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Patronus Star formerly trained by Gavin Smith in Canterbury but now trained by Greg and Skye Bond upset the harness racing favourites to win the Sky Racing WA Derby at Gloucester Park on Friday night. A winner last week at Bunbury at his first start in Australia in 1:53.2 for the mile, Patronus Star put in a paralyzing burst late in the piece last night to claim victory in the $200,000 3YO feature. Driver Dylan Egerton-Green managed to extract the son of American Ideal at the right time after a handy run on the fence and he powered home to beat second favourite Major Martini by a narrow margin. View the race replay here. The Greg and Skye Bond trained favourite for the race Howard Hughes did a fair amount of work for most of the race but found nothing in the straight and he faded away to finish eighth.   Harnesslink Media

The 2019 WA Derby was built up as one of the strongest ever. It ended as a precession, as Major Trojan delivered reinsman Gary Hall Jnr and trainer Gary Hall Snr a fifth win in the $200,000 feature at Gloucester Park. The Group 1 event started in eventful circumstances as likely pacemaker and the well backed Its Rock And Roll had to be retired from the race when reinsman Colin Brown’s sulky got a flat tyre. It allowed Franco Edward to run to the lead and Major Trojan settled behind him when Hall Jnr elected against pressing on to the front. Hall Jnr had to be patient on the final lap as he sought clear running room, but on the turn for home he was able to get off the pegs and was poised for his run. The Art Major colt then stormed away over the closing stages to record a seemingly effortless 4.7m win to Bletchley Park, who narrowly beat Franco Edward for second place. Eloquent Mach, who won the main Derby lead up the Western Gateway a fortnight ago, was well beaten. Hall Jnr, who won the WA Derby previously with Alta Christiano (2013), Beaudiene Boaz (2015), Chicago Bull (2016) and King Of Swing (2018), said his fifth win in the time honoured event was the pick of them. “It’s a special one because you put your neck on the line with those sort of horses when you pay that money for them,” Hall Jnr told RWWA Harness. “I know Snr feels the pressure a lot more than me. “Sometimes you scratch your head when you pay the big money for them, but he was super tonight. “He’s still got room for improvement.” Major Trojan will now be aimed towards the Golden Nugget in December. The Derby win started a run of four straight winners on the night for Hall Jnr, who teamed up with Liberty Rose, Dracarys and Whozideawasthis in the following three races. Liberty Rose’s win in the In Appreciation Of Dr Tom Rieusset Pace (2536m) ended a frustrating run of outs for the mare. Hall Jnr said Liberty Rose deserved the breakthrough win and felt she may be a better horse when she didn’t lead. “We’ve not found any issues with her,” he said. “I was disappointed in a few of those races. “Some horses don’t like leading and I thought it would’ve suited her from what we saw as a three-year-old. “Maybe she likes being tucked away.” Dracarys showed why she would be the one to beat in next month’s WA Oaks, with a dominant win in the Oaks Prelude. Whozideawasthis then completed the stunning run of success for Hall Jnr, when he took out the Free-For-All event of the evening. The eight-year-old gelding won at Free-For-All level two starts back and continued the excellent form last night by upstaging the short-price favourite Handsandwheels. Hall Snr also had Tact Major win last night at just his second start back since November 2017. In a further boost for the stable, Hall Snr said Chicago Bull was a month away from making his return to the races. Tim Walker

King Of Swing has delivered Gary Hall Snr his fourth WA Derby (2536m) success in the past six years, with an outstanding effort in the time honoured harness racing event at Gloucester Park tonight. The Rocknroll Hanover colt joins Alto Christiano (2013), Beaudiene Boaz (2015) and Chicago Bull (2016) as Hall Snr’s Derby winners, but for the champion trainer this one was special. Since he was purchased for close to $400,000 from New Zealand, it has been far from smooth sailing for King Of Swing, who was having just his second start in Perth in the Derby. He has battled illness and a rough plane trip on his way to the Derby, and Hall Snr said he thought it would take its toll in tonight’s $200,000 event. “I didn’t think he could win,” he said. “I didn’t want to give any negative vibes to anyone, but I didn’t really think he could win. “He hasn’t worked that well, and he has been lethargic and dour and not wanting to be here. “The trip over knocked him around, and then he got the cold, and I couldn’t work him how I wanted to. “For him to come out and win, it was just outstanding.” The pace was on early in the WA Derby, with Golden State powering to the lead out of the straight the first time from barrier eight, while King Of Swing was close to 25m off the lead in the early stages. Driver Gary Hall Jnr was able to work to the breeze outside of Golden State at the end of the first lap. Golden State was still in front on the turn for home, but King Of Swing quickly went past him and was left in front a long way out from home, with his rivals behind lining up to have the last crack at him. Western Gateway winner Bechers Brook stormed home from last, but narrowly missed King Of Swing, going down by a head, while Cott Beach produced one of her career best performances in back in third, which suggested she could figure prominently in the WA Oaks. Hall Snr’s other key chance in the race Speed Man was held up on the home turn, but was able to work home well and finish fifth. King Of Swing will now be set for open class races, with Hall Snr suggesting he could join some of his star stablemates in Group 1 races in a little under 12 months time. “He’s up there for sure, because he is only half the horse he could be right now,” he said. “With a spell, going out and doing well, he will come back in fantastic order.” Tim Walker     5 7:24pm SKY RACING WA DERBY MS PACE (SKY 1) 2536M $200,000 3YO. 3C0 Or Better. RBD. Mobile Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 KING OF SWING NZ      Fr3 3 Gary Hall Snr Gary Hall Jnr   $ 2.60 fav  PRBT 3WM L1W 2 D/F $500 UW SWAB   BAY COLT 3 by ROCKNROLL HANOVER USA out of TWIST AND TWIRL NZ (ARTSPLACE (US))  Owner(s): B V Richardson, M A Congerton, Go Racing, K A Hall, G L Moore, S D MacGregor, R Patriarca, F Patriarca  Breeder(s): Breckon Farms Ltd 2 BECHERS BROOK      Fr7 7 Mike Reed Dylan Egerton-Green HD $ 11.50   RAS 8 SWAB 3 COTT BEACH      Fr9 9 Kristy Elson Nathan Turvey HD $ 43.40   OPS RAS 3WMLT W3 SWAB 4 OCEAN RIDGE NZ      Sr1 10 Greg Bond Ryan Warwick 2.10 $ 3.50   3WMLT W2 5 SPEED MAN NZ      Fr2 2 Gary Hall Snr Stuart McDonald 3.10 $ 5.80   GS L1W OTM 4 6 BRIGHT DIAMOND NZ      Fr1 1 Skye Bond Chris Lewis 3.40 $ 21.60   PRBT GS 3 HUE 7 MISTER SPOT      Sr3 12 John Graham Dean Miller 5.00 $ 146.40   7 HU 8 GOLDEN STATE NZ      Fr8 8 Mike Reed Shannon Suvaljko 7.70 $ 12.10   GS L 1 QP 9 BENHOPE RULZ NZ      Fr6 13 Gary Hall Snr Clinton Hall 8.20 $ 125.30   3WE RTR 9 HU 10 CIMORENE      Fr4 4 Terry Ferguson Michael Grantham 11.80 $ 144.40   GS 5 D/F$200 CMP 11 LADY DE LA RENTA      Sr2 11 Annie Belton Chris Voak 27.90 $ 19.10   OVR 3WML W1 C 12 BETTOR B ABELIEVER NZ      Fr5 5 Paula Petricevich Kyle Harper 71.40 $ 45.10   GS 3WE RP OVR 6 GG Scratchings   FIZZING NZ 6 CARRERA MACH NZ 14 Track Rating: GOOD Gross Time: 3:04:3 Mile Rate: 1:57:0 Lead Time: 66.9 First Quarter: 29.6 Second Quarter: 29.5 Third Quarter: 28.4 Fourth Quarter: 29.9 Margins: HD x SHFHD  

