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A commanding performance on debut on Tuesday of last week by Play The Boys stamps the impressive colt as the winner of the $95,000 Clipsal By Schneider WA Sales Classic for harness racing two-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Play The Boys, to be driven by Ryan Warwick for leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, was assured of favouritism when he drew ideally at barrier No. 2 on the front line in the 1730m classic. He looks set to lead or to race in a prominent position and should carry too many guns for the opposition. He overcame the disadvantage of a wide barrier (No. 8) in last week’s race when he settled in sixth position before starting a three-wide move to the breeze outside Hughey The Hammer, who had assumed control after 550m. Play The Boys got his head in front of Hughey The Hammer at the 100m mark and went on to win by a neck, but in good style, from that colt, rating 1.56.2 after final quarters of 28.7sec. and 28.5sec. Play The Boys, by American stallion Shadow Play, is out of Hello Boys, who raced 55 times for 12 wins, 17 placings and stakes of $89,541. Hello Boys, an elder sister to Party Date (111 starts for 25 wins, 27 placings and $256,003) is also the dam of Kiss Chasey, who has earned $146,358 from 16 wins and 15 placings from 59 starts. Kohli, trained by Bryan Cousins and to be driven by Kim Prentice, will have many admirers, particularly after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier on the front line. Kohli has finished second at each of his two starts (over 1730m at Gloucester Park) and shows excellent potential. He raced in the one-out, one-back position when second to Pocket More For Less and then raced without cover when a fighting second to Rock Me Over. He is bred to be a winner, being by former champion New Zealand pacer Courage Under Fire and out of Elegant Eyes, whose elder full-sister Innocent Eyes earned $421,875 from 18 wins and 17 placings from 62 starts. Innocent Eyes won four group 1 events --- the Victoria and Australian Oaks at Moonee Valley in July 2005, the Chariots of Fire at Harold Park and the Vicbred Super Series for four-year-old mares the following year. Rock Me Over, a good winner at each of his past two starts for trainer Katja Warwick and reinsman Gary Hall jun., has drawn awkwardly at barrier six, but cannot be left out of calculations. He was untroubled to lead throughout from the No. 1 barrier and win by more than two lengths from Kohli on Tuesday of last week after racing in the one-out, one-back position and winning easily from Mistersandman at Pinjarra at his previous outing. Rock Me Over, by American sire Rock N Roll Heaven, is a half-brother to Handsandwheels, the winner of the WA Derby last Friday week. He is also closely related to several smart pacers, including Suave Stuey Lombo (110 starts for 33 wins, 23 placings and stakes of $587,032) and Miss Trick In Lombo (109 starts for 15 wins, 29 placings and $230,312). Ken Casellas

Boyanup harness racing trainer Justin Prentice described Tenniele Erin’s performance when beaten into second place by Lady de la Renta on Tuesday of last week as massive and he is confident that his youngster can turn the tables on Lady de la Renta when they clash in the $95,000 Clipsal By Schneider Electric WA Sales Classic for harness racing two-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night. A thrilling showdown between the classy fillies looms after they drew favourably in the 1730m classic. Lady de la Renta, trained at Banjup by Annie Belton and to be handled by Kim Prentice, will start from the No. 2 barrier on the front line, with Tenniele Erin on her outside at No. 3 and with Chris Lewis in the sulky. Tenniele Erin was favourite at 5/2 on when she started from barrier four in a 1730m event on Tuesday of last week. Lady de la Renta was a 6/1 chance from barrier five. Tenniele Erin began speedily and was trapped three wide for the first 300m before she surged into the lead after 420m. Lady de la Renta was not bustled out at the start and settled down in seventh position. She was sixth with 500m to travel and impressed with her acceleration when she burst to the front on the home turn and won by just over two lengths from Tenniele Erin. “Tenniele Erin went massive in that race,” Justin Prentice said. “The first quarter was run in 27.5sec. and there’s not too many two-year-olds capable of finishing off the race the way she did after that very fast first section. She has done well since.” The Belton camp also has every reason to feel confident about winning with Lady de la Renta on Friday night. She sprinted strongly with a final quarter of 28.6sec. and won in most convincing fashion. There were excuses for her fifth placing behind Cott Beach at Pinjarra at her only other start. She raced roughly soon after the start and broke into a gallop before racing five back on the pegs and finishing solidly. Lady de la Renta is well bred, being by American stallion Well Said and out of Flylika Bird Lombo, a winner of seven races in Victoria and a half-sister to ten winners, including Lombo Skyrider, who amassed $841,611 from 63 wins and 84 placings from 321 starts.  Lady de la Renta is also closely related to former star mare Misty Maiden (37 starts for 12 wins, 11 placings and stakes of $245,449) who produced nine winners, including Lombo Pocket Watch, who earned $1,522,638 from 45 wins and 17 placings from 83 starts. Tenniele Erin, by American stallion Sportswriter, is the fourth foal, and the first one to race, out of Lilianna Beauty, who had 134 starts in America for ten wins, 41 placings and $135,274. Princess Major, to be driven by Gary Hall jun. for Byford trainer Katja Warwick, has sound each-way prospects from the inside of the back line. She has been placed at each of her three starts, including her last-start third behind Lady de la Renta when she worked hard in the breeze for most of the way. Cool Sassi, an easy all-the-way debut winner at a 2.1.9 rate over 1730m on Tuesday of last week for trainer-reinsman Aldo Cortopassi, faces a stern task after drawing out wide at barrier eight. Ken Casellas

