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Harness racing drivers Morgan Woodley and Aiden De Campo were the ones to watch at Donaldson Park on Friday night.  After coming fourth in the 2569-metre TABTouch MS Pace, Woodley led race favourite War Club ($2) in the Sky Racing MS Pace (1609 metres).  A strong performance on the final lap saw the bay gelding finish 6.20m ahead of second-placed Gingers Jet.  Woodley celebrated again, after he and clear race favourite Mega Moolah ($1.18) took out the 2100m Artic Air MS Pace. Without hesitation, the bay gelding crossed 5m in front of Ignite the Passion and Chucking Stone.  De Campo and race favourite Diamond Dove ($2.90) cruised to victory in the TABTouch MS Pace.  Later in the evening, he and Great Googlymoogly ($1.90) held off Leady Lani and Devils Courage to win the Coates Hire Westbred MS Pace (2100m). Bunbury Trotting Club will deliver more harness racing action on April 20. By Thomas Munday Reprinted with permission of The Bunbury Mail  

The Pinjarra Trotting Club was formed in 1950 and held its first race-meeting in Pinjarra on 10th March 1954 after conducting a couple of early meetings at Harvey. After last Monday’s meeting there have been some 10952 races decided at the Pinjarra club with 6548 individual winners trained by 1298 individual trainers and driven by 890 individual drivers. Ray Grantham with 101 Pinjarra winners as a trainer is the leading Pinjarra based trainer with the Young twins Kim (132) and Shane (104) are the only Pinjarra based drivers to top the ton at the track.  Morgan Woodley, who was raised in nearby Waroona, has driven 245 winners at Pinjarra while Nathan Turvey, who has moved to Pinjarra in the past year, has driver 145 winners at the track. Initially the track was located at what is now Sir Ross McLarty Park in Lovegrove Street but an increase in rental to race there made it unviable. In 1957 the club purchased 34 acres of Blythewood Estate at the corner of Greenlands Road and South Western Highway and works began on the new course in 1959. At the suggestion of then WA Trotting Association President J P Stratton it was decided to build a half-mile 800 metre triangular shaped track based on the design of the Redcliffe track in Queensland. The foundations of the track were laid in 1963 and by 1965 the surface was ready for trackwork although there was still a considerable amount of work required before fencing, lighting and other amenities could be completed. There was no Racecourse Development Trust in 1965 and the best that the WA TAB could offer was a $30,000 loan over a period of 20 years which was used along with debentures of between $20,000 and $50,000 to finance the completion of the course. Even with the financing there was still an enormous amount of donations and volunteer work involved to construct an administration building, parade ring, stables, toilets, switch-room and parking areas. There were donations of galvanized iron for fences while Hawker Siddeley donated a large supply of bricks and eventually the track and facilities were completed in time for the first race-meeting on 16th October 1968. Fittingly the first race on the track was won by a local in John Blackburn with King Brazen. John Blackburn will be a guest of the club next Monday. For the record the last meeting on the original track in Lovegrove Street was on 2nd May 1968 and Hall Of Fame inductee Jim Schrader drove four of the six winners. Jim Schrader is one of 22 drivers to have driven 100 or more winners at the Pinjarra track. A further two meetings were held on the new track before the official opening of the venue on 11th December 1968 where, for the record, the winners were; Pinjarra – 11th December 1968 Trainer Driver Winner Owner R W (Ron) Beresford N T (Noel) Eddy Wee Darlin R W Beresford D A (Denis) Richards D A (Denis) Richards Hi Toby L J Richards, B J Richards W (Bill) Warwick T B (Trevor) Warwick Heather Bay D Friedman L H (Les) Poyser L H (Les) Poyser Cygnet Sea L Baldwin W H (Bill) & R H (Bob) Godecke W H (Bill) Godecke Renaud W H Godecke, R H Godecke R J (Raymond) Green G R (Gary) Lilleyman Lady Alfreda R C Meotti T G (Trevor) Scoby-Smith T G (Trevor) Scoby-Smith Colonel James T G Scoby-Smith In 1982 committeeman Fred Grantham first mooted the idea of converting the triangular track to a 1000 metre circuit but nothing eventuated. In 1988 Pinjarra club stalwart Roy Adam suggested that the club ought to have a feasibility study done to ascertain the design and costings to construct a 1000 metre track to replace the 1968 triangular design. Application was made and in March 1990 the Racecourse Development Trust approved a grant of $375,000 to construct the present-day 1000 metre circuit. At around the same time the Pinjarra Club requested that it be allocated 28 Monday afternoon fixtures and after approval the light poles around the 800 metre circuit. Construction of the new 1000 metre track was undertaken while meetings were still being held on the original circuit and, acting on a suggestion by Roy Adam, the new track featured European style flexi-poles in lieu of an inside running rail. Eventually the club was able to convince the stewards to approve the concept and Pinjarra was the first club in Australia to feature the flexi-poles that are now seen on every harness track in the country. The 1000 metre circuit was officially opened on 26th November 1990 by local MLA Keith Read and the first race on the new track was won by the filly Enlightened for trainer Kevin Keys and driver Jason Keys. As with the first meeting on the “old” triangular track in 1968 the first race on the day was sponsored by the McLarty family of Blythewood. Over the 65 years that the Pinjarra Trotting Club (now Pinjarra Harness Racing Club) has been operating they have been innovators and among the notable firsts at Pinjarra have been First club to run races specifically for 2yos (1956 Sapling Stakes raced in divisions and won by Prince Malcolm and Nelsons Boy) First country club to use a mobile barrier to start races (1958) First club in Western Australia to use head numbers (1960) First 1000 metre track in Western Australia (1990) First track in Australia to use flexi-poles in lieu of a running rail First modern track construction to come in under budget with $63,000 returned to the Racecourse Development Trust for use by other clubs.   Alan Parker

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

Five-year-old Vultan Tin is flourishing under the care of Coolup owner-trainer Phil Costello and he has bright prospects of ending a losing sequence of nine by winning the 2536m In Memory of Fred Hough Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He will start out wide at barrier seven in the field of nine and reinsman Chris Voak is planning to drive the gelding “tough” in a bid for victory. Vultan Tin put the writing on the wall last Friday night when he raced in the breeze for the final two laps and fought on grandly to be a close second to the pacemaker Ideal Alice. “He sat in the breeze in a Free-For-All last week and went down by a half-length,” Voak said. “So, I’d say he’d be comfortable in the breeze again. We’ll wait for him to settle and then he’ll be put in the race and driven positively. He’s dropping back to an M1/M3 field and should be hard to beat.” “I got the drive behind Vultan Tin by chance. Morgan Woodley was his regular driver, but in a race back in May Morgan elected to drive the $1.20 favourite Argyle Red and I got the opportunity to drive Vultan Tin for the first time. He performed like a super star that night and got up at 25/1 from Argyle Red. I’ve been fortunate to drive Vultan Tin since then and he hasn’t run a bad race for me.” Since that victory Voak has driven Vultan Tin 11 times for two wins, four seconds and two fourths and the gelding now has a record of 77 starts for 11 wins and 23 placings for earnings of $144,144. Blinding Light, trained by Greg and Skye Bond and driven by Ryan Warwick, looks the hardest for Vultan Tin to beat. Blinding Light enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, before finishing strongly to be second to Sprinter over 2130m last Friday night.   Ken Casellas

