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The seemingly impossible occurred at Donaldson Park in Bunbury on Tuesday night when harness racing superstar Lennytheshark was beaten into fourth place in the sixth heat of the TABtouch Inter Dominion championship. It was the first time in 637 days that the reigning interdominion champion had failed to finish in the top three placings. However, trainer David Aiken declared after Lennytheshark’s fourth behind Bling It On, John of Arc and Waylade that he was not concerned at the defeat. “I’m not disappointed and he’ll bounce back at Gloucester Park on Friday night,” Aiken said. And his optimism increased considerably on Wednesday morning when Lennythshark drew the coveted No. 1 barrier in the Westral interdominion qualifying heat No. 8. Lennytheshark started from the inside of the back line in Tuesday night’s 2100m heat. He was favourite at 2/1 on. Ima Connoisseur revealed his customary brilliant early speed and was untroubled to lead from barrier four. John of Arc (9/2) quickly dashed forward to race in the breeze, with Waylade trailing the pacemaker and Bling It On (13/2) enjoying the one-out, one-back trail. Chris Alford settled Lennytheshark in eighth position in the one-wide line. Alford sent Lennytheshark forward, three wide, 650m from home and the seven-year-old fought on gamely to finish just over two lengths from the winner after the final two quarters were covered in 27.5sec. and 27.3sec. Aiken said that the race wasn’t run to suit Lennytheshark, who faced a massive task with the final 800m (off the front) whizzing by in 54.8sec. “He has pulled up well and there are no problems,” he said. Lennytheshark’s previous 21 starts had produced 14 wins, six seconds and one third. His previous unplaced effort was his sixth behind Beautide in the final of the interdominion championship at Menangle in March 2015. That sixth was Lennytheshark’s only unplaced effort in his previous 37 starts (24 wins, ten seconds and two thirds) before his comparative failure on Tuesday night. On Friday night Lennytheshark should be capable of holding up from fast beginners Bettors Fire (barrier two) and Franco Nelson (three) and setting the pace in the 2536m heat. Bettors Fire, Franco Nelson and Run Oneover appear Lennytheshark’s main rivals. Bettors Fire, who led from barrier three and won from Smolda and John of Arc in a 2130m heat at Gloucester Park last Friday night, raced in sixth position in the one-wide line when a fighting fifth behind Hectorjayjay over 2100m at Bunbury on Tuesday night. Smolda, second favourite at 7/4, finished third behind Run Oneover (6/4 favourite) and Freyberg in a 2100m heat on Tuesday night after racing in the breeze for the entire final circuit. Run Oneover, trained by Gary Hall sen., began speedily from the No. 4 barrier and he gave a powerful frontrunning performance to win by 2m from Freyberg (who trailed the leader). After a fast lead time of 34.4sec. and opening sections of 30.3sec. and 29sec. Run Oneover sprinted over the final quarters in 27.9sec. and 26.8sec. and his rate of 1.53.8 set a track record for 2100m. “I couldn’t be happier,” said reinsman Clint Hall. “Run Oneover proved on the first night (when second to Hectorjayjay after over-racing in the breeze) that he was up to them and he’s put them away tonight. It was a pretty decent field and he did it in good fashion. “He was good tonight even though we had to open him up early. He came back to me, which was pleasing. I knew that we would cop some pressure from Smolda at some stage, and it all worked out well. I had a plan and that was to keep Smolda, when he came, at my wheel. And Run Oneover was good enough to keep Smolda at my wheel for the rest of the race. “Run Oneover broke 27sec. for the final quarter to show that he has a chance in the final. We’ll need a bit of luck to beat the good ones, but it is not beyond him.” Click on this link for the full fields on Friday night at Gloucester Park Ken Casellas

Rising harness racing star Hectorjayjay possesses dazzling pace, but he is certainly not just a speed machine, according to his driver Josh Aiken. “Going up from the first two rounds of heats over 2130m and 2100m to 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night will not trouble him,” Aiken said. Hectorjayjay, the only unbeaten runner after the two nights of qualifying heats and a warm favourite for the $1.1 million final of the TABtouch Inter Dominion championship on Friday week, will start from barrier five in the Retravision interdominion qualifying heat No. 7 on Friday night and his clash with John of Arc promises to be a highlight of the ten-event program. “There’s no doubt that this horse can run a 26sec. flat quarter,” Aiken said. “He’s a pretty quick horse who ran his final quarter in 26.3sec. when he led and won the Swan Hill Cup over 2790m in October. “He has also run some crazy quarters from back in the field and I’m confident that he can sit off any speed and be quick enough to run past some nice horses.” Aiken said he was not concerned that Hectorjayjay (trained by his father David) would have to run in a heat over 2536m and the $1.1 million final on Friday week over 2936m. “We’ve given him two starts over longer trips (in the 2790m Swan Hill Cup and the 2650m Yarra Valley Cup) and he went really well,” Josh Aiken said. “He won very well at Swan Hill and then ran second to Restrepo at Yarra Valley when Restrepo was outstanding on the day. “I don’t think that the longer distances in his next two runs will worry him too much. He’s grown a bit of strength and has now got a bit more bottom. I’m really looking forward to his next two runs; he should be fitter after his two heat wins. I can’t wait. “Now, after his Bunbury win (when he led from barrier two and was not extended in winning from Our Jericho and Ultimate Art), it’s all about recovery and refreshing him. He’ll spend time at the beach and have a light jog the day before his race on Friday.” Favourite at 10/1 on in the fifth qualifying heat at Bunbury on Tuesday night, Hectorjayjay was not troubled to burst straight to the front from barrier two before an easy lead time of 35.4sec. and a slow opening 400m section of the final mile in 31.3sec. He strolled to victory after a slick final 800m in 53.7sec. and crossed the line more than two lengths ahead of Our Jericho, who had trailed him throughout. “It was pretty moderate early and then he copped a bit of pressure (from Ultimate Art) through the middle half and was still able to rattle off a 26.6sec. final quarter which was really pleasing,” Aiken said. “Ultimate Art is a really nice horse and is a big, good-looking horse who is actually quite intimidating. He’s got a lot of presence and so it was quite intimidating to have him up on the outside with two nice horses, Major Crocker and Bettors Fire, on his back. It was all so pleasing to go to the line on the bit and with his plugs in.” John of Arc, trained by Clive Dalton, is one of the big improvers in the series and he will have admirers from the prized No. 1 barrier in Friday night’s seventh heat. The lightly-raced injury-plagued seven-year-old produced a wonderful effort when second to the fast-finishing Bling It On in the sixth heat on Tuesday night. He raced three wide early and then in the breeze before surging past the pacemaker Ima Connoisseur and getting to the front 120m from the finish before he was swamped by Bling It On, who had enjoyed a perfect one-out, one-back trail for Luke McCarthy. This followed John of Arc’s excellent third behind Bettors Fire and Smolda in the second heat last Friday night when he sustained a spirited three-wide burst from sixth at the bell. Ken Casellas

