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Prentice reigns supreme Ace Boyanup trainer Justin Prentice maintained his recent dominance of the Simmonds Steel Empress Stakes when he drove Pick My Pocket to an impressive all-the-way victory in the $50,000 classic for mares at Gloucester Park on Friday night. It was his third win in the past five runnings of the group 2 feature after successes with Major Reality (driven by Brayden Green) in 2016 and The Parade (driven by Gary Hall jnr) in 2017. Well supported and starting a $3.80 fancy, Pick My Pocket ended a losing sequence of eight and boosted her prizemoney to $150,284 from ten wins and 14 placings from 40 starts. Prentice took full advantage of the prized No. 1 barrier and he was able to coast through the first two quarters of the final mile in 30.7sec. and 30.4sec. before sprinting the final 400m sections in 28.3sec. and 28.8sec. Pick My Pocket fought on tenaciously in the final stages to keep $10 chance Gotta Go Gabbana at bay and score by a head at a 1.59.3 rate over 2536m. Gotta Go Gabbana, who started from the outside barrier (No. 9) dashed forward in the first circuit and raced in the breeze for more than two laps. Dracarys, a stablemate of the winner, charged home, six wide, from ninth at the bell to be an eye-catching third, with Parisian Partygirl, the winner of the Golden Girls Mile at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon, running home strongly from seventh at the bell to be fourth. American Delight, last at the bell, finished fifth. The well-fancied Our Alfie Romeo enjoyed little luck and finished tenth after being blocked for a clear passage in the final lap. Pick My Pocket, raced by Bob Fowler’s Allwood Stud Farm, is bred to be a winner. After one win from five starts in New Zealand, the six-year-old has raced 35 times in Western Australia for nine wins and 13 placings. Pick My Pocket, by superstar stallion Bettors Delight, is out of the In The Pocket mare La Filou, who won just one race from eights starts in New Zealand before producing The Dip, who had 203 starts for 20 wins, 44 placings and $191,503. La Filou is out of Scuse Me (25 starts for eight wins, eight placings and $126,841) who is the dam of 13 winners, including star performers Adore Me (36 starts for 26 wins, seven placings and $1,667,029) and Have Faith In Me (81 starts for 27 wins, 23 placings and $1,693,187). Friday night’s victory gave Fowler his second success in the Empress Stakes. He raced Benetar Star, who was trained and driven by Fred Kersley jnr when she won the big race from Gold Duchess and Cap Sensitive in 1990. Mach Da Vinci does it tough New Zealand-bred colt Mach Da Vinci enhanced his claims for a start in the $200,000 WA Derby next Friday night when he revealed excellent fighting qualities to win the 2130m Worldwide Printing Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Favourite at $1.90, Mach Da Vinci started from the back line and Dylan Egerton-Green quickly had him in sixth position, three back in the one-wide line, with polemarker Crocodile Kid setting the pace from Lord Rosco in the breeze after failing in a spirited bid to get to an early lead. Mach Da Vinci started a three-wide run approaching the bell and he worked hard in the final lap before he finally got the better of Crocodile Kid in the closing stages. And then he held off $8 chance One For Dave Andme, who finished strongly along the pegs and went down by just a short half-head, with Crocodile Kid ($8.50) a neck away in third place. The final quarters were run in 28.2sec. and 29.1sec. and the winner rated 1.56.6 in notching his fifth win from 19 starts. The Stephen Reed-trained Lord Rosco will pay to follow. He showed abundant early speed when the lead time was run in a slick 35.6sec. and he fought on grandly to finish a close-up fourth. Late bid by Harley Zest New Zealand-bred gelding Harley Zest made a belated bid for inclusion in the field for the $200,000 WA Derby at Gloucester Park next Friday night when he scored a fighting victory over other Derby hopefuls in the Community TAB Pace over 2130m on Friday night. Harley Zest, part-owned, trained and driven by Brad Stampalia, was a $39.40 outsider despite a strong-finishing effort to win from Intheskyrocket at Gloucester Park eight days earlier. Harley Zest enjoyed a perfect passage in the one-out, one-back position before Stampalia sent him forward, with a three-wide burst 650m from home. The gelding moved on terms with the pacemaker Pocket The Cash and the breeze horse Manifestly Excesiv at the 350m mark. He gradually edged ahead and won by a neck from the $2.75 favourite Hampton Banner, who raced in eighth position before starting a three-wide move 750m from home. He then followed Harley Zest over the final 650m. Pocket The Cash held on for third and Caveman (who trailed the leader) was fourth. Harley Zest is by Art Major and is out of the Christian Cullen mare Zest Philly, whose only win from 15 starts was when, as a five-year-old, she finished strongly from twelfth on the home turn to beat Cracklin Rosie by a neck in the modest time of 2.1.8 over 1609m at Winton in September 2012. Zest Philly is a half-sister to the injury plagued Zennart, who has had only 31 starts for 12 wins, five placings and $128,332 in stakes. Shockwave notches hat-trick Blossoming star pacer Shockwave brought up a winning hat-trick when he overcame the disadvantage of the outside barrier (No. 8) to do all the bullocking work in the breeze and beat the $1.20 favourite Galactic Star in the $25,000 Direct Trades Supply Pace over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Galactic Star, widely fancied after drawing the coveted No. 1 barrier, survived an early challenge for the lead from As Happy As Larry and relished his pacemaking role.     