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Shannon Suvaljko has high hopes of continuing his remarkable run of successes with star harness racing mare Libertybelle Midfrew when he drives the New Zealand-bred six-year-old in the Westral Rhadsody Venetians Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The 47-year-old Suvaljko is riding on the crest of a wave and he boasts an outstanding record behind the Mike Reed-trained Libertybelle Midfrew, having driven her nine times for eight wins and a third placing. He drove the Christian Cullen mare at her first five starts in Western Australia in April-May 2014 for five wins, including the group 1 $150,000 WA Oaks when she beat The Parade by seven lengths. He recently resumed as her driver and has handled her at her past four starts for a third behind Bettors Fire and then to all-the-way victories from the prized No. 1 barrier at her next three outings. Libertybelle Midfrew fared well in the random draw for this week’s 2130m event and will start from barrier three on the front line with Change Stride and Mynameskenny on her inside. Change Stride and Mynameskenny each possesses excellent gate speed, but there is a strong chance that Suvaljko will be able to get Libertybelle Midfrew to the front soon after the start. Change Stride began speedily from barrier five in a 2130m event last Friday night and took the lead after 150m before Ryan Warwick opted to take the sit behind Tricky Styx 300m later. Mynameskenny, a winner at 20 of his 36 starts for Byford trainer John Oldroyd, steps up in class after his last-start victory over Three Blind Mice at Bunbury when he worked hard in the breeze before asserting his authority in the final stages. Reed has timed Libertybelle Midfrew’s preparation for the TABtouch interdominion championship series to perfection and Suvaljko was full of praise for the mare after her most recent win, when she led and fought on with fierce determination to defeat Run Oneover over 2130m in the group 3 Mount Eden Pace last Friday week. “They gave it to her a long way out … and there were some good horses behind us,” he said. “On the line she was strong and going away from them. She’s a great horse, running 28.2sec. coming into the bell and 27.1sec. down the back before coming home in 28.7sec. Not many horses do that.” Run Oneover, trained by Gary Hall sen., again looms large as a serious rival to Libertybelle Midfrew. To be handled by Clint Hall, Run Oneover will start from barrier five. He also started from the No. 5 barrier in the Mount Eden Pace in which he enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, before running home powerfully to fail narrowly. The Hall stable will also be represented in this week’s event by the consistent Cyamach and Waylade, who showed a return to his best form last Friday night when he raced in seventh position, four back on the pegs, before finishing strongly to be an eye-catching third behind Tricky Styx and Beaudiene Boaz. Cyamach, who has amassed $355,396 in prizemoney from 18 wins and 33 placings from 77 starts, is awkwardly drawn at barrier six, but Waylade has a handy draw at No. 2 on the back line. Heez On Fire, prepared by octogenarian Bill Horn, will again have the services of Chris Lewis and is sure to have many admirers after excellent performances at his first three runs after a seven-month absence. Heez On Fire trailed the pacemaker Libertybelle Midfrew in the Mount Eden Pace and was hampered for room in the home straight before finishing fast along the inside to be a close-up third. Two starts before that he flew home from last at the 250m mark to be second, a half-length behind the winner Libertybelle Midfrew. Suvaljko said he expected Libertybelle Midfrew to perform even better than she did when winning last Friday week when the mare was slightly underdone after not having been given a hoppled run in the week leading up to the race. “Actually, barrier three is not a bad draw,” he said. “Change Stride handed up last week, but they might want to lead this week. And Mynameskenny gets out okay, but he’s more a sit and kick horse in this grade. “The main ones to beat are drawn outside of Libertybelle Midfrew, so the chief aim will be to keep in front of Heez On Fire and Run Oneover. We will come out hard with the aim of leading. But if we can’t, I’ll be happy in the breeze --- and she will run home strongly. She’s pretty tough.”  Ryan Bell will handle Change Stride and Ryan Warwick will be in the sulky behind stablemate Simply Susational, who is poorly drawn at barrier seven. Ken Casellas

Promising mare Foxy Dame has recovered from a virus and in-form harness racing reinsman Shannon Suvaljko plans to end Sheer Rocknroll’s winning streak by proving superior when they clash in the 2536m Westral Quality Designed To Last Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Foxy Dame, trained at Henley Brook by Mike Reed, has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier and Suvaljko is planning for an all-the-way victory. “Foxy Dame will definitely hold out Sheer Rocknroll and she is ready to run a really good race in front,” Suvaljko said. The Ross Olivieri-trained Sheer Rocknroll, to be driven by Stuart McDonald, is handily drawn at barrier three. She is in outstanding form, winning at her past four starts and has won at seven of her past eight starts. She is a smart frontrunner, but can also unwind a spirited finishing burst. Foxy Dame warmed up for this week’s assignment in fine style last Friday night when she trailed the pacemaker Dodolicious before finishing fast to be an excellent second to that outstanding pacer. “They only sprinted over the final 200m,” Suvaljko said. “And the daughter of Badlands Hanover took ground off Dodolicious and hit the line well. “At her previous run, when she was recovering from a virus, Foxy Dame started from the back line and raced three back on the pegs and was badly blocked for a clear passage in the home straight. I didn’t pull the ear plugs and she got out with only 100m to go.” Foxy Dame will have to be at her best to defeat Sheer Rocknroll, a winner at 15 of her 35 starts who is in devastating form. Sheer Rocknroll has rated 1.56.4, 1.561, 1.56 and 1.56.7 in winning over 2130m at her past four starts. Suvaljko is also planning for an all-the-way win with the Reed-trained five-year-old Rycroft in the 2130m Westral Plantation Timber Shutters Pace in which he will start from the No. 2 barrier. “Obviously, Twoandahalf Tigers will be the one to beat,” Suvaljko said. “So we will have to keep him on our outside. Rycroft is a rolling type and I reckon he should win.”     Gary Hall jun., who will drive Twoandahalf Tigers, predicted a strong effort from his horse who will be having his first start for 18 weeks. “Twoandahalf Tigers is definitely a more genuine and better horse than Rycroft, but whether he can beat him first-up is questionable,” he said. Hall has given punters a lead by choosing to drive Bush Chook in preference to veteran Justlikelindt in the Westral Security Film And Window Tint Pace. He opted for Bush Chook after the David Young-trained gelding drew favourably at barrier two. Justlikelindt, trained by Lang Inwood, will start from barrier five and will be driven by Kim Prentice. Ten-year-old Justlikelindt has a losing sequence of 63, but his past two runs (with Hall in the sulky) have been encouraging. Two starts ago Justlikelindt raced three wide before working in the breeze and wilting to sixth behind Our Regal Ideal and last Friday night he raced three wide without cover for much of the way and fought on grandly from seventh at the bell to be third behind Qtown Rip Roaring and Fay Darling. Hall drove Bush Chook when he trailed the pacemaker Sprinter and finished a sound fourth to that smart pacer at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon.  Ken Casellas