Ocean Ridge, who failed to record a win from six starts as a two-year-old, has blossomed into an outstanding harness racing three-year-old who has excellent prospects of overcoming a back-line draw and winning the $200,000 Sky Racing WA Derby at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Victory in the 2536m classic would elevate Forrestdale horseman Greg Bond into the top bracket of successful trainers in the Derby which has been a highlight of every WA season since Freckles won the inaugural Group 1 event in 1917. Bond has won the WA Derby with New Zealand-bred pacers Richard Henry (2005), In The Force (2009) and Seel N Print (2011). The only trainers to have prepared four or more WA Derby winners are the late Fred Kersley Snr (five), the late Fred W Godecke (four) and Ross Olivieri (four). Leading trainer Gary Hall Snr has high hopes of notching his 100th winner of the season by winning the Derby with either King of Swing or Speed Man. A victory would give Hall his fourth success in the classic. Ocean Ridge, a colt by Mach Three, has won at five of his six starts this season and has revealed wonderful versatility. He led from barrier two and won easily in a modest C2-class event at Pinjarra at his WA debut two starts ago. And he was most impressive in scoring an effortless victory in a Derby prelude on Thursday of last week. He enjoyed a perfect trail, one-out and one-back, before Ryan Warwick sent him forward, three wide, with 600m to travel. The gelding took the lead at the 450m mark and won by just over two lengths from the 10/1 favourite King of Swing, with Speed Man finishing strongly from eighth (and last) at the bell to be third. Ocean Ridge rated 1.55.3 in the 2130m prelude and the 2536m journey on Friday night should prove to be no problem. He started his three-year-old campaign in dazzling style, setting the pace from barrier one and winning a 1950m event by five lengths at Addington on December 16. That was his first appearance for eight months. He then started from the inside of the back line in another 1950m event at Addington on January 26 when he was seventh at the bell before starting a three-wide move and working into the breeze position before finishing a close-up fourth behind Fizzing. Two starts ago Ocean Ridge was restrained to last from barrier seven in a field of nine over 1950m at Addington. He came from last, three wide, at the bell and then worked in the breeze before sprinting the final 400m section in 27.4sec. and hitting the front 130m from the post and winning, unextended. At his final appearance in New Zealand, over 1950m at Addington on February 16 he was beaten out from the No. 1 barrier and raced three back on the pegs before charging home from fifth on the home turn to win easily at a 1.55.7 rate, with a final quarter in 27.5sec. Ocean Ridge is the third foal out of Falcon Seelster mare There’s A Dancer, whose first two foals Bracken Ridge and McClinchie each won on WA debut for Bond. A win on Friday night by Ocean Ridge would help erase the disappointment suffered by Bond and his wife Skye when their smart colt Rock Diamonds, a 14/1 chance, finished a head second to Handsandwheels in the Derby 12 months ago after finishing strongly to take the lead in the final 70m. Their other runner, Mitch Maguire (9/4), was a luckless seventh after taking a narrow lead, out three wide, 350m from home and then locking wheels with 2/1 favourite Runrunjimmydunn.    Champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr has combined with his father to win the Derby with Alta Christiano (2013), Beaudiene Boaz (2015) and Chicago Bull (2016). Hall Jnr will handle King of Swing from barrier three on the front line and he gives the colt a strong winning chance. King of Swing raced three wide for the first 750m before setting the pace in last week’s prelude before lowering his colours to Ocean Ridge. “He’s got the draw to turn the tables on Ocean Ridge,” said Hall jun. “He has definitely got the ability to win.” Owner Albert Walmsley and Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed were naturally disappointed when their talented colts Bechers Brook (barrier seven) and Golden State (eight) fared poorly in the random draw. However, both pacers are strong sit-sprinters and are capable of winning. Reed prepared Tricky Vic (2002) and Ace of Spades (2003) for wins in the classic. Skye Bond prepares Bright Diamond, who despite only one win from 16 starts, will have admirers after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier. Bright Diamond will be driven by star reinsman Chris Lewis, who has won the Derby five times with Trunkey Maseratti (1994), Saab (1998), Talladega (2000), Argent Treasure (2008) and In The Force (2009). Ken Casellas

