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Tendon injuries have blighted the career of New Zealand-bred Eyre Crusher. But perseverance is paying dividends and the harness racing six-year-old looks set to complete a hat-trick of wins since resuming after an absence of 23 months by proving the master of his ten rivals in the $23,000 Retravision Pace at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. Nursed back to fitness by premier trainer Gary Hall sen., Eyre Crusher has not been extended in winning at his first two outings after his lengthy lay-off. Gary Hall jun. will be in the sulky when Eyre Crusher starts from the No. 4 barrier on the front line in Thursday night’s 2130m event. The son of Ohoka Arizona won at each of his final three starts (in April 2015) before breaking down with a bowed tendon. A win this week will extend his winning sequence to six and improve his record to 17 starts for ten wins, five seconds and a third. The most recent time Eyre Crusher tasted defeat was when he finished a close second to Three Blind Mice in the WA Derby early in April 2015. Last week Eyre Crusher started from the back line and settled in sixth position before Hall jun. sent the gelding forward in the first circuit to race in the breeze. Eyre Crusher took the lead 500m from home and went on to win from the fast-finishing Sheer Rocknroll, with the final 800m taking 56.1sec. Leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond will be represented by polemarker Condrieu and Vanquished and both pacers should be prominent. Ryan Bell is likely to take full advantage of the No. 1 barrier by attempting to jump straight to the front and set the pace. Condrieu has a losing sequence of 12, but is getting close to notching his 19th victory. At his latest outing, three Fridays ago, he enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, before fighting on to be a close third behind Bettors Fire and Bronze Seeker over 2130m. The consistent, lightly-raced Vanquished has resumed after a spell in splendid form. He followed his solid first-up second to Franco Rayner over 2130m at Gloucester Park with an extremely close third behind Lisharry and Shardons Rocket over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. Vanquished was sixth at the bell and followed Lisharry’s three-wide run to finish powerfully. The Peter Anderson-trained Lisharry was fifth in the one-out, one-back position at the bell and he finished with typical zest to get up and snatch a last-stride victory by a head from Shardons Rocket, with a nose to Vanquished in third place. The final 800m was covered in 56.3sec. Lisharry (Michael Grantham) will start from the No. 2 barrier on Thursday night and he, Condrieu, Vanquished, Franco Rayner and Foxy Dame all have sound place prospects. Ken Casellas

It is not uncommon for children of harness racing trainers to try to follow in the footsteps of their parents. Around the industry throughout their life, they try to carve out a career in harness racing in their own right. One who is about to head down that path is Ben Hope. His parents Greg and Nina Hope are at the elite level of the industry in New Zealand and are having a stellar season through the performances of both Monbet and Mossdale Conner. Ben has been enthralled with harness racing from an early age. " I can remember riding in the cart with dad when I was really young." " From there I progressed to Kids Kartz where I had a bit of success with a couple of ponies called Pepper and Bonnie." "I had my first drive on a horse when I was eleven when I drove Jason Rulz which was a big thrill," Ben told Harnesslink this afternoon. Now aged sixteen, Ben has had a few drives at workouts to date for his parents . " So far I have had seven drives for three wins and a second so so far so good." "In the next eighteen months I plan to have plenty more drives at the workouts and to get better with the stopwatch with a view to becoming a junior driver when I turn eighteen." " At this stage I want to focus more on the driving side of the industry." "I have one more year at school and then I will go to work for mum and dad," Ben said. As you would expect, Ben rates his parents as the best trainers he has had contact with while Ricky May is the the top of the driving ranks in Ben's opinion. Ben has already dabbled in the ownership side of the industry, buying the Love You mare Unyielding Spirit for $5,000 " She has won a couple to date and over $20,000 in stakes and been placed in 2:00.1  " She hasn't got much longer on the track as she is in foal to Peak," Ben said. Of all the horses coming through the ranks at the Hopes barn, Ben has a lot of time for a two year old. " He is a two year old called Kingslayer who is a three quarter brother to the former outstanding two year old, Ohoka Arizona." " He may not race at two, but I know dad thinks a lot of him," Ben said. Ben is already quite well known to Trackside viewers as he frequently fronts the interviews for the Hope barn. " I was quite nervous the first time but now I have got use to it I really enjoy it." It is something I would like to do a bit more of in the future,"Ben said.  With his grounding in the industry and his level headed approach to things, Ben Hope is a name to post in your notebook for the future. Harnesslink Media  

Blair Orange finished at the All Stars stable in July after a decade associated with the best stable in the country- and he has plenty to show for it. He finished on a high breaking into the "100 club" for the first time, the latest in a string of records he has established over the years. "My target was 50 at the start of the season. I thought I was doing well when I got to 75 and then I thought, well I might as well go for the 100. I might not get a chance to get that close again" With help from the Mark Jones stable he achieved his target -well ahead of any previous season. The stimulus All Stars gave his young driving career speak for itself. He had of course helped make his own luck, making marked improvement to rein 37 winners in the 2002 season mostly for smaller trainers like Trevor Craddock, Mike Austin, Craig Buchan, Kevin Townley, Andrew Stuart, Brian Kerr, John Parsons, Michael House and Peter Cowan. It is significant that his 100th winner for this  season was for Austin and his last driving night under the All Stars banner features a drive for Buchan. But the chance to work with Mark Purdon was going to another level and Blair has always aspired to go to the next level. "Mark rang me out of the blue. I had never driven for him. We talked, he made me an offer and I accepted. " Ohoka Atom was his first winner for the stable but one of his biggest thrills came a month later when Waihemo Hanger won at the Cup meeting. "I had never driven a winner on Cup Day so that was special ." Ironically one of his earlier regular drives for Mike Austin, Ado's Invasion, was second handled by Mark Jones. Blair's career had started nearly seven years earlier when he was with Tim Butt and drove Whizza Nova to win at Reefton in 1996. He won 18 races in his first season for All Stars but by 2007 topped $1m in stakes won thanks chiefly to Ohoka Arizona, Fiery Falcon and Steve McQueen. In only one season since have his stakes won been less than seven figures. His best season for the stable in  terms of wins was 2012 when he won 46 for All Stars from a season driving  total of 81. However even in his final season with Mark and Natalie driving many of the A graders he won 39 races for the stable.  Altogether he has won $12.6m in stakes for owners over the years. His biggest month for All Stars was in March of 2009 when he drove 11 winners for the stable going close with 10 in the same month this season. So as he heads for his own training career -though with plenty of free lance driving still part of the package-what has he learned. Naturally the answer is "a lot". "Obviously the overall organisation is something you don't work with often. I have worked in other top stables such as Tim and Anthony's but there is always something different they do, something you can pick up on. The handling of the two year olds has been one of the great experiences for me. How they are brought along and managed and each one assessed for what they can handle as youngsters. Then how they are managed during their campaigns. There was a lot in that'' "But the overall routines and stable management was just as important. So much to learn and adapt when I go out on my own training. Mark is a master at planning a programme so the horses peak for the big days. Not many can do it like he and Natalie can'' " From a driving viewpoint the horses at All Stars give you confidence in what you are going. That is a hell of an advantage and it carries over to your other drives " If it was so good why leave ? "I would have been quite happy to stay to be honest if an offer like Ken's (Barron) had not come along. But I was going to have to strike out a bit more on my own sooner or later and this was a deal I thought too good to let pass. It could open the way for me to have my own training operation which is the long term aim. In the meantime I will still be doing a lot of free lance driving and some of that for Mark Jones who has been such a boost to me this season." Blair is aware there are plenty with doubts he is doing the right thing but that is of no concern to him. "While I was mulling over the offer I had a few doubts myself but once I made the decision I was confident it was the right one and what anybody else thinks is not important to me.  It would be fair to say Blair Orange came to All Stars still an apprentice and left as graduate with honours on the driving track. So what were his five most memorable experiences at the stable ? In no particular order: LENNON "I won a lot of races with Lennon in my first season with Mark and races like the Kindergarten, Welcome, Sapling and the Sires Stakes. He was a class horse and he gave me a lot of confidence that I could measure up in the big stuff" WAIHEMO HANGER  "He have me my first winner at the Cup meeting and that was a huge thrill for me at the time. You don't forget things like that" AUCKLAND REACTOR- "I won the Taylor Mile behind him. He was just a terrific horse. He had that something extra you never forget " ADORE ME -"Winning the Easter Cup gave a thrill like Auckland Reactor had. A special horse to drive" HIGHVIEW TOMMY " He might have only run second in the Cup but second in the Cup was a big thing for me. It is the race everyone wants to win and we went close. He gave me a lot of other big moments too and Tommy could be full of surprises so you never knew quite what was going to happen" (Blair set some sort of record with Highview Tommy too driving him to win in five successive seasons. Maybe not even Mark has done that with one of the team in Blair's era). Courtesy Of All Stars Racing

