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Notching his twelfth victory in a group feature event should be just a formality for harness racing superstar Chicago Bull when he contests the $50,000 Group 2 RWWA Cup over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He will start from barrier six on the front line and should prove the master of his nine rivals as he seeks his 29th win from 48 starts. He has won four Group 1 events and seven Group 2 races and has already amassed $1,404,479 in prizemoney. After Chicago Bull coasted to an effortless win at a 1.56.3 rate over 2536m in the Group 2 Lord Mayor’s Cup last Friday week, champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr described the performance as “like a trial; he did it that easily.” Describing the gelding’s small stature and insignificant looks, Hall said: “when you look at him, he’s the last one you would pick out of a stable. It just goes to show you what’s on the inside, not what’s on the outside.” Leading trainer Gary Hall Snr said “Bettors Fire and Argyle Red are racing well, but you would think that Chicago Bull will be winning. He will go forward and will probably get to the breeze outside Argyle Red, and then Junior will make up his mind what to do from there. “I was going to spell him a week or two ago, but now I plan to race him for the next month. I have picked out the $50,000 Four and Five-Year-0ld Championship on March 16 as his final run before going for a spell.” Hall said that he expected his other runner Ohoka Punter would enjoy being the only runner on the back line. “He’s probably the equal second best in the race and I’d say that he and Bettors Fire will fight it out for second place.” The Kyle Harper-trained and driven Bettors Fire notched his 34th win last Friday night when he gave a strong frontrunning display from the No. 1 barrier to win over 2130m from Our Jimmy Johnstone and Cut For An Ace. A week earlier, he ran on from sixth at the bell to be fourth behind Chicago Bull. Argyle Red, trained at Pinjarra by Rob MacDonald and driven by Morgan Woodley, has excellent place prospects. He should be the early leader from the No. 1 barrier and is likely to take the sit behind Chicago Bull as the race unfolds. Ken Casellas

Promising harness racing six-year-old Hot Fraternity has finished second from unfavourable barriers at his past three outings and will have to contend with the outside barrier (No. 9) in the 1730m TABtouch, The Brand That Funds The Industry Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. His young reinsman Bailey McDonough is quietly confident that Hot Fraternity, prepared by his grandfather, Bunbury trainer Frank Bonnett, has the ability to overcome the awkward and challenging draw. “He’s going really good when bad draws haven’t helped him,” he said. “He’s got another bad draw on Friday night, but it is a weaker field than the ones he has been racing in and he gets his chance to break through for a win. “I like him over the short 1730m trip. In the sprint races he travels well in running and seems to finish off a lot stronger on the bit. On Friday night he should land close enough to them (after the start) in the field of ten. Hopefully, he can make a move or track another horse up (as the race develops). “He was really good when second to Wesley at Bunbury last Saturday night.” In the Bunbury race over 2100m, Hot Fraternity started from barrier six and was restrained to the rear. He raced in eighth position until McDonough switched him three wide with a lap to travel. He sustained his three-wide effort to move to second at the 250m mark before fighting on grimly to be second to Wesley, with the final 400m being covered in 27.5sec. He started out wide at barrier nine at his previous outing, over 2536m at Gloucester Park and he impressed in sustaining a strong burst, out wide, and finishing second to Greenngold, with final sections of 28.7sec. and 29.1sec. He led from barrier five when beaten in the final stride by the fast-finishing Messi a week before that. McDonough, one of the State’s up-and-coming drivers, will handle outsiders from the Tony Svilicich stable in Looks Promising (race one) and Shardons Rocket (RWWA Cup) before driving the Bonnett-trained Estilo in the final event, the Chinese New Year Fireworks Night Pace over 2536m. Estilo has been unplaced at his past nine starts since McDonough drove him to victory over 2100m at Bunbury early last November. “Dean Miller drove Estilo when sixth behind Wesley at Bunbury on Saturday night and he said that he got home really well,” McDonough said. “I think he can hold up early and then I’ll assess my options from there. He’s definitely a top-four chance.” Ken Casellas

Astute Henley Brook harness racing trainer Mike Reed is bubbling with confidence that Victorian-bred colt Bechers Brook will triumph in the $40,000 Caduceus Club Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night. A victory would help to ease the anguish suffered by Reed when his filly Maczaffair (owned by Albert Walmsley) unwound a powerful burst to finish second in the 2017 Caduceus Club Classic, a nose behind Rock Diamonds. Walmsley, who owns Bechers Brook, a colt by Somebeachsomewhere, shares Reed’s optimism and is also upbeat about the prospects of his other runner, the Reed-trained Golden State. Bechers Brook, a winner at four of his seven starts, will begin from the No. 4 barrier on the front line in the 2130m classic and the New Zealand-bred colt Golden State will start from barrier five. Golden State impressed with the ease of his first-up victory over 2100m at Bunbury’s Donaldson Park last Saturday night when he led and sped over the final quarters in 28.7sec. and 27.9sec. Bechers Brook warmed up for this week’s assignment by running home determinedly from sixth at the bell to be a close second to Lady De La Renta over 2130m last Friday week. “I lean towards Bechers Brook, mainly because he has drawn inside of Golden State,” said Reed. “Bechers Brook’s latest run, on paper, was a bit disappointing. I was away and (reinsman) Shannon Suvaljko said that the colt had got away from us a bit. “So, I have up-tempoed his work and at Gloucester Park last Saturday morning it was the best he has ever worked. I drove him in a workout with two other horses and whoever beats him home on Friday night will win the race. But I think that he can find the top from barrier four and if he leads I think he will be winning. Shannon had the choice of drives and he picked Bechers Brook. Chris Lewis will handle Golden State. “I put Dolly Vardons on him for the workout and he worked the place down when he travelled well on the bit. Golden State is a good horse, too. But it is a big ask for him against the best ones at his second start after a spell.” Suvaljko, who leads the Statewide drivers’ premiership with 84 winners, has won the Caduceus Club Classic with Sir Mick Sloy (2005) and Jumbo Operator (2009). Lewis has won the event five times, scoring with Almagest (1990), Flashing Star (1993), Classy Claude (1996), Saab (1998) and Johnny Disco (2016). Bechers Brook is bred to be a star. He is a full-brother to Our Waikiki Beach, who has earned $912,294 from 23 wins and seven placings from 35 starts. He won five Group 1 feature events as a three-year-old, including the New South Wales Derby at Menangle. Twelve months ago, he finished second to Lazarus in the Chariots of Fire at Menangle. Walmsley said he named Bechers Brook after the notorious obstacle at Aintree, near Liverpool, where the horses had to jump this fearsome hazard twice during the running of the annual Grand National Steeplechase. Walmsley, an Englishman who migrated to Australia when he was 19, said that horses had to be brave and extremely gallant to leap over Becher’s Brook. “It’s an obstacle which is hard to get over,” he said. “And I would like to think that Bechers Brook will be hard to get over in his races.” Leading trainer Gary Hall Snr and star reinsman Gary Hall Jnr each has won the Caduceus Club Classic six times and they are hoping for a slice of luck with the promising but inexperienced Speed Man, who has fared badly in the random draw and will start from the outside of the back line. “I think he will go well,” said Hall Snr “Barrier 12 is a bit of a handicap, but he is a horse I have a lot of time for. Speed Man was a 9/4 on favourite at Gloucester Park last Friday week when he set the pace from barrier four before breaking into a gallop 250m from home and then recovering to finish third behind Lady De La Renta and Bechers Brook. “He was going from just cruising around to up-tempo when challenges came at him pretty quickly,” Hall said. “He’s inexperienced and not used to that and he’s also not really that well co-ordinated.” With Hall Jnr opting to drive Speed Man, Byford trainer Katja Warwick has engaged Aiden de Campo to handle Rock Me Over, a winner of three races as a two-year-old and producing solid efforts at his two runs after a spell for thirds at Northam and Pinjarra. “He is a versatile colt, but he will need the right trip on Friday night,” Warwick said. Ken Casellas

Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall Snr has nine runners at Gloucester Park on Friday night and he has little hesitation in declaring his brightest prospect is harness racing four-year-old Runrunjimmydunn in the Trotsynd The Cheapest And Easiest Way To Own A Horse Pace. Runrunjimmydunn has drawn out wide at barrier eight on the front line in the 2130m event, but Hall does not see this as a serious problem. “His run when second to Better B Chevron in the Village Kid Sprint at Northam last Saturday was super and he should win on Friday night,” declared Hall. Runrunjimmydunn met with a nasty check soon after the start of the race at Northam when New World Order broke into a gallop and he settled down in sixth position. Gary Hall Jnr then dashed the son of American Ideal forward and into the breeze 400m later and the New Zealand-bred gelding fought on determinedly to be a neck second to the pacemaker Better B Chevron after final quarters of 28.6sec. and 27.2sec. The main danger to Runrunjimmydunn could well be Chuck Norris, who is favourably drawn at No. 2 on the front line. Chuck Norris led from barrier one last Friday night when a fighting half-head second to Brotha Ofa Gangsta. The Hall stable also has excellent prospects in the opening event, the 2130m TABtouch Pace in which Overboard Again makes strong appeal at his second appearance after a five-month absence. Overboard Again, a lightly-raced New Zealand-bred five-year-old, is favourably drawn at the No. 2 barrier on the front line in the 2130m event and Gary Hall Jnr is expected to make use of the gelding’s good gate speed. Overboard Again was driven by Corey Peterson when he gave a splendid first-up performance at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening. He was restrained at the starts and impressed when he sustained a powerful three-wide burst to charge home from last at the bell to finish third behind stablemate and pacemaker Machiatto, with final quarters in 28.6sec. and 28.2sec., with the winner rating 1.57.7 over 2130m. “It was a super first-up run and he should go close on Friday night,” said Hall Snr. Overboard Again will not have things all his own way against last-start winners Real Lucky, Messi and Ima Rocknroll Legend. Real Lucky, driven by Hall Jnr for Waroona trainer Bob Mellsop, was a stylish all-the-way winner over Lord Lexus and El Machine last Friday night. That was his sixth victory from his past nine starts and Mellsop has engaged Deni Roberts to drive Real Lucky this week in order to use her junior concession and gain a favourable barrier. Roberts drove Real Lucky to a strong win over Tisadream over 2100m at Bunbury four starts ago. “He’s a good frontrunner, but is not one-dimensional,” Mellsop said. “And he’s got strings to his bow we haven’t seen yet. He will be going forward at the start on Friday night.” Messi, trained by Skye Bond, will start from barrier four on the front line and should be prominent after his impressive last-start victory last Saturday week when Ryan Warwick brought him home with a strong burst from ninth at the bell and sixth with 220m to travel. Ima Rocknroll Legend, with Peterson in the sulky, will start out wide at barrier seven, but cannot be underestimated following his brilliant all-the-way victory by four lengths over Bronze Seeker last Friday night when he rated 1.55.6 over 2130m. Ken Casellas

Experiments with gear have enabled smart harness racing filly Miss Sangrial to recapture her sparkling gate speed, leaving her trainer Michael Brennan confident that she will be a major player in the $50,000 Daintys Daughter Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “We consider that Miss Sangrial is one of the best fillies in the State, and from barrier six the daughter of Art Major is going to have to show that she is as good as we think she is,” said Brennan. Miss Sangrial, to be driven by Michael Grantham, has had a somewhat unusual lead-up to the Group 2 classic for three-year-old fillies, contesting a heat and final of a C0-C4-class event for fillies and mares in Albany late last month. She began speedily from barrier three, set the pace and won both a heat and the final to improve her record to ten wins, seven placings and stakes of $103,406 from 21 starts. “At this early stage, I’d imagine we’ll go forward at the start,” Brennan said. “How hard we’ll go forward will depend on what happens underneath her and also from the outside. The good thing with my filly is that she seems to have found her gate speed again. At her latest two runs in Albany she was really good off the arm. We tried a few things and they seemed to have worked.” “While it would be nice to be able to lead on Friday night, she doesn’t need to lead to win. She’s got a great sit-sprint capacity. However, she’s up against some very good fillies, including Lady De La Renta and Cott Beach.” Lady De La Renta and Cott Beach warmed up for this week’s assignment with strong last-start victories. Lady De La Renta, trained by Annie Belton, raced without cover before winning from colts Bechers Brook and Speed Man at Gloucester Park last Friday night and Cott Beach, trained by Kristy Elson, overcame a bad start to dash to an early lead and win effortlessly at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. Cott Beach was placed outside the draw after galloping at the start of a race the 2185m event at Pinjarra. “Hopefully (galloping) was just a one-off thing,” said reinsman Nathan Turvey. “I’d say that there is every chance that she’ll be coming out (in a bid for the lead) on Friday,” Cott Beach won by just under five lengths on Monday when she impressed in speeding over the final quarters in 28.8sec. and 27.6sec. She has already amassed $180,932 in prizemoney from her ten wins and five placings from 17 starts. Turvey has high hopes that she will win the Daintys Daughter Classic to make amends for his runner Chevrons Champion’s second placing, beaten a head by Dodolicious in the classic two years ago. Chris Voak is upbeat about the prospects of Lady De La Renta (barrier five) after driving her for the first time when she was successful last Friday night after racing in the breeze. “It wasn’t the plan to sit in the breeze, but with the pedestrian early speed, we just landed there,” Voak said. “However, it didn’t seem to worry her and her final three quarters were solid. Obviously, we had a bit of luck when the favourite Speed Man galloped. But I wouldn’t have missed the first three. If we had drawn to lead this week, I think Lady De La Renta would be nearly unbeatable.” Boyanup trainer Justin Prentice is hoping for a change of luck after having trained the runner-up three times in the Daintys Daughter Classic. His seconds have been with Racketeers Girl (2011), The Parade (2014) and Quite A Delight (2015). Prentice will be represented by Beaudiene Beach Babe (Tom Buchanan) and Our Major Mama (Chris Lewis). Beaudiene Beach Babe will start from the No. 3 barrier on the front line, with Our Major Mama out wide at No. 8. “They’re both working super and Beaudiene Beach Babe is the better prospect because of the better barrier,” Prentice said before leaving for New Zealand on Wednesday to attend yearling sales in Auckland next Monday and Christchurch two days later. “We’re going to do everything we can to try to punch through (and take the lead) with Beaudiene Beach Babe. If Our Major Mama had got a (favourable) draw, she would have been a big chance as well. But I’m not saying that she can’t win. She’ll need luck from that barrier, but she is working well enough to be a definite place chance and even a winning chance.” Leading trainer Gary Hall Snr, who has won the classic with Majorly Foxy Styx (2014) and Nuala (2015), considers his runner Slick Artist as just a rough place chance. Slick Artist, who will start from barrier two on the back line, set the pace and held on to win by a half-head from Lady De La Renta at Gloucester Park last Saturday week. That followed Slick Artist’s close second to Infinite Symbol at Northam four nights earlier. Infinite Symbol, to be handled by Wayne Reid for Wanneroo trainer Julie O’Neill, has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier. She is a speedy beginner and strong frontrunner and Reid is expected to make a bold bid to set the pace. Ken Casellas

