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Outstanding young reinsman Michael Grantham has given harness racing punters an important lead by opting to drive Foxy Dame in preference to Sea Cider in the Retravision Pace for mares at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Grantham has yet to drive Foxy Dame in a race and he has jumped at the opportunity to handle the mare this week. His engagement by trainer Mike Reed enabled Foxy Dame, an M2-class performer, to contest the race which is restricted to M1-class mares, with Grantham claiming a concession as a junior driver. Grantham has handled the Sarah Suvaljko-trained Sea Cider at four of her past five starts for a most impressive victory over Madame Croupier and Mon Lillies over 2130m at Gloucester Park two starts ago, seconds to Sheer Rocknroll and Mon Lillies and a last-start fourth behind El Hombre last Friday night. Sea Cider will be driven this week by Aiden de Campo and she looks set to fight out the finish after starting from the No. 4 barrier on the front line. Foxy Dame has the ability to overcome the disadvantage of starting out wide at barrier eight. She galloped at the standing start and simply trailed her rivals and finished a distant last behind Sheer Rocknroll last Friday night. But her form in mobiles in several previous starts was excellent. Two starts ago, last Friday week, Foxy Dame started from the outside of the back line and was ninth with a lap to travel before finishing powerfully with a three-wide burst from the 700m mark to be a half-length second to Sheer Rocknroll, with a final 800m in 56.8sec. Ravenswood trainer Nathan Turvey will also make use of a junior concession by engaging Jocelyn Young to handle M2-class mare Chevrons Champion, who will have many admirers at her third outing after a spell. She is handily drawn at No. 3 on the front line. Chevrons Champion sustained a solid three-wide burst from sixth at the bell to finish fourth behind Sheer Rocknroll last Friday night. She ran home solidly from seventh on the pegs at the bell to finish a first-up third to Sheer Rocknroll the previous week. In an even field of mares, the Justin Prentice-trained Maia Maguire has claims from barrier six after her stout-hearted effort in the 2503m Race For Roses last Friday night when she set the pace and fought on grandly to finish third behind Sheer Rocknroll and Dodolicious. Ken Casellas

Four-year-old Ima Rocknroll Legend managed just two wins from 17 starts in New Zealand, but he has bright prospects of making a successful Australian debut when he contests the Gannon’s Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Now trained by Gary Hall sen., Ima Rocknroll Legend will start from barrier five on the front line and his form in New Zealand suggests that he will prove mighty hard to beat. He was successful at his most recent appearance when he rated 1.59.4 over 2200m at Cambridge on January 6. He raced wide early and then in the breeze before getting to the front after 500m. He immediately gained the sit behind the pacemaker Smiley Sophie, and making use of the sprint lane he charged to the front 100m from the post and won easily from that pacer, with a final quarter in 28.2sec. His previous win was six starts earlier when he rated 1.58 over 2600m at Addington. He is related to former top-flight pacer The Unicorn (94 starts for 29 wins, 32 placings and stakes of $488,524) and is a half-brother to Twist And Shout and Our Jerry Lee. Rocknroll Legend winning in New Zealand Twist And Shot earned $133,265 from his five wins and 16 placings from 39 starts before being retired. She is the dam of Hall’s smart four-year-old Harry Hoo, whose 36 starts have produced ten wins, nine placings and stakes of $86,892. Our Jerry Lee has won five races in New Zealand and ten in Western Australia for earnings of $92,499. Hardest for Ima Rocknroll Legend to beat is likely to be the polemarker Bad Round, who is racing with great heart for Wanneroo trainer Debbie Padberg. Shannon Suvaljko appears certain to set the pace in a strong bid for victory. Bad Round started from barrier four and dashed to the front after 300m when an excellent second to Just Bet On Black over 2130m last Friday week. That followed an easy win at Kellerberrin and a strong-finishing third to Wimbaliri and Bettor Twisted. Just Bet On Black will start from the coveted No. 1 barrier in the second heat of the Princi Butchers Pure Steel Pace and he should notch his sixth win in a row for trainer Colin Brown. Just Bet On Black will again be handled by Brown’s daughter Maddison, and they also have good prospects with the speedy Franco Rayner in the Choices Flooring Pace. Ken Casellas

