Day At The Track
Search Results
1 to 16 of 102
1 2 3 4 5 Next »

Star reinsman Ryan Warwick continues in grand form as he sets a cracking pace in a powerful bid to head the leading WA drivers’ premiership table this season. He has six drives on the ten-event program at Gloucester Park on Friday night, with Kilowatt Kid looming large as his best drive. Warwick, the No. 1 driver for the all-conquering Greg and Skye Bond stable, is in third spot on the national list of leading drivers, with a tally of 169 winners behind Victorian reinsmen Chris Alford (222 wins) and Greg Sugars (200). But what is most important and most impressive is that Warwick has the best winning percentage of any driver in the country. His 169 winners give him a winning percentage of 33.60, well ahead of Alford (222 wins from 1009 drives, a winning percentage of 22) and Sugars (200 wins from 916 drives, a winning percentage of 21.83). Kilowatt Kid, prepared by the Bonds, will start from the outside of the front line in the Perth Plasterboard Centre Handicap, a stand over 2503m. Warwick chose the New Zealand-bred five-year-old in preference to smart stablemate Kingslayer, the sole backmarker off 30 metres who will be handled by Dylan Egerton-Green. Kilowatt Kid, a winner at five of his 25 New Zealand starts, has raced four times in WA for three wins a head second. He won stands over 2631m at Pinjarra at his first two WA starts before finishing second to Cyclone Banner in a 2130m mobile event at Gloucester Park and working in the breeze before winning from Shadow Roll over 2185m at Pinjarra last Monday week. Kingslayer is sure to prove a formidable opponent on Friday night. The New Zealand-bred six-year-old has won at 13 of his 29 starts, including two stands in New Zealand and a great WA record of eight starts in stands for six wins. The Bond stable and Warwick will also team up on Friday night with excellent each-way prospects in Infatuation (race two), Ocean Ridge (race five) and Mighty Santana (race six).   Ken Casellas

Ryan Warwick and Morgan Woodley, who share the distinction of having driven six winners on a program in Western Australia, will clash in the $30,000 Parliamentarians Cup over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Woodley, who has won the Parliamentarians Cup twice with Has The Answers (2009) and Real Life (2011) will handle noted frontrunner Argyle Red from the prized No. 1 barrier, with Warwick in the sulky behind up-and-coming star Mighty Conqueror, who has won at 14 of his 20 starts. Mighty Conqueror is more brilliant than Argyle Red and is capable of overcoming an awkward barrier at No. 5. The New Zealand-bred five-year-old prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye was the credentials and the form to emerge triumphant and give Warwick his first win in this feature event. A win to Mighty Conqueror would cap a memorable week for Warwick, who drove all six winners on the program at Kellerberrin on Sunday before following with a double at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. Fifteen years ago Greg Bond prepared Money Magnet for his win, with Colin Brown in the sulky, in the Parliamentarians Cup which was first run in 1993 and was a standing-start event for 15 years before being a mobile race for the past 11 years, with the event restricted to mares in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Mighty Conqueror gave a devasting performance to win at a 1.55.2 rate over 2130m last Friday week. He was nursed out from barrier seven and settled in sixth position before starting a three-wide run and moving into the breeze after a lap. He surged to the front 300m from home and won by four and a half lengths from the pacemaker Patrickthepiranha, with final quarters in 28.7sec. and 27.8sec. Argyle Red, trained by Rob MacDonald at Pinjarra, led from barrier one and won the 1730m Mount Eden Sprint at a 1.53.8 rate last Friday week. He also started from the No. 1 barrier two starts before that when he led and won at a 1.56.7 rate over 2130m. Our Corelli (barrier four) and Motu Premier (six) are racing keenly and will have admirers. Our Corelli, a winner at eight of his past 15 starts, sat behind the pacemaker Vampiro before running on solidly to be third behind that pacer ands Ana Malak over 2130m last Friday night. Our Corelli will again be handled by champion reinsman Chris Lewis, who has won the Parliamentarians Cup a record seven times with Hilarion Star (1993), Heros Knight (1998), Our London Pride (1999), Jimmy Nail (2003), Competitive Edge (2006), Ima Spicey Lombo (2010) and Leda McNally (2015). Ross Olivieri, who prepared Heros Knight and Ima Spicey Lombo, will be pinning his faith this week on the consistent Motu Premier, who impressed in the Mount Eden Sprint when he seventh in the middle stages before sustaining a powerful three-wide finishing burst to be fourth, a mere couple of centimetres from the winner Argyle Red. “That’s the closest you’ll get to winning without running a place,” was the appraisal from a philosophical Olivieri. Michael Brennan’s wonderful veteran The Bucket List is favourably drawn at barrier two and reinsman Michael Grantham plans to slot the ten-year-old in behind Argyle Red and enjoy a comfortable passage one or two back on the pegs, giving him the opportunity to unleash his typical flashing finishing burst.   Ken Casellas

Reinsman Ryan Warwick has had one of his finest days in the sulky at Kellerberrin yesterday, driving all six winners on the program. It was the first time such a feat has been achieved in the sport in Western Australia. Five of Warwick’s six winners came courtesy of the Greg and Skye Bond stable, with the Jesse Moore-trained Batavia Blackhole his other winner on the card. Warwick said he had a mix of emotions and wasn’t sure how to deal with the attention the achievement attracted. “I’m probably a little bit embarrassed to tell you the truth,” he told TABradio. “I don’t like getting the limelight. “The next couple of days it’ll sink in and I’ll have a better opinion on it.” Each of the six drives Warwick had were well fancied in the market on the day, which started with three three-year-olds trained by the Bond’s and ended with two four-year-olds from the same stable. Warwick said he was only confident with half of his drives on the program going in to the meeting. “A race fell over that we really needed to hold up for our Westbreds,” he said. “We either had to trial them or split them into a different race with older horses. “That knocked a bit of confidence off. “There was one for Jess Moore that I’d never driven before and didn’t know a lot about. “You never go there thinking you’re going to do what happened yesterday.” The final two races saw Taroona Bromac and The Bird Dance produce strong performances for the Bond’s and enhance their credentials for the upcoming four-year-old feature races. The pair will likely be joined by Ana Afreet on the path to the Golden Nugget, following his win in the Preux Chevalier (2130m) at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Warwick, the regular driver for the son of Bettors Delight, said it was the most impressed he’s been by the pacer. “He’s been one prep behind,” he said. “He’s not the smartest cat out there, but his record is very good and he’s improved a lot. “That was the toughest field he’s raced against and he put them away the best that he has in a race. “The penny has dropped with him.” Ana Afreet headlined a strong Friday night for the Bond stable, who also had Vampiro and El Jacko successful on the card. Warwick said he expected budding star Mighty Conqueror to line up this Friday night.   Tim Walker

