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Greg and Skye Bond, poised to be the State's leading trainers for the 2014-15 season, dominate the $25,000 Happy Birthday Luciana Walton Schrader final at Gloucester Park on Friday night with five of the 12 runners. All five are in sparkling form, and even though Condrieu is awkwardly drawn on the inside of the back line in the 2130m event, he makes strong appeal as the stable's main chance. The Bonds dominated the 2014 Schrader final in which they were successful with Tuapeka Kahu, with their other runners Jay Bees Grin finishing third, Lunar Tide fourth, Condrieu fifth and Im Terrific sixth. Apart from Condrieu the stable will be represented this year by Ohoka Squire (barrier one), Lunar Tide (three), Jungle Jewel (five) and Phoenix Warrior (No. 3 on the back line). Looming large as the horse most likely to spoil the Bond party is the talented Norvic Nightowl, a newcomer to the stables of champion trainer Gary Hall sen. who has been most impressive at his first four starts in Western Australia after arriving from New Zealand. Those four outings produced three stylish victories and a head second to Chief Thundercloud in the 3309m Marathon Handicap. Condrieu possesses dazzling gate speed and has set a brisk pace in winning at three of his past four starts. From the inside of the back line this week, reinsman Colin Brown will have to adopt different tactics. However, Condrieu has shown in the past that he can unwind a devastating finishing sprint after racing back in a field. The New Zealand-bred five-year-old was not extended in bursting straight to the front from barrier nine last week, setting the pace and coasting to victory over Cyamach in a 2536m event. A week earlier Condrieu had a tough run in the breeze before taking the lead 470m from home. However, he had to lower his colours to stablemate Ohoka Squire, who flashed home to snatch a last-stride victory after enjoying a soft run in fifth position on the pegs. Ohoka Squire's prospects in this week's final soared when he drew the coveted No. 1 barrier on the front line. Lauren Jones should have the six-year-old in a commanding position throughout the race. The other Bond runners also have been in fine form, with Lunar Tide's past five runs producing two wins, a second and a third. Jungle Jewel is in magnificent form. She has sprinted home brilliantly to win over 2130m at each of her past three starts. Phoenix Warrior's current campaign has produced eight wins, two seconds and two fourths from 12 starts. Back mark no problem for Chief Thundercloud Standing-start specialist Chief Thundercloud looks a star bet on the ten-event program at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he starts off the back mark of 20 metres in the 2503m Brear And Doonan Handicap. He is favoured by the conditions of the race and as an M4-class performer he meets all 11 rivals on extremely favourable terms. Chief Thundercloud, to be driven by Chris Lewis for Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri, met far tougher opposition when he started off 20m and sustained a spirited three-wide burst from sixth at the bell to get up and beat the smart New Zealand-bred five-year-old Norvic Nightowl in the 3309m Marathon Handicap last Friday week. A fortnight earlier he raced three wide for much of the way and did very well to finish fourth behind quality pacers in Classic American and Elegant Christian. At his previous start he beat home Elegant Christian when second to Classic American. Olivieri admires Chief Thundercloud's fierce competitive spirit and will to win. He describes him as tough as old boots and has nominated him for the TABtouch interdominion championship at Gloucester Park and Bunbury in November and December. "He could be a bit of a surprise packet in the tough grind of an interdominion championship," he said. Sonic Classic and My Good Deed are racing soundly and look likely placegetters behind Chief Thundercloud. Sonic Classic, trained and driven by Nathan Turvey, has been unplaced at four outings since resuming from a spell. He was an unlucky seventh behind Barrow Street in a 2503m stand at Gloucester Park last Saturday night when he raced in fourth place on the pegs, but was blocked for a clear passage in the closing stages. He caught the eye a week earlier when he was tenth at the bell and raced three and four wide in the final circuit when an encouraging fourth behind Christian Banner. My Good Deed, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, was a 6/4 favourite in a 2503m stand last Saturday night. But he ruined his chances by galloping at the start and then racing in the breeze on the outside of Bashful Compton. He faded to finish ninth behind Barrow Street. He has won 11 times from only 32 starts and if he begins smoothly from the outside of the second line he should figure in the finish. Nuala gets a chance to atone Star filly Nuala, a beaten favourite at 7/4 on when she resumed racing last Friday week, gets a chance to make amends when she clashes with another outstanding filly, Tricky Styx, in the Samuel Smith and Son Pace for three-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Nuala will start from the outside in a field of eight, with Tricky Styx next to her at barrier seven and their clash will be a highlight of the ten-event program. Nuala, trained by Gary Hall sen., tasted defeat for the first time when she resumed after a four-month absence last Friday week. She started from barrier eight in a nine-horse field and was restrained back to last by Clint Hall. Shed dashed forward to be fifth, three wide, at the bell and sustained her sprint to take the lead on the home turn. But she faded to finish third behind the fast-finishing Lady Willoughby and Foxy Dame after the final 400m was covered in 30sec. after slick middle quarters of 28.8sec. and 28.7sec. That followed impressive wins at her first seven starts. Tricky Styx, winner of the WA Oaks and second to the brilliant Beaudiene Boaz in the WA Derby earlier in the season for Northam trainer Jesse Moore, is sure to prove very hard to beat and she will have a host of admirers. She resumed after a spell with an easy all-the-way victory at a 1.59.7 rate over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday of last week. That boosted her career record to 20 starts for ten wins and six placings for stakes of $200,453. Tricky Styx, to be driven by Nathan Turvey, is a brilliant sit-sprinter and the race could develop into a battle of tactics between Hall and Turvey. Hall sen. has a good second string to his bow in Giuliana Rancic, a winner of four races who will be making her first appearance since mid-May. Giuliana Rancic will be driven by Kim Prentice and should be prominent from the favourable No. 2 barrier in the field of eight. Hopeland trainer Debra Lewis holds a strong hand with smart fillies Massive Attack (seven wins) and Sea Me Smile (six wins). Massive Attack possesses good gate speed and appeals as the likely pacemaker. Treble for Hawkins and Sheehy Trainer Kristian Hawkins and young driver Kristy Sheehy stole the show at the meeting at Northam on Tuesday night when they combined to land a treble on the eight-event card. They were successful with Just Jamie, Danieljohn and Brave Stranger. The treble was a notable triumph for Hawkins, a former successful jockey, who has just taken over the preparation of the three horses from his father Bruce. The three runners were having their first start for Kristian Hawkins and were capably handled by Sheehy. Ken Casellas