Star harness racing reinsman Gary Hall jun. is looking forward with enthusiasm to driving Beaudiene Boaz in the ninth qualifying heat on Friday night and the $1.1 million final of the TABtouch Inter Dominion championship at Gloucester Park a week later. Beaudiene Boaz, an up-and-coming five-year-old prepared by ace trainer Gary Hall sen., followed his excellent second to Lennytheshark last Friday night with a sound fourth behind Hectorjayjay in the fifth heat in Bunbury on Tuesday night. “I was happy with the way he was travelling, and he wanted to go, in his heat in Bunbury,” Hall jun. said. “He was bolting turning for home and I should’ve come off (the inside) on the bend. But I thought I would stay on the pegs because I thought that Ultimate Art would drop off after doing a bit of work. “We didn’t get clear running until inside the final 100m, and by then it was too late.” Beaudiene Boaz is awkwardly drawn at barrier seven in Friday night’s 2536m heat, in which he will clash with Luke McCarthy’s Bling It On (a brilliant winner in a Bunbury heat), Our Jericho, Smolda, Simply Susational and Ultimate Art. However, he looks set to fight out the finish. The Ross Olivieri-trained Our Jericho is one of the surprise packets of the series and is on track to contest the $1.1 million final on Friday week after his fourth behind Lennyhtheshark and his second to Hectorjayjay on the first two nights of the series. Our Jericho is handily drawn at barrier two and Chris Lewis will have the option of taking a sit behind the polemarker Simply Susational or attempting to get to an early lead and then dictate terms in front. Our Jericho, a former New Zealand performer and a splendid frontrunner, has flourished since arriving in Western Australia where he has had 24 starts for Olivieri for nine wins and seven placings. He sat behind the pacemaker Hectorjayjay and fought on determinedly when second to that pacer on Tuesday night. Simply Susational impresses with his powerful finishing bursts and is not generally recognised as a frontrunner. However, there is certainly some prospect that Ryan Warwick will attempt to use the horse’s good gate speed and set the pace. Simply Susational led from barrier four when a three-length winner from stablemate Ima Tragedy, rating 1.52.6 over 1730m at Gloucester Park last May. He also led and won sprint events at Narrogin and Gloucester Park in November 2014. Bling It On cannot be underestimated. He has sprinted home in dashing style to win from Lennytheshark twice from his past five starts. He began fast from barrier three before obtaining the one-out, one-back sit on his way to his stylish fast-finishing victory over John of Arc on Tuesday night in a heat in which the final quarters were run in 27.5sec. and 27.3sec. Ken Casellas

Harness racing champion New Zealand trainer-reinsman Mark Purdon is full of hope that star young pacer Mr Mojito can atone for his flop in the McInerney Ford Classic last Friday night by winning the $50,000 Garrard’s Horse And Hound Four-Year-Old Championship over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “He was a victim of circumstances last week and I hope he can make amends this week,” Purdon said. The tyre on the gelding’s nearside sulky wheel was punctured about 600m after the start and Mr Mojito simply raced at the rear and finished in eleventh place, more than 20 lengths behind the winner Chicago Bull in last week’s feature event. “It was the result of a chain reaction, with the pace easing,” Purdon explained. “I didn’t want to over-tax Mr Mojito because he had no chance with a flat tyre … and if I had tried to stay on the back of Chicago Bull he would have run home a tired horse. “Take no notice of his run; just turn the page and hopefully we’ll see the best of him on Friday,” Purdon said. Mr Mojito has taken no ill-effects from last Friday and I’m happy with his condition. He’s had a quiet couple of days and I’m keeping him a bit on the fresh side. Mr Mojito, a son of American stallion Real Desire, has won at seven of his ten starts and Purdon has a high opinion of the gelding who will start from the No. 2 barrier on the front in Friday night’s race. “It won’t be easy with several good horses in the race,” Purdon said. “And you’ve got to respect the No. 1 horse (Nathans Courage).” The Victorian-bred Nathans Courage, trained at Pinjarra by Michael Brennan, is a brilliant frontrunner who should take a power of beating. The gelding, who has won nine times from 20 starts, will be driven for the first time by Gary Hall jun., who replaces regular reinsman Michael Grantham, who is serving a nine-day suspension. Nathans Courage started from barrier two on the back line in a 2536m event last Friday night when he raced three back on the pegs and fought on to finish a close fourth behind A Piccadilly Princess. Leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond hold a strong hand with two talented New Zealand-bred pacers Mister Daytona and Vanquished. Mister Daytona, to be driven by Ryan Warwick from the No. 3 barrier, has impressed in winning at ten of his 12 starts, while Vanquished, to be driven by Ryan Bell from barrier five, has won at ten of his 21 starts. He raced three back on the pegs and finished fast to be second to Chicago Bull last Friday night. Ace trainer Gary Hall sen. will be represented by the speedy Harry Hoo, a winner at ten of his 31 starts, but at a disadvantage from out wide at barrier nine. Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri said that he expected an improved showing from stable newcomer Motu Gatecrasher, who will be driven by Chris Lewis from barrier four. Motu Gatecrasher set the pace before fading to seventh behind Chicago Bull last Friday night. “He will improve on his first-up effort,” Olivieri said. “He really needed the run and has taken no harm from it. His work since then has been a mile better.” Ken Casellas