Superbly-bred harness racing filly Pick My Pocket arrived in Perth from New Zealand three weeks ago and is being set by owner Bob Fowler and trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice for the $150,000 WA Oaks on May 5. The daughter of champion sire Bettor's Delight will make her West Australian debut when she starts from the No. 5 barrier on the front line in the Happy Birthday Tanya Smeeth WA Oaks Prelude over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Prentice is unsure how well Pick My Pocket will perform at her first appearance in a race in Australia. “I have had her only a short time,” he said. “She’s a nice filly and I’ve had only one trial with her.” Pick My Pocket was not extended in finishing second to Jumping At Shadows in a 2100m trial at Bunbury’s Donaldson Park on Wednesday of last week. The winner rated 1.58.8 and the final quarters were run in 29.5sec. and 28.5sec. Pick My Pocket is out of In The Pocket mare La Filou, who raced only eight times in New Zealand for one win and one placings for stakes of $7315. La Filou is out of the remarkable broodmare Scuse Me, the dam of 12 winners, including Adore Me and Have Faith In Me. Adore Me raced only 36 times for 26 wins and seven placings for earnings of $1,677,032. She was successful in 12 group 1 events, including the New Zealand Cup at Addington in November 2014 and the Ladyship Mile in 1.47.7 and by a margin of six lengths at Menangle in March 2015.    Have Faith In Me has had 32 starts for 15 wins, eight placings and $1,446,592. His five group 1 wins include the Chariots of Fire at Menangle in February 2016 and the Miracle Mile in 1.47.5 when he defeated Lennytheshark. Pick My Pocket has had five starts in New Zealand for one win and a third placing, for earnings of $12,735. She won on debut over 2400m in a 14-horse field at Winton last December when she began speedily from barrier five and led after 250m before being restrained 300m later to trail the new pacemaker. She then raced three back on the pegs and took advantage of an inside passage to hit the front 120m from the post to win at a 1.58.2 rate. Her most recent appearance was at Addington on February 17 when she started from the outside in a field of five and was restrained to the rear and raced in fifth place in an Indian-file affair before fighting on gamely, three wide, to be fourth behind Spanish Armada, who dashed over the final two quarters in 28.5sec. and 27sec. The New Zealand-bred Maczaffair looks outstanding in Friday night’s race, especially after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier on the front line. Maczaffair has won at eight of her 19 starts and is maintaining her splendid form for Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed and reinsman Shannon Suvaljko. Apart from Pick My Pocket, Prentice has two other runners in Friday night’s race, Im Stylish (Tom Buchanan) and Lady Luca (Hayden Charles). Im Stylish has won at each of her past three starts, but is poorly drawn out wide at barrier eight. However, she is capable of doing plenty of work in a race and is sure to be prominent. In an Oaks prelude last Friday week, Im Stylish started from the back line and began a three-wide move after 450m to race without cover for much of the way before taking the lead 270m from home and defeating the fast-finishing Red Hot Roxy, who had enjoyed an ideal passage behind the pacemaker Lady Luca. The consistent Red Hot Roxy (Gary Hall jun.) will start from the outside of the back line this week and should be finishing with plenty of gusto. Soho Angel (Kim Prentice) will start from the inside of the back line and is also capable of a spirited effort. Ken Casellas

Serpentine harness racing trainer Gary Hall sen. Is poised to dominate the Schneider Electric Pace for three-year-olds at Gloucester Park on Friday night and he should produce a quinella result with Runrunjimmydunn and El Barcelona. Hall will also be represented by The Publisher (Lauren Jones) and Vincenzo Peruggia (Nathan Turvey), who will be reappearing after spells. Clint Hall will handle Runrunjimmydunn from the No. 6 barrier on the front line and Gary Hall jun. will be in the sulky behind El Barcelona, who has drawn out wide at No. 8. Hall sen. leans slightly towards Runrunjimmydunn ahead of El Barcelona, each of whom will be racing for the first time since contesting the WA Derby last Friday week. Runrunjimmydunn had a tough run in the breeze before wilting to eighth behind Handsandwheels in the Derby, while El Barcelona raced four back on the pegs in eighth place before finishing solidly into fifth place. “It wasn’t ideal for Runrunjimmydunn, breezing over the 2536m,” said Hall sen. “He has trained on well and should run a strong race. So should El Barcelona. They are definite Golden Nugget contenders later in the year. “The Publisher and Vincenzo Peruggia trialled well at Byford on Sunday, but I think that this is a bit of a rise in class for them.” Vincenzo Peruggia started from barrier one in the 2150m trial and he rated 1.59.8 in winning by a short half-head from The Publisher, who started from the back line in the field of six. The final quarters were run in 29.5sec. and 28.5sec. Vincenzo Peruggia, a winner at four of his 19 starts, has not appeared since he raced in the breeze and finished fourth in moderate company in Kalgoorlie on December 2. The Publisher will be making his Australian debut after winning once from eight starts in New Zealand. The Debra Lewis-trained Ultimate Flyer warmed up for Friday night’s race with a smart all-the-way victory as a 10/1 on favourite at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night. Ultimate Flyer sprinted over the final 400m section in 27.9sec. and rated 1.56.7 in beating Muscle Torque by more than three lengths over the 1730m journey.     Ultimate Flyer steps up considerably in class on Friday night, but is capable of a bold showing after starting from barrier two on the front line. Boyanup trainer Justin Prentice has chosen to drive Courage To Live (barrier seven) ahead of stablemate Bravo Tex (barrier five).  “He’s better than Bravo Tex and a bit more versatile,” Prentice said. Courage To Live was a smart all-the-way winner, rating 1.57.1 over 2100m at Bunbury on April 1 and then six nights later he sustained a spirited three-wide burst which carrier him from ninth at the bell to finish a head second to Michael Joseph over 2536m at Gloucester Park. “He’s only a little-framed horse and he didn’t quite handle the six-day back-up,” Prentice said. “He also gets a bit nervous on race nights.” Prentice drove Bravo Tex when he worked hard in the breeze before finishing determinedly to win from Punters Dream over 2100m at Bunbury last Saturday night. This followed placings at Bunbury at his two previous starts. Tom Buchanan will drive Bravo Tex on Friday night. “Bravo Tex went really well last Saturday night,” Prentice said. “He’s always had the ability, but it’s been a matter of him working out what race day is all about. He switches on and off. But his past few runs have been pretty good.    “The other night, was the first time he has travelled the whole way.” Ken Casellas

