Search Results
1 to 16 of 1623
1 2 3 4 5 Next »

Highly-talented gelding Kiwi Legend is primed and ready to make a big impression at his Australian harness racing debut when he clashes with champion three-year-old Beaudiene Boaz in the WA Derby Prelude at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Prepared at Hazelmere by Mike Reed, Kiwi Legend is ready to issue a strong challenge to Beaudiene Boaz, which has not been extended in winning his six West Australian starts for champion trainer Gary Hall. In a random barrier draw, Kiwi Legend fared well and will start from gate two, with Beaudiene Boaz alongside him in three. Beaudiene Boaz, a winner of two races as a two-year-old in New Zealand, now has a winning sequence of seven and is nominal favourite for the $200,000 WA Derby at Gloucester Park on April 17. He now faces his first serious test in the form of Kiwi Legend, which has romped to effortless victories at his only two starts. He made his debut over 2400 metres at Wyndham on February 1 when overcame a back row draw to win easily by two lengths from River Patrol. Four days later he contested another 2400-metre event at Winton when leading throughout for another soft triumph. Kiwi Legend arrived in WA early this month and has won 2150-metres trials at Byford on the past two Sunday mornings. H An intriguing battle for the early lead is likely in Friday night’s event, with Kiwi Legend, to be driven by Mark Reed, and Beaudiene Boaz blessed with abundant gate speed. Adding spice to the prospect of this early duel is All Aussie Boy, a speedy beginner which has drawn the coveted pole for Bunbury trainer Robert Wood and reinsman Kyle Harper. KEN CASELLAS

Master harness racing trainer Gary Hall is having difficulty in controlling his enthusiasm over Beaudiene Boaz. Having already mapped out an ambitious program for the lightly-raced colt, Hall believes Beaudiene Boaz has the potential to follow the hoof prints of recently-retired superstar Im Themightyquinn. Such is his confidence in the son of Badlands Hanover, Hall believes he is unbeatable in Friday night’s 40,000 Caduceus Club Classic at Gloucester Park. Given Beaudiene Boaz is unbeaten from five Western Australian starts, rivals trainers are all but conceding defeat ahead of the feature. Following this week’s engagement, Hall will set the three-year-old for the WA Derby, but will resist heading interstate this season. With the Golden Nugget high on the agenda next term, Beaudiene Boaz is unlikely to travel anytime soon, especially with the riches on offer locally. “There’s the Inter Dominion in WA for the next three years and the WA Pacing Cup, Fremantle Cup and other big feature events every year,” Hall said. As for his upcoming assignment, Hall believes Beaudiene Boaz is capable of leading throughout from barrier three. “The plan will be to go forward,” Hall said. “We will see what the other runners want to do. If they want to get in a war, so be it. “Beaudiene Boaz won last Friday night when he sprinted over the final quarter in 27.1 seconds with the ear plugs still in place. “We haven’t got to the bottom of him and don’t really know what will happen when we find a horse who can actually go with him. “It’s exciting to wonder what he’s capable of. I’m sure he is capable of running a quarter in about 26.5 seconds without any trouble. “He is as good as any three-year-old I’ve ever had. He is a better three-year-old than Quinny was. “At that age Quinny wasn’t as professional as this horse. He had a lot of problems; he wasn’t tractable and pulled too hard. “Beaudiene Boaz is on a par with Alta Christiano, who scored a runaway victory in the 2013 WA Derby.” The Hall family has enjoyed considerable success in the Caduceus Club Classic, with the patriarch preparing the quinella last season when his son Clint scored with Elegant Christian and Gary junior was second with Machtu. Hall previously won the event with The Falcon Strike (2001), Ulrich (2004), Gracias Para Nada (2012) and Northview Punter (2013). Junior’s victories have come with Latte (2003), Ulrich, Alberts Fantasy (2006), Gracias Para Nada and Northview Punter. KEN CASELLAS