Donald Harper maintained his reputation as a harness racing driver of long-priced winners when he brought inexperienced three-year-old The Mighty Rock home with a powerful burst from the rear to score a smart victory in a 2185m event for R0-class performer at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. Trained at Byford by Peter Anderson, The Mighty Rock was an unwanted $193.20 outsider, making him one of the longest-priced winners in West Australian harness racing history. The Mighty Rock, who had finished tenth at Pinjarra and eighth at Kellerberrin at his only previous starts, began from barrier four on the back line and was 11th in a field of 12 at the bell before he charged home, out five wide, to win from King of Cougars and Son of a Digger. This followed the last-to-first victory of the Anderson-trained and Harper-driven $48.60 outsider Irockmyworld in the Kellerberrin Cup eight days earlier. The Mighty Rock is out of the unraced Die Laughing mare Marilyn Ann, an unraced Hilarion mare who produced seven winners, including Buck The Odds, who was trained by Anderson throughout his career of 121 starts for 31 wins, 29 placings and $307,547 in stakes.   The Mighty Rock is the fifth foal out of Marilyns Might, whose first foal Might Be Luck is still racing in claimers at Menangle. Might Be Luck has been placed at two of his past three starts and has won at Melton, Ararat, Yarra Valley and Terang this season. Anderson trained Might Be Luck for much of his career in WA before Harper took over as trainer and drove him to victory at long odds ($38.50) when he flew home from 11th at the 250m mark to gain a last-stride victory over Hugh Victor at Gloucester Park in September 2015. Might Be Luck now has earned $115,848 from 18 wins and 18 placings from 115 starts. The Mighty Rock was bred and is owned by Bob Fowler, who was holidaying with his wife Marilyn in Morocco when he won at Pinjarra on Monday. Long-priced winners is certainly nothing new for the 29-year-old Harper. Last December Harper drove nine-year-old Gallymont Cohort to and all-the-way win over Calais and Rocky Marciano at Northam. Gallymont Cohort, trained by Harper, went out at odds of $91.50 on the tote. Another of Harper’s wins as a trainer and driver this season was with Jasper Whitby, who scored at $44 at Northam in March. Reinforcing the claims that Harper deserves to be recognised as WA’s long-shot king is that he trained and drove Sir Artsplace for a memorable victory at tote odds of $121.70 in the Pat Cranley Sprint over 1700m at Gloucester Park on September 30, 2011. Harper restrained Sir Artsplace from the No. 7 barrier back to 11th position before sending him forward to be sixth, three wide with a trail, at the bell. The gelding got to the front in the final 20m and won from Wrongly Accused and My Jasami. Another current long-shot driver is Dean Miller, whose winners this season include Be Prepared (a $152.20 shot who came from the rear to win at Gloucester Park on February 24), Hilo Angus (a winner at $94.80 at Narrogin in March) and Smashing American (a Pinjarra winner vat $48.80 in March). Chris Voak’s numerous winners this season include Turquia ($72.70) and Firebomb ($61.20) and drivers of other long-priced winners include Deni Roberts (Borntobeanartist at $68.80 and Tsar Bomb at $63.50), Stuart McDonald (Sir Slick at $82.80), Lauren Jones (Tajie Baby at $61 and Shardons Rocket at $46), Callan Suvaljko (Ingot Dreaming at $58.50, Sweet Dilemma at $56.30 and Aldebaran Eastwood at $46.40), Bailey McDonough (Hot Fraternity at $81.60), Shannon Suvaljko (Foxy Dame at $75.70, The Midas Touch at $31.80, Bad Round at $29.30, Qtown Rip Roaring at $27.70, Spot The Shark at $24.30 and Colour Coded at $23.20), Garry Johnson (Spoilt Dilinger at $63.40) and Michael Grantham (Who Thru Teddy at $51.50, Northern Emperor at $30.20, Racey American at $29.80 and Real Zeal at $23.30). Ken Casellas