You have to go back to the 1980s to find when the "Midfrew" tag first surfaced in the harness racing scene in New Zealand. The result of a breeding partnership between the late Bevan Smith and his wife it had some success but nothing really outstanding. With the mares passing to his daughter Rebecca on his death, she along with her husband, John Mooney have refined and improved the breed that Bevan left them to the point where it is one of New Zealand's hottest commercial families. But it has been anything but plain sailing for the Mooneys to get where they are today. Never one to do anything by half, the Mooney’s threw themselves into the harness racing breeding business with a passion but quickly came to realise what an unforgiving industry it can be. Having put a few through the sales with little success, they decided to invest in a couple of "blue blood" mares from the Sakuntala and Regent Guest families with a view to having more success at the sales. While this change was being implemented, one of the horses they had bred from the foundation mare Lu Baker that Bevan had left them was starting to show real promise on the track. Named Lucinda Midfrew, she was a typical Live or Die, possessing both speed and real grit in her races. By the time she was retired to stud she had won eight races and been placed nine times for $52,599 in stakes. Her best win was undoubtedly at Cambridge over 1700 meters where she came from last early to win in style in a 1;56.9 mile rate. At this point the Mooneys decided to concentrate their efforts on the breed that Bevan had left them and the "blue bloods" they had acquired were quickly passed on. Determined to give Lucinda Midfrew every opportunity to prove her worth at stud, they chose Mach Three as her first consort. The resultant foal was the Mach Three filly, Lucasta Midfrew who won twice in a brief career before she was leased by the late Dave Carville to go to his stallion, Ohoka Arizona who was standing his first season at stud. The resultant colt foal was named Eyre Crusher who as a late two year old last season was a very impressive winner at just his second life time start. He was subsequently sold for $100,000 to clients of leading Western Australian trainer, Gary Hall. Lining up for Hall this season as a three year old, he has had three wins and six placings from nine starts including an unlucky second in the West Australian Derby for $75,512 in stakes to date. The next foal from Lucasta Midfrew is a colt by Gotta Go Cullen whom the Mooneys will be offering at next year’s sales and she is back in foal to Christian Cullen.   The second foal from Lucinda Midfrew was the smart Christian Cullen filly in Lulabelle Midfrew who won five races and over $46,000 in stakes. Her first foal at stud was the American Ideal filly, Louisiana Belle who was passed in at this years yearling sale for $26,000. A real looker, she really impressed Neil Hamilton who broke her in and trainer Nigel McGrath was also impressed. The second foal, a colt by Rock N Roll Heaven is also bound for next years sale while the mare is safely back in foal to Bettors Delight. The third foal from Lucinda Midfrew was the Art Major colt in Castellano who unfortunately died while being prepared for the 2008 Ready To Run sale.   The fourth foal from Lucinda Midfrew was the Bettors Delight filly in Lulli Midfrew who has won six races and over $35,000 to date with a winning time of 1:56.8 to her credit.   The fifth foal from Lucinda Midfrew is this years sensational three year olf filly in Libertybelle Midfrew. This daughter of Christian Cullen was a smart two year old winning the $104,500 Caduceus Club Classic from Te Amo Bromac and Venus Serena and she has continued to shine as a three year old. Her run at Ashburton  in the mile against Venus Serena where after being wide early and parked for the remainder of the race yet still stuck on for a close third in 1:52.5 stamped her as a filly of real class. Sold for a hefty six figure sum after that race to clients of West Australian trainer, Mike Reed, she has had five starts for five wins in Western Australia including a stunning win in the West Australian Oaks for stakes of $130,215.   The only regret that the Mooneys have is that Libertybelle Midfrew is not eligible for the Breeders Crown. For some reason even they can't explain, the dam was not nominated that year. It is the only time ever that a mare they have bred has not been nominated for the Breeders Crown. However Sydneysiders may still get to see Libertybelle Midfrew as the long term goal is next seasons Ladyship Stakes.   The sixth foal is another daughter of Christian Cullen  in Lolapaloosa Midfrew who qualified at two recently for Nigel McGrath. Spelled after qualifying, she is expected to quickly make her mark next year at three.    The seventh foal from Lucinda Midfrew is the Rock N Roll Heaven colt in Lipstickonyourcollar who was sold at this years yearling sales to the Strides of Sydney for $95,000. Placed with Tony Herlihy, he has pleased his connections with his progress to date.   The eight foal from Lucinda Midfrew is a colt by Rock N Roll Hanover who is bound for next years sales while Lucinda Midfrew is safely back in foal to Christian Cullen.   It has been a bit of a roller coaster ride for the Mooneys over the years but they must draw a lot of satisfaction from the results they have achieved in the last few years and they can look to the future with enormous confidence with a breed that  just seems to get better by the day.   Harnesslink media

PROMINENT Tasmanian harness racing owners Jamie Cockshutt and Barry Cooper have never been shy about spending a decent amount on horseflesh from New Zealand and it looks as if another of their purchases will at least pay his way. Something Eyre (Ohoka Arizona-Glentara) faced the breeze for most of the race in Hobart last Sunday night but made light of the task to go on and score a comfortable win in a 3C0-3C1 over 2090 metres. Lade Elaine made full use of the pole position to lead and with Gareth Rattray aboard she set a solid tempo in front while Ricky Duggan allowed Something Eyre to sit three-wide early as he gradually made his way to the spot outside of the leader. Duggan didn't allow his charge to eyeball the leader until he wanted to apply the pressure about 500 metres from home. By doing this he ensured the favourite Soho Wonder, that trailed the leader, was kept in a zip-fastener pocket until well into the home straight. It proved to be the winning move. Something Eyre forged clear 200 metres out and he had a big enough break to stave off Soho Wonder that flashed home late to go down by only a half-neck with the leader Lady Elaine clinging to third spot three metres away. It was Something Eyre's second win from only four starts in Tasmania but it was clearly his best effort. Duggan was impressed with the performance and believes the gelded son of Ohoka Arizona has a bright future. Listen to what driver Ricky Duggan had to say about Something Eyre's latest performance. By Peter Staples