Exciting newcomer Im Full of Excuses should continue his rapid rise by proving the bet of the night at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he contests the harness racing $23,000 Check In With TABtouch Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. A convincing victory would see the highly-rated Jeremes Jet five-year-old move a step closer to running in the $450,000 WA Pacing Cup in January. Im Full of Excuses, a winner at seven of his 21 starts in New Zealand, has been in superb form for eight-time premiership trainer Ross Olivieri, with his six WA starts producing a first-up failure when he met with interference and had a torrid run and then five effortless wins in a row. Those five wins were all in stands, but the gelding will have no difficulty in returning to mobile racing. Olivieri said that the standing-start runs were part of the gelding’s education. “And good stakemoney tempted me to run him in two $30,000 events at his latest outings --- when he won the Kalgoorlie Cup (beating Better Scoot) and the York Cup at Northam (beating This Time Dylan),” he said. “His greatest strengths are his strength and his speed --- he’s got both. I think he is up to Pacing Cup class, but we’ll let him tell us where we need to go. I nominated him for the Inters, but withdrew him when I considered he was too green and too inexperienced. I didn’t think he was ready for the grind of the Inters. And now the seasoning process has started.” Olivieri will also be represented by Red Salute, who is handily drawn at barrier three. Red Salute led when a sound second to Delightful Offer over 2100m at Bunbury on Tuesday night. He will be driven by Chris Voak, who could be involved in an early battle for the lead with Courage Tells (barrier one) and Mighty Flying Thomas (two). Stuart McDonald will handle Mighty Flying Thomas, who heads Byford trainer Peter Anderson’s three-prong attack on the race. Anderson’s other runners are Bronze Seeker, who will be driven by Luke McCarthy from barrier five, and Lisharry, who will be driven by Mark Purdon and faces a stern test from the outside barrier. Courage Tells, having his second start for leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, caught the eye last Friday night when he broke after the start in a stand and was ninth at the bell before running on to be a close fifth behind Major Rush when he was hampered for room in the home straight. The nine-year-old has good gate speed as he revealed when he began fast from the No. 8 barrier and set the pace before finishing a neck second to stablemate Phoenix warrior over 2536m on July 29. Ken Casellas

Richly-talented New Zealand four-year-old A Piccadilly princess faces an acid test when she lines up against smart and seasoned West Australian six-year-old Ideal Alice in the $35,000 TABtouch Parliamentarians Cup for harness racing mares over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. A Piccadilly Princess made an auspicious West Australian debut last Friday night when she unwound a sparkling late burst to charge home from fourth on the home turn to score an easy win over Ideal Tyson and the pacemaker Johnny Disco. Later in the evening Ideal Alice was an unlucky fourth behind Major Reality in the $50,000 Norms Daughter Classic when she was badly blocked for a clear passage until very late in the race. Ideal Alice, trained by Gary Hall sen., finished boldly to win from Quite A Delight a week earlier. She is an M8-class mare clashing with A Piccadilly Princess, who advanced to a M1 classification after her victory last Friday night. “A Piccadilly Princess is a good little mare, who won three group 1 events as a three-year-old,” said trainer-reinsman Mark Purdon. “I’ve seen Ideal Alice and she’s the one to beat, without any doubt. I don’t think we could sit outside of her and beat her. I doubt that A Piccadilly Princess could beat out Ideal Alice. “I reckon that leading will be the game plan for Ideal Alice. It would be nice if we can get a nice trip somewhere.” The Ross Olivieri-trained Lady Willoughby will be driven by Chris Voak from the No. 5 barrier and should be prominent. She has been a consistent performer, with her 51 starts producing 16 wins and 14 placings. She resumed after a two-month absence when she finished strongly to win over 2185m at a 1.57.4 rate at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. “She can step up, but realistically she’s a place chance with a small winning hope,” Olivieri said. Ken Casellas

Reigning TABtouch Inter dominion champion Lennytheshark is spot on to make a successful defence of his harness racing title, according to the stallion’s trainer David Aiken. The seven-year-old has drawn out wide at barrier eight on the front line of nine in the field of ten to contest the first heat of the Retravision Interdominion Championship over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “He’s ready to go,” said Aiken, who admitted that the wide barrier would make Lennytheshark’s task tougher. “All’s good; he’s settled in well and his work has been good. The barrier draw is not ideal. “There’s no set plans for him. There’s plenty of speed on his inside and I’ll leave the tactics up to Chris (Alford); he’ll put him in the race at some stage.   “I’m happy with his preparation. We took him to Sydney and he had two really good runs there (working hard three wide and then in the breeze before winning in 1.49.9 from Allblack Stride and Freyberg over 1609m at Menangle on October 15 before leading from barrier seven and winning easily at a 1.55.8 rate from Ultimate Art the following week). “Then he got beaten last week (when second to the fast-finishing Bling It On over 1720m at Melton). But his run was full of merit. “He’s on par with what he was 12 months ago; he’s just as good and I’ve got no issues with him. There is a fair bit of depth in the three heats and I think it (the opposition) will be stronger this year.” Lennytheshark, whose 54 starts have produced 29 wins, 16 seconds and five thirds for stakes of $1,934,890, will clash with another Victorian-trained seven-year-old Guaranteed and local stars Beaudiene Boaz and Our Jimmy Johnstone. Guaranteed, trained by Emma Stewart, has not won a race for 22 months, but he looms as a major player at his fourth outing after a 20-month absence (while recuperating from a torn suspensory ligament). He possesses good gate speed and though he has led from barrier No. 1 and won over 2240m at Melton in May and December 2012, he is not a noted frontrunner. He is a tough competitor who is capable of producing a strong finishing burst and can also perform strongly after racing in the breeze. He started from the back line and raced three wide before working hard without cover and going on to win the South Australian Cup from Flaming Flutter in January 2015 when he set a track record with a rate of 1.54.4 over 2230m. His three runs in the past six weeks have been solid. Our Jimmy Johnstone, trained by WA’s leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, is in superb form and is sure to prove hard to beat. Ryan Warwick is expected to make a bold bid for the early lead. Our Jimmy Johnstone mustered splendid early pace from barrier six and gave a bold frontrunning display to win the $50,000 Bunbury Cup at his latest outing, on November 12. He dashed over the final two quarters in 27.8sec. and 27.9sec. and rated 1.55.4 in beating Mynameskenny over 2569m. Five-year-old Beaudiene Boaz has drawn awkwardly at barrier No. 5 and ace trainer Gary Hall sen. said he was hopeful that his son Gary would be able to drop the horse into a favourable position in the early stages. “Then the tactics will be governed by how the race is run. I think that there is a good chance that Guaranteed will hold out Our Jimmy Johnstone in the battle for the early lead,” he said. Beaudiene Boaz cannot be underestimated. He overraced badly when he set a cracking pace before wilting late to finish second to stablemate Waylade over 2130m last Friday week. His 27.2sec. second quarter of the final mile, followed by a 27.6sec. quarter left him at the mercy of a swooper. Ken Casellas  