Morgan Woodley has given harness racing punters an important lead by opting to drive Argyle Red in preference to Vultan Tin in the first qualifying heat of the Westside Auto Wholesale Clarke Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Argyle Red, trained at Pinjarra by Rob MacDonald, has drawn the coveted No. 1 barrier, and Vultan Tin, trained at Coolup by Phil Costello, is favourably drawn at the No. 2 barrier. Woodley chose Argyle Red because he is impressed with the five-year-old’s frontrunning ability. He has driven Argyle Red eight times for four wins and one placings, including a stylish all-the-way victory from barrier one over 2130m two starts ago. A week before that win, Woodley was in the sulky when Argyle Red worked hard without cover before winning in convincing style from McClinchie over 1730m. Woodley has driven Vultan Tin 51 times for seven wins and 15 placings, including an all-the-way win over 2536m from barrier two five starts ago. Chris Voak has completed a term of suspension and will handle Vultan Tin on Friday night. Argyle Red and Vultan Tin will not have things all their own way, with strong opposition expected from several pacers, especially Twoandahalf Tigers, Gaz Wannabet, Char Do Neigh and Bad Round. Twoandahalf Tigers, trained by Gary Hall sen., is wonderfully consistent and can never be left out of calculations. He finished solidly along the inside when fourth behind Kiwi Legend and Bungalow Bill last Friday night. Gaz Wannabet, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, also rarely performs below par. He will be driven by Ryan Bell, who replaces regular reinsman Ryan Warwick, who was suspended for causing interference in the final race last Friday night. Gaz Wannabet raced three wide for most of the 2190m journey when an extremely close second to Must Be Nice at Northam at his latest appearance. Ken Casellas

Pinjarra breeder-owner-trainer Rob MacDonald is on a roll and he should continue his wonderful winning streak at Gloucester Park on Friday night with his improving harness racing five-year-old Argyle Red looming large as the winner of the $20,000 TABradio Pace, particularly after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier. Star reinsman Morgan Woodley, riding on the crest of a wave, is confident of success, declaring: “I think he will show what he is capable of. I have not driven him in front, but I have seen him lead and win.” Woodley has built up an excellent rapport with Argyle Red, having driven him six times for three wins and a second. He drove confidently last Friday night when Argyle Red raced wide early and then in the breeze before getting to the front on the home turn and winning by a length and a half from the favourite McClinchie. Argyle Red rated 1.55.9 over 1730m. “Sitting in the breeze, doing a bit of work and running away from them late was quite encouraging,” Woodley said. “I think the distance (2130m) this week is suitable and he should prove terribly hard to beat. “I’ll be aiming to lead on Friday night, even though he can be a bit of a strange customer, who has a tendency to look around and race a little bit greenly.” Argyle Red is by American stallion Dawn of a New Day and is the first foal out of Dekker Diamond, a mare owned and trained by MacDonald who had 109 starts for eight wins, 16 placings and $63,249 in stakes. Dekker Diamond, by crack New Zealand pacer Iraklis, the winner of the 1996 Miracle Mile at Harold Park, was driven once by Woodley for a ninth behind Fake Occasion at Gloucester Park on October 3, 2006. Argyle Red has set the pace and won four times, twice at Gloucester Park and twice at Pinjarra. MacDonald also bred, part-owns and trains Davinci Diamond, the second foal out of Dekker Diamond, who has sound prospects in the $50,000 Caduceus Club Classic on Friday night. Davinci Diamond, by Artiscape, has won at each of his past three starts, with Woodley in the sulky for the colt’s latest two wins, substituting for Aiden de Campo when he was serving a term of suspension. De Campo will resume as Davinci Diamond’s driver this week. Ken Casellas

David Hercules, one of the best pacers ever bred in Western Australia, has made a remarkable recovery from a serious tendon injury and has come out of retirement to continue his fabulous harness racing career after an absence of 17 months. The equine millionaire, now a ten-year-old, will return to action when he starts from the outside in a field of nine in race seven at Gloucester Park on Friday night, a $23,000 event over 2130m which features Cyamach, an all-the-way winner of the TABtouch Inter Dominion championship consolation over 2936m last Friday night. “He’s fully fit and ready to go,” said breeder Steve Johnson, whose wife Jeneen races the gelding in partnership with David Botha. David Hercules last appeared when he started at 2/1 on and raced in the breeze outside the pacemaker Soho Highroller before wilting to fifth behind the fast-finishing My Hard Copy over 2130m at Gloucester Park on July 10, 2015. He was retired by trainer David Thompson two months later with a wonderful record of 104 starts for 39 wins, 18 seconds and 15 thirds for earnings of $1,259,019. His wins included four in group 1 events, six at group 2 level and four in group 3 races. Purchased as a yearling in 2008 for $15,000, David Hercules has won 27 times at Gloucester Park. Thirteen of those wins were over 2130m, the distance of this week’s event. He was named the WA Horse of the Year for the 2014-15 season at the WA Standardbred Breeders Association awards night after his victories that season included the Fremantle and Pinjarra Cups and the Village Kid Sprint. David Hercules, a versatile performer with wonderful natural speed, has overcome many setbacks in an up-and-down career. He almost died after suffering from a virus in Melbourne following his unplaced effort in the Breeders Crown for two-year-olds. And his career was in serious doubt when he was badly affected by a soft palate breathing problem as a five-year-old. He recovered after surgery in Melbourne. Thompson has given David Hercules a slow and steady program in his comeback campaign, culminating with impressive victories in four and five-horse trials over 2150m at Byford on the past three Sundays. In the first of those trials, on November 27, David Hercules rated 1.57.2 and beat Our Regal Ideal by 2m. A week later he beat Bettor Pack A Pistol by almost two lengths after dashing over the final two 400m sections in 29.7sec. and 27.4sec. Then last Sunday he rated 1.56.8, with final quarters in 29sec. and 27.4sec., and defeated Kiwi Legend by five and half lengths. He was handled in those trials by his regular reinsman Morgan Woodley, who will find things on Friday night considerably tougher against eight rivals, most of whom have been racing in good form. However, David Hercules represents the class in the field and he has bright prospects of making a successful comeback. Cyamach and Waylade, trained at Serpentine by Gary Hall sen., competed meritoriously during the Interdominion championship series and they will have many admirers. Gary Hall jun. will drive Cyamach from barrier three and he is sure to be anxious to burst to an early lead. However, Cyamach is not certain to get to the front in the early stages, with noted frontrunner Red Salute drawn inside of him at barrier two. Red Salute, prepared at Oakford by Ross Olivieri, set the pace when a sound second to the talented Delightful Offer over 2100m at Bunbury two starts ago and he was an all-the-way winner over 2130m at Gloucester Park three starts before that. Waylade (Clint Hall) finished strongly to win from brilliant stablemate Beaudiene Boaz over 2130m at Gloucester Park five starts ago and he maintained that form during the Inters series with a third behind Bling It On and a fourth behind Hectorjayjay. Chris Voak will drive Mynameskenny for trainer John Oldroyd and though awkwardly drawn at barrier six the five-year-old cannot be underestimated. He has won at 20 of his 39 starts. Drawn on his inside at barrier five is 12-year-old Shardons Rocket, a veteran of 286 starts who continues to race with commendable spirit. Another evergreen pacer is nine-year-old Lisharry, who caught the eye when he finished strongly to be third behind VC Manoeuvre and Delightful Offer last Friday night. Ken Casellas

