night when he sat behind the pacemaking Carter Micheal before finishing with a strong burst. Warwick will start the program on Friday night with new drives from outside the Bond stable. He will handle Tisadream from the favourable barrier two in the opening event and The Spinster from barrier five in race two. He will drive Tisadream for Capel trainer Andrew de Campo in the Book Into the $50 Beau Rivage Buffet Special Pace, with the handy four-year-old resuming after a three-month absence. Tisadream, who finished third to stablemate Handsandwheels in the WA Derby in April 2017, is capable of a bold first-up showing. However, Aiden de Campo gave punters a valuable lead by opting to drive stablemate The Accumulator from barrier eight. The Accumulator started from the No. 9 barrier in the Clarke final last Friday night and maintained his excellent form when he was last in the middle stages and sustained a strong three-wide burst from seventh at the bell to finish fourth behind Whozideawasthis. This followed The Accumulator’s splendid second to El Jacko the previous week when he fought on grandly after racing without cover. The Accumulator is expected to vie for favouritism with The Ross Olivieri-trained Lord Willoughby, who looks an excellent chance from the favourable No. 3 barrier on the front line. Lord Willoughby Was buried in eighth position at the bell before flashing home to finish third to Whozideawasthis and El Jacko last Friday night. Ken Casellas

Shannon Suvaljko, the State’s leading harness racing driver, is looking forward to driving smart three-year-olds Our Angel of Harlem and Golden State at Gloucester Park on Friday night and he gives both Mike Reed-trained pacers excellent prospects of winning. Our Angel of Harlem is drawn awkwardly at barrier six on the front line in the 2130m Bridal Expo at Gloucester Park Pace, a prelude of the WA Oaks in which she faces a strong challenge from Liberty Rose, who has drawn the coveted No. 1 barrier. “From the inside draw, Liberty Rose is probably the one to beat,” Suvaljko said. “However, Our Angel of Harlem is versatile. We have a few options; she can lead, sit or breeze. And she’s spot on for the grand final (the $150,000 WA Oaks on May 4).” Our Angel of Harlem won an Oaks prelude last Friday night when she started from the outside of the back line, settled at the rear and dashed forward after 900m to race outside the pacemaker Amelias Courage before getting to the front 80m from the post and winning by a neck from Amelias Courage, with Lady De la Renta in third place. She sprinted home over the final 400m in 27.5sec. and rated 1.58.1 over the 2536m journey. Friday night’s 2130m event will pose no great problems for Our Angel of Harlem, but Suvaljko said that the filly’s favourite distance was 2536m. “That’s her best distance; it gives her time to relax,” he said. Leading trainer Gary Hall sen. spoke with confidence about Liberty Rose’s chances on Friday night, saying that the filly was talented and tough and that he was confident she would set the pace and prove very hard to catch. The New Zealand-bred Liberty Rose won impressively at Pinjarra and Gloucester Park at her first two starts in Western Australia before a broken carrier strap forced Gary Hall jun. to retire her mid-race in last week’s event won by Our Angel of Harlem. The Michael Brennan-trained Miss Sangrial will have admirers and should run a bold race after she had no luck in last week’s prelude when she was cast back in the field behind a tiring runner in the final circuit. Miss Sangrial, to be driven by Chris Lewis, will start and should enjoy a perfect passage behind the expected pacemaker Liberty Rose. The Colin Brown-trained and driven Amelias Courage should clinch a start in the Oaks final with another stout-hearted performance. She will start from barrier five on the front line and should be in a prominent, forward position throughout. Golden State will start out wide at barrier eight in a field of nine in the www.gloucesterpark.com.au Pace over 2130m spoke with confidence about the New Zealand-bred colt’s prospects in an event which is likely to be dominated by Golden State, his stablemate Bechers Brook and the Aiden Warwick-trained Sweet N Fast. Golden State began brilliantly from barrier eight in the 2536m WA Derby last Friday week and he set a solid pace before wilting in the final stages to finish eighth behind King of Swing. He was an all-the-way winner over 2130m two starts before that. “Golden State doesn’t have to lead,” Suvaljko said. “He’s probably better if you don’t have to use him from out there (barrier eight). There’s nothing between him and Bechers Brook and most of the time Golden State can beat Bechers Brook over 2130m.” Bechers Brook, who will again be handled by Dylan Egerton-Green, should prove hard to beat, even from the outside barrier (No. 9). He was most impressive in the WA Derby when he charged home, six wide, from 11th on the home to finish a head second to King of Swing. Adding considerable interest to the race will be the appearance of Christian Cullen gelding Sweet N Fast, who will be driven by Aldo Cortopassi for trainer Aiden Warwick. Sweet And Fast possesses good gate speed and there is a strong chance he could be set alight in the early stages. His four WA starts have produced three wins and a second placing. Ken Casellas