In our prominent harness racing stallion series we have reviewed American Ideal,  Art Major and Bettors Delight so far and today we have produced an in depth review for Christian Cullen Enjoy the read. BREEDING - By the son of Direct Scooter in "In The Pocket". As a stallion In The Pocket has been nothing short of sensational in New Zealand and is responsible for changing the breed in Australia and New Zealand. – becoming NZ’s Champion Sire in both 1998/99 and 2003/04 as well as being the Leading 2YO Sire five times and twice 3YO Sire of the Year. He is the sire of 3 NZ based millionaires and multiple Harness Horses of the Year. His best performers to date include: Changeover p, 1:54.3 $2,426,765 29 wins – G1 NZ Cup, G1 Len Smith Mile,G1 Taylor Mile, G1 NZ Derby, G1 Northern Derby, G1 3YO ABC Final etc…NZ 3YO Colt Pacer of the Year, NZ 5YO & Older Pacer of the Year. Now at stud, Courage Under Fire p, 1:54.2 $1,485,629 41 wins. UNBEATEN in his FIRST 24 starts. Winner of a World Record 6 Derbies. G1 2YO Sires’ Stks Final, G1 3YO Sires’ Stks Final, G1 NZ Derby, G1 GN Derby, G1 AUS Derby, G1 VIC Derby,G1 QLD Derby, G1 NSW Derby, G1 AUS Pacing championship, G1 QLD Pacing Chsp, G1 SA Cup. NZ 2YO Pacer of the Year, NZ & AUS 3YO Pacer of the Year, NZ 4YO Pacer of the Year. Now successful sire.  And of course Christian Cullen who we will detail more below. Christian Cullen is from a very wayward daughter of Bo Scot Blue Chip in Pleasant Franco. What is really notable about the dams pedigree is that it is so dual gaited with the grand dam of Christian Cullen, a half sister to the great Australian trotter in True Roman  (46 wins) RACE RECORD - Plagued by issues most of his racing career, Christian Cullen was a star from the time he stepped on the track. He was such a great looking colt and with ability to match his looks he quickly became a crowd favorite. While he won four from five at two and five from ten at three, it is his four year old career that he is most remembered for. Twelve from twelve says it all with the two highlights being his outstanding win in the NZ Cup and his demolition of a star studded field by 20 meters in the Miracle Mile. All up he faced the starter just 31 times for 22 Wins and 4 placings for $1,249,150 in stakes. AMERICAN STUD RECORD - Stood one season in North America but as was predicted when it was announced he was very poorly patronized with that single crop numbering just 26 live foals which were three year olds in the season just finished. Of that 26 foals 17 have been winners with the best of them being the smart pair Handsoffmycupcake 1:52.1f ($369,325) and Good Day Mate 1:49.3f ($321,483)  and has an average earnings per starter of $55,000.  He also has sixty-five horses who have raced in North America but were bred in NZ. Of those, 63 have won including the top mare Royal Cee Cee 1:49.3f  ($996,432), King Kat Anvil 1:52.4h ($918,191), Mighty Cullen 1:50.2 ($574,945), Classic Cullen 1:50.4 ($451,660), All Tiger 1:49.1s ($401,238), Lightning Raider 1:52.4 ($403,559) to name just a few.  Eligible to race - 91 Winners - 80 Sub 1:50 - 5 Average earnings per starter - $187,328 Total earnings to date - $16,297,512 AUSTRALIAN STUD RECORD.- Has a great record in Australia especially with his fillies. Off the ten highest stake earners bred by Christian Cullen in Australia, seven are fillies. He has produced fillies of the class of Make Mine Cullen 1:53 ($874,178), Keppel Bay 1:58.3 ($416,151), Staccato 1:58.2 ($393,216), Nowuseeme 1:57.2 ($287,234), The Archduchess 1:55.2 ($281,319) and Triliner 1:56.2 ($280,196) while his colts are headed by the likes of Catchmecullen 1:51 ($349,552), Secretagent Cullen 1:51.4 ($334,961) and Jukebox Music 1:53.6 ($261,321). Of his twenty six $100,000 winners in Australia, fifteen are fillies or mares. Foals 3yr old and older - 324 Winners - 158 % of winners to foals born 3yr old and older - 48% $100,000 plus - 26 $1,000,000 plus - 0 Average earnings per starter - $48,245 Average earnings per eligible horse - $31,269 Total earnings to date - $10,131,440 NEW ZEALAND STUD RECORD. - Hard to do justice to it really. Like his father In The Pocket he has helped to changed the breed in NZ. Even though he stood at a fee of $25,000 for some of his career he has still covered large books in NZ due to the sustained success his stock have enjoyed on the track. He has produced so many champion fillies and colts that he truly is a world class sire. His oldest crop are 13yr olds and he had just 46 foals born that year for 25 winners including the following; Born Again Christian 1:51.2 ($133,130), Likmesiah ($427,965), Roman Gladiator ($318,022), V For ($208,777), Chris Riley ($306,732) Conte De Christo ($246,703) Dudinka's Star ($106,580) and C C Mee ($101,949). His 12 yr old crop produced 103 foals for 58 winners including the outstanding group headed by Mainland Banner ($684,579), King Cat Anvil ($918,191), Molly Darling ($575,150), Mighty Cullen ($574,945), Classic Cullen ($451,660), Whambam ($407,299), Kamwood Cully ($159,838), Dudinka's Cullen ($316,386), Chesterton ($136,376) River Waltz ($303,837), Supreme Edition ($386,829), Spiritual King ($204,624), Conte Cenovalli ($204,486) and Cullens Reign ($170,806). There is that many good horses that from here on I only want to mention the names. His 11yr old crop left 34 winners from 59 foals born and still left the very fast Pay Me A Christian ($354,770), Cruzee Lass ($99,544), Cyclone Cully ($399,635), The Midnight Owl ($283,630) and Wilson Jay ($147,267). His 10yr old crop of 136 foals produced 72 winners headed by Gotta Go Cullen ($1,173,343), Fergiemack ($230,653), Spicey ($162,014), Charles Bronson ($127,255), Cullens Blue Jean ($289,056), Chausettes Blanche ($329,250), Jimmy Cowan ($210,631), Aloha Christian ($212,358), CC's Lover ($241,306) and Christian Skipper ($189,176). His 9yr old crop  produced 241 foals for 138 winners headed by Kiwi Ingenuity ($491,821), Lizzie Maguire ($421,479), Ohoka Arizona ($273,498), Absolute Magic ($178,981), Benny Mac ($196,936), All Tiger ($401,238), Tact Lizzie ($128,988), Rakarebel ($309,876) and Roman Conqueror ($355,078). His 8yr old crop total was 204 foals with 109 winners headed by Stunin Cullen ($1,015,257), Lauraella ($649,946), Lightning Raider ($403,559), Rona Lorraine ($133,268), Cullens Crown ($320,215), Carolines Cullen ($333,518) and Mercurio ($223,603). His 7yr old crop produced 145 foals for 86 winners headed by Franco Emirate ($326,830), Royal Cee Cee ($996,432), Meridith Maguire ($226,167), Gotta Go Harmony ($205,909), Harrison Maguire ($103,634) and Supremacy ($107,910). His 6yr old crop of 154 foals has left 90 winners including Easy On The Eye ($315,650), Statesman ($306,632), Hands Christian ($263,930), The Muskeg Express ($111,331), Ohoka Texas ($174,342), Mr Hasani ($270,063), Jarcullembra ($207,410) and Empyrean ($121,302) Miss Moonlite ($184,000) and Rupeeno Cullen ($123,415). His 5yr old crop of 154 foals has produced 73 winners including the brilliant Christen Me ($767,324), Western Cullen ($441,159), O'Baby ($333,026), Chancellor Cullen ($363,752), Field Officer ($183,017) and Raging Bull ($115,581). The 4yr old group has 142 foals for 60 winners and already include Alta Christiano ($241,614), Classiesistar ($197,094), Delightful Christian ($327,321), Franco Nelson ($232,880) and his 3yr old crop of 124 foals he has left the promising Locharburn ($107,908), Libertybelle Midfrew ($100,656) and Allblack Stride ($146,466) to date. Several of his sons are being given an opportunity at stud including Stunin Cullen, Gotta Go Cullen and Gotta Go Collect.  Foals 3yr old and older - 1,431 Winners - 758 % of winners to foals born 3yr old and older - 52% $100,000 plus - 64 $1,000,000 plus - 2 Average earnings per starter - $29,515 Average earnings per eligible horse - $20,625 Total earnings to date - $29,515,298 His broodmares are already firing with his mares already having left the winners of over the  $3,000,000 mark with Highview Tommy and Ohoka Punter their two best performers to date. POSITIVES - He has that ability to leave that exceptional individual year in and year out.Colt or Filly that can dominate as two and three year olds and still go on to race on the Grand Circuit as older horses. Has not only shown that he can compete with the best American stallions available but in most cases has outperformed them and over a long period of time. NEGATIVES -  His major one for most breeders has been his stud fee but at the end of the day that hasn't stopped them breeding to him in large numbers year after year. Otherwise he is just a great stallion with no major issues. OVERVIEW - A "Local" sire who has not only competed with the best North American Stallions but he has consistently outperformed them. His numbers for a stallion based in NZ are truly staggering. World-wide he has left over 1150 winners who have won over $55,000,000 in stakes. He has given the breeding industry in New Zealand the belief in its own product and set the bar for all that follow. OVERALL RATING 9.5 JC A Sire review - American Ideal A Sire review - Art Major A Stallion review - Bettors Delight Harnesslink has had such positive feedback on our "forgotten sires series" that we are running a series of reviews on our more prominent harness racing sires. As they say in racing you can criticize some ones car, house or wife but never their horse, and that still rings true. As a disclaimer to our next chapter of analysis we look to provide educated opinion based on years of industry knowledge and the truest form of critique backed by statistical data. The above PREVIEWS are set to strip back any sugar coated publicity often associated with Stallion promotion and give you the cold hard facts as JC sees them.  (All statistical data was provided by TrackIt for North American stats and the official organizations of New Zealand and Australia)  And here is "The forgotten sires series" This is a series of stallion reviews that Harnesslink have already completed with a view to sheading some light on some of  the "forgotten"sires in Australasia. Elsu - Redemption awaits McArdle - The quiet achiever Santanna Blue Chip - On the up and up! Major In Art - Big and fast Mr Feelgood - Dual hemisphere champion Pay Me Christian - Blistering speed Monkey Bones - All class Tinted Cloud - Still going strong Real Desire - The real deal Washington VC - Continuing excellence Wetern Ideal - A superstar sire Bacardy Lindy - Blue blood Monarchy - Out of Sundons shadow Artiscape - Frozen semen blues? Dream Vacation - Frozen semen superstar Badlands Hanover - Great value Lis Mara - The quiet achiever Brylin Boyz - Potential fulfilled  