Inexperienced two-year-old El Barcelona is a big, gangling pacer with a few issues, but he should complete his preparation for harness racings $125,000 Golden Slipper next Friday week by overpowering his rivals in the $18,000 Hanna Hutchison Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.He fared poorly in the random draw and must overcome the considerable disadvantage of starting from the outside barrier (No. 9) off the front line in the field of ten in the 2130m event. He has won at three of his five starts, but has shown disturbing signs of untractable habits. Champion trainer Gary Hall sen. admitted that El Barcelona was still a bit green and was not the ideal two-year-old. “The barrier draw is against him this week,” he said. “He gets on one rein when he’s out wide and at his latest start he hung down badly in the back straight when he should have won easily (instead of beating the pacemaker Its Major Bubbles by a narrow margin).” At his most recent appearance, over 1609m at Bunbury three Saturdays ago, El Barcelona raced in the one-out, one-back position before starting a three-wide move 500m from home. The third quarter was covered in a fast 27.3sec. and the final 400m took 27.9sec., with El Barcelona getting to the front about 80m from the post. “I have backed off a bit with El Barcelona and he will need the run this week, leading into the Golden Slipper,” Hall said. “Whatever he does this week, he will improve on.” There is abundant exposed form in Friday night’s race and the speedy Courtney Burch-trained Sergeant Oats will have many admirers from the prized No. 1 barrier, with Morgan Woodley certain to make full use of the Rich And Spoilt gelding’s excellent gate speed. Sergeant Oats started out wide at barrier seven in the Westbred Classic last Friday night and he was far from disgraced in finishing sixth behind The Real Ideal after racing three wide for much of the first lap and then in the breeze. That followed wins at Narrogin, Bunbury and Gloucester Park at his three previous starts, in which he began speedily and led in the races at Narrogin and Gloucester Park. Major Pocket, Baylan Jett, Our Zak Whitby and Bravo Tex are all racing in good form and cannot be discounted. Major Pocket trailed the pacemaker The Real Ideal and finished solidly when second in the Westbred Classic in which Baylan Jett sustained a strong burst from tenth in the middle stages to finish third. Our Zak Whitby, trained by Ed Dewar, is a consistent performer and winner of three races who can unwind a powerful finishing burst. Ken Casellas

Young Hopeland Harness Racing trainer Courtney Burch, fresh from a double at Northam on Tuesday night, has bright prospects of maintaining her winning form with promising two-year-old Sergeant Oats in the $25,000 Gloucester Motel and Restaurant Pace for Westsired colts and geldings at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Sergeant Oats, to be driven by Morgan Woodley, has the ability to overcome the disadvantage of starting from the outside barrier in a field of nine in the 2130m event. The Rich And Spoilt gelding has won in good style at Narrogin (1823m) and Bunbury (in 1.56.8 over 1609m) at his past two starts. Purchased for $9000 at the 2015 Gloucester Standardbred yearling sale, Sergeant Oats has earned $23,495 from his two wins and four seconds from eight starts. He is a full-brother to four-year-old Captain Oats, a $6500 yearling who has raced 28 times for eight wins and ten placings for earnings of $84,241. Sergeant Oats began speedily from the No. 4 barrier when he set the pace and won from Back To The Beach at Narrogin on April 30 and then he started from the back line and finished strongly to win by a neck from Heza Head Honcho at Bunbury on May 7. Since then he contested a two-horse trial over 2100m at Bunbury on Wednesday of last week when he set the pace and rated 1.579 in winning by 40 lengths from Iam The Real Thing, with final quarters in  29sec. and 29.3sec. The only other winner in Friday night’s race is the Robbie Williams-trained Itz Dynamo, who was an all-the-way winner at his debut at Northam in early March. He was placed once from his only other three starts, finishing a close and encouraging second to The Beachcomber over 1730m at Gloucester Park. Then he finished gamely when a sound fourth behind Allmightyjoelouis in the group 1 Sales Classic on April 22. He will start out wide at barrier seven on Friday night. Woodley gave punters a good lead when he opted to drive Sergeant Oats in preference to the John Graham-trained pair of Combat Crusade and Enemy Lines. He has driven Combat Crusade in each of his two starts for a first-up third behind Im Rockaria at Narrogin and ninth behind Adda Courage at Bunbury. He has been in the sulky for Enemy Lines’ three unplaced efforts at Pinjarra. Combat Crusade, who finished a 4m second to Luvthecuz in a 2100m trial at Bunbury on June 1, will be driven by Nathan Turvey and Chris Lewis has been engaged for Enemy Lines. The 27-year-old Burch is enjoying another successful season and is in third place on the Statewide trainers’ premiership table with 69 winners and 104 placings from 375 starters. She had four runners at Northam on Tuesday night this week when she won with Blacknsweet Adda and Where Dreams Grow and finished second with Vincenzo Peruggia and Im Despicable. Gary Hall sen. leads the trainers’ list with 161 winners and 134 placings from 551 starters, with Greg and Skye Bond in second place with 159 winners and 216 placings from 772 starters. Ken Casellas

The two $100,000 Westbred finals for two year olds at the harness racing meeting at Gloucester Park on Friday night both fell to favoured runners. 2 year old fillies With the late scratching of Sheer Rocknroll, this race always looked like it was Dodolicious's to lose and that is exactly as it turned out. Allowed to settle three back in the running line early by driver Ryan Warwick, Dodolicious was set alight by Ryan passing the 1400 metres mark and swept to the lead with 1100 metres to run. From there it was always a matter of what she would win by and when Ryan gave her her head passing the 500 metres Dodolicious shot away for an emphatic victory. Jasmin Amal from the David Thompson camp and in the hands of Morgan Woodley made ground from well back and wide to run second ,16 metres from the winner in front of another big finisher in Malua Volio in the hands of trainer driver Justin Prentice. Dodolicious paced the 2130 metres in a smart 2:36.1, a mile rate of 1:58 with closing sectionals of 57.5 and 28.4.. Bred, raced and trained by high profile Perth trainer Greg Bond, Dodolicious is a daughter of champion sire Bettors Delight. Friday nights win was her fourth from just six starts and took her stake earnings to $83,843 View race replay here 2 year old colts/geldings This looked a hard race to call as the first three favourites all had similar records and as it turned out the draw was the determining factor in the end. The well supported Ross Ashby trained Johnny Disco with Chris Lewis in the bike lead easily from barrier one and kept up a very solid tempo throughout. The other two public elects in Rich Yankee and Lightning Jolt worked around to get handy with 1000 metres to go with Rich Yankee finding the breeze and Lightning Jolt the one by one. However when Chris Lewis pushed the go button at the 400 metres mark, Johnny Disco shot away and didn't have to driven out to record a comfortable victory. 120-1 chance Americanbootscoota in the the hands of Tom Buchanan had trailed Johnny Disco the whole way and poked up on the inner for second in front of Lightning Jolt and Rich Yankee. Johnny Disco paced the 2130 metres in 2:35.7, a mile rate of 1:57.6 with closing sectionals of 57.9 and 28.1. The son of Jeremes Jets has been a model of consistency in his debut season with three wins and four placings from his nine starts and stake earnings of $86,048 View race replay here Harnesslink Media  