Six-year-old Im Soxy, a $9000 yearling, continues to blossom and the State’s leading reinsman Ryan Warwick confidently predicts the gelding will graduate to open-class company and prove his worth in Free-For-Alls. There is little doubt that Im Soxy, a big bay with a distinctive white blaze, is one of the State’s most improved pacers under the care of 70-year-old Bunbury horseman Brian Clemens, who took over as trainer in February 2018 and has given the pacer 43 starts for nine wins and 19 placings. Warwick, who has driven 134 winners this season, is confident that Im Soxy will prove hard to beat in the Pacing WA and Girl Power In Pacing Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Im Soxy will start from barrier five and will clash with several smart performers, including Caviar Star, Campora and Tact Major (prepared by champion trainer Gary Hall Snr), as well as Back To The Beach and Chiaroscuro. Im Soxy maintained his excellent form when he enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, before finishing strongly to win from the pacemaker Bettor Be Lively at a 1.55.5 rate over 2130m last Friday week. Warwick was full of praise of the gelding, saying: “He can go to the next level. He’s getting better and better and is not finished with yet. He’s calmed down a lot pre-race and the way he does his preliminary is really good now. He can come off the arm or go back; he can do whatever you want him to do.” Warwick has established a strong affinity with Im Soxy, having driven him 20 times for six wins, five seconds and five thirds. The gelding, purchased for $9000 by Cono Condipodero at the 2014 Gloucester Standardbred yearling sale, is raced on lease by Lynette Clemens, wife of the trainer. Unplaced at his first eight starts (on country tracks in 2016), he now has raced 65 times for 11 wins and 20 placings for earnings of $134,487. By Rich And Spoilt, Im Soxy is out of the Mach Three mare Forza Di Volonta, who raced eight times as a two and three-year-old in 2010 for four wins. Im Soxy certainly inherited much of his ability from his great granddam Mitemptation, a brilliant juvenile who raced just 18 times as a two and three-year-old for 11 wins, five placings and $123,390. She won at each of her first nine starts, including a notable victory in the Group 1 Pearl Classic in January 1995. Hall has a healthy respect of Im Soxy and said that he considered polemarker Campora (to be driven by Lauren Jones) had the brightest prospects of his trio.” Campora is an excellent frontrunner and will be hard to beat,” he said. Four-year-old Caviar Star is racing keenly and, with Gary Hall Jnr in the sulky, should fight out the finish, while the lightly-raced seven-year-old Tact Major (Stuart McDonald) excelled last Friday night when he trailed the pacemaker Chicago Bull and ran home determinedly to finish second to the champion. Of the others, the Murray Lindau-trained Chiaroscuro is favourably drawn at barrier three and Dylan Egerton-Green could well take advantage of the five-year-old’s sparkling gate speed in a bid to cross Campora. Back To The Beach, to be driven by Chris Voak for trainer Ross Olivieri, has win at two of his past three starts and is worthy of consideration from the No. 2 barrier.   Ken Casellas

