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Astute Hazelmere harness racing trainer Mike Reed is poised to Reed is poised to maintain his outstanding record in the Gannon’s WA Oaks by winning the $150,000 group 1 classic with the brilliant New Zealand-bred filly Libertybelle Midfrew at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Libertybelle Midfrew is awkwardly drawn at barrier five on the front line in the 2536m classic. But she has the sheer class, the speed, strength and versatility to overcome this disadvantage. The 59-year-old Reed has prepared only has prepared only three other fillies to contest a WA Oaks .... Pharosan in 2000 and Sheer Royalty and Just In A Heartbeat in 2009. Pharosan started at 6/1 and, driven by Reed, she made the most of an inside passage in the home straight to defeat the outstanding Victorian filly Cornsilk, the 5/4 on favourite who was driven by Scott Stewart. Reed prepared Sheer Royalty for the 2009 Oaks. Driven by Chris Lewis, Sheer Royalty was a 9/2 chance who raced wide early and then pulled extremely hard in the breeze before winning by a nose from 50/1 outsider Styx By Me, with Just In A Heartbeat in third place. Victorian invader Ima Spicey Lombo was favourite at 7/4 on and she finished in eleventh position after being trapped three wide for most of the way. Again this year Reed’s runner looks set to be challenged by an eastern States invader in star Victorian trainer Dean Braun’s New Zealand-bred filly Nike Franco, who has won at eight of her 11 starts. Nike Franco, to be driven by Morgan Woodley, is nicely drawn at the No. 2 barrier on the back line. Nike Franco was the 11/8 favourite in the Victoria Oaks at Melton last Friday night when, driven by Chris Alford, she was ninth early and then sustained a fast three-wide move to get to the breeze after 650m. She then worked hard for the rest of the 2240m event and wilted over the final 100m to finish fourth behind Tasmanian filly Barynya, who rated 1.55.7 after a final 800m in 56.2sec. Libertybelle Midfrew has been absolutely superb at her four starts for Reed and reinsman Shannon Suvaljko in Western Australia, winning each time without being extended, with an average winning margin of 12.7m. There appears to be no chinks in Libertybelle Midfrew’s armour. She possesses a tremendous will to win and has overcome tough runs, covering extra ground and working in the breeze in all four of her Australian appearances. Suvaljko describes her potential as “scary” and declares that he has yet to let her go in her races. Libertybelle Midfrew rounded out her preparation for the big race with a runaway victory in an Oaks prelude last Friday night after she had raced without cover until bursting to the front 600m from home. It is an interesting fact that Reed’s other Oaks winners, Pharosan and Sheer Royalty, also won an Oaks prelude a week before the final.       The WA Oaks was first run in 1968 when Fred Hough trained and drove Pyramus to victory over Miss Dundee. If Libertybelle Midfrew is successful Reed will equal the record of Fred Kersley jun. and Trevor Warwick with three wins in the classic. Kersley was successful with Wannerie (1979), Capricciosa (1980) and Countess Gina (1985) and Warwick won the classic with Benemerenza (1982), Parthenon (1995) and Lombo Rapida (1999). Reed has a second-string runner in the Oaks this year in My Samantha Jane, who will be driven by his son Mark from the unfavourable outside barrier on the front line. My Samantha Jane, a winner at three of her 15 starts, will be at long odds and faces an extremely difficult task. Capel horseman Andrew de Campo, who drove the Neil Lloyd-trained Norms Daughter to victory over Ted Demmler’s Victorian filly and 6/4 on favourite My Cherie in the 1994 Oaks, has three runners, polemarker Artistic Copper (Nathan Turvey), Im Bella Jay (Matt White) and Maddy White (Aiden de Campo). A win by any of that trio would come as quite a surprise. Dontdoubtme, trained by Shayne Cramp and to be driven by Gary Hall jun., caught the eye at her WA debut last Friday night when she was eighth at the bell and finished fast to be second to Libertybelle Midfrew. She possesses good ability and has won at five of her eight starts. However, she will need a bit of luck from barrier four on the back line. Hall drove Miss Holmes to victory over Hindu Sitara and Vinnies Sister in the 2004 Oaks. Chris Lewis, who has driven the winner of the Oaks four times --- with Jamcaro (1988), Showtime Franco (1996), Sheer Royalty (2009) and Sensational Gabby (2012) --- will drive All About Pink for the first time in a race for Byford trainer Ryan Bell. All About Pink, a smart winner in moderate company at Northam at her latest appearance, is favourably drawn at No. 2 on the front line. A CHANGE OF TEMPO FOR LEDA McNALLY Speedy mare and noted frontrunner Leda McNally will be seen in a new role in the 2503m Schweppes Mix It With The Best Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night She will be resuming after a spell and will be contesting a standing-start event for the first time in her splendid career which has produced 19 wins, nine placings and stakes of $281,308 from 51 starts in mobile events. The five-year-old, trained at Pinjarra by Chris King, has set the pace in ten of her wins, but she is also capable of unwinding a sparkling late burst of speed. There is no prospect of Leda McNally leading on Friday night because she will start off the back mark of 50 metres in a race restricted to mares. Leda McNally, to be driven by Chris Voak, has not raced since she started from a wide barrier and was forced to cover a lot of extra ground before finishing seventh behind Vansumic in the Ladyship Mile at Menangle on March 2. Friday night's event is for M0 and better-class pacers, with the handicapper having discretionary powers. If Leda McNally was handicapped on her automatic mark (M10) she would be starting off 100m. She meets all her rivals on extremely favourable terms, but with mares starting off the front and from the 10m mark capable of running fast sectionals, Leda McNally will be sorely tested. Maggies Mystery, off 20m, is racing keenly and will have many admirers. She was hampered for room when an unlucky sixth behind Korobeit Angel over 1730m last Friday night. She impressed at her two previous starts with placings behind Famous Alchemist and Little Boy Blue. Pure Empathy has struck top form in stands for Pinjarra trainer Brad Groves and reinsman Aldo Cortopassi, with wins at Pinjarra and Bunbury and a second to Sir Escapealot at Bunbury at her past three outings. She contested a two-horse standing-start trial at Pinjarra on Sunday morning and won by 40m after sprinting the final 400m in 27.8sec. Jungle Genie, a New Zealand-bred four-year-old trained by Greg and Skye Bond, will have many admirers. She has won at 12 of her past 28 starts and her effort to come from the rear to finish second to Korobeit Angel last week was full of merit. That followed her strong-finishing win the previous Friday night. By Ken Casellas

Veteran Northam harness racing trainer Jesse Moore hit the jackpot when he outlaid a mere $NZ5000 for a filly at the New Zealand premier yearling sales in Christchurch early last year. The filly, named Tricky Styx, repaid Moore handsomely for his cheap gamble when she stormed to a brilliant victory in the $50,000 Slater Gartrell Sports Midland Champagne Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night. "I just happened to fluke buying this filly in New Zealand," the 69-year-old Moore said after Aiden De Campo had driven Tricky Styx, a 27/1 tote outsider to a runaway win in the 2130m group 2 classic. "I never buy horses for myself and we just happened to fluke this one and I bought her for my wife Maree." The $5000 New Zealand converts to $4670 in Australian currency and the filly is already a tremendous bargain. She has had five starts for three wins and stakes of $44,285. For many years Moore has had the reputation as one of the State's best trainers of juvenile pacers and Tricky Styx gave him his fourth success in the Champagne Classic, after wins with Nixon Adios (1975), Wirrpunda (2001) and All Four Firing (2002). Tricky Styx became the ninth filly in the 45-year history of the classic to win the event, following the successes of Jidaley (1971), Deep Decor (1974), Chryso Mou (1976), Whitby Tolez (1991), Whitbys Merit (1993), Nowuseemenowudont (2000), Sheza Clout (2006) and Arma Xpress (2012). And the 22-year-old de Campo was following a wonderful family tradition in the Champagne Classic. His late grandfather Ray de Campo trained Perene Maverick (1988) and Patmos (1990) for their wins in the race. Those youngsters were driven by Aiden De Campo's father Andrew, who also won the event as a trainer-driver with Pawnee Gold in 1995 and Nowuseemenowudont five years later. Tricky Styx, the only filly in the field, has been a problem horse for Moore, beginning badly once and breaking in running twice in her four runs before Friday night's event. Moore made a point of thanking fellow Northam trainer Mike Williams, saying: "He is a special person I'd like to thank. He has done all the work on her and drives her in her trackwork. She was a bit of a handful when we first brought her over." Not only did Tricky Styx have to overcome the not insignificant task of beating the colts and geldings in the race, but she had to overcome the disadvantage of starting from the outside barrier (No. 7) on the front line. Tricky Styx was slow in the score-up and de Campo wisely restrained her back to last while the Persistent Threat, unbeaten at five starts and hot favourite at 2/1 on, set the pace with first Coeur de Whitby and then The Odd Lover in the breeze. When Matt White urged Three Bears forward 900m from home de Campo followed the three-wide run. Tricky Styx was still in ninth position passing the 550m mark when she unwound a sparkling burst. The Odd Lover gained a narrow lead 220m from home before Tricky Styx exploded on the scene and charged to the front 120m from the post. Tricky Styx won effortlessly by three lengths from The Odd Lover, with almost four lengths to Persistent Threat in third place. The final 800m was covered in 59.3sec. and Tricky Styx rated 1.58.2 over the 2130m journey. That was the fastest recorded by any winner of the classic over 2130m or 2100m. The only faster rate recorded by a winner of the Champagne Classic was the 1.58.1 by Sportsmans Dream in 1992. Pawnee Gold rated 1.58.2 when he won in 1995. Both those races were decided over 1700m. Aiden De Campo was full of praise for Tricky Styx, a big, well-grown filly by American stallion Jeremes Jet out of Pocket Rain, a New Zealand-bred mare who produced Go West U Terror, a star two-year-old in WA four years ago when he won the Western Crown Classic and a heat and final of the Pearl Classic before finishing second to Ohokas Bondy in the Golden Slipper Stakes. Go West U Terror has had 42 starts for 15 wins, 11 placings and stakes of $196,971. "Her manners haven't been the best, but her turn of foot is something that I've not experienced before with a two-year-old," he said. "When I pulled her out she went past them a lot quicker than I expected. Then about the 300m I thought she might be coming to the end of her run. But I asked her to go again and she picked up the bit and got the job done." REUBEN BROGDEN BACK ON TRACK New Zealand-bred five-year-old Reuben Brogden looks set for a successful campaign after scoring an effortless win over 6/4 favourite Dominus Vobiscum and Dee Devito in the 2130m Slater Gartrell Seel N Print Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. At his third start after a spell and third favourite at 4/1 from the outside of the back line, Reuben Brogden simply was too classy for his rivals. Owner-trainer Gary Elson has worked hard to get the gelding back into top shape and reinsman Kim Young predicts bigger and better things for the pacer who was a shining light in November-December 2012 when he won a prelude of the Golden Nugget and finished third behind Im Victorious in the final. "The good early speed tonight was to his advantage and he was strong enough to get around and do his business," Young said. "He had plenty of petrol and he's a strong horse. Everything worked out fine. Hopefully, he'll go on with the job. He hasn't come back to the form he showed through the Nugget time, but hopefully he's on the right track now." This was Reuben Brogden's first success since winning the Bridgetown Cup 12 months ago and he now has earned $103,026 from 13 wins and ten placings from only 32 starts. Reuben Brogden settled in eighth position in the one-wide line before Young made his winning move, dashing the gelding forward 1350m from home and then gaining cover behind the three-wide run of Uncle Kracker. Reuben Brogden forged to the front 420m from home and coasted to victory by four lengths. OHOKA SQUIRE-WOODLEY COMBINATION STRIKES AGAIN Star reinsman Morgan Woodley and New Zealand-bred five-year-old Ohoka Squire have formed a wonderful winning association. Woodley took his record behind Ohoka Squire to four wins and a second placing from eight drives behind the Christian Cullen gelding when he drove him to a smart victory in the 2130m Slater Gartrell Jake And Lola Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. At a gift price of 14/1 after sound placings at his two previous starts, Ohoka Squire, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, enjoyed the run of the race in the one-out, one-back position before charging home, five wide, to snatch a neck victory over Vertical Four in a four-way photo finish. Jasper Freeway, the 4/1 second fancy, was first out from barrier five and got to a one-length lead early, but was unable to cross the polemarker and 10/1 chance Time Passenger. Ohoka Kentucky, the 10/9 on favourite, settled in the one-out, one-back position and Robbie Williams sent him forward, three wide, approaching the bell. Jasper Freeway got to a narrow lead 260m from home and he fought on grandly to be a very close fourth. Vertical Four, who trailed the pacemaker, finished strongly to be a neck second, with a nose to Ohoka Kentucky. Ohoka Squire ended a losing sequence of 12 and looks set for further successes. A winner at his only start in New Zealand, at Wyndham in February 2012, the gelding now has had 34 starts for eight wins and 13 placings for earnings of $50,404. He is bred to be a good winner. His dam All My Art (by Falcon Seelster) won only twice rom 23 starts, but has produced outstanding performers Ohoka Nevada (98 starts for 40 wins, 29 placings and $505,757) and Ohoka du Nord (82 starts for 19 wins, 25 placings and $185,567). Ohoka Nevada won group 2 events, the 2009 Kilmore Cup, the 2009 Cranbourne Cup and 2011 Mildura Cup and the group 3 Winter Cup at Menangle in July 2012. He also was placed behind Smoken Up in the group 1 South Australian Cup in 2011 and 2012. KOROBEIT ANGEL SURVIVES EARLY SPEED BATTLE Champion reinsman Gary Hall jun. freely admits that Korobeit Angel is not renowned for her strength, but the four-year-old New Zealand-bred mare revealed an excellent competitive edge when she survived a hectic early battle for the lead in the 1730m Slater Gartrell Ash And Gemma Breeders Stakes prelude at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Favourite at 2/1 from barrier No. 2, Korobeit Angel had to be driven hard to get to the front after 350m following a speed battle with polemarker Courage On Fire and Am Opulent. The opening quarter of the final mile whizzed by in 27.7sec., virtually setting up the race for the swoopers back in the field. But Hall was able to get Korobeit Angel to relax and go through the second quarter in 30.3sec.before covering the final sections in 29sec. and 29.4sec. to win by just under a length from Jungle Genie, with one metre to Am Opulent in third place. Korobeit Angel rated a slick 1.55.8 as she improved her record to 32 starts for 12 wins, nine placings and $90,075 in stakes. A winner of five races in Victoria, she has raced 19 times in Western Australia for premier trainer Gary Hall sen. for seven wins and five placings. "There were concerns after the early burn," Hall jun. conceded. "She's not blessed with a great deal of toughness, but she surprised me tonight. I thought she toughed it out really well after that early burn. I think that the key to that was the way she was able to settle once getting to the lead. "When Jungle genie loomed up on the home turn I definitely thought that she had our measure. She got to us very comfortably and I had to go to my filly (mare) first and to her credit she responded really well and dug deep when she needed to." IMA GRUMPY JASPER RELISHES No. 1 BARRIER The immense benefit of the prized No. 1 barrier at Gloucester Park was yet again illustrated when Ima Grumpy Jasper, who had managed one placing from his past 14 starts, was a solidly-supported 7/4 favourite for the 2130m Slater Gartrell Alex And Amy Pace on Friday night. Backers of the favourite were on good terms with themselves as Chris Voak drove the Victorian-bred five-year-old to an easy all-the-way win, beating Arousing by just over a length. Arousing, who trailed the leader all the way, was a neck in front of Bronze Seeker, who raced four back on the pegs and rattled home along the inside before being hampered for room in the closing stages. After a slow lead time of 38.3sec. Ima Grumpy Jasper reeled off sections of 30.1sec., 30.4sec., 28.6sec. and 29sec. to record a mile rate of 1.58.2. Ima Grumpy Jasper, whose previous win was in an $8000 claimer at Melton 12 months earlier, is trained by Annie Belton and now has raced 50 times for nine wins, five placings and stakes of $51,037. Voak said that he was confident of success after the gelding drew the inside barrier. "When he last led (two starts ago) the winner (Shirlz Sensation) went 1.56.6 (over 2130m) and he finished fifth and rated a touch over 1.57," he said. "And from the pole tonight in a field which was a lot weaker than he raced against when he last led, this was, in my opinion, his race. Barring a very fast lead time, he looked the winner from the draw. "But a bit of pressure in the first quarter left a question mark hanging over him. But the lead time really set it up for him and he only had to run a mile. Every time I touched him with the whip he responded and gave something." DAVIES KEEPS HER PERFECT RECORD Kiara Davies maintained her 100 per cent record behind speedy New Zealand-bred gelding Little Boy Blue when she drove him to an effortless victory in the 2130m Slater Gartrell Sports Thornlie Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. This was her third drive behind the Bob Mellsop-trained five-year-old for three very easy wins. "He's a lovely horse to drive," Davies said as she thanked Mellsop and his wife Val (who owns the gelding) for giving her the opportunity to drive the pacer. "I'm now getting some of the best opportunities I've ever had, driving some extremely nice horses." Little Boy Blue, a heavily-supported 7/4 on favourite, began smartly from the No. 4 barrier and he raced three wide early before Davies sent him past the polemarker Celtic Crusader and into the lead after 420m. Little Boy Blue then dictated terms and he sped over the final 400m in 28.7sec. to give his rivals very little chance of overhauling him. Little Boy Blue was not extended in winning by three lengths from 9/1 chance Our Arlington, who sustained a powerful finishing burst. Celtic Crusader (20/1) held on to finish third ahead of Benjamin Banneker. Little Boy Blue rated 1.56.6 and advanced to an M4 classification. He has earned $142,986 from 15 wins and 21 placings from 61 starts. SHARDONS ROCKET OVERCOMES 30m HANDICAP Evergreen pacer Shardons Rocket made light of the back mark of 30 metres and maintained his grand form when he won the 2503m Slater Gartrell In The Force Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Colin Brown seized the initiative and made a winning move when he sent the nine-year-old forward, three wide, after 600m to move into the breeze, with 3/1 favourite Bartowski setting the pace. Shardons Rocket, third fancy at 4/1, kept the pressure on Bartowski and the first two quarters of the final mile went by in 29.3sec. and 29.5sec. before he surged to the front with 650m to travel. Shardons Rocket covered the next section in 29.3sec. and held on grimly to defeat 22/1 chance That Is Correct by one metre after a final quarter in 30.1sec. He rated a commendable 1.58.6. Bartowski succumbed to the constant pressure and wilted to finish tenth. Shardons Rocket continues to be a wonderful campaigner and he now has a splendid record of 151 starts for 28 wins and 50 placings for earnings of $323,217. He is trained at Byford by 67-year-old Tony Svilicich, who claimed him at Pinjarra on March 31 this year. The New Zealand-bred gelding had been trained for the previous few years by Svilicich for owners Ashley and Gavin McPhail. Shardons Rocket was claimed at Pinjarra on February 17 this year by Eric Chabros and was forced to leave his stables. And then Svilicich jumped at the opportunity to claim the gelding at Pinjarra on March 31. Since then Shardons Rocket has won twice and finished second once from five starts. "It was just enormous again; his last three runs have been fantastic," said Brown, who had to drive the old gelding vigorously in the final lap. "I know which one of us pulled up short of a run, and that's not him. I've got to know him out of a stand and it is just a matter of getting used to him. The thing is that Tony likes them flying out of a stand and making up the ground as quickly as they can. "Tony told me when I first started driving him that you've got to be up there eyeballing. If you give this horse half a chance to knock off, then you won't finish in the placings. It might not look too tidy, but that's the way the horse goes best." LEWIS HAPPY TO FILL IN FOR CORTOPASSI Champion reinsman Chris Lewis has happy to substitute in the sulky behind Shandon Village in the 2536m Slater Gartrell Allira And Jett Pace on Friday night while the veteran gelding's trainer Aldo Cortopassi was on the sidelines, serving a 120-day term of suspension. Cortopassi was suspended for causing interference in a race at Pinjarra last Monday week and he was granted a stay of proceedings to enable him to drive Shandon Village last Friday week. Shandon Village produced a powerful finishing burst to win at 12/1. Despite that impressive victory, Shandon Village was neglected by most punters on Friday night and was a 7/1 chance. He raced in ninth position before Lewis sent him forward approaching the bell to follow the three-wide run of Soho Monza. Conniving Major Dave, who went forward to move to the breeze after a lap, dashed past the pacemaker What God Knows 400m from home. But Shandon Village carried too many guns and forged to the front in the final stages to beat Conniving Major Dave by a neck, with 3/1 favourite Ohoka Courage running on from seventh at the bell to be third. by Ken Casellas

Outstanding harness racing driver Morgan Woodley has been engaged to drive smart five-year-old Copagrin in the $21,000 Slater Gartrell Richard Henry Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. West Swan trainer and part-owner John Guagliardo opted for Woodley after the gelding’s recent regular reinsman Callan Suvaljko was suspended for 16 days for causing interference in a race at Gloucester Park last Friday night. Woodley has not driven Copagrin in any of his 60 starts which have produced 15 wins, 13 placings and $134,077 in prizemoney. He will be the tenth driver to have handled the versatile pacer in a race. Copagrin, who will be attempting to complete a hat-trick of wins on Friday night, was driven by Suvaljko on a stay of proceedings at Bunbury last Saturday night when the gelding was most impressive in scoring an easy victory and setting a track record rate of 1.55.8 over 2100m. Copagrin started from barrier four on the back line and thundered home from seventh at the bell to beat Aristocratic Glow by two lengths. The final 1200m was covered in 1min. 26.2sec. This followed Copagrin’s convincing all-the-way victory over Lord Lombo in a 2536m event at Gloucester Park nine nights earlier. Copagrin will start from barrier three in Friday night’s 1730m event, with speedy pacers and noted frontrunners in Paramedic and Real Hammer drawn on his inside. Real Hammer is one of the fastest beginners in the State and Chris Voak is certain to attempt to burst past the polemarker Paramedic in the early stages and take up the running. This would leave Woodley with the option of rating Copagrin in the breeze or restraining the gelding to take a sit. Real Hammer has just joined the Ross Olivieri stable and he made his first appearance for the Oakford trainer in the race won by Copagrin in Bunbury last Saturday night. He started from barrier five and had many admirers. However, the tyre of his nearside sulky wheel deflated soon after the start and Chris Voak retired the gelding from the race. Famous Alchemist, a brilliant sprinter in the Serpentine stables of Gary Hall sen., looks one of Copagrin’s main dangers, even from out wide at No. 6 on the front line. She worked hard in the breeze before winning the Golden Girls Mile at Pinjarra on Monday of last week, beating Maggies Mystery and rating 1.54.4 over the 1684m journey. The consistent Lord Lombo is nicely drawn on the inside of the back line which is made up of quality performers in Crombie, Pacific Warrior, Mysta Magical Mach and This Time Dylan. Crombie has not been successful for 26 months, but his past couple of efforts have been most encouraging --- a strong-finishing fourth behind Copagin at Gloucester Park and his fourth behind Might Be Luck in a 2500m stand at Harvey in which he started off the 40m mark and raced without cover for much of the way. Nine-year-old Mysta Magical Mach, an equine millionaire, will be reappearing after a ten-week absence, but he appears to be facing a stern task from the outside of the back line. by Ken Casellas