Six-year-old Libertybelle Midfrew has struck peak form and is poised to become at Gloucester Park on Friday night, only the eighth harness racing mare in the 62-year history of the Mount Eden Pace to win the Group 3 $50,000 feature event. Her prospects in Friday night’s event  soared when she drew the prized No. 1 barrier and Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed and reinsman Shannon Suvaljko are planning for an all-the-way victory. In a major departure from the norm, the race will be decided over 2130m. The Mount Eden Sprint has been run over 1730m or 1700m for many years. The only mares to have won the Mount Eden Sprint, formerly known as the State Sprint Championship, and first run in 1955 when Bernie Cushing drove Village Chief to victory, are Dainty’s Daughter (1970), Pyramus (1971), Virgil Queen (1977), Kiwi Cloud (1978), Line On (1986), Whitbys Miss Penny (1992) and Sensational Gabby (2014). Reed has yet to train a winner of the Mount Eden Sprint, while Suvaljko will be keen to replicate his effort in 2010 when he drove 6/1 chance Real Life to an all-the-way win from barrier three in the Mount Eden Sprint. Reed has the high-priced New Zealand-bred Libertybelle Midfrew well and truly on track to be a major player in the TABtouch interdoiminion championship, which will get under way with the opening set of heats at Gloucester Park on November 25. The Christian Cullen mare started from barrier six and was a 25/1 chance in the 2015 Mount Eden Sprint when she finished strongly from seventh at the bell to be third behind Waylade and My Hard Copy. She also contested the 2014 Mount Eden Sprint when she started from barrier four and at 9/2. She ran home solidly, out wide, from eighth at the bell to be fifth behind Sensational Gabby. Libertybelle Midfrew cashed in on the preferential conditions for the 2536m Media Guild Cup and the 2130m Stratton Cup at her past two starts. Suvaljko made the most of the No. 1 barrier in both events in which Libertybelle Midfrew was untroubled to set the pace and win. She beat the fast-finishing Heez On Fire by a half-length in the Media Guild Cup and she sprinted over the final three quarters in 28.5sec., 27.3sec. and 28.1sec. when she scored by 4m from The Bucket List and Bettors Fire in the Stratton Cup. Her most recent success improved her record to 49 starts for 18 wins and 11 placings for earnings of $607,497.    Only two pacers have won the Mount Eden Sprint twice ---- Kolworth in 1961 and 1963 and Im Themightyquinn in 2011 and 2012. Trainer-reinsman Kyle Harper’s hopes of winning the Mount Eden Sprint again with Bettors Fire were dampened to a degree when the outstanding eight-year-old drew the outside barrier (No. 9). Bettors Fire led from the No. 1 barrier in 2013 when he defeated Im Victorious by almost three lengths at a 1.53.8 rate over 1730m. Then a year later Bettors Fire was a 20/1 chance when he surged home from the rear to be third behind Sensational Gabby. In last year’s race, Bettors Fire (14/1) thundered home from last the bell to be fourth behind Waylade. Last year’s winner Waylade will start from the No. 4 barrier on Friday night, but he faces a hard task after being unplaced at his past four starts. Waylade is one of five runners in the race prepared by champion trainer Gary Hall sen. Hall’s chief hope looks certain to be the brilliant five-year-old Beaudiene Boaz, who is awkwardly drawn at barrier seven on the front line. In the Stratton Cup last Friday week Beaudiene Boaz was restrained at the start from barrier six and raced at the rear in the field of eight before starting a three-wide move 550m from home. He fought on determinedly to finish sixth, three lengths behind the winner. The final fast sectionals recorded by Libertybelle Midfrew set Beaudiene Boaz a hopeless task. A week earlier Beaudiene Boaz gave a sample of his great class when he rated 1.52.9 to smash the track record for 2130m in winning the Navy Cup by two and a half lengths from the pacemaker Bettors Fire. Gary Hall jun. sent Beaudiene Boaz forward with a three-wide move from last with 1050m to travel and the Badlands Hanover stallion burst to the front 680m from home. His final quarters were run in 27.3sec. and 28.2sec. Comeback pacer Heez On Fire, now trained by Bill Horn, is ideally drawn on the inside of the back line and the WA-bred seven-year-old should enjoy a perfect run behind the likely pacemaker Libertytbelle Midfrew. Heez On Fire, to be handled by Chris Lewis, enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, when fifth behind Libertybelle Midfrew in the Stratton Cup last Friday week. That followed his eye-catching first-up effort a fortnight earlier when he was eighth and last 250m from home before sprinting brilliantly in the straight to finish second, just a half-length behind Libertybelle Midfrew. Ken Casellas

Byford harness racing trainer Brendan Abbott has high hopes of starting the Gloucester Park meeting on a successful note by winning the opening event, the third heat of the Retravision Westbred Pace, with lightly-raced five-year-old Blacklist. And he has an excellent second string in four-year-old Cams Resurgence. The son of Courage Under Fire, to be handled by Shannon Suvaljko, will start from the prized No. 1 barrier and Cams Resurgence (Peter Tilbrook) is favourably drawn at barrier three. The 41-year-old Abbott took both pacers to Kellerberrin on Sunday and they warmed up for Friday night’s event in good style, with Blacklist sustaining a spirited burst which carried him from ninth at the bell to victory, by a length from Cams Resurgence, who fought on determinedly after working hard in the breeze all the way. Blacklist has been raced sparingly since he made a successful debut fort trainer-reinsman Suvaljko when he won a qualifying heat of the Sales Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park in April 2014. Then, at his next start, Blacklist finished third behind Persistent Threat and Captain Oats in the group 1 $100,000 final of the Sales Classic. While Blacklist impressed with his solid finishing effort at Kellerberrin on Sunday, he is certain to be seen in a vastly different role on Friday night. Suvaljko will be keen to take full advantage of the inside barrier and give the gelding the opportunity to enjoy a pacemaking role. Blacklist is a smart frontrunner who set the pace when a close third to Mako Shadow over 2620m at Northam three starts ago. Two starts before that, at his first appearance after a spell, Blacklist led and was beaten by a margin of a half-head by C C Chevron over 1730m at Kellerberrin. Cams Resurgence gave a stout-hearted performance three starts ago when he raced wide early and then without cover before winning from the pacemaker Texan Tycoon over 1730m at Gloucester Park. Before that victory Abbott had prepared Gloucester Park winners in the past decade with Ricky Rainbow, Death Adda, Shez Sensational and Sukhovey Wind. In an even field on Friday night, Hindu Rajah, Muscle Torque, Sea Me Smile, Gotta Go Chocolate and Master Play will have admirers. Gotta Go Chocolate, who will start from the outside of the back line, caught the eye at 87/1 when he was sixth at the bell and finished fast to be third behind Royal Mach and Kinda Black over 2536m last Friday night. He worked hard before winning easily over 2569m at Bunbury at his previous outing. Muscle Torque, a lightly-raced six-year-old who will start from barrier five, will pay to follow. He raced three back on the pegs in fifth position but was blocked for a clear passage in the final circuit when an unlucky fifth behind Mako Shadow over 2130m last Friday night. Hindu Rajah, trained and driven by Aldo Cortopassi, chalked up his third win from ten starts when he raced in the breeze before fighting on to get up and defeat the pacemaker Karloo over 1730m at Kellerberrin on Sunday. Ken Casellas

High-priced New Zealand import Kiwi Legend will have a new driver when he runs in the $18,500 Choices Flooring Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night --- and he should prove hard to beat after a strong performance in a 2150m harness racing trial at Byford on Sunday morning. Shannon Suvaljko, who will take over the reins from Mark Reed on Friday night, handled the five-year-old in the trial in which he finished strongly to win by more than two lengths from Bonny Under Fire after covering the final quarters in 29.2sec. and 28.7sec. Reed has handled Kiwi Legend in all of his 20 WA starts for five wins and ten placings. The Art Major gelding had only two starts in New Zealand for two wins in February 2015. Nothing went right for Kiwi Legend at his latest appearance, at Gloucester Park three Friday nights ago. He was restrained to last in a field of nine from barrier seven and certainly was not suited with a moderate lead time of 37.7sec. and modest opening quarters in 29.8sec. and 29.9sec. before the tempo was lifted with final sections of 27.6sec. and 28.7sec., with Kiwi Legend out three wide. His form before that was good. He raced one-out and one-back when second to the speedy Risk two starts ago, after his previous five starts produced a win, three seconds and a third. Kiwi Legend’s major (and serious) rival on Friday night looms large in the form of Tact Major, an up-and-coming New Zealand-bred five-year-old trained by Gary Hall sen. Tact Major’s 13 starts have all been in WA and have produced seven wins and two placings. Tact Major has resumed after an absence of eight months in fine style with effortless wins at Kellerberrin and Gloucester Park. He is well drawn at barrier two on Friday night. He raced three wide for most of the journey in both those events before finishing strongly. Ohoka Assassin, who has won at two of his four starts since resuming after an absence of almost two years, cannot be underestimated. The seven-year-old trained by Greg and Skye Bond, will start from the inside of the back line and will have a perfect run if Kiwi Legend sets the pace. Kinda Black, a stablemate of Ohoka Assassin, is also worth consideration. He raced wide early and then worked hard in the breeze when a fighting second to Royal Mach over 2536m last Friday night. Ken Casellas