Inexperienced colt Speed Man is working along steadily in his bid to gain a start in the rich WA Derby on April 6 and he looks set to notch his fourth win from eight starts by setting the pace and winning the final event, the Push By Schneider Electric Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Champion trainer Gary Hall Snr said “He’s strong and is set for the Derby. At this stage I’ve got four good Derby prospects in King of Swing, Benhope Rulz and Beachbabebeauty.” The New Zealand-bred Speed Man, who is favourably drawn at the No. 2 barrier in a field of seven in a race over 2130m, has enjoyed little luck when placed at Gloucester Park at each of his past three starts. He started from the outside of the back line in the Caduceus Club Classic last Friday week when he settled down in eighth position before dashing forward in the middle stages to race in the breeze. He fought on grandly to be second, a half-length behind the pacemaker Golden State. Ace reinsman Gary Hall Jnr said that Speed Man had the ability to turn the tables on Golden State, particularly because of a more favourable draw (two) to Golden State’s No. 4 barrier. “Speed Man should be able to lead and hold the opposition at bay,” he said. “His latest run was phenomenal, I thought. He did plenty of work and still had the courage to fight on and nearly win the race. He’s definitely warming up to be a nice Derby horse.” Shannon Suvaljko, who will drive Golden State for Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed, admitted that Speed Man had a distinct barrier draw advantage but he stressed that Golden State could not be discounted, saying: “He is a nice horse and has trained on well since his latest win.” Hall Snr said that, at this stage, King of Swing was his brightest Derby prospect. “He is due to arrive by air from New Zealand on Saturday and has an impressive record.” King of Swing, a colt by Rocknroll Hanover, has raced 13 times for seven wins and four second to earnings of $236,244. Three starts ago, at Addington on November 14 last year, King of Swing finished second to champion three-year-old gelding Chase Auckland (unbeaten at his seven starts) in the Group 1 Sires Stakes, with the winner rating 1.55.2 over 1950m.  King of Swing has raced twice in Australia for wins in a semi-final at Bendigo and the Group 1 final of the Breeders Crown at Melton last August. Benhope Rulz is a gelding by Courage Under Fire who has raced five times in New Zealand for three wins and one placing. Beachbabebeauty has also raced five times in New Zealand for three wins. The powerful Bond stable is believed to have purchased the highly-promising Ocean Ridge from New Zealand. The Mach Three gelding has had ten starts for three wins and three placings for stakes of $35,695. He has been successful at his latest two runs, at Addington in February. He is a half-brother to McClinchie, who has raced 43 times for 11 wins, 16 placings and $89,377 in prizemoney.   Ken Casellas

There were a few surprised people when champion driver Gary Hall Jr opted to drive Im Rockaria in tomorrow night’s Group 1 WA Derby (2536m). After all, it was a big call for him to turn his back on the three runners trained by his father Gary Hall Sr, who has trained three of the past four WA Derby winners. Clint Hall was always going to drive Hall Sr’s recent buzz Kiwi import Runrunjimmydunn, but the feeling was Hall Sr would expect Gary Jr to take the reins on Herrick Roosevelt. One person not surprised – and just as equally delighted – is Im Rockaria’s trainer Michael “Mouse” Brennan. “We’re thrilled. There’s nobody better than Gaz, especially from a good draw in a big race around Gloucester Park,” he said. “If Gaz is driving against you, you’re always worried. It’s great to have him on our side.” Im Rockaria, who returns from a recent minor health scare, is $4 third favourite from barrier one with the Aussie TAB. Runrunjimmydunn (gate six) is a surprisingly short $2.80 favourite. There has been strong support for Herrick Roosevelt ($16 into $8.50), while last-start Group 2 Western Gateway winner Mitch Maguire – trained by Greg and Skye Bond – is clear second elect at $3. Brennan said all the signs were Im Rockaria was primed after missing “about four days work” due to an infection under a tooth cavity. “Basically you couldn’t steer him, but we hit him with strong anti-biotics and it cleared-up quickly,” he said. “He trialled really in quick time last weekend and I was thrilled with his work on Wednesday. “I don’t think I’ve had him better. “I think he’ll have the speed to lead, at worst he’ll be behind Mitch Maguire. Either way, I think he’ll run a huge race.” Brennan won the WA Derby back in 2012 with Im Victorious, who went on to become a budding Grand Circuit star before a nasty injury sustained in the 2014 Inter Dominion final in Sydney prematurely ended his career. Hall Sr has won three of the past four WA Derbys with Chicago Bull (last year), Beaudiene Boaz (2015) and Alta Christiano (2013). Adam Hamilton