An extra 400 metres will not hamper classy two-year-old Persistent Threat in his bid to retain his unbeaten record when he contests the $50,000 Slater Gartrell Sports Midland Champagne Classic over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The West Australian-bred gelding, trained at Bunbury by John Graham, has won in effortless fashion over 1730m at Gloucester Park at his past two starts after winning easily over 1684m twice at Pinjarra and over 1609m at Bunbury at his only other starts. None of the ten runners in Friday night's classic has been tested over 2130m and Persistent Threat looks the youngster most capable of adjusting to the longer journey, simply because he has not been fully extended in any of his races and has gone to the line strongly in all his five wins. A favourable barrier at No. 2 on the front line will ensure that Persistent Threat will be at a short quote, instead of the gift price of 3/1 last Friday night when he overcame the disadvantage of starting from barrier seven (the outside of the front line) in the $100,000 Sales Classic. Tom Buchanan, who has handled the gelding in all of his five starts, restrained Persistent Threat back to last before he urged him forward, three wide, 1100m from home. Persistent Threat forged to the front at the bell and went on to win, unextended, from the early pacemaker Captain Oats. The field for the Champagne Classic is considerably stronger than the field which contested the Sales Classic and prominent owner Rob Watson will be represented by two talented Art Major youngsters, neither of whom has tasted defeat. Watson's runners are the WA-bred filly Soho New York (trained by Glenn Elliott) and the New Zealand-bred colt The Odd Lover (trained by Kim Prentice). Soho New York, who will start from the No. 2 barrier on the back line, has been most impressive in winning at her four starts, all at odds-on. Fillies have been successful in two of the past eight Champagne Classics (Sheza Clout in 2006) and Arma Xpress (in 2012). The Odd Lover, who is unfavourably drawn at barrier six on the front line, made a superb debut when she began speedily from barrier five and raced in the breeze before scoring by more than three lengths over 1780m at Northam on Thursday of last week. Bickley trainer Peter Anderson and reinsman Morgan Woodley will go into the race full of hope after the consistent Julius Caesar gelding Nitro Lad drew the prized No. 1 barrier. They combined to win the Champagne Classic in 2008 with the brilliant but ill-fated James Matthew. Nitro Lad, a winner at Narrogin five starts ago, has finished second five times from seven career starts. He began from the outside of the back line and raced in sixth position on the pegs before finishing fast along the inside to be fourth behind Persistent Threat last Friday night. Northam trainer Jesse Moore, who has won the Champagne Classic with Nixon Adios (1975), Wirrpunda (2001) and All Four Firing (2002), will be represented by Jeremes Jet filly Tricky Styx, who has won easily at Bunbury and Pinjarra at two of her four starts. Her prospects deteriorated when she drew the outside of the front line. Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri and Herne Hill horseman Sam Torre will be looking to win the Champagne Classic for the second time. Olivieri was successful with Talladega in 1999 and Torre drove Arch Rival to victory in 1985. Olivieri will be represented by the speedy Coeur de Whitby, who has won at Northam, Narrogin and Harvey at his past three outings. Coeur de Whitby will start from the No. 5 barrier on the front line with Chris Voak in the sulky. Torre's runner Thatelbe, a grey Jet Laag gelding, will start from the inside of the back line and will be driven by Chris Lewis. Thatelbe has won once (at Pinjarra) at his four starts. Lewis will be hoping that history will repeat itself. He drove Mister Jadore from the inside of the back line in last year's Champagne Classic and the gelding trailed the pacemaker Lukey before finishing powerfully to win easily from Hugh Victor. That gave Lewis his seventh win in the event --- after scoring with Pardon Me Boys (1987), Talladega (1999), Wirrpunda (2001), All Four Firing (2002), Slick Operator (2003) and David Hercules (2009). WOODLEY TO DRIVE COPAGRIN Outstanding reinsman Morgan Woodley has been engaged to drive smart five-year-old Copagrin in the $21,000 Slater Gartrell Richard Henry Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. West Swan trainer and part-owner John Guagliardo opted for Woodley after the gelding's recent regular reinsman Callan Suvaljko was suspended for 16 days for causing interference in a race at Gloucester Park last Friday night. Woodley has not driven Copagrin in any of his 60 starts which have produced 15 wins, 13 placings and $134,077 in prizemoney. He will be the tenth driver to have handled the versatile pacer in a race. Copagrin, who will be attempting to complete a hat-trick of wins on Friday night, was driven by Suvaljko on a stay of proceedings at Bunbury last Saturday night when the gelding was most impressive in scoring an easy victory and setting a track record rate of 1.55.8 over 2100m. Copagrin started from barrier four on the back line and thundered home from seventh at the bell to beat Aristocratic Glow by two lengths. The final 1200m was covered in 1min. 26.2sec. This followed Copagrin's convincing all-the-way victory over Lord Lombo in a 2536m event at Gloucester Park nine nights earlier. Copagrin will start from barrier three in Friday night's 1730m event, with speedy pacers and noted frontrunners in Paramedic and Real Hammer drawn on his inside. Real Hammer is one of the fastest beginners in the State and Chris Voak is certain to attempt to burst past the polemarker Paramedic in the early stages and take up the running. This would leave Woodley with the option of rating Copagrin in the breeze or restraining the gelding to take a sit. Real Hammer has just joined the Ross Olivieri stable and he made his first appearance for the Oakford trainer in the race won by Copagrin in Bunbury last Saturday night. He started from barrier five and had many admirers. However, the tyre of his nearside sulky wheel deflated soon after the start and Chris Voak retired the gelding from the race. Famous Alchemist, a brilliant sprinter in the Serpentine stables of Gary Hall sen., looks one of Copagrin's main dangers, even from out wide at No. 6 on the front line. She worked hard in the breeze before winning the Golden Girls Mile at Pinjarra on Monday of last week, beating Maggies Mystery and rating 1.54.4 over the 1684m journey. The consistent Lord Lombo is nicely drawn on the inside of the back line which is made up of quality performers in Crombie, Pacific Warrior, Mysta Magical Mach and This Time Dylan. Crombie has not been successful for 26 months, but his past couple of efforts have been most encouraging --- a strong-finishing fourth behind Copagin at Gloucester Park and his fourth behind Might Be Luck in a 2500m stand at Harvey in which he started off the 40m mark and raced without cover for much of the way. Nine-year-old Mysta Magical Mach, an equine millionaire, will be reappearing after a ten-week absence, but he appears to be facing a stern task from the outside of the back line. LIBERTYBELLE MIDFREW IS A STAR BET Shannon Suvaljko described Libertybelle Midfrew's potential as "scary" after driving her to a runaway victory at Gloucester Park on Easter Thursday and declared that she was one of the best pacers he had driven in a career spanning more than a quarter of a century. He will again drive the New Zealand-bred filly for Hazelmere trainer Mike Reed in the Slater Gartrell Money Magnet WA Oaks prelude at Gloucester Park on Friday night and from barrier three on the front line she should prove the star bet on the ten-event program. This will be Libertybelle Midfrew's final race before running in the $150,000 WA Oaks the following Friday night. She is unbeaten at her three starts in Western Australia after arriving from New Zealand earlier in the year. Her average winning margin is a fraction under four lengths. Suvaljko readily admits that he has not let Libertybelle Midfrew go at any of her three runs in Australia and he describes her as a strong, tough and all class. Adding quite some interest to Friday night's race will be the first appearance in WA of New Zealand-bred fillies Pal Amino and Dontdoubtme. Pal Amino, trained at Pinjarra by Kade Howson, will be having her first start since she chalked up her first victory at her fourth start --- over 1950m at Rangiora on February 27. She will start from barrier four on the front line. Dontdoubtme is a Washington VC filly trained by Shayne Cramp who has had seven starts in Victoria and South Australia for five wins, a fifth and a last-start third in the South Australian Oaks at Globe Derby Park on February 8 when she raced wide and then worked hard without cover. She will start from barrier four on the back line on Friday night. Smart fillies Maddy White (five wins from 23 starts) and Jungle Jewel (a winner at Gloucester Park and Kellerberrin at her past two outings) will start on the inside of Libertybelle Midfrew on Friday night and Aiden De Campo (Maddy White) and Colin Brown (Jungle Jewel) will be keen to set the pace. Maddy White is one of three fillies in the race who are prepared at Capel by Andrew De Campo, the others being Typhoon Tan (six wins from 21 starts) and Im Bella Jay (four wins from 16 starts). Reed has a good second-string runner in My Samantha Jane, who is nicely drawn on the inside of the back line. My Samantha Jane won for the third time from 14 starts when she gave a strong frontrunning performance to beat Im Bella Jay over 2100m at Bunbury last Saturday night. Even though she is unfavourably drawn at barrier six on the front line, The Parade appears the toughest rival for Libertybelle Midfrew. After one placing from three starts as a two-year-old, The Parade has raced in wonderful style this season, with six wins, three seconds and a third from 12 starts. DAVIES AND LITTLE BOY BLUE SET TO SHINE Kiara Davies looks set to maintain her 100 per cent record behind speedy five-year-old Little Boy Blue by driving the New Zealand-bred gelding to victory in the 2130m Slater Gartrell Sports Thornlie Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. She has driven the Bob Mellsop-trained Little Boy Blue twice for stylish victories in fast times and from barrier four this week she is likely to urge Little Boy Blue forward in the early stages in a bid to assume his favourite frontrunning role. Davies drove Little Boy Blue hard from barrier three to take up the running after 220m in a 2130m event three starts ago. He romped to a four-length victory at a 1.55.8 rate over 2130m. And then last Friday night Davies fired up Little Boy Blue from the No. 4 barrier to take the front after 220m before he sped over the final 800m in 56sec. to win by two and a half lengths at a 1.54 rate over 1730m. An interesting newcomer on Friday night is Napoleon Dynamite, who will start from barrier five on the front line in the 2130m Slater Gartrell Seel N Print Pace for Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri and reinsman Chris Voak. The eight-year-old Napoleon Dynamite will be making his Australian debut after having raced 90 times in New Zealand for ten wins and 24 placings. His last win was by a short half-head over Lord Diego at Alexandra Park in August 2011, rating 1.58.4 over 2200m. by Ken Casellas

La Mia Juliette, whose ancestry traces back to Dainty's Daughter, the greatest West Australian-bred pacing mare, gave convincing proof that she is on the doorstep of a wonderful career when trainer Peter Tilbrook drove her to a superb victory in the $100,000 Clipsal WA Sales Classic for two-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night. La Mia Juliette, second fancy at 7/2 behind 10/9 favourite Isabella Jane, started from the outside of the back line (barrier three) and Tilbrook allowed her to relax in eighth position in the early stages while polemarker Maddyann Maree set the pace. Tilbrook sent La Mia Juliette forward, three wide with 900m to travel and he was able to give her a breather down the back straight when he angled her into the one-out, one-back position at the 600m mark before taking off again, three wide, 230m later. La Mia Juliette surged to the front 120m from the post and won by 2m from 8/1 chance Playin With Magic, who was seventh in the one-wide line at the bell and charged home five wide on the track. Choccywoccy (33/1) ran on solidly to be third, with Maddyann Maree wilting to fourth. La Mia Juliette, a fast-finishing heat winner at her only previous start, is already proving to be a good buy. Tilbrook bought the Jet Laag filly for $8000 at the 2013 Gloucester Standardbred yearling sale and she now has earned $64,550 for Tilbrook's partner Letitia Barron and his good friend Luke Tabbakh. The win came as a well-deserved compensation for Tilbrook, who outlaid $4500 to buy a Northern Luck colt at the 2011 yearling sale. The colt, who was out of True Royalty, showed considerable promise before he died. True Royalty is the dam of La Mia Juliette and Tilbrook was determined to buy her at the yearling sale. True Royalty, by American stallion Barnett Hanover, was retired after having only two starts as a two-year-old in January 2007 when she finished in eighth and ninth positions. However, her dam Remember Rhoie, who failed to win a race from seven starts, produced six winners, including Lombo Buon Natale (100 starts for 14 wins, 23 placings and $112,061) and Perfect Rhoie (78 starts for 12 wins, 12 placings and $84,284). True Royalty and Perfect Rhoie are direct descendants of Dainty Widow, the mother of Dainty's Daughter, who set a world record for two miles when she won the 1970 WA Pacing Cup. Dainty's Daughter also won the 1971 Fremantle Cup, the Meteor Mile at Gloucester Park in 1969 when her time of 1.58.8 set a world record for a mare on a half-mile track. She also became the first Australian-bred mare to record a sub-2min. time for a mile in Australia. Friday night's triumph by La Mia Juliette gave the 42-year-old Tilbrook his second success in a group 1 event. His previous success was in the $100,000 State Sires Series final for three-year-old fillies when he brought 16/1 chance Beverley Button home with a powerful burst from the rear. La Juliette is the fourth foal, and the first to race, out of True Royalty. She rated 2.0.1 over the 1730m on Friday night and Tilbrook said that she would have a little break before being prepared for the $100,000 Westbred Classic for two-year-old fillies on June 27. "We've been going to the sales for quite a few years, trying to find one that would actually make the races," Tilbrook said. "And this one was good enough to give a name to. She sustained a really strong run in the heat from the 600m and she hit the line and went for another 200m at the same speed. So I thought she would be able to make a run in the final from the 900m. "I didn't really want to go that early, but when the one behind me was trying to flush me out I thought I'd let him do that and that might put Isabella Jane in a pocket. And that seemed to work." Isabella Jane, who raced in seventh position after starting out wide from barrier six, was inconvenienced and lost ground at the bell before finishing in ninth place. PERSISTENT THREAT IN LINE FOR RICH PLUMS Classy gelding Persistent Threat remained undefeated when Tom Buchanan drove him confidently to record a stylish victory in the $100,000 Clipsal WA Sales Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park on Friday night. This gave the 23-year-old Buchanan his biggest success in harness racing and Persistent Threat has all the earmarks of becoming the dominant force in rich two-year-old feature events in the coming couple of months. If Persistent Threat pulls up well after his effortless triumph on Friday night he will contest the $50,000 Champagne Classic next Friday night, and all going well he will then run in the $100,000 Pearl Classic (June 13), the $100,000 Westbred Classic (June 27) and the $125,000 Golden Slipper (July 18). Bunbury trainer John Graham has produced Persistent Threat in fine fettle for his first five starts --- for five easy victories and earnings of $77,225. For Graham, Friday night's win gave him his second success in a group 1 Sales Classic. He trained and drove Trunkey Mustang for his victory over Super Embrace and Whitby Nova in the 1994 two-year-old colts and geldings Sales Classic. An excited Buchanan said that it was a thrill to win the classic and declared that it was a privilege to drive a youngster as good as Persistent Threat. "I'm glad to repay John (Graham) for the faith he has had in me," he said. Despite going into Friday night's event with an unbeaten record, Persistent Threat was a 3/1 chance, with Ezygatboy, a heat winner at his debut the previous week, a warm 7/4 favourite from the No. 2 barrier. Obviously many punters considered Persistent Threat a risk from the outside barrier (No. 7) on the front line. Polemarker Captain Oats was smartest into stride, while Persistent Threat settled down in ninth position before Buchanan seized the initiative and urged persistent Threat forward with a three-wide burst 1100m from home. Persistent Threat mustered great pace and he burst to the front with a lap to travel. Persistent Threat covered the final quarters in 29.7sec. and 28.8sec. and won by a length and a half from Captain Oats, with more than two lengths to heat winner Blacklist in third place. Persistent Threat rated 1.57.6 which was a race record, bettering the 1.58 rated by Getaway Plan when he won the event in 2012. However, the track record for a two-year-old colt or gelding over 1730m remains at the 1.56.9 recorded by Hugh Victor when he beat Mister Jadore last August. Ezygatboy, who enjoyed the one-out, one-back trail for most of the way, failed to flatter and finished seventh. Persistent Threat is by Advance Attack and is out of the New Zealand-bred Live Or Die mare Well That's Life, who had 69 starts for 12 wins, 21 placings and stakes of $69,158. Well That's Life finished 11th at her only New Zealand start and then won once from four Victorian starts, eight times from 32 starts in South Australia and three times from 32 starts in Western Australia. IT'S A STROLL IN THE PARK FOR HOKONUI BEN New Zealand-bred seven-year-old Hokonui Ben will be a leading contender for feature Cup events on the Western Australian calendar, judged by his effortless victory in the $21,000 Memorial Day Stakes at Gloucester Park on Friday night. His much-anticipated clash with returning superstar Im Themightyquinn failed to eventuate when champion was withdrawn, suffering from a bout of colic. This left Hokonui Ben, drawn at the prized No. 1 barrier, a hot favourite at 3/1 on and trainer Aldo Cortopassi gave punters no cause for concern when he got Hokonui Ben away smartly before he dictated terms after a slow lead time of 38.4sec. and a modest first 400m section of the final mile in 30.7sec. Hokonui Ben dashed over the final three quarters in 28.9sec., 27.9sec. another 29.7sec. He rated 12.56.2 over the 1730m and beat Red Salute by just over two lengths after that pacer had trailed him throughout. Lord Lombo fought on to be third after enjoying the one-out, one-back passage. Hokonui Ben has been a wonderfully consistent pacer for Queensland owner Jerome Nieuwenburg, earning $611,799 from 20 wins and 15 placings from 57 starts. Cortopassi was delighted at the gelding's performance, saying: "First-up he was short (of full fitness) and he held on and won, and last week he ran a huge race in the Easter Cup (starting off the 40m mark and finishing fourth). "Once he drew one for tonight's race I was pretty confident. We fired him up in the prelim because we thought that Polak (barrier five) might come out and have a crack at us early. So we didn't want to be caught napping. We wanted to make sure that he was on his toes. "I was actually pretty confident even with the Quinn in the race. I thought this was my chance to beat him, first-up and after a long absence and no trials. We had drawn one and he had drawn seven and he was going to get a long way back. I thought that if we could run a good 1000m to 1200m we would give him a shake. But I'm not complaining that he wasn't there." JUNGLE GENIE BACK TO HER BEST Four-year-old New Zealand-bred mare Jungle Genie bounced back to her best form and ended a losing run of six when she outclassed her rivals in the West Australian Pace over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. A 5/1 chance from barrier three on the back line, Jungle Genie was driven confidently by Colin Brown, who was content to allow the mare to relax in eighth position before she unwound a powerful last-lap burst to storm to victory by just over a length from Terra Into The West (5/1). The pacemaker Cielito (15/2) held on to be third, with the even-money favourite Adda Rising Star finishing fourth after racing without cover. Jungle Genie, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, has excelled in WA after having managed one third placing from five New Zealand starts. She has had 27 starts for the Bonds for 12 wins and nine placings and she now has earned $67,932. The Bonds also are preparing Jungle Genie's half-sister Jungle Jewel, whose first three WA starts (all in March this year) produced a first-up Gloucester Park third followed by wins at Gloucester Park and Kellerberrin. Jungle Genie had warmed up for Friday night's event in a 21895m race at Pinjarra four days earlier when she was driven by Dylan Egerton-Green and raced four back on the pegs before finishing fast to be a close fourth behind Car Fiftyfour. "I thought that performance was enormous," said Brown. "I drove another horse in the race and I went back and watched the replay and I thought that the mare (Jungle Genie) was the run of the race. "She's just got a bit of that lickety-split back. I was always happy in running tonight and was particularly happy that most of the boys in the one-wide line were under the pump and fortunately they didn't pull out from underneath me. So that made it a lot easier." NO TROUBLE FOR ALTA CHRISTIANO Star four-year-old Alta Christiano was hardly out of second gear as he took full advantage of the coveted No. 1 barrier and strolled to an effortless victory in the $25,000 Del Basso Smallgoods Johnson final at Gloucester Park on Friday night. His three-length victory over Erskine Range boosted his earnings to $276,164 from ten wins and two placings from just 15 starts, but ace reinsman Gary Hall jun. warned that the New Zealand-bred stallion was a day-by-day proposition. "His leg is very good at the moment, but he did do it (injure it) pretty badly twice, so there is no guarantee that he will stand up," he explained. "We've just got our fingers crossed and will take each race as it comes. If we can get a full campaign out of him and really show people what he can do it would be great. It's the main aim to boost his reputation before he goes to stud. "He obviously needs some good racing under his belt to get to the level required to contest the big carnival races next summer. The ability is there, no question, but just getting the work into him is the key at this stage. "I was really happy with the barrier draw tonight because he's obviously carrying a bit of extra condition and it's nice to get easy wins like that where he's not bustled around off the track. It's good to get wins like that, on the rail and doing it his own way." Alta Christiano started at 10/1 on and never looked in the slightest danger. Erskine Range, second fancy at 13/1 from the inside of the back line, trailed Alta Christiano throughout and battled on gamely. The Black Lord (50/1) came from three back on the pegs to be third. YOUNG'S DARING TACTICS PAY OFF Daring tactics by Pinjarra trainer-reinsman David Young returned handsome dividends when big seven-year-old gelding Boofshalfbrother left his ten rivals floundering in his wake in the 1730m Clipsal Westbred Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Young sent Boofshalfbrother straight to the front from barrier two and he gelding set a blistering early pace, sprinting over the first two 400m sections of the final mile in 28.4sec. and 28.6sec. before he coasted to a two-length win over Sargent Sonny after final quarters in 29.5sec. and 30.3sec. Boofshalfbrother was showing signs of fatigue over the final 300m. But so too were his rivals. He rated a slick 1.56.1 in quite a remarkable performance from a veteran performer who had managed one win from his previous 30 starts. Young certainly enjoyed the moment, jubilantly waving the whip as he crossed the finish line well clear of the struggling opposition. Boofshalfbrother, who had started from 40m in a 2636m stand at Narrogin at his previous outing a fortnight earlier, finished last in that event after covering a lot of extra ground. He was a 10/1 chance on Friday night, with last-start Pinjarra winner Adda Notherzero favourite at 6/4 and Guilty Grin, a winner at his two previous starts (at Pinjarra() second fancy at 9/4. Those two runners started from the two outside positions on the back line. Guilty Grin went forward in the first lap to obtain a good sit, one-out and one-back, and he battled on into fifth place. Adda Notherzero was always well back and finished ninth. Boofshalfbrother's only previous Gloucester Park win was in August 2010. He now has raced 84 times for 13 wins, 19 placings and $63,447. By American stallion Mattuity, he is out of Crouch mare Point Anne, who was unplaced at her four starts on WA country tracks in 2000 before being retired. Point Anne's dam Dirkala produced five winners, including Bremer Bay (71 starts for 17 wins, 11 placings and $52,418) and Trigalow (71 starts for 14 wins, 22 placings and $59,621). Boofshalfbrother is related to dozens of former very smart WA pacers, including Cheeky Arab, Bin Oro, Oro Travis, Arabian Bin, Bin Axworthy, red Axworthy and Vermilion. ACCIDENT AIDS SHANDON VILLAGE An accident soon after the start of the 2536m Sky Racing Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night paved the way for an easy win to 12/1 chance Shandon Village. Ergo, a 16/1 chance, met with severe interference and caused reinsman Ryan Warwick to be dislodged from the sulky 300m after the start. Elusive Courage, the 4/1 second fancy, was setting the pace before relinquishing the lead 600m after the start to 10/9 favourite Notabadexcuse. However, the stewards called off the race after a lap because Ergo was still lying on the track. Ergo was then withdrawn on veterinary advice and the race was re-started a few minutes later. In an almost identical replay of the first start, Elusive Courage worked hard, three wide, to get to the front before Clint Hall sent Notabadexcuse into the lead after 600m. Again, trainer-reinsman Aldo Cortopassi had eased Shandon Village to the rear after starting from the outside of the front line. Meet George Jetson moved into the breeze 1250m from home and got on terms with Notabadfexcuse at the 400m mark. Shandon Village, who had been restrained to the rear at the start, was ninth at the bell before Cortopassi sent him forward, three wide to move to sixth with 450m to travel. Notabadexcuse was under pressure, but still narrowly in front of Meet George Jetson on the home turn when he broke into a gallop and caused interference to Meet George Jetson. Shandon Village charged straight to the front and raced away to win by just over four lengths from Fire of Rock (who ran on from last at the bell), with Roy Bolt in third place. Cortopassi admitted that everything had gone in the favour of Shandon Village. "They burnt hard the first time (before the race was stopped) and they burnt again the second time," he said. "This horse (Shandon Village) has got a brilliant turn of speed and they set it up for him. We just got the benefit of it. "We've been racing him in stands and he'd get away and he would miss. So his form was a bit up and down. So now I'm concentrating on mobiles and I think his form should hold up a bit more." Shandon Village, who is owned by his breeder, Victorian priest Fr Brian Glasheen, came to WA recently with a losing sequence of 20 and won at his WA debut, in a stand at Northam in mid-March this year. The eight-year-old Village Jasper gelding has raced 158 times for 14 wins, 25 placings and stakes of $75,830. He has had six WA starts for two wins and one placing. The stewards found that Callan Suvaljko caused the interference to Ergo by allowing Knight Crusader to shift inwards to the marker pegs when not clear of Ergo. Suvaljko was suspended for 16 days. He was granted a four-day stay of proceedings and travelled to Bunbury on Saturday night where he landed a double with 15/2 chance Cup of Life and Copagrin, an 11/2 chance who finished powerfully to win the Bunbury Tenth Light Horse Troop Cup by two lengths from Artistic Glow, rating 1.55.8 to set a track record over 2100m. JONES KEEPS UP THE GOOD WORK Queensland teenager Lauren Jones maintained her splendid form in the sulky when she brought 6/1 chance Heavens delight home with a well-timed burst to snatch a last-stride victory in the 1730m Clipsal Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Jones, a stablehand at the Serpentine training establishment of Gary Hall sen., drove patiently as she trailed the pacemaker and even-money favourite The Oyster Bar until she got into the clear in the home straight and Heavens Delight sprinted fast to beat The Oyster Bar by a half-head at a 1.55.9 rate. Black Pontiac (8/1) worked hard in the breeze and gained a narrow lead in the home straight before finishing a nose away in third place. Heavens Delight, trained by Hall, was having his first start after a four-month absence. A winner of two races from eight starts in New Zealand, Heavens Delight has had 40 starts in WA for 13 wins and nine placings. His stakes stand at $91,516. GIFT HORSE DUNDEE THREE WINS AGAIN New Zealand-bred seven-year-old Dundee Three, a gift horse from Greg and Skye Bond to Serpentine trainer Stephanie Smith, made his record for his new owner two starts for two wins when he scored an impressive victory in the 2503m Clipsal Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Those two wins have been worth $22,440 and the Mach Three gelding has improved his record to 76 starts for 21 wins and 22 placings for stakes of $216,598. Dundee Three, who started off the back mark of 40m with Shardons Rocket, was favourite at 5/2. Frontmarker Bartowski, third fancy at 9/2, set the pace for Chris Voak with 3/1 chance The Pacing Priest working hard in the breeze. Dundee Three raced in 11th position for the first 1200m before moving to sixth at the bell. Morgan Woodley then got him into the one-wide line before taking him three wide again 350m from home. Dundee Three sustained his spirited effort to get to the front on the home turn before dashing away to win by two lengths from Bartowski at a 1.58.9 rate. Franco Jackson, who trailed the pacemaker, was third, with Shardons Rocket in fourth place. "UI was really concerned," Woodley said. "Dundee Three got away fairly well, but it wasn't good enough to even maintain his ground. The front pack was really rolling along and we were chasing the whole way. "I was urging him to make ground all the way and it certainly was concerning what he was going to have left in the tank coming towards the 400m and I just can't say enough for the horse and for Steph's performance. "A lot of lesser horses would have put up the white flag around the 200 to 300m mark. But he just dug deep and kept coming. When Shardons Rocket went around to attempt to get to the breeze it was a concern for me if he was able to get there cheaply. Then I would have had to lead up the three-wide line, and that would have made things difficult. "With Shardons Rocket getting left out three wide it certainly made a huge difference to my horse's chances." DAVIES KEEPS HER PERFECT RECORD Kiara Davies maintained her 100 per cent record behind speedy five-year-old Little Boy Blue when she adopted bold frontrunning tactics to score an easy victory in the 1730m Yes Loans Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. This was her second drive behind Little Boy Blue, after using similar tactics to win with the New Zealand-bred gelding over 2130m two starts earlier. Little Boy Blue, trained at Waroona by Bob Mellsop, is flourishing and moves to an M3 classification. He gives every indication of many more victories. Little Boy Blue was a heavily-supported 6/4 favourite and Davies wasted little time in urging Little Boy Blue forward from the No. 4 barrier and into the lead after 220m. A sparkling first quarter in 28.2sec. was followed by a moderate 30.2sec. second split before Little Boy Blue dashed over the final sections in 28.1sec. and 27.9sec. to beat Lisharry by two and a half lengths at a 1.54 rate. Maggies Mystery finished boldly to be third, with El Machine wilting to fourth after working in the breeze. "He was a bit keen early and I was happy to get a second quarter in 30.2sec.," Davies said. Little Boy Blue has raced 60 times for 14 wins, 21 placings and $131,106. by Ken Casellas To unsubscribe, please click here. To forward, please click here.