At the Stewards inquiry conducted on Monday 12 May 2014, Harness racing trainer Mr S Suvaljko pleaded guilty to a charge under HR190(1) with the particulars of the charge being that he as the trainer of LOVE IN THE DARK presented it to race at Pinjarra on 21 April 2014 with the prohibited substance alkalinising agents evidenced by a concentration of TCO2 in excess of 36 mmol/L in plasma. Following the adjournment of the inquiry on the 12 May 2014, Mr Suvaljko forwarded through materials which resulted in the inquiry being resumed on 19 May 2014 to formally admit these matters. The Stewards have now completed their deliberations on penalty and have determined to impose a disqualification of 2-years effective immediately. In regards to penalty the Stewards took into account: Mr Suvaljko’s personal circumstances. The seriousness of the offence. The nature of the prohibited substance, being classed as potentially performance enhancing. The levels in this case reported by the ChemCentre as being 38 mmol/L. Mr Suvaljko’s previous offences indicating this to be his third offence relating to TCO2. In addition, acting under the provisions of Rule 195, LOVE IN THE DARK has been disqualified from Race 6 at Pinjarra on 21 April 2014. Denis Borovica – General Manager Racing Integrity  

Superstar pacers Im Themightyquinn and Alta Christiano will start from the outside barrier in their events at Gloucester Park on Friday night and this disadvantage will not stop either from winning with something in reserve. Under the preferential barrier draw system each had to draw the No. 7 barrier on the front line. But Im Themightyquinn has a massive class advantage over his eight rivals in the 2536m Abbott And Company Printers Pace and Alta Christiano is vastly superior to his opposition in the 1730m Sully's Painting Pace. The star pacers from the Serpentine stables of leading trainer Gary Hall sen. will be driven by Gary Hall jun., fresh from four winners at Gloucester Park last Friday night and a treble at outer country track Narrogin on Tuesday night. Asked how he would rate Alta Christiano on a scale out of one hundred, Hall jun. didn't hesitate in replying with a 90. Unsurprisingly, he gave Quinny a rating of 100. The all-conquering father and son combination then agreed that the lightly-raced four-year-old Alta Christiano is a better pacer than Im Themightyquinn was at the same age. And that's high praise indeed, considering that as a four-year-old Im Themightyquinn won the group 1 McInerney Ford Classic, was third behind Power of Tara and Divisive in the group 1 Fremantle Cup, won the group 3 Winter Cup from Mysta Magical Mach and finished a head second to Maffioso in the group 1 $200,000 Chariots of Fire at Harold Park. "Alta Christiano hasn't quite got the high speed that Quinny's got," said Hall sen. "But he's got a high cruising speed," declared Junior. Hall jun. was delighted with Im Themightyquinn's superb first-up victory last Friday night when the nine-year-old made light of the heavy, rain-soaked track to rate 1.56.4 in easily defeating Rocket Reign and Hokonui Ben over 2130m. That was his first appearance after a seven-month absence as he recovered from a hairline fracture in his off hind cannon bone. "He felt just as good as he always has," he said. Hall surprised almost everyone last week when he drove Im Themightyquinn assertively from barrier five to send the gelding to the lead after about 170m before setting the pace over the 2130m journey. Over the longer journey of this week's event Hall is unlikely to set Im Themightyquinn alight from the No. 7 barrier and will bide his time before urging the champion forward. Please Release Me (barrier two) and Polak (three) are speedy beginners and noted frontrunners. Both Matt White (Please Release Me) and Mark Reed (Polak) are sure to be anxious to win the early speed battle. However, there is a possibility they might have to contend with a contest against the polemarker Whos Mistake, a speedy beginner and an all-the-way winner at Gloucester Park five starts ago. But whatever the outcome of the early speed battle there appears no possible chance that the pacemaker (or any other runner) will be able to withstand the blistering speed of Im Themightyquinn at the business end of the race. Hall almost certainly will adopt aggressive tactics with Alta Christiano by urging him forward from the wide barrier in the sprint event. There is no brilliance whatsoever among the six runners drawn inside of Alta Christiano. The polemarker Life Boat is an eight-year-old and the five are seven-year-olds. Life Boat has a losing sequence of 21 (without a placing), Courage On Fire has a losing sequence of six (one placing), The Burnside Flyer has a losing sequence of 23 (no placings), Terrifying has a losing sequence of 22 (no placings), Dominus Vobiscum has a losing sequence of 22 (two placings) and Ticket To Nowhere has a losing sequence of 23 (one placing). Even a casual student of form would reach a quick conclusion that Alta Christiano will be bursting to the front in the early stages of the race and that Arousing, an in-form mare drawn the inside of the back line, will enjoy a soft passage three back on the pegs before finishing into the placings. OLIVIERI SET TO STRIKE AGAIN Astute Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri will be out to enhance his reputation as a first-up specialist when Victorian pacer Shelby Cruzin makes his WA debut in the 2130m Alltools Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Followers of the Olivieri stable have cashed in recently when he scored victories with Finbar Abbey and Selkie when they were having their first start for him. Finbar Abbey won at Northam at his first appearance for almost three months and then won at his next two starts at Gloucester Park, including the Easter Cup. Then Selkie, at her first outing for Olivieri, gave a bold frontrunning display to win the Race For Roses last Friday night. Shelby Cruzin has been unplaced at his past five starts (all at Melton and against considerably more formidable opposition than he will meet at his WA debut). A half-brother to seven winners, he was successful six starts ago when he unwound a powerful finishing burst and sprinted over the final 800m in 57.4sec. and the last 400m in 28.4sec. when as an 80/1 outsider he beat Ginger Bliss at a 1.57.4 rate over 2190m at Maryborough on January 20. Shelby Cruzin has had 46 starts for nine wins on Victorian country tracks and ten placings and is the tightest assessed runner in Friday night's field, with a C7 classification. He fared poorly in the random draw and will start from the outside of the front line. One of his toughest rivals is sure to be Sign In, who broke a losing sequence of 17 when he begun speedily from barrier five, set the pace and beat Kristoff over 1780m at Northam on Thursday of last week. He is trained at Wanneroo by Debbie Padberg and reinsman Shannon Suvaljko is likely to make full use of his sparkling early speed from barrier three in a bid for the lead. LEDA McNALLY IS SET TO ATONE Outstanding mare Leda McNally should make amends for her defeat in the Race For Roses last Friday night by outsprinting her rivals in the 2130m TABtouch Breeders Stakes Prelude at Gloucester Park on Friday night. She is the class runner of the field and she has the ability to overcome her back-line draw to defeat another quality mare in Famous Alchemist, who fared badly in the random draw and will start from the outside of the front line. A victory on Friday night will exclude the winner from the ballot for the $40,000 final of the Breeders Stakes over 1730m the following Friday night. Leda McNally, trained at Pinjarra by Chris King, is an M10-class mare who has won 19 races and earned $284,458. Famous Alchemist, trained at Serpentine by Gary Hall sen., has an M6 classification and has amassed $262,349 from her 13 wins. Apart from Alkira Jetstar, an M3-class performer, all the other mares in the race are classified M0, M1 or M2. Leda McNally, driven by Chris Voak, was outstanding in defeat last week when she started off the back mark of 50 metres in the 2536m Race For Roses. A rain-soaked track made her task virtually impossible, but she put up a grand effort, running home determinedly from tenth at the bell to be third behind the pacemaker Selkie and Salliwood. Famous Alchemist finished last behind Pacific Warrior in a field of twelve in a 1730m event last Friday week. But punters should completely overlook that performance. Famous Alchemist started out wide at barrier six and raced three wide for most of the event in which she faded from third at the bell to last. She was superb at her previous appearance when she worked hard without cover before winning the $20,000 Golden Girls Mile from Maggies Mystery at Pinjarra, rating 1.54.4 over 1684m. Maggies Mystery, unplaced at her past two starts, is handily drawn at No. 2 on the back line and she is capable of a bold showing. THAT IS CORRECT GETS HIS CHANCE Eight-year-old That Is Correct has returned to racing after a spell in excellent form and he appeals as a good value bet in the 2503m Ross North Homes Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Trained at Serpentine by Matt Scott, That Is Correct will start from the No. 1 barrier on the front mark and Aiden De Campo will be keen to get the experienced standing-start performer away smoothly. That Is Correct impressed at his second appearance after a spell when he started rom 10m and raced four back on the pegs in seventh position before moving to fifth at the 400m mark and running home with a resolute burst to finish second to veteran performer Shardons Rocket over 2503m last Friday week. That followed his good first-up performance a week earlier when he finished strongly to be fifth behind Dundee Three over 2503m. That Is Correct was a fast-finishing winner over 2503m last September when he defeated smart performer Gday Mate. Shardons Rocket, from the back mark of 40m, and last-start winner Hez Got The Nod, off 20m, are likely to vie for favouritism and they look set to be prominent. Hez Got The Nod began fast off the 20m mark last Friday night and he came from eighth in the middle stages to move to fifth, three wide, at the bell before sustaining his strong effort to take the lead 300m from home and then hold on and win from Will Of iron and Sonic Classic. He is in peak form and cannot be underestimated. by Ken Casellas  