Astute Henley Brook horseman Mike Reed is poised to become the most successful harness racing trainer in the history of the Gannon’s WA Oaks by winning the prestigious $150,000 group 1 classic with outstanding filly Maczaffair at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Maczaffair is in dazzling form and will be a short-priced favourite after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier. Reinsman Shannon Suvaljko will attempt an all-the-way victory with Maczaffair, a stylish frontrunner who started from the No. 1 barrier and was untroubled to set the pace and win a 2130m Oaks prelude by more than four lengths from Gotta Go Gabbana last Friday week. This will be the 50th running of the WA Oaks and Reed has won the classic with Pharosan (2000), Sheer Royalty (2009) and Libertybelle Midfrew (2014). The only other trainers to have won the Oaks three times are Fred Kersley jun. and Trevor Warwick.   Kersley was successful with Wannerie (1979), Capricciosa (1980) and Countess Gina (1985) and Warwick has won the event with Benemerenza (1982), Parthenon (1995) and Lombo Rapida (1999). Albert and Julie Walmsley and Suvaljko are looking for their second success in the Oaks --- after Christian Cullen mare Libertybelle Midfrew, favourite at 10/1 on, set the pace from barrier five and won the 2014 classic by more than seven lengths from The Parade --- after scoring effortless victories in both Oaks preludes. Maczaffair, a Mach Three filly, is the most successful filly in Friday night’s event, having won nine times for stakes of $138,650 from 20 starts. The 2536m journey will be no problem for Maczaffair, who gave a superb performance as a 44/1 outsider when she finished with a dazzling burst of speed which carried her from tenth at the 600m and seventh at the 250m to be a half-head second to classy colt Mitch Maguire in the group 2 Western Gateway Pace three starts ago. Adding considerable interest to Friday night’s race will be the first appearance at Gloucester Park of the New Zealand-bred Bettors Delight filly Better B Chevron, who will start from barrier five on the front line and will be driven by Ryan Warwick for champion trainers Greg and Skye Bond. Better B Chevron made an outstanding Australian debut when she set the pace and dashed over the final quarters in 27.1sec. and 28.2sec. to beat Gonzos Shadow by two and a half lengths at a 1.57.2 rate over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday of last week. That followed easy wins over 2200m at Invercargill at her two previous outings. On March 11 she was first out from the No. 1 barrier before being restrained to trail the 6/4 on favourite The Bus after 100m. Making use of the sprint lane, she burst to the front 130m from the post to win by one and a half lengths from Lilac Flash, with a final 400m in 26.8sec. A week later, she started from the No. 4 barrier and raced in the breeze before taking the lead with 120m to travel and winning, unextended, by one and a quarter lengths from Santanna’s Rocket after sprinting the final quarter in 27.8sec. The Bonds are hoping that drawing the No. 5 barrier will be a lucky omen (after their star filly Dodolicious began from that barrier and was favourite at 3/1 on when she raced in the breeze before winning last year’s Oaks narrowly from outsider Bettor Boa. Greg Bond also trained Millwood Meg when Colin Brown drove that filly to an easy victory in the 2010 WA Oaks. The Bonds will also be represented in Friday night’s race with Hit It Rich, an easy all-the-way winner at Pinjarra on Monday of last week --- her fourth win from just six starts. Boyanup trainer Justin Prentice, who prepared Major Reality for her narrow victory over stablemate Quite A Delight in the 2015 WA Oaks, has four runners in this year’s classic --- Allamerican Queen, Im Stylish, Lady Luca and Somewhereonlyiknow. Allamerican Queen led from barrier three and scored a three-length victory over Myanniegoat in the 2569m Country Oaks at Bunbury’s Donaldson Park track last Saturday week. That was her second win from 16 starts and she meets far stronger opposition this week. Prentice will drive Allamerican Queen, Tom Buchanan will be in the sulky behind Im Stylish (a winner at five of her 12 starts) and Hayden Charles has been engaged for last-start all-the-way Pinjarra winner Lady Luca and Nathan Turvey for Somewhereonlyiknow, who faces a tough task from the outside of the front line. Kim Prentice has two smart fillies engaged for prominent owner Robert Watson --- Soho Angel (barrier six) and Angel Bromac (barrier two on the back line). He will drive Angel Bromac (who has impressed with four wins and three seconds from seven starts) and Victorian reinsman Michael Stanley has been engaged for Soho Angel, who has won five races and been placed nine times. Ken Casellas