Exciting pacer Hectorjayjay fared poorly by drawing out wide at barrier No. 8 in the third heat of the Choices Flooring Inter dominion championship at Gloucester Park on Friday night, but young harness racing reinsman Josh Aiken is likely to steal a march on his rivals by using the six-year-old’s dazzling gate speed and charging to an early lead. Trainer David Aiken, father of Josh, gave a strong clue to the possibility of the Dream Away gelding surging straight to the front when he said: “He can burn out pretty quickly when he wants to and he may be able to cross them.” Hectorjayjay is the form runner of the 30 pacers who will contest the heats of the championship, with his past 15 starts producing 11 wins, three seconds and a fifth placing. He was most impressive at his most recent outing when he was not extended in winning the Markovina Free-For-All at Bendigo last Friday week. He started out wide at barrier six and revealed sizzling pace to charge to the front after 50m. He was untroubled to win from Stunning Grin and Yankee Rockstar, reeling off the final quarters in 27.2sec. and 26.9sec. At his previous outing Hectorjayjay was the lone runner off the back line and he raced in sixth position in the one-wide line before running home determinedly, three wide, over the final 800m to finish second to the pacemaker Restrepo in the group 3 Yarra Valley Cup over 2650m. “He ran a sub-53sec. last half and his was a really good performance,” David Aiken said. “If he just gets one little easy section in front he can run a very fast time.” Restrepo, who charged straight to the front from barrier three in that event. A slow early pace and slow opening quarters of the final mile in 32.3sec. and 31.1sec. made life extremely difficult for Hectorjayjay. Restrepo (barrier four) ande can burn out pretty quickly if he wants to. He and Franco Nelson (five) are speedy beginners and there is a strong possibility that Gavin Lang (Restrepo) and Dexter Dunn (Franco Nelson) will fire their horses out of the gate. The John McCarthy-trained Bling It On is favourably drawn at barrier two and the six-year-old will have many admirers, particularly after Luke McCarthy produced a superb drive to bring Bling It On with a sparkling late burst of speed to beat Lennytheshark in the 1720m Smoken Up Sprint at Melton last Saturday week.    Freyberg, trained by Kevin Pizzuto, gave a solid performance when second to Smokey The Bandit over 2300m at Gloucester Park last Friday night. But this week he meets sterner opposition and must overcome a wide draw at No. 7. Simply Susational, to be driven by Ryan Warwick for leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, is capable of causing an upset. He is the sole backmarker and he could well be able to replicate his powerful finishing burst which gave him victory over Run Oneover and Waylade on November 4. Ken Casellas  

A star-studded harness racing field of 12 will contest the group 1 $125,000 McInerney Ford Classic over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night and trainer-reinsman Kim Prentice sounded an ominous warning to his rivals when he predicted big things from Soho Tribeca. Soho Tribeca, a brilliant winner over 2130m in weaker company last Friday night, is awkwardly drawn at barrier five. But Prentice is going into battle full of confidence. Soho Tribeca, a former Victorian performer, is unbeaten at his first two runs for Prentice, leading all the way and winning from Franco Rayner and Chicago Bull over 2185m at a 1.56 rate at Pinjarra on November 7 and then giving a powerful display to win from Cut For An Ace and Ohoka Kentucky at a 1.55.3 rate last Friday night. Prentice restrained Soho Tribeca from the No. 4 barrier before sending the American Ideal stallion forward, three wide and following Ohoka Kentucky after a lap had been completed. Soho Tribeca eventually forged to the front at the bell and won by one and a half lengths. ”After a 28.4sec. second quarter and racing three wide in the middle stages, he’s going to run any time in the good races,” Prentice said. “He will improve on the run; I’ve been a bit easy on him since his Pinjarra win. I think he had something up his sleeve at the finish. Rob (owner Rob Watson) said that the horse always switched off in his races, but he didn’t switch off in this race. Hopefully, we’ve got him at a different fitness level. He could have kept going and it took me 400m to pull him up. “I rang Chris Alford and he said that he’s really good with a sit. If they’re running time and he’s sitting back, he can peel off a really quick quarter. I’ve honestly only had two better pacers –— and one (Baltic Eagle) won an interdominion championship and the other (Big Town Walton) finished fourth.” Adding considerable interest to the race will be the first appearance in Western Australia of the highly-rated New Zealand gelding Mr Mojito and the former Victorian performer Motu Gatecrasher. Mr Mojito, to be driven by his trainer Mark Purdon, will start from the inside of the back line and Motu Gatecrasher, a newcomer to Ross Olivieri’s stable, has drawn the coveted No. 1 barrier on the front line and will be driven by star reinsman Chris Lewis. Mr Mojito has had only nine starts for seven wins and a second placing after a first-up failure. He rated 1.55.2 when he won easily from Captain Dolmio over 2600m at Addington on November 8. “It’s an awkward draw, but he’s a lovely horse who has climbed the ladder pretty quickly and at his latest start he was very good and the time they went was extra good,” Purdon said. Motu Gatecrasher has won at 11 of his 20 starts and is a noted frontrunner. He was a 10/1 on favourite at his latest start when he worked hard in the breeze all the way and finished second to Bad Boy Brad over 2150m at Bendigo on October 25. His past ten starts have produced eight wins and two seconds. Chicago Bull, last season’s WA Derby winner and a winner at 15 of his 25 starts, will lead the challenge of ace trainer Gary Hall sen., whose other runners Harry Hoo and King Lebron are in good form. Chicago Bull will start from the No. 6 barrier and should fight out the finish. He had a tough run without cover at his latest appearance when third behind Soho Tribeca at Pinjarra. Boyanup trainer Justin Prentice holds a strong hand in the $50,000 Clipsal By Schneider Electric Norms Daughter Classic over 2130m with Major Reality, Quite A Delight and The Parade. Prentice will drive Major Reality, winner of the WA Oaks in May 2015, who is favourably drawn at the No. 1 barrier. Prentice has engaged Gavin Lang to handle Quite A Delight (barrier eight) and Chris Alford for The Parade (inside of the back line). The all-conquering Dodolicious for the Bond stable, will be driven by Ryan Warwick and is favourably drawn at barrier two on the front line. She will be hard to beat. Ken Casellas