IMA ROCKET STAR ON TARGET FOR RICH CARNIVAL EVENTS Eight-year-old Ima Rocket Star has fully recovered from debilitating leg injuries and is firmly on track to contest rich feature events at the coming summer carnival, including the WA Pacing Cup and Fremantle Cup. Driven assertively by Colin Brown, Ima Rocket Star, a heavily-supported 5/4 on favourite, gave a typical powerhouse performance to win the 2536m Clipsal And Schneider Electric New Season Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night to record his eighth win from his past 14 starts. Ima Rocket Star is now repaying the faith and patience of trainers Greg and Skye Bond, who have persevered with the New Zealand-bred gelding, who was able to race only once in the space of 24 months, between January 2011 and January 2013. A winner at six of his 12 starts in New Zealand, Ima Rocket Star has been a star for the Bond camp, with his 40 WA starts producing 18 wins and ten placings. He also raced twice at Menangle in July 2010, finishing a half-length second to Make Mine Cullen in the Hondo Grattan Sprint and a length second to Villagem in the Chariots of Fire. Ima Rocket Star started out wide from the No. 6 barrier on the front line on Friday night and Brown sent him forward, three wide, as soon as the mobile sent the field on its way, with the polemarker Lord Lombo setting the early pace. Ima Rocket Star dashed to the front after 400m and he was joined soon afterwards by 13/2 chance Sneakyn Down Under. Ima Rocket Star sped over the first 400m section of the final mile in 28.9sec. before covering the final three quarters in 29.3sec., 28.9sec. and 29.6sec. He won by 1m from ten-year-old Rocket Reign (16/1), who finished powerfully from ninth at the bell at his first appearance for two months. Adda Paternal Suit ran home solidly from fifth at the bell to be third, with Sneakyn Down Under fading to last in the field of eleven. Franco Renegade came from last at the bell to be fourth. Ima Rocket Star now boasts the impressive record of 54 starts for 24 wins and 14 placings for earnings of $354,094. Ima Rocket Star, by Badlands Hanover, is the sixth foal out of Star Rhapsody, who won four times from 31 starts in New Zealand and whose younger half-sister Anvil’s Star amassed $470,115 from 17 wins and 33 placings from 116 starts. Anvil’s Star was successful at her first Australian start, beating Desperate Comment in the group 2 Bendigo Cup in February 1997 before finishing second to desperate Comment in the group 1 Victoria Cup and a nose second to Surprise Package in the A. G. Hunter Cup at his next two starts. Sneakyn Down Under’s trainer-driver Darren Duffy had his licence suspended for 18 days when the stewards completed an adjourned inquiry into an incident at the turn into the home straight in the first lap of a 2130m event the previous Friday night. Duffy was found guilty of causing interference to Adda Paternal Suit (Aiden De Campo). OHOKA SAMSON USETS PLUNGE ON OLD McDONALD A substantial plunge on Old McDonald failed narrowly when the seven-year-old set a fast pace and was overhauled in the final stride by Ohoka Samson in the 1730m Clipsal 56 Series Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Old McDonald, trained at Banjup by Colin Brown, was making his first appearance for six months and was a heavily supported favourite at evens, with last-start winner Ohoka Samson at the surprisingly good odds of 9/2. Brown used the junior concession of Robbie Williams to enable Old McDonald, an M3-class pacer, to contest the event which was restricted to M2-class performers. And trainer Kade Howson also used the claim of Dylan Egerton-Green to enable Ohoka Samson to run. Old McDonald drew the prized No. 1 barrier, with Ohoka Samson at No.2, prompting most pundits to declare the even a match between the two. Williams got Old McDonald straight to the lead, with Egerton-Green content to race Ohoka Samson in the breeze. Old McDonald sped over the third 400m section of the final mile in 28.3sec. and appeared set to win. But Ohoka Samson, having his sixth start after a spell, finished with great determination to snatch victory on the line, with a final quarter in 28.6sec. Banana Dana, who enjoyed the one-out, one-back trail, ran on gamely to be third. The eight-year-old Ohoka Samson rated 1.55.5 and improved his record in an injury-plagued career to 14 wins and eight placings from just 31 starts for prizemoney of $114,594. Ohoka Samson was trained and driven by Tony Herlihy in New Zealand for three wins and three placings from eight starts before arriving in Western Australia. His nine-year-old full-brother Ohoka Arizona raced 20 times for eight wins and four placings for earnings of $273,498. Ohoka Assassin, a younger full-brother of Ohoka Samson, looks set for a bright career. His first 14 starts have produced three wins and five placings. LEWIS LANDS A TREBLE AND SHARDONS ROCKET ENDS LOSING RUN OF 20 Durable nine-year-old Shardons Rocket, an M7-class pacer three months ago, made the most of the drop-down rule when he started from the back mark of 30m in the M0-class Clipsal Modena Handicap over 2503m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He went into the event with a losing sequence of 20 and was downgraded to an M5 classification. He had a vastly superior record to all of his 11 rivals and astute punters cashed in handsomely when he was sent out at the tempting odds of 11/2. His narrow victory completed a treble for star reinsman Chris Lewis, who had been successful earlier on the program with Arousing and Kiss Chasey. Frontmarkers Our Classie Mach and Gallileo began badly and 10m runners Braemoor, J Walker and Erris Lad met with interference while polemarker That is Correct set the pace. Shardons Rocket was ninth after a lap and Lewis dashed him forward to be fourth, three wide, at the bell before he got to the front 300m from home after a third quarter of 28.8sec. J Walker was 11th at the bell and he sustained a spirited three-wide burst to join Shardons Rocket on the line. Shardons Rocket gained the verdict by a nose and rated 1.59.5. Shardons Rocket, trained at Byford by Tony Svilicich, boasts a wonderful record of 114 starts for 22 wins and 38 placings for stakes of $250,237. He won once from seven starts as a three-year-old in New Zealand and has won ten times in Victoria, twice in Tasmania and nine times in Western Australia. He was successful at his WA debut, at Narrogin in May 2011 and then had a losing sequence of 26 before scoring at Bunbury in December 2012. And then he won at six of his next 12 starts at Gloucester Park. His granddam Shardon Lass produced Shardons Aflyin, who earned $500,651 from 21 wins and 16 placings from 61 starts. Shardons Aflyin won at 11 of his first 12 starts in WA for trainer-reinsman Grant Williams. In March 2007 he won the Fremantle Cup and Australian pacing Championship and was second to Vanlo Yorker in the WA Pacing Cup in January 2008. EMPIRE FLAME GIVES HOWLETT A QUICK RETURN East Fremantle key defender Tom Howlett has a good eye for a horse. He certainly made a wise decision to outlay $10,000 to claim New Zealand-bred gelding Empire Flame on August 9. The eight-year-old, a 16/1 chance driven perfectly by Bunbury reinsman Ashleigh Markham, scored an impressive victory in the 1730m Clipsal Datacomms Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night at his second start for his new owner. This followed Empire Flame’s strong-finishing third to Bettors Fire at Gloucester Park three days earlier. These two efforts by Empire Flame have netted $12,110 in prizemoney. The gelding is now trained at Busselton by Howlett’s father Jamie. Empire Flame started from barrier two on the back line and Markham quickly had him in the one-out, one-back position, with Lucie Boshier (3/1) setting the pace from Black Pontiac (10/1), Wrongly Accused out on a limb, three wide, and Jambo Emaili on the pegs behind the leader. Benjamin Banneker, the 7/4 favourite, was eighth at the bell before unwinding a spirited burst to finish second, just over a length behind Empire Flame, who took the lead 80m from the post. Black Pontiac fought ion grimly to be third, a head behind Benjamin Banneker, with Lucie Boshier a wilting fourth. Empire Flame, who ended a losing sequence of 14, has raced 70 times for 16 wins, 15 placings and $119,030 in stakes. AROUSING TURNS THE CORNER WITH FOURTH WIN IN 32 DAYS One month ago Arousing had a losing sequence of 20 and had managed just three wins, at Narrogin, Kalgoorlie and Pinjarra, from 51 starts. Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri has rejuvenated the six-year-old mare who notched her fourth win in the space of 32 days when she finished boldly to beat the pacemaker and 6/4 favourite Beautiful Night by a half-length in the 1730m Clipsal Led Lighting Pace. Arousing, third favourite at 4/1, had warmed up for Friday night’s event by contesting a 2130m race on the same track three days earlier when she worked hard in the breeze, got to the front in the home straight and was overhauled in the final stride and beaten by a nose by Kinsfolk. On Friday night Arousing started from the inside of the back line and Chris Lewis was happy to have her trailing the pacemaking Beautiful Night before she got into the clear when the breeze horse Big And Smooth began to drop back leaving the back straight. Arousing sprinted fast to get to the lead in the final 20m. Chloe Vargarita, second fancy at 7/2, enjoyed the perfect trail, one-out and one-back, and Gary Hall jun. switched her three wide 520m from home. She got on terms with Beautiful Night 200m later and the pair settled down to a head-and-head struggle in the home straight before she broke into a gallop in the final 20m and dropped back to finish a close third. Arousing now has raced 57 times for seven wins, 17 placings and $59,943 in prizemoney. By American stallion Western Terror, Arousing is out of the Christian Cullen mare Roustabout, who had 12 starts for four wins. Roustabout won at Pinjarra at her West Australian debut in March 2006 before winning the group 3 Empress Stakes at her next appearance, beating Precious Maiden and Sovereign Beejay. Roustabout is a half-sister to highly-promising three-year-old Pelusiac and her granddam Impressionable is a daughter of Impressionable, whose dam Tilla produced former star Victorian pacer Impressionist, who won the group 1 Golden Nugget at Gloucester Park from Whitbys Miss Penny at Gloucester Park in January 1992. Impressionist retired with a record of 56 starts for 23 wins, 12 placings and stakes of $427,005. CUP OF LIFE SETS THE PATTERN FROM THE No. 1 BARRIER The considerable advantage of the No. 1 barrier on the front line in mobile events at Gloucester Park was further illustrated at Gloucester Park when Chris Brew drove 9/2 chance Cup of Life to a smart all-the-way victory in the opening event, the 2130m Clipsal Powerhouse Pace. And this set the pattern for the night, with three more No. 1 horses (Kiss Chasey, Franco Torres and Millies Girl) winning and three others (Beautiful Night, Domino Bromac and Old McDonald) finishing second. Myouri (6/1) was smartest into stride from barrier two, but was unable to cross Cup of Life, who coasted through the first 400m section of the final mile in 31.6sec. before increasing the tempo with quarters of 28.7sec., 29.4sec. and 30.1sec. to win by 4m from 10/1 chance Turnpike Cruiser, who followed the leader all the way. High Five Mozza (50/1) caught the eye when he charged home , five wide, from last at the bell to be third, ahead of the 5/2 favourite Imtheguy. Lord Diego, second fancy at 4/1, faded to sixth after racing in the breeze over the final 1000m. Cup of Life won twice in New Zealand and he arrived in Western Australia with a losing sequence of 19. He now has had 16 starts for Brew for three wins and six placings to take his career record to 43 starts for five wins, ten placings and $39,878. IT’S NO TROUBLE FOR NOTED FRONTRUNNER REAL HAMMER Champion trainer Gary Hall sen. freely admits that former Victorian performer Real Hammer is a one-dimensional pacer who excels when leading and struggles when he races back in the field. The speedy five-year-old again relished the pacemaking role when he started favourite at 5/1 on, began speedily from the No. 3 barrier and bowled along in front before scoring an effortless victory from Donovan Bromac in the first heat of the 2130m Clipsal Saturn The Warwick Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Real Hammer now has won ten races from 36 starts, when he has set the pace in eight of those victories. There was no pressure applied to Real Hammer in the early stages of Friday night’s event and he strolled through the first 400m section of the final mile in 31.5sec. before dashing over the next three quarters in 30.2sec., 29.1sec. and 27.4sec. He rated 1.57.8 and beat 38/1 outsider Donovan Bromac by just over two lengths. Donovan Bromac started from the pole and trailed the leader throughout, while the third placegetter My Jasami ran on well after racing three back on the pegs. Real Hammer, a winner of eight races in Victoria, has won at two of his seven WA starts for a career record of ten wins and 11 placings from 36 starts for stakes of $75,563. KISS CHASEY MAINTAINS HIS CONSISTENT FORM Six-year-old Kiss Chasey, whose ancestry traces back to South Australian-bred pacers Main Morris and Forward Step, stars of the 1970s, maintained his consistent form when he gave a good frontrunning exhibition to win the 2130m Clipsal Energy Efficiency Westbred Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Trained at Oakford by Ross Olivieri for owner Debra Lewis and driven confidently by her husband Chris, Kiss Chasey, favourite at 5/4, made the most of the No. 1 barrier and he fought on gamely to defeat Soho Aintree by a half-length, with El Machine finishing strongly from the rear to be a close third. Kiss Chasey sprinted over the final 400m in 28.4sec. and rated 1.57.6. Kiss Chasey now has earned $58,249 from eight wins and seven placings from 26 starts. His past ten starts have produced four wins, four seconds, one third and a fifth placing. Kiss Chasey, by Yankee Sensation, is out of Hello Boys, who raced 55 times for 12 wins, 17 placings and $89,541. Hello Boys is out of Boom Or Bust, a winner at eight of her 36 starts and the dam of former star mare Party Date, who had 111 starts for 25 wins, 27 placings and $256,003. FRANCO TORRES HAS THE PEDFIGREE TO BE A GOOD WINNER New Zealand-bred six-year-old Franco Torres, whose dam There’s A Franco won two group 1 events in New Zealand, went into Friday night’s CMS Cup Pace at Gloucester Park boasting unplaced efforts at his previous eight starts and a losing sequence of 11. But punters rallied to support him solidly to start a hot favourite at 10/9 from the prized No. 1 barrier. The Debbie Padberg-trained gelding did not let his supporters down, with Shannon Suvaljko making the most of the ideal barrier by driving him to an effortless all-the-way victory. Franco Torres sprinted over the final 400m in 28.4sec. and beat Will of Iron (who trailed him throughout) by three lengths. Chaldea, who raced in the one-out, one-back position, battled on into third place. The winner rated 1.57.8 and improved his record to 51 starts for nine wins and 14 placings for earnings of $59,639. There’s A Franco was a quality performer in New Zealand where she won at her first three starts, including a group 2 event for three-year-old fillies at Alexandra Park in December 1995. Later that season she won a group 1 classic for fillies at Addington and won another group 1 event at Canterbury two years after that as well as finishing fourth behind Christian Cullen, Iraklis and Franco Enforce in the $350,000 group 1 New Zealand Cup at Addington. She was retired after her 45 starts produced 13 wins, 13 placings and prizemoney of $217,588. There’s A Franco’s full-sister This Time Franco was successful in group 1 and group 2 events before being retired with earnings of $249,151 from ten wins and 11 placings from 36 starts. MILLIES GIRL RETURNS TO FORM WITH AN ALL-THE-WAY VICTORY Even though Millies Girl had failed to be placed at her seven previous starts, she was a well-supported favourite at 13/4 for the 1730m Clipsal C-Bus Mares Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night --- and she did not let her supporters down, scoring an easy all-the-way win. Trained at Pinjarra by David Young for owner Peter King, the seven-year-old was handled confidently by the trainer’s elder brother Shane, who jumped the mare straight to the lead from the No. 1 barrier. Millies Girl set a solid pace and sprinted over the final 400m in 28.6sec. to beat 9/2 second favourite Terra Into The West by 5m at a 1.57 rate. My Lady of the Night (13/2) trailed the pacemaker and finished a sound third. Millies Girl improved her record to 46 starts for six wins, six placings and $32,965. David Young kept up the work when he was successful with Trustytrev in the Perkins Builders Pace at Bunbury’s Donaldson Park on Saturday night. Trustytrev, favourite at 5/4 on, was driven by Shane Butcher. He set the pace from the No. 1 barrier and won from the fast-finishing Captain Proud. by Ken Casellas  