Champion harness racing trainer Gary Hall sen. is poised to notch his eighth victory in the $50,000 Worldwide Printing Lord Mayor’s Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He will be represented by five of the ten runners and has no hesitation in declaring that outstanding five-year-old Chicago Bull will be the horse to beat in the group 2 feature to be run over 2536m.   Chicago Bull is ideally drawn at barrier two on the front line and star reinsman Gary Hall jun. is aiming for an all-the-way triumph. “That’s the plan,” said Hall sen. “Stablemate Ohoka Punter will start from barrier one and Stuart McDonald will be told to hand over which will be in Ohoka Punter’s best interests and give him his best winning chance.” Hall said that he considered that Kyle Harper was likely to make a bid for the early lead with the speedy beginner Bettors Fire from the No. 3 barrier. However, he said that he was confident that Chicago Bull had the natural speed to withstand an early challenge from Bettors Fire. Remarkably, Chicago Bull goes into Friday night’s Cup with a losing sequence of four --- the longest losing run in his 39 starts in Western Australia which have produced 25 wins, five seconds, eight thirds and one fourth. Chicago Bull, who won twice from seven starts in New Zealand, has been outstanding in defeat at his past four starts which resulted in a second to Lazarus in the final of the TABtouch Interdominion championship, third to Bettors Fire and Soho Tribeca in the Village Kid Sprint, third to My Hard Copy and Lazarus in the Fremantle Cup and second to Soho Tribeca in the WA Pacing Cup. “He’s probably an over-achiever, an insignificant little horse,” said Hall. “And he’s got a terrific record.” Hall’s previous successes in the Lord Mayor’s Cup have been with Tricky Bey (1994), Abit Rich (1997), Live To Reign (2007), Talk To Me Courage (2010), Livingontheinterest (2014), Northview Punter (2015) and Cyamach (2016). And for good measure he has had four second-placed runners in the Lord Mayor’s Cup --- Our London Pride (2000), Aussie Reactor (2012), Im Themightyquinn (2013) and Hokonui Ben (2014). Hall jun. has driven one winner of the Lord Mayor’s Cup --- when 10/9 favourite Live To Reign began speedily off 10m and made most of the running to beat Demoralizer by just under two lengths when the Cup was last run from a standing start. The past four Lord Mayor’s Cups have been decided over 2130m, but this year the race will be run over 2536m. Apart from Chicago Bull and Ohoka Punter, the Hall stable will be represented on Friday night by Norvic Nightowl (Nathan Turvey), American Boy (Lauren Jones) and My Hard Copy (Clint Hall). “Barrier nine is a stumbling block for My Hard Copy, but he is in top form, having won at three of his five starts in his current campaign,” Hall sen. said. “His two unplaced runs were when he was held up for a run and I’m sure he will go well this week.” My Hard Copy, an equine millionaire like Chicago Bull and Ohoka Punter, maintained his wonderful form when he enjoyed the perfect sit, one-out and one-back, before sprinting home fast to win the 2536m Duffy Memorial from the pacemaker Vultan Tin and Norvic Nightowl. My Hard Copy rated 1.56.3, with the final quarters in 27.5sec. and 28.9sec. Norvic Nightowl (barrier five) and Vultan Tin (six) have to contend with awkward draws, but they are racing keenly and have place prospects. Abraxas Blues (Kim Prentice) and Argyle Red (Morgan Woodley) are comparative newcomers to group racing and they face a difficult assignment. Prentice has driven the winner of the Lord Mayor’s Cup with Livingontheinterest and Cyamach and Woodley has won the race with Taihape Tickler (2006), Mysta Magical Mach (2009), Another One For Me (2012) and Mysta Magical Mach (2013). Ken Casellas

