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 “Maczaffair has good gate speed and if she leads she will be very hard to beat,” declared trainer Mike Reed when assessing the four-year-old’s prospects in the $25,000 RSM Australia Rotary Club Fremantle Pace over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Maczaffair will start from the No. 2 barrier on the front line and Shannon Suvaljko will be hellbent on beating out polemarker Dodolicious. “She loves the 2536m and the further they go, the better she likes it,” said Reed, who will also be represented by Shandale, who will be driven by Chris Lewis from the outside (No. 9) on the front line. Maczaffair, who has amassed $379,787 from 18 wins, seven seconds and two thirds from 38 starts, gave further proof of her ability as a frontrunner two starts ago when she began from barrier three, took the lead after 300m and won the group 2 $50,000 WASBA Breeders Stakes at a 1.55.6 rate over 2130m. Then, last Friday night she started off the 30m mark in a 2503m stand and raced in eighth position in the one-wide line before starting a three-wide move 700m from home. She fought on determinedly to be fifth behind the pacemaker Better Scoot, who dashed over the final quarters in 27.8sec. and 28.3sec. “I clocked her to run the final half-mile, out three deep, in 55.5sec.,” said Reed.  Dodolicious, the only other mare in Friday night’s race, will start from the No. 1 barrier and Ryan Warwick is likely to use the five-year-old’s good gate speed in a bid to withstand Maczaffair’s early bid for the lead. It is problematic whether Dodolicious will be able to hold out Maczaffair. Dodolicious will be driven by Colin Brown, with Greg and Skye Bond’s other runner, Our Jimmy Johnstone, to be handled by the stable’s No. 1 driver Ryan Warwick. Our Jimmy Johnstone, who will start from barrier five, is in top form, with his past eight starts producing two wins and five placings. He started from barrier six in a 2130m event last Friday night when he raced three wide before charging to the front after 550m. He then gave a bold frontrunning display to win by a length from stablemate Galactic Star at a 1.55.4 rate. Maczaffair, Our Jimmy Johnstone and Bettors Fire look set to fight out the finish. Trainer-reinsman Kyle Harper said that he was confident that the nine-year-old Bettors Fire would run a bold race. “Barrier draws are not so important in races over 2536m,” he said. “We’ll play our cards according to the way things unfold at the start. If the race is run to suit Bettors Fire will be a very big chance of winning. Maczaffair and Our Jimmy Johnstone look to be the horses to beat.”   Ken Casellas

Cracking reinsman Chris Voak is riding on the crest of a wave and has already landed 128 winners this season. He has no hesitation in declaring that Gotta Go Gabbana is his best winning prospect at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Annie Belton-trained Gotta Go Gabbana has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier in the 2536m Australian Marine Complex Pace and Voak is anxious to use the four-year-old’s good gate speed in a bid for an all-the-way victory. “She’s sharp and in the zone,” Voak said. “She’s in a really good head space and she wants to be out there, racing. If she shows the speed she did last week, she will hold up comfortably. And if she leads, she’ll be mighty hard to beat.” Gotta Go Gabbana has been gallant in defeat at four of her past five starts when she was forced to work hard in the breeze. Three starts ago, she led from barrier two and scored a comfortable victory over 2130m. Voak named Detroit Lily (six wins from 14 starts) and Pick My Pocket (seven wins from 20 starts) as two of the hardest for Gotta Go Gabbana to beat. But he said that the Justin Prentice-trained Pick My Pocket (No. 3 barrier) would face a very difficult task if she was forced to race without cover. Detroit Lily, second to Our Maja Mama in last month’s WA Oaks, will start from the inside of the back line. “If Detroit Lily stays on the pegs she is likely to have difficulty in getting a clear run in the late stages,” Voak said. “When Gotta Go Gabbana leads she doesn’t kick away, she just does what she has to do.” Voak also has sound prospects with Iceenothink in the Kari Forest Motel Pace, in which the lightly-raced five-year-old is handily drawn at barrier three on the front line in the 2130m event. “I see Iceenothink as my best winning prospect on the night,” said trainer Ross Olivieri. Voak said that the gelding’s form was hard to gauge. “I drove him first-up in WA and he was awful,” Voak said. “Then I drove him again two starts after that and he led from barrier one and won at Northam when he no horse challenged him or put any pressure on him. I reckon he goes well on the pace, and from barrier three on Friday night he should be prominent.” At his most recent appearance, at Northam on Tuesday of last week he was restrained from barrier seven and raced wide in the final circuit before finishing last in a field of nine.   Ken Casellas