Hard-working farrier Tommy Sheehy broke an 18-month drought when he brought 8/1 chance Vital Energy home with a well-timed burst to beat the pacemaker Oaksana Boy in a 1730m harness racing event at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night. This was the 48-year-old Sheehy’s first success since he scored with Bhagwan in a C3-class event over 1730m at Gloucester Park on October 6, 2015. Tuesday night’s victory was a family affair, with the eight-year-old Vital Energy trained by Sheehy’s 74-year-old father Tom. “I haven’t done a great deal of driving in recent years,” Tommy Sheehy said. “This was to give my daughter Kristy more opportunities to drive in races. She has now got a job and is going to be married, so you could say that I’m on the comeback trail and ready and willing to take more drives,” Vital Energy’s win ended a losing sequence of 36. His previous success was by a head over Baza Magoo in a C2-class 2242m event at Narrogin on July 9, 2013. Vital Energy is very well bred, being by Classic Garry out of Sand Pebbles, a WA-bred mare who earned $313,102 from 26 wins and ten placings from 81 starts. She won the $100,000 Ladyship Mile at Harold Park in November 2004 and then finished second to Sokyola in the Miracle Mile. She also won the 2004 Empress Stakes at Gloucester Park, beating Party Date. Tommy Sheehy, who drove Turquia when the ten-year-old finished a close third to Kaydee Stratton at Gloucester Park on April 4, is training An Aussie Ingot and Gold Signs. His father also has nine-year-old Hez The Artisan racing soundly, with the veteran pacer winning at Gloucester Park in February and at Pinjarra in March. Ken Casellas

Champion reinsman Gary Hall jun. is poised to win the Easter Cup for the sixth time by driving star pacer Ohoka Punter to victory in the $40,000 group 3 feature event at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. The New Zealand-bred Ohoka Punter is the sole backmarker off 50m, but this should prove no impediment to his chances in the 2902m marathon in which he has a massive edge in class over his 11 rivals. Ohoka Punter, a striking seven-year-old stallion by Bettor's Delight, made an outstanding return to racing after an absence of 24 weeks when he scored an effortless victory over stablemate American Boy, rating 1.55.5 in a 2130m mobile event last Friday night. Returning to a standing-start event and racing over 2902m will not prove an obstacle to Ohoka Punter, whose past 12 starts have been in mobiles. His most recent appearance in a stand was in the 3280m Hunter Cup at Melton in early February last year. He led early in the Hunter Cup and then sat behind the pacemaker Smolda before finishing determinedly to be a head second to that star pacer. A week earlier Ohoka Punter contested a 2760m stand at Melton. He raced wide early before setting the pace and winning by one and a half lengths from Star Chamber, with final quarters of 27.8sec. and 27.4sec. A fortnight before that Ohoka Punter led all the way and won the Shepparton Gold Cup, a stand over 2690m in which he beat Five Star Anvil by a length and rated 1.57, a track record. The winner of the Victoria Derby at Melton and the Great Northern Derby at Alexandra Park early in 2013, Ohoka Punter has been raced sparingly and has a fine record of 53 starts for 25 wins and 20 placings for earnings of $979,196. The 34-year-old Hall was delighted with Ohoka Punter’s first-up performance last Friday night and said that the horse was “really exciting at home and does some pretty special things.” An attack of colic, followed by a lung infection, forced Ohoka Punter to miss the Interdominion championship series at Gloucester Park last November and December, and now trainer Gary Hall sen. has his sights set firmly on the next Interdominion series in Perth late this year. “It was a real disappointment that he didn’t front up for the Inters,” Hall jun. said. “We thought that he was a really good chance in the series, judged on what he was doing at home.” The Easter Cup was first run in 1912 (when Goldust was successful at a 2.44 rate) and Hall jun. has won the Cup five times --- with The Falcon Strike (off the back mark of 20m) in 2003, Patches (off the back mark of 30m when he dead-heated for first with OK Windermere) in 2006, Uppy Son (10m) in 2012, Rebel Scooter (10m) in 2013 and Znana (off the front) in 2016. The reinsman with the most wins in the Easter Cup is Chris Lewis, who has been successful six times --- with Pallaton (1980), Gold Rowan (1984), Village Kid (1987), Abmidas (1997), OK Windermere (2006) and Lovers Delight (2015). Lewis will drive the Chris Winston-trained frontmarker Importer Exporter, an experienced standing-start performer and excellent frontrunner, in Thursday night’s Cup. Importer Exporter will start from barrier No. 2 and is likely to be involved in an early battle for the lead with the polemarker Bashful Compton, whose 12 wins in Western Australia have been in stands. Prentice trained and drove Subabrew for his victory in the 2007 Easter Cup. Leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond will be represented by Assassinator (front) and Galactic Star (10m). Ryan Warwick drove Assassinator for a fighting win in a 2631m stand at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon, but he will be in the sulky behind Galactic Star, who is clearly the stable’s main hope. Assassinator is a dogged and determined pacer and he will be handled by Ryan Bell.    Galactic Star, a New Zealand-bred four-year-old, is the youngest runner in the race and he looks set for a bright future. He impressed at his latest outing, in the final of the Clarke Pace last Friday week, when he raced wide early and then in the breeze before hitting the front 275m from home and winning easily from Vultan Tin, with a final quarter of 27.5sec. His past eight starts have been in mobiles, but he is a brilliant standing-start performer, having had five starts in stands in Western Australia for five wins. Evergreen gelding Shardons Rocket will start off the 30m mark with Kyle Harper in the sulky. The 12-year-old celebrated his 205th start by finishing a head second to Lisharry over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. Wanneroo trainer Debbie Padberg has two runners, El Machine and Glow Bright, engaged in the Cup, with the eight-year-old El Machine her better prospect. El Machine finished solidly from fifth on the pegs at the bell to be second to American Boy over 1730m last Friday week. Shannon Suvaljko will drive El Machine and Morgan Woodley will handle Glow Bright, an eight-year-old who finished solidly to be a close last-start second to Maximum Demand. Two starts before that, he won a 2503m stand. Ken Casellas