Pacing superstar Im Themightyquinn has thrown off the effects of injuries and illness and is poised to make a triumphant return to racing by proving too fast for his eight rivals in the $21,000 Memorial Day Stakes at Gloucester Park on Friday night, despite the significant disadvantage of starting from the outside of the front line in the 2130m feature event. The nine-year-old champion, who pulled up sore after finishing second to Im Victorious in the 1730m Members Sprint at Gloucester Park last October, looks a picture after a thorough preparation from leading trainer Gary Hall sen. and punters are excited at the prospect of supporting him at his first start in a race for 196 days. A month ago he sped over the final 400m of a track workout at Hall's Serpentine training establishment in 27.1sec. and he has improved considerably since then. Im Themightyquinn, winner of 51 races from 102 starts for earnings of $4,377,016, goes into Friday night's race with a splendid first-up record, having won at his first outing after a spell in each of his three previous preparations. Star reinsman Gary Hall jun.is certain not to set Im Themightyquinn alight in the early stages and to allow the champion to drift back to the rear before making use of his sizzling speed at a later stage in the race. Hokonui Ben, winner of the WA Pacing Cup in January, has fared well in the random draw and is sure to appreciate the distinct advantage of starting from the prized No. 1 barrier. Trainer Aldo Cortopassi will be anxious to set the pace and he certainly will be mindful of the prospect of an early challenge for the lead from Polak, who is capable of mustering great pace from the No. 5 barrier. Hokonui Ben appeals as the main danger to Im Themightyquinn. He set the pace and held on to win narrowly from the fast-finishing This Time Dylan over 2130m two starts ago. And then he finished an excellent fourth behind Finbar Abbey in the 2902m Easter Cup on Thursday of last week when he started off 40m and sustained a spirited finishing burst. However, it is difficult to visualise Hokonui Ben or any other runner seriously challenging Im Themightyquinn. Victory for Im Thenmightyquinn would give the Hall father-and-son combination its first success in the Memorial Day Stakes, an event which has been held annually since Ken Ford drove Halt to victory in 1959. Hall sen. now has high hopes that Im Themightyquinn will end his several near misses in the Memorial Day Stakes. Hall has trained the runner-up in five memorial Day Stakes --- Zakara (1991), Bengeeman (2003), Patches (2006), Dartmoor (2009) and Whos Mistake (2013). Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri, who will be represented by Red Salute, has won the event twice. He scored with Captain Lee (Chris Lewis) in 1995 and Tsunami Lombo (Morgan Woodley in 2011). Chris Voak will drive the consistent Red Salute, who should gain an ideal passage after starting from barrier two on the back line. PERSISTENT THREAT POISED FOR FIVE IN A ROW Persistent Threat was the most impressive of the three heat winners on Tuesday of last week and he possesses the versatility and natural speed to make the greatest appeal in the $100,000 WA Sales Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Advance Attack gelding, trained in Bunbury by John Graham, fared poorly in the random draw and will start from the outside barrier (No. 7) on the front line, which is a serious disadvantage over the sprint journey of 1730m. However, Persistent Threat has shown wonderful versatility in winning at his only four starts, in which he has been driven with plenty of confidence by Tom Buchanan. He reappeared after a two-month absence in a qualifying heat of the Sales Classic last week when he started from the No. 5 barrier and was sixth in the one-wide line at the bell before Buchanan sent him forward, three wide, 650m from home. He ran home fast and won, hard held, by a length from Lot twenty One, rating 1.58.6. Persistent Threat's first three starts were in January and February when he was not fully extended in winning twice at Pinjarra and once at Bunbury. His gross time in his heat last week was 2min. 7.5sec., which compares more than favourably with the times recorded by the other heat winners, Blacklist (2min. 8.3sec.) and Ezygatboy (2min. 9.5sec.). Ezygatboy and Blacklist are much more favourably drawn in the final than Persistent Threat, something which is sure to hearten the connections of both geldings. Ezygatboy will start from barrier two on the front line and Blacklist will start on the inside of the back line. Ezygatboy, to be driven by his trainer Garry Butler, made a stylish debut in winning his heat, in which he was restrained from barrier six and was sixth at the bell before he produced a sparkling late sprint to win by a length and a half from, Nitro lad at a 2.0.5 rate. Blacklist, trained and driven by Shannon Suvaljko, also made a smart debut when he raced three wide for the first 500m before bursting to the front 1100m from home and scoring easily by one and a half lengths from Bettor Twisted, rating 1.59.4. He is related to former champion The Falcon Strike and will have many admirers. Captain Oats, a Rich And Spoilt colt trained by Courtney Burch, drew the prized No. 1 barrier and he will be popular with punters. Reinsman Gary Hall jun. will be out to repeat his effort in this event in 2010 when he set the pace with hot favourite Blissfull Boy from barrier one and won the classic from Touch of Tango and Bettors Ace. The No. 1 barrier also proved a decisive factor in this race 12 months ago when Chris Lewis drove Mister Jadore to an all-the-way victory over Swagga (driven by Hall) and Lukey (driven by Suvaljko). ISABELLA JANE HAS FAMILY TRADITION TO UPHOLD Talented filly Isabella Jane has a family tradition to uphold when she contests the $100,000 Clipsal WA Sales Classic for two-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Byford trainer David Thompson is hoping that she will follow in the footsteps of his stable star David Hercules, whom he prepared for his victory over Tiger Reed Lombo and Grinjaro in a version of the WA Sales Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings in May 2009. The other version of the 2009 classic was won by Ballas Arockstar. Isabella Jane is by American stallion Sportswriter and is a half-sister to David Hercules, who has amassed $805,444 in prizemoney from 29 wins and 31 placings from 87 starts. Like A Dame, the dam of David Hercules and Isabella Jane, has also produced smart pacers in Gran Tarino and Hugh Victor. Like A Dame's dam Hold Tight produced Fake Embrace, winner of the Sales Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings in March 2004. Isabella Jane, to be driven by Colin Brown, has raced only once --- for a strong victory in a heat of the Sales Classic on Tuesday of last week when, she started from barrier four and raced three wide for the first 550m before moving to the breeze and eventually getting to a narrow lead with 250m to travel. And then she impressed by dashing right away from her rivals and winning by three lengths from Choccywoccy, who finished strongly, out five wide, after enjoying a soft run three back on the pegs. Isabella Jane will not have things all her own way in the final on Friday night after drawing out wide at No. 6 on the front line. She is likely to receive plenty of opposition, particularly from three back-line runners, Straittothehilton, Choccywoccy and La Mia Juliette. Straittothehilton will have admirers from the inside of the back line. Her effort when third behind Isabella Jane and Choccywoccy in the qualifying heat was full of merit. She started from the outside of the front line and broke into a gallop soon after the start, dropping back to last. She was still last at the bell before rattling home, six wide on the track. La Mia Juliette, trained and driven by Peter Tilbrook was a 46/1 outsider when she made a successful debut in a heat of the classic on Tuesday of last week. She was sixth in the one-wide line at the bell before finishing strongly to beat the pacemaker Lovers Prayer. Chris Lewis, who has driven the winner of the Sales Classic for two-year-old fillies six times, will handle the polemarker Maddyann Maree for Harvey trainer Peter Kimberley. Maddyann Maree possesses good gate speed and has shown promise with a second, a third and three fourths from her five starts. She goes into the race with the distinct advantage of the No. 1 barrier. Lewis has won the classic with Miss Booth (1991), Parthenon (1994), Backin A Jiffy (2000), Hindu Sitara (2003), Amongst Royalty (2006) and Fidelius Charm (2008). ALTA CHRISTIANO HAS EVERYTING IN HIS FAVOUR A return to mobile racing, a reduction in distance and the coveted No. 1 barrier on the front line are the three ingredients which should ensure that star four-year-old Alta Christiano returns to the winning list when he contests the $25,000 Del Basso Smallgoods The Johnson final at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The chunky New Zealand-bred stallion, trained by Gary Hall sen., should make amends for his defeat as the 7/4 on favourite in the 2902m Easter Cup on Thursday of last week by proving too smart for his rivals in this week's event over 2130m. He suffered his first defeat in Australia last week when he began slowly from a standing start and settled down almost 60m behind the early pacemaker Hez Got the Nod. He dashed forward in the first circuit to get to the front after 950m and was not caught until the final 70m when a close third behind Finbar Abbey and Polak. Alta Christiano possesses excellent gate speed and relishes the task of leading in his races. Clint Hall should get him straight to the front and then lead his 11 rivals a merry dance. Shirlz Sensation, one of seven four-year-olds in the race, is in top form and has given powerful performances to win at his past three outings, all over 2130m and all after he had covered extra ground. But his prospects diminished considerably when he drew the outside barrier on the front line. A perfect draw on the inside of the back line has enhanced the place prospects of the Colin Brown-trained Erskine Range, who looks set to trail Alta Christiano throughout the race. However, it is unlikely that he has the ability to outsprint Alta Christiano in the final stages. Vapour, trained by Gary Hall sen., has been running home powerfully for teenager driver Lauren Jones in several recent starts and the four-year-old, who will start from the back line, should again be prominent in the concluding stages. by Ken Casellas

Veteran harness racing pacer Finbar Abbey, a Metropolitan maiden performer, caused a major surprise when he celebrated his 100th start by working hard and winning the $40,000 Garrards Horse And Hound Easter Cup at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. The New Zealand-bred eight-year-old, a recent arrival at Ross Olivieri's Oakford stables, started from barrier five off the front in the 2902m stand and he raced three wide early and in the breeze at various stages before finishing with great determination to defeat the fast-finishing Polak (22/1) by a neck, with the 7/4 on favourite Alta Christiano in third place. Punters were stunned when Finbar Abbey surged past Alta Christiano 70m from the post. And then Polak, who had raced three back on the pegs, got clear and flew home to snatch second place from Alta Christiano. This was Alta Christiano's first defeat in six starts in Australia. Despite his lowly status, Finbar Abbey, an M0-class pacer, had many admirers after winning 2500m stands in moderate company at Northam and Gloucester Park at his first two starts for Olivieri and reinsman Chris Voak. He went out fifth favourite at 12/1. Before entering Olivieri's stables, Finbar Abbey had managed just one placing (a third at Harvey) from his 11 previous starts. Finbar Abbey galloped out for a few strides and settled down in sixth position. Alta Christiano just walked away off the front and was almost 60m behind the early pacemaker and 7/1 chance Hez Got The Nod, with Clint Kimes getting Polak away to a flying start from the inside of the 10m line to move in behind the leader. Sanjaya galloped badly off the front and Rocket Reign met severe interference. Finbar Abbey raced three wide early before moving to the breeze. He gained the one-out, one-back sit after Alta Christiano dashed forward. But when Clint Hall sent Alta Christiano to the front 950m after the start, Finbar Abbey again was racing without cover. Finbar Abbey regained the one-out, one-back sit with two laps to travel when 33/1 chance Shardons Rocket moved to the breeze. Voak eased Finbar Abbey three wide 650m from home and the old gelding moved alongside the pacemaker Alta Christiano passing the 420m mark. Finbar Abbey gained the upper hand in the final stages and then held off the fast-finishing Polak, who flashed home after getting clear. The stewards suspended Kimes (Polak's driver) for 17 days for causing interference to Braemoor. The final quarters were run in 29.3sec. and 29.5sec. and Finbar Abbey rated 2.0.8 which was 0.1sec. outside the track record for 2902m set by Christian Spirit when he won the Fremantle Cup in January 2008. The only faster mile rates set by winners of the Fremantle Cup have been: Village Kid (1.59.8 over 2500m in 1987), Allwoods Chief (2.0.3, 2900m, 1998), (The Falcon Strike (2.0.3, 2900m, 2003) and Patches (2.0.4, 2907m, 2006). Scruffy Murphy rated 2.0.8 when he was successful over 2902m in 2008. The 25-year-old Voak admitted he was surprised at Finbar Abbey's excellent performance, saying: "Six months ago you wouldn't have thought that Finbar Abbey would be winning an Easter Cup, beating the horses he has tonight. "I guess the little bit of a burn (in the first lap) took the sting out of Alta Christiano. But you can't take anything away from Finbar Abbey. I punched the breeze for the best part of a lap and he was three wide from the 750m --- and he's actually outstayed Alta Christiano and then fought off Polak over the final 50 metres. "I have nothing but praise for this horse. I really didn't think he could do something like that, even though his two previous runs were really good. On the home turn he felt big and to his credit he just lifted and lifted and showed really good fighting qualities. Alta Christiano is a pretty big name, and he did a lot of work. But Finbar Abbey didn't have it that easy himself." The victory gave Olivieri his fourth success in an Easter Cup, after wins with Abmidas (1997), OK Windermere (who dead-heated with Patches in 2006) and Arma Harris (2010). Olivieri said that part-owner David Gravolin was holidaying in Hawaii and that three of his part-owners were away, working on oil rigs off the coast of Western Australia. Finbar Abbey, by American stallion Pacific Rocket, is the third foal out of Miles McCool mare Casino Abbey, who won once from 11 starts in New Zealand. Finbar Abbey raced 63 times in New Zealand for five wins and 14 placings and his 37 WA starts have produced nine wins and nine placings. His overall record stands at 100 starts for 14 wins, 23 placings and $113,531. LIBERTYBELLE MIDFREW HAS WA OAKS AT HER MERCY Shannon Suvaljko was lavish in his praise for Libertybelle Midfrew after driving her to an effortless victory in the Garrards Horse And Hound On-Course Now WA Oaks prelude at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. The New Zealand-bred filly simply annihilated her 11 rivals and appears to have the $150,000 WA Oaks on May 9 at her mercy. "She's probably one of the best horses I have driven," said the 45-year-old Suvaljko. "She's got gears, she's strong and is all class. I haven't let her go in her three wins (in WA) and we're just waiting for the Oaks now. She is really strong and tough and she will be scary if you let her go." Libertybelle Midfrew, purchased at a high price in New Zealand early this year by Albert Walmsley, has cruised to victory by an average winning margin of four lengths at her first three appearances in WA, rating 1.58.5 over 1730m at Gloucester Park and 1.57.8 over 2185m at Pinjarra before her win by 19.5m over The Parade on Thursday night, rating 1.58.1 over 2536m. The Christian Cullen filly is prepared at Hazelmere by Mike Reed and she appears classes ahead of all other three-year-old fillies in the State. On Thursday night she started from barrier four on the back line and was favourite at evens. Polemaker Harper Grace set the pace and Suvaljko was content to settle Libertybelle Midfrew in ninth position in the one-wide line. All About Pink dashed forward to move to the breeze after 600m and Suvaljko bided his time until he sent Libertybelle Midfrew forward, three wide, 1050m from home. She got a half-length in front of Harper Grace at the 650m mark before surging to a clear lead 470m from home. She then coasted to the line more than six lengths clear of 15/4 second fancy The Parade, who finished doggedly after enjoying the perfect one-out, one-back trail. Highest Royalty (8/1) trailed the pacemaker and finished a sound third, with harper Grace (9/2) in fourth place. Libertybelle Midfrew has earned $151,007 from four wins and four placings from 14 starts. SOHO VALENCIA IS A RISING STAR Victorian-bred five-year-old Soho Valencia gave further proof that he will be a star in feature events at the next Christmas carnival when he outclassed his rivals in the 1730m Retravision Pace at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. Favourite at 5/2 on, Soho Valencia began speedily from the No. 3 barrier and gave a faultless frontrunning exhibition before coasting to a four-length victory over 18/1 chance Menelaus of Sparta, who finished strongly from sixth at the bell. Little Boy Blue (7/1) raced in the breeze and was a fighting third. Soho Valencia, produced in grand shape by leading trainer Gary Hall sen. and driven by his elder son Clint for owner Rob Watson, sped over the final 800m in 55.8sec. and rated a smart 1.55.1 to take his record to 21 wins and nine placings from 37 starts for earnings of $332,782. A winner of 13 races in Victoria, one in Queensland and four in New South Wales, he has had five starts in WA for three wins and two seconds. He is living up to the promise he showed when he was a star juvenile when his victories included the $100,000 group 1 Bathurst Gold Crown for two-year-olds in March 2011 and the $40,000 group 3 Bathurst Gold Chalice for three-year-olds a year later. By Art Major, he is the sixth foal out of Benelise (a mare by American stallion Vintner), who won at eight of her 14 Victorian starts in modest company in 2000-01. Soho Valencia's half-brother Yrubla (by Jet Laag) won the group 1 $100,000 Bathurst Gold Crown for two-year-olds in March 2007. "My guess is that Soho Valencia will get to an M4 or M5 mark and then go for a spell before coming back for the summer time," said Clint Hall. MIGHTY FLYING THOMAS A 2536m SPECIALIST For what he might lack in brilliance, Mighty Flying Thomas makes up for with his dogged determination, his stamina and fighting spirit. All these attributes were on display at Gloucester Park on Thursday night when he overcame the disadvantage of having to race without cover for almost two laps by scoring a splendid victory in the Garrards Horse And Hound One Stop Shop Pace. Favourite at 13/8 from the outside of the back line, Mighty Flying Thomas simply outstayed his 11 rivals in beating 9/1 chance Mohegan Sun by 4m, with Justlikelindt (28/1) sustaining a strong three-wide burst from fifth at the bell to be third. Mighty Flying Thomas, trained at Bickley by Peter Anderson, has proved to be a stout-hearted stayer since he arrived in WA from New Zealand in July 2012. He has proved to be a specialist over 2536m, the distance of Thursday night's event, having raced six times over that journey for five wins and a second (beaten a nose by Dashing Christian). He also won at his only appearance over 2569m (at Bunbury last November). It was a confident and aggressive drive by Morgan Woodley that paved the way for his latest victory. Mighty Flying Thomas settled down in ninth position and with Ideas Man setting a moderate pace Tom Buchanan vacated the one-out, one-back position with 9/1 chance Mohegan Sun to move into the breeze 650m after the start. Woodley then seized the initiative and sent Mighty Flying Thomas forward, out three wide, to assume the position in the breeze with just under two laps to travel. Woodley was able to get Mighty Flying Thomas to relax as Ideas Man ambled through the first two 400m sections of the final mile in 31.9sec. and 31.6sec. The tempo then increased markedly, with the third quarter being covered in 28.8sec. Mighty Flying Thomas got to the front 250m from the post and easily held Mohegan Sun at bay, with a final quarter in 29.4sec. Mighty Flying Thomas had been placed at his three previous starts at Gloucester Park and Woodley said that the Falcon Seelster six-year-old deserved to break through for another win and break a losing sequence of 13. "He has been knocking on the door," Woodley said. "He's been going tremendously well and has been doing all the work in his races and just coming up short. The easy early sections really worked out well for him." Mighty Flying Thomas, a winner of six races from 27 starts in New Zealand, is proving a good buy for Ian and Hazel Brandon, Ian Sermon, Lee Bunney and Ken Casellas. The gelding cost a little more than $36,000 landed in Western Australia and his record in the State now stands at 36 starts for nine wins, 12 placings and stakes of $102,744. His career record stands at 63 starts for 15 wins, 19 placings and $142,783. Mighty Flying Thomas is the fourth foal out of Fleet's Pocket, who produced talented mare Flying Pocketlands, who has had 90 starts for 21 wins, 29 placings and $442,423. Mighty Flying Thomas is also related to good winners Our Graedy, Passion N Glory and Sparks Will Fly. COPAGRIN JUST LOVES LEADING Noted frontrunner Copagrin broke through for an overdue win and ended a losing sequence of eight when Callan Suvaljko drove him to a smart all-the-way victory in the 2536m Garrards Horse And Hound Open Daily Pace at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. Seven of his previous eight wins had come after he had set the pace and punters rallied to support him into favouritism at 5/2 when he drew the prized No. 1 barrier. Copagrin relished the pacemaking role and he sped over the final 800m in 57.1sec. to win comfortably by 5m from 5/1 chance Lord Lombo, who finished gamely after trailing the leader all the way. Copagrin went into the race as an M1 performer against several better-performed rivals, including M6-class runners Red Salute, Crombie and Passion Stride, Whose Mistake (M5) and Benjamin Banneker (M3). He had won once from his previous 25 starts and the strong support for him further illustrates the tremendous advantage horses have from the No. 1 barrier at Gloucester Park. The WA-bred Copagrin, trained at West Swan by John Guagliardo, has been an excellent moneyspinner, with his 59 starts producing 14 wins, 13 placings and stakes of $124,328. By Grinfromeartoear, he is out of Red Hot Copper, whose first foal Copper Beach Girl earned $156,851 from 14 wins and 24 placings from 84 starts. Her wins included the group 3 WASBA Breeders Stakes in May 2011. HALL'S DARING DRIVE PAYS DIVIDENDS A daring drive by Clint Hall paid handsome dividends when Indomitable, the rank outsider at 55/1, scoring a brilliant victory in the Next Payments Mares Pace at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. In an action-packed event Hall took the bit between his teeth and set Indomitable alight as the field of 12 approached the bell. Indomitable, who had settled down in eighth position, charged forward and swept past 45/1 chance La Stella Del Mare, who had produced a lighting burst to charge past the 2/1 favourite Kanata Queen and into the lead 600m after the start. Hall gave Indomitable her head and she sped over the third quarter of the final mile in 28.2sec. to leave her rivals floundering. The final section took 29.7sec. and Indomitable won by three and a half lengths from 11/4 second fancy Four Sisters, who finished determinedly from sixth on the pegs at the bell. Kanata Queen fought on to be third ahead of La Stella Del Mare. The winner, trained at Wanneroo by Barry Morrison, rated a slick 1.54.6 over the 1730m and she boosted her record to seven wins and 12 placings from 39 starts for earnings of $56,537. She is a full-sister to Indomitable Saab, who has amassed $154,491 from 16 wins and 12 placings from 59 starts. "She ran well the last time I drove her in town and they (the opposition) set it up tonight and I was happy to slide around to the breeze," Hall said. "She moved around so quickly that I decided to go on with it and I don't think it would have mattered if she had stayed in the breeze." KERSLEY SALUTES A GLOW BRIGHT EFFORT An exuberant, triumphant victory salute by trainer-reinsman Bill Kersley as Glow Bright passed the post an easy winner of the 2503m Garrards Horse And Hound Supporting Harness Racing Handicap at Gloucester Park on Thursday night was greeted with applause by punters who had supported the WA-bred five-year-old into favouritism at 7/4. Glow Bright, a last-start all-the-way winner in slow time in a 2503m stand nine days earlier, repeated the dose when he got away smartly from the inside of the front line and set a dawdling early pace with opening quarters of the final mile in 32.3sec., and 30.8sec. before Kersley released the brakes and the gelding sprinted over the final two quarters in 28.4sec. and 28.3sec. Glow Bright rated a slow 2.4.9 in beating Pacific Playboy (14/1) by one and a half lengths, with a half-length to Bartowski (16/1) in third place. Referring to the slow early sectionals, the 47-year-old Kersley said: "I'll take it if they give it to me. It's nice to get a winner on a Friday night (even though it was a Thursday night). I'm more than happy to salute every week. "He has done a really good job and is just shy of $100,000 and he's won an M0 tonight. You'd like a lot of them in your stable. I think he can keep earning. He's maturing and every time we give him a break and bring him back he's got mentally and physically stronger. Now he is right on top of his game." Glow Bright was placed twice in group 1 events for two-year-olds in the winter of 2011, finishing third to Major Catastrophe in the Pearl Classic and third to Cyclone Mitch in the State Sires final. NEW OWNERS CASH IN Henley Brook trainer Darryl Howes and his wife Tracey are more than happy that they encouraged a few of their friends to get involved in harness racing a few months ago. Tracey Howes, Wayne and Dianne Riekie, Brad and Rhonda Swinbourn, Barbara McGuire and Archie Laidlaw outlaid $7500 to purchase Senator Whitby when he was advertised for sale. And when Senator Whitby, driven by Chris Lewis, led all the way to score a decisive one-length victory over Last Cheque in the 2130m Garrards Horse And Hound Thank You Loyal Customers Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Thursday night the WA-bred gelding had boosted his earnings to $8395 for his first-time owners. This was Senator Whitby's seventh start for Howes and the new owners and the small gelding has notched one win, two seconds and a third placing. "They're new owners to the industry and they're all happy," said Howes, who is confident Senator Whitby will continue to perform well. "He is still only young and is still an M0. And he's a little trier who keeps trying, and that's the main thing." Senator Whitby, whose career record stands at 48 starts for seven wins, ten placings and $49,769, is by Artiscape and is out of Zerina Whitby, who earned $107,827 from 15 wins and 13 placings from 53 starts. Senator Whitby is related to dozens of winners, including Fiscal Miss, Remit, Whitbys Miss Penny, Whitby Heritage, Whitby Timer, Whitbys Merit, Montana Anna, La Roya Whitby and Aikido Whitby. SAY IT NOW, FIRST-UP, IS TOO GOOD Hopeland breeder-owner-trainer Kevin Charles produced WA-bred five-year-old Say It Now in fine fettle for his first appearance for five months when the gelding made the most of the coveted No. 1 barrier to lead all the way in the third heat of the 2130m Garrards Horse And Hound The Johnson Pace at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. Confidently handled by Chris Lewis, the well-supported 5/1 third favourite revelled in his pacemaking role and won decisively from The Black Lord (12/1) and Christian Banner (6/1). Ben Cartwright, the 5/4 favourite, worked hard without cover and dead-heated for fourth with What God Knows. Say It Now, having his first start for five months, contested two trials at Byford before Thursday night's assignment for a 22m fourth behind Mister Sheedy and a 14m third behind Lord Lexus. Say It Now followed quarters of 31.3sec., 30.8sec. and 30.4sec. with a smart final section in 28.3sec. to win well at a 1.59.5 rate. "Kevin thought we would go well, going on his latest trial," Lewis said. "But trials aren't races. It was a bit of a challenge early, but we were able to settle down pretty nicely. He does relax well and that was an advantage. "With a lap to go I didn't really know what I had. I hadn't asked him for an effort and he had travelled well, so I was confident that there was something left in the tank. But you never know until you hit the line." Say It Now, who was bred and is owned by Charles and his son Kody, has earned $80,161 from ten wins and ten placings from 42 starts. As a three-year-old in March 2012 he won the group 3 Country derby at Gloucester Park, beating Major Catastrophe by four lengths, after winning the South-West Derby at Pinjarra, beating Maggies Mystery. He raced 13 times as a four-year-old in New South Wales, winning minor races at Menangle, Newcastle and Penrith. He is related to former champion pacer Preux Chevalier, whose 40 wins from 53 starts in the 1980s included the 1985 interdominion championship at Moonee Valley when he defeated Village Kid. VAPOUR IS LAUREN'S FAVOURITE Four-year-old gelding Vapour and 19-year-old driver Lauren Jones have formed a wonderful partnership in recent weeks --- and they kept up the good work with an exciting victory in the 2130m Sully's Painting Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. Jones, a recent arrival from Queensland, has settled in well as a stablehand at leading trainer Gary Hall senior's Serpentine establishment and she has driven the Hall-trained Vapour seven times for four wins and three third placings. "Something clicks and he's my favourite horse in the stable," said Jones after Vapour had finished strongly to gain a last-stride victory by a nose over 5/4 favourite Tuapeka Kahu. Vapour, second fancy at 5/2, started from the outside of the front line and Jones restrained the gelding back to a conspicuous last, about 30m from the early leader Franco Jackson. Tuapeka Kahu was working hard in the breeze and Jones drove patiently. Vapour was ninth at the bell, following the three-wide run of Knight Crusader. Knight Crusader began to wilt in the back straight and Jones switched Vapour four wide 300m from home. Tupeka Kahu then took the lead with 220m to travel, but he was overhauled in the final stride by the flying Vapour, who sprinted over the final 400m in 28.6sec. and rated 1.58.8. Vapour, by American stallion Jeremes Jet, is the first foal out of Christian Cullen mare Enjoy. He has had 13 starts in Western Australia for seven wins and five placings after racing 16 times in New Zealand for three wins and five placings. by Ken Casellas  