Star reinsman Ryan Warwick chalked up his 100th winner for the season when he drove Hasani to a hard-fought victory in a 2536m event at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night and he is quietly confident of keeping up the good work by steering Bettor Aim to victory in the Better Your Industry With TABtouch Pace on Friday night. Hasani, a promising Courage Under Fire five-year-old prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, was Warwick’s only drive on Tuesday night and came after he and the Bonds landed a treble with Ana Afreet, Our Alfie Romeo and Mighty Conqueror at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. The Bond camp and Warwick will have a comparatively quiet night on Friday night with three runners Courage Tells, Bettor Aim and Mitch Maguire and Warwick declared that Bettor Aim would prove hard to beat, saying with typical conservatism: “He’ll be thereabouts.” Bettor Aim, a New Zealand-bred four-year, has raced exclusively in Western Australia and, with Warwick in the sulky in all of his 18 starts for eight wins, three seconds and two thirds, has a bright future. Bettor Aim, who is handily drawn at No. 3 on the front line, finished last in a field of nine at his latest appearance, last Friday fortnight when he began from barrier nine, raced four wide early and then raced roughly when he contacted his own sulky. He then was hampered by a flat tyre, which was punctured 600m from home. Therefore there were many valid excuses for the failure. A week earlier he led and won very easily from Better Be Lively over 1730m and at his previous outing he finished stoutly to be second to Handsandwheels over 2130m. 40-year-old Warwick holds a commanding lead in the WA drivers’ premiership table, with 100 wins from 259 drives a winning percentage of 38.5 which is, by far, the best in Australia this season. He has now topped the century five seasons in a row 124 wins in 2014-15 (a winning percentage of 52), 124 (53.9%) in 2015-16, 176 (55.7%) in 2016-17 and 135 (59.3%) in 2017-18. Warwick’s 100 wins gives him a big lead on the WA premiership table over Chris Lewis (71 wins) and Gary Hall Jnr (63). Asked if he dreamt of heading the WA list for the first time this year, Warwick replied: “I’m not too worried about it. I never thought I was good enough to win a premiership, to be honest. But Greg (Bond) is pushing hard for it. It’s an ambition of Greg’s for me to be leading driver. “I work more on strike rates. If my strike rate is good, I’m happy. If I drove 50 winners and was running at 30 per cent I’d be stoked. As long as I’m fit and healthy I’ll keep driving, but I don’t see myself still driving at 65.” Warwick drove his first winner at 16 or 17 years of age when he was successful behind Neurology (trained by his father Colin) at Northam. He named Lookslikelightning as the best horse he has driven and the Glenn Pellew-trained Three Half Whites as the fastest he has sat behind. “When you start comparing them with all the outstanding Bond-trained horses, it gets too hard,” Warwick said. “Mitch Maguire is quick and so is El Jacko. Ana Malak is good and so is Dodolicious, Galactic Star and many, many others.” Warwick drove Ana Malak to victory in the Group 1 Four-Year-Old Classic and the Group 1 Golden Nugget late last year and he was excited at driving that horse’s full-brother Ana Afreet, a three-year-old colt, at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon.           Ana Afreet made a splendid debut in the 2185m event, winning a helter-skelter affair in which a couple of horses galloped in the first lap and another ran off the pegs. Ana Afreet settled in sixth position and after avoiding interference he took the sit behind the pacemaker and then moved off the pegs 500m from home, dashed to the front at the 420m mark and raced away to win by five lengths from Tuakana, with a final quarter in 28.8sec. “There was a lot of traffic and a lot of scenarios that were thrown at him,” Warwick said. “It was his first start in a race and he didn’t seem fazed by any of them. The ability is there and I was pleased with his effort. He and Ana Malak look identical and their attitudes are laid back. You don’t even know that they are stallions; they’re very similar, very chilled out. They save their energy and don’t do anything stupid.” Warwick also said that he was delighted at the progress being shown by Mighty Conqueror, who showed commendable adaptability and composure to overcome difficulties before winning at Pinjarra on Monday. He started off 20m in a 2631m stand and settled in sixth position in the breeze, six lengths from the leader Rocknroll Beachboy before he broke gear, became unbalanced and galloped after a lap. He lost a couple of lengths before returning to a pace and then continued in the breeze before getting to the front 470m from home and holding on to win from Tactile Sensation. That was Mighty Conqueror’s eighth win from 12 starts. While Warwick has posted his century, Greg and Skye Bond are poised to reach this milestone. They have had 278 starters this season for 99 wins in WA and lead the trainers’ premiership table from Gary Hall Snr and Ross Olivieri, who have each prepared 45 winners this season.   Ken Casellas

Smart pacers El Jacko and Vultan Tin have developed a keen rivalry this season and their clash in the $25,000 Westral Outdoor Patio Blinds Pace over 2130m will be a highlight of the ten-event program at Gloucester Park on Friday night. El Jacko, prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, produced an eye-catching performance when a fast-finishing second to Vultan Tin in the Group 2 City of Perth Cup last Friday night and he has excellent prospects of turning the tables on his arch rival this week. Leading reinsman Ryan Warwick resumes as El Jacko’s driver this week after handling stablemates in El Jacko’s past five starts. Warwick and El Jacko have formed as powerful combination, with Warwick in the sulky at 14 of the New Zealand-bred six-year-old’s 17 wins in Western Australia. El Jacko is the only runner on the back line in Friday night’s race and Warwick will have many tactical options. Vultan Tin, to be driven by Chris Voak for Coolup part-owner and trainer Phil Costello, will start from the No. 4 barrier and Voak looks set to take advantage of the seven-year-old’s good gate speed. Vultan Tin set the pace from barrier two in last week’s Cup. He had an easy time and was not challenged in front. After leisurely opening quarters of the final mile in 31.1sec. and 29.3sec. Vultan Tin sprinted over the final 400m sections in 28.2sec. and 27.8sec. as he strolled to a two-length victory over El Jacko. El Jacko, driven by Dylan Egerton-Green, started from the back line and raced in seventh position in the one-wide line. He was six wide on the home turn, ninth at the 100m mark and eighth with 60m to travel as he flew home into second place. He made up three lengths on Vultan Tin in the straight. Vultan Tin and El Jacko should again fight out the finish this week as their trainers prepare them for an assault on Group 2 $50,000 features in the next few weeks the RWWA Cup, Governor’s Cup and Pinjarra Cup.  Apart from El Jacko, the Bond stable will be represented in this week’s Free-For-All by Mitch Maguire (Nathan Turvey) and Our Jimmy Johnstone (Egerton-Green). Byford trainer Ross Olivieri has three runners, Mr Mojito (Shannon Suvaljko), Im Full of Excuses (Chris Lewis) and Itz Bettor To Win (Stuart McDonald), who have drawn barriers one, two and three, respectively.  Capel trainer Andrew de Campo is hoping for a strong forward showing from Handsandwheels (Aiden de Campo) and Blythewood trainer Michael Brennan will be represented by veteran The Bucket List (Michael Grantham).     Handsandwheels ran home determinedly from sixth at the bell to finish third in the City of Perth Cup, and The Bucket List was tenth at the bell before surging home, out wide, into fifth place. Ken Casellas

New Zealand-bred pacers Hasani and Caviar Star were two of the most impressive winners last Friday night and their clash in the $30,000 Cowden The Insurance Brokers Im Themightyquinn Pace should provide one of the highlights on Friday night’s ten-event program at Gloucester Park. Neither pacer was extended in winning over 2130m, with Caviar Star giving a brilliant performance to race three wide for the first 600m and then in the breeze before careering away to win by two lengths from Touch of Success. His time of 2min. 34.5sec. was superior than the 2min. 35.1sec. recorded by Hasani.  However, Hasani makes strong appeal as the winner this week, given the fact that he has drawn perfectly at barrier one on the front line, with Caviar Star drawn at the No. 2 barrier on the back line. Ryan Warwick, who drives Hasani for the powerful Greg and Skye Bond stable, is sure to take full advantage of the superior barrier by giving the lightly-raced Courage Under Fire gelding the task of leading all the way. Hasani possesses excellent gate speed and should be capable of holding out  Roman Aviator (barrier three) after the mobile barrier releases the field. Hasani is a five-year-old who has raced only 13 times for seven wins, four seconds and a third and he looks set for a bright career. Caviar Star, trained by Gary Hall Snr, is a four-year-old who has won at seven of his 19 starts and reinsman Gary Hall jnr was full of praise after his victory last week, saying: “He’s still a bity of a baby in the head, but he’s got speed and toughness and that will get him a long way.” Four-year-old Roman Aviator, trained and driven by Aldo Cortopassi, boasts a splendid record of 30 starts for nine wins, seven seconds and a third and he should be prominent. Eight-year-old Machrie is racing enthusiastically for Pinjarra trainer Chris King, and though he has a losing sequence of 38, he has sound place prospects from the inside of the back line. He ran home strongly from last at the bell when third behind Hasani and Anime last Friday night. Ken Casellas