Boyanup trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice is hoping that Maia Maguire will be on her best behaviour and can cause an upset by winning the $35,000 Race For Roses at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Four-year-old Maia Maguire is one of four frontmarkers in the 2503m standing-start group 3 event and she showed her ability as a pacemaker five starts ago when she was racing first-up and won in good style in a minor mobile event at Narrogin. She revealed her versatility with strong-finishing efforts to win at Narrogin and Bunbury at her next two starts before failing at her past two outings. She began badly in a stand and was never in contention in an event won by McClinchie at Pinjarra last Monday week. A win by Maia Maguire on Friday night would complete a hat-trick of victories for Prentice in the Race For Roses. Prentice brought 15/1 chance Digital Art home with a powerful burst from three back on the pegs to snatch a head victory from the pacemaker Blacknsweet Adda in last year’s Race For Roses. He trained and drove The Parade to victory in the Race For Roses the previous year. The Parade started off 20m and won from Hoylakes Firstlady and My Samantha Jane. Maia Maguire is owned by Bob Fowler, who has two other runners --- frontmarker Hugmeifuluvme and Sheer Rocknroll, the lone backmarker off 30m. Four-year-old Hugmeifuluvme set the pace and won a stand over 2116m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. That was her second win from nine starts and she faces a much more difficult task on Friday night. However, four-year-old Sheer Rocknroll has the class to overcome the back mark in her first attempt in a standing-start event. The Ross Olivieri-trained mare (a stablemate of Hugmeifuluvme) is in sparkling form and is ready to meet strong challenges from another talented WA-bred four-year-old Dodolicious and the smart New Zealand-bred five-year-old Foxy Dame. Olivieri boasts the best record as a trainer in the Race For Roses which was first run in 1997. He has been successful with Yippy Yi Yo (1998), Arctic Fire (2011) and Selkie (2014). Chris Lewis, who will drive Sheer Rocknroll, has the best record as a driver in the feature event, having been successful with Lady De Beau (2007), Arctic Fire and Selkie. Dodolicious, winner of the WA Oaks 12 months ago, and Foxy Dame also will be contesting a standing-start event for the first time. They will share the 20m mark with Sheer Rocknroll maintained her excellent form and won for the 12th time from her past 20 starts when she started from the outside barrier (No. 9) last Friday night and raced four and three wide for the first 500m before working in the breeze outside the pacemaking Dame Puissant and getting to the front with 250m to travel and then resisting a strong late challenge from Foxy Dame, who impressed in finishing determinedly from ninth at the bell. Foxy Dame is trained by Mike Reed and will be driven by Shannon Suvaljko. She has a record of 56 starts for nine wins and 21 placings and performs at her best when saved up for a last-lap burst. Dodolicious, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, will share the 20m mark with the Nathan Turvey-trained pair of Chevrons Champion and Hidden Bad. She is an outstanding pacer who has amassed $441,433 from 15 wins, seven seconds and one third from 26 starts and though this will be her first appearance for five months she cannot be underestimated. Ken Casellas