Young Serpentine trainer Stephanie Smith boosted her reputation as a first-up specialist when she produced Dundee Three in superb condition at Gloucester Park on Friday night for a fighting victory in the 2503m Big Sports Breakfast TV Channel 519 Handicap. Driven by her partner Morgan Woodley, Dundee Three, an 8/1 chance, galloped out from the 20m mark and was last with two laps to travel with noted frontrunner Hez Got The Nod bowling along in the lead. Woodley started a three-wide move with 1150m to travel and the New Zealand-bred seven-year-old sustained a spirited effort to get to the front 30m from the post and win by a metre from Hez Got The Nod after final quarters in 28.4sec. and 28.7sec. The $11,220 first prize was a wonderful reward for Smith, who has worked assiduously to get the injury-plagued Dundee Three fit enough to make a comeback. She was given Dundee Three as a gift from leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond after she, her father Stewart, Lee Bunney and Ian Sermon had outlaid $10,000 to claim Gate Bender (trained by the Bonds) last June. “Greg and Skye asked me if I wanted a chance to rehabilitate Dundee Three (who had a damaged off fore suspensory ligament) and they said I could have him for nothing,” Smith said. “So I thought I would have a go and now I want to say thanks to Greg and Skye.” Smith, in her second season as a trainer, is a qualified veterinary nurse and she has managed to get Dundee Three sound enough to resume racing. The Mach Three gelding was having his first start for 11 months on Friday night and if he retains his fitness looks sure to win more races. Smith gave Dundee Three six months off in the paddock and then she had to work hard to cure several other problems, apart from his suspensory damage. “He has got bad feet problems, contracted heels, front and back,” she said. “He also has funny knees and jars up after almost every run.” Dundee Three now races in egg bar shoes on top of silicon filling and Smith treats his knees almost daily. She also takes the small gelding to the beach at Kwinana about every second day and rush wades him (riding him as he trots in the water). He also wades and rolls in the sand. Woodley was thrilled at Dundee Three’s performance, saying: “All credit to Steph; she has done a fantastic job. I’m so proud of her and so proud of the horse as well. He is a tremendous competitor. He is just a little horse, but is so brave. He showed courage tonight, winning after a quick last half and out three wide. “He just clawed his way right to the post and never gave it away. I thought it was probably curtains down the back straight when I didn’t quite get past Copagrin (in the breeze) like I had anticipated. And I then thought that the leader was probably going to hold on and I thought if we could hang on for a place I would be delighted with his performance. “Steph does all the on per cent things that I think make a big difference. She down there (at the stables) from early morning until late at night, doing things like icing their feet, wrapping their legs and taking them out for a pick in the grass, just keeping them in a happy place. She deserves all the accolades she gets.” Dundee Three, a half-brother to Scruncher (69 starts for 20 wins, 18 placings and $137,002), has earned $205,378 from 20 wins and 22 placings from 75 starts. Smith also showed great skill in preparing Gate Bender and Big Town Drive for first-up victories and she has also been successful with Sovereign Grange and Bolshevic in the past 12 months. Gate Bender won at his first start for Smith when he beat Shardons Rocket in a stand at Gloucester Park in December. Big Town Drive then won first-up for Smith at Williams in February before winning again at his next three starts, at Pinjarra, Narrogin and Harvey. By Ken Casellas

Barry Howlett, who runs a tree lopping business in Busselton, and Dunedin-born Matt White, who immigrated to Western Australia in late 2009, combined to cause a significant upset when White drove the lowly-credentialled Three Blind Mice to a stirring all-the-way victory in the $200,000 Sky racing WA Derby at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Three Blind Mice, a 17/1 chance on the tote, made the most of the prized No. 1 barrier by setting the pace before revealing splendid fighting qualities to hold three geldings prepared by champion trainer Gary Hall sen. at bay in the group 1 classic over 2536m. Three Blind Mice, prepared by 59-year-old hobby trainer Howlett, won by a metre from 11/1 chance Eyre Crusher (Morgan Woodley), with a neck to Machtu (13/4, Kim Prentice) and a further length to even-money favourite Elegant Christian (Clint Hall). All honours were with Three Blind Mice, a gelding by American stallion Santanna Blue Chip who was purchased as a yearling in New Zealand by Howlett. But there was a dramatic discovery after the event. The brilliant Elegant Christian, who went into the race with a record of six wins and a nose second from seven starts, had the major disadvantage of having to having to carry a flat tyre on the off side wheel of the sulky over the final 1800m. The tyre deflated mysteriously. It had not been struck by the hoof of another horse or any other object. Given this impediment, combined with the fact that Elegant Christian raced three wide early and then in the breeze, his effort was outstanding. Supporters of Elegant Christian were on good terms with themselves when the gelding levelled with the pacemaker 400m from home. But White kept his cool and Three Blind Mice resisted the challenge before drawing away to win in grand style at a 1.57.5 rate, which was just outside the track record for a three-year-old, the 1.57.2 shared by Robyns C C and Machtu. Eyre Crusher trailed the leader throughout and after getting into the clear in the late stages he rattled home to be second. Machtu raced in ninth position for the first two laps before Prentice sent him forward, three wide, approaching the bell. Machtu sustained his effort to finish third, with each of the final two 400m sections being covered in 28.5sec. Three Blind Mice was afforded the luxury of coasting through the first 400m of the final mile in 30.8sec. before White increased the tempo. The stewards fined Clint Hall $400 for his incorrect use of the whip in the home straight. Three Blind Mice won once from six starts in New Zealand before Brent Mangos brought him to WA late last year when he drove him in races at Pinjarra and Harvey in November for a seventh and third placing. Three Blind Mice notched his first Australian victory three starts before the Derby, when he worked hard without cover before winning over 2150m at Harvey. Then followed a splendid strong-finishing second to Machtu over 25346m at Gloucester Park and an eighth behind Elegant Christian in the Western Gateway Pace when he was hampered for room in the final lap. Three Blind Mice went into the Derby with a modest record of two wins from 13 starts for $15,917 in prizemoney. His earnings after the Derby have been boosted to $147,917. The 29-year-old White started working for Howlett at his Busselton stables just over three months ago and he thanked Howlett and his wife Lyn for the opportunity. "This is a dream come true and Three Blind Mice is a nice horse who will be even better next year," he said. "He's got a good high cruising speed and will go a long way." The Derby victory gave Howlett and White their biggest success in harness racing. Howlett's previous biggest most important victory was as the owner, trainer and driver of Lights Above in the $75,000 State Sires Series final for two-year-old fillies in May 1994. Among his winners since then have been Lights Above's daughter Up Above, Eliza Grace, Lil Miss Hilarious and Cielito. White, who guided Vancelot Lady to victory at 10/1 at Bridgetown in December 2009 for his first WA success, was one of New Zealand's leading junior drivers from 2006 to 2008, drove Safin to victory in the Diamond for three-year-old fillies at Cambridge in May 2008. He drove Miss Bay Point to victory in the $100,000 group 1State Sires Series for three-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park in July 2010, and won group 2 and 3 feature events with Lombo Navigator --- the Nights of Thunder, Harvey Cup and August Cup in 2011 and the Pinjarra Cup in 2012. He also finished third with Lombo Navigator in the group 1 2012 interdominion championship final won by Im Themightyquinn. Three Blind Mice is bred to be a good winner. His dam Time Again Franco (by Holmes Hanover) is out of Tango Franco, the mother of This Time Franco (36 starts for ten wins, 11 placings and $249,151) and Franco Thunder (178 starts for 44 wins, 43 placings and $199,928). Tango Franco is a half-sister to former superstar Franco Tiger (116 starts for 43 wins, 36 placings and $991,387) and OK Tiger (52 starts for 12 wins, nine placings and $142,866) Franco Tiger's successes included the Miracle Mile at Harold Park in 1992, the Australian Pacing Championship at Bankstown in 1992, the Queensland Championship at Albion Park in 1992 and the Treuer Memorial at Bankstown in 1993. He also finished second to Sinbad Bay in the $275,000 Victoria Cup at Moonee Valley in 1991 and second to Westburn Grant in the interdominion championship at Moonee Valley in March 1992.   VOAK BRINGS UP HIS CENTURY AND GOES TO THE TOP Chris Voak maintained his grand form in the sulky when he brought 2/1 favourite Rocky Pop home with a determined burst to snatch a last-stride half-head victory over the pacemaker Fully Zapped (7/1) in the 2130m Sky Racing App Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. This gave the 25-year-old Voak his 99th winner for the season --- and he kept up the good work with a double with Allazar and Ultimate Fighter at Harvey on Saturday night. The Harvey double placed Voak in unfamiliar territory --- on top of the Statewide reinsmen's premiership table with 101 winners from 741 drives. He has wrested the lead from champion reinsman Gary Hall jun., who is serving a term of suspension. Hall has driven 99 winners from 359 drives this season. Rocky Pop, a Jet Laag four-year-old trained in Bunbury by Murray Hansen, started from barrier two on the back line and was favourite at 2/1 after covering a lot of ground and winning at Bunbury the previous Saturday night. Polemarker Fully Zapped set the pace and he looked hard to beat after coasting through the first quarter of the final mile in 31.8sec. This prompted Voak to send Rocky Pop forward with a three-wide move 1300m from home. Rocky Pop quickly moved to third, out wide, at the bell and he sustained his effort to gain the verdict in the final stride after a final 800m in a slick 57.4sec. Rocky Pop, owned by Adam and Philip Sofoulis and Dianne Knowles, is a half-brother to Hansen's stable star Truckers Ruffnut, who has earned $249,770 from 20 wins and 14 placings from 53 starts. Rocky Pop now has raced 31 times for seven wins, 14 placings and $54,830. Rocky Pop's five-year-old half-brother Tuxedo Tour resumed racing after a spell at Harvey on Saturday night when he won for the ninth time from 34 starts and took his earnings to $108,456. HOKONUI BEN SURVIVES EARLY AND LATE CHALLENGES The ability of hot favourite Hokonui Ben to muster sufficient speed to hold out brilliant mare Sensational Gabby in the early stages of the 2130m Big Sports Breakfast TV Channel 519 Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night paved the way for his narrow victory. Hokonui Ben, favourite at 6/4 on, began well from the No. 2 barrier, but was easily beaten out by Sensational Gabby, the 11/4 second fancy who began with a sparkling burst of speed from the No. 4 barrier. Sensational Gabby quickly charged to a one-length lead, but was unable to cross to the pegs. Chris Lewis then angled Sensational Gabby to the pegs to race in third position, with the polemarker Rocket Reign having gained the perfect sit behind the leader. After surviving the early challenge, Hokonui Ben was able to relax and Aldo Cortopassi sent her through the first 400m section of the final mile in a dawdling 31.8sec. before another comfortable quarter in 31.2sec. Lewis eased Sensational Gabby off the pegs with 1000m to travel to move to the breeze, a couple of lengths behind the pacemaker. The third quarter was covered in 28.5sec. and Sensational Gabby was beginning to show the pinch. Chris Playle, who was following Sensational Gabby with 22/1 chance This Time Dylan, switched the gelding three wide 250m from home. This Time Dylan sprinted home fast and just failed to overhaul Hokonui Ben, who scored in a photo by a half-head. Rocket Reign got clear in the final stages and flashed home to be a close third, just ahead of Red Salute, who finished strongly, out wide. The final 400m was covered in a fast 27.8sec. and the winner rated 1.57.7. "It's always a worry with a mare like Sensational Gabby, who can get off the gate as quick as she can," Cortopassi said. "It was lucky we got to a corner with our legs still inside her. And that helped us to keep the front. I was relatively confident after a 63sec. first half. "Hokonui Ben missed a bit of work when he got that bit of a bug. So I wanted to try to get a soft half and then run from there. It worked out pretty well, even though This Time Dylan gave us a bit of a scare on the line." Sensational Gabby faded to finish sixth in the field of seven, ahead of Dasher VC, who was at the rear throughout in his first appearance for almost three months. Hokonui Ben has amassed $596,339 in prizemoney from 19 wins and 15 placings from 55 starts. SUVALJKO DISCOVERS SECRET OF SUCCESS Byford trainer-reinsman Shannon Suvaljko has discovered the secret to winning races at Gloucester Park --- start a horse in the country the previous night. That was the formula which worked perfectly for the 45-year-old Suvaljko on Friday night when he took two horses, Love In The Dark and Celtic Crusader, to the course the night after they had competed at Narrogin, 198km south-east of Perth, on Thursday night. The long two-way float trip did not affect the pacers who scored decisive victories at Gloucester Park. They completed a driving treble for Suvaljko, who started the program by guiding the Mike Reed-trained Grand Cru to victory in the opening event. Love In The Dark failed at Narrogin when she was driven by Luke Edwards and galloped at the start before finishing sixth behind Jasper Freeway. Edwards also drove Celtic Crusader, who started at 25/1 and raced four back on the pegs before finishing solidly to be third behind Cuzin Judd. The stewards placed Love In The Dark on the outside of the back line in the 2130m In The Gig Mares Pace and the five-year-old Elsu mare was an outsider at 33/1. She raced in ninth position in the one-wide line and was eighth on the home turn before she flew home, six wide, to win by almost a length from 5/1 chance Korobeit Angel, who had set the pace after dashing to the front 550m after the start. This was Love In The Dark's third appearance in a race in Western Australia. She started favourite at 10/9 on at her first start in the State when she raced without cover and faded to eighth in a field of nine, more than ten lengths behind the winner Mississippi bell at Gloucester Park on March 28. "She's got the ability and the fast lead time (35.9sec.) and the slow last quarter (29.5sec.) probably helped her," said Suvaljko. "She raced at Narrogin the previous night --- and that might be something." Love In The Dark won once from 25 New Zealand starts and three times from 16 starts in Queensland. She now has earned $41,566 from five wins and 15 placings from 44 starts. Celtic Crusader started from the prized No. 1 barrier in the 2130m Sky Racing, No. 1 In Racing Pace and was a 6/1 chance who led for the first 150m before Suvaljko opted to take then sit behind 5/4 favourite Bettors Ace. Bettors Ace began to shorten stride in the home straight and Celtic Crusader ran on fast to burst to the front 20m from the post before defeating the pacemaker by just under a length at a 1.58.1 rate. Celtic Crusader, purchased for $10,000m by Gemma Davies and Klarry Andritsos a couple of years ago, is a hardy New South Wales-bred seven-year-old who has earned $143,751 from 19 wins and 33 placings from 140 starts. Suvaljko kept up the good work at Kellerberrin on Sunday when he drove Sir Ricky (5/2) and Laura Florence (11/8) to victory for Wanneroo trainer Debbie Padberg, who was also successful with even-money favourite Xupan Three, who was driven by Edwards. GRAND CRU IS BRED TO BE A WINNER Four-year-old New Zealand-bred gelding Grand Cru gave a sample of his class with an easy victory in the 1730m Sky Racing TV Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He is by Bettors Delight out of former champion mare Under Cover Lover, who earned $864,923 from 21 wins and 22 placings from 70 starts before being retired to the breeding barn. Tommy Smith, having his first start for just over four months for Pinjarra trainer Michael Brennan, was all the rage from the prized No. 1 barrier and was favourite at 7/4 on, with Grand Cru a 15/1 chance from barrier six on the front line. Shannon Suvaljko got Grand Cru away to a flying start and the gelding quickly moved to the breeze position, with Tommy Smith setting a moderate pace. Morgan Woodley attempted to shake off Tommy Smith's rivals with a sizzling third quarter in 27.3sec. But Grand Cru stuck with the flying pacemaker and got his head in front passing the 400m mark. Grand Cru then dashed away and won by 7m from Tommy Smith, rating a slick 1.56.2 rate and improving his record to seven wins and 17 placings from 41 starts. "He's racing well," said Suvaljko. "And we knew that we had to sit. So we sat up in the breeze and knew that Tommy Smith would be a bit underdone. We had to get it a bit easy so we could hold out Ohoka Kentucky (5/2 second fancy). So when he was coming, three wide, at the bell I said that we had done nothing and then had to get running. "Grand Cru got it very easy early with a first quarter of 31.1sec. and he was always on the bit. I'm sure he is capable of winning a couple more." EL MACHINE RESUMES IN FINE STYE Talented WA-bred five-year-old El Machine looks set for a successful campaign in feature events over the winter months when he resumed after a four-month absence in grand style at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Produced in splendid fettle by 26-year-old Pinjarra trainer-reinsman Kade Howson (who owns the gelding in partnership with Michael George), El Machine was a well-supported 7/2 chance and he produced an excellent effort to win the 2130m Mini Owners Club of WA Club Pace by a length from the 9/4 favourite Mighty Flying Thomas. Polemarker I Am Legend set a solid pace, with Mighty Flying Thomas working hard in the breeze. Howson restrained El Machine from the outside of the front line back to last before sending the gelding forward, three wide, approaching the bell. El Machine got on to the back of Pride of Colorado, but when that pacer began to wilt turning into the back straight Howson switched El Machine four wide. Morgan Woodley sent Mighty Flying Thomas to the front 380m from home, but El Machine was carrying too many guns and he forged to the lead at the 250m mark. Mighty Flying Thomas fought ion grandly and finished two and a half lengths in front of the third placegetter Quick Reflection. El Machine, purchased by Howson and George for $5000 at the 2009 Gloucester Standardbred yearling sale, has earned $143,514 from 17 wins and 13 placings from 43 starts. SHIRLZ SENSATION NOTCHES A HAT-TRICK West Australian-bred four-year-old Shirlz Sensation is one of the State's most improved pacers and he completed a winning hat-trick when Chris Lewis drove him to a stylish win in the second heat of the Riley Car Club Johnson Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Favourite at 11/8 from the outside of the front line, Shirlz Sensation was restrained to the rear by Chris Lewis while polemarker Ima Grumpy Jasper set the pace from 6/1 chance Vapour in the breeze. Shirlz Sensation improved to seventh at the bell, out three wide with cover, before Lewis switched him four wide with 700m to travel. He sustained his effort to hit the front 130m from the post and won by just under a length from 6/1 chance What The Blazes, who flew home from the rear. Vapour, who had got to the lead at the 450m mark, was a fighting third. Shirlz Sensation had won easily after racing without cover at his two previous starts, at Gloucester Park, and is sure to be a major fancy in the $25,000 final of the Johnson Pace next Friday week. Shirlz Sensation, raced by Margie Guy and Jandabup trainer Mike Beech, has earned $68,619 from eight wins and three placings from only 23 starts. by Ken Casellas  