Sheer Rocknroll, a wonderfully consistent four-year-old, should boost her earnings past the $200,000 mark by winning the $25,000 International Animal Health Products Westbred final for harness racing four and five-year-old mares at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. The Rocknroll Hanover mare warmed up for this assignment in eye-catching style last Friday night when she began from the back line and raced in fourth place on the pegs for most of the way before sprinting home strongly to finish second to talented six-year-old gelding Eyre Crusher. The final sections were run in 27.9sec. and 28.2sec. and Sheer Rocknroll finished ahead of several smart performers, including Foxy Dame and Bungalow Bill.   Sheer Rocknroll, trained by Ross Olivieri and driven by Chris Lewis, is handily drawn at barrier four on the front line and she should carry too many guns for the opposition, none of whom has anywhere near the record of Sheer Rocknroll, who has amassed $194,902 from 18 wins and ten placings from 44 starts. Sheer Rocknroll is the first foal out of former star mare Sheer Royalty, who raced only 33 times for nine wins, seven placings and $248,904 in prizemoney. Her victories included three feature events for three-year-old fillies in 2009 --- the group 1 double of the WA Oaks and State Sires Series and the group 3 Daintys Daughter Classic. The three mares drawn inside of Sheer Rocknroll have place prospects as does last-start winner Falling Starzzz (barrier two on the back line) and Lovers Prayer (barrier No. 5), a winner three starts ago. Drawn on the inside of Sheer Rocknroll are Nowuseemegirl (Aiden de Campo), Sea Cider (Michael Grantham) and Kathleen Betty (Shannon Suvaljko). Nowuseemegirl has been driven to victory at all her seven wins by de Campo, but she has been unplaced at her past seven starts since winning at Bunbury last September. She led and faded to fifth behind Lovers Prayer at Gloucester Park at her most recent outing. She is capable of improvement. Sea Cider showed a welcome return to form and ended a losing sequence of 16 when she led and won from Bettor Bling over 1780m at Northam on Thursday March 30. Kathleen Betty rises in class after a last-start fifth behind Alfs Odyssey at Bunbury last Saturday night. She won three in a row (one at Bunbury and two in Albany) in February and March. Ken Casellas

Tendon injuries have blighted the career of New Zealand-bred Eyre Crusher. But perseverance is paying dividends and the harness racing six-year-old looks set to complete a hat-trick of wins since resuming after an absence of 23 months by proving the master of his ten rivals in the $23,000 Retravision Pace at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. Nursed back to fitness by premier trainer Gary Hall sen., Eyre Crusher has not been extended in winning at his first two outings after his lengthy lay-off. Gary Hall jun. will be in the sulky when Eyre Crusher starts from the No. 4 barrier on the front line in Thursday night’s 2130m event. The son of Ohoka Arizona won at each of his final three starts (in April 2015) before breaking down with a bowed tendon. A win this week will extend his winning sequence to six and improve his record to 17 starts for ten wins, five seconds and a third. The most recent time Eyre Crusher tasted defeat was when he finished a close second to Three Blind Mice in the WA Derby early in April 2015. Last week Eyre Crusher started from the back line and settled in sixth position before Hall jun. sent the gelding forward in the first circuit to race in the breeze. Eyre Crusher took the lead 500m from home and went on to win from the fast-finishing Sheer Rocknroll, with the final 800m taking 56.1sec. Leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond will be represented by polemarker Condrieu and Vanquished and both pacers should be prominent. Ryan Bell is likely to take full advantage of the No. 1 barrier by attempting to jump straight to the front and set the pace. Condrieu has a losing sequence of 12, but is getting close to notching his 19th victory. At his latest outing, three Fridays ago, he enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, before fighting on to be a close third behind Bettors Fire and Bronze Seeker over 2130m. The consistent, lightly-raced Vanquished has resumed after a spell in splendid form. He followed his solid first-up second to Franco Rayner over 2130m at Gloucester Park with an extremely close third behind Lisharry and Shardons Rocket over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. Vanquished was sixth at the bell and followed Lisharry’s three-wide run to finish powerfully. The Peter Anderson-trained Lisharry was fifth in the one-out, one-back position at the bell and he finished with typical zest to get up and snatch a last-stride victory by a head from Shardons Rocket, with a nose to Vanquished in third place. The final 800m was covered in 56.3sec. Lisharry (Michael Grantham) will start from the No. 2 barrier on Thursday night and he, Condrieu, Vanquished, Franco Rayner and Foxy Dame all have sound place prospects. Ken Casellas