Ace harness racing trainer Ross Olivieri predicts ‘the sky is the limit’ for Dynamite Dude and is bubbling with confidence ahead of Friday night’s Autumn Championship at Gloucester Park. Olivieri has formulated ambitious plans for Dynamite Dude, declaring the gelding has the ideal make-up and the ability to be a major player in the $1.8million TABtouch Inter Dominion in Perth next November and December. Those plans involve sending the six-year-old for a well-earned spell after his feature race appearance. Dynamite Dude has drawn the prized pole and Chris Lewis looks set to attempt an all-the-way victory over the 2130-metre journey. Lewis led throughout with the Olivieri-trained Sensational Gabby in last week’s $50,000 Empress Stakes, but he looks certain to opt to drive Dynamite Dude in preference to the mare, which will start from gate six. Chris Voak appeals as the likely replacement behind Sensational Gabby. Olivieri revealed he had planned to send Dynamite Dude for a spell after his strong, hard-working victory off 20 metres in a 2503-metre stand a fortnight ago. “He dug very deep to win that race and that’s why I didn’t run him the following week,” Olivieri said. “I was going to tip him out, but he was bouncing around the paddock so well after his latest race that I thought I would roll the dice one more time. “However, I’m going to tip him out after this run, win, lose or draw.” Most believe Dynamite Dude is simply a standing-start specialist, and with good reason, considering he is unbeaten from nine starts in stands for Olivieri, while he has won only twice from his eight runs in mobiles. Olivieri scoffed at the perception, explaining Dynamite Dude had drawn the front line only once from behind the gate. “Dynamite Dude gets away smartly in mobiles,” Olivieri said. “He’s not lightning, but is quick enough to hold his ground. “He has been in a mobile trial at Pinjarra in which he drew one and was able to lead comfortably and win. He’s got enough gate speed and I am expecting him to hold up. “Pacific Warrior is going very well, but from barrier five he’ll have to do some work, and I think any horse will have to worry if he races outside Dude. “You know that Dynamite Dude is not going to toss the towel in. “Looking at the Inter Dominion, I think he’s the sort of horse who will be suited by the three heats and Final in the space of a fortnight. “I think he’s got more improvement in him, and once you get him fit, you don’t have to work him too much between races…just line up - he’s got the constitution and toughness to stand up to this type of series racing.” KEN CASELLAS

Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri predicts harness racing mare Sensational Gabby will improve on last week’s effort and has excellent prospects of winning the Empress Stakes at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Sensational Gabby registered fighting half-length second to Indomitable when first-up for a month. “That was her first run for five weeks and she will be fitter this week,” said Olivieri, who boasts three wins in the Empress Stakes. “She sat in the breeze, and probably in hindsight, you would have liked her to have put a bit more pressure on Indomitable early. But then again that might have been to our detriment.” Although he feels barrier four makes Sensational Gabby’s task harder, Olivieri’s confidence grew after Indomitable drew the outside of the front row. Indomitable led throughout from the pole last week, while Sensational Gabby worked over time in the ‘death seat’. Sensational Gabby will be driven by champion reinsman Chris Lewis, who is aiming for an incredible eighth success in the Group Two. Lewis’ previous wins were with Candy Nacray in 1988, Armbro Lucy (1992), Meggie Dear (2001), Classical Mover (2002), Shes Royalty (2007), Ima Spicey Lombo (2011) and Sensational Gabby (2014). Victory will also see Sensational Gabby join an elite sorority, with only three mares completing multiple wins in the feature’s 46-year history. Bellagena was the ground breaker in 1971 and ‘72), followed by Kiwi Cloud in ‘77 and ‘79 and Golden Goddess, which is the only triple winner thanks to her triumphs in 1997, ’98 and ‘99. KEN CASELLAS

Northview Punter is tough and durable and star harness racing driver Gary Hall junior is hoping that his decided edge in class over his rivals will carry him to victory on Friday night. Northview Punter is engaged in the Gloucester Standardbreds RWWA Cup at Gloucester Park and faces a tough task from his outside of the second row draw. Champion trainer Gary Hall also is holding out hopes the five-year-old, the youngest runner in the race, will make amends for his narrow defeat in the Cup 12 months ago when the New Zealand-bred stallion set the pace from barrier three before finishing a neck second to the fast-finishing Hokonui Ben. Northview Punter gave a sample of his class when he finished second to David Hercules in the Fremantle Cup and third to My Hard Copy and David Hercules in the WA Pacing Cup last month before he revealed great fighting qualities to work hard in the breeze and win the Lord Mayor’s Cup. Northview Punter warmed up for this assignment with a smart trial win at a 1:58 over 2150 metres at Byford last Sunday when driven by Alysha Johnston. “It was a good trial,” said Hall junior, who has driven the horse to 15 of his 22 wins. “Northview Punter sat behind the leader Zacs Nugget before pulling out down the back and winning comfortably from Ben Cartwright.” “It’s a good race on Friday night and it won’t be easy. I imagine that Northview Punter will start somewhere close to favourite, but he won’t have everything his own way from his wide draw over 2130 metres. “His best form is near the lead, and he’s not going to get near the lead early from that barrier.” KEN CASELLAS