Talented reinsman Ryan Warwick is poised to chalk up his 100th winner of the season at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he drives four top-class pacers from the powerful Skye Bond stable. Warwick, who has driven 99 winners this season, will handle Galactic Star in the Christmas In July at the Beau Rivage Pace, Dodolicious in the Book Your Next Conference at Gloucester Park Pace, Bettor Scoot in the Book A Private Box at Gloucester Park Pace and Detroit Lily in the Entertainment With Horsepower Pace. All have excellent each-way prospects, with Galactic Star perhaps the best of the quartet. Warwick gave punters an important lead when he chose to drive Galactic Star (from the outside barrier) in preference to stablemates Our Jimmy Johnstone (barrier seven) and Vampiro (eight). Five-year-old Galactic Star, a winner at 20 of his 45 starts, impressed at his first appearance for almost four months when he finished strongly from sixth at the bell to be third behind Vultan Tin and Bettors Fire in the 1730m Members Sprint last Friday night. Our Jimmy Johnstone (Dylan Egerton-Green) also impressed in that event when he started out wide at barrier eight and finished powerfully from tenth at the bell to be fourth. Colin Brown has been engaged to drive smart four-year-old Vampiro, a winner at 12 of his 24 starts. Vampiro, who will start from barrier eight on Friday night, has been freshened up since he ran home solidly to finish fourth behind Runrunjimmydunn over 2130m on March 23. The main rivals to the Bond trio are likely to be the Katja Warwick-trained Tommy Be Good and the Bob Mellsop-trained Real Lucky. Tommy Be Good, who is handily drawn at barrier four on the front line, indicated that he would pay to follow when he began off the back mark of 20m and surged home from ninth at the 650m to finish an excellent second to Lord Willoughby last Friday week. He will again be driven by Aiden Warwick. Gary Hall Jnr has been engaged to drive Real Lucky (barrier five) who won for the 16th time from 64 starts when he set the pace and beat Eagle Rox over 2130m last Friday night. Dodolicious is the best-performed runner in her event and she has the class to overcome the disadvantage of starting out wide from the No. 8 barrier at her third outing in her current preparation. A winner at 18 of her 40 starts, she fought on from fifth at the bell to be third behind Major Reality last Friday night. She meets much weaker opposition this week. Better Scoot looks one of the main chances in race eight and three-year-old filly Detroit Lily has the class to defeat her older and more experienced rivals in the ninth event in which she will be the only runner off the back line. Detroit Lily, a gallant second to Our Major Mama in the WA Oaks four starts ago, is in top form. She was not extended when she set the pace, sprinted over the final 400m in 27.7sec. and won from The Freedom Fighter over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. She has the ability to defy challenges from in-form mares Glenferrie Arch, She Could Be Good and Im Stylish.   Ken Casellas

Shannon Suvaljko, who holds a convincing lead on the Statewide drivers’ premiership, has given punters a massive lead by opting to handle star mare Maczaffair in preference to Lord Willoughby in the Book A Private Box at Gloucester Park Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Suvaljko has driven the Ross Olivieri-trained Lord Willoughby at the four-year-old’s past 17 starts for eight wins, six seconds and three thirds. Those wins include Lord Willoughby’s only four appearances in standing-start events. Lord Willoughby will begin from the 10m line in Friday night’s stand over 2503m and is sure to be hard to beat, following strong wins at his past two starts. The Mach Three gelding will be handled by Chris Lewis, who has driven him 14 times for two wins, six seconds and two thirds. Suvaljko has driven the Mike Reed-trained Maczaffair to victory 11 times. Lewis has driven the mare only twice for two wins, at Gloucester Park last July and August. Maczaffair has a winning record of 49 per cent (18 wins, seven seconds and two thirds from 37 starts) and she will need to be at the top of her game to succeed against smart pacers of the calibre of Lord Willoughby, Better Scoot and Im Rockaria. She is the lone backmarker off 30 metres and certainly has the speed and strength to overcome this handicap. Maczaffair has raced only once in a stand and that was two starts ago when she began from 30m in the 2503m Race For Roses in which she started off 30m and enjoyed a good passage in sixth position in the one-wide line. She fought on determinedly to be fourth behind Eden Franco, Sarah Goody and C C Chevron. The Skye Bond-trained Better Scoot, to be handled by Ryan Warwick, should appreciate a front-line draw and looks set to fight out the finish at his second outing after a spell. The lightly-raced six-year-old (23 starts for ten wins, six seconds and four thirds) challenged unsuccessful for the early lead and then enjoyed an ideal trail, one-out and one-back, when a sound first-up third behind Lord Willoughby and Tommy Be Good last Friday week. Better Scott has an impressive record in stands, with his seven starts behind the tapes in WA producing four wins, a second and two thirds. The Michael Brennan-trained Im Rockaria was a disappointing first-up sixth behind Lord Willoughby last Friday week, but he is a talented pacer capable of considerable improvement. Ken Casellas