Outstanding horseman Kim Prentice has gone close to winning the WA Derby a couple of times and now he feels that the time is right for him to put the record straight by winning the $200,000 Sky Racing WA Derby at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He will drive the New Zealand-bred three-year-old Machtu for leading trainer Gary Hall sen. and both men believe the gelding has the ability, the form and the barrier draw to win the 2536m classic. Prentice drove Machtu for the first time in a race last Friday night when he covered a good deal of ground, starting a three-wide run from eighth with 1200m to travel in the 2130m Western Gateway Pace in which stablemate Elegant Christian set the pace from the No. 1 barrier and won at a 1.56.1 rate from two other Hall runners Classic American and Eyre Crusher. Machtu, who moved to third, out three wide, at the bell, battled on gamely to finish fifth, just one and a half lengths behind the winner. Prentice went close to winning the Derby when he drove the filly Dilingers Reign into third place behind Mr Yankee and Devastating in 2006. In the previous year's Derby Prentice trained Alberta Retreat, who was driven by Chris Lewis and turned for home in front before finishing a close second to Richard Henry. "Machtu will definitely be a big player on Friday night," Prentice said. "I'm happy with the draw at barrier three on the back line and I've just spoken to Senior and he thinks that Machtu might be the pick of the stable runners, from that draw. "Machtu gave me a good feel last week and I'm happy to be sitting behind him in the Derby. I had driven him only once before, on the track, and I think the 2500m will be right up his alley. All he needs is a nice run into the race and then we'll go from there. Definitely he can fight out the finish and hopefully, if things go our way, it will be my first Derby." Hall said he considered Machtu to be a "good chance," pointing out that the gelding faced the breeze before winning a 2536m Derby prelude by 20 metres last Friday week. "Over 2130m last week it was too much rush and tear for him, and he was up there pulling at the bell," he said. "And it was too much to ask of him with Elegant Christian running those sectionals. I think he will be a big improver." Hall, who prepared his first Derby winner 12 months ago when his son Gary drove Alta Christiano to a runaway victory over Victorian pacer Macha after racing without cover for much of the journey, has four runners in Friday night's classic, Machtu, Elegant Christian (barrier No. 4 on the front line), Eyre Crusher (inside of the back line) and Classic American (barrier four on the back line). "The draw hasn't done our runners any favours," he said. "I think the draw has made it a very interesting race. It has brought Three Blind Mice into contention after drawing barrier one. And it probably has taken a couple out, like Bettor Offer and Mister Jadore. I think they will find it a lot harder from back-line draws. "Before the draw I thought those two horses would be the main dangers to our stable runners. If either had been drawn to lead I would have been really worried about them. I certainly think that Elegant Christian can win. "I think he was out of his comfort zone last week, being pushed out to lead by Ultimate Major and Bettor Offer. This led to a fast lead time of 35.6sec. and I think those two horses paid the penalty, with both of them finishing well back. "So taking a line through that I think that Elegant Christian's run was pretty good. This week I think he will be better off just coming out at his leisure and just getting across to the breeze or to the front. It's a Derby and horses drawn favourably generally do go forward in a bid to lead. I think Three Blind Mice has shown enough ability, and he can stay a bit, to maybe want to lead. And Bettor Rules (No. 3) generally likes to get to the front. If Elegant Christian gets to the breeze outside Three Blind Mice I think he would win." Clint Hall will again drive Elegant Christian and he declared that the gelding was the horse to beat. "I'm not going to put all my eggs in one basket, so I won't be going flat out for the lead," he said. "I would like to lead and if the lead is there for the taking I'll certainly take it. However, I believe that I can sit outside any of the three horses drawn on my inside and win the race." Pelusiac, trained by Andrew De Campo, is favourably drawn at the No. 2 barrier and reinsman Aiden De Campo said that he was very happy with the draw. Pelusiac, a winner at five of his 11 starts, was unlucky in last week's Western Gateway Pace when he was distanced. "He was travelling pretty well, three wide and three back and was definitely getting into the race in the back straight in the final lap when he was knocked over by his stablemate, who was going roughly," de Campo said. "From barrier two he won't have to do too much early and we should get into a nice position. "He worked well this morning (Tuesday) and hopefully he will get a nice sit on the speed and get a bit of luck over the final 500m. And then, hopefully, he'll finish over the top of them." Hall sen. said that if Three Blind Mice set the pace it would bring Eyre Crusher (Morgan Woodley) into the race with a chance. "Morgan said that Eyre Crusher probably should have won last week's race by three or four lengths if he had got out in the home straight. He said he was bolting." Eyre Crusher finished third, just behind Classic American, who flew home from last at the bell. "It was exciting to see Classic American come back to form," Hall sen. said. "Obviously we have been driving him wrong. Soft driving helped him a lot." Henley Brook trainer-reinsman Robbie Williams will not push out with Calais from the No. 5 barrier and is hoping to obtain a favourable sit before asking the promising gelding to produce a strong finishing sprint. "It's no use worrying about the barrier," Williams said. "I will drive him softly and hope to be able to use his speed late in the race. He can run a fast 400m." Boyanup trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice had no luck at the draw, with Mista Rush drawing barrier six on the front line and Tasmanian Bromac No. 7. Both geldings will need plenty of luck to figure in the finish. The lightly-raced Mista Rush has impressed in winning the South-West Derby at Pinjarra and the Country Derby at Bunbury at his past two starts. SENSATIONAL GABBY SET TO MAKE THE SPARKS FLY The clash between noted frontrunners Hokonui Ben and Sensational Gabby in the 2130m Big Sports Breakfast TV Channel 519 Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night looks set to produce plenty of fireworks and should be a major highlight on the nine-event program. Hokonui Ben, the all-the-way winner of the 2936m WA Pacing Cup in January, gained a significant early advantage by drawing barrier two in the seven-horse field and trainer-reinsman Aldo Cortopassi is sure to attempt to burst past the polemarker Rocket Reign in the early stages. However, Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri hopes that Sensational Gabby's sizzling early speed from barrier four will enable her to outpace the three runners drawn inside of her and assume her favoured role of pacemaker. "She has very good gate speed and obviously Plan A will be to lead," Olivieri said. "If Chris (Lewis) feels that there is something happening inside of him that he doesn't like, then he will go to plan B. She has been working really well since she led and won easily from Soho Valencia two Fridays ago." In that event Sensational Gabby rated 1.54.8 over 2130m. Olivieri also has an excellent second string in Red Salute, who will start from the No. 5 barrier and will again be handled by Chris Voak. "Red Salute is a consistent performer, but he has been suffering from a sore foot," Olivieri said as he offered that problem as a legitimate excuse for the five-year-old fading to fifth behind Northview Punter and Soho Valencia after setting the pace at his latest appearance, over 2130m three Fridays ago. "Chris said that Red Salute was going like a camel down the back. The horse then blew an abscess out in a foot at his next track run, and that was obviously bothering him in the race when his effort, on the surface, was disappointing compared to his previous run (when he led and won from Sensational Gabby over 2130m). Adding considerable interest to Friday night's race will be the reappearance of star pacer Dasher VC, who will start from the outside in the field of seven. The seven-year-old and winner of the 2013 Fremantle Cup when he defeated Im Themightyquinn will be having his first start since finishing tenth in the WA Pacing Cup on January 17. His driver Aiden De Campo (son of Capel trainer Andrew De Campo) said that Dasher VC had been working strongly. "He worked with a galloping pacemaker on our track this morning (Tuesday) and worked really well," he said. "He'll probably need the run on Friday, but hopefully he's coming back to his best. "During his previous preparation we were trying to patch up a lot of holes with him, trying to be nice to him and getting him sound. This time it will be either make or break for him." Also resuming after a spell will be Rocket Reign, who should enjoy an ideal passage from the No. 1 barrier. Wanneroo trainer Debbie Padberg said that the ten-year-old was working really well, was sound and is looking a million dollars. GOOD DRIVE FOR LEWIS Champion reinsman Chris Lewis has been engaged to drive promising lightly-raced four-year-old Leftrightgoodnight in the Sky Racing Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night and he should send punters home on a winning note. Leftrightgoodnight, trained at Baskerville by Sonia Zucchiatti, impressed at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon when he overcame the disadvantage of a punctured sulky tyre to finish strongly from eighth at the bell to win easily from Deimos at a 1.56 rate over 1684m. He was driven by Kim Prentice, who will handle Zucchiatti's other runner Sir Kale in Friday night's race. Sir Kale, who will start from barrier four on the front line, has a losing sequence of 23 stretching back to a win in Bunbury in June 2011. He has been placed at three of his past seven starts. Prentice has driven Leftrightgoodnight at seven of his eight starts for three wins and one placing. Lewis has driven the gelding only once --- for an easy all-the-way victory over 2130m at Gloucester Park in mid-February. Leftrightgoodnight will start from barrier two on the front line and Lewis will be keen to get the gelding to an early lead. COMPACT ROCKET FAVOURED TO TURN THE TABLES Handy five-year-old Compact Rocket gets an ideal opportunity to turn the tables on his stablemate Pembrook Henry when he starts from barrier three on the front line of the 2503m Big Sports Breakfast TV Channel 519 Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Last Friday night Compact Rocket sat behind the pacemaking Pembrook Henry and was hampered for room in the closing stages when a sound third to that pacer in a 2503m stand. Pembrook Henry faces a tougher task this week off the 10m mark. Trainer Ross Olivieri said that he was confident of a bold showing this week from Compact Rocket, whose barrier manners were improving. "He was a bit hit and miss in stands, but we think that we've got him (to get away smoothly)," Olivieri said. "He went from a pole to a line pole to nothing and since we've got rid of the pole he seems a lot better." Olivieri also warned punters not to discount the winning chances of the nine-year-old Pembrook Henry, who led and won from Copagrin last week. "Starting from 10m won't be as good for him," he said. "However, I do believe that Pembrook Henry is a better horse from behind than in front, and he is beginning quickly, so he could be handily placed." MATTHEW LANDS FIRST CITY WINNER Twenty-two-year-old Harley Matthew gave a polished exhibition in the sulky to bring Loving You with a spirited burst from last to win the Young Drivers Pace at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night. Loving You, trained at Herron by Clive Dalton, started at 7/1. The four-year-old mare started from the outside of the front line and Matthew wisely restrained her back to last in the field of ten before starting a three-wide burst approaching the bell. Scuba Steve got past the pacemaker Visigoth 450m from home before being overhauled at the 250m mark by Loving You, who won by a half-length from the fast-finishing Blue McCool. by Ken Casellas

Reinsman Clint Hall declared that inexperienced gelding Elegant Christian was spot on for the WA Derby on Friday week and was supremely confident that he would wind up his preparation for the $200,000 classic by winning the $50,000 TABtouch Western Gateway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Elegant Christian stunned punters when he started at 25/1 on and was beaten in a minor event at Gloucester Park on Monday of last week. However, Hall said that there was a significant excuse for that defeat (by a nose behind Mister Jadore) and that the lightly-raced three-year-old had bounced back to his brilliant best with a dazzling performance in a 2150m trial at Byford on Sunday morning when he romped to a 15-length victory after flying home over the final 800m in 55.5sec. "He drew the outside of the front line in the trial and I kept him four and five wide on the first corner before easing him back to last," he said. "And then after we got through the first quarter I asked him to come out and he went up and took the breeze and he raced there for a lap until he went to the front at the bell. "I sent him around the last two corners and he was fine, back to normal. We added a nearside lugging pole, a Murphy blind and an underhead check --- and he felt super. "I made him run round the corner from the 800m to the 600m and made him run again from the 400m to the 200m. I then let him ease up going to the line and I was quite surprised when I saw he had run 26.9sec. for the last quarter." Six days earlier Elegant Christian hung very badly in a 2130m event at Gloucester Park when he raced in the breeze outside Mister Jadore. He fought on gamely, but just failed to overhaul the pacemaker. Trainer Gary Hall sen. then discovered that the gelding was suffering from an ulcer in his mouth which caused him to hang inwards. This has been cured. That was Elegant Christian's first defeat in a six-start career and now Clint Hall is bubbling with confidence that the gelding will be untroubled to set the pace from the prized No. 1 barrier on the front line in Friday night's group 3 event. Elegant Christian is one of four runners from the powerful Hall stable, the others being Machtu, Eyre Crusher and Classic American. Kim Prentice will drive Machtu from barrier two on the back line, Morgan Woodley has been booked to handle Eyre Crusher (inside of the back line) and Chris Voak will drive Classic American from barrier four on the back line. Clint Hall drove Machtu when he gave a superb performance to score a runaway victory in a 2536m Derby prelude last Friday night. But he had no hesitation in choosing to drive Elegant Christian this week. Machtu settled at the rear in last week's event before surging forward to the breeze in the middle stages and then charging away from his rivals to win by just under seven lengths from Three Blind Mice. "It was a super run by Machtu and he is sure to be prominent in this week's race," Hall said. "Eyre Crusher will appreciate drawing the inside of the back line and should follow Elegant Christian. He should finish in the top three." Eyre Crusher has had nine starts for four wins and four seconds. Classic American has won at six of his nine starts, but faces a stern test from barrier four on the back line. Mister Jadore, a winner of ten races, also faces a tough task from the outside of the back line. Pelusiac, with a record of five wins and three seconds from ten starts, left Hall's stables last Sunday week and will be making his first appearance for Capel trainer Andrew De Campo. He will be handled by Aiden De Campo from barrier three on the back line. Adding further interest to the race will be the Australian debut of Ultimate Major, who has entered de Campo's stables this year after winning at three of his four starts in New Zealand late last year. He will start from barrier four on the front line. Three Blind Mice (barrier two) and Calais (three) are smart geldings who are racing keenly and should be prominent. However, Elegant Christian appears likely to carry too many guns for his rivals and should give Hall sen. his third success in the Western Gateway Pace. He trained and drove The Falcon Strike when he beat Knightwatchman and Shadow Maker in 2001 and he prepared Alta Christiano for his success 12 months ago. HALL SAYS SOHO VALENCIA IS "GOING PLACES" "I think he's going places and is a Christmas horse, and a Christmas horse should take care of these," said Clint Hall when assessing the prospects of Soho Valencia in the 2130m Princi Butchers Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Hall will drive the five-year-old, who will start from barrier three on the back line and is likely to make a sweeping move in the first lap in a bid to burst to the front. Soho Valencia is one of four runners in the race prepared by leading trainer Gary Hall sen., the others being last-start winner Dashing Christian (Kim Prentice), Benjamin Banneker (Kiara Davies) and Our Arlington (Lauren Jones). They are better-assessed pacers than Soho Valencia, who is an M1-class performer. But Soho Valencia has greater ability and potential than that trio and he is certain to prove very hard to beat after second placings as favourite on the past two Friday nights. They were his first two runs after an injury-enforced absence of 17 months and they were full of merit. He had a tough run when a fighting second to his classy stablemate Northview Punter last Friday week and then he raced without cover all the way when second to the brilliant mare Sensational Gabby last Friday night. "He drops down a bit in class this week after last week's Free-For-All," said Clint Hall. "His run last week was super. Chris Lewis (Sensational Gabby) didn't make the mistake of letting Soho Valencia into the race after having the advantage of the barrier draw. This week Soho Valencia will be hard to beat." The prospects of Lovers Delight, the impressive winner of the Clarke final last week when he worked hard in the breeze before getting up to defeat Lord Lombo, deteriorated when he drew the outside of the front line in the preferential barrier draw. Dashing Christian has drawn ideally at No. 2 on the front line and is capable of a bold showing. He should be prominent throughout. He impressed last Friday night when he raced three back on the pegs before charging home to snatch a nose victory over Mighty Flying Thomas. Adding interest to the race will be the return of smart eight-year-old Ohoka Samson for Pinjarra trainer-reinsman Kade Howson. Ohoka Samson has been off the scene for four months, but impressed when he sprinted over the final 400m in 27.6sec. to win a 2185m trial at Pinjarra on Sunday morning, rating 1.55.9. He will start from barrier four on the back line. DROP-DOWN RULE SHOULD HELP MAGGIES MYSTERY When smart five-year-old mare Maggies Mystery was an unlucky fourth behind Erris Lad last Friday night she increased her losing sequence to ten and immediately became the latest beneficiary of the drop-down rule, with her classification being altered from an M3 to an M2 mark. This has enabled her to be handicapped off the front line in the discretionary M1 and better Bet Today Collect Today Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night, thus boosting her prospects. Maggies Mystery, to be driven by Aldo Cortopassi for Burekup trainer Colin Reeves, was unlucky last week. She was in ninth position on the pegs at the bell and was finishing strongly, but was hampered for room when fourth, just over a length behind the winner. She caught the eye four days earlier when a fast-finishing fourth behind Soho Jackman in a 1730m, sprint at Gloucester Park. There is plenty of exposed form in Friday night's standing-start event over 2503m and punters should get great value for their investments, with polemarker Copagrin and last-start all-the-way winner Major Fury (barrier two) sure to be prominent. Hez Got The Nod, J Walker, Pembrook Henry, Balleybofey, Danieljohn and Erris Lad all have sound claims. QUINNY GETS ALTA CHRISTIANO ON THE MOVE Richly-talented New Zealand-bred four-year-old Alta Christiano was beaten in a track workout last Saturday morning. But it was an effort which enhanced his prospects of winning the first heat of the Making Smoking History Johnson Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Why? The answer is simple. He was beaten on the home track of Serpentine master trainer Gary Hall sen. by none other than superstar Im Themightyquinn. Alta Christiano, driven by Clint Hall, set the pace in then workout before being beaten comfortably by Im Themightyquinn (Gary Hall jun.). "We ran the mile and a half on the 1000m track in 3min. 3sec. and the last quarter took 27.1sec.," said Clint Hall. "It was Quinny's first real hit-out and his first workout with another horse in this preparation. He went to the line under a strong hold. "Alta Christiano should be too good for his rivals on Friday night. His first-up run was very good. He was nice and relaxed and sharp at the end, and he wanted to run another quarter." In that 2536m event at Gloucester Park last Monday week Alta Christiano made most of the running and won easily from Jungleface Jake after sprinting over the final 800m in 55.8sec. and the last 400m in 27sec. It was his first appearance after a ten-month absence. Alta Christiano will start from the inside of the back line on Friday night and Hall is likely to attempt to get him off the pegs and to go forward as early as possible. Im Themightyquinn will return to Gloucester Park on Friday week with an exhibition workout. He is expected to return to racing on the same track a fortnight later. SCHOOLBOY LANDS FIRST CITY WINNER Sixteen-year-old schoolboy Micheal Ferguson took time off from his studies to go to Gloucester Park with his parents Brian and Allison on Tuesday evening --- and he landed his first city winner by driving 5/2 chance Barkers Hall to an all-the-way victory over the even-money favourite Dashing Major in the 2536m Schweppes Pace. A day earlier, he got permission to take the afternoon to attend the meeting at Pinjarra where he drove Adda Notherzero to a thrilling nose victory over Chooks Reward after bringing Guilty Grin from the rear to finish a nose second to Director Whitby Ferguson now has driven four winners in his brief career after learning the ropes from his father, a Byford trainer-reinsman who has been concentrating on breaking in young pacers in recent years. Young Ferguson also has been assisting at the Serpentine stables of leading trainer Gary Hall sen. during school holidays and on weekends. Barkers Hall, a Victorian-bred five-year-old, is trained by Hall and his win on Tuesday night was his first in 12 starts in Western Australia. Ferguson jumped Barkers Hall straight to the front from the No. 2 barrier and he stole a march on his rivals when he was able to get the gelding to amble through the first two 400m sections of the final milem in 32.7sec. and 30.7sec. before increasing the tempo with two final quarters in 28.4sec. by Ken Casellas  