Aiden de Campo restrained Shockwave at the start and the four-year-old was last in the field of eight 250m after the start when he began a three-wide move which took him outside the pacemaking Galactic Star 200m later. Shockwave got his nose in front about 250m from the finish and he and Galactic Star raced  stride for stride in the home straight, with Shockwave prevailing by a head, rating 1.57.4 after final quarters of 27.3sec. and 27.7sec. Shockwave now has had 35 starts for 13 wins, 11 placings and $360,930 in prizemoney. Miracle Moose flies home Lightly-raced four-year-old Miracle Moose looks set for a highly successful career in Western Australia after he gave an outstanding performance to thunder home from last at the bell in a field of twelve to win the 2130m Abbott and Co. Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Trained by Nathan Turvey and driven by Emily Suvaljko, the New Zealand-bred gelding was an outside at $40.70 from barrier seven and he caused an upset in getting up in the final stride to win by a half-head from the $1.60 favourite Bettor Be Oscar, rating 1.57.9. The 13 part-owners of Miracle Moose can look forward with confidence for further successes with the Mach Three gelding’s first eight starts in WA producing four wins and two thirds after having 15 starts in New Zealand for two wins and four placings. Trained and driven by Tony Herlihy, Miracle Moose showed wonderful early promise when, as a three-year-old and at his second start, he raced three back on the pegs and finished solidly to be third behind Major Trojan in a 2200m event at Alexandra Park in September 2018 in which the final 800m was covered in 56.9sec. Major Trojan has gone from strength to strength since then and now has raced 13 times for six wins (including the WA Derby in April of last year), five placings and $204,6898 in stakes. Miracle Moose has inherited much of the ability of his dam, the Bettors Delight mare Minnie Moose, who was trained by Mark Purdon before being retired with earnings of $142,791 from eight wins and 21 placings from 55 starts. Minnie Moose’s final start was in the inaugural Five-Year-Old Diamond at Ashburton when she finished second to champion mare Bettor Cover Lover. Miracle Moose won at his first two starts in WA when he set the pace at Bridgetown and Albany in February this year. He also led when a winner at Narrogin at his fourth WA appearance.   My Carbon Copy is on the rise New Zealand-bred four-year-old My Carbon Copy gave further proof at Gloucester Park on Friday night that he is set for a bright career when he finished solidly to score an easy victory in the $30,000  Clarke final over 2130m. Driven by Stuart McDonald for champion trainer Gary Hall snr, My Carbon Copy was the second fancy at $7.10 behind another New Zealand-bred four-year-old, The Bird Dance, who was a hot favourite at $1.12 after winning at each of his previous nine starts, including eight wins from eight starts in WA. After a fast lead time of 34.9sec., American Brave eventually got to the front from the polemarker The Bird Dance, with My Carbon Copy settling in third position on the pegs. The Bird Dance regained the lead 600m from home but had no answer when My Carbon Copy swept to the front with 120m to travel. The Bird Dance faded to eighth. My Carbon Copy, placed at three of his six starts in New Zealand, has raced 15 times in WA for nine wins and three placings. Classics beckon Lavra Joe Upstanding West Australian-bred colt Lavra Joe is rapidly developing into a leading candidate for the rich two-year-old classics later this season. Driven by Shane Young for Greenbushes trainer Ray Jones, Lavra Joe, the $2.30 favourite, was most impressive in scoring an easy victory in the 1730m Off The Track Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He started from the outside in the field of seven and settled in third place on the pegs, with polemarker Rich American setting the pace from Adda Something. Young, not wanting any possibility of Lavra Joe being held in a pocket on the pegs, moved Lavra Joe into the breeze position after 450m. He did not ask Lavra Joe for an effort until leaving the back straight in the final lap. Lavra Joe responded in fine style and burst to the front 220m from the finish before dashing away to win by seven metres from Adda Something, rating 1.56.1. Firsts all round It was a case of firsts all round when Upper Swan trainer Michael Munro, at his first appearance in the sulky at Gloucester Park, guided War Spirit, at his first start in Western Australia, to a runaway victory in the $30,000 Mondo Doro Smallgoods Trotters Sprint on Friday night. War Spirit, a six-year-old by American stallion Monarchy, was a $9.20 chance, with Mr Sundon all the rage as the $1.40 favourite from barrier three after winning at seven of his ten starts in the State. But when Mr Sundon galloped badly in the score-up Munro sent War Spirit straight to the front from the No. 4 barrier. War Spirit was unchallenged in front and after final quarters of 29.2sec. and 29.1sec., he strolled to a 13-metre victory over another newcomer in Princess Mila, with Rock Tonight a nose away in third place. The winner’s rate was a smart 1.58.2. War Spirit, a winner of two races in New Zealand, was a solid performer in Victoria where he had 37 starts for eight wins and 12 placings. He showed early promise when he won the group 1 Breeders Crown for three-year-old trotters at Melton in August 2017. Three starts before his WA debut on Friday night War Spirit set a track record when he won a 2570m stand at Geelong, rating 2.2.4 last November. Iceenothink comes from last South Australian-bred pacer Iceenothink continues to excite with his sprinting ability and he impressed at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he sustained a powerful burst from last in the middle stages to win the 2130m TABtouch Pace. Stablemates Mighty Santana ($1.95) and Justasec ($4.40) from the Forrestdale stables of leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond dominated betting, with Iceenothink the third fancy at $6.70. From the No. 4 barrier, Mitch Miller restrained Iceenothink to the rear, with Mighty Santana (Dylan Egerton-Green) leading for the first lap before Ryan Warwick sent