It will be the case of a very long time between drinks for champion New Zealand harness racing trainer-reinsman Mark Purdon when he drives outstanding young mare A Piccadilly Princess in the $23,000 McInerney Ford Classic Consolation at Gloucester Park on Friday night. This will be the first time he has driven at Gloucester Park for 7567 days. He last appeared at West Australia’s pacing headquarters  when he was in the sulky behind 20/1 chance Ima Villain in the Interdominion Drivers’ Invitational event, a stand over 2900m on March 8, 1996. Ima Villain finished seventh in a field of 14, with Victorian Chris Alford driving the winner Judicial, who defeated Helluva Time, handled by WA’s Chris Lewis. The only previous time the 52-year-old Purdon had travelled from New Zealand to WA was in 1986 when he had about four unsuccessful drives at Gloucester Park and Northam in a junior drivers’ series. This is the first time he has been in WA since 1996. He has driven more than a hundred group 1 winners and has been a dominant force in New Zealand for several years and has also been successful in many races in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland. He has high hopes that A Piccadilly Princess will give him his first driving success in WA. His only previous starter as a trainer in WA was with Lets Chase The Dream, who was driven by Lewis when he won a prelude of the WA Derby last April and then finished second to Chicago Bull in the final of the classic. Lewis stands in the path of Purdon winning the McInerney consolation on Friday night. He will drive the speedy frontrunner Johnny Disco, who has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier. Johnny Disco, a winner at nine of his 22 starts, should be close to his peak at his third outing after a spell for Pinjarra trainer Ross Ashby. In a strong field, several runners have sound prospects. They include champion trainer Gary Hall senior’s Zach Maguire, Overboard Again and Mach Time, Gary Elson’s Ideal Tyson and Sprinter, Michael Brennan’s Nathans Courage and Mista Shark and Annie Belton’s Mister Versace. Purdon drove his first winner, Dark And Dusty, at Ruakaka on February 1, 1982 and he was inducted into the Interdominion Hall of Fame five years ago. He has been associated with many champions, including Mark Hanover, Young Rufus, Il Vicolo, Auckland Reactor, Adore Me, Follow The Stars , Our Waikiki Beach, Smolda, Have Faith In Me, Dream About Me and Lazarus, the runaway winner of the New Zealand Cup at Addington early this month. A Piccadilly Princess faces a moment of truth on Friday night as the only mare in the field of 11. She has won at nine of her 19 starts and has earned $337,353.      “She goes pretty good,” Purdon said. “She’s not top-class yet and wouldn’t beat open-class horses. But she did race in the junior Free-For-All on Cup day (November 8). She has won the Jewels (the Diamond for fillies in June), the North Island Oaks and the Victoria Oaks. “We’ve got another filly Dream About Me (a four-year-old with a record of 19 starts for 16 wins, two placings and $796,614) and she’s not in her class. But she’s pretty smart and has a good all-round game.” Purdon had hoped that A Piccadilly Princess would get a start in the $50,000 Clipsal By Schneider Electric Norms Daughter Classic on Friday night. But despite her outstanding record she is still classified as an M0 performer and the conditions of the race declare that preference in field selection is given to fillies and mares assessed M1 and better. A victory on Friday night would improve A Piccadilly Princess’s classification to M1 which would make her a certain starter in the $125,000 Mares Classic at Gloucester Park on December 9. “It’s my fault that she didn’t get a start in the Norms Daughter Classic,” Purdon said. “I didn’t look at the official program close enough. Winning would be a big help on Friday night.” Ken Casellas