Shannon Suvaljko continues to set a cracking pace in the state-wide drivers’ premiership and punters should get a flying start to the ten-event program at Gloucester Park on Friday night by supporting Raffaello in the opening event, the $20,000 The Sports Daily On TABradio Pace. Raffaello, a New Zealand-bred seven-year-old trained at Warawarrup by Peter Kimberley, has struck a purple patch and looks a star bet after drawing the coveted No. 1 barrier on the front line in the 2130m event. Three weeks ago Raffaello had a losing sequence of 38 before he chalked up three wins in the space of 15 days. He was driven by Deni Roberts when he gave a splendid performance to win a heat of the Garrard’s Junior Drivers Challenge at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. He was restrained from barrier five and was seventh at the bell before sustaining a powerful late burst to get up and beat Our Jaccka Mara and Attack On Command. This victory played a pivotal part in Roberts winning the series. Suvaljko drove Raffaello to victory at Pinjarra on the two previous Mondays. The gelding led from barrier four and fought on grimly to defeat The Freedom Fighter by a head and a week later Raffaello again set the pace from the No. 4 barrier and won by a half-head from Pick My Pocket. He should again be capable of setting the pace, despite the presence of 13-year-old Shardons Rocket in barrier two. Shardons Rocket, owned and trained by Tony Svilicich, is in the twilight of his 358-start career and boasts a losing sequence of 33, with only one placing in that sequence (a second 19 starts ago). He still has good gate speed, but Suvaljko should be able to hold him at bay in the early stages. Another veteran performer, nine-year-old El Machine, has excellent place prospects. He has won once from his past 64 starts but should enjoy a trouble-free run at the rear after starting from the outside of the back line before unwinding a spirited late charge. Kimberley also prepares experienced performer Terraforce, who is capable of a bold first-up showing in the final event, the Christmas In July at the Beau Rivage Pace over 1730m. Terraforce, to be handled by Jocelyn Young, is favourably drawn at the No. 2 barrier on the front line. The WA-bred gelding is a winner at ten of his 92 starts. His latest success was when he made most of the running and defeated Red Hot Roxy over 2100m at Bunbury on December 2 last year. For the record, Suvaljko leads the premiership table with 115 wins from Chris Lewis (102), Gary Hall Jnr (101) and Chris Voak (95). Ken Casellas

Champion reinsman Chris Lewis is a keen judge of form and he has sent harness racing punters an important message by choosing to drive Sheer Rocknroll in preference to stablemate Johnny Fox in the $22,000 Steelo’s Bistro Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Ross Olivieri trained Sheer Rocknroll and Johnny Fox are the highest-assessed pacers in the 2536m event and have the ability to overcome the outside barriers on the front line, with Sheer Rocknroll starting from barrier eight and Johnny Fox from barrier nine. Lewis has been in the sulky behind Johnny Fox at each of his past five starts, which include two powerful fast-finishing wins over 2130m but he has opted for Sheer Rocknroll, a mare he has handled at three of her past six starts. Sheer Rocknroll is an M5-classified performer, but she has a losing sequence of 19, with her most recent victory being her win in the Race For Roses 11 months ago. Sheer Rocknroll has been placed at three of her five starts since resuming after a spell with an encouraging first-up second to Dana Duke in late February. She also impressed two starts ago with her strong-finishing third to Major Reality and Better B Chevron in the Golden Girls Classic over 1684m at Pinjarra. Chris Voak has been engaged to drive Johnny Fox, who was far from disgraced when fifth behind Importer Exporter in the 2902m Easter Cup. The nine-year-old raced without cover for a while before taking the lead 550m from home and wilting late to finish just over two lengths behind the winner. Astute punters are likely to rally to support the Skye Bond-trained Risk, who has been unplaced at his past five starts and has a losing sequence of ten. However, Risk looms as a major player after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier on the front line, an advantage made possible with the New Zealand-bred six-year-old moving from an M3 classification to an M2 mark under the drop-down regulations. Ryan Warwick is expected to make every post a winner by setting a brisk pace with Risk, whose most recent success was when Warwick guided him to an all-the-way win over Twoandahalf Tigers at Gloucester Park in November 2016. In an open affair on Friday night the lightly-raced, but richly talented Zennart also has strong claims. He is sure to appreciate a significant drop in class after finishing sixth behind Bettors Fire last Friday night after racing wide and then enjoying the one-out, one-back trail. His previous eight starts in his current preparation produced five wins, two seconds and a third placing. Michael Grantham will be unable to drive evergreen performer Bronze Seeker after fracturing a hand in a work accident with the family-owned horse transport business on Tuesday. He will be replaced in the sulky by Gary Hall Jnr, who should have the Peter Anderson-trained nine-year-old in a handy position throughout after starting from the inside of the back line. Stablemate Mighty Flying Thomas, a winner of one race from his past 37 starts, but racing with admirable zest, will start alongside Bronze Seeker on the back line. He will be driven by Aiden de Campo. Ken Casellas