Nine years ago, Colleen Lindsay was the excited breeder and owner of Centrefold Angel when she was a rank outsider at 85/1 and scored a dashing victory in the Diamond Classica and Mrs Lindsay has high hopes of repeating the dose with her classy two-year-old filly Typhoon Tiff in the $100,000 Group 1 classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Typhoon Tiff is bred in the purple and is closely related to Centrefold Angel, who was retired after earning $237,348 from 14 wins and 15 placings from 47 starts. Typhoon Tiff has an awkward draw at barrier No. 6 on the front line in the 2130m feature event, but she has been highly impressive in winning convincingly at her past three outings after her extremely unlucky third on debut in a 1684m event at Pinjarra early in March. The Bettors Delight filly will be driven by her trainer Colin Brown, who hasn’t bustled her at her four starts. Brown has given the impression that he was determined to nurse Typhoon Tiff and he has appeared like a man treading with great caution on egg shells. On debut at Pinjarra on March 12 Typhoon Tiff appeared quite flighty and she broke into a gallop and lost more than 12 lengths 80m after the start. Brown eased her three wide after 550m and she sustained a spirited burst to get to the front 150m from the post before galloping in front with 25m to travel. She finished third, a length behind the winner Itz All About Magic. Then Typhoon Tiff started from barrier eight over 1730m at Gloucester Park on April 10 when she raced four wide early and moved to the breeze after 500m before hitting the front 220m from home and winning, untouched, by a length from Lady Valasca. Brown restrained Typhoon Tiff from barrier seven at her third start, over 168m at Pinjarra on April 16, when she settled in sixth position and raced three wide from the 950m until she got to the front 120m from the post and won by just over a length from Its Set In Stone, rating 1.57.7, with final quarters in 28.2sec. and 28.5sec. Then, in a qualifying heat of the Diamond Classic at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week, Brown gave Typhoon Tiff time to settle after starting out wide at barrier seven. Typhoon Tiff then dashed forward to move to the breeze after 500m and she was not extended in winning easily from My Prayer and Fulfil The Dream at a 1.58.3 rate over 2130m after taking the lead on the home turn. Typhoon Tiff covered the 2130m in 2min. 36.6sec., with the other heat winners being Lady Valasca (2.38.1) and Mandy Joan (2.36.2). Mandy Joan, trained by David Thompson, was driven confidently by Dylan Egerton-Green, who took full advantage of the No. 1 barrier by setting the pace and giving the filly’s rivals little chance by covering the four 400m section of the final mile in 29.9sec., 29.5sec., 29.9sec. and 28.7sec. Mandy Joan, who defeated Majorpride and Has No Fear, will start from barrier four in the final, with Majorpride drawing the prized No. 1 barrier and Has No Fear at barrier seven. Majorpride (Gary Hall Jnr) and Has No Fear (Tom Buchanan) are prepared by Justin Prentice, who will also be represented in the final by Iona Diamond (Stuart McDonald, barrier three) and Fulfil The Dream. Prentice, who prepared 25/1 chance Lady Luca for her victory in the 2016 Diamond Classic, will drive Fulfil The Dream, who will start from barrier five. Fulfil The Dream raced in sixth position and was switched five wide on the home bend before charging home to finish an impressive third behind Typhoon Tiff and the pacemaker My Prayer in a qualifying heat. Has No Fear, a winner at three of her seven starts, also caught the eye in a qualifying heat when she started from barrier seven and was last in a field of nine at the 400m mark before she thundered home, out wide, to finish third behind Mandy Joan and Majorpride (who fought on from the one-out, one-back position to finish second). Lady Valasca, trained by Annie Belton and driven by Chris Lewis, set the pace in her heat and fought on grimly to win narrowly from Soho Interceptor, faces a stern test from the outside barrier (No. 9). Wonnerup trainer Terry Ferguson, who prepared $27.70 outsider Cimorene for her win in the Diamond Classic last year, has two runners in this year’s race Bettor Pack It and Bettor Copagoodone, who will be at long odds. Typhoon Tiff was bred by Mrs Lindsay. The filly is by champion American-bred stallion Bettors Delight and is out of Tiffany Twisted, who won at three of her eight starts before being retired. Brown also has an association with Tiffany Twisted, having driven her twice for a win and a second placing at Gloucester Park as a two-year-old in 2010 Tiffany Twisted was bred by Mrs Lindsay, who also bred that mare’s dam, the unraced Twisted Art, who produced five winners, including Centrefold Angel, who was driven twice by Brown for a win at Gloucester Park and a fourth at Pinjarra as a three-year-old. Typhoon Tiff can trace her ancestry back to Magic Flute, an outstanding WA pacer whose 16 Gloucester Park wins included the 1957 and 1958 Easter Cup, the 1957 State Sprint Championship and a heat of the 1957 Inter Dominion championship at Gloucester Park. Ken Casellas

Rival reinsmen Aiden de Campo (Ideal Tyson) and Kyle Harper (Bettors Fire) have a healthy respect for each other’s horse and are anticipating a spirited duel in the $25,000 GPHR Members Sprint over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The sparks are set to fly from the outset, with Ideal Tyson and Bettors Fire, as well as Galactic Star and Vultan Tin, blessed with sparkling gate speed. Ideal Tyson, trained at Coolup by Kristy Elson, will start from barrier four on the front line, with Bettors Fire at No. 6. Vultan Tin (Chris Voak) will start from No. 3 and Galactic Star (Ryan Warwick) at No. 5. De Campo made his intentions quite clear when he said: “’From gate four, we’ll be pressing forward pretty hard. I’d love to lead. We’ll work forward and hopefully be in front, or in the breeze. On his latest run, you would suggest he could win again from the breeze. However, Bettors Fire is a very good horse and can go very fast.” Harper said that Bettors Fire (who has made most of the running to win over 2536m and 2130m at his past two starts) was always a winning chance over any distance. “He’s a good sprinter who loves the mile,” he said. “It’s hard from barrier six over the short trip and I’m sure it’s not going to be easy. Vultan Tin goes well in front and Ideal Tyson went very well, first-up, sitting in the breeze and winning in 1.52.8 over 1730m. “If we go too hard early it will bring horses like Shandale and Our Jimmy Johnstone into the race from bad barriers. I’ll play it by ear, but over the sprint trip I don’t think we will be going back. “I often get asked the question whether Bettors Fire is better at a staying distance or a short trip and the answer is ‘I don’t know’. He’s very good over all distances.” Punters would be well advised to take into account Bettors Fire’s performance at his most recent outing over 1730m. That was 12 starts ago when the wonderful nine-year-old burst to the front from barrier seven and set the pace before winning the Group 2 Village Kid Sprint at Gloucester Park on December 29. He was a 55/1 outsider and won from the 7/4 on favourite Soho Tribeca, Chicago Bull, Zach Maguire and My Hard Copy, rating 1.52.6. His ten runs over 1730m have produced three wins (including a victory over Im Victorious in the Mount Eden Sprint at Gloucester Park in November 2013), two seconds, one third, two fourths, one fifth and one sixth. De Campo was overseas on holidays when Gary Hall Jnr drove Ideal Tyson to a dashing first-up victory in considerably weaker company over 1730m two Fridays ago. “He went super first-up and I’m lucky to get the drive back,” said de Campo, who has driven Ideal Tyson 26 times for six wins, seven seconds and seven thirds. Ryan Warwick, who drove Our Jimmy Johnstone to an all-the-way victory over Beaudiene Boaz in the 2017 Members Sprint, has given punters a good lead by opting to drive the Skye Bond-trained Galactic Star in preference to Our Jimmy Johnstone this week. Our Jimmy Johnstone, an impressive winner from Shandale and The Bucket List over 2130m last Friday week, will start from barrier eight on Friday night, with Dylan Egerton-Green in the sulky. Galactic Star, a noted speedster, is capable of a bold showing from barrier five at his first appearance since finishing second to Major Star in the Albany Cup on February 2. Heez On Fire also will be racing first-up for veteran trainer Bill Horn. The eight-year-old, the winner of 20 races from 51 starts, is handily drawn at barrier two. He proved his fitness with a narrow trial win over Gotta Go Chocolate in a 2550m standing-start trial at Byford last Sunday week. Ken Casellas