Advancing years have not dimmed the brilliance of rising 11-year-old Sneakyn Down Under, who gave a typical powerful frontrunning performance to crush his rivals in the $35,000 Howard Porter Memorial at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Driven with supreme confidence by part-owner and trainer Darren Duffy, Sneakyn Down Under earned a reprieve from a proposed retirement when he stormed to victory by just over a length from Franco Renegade, rating 1.56.8 over the 2130m journey. This ended a losing sequence of ten and boosted Sneakyn Down Under’s earnings to $421,364 from 25 wins and 16 placings from 82 starts. It was the gelding’s first success for eight months and his impressive return to form prompted Duffy to reconsider his retirement plans for the big, rangy New Zealand-bred gelding. It was an historic victory, with Sneakyn Down Under maintaining his dominance in the Porter Memorial, a race he won in 2009 and 2012. No other pacer has won the group 3 event more than once since Pure Steel won the inaugural Porter Memorial in 1978. Sneakyn Down Under, favourite at 2/1, began with his usual brilliance from barrier four and dashed past Shardons Rocket to take up the running after 120m. After covering the first 400m section of the final mile in 30.6sec., Sneakyn Down Under gave the opposition little chance of overhauling him as he sped over the final three quarters in 28.8sec., 28.3sec. and 28sec. Franco Renegade (13/4) raced three back on the pegs before finishing strongly to deprive Shardons Rocket of second place. Has The Answers raced four back on the pegs and ran home gamely to be fourth. Sneakyn Down Under raced 11 times in New Zealand for two wins over 2700m as a three-year-old at Forbury before arriving in Western Australia. By American stallion Badlands Hanover, he is out of Sneaky Peak, the dam of Countess Kala, winner of the Golden Nugget at Gloucester Park in December 1999. OHOKA ASSASSIN BOOSTS STABLE’S HOPES IN THE GOLDEN NUGGET Lightly-raced New Zealand-bred three-year-old Ohoka Assassin emerged as an excellent second string runner for the powerful Greg and Skye Bond stable in the rich Golden Nugget Classic late this year when he gave a bold frontrunning display to win the 2536m Premier Suzuki Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Bonds have high hopes with Condrieu in the Golden Nugget, and Ohoka Assassin, fit now after being laid low by a leg problem earlier this year. “Ohoka Assassin has had a few little hiccups along the way and he damaged a hock soon after arriving in WA,” said Greg Bond. “We haven’t probably seen the best of him yet and I’m hoping that he will measure up for the Nugget. He’s got more than his share of ability.” Ohoka Assassin, favourite at 5/2 from the No. 1 barrier on the front line, was sent straight to the front by Ryan Warwick and he relished his pacemaking role. He sprinted over the final 800m in 56.9sec. and won by 1m from 4/1 third fancy Another Vinnie, who finished strongly from tenth in the middle stages and sixth at the bell. Conniving Major Dave impressed at his Gloucester park debut in finishing boldly from eighth at the bell to be third, with Slick Chapel, second favourite at 11/4, a fighting fourth after working hard, three wide and then in the breeze. Rocky Marciano also lost few admirers when he sustained a strong finishing burst from the rear to finish fifth. Ohoka Assassin won once from seven New Zealand starts and his two wins from seven WA appearances have taken his record to 14 starts for three wins, five placings and $30,575. His win came three nights after his four-year-old full-brother Ohoka Colorado was successful at Menangle to improve his record to nine wins, 13 placings and $74,725 from 42 starts. Ohoka Assassin’s dam, the Falcon Seelster mare Millwood Krystal has also produced Ohoka Arizona (20 starts for eight wins, four placings and $273,498), Ohoka Samson (29 starts for 12 wins, eight placings and $91,164), Ohoka Detroit (28 starts for four wins, six placings and $14,845) and Millwood Manhattan (19 starts for three wins, three placings and $40,364). Ohoka Arizona was an outstanding juvenile in New Zealand in 2007 when he finished well ahead of Im Themightyquinn in several races. His wins included a group 1 classic at Addington, two group 3 events and a win in the $200,000 Emerald for colts and geldings. He also finished a close second in the group 1 Sires Stakes at Addington. UNSOCIABLE MIGHTY FLYING THOMAS BECOMES A GENTLEMAN Mighty Flying Thomas is an unsociable gelding, generally unfriendly and ill-tempered and with a mind of his own. But he is a favourite at the Bickley stables of Peter Anderson because of his fierce determination, his tenacity and tremendous will-to-win. He was at his cantankerous worst when Anderson took him to Narrogin for his Western Australian debut in July of last year. He simply refused to score up at two attempts and was withdrawn by the stewards. Not amused at this punishment, Mighty Flying Thomas then dug his toes in and required a great deal of persuasion from reinsman Morgan Woodley to eventually leave the track and return to his stall in the birdcage. It was a long, wet and cold night for all concerned. However, Mighty Flying Thomas has responded to Anderson’s patient care and Woodley’s skill in the sulky to develop into an almost perfect gentleman on the track, invariably getting away swiftly and racing with tremendous zest. His speed, strength and wonderful fighting qualities have enabled him to become a shining light in his current campaign and he kept up his fine work with a notable triumph over 2/1 on favourite Pacific Warrior in the 2536m Nepean Conveyors Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Mighty Flying Thomas, second fancy at 11/2, began speedily from the No. 4 barrier and after racing four wide in the early stages Woodley deftly manoeuvred the gelding into the one-out, one-back position as Showdownatmidnight worked his way past the polemarker I Am legend to take up the running after 300m. Woodley then seized the initiative, vacating the prime one-out, one-back spot after 500m and dashing Mighty Flying Thomas forward, three wide, before bursting to the front 150m later. Woodley gave Mighty Flying Thomas a breather with a leisurely first 400m section of the final mile in 32.1sec. and then he increased the tempo, reeling off quarters in 28.9sec., 28.7sec. and 28.6sec. as he kept Pacific Warrior (in the breeze) at bay on the way to recording a splendid victory by just under a length, rating 1.58.7. To maintain such a high speed and cover the final 1200m in 1min. 26.sec. was an outstanding effort by the five-year-old Mighty Flying Thomas. That time certainly compares favourably with the final 1200m in 1min. 25.1sec. recorded by open-class star Sneakyn Down Under when he won the Howard Porter Memorial, over the shorter 2130m journey later in the program. Mighty Flying Thomas is undefeated at three attempts over 2536m at Gloucester Park. Not only is he a redoubtable stayer, but he is a very smart sprinter who is being set for the $10,000 Mount Eden Golden Mile over 1750m at Kalgoorlie on September 17. Mighty Flying Thomas has had 13 starts in WA for six wins and three placings and his career record stands at 12 wins and ten placings for stakes of $87,213 from just 40 starts. While he is performing strongly, so, too, is his six-year-old half-sister Flying Pocketlands, who took her record to 21 wins, 29 placings and $442,423 from 90 starts when she won the listed classic, the Alabar Breeders Crown Graduate Mares Free-For-All at Ballarat on Saturday of last week. IM ELSA ENDS LOSING RUN OF 20 AND GIVES ANDREWS A DOUBLE New Zealand-bred mare Im Elsa bounced back to her best form and ended a losing sequence of 20 when she scored an impressive all-the-way victory in the 1730m Gannon’s Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. She started favourite at 7/4 and her win over Sovereign Grange (11/1) and Bettor Whitby (15/1) completed a training double for Wes Andrews, who was successful earlier in the night with It And A Bit. Aiden de Campo got Im Elsa away speedily from barrier three and the six-year-old got past polemarker Siena Franco and into the lead after 200m. She set a solid pace and was never seriously threatened. She covered the final 800m in 58.3sec. and rated 1.57.1. This took Im Elsa’s record to nine wins and 19 placings for stakes of $112,632 from 63 starts. A winner of four races in New Zealand, she has raced 32 times in WA for five wins and seven placings. At her third start in WA she won the group 3 $35,000 WA Mares Mile from Artemis Belle at Gloucester Park in December 2011. By former star pacer Elsu, Im Elsa is out of Champagne Party, who won at 14 of her 40 starts and earned $152,445. Her wins included the group 2 Queen of the Pacific at Moonee Valley in June 2002. Champagne Party’s dam Bee Gee’s Dream produced star performers in Party Party (45 starts for 13 wins, 23 placings and $251,236) and Another Party (149 starts for 31 wins, 42 placings and $888,678). AIDEN de CAMPO BRINGS UP HIS CENTURY Outstanding young Capel reinsman Aiden de Campo notched a century of winners in a season for the first time when he drove The Black Lord to victory in the 2100m Happy 50th Johnny Ryan Pace at Bunbury on Saturday night. The Black Lord, trained by Chelsey Harding, was favourite