It was the frustration of Libertybelle Midfrew constantly being beaten by champion filly Venus Serena in feature events in New Zealand last summer that prompted her owners to put her on the market in February --- and that's when astute West Australian trainer Mike Reed pounced and purchased the brilliant daughter of Christian Cullen for long-time friends and clients Albert and Julie Walmsley. Reed had travelled to New Zealand with the prime objective of buying a yearling colt for the Walmsleys. But he changed his mind when he heard that Libertybelle Midfrew was available, albeit at a high price, well in excess of $100,000. It was an inspired decision and  Midfrew now ranks as the best three-year-old filly in Australia. She remained unbeaten for Reed at her five Australian starts when she gave another sensational performance to completely outclass her rivals in the $150,000 Gannon's WA Oaks at Gloucester Park on Friday night. This took her prizemoney for her new owners to $130,215 and boosted her career record to 16 starts for six wins, four placings and $261,227. The sky appears the limit for Libertybelle Midfrew, who will now be sent for a spell before being set for rich feature events next season, including the Golden Nugget Championship. "Three months ago we were wondering if we'd ever have another winner at Gloucester Park," Albert Walmsely said. "We've had moderate success, but not recently. And here we are now having a lovely celebration with Libertybelle Midfrew. "Mike said he was going to New Zealand to try to buy a yearling and then he rang me up and said that he hadn't got a yearling colt, but had a three-year-old filly, and the rest is history. We go back some 20 years. He rang me up in 1994 and asked me if I wanted to go halves with his wife (Sue) with Just Packapunch. And that was the start of a business relationship which has now become a very firm friendship." Just Packapunch proved to be a successful venture and the gelding showed his class with wins in a WA Pacing Cup prelude in December 1994 and the Easter Cup and Stratton Cup in 1995. Libertybelle Midfrew, favourite at 10/1 on, started swiftly from barrier five and Shannon Suvaljko took her past the polemarker Artistic Copper and into the lead after 450m. Libertybelle Midfrew then ambled through the first 400m section of the final mile in 31.9sec. before increasing the tempo with quarters of 30.4sec., 29.3sec. and 28.2sec. She careered away from her 11 rivals in the final stages to win, untouched, by more than seven lengths from The Parade (22/1), with a half-length to Dontdoubtme in third place. She rated 2.0.4 over the 2536m journey on the rain-soaked track. "She felt really good," Suvaljko said. "She's got better with every race. Tonight she was spot on and felt just amazing and went amazing. She's scary to drive and went to the line bolting. She would have run another half in 56sec. if I had asked her." Libertybelle Midfrew is the fifth foal out of Live Or Die mare Lucinda Midfrew, who had 49 starts for eight wins, nine placings and $52,599. IM THEMIGHTYQUINN SET FOR BRISBANE FEATURES Champion pacer Im Themightyquinn is being set for rich feature events in Brisbane in July after scoring a splendid first-up victory in the Gannon's Pacing Colours Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Leading West Australian trainer Gary Hall sen. said that he would take Im Themightyquinn and his brilliant stablemate Alta Christiano to Queensland for a series of major races. Hall said that Im Themightyquinn, now a nine-year-old and nearing the twilight of a magnificent career, was being set to contest the group 2 $60,000 Garrard's Sunshine Sprint at Albion Park on July 5, the group 1 $100,000 Blacks A Fake Championship over 2100m on July 19 and the $40,000 Redcliffe Cup on August 1. Alta Christiano is being set for two group 3 $45,000 events at Albion Park --- the Four And Five-Year-Old Championship on July 12 and the Four-Year-Old Championship on July 19. "There's a 20m maximum back mark for the Redcliffe Cup and he's got to have a start in a stand if he is to get a start in the Hunter Cup in Melbourne next season," Hall said. Torrential rain fell before and during Friday night's race in which Im Themightquinn was making his much-anticipated return to racing after a seven-month injury-enforced absence. He was favourite at 7/4 on from barrier No. 5 on the front line of the 2130m event and most punters and pacing fans expected Hokonui Ben, second fancy at 6/4, to set the pace from barrier two. However, Gary Hall jun. revved up Im Themightyquinn, who charged forward to burst to the lead after 170m. He was untroubled to surge past the polemarker Rocket Reign, who had easily beaten out Hokonui Ben. In a twinkling the result was a foregone conclusion. After a modest lead time of 37.5sec., Im Themightyquinn pulled hard and was untroubled to record sectionals of 30.4sec., 29.2sec., 28.4sec. and 28.6sec. He won by just under a length at a 1.56.4 rate from Rocket Reign, with two lengths to Hokonui Ben in third spot. "I had full intentions of going back at the start," Hall jun. said. "But when it was pouring and I got behind the mobile, with mud flying off the wheels, I changed my mind. I reckoned a $4.3 million horse didn't deserve to get mud in his face. "I knew that I would have had trouble seeing if I was back in the field. He's not the nicest horse to drive when you can't see where you're going. He was very keen off the gate and I decided to use that speed. Then I was a bit worried about the fact that he pulled so hard and was in danger of choking down coming into the bell. "He hasn't lost any will to win and he felt just as good as he always has. It was so exciting to be sitting behind him again." Hall sen. said that he would run Im Themightyquinn in a Free-For-All at Gloucester Park next Friday night and was seriously contemplating starting star four-year-old Alta Christiano (an effortless winner on Friday night) in the same event. "I am going to nominate both horses for the race which will have a preferential draw on M class," he said. "Alta Christiano is on an M1 mark and if there are only three M1s nominated he's got to draw one, two or three. I wouldn't want to start him off the back line." SELKIE TRIUMPHS AT FIRST RUN FOR OLIVIERI Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri has conjured his magic to transform moderate country performer Selkie into a giant killer. Five-year-old Selkie entered his stables only a month ago with a losing sequence of 12 and she was the first emergency for the $35,000 Schweppes Mix With The Best Race For Roses at Gloucester Park on Friday night. She gained a start when consistent in-form mare Jungle Genie was scratched. Champion reinsman Chris Lewis, who was nominated to drive fellow frontmarker Mene Jaccka in the 2503m stand, then took the drive behind Selkie and Mark Reed was engaged for Mene Jaccka, who had been driven by Lewis when she led and won at Northam at her most recent outing. Despite having managed just one placing at her previous 12 starts since winning in weak company at Busselton in December, Selkie was all the rage with punters and she was a firm 5/2 favourite. Selkie stepped away speedily and was never under any pressure as she set the pace and romped to victory by three lengths over 10/1 chance Salliwood (who trailed her throughout), with outstanding mare Leda McNally, the backmarker off 50m, finishing powerfully from tenth at the bell to be third. "Ross was telling me about a month ago to be ready to drive this horse ... and he was spot on," Lewis said. "She just moved along beautifully. The track was reasonably heavy on the inside and she handled that well and was always in control. I've got no doubt that in this type of competition that she will win more races. She's got a bit of class." Managing part-owner David Gravolin praised Olivieri, Lewis and farrier Tommy Sheehy, saying: "Ross has done a sensational job with this mare and Chris drove her to perfection. Tommy has done a fantastic job with the shoeing and this has made her run a lot better." Selkie, a winner at five of her 25 New Zealand starts, has won four times from 22 starts in WEA and now has a record of 47 starts for nine wins, five placings and $66,421. Her win gave Olivieri and Lewis their third success in the Race For Roses. Olivieri trained Yippi Yi Yo (Craig Goldfinch) for her win in 1998 and he combined with Lewis to win with Arctic Fire in 2011. Lewis was also successful with the Graham Tindale-trained Lady de Beau in 2007. PADBERGS ON FIRE WITH FIVE WINNERS Wanneroo businessman and prominent owner John Padberg and his wife, trainer Debbie, are celebrating their most successful 24 hours in the sport of harness racing. A double with The Feather Foot ($21.60) and Hez Got The Nod ($8.40) at Gloucester Park on Friday night followed a treble with Spendthelot ($4.80), Sign In ($8.50) and What God Knows ($23.50) at Northam the previous evening. And John Padberg attributes this great burst of form to a recent decision to work their horses harder. "The reason for these successes is because we have changed our trackwork," he said. "We were tracking very soft and now we're changed our routine and are tracking a lot harder. "Our star trackworkers over the past week have been Rocket Reign (second to Im Themightyquinn