Start and finish the nine-event harness racing program at Gloucester Park on Friday night by backing Shannon Suvaljko to win the opening and final events. That’s the advice from Suvaljko, who is setting a hot pace in the Statewide drivers’ premiership table. He leads with 76 winners from Chris Lewis (69), Chris Voak (68) and Gary Hall jun. and Ryan Warwick (55). Suvaljko has eight drives on Friday night and said: “My best drives will be in the first and last races --- with Bechers Brook and Brookies Jet. My best drive is Brookies Jet in the last.” Brookies Jet, trained at Serpentine by Matt Scott, will start from the No. 3 barrier on the front line in the final event, the 1730m Worldwide Bentley Pace and Suvaljko gives the New Zealand-bred six-year-old a strong winning chance. “He gets his chance from this barrier over the sprint trip, particularly if he can find the front,” Suvaljko said. “It’s an even field in which Tactile Sensation is a pretty good horse.” Brookies Jet warmed up for Friday night’s assignment with a solid performance at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening. He was beaten for early speed from barrier three and settled in sixth position. He was tenth (and last) with 400m to travel and about 180m later was inconvenienced and forced out very wide. However, he recovered and finished with a determined burst to be fifth behind The Spinster. Brookies Jet showed his liking for pacemaking five starts five starts earlier when he set the pace and won from Attack On Command and Backpage Screamer over 2100m at Bunbury in mid-December. Suvaljko has had 11 drives behind Brookies Jet for one win and three third placings. The win came when Brookies Jet started from the No. 1 barrier and set the pace over 2130m at Kellerberrin early last October. Four-year-old Tactile Sensation, trained and driven by Peter Tilbrook, is racing with admirable enthusiasm and will have many admirers, despite the stallion’s awkward draw at barrier eight. Tactile Sensation, a winner at Gloucester Park and Northam in December, worked hard in the breeze and finished an extremely close fourth behind Nothingbutadream at Bunbury on Sunday. Whitbys Gamble, the only other four-year-old in Friday night’s race, is racing with plenty of spirit for trainer-reinsman Aldo Cortopassi. The mare will start out wide at barrier seven and Cortopassi predicted that a win was not far away for the mare. Whitbys Gamble gave an encouraging performance as a $126.90 outsider at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening when she was last in a field of ten with 450m to travel and was four wide on the home turn before finishing strongly from seventh at the 100m mark to be fourth behind Lord Willoughby. Suvaljko spoke in glowing terms of Bechers Brook, a talented colt who has raced only six times for four wins, a second and a fifth. Bechers Brook, trained by Mike Reed, will start from barrier five in the field of nine in the opening event, the Worldwide Osborne Park Pace for three-year-olds. Bechers Brook was untroubled to set the pace from barrier one and win easily at a 1.58.2 rate from Captured Delight and Murphys Bettor over 2130m last Friday week. “He is a really nice horse and whatever he does this week he will continue to improve,” Suvaljko said. “He doesn’t have to lead; he’s got good versatility and can sit up and come home. He’s definitely a WA Derby prospect.” Bechers Brook’s clash with several talented three-year-olds, including stablemates Speed Man and One Off Delight (trained by Gary Hall sen.), should prove to be one of the highlights of the program. Speed Man shows excellent promise and his first five starts have produced three wins and two seconds. Gary Hall jun. will drive him from the No. 4 barrier. “Speed Man is still pretty inexperienced, but he’s a strong stayer who gave a good performance at his latest start when he raced in the breeze outside Mistahmistah and finished a close second to that horse,” said Hall sen. One Off Delight, to be driven by Stuart McDonald from the coveted No. 1 barrier, has resumed after a spell in fine style and impressed at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon when he led and held on to win from Carrera Mach and Play The Boys. Adding interest to the race will be the first appearance in Western Australia of Victorian filly Amelias Courage, a seasoned performer who has raced 25 times for eight wins, ten seconds and two thirds. She will be driven by her new trainer Colin Brown and faces a stern test from the outside barrier in the field of nine. Amelias Courage has finished second at each of her past four starts, the latest being over 2240m at Melton three Fridays ago. The other fillies in the race, Infinite Symbol and Lady De La Renta, are in good form, but have drawn out wide at barriers seven and eight, respectively. Ken Casellas

Waterloo harness racing trainer Vanessa Brockman has Alkiras Desire racing in fine fettle and the five-year-old mare looks set to chalk up her eighth win from only 23 starts when she contests the $18,000 Worldwide West Perth Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Alkiras Desire put the writing on the wall last Saturday night when she was ninth at the bell before storming home to finish a close second to Dame Puissant. That followed stout-hearted efforts when third behind Handsandwheels at Bunbury and third to Dior Mia More at Gloucester Park. The Real Desire mare will start from the No. 4 barrier on the front line on Friday night and ace reinsman Chris Lewis should have her in a prominent position throughout the 2130m event. Leading reinsman Shannon Suvaljko gave punters a lead when he opted to drive Lady Azalea in preference to Our Jeremes Gem, who impressed two starts ago with a fast-finishing second to Kerrin Joseph at Gloucester Park. Lady Azalea, trained by Matt Scott, will start from the No. 6 barrier. She worked hard without cover before winning narrowly from Alluring Attitude over 2030m at Busselton two starts ago. Our Jeremes Gem will be handled by Callan Suvaljko from the outside barrier (No. 9). Dame Puissant, who was eighth at the bell and went five wide approaching the home turn, charged home to win from Alkiras Desire last Saturday night and she gets a good chance to notch her 12th win from 46 starts when she starts from barrier seven in a field of eight in the 2130m first heat of the Worldwide Malaga Lewis Pace on Friday night. Henley Brook trainer-reinsman Robbie Williams is expected to adopt similar tactics this week and save Dame Puissant for a spirited finishing burst. There is likely to be plenty of early pace with an anticipated battle for the role of pacemaker between Tajies Girl (barrier No. 2) and Mon Lillies (eight). Tajies Girl (Gary Hall jun.) and Mon Lillies (Kyle Harper) are excellent frontrunners. Tajies Girl led and won from Gotta Go Gabbana over 2130m two starts ago before she started from the outside of the back line and was forced to cover a lot of extra ground before finishing eighth behind Rich Yankee at Northam on Tuesday of last week. Mon Lillies, trained at Boyanup by James Sortras, possesses sparkling gate speed and Harper is likely to attempt to steal a march on his rivals by getting a flying start. Mon Lillies has led and won from barriers No. 4 and No. 1 at Pinjarra at her past two outings, scoring from Twentynine Twelve and Major Stare and from Copagrin and Hindu Kumara. Ken Casellas

Veteran pacer My Hard Copy has been matching strides with harness racing star performers Lazarus, Chicago Bull and Soho Tribeca in recent months and he is sure to appreciate their absence when he contests the $25,000 Ray Duffy Memorial over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Saturday night. The American Ideal eight-year-old will start from barrier three on the front line and Clint Hall should have him in a favourable forward position all the way before relying on his dazzling finishing burst. My Hard Copy was extremely unlucky when ninth behind Soho Tribeca in the WA Pacing Cup on Friday of last week when he raced four back on the pegs in fifth and sixth positions and was hopelessly blocked for a clear run in the final stages. He was ninth in the middle stages before charging home from sixth (three wide) at the bell to win the 2536m Fremantle Cup from Lazarus and Chicago Bull the previous week. Premier trainer Gary Hall Snr holds a powerful hand in Saturday night’s race with four runners My Hard Copy, Norvic Nightowl, American Boy and Ohoka Punter. Eight-year-old Norvic Nightowl has not been successful for 20 months, but he is very close to recording his 20th victory. He looms as a serious threat to My Hard Copy, Our Jimmy Johnstone and Vultan Tin. Norvic Nightowl will start from barrier two on the back line with Nathan Turvey in the sulky. Norvic Nightowl’s past two runs have been full of merit. He started from the outside of the back line and surged forward after a lap to race in the breeze for the final two laps when a fighting third to Our Jimmy Johnstone and Delightful Offer over 2536m last Friday night. He sustained a strong run from seventh in the middle stages when a close second to American Boy over 2536m the previous week. Lauren Jones will drive American Boy from barrier five on Saturday night. The six-year-old led early from barrier five and then raced behind Soho Tribeca in the WA Pacing Cup on Friday of last week. He was handled by Stuart McDonald, who will switch to Ohoka Punter this week. Ohoka Punter raced five back on the pegs last week and was held up in the final stages when eighth behind Soho Tribeca. He is capable of improving from barrier four this week. Our Jimmy Johnstone burst back to his best form for trainer Greg Bond last week when Ryan Warwick took full advantage of the No. 1 barrier and set the pace with the nine-year-old who scored a convincing victory over Delightful Offer and Norvic Nightowl. Our Jimmy Johnstone will start out wide at barrier seven this week, but has excellent each-way prospects. The Phil Costello-trained Vultan Tin also will have many admirers from barrier No. 2 on the front line. He is a splendid frontrunner and if Chris Voak is able to take the gelding to the lead in the early stages from the polemarker Tricky Styx he should prove difficult to run down. Ken Casellas