Justasec to the front. Miller sent Iceenothink forward approaching the bell and the gelding moved to sixth, out three wide, with a lap to travel. Iceenothink got on terms, out three wide, with Justasec and Jack William 300m to travel before taking a clear lead 40m from  the post and winning by two metres from the unlucky Mighty Santana, who was badly blocked for a clear run until the final stages, when he sprouted wings. Fifty Five Reborn is Oaks bound Lightly-raced filly Fifty Five Reborn staked her claims for the $150,000 WA Oaks on May 1 when she produced a whirlwind finish to win the Perth Plasterboard Centre Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Trained and driven by Colin Brown in a bright green sulky, Fifty Five Reborn was a $4.80 chance from the No. 7 barrier. She was four wide for the first 150m before Brown restrained her to race in eighth position in the one-wide line. She was sixth at the 400m before she sprinted strongly to burst to the front about 50m from the post and race away to beat Blockjorg by one and a half lengths at a 1.57.4 rate over 2130m. This was Fifty Five Reborn’s second outing after a spell and her fourth win from ten starts. She is sure to be improved when she contests the Oaks. Blockjorg, trained by Colin Reeves and driven by Jocelyn Young, also looks to be an excellent Oaks prospect. She had a tough run in the breeze outside the pacemaker Soho Whisper before hitting the front with 320m to travel. A stroll in the park for Taroona Bromac Leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond produced smart New Zealand-bred four-year-old Taroona Bromac in splendid fettle for his first-up appearance after an absence of almost four months when he was sent out as a $1.30 favourite for the 2130m Etch Coating Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Ryan Warwick dashed Taroona Bromac straight to the front from the No. 3 barrier and the Western Ideal gelding relished his pacemaking role and winning by one and a half lengths from Sergeant Oats, who trailed him throughout. Taroona Bromac dashed over the final 800m in 56sec. and rated 1.57.9. This improved his record to 13 starts for ten wins and one second placing.   Ken Casellas

Few horses in any code in recent years can boast such remarkable consistency as ten-year-old square-gaiter Lord Liam, whose clash with Mr Sundon, Tenno Sho and Rock Tonight in the $30,000 Mondo Doro Smallgoods Trotters Sprint over 1730m promises to be a highlight on the 11-event program at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “He’s done a good job,” was the laconic understatement from Waroona trainer Bob Mellsop, who can lay claim as the West Australian maestro of preparing and racing trotters. Lord Liam was sent to WA to be trained by Mellsop after the powerfully-built, barrel-chested gelding had raced in Victoria and New South Wales 57 times for 13 wins and 18 placings. Now, Lord Liam has had 45 starts for Mellsop for the incredible record of 19 wins, 16 seconds, four thirds, three fourths, one fifth, one seventh and one eighth. In the space of four months last year Lord Liam won eight races in a row and since then his 11 starts have produced one win, seven seconds and three thirds. Mellsop certainly has been a trendsetter and pathfinder in trotting in the past two decades in WA. Among a succession of square gaiters under his care in that time have been Dave Star (43 starts for 17 wins and nine placings), Drop of Gin (25 starts for nine wins and 11 placings), The Beau Brummel (20 starts for four wins, including the 2014 WA Trotters Cup, and seven placings), Sun of Zola (19 starts for 11 wins and five placings), Baby Jack (40 starts for six wins and 17 placings), Gee Invasion (ten starts for five wins and one placing), Our Shoe In (18 starts for five wins and five placings) and Sammy Charles (19 starts for six wins and 11 placings). Lord Liam, with regular driver Maddison Brown in the sulky, is somewhat awkwardly drawn at barrier five in this week’s sprint event. But he should be in the firing line throughout and is capable of extending the warm favourite, the Ross Olivieri-trained Mr Sundon, who will be driven by Chris Lewis from a more favourable barrier at No. 3. Tenno Sho, trained at Pinjarra by Tracy Reay and to be driven by Nathan Turvey, is a smart frontrunner who is ideally drawn at barrier No. 2. Tenno Sho gave a bold frontrunning display when he beat Rock Tonight and Lord Liam over 2130m on Thursday of last week.  Rock Tonight, in the Waroona stables of Nigel Johns, is brilliant but unreliable and unpredictable. He will start from the outside barrier (No. 9) with Morgan Woodley in the sulky. Rock Tonight followed a fast-finishing victory over Mr Sundon at Pinjarra with a strong-finishing last-0start second to Tenno Sho. Johns, a stalwart and trailblazer in trotting in WA, will also be represented by the immensely popular 12-year-old Diamond Geezer, who delights trotgoers with his enthusiastic high-stepping action. The Victorian-bred Diamond Geezer has raced exclusively in WA where his 236 starts have produced 17 wins 30 seconds and 39 thirds. He will be handled by Donald Harper from out wide at barrier eight and will be at liberal odds. Adding interest to this week’s race will be the first appearance in the State of former Victorian performers War Spirit and Princess Mila. War Spirit, trained at Upper Swan by Michael Munro, will start from the No. 4 barrier. A winner of two races in New Zealand, War Spirit raced 37 times in Victoria for eight wins and 12 placings. He has been unplaced at his past two starts, at Melton and Globe Derby Park, but before those failures he set a track record of 2.2.4 in a 2570m stand at Geelong last November.  Five-year-old Princess Mila, trained by Gary Hall Snr, is the only mare and youngest runner in the race. She will be driven by Gary Hall Jnr from barrier two on the back line. She has not appeared since she finished third in a field of six in a 2190m stand at Mildura in April of last year.   Ken Casellas