Ocean Ridge, who failed to record a win from six starts as a two-year-old, has blossomed into an outstanding harness racing three-year-old who has excellent prospects of overcoming a back-line draw and winning the $200,000 Sky Racing WA Derby at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Victory in the 2536m classic would elevate Forrestdale horseman Greg Bond into the top bracket of successful trainers in the Derby which has been a highlight of every WA season since Freckles won the inaugural Group 1 event in 1917. Bond has won the WA Derby with New Zealand-bred pacers Richard Henry (2005), In The Force (2009) and Seel N Print (2011). The only trainers to have prepared four or more WA Derby winners are the late Fred Kersley Snr (five), the late Fred W Godecke (four) and Ross Olivieri (four). Leading trainer Gary Hall Snr has high hopes of notching his 100th winner of the season by winning the Derby with either King of Swing or Speed Man. A victory would give Hall his fourth success in the classic. Ocean Ridge, a colt by Mach Three, has won at five of his six starts this season and has revealed wonderful versatility. He led from barrier two and won easily in a modest C2-class event at Pinjarra at his WA debut two starts ago. And he was most impressive in scoring an effortless victory in a Derby prelude on Thursday of last week. He enjoyed a perfect trail, one-out and one-back, before Ryan Warwick sent him forward, three wide, with 600m to travel. The gelding took the lead at the 450m mark and won by just over two lengths from the 10/1 favourite King of Swing, with Speed Man finishing strongly from eighth (and last) at the bell to be third. Ocean Ridge rated 1.55.3 in the 2130m prelude and the 2536m journey on Friday night should prove to be no problem. He started his three-year-old campaign in dazzling style, setting the pace from barrier one and winning a 1950m event by five lengths at Addington on December 16. That was his first appearance for eight months. He then started from the inside of the back line in another 1950m event at Addington on January 26 when he was seventh at the bell before starting a three-wide move and working into the breeze position before finishing a close-up fourth behind Fizzing. Two starts ago Ocean Ridge was restrained to last from barrier seven in a field of nine over 1950m at Addington. He came from last, three wide, at the bell and then worked in the breeze before sprinting the final 400m section in 27.4sec. and hitting the front 130m from the post and winning, unextended. At his final appearance in New Zealand, over 1950m at Addington on February 16 he was beaten out from the No. 1 barrier and raced three back on the pegs before charging home from fifth on the home turn to win easily at a 1.55.7 rate, with a final quarter in 27.5sec. Ocean Ridge is the third foal out of Falcon Seelster mare There’s A Dancer, whose first two foals Bracken Ridge and McClinchie each won on WA debut for Bond. A win on Friday night by Ocean Ridge would help erase the disappointment suffered by Bond and his wife Skye when their smart colt Rock Diamonds, a 14/1 chance, finished a head second to Handsandwheels in the Derby 12 months ago after finishing strongly to take the lead in the final 70m. Their other runner, Mitch Maguire (9/4), was a luckless seventh after taking a narrow lead, out three wide, 350m from home and then locking wheels with 2/1 favourite Runrunjimmydunn.    Champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr has combined with his father to win the Derby with Alta Christiano (2013), Beaudiene Boaz (2015) and Chicago Bull (2016). Hall Jnr will handle King of Swing from barrier three on the front line and he gives the colt a strong winning chance. King of Swing raced three wide for the first 750m before setting the pace in last week’s prelude before lowering his colours to Ocean Ridge. “He’s got the draw to turn the tables on Ocean Ridge,” said Hall jun. “He has definitely got the ability to win.” Owner Albert Walmsley and Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed were naturally disappointed when their talented colts Bechers Brook (barrier seven) and Golden State (eight) fared poorly in the random draw. However, both pacers are strong sit-sprinters and are capable of winning. Reed prepared Tricky Vic (2002) and Ace of Spades (2003) for wins in the classic. Skye Bond prepares Bright Diamond, who despite only one win from 16 starts, will have admirers after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier. Bright Diamond will be driven by star reinsman Chris Lewis, who has won the Derby five times with Trunkey Maseratti (1994), Saab (1998), Talladega (2000), Argent Treasure (2008) and In The Force (2009). Ken Casellas