Outstanding four-year-old Libertybelle Midfrew will have to end a 49-year hoodoo if she is to defy the odds and win the $35,000 Princi Butchers Winter Cup at the harness racing meeting at Gloucester Park on Friday night. No mare has been successful in the time-honoured group 3 Winter Cup since Phil Coulson drove Color Glo to victory in 1966. This week's Winter Cup, with a disappointing field of just six runners, is looming large as an enthralling clash between Libertybelle Midfrew and the State's best pacer, the evergreen eight-year-old David Hercules, who will start from the outside barrier. David Hercules, winner of 39 races and $1,252,269 in prizemoney, is certain to start an odds-on favourite, but with Libertybelle Midfrew drawn perfectly at the No. 1 barrier under the preferential draw conditions of the race some pundits will favour Libertybelle Midfrew's prospects of causing a boilover. Some students of form will point to the fact that Libertybelle Midfrew, a smart frontrunner, has not tasted defeat over 2536m, the distance of the Winter Cup. Her wins over 2536m have been in a prelude of the WA Oaks, the Oaks final and the Golden Nugget Championship last year and a Free-For-All early in May this year. And Libertybelle Midfrew has already proved that she is a pacer out of the ordinary when she bucked the trend by racing three wide for much of the journey before winning the Golden Nugget at 6/1 last December, beating the 11/8 favourite Waylade. She was only the second mare to win the Golden Nugget in the 35-year history of the classic. Trainer Mike Reed has freshened up Libertybelle Midfrew, who has not raced since finishing ninth behind David Hercules in the 2692m Pinjarra Cup on June 1. The New Zealand-bred mare started out wide from barrier seven and Mark Reed restrained her back to last in the field of 12. She was forced to race three and four wide in the final circuit and virtually had no chance with the pacemaking David Hercules reeling off final quarters in 27sec. and 28.5sec. on the way to winning from Our Jimmy Johnstone, rating 1.54.7 to set a track record for the journey. David Hercules also has not raced since the Pinjarra Cup, but his work has pleased Byford trainer David Thompson since that event. David Hercules, with Morgan Woodley in the sulky, started from the outside barrier in a field of five in a 2150m trial at Byford on Sunday morning and he ran home solidly from the one-out, one-back position to finish second, a half-length behind Libertybelle Midfrew, who had enjoyed a perfect trail behind the pacemaker Hokonui Ben. Libertybelle Midfrew rated 1.55.9 in the solidly-run trial, with the quarters in the final mile going by in 29.9, 28.3, 29 and 29. Friday night's Cup could well develop into a cat-and-mouse affair between Mark Reed and Woodley, with Woodley likely to assess the situation depending on the pace being set by Libertybelle Midfrew. It is more than likely that Woodley will send David Hercules forward in the first lap to sit outside the mare, or even in a bold bid to assume the role of pacemaker. Thompson and Woodley will be attempting to win the Winter Cup for the second year in a row. Twelve months ago David Hercules was favourite at 11/8 when 12 runners contested the Winter Cup. He started from barrier six and after racing four and three wide early, the gelding worked hard in the breeze outside the pacemaker Our Arlington before finishing strongly to win from Please Release Me and Ima Rocket Star. Last year's victory gave Woodley his second success in the Winter Cup, after succeeding with the Tony Svilicich-trained Has The Answers in 2011. Champion trainer Gary Hall sen. and champion reinsman Gary Hall jun. hope to continue their remarkable dominance of the Winter Cup by scoring with talented New Zealand-bred four-year-old Machtu, who has won at 13 of his 24 starts. The Hall stable nominated nine horses for the Cup, but decided to rely solely on Machtu after scratching My Hard Copy, Waylade, Hokonui Ben, Crusader Banner, Soho Jackman, Soho Highroller, Norvic Nightowl and Notabadexcuse. The 65-year-old Hall has trained the winner of the Winter Cup seven times and his 32-year-old son has driven the winner of the event six times. Hall sen. has won the Cup with Kaydee (1994), The Falcon Strike (2003), Inontheball (2004), Washakie (2008), Im Themightyquinn (2009 and 2013) and Davy Maguire (2012). Hall jun. has been the winning driver behind The Falcon Strike, Washakie, Im Themightyquinn (twice), Davy Maguire and Lookslikelightning in 2005. Machtu has raced three times since resuming after a five-month absence. He was first-up when he raced in the one-out, one-back position in the Pinjarra Cup before challenging for the lead 150m from the post and then wilting to third. He then set the pace and sprinted over the final 800m in 54.6sec. to score an effortless eight-length win over 2692m at Pinjarra and then started off 50m and worked hard when a fighting third to Danieljohn over 2631m at Pinjarra after getting to the front in the final stages. Ken Casellas