at 6/4 and he surged home from sixth at the bell to win in fine style from Off The Chain. BLACK PONTIAC RELISHES HIS FRONTRUNNING ROLE Victorian-bred pacer Black Pontiac has struck a purple patch for Orange Grove trainer-reinsman Donald Harper and he notched his fifth win from his past 12 starts when he set the pace and held on grimly to defeat the fast-finishing Imtheguy by a head in the 1730m West Australian Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Harper made the most of the perfect No. 1 barrier and Black Pontiac set a fast pace, recording a slick rate of 1.55.3 after sprinting over the final 800m in 56.9sec. Black Pontiac was second favourite at 9/4 and he defied the pressure applied by 11/8 favourite Real Hammer, who got his head in front at the bell, but was unable to forge to a clear lead. Imtheguy(6/1) enjoyed a perfect run behind the pacemaker before issuing a spirited late challenge. Lewis Hamilton (33/1) raced three back on the pegs and finished strongly to be third. Real Hammer wilted to finish fourth after working without cover throughout. Black Pontiac, owned by Tara Sweet, had 11 starts in Victoria for five wins and three placings before arriving in WA where his 63 starts have produced ten wins and seven placings. By Grinfromeartoear, Black Pontiac is the second foal out of Short And Black, who had 47 starts for ten wins, 11 placings and stakes of $53,619. Short And Black’s first foal Falcons legend is still racing in Queensland where he has earned $63,860 from 14 wins and 24 placings from 118 starts. Short And Black is one of the nine winners out of Gaviston, a daughter of Gavigold, whose nine winners included No Damage (294 starts for 46 wins, 94 placings and $240,428) and Natures Fury (317 starts for 48 wins, 104 placings and $422,193). BULLDOZER CONTINUES ON HIS MERRY WAY Victorian-bred pacer Bulldozer, claimed for $9000 by Banjup trainer Annie Belton 13 months ago, is proving a wonderful bargain. The six-year-old maintained his sound form when he surged to the front after 300m, set a brisk pace and held on to score a narrow win in the 2130m Yes Loans Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. A warm favourite at 5/4, Bulldozer had to be driven right out by Chris Lewis to hold on and beat Ohoka Samson (11/1) by a nose after a photo-finish malfunction left the judges to make a decision in a desperately close finish. The judges were unanimous in their declaration that Bulldozer had hung on by the barest possible margin. Ohoka Samson started from the outside of the front line and Kade Howson restrained him back to last in the field of 11 before he dashed the gelding forward after 700m. Ohoka Samson moved outside the pacemaker at the 1100m mark and he sustained a spirited finishing effort to cross the line locked together with Bulldozer. Wrongly Accused (9/2) ran home solidly along the pegs to be a close third after trailing the pacemaker. Bulldozer, a Courage Under Fire gelding, was acquired by Belton after contesting a claimer at Warragul in August of last year and he now has raced 21 times for his new owner for five wins and five placings for stakes of $57,521. His career record now stands at 99 starts for 15 wins, 28 placings and $118,677. A half-brother to The Sentry, who earned $452,452 from 23 wins and 13 placings from 61 starts, Bulldozer looks set to continue to be a good moneyspinner. KOTARE ASH CHARGES HOME FROM A “HOPELESS” POSITION Kotare Ash, seemingly in a hopeless position when locked in on the pegs in sixth position 250m from home, was eased into the clear by Kaiden Hayter on the turn and sprinted brilliantly to get up and snatch a thrilling last-stride victory over Riverboat Ning in the 1730m Brear And Doonan Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Hayter, who was having his first drive behind the New Zealand-bred seven-year-old mare for Serpentine trainer Chris Brew, had her travelling well three back on the pegs all the way while polemarker and 5/4 on favourite Libra Belle was bowling along in front for Dean Miller. Riverboat Ning (8/1) trailed the pacemaker and when Peter Tilbrook eased her off the pegs 225m from home, Hayter was able to get off the pegs and follow Niverboat Ning, who looked certain to win when she swept to the front 70m from the post. But Kotare Ash sprouted wings to overhaul Riverboat Ning right on the line. Arch On Fire ran home gamely to be third, while Libra Belle wilted to fifth. Kotare Ash, a 17/1 tote chance, rated 1.57.3 and ended a losing sequence of 18 and improved her record to 42 starts for nine wins, nine placings and $85,047. Kotare Ash’s victory was the beginning of a great weekend for Hayter, who landed a double at Bunbury on Saturday night. He was successful with the Brian Clemens-trained Asbo (5/2) in the Sky Channel Pace and 30 minutes later he drove his own nomination Pacific Playboy (20/1) to a fast-finishing victory over Tate Gully Gold in the GWN7 Handicap over 2500m. KISS CHASEY ENDS A GOOD NIGHT FOR LEWIS Champion reinsman Chris Lewis completed a double at Gloucester Park on Friday night when 11/1 chance Kiss Chasey proved too strong for his 11 rivals in the final event, 2130m SEW-Eurodrive Westbred Pathway Pace. Kiss Chasey, a five-year-old by Yankee Sensation trained at Oakford by Ross Olivieri and owned by Lewis’s wife Debra, raced three wide early before charging to the front in the first circuit and then setting a solid pace, with Smooth Caesar working hard in the breeze. Moonlight Rockhole finished strongly from eighth at the bell to be second, a length behind the winner, with the 7/4 on favourite Sparkling Seelster a fast-finishing and unlucky third. Sparkling Seelster lacked dash from the No. 1 barrier, with Loaded Aussie beginning speedily from barrier five to take up the early running. Sparkling Seelster was hemmed in on the pegs in seventh position at the bell and did not obtain a clear passage until late in the race. Kiss Chasey has been a good performer for Olivieri, with the gelding’s 25 starts producing seven wins, seven placings and $52,969 in prizemoney. Lewis was successful earlier in the night with Bulldozer in the Yes Loans Pace. Kiss Chasey is out of former smart performer Hello Boys, who raced 55 times for 12 wins, 17 placings and $89,541. Hello Boys, a half-sister to former top-flight mare Party Date, is out of Boom Or Bust, a winner at eight of her 36 starts. Party Date earned $256,003 from 25 wins and 27 placings from 111 starts. Her victories included the 2004 Ladyship Cup at Moonee Valley and the 2005 Easter Cup at Gloucester Park. IT AND A BIT GETS THE JOB DONE IN FINE STYLE Victorian-bred pacer It And A Bit, related to 1990 WA Derby winner Pappy McCoy, showed that he should win more races for Brookdale trainer Wes Andrews when Ben Keiley drove him to a convincing all-the-way victory in the 2130m Del Basso Smallgoods Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. A heavily-supported 9/4 favourite, It And A Bit was smartest to begin from the No. 1 barrier and he won by one and a half lengths from Cup of Life (who trailed him throughout), with 40/1 chance Veitchy running into third place after racing three back on the pegs. Franco Hendrix, who raced four back on the pegs, rattled home along the inside from ninth at the 300m to be fourth. It And A Bit dashed over the final 400m in 28.6sec. and rated 1.57.7. It And A Bit, a winner of nine races in Victoria, has had 28 starts in WA for four wins and seven placings. He is still eligible for metropolitan maiden events with a handy record of 13 wins and 39m placings for stakes of $88,202 from 107 starts. It And A Bit’s maternal granddam Meagan Brooke produced talented South Australian pacer Pappy McCoy, who included the 1990 WA Derby among his 31 wins in a splendid 111-start career which netted $327,932 in prizemoney. WHOS MISTAKE, CLAIMED FOR $8000, CONTINUES HIS WINNING WAYS When Victorian horseman Geoff Webster outlaid $8000 to claim Whos Mistake at Melton in June 2012 he certainly did not predict that the Victorian-bred pacer would be such an outstanding moneyspinner. Webster sent Whos Mistake to Western Australia to be prepared by ace trainer Gary Hall sen. But Whos Mistake managed just one third placing from his first seven starts for Hall before being sent for a spell. Hall revitalised the gelding who resumed racing after a four-month absence with a runaway 11-length victory in moderate company in Albany last January. At Gloucester Park on Friday night Whos Mistake maintained his splendid form with a narrow victory over Gday Mate in the 2503m Alltools Handicap. That took his record for Webster and Hall to 28 starts for six wins and ten placings for stakes of $82,735. His career record now stands at 114 starts for 16 wins, 23 placings and $122,600. Whos Mistake started from the 10m mark and second fancy at 7/2 on Friday night and Gary Hall jun. got him away brilliantly, while the 5/4 on favourite Balleybofey galloped badly on the front line. Whos Mistake surged to the front after 280m and Hall rated him well in front before the seven-year-old sprinted over the final 400m in 28.3sec. He held on doggedly to beat 20/1 chance Gday Mate by a nose, with Johnny Diamond a solid third after trailing the pacemaker. Balleybofey made up a great deal of ground and ran on along the inside from ninth on the home turn to finish fifth. by Ken Casellas