Sunoflindenny, an eight-year-old with a modest record, has sound prospects of turning the tables on the richly-talented Glenferrie Typhoon when they clash in the $18,000 Trotters Mobile over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Sunoflindenny, trained by Ross Olivieri and driven by Chris Lewis, began speedily from barrier seven, but was beaten out by Glenferrie Typhoon, who began like a shot from barrier eight in a 2130m event at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night. Sunoflindenny, a massive gelding, was quickly eased out of the early speed battle and after 250m was severely checked and broke into a gallop, losing a good ten lengths. He settled down a distant seventh before moving forward into the breeze with 1050m to travel. He issued a strong challenge to the pacemaking Glenferrie Typhoon over the final stages and was beaten by a length. “It was a brave performance,” declared Olivieri. “It was like an M0 performer against a Free-For-Aller, and you would be pretty pleased with the way the M0 went, giving that he was knocked over and that the winner is a very classy horse. Sunoflindenny can turn the tables on Friday night. Barriers are everything at Gloucester Park, so it gives us a good hope.” Sunoflindenny will start from the No. 1 barrier in Friday night’s race, with Glenferrie Typhoon on the outside at barrier No. 9. “Sunoflindenny has good gate speed and I’ll be trying to get to the front,” Lewis said. “He did a great job to get back into a trot so quickly after being badly checked on Tuesday night. I expect him to run a strong race on Friday night.” Sunoflindenny, who won easily at his first WA start, at Pinjarra last Monday week, has raced 58 times for seven wins and 22 placings for $68,960. Glenferrie Typhoon, also an eight-year-old, has amassed $464,899 from 23 wins and 12 placings from 54 starts. Glenferrie Typhoon and Sunoflindenny are unlikely to have all things going there way on Friday night when Balmoral Boy, Ton Tine and Sun of Anarchy capable of bold showings. The Tonia Stampalia-trained Balmoral Boy (barrier two) is a speedy beginner and smart frontrunner who has scored very easy wins at his past two starts; The Justin Prentice-trained Sun of Anarchy (barrier eight) also has won easily at his past two starts and the Shaun Adams-trained Ton Tine trotted strongly when a close third to Glenferrie Typhoon and Sunoflindenny on Tuesday night. Ken Casellas

Ravenswood horseman Nathan Turvey simply cannot believe his good fortune when he was contacted completely out of the blue last year by Karl Deiley, who asked him to train a young pacer by the name of Simba Bromac. “I had never met him and I don’t know why he picked me out,” said Turvey. “That’s the million-dollar question.” Turvey was more than happy to accept the offer from Deiley, a West Australian businessman, to train Simba Bromac, a New Zealand-bred pacer who had raced six times in Victoria for one win (at Cobram in February of last year) and three placings. Turvey is delighted at the progress shown by Simba Bromac, who has had 17 starts for him for 13 wins, three seconds and one fourth. And he is excited at the four-year-old’s potential, saying that he was hopeful that the gelding would develop into a realistic prospect for the rich feature events at the Christmas carnival next summer. “Simba Bromac is pretty smart and I haven’t had a Christmas feature horse before, but he could be the one,” Turvey said. Simba Bromac is in superb form and has excellent prospects of extending his winning sequence to five by proving the master of his nine rivals in the $25,000 Caporn Electrical Pure Steel final at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He is the only M0-class runner in the field, but should carry too many guns for his rivals, all of whom have an M1 classification. He has drawn perfectly at the No. 1 barrier on the front line and Chris Lewis will attempt an all-the-way victory. “Simba Bromac is jumping out of his skin and to lead, that’s the plan,” said Turvey. “Touch of Success (barrier five) has good gate speed, but I think that Simba Bromac will hold up. He’s very fast out. It’s a good field and if Simba Bromac has to do a bit of work early, it could bring smart horses like El Jacko into the race.” One of Simba Bromac’s main rivals appears to be Mister Versace, who has struck a purple patch for Banjup trainer Annie Belton, with two wins and a fast-finishing third at his past three starts. He will start from barrier three on the front line with Chris Voak in the sulky. Mister Versace was most impressive last Friday night when he led for the first 220m and then sat behind the pacemaker Mista Shark before finishing with a powerful burst to beat that pacer by 2m at a 1.56.5 rate over 2130m. Belton is in fantastic form, winning with each of her past four starters at Gloucester Park (Mister Versace and Lady De La Renta last Friday night and Lady Valasca and Dior Mia More on Tuesday evening). Whenmechief, trained by Michael Brennan and driven by Michael Grantham, gave a powerful frontrunning display to win from Ohoka Darcy at a 1.57.5 rate over 2130m last Friday night. He faces a sterner test this week from the No. 7 barrier. The in-form Skye Bond-trained pair of Messi and El Jacko fared poorly in the random draw and will need plenty of luck from barriers eight and nine, respectively. Ken Casellas