When former champion juvenile Sensational Gabby managed just one win and one third placing from 11 starts between December 2012 and January this year her harness racing future was in extreme doubt. She was wrecking her winning prospects by overracing fiercely and hanging and her connections were seriously considering retirement plans. But astute Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri did not give up the battle and after months of experimenting he has cured her bad habits of pulling hard and hanging in her races and now she has regained all the brilliance which enabled her to win at 23 of her first 27 starts. She paced generously and faultlessly when she revealed blistering speed to outclass her rivals in the Ray Duffy Memorial at Gloucester Park on Friday night, recording a smart 1.54.8 rate over the 2130m after speeding over the final mile in 1min.53.9sec. Sensational Gabby now has several feature events for mares over the next two months at her mercy. These include the $20,000 Golden Girls Mile at Pinjarra on April 21, the $35,000 Race For Roses at Gloucester Park on May 9, the $40,000 WASBA Breeders Pace on May 23 and the $30,000 Westbred Fillies and Mares Classic on May 30. And so well is Sensational Gabby performing that there are plans to set her for rich feature events next summer, including the Fremantle Cup and WA Pacing Cup. Olivieri is well pleased that Sensational Gabby is now tractable in her races, but he remains tight-lipped about what gear changes he has made to cure her bad habits. Sensational Gabby was an easing 13/4 second favourite on Friday night when most punters pinned their faith on Soho Valencia, who was a heavily-supported 2/1 on favourite from the No. 2 barrier on the front line. However, the anticipated battle for supremacy never really eventuated, with Chris Lewis firing out Sensational Gabby from the No. 1 barrier and establishing a decisive early lead on the opposition, leaving Soho Valencia in the breeze, but a couple of lengths behind the flying pacemaker. After a 29.3sec. first 400m section of the final mile Sensational Gabby left the opposition floundering in her wake as she sped of the next quarters in 28.5sec., 27.7sec. and 28.4sec. Sensational Gabby won by two lengths from Soho Valencia, with almost a length to Code Red (9/1) in third place after he had trailed the leader throughout. The five-year-old WA-bred Sensational Gabby has now amassed $527,495 from 27 wins and six placings from 48 starts. Sensational Gabby's win gave Lewis the third leg of a winning treble in consecutive events --- after wins with Shirlz Sensation and Lovers Delight. Lewis almost landed four wins in a row (in the four legs of the quadrella) when Pembrook Henry set the pace and finished second to Erris Lad. MACHTU EQUALS STATE RECORD Crack New Zealand-bred gelding Machtu is now a clear favourite for the $200,000 WA Derby on Friday week after his devastating performance to crush his rivals in the Cowden Ltd Derby Prelude at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Machtu, prepared by leading trainer Gary Hall sen., is spot on for the rich classic and he equalled the State record for three-year-olds over 2536m when he rated 1.57.2 in beating Three Blind Mice by almost seven lengths. Robyns C C also rated 1.57.2 when she finished strongly to win a race for fillies last August. What made Machtu's performance all the more impressive was that he worked hard without cover for much of the way before storming away from his rivals in the final stages with a final 400m in 28.2sec. After unplaced runs at his first two starts in New Zealand as a two-year-old in December 2012, Machtu has won at seven of his next eight starts. His five WA starts have produced four wins and a fighting second to stablemate Elegant Christian. Machtu, favourite at 3/1 on, started from barrier four and raced three wide for the first 200m before Clint Hall restrained him back to settle in ninth position. Hall started a three-wide run after 900m and Machtu quickly moved alongside the pacemaker So Ubettabelieveit. Machtu surged to the front 270m from home and careered away from his rivals. Three Blind Mice, trained by Barry Howlett, was a 19/1 chance who raced without cover during the first lap and then gained the one-out, one-back trail behind Classic American before being shuffled back to seventh at the bell. He finished powerfully, out wide, to be a splendid second. Life Live Fast (66/1) enjoyed an ideal pegs run throughout and fought on along the inside to be third, with Zacharia finishing solidly into fourth place. Machtu, who has earned $51,038 from seven wins and a second from ten starts, is the fourth foal out of Holmes Hanover mare Letatalk, who managed to win only once from 20 New Zealand starts for stakes of just $3938. SHIRLZ SENSATION IS ON THE RISE Four-year-old Shirlz Sensation looks set for a bright career after another outstanding performance to score an effortless victory in the Community Newspaper Group Westbred final at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Starting favourite at evens from barrier two on the back line, Shirlz Sensational was driven aggressively by Chris Lewis before scoring by three lengths from Smooth Caesar (6/1), with the strongly-supported 9/4 second fancy Soho Jackman one and a half lengths farther back in third place. Oneheart Twofists jumped straight to the front from barrier three and he was joined by Shirlz sensation 700m after the start after a slow 37.9sec. lead time and 30.9sec. opening quarter of the final mile. The third quarter whizzed by in 28.1sec. before Lewis sent Shirlz Sensation to the front with 230m to travel. The final quarter was covered in a sparkling 27.8sec. and Shirlz Sensation rated a smart 1.57 over the 2130m. Soho Jackman started from the outside of the back line and did a good job to finish third. He was last 1050m from home before sustaining a solid three-wide burst. Shirlz Sensation, part-owned and trained by Mike Beech, has turned the corner this season, with his past seven starts producing five wins, a second and a third. He was also extremely impressive last Friday week when he raced without cover before winning by more than ten lengths. He now has raced 22 times for seven wins and three placings for stakes of $58,720. LOVERS DELIGHT IS GETTING TOUGHER Lightly-raced six-year-old Lovers Delight, a noted frontrunner, revealed improved stamina and determination when he raced in the breeze before beating the pacemaker Lord Lombo in the $25,000 Pick Of The Little Scrapbooking Clarke final at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Trained at Capel by Andrew De Campo and driven by Chris Lewis, Lovers Delight, the heavily-supported 3/1 favourite, simply carried too many guns for his 11 rivals. Lord Lombo, a 9/1 chance, was first into stride from barrier two and Lewis then was quite content to allow Lovers Delight to settle in the breeze. After a third section of the final mile in 28.1sec. Lord Lombo looked set to score an upset win. But he was unable to withstand the finishing effort of Lovers Delight who got to the front in the final 25m and scored by 2m at a 1.57.6 rate over 2130m. Outsider Franco Torres overcame the disadvantage of starting from the outside of the back line when he ran on from eighth (on the pegs) at the bell to be third, a half-head in front of polemarker Benjamin Banneker. The New Zealand-bred Lovers Delight has raced 22 times in WA for eight wins and eight placings to take his career record to32 starts for 12 wins, ten placings and $170,203. He now graduates to an M3 classification and looks set for many more successes. BREAKTHROUGH SUCCESS FOR MISSISSIPPI BELL Four-year-old Mississippi Bell, unplaced at her only seven previous appearances at Gloucester Park, made a significant breakthrough when her Waroona trainer Bob Mellsop drove her to a convincing victory in the 2130m Ross North Group Mares Pace on Friday night. Mississippi Bell, a 12/1 chance from the inside of the back line, relished the run of the race behind the pacemaker Awesome Desire (13/4) before Mellsop eased her into the clear in the closing stages. She ran on determinedly to hit the front 80m from the post and draw away to beat Awesome Desire by almost a length, with 20/1 chance Mene Jaccka coming from three back on the pegs to fill third position. Love In The Dark, a newcomer from Queensland, was strongly supported to start favourite at 10/9 on at her WA debut for Byford trainer-reinsman Shannon Suvaljko. She was beaten for early speed from the No. 3 barrier and worked hard in the breeze before fading to finish eighth. Mississippi Bell rated 2.0.3 and took her record to 28 starts for six wins and one placings for stakes of $33,032. She is by American stallion Riverboat King out of Northern Lights mare Firestorm Whitby and is certainly bred to be a good winner. Firestorm Whitby's dam Tempting Franco produced five winners, including Typhoon Whitby, who had 46 starts for 17 wins, seven placings and $163,751. Typhoon Whitby finished second to The Kindly One in the $100,000 1999 Bathurst Gold Tiara, won the $60,000 State Sires Series for two-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park in August 1999 and was fourth behind Tupelo Rose in the 2000 Victoria oaks. Mississippi bell also is closely related to former outstanding pacer Franco Tiger, who amassed $991,387 from 43 wins and 36 placings from 116 starts. Franco Tiger's victories included the 1992 Miracle Mile, the 1992 Australian Pacing Championship, the 1992 Queensland Pacing Championship and the 1993 Treuer Memorial. He also finished second to Westburn Grant in the 1992 interdominion championship at Moonee Valley and third behind The Harlem Boy and Jack Morris in the 1993 WA Pacing Cup. SPRINT TRIP SUITS CARTERS ROCKET Carters Rocket, a flop when he led and faded to third behind Wolowitz over 2190m at Northam last Tuesday, appreciated returning to a sprint journey when he scored an all-the-way victory in the 1730m Kennards Hire Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. His one-length win over Ima Grumpy Jasper at a 1.57.78 rate ended a losing sequence of 12, which included only two placed efforts. Polemarker Im Clean Cut, a surprising 5/4 on favourite after finishing ninth, twelfth and eleventh at his three previous starts, was beaten out at the start by Carters Rocket (second fancy at 17/4) from the No. 2 barrier. This proved decisive. Colin Brown gave Carters Rocket his head and the New Zealand-bred five-year-old by Elsu sped through the first 400m section of the final mile in 28.7sec. before Brown was able to give the gelding a breather with a leisurely second quarter in only 31.9sec. Carters Rocket covered the final quarters in 29.8sec. and 28.2sec. and won from Ima Grumpy Jasper, a 12/1 chance who ran on from eighth in the middle stages. Im Clean Cut trailed the pacemaker before getting a clear passage in the final stages to finish gamely into third place. Carters Rocket, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, won twice from seven New Zealand starts and has been a handy performer in Western Australia where his 38 starts have produced eight wins and seven placings. He now has a record of 46 starts for ten wins, ten placings and $57,931. Carters Rocket is out of the unraced Pocket Rose, whose full-sister Tupelo Rose was a champion performer who earned $879,867 from 35 wins and 25 placings from 101 starts. Hollywood Rose, a mare by Butler B G, failed to win from 20 starts in the early 1990s. However, Tupelo Rose quickly developed into a superstar who won several group 1 and group 2 events as a juvenile. She won two group 1 classics for fillies as a two-year-old at Alexandra Park in 1999 before winning the New Zealand Great Northern Oaks, the Victoria Oaks, the Queensland Oaks and Australian Oaks the following year. Tupelo Rose won 12 races in New Zealand, 12 in Australia, one in Canada and ten in America. AM OPULENT Four-year-old Am Opulent, a group 1 classic winner as a two-year-old in New Zealand, took full advantage of the coveted No. 1 barrier at Gloucester Park when she gave a bold frontrunning display to win the 2130m Gannons Mares Pace on Friday night. Favourite at 7/4 on, Am Opulent was driven with supreme confidence by Ryan Warwick, who gave the mare her head when she dashed over the final 800m in 57.5sec. She won by a neck at a 1.57.3 rate from 15/1 chance Bettor Whitby, who trailed her throughout. Jungle Genie (13/2), a stablemate of the winner, sustained a three-wide burst from last in the middle stages to be a neck away in third place. Am Opulent, who ended a losing sequence of ten with an easy victory at Harvey at her previous outing, gives every indication of many more wins. She has earned $162,757 from ten wins and eight placings from 31 starts. A winner of three races from seven starts in New Zealand, Am Opulent has had 24 starts in WA for seven wins and seven placings. She revealed abundant early promise and was successful in the group 1 Caduceus Club Classic for two-year-old fillies at Alexandra Park in April 2012. Her dam Imprint (by Life Sign) earned only $22,622 from three wins and three placings from 14 starts, but she is closely related to Smart Son, who earned $347,805 from 41 wins and 59 placings from 226 starts. He was successful in New Zealand, Australia and the United States. Am Opulent completed a double in the first two events on Friday night's program for Forrestdale trainers Greg and Skye Bond, who prepared Carters Rocket for his win in the opening event. The Bonds continued on their winning ways with a double at Kellerberrin on Sunday afternoon when Showstopper and Jungle Jewel scored all-the-way victories. DASHING CHRISTIAN ENDS LOSING RUN OF 14 New Zealand-bred seven-year-old Dashing Christian ended a losing sequence of 14 when he unleashed a powerful burst which enabled him to get up in the final stride to snatch victory by a nose over 7/4 favourite Mighty Flying Thomas in the 2536m Plscrapbooking.com.au Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Dashing Christian, third favourite at 5/1, started from the inside of the back line and Clint Hall had him in fifth position, three back on the pegs, for most of the race, with Shifting Sand (14/1) setting the pace. Mighty Flying Thomas settled in tenth place before Morgan Woodley sent him forward after 550m to move into the breeze. After a third quarter of the final mile in a brisk 28.2sec., Mighty Flying Thomas got his head in front with 375m to travel and looked set for victory when he led clearly in the home straight. But Dashing Christian sprouted wings and gained the verdict by the barest of margins after a final quarter in 28.9sec. The Feather Foot (9/2) ran on strongly from sixth at the bell to be third. Dashing Christian, who had finished encouraging seconds at his two previous starts, gave trainer Gary Hall sen. and Clint Hall a double after they had combined to win the previous event with Machtu. Dashing Christian, a winner at one of his seven New Zealand starts, raced seven times in New South Wales for seven wins and six placings. He has had 23 starts in WA for three wins and nine placings to take his career earnings to $105,955 from 11 wins and 19 placings. He is then second foal out of Falcon Seelster mare Dreamy Dash, who managed just one win and seven placings from 33 starts for earnings of $17,165. ERRIS LAD MAKES THE MOST OF DROP-DOWN RULE The drop-down rule introduced a couple of years ago which enables pacers assessed M2 and better to drop down a grade has proved a tremendous boon for WA-bred Erris Lad, who has returned to winning form three times after receiving this advantage. Horses handicapped M2 or better drop down a grade after completing a losing sequence of ten. Erris Lad, trained at Hazelmere by Mike Reed, dropped back from an M2 to an M1 classification after chalking up a losing run of ten when a sound fourth behind Major Fury last Friday week. This enabled the seven-year-old to start from the front line in Friday night's 2503m TABtouch Handicap, an event for M1 and better-class pacers. Colin Brown took advantage of the front-line draw and had Erris Lad, a 20/1 outsider, poised to strike from the one-out, one-back position, with 3/1 chance Pembrook Henry setting the pace. Erris Lad finished full of running to take the lead 100m from the post. He went on to beat Pembrook Henry by a half-length, with a neck back to 16/1 chance Hez Got the Nod, who finished strongly out five wide after racing three back on the pegs. Flyalong Falcon, favourite at 5/2, lost his chance by galloping at the start. Mister Sarkozy also galloped and The Pacing Priest broke soon after the start. Flyalong Falcon came from tenth in the middle stages to be fifth before breaking on the home turn and dropping back to finish last. Erris Lad has been the beneficiary of the drop-down rule three times. His previous victory was last November when having his first start after a losing run of ten. His previous win before that success came after he had also enjoyed a downgrade. Under the old handicapping regulations Erris Lad would now have an M5 classification. His win on Friday night returns him to an M2 mark. FLYING START PAVES THE WAY FOR LA PASSIONE A flying start from the outside barrier paved the way for New Zealand-bred five-year-old La Passione's impressive victory in the 2536m McInerney Ford Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Darling Downs trainer Aldo Cortopassi revved up La Passione from the unfavourable No. 7 barrier and the gelding quickly charged past polemarker Good Luck Dollar and into the lead. Cortopassi was able to get La Passione to relax and the 4/1 second favourite coasted through the first two sections of the final mile in 31.8sec. and 30.7sec. before dashing over the next two quarters in 28.7sec. and 29.1sec. to win by two lengths from Black Cracker, who fought on doggedly after racing without cover. Good Luck Dollar trailed the leader and finished a neck away in third place. La Passione, by American stallion Pacific Rocket, is beginning to realise his potential after arriving in Western Australia about 14 months ago after having had 18 starts in New Zealand for four wins and seven placings. His 21 WA starts have produced four wins and six placings and he should develop into a handy and consistent city performer. Ken Casellas  