Unheralded former New South Wales pacer Extreme Prince will make his West Australian debut for harness racing star trainer Gary Hall sen. in the $18,500 $7 Pints At JP’s Sports Bar Pace at Gloucester Park on Thursday night when he appears to face a stern test from out wide at barrier eight on the front line of the 1730m event. The New Zealand-bred gelding has managed five wins and three placings from 17 starts in very moderate company and has earned just $21,716. However, a study of his performances in NSW reveal that he possesses dazzling gate speed and it will come as no surprise if Gary Hall jun. uses this valuable attribute from the wide draw this week. Extreme Prince warmed up for his first West Australian appearance when he finished a sound one-length second to Braeview Bomber (1.57) in a ten-horse field in a 2150m trial at Byford on Sunday morning. He was a 66/1 outsider at his most recent outing when he started from the back line, raced at the rear and hit a wheel and broke in the final lap before finishing last behind Parramatta over 2125m at Penrith on November 10 last year.   Two starts before that he began from the No. 6 barrier and showed dazzling speed to burst to the front after 40m in a 1609m sprint at Menangle. He sped over the first 400m section in 26.7sec. before relaxing with a 31.2sec. second quarter. Then he dashed over the final sections in 28.2sec. and 27.2sec. and was driven out hard in the home straight to hold on and win from Come Cullect in a time of 1.53.3. He also revealed sizzling gate speed when he won three races in succession (two over 2125m and one over 1720m) at Penrith in August/September last year. He led from barriers three, five and six in those three events. Polemarker Three Kings is a good frontrunner and is capable of showing up, despite being unplaced at each of his past seven starts. Alfs Odyssey is a last-start winner, but he faces a tough test from out wide at the No. 9 barrier. Khun Ratha’s recent efforts have been sound and he must come under serious consideration. Ken Casellas

Oldbury harness racing trainer-reinsman Kim Prentice is breathing a sigh of relief with his Bettor's Delight filly Soho Angel showing all the signs of returning to her best form. She has a losing sequence of six, after winning at five of her previous ten starts, which also included two seconds and two thirds. Soho Angel is nicely drawn at barrier two on the front line in the $18,000 Sky Harness WA Oaks Prelude over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night and Prentice has high hopes that she will bounce back to top form. “Her past couple of starts had me a little bit wondering,” Prentice admitted. “But I have run a blood count and we’ve had a bug go through the stable which knocked a few of the horses around. “However, Soho Angel is eating better than ever now and her work on Saturday was the best it has been since she has been here (from Victoria). So, I expect her to go very well this week. From barrier two, I’ll be coming out, trying to lead. Whether we can, I’m not quite sure. But she has got good gate speed and we’ll be using it.” Soho Angel has worked hard in the breeze at her past two outings --- for a third to Im Stylish at Bunbury and a fourth behind Im Stylish and Allamerican Queen at Gloucester Park last Friday week. Im Stylish, trained by Justin Prentice, will start from barrier two on the back line with Tom Buchanan in the sulky. She looms as a major player in a field of smart three-year-old fillies, which includes She Could Be Good, Lady Luca, Red Hot Roxy, Sarah Goody and Susies Desire. Ryan Warwick will drive She Could Be Good for trainers Greg and Skye Bond and he gives the filly a solid each-way chance. She Could be Good, a winner of two races in New Zealand earlier this season, made a winning Australian debut when Warwick drove her to victory at Northam on Thursday of last week. She showed good ability to overcome breaking in running and racing out wide. “She then felt sharp in a trial at Byford on Sunday (when she finished strongly to win from Kerrin Joseph),” Warwick said. “She didn’t feel quite like that at Northam. She’s an honest little filly with gate speed and good high speed.” Ken Casellas

Punters should enjoy a flying start to the ten-event harness racing program at Gloucester Park on Friday night by cashing in on Shandale, a richly-talented newcomer from New Zealand who should prove vastly superior to his nine rivals in the Sky Racing Replays Pace at Gloucester Park. Shandale, an Art Major four-year-old, was purchased in New Zealand a few weeks ago by Albert Walmsley and is being prepared by Mike Reed. He is the only runner off the back line and Shannon Suvaljko is likely to position him soon after the start into the one-wide line, even though the stallion will start immediately behind Mexicano, who will make a bold bid to set the pace. Shandale’s credentials are irresistible. He has raced 33 times for eight wins and nine placings for earnings of $160,647. He has managed only one placing (a third behind Hughie Green at Alexandra Park in November), but he has been clashing with several outstanding pacers, including the all-conquering four-year-old Lazarus, Christen Me, Tiger Tara, Titan Banner, Rocker Band, Vincent and Hughie Green. At his latest appearance, in a group 2 Flying Mile at Cambridge on January 6, he revealed gate speed from barrier five in a field of seven and settled in the one-out, one-back position before battling on gamely to finish sixth in 1.55.6 only four metres behind the winner Lazarus, who beat Christen Me. The quarters in that race were run in 27.8sec., 31.5sec., 28.7sec. and 26.8sec. As a two-year-old at Addington in May 2015 Shandale finished second to Lazarus in a $195,000 event and fourth behind Chase The Dream, Motu Premier and Lazarus in the group 1 Sires Stakes in which Chicago Bull finished ninth and Harry Hoo thirteenth. Shandale has contested two 2150m trials at Byford for effortless victories. He ran home strongly and sprinted over the final 400m in 27.3sec. to win by 7m from Dave O’Brien two Sundays ago and last Sunday morning he set the pace and rated 1.56.2 (with final sections of 27.9sec. and 27.2sec.) in winning by eight lengths from Red Hot Roxy.  Ken Casellas