Although he is a master at producing pacers for first-up wins, champion harness racing trainer Gary Hall has set himself a formidable challenge heading in Friday night’s Gloucester Park meeting. Hall will produce inexperienced filly Nuala fresh for the $50,000 Schweppes Dainty’s Daughter Classic. The New Zealand-bred Nuala will enter the Group Two for three-year-old fillies at her third start and at her first appearance for 172 days. In a highly unorthodox preparation, and a bold approach to a feature, Hall has not given Nuala any lead-up starts, preferring to get her ready by running her in a 2150-metre trial at Byford on each of the past three Sundays. Driven by Clint Hall, Nuala has not been extended in winning the three trials by margins of six, 45 and 30 metres. In her latest trial, in a field of five, Nuala beat Bettor Twisted by 10 lengths after dashing over the final two quarters in 28.6 and 28.4 seconds. Nuala has drawn favourably at barrier two, but the daughter of Changeover faces a stern test in the battle for early ascendancy. Drawn on her inside is Delightful Jade, a filly blessed with sparkling early speed and a noted frontrunner. Along with being first-up from a spell, Nuala is the only filly who has not raced at Gloucester Park. She has earned just $8735 as a result of two wins, while her 10 rivals have won 54 races and earned a combined total of $614,231 - a healthy average of $61,423. Hall is no stranger to success in the event, having captured last year’s edition with Majorly Foxy Styx, which led throughout with Hall’s son, Gary junior, in the cart. KEN CASELLAS

Harness racing’s man of the moment Clint Hall has opted to drive My Hard Copy in preference to four stablemates in Friday night’s Lord Mayor’s Cup at Gloucester Park. Hall has developed an affiliation with the five-year-old, which has drawn the outside of the front line in the 2130-metre feature. Fresh from his dazzling last-to-first with My Hard Copy in the WA Cup a fortnight ago and a career best four winners last Friday night, Hall warned punters the New Zealand-bred stallion was far from a certainty in the Cup. “Yes, of course he can win,” Hall said. “But the outside barrier will make it tough. I’m going to stick with him for obvious reasons. From barrier seven I wish Friday night’s race was over 2936 metres like the Pacing Cup and not 2130 metres. “This is a much harder task than the Pacing Cup, even though the calibre of horses is not as good. “I will assess my options early. I’m not trying to talk him down, but I have a feeling that he will be at odds-on which is well and truly under the odds. “He won from a much more favourable draw (barrier two on the back line) and paid $11 two starts ago, in the Fremantle Cup Consolation.” My Hard Copy was a 17/1 chance when he started from barrier seven in the Pacing Cup. Hall has chosen to drive My Hard Copy in preference to Northview Punter (barrier six), Bettor Reason (four), Some Kinda Tactics (five) and Soho Jackman (10). Hall’s father, champion trainer Gary, has a splendid record in the 48-year history of the Lord Mayor’s Cup, having won the race five times --- Tricky Bey (1994), Abit Rich (1997), Live To Reign (2007), Talk To Me Courage (2010) and Livingontheinterest (2014). KEN CASELLAS

Harness racing driver Clint Hall, on a high after partnering outsider My Hard Copy to victory in last week’s WA Pacing Cup, looks set to continue his rich vein of form. Hall will replace his brother, Gary junior, behind talented pacer Classic American in Friday night’s San Simeon Classic at Gloucester Park. Junior drove Classic American to an impressive heat victory, but will miss the decider through suspension. Gary received a two-week ban for causing interference in the Pacing Cup. Generally regarded as a sit-sprinter, Classic American showed his versatility in his qualifier when leading throughout from barrier four, rating 1:57 over 2130 metres. The other heat winners - Ultimate Major (1.58.3), Jasper Freeway (1.56.3) and Erskine Range (1.59.3) - all set the pace and won convincingly. After drawing the pole, however, Classic American has been installed an odds-on favourite to continue his winning ways. Trainer Gary Hall is confident the son of American Ideal will prove too slick in the Group Two. “He’s going to lead and prove hard to beat,” Hall said. “Judging by the way he went last week you would think he’ll be hard to beat. “He is not just a sit-sprinter; he can roll, and I think he can roll a quick time.” KEN CASELLAS