Jack Mac has revealed freakish ability to score effortless victories at his seven starts in Western Australia and the outstanding harness racing colt should have little difficulty in retaining this unbeaten record by outclassing his rivals in the inaugural Pearl Classic for three-year-olds at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Among those seven wins were the Group 1 features, the Pearl Classic for two-year-olds and the Golden Slipper last year. Trained at Busselton by Barry Howlett, Jack Mac has the class to win at his first appearance since he romped to a five-length victory over 2185m at Pinjarra on January 22 when he sped over the final 400m in 27.1sec. That was his first outing since he easily beat Cott Beach in the Golden Slipper six months earlier. Jack Mac has had one trial since his latest success when he surged home from last in a six-horse to win easily from Rosies Ideal in a 2100m hit-out at Bunbury on March 21. He revealed his characteristic brilliance in dashing over the final quarter in 27.2sec. Remarkably, Jack Mac has not tasted defeat in seven race starts and five trials in WA after being unplaced at his five starts as a two-year-old in New Zealand. It is worth pointing out that Jack Mac raced against the best two-year-olds in New Zealand in those appearances. Howlett picked out and purchased Jack Mac as a weanling in New Zealand and the colt now has earned $190,912. He has been handled in all his WA starts by champion reinsman Chris Lewis, who is sure to take full advantage of the colt’s favourable barrier at No. 2 on the front line in the $50,000 classic over 2130m. Howlett, who races Jack Mac in partnership with his wife Lyn and their son Jim, has a good second string in Friday night’s classic in another Mach Three New Zealand-bred colt Robshaw, who is handily drawn on the inside of the back line. He will be driven by Aiden de Campo. Robshaw has raced only twice for a four-length victory over Bejewelled at Bunbury on May 5 and a solid second to Our Corelli over 2185m at Pinjarra on May 14 when he had a tough run in the breeze for much of the journey. The New Zealand-bred Our Corelli impressed at his second start when he finished strongly for trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice to come from sixth at the bell to beat Robshaw by just over a length. War Club, trained by John Graham and driven by Morgan Woodley, is in good form and should be prominent from the coveted No. 1 barrier on the front line. War Club is expected to enjoy a perfect trip behind the likely pacemaker Jack Mac. War Club followed an all-the-way win at Pinjarra on April 30 with an eye-catching second to stablemate Mister Spot on the same track two weeks later when he surged home from eighth at the bell. Mister Spot, the most experienced runner in Friday night’s race with 21 starts for four wins and five placings, will be driven by Dean Miller and should race in a prominent position after starting from barrier two on the back line. Byford trainer David Thompson is pleased with the progress shown by Liam Neil, who has won at three of his five starts as a three-year-old, including a smart last-start victory when he rattled home from the rear at the bell to beat Itsnotova over 2185m at Pinjarra three Mondays ago. Liam Neil, who will be driven by Dylan Egerton-Green from barrier five, warmed up for this week’s event in fine style with a narrow victory over Lucky Sensation in a 2185m trial at Pinjarra on Sunday morning when he sped over the final quarters in 28.2sec. and 27.6sec. Ken Casellas

Highly promising four-year-old Im Rockaria looks set to make a successful return to harness racing after impressive victories in recent trials at Pinjarra. The Michael Brennan-trained gelding will be driven by Michael Grantham from the 10-metre mark in a 2503m stand, the Alltools Gift Vouchers Handicap, at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Im Rockaria, who will be having his first start for four months, performed stylishly on a heavy track in a 2185m mobile trial at Pinjarra last Sunday week. After settling down in third place in the five-horse trial, Im Rockaria dashed to the front after 500m and relished his pacemaking role as he sped over the final quarters in 28.5sec. and 28sec. to beat Ideal Tyson by two and a half lengths at a 1.57.5 rate. In a 2185m trial a week earlier, Im Rockaria led early and then sat behind the pacemaker Well Enough Said before finishing determinedly to beat that pacer by a head, rating 1.59.8. The New South Wales-bred Im Rockaria, who has amassed $200,293 from 15 wins and four placings from 32 starts, has raced only once in a stand when he was successful over 2503m at Gloucester Park two starts ago, on January 12 when he started from 10m and raced in seventh position before starting a three-wide move (with cover) 1100m from home. He took the lead at the 250m mark and won from Idealindiamonds and Importer Exporter. Im Rockaria certainly is unlikely to have things all his own way in an event in which he will clash with talented standing-start performers Lord Willoughby, Better Scoot, Importer Exporter and Tommy Be Good. The Ross Olivieri-trained Lord Willoughby will have many admirers after drawing the pole position on the front line. Confident reinsman Shannon Suvaljko said that planned an all-the-way victory with the ultra-consistent four-year-old who has raced 18 times this season for seven wins, seven seconds and four thirds. Better Scoot is an extremely promising six-year-old in the Forrestdale stables of Skye Bond. He has not raced since finishing second to Master Jaxon in a 1823m mobile event at Narrogin in October 2016. Two starts before that Better Scoot finished second to Im Full of Excuses in the Kalgoorlie Cup, a stand over 2518m. Importer Exporter and Tommy Be Good share the back mark of 20m and are sure to be prominent. They are experienced standing-start performers who are racing in fine form. Ken Casellas