Promising lightly-raced harness racing four-year-old Covered N Diamonds, a costly first-up failure at Narrogin last Saturday week, has sound prospects of making amends by winning the Direct Trades Supply Pace at Gloucester Park on Saturday night. A 7/4 on favourite at Narrogin, Covered N Diamonds overraced in the breeze and faded to finish last, 18 lengths behind the winner Hot Fraternity. She was much more tractable when Dylan Egerton-Green handled her for trainer Skye Bond in a 2150m trial at Byford last Sunday morning. She raced in the breeze under a tight hold, a few lengths from the pacemaker Im Simply Red in the field of seven before she took the lead 300m from home and was not extended in winning narrowly from the fast-finishing Big Spending Telf. The final quarters were run in 29.4sec. and 29.1sec. Ryan Warwick will drive Covered N Diamonds from the No. 3 barrier on the front line on Saturday night and she should be prominent. She possesses excellent gate speed, but whether she can muster sufficient pace to get past the polemarker Sheez Edgy in the early stages is problematical. However, even if Covered N Diamonds is forced to race without cover she should still prove hard to beat. Most punters are likely to support either Covered N Diamonds (six wins from 14 starts) and the Vanessa Brockman-trained Alkiras Desire (seven wins from 21 starts) but eight-year-old Auctioneers Elsu is capable of a bold showing at her 194th start. Auctioneers Elsu, to be driven by Jocelyn Young for Cardup owner-trainer Sarah Suvaljko, impressed on Friday of last week when she finished resolutely from seventh at the bell to be second to Real Zeal. Three starts before that Auctioneers Elsu trailed the pacemaker Maczaffair and fought on doggedly when second to that star mare. Ken Casellas

Blythewood harness racing trainer Michael Brennan and his 22-year-old nephew, star reinsman Michael Grantham, are brimming with confidence that veteran Aces N Sevens pacer Cut For An Ace will make full use of his brilliant natural speed to outpace his eight rivals in the $50,000 The West Australian Nights of Thunder at Gloucester Park on Saturday night. The evergreen Victorian-bred ten-year-old has overcome setbacks since he arrived in Western Australia in mid-2015 when a suspensory ligament injury kept him out of action for 18 months and in recent years hoof problems have prevented Grantham from working the gelding on the track. “It’s simply a matter of keeping him sound and his feet issues under control,” Brennan explained. “I can’t give him any trackwork, and his training is confined to Michael (Grantham) galloping him in the heavy sand. “He’s a happy horse and loves to be spoilt. All credit must go to my wife Lara, who looks after the horse. He’s her pet project.” Cut For An Ace, the fastest of the three heat winners last Friday night, was untroubled to set the pace from the No. 1 barrier. He sped over the four quarters of the final mile in 27.8sec., 28.3sec., 27.7sec. and 28.4sec. to record a sizzling mile rate of 1.51.8, which is the second fastest recorded over 1730m at Gloucester Park. The track record for 1730m is 1.51.6, set by champion five-year-old Chicago Bull when he stormed home to win by a head from Soho Tribeca in the Mount Eden Sprint last October. “He’s flying at the moment,” Brennan said. “You saw how good he was last week. Obviously, after drawing barrier two, the aim is to lead. We will just see what happens at the start. If he doesn’t lead, I think he is still good enough to win from the breeze or from the one-out, one-back position.” Brennan and Grantham are planning the same tactics that proved highly successful for them 12 months ago when Grantham drove the Brennan-trained four-year-old Nathans Courage to a superb all-the-way victory in the Nights of Thunder. Nathans Courage, second favourite at 2/1, burst straight to the front from barrier four and won by a length and a half from the evens favourite American Boy. Drawn inside Cut For An Ace on Saturday night in the coveted No. 1 position is speedy beginner and noted frontrunner Fernleigh Rebel. Trainer Clint Hall is expected to make use of Fernleigh Rebel’s excellent gate speed in a bid to set the pace with the seven-year-old, whose most recent victory was eight starts ago when he led from barrier four and beat Don’t Wanadie and Im Lisart over 2130m. Hall has a good record in the Nights of Thunder, having been successful with Soho Lennon (who led from barrier one in 2015) and Mohegan Sun (who started from the No. 2 barrier and enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, before finishing strongly to beat Ti Amo Franco in 2016). Six-year-olds Talktomeurmattjesty and Argyle Red loom large as the main dangers to Cut For An Ace after they gave outstanding performances in the first qualifying heat last Friday night. Talktomeurmattjesty, trained in Busselton by Barry Howlett, will start from the No. 6 barrier on the front line, with Argyle Red, trained at Pinjarra by Rob MacDonald, at barrier five. Talktomeurmattjesty (Chris Lewis) revealed wonderful fighting qualities when he worked hard outside the flying pacemaker Shes Artful before getting to the front 450m from home and holding on to defeat Argyle Red (Morgan Woodley) by a half-head, rating 1.52.6. The opening quarter was run in a blistering 26.8sec., with the following sections in 28.4sec., 28.7sec. and 29sec. “I didn’t quite expect that we had to go that time to win,” said Lewis. “But I wasn’t terribly worried by being in the breeze.” Talktomeurmattjesty had three starts in New Zealand, all as a four-year-old, for two wins and a head second. He has impressed greatly in Western Australia where his 18 starts have produced nine wins and six placings. He is the ninth foal out of Falcon Seelster mare Talk To Me Later and is a half-brother to noted speedy sprinter Talk To Me Courage, who raced in WA between 2006 and 2011 when he finished a close third behind Aikido Whitby in the 2006 Golden Slipper, won the Lord Mayor’s Cup in 2010 and was a close second to Our Malabar in the 1730m Celebrity Sprint in 2009.    Talk To Me Courage finished fourth behind Davisons Destiny in the 2009 Nights of Thunder and two months earlier he was a neck second to Sneaky Down Under in the 1780m Village Kid Sprint at Northam. Talk To Me Courage won six races in Victoria, 11 in WA and 29 in America before retiring with earnings of $646,669. Lewis has a high opinion of Talktomeurmattjesty and is hoping that the gelding will give him his second success in the Nights of Thunder after his thrilling victory with the Ross Olivieri-trained 9/1 chance Davisons Destiny, who was seventh at the bell and flew home to snatch victory from the 7/4 favourite and pacemaker Indian Giver. Cut For An Ace is proving an excellent investment for Sam Godino and James Michell, who claimed the gelding for about $8000 in a race at Melton in September 2013. Since then the gelding has had 68 starts for six wins, 19 placings and stakes of $138,982. There have been hiccups along the way, but Cut For An Ace has never raced better. Ken Casellas