Colin Brown has been training and driving pacers for more than 40 years and he now declares that he is preparing the fastest pacer of his harness racing distinguished career a small, insignificant-looking filly by the name of Amelias Courage. The Victorian-bred Amelias Courage emerged as a major WA Oaks contender with a superb victory in a modest C1-class event at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night, a performance which was a strong indication that she would prove hard to beat in the Follow@skyracing.com.au on Twitter WA Oaks prelude at Gloucester Park on Friday night.    Amelias Courage will start from barrier two on the front line in the $20,000 prelude over 2130m and Brown is confident that she will seriously challenge boom filly, the high-priced New Zealand import Our Angel of Harlem. Amelias Courage raced without cover outside the pacemaker The Freedom Fighter before getting to the front 600m from home and then easily withstanding a challenge from Pavarotti to beat the promising New Zealand-bred five-year-old by more than a length, rating a slick 1.55.2 over 2130m. It was an exceptional performance after a fast lead time of 35.6sec. followed by quarters of 29.5sec., 29.3sec., 28.8sec. and 29.2sec. Brown was lavish in his praise of the filly, saying: “She has run 3sec. quicker on the track than any horse I’ve trained. If I told you the times she’s run at Jandakot you wouldn’t believe me. I don’t doubt her ability. She has just run 1.55.2 in the breeze and Our Angel of Harlem will have to be good to beat me. Amelias Courage could have gone better if something had really come at her. “We really had to make a statement before the Oaks and I always like to show the handicapper something.” Brown said that Amelias Courage had the potential to be classed alongside two outstanding mares he has trained in Sand Pebbles and Franco Eden. The WA-bred Sand Pebbles raced 81 times for 26 wins, ten placings and $313,102 in prizemoney. She won the $100,000 Ladyship Mile at Harold Park in November 2004 and a week later finished second to Sokyola in the $550,000 Miracle Mile. Eden Franco, a New Zealand-bred five-year-old, arrived in WA last September and in nine starts for Brown in October, November and December, she was successful seven times. Brown lauded Amelias Courage’s toughness, saying: “The problem has been that we haven’t drawn barriers from which we could use her stamina. She’s only a small horse and she has run a 26sec. quarter on the track but she doesn’t seem to do that in her races.” Amelias Courage was purchased at the Victorian yearling sales by Graham Searle and Geoff Waters and was prepared in Victoria by Peter Manning. “What happened was the Victorian handicapping system changed and this disadvantaged a horse like her who had won a bit of prizemoney, and she wasn’t eligible in three-year-old company and she drew badly against good horses in open races,” Brown said. “The owners made the decision to send her over here to me and Liam O’Connor and Jim Currie bought shares in her. It has taken us a bit of time to get the best out of her. Over in Victoria she pulled very hard and was just an aggressive, attack, attack filly. “Her main aim is the WA Oaks and you cannot have a horse who is going to attack over 2536m. We have put gear on her and taken gear off and it has taken a fair bit of time to get her sorted. She goes best when driven tough and I don’t mind if she leads or has to sit in the breeze on Friday night.” The polemarker in Friday night’s race is noted frontrunner Miss Sangrial, who led for much of the way when a half-length second to Pick My Pocket over 2100m at Bunbury last Saturday week. Amelias Courage, who has earned $85,164 from nine wins, ten seconds and two thirds, is also a smart frontrunner, who led at five of her eight Victorian wins. Our Angel of Harlem, to be driven by Shannon Suvaljko for Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed, is awkwardly drawn out wide at barrier No. 7, but is expected to be a warm favourite. Our Angel of Harlem began from the inside of the back line at her latest start, at Gloucester Park last Friday week, and was trailed the pacemaker when she choked down, galloped and disrupted the field 1100m from home. The race was abandoned. At her previous outing, at her Australian debut at Pinjarra, Our Angel of Harlem raced three wide in the first lap and then in the breeze before finishing third behind Bettor A Believer. That followed a superb runaway victory in a Byford trial.   Suvaljko is confident of success on Friday night, saying: “I think she is close to her top and we can work forward from the wide barrier. She is definitely the one to beat.” Star reinsman Gary Hall Jnr, who needs two wins to bring up his century for the season, said that he expected a strong effort from Liberty Rose, who will start from the inside of the back line, immediately behind the freewheeling Miss Sangrial. Liberty Rose was travelling easily in the breeze at her most recent outing when a horse choked down, fell and caused interference to other runners. This forced the stewards to stop the race. “She felt as though she had them all covered,” Hall said. “She’s got toughness and a good turn of foot and I give her a really good chance.” Ken Casellas

King of Swing, a recent arrival from New Zealand and a harness racing colt bred in the purple, looks set to retain his unbeaten record in Australia by proving too smart for his seven rivals in the $20,000 Owners Only WA Derby prelude over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. King of Swing arrived in Western Australia two and a half weeks ago and has recovered from a virus. He gave a sample of his class in a 2185m trial at Pinjarra on Sunday morning when he set the pace and coasted to victory, by more than five lengths, over talented filly Our Angel of Harlem, rating 1.55.6. After a comfortable first 400m section of the final mile in 31sec. King of Swing dashed over the next quarters in 28.9sec., 27.4sec. and 29.1sec. He looks spot on to produce a strong first-up effort on Thursday night when he will start from barrier three in a classy field of eight. This will be his final start before contesting the $200,000 WA Derby on Friday week. King of Swing, prepared by champion trainer Gary Hall Snr and to be driven by star reinsman Gary Hall Jnr, has not raced since he contested a $225,000 listed classic on the clockwise Alexandra Park circuit in Auckland on December 31. He started from the inside barrier on the front line in a field of 11 and was beaten for early speed. He raced four back on the pegs before David Butcher started a three-wide move at the bell. The colt raced three wide without cover in the final lap and moved into third place approaching the home turn before wilting to ninth behind the brilliant Chase Auckland. Two starts before that, King of Swing finished an excellent second to Chase Auckland in a field of 13 in the Group 1 Sires Stakes over 1950m at Addington in Christchurch when the winner rated 1.52.2, with a final 800m in 55.1sec. King of Swing has had two starts in Australia, winning a 2150m semi-final of the Breeders Crown for two-year-old colts and geldings at Bendigo and the 2240m final at Melton last August. He raced three wide for much of the way in the semi-final and he led all the way at Melton. He rated 1.55.1 after a final 800m in 55.2sec. when he beat Colt Thirty One by a short half-head in the semi-final and he rated 1.55.2 when he defeated Poster Boy and Colt Thirty One in the final. King of Swing, by American stallion Rocknroll Hanover, is the first foal out of Artsplace mare Twist And Twirl, who amassed $283,258 from seven wins and eight placings from 22 starts. She won two Group 1 features for three-year-old fillies in New Zealand, including the Northern Oaks. She also had five starts in Victoria in the winter of 2012 for two wins and two seconds. An up-beat Hall Jnr said that King of Swing’s trial at Pinjarra was “super” and that he expected the colt to prove very hard to beat, first-up.  The Hall stable will also be represented in Thursday night’s prelude by Benhope Rulz and Speed Man. Clint Hall will drive Benhope Rulz from the prized No. 1 barrier and the gelding looks set to lead, with King of Swing in the breeze. Speed Man (Stuart McDonald) will start from the outside barrier (No. 9) and is likely to have a soft run before finishing strongly. Ocean Ridge, a newcomer from New Zealand and prepared by Greg Bond, is a promising gelding who made an impressive West Australian debut when he set the pace and won easily at a 1.56.2 rate over 2150m at Pinjarra last Monday week. A winner at Addington at three of his final four starts in New Zealand, Ocean Ridge will start from barrier five. Cott Beach, the only filly in the field, will be driven by Nathan Turvey from barrier four. A winner at 11 of her 23 starts, she was restrained from barrier nine in the Western Gateway Pace last Friday night before flying home from 12th (and last) at the bell to be a neck second to Bechers Brook. Ken Casellas