Champion harness racing trainer Gary Hall’s prospects of winning Friday night’s Western Australia Cup for the ninth time soared when Northview Punter drew the prized pole. A noted frontrunner, Northview Punter will be driven by young reinsman Justin Prentice, who is aiming to join his father Kim on the Grand Circuit event’s honour roll. Kim boasts two victories in the Group One, firstly with Baltic Eagle in 2003 and then Im Themightyquinn in 2011. The only other father and son to have driven a WA Cup winner in the feature’s 101-year history are Fred Kersley and Fred junior. Junior scored with Beau Travis (1961), Local Product (1974) and Justaboyden (1995), with his father successful behind James Eden in 1973. Ace reinsman Gary Hall junionr, who has won the Cup six times, was extremely anxious to drive Northview Punter, but Hall stuck to his promise that Justin would retain the drive regardless of where the gelding drew. Hall was full of praise for Prentice’s handling of Northview Punter when he brought the gelding home with a strong burst to finish second behind David Hercules in last week’s Fremantle Cup. “It was a masterful drive and I told Justin that he could keep the drive no matter where he drew in the Pacing Cup,” Hall said. “It was also a phenomenal drive by Justin the previous week when he came from ninth on the pegs at the bell to finish third behind Toretto at Northview Punter’s first start for two months. “Five week ago I didn’t expect Northview Punter to be contesting the big Cups after he had suffered from a bad virus in November. I thought he would be pushing it to reach this level so quickly.” Hall has five of the 12 Cup runner, with Northview Punter to be joined by Toretto, My Hard Copy, Soho Highroller and Soho Jackman. “Northview Punter has very good gate speed and is an excellent frontrunner,” Hall said. “I haven’t made any plans how we’re going to drive any of them yet. “Northview Punter is versatile and he can lead or sit. He doesn’t go well off the track, but from one, he’s not going to be off the track at any stage.” KEN CASELLAS

David Hercules, a $15,000 yearling in 2008, is poised to become harness racing’s latest millionaire. Engaged at Gloucester Park tomorrow night, David Hercules is expected to prove too good in the Fremantle Cup, which will see the pacer pass the magical million barrier. Trainer David Thompson declared the eight-year-old was “spot on” and that he “couldn’t be happier with his preparation” ahead the 2536-metre Group One. Reinsman Morgan Woodley echoed Thompson’s sentiment when he said: “We’re brimming with confidence and it’s his time to shine.” David Hercules, which has amassed $936,044 as a result of 35 wins and 31 placings from 95 starts, drew favourably at barrier three - after having no luck 12 months ago when he started from the outside of the back line in the Cup. David Hercules also drew along the back line in the Western Australia Pacing Cup. “He was gallant in both those big cups, finishing third to Im Victorious and Bettors Fire in the Fremantle Cup and fourth behind Hokonui Ben, Toretto and This Time Dylan in the Pacing Cup,” Woodley said. “He finished less than two lengths from the winner in both events. “I’m exceptionally happy with the way the horse has been racing. He couldn’t have come back in any better fashion than he has. “He has been doing it with ease and I understand his training since his last run has been exceptional.” While David Hercules has been installed a firm favourite, there is no lack of confidence from rival trainers, particularly Kevin Keys, who prepares Tuxedo Tour, and Rod Oliver, trainer of Heez On Fire. Ace reinsman Chris Lewis and Gary Hall junior gave punters a ‘heads up’ by opting to drive Tuxedo Tour and Heez On Fire. Lewis and Hall share the record of six Fremantle Cup wins, with Lewis scoring behind Black Irish (1983), Village Kid (1988 and 1989), John Albert (1995), Sandy Bay (2005) and Dasher VC (2013). Hall was successful with The Falcon Strike (2002 and 2004), Im Themightyquinn (2010, 2011 and 2012) and Im Victorious (2014). Lewis will drive the inexperienced and lowly-assessed Tuxedo Tour in preference to the brilliant mare Sensational Gabby, which he drove to a dashing all-the-way victory over Hokonui Ben and Tuxedo Tour last week. Champion trainer Gary Hall has three Cup runners, Toretto, Northview Punter and Soho Jackman, but Junior has opted to stick with Tuxedo Tour. Keys laid down the gauntlet to the rest of the field by stating Tuxedo Tour is capable of leading throughout. “My instructions to Gary will be to lead from barrier two,” he said. “There will be only one instruction and that is to lead. “Tuxedo Tour is a better horse on the pole and he’s one of those horses who is better rolling than being held up. “I’ve left no stone unturned…he’s had plenty of work and plenty of swimming.” KEN CASELLAS