Star New Zealand-bred harness racing pacer Ohoka Punter was outstanding in defeat when third in the Easter Cup on April 13 and he should overcome the disadvantage of the outside barrier (No. 9) and win the $23,000 Gannon’s Flags And Banners Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He gave a sample of his class in the 2902m Easter Cup when he started off the 50m mark and started a three-wide move 1800m from home. He was kept out wide for the next 500m before getting to the breeze outside the pacemaker Galactic Star. Finally, he got his head in front with 350m to travel, but wilted in the late stages to finish a gallant third behind Assassinator and Galactic Star. That followed his impressive first-up performance the previous week when he started from barrier nine, raced in the one-out, one-back position and burst to the front at the 450m mark before dashing away to score by two and a half lengths from stablemate American Boy, rating 1.55.5 over 2130m. Trained by Gary Hall sen., Ohoka Punter will again be handled by Gary Hall jun., with Clint Hall taking the drive behind American Boy, who will start out wide at barrier eight. The stablemates will clash with the brilliant, but injury-plagued Heez On Fire (barrier seven). Heez On Fire, nursed back to fitness by octogenarian trainer Bill Horn, made a wonderful return to racing with a dazzling victory at a 1.55.9 rate over 2130m last Friday week. He was 12th with 650m to travel when he started a three-wide move which ended with him surging past the pacemaker Erskine Range in the home straight. Erskine Range began fast from barrier two to dash to an early lead in that race and Maddison Brown is likely to be keen to take advantage of the chestnut’s gate speed from the No. 3 barrier. However, the evergreen eight-year-old Bonze Seeker has sparkling early pace and Chris Lewis will be anxious to hold the lead from the coveted No. 1 barrier. This will be the eighth time in 139 mobile starts in Western Australia that Bronze Seeker will start from the No. 1 barrier. His record from barrier one is two wins, two seconds, two thirds and a 12th placing (when shuffled back behind a tiring runner). Bronze Seeker was an all-the-way winner over 2130m from the No. 1 barrier eleven starts ago. He was unwinding a spirited burst before receiving severe interference 250m from home when he galloped and was distanced behind Shardons Rocket last Friday night. Shardons Rocket is a remarkable 12-year-old trained by Tony Svilicich who will be having his 310th start in a race when he begins from barrier six on Friday night. He has won 44 races and has been placed 87 times. Ken Casellas

Prominent harness racing owners Steve and Christina Chapman and their children are sure to be cheering enthusiastically in the final stages of the $18,000 Gannon’s Pony Trots at Gloucester Park Pace on Friday night --- when their two runners are likely to be involved in a ding-dong tussle for supremacy in the 1730m event for three-year-olds. El Barcelona (Dali) and Runrunjimmydunn (American Ideal) are two of four runners in the field of eight who are trained by Gary Hall sen. and they should fight out the finish. Runrunjimmydunn (Clint Hall) prevailed when he charged home to get up in the final stride to defeat El Barcelona (Gary Hall jun.) in a 2130m event last Friday week. Runrunjimmydunn is generally expected to start a warm favourite, but El Barcelona has the ability to turn the tables. El Barcelona has drawn barrier No. 6, with Runrunjimmydunn drawing the outside No. 8 barrier. This could prove a decisive advantage for El Barcelona, who should settle in front of his stablemate. The barrier draws were reversed when the New Zealand-bred geldings last met and when they settled at the rear. After 450m El Barcelona followed the three-wide move of Bravo Tex before getting to the breeze 1000m from home. Clint Hall then sent Runrunjimmydunn forward, three wide, with 900m to travel. El Barcelona forged to the front at the 600m mark as Runrunjimmydunn moved into the breeze position. In a stirring duel, Runrunjimmydunn got up to beat his stablemate in a close photo-finish. Quite remarkably, the two pacers go into Friday night’s race with a record of 14 starts for five wins. They are both showing steady improvement and Hall sen. Is confident they will prove worthy candidates for the rich Golden Nugget Championship in the coming summer. The Hall stable’s other runners in Friday night’s event are The Publisher, to be driven by Kim Prentice from the No. 2 barrier, and Herrick Roosevelt, to be driven by Chris Lewis from barrier seven. The lightly-raced Herrick Roosevelt possesses excellent gate speed, but is still learning to race, being inclined to overrace. However, he looks destined for a bright future. He led from the No. 2 barrier and won from El Barcelona over 2130m at Gloucester Park at his second start in a race, last December. The Publisher has won once (as a two-year-old in New Zealand) made his Australian debut at Gloucester Park last Friday week when he pulled hard in the breeze in the middle stages and faded to last behind Runrunjimmydunn. Then he raced at Northam on Tuesday night when he ran home strongly, out wide, from eighth at the 400m to finish a neck second to Ace Bromac. Ken Casellas