“He’s working in terrific style at home and should be ready to rumble on Friday night and so it’s onwards and upwards,” declared harness racing trainer-reinsman Kyle Harper when assessing the prospects of veteran pacer Bettors Fire in the Alltools Online Store Pace at Gloucester Park. However, Harper declined to declare Bettors Fire a “good thing” in the seven-horse field in the 2130m event. Bettors Fire, an M20-class pacer with a record of 96 starts for 36 wins and 21 placings for earnings of $737,619, will start from the outside barrier, with M4-class mares Sheer Rocknroll (barrier one) and Maczaffair (two) gaining preferential treatment as the only mares in the race.  “It’s a tricky race,” Harper said. “Obviously, Bettors Fire is the class runner, but that doesn’t mean anything from a bad draw. I’ll leave all options open. Seven is a draw from which to fly the gate. But we probably don’t need to. We’ll weigh up our options and see what the early speed is like. “I’m happy with the horse who seems to thrive this time of the year. You could probably go two ways fire him off the arm and he’d be hard to beat. Or you could sit him up and if there’s any pace in the race he should prove hard to beat. “Sheer Rocknroll is a very good frontrunner and so, too, is Maczaffair. Vultan Tin probably won’t be able to cross Maczaffair, while Shandale has had a couple of starts back and should be pretty close to his best form. He’s hard to run down when he gets the advantage on you. “And The Bucket List is a very classy horse. All seven runners should be close enough to fight out the finish.” Whatever the outcome of Friday night’s race, Bettors Fire is certain to have a tougher time than he did last Friday week when he ambled to the front from barrier two and dawdled over the first two quarters of the final mile in 31.1sec. and 29.9sec. before sprinting over the final sections in 28.1sec. and 27.4sec. He held on to defeat Our Jimmy Johnstone by just over a half-length, with Shandale finishing solidly into third place.  Leading reinsman Shannon Suvaljko declared that Maczaffair would go out hard in a bid to lead. “She loves to lead and we plan to roll along,” he said. Maczaffair won the Group 2 WASBA Breeders Stakes over 2130m last Friday night when she started from the No. 3 barrier and got to the front after 300m. The lead time was a fast 35.7sec. before Maczaffair relaxed and ran the opening two quarters of the final mile in 30sec. and 30.6sec. She increased the tempo with final quarters in 28.9sec. and 27.8sec. when she fought on grimly to beat Eden Franco by a half-head. Shandale and The Bucket List warmed up in style for this week’s event when they finished with powerful bursts to dead-heat for second behind Our Jimmy Johnstone over 2130m. Shandale surged home from fifth at the bell and The Bucket List rattled home from eighth with a lap to travel. Ken Casellas

New Zealand-bred harness racing five-year-old Ohoka Darcy is overdue for a change of luck and has sound prospects of ending a losing sequence of 16 by winning the Milwaukee 18V Fuel Heavy Duty Pace over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. On the surface, this appears to be a bold prediction, taking into account Ohoka Darcy’s 11th placing behind Art Keeper in a 2130m event last Friday night and the fact that he has managed just two placings (thirds) from his past 11 runs but Ravenswood trainer Nathan Turvey is bullish about the gelding’s winning chances, saying that Ohoka Darcy had been racing without luck in recent outings. Turvey has engaged champion reinsman Chris Lewis to drive Ohoka Darcy. Lewis has driven the gelding only twice for two victories by a half-head and a head in a heat and the final of the Kersley Pace at Gloucester Park last November. “Ohoka Darcy is going good, but he hasn’t had any luck at all of late,” said Turvey. “So, he will be driven aggressively this week. The main danger is Risk, who has drawn nine and we’ve drawn six. I reckon we should get to the breeze and keep it. He’s got a really good record from the breeze and Chris has a perfect record with him.” Ohoka Darcy started out wide at barrier nine last Friday night when he was restrained to the rear. He raced in last position and was hampered for room in the final lap when 11th behind Art Keeper. A week earlier, Ohoka Darcy started from barrier four and enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back before finishing a well-beaten fourth behind Whozideawasthis, who sprinted over the final quarters in 28.2sec. and 27.2sec. Ohoka Darcy has the credentials to be a good winner. He is by Courage Under Fire and is a full-brother to Lanercost, wo raced 45 times for 30 wins and nine placings for stakes of $509,121. Lanercost’s victories included the Australian Derby in Launceston and the Tasmanian Derby in Hobart in March 2010 and the Chariots of Fire at Menangle in April 2011. Risk, to be driven by Ryan Warwick for Forrestdale trainer Skye Bond, is a strong stayer and is expected to be a short-priced favourite. He started from barrier nine in a 1730m sprint last Friday week when he was restrained to the rear at the start. He raced wide in the final circuit and finished eighth behind the pacemaking Our Zack Whitby. A week earlier Risk gave a powerful performance to win easily from Campora over 2536m. He began speedily from barrier seven but was unable to wrestle the lead from the polemarker Luis Alberto. He then raced in the breeze before charging to the front 350m from home and scoring in effortless fashion. Turvey is also optimistic about the chances of Dana Duke in the 2130m Alltools, The Name Says It All Pace. Turvey has engaged Deni Roberts to drive Dana Duke and with her claim as a junior driver, the seven-year-old has drawn favourably at barrier two on the front line. Dana Duke extended his losing sequence to 11 when he started at 6/4 on and led from barrier two in a 1730m event and wilted in the final stages to finish a close third to Ideal Tyson (who rated 1.52.8) and Chal Storm. The pace was a cracker and the 400m sections of the final mile whizzed by in 28.3sec., 28.6sec., 27.8sec. and 28.6sec. Dana Duke drops considerably in class this week and Turvey said that the gelding would appreciate contesting a race without Ideal Tyson as a rival. “Dana Duke has good gate speed and he likes to bowl along,” Turvey said. “If he gets caught in the breeze he’s likely to over race and drive everyone mad. However, I anticipate him getting to the front and he hasn’t been beaten too many times when he has set the pace.” Ken Casellas