Champion pacer Chicago Bull will resume racing after an absence of nine months and Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall Snr said that the seven-year-old was ready for a strong first-up performance when he starts from out wide, at barrier eight in the $25,000 Direct Trades Supply Pace over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “He’s run three minutes and has run home in 55 seconds on the track at home,” Hall said. “But he’s got to run those times; that’s what Free-For-All horses have to run. He’s porky; he’s big and racing will make him better. “I don’t think he will get back to what he was. He has been in work for three months and there’s no problem with his wither. But his off-side fetlock has been troubling him a bit.” Chicago Bull was badly injured in a freak stable accident in New Zealand in October 2018, just a few days before he was due to have contested the New Zealand Cup at Addington. He fractured several bones in his wither when he flipped himself over backwards. He had an anaphylactic reaction to an injection. This kept him out of action for seven months and since that accident he has raced five times at Gloucester Park for three wins, a second and a last-start fourth behind Golden State on June 28 last year when he raced wide early and then in the breeze. Gary Hall Jnr will drive Chicago Bull, who is expected to receive stiff opposition from the up-and-coming star four-year-old Shockwave (who will start from  the outside barrier in the field of nine) and the talented Greg and Skye Bond-trained seven-year-old Galactic Star, who will have many admirers, particularly because of his perfect draw at No. 1. This will be an acid test for the Ryan Bell-trained Shockwave, who has scored effortless victories over 2130m at his past two starts.   Ken Casellas

The Bernard James-trained Parisian Partygirl took out a super edition of yesterday’s Global Breeding Farms Golden Girls Mile (1684m) at Pinjarra. Just 7m covered first to last in a busy finish to the $30,000 feature and Parisian Partygirl was one of nine horses across the track that all had winning claims over the closing stages. Race favourite Rosies Ideal held the lead from barrier one, while Our Alfie Romeo worked to the breeze from barrier six. The solidly run first half of 58.1 set the race up for those just off the speed and Parisian Partygirl was one of those who was able to swoop late. Reinsman Kyle Harper, having his first drive on the seven-year-old, was able to get off the pegs and get into clear running on the turn for home. Parisian Partygirl and American Delight stormed home in the last 100m to fight out the finish but it was the Courage Under Fire mare who scored by a head. Gotta Go Gabbana, having her first start since January 31, made an encouraging return to finish third. Our Alfie Romeo fought on bravely in her first start back in Western Australia since a Ladyship Mile campaign, while Rosies Ideal finished 11th. Harper told TABradio he admired the mare’s tenacity to power past a quality field. “She just tries her heart out,” he said. “She’s got that great 300m sprint on her and we got her out at the right time. “The first 100m up the straight I didn’t think we were going to get there. “That last 100m she just really rattled home.” Meanwhile, Chicago Bull will line up in this Friday’s Free-For-All event at Gloucester Park.   Tim Walker

Champion pacer Chicago Bull could make his return to the races as early as this Friday night, after he was nominated for a 2536m Free-For-All at Gloucester Park this Friday night. The gelding hasn’t been seen on the track since last June due a suspensory strain and issues with the sesamoid bone on his off side front leg. It has been a patient build up for trainer Gary Hall Snr to get Chicago Bull back to the track and said while he was yet to decide if he’d run his stable star this week, a return was imminent. “He’s nominated for this week, but we will make the decision later in the week,” he told RWWA Harness. “He’s been working reasonably well, but I don’t expect him to ever get back to what he was before. “He’s sound and he’s working okay, so hopefully he will be able to get back somewhere near his best.” Should Chicago Bull show his best form this campaign Hall Snr said he would consider taking the seven-year-old to Sydney later this year for the Inter Dominion series. Chicago Bull heads up a stellar list of nominations for the $25,000 event and could clash with the highly talented Shockwave, who scored a comfortable win in last Friday’s FFA. Pinjarra Cup winner Vampiro is one of six nominations in the race for training partnership Greg and Skye Bond. Galactic Star is also nominated for what could be his first start since returning back from a Sydney campaign. Meanwhile, the three-year-olds will get one last chance to stake their claims for the WA Derby on April 3 in a 2130m event this week. Howard Hughes, who faded to finish eighth after enduring a tough run in last week’s Western Gateway, is one of five runners nominated for the event for the Bond team. Hall Snr has Copy N Pace nominated for the event, while fellow trainer Mike Reed has entered Caveman and Pocket The Cash. The three-year-old fillies will also get their chance to press their feature race claims in another 2130m event this week. Tim Walker