Six-year-old Wabi Sabi, closely related to a couple of harness racing equine millionaires, has won once from 34 starts in Western Australia but the New South Wales-bred gelding looks set to improve on his record by leading all the way in the $20,000 Princi Butchers Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. He has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier and trainer-reinsman Clint Hall will be aiming to set the pace. The previous occasion that Wabi Sabi started from the inside barrier was at Narrogin five starts ago on January 13 when he set the pace and won convincingly from Disco Under Fire, rating 1.57.3 over 2242m.   Wabi Sabi was a 66/1 outsider last Friday night when he started from barrier seven and was seventh on the pegs at the bell before finishing strongly into fourth place behind Responder. That followed encouraging thirds at Albany and Gloucester Park at his two previous outings. Wabi Sabi is by American stallion Sportswriter and is out of American mare Sabilize, who raced in Australia in the 1990s and was retired after having 54 starts for 31 wins and 14 placings for earnings of $355,056. At the peak of her career, Sabilize won the Ladyship Mile at Harold Park in November 1993 before finishing second to Chokin in the Miracle Mile a week later. Wabi Sabi is a half-brother to former outstanding juvenile pacer Sushi Sushi, who amassed $1,103,327 in prizemoney from 27 wins and 13 placings from only 47 starts. From December 2010 to January 2012 Sushi Sushi chalked up 14 wins in a row, with the highlight of that sequence being his victory in the Group 1 Victoria Derby at Melton in February 2011. Wabi Sabi, whose 80 starts have produced eight wins and 23 placings for stakes of $59,181, is also closely related to American performer Dragon’s Lair, who earned $1,085,317 from 30 wins and 16 placings from 66 starts. His main rival on Thursday night looms as the Matt Saw-trained Mister Ardee, who will be driven by Madeleine Young from barrier two on the back line. Mister Ardee is a seasoned performer who has raced 105 times for 21 wins and 39 placings. He raced three wide early and then in the breeze before fighting on doggedly into third place behind Frostyflyer and Trison over 2130m last Friday night. Ken Casellas

Hall of Fame harness racing trainer Gary Hall Snr holds the record of preparing five winners of the Group 2 Slater Gartrell Western Gateway Pace and he is pinning his hopes on Speed Man in the $50,000 classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Hall agreed that the race looked extremely open, but he said that Speed Man had the ability to bounce back from his fifth placing behind Golden State in a WA Derby prelude last Friday night when the colt raced in the breeze outside the pacemaker Golden State. “He is not suited to racing without cover,” Hall said. “He gave it away only over the final 50 metres. He also raced in the breeze when fifth behind Bechers Brook and Golden State in the Battle of Bunbury at his previous start. “However, Speed Man showed his true worth three starts ago when he raced behind the pacemaker Golden State before finishing strongly to beat him by more than a length.” In-form reinsman Stuart McDonald will drive Speed Man, who is drawn awkwardly at barrier six on the front line, while stable newcomer Benhope Rulz, drawn on the inside of the back line in the 2536m event, will be handled by star reinsman Gary Hall Jnr. Benhope Rulz, a winner of three standing-start races from five starts in New Zealand, was driven by Hall Jnr in a 2150m mobile trial at Byford on Sunday morning. Benhope Rulz impressed in finishing powerfully from sixth at the bell to be a nose second to the pacemaker Antero. Hall sat quietly in the sulky all the way up the home straight and he did not ask the gelding for a special effort. “Benhope Rulz went pretty good in the trial,” said Hall Snr “He went a lot better than he had been going at home when his work was lack lustre. However, I wouldn’t say that he cannot win on Friday night.” Hall Snr has won the Western Gateway Pace with The Falcon Strike (2001), Alta Christiano (2013), Elegant Christian (2014), Beaudiene Boaz (2015) and Chicago Bull (2016). Last year Hall was the trainer of Herrick Roosevelt, who raced in the breeze and finished third behind the pacemaker Mitch Maguire and Maczaffair in the Western Gateway Pace. Speed Man, who has won at four of his ten starts, has yet to race beyond 2240m but he is capable of performing strongly over 2536m. Benhope Rulz has unwound powerful finishing bursts to win over 2600m, 2000m and 2400m. At his latest appearance, in a 2400m mobile event at Nelson on January 14, Benhope Rulz started from the outside (No. 8) of the front line and was restrained back to last in the field of nine. He sustained a strong last-lap burst to move into second place before fighting on doggedly to finish fifth, just over a length behind the winner Pirate Bay. Mike Reed, who trained and drove Manageable for his win in the Western Gateway Pace in 1988, holds a strong hand in Friday night’s race, with Bechers Brook (No. 4 on the front line) and Golden State (barrier two on the back line). Golden State, whose ten starts have produced five wins and three seconds, should settle down in a prominent position in the one-wide line and looks set to fight out the finish. Bechers Brook, who also has won at five of his ten starts, will be handled by Dylan Egerton-Green, who brought the colt home with a spirited burst to win the Battle of Bunbury from the pacemaker Golden State two starts ago. Bechers Brook started from the outside (No. 9) in the Derby prelude last Friday night when he raced at the rear and then was forced wide in the final circuit before finishing last. He can do much better from his more favourable draw this week. Three fillies, Lady De La Renta, Cimorine and Cott Beach will contest Friday night’s race. Only three fillies, Omista (1972), Via Vista (1981) and Whitbys Miss Penny (1991) have been successful in the 46-year history of the Western Gateway Pace. Lady De la Renta, trained by Annie Belton and driven by Chris Voak, will have many admirers after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier. Lady De La Renta is a versatile filly who has won in good style at her past two starts. Cimorene, trained by Terry Ferguson, and the Kristy Elson-trained Cott Beach, face tougher assignments from out wide at barriers eight and nine, respectively. Cimorene notched her fourth win from 21 starts when she settled in seventh position and raced in the breeze in the final lap before beating Mister Spot in the $30,000 Country Derby over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon.   Mister Spot did well to fail by only a nose after racing wide early and without cover in the middle stages. He is trained in Bunbury by John Graham, who prepared Lively Royce for his victory in the 2008 Western Gateway Pace. Mister Spot will be driven by Dean Miller. Chris Lewis, who has won the classic five times with Flashing Star (1993), Pro Armbro (1995), Saab (1998), Talladega (2000) and Alberta Retreat (2005) will drive the promising, lightly-raced gelding Shadow Magic for Busselton trainer Barry Howlett. Shadow Magic was eighth at the bell and was hampered for room in the final circuit before flashing home on the inside to be sixth behind Golden State last Friday night. He worked hard without cover before winning by five lengths in an R0 event at Bunbury at his previous outing. From barrier two on the front line on Friday night Shadow Magic is capable of a forward showing. Cott Beach, who has earned $195,226 from 11 wins and eight placings from 22 starts, possesses sparkling gate speed, but it is difficult to predict that she will be able to muster sufficient early speed to get to an early lead. Ken Casellas  