on Friday night), The Feather Foot, Spendthelot and Salliwood (second at 10/1 to Selkie in the Race For Roses on Friday night). The Padbergs also had two other placegetters (Alta Onassis and Harry Em) at the Northam meeting. The Feather Foot has proved a tremendous bargain for Padberg and stable workers Michael Tenardi and Luke and Isaac Edwards, who outlaid just $4000 to claim the WA-bred seven-year-old last July. Since then the son of former champion The Falcon Strike was earned $38,053 from two city-class wins and ten placings from 26 starts to take his career record to 95 starts for 14, 23 placings and $172,921. Luke Edwards drove the Feather Foot, a 20/1 chance, to a fine victory in the 2130m Gannon's WA Owned And Operated Pace on Friday night. After starting from the inside of the back line The Feather Foot trailed the pacemaker The Oyster Bar (9/2) before getting clear on the home and sprinting fast to beat that pacer by just over a length, with Our Arlington (4/1) running home strongly from the rear to be third. "He's definitely a rails horse and he can reel off a real good time if he lands on the leader's back or three back on the fence," Edwards said. "We claimed him as a stable horse. John picked him out and we told him that he was mad. But he's been a good earner and is a favourite at the stable." Hez Got The Nod, a 15/2 chance, made light of his back mark of 20m by scoring a fighting victory in the 2503m Gannon's Supporting Harness Racing Pace. Driven by Shannon Suvaljko, he began speedily and raced in eighth position before starting a three-wide move approaching the bell. He sustained a strong run to be second at the 600m before taking the lead 300m from home and then fighting of determinedly to beat Will Of Iron, who broke for a couple of strides soon after the start, but then enjoyed a perfect run behind the pacemaker Melton Express. The margin was a head, with one metre to Sonic Classic, who finished solidly from eighth on the pegs at the bell. "He flies the stand and makes up so much ground in the first 50 metres," Suvaljko said. "He is not just a leader; he can do some work." Hez Got The Nod won once from 22 starts in New Zealand (in a low-grade non-winners event at Oamaru in January 2012) before having 11 starts in New South Wales for four wins and six placings. His record now stands at 55 starts for 12 wins, 23 placings and $95,491. Hez Got the Nod is by Grinfromeartoear and is the third foal out of Falcon Seelster mare Dumbeath, the mother of Mevagissey (141 starts for 17 wins, 27 placings and $171,709) and Dartmoor (223 starts for 34 wins, 51 placings and $407,310). The 12-year-old Dartmoor won the group 1 Australian Pacing Championship from No Blue Manna and Hayton Brain at Gloucester Park in March 2008. He is still racing in claiming events in Victoria. HALL TRAINS FIVE WINNERS New Zealand-bred six-year-old Notabadexcuse, a bargain buy at $20,000 for prominent owner Glen Moore late last year, completed a highly successful evening for premier trainer Gary Hall sen. at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he scored a strong victory in the 1730m Schweppes Agrum Pathway Pace. This gave Hall his fifth winner for the night, after victories with Vapour, Some Kinda Tactics, Alta Christiano and Im Themightyquinn. Notabadexcuse was heavily supported to start favourite at 10/9 on and after starting from the No. 5 barrier on the front line and racing three wide in the early stages he worked hard in the breeze as 12/1 chance My lady of the Night set a solid pace. Gary Hall jun. sent Notabadexcuse to the front 100m from the post and the Live Or Die gelding fought doggedly to win by a metre from 16/1 chance The Marble Ridge, who ran home strongly after trailing the pacemaker all the way. "He's capable of going through the classes," said Hall sen., who has prepared the gelding for four starts for a win and a third placing for stakes of $6080. The gelding's overall record now is 53 starts for nine wins, 16 placings and $56,280. The win gave Hall jun. his fourth win of the night, after scoring with Vapour, Alta Christiano and Im Themightyquinn. Vapour (5/4) carried too many guns for his rivals in winning the 2130m Gannon's Trophies And Awards Pace. Vapour started from the back line and Hall settled him in seventh place in the one-wide line while polemarker and 7/4 second fancy Conniving Major Dave set a solid pace. Hall started a three-wide move 1050m from home and Vapour moved to second with 500m to travel before bursting clear at the 150m mark and racing away to score by just under two lengths from Conniving Major Dave, with last-start winner Ohoka Squire a very close third after enjoying the run of the race behind the leader. Vapour rated 1.56.3 after final sectionals of 28.2sec. and 28.7sec. "I thought his previous run (when ninth behind Alta Christiano) was his best run he's put up for us," Hall said. "He went three wide and Alta Christiano was out running in front. And Vapour never stopped making ground until the last 150m when he got a bit tired. "I was really impressed with that run and I threw him out as one of my best drives for the night. I got outside the leader about the 400m and he really dropped the bit and I thought that we had done our dash. But when I pulled the plugs and got stuck into him he really found another gear. At the 400m I didn't think that he would race away with it as he did." Vapour, by American stallion Jeremes Jet, had 16 starts in New Zealand for three wins and five placings. His eight wins and five placings in WA have boosted his record to 11 wins and ten placings from just 31 starts for earnings of $64,837. Alta Christiano, favourite at 10/1 on, made a one-act affair of the first heat of the 2130mThe Stables Bar Pure Steel Pace when he had no trouble in setting the pace from barrier one and winning by five lengths from 66/1 outside Robbery, who finished strongly from three back on the pegs to snatch third place from 15/1 chance Lisharry, who had trailed the leader all the way. After a slow lead time of 38.3sec. Alta Christiano dashed over the final quarters in 29.1sec., 28.8sec., 28.6sec. and 27.9sec. The 2013 WA Derby winner rated a slick 1.55.3 as he improved his WA record to seven wins and a third placing from eight starts. He has already amassed $286,164 from 11 wins and two placings from 16 starts. "He was obviously the winner from the draw," Hall said. "We're using these races to get him really race fit. Just looking at him you can tell he's a long way off from being right. He is a gross sort of horse and he's tightening up with every run and he wants to do more every time he comes down here. "He fought me a little bit tonight for the first half and punched out some solid sectionals while doing it. I was a little bit worried that he might get a bit tired with the condition he's got on him. But he was strong on the line." Some Kinda Tactics, having his second start after a six-month absence, bounced back to top form with an impressive victory in the 2130m Paddington Ale House Pace. Starting from barrier three on the back line and equal favourite at 4/1 with polemarker Carters Rocket, Some Kinda Tactics was driven aggressively and confidently by 19-year-old Lauren Jones. Jones sent the Dream Away six-year-old forward, with a fast three-wide burst after 700m and he quickly moved outside then pacemaker carters Rocket. Some Kinda Tactics forged to the front on the home turn and won easily from Carters Rocket and Anvils Big Punt, rating 1.59.6 after a final quarter of 28.5sec. This ended a losing sequence of ten and a 12-month drought. "He had no luck first-up last week (when hampered for room and finishing ninth behind Little Boy Blue)," Jones said. "Down the back straight he was travelling and I knew that I had a whole lot of horse left." Some Kinda Tactics, a winner of one race from four starts in New Zealand, has raced 30 times in WA for 11 wins and four placings. FIREBOMB BRED TO BE A GOOD WINNER Four-year-old Firebomb, impressive winner of the 2130m Gannon's Presentation Rugs Westbred Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night, is bred to be a success on the racetrack. By former New Zealand champion Elsu, Firebomb's maternal granddam, the Victorian-bred Larrakeyah Lady won 11 races and $78,131 and then produced nine winners of 178 races. The most notable of Larrakeyah Lady's winners were Safe And Sound, Gold Rocket and Massarua. Safe And Sound amassed $995,606 from 33 wins and 30m placings from 84 starts, Gold Rocket had 122 starts for 36 wins, 37 placings and $393,387 and Massarua was a veteran of 216 starts for 42 wins, 59 placings and $282,692. Firebomb, trained at Mt Helena by Ray Williams, was a 15/2 chance from the outside of the back line and Ryan Warwick quickly manoeuvred him into sixth position in the one-wide line, with polemarker and 6/4 favourite Adda Notherzero setting the pace. Ti Amo Franco raced in the breeze in the middle stages and he got to the front 250m from home. However, he was unable to withstand Firebomb's powerful finishing burst which carried him to the front 40m from the post. Firebomb won by a metre and rated 2.0.8 on the heavy track. Firebomb looks set to improve considerably on his record of ten wins and nine placings from just 31 starts for earnings of $54,859. by Ken Casellas  