Banjup trainer harness racing Annie Belton is a good judge of horseflesh and she has no regrets about outlaying $26,000 to purchase Lady De La Renta at the 2016 Perth yearling sale. The filly has won at five of her 15 starts for earnings of $74,769 and she has bright prospects of adding $30,225 to her prizemoney by winning the Group 2 $50,000 Alltools Diamond Classic for three-year-old fillies over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Lady De La Renta has a losing sequence of five, but reinsman Chris Voak declared that he was quietly confident of success, saying that he expected the filly to improve sharply on her ninth placing behind Our Major Mama in the WA Oaks last Friday week when she started out wide at barrier seven and was trapped wide early before being restrained to the rear. “I expect her to be close to her best this week,” Voak said. “I liked the feel she gave me when I worked her on the track on Tuesday morning.” Lady De La Renta will start from the No. 4 barrier on the front line on Friday night and Voak is planning to send the filly forward from the start in a bid to take up the running. An even field of fillies will contest the Diamond Classic and luck in running will play an important part, with Oaks winner Our Major Mama starting from barrier six and her promising stablemate De La Tourbie facing a stern test from the outside barrier (No. 9). The Michael Brennan-trained Miss Sangrial fared poorly in the draw and will need luck from barrier eight, with star reinsman Gary Hall Jnr in the sulky. She is a talented filly who has raced 31 times for ten wins and 11 placings. Brennan is hoping that Miss Sangrial will make amends for her narrow defeat when favourite at 10/1 on in the Two-Year-Old Diamond Classic early last June. Miss Sangrial started from barrier one and set the pace before being overhauled in the final stages to be defeated by a short half-head by fast-finishing outsider Cimorene. Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri will be represented by Retort (barrier two) and Veiled Secret (seven). Mitch Miller will drive Retort, a winner at Narrogin two starts ago, and Shannon Suvaljko will handle Veiled Secret, who is showing steady improvement and has won at her past two starts, at Narrogin and Bunbury, after working hard without cover. Orphan Reactor, prepared at Capel by Andrew de Campo, will have admirers after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier. The filly is a good frontrunner who began fast from barrier seven two starts ago before setting the pace and winning over 2185m at Pinjarra. Lady De La Renta is bred to be a good winner. She is by American stallion Well Said and is the second foal out of Jet Laag mare Flylika Bird Lombo, a winner of seven races and $53,975. Flylika Bird Lombo is out of Decethree Lombo, who produced 11 winners, including Lombo Skyrider, an outstanding juvenile who won 14 races in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia as a two and three-year-old. Lombo Skyrider was a prolific winner in America and was retired after having 321 starts for 63 wins, 84 placings and $841,611 in prizemoney. Ken Casellas

At nine years of age Bronze Seeker retains his healthy appetite and strong competitive nature for harness racing and at Gloucester Park on Friday night he will chalk up his 200th start in a career which has netted $393,472 in prize money from 25 wins and 38 placings. Trained at Byford by Peter Anderson, Bronze Seeker fared poorly in the random draw and will start from the No. 7 barrier in the 2130m Budget Stockfeeds Pace over 2130m. Giles Inwood will be looking to slot Bronze Seeker into the one-wide line or on to the pegs and will be relying on the gelding’s sparkling finishing burst. By Mach Three and the second foal out of Lislea mare Bronze Lady (one win and one second from seven starts in 2006), Bronze Seeker has 26 starts in New Zealand for 11 wins and four placings. He has earned $326,009 from his 14 wins and 34 placings from 173 starts in Western Australia. Bronze Seeker began from barrier seven in a 2130m event last Friday night and raced six back on the pegs and failed to obtain a clear passage in the final circuit when 11th behind Whozideawasthis. A week earlier, from barrier two, he trailed the pacemaker Khun Ratha before Inwood switched him three wide on the home turn. He then sprinted strongly to finish second to Khun Ratha, who dashed over the final 400m in 27.6sec. Besotted, Im Master Charlie, Campora and Real Lucky will be more fancied than Bronze Seeker on Friday night, but Bronze Seeker is capable of surprising. Caris Hamilton-Smith has done a splendid job to get Besotted back racing with refreshing enthusiasm and the nine-year-old impressed two starts ago when he sprinted home fast from well back to win at a 1.55.3 rate over 1730m. Gary Hall Jnr will drive the nine-year-old this week and Hall will be keen to take full advantage of the prized No. 1 barrier by attempting to set the pace. Im Master Charlie returned to his best form for trainer Michael Brennan last Friday night when he was eighth at the bell and sixth on the home turn before flashing home to win convincingly from Messi and Mighty Flying Thomas over 2130. Michael Grantham will be in the sulky this week and he is optimistic about the eight-year-old’s prospects. Hall has also been engaged to drive Ideal Tyson for Coolup owner-trainer Kristy Elson in the 1730m Ramsays Horse Transport Pace. Ideal Tyson has drawn the outside barrier (No. 9) in the sprint at his first appearance since finishing seventh behind superstar Chicago Bull in the Mount Eden Sprint on October 20. Ideal Tyson warmed up for Friday night’s event in good fashion with a sound second to the speedy Im Rockaria in a 2185m trial at Pinjarra on Sunday morning. The five-year-old settled down in fourth place before moving to the breeze 1450m from home. He fought on solidly in muddy conditions, with the final quarters being run in 28.5sec. and 28sec. Ken Casellas