The enthralling battle for ascendancy between the all-conquering stables of Gary Hall sen. and Greg and Skye Bond will continue at full tilt at Gloucester Park on Friday night when the heavyweights of West Australian harness racing look set to win six of the ten events. Hall appeared certain to win the Statewide trainers' premiership when he held a commanding lead of up to 20 winners a couple of months ago. But the Bond camp is unleashing a barnstorming finishing burst with 22 winners at seven meetings in the past 12 days. A double with 3/1 on favourite Bungalow Bill and 25/1 outsider Millwood Faith at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening enabled the Bonds to draw level with Hall in the trainers' premiership, with the 2014-15 season ending on August 31. Each training establishment has notched 211 winners for the season on tracks throughout the State. Hall has landed 158 city winners to the Bond camp's 89. The Bonds have 16 runners on Friday night to Hall's ten runners. Leading the Bond charge will be Condrieu, Jungle Jewel, Our Jimmy Johnstone and Holy Grail and Bracken Ridge, talented three-year-olds who look superior to their ten rivals in the Ross North Homes Pathway Pace. The main winning chances from the Hall stable are Norvic Nightowl, Cyamach and Ideal Alice. "It's nice to have a bit of rivalry between the two stables and it would be nice to win the premiership," said Skye Bond. "We won the title three years ago when Greg and I trained in partnership for the first time. It's not consuming us, and at the end of the day it is a matter of doing the right thing by the horses and placing them where they need to be." Hall sen. was philosophical when he admitted that he faced a tough task to retain the title of leading trainer. "I've conceded defeat," he said. "It won't be close. I haven't got the numbers or horses racing on easy marks. It's disappointing this week that Beaudiene Boaz was unable to race on Friday night because the event for three-year-olds did not hold up. "However, I've got a big lead on the city trainers' premiership and that's the most important one for me. Stakemoney is the most important thing for my owners, and I've won more than $1 million this season more than any other trainer in Australia. "It's disappointing to be in the lead all year and face the prospect of being knocked off in the final few weeks. But that's life and it probably signifies the changing of the guard. I've been the leading trainer for the past nine or ten years, certainly the leading metropolitan trainer. It's a lot of pressure." The clash between Condrieu and Cyamach in the $20,500 Access Without Barriers Pace over 2130m promises to be a highlight of the ten-event program. Condrieu, to be driven by Colin Brown, will start from the outside barrier (No. 9) in a field of nine and Mrs Bond said that the New Zealand-bred five-year-old was holding his form of four wins, three seconds and one third from eight starts in his current preparation. "His run last week (when a close second to fast-finishing stablemate Ohoka Squire) was full of merit and the likely tactics will be to go forward at the start. The horse has done well at his past few starts when driven that way." Last Friday night Condrieu began speedily from barrier six and challenged unsuccessfully for the early lead in a 2130m event. He then raced without cover, outside the pacemaker Algranco Under Fire before hitting the front 470m from home and leading by two lengths at the 250m mark. The previous week Condrieu began brilliantly from the No. 9 barrier and set the pace before winning from Soho Lennon and Cyamach (who had issued a strong challenge in the final circuit after racing in seventh position). He led from barrier five and won from Soho Lennon over 2130m a week before that. "Cyamach will go back from barrier eight," Hall said. "He probably can't beat Condrieu, who has been too good for him so far." Cyamach, who has been driven at his past two starts by Clint Hall, will be handled this week by Gary Hall jun., who has been granted a one-week's stay of proceedings after being suspended for nine days last Friday night for having caused interference on the home turn in the first lap of a race for three-year-old fillies. by Ken Casellas