Benjor Maddy Lombo hardly set the world on fire during a modest harness racing career on the racetrack, but she has burst into prominence in recent months as the dam of WA Derby winner Handsandwheels and the highly-promising two-year-old colt Rock Me Over. Rock Me Over, purchased for $28,000 at the Gloucester Standardbred yearling sale early last year, has drawn favourably at barrier two on the front line and looks set to fight out the finish of the $50,000 Retravision Champagne Classic over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Rock N Roll Heaven colt, trained at Byford by Katja Warwick, warmed up for this week’s assignment in excellent style with a fast-finishing second to Play The Boys in the group 1 $100,000 Sales Classic final last Friday night. Driven by Gary Hall jun., Rock Me Over raced in sixth position in the one-wide line before starting a three-wide move at the 500m. He charged home to finish a half-head behind the pacemaking Play The Boys. Rock Me Over was successful at his two previous starts, finishing strongly to beat his stablemate Mistersandman over 1684m at Pinjarra and then setting the pace and dashing over the final 400m in 27.7sec. to beat Kohli by more than two lengths over 1730m at Gloucester Park. Benjor Maddy Lombo, by American sire Perfect Art, began her career in Western Australia before being relocated in Victoria where she won three times, as a three-year-old in moderate company at Mildura, Gunbower and Charlton. She was retired with those three wins from 34 starts for stakes of $21,510. She is an elder half-sister to Miss Trickin Lombo (109 starts for 15 wins and 29 placings for earnings of $230,312) and to star performer Suave Stuey Lombo, who amassed $587,032 from 33 wins and 23 placings from 110 starts. Rock Me Over has already earned $24,310 from his two wins and a second placing from four starts, while Handsandwheels has raced 20 times for six wins, six placings and $165,099. Rock Me Over is sure to meet plenty of stiff opposition, particularly from the New Zealand-bred gelding Pocket More For Less and Cott Beach, one of three fillies in the race. Pocket More for Less, trained and driven by Justin Prentice, will have many admirers from the prized No. 1 barrier on the front line. He was seventh in the one-out, one-back position at the bell before starting a three-wide move at the 700m and running home determinedly to be second to the pacemaker Warriors Code over 1609m at Bunbury last Saturday night. Pocket More For Less gave a sample of his ability at his only other starts, for wins over 1730m at Gloucester Park in March. He overcame severe interference before finishing strongly from fourth at the bell to win from Universal Major and then worked hard in the breeze before winning from Kohli. Cott Beach, a filly by Advance Attack, has been most impressive in her short career for trainer Gary Elson and reinsman Nathan Turvey. After a strong-finishing second to Tenniele Erin on debut at Bunbury she was successful at her next three starts, two at Pinjarra and one at Gloucester Park, when she revealed excellent gate speed and then made all the running. She rated 1.57.6 (with final quarters of 28.8sec. and 27.7sec.) over 1730m at Gloucester Park two starts ago when she scored by nine lengths over Cheeseacracker. And then she led from barrier No. 6 and won by just unde3r four lengths from Princess Major at Pinjarra when she rated 1.55.2 over 1684m after dashing over the final two quarters in 27.9sec. and 27.8sec. Cott Beach fared badly and will need to be at her top to overcome the disadvantage of starting from the outside barrier (No. 9) on Friday night. The Champagne Stakes was first run in 1970 and since then the fillies to have won the classic have been Jidaley (1971), Deep Décor (1974), Chrysou Mou (1976), Whitby Tolez (1991), Whitbys Merit (1993), Nowuseemenowudont (2000), Sheza Clout (2006), Arma Xpress (2012) and Tricky Styx (2014). Elson and Turvey combined to win the Champagne Classic in 2015 when Sprinter defeated Lightning Jolt and Rich Yankee. Ken Casellas