The aptly-named two-year-old colt Mighty Ronaldo is poised to open his winning account by proving the master of his four opponents in the $25,000 Intersport Slater Gartrell Western Crown Classic for colts and geldings at Gloucester Park on Friday night. By former champion pacer Alta Christiano, he has been named after Portuguese world soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo whose net worth is estimated at $460 million. Mighty Ronaldo, who is trained and driven by Justin Prentice, has earned $1581 from his first two starts that produced a first-up fifth at Gloucester Park followed by an impressive close-up second to The Good Life over 1609m at Bunbury on March 3. A win this week would boost his earnings by $15,113. “His was a good run last start,” said Prentice. “He sat in the breeze and the final quarter was run in 26.9sec. He couldn’t have gone much better; he was just beaten by a good one. This race on Friday night looks a good one for him.” Mighty Ronaldo will start from barrier three and is sure to be prominent throughout in the small field. His chief rivals appear to be the polemarker and Glenn Elliott-trained Soho Gigolo and the Mike Reed-trained Our Shelley Beach. Soho Gigolo, to be driven by Chris Voak, should be improved by his debut performance last Friday night when he raced three back on the pegs in fourth place before fighting on to finish second, eight lengths behind the flying pacemaker Black Jack Baby. Our Shelley Beach also made his debut in last week’s race in which he raced in seventh and last position before improving to finish a well-beaten fourth. Black Jack Baby, trained at Pinjarra by David Young and unbeaten at her four starts, has sound prospects improving her record by winning the $25,000 Intersport Slater Gartrell Western Crown for two-year-old fillies. Driven by Chris Voak, Black Jack Baby began brilliantly from barrier three and sped over the final quarters in 28.6sec. and 28.2sec. when she won in effortless fashion last Friday night. She will start from barrier five this week and is likely to be tested by the Debra Lewis-trained Rumour Has It, who will be driven by Chris Lewis from the outside barrier in the field of six. Rumour Has It gave an impressive frontrunning display to win by seven and a half lengths from Letsdancetonight at a 1.56.3 rate over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week. That followed a first-up fifth to Black Jack Baby at Pinjarra and a fast-finishing second to Cheddar Is Better over 1684m at Pinjarra.   Ken Casellas

Exciting pacer Major Martini is a brilliant sit-sprinter who has thrilled harness racing fans with his dazzling finishing bursts, but his trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice is predicting the WA-bred gelding will be seen in a different role when he contests the $50,000 Intersport Slater Gartrell Western Gateway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Major Martini has drawn favourably at barrier two on the front line and Prentice is planning to burst straight to the front and attempt an all-the-way victory in the Group 2 feature event for three-year-olds. “It’s a good draw and I’ll be doing everything I can to lead,” Prentice said. “He certainly can lead. “Since winning the Sales Classic last Friday week his work has been good. Junior (Gary Hall Jnr) was really happy with that run and Major Martini worked well with Gardys Legacy this morning (Tuesday) and both went through the line really good. I’m happy with both of them.” Gardys Legacy, who has had nine starts for Prentice for five wins, has drawn the coveted No. 1 barrier on the front line and he will be handled by Aiden de Campo. Major Martini notched his fifth win from 12 starts when he began from the No. 2 barrier and raced in third position in an Indian file 2130m Sales Classic at his most recent outing. Hall eased the gelding off the pegs at the bell and he then raced outside the pacemaker Caveman before getting to the front 380m from home. He careered away from his rivals in the home straight and won by five lengths from stablemate Manning, rating 1.56.6 after sprinting over the final quarters in 27sec. and 27.7sec. At his previous start Major Martini gave a sample of his sizzling sprinting ability when he thundered home, out four wide, from eleventh at the bell to finish second, a short half-head behind the winner Double Expresso, who rated 1.55.4 over the 2130m to set a race record. Manning, a smart Sportswriter gelding who has won four races, will be Prentice’s third runner in Friday night’s 2536m race. He is in sound form, with excellent placings at his past two outings. He will start from the No. 7 barrier and will be driven by Chris Lewis, who has won the Western Gateway five times with Flashing Star (1993), Pro Armbro (1995), Saab (1998), Talladega (2001) and Alberta Retreat (2005). Prentice has also been successful in the Western Gateway. He drove the John Graham-trained Lively Royce to victory in 2008 and  was in the sulky behind the Michael Brennan-trained Im Victorious, who started from barrier three and took the front after 700m before going on to win from Gracias Para Nada in April 2012. Major Martini, by Art Major, is the only foal out of the Sutter Hanover mare Gaetana Nicole to have raced. Gaetana Nicole is a half-sister to Fake Embrace, who won at 11 of his 26 starts in WA before going to America where he won another 26 times. Prentice has happy memories of Fake Embrace, whom he drove to victory in an event for junior drivers at Gloucester Park in May 2006. Adding considerable interest to Friday night’s race will be the first appearance in WA of Mach Da Vinci, a New Zealand-bred colt who is prepared by New Zealand trainer Paul Court and will be driven by 25-year-old New Zealand-born reinsman Jack Trainor, who has been highly successful in New South Wales in recent years. Trainor has driven 56 winners this season and is in sixth place on the NSW drivers’ premiership table. Mach Da Vinci faces a stern test from out wide at barrier eight. But he possesses excellent gate speed, like he showed at his latest outing, in a 1609m event at Menangle last Saturday week. He was unable to cross Ohoka Johnny and then made a determined bid for the lead after 200m. He got a half-length in front over the next 250m before Trainor restrained and took the sit behind the pacemaker. Mach Da Vinci moved off the pegs 350m from home and got to a narrow lead 220m from the post before being swamped and he finished a gallant fourth behind Leonidas. Two starts before that Mach Da Vinci led from barrier two and won by two lengths from Macheasy at a 1.54.7 rate over 2300m at Menangle when he dashed over the final 800m in 53.2sec. Eleven days before that