New Zealand-bred four-year-old My Good Deed is a standing-start specialist and harness racing co-trainer Skye Bond said that the gelding had the ability to bounce back and make amends for poor performances at his past two starts by winning the 2503m Retravision Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He is handily drawn at barrier three on the front line and Ryan Warwick will be attempting to get him away smartly in a bid to set the pace. “He loves the stand and is a good frontrunner,” Mrs Bond said. “He finished down the track at his latest start, but he wasn’t at his best and was suffering from a bit of a virus. His trackwork has been good.” At his most recent appearance, at Gloucester Park on July 24, he jumped sideways at the start and then met with a check. He raced in ninth position and out three wide in the final circuit before finishing ninth behind The Bucket List. A week earlier he galloped at the start before dashing to the front after 250m, setting the pace and fading to 11th behind Classic American. But his previous form was hard to fault. He has had 18 starts in Western Australia, all in stands, for ten wins and five seconds. Greg and Skye Bond will also be represented in Friday night’s race by Barrow Street, who will start out wide on the second line with Colin Brown in the sulky. Barrow Street set the pace and won a 2130m mobile event from the fast-finishing Vertical Street last Friday night after a win at Northam and a second to Phoenix Warrior at Gloucester Park at his two previous starts. Mrs Bond is also confident in the ability of Jungle Jewel to win the 2130m Garry Ralston Pace for mares. Jungle Jewel finished powerfully to win over 2130m on the past two Friday nights. “She is one of those horses that it doesn’t matter where she draws,” she said. ””You just need to put her away and she has got that dazzling turn of speed, and she can cover a field very quickly. Her past two runs probably have been the best of her career. The times she has run at her past couple of starts is proof that she can sit on a fast speed and still run on strongly.” Jungle Jewel’s toughest rival appears to be Ideal Alice, a lightly-raced four-year-old trained by Gary Hall sen. Ideal Alice had a tough run before finishing second to Jungle Jewel last Friday night. She raced three wide in the middle stages before getting to the front at the bell. But she failed to withstand the sizzling late sprint of Jungle Jewel, who came from eighth, four wide, at the 400m mark to burst to the front 10p0m from the post.  by Ken Casellas

Harness racing punters who supported Norvic Nightowl into favouritism at 6/4 in the Marathon Handicap last Friday night should have a good chance of recouping their losses by supporting the five-year-old in the third heat of the Westral Schrader Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night, according to champion trainer Gary Hall sen. Hall said that Norvic Nightowl would have no difficulty in contesting the 2130m mobile event after starting off 20m in the 3309m Marathon. “His run last week was enormous and I have no problems about him dropping him back from a stand to a much shorter mobile event,” he said. “The back line draw is the only worry, but he should go close. He’s nominated for the Inters, but I don’t know yet whether he’s an interdominion horse.” Norvic Nightowl surged forward to take the lead after a lap in the Marathon, but he then had to withstand a persistent challenge from Shardons Rocket for the next two laps. He led until the final couple of strides before going down by a head to the strong-finishing Chief Thundercloud. Norvic Nightowl had made most of the running to win easily in stands at Northam and Pinjarra at his two previous outings, his first runs in Australia. Gary Hall jun. gave punters a good lead when he chose to drive Nordic Nightowl in preference to Soho Lennon, who will have many admirers from barrier five on the front line. Soho Lennon maintained his splendid form when he started from the outside barrier (No. 9) over 2536m last Friday night and raced in last position before sustaining a spirited finishing burst to be fourth behind Im A Peregrine. This followed an all-the-way victory and two strong-finishing seconds by Soho Lennon at his three previous starts. Also expected to be strongly supported is Phoenix Warrior, who has recorded easy victories over 2536m at Gloucester Park and over 2530m at Kellerberrin at his past two starts. “He’s got a bit of depth about him and he broke the track record at Kellerberrin on Sunday,” enthused co-trainer Skye Bond. by Ken Casellas

Drawing out wide at No. 7 is not fazing Bettors Fire’s harness racing trainer-reinsman Kyle Harper, who is confident the six-year-old will prove hard to beat in the $23,000 Princi Butchers Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “The small field of nine will suit Bettors Fire and I’ll have the option of going forward out of the gate or sitting him up and relying on a strong finish,” Harper said. “I’m really happy with him and he should fight out the finish. I was ecstatic with his latest run (when a close third to Crusader Banner and Red Salute last Friday week) and the way he ran his last half. He bounced back very well from the week before (when he burst to the front from barrier six and set the pace before wilting to fifth behind Waylade and Lovers Delight over 2536m). “I think Our Jimmy Johnstone is the horse to beat. He was unlucky in defeat last week. He did it the hard way and the winner (Classic American) set a track record when he rated 1.52.6 over 1730m. ”I’m keeping Bettors Fire nice and unders at the moment; it’s more about conditioning for later dates than actually getting him where he needs to be to win races. Fortunately, he’s a very good horse who goes well unders and can run some of his best races when he’s underdone. “Everything is on track for the interdominion championships later in the year. Hopefully he will develop into one of the main contenders.” Co-trainer Skye Bond said that Our Jimmy Johnstone was on target for the interdominion series. “It doesn’t bother him having hard runs in a short space of time,” she said. “The tougher it is, the better he likes it. He was a certainty beaten at his latest start and he worked well this (Tuesday) morning.” Our Jimmy Johnstone raced four wide in the early stages of a 1730m sprint last Friday night before working hard in the breeze outside the pacemaker Machtu. He fought on determinedly when second to Classic American, who made full use of a freak inside run over the final 425m. Trainer Ross Olivieri, fresh from preparing four winners last Friday night, said that Dynamite Dude faced a stern test from the outside barrier in the field of nine, as did stablemate Red Salute from barrier six. Dynamite Dude reappeared after an absence of five months when he fought on from tenth at the bell to finish seventh behind Crusader Banner over 2130m last Friday week. “He was clocked privately to run the final mile in 1.55.5 and got home good,” Olivieri said. “He’s ready to put his best foot forward, but he hasn’t got the draw to do it this week.” Champion trainer Gary Hall sen. said that Northview Punter (barrier five) was capable of improving on his five unplaced runs since resuming from a spell. “He’s a chance and I’m not over rapt on Our Jimmy Johnstone or Bettors Fire.” by Ken Casellas