Star harness racing reinsman Morgan Woodley is delighted with the progress being made by Hugh Victor and is confident the West Australian-bred gelding will prove hard to beat in the $35,000 Alltools Four-Year-Old Championship at Gloucester Park on Friday night. "He keeps improving all the time and in this preparation I've noticed, even in his work, that he is better and stronger," he said. "He's not a champion, but he can sprint very quickly" Hugh Victor, part-owned and trained at Serpentine by Woodley's partner Stephanie Smith, has drawn favourably at barrier two on the front line of the group 3 event over 2130m. "This barrier really suits him," Woodley said. "He's a sit-sprint type of horse who can also lead in the right circumstances. Hopefully, we'll be sitting somewhere close up in the moving line, and given a little bit of luck over the concluding stages, he should sprint home strongly." Hugh Victor notched his sixth win from 15 starts this season (and his tenth from 44 career starts) when he started from the back line in a 2130m event last Friday night. He settled in sixth place before dashing forward, three wide, after 600m to move to the breeze and then obtained a one-out, one-back trail. He started a three-wide move 500m from home, took the lead on the home turn and won easily from Walter James and Dardy Delight, rating 1.57.4. "We were a touch disappointed with him last week, even though he seemingly went very well," Woodley explained. "We identified a couple of small areas that needed improvement and Steph has worked hard on them and we hope he's going to put his best foot forward. "He didn't seem to have quite as much sharpness as normal and seemed a bit more on the dour side. We've worked on freshening his legs and getting him in a good mind space. Hopefully, he will produce the goods. He has been racing in terrific fashion and with even luck I expect him to fight out the finish." Hugh Victor is a full-brother to champion pacer David Hercules, whose regular reinsman is Woodley. David Hercules has amassed $1,204,419 in prizemoney from 37 wins and 32 placings from 100 starts. Asked to compare Hugh Victor to the eight-year-old David Hercules, Woodley said: "He is different in the respect that he can't run the same gross time and is not as big and as strong as David Hercules. "However, Hugh Victor is improving with every campaign. I have noticed a real difference this time in from the previous time we campaigned him. He has matured and his cruising speed has got better. He does possess very good high-end speed and in one of his wins at Pinjarra this season we clocked him running home the final sectional in 26.8sec. "In that respect he does possess the speed that David Hercules has, but he doesn't have the same overall strength." Polemarker Back On Board, who will be driven by Chris Voak for Pinjarra trainer Michael Brennan, is a smart frontrunner who made full use of the No. 1 barrier four starts ago when he set the pace and won easily over 2258m at Albany. Voak looks certain to set the pace with Back On Board, with Kimba Bay expected to go forward from barrier four to take up the breeze position. If that transpires, Hugh Victor would almost certainly enjoy the one-out, one-back position. Matt White, who trains and drives 2014 WA Derby winner Three Blind Mice, said that the gelding was working in fine style in Busselton and was capable of bouncing back to the winner's list after unplaced runs at Bunbury and Pinjarra at his past two outings. He raced wide early and then in the breeze at his past two starts and White said he probably would change his tactics and race with a sit. Boyanup trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice has sound prospects with The Parade, who impressed with a strong victory over 2130m last Friday night when she settled in tenth position, started a three-wide burst 1050m from home and sustained the effort to hit the front on the home turn and win from Adda Rising Star and Mon Lamour. "This is a good test for her, but she is up to it," said Prentice. "She has improved since her win last week and her work this week has been super. If we follow Hugh Victor we should be thereabouts. She's a winning chance. "Three Blind Mice is probably the class runner in the race, but The Parade has beaten him at Bunbury." The Parade is due for a change of fortune in a feature event. She has contested four group races for a fourth behind Highest Royalty in the group 1 Diamond Classic, a second to Majorly Foxy Styx in the group 2 Dainty's Daughter Classic, a second to Libertybelle Midfrew in the WA Oaks and a third to Sensational Gabby in the Empress Stakes. Kimba Bay, trained at Manjimup by Debra Sutton, has been driven in all his 27 starts by Kaiden Hayter for 13 wins and nine placings. He warmed up for Friday night's assignment in fine style by winning the 2597m Bridgetown Cup on Sunday when he dashed to the front after 400m and scored by more than a length from Smokey The Bandit. Woodley has opted to drive Hugh Victor in preference to Hawkeye Bromac, a smart Gloucester Park winner two starts ago who has drawn poorly, out wide at No. 6 on the front line. Leading reinsman Gary Hall jun. will drive Hawkeye Bromac for Bickley trainer Peter Anderson. Forrestdale trainers Greg and Skye Bond hold a strong hand in the race with Simply Susational (Colin Brown) and Jungle Jewel (Ryan Warwick). Simply Susational was most impressive, winning first-up at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week when he raced three wide without cover for most of the journey before defeating Hes Ritehererightnow and Quick Reflection. Jungle Jewel finished boldly from eighth (and last) at the bell to be third to Cielito and Kristen Louise over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening. Elson favours Ideal Tyson Blythewood trainer Gary Elson is thrilled at the superb form of stablemates Ideal Tyson and Sprinter, who give him an ideal opportunity to notch the quinella in the Milwaukee Nothing But Heavy Duty Western Crown Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He favours giant Victorian-bred colt Ideal Tyson over the big New Zealand-bred gelding Sprinter. Nathan Turvey has driven Ideal Tyson in his three starts for narrow victories at Pinjarra before a powerful performance to win from Kathleen Betty at Bunbury. Turvey has also handled Sprinter at his four starts for three wins (two at Pinjarra) and one at Gloucester Park and a most unlucky third behind Rich Yankee and Johnny Disco at Bunbury. Turvey will drive Ideal Tyson from barrier two on the front line on Friday night and Tom Buchanan will be in the sulky behind Sprinter. Sprinter's four starts have been in February and March, whereas Ideal Tyson's three starts came in the space of 16 days in January. He won a 2185m trial at Pinjarra on Sunday morning by ten lengths from Bettors Gem, rating 2.0.5 after dashing over the final two 400m sections in 27.9sec. and 29sec Elson is a fan of stallion American Ideal and he bought Ideal Tyson for $24,000 as a yearling in Victoria. The colt's dam is Shezacullen, who won ten times from 58 starts in Victoria. "Ideal Tyson and Sprinter are both big and strong and quick," Elson said. "I fancy Ideal Tyson this week. He surprised me when I took him to trials. He just won all his trials so easily. "Nathan thinks that Sprinter is the better of the two. Sprinter is a ready-made racehorse who knows what to do, whereas Ideal Tyson just does what he has to do. He has yet to be seriously tested." Leading reinsman Gary Hall jun. gave punters a lead when he opted to drive Soho Wolverine in preference to Duschka, who will be handled by Clint Hall. Hall jun. drove the Kevin Keys-trained Duschka at his debut at Gloucester Park on March 3 when the Art Major gelding set a brisk pace and was hampered by a flat sulky tyre in the last lap and was beaten a nose by the fast-finishing Sprinter over 1730m after a final 800m in 57.3sec. Clint Hall then drove Duschka to an all-the-way win over Rich Yankee at Northam on Thursday of last week. Soho Wolverine, trained at Northam by Glenn Elliott, made his debut at Pinjarra on Monday of last week when he led and finished second to Sprinter. Then he led and won from Our Black Betty at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. Soho Wolverine's dam Fidelius Charm was a smart pacer who won five times as a two-year-old in 2007-08, including the group 2 Sales Classic and Gold Bracelet. Duschka's dam Cassie Rox earned $152,492 from 17 wins and 21 placings from 85 starts. Her dam Snookanite produced Itsallabout Nicole, who scored an easy victory in the Western Crown Classic in April 2009 before winning the group 1 Pearl Classic. Track The Navajo has the credentials Ten years ago Spirit of Navajo won the group 1 Golden Slipper and now her half-sister Track The Navajo has bright prospects of winning another feature two-year-old event, the $19,999 Milwaukee New Fuel Western Crown Classic for fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Track The Navajo, trained at Highbury by Amy Stone, has made a wonderful start to her career, with her first five starts producing wins at Bunbury and Gloucester Park and two placings at Pinjarra and one at Albany. Track The Navajo will start from the inside of the back line in the 1730m event and reinsman Tim Stone will be relying on her trademark strong finishing burst. Track The Navajo made an auspicious debut at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week when she was restrained from barrier six on the front line and raced in sixth position before she finished solidly to win from Nina Jane at a 1.59.8 rate over 1730m. The only other winner in Friday night's race is the Garry Butler-trained Mary Catherine, who fared badly in the random draw and will start from the outside (barrier seven) on the front line. Chris Voak, who drove Mary Catherine to a strong win at her debut, at Pinjarra on January 5, gave punters a lead when he decided to drive back-line runner Our Black Betty for Byford trainer Katja Warwick in preference to Mary Catherine and the Ross Olivieri-trained Sheer Rocknroll. Voak drove Our Black Betty at her only start when she finished a six-length second to talented gelding Soho Wolverine at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. She should be improved by the outing. Stuart McDonald will drive Sheer Rocknroll, the first foal out of Sheer Royalty, who won the 2009 WA Oaks and was retired with earnings of $248,904 from nine wins and seven placings from 33 starts. "I like Sheer Rocknroll," Olivieri said. "She's just learning the caper and ran a nice first-up fourth." .Nina Jane, a half-sister to Shinydes (24 wins) and Gazzella Nera (five) has each-way prospects for Capel trainer Andrew de Campo. At her second start she began from barrier seven, was restrained to the rear, met with a couple of checks and raced three wide before finishing a close second to Track the Navajo at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week. Pacific Warrior's class a decisive factor Reinsman Kade Howson advised punters to disregard Pacific Warrior's last-start failure, when last behind Dynamite Dude in the Autumn Championship last Friday week, when assessing the New Zealand-bred seven-year-old's prospects in the $22,500 Alltools Ray Duffy Memorial Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Howson, who drives Pacific Warrior for Mt Helena trainer Ray Williams, said that he was hopeful that the gelding's class would be a deciding factor in this week's event in which he is unfavourably drawn on the outside of the front line. "If Shardons Rocket pushes forward and finds the breeze or the front we will join in at some stage and hopefully his class will get him to the top," Howson said. "I think Ray will be aiming Pacific Warrior for the Easter Cup and will kick along with the horse until he has had enough. Then he will have a spell before being set for the interdominion championship series in Perth in November and December." Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri predicted a strong showing from Our Blackbird, who has a losing sequence of 19. Our Blackbird, who will start from barrier three on the front line, caught the eye at his latest appearance, at Gloucester Park last Friday night when he was a 55/1 outsider and was eighth (and last) at the bell before flying home with a spirited late burst out wide on the track to dead-heat for fourth behind stablemate Sensational Gabby over 2536m. He finished less than a length from the winner. "He charged home, rather like the way Sensational Gabby finished when fifth behind Dynamite Dude the previous week," Olivieri said. "I don't underestimate Shardons Rocket or Pacific Warrior, but Our Blackbird could be a leader or a sitter and play a part in the finish. "His run last week got me. We've been waiting for him to do something a bit better than what he's been doing. Let's hope his latest run is a sign of better things to come. He has had a lot of problems and we have sorted most of them out." Boyanup trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice warned punters not to disregard Braemoor, who is handily drawn at No. 2 on the front line. "His past two runs have been super," Prentice said. "Obviously, I would have liked to have drawn one. But he could cross and find the front, and if he does he will give the others something to chase." Prentice also said that he gave stable runners The Parade, Dardy Delight, Sparkling Seelster and Miss Madoff sound each-way prospects. by Ken Casellas    