Mon Lillies has led in six of her ten wins, but Boyanup harness racing hobby trainer James Sortras is far from dismayed at her drawing the back line in the $25,000 final of the Johnson Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “She’s not just a frontrunner,” Sortras said. “She’s also got a very good sit and kick on her. She showed that when second at Pinjarra two starts ago.” Mon Lillies, a six-year-old mare by American sire Artesian, has proved a remarkable bargain for Sortras who purchased her as an untried two-year-old for an extremely small figure. Her stylish all-the-way win last Friday night boosted her earnings to $93,355 from ten wins and 18 placings from 73 starts. Another victory this week would take her prizemoney to $109,855. The 56-year-old Sortras grew up in Gelorup in a strong harness racing atmosphere. His late father George was a prominent trainer and driver whose best pacer was Magic Embrace. “I drove a lot of horses bred from Magic Embrace, with the best of them being Come On Magic,” he said. “I suppose you could count the number of winners I drove on country tracks on my two hands. “I got out of the sport more than 15 years ago to concentrate on my job in the building trade, to pay off the mortgage and to provide for a young family. “Then, four or five years ago, I decided to get back into harness racing. When I was looking around for a horse, a good mate of mine, Stephen Simms, recommended an unraced two-year-old filly, whom, he advised, possessed plenty of speed, but had a lot of growing to do and needed to mature.” It was arranged for Sortras to drive the filly on the Byford track. “I gave her a workout and she gave me a pretty good feel,” Sortras said. “So that day I put her on the float and brought her home. I bought her for a very cheap outlay. She now has gone past her dam Mon Poppies, who had 69 starts for ten wins, 21 placings and $88,350 in stakes.” Lindsay Harper was in the sulky when Mon Poppies won at Bunbury and Pinjarra as a three-year-old in February 2005, and Harper’s younger son Kyle has driven Mon Lillies to victory eight times. Mon Lillies impressed in a heat of the Johnson Pace last Friday night when she set the pace and dashed over the final 800m in 56.7sec. to win from Sea Cider and Madame Croupier. At Pinjarra four days earlier Mon Lillies illustrated her versatility when she started from the No. 5 barrier, raced three wide for the first 300m and was eighth in the one-wide line at the bell. She was seventh with 400m to travel and was hampered for room in the home straight before getting clear in the final stages and flashing home to be second to Just bet On Black. Sortras, who races Mon Lillies in partnership with his wife Debbie, her daughter Lucinda and his children Ebony and Colbey, also trains and drives Five Star Fairy, who has yet to break through for her first win. The Johnson final looks an open affair, with four-year-olds The Spinster (Chris Lewis), Madame Croupier (Clint Hall) and Shes Artful (Ryan Warwick) all racing keenly and five-year-olds Sea Cider (Michael Grantham), Giuliana Rancic (Gary Hall jun.) and C C Chevron (Nathan Turvey) in sound form. Seven-year-old Auctioneers Elsu, to be driven by Maddison Brown for Cardup trainer Sarah Suvaljko, will also receive good support after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier. Auctioneers Elsu notched her 15th victory from 151 starts when she enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, before finishing strongly to win from C C Chevron at her most recent outing, on April 13. Ken Casellas