Proven stayer Norvic Nightowl is poised to make a winning debut at the harness racing meeting at Gloucester Park by proving too strong for his rivals in the $25,000 Westralian Marathon Handicap on Friday night. The New Zealand-bred five-year-old has not been extended in winning at his first two appearances in Western Australia --- in stands over 2560m at Northam on June 30 and over 2116m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. He will start off the 20m mark in the 3309m Marathon for champion trainer Gary Hall sen. and star reinsman Gary Hall jun. who have combined to win this event with Im Themightyquinn in 2010 and Code Red in 2012. Norvic Nightowl warmed up for the Marathon in most impressive style on Monday when he started off 30m before he charged forward in the first circuit to burst to the front after 600m. He then bowled along in front and sprinted brilliantly over the final 400m in 27.3sec. to beat Znana by four lengths at a 2min. rate. He gave a sample of his ability at his final appearance in New Zealand, in the 3000m Tauranga Cup on the grass track at Cambridge on January 25 this year. He started from 30m in the event run in a clockwise direction and was at the rear in the field of 16, giving the pacemaker Shestherealdeal a massive lead of 35 lengths with 2000m to travel. Soon after that he then made a fast move and surged to the front 600m from home. He held the lead until the final 150m where frontmarker The Bucket List hit the front after enjoying the one-out, one-back trail. Norvic Nightowl then wilted in the final stages to finish fourth. Earlier in his career Norvic Nightowl had won three times in stands over 2700m. He has now raced 51 times for 14 wins and 13 placings for earnings of $144,975. It is interesting to note that the Hall camp has put all its eggs in one basket, opting to rely solely on Norvic Nightowl in the Marathon after withdrawing Elegant Christian, Classic American, Northview Punter and Dashing Christian before acceptance time on Tuesday. The field for this year's Marathon is extremely well balanced and punters are sure to support many of the runners in what should be an open betting race. Chief Thundercloud, a tough stayer and a standing-start specialist, is a wonderfully consistent performer for Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri and reinsman Chris Lewis and looks set to fight out the finish. He will start off 20m. Olivieri and Lewis combined to win the Marathon in 2009 when 3/1 equal favourite Nickelmeldon set the pace and defeated Winter Retreat and Speed Monster. Danieljohn, Dardy Delight and Rocky Marciano, who share the 10m mark, have been racing keenly and deserve respect. Kristian Hawkins has been granted a stay of proceedings in order to drive Danieljohn, who maintained his excellent form last Friday night by finishing powerfully from ninth at the bell to be second to the brilliant Elegant Christian in a 2902m stand. Later in the program the stewards found Hawkins guilty of causing interference to Classic American in the Porter Memorial and he was suspended for 19 days. Rocky Marciano sustained a spirited three-wide burst from the rear to finish fourth behind Elegant Christian last week and Dardy Delight was an encouraging fourth behind Condrieu in a 2536m mobile event last Friday night. Dardy Delight's trainer-driver Justin Prentice was successful in the 2011 Marathon with Glacier Star, who got up in the final stride to snatch a head victory from the pacemaker Move Over. Eleven-year-old Rocket Reign, who started from 40m and at 10/1 when he finished boldly from eighth at the bell to win last year's Marathon from This Time Dylan, will start from 30m for Wanneroo trainer Debbie Padberg on Friday night. This Time Dylan, who started off the 40m mark 12 months ago, is the lone backmarker off 40m this year. Michael Brennan, who trains This Time Dylan, will also be represented by frontmarker Waltzing With Cullen, a consistent six-year-old who will be driven by Michael Grantham. Waltzing With Cullen has a losing sequence of 27, but he has been placed at 16 of those starts, including eight placings from his past 11 outings. He is capable of causing a boilover. Another Brennan runner is frontmarker Awesum Teddy, who gave a sound performance when third behind Elegant Christian and Danieljohn last Friday night. Ken Casellas

Stylish New Zealand-bred four-year-old Machtu, who boasts a 50 per cent winning record, has a perfect opportunity to bounce back to top form and to make amends for his surprise defeat at the hands of Jungle Jewel last week when he contests the $23,000 Jane Green Happy Anniversary Pace over 1730m at the harness racing meeting at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Machtu, one of six runners in the field of nine who is prepared by master trainer Gary Hall sen., will start from the No. 1 barrier (providing that the emergency Onedin Crusader does not get a start) and he appeals as the pacemaker over the sprint trip. He was a hot favourite at 5/4 in a 2130m event last Friday night when he started out wide from the No. 6 barrier. He was restrained at the start before dashing forward three wide in the first lap and then he raced outside the pacemaker Tuxedo Tour before getting to the front 150m from the post. However, he was overhauled in the final stride by the fast-finishing Jungle Jewel, who had enjoyed the perfect sit behind the pacemaker. The final quarters whizzed by in 28.6sec. and 28.4sec. Machtu has been a shade below his best at his past three starts (for a third, sixth and second) after running home boldly from the one-out, one-back position to win the 2536m Winter Cup from David Hercules on July 3. The other Hall runners in Friday night's event are Elegant Christian, Classic American, Vapour, Crusader Banner and Northview Punter. The other runners in the field are Our Jimmy Johnstone and Jungle Genie (trained by Greg and Skye Bond) and the Barry Morrison-trained Indomitable. All runners in the race have been nominated for the TABtouch interdominion championship series at Gloucester Park and Bunbury in November and December and RWWA handicapper Warren Wishart will pay close attention to the form of all championship hopefuls in the weeks leading up to the $1.8 million series which gets under way with three qualifying heats over 2130m at Gloucester Park on November 27. Nominations close on September 11 and final acceptances will be declared at 4pm on November 13. Ken Casellas