Champion trainers Greg and Skye Bond are poised to set a record by preparing the first horse to win the $50,000 The West Australian Nights of Thunder at Gloucester Park on Friday night from the outside barrier. They are pinning their hopes on classy four-year-old Bettor Aim, the least experienced runner in the Group 2 feature event whose prospects diminished slightly when he drew the outside (No. 9) barrier. No pacer has been successful from either barrier eight or nine in the 12-year history of the 1730m event but Bettor Aim was so dominant in winning one of the three qualifying heats last Friday night that he should be able to overcome the significant disadvantage of the wide draw. Bettor Aim started from the No. 2 barrier, dashed to the front after 200m and gave his rivals little chance when he set a scorching pace in his heat in which he won by just over three lengths from Bettor Be Lively, rating 1.52.4, a time faster than that recorded by the winner of the 12 finals. The 400m sections of the heat whizzed by in 27.6sec., 27.8sec., 27.9sec. and 29.3sec. The race record rate of 1.53 was set by Mohegan Sun when he enjoyed the one-out, one-back trail and finished strongly to beat the pacemaker Ti Amo Franco three years ago. The Bonds have an excellent record in the Nights of Thunder, winning the race from awkward draws with Quick Draw McCaw from barrier five in 2008 and with Ohokas Bondy from barrier seven in 2012. Both those winners started at 13/2 and were driven by Colin Brown.   Quick Draw McCaw, trained by Greg Bond, began speedily and set the pace before winning by a neck from Glitzy Miss. Four years later, Ohokas Bondy, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, was restrained at the start, was seventh with 600m to travel and fifth on the home turn before finishing powerfully to win by a half-length from stablemate Dundee Three, with other stablemates Seel N Print (barrier four) and Nimrod (barrier three) finishing eighth and ninth, respectively. Bettor Aim, to be driven by leading reinsman Ryan Warwick, raced four times in New Zealand for one win. That victory was as a three-year-old in his final appearance in New Zealand when he revealed his undoubted ability as a sprinter when he led early from barrier one, then raced three back on the pegs and moved to the breeze with 900m to travel before bursting to the front at the 150m mark and easily beating the favourite Ohanzee, rating 1.56.7 over 1950m at Addington in April of last year, with a final quarter in 27.9sec. He boasts an outstanding record in Western Australia seven wins, one second and one fifth (behind stablemate Ana Malak in the Golden Nugget championship last month). A wide barrier in the Nights of Thunder in 2015 contributed to the disappointment for the Bond camp when Our Jimmy Johnstone started favourite at 6/4 from barrier No. 6 and finished sixth behind Soho Lennon after racing four wide early and then in the breeze. In the final the following year, the Bond-trained Phoenix Warrior was a 2/1 favourite from the No. 1 barrier. But he broke in the early stages and finished last. The stable also has had two third placegetters in the Nights of Thunder final --- Pablito in 2009 and Bettor Offer in 2017. One of Bettor Aim’s toughest opponents on Friday night is likely to be Benhope Rulz, the only other four-year-old in the race. Benhope Rulz, prepared by Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall Snr, has won at nine of his 24 starts and impressed in a qualifying heat last week when he began out wide at barrier seven, raced wide early and then in the one-out, one-back position before finishing strongly to be second to Mattjestic Star. Benhope Rulz will be handled by Gary Hall Jnr who is in dazzling form and has driven ten winners in the past week. Hall Snr will also be represented by Bettor Vision (Stuart McDonald) who led early and then trailed the pacemaker when a fighting third to Bettor Aim last Friday night. The five-year-old boasts a fine record of 30 starts for nine wins, seven seconds and five thirds.           The master trainer has a wonderful record in the Nights of Thunder with four winners (Tealsby Karita, Hokonui Ben, Soho Lennon and Mohegan Sun) as well as two second and three third placegetters. The oldest and most experienced runner in Friday night’s final is the Julie O’Neill-trained eight-year-old Mattjestic Star, who notched his 17th victory from 127 starts when he charged home from fifth at the 100m mark to win convincingly from Benhope Rulz and As Happy As Larry in the opening qualifying heat, rating 1.53.4. Mattjestic Star will begin from the No. 6 barrier and Darren Kerr will employ similar sit-sprint tactics on Friday night. Kerr has happy memories of driving Scan Air to a thrilling victory over hot favourite Scruncher in the 2010 Nights of Thunder final. Scan Air was eighth at the bell and flew home to overhaul the pacemaking Scruncher in the final 25 metres. Henley Brook trainer-reinsman Robbie Williams has high hopes of winning with As Happy As Larry, who has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier. As Happy As Larry revealed great gate speed from barrier three last week before setting a scorching pace and wilting only over the final stages. Williams is sure to take full advantage of the inside draw and As Happy As Larry will take plenty of catching.   Ken Casellas