Im Rockaria, on target to contest a rich classic event in the Eastern States in the winter, is a superb frontrunner who should lead his 11 harness racing rivals on a merry dance in the $25,000 International Animal Health Products Im Themightyquinn Final over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Saturday night. “Win, lose or draw, he will go for a spell after this week’s race,” said trainer Michael Brennan. “And then he will come back later to be prepared for either the Vicbred Super Sires Series for four-year-olds at Melton or the New South Wales Breeders Challenge at Menangle. These races will be run either late in June or early in July and Im Rockaria is eligible for both.” Im Rockaria is an outstanding frontrunner who is sure to prove hard to beat after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier. He has started from the number one barrier six times in his 31-start career for five all-the-way wins. His only defeat from No. 1 was when he set the pace and finished fourth behind Handsandwheels in the 2536m WA Derby in April 2017. He has also won five other times after dashing to the front in the first circuit or in the middle stages. “It will be a case of leading at all costs,” said a confident Grantham. “He’s got the speed to hold up and we’ll be aiming to take full advantage of the barrier and his gate speed. Maczaffair will have to be at her best to sit outside Im Rockaria and beat him.” Im Rockaria started out wide from barrier seven when he raced in the breeze outside the pacemaking Maczaffair before wilting to fourth behind that brilliant mare in a qualifying heat three Fridays ago. Im Rockaria then contested a standing-start event over 2503m at Gloucester Park a week later and he sustained a spirited three-wide burst (with cover) from the 1100m mark to hit the front 250m from home and win from Idealindiamonds. Brennan said that he had started Im Rockaria in a stand to add another string to the Rocknroll Hanover gelding’s bow and to take the succession of wide draws in mobiles out of the equation. Maczaffair and Im Rockaria, at four years of age, are the youngest runners in the field of 12 and look set to dominate the event. Maczaffair, trained by Mike Reed, has won at 16 of her 34 starts and has not been extended in winning easily at her past three starts. Maczaffair will again be driven by Shannon Suvaljko, fresh from driving four winners at Northam on Tuesday night and a clear leader in the State drivers’ premiership. The New Zealand-bred mare is a speedy beginner and excellent frontrunner. However, she also is a stout-hearted performer who can never be underestimated. At her latest appearance, Maczaffair revealed dazzling early speed when she was fastest to begin from the outside barrier (No. 9) last Friday week. She raced five wide in the early stages, but was unable to cross to the lead. She then gained an ideal trail, one-out and one-back, before starting a three-wide move at the bell on her way to winning by more than five lengths from Ayana at a 1.58.3 rate over 2536m. Livura and Bronze Seeker look the best of the opposition and should fight out the finish for third place. Livura is a model of consistency for trainer-reinsman Nathan Turvey and he was most unlucky at his latest appearance when he was hopelessly blocked for a run in the home straight when fifth behind Abraxas Blues last Friday week. Bronze Seeker, to be driven by Chris Lewis for Byford trainer Peter Anderson, has finished solidly when placed at two of his past three starts and he should enjoy a perfect passage behind the likely pacemaker Im Rockaria after drawing the inside of the back line. Ken Casellas