Victorian-bred harness racing gelding Im Rockaria has overcome a worrying setback and is poised for a bold showing in the $200,000 Sky Racing WA Derby at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He has recovered fully from an infection under a cavity in a tooth which caused him to race erratically and finish a distant last in a field of 11 at his latest appearance, in a Derby prelude three Fridays ago. Trainer and part-owner Michael Brennan is bubbling with confidence after Im Rockaria finished a head second to experienced stablemate Naughty Maravu in a 2185m trial at Pinjarra on Sunday morning when he dashed over the final 800m in 56sec. Im Rockaria’s prospects soared after he drew the prized No. 1 barrier on the front line in the 2536m Derby and champion reinsman Gary Hall jun. signified his confidence in the gelding when he chose to drive him ahead of highly-promising three-year-olds El Barcelona and Herrick Roosevelt, who are prepared by his father Gary Hall sen. Brennan, who purchased the son of Rocknroll Hanover for just $16,000 at the Victorian yearling sales, has had only one previous runner in a WA Derby --- Im Victorious, who started from the No. 1 barrier and was driven to an all-the-way victory by Justin Prentice five years ago. “This year the barrier draw is a big help, we’ve got the right driver and the horse has got over the little issue we had with his mouth,” Brennan said. “Im Rockaria is ready to go and he has all the qualities needed to win a Derby. He’s strong and he’s fast and I think he is 100 per cent spot on. He loves leading and has never been beaten when he has led. The distance is no problem at all. He’s a really good stayer and he’s got super high speed to go with it. “Obviously, Mitch Maguire is going to be very hard to beat, Herrick Roosevelt has been super impressive and Runrunjimmydunn was most impressive in winning last Friday night. It is by no means a one or two-horse race. There is a lot of quality and this is one of the more even Derbies in recent years.” In his trial on Sunday morning Im Rockaria was driven by Nathan Turvey and he raced three back on the fence before finishing strongly to be second, a head behind Naughty Maravu, an M3-class pacer who set the pace with Brennan in the sulky. “At his most recent start, in a Derby prelude, Im Rockaria tracked up three wide (from the 1100m to be fifth at the bell) and hung in really badly,” Brennan said. “Later we discovered that he had an infection under cavity in a tooth and Gary couldn’t steer him. “This problem is the reason why he hasn’t been able to race over the past three weeks. We had to treat him quite heavily with anti-biotics and we’ve tried a bit of different gear to take the pressure off the jaw. “His win two starts ago, in the Battle of Bunbury, was super.” In that event Im Rockaria enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, before starting a three-wide move 800m from home. He surged to the front at the 500m mark and went on to win by more than three lengths from Rock Diamonds.” Im Rockaria, who has earned $137,275 from ten wins and three seconds from 18 starts, has already won a group 1 feature event, having been successful as a two-year-old in the Pearl Classic at Gloucester Park last June. He is owned by Brennan and his wife Lara, Cam Byers and Dave Skelton (who were part-owners of Im Victorious), Michael Maxwell and Cameron Maggs, who broke in Im Rockaria in Victoria. Im Rockaria is the ninth foal out of Vitness, whose second foal Twelve Paces earned $263,058 from 27 wins and 20 placings from 68 starts. Twelve Paces won a heat of the Victoria Derby at Shepparton in January 2007, beating Triple Vance and Lombo Pocket Watch. He then finished fifth behind Lombo Pocket Watch in the final at Moonee Valley. Mitch Maguire, prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, is handily drawn at barrier three on the front line and looks set to fight out the finish. His form is outstanding, having won at ten of his past 11 starts in a glittering career of 18 starts for 12 wins and two placings for stakes of $197,373. He completed his Derby preparation with an all-the-way win from barrier one in the 2536m group 2 Western Gateway Classic last Friday week. He was favourite at 10/1 on and after a third quarter of the final mile in 28.4sec., he just held on in a final section of 29.3sec. to beat the fast-finishing Maczaffair by a half-head at a 1.57.3 rate. “He overraced and that probably took the sting out of him,” said reinsman Ryan Warwick. “People shouldn’t want to measure him on that performance. Mitch Maguire beat Im Rockaria at Pinjarra four starts ago (when Mitch Maguire worked hard in the breeze). “I’m confident in the horse and the 2536m won’t worry him. I keep going back to his Pinjarra run three starts ago (when he galloped in a stand and made up a huge amount of lost ground to win easily). It was a phenomenal performance and I rate the horse highly. His record is hard to fault and I can’t see any reason to discount him.” Herrick Roosevelt, who has drawn poorly on the outside of the front line, will be driven by Kim Prentice and Chris Voak has been engaged to handle El Barcelona from the outside of the back line. Herrick Roosevelt has raced only four times for two wins, a second to Mitch Maguire (from the breeze) and a last-start third from the breeze behind Mitch Maguire and Maczaffair. “He’s going super,” Prentice said. “I have sat behind him once, in a trial a couple of weeks ago. It was only a jump out, but I love the horse. The biggest problem on Friday night will be holding him out of the mobile because he is inclined to get keen. We will be trying to slot in somewhere.” El Barcelona won for the fifth time from 12 starts when he led from the No. 1 barrier and held on to defeat Handsandwheels and Heza Head Honcho last Friday night. Handsandwheels, to be driven by Aiden de Campo, is nicely drawn on the inside of the back line and certainly has sound place prospects. Clint Hall will drive Runrunjimmydunn, who was produced in fine fettle for a first-up victory in WA last Friday night. The gelding is awkwardly drawn at barrier six, but will have many admirers after his runaway seven-length victory over In Nyrobi, rating 1.56.4 over 2130m last Friday night. “He’s a pretty good horse and I’ll be putting him into the race at some stage,” Hall said. The Mike Reed-trained Maczaffair is a talented performer who has won at eight of her 18 starts and impressed last Friday week when she was tenth at the 600m and seventh with 250m to travel before flying home to be a half-head second to Mitch Maguire last Friday week. The WA Derby was first run in 1917 and a filly has been successful only six times, with those winners being Hilda Grattan (1948), Happy Mint (1950), Swahili (1962), Hill Oro (1969), Via Vista (1981) and Whitbys Miss Penny (1991). Champion reinsman Chris Lewis will be seeking his sixth win in the classic, after victories behind Trunkey Maseratti (1994), Saab (1998), Talladega (2000), Argent Treasure (2008) and In The Force (2009). He will drive the Ross Olivieri-trained Lord Willoughby from barrier No. 2. Lord Willoughby is improving steadily, but has won only three times from 17 starts.  Ken Casellas