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

Powerful New Zealand-bred filly has the $150,000 Gannon’s WA Oaks at Gloucester Park next Friday night at her mercy, according to reinsman Shannon Suvaljko. Suvaljko issued a chilling warning to the Christian Cullen filly’s rivals when he declared that she was probably the best horse he has driven. “She has gone to the line charging, with the plugs in,” he said after driving her to a runaway victory in the Slater Gartrell Money Magnet WA Oaks Prelude at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “So, look out next week. A good barrier in the final always helps, but she looks like she’s got the better of them (her rivals) and I think she will just keep getting better. “She’s all class and I knew that they would hold her out tonight. That wasn’t a worry because we wanted to give her a good (solid) run tonight in preparation for the 2536m final next week.” Libertybelle Midfrew, trained by Mike Reed, has not been extended in winning at all four of her starts in Western Australia and is certain to be a short-priced favourite in the final of the Oaks. She was favourite at 5/1 on in Friday night’s 2130m prelude in which she started from the No. 3 barrier on the front line. Polemarker Maddy White led for the first 150m before Colin Brown sent Jungle Jewel, second favourite at 10/1 from barrier two, to the lead. After a fast lead time of 36.5sec., Jungle Jewel went through the first 400m section of the final mile in a comfortable 31.1sec. Then the tempo increased and the final quarters went by in 29.3sec., 28.1sec. and 28.6sec., with Libertybelle Midfrew rating 1.56.1. This was a track record for the distance by a three-year-old filly, breaking the 1.56.8 rated by Millwood Meg in June 2010 and Korobeit Angel in May 2013. Libertybelle Midfrew exploded past Jungle Genie at the 600m mark and she quickly opened up a two length lead before coasting to victory by just over five lengths from 14/1 third fancy Dontdoubtme, who was eighth at the bell and impressed with her sparkling late burst of speed. Maddy White (201) trailed the pacemaker and held on to be fourth, with The Parade running home nicely from tenth at the bell to be fourth. Jungle Genie faded to a distant eleventh.