Rising talent Saying Grace has come up with the ace draw in the JP's Sportsbar 3YO + Pace, the third event on a stellar card of harness racing this Friday night at Gloucester Park. He has won at his previous three runs, showing an astonishing turn of foot on each occasion to secure victory. The American Ideal five-year-old gelding will look to repeat his last-start performance where he was able to lead all the way over the 2130m trip. This is the stiffest opposition he has met since crossing the Tasman, but he looks up to the task - and the clock backs that up. He recorded a 1:56.7 mile rate last Friday, getting home in a blistering 27.7 final quarter. He was eased up approaching the winning post and the deafeners were still firmly fixed. Regular reinsman Ryan Warwick retains the drive and this looks a perfect opportunity for Saying Grace to shore up his stocks for next month’s Fremantle Pacing Cup and the WA Pacing Cup. His seven opponents all possess well-credentialled records and must be respected. Itz Bettor To Win, a sound fourth behind Our Max Phactor last week, will have the option to drop in behind Saying Grace at the start. Rock Diamonds, stablemate to the polemarker, had an unfortunate trip last outing and will be a likely improver this week. The same can be said of Kiwi Legend to his immediate outside, who suffered from gear problems first-up off a 20-month layoff. El Jacko  was gathered in late last time when leading and would need to lift to win. Maczaffair, with champion reinsman Gary Hall Jr in the bike for the first time, and Waylade were both comfortably defeated by Rocknroll Lincoln last start. They, along with Costa Del Magnifico, who was unable to run home last start in a lesser race, have the job ahead to defeat favourite and likely leader Saying Grace.   Hayden King

The Warwick family, famous in harness racing, has a strong affinity with the Christmas Gift and at Gloucester Park on Friday night Ryan Warwick will be all out to join his late grandfather, his father, uncle and cousin on the honour board of the Group 2 feature event. The 40-year-old Warwick will drive Saying Grace, an up-and-coming star who is prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond and is sure to start a short-priced favourite after drawing favourably at barrier No. 2 on the front line in the 2130m $50,000 Christmas Gift. Saying Grace arrived in Western Australia from New Zealand just three months ago and has established an enviable reputation, with his first eight starts in the State producing five wins and two seconds after a first-up failure when he was finishing powerfully to move into second place and was looking the winner before he broke into a fierce gallop 220m from home. He has won eight of his past 11 starts, including victories at his final three appearances in New Zealand in August this year. Warwick is in dazzling form in the sulky with 83 wins from 176 drives in WA this season to hold a lead of 30 over his nearest rival Chris Lewis in the Statewide drivers’ premiership table. His grandfather Bill Warwick trained Swanky Lobell, who was driven by his (Ryan’s) father Colin when he won the 1986 Christmas Gift from Prince Feisal and Maxwell Hook. Colin also was in the sulky when Trunkey Limousine, trained by his brother Trevor (Ryan’s uncle), won the Christmas Gift from The Prospectus and Simeon Bay in 1989. Trevor Warwick also won the Christmas Gift as a trainer and driver with Innocent Mac (1995) and Hy Falutin (1999). Justin Warwick, Trevor’s son and Ryan’s cousin, trained and drove Ted Barry when he won the 1998 Christmas Gift from Michael Leslie and Plenty of Cash. Justin then drove Lord Miles to victory over The Die Is Cast and Chivalrous Fella in the 2001 Gift. Saying Grace warmed up for Friday night’s race in superb style last Friday night when he started out wide at barrier eight in a heat of the Gift. He raced three wide for the first 300m and then in the breeze outside the pacemaker and 5/2 on favourite Kimani before slipping into overdrive and forging to the front 380m from home. He sprinted over the final quarters in 27.7sec. and 27.8sec. and was not extended in winning by 4m from Kimani. The powerful Bond stable will also be represented in this year’s Christmas Gift by evergreen 11-year-old Courage Tells, who will start from the inside of the back line with Dylan Egerton-Green in the sulky. A veteran of 201 starts, Courage Tells is racing enthusiastically and should enjoy a perfect passage throughout. The Bonds have won the Christmas Gift with Motu Treasure in 2010 and Russley Rascal in 2011. Russley Rascal, a 7/2 chance driven by Colin Brown, beat stablemates Dundee Three (13/4) and Talk It Up (a $95 tote outsider). The Christmas Gift, first run in 1963, is one of very few feature events that has eluded champion reinsman Chris Lewis. He will drive smart mare Madame Meilland, who is prepared by Ross Olivieri, who has won the race with Savette in 1992 and Im A Peregrine in 2015.  Madame Meilland, an excellent third to Saying Grace and Kimani last week, is awkwardly drawn at barrier six. Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall Snr has won the event a record six times with Nixons Creed (1993), Allioop (2004), McRaes Mate (2007), Livingontheinterest (2012), Toretto (2013) and Herrick Roosevelt (2017). His only runner this year, Kimani, has had seven starts in his current campaign for one win and five seconds. He faces a stern test from out wide at barrier eight. Walkinshaw, trained at Mt Helena by Ray Williams, was an unlucky short half-head second to Herrick Roosevelt in last year’s Gift and he is sure to prove one of Saying Grace’s toughest rivals on Friday night. A winner of six races from 37 starts in New Zealand and nine from 20 starts in WA, Walkinshaw is sure to be prominent from barrier five. He sustained a powerful three-wide burst over the final 1000m to snatch victory from Debt Free Charlie last Friday night. The Mike Reed-trained The Art Form and the Annie Belton-trained Gotta Go Gabbana are racing keenly, but will need plenty of luck from awkward draws.   Ken Casellas