Classy harness racing gelding Our Jimmy Johnstone has drawn awkwardly tonight’s $50,000 The West Australian Nights of Thunder at Gloucester Park. Despite receiving barrier six, co-trainer Greg Bond remains confident of success, stating “the barrier draw hurts a bit, but I still think that he’s in the race right up to his eyeballs.” Such is the belief in Our Jimmy Johnstone, Ryan Warwick, foreman for Greg and Skye Bond, leapt at the opportunity to drive him when the stable’s number one reinsman Colin Brown was committed to handle his own nomination, rank outsider Erskine Range. Our Jimmy Johnstone, a lightly-raced six-year-old, has not been extended in winning his first two Australian starts and appears to be a Cup contender in the making. Bettor Offer, also trained by the Bonds, set a track record over 1730 metres when he rated 1.53 in his all-the-way victory over rising star Machtu last Friday night, but his prospects in the Final deteriorated when he drew eight. He will be handled by the up-and-coming reinsman, Dylan Egerton-Green. Leading trainer Gary Hall has three runners in the feature, four-year-olds Soho Lennon (barrier one), Classic American (two) and Machtu (seven). A talented front runner, Soho Lennon he looks certain to set a fast pace based on his latest effort when untroubled to lead from the pole in which he dashed over the final 800 metres in 55.7 seconds to rate 1.53.8. Bond was typically philosophical when commenting on the wide draws of his two runners, saying: “You’ve got to do the best you can with what you’ve got. “Our Jimmy Johnstone, for sure, is our best chance. I expect Soho Lennon to lead, Classic American and Nicnak Paddy Wak (barrier three) to take a trail and Im Riddick (four) likely to work into the breeze. “We’ve got Machtu outside of us and, on paper, he’s our main danger. We’ll hold our space and go forward with Our Jimmy Johnstone and then see what happens. “Ryan will be aiming to keep in front of Machtu. If the barriers were reversed they would be aiming to do exactly that. If this brings us undone, so be it.” Bond and his No. 1 stable client Rob Gartrell bought Our Jimmy Johnstone last October, with his New Zealand trainer John Hay, some New Zealand friends and some of the gelding’s original owners taking minor shares in the son of P Forty Seven. “We decided to race him in some of the lead-up races and in the New Zealand Cup at Addington in a bid to earn some decent money,” Bond said. “He was going to be racing against Terror To Love, Christen Me, Franco Ledger and Adore Me and other good ones and I thought he probably wouldn’t be winning.” KEN CASELLAS

The first appearance at Gloucester Park of richly talented harness racing performer Our Jimmy Johnstone will be a highlight of the 10-event program on Friday night. The former Kiwi will start from barrier six in the second heat of The West Australian Nights of Thunder and his clash with classy pacers Classic American and Im Riddick is sure to provide plenty of fireworks. Our Jimmy Johnstone is a noted stayer and standing-start performer, but he certainly cannot be underestimated in the mobile event over the 1730-metre sprint. Trained at Forrestdale by Greg and Skye Bond, Our Jimmy Johnstone warmed up with an impressive trial win at Byford last Sunday morning when led from barrier four in 1:57 over 2150 metres. The six-year-old has raced 29 times for 10 wins, seven seconds and three thirds for $145,934 in prizemoney. He has contested five mobile events for two wins, a second, a third and an eighth. He made an auspicious Australian debut when he started from a 20-metre, quickly worked to the lead and outclassed his rivals over 2631 metres. That was his first appearance since finishing seventh behind champion mare Adore Me in the $714,000 New Zealand Cup at Addington five weeks earlier. KEN CASELLAS

Outstanding harness racing prospect Machtu has recovered from a debilitating virus and will resume racing in the first heat of The West Australian Nights of Thunder at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Trainer Gary Hall has entered the four-year-old in the series in a bid to make an ‘eleventh-hour’ claim for a start in the $400,000 TABtouch WA Pacing Cup on January 16. “He’s over the virus and is going very well,” Hall said. “His preparation is a bit rushed, but he worked extremely well on Saturday morning and I’m quite happy with him. I’m hoping he can force his way into the Pacing Cup.” Machtu will begin wide at barrier five in Friday night’s 1730-metre sprint and will need to be close to his top to win against quality opposition, most notably the richly-talented Bettor Offer, which is ideally drawn at barrier three. The pace is destined to be a ‘cracker’, with Apache Kid (barrier one), All Bettor (two) and Bettor Offer all blessed with abundant gate speed. Bettor Offer makes tremendous appeal as he is a superb frontrunner which has also shown wonderful tenacity when forced to work hard in the breeze. Two starts ago he raced three-wide early and then without cover before fighting on determinedly to finish second to Waylade in the 2536-metre McInerney Ford Classic. A week earlier he raced three-wide for much of the journey when a great third behind Waylade and Vc Manoeuvre in the 2130-metre Four-Year-Old Championship. That followed all-the-way wins at Pinjarra, Northam and Gloucester Park at his three previous outings. KEN CASELLAS