Three years ago, Busselton trainer Barry Howlett achieved his greatest success in harness racing when 17/1 tote chance Three Blind Mice led all the way and won the WA Derby. Now he is hoping to have a runner in this year’s $200,00 Derby at Gloucester Park on Friday of next week. He has three promising but lightly raced New Zealand-bred geldings engaged in the WA Derby prelude at Gloucester Park on Friday night and is hopeful that one of them can cause an upset and beat the favourite El Barcelona, another comparatively inexperienced but talented New Zealand-bred pacer in the stables of Gary Hall sen. Howlett, who races Punters Dream, Im The Best and Heza Head Honcho in partnership with his wife Lyn and son Jim, admits that El Barcelona will be hard to beat from the prized No. 1 barrier. But he is sure his three runners will be strongly competitive. Punters Dream makes good appeal as the pick of the Howlett trio. He is handily drawn at barrier three on the front line and will be driven by Chris Lewis. Im The Best is awkwardly drawn at barrier six and will be handled by Colin Brown, while Morgan Woodley will drive Heza Head Honcho from the No. 2 barrier on the back line. Punters Dream, placed at one of his four starts in New Zealand, has shown good promise at his three starts in WA, with two wins at Pinjarra and a last-start third behind Hoiho at Bunbury. “He’s still on the way up and is very inexperienced,” Howlett said. “But he’s pretty tough. “Heza Head Honcho went well when he won at Bunbury last Saturday night, but he’s still on the rise. “Im The Best has a lot of speed and if he had drawn in a bit he could’ve crossed to the front. He’s a nice horse, but is a light-framed little thing who needs a bit more time to strengthen up.” Im The Best is a full-brother to smart mare Quite A Delight, who finished a half-head second to stablemate Major Reality in the 2015 WA Oaks and has earned $112,189 from nine wins and eight placings from 26 starts. El Barcelona, who has won at four of his 11 starts, will be a short-priced favourite on Friday night, despite finishing ninth behind Mitch Maguire in the Western Gateway Pace last Friday night. Reinsman Clint Hall advised punters to disregard that performance, saying: “He lost a bit of ground at the 600m last Friday night and when we went to make up the lost ground a horse galloped in front of us, causing us to check and go wide. Despite that, he was beaten by just a little more than ten metres. “This week he gets a chance to lead and win. He’s working really well.” Last-start winners Messi and Davinci Diamond face stern tests after drawing out wide, while the improving Andrew de Campo-trained Handsandwheels should enjoy an ideal passage behind the likely pacemaker El Barcelona after drawing the inside of the back line. Ken Casellas

Henley Brook harness racing trainer Mike Reed has revealed that a phone call to New Zealand and heeding the advice of The Art Form’s previous trainer Steven Reid has resulted in a transforming the colt into a “different” horse with a strong winning chance in the $200,000 Sky Racing WA Derby at Gloucester Park on Friday night. And Reed threw down the gauntlet to the opposition in the 2536m Derby when he declared that his son Mark would set the pace from the No. 4 barrier. “The Art Form has got gate speed and he will be leading,” the trainer said. “He will be coming out to lead and he will not surrender the lead. “I wasn’t satisfied with his most recent run (when he led and wilted to fourth behind Chicago Bull in the 2536m Western Gateway Pace last Friday week). He was a little disappointing. “I then spoke to Steven Reid, who advised me not to start the colt in successive weeks. He said that you just can’t race him week to week. When I got the horse from New Zealand I gave him a trial and raced him in the next two weeks. Stephen advised me to race him with a fortnight between runs. “So that’s what we’ve done. I kept the work up to him and now he feels a different horse. In New Zealand he was a leader. He led over there and won, going 1.53 and a bit. I think he can cross the three runners on his inside on Friday night and I think he can beat the favourite. “At his last start in New Zealand he finished third behind Lazarus and Lets Chase The Dream after giving them a start. We’ve got the advantage in the draw over Lets Chase The Dream this week and we’ve got to make the most of that.” Mike and Mark Reed will be attempting to win the WA Derby for the third time. They combined to win the classic with Tricky Vic in 2002 and Ace of Spades the following year. Chicago Bull, prepared by champion trainer Gary Hall sen. and driven by star reinsman Gary Hall jun., will be attempting to stretch his winning sequence to six, a task well within the capabilities of the gelding, according to Hall jun. “Chicago Bull is going really well --- and he needs to be,” Hall said. “It’s difficult to predict what horse will lead. I’ll be going forward from barrier six. I can’t let Lets Chase The Dream to settle in front of me. I’d say that Chris (Lewis) will press forward from barrier seven. “I’d say the winner will probably come from Chicago Bull, Chase The Dream and Sprinter, with Cant Refuse and Dodolicious also having sound claims. They’re the only realistic chances.” Hall also said that Chicago Bull’s stablemate Mach Time, to be driven by Clint Hall, would go forward at the start from the No. 5 barrier.” Mach Time showed that he should be prominent in this week’s classic when he finished second to Lets Chase The Dream in a Derby prelude last Friday night. He settled in fifth position before dashing forward, three wide, after a lap to race outside the pacemaker Franco Rayner. Mach Time burst to the front in the final circuit and led by two lengths 150m from the post before being overhauled by the fast-finishing Lets Chase The Dream. Hall sen. and Gary hall jun. have combined to win the WA Derby with odds-on favourites Alta Christiano in 2013 and Beaudiene Boaz last year. Dodolicious, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, is the only filly in the field and she should enjoy an ideal passage after starting from barrier two on the back line. The most recent Derby win by a filly was in 1991 when Rod Chambers drove Whitbys Miss Penny to victory over the Sleek Byrd and Smooth Business. Since then, only two fillies have been placed --- Dilingers Reign in 2006 and Tricky Styx last year. Ken Casellas