Having just returned to Western Australia, tough harness racing competitor David Hercules is heading east again. David Hercules booked his passage across the Nullarbor with his tough Inter Dominion heat victory at Gloucester Park tonight. Just a fortnight ago David Hercules contested the Victoria Cup at Melton, with the David Thompson -trained pacer due in Sydney in two weeks. The TAB.com.au Inter Dominion Final is scheduled to be held at Tabcorp Park Menangle on March 1. David Hercules guaranteed his position in the elite field when he outstayed his rivals with Morgan Woodley in the cart. After racing in the ‘death seat’, the son of Artesian completed a three-and-a-half metre win from Pacific Warrior, with Dynamite Dude two metres away third. David Hercules’ previous trip to New South Wales resulted in an unplaced effort in the Hondo Grattan Stake in 2011. PAUL COURTS

Western Australian harness racing star David Hercules has drawn the second row in an Inter Dominion heat for the second successive year, but this time, driver Morgan Woodley will leave nothing to chance.  After running fourth 12 months ago, David Hercules missed a berth in the 2014 Inter Dominion, and with only the winner of this year’s heat assured a spot in the $750,000 Final, Woodley plans to ‘take no prisoners’. “We drew the inside of the second row last year and I eased right back to get off the inside, and I probably made the wrong decision, but drawn two on the second row this year I’m pretty happy to get up outside them and control the race from there,” Woodley said. “He’s been a great horse for everyone involved, he has won a lot of races, competed against some nice horses, and if he hadn’t come along in the same era as Im Themightyquinn, he would have probably won more races and more prize money.” Woodley drove Mysta Magical Mach in the 2012 and 2013 Inter Dominion, finishing second at his first attempt. “Mysta Magical Mach and David Hercules are very different horses to drive,” Woodley declared. “Mysta Magical Mach had high speed and a good turn of foot whereas David Hercules is more dour. “David Hercules was very workmanlike in the Fremantle Cup, he did his thing and got the job done, but his run in defeat in the WA Pacing Cup was great. “He was three-wide to the breeze and only got beaten in the last little bit, it was a top effort and in the end probably took the edge off him when he went across for the Victoria Cup.” Woodley is willing to make the trip across to Sydney to should David Hercules qualify for the TAB.COM.AU Inter Dominion at Tabcorp Park Menangle on March 1. “In the end that decision will be made by the connections, but I plan to be going over, however, first things first, he has to win this Saturday night to guarantee he qualifies,” Woodley said. GREG HAYES