Star harness racing performer David Hercules is poised to make the Village Kid Sprint a one-act affair after drawing ideally in the Group Two at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The West Australian-bred pacer will be at very short odds to go one better than his second behind the front running Hokonui Ben in last season’s edition of the feature From barrier three driver Morgan Woodley will be aiming to burst to the front and set a fast pace with David Hercules, which resumed from a 15-week absence with a superb victory a fortnight ago. Produced in grand shape by trainer David Thompson for his first-up triumph, David Hercules has the natural speed and brilliance to threaten the track record of 1.53.1 set by Livingontheinterest in June 14, 2013. David Hercules finished third on that occasion. As it stands, David Hercules holds the track record for 1700 metres (1.52.8) and 2130 metres (1.53.6). The son of American stallion Artesian, David Hercules has been an outstanding bargain for David Botha and Jeneen Johnson, with his 94 starts producing 34 wins, 31 placings and stakes of $896,444. As for dangers in the $60,000 dash, brilliant mare Sensational Gabby shapes as the ‘most likely’ from barrier four. Despite her lacklustre sixth last week, Sensational Gabby’s form has been first rate this preparation, with her victories including the Members’ Sprint, Stratton Cup, Mount Eden Sprint and Norms Daughter Classic. KEN CASELLAS

Six-year-old Tuxedo Tour went within a whisker of causing a major upset last Friday night when he ran home with great determination to finish a head second to 5/1 on favourite Heez On Fire and he gets a chance to turn the tables on his brilliant rival when he meets him on better terms in the $35,000 Kennards Hire Christmas Gift final at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Tuxedo Tour, trained at Herne Hill by Kevin Keys, started from barrier three on the back line and settled down in ninth position before he surged forward to move to the breeze on the outside of the pacemaking Heez On Fire with 1200m to travel in a heat of the Gift last week. Heez On Fire, who was untroubled to lead from the prized No. 1 barrier, fought on grimly to stave off the late challenge from Tuxedo Tour, with the final two quarters being covered in 28.9sec. and 27.6sec. This week Tuxedo Tour will start from the No. 3 barrier on the front line, with Heez On Fire out at barrier five. Noted frontrunner Dashing Christian is likely to lead from the No. 1 barrier and there is a strong possibility that Tuxedo Tour will again have to work hard in the breeze. All Bettor (barrier two) and Ti Amo Franco (four) possess good natural gate speed and Chris Lewis will be anxious to slot Heez On Fire into a commanding position in the one-wide line. Heez On Fire is extremely versatile and is capable of unwinding a dazzling finishing burst, like he revealed when he thundered home from the rear to win from Medley Moose two starts ago. Despite his awkward draw, Heez On Fire is likely to start a short-priced favourite in his quest to extend his winning sequence to six and improve his record to 15 wins and four placings from only 27 starts. The WA-bred five-year-old was purchased as a four-month-old weanling by Cardup trainer Rod Oliver for $15,000 and has already amassed $178,005 in prizemoney for Oliver, his mother Doreen, brother Perry and friends Andrew Walker, Geoff Ramm, Darrell Dwyer and Kieren Eiffler. Tuxedo Tour has earned $122,876 from 11 wins and 18 placings from 41 starts after being purchased for $18,000 at the 2010 Gloucester Standardbred yearling sale by Tom Marsden, who races the stallion in partnership with his son Rod and Martin, Colin and Stephen Campbell. The Christmas Gift is one of the very few feature events in WA that has not been won by Lewis, who is in devastating form in the sulky. Champion trainer Gary Hall sen. is hoping that Dashing Christian can go one better than he did in a qualifying heat last Friday night when he set the pace and was overhauled in the final stride and was beaten by a head by the fast-finishing Mosquito Buzzin. Hall won the Christmas Gift for the fifth time when Kim Prentice drove the polemarker and 6/4 on favourite Toretto to a comfortable all-the-way victory over Our Major Mark and Red Salute 12 months ago. This followed wins with Nixons Creed (1993), Allioop (2004), McRaes Mate (2007) and Livingontheinterest (2012). Ti Amo Franco, trained in Collie by Dale Jackson, will have admirers from barrier four on the front line. He began brilliantly from the No. 5 barrier in a heat last week, but was unable to cross Dashing Christian. He then obtained a good sit, one-out and one-back, and moved to second on the home turn before wilting to fourth behind Mosquito Buzzin. He won in good style at two of his three previous starts. Matt White will resume as Mosquito Buzzin's driver this week after Aiden De Campo handled the six-year-old last week. De Campo will replace Chris Voak behind Mosquito Buzzin, with Voak on the sidelines serving a 19-day suspension after causing interference in a race last Friday night. Mosquito Buzzin has drawn ideally on the inside of the back line and should enjoy a perfect sit behind the likely pacemaker Dashing Christian. Woodley to drive This Time Dylan Outstanding young reinsman Morgan Woodley has been engaged to drive strong stayer This Time Dylan in the $22,500 Mount Eden-No Dill Christmas Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night and the nine-year-old looks capable of fighting out the finish of the 2503m stand at his fourth appearance after a spell. Woodley, who will be driving This Time Dylan for the first time, replaces Justin Prentice, who was in the sulky last Friday night when the gelding was prominent throughout and sustained a solid three-wide run to finish third behind Lisharry and Some Kinda Tactics in a 1730m sprint, with the final 800m being covered in a sparkling 55.6sec. Prentice was committed to driving Dardys Delight, a five-year-old he trains at Boyanup. Dardys Delight, who will share the front line