Star four-year-old Ana Malak has delivered trainers Greg and Skye Bond their first win in the Group 1 Retravision-Golden Nugget (2536m) and led home a first five for the in-form trainers. Following his tough win in the 4YO Classic a fortnight ago, Ana Malak was again the one to beat for last night’s feature after he drew barrier one earlier in the week. With six runners in the race, the Bond stable were able to dictate how the race was run and had the first four in running for much of the event. Ana Malak had a comfortable time in front, while Mighty Conqueror sat outside of him in the breeze, with Bettor Aim and Bright Diamond the next pair in running. The son of Bettors Delight held off a game Mighty Conqueror in the run to the finish, winning by a short half-head and rated 1.57.5. The outsider of the six Bond runners Fizzing ran home strongly for third, ahead of Bright Diamond and Bettor Aim. Golden State was the first of the non-Bond runners across the line in sixth position. Winning reinsman Ryan Warwick, who brought up his second success in the Group 1 feature last night, paid tribute to Ana Malak’s toughness. “Around the corner I was going really well and I thought I had the other horse off the bit,” he said. “I probably tried to kick away too early. “Because he hasn’t done a lot of racing, he probably gets caught looking around…the other horse (Mighty Conqueror) was really game. “If you flip the draws around, you flip the result around.” WATCH: Ana Malak's Nugget Win Here Ana Malak is now expected to progress towards next month’s Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups, where he may be joined by Galactic Star, who is engaged in tonight’s Inter Dominion Final. Warwick takes the drive on the six-year-old from barrier one and said he’s yet to make his mind up on whether he would try and hold the front or hand up to one of his rivals. Saying Grace was the Bond’s other winner on the evening, taking out the third heat of the Christmas Gift. Meanwhile, Rocknroll Lincoln showed why he would be a force to be reckoned with in the upcoming Pacing Cups, taking out the Retravision Free-For-All Pace (2130m). Fresh from his win in the Bunbury Cup a fortnight ago, Rocknroll Lincoln was able to find the front comfortably from barrier two. Vultan Tin ensured the Justin Prentice-trained pacer wouldn’t get it his own way in front, putting pressure on his outside. Rocknroll Lincoln showed his class in the closing stages though, pulling away to win by 5m to Vultan Tin. Reinsman Gary Hall Jnr said he was confident the five-year-old would measure up in the feature events next month and gave a strong indication he would stick with him, given Chicago Bull would be absent from those races. “He’s got a great characteristic where can do what I tell him to do and drop the bit,” he said. “When you really ask him, the speed is there and the toughness is there. “They say everything happens for a reason, so I’m hoping that this guy is the reason behind Bull’s demise. “As unfortunate as that was, I’m pretty happy to team up with this guy.” Tim Walker

Ryan Warwick is driving with wonderful aggression and skill and punters who believe in omens will support him to win the opening event, the Retravision Christmas Gift first heat, at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He will handle evergreen veteran Courage Tells, who is favourably drawn at the No. 2 barrier in the field of nine in the 2130m event. Warwick was also in the sulky behind Courage Tells in the corresponding meeting 12 months ago when the gelding, a rank outsider at $114.50, finished boldly from four back on the pegs at the bell to win from Johnny Disco and Three Blind Mice. The 11-year-old Courage Tells, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, has been a consistent performer throughout his 200-start career which has produced 33 wins (two in New Zealand, eight in Victoria, seven in New South Wales and 16 in Western Australia) as well as 50 placings for earnings of $339,093. Courage Tells was far from disgraced in a 2631m stand at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon when he raced five back on the pegs and finished strongly to be third behind Tanaka Eagle and Importer Exporter. At Pinjarra the previous Monday Courage Tells took the lead in the middle stages and won by almost three lengths from Sweet N Fast, with a final 800m in 56.7sec. Warwick is enjoying an outstanding season and has already chalked up 81 wins from 171 drives to be the State’s leading driver, 34 wins ahead of Chris Lewis. The Bonds also are setting a cracking pace on the trainers’ premiership table, with 78 winners from 168 starters a lead of 51 over their nearest rival, Gary Hall Snr. Courage Tells cannot be disregarded on Friday night, despite the presence of several in-form pacers, including The Art Form, Gotta Go Gabbana, Carter Micheal and Livura. The Mike Reed-trained The Art Form deserves favouritism and should prove hard to beat from barrier six. The six-year-old has been gallant in defeat at his past two starts when second to Fizzing and second to Tisadream, two excellent efforts following a sequence of six successive victories. The Art Form started from barrier nine last week and settled down in eighth position before he commenced a three-wide run after a lap. He quickly moved into the breeze and fought on determinedly to finish a neck second to the pacemaking Tisadream. Gotta Go Gabbana, the only mare in the field, is racing with tremendous heart for trainer Annie Belton and reinsman Chris Voak and looks set to fight out the finish. The Nathan Turvey-trained pair of Carter Micheal and Livura are racing keenly and are sure to be prominent. Turvey will handle Livura and Jocelyn Young will drive Carter Micheal, who is overdue for a change of fortune after several recent excellent performances. Ken Casellas