Many might’ve thought that losing two stallions a couple of months out from the new stud season would be a real blow for Wai-Eyre Farm. Especially when one of them was Christian Cullen, and the other was his millionaire son Gotta Go Cullen. But the old saying ‘When one door closes, another opens’ rang true for the leading Canterbury stud farm – so when Pepper Tree Farm came calling, Wai-Eyre’s Darryl Brown was more than happy to join forces with highly-regarded Australian stud. “We’re very excited,” Brown says. “Pepper Tree have got a superb line-up of young stallions. They’re sires which are very popular in Australia and are serving big books over there, and now Rob and Julie Vandyke want to strengthen the presence of those sires on this side of the Tasman as well.” Brown says he was humbled when learning of the numerous reasons why Pepper Tree chose to approach Wai-Eyre Farm – most of which centred around how his organisation is already run, and the professional way that Wai-Eyre portrays itself in the marketplace. “Rob and Julie also liked that we’re independent and a family-owned business,” Brown continued. “They’d heard good feedback about our infrastructure as well, and that we had very efficient client contact/communication procedures in place through our Sales Manager John Robinson and Office Manager Sacha Crawford.” Pepper Tree’s Rob Vandyke echoed Brown’s sentiments. “We wanted a partner in New Zealand that believes in the same philosophies as we do,” Vandyke said. “And also a stud that’s got a vested interest in our stallions. “We think we’ve got some really promising sires moving forward, and it’s great that Darryl and his team do too.” The Pepper Tree additions to Wai-Eyre’s roster are Rock N Roll Heaven, Roll With Joe, Sportswriter and Always A Virgin. Combined with their five existing sires, this now gives the North Canterbury establishment a line-up of nine and far more punch than ever before. The Australian quartet has indeed been popular at their home base, serving nearly 530 mares between them last year alone. And for good reason. Rock N Roll Heaven is by far the best son of Rocknroll Hanover, winning over $2.7million on the track and taking a time of 1.47.6 as a 3-year-old. He’s about to start his third season at stud after covering books of 185 (Aus) and 32 (NZ) during 2012/13 and 215 and 32 the season before. Roll With Joe is the Cam’s Card Shark full-brother to Bettor’s Delight who won over $1.8million on the track and went 1.48.4 as a 3-year-old. He’s heading into his second season after serving 125 and 15 mares last year. Sportswriter is by Artsplace and collected more than $1.5million in his career, taking his fastest time of 1.48.6 as a 3-year-old. His fourth year approaches, having attracted 80 and 18 mares last year on the back of Aussie books of 148 (2011/12) and 214 (2010/11). Always A Virgin is a son of Western Ideal who won over $1.1million on the track and, like all of Pepper Tree’s sires, paced his fastest time (1.48.8) as a 3-year-old. This is also his fourth season at stud but it’s the first time he’s been available to New Zealand breeders, his Australian books being 138, 84 and 143 respectively to date. Brown stressed that even though Wai-Eyre has entered into a new relationship with Pepper Tree Farm, making a commitment to their stallions and becoming their NZ Booking Agent, this new association is simply an addition to what the Farm already offers its hundreds of clients. “Wai-Eyre is still a Semen and Broodmare Base, first and foremost. “Predominantly, over fifty-five percent of the mares we serve on-farm every season are on behalf of other major studs… like Alabar, Woodlands, Pepper Tree and Empire etc. So nothing’s going to change in that regard. “And of course, we’re also a stud with our own stallions as well – Ohoka Arizona, Klondike Kid, Monkey Bones, The Pres and Angus Hall – all of which are starting to do a really good job here. “So, looking forward, it’s a very exciting time for us. “Over the last few years, we’ve stood three pacing stallions which all belong to the same sire line. And if you don’t address such an issue, eventually you end up breeding your clients into a corner and give them no option but to go elsewhere. “This new arrangement with Pepper Tree just opens up the choices for our customers even more.”   By Duane Ranger (Harness Racing New Zealand)  