Friday night was a red letter night at Gloucester Park for Wanneroo trainer Debbie Padberg, who completed her first city treble when Shannon Suvaljko drove 9/2 chance Hez Got the Nod to a decisive all-the-way victory in the 2503m Carilley Estate Handicap. She had been successful earlier with The Feather Foot (11/2) and Franco Torres, a 57/1 tote outsider. Her three winners were in the first, second and fourth legs of the quadrella, which paid a massive dividend of $84,593. Her husband John, the managing part-owner of the trio, loves to dabble and he left the course rubbing his hands with typical unihibited glee. Debbie, far less extroverted than her ebullient husband, took the feat in her stride, but admitted it was a thrill to land her first Metropolitan treble after having held a trainer's licence for 30 years. "They're all nice horses, nothing too special, and they will just keep on racing and doing their job," she said. "I think I have had four or five trebles on country tracks." She attributed Hez Got The Nod's success to a return to standing-start racing, saying: "He was in mobiles and was going no good, so we returned to stands with him." This was Hez Got The Nod's second run in a stand after only one placing at his four previous starts in mobiles. He also led when he won a Gloucester Park stand before Friday night's race. He also won two stands at Gloucester Park in September and a stand at Northam in December. "We bought him for $25,000 after he had won once from 22 starts in New Zealand and four times from 11 starts in New South Wales," said John Padberg. The Grinfromeartoear five-year-old now has had 15 starts in WA for Padberg and Jodie Foster for five wins, four placings and stakes of $35,510. The gelding has graduated to an M1 classification with a record of 48 starts for ten wins, 20 placings and $66,216. "He's so reliable that he'll earn a bucket load of money out of the stands," said Padberg. Last-start winner Major Fury was a heavily-backed even-money favourite in Friday night's race, but he scrambled into his gear from the inside barrier and was beaten out by Hez Got the Nod, from the No. 2 barrier. Callan Suvaljko then trailed Hez Got The Nod, who covered the first two 400m sections of the final mile in 30.8sec. and 30.6sec. before sprinting over the final two quarters in 29.5sec. and 28.9sec. to win by just under two lengths from Major Fury, with just over a length to Pacific Black, who sustained a spirited three-wide burst from the rear. Hez Got the Nod's maternal granddam Janet Quill produced good winners Dartmoor and Mevagissey. Dartmoor, who won the Australian Pacing Championship at Gloucester Park in March 2008, beating No Blue Manna and Hayton Brain, is still racing in Victoria and has a record of 33 wins and 48 placings from 214 starts for earnings of $400,551. Mevagissey had 141 starts for 17 wins, 27 placings and $171,709. POLAK AND KIMES, A WINNING COMBINATION Five-year-old Polak and reinsman Clint Kimes are a winning combination and Kimes was more than happy to resume as Polak's driver in the $21,000 Mulberry On Swan Autumn Championship, taking over from champion reinsman Chris Lewis, who is enjoying a break, cruising the high seas. Kimes drove with considerable confidence and aggression to score an upset victory over the 10/1 on favourite David Hercules, who just failed to overcome the disadvantage of starting out wide at No. 6 and being forced to race wide. Kimes now has driven the Mike Reed-trained Polak six times for three wins, a second, a third and a seventh. Polak, second favourite at 10/1, started from barrier three and Kimes drove him hard, three wide, before getting past the polemarker Son of Fergie and into the lead after 300m. Morgan Woodley restrained David Hercules to last in the field of nine and when Gary Hall started a three-wide move with Passion Stride after 500m, Woodley followed with David Hercules, who went four wide at the bell in a bid to breach the gap from the pacemaker. David Hercules fought on with typical grit and determination and was beaten by 2m, with the winner rating a smart 1.54.6 after covering the final sectionals in 28.5sec., 29.3sec., 28sec. and 29.4sec. Passion Stride, who was switched to the pegs in the final few hundred metres, finished gamely into third place, just ahead of This Time Dylan, who sustained a strong finishing burst. Max Wimbridge, a part-owner of the winner, was excited at the win and said: "We've been looking for a good draw and we got it tonight. And I think we proved that good draws win races. "One of the owners (Roy Patterson) will be disappointed because he's on a cruise ship and the other one (Stephen Schmedje) is still down in Esperance county his money after selling his farm." Polak has been an excellent investment for Wimbridge, Patterson and Schmedje, having earned $177,695 from 16 wins and 16 placings from 58 starts. He was purchased for just $15,000 at the 2010 Gloucester Standardbred yearling sale and is a full-brother to Schinzig Buller, who has earned $290,837 from 11 wins and 13 placings from 55 starts. His wins included the group 2 Sales Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings in February 2007 and the group 1 Golden Nugget in November 2008 when he defeated Mysta Magical Mach and Im Themightyquinn. Polak is also a full-brother to three-year-old filly Lipizzaner, who led and won a race at Gloucester Park last Tuesday. BIRTHDAY BOY EDWARDS NOTCHES FIRST CITY WINNER Luke Edwards celebrated his 24th birthday on Sunday in style by driving his first Metropolitan-class winner at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he gave a polished display to score an emphatic victory with The Feather Foot in the 2130m Tony O'Driscoll Pace. Edwards, who was granted a licence to drive in the city in January, had The Feather Foot in the breeze for the first 150m before gaining the one-out, one-back trail behind The Black Lord, who was forced to work in the breeze with the 5/4 favourite Chocolatto having an easy time in front with a dawdling lead time of 38.4sec. and a leisurely first 400m section of the final mile in 31.9sec. Edwards was forced to take off earlier than planned when Kristian Hawkins started a three-wide move with Pembrook Henry 700m metres from home, threatening to put The Feather Foot in restricted room. Edwards switched The Feather Foot three wide at the 650m mark and the WA-bred seven-year-old sprinted fast (with the third quarter whizzing by in 28.1sec.) as he charged past Chocolatto with 400m to travel. The Feather Foot covered the final quarter in 28.9sec. and won by more than two lengths from Pembrook Henry (15/1), with Veitchy (28/1) finishing strongly from the rear to be a close third. The winner rated 1.58.9. The Feather Foot, by former champion pacer The Falcon Strike, started at 11/2 and ended a losing sequence of 29. However, he has proved a wonderful acquisition for owners John Padberg, Edwards, his younger brother Isaac, Kiara Davies and Michael Tenardi. They claimed the gelding last July for a mere $4000 and his 20 starts for trainer Debbie Padberg he has won once and been placed eight times for stakes of $22,603. The Feather Foot now has amassed $157,471 from 13 wins and 21 placings from 89 starts. He won the $100,000 group 1 State Sires Series final for three-year-old colts and geldings in July 2010, beating Erris Lad and Thomas With Steam. His maternal granddam Maybe Rich (a winner of ten races) produced six winners, including Fac Et Spiro, who had 85 starts for 23 wins, 30 placings and stakes of $386,695. Edwards, who drove Myouri to victory in an $8000 Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park in mid-February, said he was confident that The Feather Foot would prove hard to beat on Friday night despite finishing ninth in a field of ten behind Rowchester the previous Friday night. "He had a soft run along the pegs and was climbing all over them, but didn't get a clear run," he said. "And at his previous start he was beaten a nose by Shifting Sand. We put him in the race tonight and he was good enough to do the job. I had to go a bit earlier than I would have liked, but if I hadn't he would have been in a pocket. "He will strip fitter at his next start and I reckon he's got another two or three wins in him." Edwards also is hoping for further successes with Gamblers Power, a filly he trains and has driven to two wins at Northam this season. Edwards has no family background in horses. "About four years ago my boss had horses with Kevin Keys and I had my first involvement with horses, working with youngsters with him," he said. "I started to go through the reinsmen's school and then John and Debbie offered me a job as a stablehand. "Debbie gave me a few horses to drive in trials and when I graduated from the reinsmen's school I started working full-time with the Padbergs." SOUTHERN LEGACY LIVING UP TO EXPECTATIONS Breeding suggests that Southern Legacy will continue her wonderful consistent form and win many more races for owner-trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice. Southern Legacy, a 10/1 chance, raced three back on the pegs before finishing powerfully to score an easy victory over 82/1 outsider La Stella Del Mare and Mene Jaccka (22/1) in the 2130m Sully's Painting Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. It was a dream price for the five-year-old, who was having her seventh start after a spell. Her previous six runs had produced two wins, one second and three thirds. Punters rallied to support the polemarker Bonsu, who was sent out at 6/4 on. Bonsu set the pace for Shannon Suvaljko before wilting to finish fourth, with Southern Legacy charging to the front in the final 50m to win at a 1.57.8 rate and take her record to 23 starts for five wins, ten placings and $69,911. Southern Legacy, by Canadian sire Northern Luck, is out of Lady Legacy. She did not race as a two-year-old and showed early promise when, at her third start, finished second to the brilliant Sensational Gabby in the WA Oaks in May 2012. Southern Legacy's dam Lady Legacy raced 23 times for five wins and one placings for stakes of $23,280 before producing six winners, including Scram jet (172 starts for 24 wins, 42 placings and $235,076) and Pride of Colorado (67 starts for 14 wins, 14 placings and $125,013). Lady Legacy's dam Fiscal Miss (15 wins and $53,854) produced star performers Whitbys Miss Penny (50 starts for 32 wins, six placings and $568,289) and Ace of Whitby (79 starts for 29 wins, 21 placings and $317,247). Fiscal Miss was out of smart mare Remit, whose eight winners included Whitby Heritage (66 starts for 22 wins, 18 placings and $201,758), Whitby Timer (44 starts for 23 wins, eight placings and $314,899) and Whitbys Merit (14 starts for ten wins, two placings and $168,598). FRANCO TORRES BUCKS ALL THE ODDS Six-year-old New Zealand-bred gelding Franco Torres went into the 2130m first heat of the Burswood On Swan Clarke Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night as the rank tote outsider at 57/1 for three reasons: he had drawn out wide at barrier five, he had finished tenth at his most recent start and was an M2-class performer competing against three M3-class pacers and four M4 horses. However, he bucked the odds and caused a major upset when he stormed home from seventh at the bell to race away and score an easy victory, beating Danieljohn by more than two lengths, with Uppy Son (13/4) a half-length away in third place. Lord Coburn, an easy all-the-way winner at his two previous starts and drawn the prized No. 1 barrier, was all the rage and started favourite at 10/9 on. Lord Coburn led easily, with Black Pontiac in the breeze, Uppy Son on the pegs behind the pacemaker and Mighty Flying Thomas one-out and one-back. The pace slackened after about 500m and Morgan Woodley wisely took off with Mighty Flying Thomas after 650m in a bid to move alongside the pacemaker. But the move was foiled when 25/1 chance Black Pontiac's hind legs contacted the sulky and made him pull hard. This left Mighty Flying Thomas out on a limb, three wide. Franco Torres was seventh at the bell and 50m later Shannon Suvaljko switched him three wide to follow Mighty Flying Thomas, who eventually got to second in the back straight. But he was a spent force and Franco Torres burst to the front 250m from home before racing away from his rivals. Uppy Son pulled up lame in the near foreleg. Suvaljko was fined $200 by the stewards for having crossed his hands to use the whip before the final 200m mark. Franco Torres, trained by Debbie Padberg and owned by John Padberg and David and Alison Wiggers, won twice in New Zealand and three times in New South Wales before being purchased for $25,000. He now has raced 67 times for 11 wins, 18 placings and $89,338. He is a half-brother to Franco The Man, who has earned $185,496 from 19 wins and 28 placings from 105 starts. He is also related to This Time Franco (36 starts for ten wins, 11 placings and $249,151), Franco Thunder (178 starts for 44 wins, 43 placings and $199,928) and Franco Tiger (116 starts for 43 wins, 36 placings and $991,387). VOAK'S TACTICS PAY OFF WITH BET THE MAX There was action aplenty in the 2536m Community Newspaper Group Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night before the innovative Chris Voak triumphed with 11/2 chance Bet The Max. The first surprise came when good frontrunner Waipawa Junior, the 13/4 second fancy from the No. 1 barrier, was crossed by 10/1 chance Elusive Courage, who began speedily from barrier three. Christian Banner, favourite at 2/1, was restrained from the outside barrier back to last in the field of ten. Bet The Max started from barrier two on the back line and settled down in sixth position before Voak vacated the one-wide position and urged the gelding forward in a dashing bid for the lead. Bet The Max sprinted fast and got a length and a quarter in front of Elusive Courage, but was unable to cross to the lead. Voak then restrained Bet The Max and tried to slot in behind the pacemaker. But Bet the Max broke into a gallop and Voak had to abandon that manoeuvre as Colin Brown kicked up with Waipawa Junior to retain the position behind the leader. Voak quickly got Bet The Max back into a pacing action and the gelding was left in the breeze. Elusive Courage then dawdled through the opening quarter of the final mile in 32.4sec. before Luke Edwards brought outsider Myouri with a fast burst from the rear to join the leader and stablemate Elusive Courage 1350m from home, thus providing Bet The Max with the one-out, one-back sit. Myouri got to the front 430m from home, but was unable to hold off the strong-finishing Bet The Max and Christian Banner. The final quarter was run in 28.5sec. and the winner, who is owned by Harry Capararo and trained at Northam by Lang Inwood, rated 2.1.8. Bet The Max surged to the front at the 100m mark and went on to win by 2m from Christian Banner, who finished determinedly, three wide, from seventh at the bell to be second, almost a length in front of Myouri. The New Zealand-bred Bet The Max ended a losing sequence of 15, stretching back to an all-the-way Albany win 14 months ago, and he now has had 61 starts for ten wins, 14 placings and $49,064. Voak, who was driving Bet the Max for the first time, was fined $100 for careless driving in that he reduced the speed dramatically when he tried to restrain Bet The Max to obtain the run behind the leader. This caused the gelding to break into a gallop. WOTAVUGOT SHOWS THAT HE HAS GOT WHAT IT TAKES New Zealand-bred six-year-old Wotavugot certainly is not in the same league as his half-brother Chancellor Cullen, but he certainly gave a most impressive display when he outclassed his eight rivals in very modest company in the 2130m Make Smoking History Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Driven with extreme confidence by Chris Brew for Barragup trainer Laurie Groves, Wotavugot, a son of In The Pocket and a heavily-supported 5/2 on favourite, charged to the front 80m after the start and gave a bold frontrunning display to win by just under 11 lengths from Fully Zapped, rating 1.58.6 after final quarters in 28.4sec. and 29.1sec. This ended a losing sequence of 17, stretching back to a win in a stand at Narrogin in June 2012. Chancellor Cullen, who has had 43 starts for 16 wins, 11 placings and $363,752, is remembered by WA harness racing fans for his half-head victory over Bronze Seeker in the group 1 McInerney Ford Classic at Gloucester Park in November 2012. Wotavugot had 24 starts in New Zealand for seven wins and seven placings. His four wins and four placings from 22 starts have boosted his earnings to $61,257. MANTOMAN TOO TOUGH FOR BOOFSHALFBROTHER New South Wales-bred seven-year-old Mantoman gave a strong staying performance to record a fighting victory over Boofshalfbrother and Franco Jackson in the 2130m Spices Group Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Michael Brennan-trained gelding was driven for the first time by Gary Hall jun. and was a well-supported 13/4 chance from barrier four on the front line. Boofshalfbrother (9/1) took full advantage of the No. 1 barrier and he set the pace, with opening quarters of the final mile in 31.6sec. and 30.7sec. Hall moved Mantoman into the breeze after 400m when Colin Brown switched Franco Jackson to take the trail behind the leader after being first out from barrier two, but being unable to cross Boofshalfbrother. After a third quarter in 28.4sec. Mantoman moved alongside Boofshalfbrother and got to the front 150m from the post. Boofshalfbrother fought back grimly and went down by only a neck after a final quarter in 29.1sec. Franco Jackson battled on into third place, with the 2/1 favourite Shnappy faded to eighth after racing three wide in the middle stages. Mantoman, by Art Major, is out of Pretty Inpink, a mare who earned $103,492 from 15 wins and ten placings from 47 starts. Mantoman won 12 times in New South Wales and he has had 16 starts in WA for two wins and one placing. His earnings stand at $89,427. SMOOTH CAESAR UPSETS SOHO JACKMAN Big eight-year-old gelding Smooth Caesar outmuscled the opposition when he finished with great spirit to beat 2/1 on favourite Soho Jackman in the first heat of the 2130m Red Pepper Catering Westbred Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Owned by Marie Bingham, and trained and driven by Pinjarra horseman Kim Young, Smooth Caesar started from the coveted No. 1 barrier, but was a 10/1 chance despite a last-start second at Pinjarra and a win on the same track three starts before that. Last-start winner and a 4/1 tote outsider Oneheart Twofists began brilliantly from barrier six and Matt White had the gelding in front after 220m, giving Smooth Caesar a favourable sit on the pegs. Soho Jackman, from the outside of the back line, settled down in 11th position before Gary Hall jun. took him three wide approaching the bell. Soho Jackman sustained his effort and took the lead 100m from the post. But he was unable to hold out Smooth Caesar, who got the upper hand in the final 50m and scored by 2m at a 1.56.7 rate. Smooth Caesar has had 82 starts for 11 wins, 21 placings and $87,487 in prizemoney. WHOS MISTAKE THE FIRST OF SIX WINNERS FOR HALL Veteran pacer Whos Mistake got leading reinsman Gary Hall junior's weekend away to a flying start when he led all the way in the 2130m Munja Gardens Claiming Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Hall completed a double later in the program when he was successful Mantoman and he travelled to Bunbury on Saturday night where he drove four winners --- Truckers Buckeroo, Rocky Pop, Pelusiac and Ben Cartwright. Whos Mistake, trained by Gary Hall sen., was favourite at 6/4 on and he gave punters little cause for concern as he set a solid pace and scored by 4m from 10/1 chance Pride of Colorado, who put up a great performance to fight on doggedly after racing three wide for most of the race. Whos Mistake, owned by Doug Webster, has been a most reliable performer who has earned $148,710 from 18 wins and 25 placings from 124 starts. by Ken Casellas  

It's only a $7500 event for Metropolitan maiden performers, but the final race at Gloucester Park on Friday night, the 2130m Make Smoking History Pathway Pace, is of significant importance to Chris Brew, who is confident of success with Wotavugot, a six-year-old with a losing sequence of 16 and unsuccessful since scoring at Narrogin in June 2012. "This could well be my final appearance at Gloucester Park and I would dearly love to win the race," said the 32-year-old Brew, who has decided to embark on a new career path. "I will be seen as a trainer for the final time when I drive Glenferrie Hood in the Manea Classic at Bunbury on Saturday night and debutant Dainty Diva at Collie on Sunday afternoon. I will leave Western Australia in two weeks and it's possible I might not drive again at Gloucester Park." The Victorian-born 32-year-old Brew would dearly love to end his career in this State the same way as he started it --- when he brought Long Shot Lou home with a powerful three-wide burst to win at Gloucester Park in December 2007 at his first appearance in the State. He will be moving home to Melbourne with his wife Kalina and children Olivia (six) and Toby (nine months) and will become a fly-in, fly-out truck driver in Karratha, in the far north of WA. "This is something I've decided I need to do for my family," he said. "I'll miss training and driving here in WA. I haven't got many regrets and I've enjoyed my time here over the past six and half years. I'd love to bow out with a winner or two." The pint-sized Brew has winning prospects with his two drives on Friday night --- Christian Banner in the Community Newspaper Group Pace and Wotavugot in the final event. Wotavugot, who is trained at Barragup by Laurie Groves, warmed up for this week's assignment in good style when he trailed the pacemaker Raza Sharp Lombo before finishing fast to be a close second to that horse over 2536m last Friday night. He is ideally drawn in this week's event at No. 2 barrier on the front line. "He was impressive last week and seems like a horse on the way up," Brew said. "I would like to think that he will lead and take catching." Wotavugot certainly makes strong appeal as the likely leader, with the moderate performer Big Shot Barbie (who has managed one placing from her past 21 starts) on his inside. "Even though he finished seventh at his previous start (behind Vertical Four at Bunbury at his previous start) Wotavugot impressed me," Brew said. "He came from a long way back and attacked the line very well. "Laurie Groves and his son Brad, David Hunter and Dennis Roche have been the biggest supporters I've had and it would be fantastic to drive a winner for them before I go home. "Christian Banner, who is trained by Hunter, has drawn the outside of the front line, but he is a winning chance. It wouldn't matter where he draws; he's always a chance because he's just a good, honest and consistent horse. He has a good turn of foot and if the race is run to suit he's always a chance. "His last-start fourth was in a good field at Harvey and they sprinted a fast last sectional. He will be suited over the 2536m. His record over 2500m is very good. He is a model of consistency and he came from last to win the Williams Cup over 2666m in December." Christian Banner has won twice over 2600m at Addington and over 2569m at Bunbury and two starts ago he finished with a powerful burst to be second to Clifford over 2597m at Bridgetown. Clifford franked that form with a strong victory at Gloucester Park last Friday night. Brew also is confident of strong showings from Glenferrie Hood in the Manea Classic at Bunbury on Saturday night and he said he expected Dainty Diva would produce a strong effort at her debut in a three-year-old maiden event at Collie on Sunday. " "Dainty Diva is very fast away from a stand and she's clean-gaited," he said. "I'm hoping she draws the front line, and if she does she should prove a good winning chance. Glenferrie Hood should go well at Bunbury. I'm hoping for a favourable draw. After the race Glenferrie Hood will leave for New South Wales where he will be trained by Luke McCarthy." Brew said that he had had his share of success and his share of heartbreak in WA and would leave with many happy memories. His major triumphs were winning the $100,000 group 1 State Sires Series final for three-year-old colts and geldings with The Feather Foot in July 2010, the group 2 $50,000 Binshaw Classic with Please Release Me in February 2012 and two group 3 events with Lucie Boshier in 2012 --- the John Higgins Memorial and the Norm's Daughter Classic. Brew's decision to quit harness racing will further deplete the ranks of talented young reinsmen. In the past month New Zealand-born drivers Chris Butt and Shane Butcher have left WA. Butcher has resumed driving in Auckland and Butt has gone to Paris to work in a stable there before going to America to gain further experience and then returning to his homeland. WOODLEY OUT TO MAKE AMENDS IN THE AUTUMN CHAMPIONSHIP Outstanding reinsman Morgan Woodley is hellbent on making amends for the defeat of David Hercules in last year's Autumn Championship by driving the David Thompson-trained gelding to victory in the $21,000 Mulberry Estate Autumn Championship at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Twelve months ago Woodley chose to drive David Hercules in preference to Mysta Magical Mach when David Hercules, from barrier No. 4, worked hard in the breeze and battled on to be a well-beaten second to the pacemaking Mysta Magical Mach, who was heavily backed to start favourite at 6/4 on for star reinsman Chris Lewis. Woodley had driven Mysta Magical Mach to victory in the Autumn Championship in 2012, after having won the feature event with Scruffy Murphy in 2008. In a major change the Autumn Championship will be decided over 1730m after the race was run over 2536m last year and 2506m the previous year. David Hercules is a brilliant sprinter who holds the track record for 1700m (1.52.8) and 2130m (1.53.6). He proved far too good for the opposition last Friday night when he started from the outside of the front line (barrier seven)and worked without cover before surging past the pacemaker Truckers Ruffnut and into the lead 450m from home before winning by 5m from Red Salute, rating 1.55 over 2130m. He sprinted over the final 800m in 55.6sec. Woodley was full of praise for the seven-year-old, describing him as a tremendous performer with a high cruising speed and keen appetite for racing. David Hercules will start out wide again this week and Woodley is likely to send him forward from the No. 6 position immediately after the start or when the field settles down after 400m or so. Hokuri Handrail, who will be driven for the first time by Chris Voak, is favourably drawn at No. 2 and has sound prospects of leading. He has managed just one placing from his past 14 starts, but is a smart frontrunner, capable of considerable improvement. Polak, to be driven by Clint Kimes for trainer Mike Reed, will start from barrier three. He possesses sparkling gate speed and is likely to press forward at the start in a bid for the lead. The chief rival for David Hercules could be This Time Dylan, who is likely to be restrained at the start from the No. 7 barrier and be saved up for a powerful last-lap sprint. This Time Dylan, trained by Michael Brennan, has won at nine of his past 18 starts and is the leader in the Gloucester Park Horse of the Year award. STAND SPECIALIST LORD COBURN RETURNS TO MOBILE RACING Former Victorian pacer Lord Coburn, who has scored effortless all-the-way victories in 2503m stands at his past two starts, will return to mobile racing when he starts from the prized No. 1 barrier in the 2130m first heat of the Burswood On Swan Clarke Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri said that he had hoped Lord Coburn would continue contesting stands and was disappointed when the advertised 2503m stand for M4-class pacers was not included in the ten-event program because of insufficient nominations. "The mobile was my second choice and I still consider Lord Coburn will prove hard to beat," he said. "He is in terrific form and he should lead and play a big part in the race. I would have preferred for him to run in a stand because he is such a good beginner that he would've jumped 10 metres in front of his rivals. But he should still lead in the mobile." Lord Coburn, to be driven by Chris Voak, is a six-year-old gelding by Grinfromeartoear who has relished his pacemaking role at his past two starts in 2503m stands and has won by 13m and 7m. He has started 15 times in WA, with 11 of those events being a standing-start race over 2500m --- for four wins, two seconds and one third placing. "He wasn't sent to me as a stand horse; he was sent to me as a fast 1700m horse," Olivieri explained. "And I have found that he is a good standing-start horse over 2503m." Friday night's race looks sure to provide keen betting, with all eight runners having admirers. The Andrew De Campo-trained Danieljohn is knocking on the door after five placings from his past six starts and he looks set to fight out the finish. He set a fast pace and sprinted over the final 800m in 56.9sec. when second to truckers Ruffnut over 2130m last Friday week. Uppy Son is close to another win after his head second to Lord Lombo last Friday night when he finished with great determination after racing outside the pacemaker Midnight Dylan. He is the only runner on the back line and appeals as a major hope in a race in which Benjamin Banneker (trained by Gary Hall sen.) and stablemates Bronze Seeker and Mighty Flying Thomas (trained by Peter Anderson) must be considered. Benjamin Banneker was most impressive at his second appearance after a spell when he worked hard without cover before fighting on grandly to be second to Lovers Delight in the 2550m Harvey Cup last Saturday night. Olivieri also expects a strong showing from Shnappy in the Spices Group Pathway Pace over 2130m. To be driven by Voak, Shnappy returns to mobile racing after contesting 2503m stands at his past two starts for a win and a second. He will start from the outside of the front line, but looks hard to beat against moderate opposition. by Ken Casellas  