New Zealand-bred five-year-old Glenferrie Rustler has a losing sequence of 14, but he has the ability to overcome the disadvantage of starting out wide from the No. 8 barrier on the front line and win the 2536m Westralian Pathway Pace at the harness racing meeting at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The gelding has not been successful since scoring over 2230m at Globe Derby Park last January. However, his recent form for Wanneroo trainer Debbie Padberg has been extremely encouraging. He was most unlucky when a fighting second to talented three-year-old Ima Connoisseur in a 2130m Pathway last Friday night. A 16/1 chance, he started out wide at barrier seven and raced three wide until getting to the breeze 950m after the start. He refused to give in and finished almost four lengths ahead of the third placegetter Themightynadal. That took his record to 54 starts for 19 wins and 20 placings for earnings of $80,539. At his previous start, over 1730m a week earlier, he trailed the pacemaker Blissfull Boy before finishing fast to be a 2m second to star three-year-old Beaudiene Boaz. Glenferrie Rustler's only serious opposition should come from Machs A Pearler, who notched his eighth win from 62 starts when he dashed to the front 400m after the start, set a solid pace and sprinted over the final 400m in 27.4sec. to beat The Arsonist by more than two lengths over 2692m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. However, Machs A Pearler faces a stern test from barrier nine on the front line. Chris Voak, who will again be in the sulky behind Glenferrie Rustler, has sound prospects in the following event, the final race, the 1730m Westralian For Over 25 Years Westbred Pace for three-year-olds in which he will handle Bettors Gift, who is trained at West Swan by his mother Linley. At Gloucester Park last Friday week Bettors Gift began from the No. 9 barrier on the front line and was restrained back to last in the field of nine before he sustained a spirited three-wide burst which took him to the lead 80m from the post. However, The Thinking Man flew home to defeat Glenferrie Rustler by a half-head. Toughest for Bettors Gift to beat over the sprint trip appear to be Maybe Special (barrier one) and Playin With Magic (two). Maybe Special fought on from fifth at the bell to finish third behind Artistic Edge over 2130m last Friday night. That followed a win, a second and a third from her four previous outings. She is trained by Nathan Turvey, who took his season's tally to 47 after preparing and driving Wynberg Terror and Smart By Design for wins at Northam on Tuesday night. He also drove Hells Kitchen to victory for trainer Maryann White. Playin With Magic, trained at Byford by Sharon Gossage, set the pace when second to Artistic Edge last week. She will be better suited over the shorter distance of this week's race. Ken Casellas

Smart youngster Lady Willoughby will warm up for a bid to win the rich Breeders Crown for three-year-old fillies in Victoria late this month when she contests the $18,000 Cleanteligent Westralian Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. She is due to leave Perth by air next Tuesday before contesting the semi-final of the Breeders Crown at Ballarat the following Saturday. The rich final will be decided at Melton on Sunday August 30. Lady Willoughby, trained at Byford by Ross Olivieri, is a smart and seasoned performer who has raced 28 times for ten wins, six placings and $87,103 in stakes. She faces a hard task on Friday night from the outside barrier (No. 9) against several top-flight fillies, including Nuala, Foxy Dame, Massive Attack, Sea Me Smile, La Mia Juliette and Bettors Gem. Lady Willoughby was unlucky when fifth behind Sea Me Smile at Gloucester Park last Friday week. She started out wide from the No. 8 barrier and was forced to race three wide for the first 500m before moving to the breeze outside Donegal Kahlum. She then overraced badly before pulling her way to the front 600m from home and then wilting in the final stages. The brilliant Nuala, trained by Gary Hall sen. and making her first appearance for four months, will be attempting to retain her unbeaten record. A winner in grand style at each of her seven starts, she is awkwardly drawn out wide at barrier eight. But she has the class to overcome that disadvantage. Nuala, to be driven by Clint Hall, warmed up for her return to racing with a smart win in a 2150m trial at Byford on Sunday morning when she narrowly beat another outstanding filly, Tricky Styx. Hopeland trainer Debra Lewis holds a strong hand with Massive Attack (barrier four) and Sea Me Smile (six). Her husband Chris has opted to drive Massive Attack, who was narrowly beaten by Sea Me Smile over 2130m last Friday week. Gary Hall jun. has been engaged to handle Sea Me Smile. The Peter Tilbrook-trained La Mia Juliette (a fast-finishing winner at Pinjarra on Monday) and the Mike Reed-trained Foxy Dame cannot be underestimated in a most interesting event which should produce abundant action. Ken Casellas