Mach Da Vinci began brilliantly from out wide at barrier nine when he led and won over 1609m at Menangle with flying quarters of 27.3sec., 29.6sec., 27.1sec. and 27.3sec. Howard Hughes, a handsome black colt prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, fared badly in the random draw and will need a shade of luck from barrier No. 9. The New Zealand-bred Howard Hughes, unraced as a two-year-old, won once from two starts in New Zealand and is unbeaten in five starts in WA, with an average winning margin of three lengths. Howard Hughes also started from the outside barrier in a 2130m race on Tuesday of last week. He settled down in sixth position in the one-wide line and began a three-wide move with 1050m to travel before getting to the front 150m from the finish and winning easily from the pacemaker Hes Royal Blue. Ryan Warwick, who drives Howard Hughes, teamed with the Bond stable to win the Western Gateway with Mitch Maguire in 2017. Greg Bond also prepared Ohokas Bondy for his win in this event in 2011. The Bond stable also will be represented in this year’s classic by Manifestly Excesiv, who will be driven by Colin Brown from the inside of the back line. The Kim Prentice-trained and driven Franco Ecuador is the least experienced runner in the race, with three stylish victories from his four starts. He will start from the outside of the back line is as capable of a bold showing. Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed, who has won the Western Gateway with Manageable in 1988 and Bechers Brook in 2018, will be pinning his faith this year on Valentines Brook (barrier three) and Caveman (six), while Michael Brennan has a high opinion of Withoutthetuh (barrier four) and Serpentine trainer Kyle Anderson has Al Guerroro (five) in peak form. The only filly in the race is the Peter Anderson-trained Star Fromthepalace, who will be driven by Aldo Cortopassi from barrier two on the back line. Star Fromthepalace, who has won three races and been placed eight times from 19 starts, will be at long odds. The only fillies to have won in the 48-year history of the Western Gateway are Omista (1972), Via Vista (1981) and Whitbys Miss Penny (1991).   Ken Casellas

Miracle Mile plans for Vampiro New Zealand-bred Vampiro, a pacer blessed with dazzling gate speed, will be set for the $1 million Miracle Mile at Menangle next March if he maintains his superb form, said buoyant part-owner Rob Gartrell after Colin Brown had driven the six-year-old to a superb all-the-way victory in the $25,000 Direct Trades Supply Pace over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Vampiro, who possesses dazzling gate speed, is a brilliant sprinter, having won the 1730m Mount Eden Sprint, rating 1.55.2 when he beat Maczaffair and Rocknroll Lincoln at Gloucester Park in October 2018, as well as winning the 1730m Village Kid Sprint from Herrick Roosevelt and Galactic Star at a 1.52.9 rate last December.  “Probably, since Has The Answers a decade ago, Vampiro is the fastest beginner in WA,” said Gartrell, who races the New Zealand-bred gelding in partnership with trainer Skye Bond, who prepares the pacer with her husband Greg. “We tossed up this year whether to take Vampiro to Menangle in a bid to qualify for the Miracle Mile. We ended up taking Galactic Star. But next year we’ll probably have a crack with Vampiro. “We had a chance to sell Vampiro to America a couple of years ago when Skye said: ‘No, no, this horse will continue to improve. So, we hung on to him and he has got better with every preparation. We bought him as a three-year-old for a pretty reasonable price, mainly because he hadn’t done anything sensational in New Zealand.” Vampiro has certainly vindicated Skye Bond’s faith in the Rocknroll Hanover gelding, who managed just one win and one placing from seven starts in New Zealand. His 53 starts in Western Australia have produced 23 wins and 17 placings for $521,724 in prizemoney. He is out the unraced Artsplace mare Fortune Lover, whose dam Under Cover Lover amassed $864,923 in stakes from 21 wins and 22 placings from 70 starts. Vampiro, who set the pace and finished second to Caviar Star in the 2536m Fremantle Cup and led when second to Mighty Conqueror in the 2936m WA Pacing Cup in January, led and won the 2692m Pinjarra Cup last Monday week. He began from the outside barrier (No. 9) in both the Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups and from barrier six in the Pinjarra Cup. Again, he began brilliantly from barrier nine on Friday night and burst straight to the front before setting a solid pace. He dashed over the final four 400m sections in 29.2sec., 27.7sec., 28.7sec. and 28.1sec. Her rated 1.56 and beat his fast-finishing stablemate Our Jimmy Johnstone, with trainer Ross Olivieri’s Im Full of Excuses third and another Bond-trained pacer El Jacko, an unlucky fourth after being badly hampered for room for most of the final circuit. “The only question mark on Vampiro has always been whether he can find when it gets really tough,” Gartrell said. “Tonight, he showed his toughness when seriously tested by Im Full of Excuses approaching the home turn and was able to repel the challenge.” Shockwave is on the rise Star four-year-old Shockwave, untroubled to crush his rivals in the $50,000 Direct Trades Supply Four and Five-Year-Old Championship at Gloucester Park on Friday night, is vying for the accolade as Western Australia’s best pacer, according to his managing owner Kevin Jeavons. “I have no doubt that he is right up there with the best horses here,” Jeavons declared. “Time will tell how he measures up with the best in Australia. We will find out when he gets a chance.” At his first appearance for two months, Shockwave was a dominant $1.20 favourite from the No. 1 barrier in the group 2 2130m feature event. Aiden de Campo jumped Shockwave straight to the front and the horse coasted through the first three quarters of the final mile before sprinting the last 400m in 27.3sec. to beat Bletchley Park by just under five metres at