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

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

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

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

Elegant Christian ran a dazzling trial for the $200,000 WA Derby next Friday night when he gave a sparkling frontrunning display to win the $50,000 TABtouch Western Gateway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. "I'll take them on again next week and I think we'll have a similar result," declared Clint Hall after driving the inexperienced New Zealand-bred gelding, hot favourite at 3/1 on, to a stylish victory over Classic American (54/1) and Eyre Crusher (14/1) to give master trainer Gary Hall sen. the trifecta which returned a dividend of $340.10 for a $1 investment. Hall sen. now has won the Western Gateway Pace three times, having driven The Falcon Strike to victory in 2001 and scoring with Alta Christiano in 2013 when the colt was driven by Gary Hall jun. Elegant Christian now has won at six of his seven starts, all in Western Australia, with his only defeat coming at the start before Friday night's success, when he was suffering from a mouth ulcer and hang in badly throughout before finishing a half-head second to Mister Jadore. This problem has been cured and the Hall camp is looking forward to the Derby with great confidence. Elegant Christian burst straight to the front from the prized No. 1 barrier on Friday night and dashed over the lead time in a slick 35.6sec. when challenged early by Bettor Offer, who mustered plenty of early pace from the outside of the front line. Hall then was able to get Elegant Christian to relax and go through the first two 400m sections of the final mile in 30.3sec. and 30.5sec. before sprinting the third quarter in 28.2sec. and coming home in 29.1sec. to record a smart mile rate of 1.56.1 over the 2130m. Elegant Christian's stablemate Machtu, second favourite at 4/1, settled in eighth place before Kim Prentice sent him forward to move to third, out three wide, at the bell. Machtu fought on grandly to finish fifth, with Bettor Offer wilting to seventh. Fourth place went to Mister Jadore, who had followed the three-wide run of Machtu. The win boosted Elegant Christian's earnings to $92,540. Classic American, driven by Chris Voak, was most impressive. He was last in the field of 12 at the bell before unleashing a brilliant finishing burst, out wide of the track. Eyre Crusher trailed the pacemaking Elegant Christian throughout and was badly blocked for a clear passage in the concluding stages. "We expected some early pressure after his last-start defeat," said Clint Hall. "But we were very happy and confident with the horse leading into the race. I thought it would be detrimental to the chances of any horse who took Elegant Christian on early, and I think that was shown in the end. "Elegant Christian is a terrific horse. Down the back I wasn't quite sure how much he had left. He never really travels like that he's got that much left. But once I let him down he had plenty left. I knew I had the two outside of him beaten and I was just worried about Eyre Crusher then. "He's a typical Christian Cullen. He goes to the gate charging and as soon as they move away from his head he just drops the bit and does what we ask him to do." SOHO VALENCIA GETS UP IN THE FINAL STRIDE Victorian-bred five-year-old Soho Valencia further illustrated his wonderful potential and showed that he would be a major player in the feature summer carnival events next season with a fighting victory in the 2130m Princi Butchers Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Shannon Suvaljko drove a canny race in front with polemarker Franco Torres, the 8/1 third favourite behind Soho Valencia (7/4 on) and Lovers Delight (11/2) and he just failed, with Soho Valencia being fully extended in getting up to snatch victory by a nose. Soho Valencia, trained by Gary Hall sen., started from barrier three on the back line and Clint Hall settled the horse into eighth position in the one-wide line after Franco Torres had recorded a modest lead time of 37.4sec. and a first quarter in only 30.6sec. Suvaljko then increased the tempo and Franco Torres reeled off the next three quarters in 29.7sec., 27.8sec. and 28.6sec.Hall started a three-wide move with Soho Valencia approaching the bell and the horse was eighth with a lap to travel. Hall had to drive Soho Valencia hard to gain a last-stride victory by the barest possible margin. The winner rated 1.56.4 and boosted his record to 20 wins, nine placings and $320,902 from 36 starts. He has raced four times in Western Australian for two wins and two seconds. "They drove clever races up front and our hands were tied," said Clint Hall. "We had to come with one run. We thought we would save him up a bit longer tonight and come out about the 800m. If we had come out at the 1200m it might have made the difference (winning more convincingly). "Once I pulled the plugs (after turning for home) he felt like he was going to get the leader. But the leader kept kicking and made him fight it out right to the line." The stewards fined Hall $200 for an incorrect whip action in the final stages of the race. MISTER SHEEDY GIVES JONES A BIRTHDAY PRESENT Former Victorian pacer Mister Sheedy gave Lauren Jones, a recent arrival in Western Australia from Queensland, a wonderful 19th birthday present at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he scored a game win in the 2130m TAB Funding The Industry Pace. Mister Sheedy was driven confidently by Jones and his win gave master trainer Gary Hall sen. the first of four winners on the ten-event program. He was also successful with Alta Christiano, Soho Valencia and Elegant Christian. But celebrations were dampened somewhat when Mister Sheedy pulled up after the race with a fractured nearside pedal bone, an injury which will keep him out of action for at least 12 months and could quite likely spell the end of his racing career. For Jones, who answered an advertisement a couple of months ago to work for the powerful Hall training establishment in Serpentine, this was her first Metropolitan-class success in the State. Mister Sheedy, a six-year-old and winner of 13 races from only 39 Victorian starts, was making his WA debut on Friday night. He was drawn to start from the outside (barrier two) on the back line in a field of nine and was heavily supported to start favourite at 6/4 on. Polemarker Kotare Ash, second fancy at 9/2, withstood an early challenge from Anvils Big Punt and after she went through the lead time in a reasonable 37.1sec., Jones, who had settled Mister Sheedy in the favourable one-out, one-back position, seized the initiative and sent the gelding forward with a three-wide burst to move into the breeze 100m later. Kotare Ash began to wilt approaching the home turn and Jones sent Mister Sheedy to the front with 150m to travel. He went on to win at a 1.59.9 rate over the 2130m journey by one metre from 22/1 chance Rojen Cruz, who was seventh at the bell and charged home out six wide on the track. A close third was 12/1 chance Anvils Big Punt, who raced without cover early before gaining the one-out, one-back sit behind Mister Sheedy. Mister Sheedy, by American stallion Presidential Ball, has earned $85,688 from 14 wins and 13 placings from 40 starts. He had been unplaced at his final four Victorian starts and was having his first start since finishing ninth in a 1720m event at Melton last November. He is the second foal out of New South Wales-bred mare Intoxicating (by Chandon) who had 47 starts for 12 wins, ten placings and $79,060. PEMBROOK HENRY ENDS LOSING RUN OF 34 Veteran New Zealand-bred pacer Pembrook Henry is thriving on racing and after breaking a losing sequence of 34 by winning the 2503m TAB Bet Today Collect Today Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night reinsman Chris Lewis predicted further successes for the hardy nine-year-old. "If he begins as fast as he did tonight there's definitely a few more wins in him," said Lewis after Pembrook Henry, a 9/1 chance, had begun speedily from barrier five on the front line in the stand and led all the way. "You like to see them jump away that quick and that was a boost to his confidence (getting straight to the front). Then we were able to get the sections we needed and he hit the line fairly solidly." Pembrook Henry, trained by Ross Olivieri, had finished second at each of his four runs since resuming in late February after a two-month break. His task on Friday night was made easier by the scratching of noted frontrunner and last-start winner Major Fury and the bad manners of polemarker and 5/2 favourite Copagrin, who galloped at the start and dropped back to fifth. Frontmarker Maggies Mystery also was slow to begin and Lewis was able to shoot Pembrook Henry straight to the front. Callan Suvaljko dashed Copagrin forward, three wide, in the first lap to move into the breeze after a lap had been completed. After opening sections of the final mile in 31.1sec. and 30.8sec., Lewis gave the opposition little chance as he urged Pembrook Henry to move up a gear. The oldstager, owned by Montana Stark, sprinted the final quarters in 29sec. and 28.2sec,. and he won by just over a length from Copagrin, with Compact Rocket finishing third after trailing the leader all the way. Pembrook Henry, whose previous win was at Melton in July 2012, is the latest beneficiary of the drop-down rule which enables pacers handicapped M2 or better to drop down one classification after every losing sequence of ten. Pembrook Henry arrived in Western Australia in the winter of 2012 as an M3-class pacer and he has dropped back to an M1 mark which enabled him to start off the front line in Friday night's event. Now a winner of one race from 21 WA starts, Pembrook Henry won three races in New Zealand and 11 times in Victoria. WILKINS LUCINDA RELISHES THE INSIDE DRAW The tremendous advantage of the No. 1 barrier at Gloucester Park was further illustrated on Friday night when