Astute Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed was philosophical after highly-regarded filly Our Angel of Harlem was beaten into third place at her harness racing Australian debut at Pinjarra last Monday week, declaring that it was just the first step in her mission to win the $150,000 WA Oaks at Gloucester Park on May 4. “She will improve a lot on that run,” Reed declared after Our Angel of Harlem wilted in the final stages to finish third behind Bettor B Abeliever and Captured Delight. Our Angel of Harlem will have her second start for Reed when she begins from the inside of the back line in the 2130m Intersport Slater Gartrell Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. At Pinjarra, Our Angel of Harlem began from barrier five, raced three wide early and then in the breeze before getting to the front by a half-length 550m from home before wilting slightly, with the final quarters being run in 27.7sec. and 29sec. Our Angel of Harlem will begin behind Infinite Symbol, who possesses good gate speed and is a capable frontrunner. Shannon Suvaljko will weigh up his options early in the race whether to remain on the pegs behind Infinite Symbol or to make an early move to get into the clear. Clint Hall will drive Infinite Symbol for Wanneroo trainer Julie O’Neill. Our Angel of Harlem will clash with several smart fillies, including last-start winners Liberty Rose, Detroit Lily and Somebeachparty as well as recent winners Captured Delight, Princess Major, Orphan Reactor and Slick Artist. Liberty Rose, trained by Gary Hall Snr, made a sound Australian debut when she worked hard in the breeze before finishing determinedly to win from the pacemaker Orphan Reactor at a 1.56.5 rate over 1684m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. Hall was happy with Liberty Rose’s win and said that she was more of a stayer than a sprinter. Liberty Rose will start from the No. 5 barrier on the front line with the Skye Bond-trained Detroit Lily out at barrier seven, with Ryan Warwick in the sulky. Detroit Lily led when a close second to Cott Beach over 1684m at Pinjarra two starts ago before she raced without cover and won from The Marble Ridge over 1823m at Narrogin last Saturday night. Somebeachparty made a splendid debut when she set the pace from barrier two and won easily in modest company over 2100m at Bunbury last Saturday week. Chris Lewis opted to drive her on Friday night ahead of the Peter Anderson-trained All Over Tan, who has resumed after a spell in sound form with seconds to The Midas Touch and Whoswhointhezoo at Pinjarra. Nathan Turvey has been engaged to drive All Over Tan from barrier four on the front line. Ken Casellas