Star New Zealand pacer Ohoka Punter has thrived during a 13-week preparation and is primed to resume harness racing on a winning note when he contests the $23,000 In The Gig Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The outstanding seven-year-old will start from the outside barrier (No. 9), but this should prove no problem to the brilliant stallion who has proved his class in grand circuit events and has amassed $964,016 in prizemoney from 24 wins and 20 placings from 52 starts. “He’s going really good and should be too good for his rivals, with no disrespect to them,” said Clint Hall, elder son of champion trainer Gary Hall sen. “He is quite forward in his work and I expect him to be far too good. He had a break, with six or seven weeks off, at the end of last year and he’s now been in work for between 12 to 14 weeks and is ready to go.” Ohoka Punter entered the Serpentine stables of Hall sen. last November and was strongly fancied to win the Interdominion championship. Two days after winning a trial in dashing style at Byford he suffered an attack of colic which developed into a lung infection. This ruled him out of the Inters series. Clint Hall said that the owners of Ohoka Punter decided to leave the horse in WA and for Hall sen. to prepare him for an assault on the Interdominion championship series in November and December this year. Ohoka Punter has not had a start since he raced wide early and then set the pace and scored an easy victory over Young Modern and Flaming Flutter in the 2690m Maryborough Cup last October. Four starts before that son of Bettor's Delight beat Hectorjayjay and Ultimate Art in winning the group 1 $200,000 Blacks A Fake Pace at Brisbane’s Albion Park.  Gary Hall jun. will drive Ohoka Punter on Friday night and he is likely to give the horse time to settle down before making a decision to send him forward. Ohoka Punter’s chief rivals appear sure to be stablemates American Boy and Crusader Banner and the Michael Brennan-trained Naughty Maravu. American Boy, to be driven by Lauren Jones from barrier five on the front line, gave a superb display to win at a 1.53.9 rate over 1730m last Friday night. Crusader Banner, having his first start for nine months, finished strongly from eighth at the bell to be third. Micheal Ferguson will again be in the sulky, starting from the No. 3 barrier on the front line. Brennan said that Naughty Maravu, to be driven by Shannon Suvaljko at his first outing after a four-month absence, would attempt to set the pace from the No. 1 barrier. “This will be his first run in the Free-For-All grade, but he’s a very good fresh horse and we will try to take advantage of his ideal draw,” Brennan said. “He felt super when he won a trial at Byford on Sunday.” Ken Casellas

Victorian-bred harness racing gelding Im Rockaria has overcome a worrying setback and is poised for a bold showing in the $200,000 Sky Racing WA Derby at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He has recovered fully from an infection under a cavity in a tooth which caused him to race erratically and finish a distant last in a field of 11 at his latest appearance, in a Derby prelude three Fridays ago. Trainer and part-owner Michael Brennan is bubbling with confidence after Im Rockaria finished a head second to experienced stablemate Naughty Maravu in a 2185m trial at Pinjarra on Sunday morning when he dashed over the final 800m in 56sec. Im Rockaria’s prospects soared after he drew the prized No. 1 barrier on the front line in the 2536m Derby and champion reinsman Gary Hall jun. signified his confidence in the gelding when he chose to drive him ahead of highly-promising three-year-olds El Barcelona and Herrick Roosevelt, who are prepared by his father Gary Hall sen. Brennan, who purchased the son of Rocknroll Hanover for just $16,000 at the Victorian yearling sales, has had only one previous runner in a WA Derby --- Im Victorious, who started from the No. 1 barrier and was driven to an all-the-way victory by Justin Prentice five years ago. “This year the barrier draw is a big help, we’ve got the right driver and the horse has got over the little issue we had with his mouth,” Brennan said. “Im Rockaria is ready to go and he has all the qualities needed to win a Derby. He’s strong and he’s fast and I think he is 100 per cent spot on. He loves leading and has never been beaten when he has led. The distance is no problem at all. He’s a really good stayer and he’s got super high speed to go with it. “Obviously, Mitch Maguire is going to be very hard to beat, Herrick Roosevelt has been super impressive and Runrunjimmydunn was most impressive in winning last Friday night. It is by no means a one or two-horse race. There is a lot of quality and this is one of the more even Derbies in recent years.” In his trial on Sunday morning Im Rockaria was driven by Nathan Turvey and he raced three back on the fence before finishing strongly to be second, a head behind Naughty Maravu, an M3-class pacer who set the pace with Brennan in the sulky. “At his most recent start, in a Derby prelude, Im Rockaria tracked up three wide (from the 1100m to be fifth at the bell) and hung in really badly,” Brennan said. “Later we discovered that he had an infection under cavity in a tooth and Gary couldn’t steer him. “This problem is the reason why he hasn’t been able to race over the past three weeks. We had to treat him quite heavily with anti-biotics and we’ve tried a bit of different gear to take the pressure off the jaw. “His win two starts ago, in the Battle of Bunbury, was super.” In that event Im Rockaria enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, before starting a three-wide move 800m from home. He surged to the front at the 500m mark and went on to win by more than three lengths from Rock Diamonds.” Im Rockaria, who has earned $137,275 from ten wins and three seconds from 18 starts, has already won a group 1 feature event, having been successful as a two-year-old in the Pearl Classic at Gloucester Park last June. He is owned by Brennan and his wife Lara, Cam Byers and Dave Skelton (who were part-owners of Im Victorious), Michael Maxwell and Cameron Maggs, who broke in Im Rockaria in Victoria. Im Rockaria is the ninth foal out of Vitness, whose second foal Twelve Paces earned $263,058 from 27 wins and 20 placings from 68 starts. Twelve Paces won a heat of the Victoria Derby at Shepparton in January 2007, beating Triple Vance and Lombo Pocket Watch. He then finished fifth behind Lombo Pocket Watch in the final at Moonee Valley. Mitch Maguire, prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, is handily drawn at barrier three on the front line and looks set to fight out the finish. His form is outstanding, having won at ten of his past 11 starts in a glittering career of 18 starts for 12 wins and two placings for stakes of $197,373. He completed his Derby preparation with an all-the-way win from barrier one in the 2536m group 2 Western Gateway Classic last Friday week. He was favourite at 10/1 on and after a third quarter of the final mile in 28.4sec., he just held on in a final section of 29.3sec. to beat the fast-finishing Maczaffair by a half-head at a 1.57.3 rate. “He overraced and that probably took the sting out of him,” said reinsman Ryan Warwick. “People shouldn’t want to measure him on that performance. Mitch Maguire beat Im Rockaria at Pinjarra four starts ago (when Mitch Maguire worked hard in the breeze). “I’m confident in the horse and the 2536m won’t worry him. I keep going back to his Pinjarra run three starts ago (when he galloped in a stand and made up a huge amount of lost ground to win easily). It was a phenomenal performance and I rate the horse highly. His record is hard to fault and I can’t see any reason to discount him.” Herrick Roosevelt, who has drawn poorly on the outside of the front line, will be driven by Kim Prentice and Chris Voak has been engaged to handle El Barcelona from the outside of the back line. Herrick Roosevelt has raced only four times for two wins, a second to Mitch Maguire (from the breeze) and a last-start third from the breeze behind Mitch Maguire and Maczaffair. “He’s going super,” Prentice said. “I have sat behind him once, in a trial a couple of weeks ago. It was only a jump out, but I love the horse. The biggest problem on Friday night will be holding him out of the mobile because he is inclined to get keen. We will be trying to slot in somewhere.” El Barcelona won for the fifth time from 12 starts when he led from the No. 1 barrier and held on to defeat Handsandwheels and Heza Head Honcho last Friday night. Handsandwheels, to be driven by Aiden de Campo, is nicely drawn on the inside of the back line and certainly has sound place prospects. Clint Hall will drive Runrunjimmydunn, who was produced in fine fettle for a first-up victory in WA last Friday night. The gelding is awkwardly drawn at barrier six, but will have many admirers after his runaway seven-length victory over In Nyrobi, rating 1.56.4 over 2130m last Friday night. “He’s a pretty good horse and I’ll be putting him into the race at some stage,” Hall said. The Mike Reed-trained Maczaffair is a talented performer who has won at eight of her 18 starts and impressed last Friday week when she was tenth at the 600m and seventh with 250m to travel before flying home to be a half-head second to Mitch Maguire last Friday week. The WA Derby was first run in 1917 and a filly has been successful only six times, with those winners being Hilda Grattan (1948), Happy Mint (1950), Swahili (1962), Hill Oro (1969), Via Vista (1981) and Whitbys Miss Penny (1991). Champion reinsman Chris Lewis will be seeking his sixth win in the classic, after victories behind Trunkey Maseratti (1994), Saab (1998), Talladega (2000), Argent Treasure (2008) and In The Force (2009). He will drive the Ross Olivieri-trained Lord Willoughby from barrier No. 2. Lord Willoughby is improving steadily, but has won only three times from 17 starts.  Ken Casellas