The passing years are not diminishing the brilliance of Chris Lewis, who was at his best at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he drove Sensational Gabby to a stylish victory in the $50,000 Community Newspaper Group Empress Stakes. This gave the 58-year-old maestro a record seventh success in the group 2 feature event for mares, after wins with Candy Macray (1988), Armbro Lucy (1992), Meggie Dear (2001), Classical Mover (2002), Shes Royalty (2007) and Ima Spicey Lombo (2011). It was Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri's third win in an Empress Stakes, after succeeding with Elysees Crest (Morgan Woodley) in 2010 and Ima Spicey Lombo. While Lewis deserves praise for his drive behind Sensational Gabby, Olivieri must be congratulated for curing the West Australian-bred five-year-old's annoying and disruptive habit of overracing badly. "She's just a great mare and Ross has done a great job in settling her down," Lewis said after Sensational Gabby, favourite at 6/4 on, had defeated Famous Alchemist and Kristen Louise. "We needed to get her back a bit (and prevent her from pulling so hard) and Ross has been able to get her to do that in her past few runs. And this has made my job much easier. "She is now on the right road and she's got that sort of speed to be quite competitive in races other than those restricted to mares." Sensational Gabby, bred by her owners Susan Beven, Danny Roberts, Brian Anderson, Barry Sutton and Norm Champion (along with Jay Farrell), was an all-conquering juvenile who won at 21 of her first 23 starts. She failed badly at four starts at Menangle in an Eastern States campaign early last year and when she returned to WA she went into Olivieri's stables. But she pulled hard at her first five starts for her new trainer, in November and December, before he experimented with her gear and eventually cured the problem. Sensational Gabby now boasts a marvellous record of 45 starts for 26 wins, five placings and stakes of $509,505. She is by Yankee Sensation and is the first foal out of the New Zealand-bred mare Lite Jewel. Sensational Gabby started from barrier two on the back line and Lewis was content to let her relax in eighth position in the one-wide line, following Talk About Mach, while polemarker Courage On Fire set the pace and covered the first two quarters of the final mile in 303sec. and 30.6sec. Gary Hall jun. settled 5/2 second fancy Famous Alchemist behind the pacemaker until he eased her off the pegs after 4500m and dashed her forward, three wide, to assume the position outside the leader. Kyle Harper started a three-wide move with Talk About Mach approaching the bell and Lewis followed that run before switching Sensational Gabby four wide passing the 600m mark. Famous Alchemist got to the front with 550m to travel before Sensational Gabby, sprinting fast, surged to the lead 300m from home. Famous Alchemist refused to surrender and fought back determinedly before finish a length behind the winner. Kristen Louise, who trailed the pacemaker for most of the way, finished strongly into third place. The third 400m section of the final mile whizzed by in 27.9sec. and the last quarter was run in 29.3sec., with the winner rating 1.59 over the 2536m. PACIFIC WARRIOR ON AN INEVITABLE JOURNEY TO THE TOP "He will go a long way," declared Kade Howson after driving 5/2 favourite Pacific Warrior to an impressive win in the $25,000 final of the Fremantle Gazette Lewis final at Gloucester Park on Friday night. It was yet another superb performance by the New Zealand-bred six-year-old on his inevitable climb to the top. Pacific Warrior began well from the No. 5 barrier on the front line, but was no match for 50/1 outsider Real Hammer, who began with dazzling speed from the outside (No. 7) barrier and sped to the front after 200m. However, Howson was unruffled and was content to progress forward, three wide for the first 500m, before Pacific Warrior moved into the breeze. After a third 400m section of the final mile in 28.8sec., Pacific Warrior burst to the front on the home turn and beat the fast-finishing 5/1 third favourite Marooned by 2m. Marooned, who raced behind the leader, finished a head in front of 13/2 chance Our Arlington, who was shuffled back on the pegs to ninth at the bell and was badly hampered for room in the home straight before flashing home with an eye-catching burst. Pacific Warrior is trained at Mt Helena by Ray Williams and had 27 starts in New Zealand for four wins and seven placings from 27 starts before arriving in Western Australia where his 29 starts have produced 15 wins and eight placings. He now has earned $166,244. He is owned by Oz West Pacing, the Northam Alliance Pacing Syndicate, Bruce Greenwood, Greg Richens, Joseph Lawrence, Reegan Buswell and Ian Gillespie. "Things didn't go our way; we got crossed at the start, but the horse was far too good," Howson said. "Real Hammer is one of the fastest horses in WA and once he crossed us there wasn't much we could do. So we just parked up there and I let him do the rest. "In the moving line he's pretty good and he gets around this track a lot better than he used to. He'll go a long way." PRINCE EDDIE SMASHES WA SPRINT RECORD FOR TROTTERS Clint Hall identified Prince Eddie as a square-gaiter capable of proving a star in Western Australia when the New Zealand-bred gelding won four races in succession at Menangle last winter and a band of West Australians are extremely happy that they decided to buy him. Max Grynberg, Karen Hall, Bill Paterson, Ruth and Tony Thompson, Dave Kahl, Danny Roberts, Susan Beven and Jay Farrell were celebrating their perspicacity at Gloucester Park on Friday night after Prince Eddie had romped to victory in the $30,000 Happy Birthday Alison Ward Discreet Romeo Sprint. The five-year-old Prince Eddie, favourite at 10/9, was driven with supreme confidence by Gary Hall jun. and was not extended in beating 3/1 second fancy Ushaka Bromac by three and a half lengths, rating 1.58.9 which smashed the State 1730m record for trotters, the 1.59.8 recorded by Conquer All last October. Prince Eddie, trained by Gary Hall sen., has improved in leaps and bounds and his first 12 WA starts have produced five wins and four placings to take his career record to 27 starts for ten wins, four placings and $77,260 in stakes. He won only once from eight starts in New Zealand (and was unplaced at the other seven starts) before racing seven times in New South Wales for four wins last June and July. Gary Hall jun. got Prince Eddie away like a flash from the No. 2 barrier and the gelding set a solid pace, followed by polemarker Ushaka Bromac, with Hot Holiday in the breeze and Heez Speedy Gonzalez in the one-out, one-back position. Prince Eddie gave his rivals no chance by sprinting over the final two 400m sections in 29.2sec. and 29.3sec. The Beau Brummell raced three back on the pegs and he finished fast on the inside to be a half-head behind Ushaka Bromac in third place. Prince Eddie is by American stallion Monarchy and is out of Hands And heels, a mare who was retired after only one start, when tenth in a race at Addington in May 2002. However, Hands And Heels has proved a wonderful broodmare, producing talented trotters King Charlie and Shezoneoftheboyz. King Charlie earned $239,256 from 15 wins and 14 placings from 69 starts, while Shezoneoftheboyz won easily at her first five starts as a three-year-old in the 2009-10 season. Her wins included a group 3 feature over 1609m at Ashburton and the $80,000 New Zealand Trotting derby. She then was unplaced at her next four starts before being retired with a record of five wins from nine starts for stakes of $76,624. DAVID HERCULES ENHANCES HIS REPUTATION West Australian-bred seven-year-old David Hercules enhanced his reputation when he sizzled over the final 800m in 55.6sec., after racing without cover, and scored an easy victory in the 2130m Stirling Times Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. It was his 29th win from 86 starts and boosted his earnings for owners David Botha and Jeneen Johnson to $802,664. David Hercules, favourite at 5/1 on, started from the outside barrier (No. 7) on the front line and Morgan Woodley did not bustle him and was content to race in the breeze while polemarker Truckers Ruffnut, second fancy at 5/1, set a brisk pace. Woodley began to apply more pressure on the leader at the bell and David Hercules surged to the front 450m from home and went on to win by 5m from Red Salute (11/1), with Passion Stride (50/1) running home gamely to be third, four and a half lengths behind Red Salute. Red Salute enjoyed the perfect passage in the one-out and one-back position (following David Hercules), but did not seriously threaten him in the run down the home straight. David Hercules rated 1.55 which was well outside his track record of 1.53.6 over the 2130m journey. His trainer David Thompson was in Sydney on Friday night before going to Menangle two days later to watch the interdominion championship final, a race in which he dearly wanted David Hercules to contest. Woodley was full of praise for David Hercules, saying: "He's a horse who really loves the fight. He is a tremendous performer. He likes to get up there and get involved and if you get him travelling on the bit he just loves it. He really thrives on that sort of racing. "He has a high cruising speed and tonight we got up there (in the breeze) and tried to make it hard for those around him. Having a good horse liken Red Salute on our back was a concern. I was really pleased when we got past the leader at the 400m mark and expose Red Salute from that point onwards. I think that if Red Salute was able to hold up right on our back until the top of the straight and get one kick, it might have been a different story. "So when I was able to get past the leader and really make Red Salute work from the 400m outside of us I was pretty confident." LORD LOMBO, DOWN IN CLASS, CAUSES AN UPSET Lord Lombo made the most of a recent drop down from an M4 classification to be eligible to contest the M3-only Wanneroo Times Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Driven patiently by Chris Voak, the seven-year-old caused an upset when he started at 15/1 and charged home to snatch victory from Uppy Son (17/4) and the 2/1 favourite Midnight Dylan. This broke a losing sequence of 13 and ended a run of eight unplaced efforts for Pinjarra trainer Chris King. With polemarker Midnight Dylan setting the pace and Uppy Son in the breeze, Voak was happy to position Lord Lombo in the one-out, one-back position before the gelding unwound a scorching late sprint, coming from sixth (three wide) on the home turn to beat Uppy Son by a neck. Uppy Son had looked the winner when Dean Miller got him to the lead in the final stages. The final 800m was covered in 56.8sec., with the last 400m taking 28sec. Lord Lombo rated 1.56 over the 1730m. This was Lord Lombo's seventh win in WA for his Victorian owners Greg Stubbs and Tony Peacock. He had won eight times in Victoria, twice in South Australia and once in New South Wales before arriving in WA. His record stands at 98 starts for 18 wins, 24 placings and stakes of $160,782. "He was pretty much down in grade tonight and Chris (King) does a good job training his horses over the mile," Voak said. "It was a big effort by Lord Lombo to come from where he was to win." ROWCHESTER CARRIES TOO MANY GUNS IN A TIGHT FINISH New Zealand-bred horse Rowchester warmed up for the $25,000 Manea Classic at Bunbury next Saturday night when he gave a tough staying performance to win the 2130m Happy Birthday Alison Ward Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Starting favourite at 10/9, Rowchester got away smartly from barrier two on the back line and raced without cover for most of the way before winning narrowly from the fast-finishing 4/1 second fancy Robbery, with veteran Rojen Cruz, third favourite at 13/2, flashing home from seventh on the pegs at the bell to be a close third. The heavily-supported Robbery lacked early pace from the No. 1 barrier and settled down three back on the pegs in fifth place while Cool Johnny set the pace from Im Terrific (pegs), Rowchester (breeze) and The Oyster Bar (one-out, one-back). Gary Hall jun. sent Rowchester to the front 250m from home and the horse dug deep to hold out the fast-finishing Robbery by a half-head, rating 1.57.9 after closing sectionals of 28.3sec. and 28.9sec. "There's definitely more than one of him," said Hall. "He can come out here on occasions and sort of nod off a bit and not really concentrate. It's important to get him up there on the speed and get him interested in the game. "We were confident tonight that the breeze would be there when we wanted it, and everything worked out good. He toughed it out really well. He's not the sort of horse you want to go kicking away with He is better racing outside something of having something racing pretty close to him. "They were coming and we had to get going. I thought he was going to hold on easily, but it got quite nerve wracking late." Rowchester, trained by Gary Hall sen., has had 21 starts in WA for six wins and seven placings. He raced five times in New Zealand, winning at his final three starts, as a three-year-old in November-December 2012. He is the fifth foal out of Falcon Seelster mare Satire Franco, who failed to be placed at her 16 starts. HALL SEIZES THE INITIATIVE WITH THE PACING PRIEST Injury-plagued pacer The Pacing Priest gave a sample of his ability at his third appearance after a spell when he scored a narrow win in the 2503m Melville Times Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The win gave Gary Hall jun. the first leg of a driving treble and West Swan trainer Ken Kirke considerable satisfaction. Punters groaned at the start of the stand when 5/2 favourite Bobby Teal and 3/1 second fancy Bet Your Life galloped, leaving 7/1 chance Pembrook Henry in front with The Pacing Priest in the breeze. Hall was happy to take the one-out, one-back trail when Justin Prentice dashed forward with Mister Sarkozy in the first lap to move into the breeze. But after a lap had been completed the pace slackened noticeably and Hall seized the initiative by vacating his ideal position and taking up the position outside the leader. Chris Voak (Pembrook Henry) slowed the field almost to a jog with a first quarter of the final mile in 33.5sec. before the next section went by in an ambling 31.1sec. Then the tempo increased with a third quarter in 28.7sec. and a final 400m in a sparkling 27.7sec. The Pacing Priest took a narrow lead in the final stages and won by a nose from Pembrook Henry, with Pacific Black running on soundly to be third after trailing the leader all the way. The winner rated a pedestrian 2.4.1. The Pacing Priest raced seven times in New Zealand (all in stands) for two wins and one placing. He then won at his Australian debut, at Wedderburn in March 2009, before being sent to Perth and entering the stables of Gary Hall sen. His first eight starts for Hall produced three wins and five seconds before he went amiss after finishing eighth behind Bonavista Bay in the Golden Nugget at Gloucester Park in November 2009. Leg problems then prevented The Pacing Priest from racing for 41 months. The gelding resumed with Kirke as his trainer last April and in 15 starts for Kirke he has won three times and been placed on another three occasions. The Pacing Priest, by Pacific Rocket, is the first foal out of unraced Road Machine mare High Road. Now an eight-year-old, he has earned $93,186 from nine wins and ten placings from just 34 starts. "We had The Pacing Priest a long time ago and one thing he wasn't short of was ability," said Hall jun. "Tonight I took off when the speed was so slow and I knew that the breeze was there. I thought we could drive him from the breeze sit-kick style and he was fortunate that we were able to get away with those sectionals. He was good enough to get over the leader." CLIFFORD PROVES TOO STRONG FOR BARKERS HALL New Zealand-bred five-year-old Clifford is proving a wonderfully consistent performer and a great moneyspinner for Bunbury trainer John Graham and he caused a minor upset at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he proved too strong for 5/2 on favourite Barkers Hall in the 2130m Southern Gazette Pace. Starting second fancy at 11/2, Clifford was driven with great confidence by Graham's stable foreman Tom Buchanan. Barkers Hall had no trouble in setting the pace from the prized No. 1 barrier, but Buchanan drove positively, taking Clifford three wide for the first 150m before settling in the breeze. After a third quarter of the final mile in 28.8sec. Barkers Hall looked all set for victory, particularly when Clifford dropped back one and a half lengths behind the pacemaker at the 400m mark. However, Clifford finished strongly to hit the front 100m from the post before beating Barkers Hall by just over a lengths at a 1.58 rate. Buchanan said he was confident that Clifford could beat Barkers Hall, pointing out that Clifford had finished a close second to Barkers Hall's better-credentialled stablemate Rowchester two starts earlier. "I don't think that Barkers Hall is anywhere near the horse that Rowchester is," said Buchanan. "So I knew that if I could get outside the leader and get some nice easy sectionals Clifford would be hard to beat, and he was. Going down the back straight (in the last lap) I thought that Junior (Gary Hall jun., the driver of Barkers Hall) was still travelling pretty well. "It wasn't as though my bloke was struggling; I just gave him a bit of a breather and Barkers Hall went from going all right to struggling round the bend. And Clifford was too good. I think Clifford can go on and get to an M3 mark." Clifford did not race in New Zealand and his 63 starts have produced 16 wins, 15 placings and stakes of $110,675. He is the tenth foal out of Soky's Atom mare Sceptic, who was retired after finishing ninth as a three-year-old at her only start, in Wellington in April 1995. CHANGE OF SHOES HELP ONEHEART TWOFISTS The value of the No. 1 barrier in mobiles at Gloucester Park was further illustrated on Friday night when Oneheart Twofists was heavily supported and started favourite at 10/9 on. At his two previous starts earlier in the month he was sent out at liberal odds --- at 90/1 (when sixth from the back line at Harvey) and at 21/1 (when he led and finished third from barrier two at Pinjarra). Driven by Callan Suvaljko, Oneheart Twofists gave his supporters no cause for concern as he dictated the terms in front and romped to a three-length victory over Senator Whitby in the 1730m Eastern Reporter Westbred Pathway Pace. The easy victory broke a losing sequence of 19, stretching back to March 2012. Millendon trainer and part-owner Graham Bond attributed the seven-year-old gelding's victory to a change of shoeing. "He has been a knee knocker and has had a tendon problem," he said. "But now everything is going well for him. I've been able to get him off his knee by putting steel shoes on, instead of aluminiums. They're galloping plates, no heels, no nothing, just plain level shoes. "He was a knee knocker when he was in the stables of Gary Hall sen. and I was able to buy him as an unraced three-year-old for $5000 from Mark Congerton." Oneheart Twofists, by Courage Under Fire, has earned $34,516 from six wins and six placings from 44 starts. RAZA SHARP LOMBO BREAKS THROUGH AFTER 23-MONTH DROUGHT Eight-year-old Raza Sharp Lombo celebrated his 132nd start by giving a bold frontrunning display to win the Bill Delaney Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. This ended a losing sequence of 31, stretching back to a win at Globe Derby Park in April 2012. Raza Sharp Lombo had 116 starts in South Australia for 20 wins and 41 placings before being sent to WA early last year to be prepared by Gary Hall sen. He did not show up for the Hall camp and Brigadoon trainer Wendy Boyd took over his preparation a few months ago. Then after Raza Sharp Lombo had run on from sixth and last at the bell to finish second to Smooth Caesar at Pinjarra on February 3 he left Boyd's establishment to be prepared by Dylan Quadrio. Quadrio drove Raza Sharp Lombo for a sixth at Northam and then an encouraging third (after racing in the breeze) behind Preordained at Gloucester Park last Friday week. On Friday night, in moderate company, Raza Sharp Lombo, now raced by Quadrio's father Shane, was second favourite at 5/2. The Mach Three gelding dashed straight to the front from barrier three, set a solid pace and sprinted over the final 400m in 28.1sec. to win by a half-length from the polemarker and 9/2 chance Wotavugot, who finished strongly after trailing the leader all the way. Tis A Charmer, a 33/1 chance and a nine-year-old mare trained by Boyd and having her 170th start, ran on from eighth and last at the bell to be a distant third. by Ken Casellas  

Noted frontrunner Courage On Fire has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier in the $50,000 Community Newspaper Group Empress Stakes at Gloucester Park on Friday night to boost Wanneroo trainer Debbie Padberg's hopes of winning the group 2 feature event for mares for the second time. She trained Glitzy Miss for her dramatic victory in the Empress Stakes in April 2008 when the five-year-old was tenth with 550m to travel and seventh at the 100m before flying home, out wide, to defeat the pacemaker Alkira Jet. The New Zealand-bred Courage On Fire has won ten races in Australia, with five of those wins coming when she has set the pace --- over 1720m and 2125m at Penrith, over 1609m at Menangle and over 1730m and 2130m at Gloucester Park. The Empress Stakes will be decided over 2536m and this should not seriously trouble Courage On Fire, who has raced four times over that distance at Gloucester Park for a fourth, a fifth, a second and a win (when she sat behind the pacemaker and ran on to win narrowly from Next Dawn and Chocolatto early last December). Mrs Padberg is delighted with the favourable barrier and said that Courage On Fire was "very good" in front. The seven-year-old led and won easily from Aristocratic Glow over 2130m three starts ago before starting from the outside of the back line and finishing strongly to be third to Aristocratic Glow and Deluxe Edition. She was sixth at the bell and finished seventh behind Leda McNally in a 2130m prelude of the Empress Stakes last Friday night. Mrs Padberg, who is in fourth place in the Metropolitan trainers' premiership table, said that she was undecided on what tactics reinsman Michael Tenardi would adopt. Much would depend on whether Courage On Fire was challenged strongly in the early stages. Two speedy beginners are on the outside of Courage On Fire --- four-year-olds Askmenow (barrier two) and Kristen Louise (three). Askmenow has been unplaced at her past six starts and has a losing sequence of eight, but her trainer Gary Hall sen. said that if she was able to lead she would be very hard to beat. Hall has a higher opinion of stablemate Famous Alchemist, who will start from the inside of the back line, immediately behind Courage On Fire. "It's a tricky draw, but she can certainly win," he said. Famous Alchemist has had only 38 starts for 12 wins and 13 placings. Famous Alchemist charged home from last at the bell to finish third behind her stablemate Aussie Made Lombo in the Empress Stakes last March to give Hall his third success in the race which he first won with Moray Miss in 1991. Vance Stampalia, who drove Glitzy Miss for her win in this race six years ago, is the regular driver of four-year-old Kristen Louise, who is prepared at Wanneroo by his sister Tonia. Stampalia stole a march on his rivals when he got Kristen Louise away to a flying start from the No. 5 barrier in the second prelude of the Empress Stakes last Friday night. Kristen Louise charged to the front after 100m and was not extended in winning from Selkie and Ace of Cards. "She crossed them easily last week," he said. "And it would be nice to be able to lead again this week. Kristen Louise has improved since her win last week and is thriving on a preparation of mainly swimming in the pool." Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri has cured speedy mare Sensational Gabby of her habit of overracing and he has sound prospects of winning the event for the third time, after scoring with Elysees Crest in 2010 and Ima Spicey Lombo the following year. Olivieri also trained Live High when she surged home from 11th at the 600m to finish second to Aussie Made Lombo last year. Sensational Gabby raced without cover when second to Famous Alchemist over 1730m two starts ago before she started from the outside of the front line, was restrained to last and then sprinted fast after 700m to join the leader Leda McNally last Friday night when she fought on to finish second to that mare. HALL SAYS NORTHVIEW PUNTER CAN OVERCOME BACK-LINE BARRIER Leading trainer Gary Hall sen. was naturally disappointed when speedy New Zealand-bred four-year-old Northview Punter drew badly at barrier four on the back line in the $25,000 Fremantle Gazette The Lewis final at Gloucester Park on Friday night, but defiantly declared that all was not lost and that the horse was capable of overcoming this disadvantage and winning the 2130m event. "It was a phenomenal run by Northview Punter when second to Hokonui Ben last week and he can win from the back line," said Hall, who will be in Sydney on Friday night keeping his eye on Livingontheinterest before that pacer contests the interdominion championship final at Menangle on Sunday. Hall makes no secret that he considers that Northview Punter is far better suited to leading in his races than coming from behind. But he believes that the horse is gaining in experience and is capable of proving more versatile. Northview Punter began with great dash from barrier three to set the pace in the 2536m RWWA Cup last Friday night and he fought on grandly when beaten by only a neck by the fast-finishing Hokonui Ben, rating 1.55.8 over the 2536m. At his previous appearance, two weeks before last Friday night's run, Northview Punter worked hard for the first 500m before taking up the running and going on to win by more than two lengths from Pacific Warrior over 2130m. A week later Pacific Warrior led from the No. 1 barrier and won easily from Mighty Flying Thomas and Uppy Son over 2130m. He will start from barrier five on the front line this week and looks set to fight out the finish. The Matt Scott-trained Marooned has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier and even though the seven-year-old's best performances in Western Australia have been when he has produced a powerful finishing burst reinsman Chris Voak will be strongly tempted to attempt an all-the-way win. Marooned does possess good gate speed and has led and won at two of his 16 wins, over 1609m at Menangle and 2170m at Canberra. Mohegan Sun (barrier two) and Menelaus of Sparta (three) have each won twice when leading all the way. But they are not noted frontrunners, and this could make it easier for Marooned to set the pace. Marooned was most impressive last Friday night when he started from the back line and trailed the pacemaker Mach Banner before flashing home with a sparkling late burst to finish a half-head second to Mach Banner. TRUCKERS RUFFNUT WORKS WITH DASH BEFORE HIS CLASH WITH DAVID HERCULES A sizzling final 800m in 56sec. in a track workout at Donaldson Park in Bunbury on Tuesday morning greatly impressed his trainer Murray Hansen, who is confident the eight-year-old can cause an upset and beat star performer David Hercules in the $21,000 Stirling Times Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. In the random draw, Truckers Ruffnut gained the prized No. 1 barrier, while David Hercules fared poorly and will start from the outside of the front line (No. 7) in the small field of eight. "Our one big advantage over David Hercules is the barrier draw," Hansen said. "We've drawn one and will be utilising it and holding up to lead. Truckers Ruffnut has always possessed good gate speed and in previous campaigns was always a very hard horse to beat when he was in front. "David Hercules will have to be right at the top of his game to beat Truckers Ruffnut. I feel sorry for David Hercules, with all the bad barriers he has been getting. I think that my horse can run a really good time." Leading reinsman Gary Hall jun. will be reunited with Truckers Ruffnut after the horse has been driven at his first five starts after an injury-enforced absence of 39 months by Ryan Bell, Shane Butcher (three times) and Dylan- Egerton-Green. Hall has an outstanding record with Truckers Ruffnut, having driven him 24 times for 11 wins, nine seconds, two thirds, one seventh and one eighth. Truckers Ruffnut has finished strongly to win at two of his past three starts at Gloucester Park. He raced three back on the pegs in fifth position before charging home brilliantly to win from Danieljohn and Mighty Flying Thomas last Friday night. Hansen drove Truckers Ruffnut in his workout on Tuesday morning when the horse was clocked over the 1200m trip in 3min. 5sec. and sprinted the final 800m in 56sec. "He worked really well and I feel he is better than he was when he won last week. He does all his trackwork on his own and he works free-legged," Hansen said. "He's that good a pacer that he could race without hopples. He has run a half in 55sec. free-legged without putting a foot wrong." Byford trainer David Thompson said that he was becoming resigned to receiving wide draws for David Hercules. But he was full of praise for the even-year-old's splendid third behind Hokonui Ben and Northview Punter in the 2536m RWWA Cup last Friday night. David Hercules started from barrier seven and was restrained to the rear by Morgan Woodley before he dashed the gelding forward in the first lap to work hard outside then pacemaker Northview Punter. David Hercules fought on grandly to finish only a length behind Hokonui Ben. An improver in Friday night's race appears certain to be the Ross Olivieri-trained Red Salute, who is sure to appreciate the favourable No. 2 barrier on the front line in the field of eight. Red Salute has been dogged by unfavourable draws in recent outings. DON'T DISREGARD THE BEAU BRUMMELL, ADVISES MELLSOP Waroona trainer-reinsman Bob Mellsop offered some sound advice to punters when he said that they should completely disregard The Beau Brummell's last-start seventh behind Earl Harbour at Gloucester Park last Saturday week when assessing the five-year-old's chances in the $30,000 Happy Birthday Alison Ward Discreet Romeo Sprint for trotters on Friday night. "He met with severe interference soon after the start before making up a great deal of ground," Mellsop said. "He will start on the inside of the back line this week and should get a good run behind the polemarker Ushaka Bromac." The Beau Brummell's form before his unlucky last-start effort was very good. His six previous starts, after resuming from a spell, produced two wins (including the WA Trotters Cup), two seconds, one third and one fifth placing. Vance Stampalia, driver of the Bruce Stanley-trained Ushaka Bromac, and Gary Hall sen., trainer of Prince Eddie, are both confident of success. Stampalia believes that Ushaka Bromac will have the early speed to lead from the No. 1 barrier in the 1730m event. She led early and then sat behind the pacemaker Idle Maple before finishing solidly to be a close second to Earl Harbour over 1730m last Saturday week. Prince Eddie, whose past eight starts have produced four wins, one second and two thirds, looks nicely placed from the No. 2 barrier. He raced without cover when third to Earl Harbour at his latest start. He finished powerfully to win from Sandakan Lombo in a 2503m stand at his previous start. by Ken Casellas  

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