Star reinsman Ryan Warwick has fond memories of his first Group 1 driving success when he brought 8/1 chance Gee Whiz Fizz home with a sizzling late burst to snatch a thrilling last-stride, half-head victory over the 2/1 favourite Precious Dylan in the Golden Nugget championship on December 16, 2005. Gee Whiz Fizz, trained in Bunbury by Steve Burton, started from the No. 1 barrier, but was outgunned in the early stages by Precious Dylan and Warwick had to be content to take the trail behind the pacemaker before Gee Whiz Fizz, veering out wide on the track, stormed to the front in a dramatic finish. Warwick, now 40 and at the peak of his powers as a top-flight reinsman, is quite understandably thrilled that Ana Malak has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier for the $200,000 Retravision Golden Nugget for four-year-olds at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The lightly-raced and comparatively inexperienced New Zealand-bred horse, prepared by the State’s leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, is in superb form and Warwick will be looking for an all-the-way success over the 2536m trip and hoping for a less traumatic and spine-tingling finish than he experienced with Gee Whiz Fizz. Ana Malak, who has been successful at six of his eight starts, revealed excellent gate speed from barrier one when he comfortably resisted an early challenge from the speedy Golden State in the $125,000 Yes Loans Four-Year-Old Classic over 2130m last Friday week. Ana Malak dashed over the first quarter of the final mile in 28.8sec. before an easy 30.1sec. second section, followed by two final quarters of 28.4sec. He defied a strong late burst from the fast-finishing Ideal Liner to beat that gelding by a half-neck, with the classy Mighty Conqueror, a stablemate of the winner, surging home with a powerful three-wide burst from second-last in the middle stages to be an eye-catching third. Warwick, the Bonds and part-owner Rob Gartrell will be hoping for an Ana Malak victory before Warwick drives Galactic Star, from the coveted No. 1 barrier in the $500,000 Inter Dominion championship final at Melton on Saturday night. Galactic Star has excellent winning prospects. The Bonds hold a powerful hand in the Golden Nugget. Apart from Ana Malak, they will be represented by Bettor Aim, Mighty Conqueror, Fizzing, Thisbeachrighthere and Bright Diamond. The only previous time a trainer had six runners in a Golden Nugget championship was in 2014 when Gary Hall Snr was represented by Waylade, Majorly Foxy Styx, Classic American, Soho Lennon, A Boy Named Rosie and VC Manoeuvre. Waylade, the 11/8 favourite, raced in 11th position and met with interference in the final circuit before finishing with great determination to be a 2m second to Libertybelle Midfrew. Mighty Conqueror, to be driven by Dylan Egerton-Green from barrier three, has won at seven of his nine starts and is certainly capable of testing Ana Malak. Colin Brown will drive Bettor Aim, a winner at six of his nine starts, from the No. 2 barrier. He possesses great gate speed and is a brilliant frontrunner, but he is unlikely to muster enough early speed to get past Ana Malak and take up the running. Aiden de Campo has been engaged to handle the consistent and improving Fizzing from barrier four, Nathan Turvey will drive Thisbeachrighthere from the outside (No. 9) on the front line and Chris Lewis will be in the sulky behind Bright Diamond, who looks set to enjoy an ideal passage after starting from the inside of the back line. Lewis has been successful in the Golden Nugget with Vero Prince (1987), Flashing Star (1994), Saab (1998) and Dasher VC (2010). Hall has won the Nugget with Valley Champ (as a driver in 1993), The Gold Ace (2011) and Beaudiene Boaz (2015) and he will need plenty of luck with his three runners, Ideal Liner (Gary Hall Jnr), Think About Me (Stuart McDonald) and Benhope Rulz (Clint Hall), all of whom have drawn poorly. Ideal Liner, the least experienced runner in the race, with two wins and a close second to Ana Malak from three starts, has wonderful potential, but his prospects slumped when he drew out wide at barrier eight. Think About Me will be at long odds from the No. 6 barrier and Benhope Rulz faces a massive task from the outside of the back line. Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed has prepared three Nugget winners Tricky Vic (2002), Bonavista Bay (2009) and Libertybelle Midfrew (2014) and he refuses to concede defeat, despite his runner, Golden State, drawing barrier two on the back line, which robs the horse of his greatest asset, his dazzling gate speed. “Golden State can also produce a sparkling sprint,” Reed said. Golden State was shuffled back to ninth at the bell and was 11th at the 250m mark before being hampered for room until the final stages, when he finished full of running to be a splendid fifth behind Ana Malak in the Four-Year-Old Championship. Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri, who has won the Nugget with Saab and Dasher VC, is pinning his faith on Stefsbest, a winner at five of his 20 starts. Stefsbest will start from the No. 5 barrier and will be at liberal odds. The only mare in the race is the Kristian Hawkins trained Dontstopbelievin, who faces a monumental task from barrier seven. This week’s classic has been robbed of considerable interest by the absence of the brilliant Jack Mac, who notched his 16thvictory from 18 starts in Western Australia when he scored a stylish win in a Nugget prelude last Friday night. Jack Mac is suffering from a fractured near fore pedal bone. Ken Casellas

A little-known former New Zealand pacer has emerged as the key player in the A$500,000 Inter Dominion Pacing Final.  Because while former Southland pacer Galactic Star has had a top class career in West Australia, he would rarely have been on the radar of most New Zealand punters, even the serious harness racing players, until this Interdom series in Victoria.  Yet after drawing the ace for Saturday night’s 2760m final at Melton, the attitude of his connections could decide the race.  Galactic Star, who won four races in New Zealand two years ago when trained by Des Baynes, won his first night heat of this series using blazing gate speed and has been very good when placed in his subsequent two heats.  But his impact on the final outcome has been boosted enormously by him drawing barrier one, from where he looks certain to lead.  If driver Ryan Warwick wants to stay in front that will mean no shot at the lead for key front line runners Pat Delight (barrier three), Spankem (five) or Tiger Tara (seven).  It would almost certainly mean plenty of pressure to try and break him and potentially bring a horse like series points leader Cruz Bromac into contention after he fared poorly in the draw, copping the second line  But if Warwick and the Galactic Star’s connections decide the trail is the place to be then either of the well-favoured Kiwis, Pats Delight or Spankem, will fancy their chances of running to the front and therefore becoming the one to beat.   Spankem’s incredible rise throughout this series continued after the draw as he is now the $2.80 favourite for the classic just six weeks after punters could have got $41 for him to win it.  He has thrilled co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen with how he has bounced through his three heats but she has decided to stick with Cruz Bromac as her drive out of loyalty, having driven him five times for five wins.  That means training partner Mark Purdon takes the reins behind Spankem and gives him a shot at a unique piece of Inter Dominion history as he has won the last two pacing finals driving Smolda and Lazarus so could make it a three-peat on three different horses.  Spankem, who won only once last season as a three-year-old, is favourite over Pats Delight and Cruz Bromac still the third favourite even though his task looks enormously more difficult as he won’t be able to use his gate speed.  Gate speed and tactical decisions could also decide the A$150,000 Trotting Final on Saturday, which after the draw looks a two-horse race.  South Auckland trotter Speeding Spur has the advantage of barrier one giving co-trainer and driver Josh Dickie options of whether to stay in front or elects to trail favourite Tornado Valley.  The latter has drawn barrier six and may even have the raw speed to cross Speeding Spur but if the pair lead and trail it looks curtains for their rivals. (THESE FIELDS TO BE BROKEN OUT ON RUNNER PER LINE) The fields for the two Inter Dominion finals to be run at Melton on Saturday night are: $500,000 Inter Dominion Pacing Final, 2760m mobile, 11.45 (NZtime) 1: Galactic Star 2: Can’t Refuse 3: Im Pats Delight 4: Mach Doro 5: Spankem 6: Maximan 7: Tiger Tara 8: San Carlo (1 second line) 9: Cruz Bromac 10: Our Uncle Sam 11: Wrappers Delight 12: Audi Hare (em) 13: Cash N Flow A$150,000 Inter Dominion Trotting Final, 2760m, 11.08 NZtime 1: Speeding Spur 2: Monty Python 3: Save Our Pennys 4: Rompers Monarchy 5: Big Jack Hammer 6: Tornado Valley 7: Sky Petite 8: Illawong Armstrong (1 second line, em) 9: Tough Monarch 10: Kingdom Come 11: Kyvalley Blur 12: Wilmas Mate 13: Red Hot Tooth   Michael Guerin