Wilkins Lucinda, a four-year-old mare with a losing sequence of nine, made full use of the inside draw by setting a fast pace and scoring an easy win in the 1730m Gannons Pace for mares. Most punters took little heed of her favourable barrier and the Noel Keiley-trained mare was a 10/1 chance, with Jungle Genie favourite at 7/4 on from barrier two on the back line. Aldo Cortopassi got Wilkins Lucinda away to a flying start and the mare gave her rivals very little chance by speeding over the final four 400m sections in 28.5sec., 29.5sec., 29sec. and 28.4sec. She recorded a slick 1.54.8 rate and took her record for owner Stan Wilkins to 39 starts for seven wins, 13 placings and stakes of $80,979, a figure boosted by her third to Lucky Joy in the group 1 $100,000 State Sires Series for two-year-old fillies in July 2012 and her win in a $25,000 listed classic for three-year-olds last June. By Rich And Spoilt, Wilkins Lucinda is the fourth foal out of Shoneer Lobell, who won five races in New South Wales and five in WA for earnings of $52,353. Wilkins Lucinda is a full-sister to Sheer Dreams (157 starts for 19 wins, 47 placings and $153,994) and Sweet Charlee (67 starts for 11 wins, 17 placings and $77,630). Cortopassi said that he had given Wilkins Lucinda an excellent winning chance after driving her the previous Friday night when she had to be retired with broken gear. "Forget last week," he said. "She was going extremely well when she broke a hopple. And tonight I was not worried after she had run the opening quarter in 28.5sec. She actually had her ears pricked. She was happy in doing what she was doing, just happy to be rolling along. So I let her do what she wanted." AROUSING FOLLOWING IN HER DAM'S FOOTSTEPS Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri's honest mare Arousing maintained her consistent form when she was driven a treat by Kristian Hawkins to win the 2130m The West Australian Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Arousing, who has earned $86,818 from nine wins and 22 placings from 82 starts, is following the steps of her dam Roustabout, who showed considerable promise with two wins in New Zealand and two in WA before being retired with earnings of $33,171 after only 12 starts. Roustabout, by Christian Cullen, showed her class by winning the group 3 Empress Stakes from Precious Maiden and Sovereign Beejay at Gloucester Park in March 2006. Arousing is her first foal and Arousing's younger half-sister Loving You finished third behind Frith in the group 1 WA Oaks last year and has a record of 33 starts for seven wins, 11 placings and $70,292. Hawkins drove Arousing at Gloucester Park for the second time at her previous start three weeks earlier when the mare finished sixth behind Southern Legacy. He admitted after Friday night's victory that he was to blame for the mare's unplaced effort, saying: "I slaughtered her at her last start, so I knew I had to be patient this week whereas I wasn't at her previous run." Arousing, favourite at 11/4 from the No. 2 barrier, challenged unsuccessfully for the early lead, but polemarker Chillin Dylan (13/4) held up and Hawkins cleverly slotted Arousing in behind the pacemaker 200m after the start. The Oyster Bar (3/1) broke into a gallop after 200m and outsider Touch Me Toes moved up to race in the breeze, giving My Bachelors Delight a perfect sit, one-out and one-back. Arousing appeared to be in all sorts of trouble half-way down the back straight in the final circuit when Chillin Dylan began to weaken, shuffling Arousing back to fifth. Hawkins kept his composure and eventually was able to ease Arousing off the pegs 350m from home. Arousing finished determinedly to hit the front close to home and win by a half-length from My Bachelors Delight, who had taken the lead with 520m to travel and had opened up a, lead of two lengths at the 100m mark. "I knew I had plenty of horse in my hands, but Aiden's horse (Aiden De Campo's My Bachelors Delight) had a pretty handy break on me at the right time," Hawkins said. "It just came down to a bit of luck when we got out." LITTLE BOY BLUE IS A GREAT INVESTMENT How do you multiply an investment by five times? It's simple. Buy your wife a pacer for $10,000 and watch it as he earns $50,660m in the space of eight months. That's what Waroona horseman Bob Mellsop did last July. He outlaid $10,000 to purchase Little Boy Blue Blue to give to his wife Val as a birthday present. Little Boy Blue, driven by Kiara Davies, set a fast pace and outclassed his rivals in the TAB Radio Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. His four-length victory over I Am Legend took his record for his new owner to five wins and six placings from 19 starts. And that boosted the New Zealand-bred five-year-old's career record to 58 starts for 13 wins, 20 placings and $117,276. Everything fell into place for Little Boy Blue, who started from the No. 3 barrier on the front line and second favourite at 11/4. Polemarker Carters Rocket, an all-the-way winner the previous week, galloped badly at the start and dropped back to a distant last and I Am Legend paced roughly after starting from barrier two. Davies grabbed the heaven-sent opportunity to dash Little Boy Blue straight to the front and the gelding charged through the lead time in a fast 35.4sec. as he established a three-length lead over I Am Legend. This left the 7/4 favourite Mighty Flying Thomas in the breeze. Davies let Little Boy Blue roll along in the lead and he sped over the final two quarters in 29.2sec. and 28.6sec. to leave his nine rivals floundering in his wake. I Am Legend fought on to be second, almost a length in front of Mighty Flying Thomas. The winner rated a smart 1.55.8 over the 2130m trip. "When the one galloped and the two went rough, I just went for it," Davies said. "And once I saw them coming (in the back straight in the final lap) I thought I'd get them running because Little Boy Blue is pretty hard to catch once he gets going." CONNIVING MAJOR DAVE BOUNCES BACK Tenth placings at each of at his past two appearance and just one minor placing from his past seven starts did not deter many smart punters who cashed in when Aiden De Campo drove Conniving Major Dave to victory in the 2130m British Night Next Friday Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Conniving Major Dave started from barrier four on the front line and he enjoyed a perfect passage in the one-out, one-back position before finishing boldly to defeat the pacemaker Ohoka Squire (9/2) by a neck, with Grand Cru fighting on from sixth at the bell to be third. "His past two starts weren't his fault," said de Campo. "It was probably my fault, hitting a couple of wheels. He trialled well on Wednesday when he got over Dasher VC, sitting on him and running a quick last half. "Tonight I was pretty confident if he got the right sit and steered tractably. He got down a bit on the last bend which cost us a length or so. But he was still good enough to win. He's got a lot to learn and I really like the horse. He's got a bit of toughness and, hopefully, he can win a couple more." Conniving Major Dave, trained by de Campo's father Andrew, has earned $44,913 from eight wins and six placings from 29 starts. He has raced 17 times in WA for five wins and five placings. His dam Kind Martar is a younger sister of Pocket of Grace, who had 210 starts for 30 wins (16 in Queensland and 14 in New South Wales) and 41 placings for stakes of $160,975. HIGH FIVE MOZZA BREAKS THROUGH AT LAST Punters rallied to support High Five Mozza in the 2130m Sky Racing Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night, not because he went into the race with a losing sequence of 34 and had not managed a minor placing at his most recent nine starts, but because he had drawn the coveted No. 1 barrier. He was solidly supported to start favourite at 11/8 in a particularly weak field. Then everything went according to the script. Shannon Suvaljko jumped the New South Wales-bred six-year-old straight to the front. After a moderate lead time of 38.2sec. and a slow first quarter in 31.2sec. High Five Mozza broke 30sec. for the next three quarters to win by just under a length from 9/2 chance Will of Iron, who ran on from sixth at the bell. High Five Mozza, prepared at Wanneroo by Debbie Padberg, finally repaid the trainer for her perseverance and patience. The gelding had managed six placings from his first 32 starts in WA before Friday night's success. He won ten races in New South Wales (eight at Penrith and once each at Bankstown and Newcastle and had six starts in Victoria for one win before arriving in WA. by Ken Casellas  

High-priced New Zealand import Libertybelle Midfrew gave a sample of her class with an effortless victory at her Australian debut in the 1730m Make Smoking History Pace at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening. Trained at Hazelmere by Mike Reed and driven by Shannon Suvaljko, Libertybelle Midfrew, favourite at 3/1 on, started from the outside of the front line and was restrained to last before sustaining a powerful three-wide burst which took her from sixth at the bell to the front 400m from home. She dashed over the final quarters in 28.4sec. and 29.8sec. and was not extended in beating All About Pink by more than two lengths at a 1.58.5 rate. The filly was bought by Perth businessman Albert Walmsley and is being set for the $150,000 WA Oaks on May 9. “I went to New Zealand two months ago to buy a yearling at the sales in Christchurch, but changed my mind and bought Libertybelle Midfrew instead,” Walmsley said. Libertybelle Midfrew (by Christian Cullen) had 11 starts in New Zealand for one win and four placings for stakes of $131,012. She scored a five-length victory in the $156,000 Sales Classic for two-year-old fillies at Alexandra Park in April of last year. She was placed at three of her final four New Zealand starts behind star Mach Three filly Venus Serena, who has amassed $503,622 from 11 wins from 16 starts. By Ken Casellas

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