The best 3yos will fight it out for a share in the $200,000 Group 1  the Sky Racing WA Derby on Friday night at Gloucester Park. harness racing. Lets Chase The Dream is a clear favourite on TABtouch currently but has drawn awkwardly in barrier 7. To his inside is local hope Chicago Bull for the mighty Hall stable. Scott Hamilton

Having placed in the New South Wales classic and finished fourth in the Victorian Group 1, Matthew Craven refuses to give up the dream of being a derby winner with his three-year-old harness racing gelding. The Terang trainer has Cant Refuse drawn in barrier eight for Friday night’s Sky Racing WA Derby at Gloucester Park, and will need to overcome yet another Mark Purdon horse to get the lion’s share of the $200,000 prize. It was Purdon’s Lazarus who took the lead honours in January’s Victoria Derby and his unbeaten stablemate Our Waikiki Beach who won at Menangle, when Cant Refuse was beaten into second by just 1.1m. Lets Chase The Dream, Purdon’s winner of nine races from 18 starts, is favourite for Friday night’s Derby, with Cant Refuse done few favours when drawn eighth. “We are drawn inside the second row and hopefully the one horse (Ideal Tyson) will come out and we can end up, at worst, third on the fence line,” Craven said. “At least he won’t have to work as hard across the trip. We are not expecting to win from that draw, but with any luck we may be able to run into a place.” He said the list of threats was long in the Group 1. “Lets Chase The Dream is a top horse, Chicago Bull, Sprinter and Dodolicious – it is a pretty stong race,” Craven said.  “I am just hoping for an easy trip and to have a run at them.” The WA Derby takes place at 8.30pm on Friday. Michael Howard 

The Barrier Draw for Friday night’s $200,000 Sky Racing  Harness Racing WA Derby at Gloucester Park has thrown the Blue Riband event wide open with nominal favourites Chicago Bull and Lets Chase The Dream drawing outside starting positions.  Western Gateway winner Chicago Bull has drawn barrier six, while the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained Lets Chase The Dream, to be once again be driven by Chris Lewis, is on his immediate outside in barrier seven. The Matthew Craven trained and driven Cant Refuse will start on the inside of the backline in barrier 10, with the only filly in the field, Dodolicious in barrier 11, having her first start back since her outstanding second in the NSW Oaks at Menangle on Miracle Mile day. Dodolicious’ stablemate El Jacko is the only other runner on the second line in barrier 12. Victorian Derby heat winner Sprinter has drawn awkward in barrier eight, however his stablemate Ideal Tyson has come up with the coveted barrier one. The line-up is one of the strongest in recent WA Derby history. The barrier draw for the Group One $200,000 Sky Racing WA Derby is;   Ideal Tyson Johnny Disco Questionable Gesture The Art Form Mach Time Chicago Bull Lets Chase The Dream Sprinter Nathans Courage  ---------- Second row---------- Cant Refuse Dodolicious El Jacko Just Bet On Black (1st Emergency) Lightning Jolt (2nd Emergency) There are 10 races on Friday night at Gloucester Park, with the first race scheduled for 5.33pm WA time and gates open at 4.30pm. Sky Racing’s Gareth Hall will be live trackside with all the action broadcast on Sky1.