Red October arrived in Western Australia in July 2016, a week after he had scored a smart win at Alexandra Park but it took him another 18 months to make his Australian harness racing debut, after he had broken down twice with a bowed tendon. But leading trainer Gay Hall Snr’s patient care is at last paying dividends. Now a five-year-old, Red October is revealing plenty of potential and at Gloucester Park on Friday night he looks set to stretch his winning sequence to five when he contests the Intersport Slater Gartrell Pace over 2130m. Red October made his Australian debut at Pinjarra on January 29 this year when he raced wide early and then in the breeze before finishing a half-length second to 66/1 outsider Lady Luca. Then his next four starts produced four wins, two at Pinjarra and two at Gloucester Park. Hall said that the gelding should prove hard to beat, but added that his mother runner, Heez Manly, represented the main danger. ”I can’t really separate them; they’ve got equal ability,” he said. “But I lean towards Red October because he has drawn barrier three on the front line, with Heez Manly the only runner on the back line.” Red October, who managed only two wins from 17 starts in New Zealand, will be driven by leading reinsman Gary Hall Jnr, with Stuart McDonald to drive Heez Manly, a promising four-year-old who has won at six of his 16 starts. He had a tough run in the breeze when a fighting second to Back To The Beach at Gloucester Park on February 27 after unwinding a powerful finishing burst to win easily from Courage To Live a week earlier. Looming as the chief rival for the Hall-trained pair is Skye Bond’s smart four-year-old Mighty Mr Sharkey, who will be driven by Ryan Warwick and cannot be overlooked despite the distinct disadvantage of starting from the outside barrier (No. 9) on the front line. Mighty Mr Sharkey has had no luck from wide draws when unplaced at his past two starts. He has had 30 starts for ten wins and nine placings and is certainly capable of causing an upset. Hall Snr also has good prospects of winning the first heat of the Clarke Pace with seven-year-old Whozideawasthis, who will be making his first appearance for six months. “He’s been a bit of a bridesmaid who doesn’t seem to like winning and failed a couple of times when an odds-on favourite during his previous campaign,” he said. “However, he’s working in good style and should be hard to beat from the No. 1 barrier.” Whozideawasthis is sure to meet with stiff opposition from trainer-reinsman Nathan Turvey’s smart four-year-old Carter Micheal, who has raced 29 times for 12 wins and seven placings. Carter Micheal broke twice in running before finishing eighth behind Courage To Live in the Bridgetown Cup last Sunday. That followed convincing victories on country tracks at his four previous starts. The Hall stable has 13 runners engaged in Friday night’s ten-event program and Hall Snr said he was confident that stablemates Zennart and Runrunjimmydunn would fight out the finish of the third event. Ken Casellas

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

It promises to be just a stroll in the park for harness racing millionaire superstar Chicago Bull when he contests the $50,000 Direct Trades Supply Four And Five-Year-Old Championship at Gloucester Park on Friday night. This will be five-year-old Chicago Bull’s final appearance in a race for several months before champion trainer Gary Hall sen. prepares him for feature events next spring and summer, including the Interdominion championship series in Melbourne. Star reinsman Gary Hall jun. will have plenty of options when Chicago Bull lines up behind the mobile in barrier four on Friday night. The is a strong possibility that four-year-old Maxentius, a speedy frontrunner, will be given the task of leading by ace reinsman Colin Brown. In that case, Hall could be content to rate Chicago Bull in the breeze before applying pressure in the final circuit. Hall sen. summed up his son’s possible tactics by saying: “Chicago Bull will be in front or racing in the breeze. I would say he will win, with stablemate Runrunjimmydunn finishing second. Runrunjimmydunn (Clint Hall) is getting better all the time. “Chicago Bull will be spelled for six weeks and then brought back into work. He will probably resume racing in early September.”    Hall sen. has five of the eight runners in Friday night’s event --- Chicago Bull, Runrunjimmydunn, Ima Rocknroll Legend, Zach Maguire and Campora. Runrunjimmydunn will start from barrier three and is capable of a bold showing. He was most impressive in a 2130m event last Friday night when he started from the outside barrier (No. 8) and raced three wide in the early stages before applying pressure to the pacemaker Vampiro. He fought on with tremendous determination and finished a nose behind Vampiro at a 1.55.7 rate, with final quarters in 27.1sec. and 28.9sec. Runrunjimmydunn’s past nine starts have produced five wins and four seconds and he is certain to improve considerably on his record of 30 starts for 12 wins and nine placings for earnings of $123,098. The Ross Olivieri-trained mare Sheer Rocknroll has excellent place prospects. She will be driven by Chris Lewis from the No. 6 barrier. “She went terrific last Friday (when third behind Madame Meilland and Better B Chevron in the Empress Stakes) and I was very impressed with her,” Lewis said. Ken Casellas            