with the Ross Olivieri-trained Chief Thundercloud, rises considerably in class, but is in sound form, with his past six starts (all in stands) producing two wins, two seconds and two thirds. Before that he had contested only one stand in 348 starts. He is closely related to Winter Strike, who earned $416,693 from 33 wins and 50 placings from 143 starts. He was a winner of eight stands, six at Gloucester Park and two at Pinjarra. This Time Dylan, trained at Pinjarra by Michael Brennan, will start off the 40m mark, but is capable of a bold showing. He has a losing sequence of 13, dating back to last May when he won a 2503m event off 30m at Gloucester Park. Four months earlier he finished a splendid third behind Hokonui Ben and Toretto in the 2936m WA Pacing Cup. He won four times (all off 10m) over 2503m in September-October 2013 and he impressed when he started off 40m and finished second to Rocket Reign in the 3309m Marathon Handicap in August this year. Some Kinda Tactics will share the 40m handicap with This Time Dylan on Friday night and should also prove hard to beat. He is racing consistently, with his 12 starts this season producing three wins, four seconds and three thirds. Chief Thundercloud, a lightly-raced New Zealand-bred seven-year-old, will be one of the main fancies after having four starts in WA for a win in a 2503m stand and three second placings. He raced without cover for the final two laps when a sound second to the frontrunning Avalon Bromac in a 2536m mobile at Gloucester Park last Saturday night. Olivieri will also be represented by veteran pacers Pembrook Henry and To Transcend and Wanneroo trainer Debbie Padberg will be looking for a stout-hearted effort from 11-year-old mare Salliwood, who will start off 20m and will be handled by Mark Reed,. Salliwood has finished second in the past two Christmas Handicaps. She was driven by Shannon Suvaljko when she finished strongly into second place behind Uncle Kracker in 2012 and then was awarded the race after the winner was disqualified. In last year's race Salliwood set the pace and was defeated by a half-head by the fast-finishing J Walker. It all points to Sensational Gabby Brilliant mare Sensational Gabby looks set to complete her preparation for the $60,000 Village Kid Sprint on Friday week in fine style by proving too speedy for her 11 male rivals in the 2130m Merry Xmas Del Basso Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Her prospects soared when she was dealt the No. 3 marble in the random barrier draw and Chris Lewis is likely to make a bold bid to dash her straight to the front. Drawn inside her are Soho Highroller and Go West U Terror, geldings with good gate speed, but susceptible to an early challenge from Sensational Gabby, who can begin with dazzling speed. In the event of Soho Highroller holding up and leading, Lewis would be anxious to gain a good sit in the one-wide line before asking Sensational Gabby to unleash her renowned sizzling finishing burst. She was seventh (on the pegs) at the bell before finishing fast to be third behind David Hercules and Soho Highroller over 1730m last Friday night. Soho Highroller certainly looks the pick of the four runners from the all-conquering Gary Hall sen. stable. He notched his third successive second placing last Friday night when he finished strongly from sixth at the bell to beat all but David Hercules. The prospects of seven-year-old Lisharry completing a winning hat-trick diminished when he drew poorly at No. 5 on the front line. He set the pace for easy victories over 2503m and 1730m on the past two Friday nights. Unbeaten youngsters to clash The clash between highly-promising unbeaten three-year-olds Ima Connoisseur and Zennart in the 1730m Kennards Hire Pace should be a highlight of the ten-event program at Gloucester Park on Friday night. In the blue corner will be Ima Connoisseur, a gelding trained by Greg and Skye Bond who has not tasted defeat in four starts, and in the blue and gold corner is Zennart, a colt trained by Gary Hall sen. who has been most impressive in winning at his only two starts in New Zealand. Ima Connoisseur won by ten and a half lengths at his debut, over 2200m at Alexandra Park in June this year, and then was untroubled to win at Pinjarra at his first three Australian starts, scoring twice over 1684m and once over 2185m. He sprinted the final 400m in 27.3sec. in both his sprint wins and was timed at 27.5sec. when he won over 2185m. Zennart led from barrier three and set the pace when he won easily on debut, scoring by four and a half lengths and rating 1.59.9 over 2200m at Alexandra park on July 25 this year. He sprinted the final 800m in 57.2sec., with the final 400m taking 27.8sec. At his next start Zennart started from the outside in a field of six and was restrained to last (eight lengths from the leader) before moving to fourth at the bell and coming from third (three wide) on the home turn to hit the front 30m from the post to win by a half-length at a 1.59.9 rate. He dashed over the final 400m in 27.9sec. Hall has not produced Zennart at public trials, but the Art Major colt is sure to be strongly supported, particularly when he drew inside of Ima Connoisseur. Zennart will start from barrier five on the front line, with Ima Connoisseur at No. 6. Zennart is a half-brother to Zenas Art, who raced 51 times for 14 wins (four in New Zealand, two in Victoria and eight in New South Wales) for stakes of $100,298. Zennart and Ima Connoisseur look set to fight out the finish and each should develop into a worthy contender for the WA Derby next year. Colin Brown, who will drive Ima Connoisseur in the first event on the program, also has excellent prospects in the second event, the third heat of the Free Entry Boxing Day the Coulson Pace for mares, in which he will drive Harriet Elisabeth for Byford trainer David Thompson. Harriet Elisabeth, a winner at nine of her 25 starts, is ideally drawn at barrier two on the front line in the 2130m event in which she will clash with in-form mares Rivers of Babylon and Washington Express. by Ken Casellas  