Champion harness racing reinsman Chris Lewis received a surprise telephone call from Christchurch yesterday (Tuesday) when leading New Zealand trainer Mark Purdon asked him to drive superstar colt Lets Chase The Dream in the Smorgasbord WA Derby Prelude at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The son of Bettor's Delight arrived in Perth by air on Monday and is the nominal favourite for the $200,000 WA Derby over 2536m the following Friday night. “I’m looking forward to driving such a good horse,” Lewis said. “Most of Purdon’s horses are pretty relaxed and laid-back and this colt should’ve travelled over okay from New Zealand.” Lets Chase The Dream has drawn the inside barrier on the back line in Friday’s 2130m event, perhaps leaving Lewis in a quandary whether to take the sit behind the polemarker and speedy frontrunner Overboard Again and hoping for the opportunity to get into the clear during the race or to restrain the colt in the early stages and get him off the pegs. “Purdon is certainly a great trainer and I haven’t yet had a chance to discuss tactics with him,” Lewis said. “I would have liked to have drawn anywhere else than the inside of the back line.” Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen have prepared Lets Chase The Dream for his 17 starts in New Zealand for eight wins, three seconds and three thirds for $338,246 in prizemoney. Rasmussen has driven the colt 15 times for seven wins and six placings. As a two-year-old Lets Chase The Dream won two group 1 classics, the $100,000 Young Guns Cardigan Bay Stakes over 1700m at Alexandra Park  and the $156,400 NZ Sires Stakes over 1950m at Addington. He beat champion colt Lazarus by a neck at Alexandra Park and defeated stablemates Motu Premier and Lazarus at Addington. He has finished second to Lazarus in three group 1 classics as a three-year-old this season, the 1950m Sires Stakes at Addington, the 2200m NZ Yearling Sales Series final at Alexandra Park and the 2700m Northern Derby at Alexandra Park at his most recent outing, on March 11. Lets Chase The Dream began fast from barrier six at his latest appearance and raced three wide early and then in the breeze before taking the lead after 600m. Rasmussen then opted to take the sit behind Lazarus, who sprinted over the final 800m in 55.3sec. and the last 400m in 27.6sec. He rated 1.57.4. Leading WA reinsman Gary Hall jun., who will handle the brilliant Chicago Bull in the Derby final, said that Lets Chase The Dream looked the pacer to beat in the Derby final, but considered he was slightly vulnerable in Friday night’s prelude from the awkward drawn on the inside of the back line at his first Australian run, only four days after the flight from New Zealand. “You would imagine that whatever Lets Chase The Dream does this week, he will improve on,” he said. “If he goes back and then around the whole field and goes 1.56 or better and wins easily, you would say that the Derby is over. I’d like to think that he is beatable first-up here.” Hall will drive New Zealand-bred gelding Mach Time in the prelude. Mach Time, trained by Gary Hall sen., will start from the No. 4 barrier on the front line. The gelding won at five of his 16 starts in New Zealand and made an excellent Australian debut when he began speedily from the No. 5 barrier and set a solid pace before sprinting the final quarter in 27.1sec. to beat Nitro Lad by two lengths over 2100m at Bunbury last Saturday night. He won at his final two outings in New Zealand, over 2200m and 2700m at Cambridge on December 24 and January 1, respectively. He revealed tremendous early speed from the back line on December 24 to take the lead after 250m before setting the pace and defeating Mastercraftsman.  Then at his most recent outing he started from the back line and mustered great early pace to settle in third position before taking the lead after 600m. “Mach Time will improve a lot off his first-up win in Bunbury,” Hall said. “He’s got good gate speed, but I won’t be able to cross Overboard Again, who ran a great trial at Byford on Sunday morning. He worked his way to the front and just ran. He won by more than eight lengths from Stroganoff, rating 1.56.3 over 2130m on a track which wasn’t overly quick. “Mach Time can win on Friday night, particularly if her raced one-out and one-back, with Lets Chase The Dream in the breeze and putting a heap of pressure on the leader.” Clint Hall will be in the sulky behind Overboard Again, who has had only two starts, for a fifth behind Vanquished over 2000m at Otago on January 2 when he finished strongly from tenth, and a three-length victory over Crackamoa in a 2000m event at the Northern Southland Club in Gore on January 14 when he was untroubled to set the pace from barrier two. Ideal Tyson, a winner at nine of his 16 starts for Pinjarra trainer Gary Elson, will start from barrier five with Nathan Turvey in the sulky. The colt warmed up for this week’s assignment with an effortless trial win, rating 1.55.9 over 2185m at Pinjarra on Sunday morning. Banjup trainer Colin Brown fared poorly in the draw, with Just Get On Black drawing the outside (barrier No. 9) on the front line and Franco Rayner drawing barrier six. Boyanup trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice was disappointed when Natural Disaster drew out wide at barrier seven. But he has not given up in his quest to qualify the gelding for the Derby final. “It’s going to be tough from the draw, but I think he went sensational at his latest run (when he started from barrier six and finished powerfully to be second to Johnny Disco in the Country Derby at Pinjarra on March 21),” Prentice said. “He’s got the motor to run the 2536m of the Derby final. I’m disappointed he didn’t get a run in the Western Gateway Pace last week and hopefully he proves that he deserves a Derby start.” by Ken Casellas Fields for Gloucester Park, Friday 08 April 2016 Form guide for Gloucester Park, Friday 08 April 2016

With the arrival today of Chase The Dream from the all-star stables of Purdon/Rasmussen ahead of the Group 1 $200,000 Sky Racing WA Derby, Top WA trainer Gary Hall Snr will be hard at work putting what he hopes to be winning touches on local harness racing hope Chicago Bull. Lets Chase The Dream (as it will be known in WA) will be stabled at Greg and Skye Bond’s property to contest the WA Derby prelude on Friday night and will most likely be driven by Gary Hall Jnr. Chicago Bull will have the week off after securing a spot in the Derby with an emphatic win over Sprinter and Cant Refuse who sat parked for the entire race in last Friday night's Group 2 Western Gateway Pace. “He is such a professional little race horse, he does what you want him too. I was pretty confident in the run… we know how fast he is and I was wrapped with the run we got” – Gary Hall Jnr In a post-race interview with Gary Hall Snr, he sung Chicago Bull's praises. “He is a winner, good horses win... We go into the WA Derby now, not confident with Chase The Dream coming over, but they are an even bunch of 3yo’s… ...I think it’s fantastic they’re coming over. I am worried though, if that horse wins there will be a truck load of super-stars here for the Inters!” Also on his way west is (OUR) Sky Major who will be trained by Justin Prentice. “I couldn’t be happier, I pick him up Monday night and I can’t wait to get him home” said Justin. Our Sky Major's condition will be assessed by Prentice when he arrives but it’s more than likely he will head to a paddock briefly to acclimatise to the Australian conditions. “He will probably have one or two weeks off and have a brief winter campaign and then set him up for the summer carnival” by Scott Hamilton | GPTV