Not even drawing the despised outside barrier at No. 9 has dented the confidence of the remarkable, high-achieving and record-breaking harness racing duo of champion trainer Gary Hall Snr and his son, superstar reinsman Gary Hall Jnr, who are pinning their faith in star five-year-old Chicago Bull in the $450,000 TABtouch WA Pacing Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “I’m still pretty confident, despite the draw,” said Hall Jnr who won the Group 1 WA Pacing Cup with Chicago Bull 12 months ago to give him his seventh success in the State’s premier pacing event. Hall Snr, aiming for an unprecedented eighth consecutive victory in the Pacing Cup and his 12th in the past 16 years, conceded that Chicago Bull faced an acid test from the outside barrier. However, he declared that Chicago Bull was at his peak and should prove very hard to beat. He said that the barrier draw had thrown the big race, to be run over the marathon trip of 2936m, into the melting pot. “All the favoured horses will have to do some work,” he said. “But I still think that Chicago Bull will be the one to beat. He has pulled up in fantastic shape after his third in last week’s Fremantle Cup.” Hall Snr also has an outstanding second string in Friday night’s Cup in the evergreen eight-year-old My Hard Copy, who thundered home to snatch victory from Lazarus and Chicago Bull in last week’s 2536m Fremantle Cup. My Hard Copy was driven by Hall’s son Clint, who was also in the sulky when My Hard Copy flew home to win successive Pacing Cups in 2015 and 2016. Clint Hall also drove Hokonui Ben to victory in the 2014 Cup. Another win by My Hard Copy following last week’s Fremantle Cup victory would help to heal the disappointment of owners Steve Chapman, his wife Tina and their daughter Danielle, who were dismayed last year when their outstanding young pacers El Barcelona (15 starts, five wins, seven placings and stakes of $66,300) and The Pima Indian (nine starts for six wins, one placing and $28,359) died.   The Chapmans also were resigned 18 months ago that My Hard Copy’s career had ended after he was unplaced in the Miracle Mile at Menangle in February that year and subsequently suffered a serious concussion injury to a foreleg. This required intricate surgery and kept him out of action for 13 months. He has made a full recovery and is racing in the best form of his career of 80 starts for 24 wins, 22 placings and earnings of $1,203,550. My Hard Copy, a noted sit-sprinter, will start from the inside of the back line and Clint Hall is sure to give the stallion a reasonably soft run before aiming to get him off the pegs and into a position to unwind a characteristic sizzling finishing burst. Hall Jnr said that drawing the outside barrier with Chicago Bull was a cruel blow. “But with the scratching of Ultimate Machete and Lazarus we’re in with a big chance,” he said. “That’s tragic for the race, but good for everyone else, I suppose.” “Chicago Bull was mighty last week in the Fremantle Cup and I consider it was his career-best run. He did something (racing in the breeze) that he’s not really accustomed to and finished a half-length from the winner. He’s flying at the moment and is a better and more mature horse than he was 12 months ago when he won the Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups.” Hall said that it was extremely difficult to predict how the race would be run and which horse would lead and who would be in the breeze. “If there is plenty of speed on early it will help Chicago Bull,” he said. Kim Prentice, who will drive Soho Tribeca, conceded that drawing out wide at barrier eight had not enhanced the five-year-old’s prospects. But he said that the stallion had worked in fine style on Tuesday morning and was primed to run a big race on Friday night. “There is a fair bit of speed on the front line and they’re all likely to come out in a bid to find a spot,” he said. “We’ll definitely be having a look out of the gate (echoing the sentiments of owner Rob Watson, who said that going back at the start would be suicidal). “I think that trying to zap them would be silly, but I wouldn’t mind the front if it is available, or the breeze if that is available. It is an advantage drawing inside Chicago Bull. The horse who gets the most luck and with the best run will win.” “If we had My Hard Copy’s run in the Fremantle Cup last week and were able to pull out when we wanted to, Soho Tribeca would have finished better than fifth. I tried to go outside of Clint (My Hard Copy), but when he came out my horse threw his head in the air and lost a couple of lengths.” “Soho Tribeca was doing his best work on the line and was still taking ground off the leaders. Hopefully, we won’t be off the track over the final 400m.” Soho Tribeca relishes long-distance events and he was most impressive in the Pacing Cup 12 months ago when he started from the outside of the back line and was tenth in the middle stages before sustaining powerful three-wide burst over the final 1050m to finish third, a half-length behind the winner Chicago Bull. In last year’s Cup Chicago Bull started out wide at barrier eight and was last after a lap before Hall Jnr dashed him forward and into the breeze (outside the pacemaker Beaudiene Boaz). Chicago Bull sped over the final quarters in 27.9sec. and 28.3sec. and hit the front 250m from the finish. Chris Lewis, who has made more appearances (35) in a Pacing Cup than any other driver, has won the big race five times with Village Kid (1986, 1988 and 198), Hilarion Star (1994) and Saab (1999) and he is confident that the Ross Olivieri trained Motu Premier is capable of finishing in the first three from his favourable No. 2 barrier. “Motu Premier is not impossible and is definitely in the mix,” Lewis said. “He can definitely run 1-2-3, given the right run. He doesn’t have exceptional gate speed and the aim is to stay in contact with the leaders, as close as we can.” Motu Premier was a 100/1 chance when he started from the outside of the back line in last week’s Fremantle Cup. He raced on the pegs at the rear and was hampered for room in the last lap when tenth behind My Hard Copy.  He impressed the previous week when he started from barrier eight and was eighth at the bell before finishing with a powerful burst to be second to Lazarus over 2536m. “It was a very good run,” Lewis said. “He can sprint home extremely good and I think you saw that in a 2130m heat of the Inters when he came from eighth at the bell to finish fourth behind Lennytheshark, with the final quarters off the front in 27.3sec. and 26.8sec. ”Forget about his run last week when he was held up. He had a bit there to give.”  Trainer Michael Brennan and driver Michael Grantham are delighted that The Bucket List will start from the coveted No. 1 barrier. “He’s got good gate speed and will come out in a bid for the lead,” Grantham said. “And from there I will just assess our options.” The Skye Bond trained Galactic Star is favourably drawn at barrier three and should be prominent. He possesses sparkling gate speed, but Ryan Warwick may opt to take a sit with the five-year-old, with part-owner Rob Gartrell saying at the barrier draw that “three back on the fence will be good for him and he is certainly a place chance. Champion New Zealand trainer-reinsman Mark Purdon had to withdraw star pacers Lazarus and Ultimate Machete, but he has hopes with his millionaire performer, six-year-old Have Faith In Me, who will start from the No. 4 barrier. Have Faith In me has been unplaced at four of his five starts in his current campaign in Perth, but he impressed greatly three starts ago when he covered extra ground and finished with great determination to be a half-length second to stablemate Lazarus in a 2536m heat of the Inter Dominion championship. Have Faith In Me won the Great Northern Derby at Alexandra Park and the New Zealand Derby at Addington in March 2015 before he gave further proof of his great ability and staying prowess when he won the 3200m Group 1 Auckland Cup as a four-year-old, beating Hughie Green and Smolda, with a last 800m in 55.7sec. and a final 400m in 26.6sec. Purdon could well make an attempt to set the pace with Have Faith In Me. Failing that, Purdon could be well satisfied to sit in the breeze and dictate the tempo of the Cup. Ken Casellas

Top-flight reinsman Morgan Woodley describes Argyle Red’s most recent performance as terrific and he is confident the harness racing six-year-old will prove hard to beat in the opening event, the first heat of the TABtouch Nights of Thunder at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Argyle Red, trained at Pinjarra by Rob MacDonald, is favourably drawn at barrier two in the eight-horse field, but will need to be at his top to beat the brilliant Talktomeurmattjesty and speedy mare Shes Artful in the 1730m event. There promises to be early fireworks, with Argyle Red, Shes Artful and Talktomeurmattjesty all expected to make determined bids for the early lead. On Tuesday of last week Argyle Red started from the outside of the back line and was ninth at the bell and tenth at the 650m before starting a four-wide move which carried him into second place, a neck behind Bad Round, rating a modest 1.58.1 after dawdling opening quarters of 32.1sec. and 30.7sec. “It was a terrific run,” said Woodley. “He had traffic issues from the 900m mark and had to go four wide a bit earlier than we would have liked. I thought he found the line really well and it was a real game run in defeat. His couple of runs before that (fourths behind Rock Diamonds and Herrick Roosevelt) were really nice after he had drawn poorly and got back in the run before running home in very nice time. He hit the line very strongly.” “This week, with the advantage of a good barrier draw, I think we can give the opposition a fair bit to chase. He’s a really high speed horse and given a bit of luck early by getting to the front, he should be able to run a fairly nice time.” “He is a very sharp horse off the gate, but Shes Artful also gets out nicely. Talktomeurmattjesty is also a very smart horse. However, Argyle Red has gone 1.55s when leading over 2100m at Gloucester Park. “If Argyle Red gets to the front and Talktomeurmattjesty sits on his outside, I think he will find it tremendously hard to get over him late. Argyle Red has a high cruising speed and he should make things pretty hard for the opposition.” The Debbie Padberg trained Bad Round, who raced three back on the pegs before sprinting home fast to win from Argyle Red last week, looks a star bet in the third heat of the Bet Now With TABtouch Im Themightyquinn Pace. He is perfectly drawn at barrier two and Shannon Suvaljko looks almost certain to set the pace with the five-year-old who is attempting to complete a hat-trick of wins. Suvaljko also has good prospects when he drives the Mike Reed-trained Bechers Brook from the prized No. 1 barrier in the Pace. Bechers Brook raced in fourth position before finishing gamely to dead-heat for second with Mistahmistah behind the fast-finishing winner Marquisard last Friday week. Ken Casellas