The powerful Greg and Skye Bond harness racing stable appears to have a stranglehold on the $23,000 Retravision Online Pace over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Friday night with three of the ten runners, Galactic Star, Superimposed and Condrieu, the only last-start winners in the race. And the stable’s No. 1 driver Ryan Warwick has sent a strong message to punters by opting for Galactic Star, a brilliant four-year-old who has drawn perfectly at barrier one on the front line. Galactic Star was most impressive last Friday night when he started from 10m and raced in fifth position with a trail before unleashing a powerful burst to take the lead 70m from the post on his way to winning by more than a length from New World Order over 2503m. That gave the Bettor's Delight four-year-old a winning record of 50 per cent --- 15 wins from 30 starts --- to go with his seven seconds and three thirds. Warwick also drove Superimposed, a Jeremes Jet four-year-old, to a smart all-the-way victory over 2130m last Friday. That was the gelding’s tenth win from 34 starts. He will start from the No. 2 barrier on Friday night, with Dylan Egerton-Green in the sulky. Ryan Bell will drive seven-year-old Condrieu from barrier five on Friday night after guiding the gelding to an easy all-the-way victory from Franco Rayner over 2130m on Easter Thursday. Erskine Range, who showed a welcome return to form last Friday night when he set a solid pace and was overhauled in the final couple of strides by the fast-finishing Heez On Fire, faces a much tougher test this week from out wide at barrier No. 7 on the front line. The Bond stable also holds a strong hand in the $23,000 Retravision Your Fujitsu Specialist Pace over 2130m with Vanquished (Ryan Warwick) and Risk (Mitch Miller) drawn to be prominent. Four-year-old Vanquished has good prospects of leading from barrier two and five-year-old Risk is handily drawn at No. 4. They are sure to meet stiff opposition from the Michael Brennan-trained Billies A Star, who will be making his first appearance for six months. However, Billies A Star is at somewhat of a disadvantage from out wide at barrier No. 8. Brennan has given the New Zealand-bred six-year-old a solid preparation, including three sound trials at Pinjarra earlier this month. He won a 2185m trial by seven lengths from Downtoafineart last Sunday, with final quarters in 27.2sec. and 29.1sec. A week earlier Billies A Star set the pace and won a four-horse trial by seven lengths, with final sections in 28.4sec. and 28.3sec. Vanquished has been placed at his three starts since resuming from a spell and is ready to return to the winning list. He finished solidly from sixth at the bell to be third behind Condrieu over 2130m at his latest outing, on Easter Thursday. Risk is a most consistent performer, with 14 wins and 16 placings from 44 starts and he can never be underestimated. He raced without cover when a fighting third behind Livura at Bunbury last Saturday night. Ken Casellas

High-priced New Zealand harness racing import Shandale should make amends for his defeat as a 6/4 on favourite last Friday night by winning the Retravision 1800 Too Hot Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He started from the outside barrier (No. 9) last week and raced at the rear before moving to eighth at the bell, out three wide, and finishing with plenty of determination to be a one-length second to another talented four-year-old in Overboard Again. The final quarters of the race were covered in 27.1sec. and 28.2sec. --- times which made Shandale’s task of winning almost impossible. This week Shandale will certainly appreciate a far better barrier at No. 2 on the front line and he should carry too many guns for his 11 rivals. Shandale, who has had 35 starts for nine wins and ten placings, is trained at Henley Brook by Mike Reed and will again be driven by Shannon Suvaljko. This combination also has excellent prospects in the Retravision 60 Price Promise Pace with smart New Zealand-bred mare Foxy Dame. Foxy Dame put the writing on the wall for another success with an impressive performance last Friday night when she started out wide at barrier seven and was in eighth place, four back on the pegs at the bell, before finishing powerfully from fifth on the home turn to be a close third to Superimposed and Lord Lombo. That was her fourth placing from her past five starts and she has the ability to overcome the disadvantage of starting from the outside of the back line. She is at her best when held up for a late charge. Two of Foxy Dame’s chief rivals, Sheer Rocknroll (No. 9) and Hidden Bad (No. 8) have drawn wide barriers, but are capable of overcoming those draws. Four-year-old Sheer Rocknroll, trained by Ross Olivieri, has been a revelation, with 19 wins, ten placings and stakes of $211,402 from 46 starts, while the Nathan Turvey-trained Hidden Bad is capable of a bold effort at her first appearance for almost five months. Ken Casellas

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

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

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

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

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

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