Ace harness racing reinsman Gary Hall jun. said that Chicago Bull won a trial at Byford on Sunday morning “on his ear” and champion trainer Gary Hall sen. declared that the little New Zealand-bred gelding was his best WA Derby prospect at this stage. Hall jun. brought Chicago Bull home with a well-timed burst to win the 2150m trial by a half-length from smart stablemate Harry Hoo, who had set the pace for Clint Hall. The final quarters were run in 29.4sec. and 28.3sec. and Chicago Bull was not extended. Chicago Bull will resume racing after a seven-week absence when he starts from barrier five in the six-horse field in the Alltools Sidchrome Specials Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Harry Hoo will start from barrier three at his first appearance for seven weeks. Chicago Bull has gone from strength to strength this season, during which he has raced five times for three wins and two thirds. He is one of the early favourites for the $200,000 WA Derby on April 15. Adding interest to Friday night’s event is the return to racing of Banjup trainer Colin Brown’s promising New Zealand-bred pacers Franco Rayner (five wins from 14 starts) and Just Bet On Black (four wins and a neck second from five starts). Brown has decided to drive Just Bet On Black, who will start from the No. 2 barrier in the six-horse 2130m event. Dylan Egerton-Green has been offered the drove behind Franco Rayner. Just Bet On Black, a convincing winner at his final start in New Zealand, last July, made an auspicious Australian debut at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week when he raced three wide early and burst to the front after 550m before winning by two lengths from Disco Under Fire. Franco Rayner has been off the scene since he finished sixth and last behind Chicago Bull over 2130m at Gloucester Park on December 11. Brown said that both his three-year-olds would be competitive this week, but he admitted that they would be unlikely to be able to beat the Hall runners. “Just Bet On Black is a little bit green and is still learning the caper,” Brown said. “I think the other horses will be too experienced for him. Franco Rayner is working up very good. But he’s first-up and hasn’t had a trial. So I don’t think that either of my horses will worry the Hall camp. “Regarding the Derby, we’re not going to duck and dive. We might as well meet the others on Friday night to see exactly where we’re at, leading into the Derby. “Just bet On Black won first-up, but wasn’t really switched on. He’ll have the Dollys on on Friday night, but I don’t think he has the speed to lead, particularly with the speedy Jilliby Jay Mac drawn No. 1. I’m using the Dolly Vardons because he raced greenly and he switched on and off when he won at his first start here. “So the gear change is more for the run than for the start. Franco Rayner is a very fast horse, but we won’t be using his speed. You won’t see him gas the gate. Both horses will be competitive, but I’m not expecting either of them to finish in the top two.” by Ken Casellas Fields for Gloucester Park, Friday 18 March 2016 Form guide for Gloucester Park, Friday 18 March 2016

Harness racing is full of stories of owners persevering with a breed for many years with average luck only for their luck to turn and the winners to pour fourth at a great rate. Such is the story of John and Rebecca Mooney of West Melton near Christchurch. They inherited a couple of mares from Rebecca's late father, but initially success was hard to come by. Their first sign of their luck changing was the emergence of the smart Live Or Die mare Lucinda Midfrew 1:56.9 ($52,599) From the time she went to stud, the winners started to pour in, with her fifth foal the undoubted star of the tribe in the outstanding racemare Libertybelle Midfrew 1:53.9 ($566,547) who has been a star from the time she stepped on a track as two year old. A big six figure offer as an early three year old was too good to turn down and shortly after Libertybelle Midfrew was on her way to Perth. A half sister in Lulli Midfrew 1:56.8 won six in New Zealand and has joined the Mooney's broodmare band as has the race winning Mach Three mare Lucasta Midfrew whose first foal was the very smart Eyre Crusher 1:56.5 ($94,123) who ran second in the West Australian Derby. A full sister to Libertybelle Midfrew that the Mooney's raced was Lulabelle Midfrew (5 wins) ($46,047) and her first foal was kept inhouse after failing to meet her reserve at the New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale. Named Luisanabelle Midfrew, she has looked high class from her first start at two with the highlight last season being a game second behind the champion filly Dream About Me in the $138,000 Sires Stakes Championship. Her run in the Harness Jewels was a poor run by her standards and a veterinary examination resulted in Luisanabelle Midfrew having a soft palate operation in the off season. Worst was to follow soon after in July. " We nearly lost her when she had a Colitis attack." " It was touch and go for a while, but thankfully she pulled through," John Mooney told Harnesslink yesterday. The problem now was she was getting well behind in her prep for her main early season aim, the PGG Sales Race in February.  " We only put her in at Ashburton on Boxing Day to try to play a bit of catch up." " She was fit enough but instead of a trial, Nigel thought a race would be better for her. " We were thrilled that she only went under by a head in 1:54.7 and she came through that run great," John said. Yesterday at Rangiora, Liisanabelle Midfrew added to her impressive record when she toyed with a field of mares in the slushy conditions. Luisanabelle Midfrew Driver Matthew Williamson is thrilled to be back on board Luisanabelle Midfrew this season. " She is a beautiful filly to drive and she won that race yesterday with ease." " She proved that she was up with the best at two and I think she has come back even better." "I think she could be in for a big season," Matthew said. The $150,000 PGG 3 year old fillies pace on February 12th at Addington is the main aim early on and with most of the topliners not eligible, Luisanabelle Midfrew will be hard to beat. " There are still plenty of handy fillies eligible and Killer Queen looks the one we all have to beat." " I think the draw will be critical in this race," John said. February will be a busy time for John and Rebecca as they have a half brother to Luisanabelle Midfrew for sale on the first day of the New Zealand Premier Sale on February 23rd. " He is a Bettor's Delight colt and without getting carried away, he is the best put together yearling that Rebecca and I have bred." " He is just an absolute standout and we are excited to be be the vendors of such a great type of yearling," John said. Just fifteen years ago, this family that the Mooney's inherited was at best a good bread and butter family. Now it is leaving Classic horses all over the place and the future looks very bright. What a difference a few years can make.  Harnesslink Media

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