Wai Eyre Farm stallion Ohoka Arizona added to his one Australian winner, when Eyre Crusher crushed his rivals at Motukarara yesterday (Sunday April 14).

Wai-Eyre Farm harness racing stallion Ohoka Arizona sired his first winner when 2yo Commanchi Chief was successful in the Kindergarten Stakes prelude run in South Australia at Friday's (February 1) Port Pirie meeting.

A new crop of 2-year-old pacing fillies will come out to play at northern harness racing headquarters - Alexandra Park - this Friday night (June 25) when the Auckland Trotting Club will stage the Young Guns Series.

All but one of Wai-Eyre Farm's stallions will be available at the same stud fee as it was last season. The only change lies with the leading Canterbury stud's flagship sire himself, Christian Cullen, who heads into the 2012/13 harness racing season with a $12,000 price tag.

Harness racing television personality Justin Le Lievre has been appointed stallion sales manager for the Canterbury based stud - Wai Eyre Farm. The Trackside TV presenter started his new position this week. He will continue to work on television.

Although happy with the wins of his representatives Amakudari and Eric's Legend at today's Ashburton harness trials, co trainer Mark Purdon was disappointed to reveal that Ohoka Arizona has been sidelined by further pastern problems.

Ohoka Arizona and Sunset Star were dazzling winners for the powerful Purdon and Payne barn at Addington Raceway this evening. New Zealand's champion 2 Year Old two seasons back, Ohoka Arizona unwound a scintillating late burst to justify hot favouritism in the $13,000 Lis Mara Pace (2600 metres).

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