The powerful Greg and Skye Bond combination landed a treble at the harness racing meeting at Northam's Burwood Park on Tuesday night to bring up 200 winners for the season and the stable which produced five winners at Gloucester Park last Friday night should again be to the fore on Friday night. The best of the Bond team's ten runners appears to be Condrieu, with Jungle Jewel, Our Jimmy Johnstone, Barrow Street and Machs A Pearler all having winning prospects. Condrieu will be attempting to complete a winning hat-trick when Colin Brown drives him from barrier six in the 2130m second heat of the Red Dot Cash Schrader Pace. Condrieu has revealed sparkling gate speed from wide barriers to set the pace and score impressively on the past two Friday nights. The Bonds were successful at Northam on Thursday night with Commander Chapel, Zacharia and Kinda Black to improve their record for the 2014-15 season to 200 wins, 138 seconds and 89 thirds from 805 starters. This puts them in second place on the trainers' premiership table behind Gary Hall sen. whose 845 starters have produced 209 winners, 112 seconds and 93 thirds. Ken Casellas  

Champion reinsman Chris Lewis has given punters a strong lead by opting to drive Lovers Delight in preference to the richly-talented six-year-old Dynamite Dude in the $35,000 Howard Porter Memorial over 2130m at the harness racing meeting at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Lewis has been in the sulky in all of Dynamite Dude's 18 starts in Western Australia for 12 wins, one second, four thirds and a fourth placing. But he chose to drive the Stephen Reed-trained Lovers Delight for two main reasons --- because the gelding put up a tremendous performance to finish a close second to the brilliant Waylade last Friday night and because he drew much better at barrier four on the front line, with Dynamite Dude out wide at barrier No. 8. He also considered that Lovers Delight's winning prospects were better, taking into account that he is harder in condition after several excellent runs in his current preparation, whereas Dynamite Dude will be making his first appearance since setting the pace and winning the Autumn Championship from Crombie and Northview Punter on March 6. Both Lovers Delight and Dynamite Dude are being aimed at the $1.8 million TABtouch interdominion championship series at Gloucester Park and Bunbury in November and December. Strong performances in the months leading up to the series will enhance their prospects of earning a start in the championship. The New Zealand-bred Lovers Delight has a 41 per cent winning record (19 wins from 46 starts) as well as recording ten seconds and three thirds. He was a 24/1 chance in a 2536m mobile event last Friday night when he started from the outside (No. 9) on the front line. He settled at the rear before Lewis sent him forward with a three-wide burst after a lap. He moved into the breeze before Waylade (who followed his run) assumed the position outside the pacemaker Bettors Fire 1300m from home. Waylade burst to the front with 250m to travel and Lovers Delight ran home with great determination to finish second, only a half-length from the winner, who rated a smart 1.55.7. Ross Olivieri, who trains Dynamite Dude at Oakford, said that he would engage Matt White to replace Lewis in the sulky behind the Victorian-bred six-year-old. Olivieri said that Dynamite Dude had scored an impressive trial win against moderate opposition at Byford last Sunday week. Dynamite Dude dashed over the final quarters in 29.1sec. and 28.2sec. and rated 1.593 in beating stablemate Awesome Desire by more than seven lengths. "First-up from barrier eight I don't see him troubling the scorer," Olivieri said. "It would be nice for him to be a running on fourth or fifth." "I plan to give Dynamite Dude about five or six runs before the interdominion series; two starts in August, two in September and two in October." Olivieri also will be represented by Our Blackbird (Stuart McDonald) and Red Salute (Chris Voak) in the Porter Memorial this week. He gives Red Salute a place chance from the inside barrier and is hoping that Our Blackbird has some luck after starting out wide from barrier seven. Our Blackbird has finished second at each of his past four starts after finishing strongly to win from Lovers Delight and Red Salute over 2100m. Lewis is hoping that Lovers Delight will give him his second success in the Porter Memorial, after scoring with Hilarion Star in 1992. Lovers Delight is likely to vie for favouritism with Bettors Fire, Classic American and Our Jimmy Johnstone. Bettors Fire, trained and driven by Kyle Harper, will start from barrier five and Harper is likely to steal a march on the opposition by sending the classy six-year-old to an early lead before dictating terms in front. Bettors Fire began brilliantly from barrier six last Friday night and set the pace before wilting to fifth behind Waylade over 2536m. The shorter journey will be in his favour this week. Our Jimmy Johnstone, another interdominion championship prospect, is in grand form for trainers Greg and Skye Bond and he cannot be underestimated. Our Jimmy Johnstone impressed when he set the pace and won convincingly from Our Blackbird and This Time Dylan over 2130m last Friday week. "Drawing the inside of the back row hurts," said Greg Bond. "It's not an ideal draw and I'll leave the tactics to Colin (Brown). "I'm happy with his work and am looking forward to the Inters." Leading trainer Gary Hall sen. has four runners in the Porter Memorial, Classic American, Northview Punter, Crusader Banner and Vapour He has trained and driven two winners of the feature event --- Make The Rules (1999) and Its Written In The Stars (2000). Classic American appeals as his best chance. He will start from the outside (barrier three) on the back line and should be storming home. He has finished with a powerful burst to win 2503m standing-start events at his past two outings. Ken Casellas