Khun Lek, trained in Capel by de Campo’s father Andrew, will be one of the fancies in the 2130m Building And Constructions At DTS Pace for harness racing mares after smart wins at Bunbury and Gloucester Park at her past two outings. She will start from barrier No. 5 on the front line and Aiden de Campo is planning to go forward at the start in a bid for the early lead or to take up a prominent forward position. In an open affair, Khun Lek, Rockin The Boys and Our Jeremes Gem appear to have sound prospects. Rockin The Boys and Our Jeremes Gem have each finished second at their past two starts and are due for a change of fortune. Khun Lek is by McArdle out of Chantic Sarah, a D M Dilinger mare who raced 17 times in Western Australia for five wins in 2008 and 2009 --- two at Narrogin and Wagin and one at Pinjarra. She is no relation to Khun Ratha, who finished powerfully to win at Gloucester Park last Friday night. Khun Ratha, recently purchased by Kristy Sheehy and Joshua Dunn, has earned $162,519 from 15 wins and 38 placings from 106 starts. He will start from the back line in the 2536m Hardware at DTS Pace on Friday night and has sound each-way prospects, with Shannon Suvaljko in the sulky. Suvaljko and de Campo have excellent prospects of winning the final event, the Direct Trades Supply Pace, in which Suvaljko will be in the sulky behind the polemarker Ctheballerina and de Campo will be driving Cest Lheure. Ctheballerina, unplaced at her past nine starts since winning over 2090m in Hobart last October, is a newcomer to Mike Reed’s Henley Brook stables and she caught the eye in a 2150m trial at Byford in Sunday morning when she surged home from sixth at the bell to be second to Ay Jays Dream. “She’s been all over the place, racing in New Zealand, Tasmania and Victoria,” Reed said. “I like her and whatever she does on Friday night, she will improve on.” Suvaljko watched the trial in which Ctheballerina was driven by Mark Reed, and gave the mare his tick of approval. “The only blue, first-up, is the longer distance of 2536m,” he said. De Campo described Cest Lheure as a handy horse who hardly ever runs a bad race and said that he was confident of a forward showing, without being in any way over-confident. Suvaljko will have a busy time on Friday night and apart from Golden State (who should win the WA Derby Prelude) he has many good each-way prospects among his drives behind A Boy Named Rosie, Chal Storm, Khun Ratha, She Said Diamonds, Our Jeremes Gem and Ctheballerina. He also spoke highly of Back To The Beach’s winning prospects in the Irrigation At DTS Westbred Pace. Back To The Beach, to be driven by Mitch Miller for Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri, will start from barrier six and looks set to fight out the finish after having notched seven wins from his past 13 starts. Suvaljko has driven Back To The Beach in five of those wins, with Miller, engaged this week to take advantage of his concession, having had only one drive behind the four-year-old for an all-the-way victory in the 2180m Wagin Cup four starts ago. “He doesn’t have to lead; he can sit,” said Suvaljko. “However, he has drawn inside of Red Hot Roxy and she will not be able to sit outside Back To The Beach and beat him.” Ken Casellas

Harness racing driver Shannon Suvaljko continues to be a shining light on the track and he is supremely confident that his golden run will be sustained at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he drives Golden State in the $22,000 Power Tools At DTS WA Derby Prelude. Golden State, trained at Henley Brook by Mike Reed, set the pace and finished second to stablemate Bechers Brook in the Battle of Bunbury at Donaldson Park last Saturday night. But Suvaljko is convinced that Golden State will turn the tables on Bechers Brook and move a step closer to winning the WA Derby on April 6. The 49-year-old Suvaljko, who notched his 100th winner for the season when he was successful with Lord Willoughby at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night, leads the Statewide drivers’ premiership table with 100 winners, 95 seconds and 63 thirds from 681 starters. He is showing the way from Chris Lewis (89 wins), Gary Hall jun. (89) and Chris Voak (84). The New Zealand-bred Golden State and the Victorian-bred Bechers Brook are owned by Albert Walmsley and look set to be leading contenders in the rich WA Derby.   Suvaljko has driven Bechers Brook in eight of his nine starts and the colt impressed in the Battle of Bunbury when Dylan Egerton-Green had him handily-placed in the one-out, one-back position before he went three wide 250m from home and finished powerfully to hit the front 30m from the post. The final quarters were run in 27.6sec. and 28.2sec. Egerton-Green has retained the drive on Bechers Brook on Friday night. At his previous start, in the Caduceus Club Classic, Suvaljko drove Bechers Brook, who raced without cover early and then in the one-out, one-back position before finishing gamely to be third behind the pacemaker Golden State (Chris Lewis) and Speed Man. Golden State will be a warm favourite on Friday night after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier in the 2130m event. Bechers Brook’s prospects slumped when he drew the outside barrier in the field of nine. Suvaljko said that he wasn’t disappointed at Golden State’s loss in the Battle of Bunbury, explaining that the colt overraced. “We changed the cart to a shorter one than normal --- and he smashed a wheel all the way,” he said. “That was his undoing. He wanted to run up the track and hit the wheel all the way. “That was his problem; he fired up and made himself run down the back (with a 27.6sec. quarter) when he didn’t have to. I think that if he hadn’t been hitting the wheel he would have won pretty easily. “I don’t think there’s much between Golden State and Bechers Brook, who is a relaxed horse who has a really high sprint at the end.” Lewis will drive the inexperienced New Zealand-bred gelding Shadow Magic, who is unfavourably drawn at No. 7 on Friday night. But the Barry Howlett-trained three-year-old was most impressive in a low-class R0 event at Bunbury on Saturday night when he raced wide early and then in the breeze before winning by five lengths from Kata Noi Beach. That was his first appearance for nine months. He finished second to Rosies Ideal at his only other start, at Bunbury last June. Shadow Magic will be making his first appearance at Gloucester Park and Howlett is hoping that he will emulate the performances of his half-brothers VC Manoeuvre and El Jacko who were successful at their first outing at Gloucester Park. Gary Hall jun. has chosen to drive Speed Man (trained by Gary Hall sen.) in preference to the Katja Warwick-trained Rock Me Over, who finished determinedly from fifth at the bell to win the Sales Classic for colts and geldings last Friday night, with Hall in the sulky. Aiden de Campo will handle the colt this week. Rock Me Over, a winner at four of his 15 starts, will begin from barrier No. 3, with Speed Man (four wins from nine starts) at No. 4. Bettor B Abeliever, trained by Paula Petricevich, is handily drawn at barrier two and Kyle Harper should have the colt in a prominent position throughout. Bettor B Abeliever set the pace and won easily from Captured Delight and Our Angel of Harlem over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon.   Ken Casellas

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