a 1.56.5 rate. This gave de Campo his second success in this event, after scoring an effortless victory with Handsandwheels 12 months ago. Jeavons, who races Shockwave in partnership with his son Kyle and Howard King, outlaid $46,000 to buy Shockwave at the 2017 APG yearling sale and the son of Canadian sire Mach Three now has earned $330,704 from 11 wins and 11 placings from 33 starts. “He was the best looking and best conformed colt at the sale in my opinion and in the opinion of trainer Ryan Bell,” Jeavons said. “He was a great looking horse and has developed into a great looking stallion. He is a very quiet, well-mannered horse. “At the moment, Shockwave will be staying in WA and will race in Free-For-Alls every couple of weeks. We’re planning to go to Queensland for him to contest two major group 1 feature events in July. But with the problems with the world-wide virus, who knows what will happen. We won ‘t be over-racing him and will be keeping him for the big races.” Young targets a feature double Pinjarra trainer-reinsman Shane Young praised Rosies Ideal for her spirited performance to win the DTS Farm Fence Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night and said that the five-year-old was being set for a feature double in the space of five days later this month. “Rosies Ideal is one of the best mares in the State, in my opinion, and she’s starting to prove that, winning in sub 1.57 mile rates at each of her past three starts at Gloucester Park,” he said. Young plans to run Rosies Ideal in the group 3 $30,000 Golden Girls Mile at Pinjarra on Monday week and the group 2 $50,000 Empress Stakes at Gloucester Park the following Friday. “She’s got to back up to two starts in the week,” Young said. “She’s tough enough and it shouldn’t bother her. In a normal week, she has a hoppled run on a Wednesday and races on the Friday.” Rosies Ideal was a warm favourite at $2.15 from out wide at barrier No. 8 and Young said that he didn’t go into the race with a set plan. “I thought I might go forward, but when I heard Aiden (de Campo) say in a pre-race interview that he intended to have a good crack for the lead with American Delight, I thought I would just let Rosies Ideal settle in the field,” Young said. “But, at barrier rise, Aiden’s horse broke, so I asked Rosies Ideal to go forward. Miss Sangrial (four and five wide) got a neck in front of us early, but she was never going to cross Rosies Ideal once I asked her to run forward. “She probably overraced a bit and that’s why she got a bit tired at the end. She went 29.1sec. from the 1200m to the 800m which she didn’t need to, but she wanted to. She’s a quality mare and has a great record. If she can jag one of the feature events for mares in the summer, it will be the icing on the cake. At the moment, we’re enjoying the ride.” Rosies Ideal held on gamely to defeat the fast-finishing 40/1 outside Mileys Desire by a head, rating 1.56.4 over the 2130m. This took her record to 39 starts for 14 wins, nine placings and $228,663 in prizemoney. Rosies Ideal was bred and is owned by Craig Lynn and his father Alan. Craig Lynn raced Rosies Ideal’s dam the New Zealand-bred Rosie Malone, who won four races from 38 starts in WA after winning three times in New Zealand. Highlights of Rosies Ideal’s career have been her victories in the two-year-old Gold Bracelet and the three-year-old Westbred Classic, as well as her head second to Our Alfie Romeo in the WASBA Breeders Stakes for four-year-olds in May of last year. Black Jack Baby sparkles Black Jack Baby, a Follow The Stars filly bred and owned by Shane Quadrio, will be a major player in feature events for two-year-olds this season, judged by the effortless ease in which she scored a runaway victory in the 1730m Direct Trades Supply Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Trained at Pinjarra by David Young, Black Jack Baby was driven with extreme confidence by Chris Voak and she gave a superb frontrunning exhibition to win by eight lengths from Soho Gigolo at a 1.58.6 rate. This gave Black Jack Baby her fourth win from four starts and she looms as a strong chance in the rich feature events for two-year-olds. She is likely to have her next start in the $25,000 Western Crown for fillies next Friday night. Voak likes Run For Mercy Chris Voak, who heads the WA drivers’ premiership table this season, was full of praise for the Ross Olivieri-trained Run For Mercy, who scored an easy victory  in the 2130m Direct Trades Supply Pace for three-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Run For Mercy, an odds-on favourite from barrier one, is a stablemate of the outstanding filly Double Expresso, and she was not extended in setting the pace and winning from Sports Package and Blockjorg. “It was trackwork, really,” said Voak. “Basically, I think that everyone conceded. We got the barrier (No. 1) and it was her race to lose. It was a procession. “She won, but I don’t think that’s the way to rate her, slow like that. This filly can beat Double Expresso. But we need to be conservative, whereas Double Expresso can do the bullocking work in races and run on. “In the WA Oaks over 2536m, Run For Mercy is better on a genuine tempo. If Double Expresso is posted in the breeze and we get a soft trip and all of a sudden we get home in 57.8sec. we can definitely get over them. But, is Run For Mercy able to lead and beat Double Expresso, I don’t think so.” Justasec justifies Warwick’s confidence Inexperienced New Zealand-bred four-year-old Justasec, the $2.70 favourite, justified reinsman Ryan Warwick’s confidence when he worked hard without cover and scored a narrow victory in the 2130m Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “I told Greg (Greg Bond, who prepares the gelding in partnership with his wife Skye) that we would sit outside the leader (Saleahs Comand) and win,” Warwick said after Justasec had forged to the front 100m from the post and held on to win by a head from the fast-finishing Lord Rosco. “He’s a pretty good horse and can do