Six-year-old Tuxedo Tour went within a whisker of causing a major upset last Friday night when he ran home with great determination to finish a head second to 5/1 on favourite Heez On Fire and he gets a chance to turn the tables on his brilliant rival when he meets him on better terms in the $35,000 Kennards Hire Christmas Gift final at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Tuxedo Tour, trained at Herne Hill by Kevin Keys, started from barrier three on the back line and settled down in ninth position before he surged forward to move to the breeze on the outside of the pacemaking Heez On Fire with 1200m to travel in a heat of the Gift last week. Heez On Fire, who was untroubled to lead from the prized No. 1 barrier, fought on grimly to stave off the late challenge from Tuxedo Tour, with the final two quarters being covered in 28.9sec. and 27.6sec. This week Tuxedo Tour will start from the No. 3 barrier on the front line, with Heez On Fire out at barrier five. Noted frontrunner Dashing Christian is likely to lead from the No. 1 barrier and there is a strong possibility that Tuxedo Tour will again have to work hard in the breeze. All Bettor (barrier two) and Ti Amo Franco (four) possess good natural gate speed and Chris Lewis will be anxious to slot Heez On Fire into a commanding position in the one-wide line. Heez On Fire is extremely versatile and is capable of unwinding a dazzling finishing burst, like he revealed when he thundered home from the rear to win from Medley Moose two starts ago. Despite his awkward draw, Heez On Fire is likely to start a short-priced favourite in his quest to extend his winning sequence to six and improve his record to 15 wins and four placings from only 27 starts. The WA-bred five-year-old was purchased as a four-month-old weanling by Cardup trainer Rod Oliver for $15,000 and has already amassed $178,005 in prizemoney for Oliver, his mother Doreen, brother Perry and friends Andrew Walker, Geoff Ramm, Darrell Dwyer and Kieren Eiffler. Tuxedo Tour has earned $122,876 from 11 wins and 18 placings from 41 starts after being purchased for $18,000 at the 2010 Gloucester Standardbred yearling sale by Tom Marsden, who races the stallion in partnership with his son Rod and Martin, Colin and Stephen Campbell. The Christmas Gift is one of the very few feature events in WA that has not been won by Lewis, who is in devastating form in the sulky. Champion trainer Gary Hall sen. is hoping that Dashing Christian can go one better than he did in a qualifying heat last Friday night when he set the pace and was overhauled in the final stride and was beaten by a head by the fast-finishing Mosquito Buzzin. Hall won the Christmas Gift for the fifth time when Kim Prentice drove the polemarker and 6/4 on favourite Toretto to a comfortable all-the-way victory over Our Major Mark and Red Salute 12 months ago. This followed wins with Nixons Creed (1993), Allioop (2004), McRaes Mate (2007) and Livingontheinterest (2012). Ti Amo Franco, trained in Collie by Dale Jackson, will have admirers from barrier four on the front line. He began brilliantly from the No. 5 barrier in a heat last week, but was unable to cross Dashing Christian. He then obtained a good sit, one-out and one-back, and moved to second on the home turn before wilting to fourth behind Mosquito Buzzin. He won in good style at two of his three previous starts. Matt White will resume as Mosquito Buzzin's driver this week after Aiden De Campo handled the six-year-old last week. De Campo will replace Chris Voak behind Mosquito Buzzin, with Voak on the sidelines serving a 19-day suspension after causing interference in a race last Friday night. Mosquito Buzzin has drawn ideally on the inside of the back line and should enjoy a perfect sit behind the likely pacemaker Dashing Christian. Woodley to drive This Time Dylan Outstanding young reinsman Morgan Woodley has been engaged to drive strong stayer This Time Dylan in the $22,500 Mount Eden-No Dill Christmas Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night and the nine-year-old looks capable of fighting out the finish of the 2503m stand at his fourth appearance after a spell. Woodley, who will be driving This Time Dylan for the first time, replaces Justin Prentice, who was in the sulky last Friday night when the gelding was prominent throughout and sustained a solid three-wide run to finish third behind Lisharry and Some Kinda Tactics in a 1730m sprint, with the final 800m being covered in a sparkling 55.6sec. Prentice was committed to driving Dardys Delight, a five-year-old he trains at Boyanup. Dardys Delight, who will share the front line with the Ross Olivieri-trained Chief Thundercloud, rises considerably in class, but is in sound form, with his past six starts (all in stands) producing two wins, two seconds and two thirds. Before that he had contested only one stand in 348 starts. He is closely related to Winter Strike, who earned $416,693 from 33 wins and 50 placings from 143 starts. He was a winner of eight stands, six at Gloucester Park and two at Pinjarra. This Time Dylan, trained at Pinjarra by Michael Brennan, will start off the 40m mark, but is capable of a bold showing. He has a losing sequence of 13, dating back to last May when he won a 2503m event off 30m at Gloucester Park. Four months earlier he finished a splendid third behind Hokonui Ben and Toretto in the 2936m WA Pacing Cup. He won four times (all off 10m) over 2503m in September-October 2013 and he impressed when he started off 40m and finished second to Rocket Reign in the 3309m Marathon Handicap in August this year. Some Kinda Tactics will share the 40m handicap with This Time Dylan on Friday night and should also prove hard to beat. He is racing consistently, with his 12 starts this season producing three wins, four seconds and three thirds. Chief Thundercloud, a lightly-raced New Zealand-bred seven-year-old, will be one of the main fancies after having four starts in WA for a win in a 2503m stand and three second placings. He raced without cover for the final two laps when a sound second to the frontrunning Avalon Bromac in a 2536m mobile at Gloucester Park last Saturday night. Olivieri will also be represented by veteran pacers Pembrook Henry and To Transcend and Wanneroo trainer Debbie Padberg will be looking for a stout-hearted effort from 11-year-old mare Salliwood, who will start off 20m and will be handled by Mark Reed,. Salliwood has finished second in the past two Christmas Handicaps. She was driven by Shannon Suvaljko when she finished strongly into second place behind Uncle Kracker in 2012 and then was awarded the race after the winner was disqualified. In last year's race Salliwood set the pace and was defeated by a half-head by the fast-finishing J Walker. It all points to Sensational Gabby Brilliant mare Sensational Gabby looks set to complete her preparation for the $60,000 Village Kid Sprint on Friday week in fine style by proving too speedy for her 11 male rivals in the 2130m Merry Xmas Del Basso Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Her prospects soared when she was dealt the No. 3 marble in the random barrier draw and Chris Lewis is likely to make a bold bid to dash her straight to the front. Drawn inside her are Soho Highroller and Go West U Terror, geldings with good gate speed, but susceptible to an early challenge from Sensational Gabby, who can begin with dazzling speed. In the event of Soho Highroller holding up and leading, Lewis would be anxious to gain a good sit in the one-wide line before asking Sensational Gabby to unleash her renowned sizzling finishing burst. She was seventh (on the pegs) at the bell before finishing fast to be third behind David Hercules and Soho Highroller over 1730m last Friday night. Soho Highroller certainly looks the pick of the four runners from the all-conquering Gary Hall sen. stable. He notched his third successive second placing last Friday night when he finished strongly from sixth at the bell to beat all but David Hercules. The prospects of seven-year-old Lisharry completing a winning hat-trick diminished when he drew poorly at No. 5 on the front line. He set the pace for easy victories over 2503m and 1730m on the past two Friday nights. Unbeaten youngsters to clash The clash between highly-promising unbeaten three-year-olds Ima Connoisseur and Zennart in the 1730m Kennards Hire Pace should be a highlight of the ten-event program at Gloucester Park on Friday night. In the blue corner will be Ima Connoisseur, a gelding trained by Greg and Skye Bond who has not tasted defeat in four starts, and in the blue and gold corner is Zennart, a colt trained by Gary Hall sen. who has been most impressive in winning at his only two starts in New Zealand. Ima Connoisseur won by ten and a half lengths at his debut, over 2200m at Alexandra Park in June this year, and then was untroubled to win at Pinjarra at his first three Australian starts, scoring twice over 1684m and once over 2185m. He sprinted the final 400m in 27.3sec. in both his sprint wins and was timed at 27.5sec. when he won over 2185m. Zennart led from barrier three and set the pace when he won easily on debut, scoring by four and a half lengths and rating 1.59.9 over 2200m at Alexandra park on July 25 this year. He sprinted the final 800m in 57.2sec., with the final 400m taking 27.8sec. At his next start Zennart started from the outside in a field of six and was restrained to last (eight lengths from the leader) before moving to fourth at the bell and coming from third (three wide) on the home turn to hit the front 30m from the post to win by a half-length at a 1.59.9 rate. He dashed over the final 400m in 27.9sec. Hall has not produced Zennart at public trials, but the Art Major colt is sure to be strongly supported, particularly when he drew inside of Ima Connoisseur. Zennart will start from barrier five on the front line, with Ima Connoisseur at No. 6. Zennart is a half-brother to Zenas Art, who raced 51 times for 14 wins (four in New Zealand, two in Victoria and eight in New South Wales) for stakes of $100,298. Zennart and Ima Connoisseur look set to fight out the finish and each should develop into a worthy contender for the WA Derby next year. Colin Brown, who will drive Ima Connoisseur in the first event on the program, also has excellent prospects in the second event, the third heat of the Free Entry Boxing Day the Coulson Pace for mares, in which he will drive Harriet Elisabeth for Byford trainer David Thompson. Harriet Elisabeth, a winner at nine of her 25 starts, is ideally drawn at barrier two on the front line in the 2130m event in which she will clash with in-form mares Rivers of Babylon and Washington Express. by Ken Casellas  