Seven-year-old Three Blind Mice is flourishing this season for Busselton harness racing trainer Barry Howlett after niggling injuries hampered his progress last season when he managed just one win from 22 starts. The clash between Three Blind Mice, winner of the 2014 WA Derby, and Handsandwheels, the 2017 Derby winner, promises to be a highlight on the ten-event program at Gloucester Park on Friday night. They will meet in the third heat of the Super Pick Nights of Thunder, in which they will not have things all their own way when their opposition includes the speedy Johnny Disco and ten-year-old veteran Cut For An Ace, fresh from contesting the Inter Dominion championship series and ideally drawn at the No. 1 barrier. There will be no dawdling in the three Nights of Thunder heats, with the nine pacers with the fastest mile rates over the 1730m qualifying for the final. Three Blind Mice has been placed once from three starts over 1730m, but he warmed up in excellent fashion for this week’s sprint when he set the pace from barrier one and won easily from Ohoka Darcy and Johnny Disco at a 1.55.6 rate over 2130m four Fridays ago. He dashed over the final quarters in 28sec. and 28.1sec. Three Blind Mice is awkwardly drawn at barrier five and Gary Hall Jnr is likely to make use of the gelding’s gate speed in a spirited bid for the early lead, or the position outside the pacemaker. Handsandwheels, trained at Capel by Andrew de Campo and driven by his son Aiden, is in splendid form, with two wins and a second placing from his past three starts. He will begin from the No. 6 barrier. Cut For An Ace will have a legion of admirers, dropping considerably in class after contesting the Inters, in which his best effort was in a 2536m heat in which he raced three back on the pegs and finished fourth behind San Carlo, Soho Tribeca and Lennytheshark. If those three pacers were in Friday night’s race they would be at a prohibitive odds-on quote. Johnny Disco, trained at Pinjarra by Ross Ashby, is a sprint specialist and speedy frontrunner. He will start out wide at barrier seven and Chris Lewis will be tempted to take full advantage of his sparkling early speed. Abraxas Blues, a convincing winner over Major Catastrophe and El Machine over 2130m last Friday night, will be fancied in the second heat of the Nights of Thunder after drawing the favourable No. 2 barrier. “Whether we can cross the polemarker Aussie Delight is debatable,” Prentice said. “But we will be having a crack. I thought he would go super last week, and he did.” Americanbootscoota, trained by Debra Lewis, looks a major player from barrier four and Chris Lewis is expected to make full use of the gelding’s excellent gate speed. The Bob Mellsop-trained Real Lucky has won at four of his past five starts and cannot be left out of calculations from barrier five. He finished powerfully to win easily from Mighty Flying Deal and Kerrin Joseph over 2130m last week. Ken Casellas

Harness racing driver Shannon Suvaljko, leading the West Australian drivers’ premiership table, has labelled Maczaffair as the best of his seven drives at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He firmly believes that the New Zealand-bred four-year-old has the class to overcome the disadvantage of starting from the outside barrier (No. 9) in the Retravision Your Air Conditioning Specialist Pace, a 2536m event for mares. Maczaffair, trained by Mike Reed and the winner at 15 of her 33 starts, has had the luxury of leading from favourable barriers (two and three) and winning comfortably over 2130m at her past two starts. “You would think that Friday night’s race is a drop in grade compared to the Fremantle Cup, a race she was aiming at,” Suvaljko said. “The 2536m is her cup of tea and she will run a great race. The distance won’t worry her. She has won over 2536 in the WA Oaks last May and finished a half-head second to Mitch Maguire in the 2536m Western Gateway two months before that and last month she finished second to Ultimate Machete in the 2536m Golden Nugget. “On Friday night she can either go forward or go back at the start. I’ll listen to Mike and see what he wants me to do. Last Friday night she did it easily and went to the line powerfully.” Maczaffair should be able to prove too good for Nathan Turvey’s smart mare Bettor Boa, Sarah Suvaljko’s evergreen eight-year-old Auctioneers Elsu and Clint Hall’s promising Ladys Are Ideal. Bettor Boa led when a wilting third to Glow Bright and Handsandwheels over 2130m last Friday night and she may be better suited when held up for a late burst. Auctioneers Elsu, a veteran of 190 starts, trailed the pacemaking Maczaffair and fought on gamely when second to that mare over 2130m last Friday week. Ladys Are Ideal should be handy throughout after starting from the inside of the back line. She covered a good deal of extra ground and showed a good turn of foot in the last lap when an easy winner over Four Legged Frenzy at Albany last Saturday night. Shannon Suvaljko is also enthusiastic about the prospects of the Matt Scott-trained nine-year-old Another Arjay in the Retravision Joondalup Superstore Handicap, a stand over 2503m. Another Arjay, an all-the-way winner in a stand over 2030m at Busselton two starts ago, will start from the inside barrier on the front line and Suvajko plans to set the pace. “He’ll lead and will be hard to beat,” Suvaljko said. “He’s had four country runs after a resuming from a spell and is ready to win in town. “He would have won easily at Busselton last week, but I couldn’t get out. He won well at his previous start. “Always Arjay is a really fast beginner and Idealindiamonds probably will have to sit outside of him. Idealindiamonds sat outside of Assassinator and couldn’t get over him, and I think that Always Arjay is as good as Assassinator. Idealindiamonds is racing keenly for leading trainer Skye Bond and looks set to fight out the finish. The six-year-old who has won at five of his seven starts this season will begin from the 10m mark and Ryan Warwick will be anxious to keep him in front of Assassinator, who also will begin off 10m. Chris Voak gave punters a good lead by opting to drive the Ross Olivieri-trained Assassinator in preference to talented four-year-old Im Rockaria. Im Rockaria will be handled by Michael Grantham at his first appearance in a stand and trainer Michael Brennan is confident the gelding will prove hard to beat. “He performed well when he qualified at trials to run in a stand,” Brennan said. “Nothing seems to bother him and I expect him to run a very good race.” Brennan also has high hopes for Sangrial in the Retravision Pace for three-year-old fillies. She is favourably drawn at barrier two on the front line. Grantham returns after serving a suspension and Grantham advised punters to give the filly another chance after she had disappointed as favourite at her past two starts. Little went right when Miss Sangrial finished third behind Cott Beach and sixth behind Marquisard. “Last week she didn’t get out of the gate all that good and subsequently probably choked down a little bit,” Brennan said. “I trialled her again on Sunday and she felt absolutely amazing when she crossed from seven in a stride. I think from No. 2 she can cross Cimorene but it’s not the end of the world if she doesn’t find the front she’s got a wonderful sit and sprint capacity.” Brennan said that Grantham had a special affinity with Miss Sangrial. He has driven the filly ten times for all her six wins in Western Australia, as well as finishing seconds in the Group 2 Champagne Classic and Group 1 Diamond Classic. Ken Casellas

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