West Australian-bred three-year-old Michael Joseph ended a sequence of ten unplaced runs with a smart victory in modest harness racing company at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening and trainer Clive Dalton is confident the gelding will maintain his form and prove hard to beat in the Sky WA Derby Consolation over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “I think that he can hold up from barrier one, lead and win,” said Dalton, who will return to his training establishment in the Victorian town of Shepparton within the next month after spending the past four years preparing a team of pacers and trotters at Herron, south of Pinjarra. Michael Joseph, driven by Kim Prentice, trailed the pacemaker Anvil Rollover before switching three wide 250m from home and sprinting strongly to hit the front 90m from the post. He sprinted over the final quarters in 27.7sec. and 28.1sec. in notching his second win from 14 starts. Dalton, who races the Bettor's Delight gelding on lease, said that Prentice was most impressed with the gelding’s performance on Tuesday. “Kim said that he couldn’t believe how easily he won,” Dalton said. “He said the horse was just jogging down the back.” To win on Friday night Michael Joseph is sure to have to hold off strong challenges from New Zealand-bred geldings Righteous Brother (barrier three), Punters Dream (No. 2), Messi (No. 8) and Im The Best (No. 7) and stiff opposition from WA-bred pacers Courage To Live and Davinci Diamond. Ryan Warwick, who will drive Righteous Brother for leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, said that the gelding, who led and won at his WA debut at Northam on Thursday of last week, should be prominent. “He gave me a really good feel at Northam and he’s very strong,” Warwick said. Righteous Brother also won three races in New Zealand earlier in the season.  Punters Dream, a speedy beginner and a winner at Pinjarra in February and March, is ideally drawn at barrier two for Busselton trainer Barry Howlett and ace reinsman Chris Lewis. He improved from eighth at the bell to finish sixth behind El Barcelona last Friday night. Dalton said that he and his wife Annie had thoroughly enjoyed their four years in WA. “It has been wonderful here where we’ve had a lot of wonderful winners and memorable nights,” he said. “We plan to come back for a weekend here and there and for the Interdominion championship series later this year. “I’m hoping to have John of Arc fit to race at the Inters. He is spelling now, recovering from another suspensory ligament injury. And I’m looking at bringing Cardigan Boko back to Perth for the major trotting races in the summer.” Ken Casellas