Brilliant pacer Bettors Fire is one of the most versatile performers in Western Australia, which has harness racing trainer Kyle Harper bubbling with confidence ahead of Friday night’s Fred Doy Memorial at Gloucester Park. Bettors Fire can switch from stand to mobile and from staying events to sprints without turning a hair and that’s why Harper believes the son of Bettors Delight can win despite awkwardly in barrier five. Bettors Fire’s clash with dashing sprinter David Hercules promises to be the highlight of the 10-event program, with Bettors Fire gaining an early advantage by drawing inside of David Hercules, which will start from six at his first appearance for three-and-a-half months. Bettors Fire won stands over 2503 metres in October and November and then mustered tremendous early speed before setting the pace and winning the Group Three Parliamentarians Cup over 2536 metre at Gloucester Park and the Group Two Bunbury Cup over 2569 metres at Donaldson Park last Saturday night. “I thought I could zap them in the Bunbury Cup and I did and he had a pretty happy trip in front,” Harper said. “In Friday night’s race there is a fair bit of speed inside him, but I’d say they would all would want to be taking a sit. However, you never know. “My plan is to go forward at the start and I’ll be moving forward beneath David Hercules. Hopefully, Bettors Fire will be able to find the front and he should take some beating. But you can never discredit David Hercules, who is a very good horse. “After the race Bettors Fire will have a couple of weeks off before he starts in the Village Kid Sprint over 1730 metres. Then he will contest the Fremantle Cup (2536 metres) and WA Pacing Cup (2936 metres). “It’s hard to say whether he is a better stayer or sprinter because he does everything so well. I think he’s a better stayer, but there’s not many at the moment who can run as quick a mile as he can.” Harper has nominated Bettors Fire for the Inter Dominion, with the Final to be run at Menangle on March 1. “Whether we go to Sydney will depend on how he performs in the Cups,” Harper said. “I don’t like to get too far ahead of myself. “I would have to say that Bettors Fire is the best horse I have driven. I have been fortunate to have driven some very nice horses like Has The Answers and Mysta Magical Mach and I think he is better than those two, which is a big call. “I rarely hopple Bettors Fire and he’s had just one hoppled run in this preparation. The rest has been gallop work on the beach and at home in the heavy sand. He also does plenty of wading at the beach.” Bettors Fire has raced superbly in Western Australia where his 21 starts have produced 13 wins and three placings. He won at 11 of his 30 starts in New Zealand and has earned $336,252 in prizemoney. KEN CASELLAS

1 to 16 of 1623
1 2 3 4 5 Next »