Talented reinsman Clint Hall is confident that injury-plagued four-year-old Elegant Christian will atone for his unlucky defeat when a solidly-supported 7/4 favourite in a 2503m stand last week by winning the Ross North Homes Handicap over 2907m at the harness racing meeting at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The New Zealand-bred gelding will start off the 10m mark and should prove too classy for his ten rivals. Elegant Christian settled down in seventh position in last week's event before Hall dashed him forward after a lap in a bid to get to the breeze outside the pacemaker Hez Got The Nod. But he was kept out three wide on the next two bends before eventually getting to the breeze 1350m from home. He took a clear lead with 450m to travel before being overhauled 200m later by stablemate Classic American. He then refused to give in and fought on doggedly to finish a neck second to Classic American. "You would have to say that he was somewhat unlucky last week when things didn't pan out the way we wanted," Hall said. "After I decided to move around the field I was caught out there (three wide) longer than I wanted to be." "It was not so much the period I was out there, but the fractions we were running around the corner." Hall said that the long journey would not trouble Elegant Christian, who is being set for the 3309m Marathon Handicap the following Friday night. "Elegant Christian is a week-by-week proposition, but at the moment he hasn't got any problems," he said. "After winning at Gloucester Park last September he damaged his nearside foreleg." "This required surgery to relieve some pressure on the back of his fetlock and after the operation the leg looks somewhat deformed." "He resumed racing with a win in May, but the leg problem flared up again." "We are still treating the leg and taking more precautions to manage it better." Elegant Christian, who is being set for the interdominion championship later this year, has won at 11 of his 15 starts and he should add another win to his record this week by proving too speedy for Danieljohn, who is racing keenly for Mundijong trainer Bruce Hawkins with three wins from his past seven starts. Ken Casellas

Ima Connoisseur continues to improve in leaps and bounds and Greg Bond, who trains the three-year-old in partnership with his wife Skye, predicts that the gelding will end a losing sequence of six by outpacing his rivals in the 2130m Gate Bar And Bistro Pathway Pace over 2130m at the harness racing meeting at Gloucester Park on Friday night. "He's working great and from barrier two he should be leading and I'd be surprised if anything will be able to get over him," Bond said. The Bonds, who landed a treble with Kinda Black, Baileys Gold and Ohoka Squire at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening, also will be represented in the Pathway Pace by Holy Grail, the only other three-year-old in the race. Colin Brown will drive Ima Connoisseur and Chris Lewis will handle Holy Grail, who will start from barrier five on the front line. Holy Grail, whose past four starts have produced two wins and two seconds, has bright prospects of finishing second to Ima Connoisseur. Ima Connoisseur impressed last Friday night when he started from barrier eight and raced three wide early before working hard in the breeze outside Blissfull Boy and eventually getting to the front on the home turn and fighting on gamely to finish a 2m second to brilliant colt Beaudiene Boaz over 1730m. Greg Bond is more than pleased with the improvement shown by Ima Connoisseur in recent months. "I've put the foot down and have been racing him more consistently," he explained. "He wasn't that well gaited and we just decided to take the approach of racing him weekly where possible and even sometimes twice weekly." "He was a slow learner and wasn't smooth in his gait." "Now he's becoming a lot more of a racehorse, with the extra experience, and hopefully he'll head for the Golden Nugget." "His second to Beaudiene Boaz last week was meritorious." "I know that Beaudiene Boaz had him covered, but he didn't dog it and fought it out right to the line." "And two starts before that he ran second to Waylade at Pinjarra, and that's a sign that he's really come on as a horse." "We'll give him a little break shortly and then bring him back for the four-year-old feature races." Bond also is confident that Condrieu (Wanneroo Club Pace) and Phoenix Warrior (Garrards Horse And Hound Pace) will prove hard to beat. Both pacers will be driven by Colin Brown. Phoenix Warrior is not well drawn at barrier eight on the front line in the 2536m event, but Bond said though he considered the four-year-old was slightly disappointing when fourth behind My Mate Stride as a 2/1 on favourite, he expected him to do better this week. "The race wasn't run to suit, and driven positively this week I expect him to perform well." "He's a horse I have a lot of time for." His chief rival looms as Spectactular, who will be having his first start for five months. Trained by Gary Hall sen., Spectactular has won once and been placed twice from his first four starts in WA after arriving from New Zealand. Clint Hall said that Spectacular had had a lot of issues. " I think that we've got him over his foot problems now, but he could be vulnerable over 2536m first-up. However, he's a class animal." Condrieu bounced back to his best form last Friday night when he began speedily from barrier five, set a brisk pace and sprinted over the final 800m in 57.2sec. to win easily from Soho Lennon at a 1.55.5 rate over 2130m. He faces a sterner test this week from the No. 9 barrier. "There's probably a bit too much speed inside him this week," Bond said. "I'll leave it up to Colin (Brown) to assess the situation when the gate goes." "Over the 2536m he'll probably work into the race a bit later on." Ken Casellas