A favourable barrier draw at No. 3 has thrust eight-year-old Bettors Fire into the limelight and gives the Kyle Harper-trained harness racing gelding a strong winning chance in the second qualifying heat of the $75,000 TABtouch Inter dominion Championship at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Bettors Fire possesses sparkling gate speed and Harper appears certain to get the handsome New Zealand-bred gelding past his inside runners Phoenix Warrior and Our Blackbird and straight to the front. Bettors Fire has rarely been beaten after leading and he should prove hard to beat, particularly if he is able to run through the lead time and the opening section of the final mile at a moderate pace. Ohoka Punter, drawn as the sole runner off the back line, is suffering from a lung infection and has been scratched from the series. Coming in to replace Ohoka Punter is the speedy Ima Connoisseur. Smolda (outside of the front line) has drawn poorly, but is a class performer who appears one of the chief dangers to Bettors Fire. Trainer Gary Hall sen. said that Ohoka Punter had made a sound recovery from an attack of colic which laid the seven-year-old low early last week, but was now affected by a lung infection. Champion New Zealand trainer-reinsman Mark Purdon said that eight-year-old Smolda was in top shape and ready for a strong performance. “He’s great, the old fellow,” Purdon said. “He has settled in well at Gary Elson’s property. Not much worries him and he doesn’t take anything extra out of himself. He is just a lovely horse and his work has been good. “He gives you nothing to get excited about, but he looks good, his blood is good and I’m sure he’s ready to go well.” Smolda warmed up for the series with a sound fourth behind brilliant stablemate Lazarus in the 3200m New Zealand Cup at Addington on November 8. He worked hard before getting to the front after 600m and then relinquished the lead 600m later. At his previous start he settled in sixth position before working hard without cover and fighting on to finish second to the pacemaker Franco Nelson in the 2400m Kaikoura Cup. A fortnight earlier he started from 30m and settled in ninth place before moving to the breeze at the bell and talking the lead with 1000m to travel and winning easily from Seel The Deal in the Methven Cup, a 3000m group 3 event on a grass track. John of Arc, trained at Herron by Clive Dalton, will have supporters despite his awkward draw at barrier five. The lightly-raced, injury-plagued seven-year-old is likely to race in the breeze and should fight out the finish. He has done a good share of work before winning stylishly at his past two starts over 2130m at Gloucester Park. Ken Casellas  

Freyberg, a seasoned, battle-hardened harness racing campaigner, worked in dashing style at Byford on Tuesday morning and is poised to produce a powerful effort at his Western Australian debut when he contests the $23,000 Pat Cranley Memorial over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Prominent New South Wales trainer Kevin Pizzuto described the nine-year-old’s track workout as “sensational” and is looking forward to the New Zealand-bred gelding warming up for the $1.8 million TABtouch interdominion championship series with a spirited display. “He’s not a mule; he’s a very smart horse and definitely good enough to play a part in the Inters,” Pizzuto said. “I wouldn’t have come all this way just to play games, but I do know that barrier draws here will be vital.” Freyberg, a veteran of 127 starts for 24 wins and 37 placings for stakes of $383,910, has thrived at Byford after an 11-hour trip by plane from Sydney to Melbourne and then on to Perth. After arriving in the early hours of Monday morning Freyberg was not affected by the searing 37deg. heat and Pizzuto had no qualms about driving him in a fast workout on Tuesday morning. “He worked strongly over a mile and a half,” he said. “That’s how I train my horses --- working alone. The way I look at it is if a horse works well by himself, he’ll do a lot better against other horses.” Pizzuto stressed that Freyberg was no slouch, having, at his most recent outing, finished an excellent third behind reigning interdominion champion Lennytheshark when he sped over 1609m at Menangle on October 15 in 1.49.9. “In that race Freyberg did burn off the arm (from barrier nine) and was three wide to the first turn,” he said. “I reckon his run was as good as Lenny’s.” Three starts before that Freyberg won the 1609m Les Chant Cup at Menangle in 1.51, beating Stormont Czar and Blazin N Cullen. Pizzuto has engaged outstanding 22-year-old reinsman Stuart McDonald to drive Freyberg on Friday night. The gelding has drawn awkwardly at barrier six on the front line, with his chief rivals likely to be Greg and Skye Bond-trained Ima Connoisseur and Phoenix Warrior, the polemarker Cyamach (trained by Gary Hall sen.) and the Ross Olivieri-trained Red Salute (barrier two).      The 43-year-old Pizzuto, who is in third place on the NSW trainers’ premiership table with 26 winners and 22 placegetters from 90 starters this season, has driven Freyberg 20 times, but has decided recently to concentrate on training. “I’m too heavy at 95 kilos and I reckon that the lighter drivers have a major advantage,” he explained. “I’m not decrying heavy drivers, but you don’t see too many heavy drivers winning races. “I’m fully in favour of the format for this interdominion series --- the traditional concept of three sets of a heats and a final. I reckon the system of one-off heats in the various States was a joke when bad draws ended the hopes of many horses. A bad draw ended Freyberg’s hopes when he ran in a heat at Menangle in February 2015 and finished eighth behind Ultimate Art. The heats were extremely boring.” Freyberg is by American stallion Washington VC and is the first foal out of Sam’s Beach Babe, who won two minor races from 30 starts in New Zealand. Freyberg had 42 starts in New Zealand for three wins in modest company and when he was bought by Pizzuto in April 2013 he had managed one win (by a nose) from his previous 27 starts and was a C2-class performer. However, the gelding has certainly proved a wonderful bargain for Pizzuto, who purchased him for $30,000 and owns him in partnership with his parents Albert and Carmen. His 85 starts for his new owners have produced 21 wins and 24 placings for earnings of $354,139. Freyberg’s first seven starts in Australia produced six wins and a fourth for $31,459 in the space of just 43 days. He continued to improve and now has contested 39 group events. Nine of his Australian wins have been over 1609m and five have been over 2300m. The Inters final at Gloucester Park will be run over 2936m on December 9, but Pizzuto is not concerned at the prospect of Freyberg running over such a long distance. “He’s a versatile pacer and can stay,” he said. “In his recent runs over 2300m at Menangle he’s been doing his best work at the end of those races.” Cyamach has been unplaced at his past four starts from second row and wide draws, but is sure to be strongly supported from the prized No. 1 barrier this week. He has started from the No. 1 barrier four times at Gloucester Park and he set the pace in all four events for three wins and a nose second to Run Oneover. Five-year-old Ima Connoisseur also will have many admirers. He has revealed sparkling early speed and has won at each of his past six starts, the three most recent wins coming after he had set the pace from wide barriers. Ken Casellas