Consistent four-year-old Gotta Go Gabbana (Gotta Go Cullect) is poised to return to the harness racing winning list after working hard in the breeze at each of her past five starts for two seconds, a third and two fourths. That’s the verdict of reinsman Chris Voak when assessing Gotta Go Gabbana’s prospects in the Pacing WA and Girl Power In Pacing Westbred Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Gotta Go Gabbana, trained at Banjup by Annie Belton, will start from the favourable No. 2 barrier on the front line and Voak said: “She’ll either lead or breeze. If she leads, she will win, and if she races without cover she will also be hard to beat.” Drawn at 6 No. 1 is the Phil Costello-trained Anime, who has been placed once from her past eight starts since leading and winning over 1684m at Pinjarra in mid-February. Voak considers that the main danger to Gotta Go Gabbana is the Murray Lindau-trained Chiaroscuro, who will start from barrier three with Dylan Egerton-Green in the sulky. Chiaroscuro led from the No. 2 barrier and won at a 1.57.5 rate over 2130m at Gloucester Park two starts ago. He then gave an outstanding performance to surge home from last at the bell to finish second to Simba Bromac last Friday night. “I don’t want to surrender my advantage of the draw,” said Voak. “So, I won’t be handing up to Chiaroscuro.” Belton, who bred and owns Gotta Go Gabbana in partnership with her husband Colin, said that Gotta Go Gabanna was working in fine style and that she hoped that Friday night’s race would prove a good stepping stone to contesting a $25,000 event for four and five-year-old mares at Bunbury on Saturday week. Chiaroscuro (eight wins from 20 starts) and Gotta Go Gabbana (seven wins from 27 starts) are the only four-year-olds in Friday night’s event and look set to fight out the finish. Voak has nine drives on Friday night and has no hesitation in declaring Gotta Go Gabbana as his best winning prospect. He also predicted a top-three finish for Ardens Concord in race six and Frostyflyer in race eight. Ken Casellas

Former star juvenile pacer Eagle Rox will continue her comeback to harness racing when she contests the $50,000 WASBA Breeders Stakes at Gloucester Park on Friday night with a long-term goal of competing in the rich feature events for mares next summer. Now an eight-year-old, Eagle Rox is awkwardly drawn at the No. 7 barrier on the front line in the 2130m event and breeder-owner-trainer Debra Lewis said that if she got the “right run” she was capable of winning. “However, this is only her second run after an absence of 30 months and we’re not expecting anything of her,” she said. “If she had drawn barrier one, she probably would’ve given it a shake. “She’ll only get better after her first-up win and long-term, hopefully, she’ll be able to contest the major races for mares in the summer.” The Bettor's Delight mare made a triumphant return to racing after two and a half years when she scored an impressive victory in a C2/C6-class event over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week. She started out wide from barrier eight and sprinted strongly, three wide, from eighth at the bell to hit the front 300m from home and go on and defeat Auctioneers Elsu and Bettor Boa at a 1.57.5 rate. From barrier seven on Friday night, champion reinsman Chris Lewis is likely to be anxious to position Eagle Rox in the one-wide line and rely on her strong finishing sprint. Lewis holds the record of five wins in the WASBA Breeders Stakes, having scored with Tareena Bright (1985), Armbro Lucy (1993), Twinkle Paige (1997), Meggie Dear (2001) and Sheer Rocknroll (2017). Eagle Rox, trained by Kim Prentice as a juvenile, won three races as a two-year-old in 2012, including the Group 1 $100,000 Diamond Classic. She was also placed in the Gold Bracelet and Golden Slipper Stakes. A tendon injury has restricted Eagle Rox to just 22 starts for 12 wins, five seconds and two thirds for earnings of $168,028. She is a half-sister to another former outstanding mare Artemis Belle, who was retired with stakes of $359,559 from 19 wins and nine placings from 31 starts. As a two-year-old Artemis Belle won the Group 1 Sales Classic and the Group 3 Gold Bracelet before winning the Group 3 Dainty’s Daughter Classic and the Group 1 WA Oaks the following season. A couple of years ago Debra Lewis decided that Eagle Rox’s future was as a broodmare. “So, we put her in foal and she had a beautiful filly foal (by American Ideal) last November,” she said. “But a few months later the filly was bitten by a snake and died. It was then that we decided to put Eagle Rox back into work.” Many of the front-line mares in Friday night’s race possess good gate speed and there is a strong possibility that the sparks will fly early. Mike Reed, trainer of Maczaffair, is supremely confident that the talented New Zealand-bred five-year-old has the necessary speed to cross from barrier No. 3 to the front and to set the pace and go on and win. Maczaffair has rarely been defeated after setting the pace. She will again be handled by Shannon Suvaljko, who finished second behind the Reed-trained Foxy Dame in last year’s WASBA Breeders Stakes. Reed prepared Libertybelle Midfrew for her victory in the Breeders Stakes in 2015. Gary Hall Jnr, who won this event with Ideal Alice in 2015, has given punters a good lead by choosing to drive Major Reality for Boyanup trainer Justin Prentice ahead of the Kevin Keys-trained Sarah Goody. Major Reality, the highest-assessed mare in the field, with an M8 classification, is favourably drawn at barrier two on the front line and Prentice is hopeful that she will begin swiftly and set the pace. Major Reality, who has won at 21 of her 41 starts, rated 1.54.6 when she started from the back line and ran on from three back on the pegs to win the $30,000 Golden Girls Mile over 1684m at Pinjarra two starts ago. Then she started from the No. 7 barrier and raced at the rear throughout when seventh behind Vultan Tin over 2130m at Gloucester Park last Friday week. Hall has handled Sarah Goody at her three outings since resuming from a spell and the mare has impressed with strong victories at Gloucester Park and Pinjarra before working hard early and then enjoying the one-out, one-back trail and finishing determinedly to be second to Eden Franco in the 2503m Race For Roses last Friday night. Michael Grantham has recovered from a fractured right hand and is delighted to have gained the drive behind Sarah Goody, a winner at 13 of her 35 starts. Keys, who celebrates his 70th birthday on Thursday this week, has Sarah Goody at the peak of her powers. Ace trainer-reinsman Colin Brown has a high opinion of Eden Franco, who will start from barrier two on the back line. The mare has wonderful potential and looks set to fight out the finish. Brown has won the Breeders Stakes with Sand Pebbles (2004), Montel (2008) and Little Big Sister (2010). Brown has driven the speedy Ray Williams-trained Millview Sienna at her past three starts for two wins. Aldo Cortopassi has been engaged to drive Millview Sienna this week.       Ken Casellas

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