Pinjarra harness racing trainer Michael Brennan has completed arrangement for exciting gelding Nathans Courage to travel to Victoria to contest the rich Breeders Crown for two-year-old colts and geldings. Brennan will accompany Nathans Courage on a flight from Perth next Tuesday week and Chris Voak will drive the son of Courage Under Fire in a semi-final of the Breeders Crown at Ballarat the following Saturday night. Brennan is hopeful that Nathans Courage, a stylish all-the-way winner at Gloucester Park at his only two starts, will qualify to run in the $288,000 final at Melton on Sunday August 30. "He should go well," Brennan said. "He's a lovely little horse, a professional racehorse and he's so relaxed." Two of Nathans Courage's most serious rivals appear to be Our Waikiki Beach and Zee Dana. Our Waikiki Beach, trained by New Zealander Mark Purdon, is unbeaten at his ten starts and has amassed $324,081. He sped over the final quarters in 27.1sec. and 27.8sec. and rated 1.56.3 when he scored a four-length victory in a heat of the Breeders Crown over 2300m at Menangle on July 21. He won the group 1 Australian Pacing Gold, covering the 1609m journey in 1.54.3 at Menangle in April and he won the 1609m NSW Breeders Challenge final in 1.53.7 at Menangle in June. Zee Dana notched his second win from three starts when he sat behind the pacemaker and finished strongly along the sprint lane to win a heat of the Breeders Crown at a 1.58 rate over 2190m at Shepparton on Tuesday night. Ken Casellas

Im A Peregrine has won only once from his past 16 starts, but reinsman Chris Voak is quite enthusiastic about the five-year-old's prospects in the final of the $25,000 Remote Foods Chandon final at the harness racing meeting at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Victorian-bred Im A Peregrine has drawn the coveted No. 1 barrier on the front line in the 2130m event and Voak plans to take full advantage of the gelding's sparkling early pace by denying speedy frontrunner Soho Lennon the opportunity to set the pace after starting from barrier two. "You saw what he did the last time he led in town," Voak said. "He started out wide at barrier eight, raced four wide for the first 300m and three wide for the next 300m before taking the lead and racing away to win by five and a half lengths with the ear plugs in, rating 1.58.1 over 2536m" "I think he will run 1.57 in front over 2130m." "He grows a leg if he leads, and I think he's got the speed to hold up." "Plan A will be to lead because he excels in front, and if he does he will be hard to beat." Im A Peregrine's trainer Ross Olivieri said that the gelding had been racing well, but without luck and agreed with Voak's prediction that he would prove hard to catch if he was able to set the pace. No doubt Gary Hall jun. will be anxious for Soho Lennon to burst to the front from the No. 2 barrier after the New Zealand-bred gelding was untroubled to jump to the front from the inside barrier and win comfortably over 2130m last Friday night. Apart from Soho Lennon, Serpentine trainer Gary Hall sen. has sound prospects with Cyamach, who is favourably drawn at barrier three. Cyamach surged home from seventh at the bell when a neck second to stablemate Vapour over 1730m last Friday week. That followed his fast-finishing victory over 2130m a week earlier when making his Australian debut. Condrieu, who set the pace and broke into a gallop approaching the home turn in the Higgins Memorial last Friday night, cannot be underestimated this week. He quickly regained his pacing action last week and did well to finish a close third to Another Vinnie and Delightful Offer. Trainers Greg and Skye Bond took Condrieu to the Byford trials on Sunday morning when the five-year-old, driven by Colin Brown, performed satisfactorily and finished a well-beaten third behind Dynamite Dude and Awesome Desire over 2150m. "He raced in a shadow roll in the trial and he got around without breaking," Brown said. "I didn't extend him and he went to the line with the ear plugs in." "So take no notice that he finished only third." "He raced one-out and one-back and I had him three wide on the final bend, just to make sure he didn't break." "He's a class horse." Ken Casellas

Nathans Courage, a typically small son of former champion pacer Courage Under Fire, looks set to give punters a flying start to the harness racing meeting at Gloucester Park on Friday night by winning the opening event, the 2130m Taylor Sulky Repairs Pace. The two-year-old, prepared at Pinjarra by Michael Brennan, made an auspicious debut when he set the pace and won by almost two lengths from El Hombre, his only rival in a qualifying heat of the Breeders Crown at Gloucester Park on Monday. He sprinted over the final quarter in a sparkling 27.3sec. Reinsman Chris Voak was impressed with the gelding, saying: "He's got potential and there's plenty of upside. I think he will have benefitted from his run on Monday." "He's drawn barrier four on Friday and that's the best of the main chances." "He showed good gate speed on Monday and I'll be looking to replicate that performance." "I'll be heading forward to take the lead; that's my game plan and I think that Mouse (Brennan) will agree." "This is a jump up in grade and will test him." "But he's up to the challenge." "He did it quite comfortably on Monday and I didn't pull the ear plugs or really get stuck into him." "He's got a quick quarter and can run a good half." "I don't expect too much pressure, but maybe Browny (Colin Brown) might have a crack with Franco Rayner." Franco Rayner, an effortless all-the-way winner at his Australian debut, over 2185m at Pinjarra on July 13, finished seventh behind Sprinter in the Golden Slipper at Gloucester Park four nights later when he started from the back line and was always well back. Franco Rayner will start out wide at barrier eight on Friday night. He dashed over the final 400m in 28.6sec. when an easy winner in a 2150m trial at Byford on Sunday morning. "He handled Pinjarra a lot better than he handled Gloucester Park," Brown said. "He's not a big horse, but he wasn't comfortable in the run at Gloucester Park." "I changed some gear on him for Sunday's trial, but it didn't work." "However, he still ran home very quickly." "Now he will have a lugging bit added and hopefully I will have a better steering horse." Ken Casellas  

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