Oldbury horseman Kim Prentice is lavish in his praise of Soho Tribeca and declares that the talented young American Ideal stallion is spot on for harness racing four-year-old feature events at Gloucester Park in the coming weeks. Soho Tribeca will make his debut at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he will start from the No. 4 barrier in the field of eight in the $21,500 Check In With TABtouch Pace over 2130m. He should prove to be a star bet on the ten-event program after his splendid all-the-way victory over Franco Rayner and Chicago Bull in the $25,000 Four-Year-Old Classic at Pinjarra on Monday of last week. Prentice cleverly dictated the terms of that race in front and Soho Tribeca gave a sample of his class by sprinting over the final quarters in 28.1sec. and 26.5sec. “I was very rapt with the horse, first-up, in the way he went about it,” Prentice said. “Over there (in Victoria) he used to pull and be a bit frantic. However, he drove absolutely beautifully and he has trained on great. “I knew he would run a really good race and he did just what I expected and now, knowing, hopefully, that he can relax like that, he doesn’t have to lead. He’s a real good stayer as well. I’ve changed quite a bit of gear. I’ve removed the head check, taken the Dollies off and put a different bit on him. “He’s the best horse I’ve ever had to handle, by far. For a stallion, he goes out into a paddock with a little pony and they play all day. Everything I get him to do, he does, and when he goes to the track he knows what he’s there for … and he can run.” Soho Tribeca was bred and is owned by West Australian Robert Watson, who sent him from Victoria to be trained by Prentice about seven weeks ago. The American Ideal horse has had 30 starts for ten wins, ten seconds and three thirds for earnings of $132,960. “After this week’s run we’ll be looking at the major events for four-year-olds,” Prentice said. “His main aim is the Golden Nugget (on December 9), but first he will contest the McInerney Ford Classic on Friday of next week. I haven’t spoken to Robert yet about whether he should run in the $50,000 Four-Year-Old Championship on December 2. “Robert has always said that Soho Tribeca was a very immature horse. But since he’s been here he has muscled up and got a lot more solid.” Soho Tribeca is out of Tasmania mare Pixel Perfect, whose dam Amarillen’s first foal was Villagem, an outstanding pacer who was retired with a record of 109 starts for 25 wins and 27 placings for stakes of $626,585. His major wins included three group 1 events --- the Vicbred Super Series for three-year-old colts and geldings in June 2009, the Chariots of Fire at Menangle and the Australasian Breeders Crown for four-year-old horses at Melton in 2010. Soho Tribeca, named after Tribeca, a neighbourhood in Lower Manhattan, New York, looks superior to his seven rivals in Friday night’s race in which last-start winners Mighty Major and Commander Chapel will be strongly fancied to fill the minor placings. Prentice also has excellent prospects of winning the opening event on Friday night, the Westbred pace over 2130m, with four-year-old Mister Versace, who will start from the inside of the back line. Mister Versace, trained by Annie Belton, has resumed after a spell in excellent form and the Bettors Delight gelding impressed in winning at a 1.56.5 rate over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Monday afternoon. Mister Versace sustained a strong burst from sixth (three wide) at the bell to take a narrow lead 300m from home and go on and win by a head from the gallant pacemaker Chelsea Royale. Mister Versace finished strongly when a head second to Our Magical Miracle over 1684m at Pinjarra the previous Monday. Ken Casellas

Up-and-coming harness racing four-year-old Vanquished is unbeaten at three starts since resuming from a spell and he has brought prospects of extending his winning sequence when he starts from the No. 2 barrier in the field of nine in the $23,000 TABtouch Interdominion Gala Dinner on December 9 Golden Nugget Prelude at Gloucester Park on Friday night.             Ryan Warwick, the gelding’s regular reinsman, was full of praise for Vanquished after he had defeated The Storm Chief and Braeview Bomber at a 1.55.9 rate over 2130m last Friday night. Vanquished, prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, started from the outside of the back line and settled in ninth position. He dashed forward to be fifth and sustained his three-wide burst to hit the front 470m from home. He fought of determinedly to hold off challengers in the home straight. “He was entitled to get run over on the corner,” Warwick said. “But he stuck thick and got the job done. He probably didn’t measure up to three-year-old company last season because he was a bit rushed. “He’s now had time to eat some grass and settle and work it all out. He’s come back a nice horse.” The Bettor's Delight gelding has won at ten of his past 15 starts, with his West Australian record standing at 14 starts for nine wins and two seconds. However, Vanquished, a capable leader as well as proving to be a solid come-from-behind performer, faces a stern test, with several of his rivals racing in excellent form. The Justin Prentice-trained Natural Disaster is a smart frontrunner who should be prominent from the prized No. 1 barrier. He began speedily from barrier five when an all-the-way winner by nine lengths from Chelsea Royale at a 1.57.2 rate over 2185m at Pinjarra on October 31. Natural Disaster then started from the outside barrier (No. 5) at Pinjarra on Monday of last week when he was always at the rear and paced roughly in the final stages before finishing a well-beaten tenth behind Soho Tribeca. Pinjarra trainer Gary Elson holds a good hand in the race with Sprinter (barrier three) and Ideal Tyson (No. 9). Sprinter has won at 13 of his 25 starts and should fight out the finish from his favourable draw, but Ideal Tyson (a winner at 13 of his 27 starts) faces a much tougher assignment from the outside barrier. Ace trainer Gary Hall sen. also has two runners in Mach Time (No. 7) and King Lebron (No. 8). Neither can be underestimated, but they will new a shade of luck from their wide barriers. Ken Casellas