Woodley to break through in August Cup Morgan Woodley, who has driven a placegetter in three of the past four August Cups, has high hopes of breaking through for his first victory in the winter feature event by scoring with David Hercules in the $35,000 Curtin FM August Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. David Hercules, trained at Byford by David Thompson, has drawn fairly at barrier four on the front line, but is likely to be left in the breeze outside the likely pacemaker Northview Punter, who will start from the coveted No. 1 barrier in the 2536m event. Trainer Gary Hall sen. conceded that he was slightly disappointed at Northview Punter's effort when second behind stablemate Our Arlington in a 2503m stand last Friday night. But his spirits were boosted after the random barrier draw. David Hercules proved the master of Northview Punter three starts ago when he started from the No. 5 barrier and worked hard in the breeze before finishing strongly to beat the pacemaking Northview Punter by a half-length, rating 1.55.7 over 2130m. David Hercules was gallant in defeat when fourth behind Reuben Brogden in a 1730m sprint last Friday night. He was at a significant disadvantage, starting from the outside of the back line. He settled at the rear before Woodley started a three-wide move 1100m from home. The seven-year-old sustained a strong effort to finish just under two lengths from the winner. David Hercules had been most impressive in winning at his four previous starts (after resuming from a spell), winning twice each over 2130m and 2536m. Friday night's event will be the 63rd running of the August Cup and Thompson is hoping that David Hercules will become just the eighth horse to complete the Winter Cup-August Cup double in the one season. Those to have achieved this feat are Tavis (1975), Peter Anstey (1977), High Moore (1979), Preux Chevalier (1985), Manageable (1989), Shattering Class (1998 and 1999) and Another Party (2000). Woodley's placegetters in recent August Cups have been Mysta Magical Mach (third behind Im Themightyquinn in 2010), Has The Answers (third behind Lombo Navigator and Rocket Reign in a thrilling three-way photo finish in 2011) and Has The Answers (second to Uppy Son last year). Mysta Magical Mach and Has The Answers were prepared by Tony Svilicich, who won the August Cup with Digger of Fortune in 2003. Svilicich has trained six minor placegetters in the past six August Cups. In 2008 he was represented by Roydon Holmes and Demoralizer. Roydon Holmes (9/1) led until the final 20m and finished a close second to Glencadam, and Demoralizer was third. He did not have a runner in 2009 before Has The Answers led until the final 50m when second to Im Themightyquinn in 2010. His other runner Mysta Magical Mach was third. A year later Has The Answers (6/4 on) set the pace when third. In the 2012 August Cup Mysta Magical Mach (6/1) set the pace and was two lengths in front with 120m to travel before being swamped and was relegated to fifth behind Dasher VC. Twelve months ago Has The Answers was favourite at 6/4 when set the pace from barrier two and led until the final 90m when beaten by the fast-finishing Uppy Son. This year Svilicich will be represented by outsider Shardons Rocket, who will be driven by Chris Lewis, but faces an extremely difficult task from the outside of the back line. The August Cup is a particularly significant event for Hall sen., who had the distinction of training Zakara for his four wins in the race --- in 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1994. Hall's other August Cup winner was Im Themightyquinn, who started at 5/2 on in 2010 when he got to the front 50m from the post before defeating the pacemaker Has The Answers. The Cup prospects on Friday night of last-start winners Reuben Brogden and Our Arlington were boosted when they drew favourably at No. 2 and No. 3 on the front line. Reuben Brogden, trained by his owner Gary Elson, was most impressive last Friday night when he was tenth at the 500m mark and stormed home from sixth, five wide, on the home turn to defeat Old McDonald at a 1.54.4 rate over 1730m. Our Arlington also caught the eye last Friday night when he galloped soon after the start and settled down a distant ninth before dashing forward to move into the breeze 1400m from home and then gained the one-out, one-back trail and then finishing boldly to snatch victory from Northview Punter. Hall predicts big things for Machtu Champion trainer Gary Hall sen. has labelled Machtu the second best pacer in his Serpentine stables and is bubbling with confidence that the New Zealand-bred three-year-old will make a triumphant return to racing by proving too powerful for his rivals in the 2130m Glengarry Spectacles Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Machtu will be making his first appearance for 20 weeks when he starts out wide at No. 4 on the back line for champion reinsman Gary Hall jun. This will be the gelding's first start since he finished a close third behind Three Blind Mice and Eyre Crusher in the WA Derby early last April. "He has returned in great shape and his trials at Byford on the past two Sundays have been phenomenal," said an enthusiastic Hall sen. "He won both his trials, beating open-class horses and you would think that he would just win on Friday night. "In a 2550m stand on Sunday Machtu led and beat his open-class stablemate Livingontheinterest by a length after sprinting the final 400m in 27.9sec. In a 2150m mobile the previous Sunday he led and covered the final 800m in 56.5sec. and beat top-class pacer David Hercules on his merits. "Machtu is the second best horse in our stable, behind Im Themightyquinn. We are really happy with him and his long-term mission is the interdominion championship in Perth in 2016. At the moment we will take races as they come and see how he goes. "Quinny is back in work and is coming along nicely. He should resume racing towards the end of October and his main target is the $700,000 New Zealand Cup on the second Tuesday in November. It's a stand and he will draw the front line." Machtu, who has won at seven of his 12 starts, is one of three Hall runners in Friday night's race, the others being High Courage (No. 3 on the front line) and Classic American (outside of the back line). High Courage and Classic American are smart colts, but appear a class below Machtu. Nonetheless, each will be fancied to figure in the finish along with Burning, the promising Mach Three colt in the stables of Greg and Skye Bond. Burning, a speedy frontrunner and winner at seven of his 16 starts, will begin from the inside of the back line. An all-the way Pinjarra winner three starts ago, he lost few admirers when a fighting second to Elegant Christian over 2130m last Friday night after working hard without cover. Hall sets sights on 250 winners There is no stopping the all-conquering Hall training complex and now champion horseman Gary Hall sen. has lifted the bar and is setting himself fresh challenges as the 2013-14 season comes to an end. The Hall camp has 14 starters on the ten-event program at Gloucester Park on Friday night and punters would be well advised to include all 14 runners in their thoughts. Hall, a runaway winner of the trainers' premiership, would dearly love to end the season in a blaze of glory on Friday night. Leading reinsman Gary Hall jun. also would love to wind up the city season by winning the final event with honest performer Globalization in the Pedrini Painting Westbred Pathway Pace. Hall sen. leads the Metropolitan trainers' premiership with 169 wins --- a mile head of Greg and Skye Bond (63), Ross Olivieri (62), Debbie Padberg (32) and Andrew De Campo (25). On all tracks in Western Australia during the season he has had 814 starters for 209 winners, 116 seconds and 96 thirds for prizemoney of $2,966,533. In second place is the Bond stable with 146 winners and 128 placegetters from 817 starters. This is the first time a trainer has prepared more than 200 winners in a season in this State. Hall currently has 50 horses in work and he wants to keep the winners rolling in. "My aim for the 2014-15 season is to train 250 winners and to win the WA Pacing Cup for the ninth time," he declared. "Im Themightyquinn will run in the Cup, providing the wheels stay on." Hall is also looking for big things from exciting three-year-old Machtu and he also predicted bright futures for many of his horses, including Beaudiene Boaz, Nuala, Zennart and Juliana Bromac. Get on Machs A Pearler Unfavourable barriers have dogged Machs A Pearler in recent weeks and the New Zealand-bred four-year-old should greatly appreciate starting from the prized No. 1 barrier in the first event at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The honest gelding, trained at Forrestdale by Greg and Skye Bond, looks a good thing and punters should establish a good bank for the night by supporting him to end a losing sequence of seven. Machs A Pearler has enjoyed little luck recently after starting from the back line three times and from the outside of the front line twice at his past five outings. He is a smart frontrunner ideally suited over the sprint trip of 1730m. Punters should take it into serious consideration that he has led in ten of his 490 starts for five wins and five second placings. The Bond stable has 13 runners on Friday night, including six starters in the $25,000 King's Park Fashion Schrader final over 2130m. Four of those runners --- Tuapeka Kahu, Lunar Tide, Bettor Offer and Im Terrific --- are last-start winners, while the other two, Jay Bees Grin and Condrieu each finished third at their most recent outing and have sound prospects. Libertybelle Midfrew runs a sizzling trial Star filly Libertybelle Midfrew looms large as the best bet on the ten-event program at Gloucester Park on Friday night after running a superb trial at Byford on Sunday morning. Libertybelle Midfrew, trained by Mike Reed and to be driven by his son Mark, has the class to overcome the disadvantage of starting from barrier seven, the outside of the front line in the 1730m Casey Australia Pace. She warmed up for the race in dashing style at Byford on Sunday morning when she raced wide early and then took up the running before careering away from her four rivals to win the 2150m trial by almost 19 lengths from Shezablaze, rating 1.57.1 after sprinting over the final 800m in 56sec. This performance showed that the filly was poised to make amends for her shock first-up defeat at 10/1 on when she raced without cover and finished third behind Harriet Elisabeth and Jungle Jewel over 2130m on August 1. That was her first appearance since scoring a runaway victory in the WA Oaks on May 9 to take her West Australian record to five starts for five wins. Making good appeal as a placegetter is the Andrew De Campo-trained Maddy White, who should be prominent throughout from the No. 2 barrier on the front line. The David Thompson-trained Harriet Elisabeth has won at seven of her 18 starts and is capable of a bold showing from barrier three on the back line. Where Dreams Grow, trained and driven by Justin Prentice, has won at each of her past three starts, two at Bunbury and then one at Gloucester Park, when she set the pace from barrier two. But she faces a stern test from the No. 6 barrier.  Ken Casellas  

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