Colin Belton has two metal plates and eight pins in his right leg and walks with a slight limp. But he has no hard feelings towards harness racing four-year-old Mister Versace, who sent him crashing into a fence at the family property in Banjup last September. “I forgive him now, the way he’s going,” said Belton, husband of Annie Belton, who trains Mister Versace, who has blossomed after the terrible track accident almost seven months ago, with his 14 starts since then producing four wins, three seconds and one third for stakes of $28,995. And now the Beltons have high hopes that Mister Versace will maintain his excellent form and win the $18,500 Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The WA-bred Mister Versace, purchased as a yearling for $19,000, will be driven by Kim Prentice from the inside of the back line. “He has drawn behind October Brown, a smart beginner and good frontrunner,” said Colin Belton. “He should have a soft run and, hopefully, Kim will be able to get him into the clear at the right time.” The Bettor's Delight gelding has been racing in considerably stronger company and should enjoy a drop in class this week. Three starts ago he led from barrier four and won from Americanbootscoota and Military Master, rating 1.56.1 over 2130m at Gloucester Park. That followed his strong finishing effort to be fourth behind Bettor Reward and Sprinter in the Four and Five-Year-Old Championship at Bunbury’s Donaldson Park. He has no luck at his past two outings. He raced three back on the pegs and was blocked for a clear run in the final stages when sixth behind Kiwi Legend in the group 3 Four and Five-Year-Old Championship at Gloucester Park last Friday week. Then, last Friday night he raced in sixth place in the one-wide line before he was hampered and lost about three lengths when shuffled back at the 700m mark behind the tiring Debt Free Charlie in the Westbred final. He then fought on gamely to be fourth behind Hot Fraternity. Belton explained what happened on the fateful day in September, saying: “Mister Versace was the last horse to be worked on our track that day, and we were on the final lap when a bird suddenly flew in front of us. He took fright and jumped left and took me with him. “The cart got stuck in the fence. I was holding on for dear life, but I couldn’t hold him and he took off, with my leg still caught in the fence. He jumped the fence and dashed down Liddelow Road before being caught, unharmed, near the Jandakot track. “I was lying in the sand for 40 minutes and I knew that there was something wrong when I stood up and started hyper-ventilating. I knew I was in shock. Finally, the next door neighbour found me and I was taken to hospital where I asked a nurse if she could see anything. She said ‘it doesn’t look very good.’ “There was a spiral fracture in the right shinbone and now I have two plates and eight pins in the leg, and they’re going to be there forever. It was a bit of a setback and I was unable to work for six months. But Mister Versace has made up for it and is doing really well.” A sympathetic Annie Belton said that Mister Versace was an extremely docile horse and the accident was no fault of his, or of Colin. Meanwhile, Annie Belton has stable star Mister Jadore back in work and she is hopeful that the $17,000 yearling who has earned $267,889 from 12 wins and ten placings from 27 starts will be able to make a successful comeback after suffering a severely damaged tendon more than two years ago. “He’s a pet and I have taken my time with him,” she said. Ken Casellas

Star pacer Bettors Fire is being set for the $40,000 Easter Cup on Thursday week and he will contest the 1730m Celebrating Melissa Renouf Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night in preparation for the Cup, a 2902m standing-start harness racing feature event. The eight-year-old New Zealand-bred gelding is a brilliant sprinter as well as being an outstanding stayer who has raced in only three standing-start events --- for three wins --- in his first 54 starts in Western Australia. Trainer-reinsman Kyle Harper is delighted at Bettors Fire’s return to racing, after an absence of 12 weeks, when he thundered home from last at the bell to win easily from the fast-finishing Bronze Seeker in a 2130m mobile event last Friday night. Bettors Fire, who has amassed $635,702 from 32 wins and 19 placings from 83 starts, will be a hot favourite when he starts from the outside barrier (No. 8) in Friday night’s race in which he will clash with in-form pacers Risk, American Boy and Bronze Seeker as well as smart six-year-old Crusader Banner, who will be having his first start for eight months. “On paper, it looks like his race to lose, but if I drive him right, it’s his race to win” Harper said. “I looked after him, first-up, last week and took him back at the start. The intentions will be to send him off the gate this week. “But there are some very quick beginners drawn inside of us and I’ll probably have to assess (the situation) early and see what the speed is like. Getting to the front would be nice. He’s the class runner in the race, but just because he’s better than the other runners doesn’t mean that he’s a good thing. There’s no such thing as a good thing. “In a short trip at Gloucester Park, if you’re not up there, it’s tough, no matter how good you are. I’ll need to get him up there at some point, whether it’s off the arm or if we make a move a bit later. That’s something that I’ll have to assess at the time. He’s got the speed to cross most of his rivals, but we don’t want to cut off our nose to spite our face. “He’s ready to run a pretty slick mile. I have freshened him up since last Friday’s win and I’m looking forward to a successful campaign.” Harper said that Bettors Fire would have a handful of starts before going out for a winter spell and then being brought back to be prepared for the Interdominion championship series at Gloucester Park in November-December and the Fremantle Cup and WA Pacing Cup. Bettors Fire won a heat of the Inters last summer (when he defeated Smolda) before finishing sixth behind Smolda in the final. He finished powerfully to be fourth behind Chicago Bull in the Fremantle Cup last January, but a hoof abscess prevented him from contesting the rich WA Pacing Cup a week later. Harper has a second string in Friday night’s sprint in the lowly-assessed Bettor Than Money, a nine-year-old M1-class pacer who will start from barrier five on the front line. The gelding will be driven by Harper’s elder brother Donald. Better Than Money, an all-the-way winner over 1730m at a 1.56.4 rate at Gloucester Park in mid-February, possesses sparkling gate speed, with Kyle Harper saying: “He runs a very good mile and leaves the arm nearly as fast as Bettors Fire. If he jumps to the front, he’ll run a very good race.” Risk, rained by Greg and Skye Bond, will be driven by Ryan Warwick from the No. 6 barrier on the front line and is capable of a bold showing at his third appearance after a spell. He has resumed in good style with placings behind American Boy and Kiwi Legend. American Boy, trained by Gary Hall sen., will start from the No. 3 barrier with Lauren Jones in the sulky. He maintained his wonderful form at Gloucester Park last Friday night when he started from the outside of the front line and finished determinedly from last in the middle stages to be second to Twoandahalf Tigers over 2130m. Maddison Brown will drive the Peter Anderson-trained Bronze Seeker for the first time and the eight-year-old is in career-best form. He was most impressive last Friday night when he was last in a field of eight with 600m to travel and was being cast back behind the tiring Firebomb. He was seventh (five wide) at the 250m mark and ran home powerfully to be second to Bettors Fire. Crusader Banner, trained by Hall sen., is an interesting runner who will be making his first appearance since finishing fast into third place behind Run Oneover and Cyamach over 2130m on June 24 last year. He has raced 41 times for 13 wins and 11 placings and will be driven by Micheal Ferguson from barrier seven. Ken Casellas

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