Five-year-old New Zealand-bred gelding Simba Bromac boasts a winning record of 61 per cent and he has good prospects of making a successful return to racing after a spell when he starts from the No. 2 barrier in the $25,000 Westral Vertical and Panel Blinds Free-For-All at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He will be driven by Chris Lewis for Ravenswood trainer Nathan Turvey and should be prominent against stiff opposition from the three smart pacers from the Forrestdale stables of Greg and Skye Bond, Our Jimmy Johnstone, El Jacko and Rock Diamonds. Simba Bromac, whose 31 starts have produced 19 wins, six seconds and three thirds, warmed up for his first-up assignment in fine style with a dashing win over Chiaroscuro in a 2185m trial at Pinjarra last Sunday morning when he was not asked for an effort until the final stages when he sprinted over the final 400m in 27.7sec. This will be Simba Bromac’s first appearance since he began speedily from barrier seven, set the pace and sprinted over the final quarters in 27.9sec. and 27.3sec. to win by three lengths from Mitch Maguire at a 1.57 rate over 2130m on August 31. Ten-year-old Our Jimmy Johnstone, to be handled by Dylan Egerton-Green, still possesses excellent gate speed and a strong competitive attitude. He will begin from barrier four and looks set to fight out the finish. So, too, does the enigmatic, but highly talented El Jacko, who will be driven by Ryan Warwick from the coveted No. 1 barrier. El Jacko notched his 17th victory from 42 starts last Friday week when he started from the outside of the back line and charged to the front after 550m on his way to a stylish victory over Kimani. Turvey also holds a strong hand in the Westral Timber Blinds Pace in which he will be represented by the polemarker Livura and Carter Micheal at barrier two in the 2130m event. He will handle Carter Micheal and Chris Lewis will be in the sulky behind Livura. Lewis drove Livura to an effortless victory over Bad Round and El Machine, rating 1.57.3 over 2130 at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week. That ended a losing sequence of 16 and was the seven-year-old’s 20th win from 87 starts. Carter Micheal is racing with refreshing enthusiasm and looks hard to beat. He raced in seventh position on the pegs and was eighth 100m from the post before he sprinted fast to finish an eye-catching third behind Our Max Phactor over 2130m last Friday night. In what appears to be a highly competitive race, the Greg and Skye Bond-trained Saying Grace will have many admirers after winning at six of his past nine starts. He began off 40m and worked forward in the middle stages to race in the breeze when a close second to Carrera Mach over 2503m at Bunbury last Saturday night. He won easily at Kellerberrin and Pinjarra at his two previous outings.     Ken Casellas

Six-year-old Our Max Phactor arrived in Western Australia completely unheralded at the end of August and has been a revelation under the care of leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, with his 11 starts in the State producing ten wins and a close second placing. And this remarkable run of success follows his modest career in New Zealand where he managed just nine wins from 70 starts. He has also shown exceptional qualities here as a standing-start specialist, with six wins from six stands, whereas he had ten runs in stands in New Zealand for one victory by a nose over the marathon trip of 3150m on the grass track at the spacious Hawera circuit. Ryan Warwick, in dazzling form in the sulky, has driven Our Max Phactor in all his races for the Bond camp and he is hoping that the Art Major gelding will maintain his winning ways when he starts off 20m (virtually 10m because there are no runners off the front) in the Mount Eden-No Dill Christmas Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. However, it is unlikely to be simply a walk in the park for Our Max Phactor, who will clash with other smart New Zealand-bred pacers in Mr Mojito and As Happy As Larry. Mr Mojito, to be driven by Chris Lewis for Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri, will start off 20m at his second appearance after a year’s absence. The six-year-old has raced only 28 times for 11 wins (seven in New Zealand, one in WA and three in Victoria). He resumed racing when he began off the 40m mark in a 2631m event at Pinjarra on Monday of last week when he moved forward in the first lap and then worked hard in the breeze before finishing an excellent first-up second to Saying Grace, with final quarters in 27.8sec. and 27.9sec. Mr Mojito was brought to Perth by ace New Zealand trainer-reinsman Mark Purdon at the end of 2016 when the gelding won the $50,000 Four-Year-Old Championship, beating Nathans Courage at a 1.56.2 rate over 2130m. A week later he was the 2/1 favourite in the Group 1 Golden Nugget, but wrecked his chances by hanging badly and he finished fifth behind Soho Tribeca, Nathans Courage, Chicago Bull and Natural Disaster. Victorian trainer-driver Kerryn Manning brought Mr Mojito to Perth late last year to contest the Inter Dominion Championship series in which he was unplaced in three heats. He has spent the past year in rehabilitation with Olivieri and he has the class to seriously test Our Max Phactor on Friday night. Seven-year-old As Happy As Larry is prepared and driven by Robbie Williams and he has been impressive in four outings since resuming from a spell. He raced wide in the early stages and then had a tough passage in the breeze when a fighting second to Mitch Maguire in a 2503m stand last Friday night. Ken Casellas

1 to 16 of 102
1 2 3 4 5 Next »