Versatile harness racing mare Ideal Alice should appreciate a considerable drop in class and looks hard to beat in the Book Now for the TABtouch Interdominion Pace for mares over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The six-year-old American Ideal mare, prepared by master trainer Gary Hall sen., will start from the outside (No. 9) on the front line, but she has the ability to overcome this distinct disadvantage. Ideal Alice, who won at nine of her 21 starts last season, will be having her fourth start in her current campaign and she has impressed with solid displays at her past two outings --- when second to John of Arc and fourth behind Waylade. On October 28 she dashed to an early lead from barrier five and bowled along in front before sprinting the third quarter of the final mile in a sizzling 26.8sec. She wilted to finish second to John of Arc, but did well to beat home the third placegetter, Our Jimmy Johnstone. Then last Friday night she started from barrier five in the Brennan Memorial and she raced in sixth position, four back on the pegs, before finishing gamely to be a sound fourth behind TABtouch Interdominion hopes Waylade, Beaudiene Boaz and Delightful Offer. Her opposition this week in mares’ company is considerably weaker. Her chief rivals appear likely to be the Nathan Turvey-trained Hidden Bad, a winner at three of her past four starts, the Justin Prentice-trained Quite A Delight and the Hall-trained Delightful Jade. The Hall stable will also be fancied strongly in the second event (Harry Hoo), the seventh race (Cyamach) and the ninth event (Twoandahalf Tigers). Harry Hoo made a successful return to racing after a spell when he started from the outside barrier and charged home from ninth (three wide) at the bell to take the lead 140m from home before scoring an easy victory at a 1.54.4 rate over 1730m. That was his ninth victory from 29 starts and he looks hard to beat from barrier four on Friday night, with his chief rivals, VC Manoeuvre (No. 9) and Ohoka Darcy (eight) drawn out wide. Twoandahalf Tigers looks set to notch his eleventh win from 40 starts when he begins from the outside barrier (No. 8) in the Sports Daily Pace. He followed a good first-up second to Rycroft with a fighting third behind Commander Chapel and Lagoon Stride last Friday night after working hard without cover. Ken Casellas

Heez On Fire, bedevilled by injury, has not been successful for 19 months. But he is relishing a change of environment and a new harness racing training regimen and has sound prospects of returning to the winning list when he contests the Cowden Ltd Brokers Brennan Memorial over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Champion reinsman Chris Lewis again will be in the sulky and he has high hopes of notching his ninth victory in the Brennan Memorial (formerly the Brennan Cup) after scoring with Lord Maselle (1981), Black Irish (1993), Village Kid (1986, 1987 and 1990), Ohoka Ace (2005), Has The Answers (2010) and Dasher VC (2012). Heez On Fire, a lightly-raced seven-year-old, has been leased by Rod Oliver and a handful of co-owners to veteran trainer Bill Horn and a victory in the $35,000 group 3 event this week would be a nostalgic occasion, rekindling the emotion generated by the wins of Black Irish and Village Kid in earlier Brennan Cups. Horn, now 84, and Lewis, now 61, combined as trainer and driver for those victories. Heez On Fire will be having his fifth start in his current preparation, after a seven-month absence and is close to his peak as Horn guides him towards the rich TABtouch interdominion championship series which gets under way with the opening set of heats on November 25. Before this campaign Heez On Fire was prepared by Oliver and the gelding pulled up sore after finishing last in the group 2 $50,000 RWWA Cup at Gloucester Park last February --- when he was resuming after an injury-enforced ten-month absence. Veterinary surgeons at Murdoch Hospital were pessimistic about Heez On Fire’s future after the gelding’s break down in the RWWA Cup. He had a damaged shin bone in his near foreleg which was originally injured when he was caught up in a fence when rolling just after his first run as a three-year-old in January 2013. It was then feared that Heez On Fire had torn a tendon. But this was not the case, and the pacer had his next start a month later when he managed a fair fifth in a race at Pinjarra. But he went sore again and had four months off before returning to win five in a row in the winter and spring of 2013. Eight starts in 2014 produced six wins and Heez On Fire won at his first two appearances in 2015 before breaking down in the RWWA Cup. His problem was that he kept on going sore. The seven-year-old is very athletic and doesn’t require a lot of hard work and Oliver identified Horn as the ideal trainer to nurse the pacer back to fitness and form. Horn’s recipe of a lot of beach work, slow jogging and pacework has done the trick. Heez On Fire has enjoyed little luck in his first four runs back. He flew home for a thrilling first-up second to Libertybelle Midfrew and two starts later he was an unlucky third to Libertybelle Midfrew when he trailed the pacemaker and was hampered for room in the home straight. Last Friday night Heez on Fire finished sixth behind Simply Susational. It was tremendous effort. He began speedily from barrier four and raced three wide in the early stages before Lewis had little option but to restrain him back to the rear. Heez On Fire was still last in the field of 12 at the bell before he finished powerfully. Heez On Fire will begin from the No. 4 barrier this week and he should be able to slot into a prominent position in the one-wide line. His clash with Beaudiene Boaz, Bettors Fire, Delightful Offer and Waylade should be the highlight of the ten-event program. Beaudien Boaz, one of the four runners in the race prepared by champion trainer Gary Hall sen., is the likely favourite following his excellent second to Libertybelle Midfrew over 2130m last Friday week when he raced wide early and then enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back. He finished with great determination to lose by a head to the pacemaking Tricky Styx, who dashed over the final 800m in 56sec. and rated 1.54.2. Beaudiene Boaz warmed up for this week’s race in fine style when he sprinted over the final 400m in a sparkling 26.8sec. to win a three-horse 2550m standing-start trial by ten lengths from stablemate Delightful Jade at Byford on Sunday morning. Another Hall runner, Waylade, will also be fancied, particularly after he drew favourably at barrier two. He started a three-wide burst approaching the bell and came from seventh with a lap to travel to finish a close third to Simply Susational and Run Oneover last Friday night. That followed a solid strong-finishing third to Tricky Styx a week earlier. The Kyle Harper-trained Bettors Fire, one of Western Australia’s main hopes at the interdominion championship series, faces a stern test from out wide at barrier No. 8. But he is certainly capable of a bold effort as is the up-and-coming five-year-old Delightful Offer, who was won at three of his past five starts for leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond. Ken Casellas

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