it every each way. So, he’s a pretty adaptable little horse who has got a good motor. He was just a grade better than them tonight. He’s got a few lurks, but we’ll just let him do the talking.” Justasec, by American sire Big Jim, won once from two New Zealand starts and now has had 11 starts in WA for eight wins and two seconds. It’s Dennis all the way A change of tactics by reinsman Mitch Miller paved the way for a strong all-the-way victory by Dennis in the 2130m DTS Farmlock Fence Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. A week earlier, Dennis started from the No. 1 barrier and Miller was content to sit behind the pacemaker Dominate The Dojo when Dennis was blocked for a run until the final 50 metres and ran on when fourth behind Jack William. Mitchell was determined to take full advantage of the No. 1 barrier on Friday night and Dennis held the fancied Grinny Vinnie at bay when that pacer made a strong challenge for the early lead. Dennis then covered the first two quarters of the final mile in 31.6sec. and 30.2sec. before sprinting the final sections in 28.4sec. and 27.6sec.    Dennis, trained by Ross Olivieri, went on to win by just under a length from Grinny Vinnie, rating 1.56.7 to notch his ninth win from 57 starts. “Dennis has always had good gate speed, but in the past whenever you used him at the start, you would lose at the finish,” said Miller. “We drove him quiet from barrier one last week and paid the price. So, drawing one, you’ve got to make the most of it.” Sir Galahad sizzles Inexperienced New Zealand-bred six-year-old Sir Galahad continues to impress and he revealed abundant speed and plenty of toughness when he raced wide early and then in the breeze before getting to the front 100m from the post and winning the 1730m DTS All Your Civil and Construction Supply Needs Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Trained by Gary Hall snr and driven by Stuart McDonald, Sir Galahad, the $2.40 favourite from barrier five raced outside the pacemaker Dominate The Dojo before exerting his superiority in the home straight. H smart 1.55.3 and improved his record to eight wins and three placings from 13 starts. Treble for the Bonds Leading trainers Greg and Sky Bond extended their lead on the WA trainers’ premiership table when Ryan Warwick drove Where Ya Bin to a narrow victory in the DTS Handicap over 2503m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Bonds now have prepared 103 winners this season and lead the table from Ross Olivieri (64 wins) and Gary Hall snr (53). Where Ya Bin, a New Zealand-bred four-year-old and a $5.70 chance, raced without cover early and ran on solidly from sixth in the one-wide line at the line to win by a half-head from Burning Shadows and On My Oath, who dead-heated for second. Leading suits You Gotta Have Faith Noted frontrunner You Gotta Have Faith excelled in the role of pacemaker and overcame the disadvantage of casting a shoe in running when he held on to win the 2130m Get The Best Service Only At DTS Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Driven by Maddison Brown for Waroona trainer Bob Mellsop, You Gotta Have Faith, the $3 favourite, made the most of the coveted No. 1 barrier by setting the pace and holding on to win by a neck from Mister Bushido, who trailed the pacemaker throughout. The Justin Prentice-trained Pick My Pocket showed that she will pay to follow by fighting on grimly to be a close third after working hard in the breeze, while Crocodile Kid showed a welcome return to form by charging home out wide to finish fourth. No trouble for Dreamy Nights Smart six-year-old Dreamy Nights completed a winning hat-trick when Aldo Cortopassi drove the Ray Williams-trained six-year-old to an effortless victory in the 2130m DTS Security Fence Specialists Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “The danger (Jack William) was parked on the helmet (behind us) and I made sure he was hemmed in until it was over,” said Cortopassi. “There was no pressure on us, and I treated it just like trackwork.” Jack William maintained his excellent form in finishing second, with Iceenothink flashing home from tenth at the bell to be an eye-catching third.   Ken Casellas

Mighty Conqueror has provided a massive boost to next Sunday’s Bathurst Gold Crown Yearling Sale with a thrilling win in the $450,000 WA Pacing Cup at Gloucester Park in January.   The New Zealand bred Mighty Conqueror is now the winner of $485,838 and his gave his Bathurst sale bound close relative, a Shoobees Place filly (Lot 58), a perfectly timed pedigree update.   Hows The Memory, a winner of the Group 2 $50,000 Sibelia Stakes in 1:51.2, and recent Cranbourne winners Sahara Sirocco and Sahara Tiger are closely related to Lot 81, a Roll With Joe colt out of the smart racemare Macrandra.   Hurricane Harley, winner of the Group 2 $50,000 Paleface Adios Stakes at Menangle, is out of a daughter of Lot 70, the Well Said-Lindsey Leigh USA filly, while this season’s Victorian cups king Phoenix Prince belongs to the immediate family of Lot 82.   Half-brothers to a number of sale entries have been successful in NSW and Victoria recently.   Call Me Hector, a winner at Melton in 1:55.2, has a sibling as Lot 3; Rizardo, a double winner at Newcastle, is a half-brother to Lot 92; Illawong Mustang, who won at Ballarat in 1:56.8 and Cranbourne, is a half-brother to Loy 87; the Temora victor Our Sams Home has a half- brother in Lot 35; and the NSW provincial winners King Fisher, Lutzys Dream and A True Sensation are all half-brothers to Lot 68.   Pedigrees for all yearlings can be viewed online at Click on 2020 Bathurst Gold Crown Yearling Sale   For a hard copy of the catalogue or further information phone Graeme Board on 0408 636 273 or email or the Bathurst Harness Racing Club.     by Peter Wharton

The Group 2 $50,000 4YO & 5YO Championship highlights a stellar night of pacing at Gloucester Park on Friday night. And three members of the WA Trotting Media Guild have marked Shockwave down as their best bet in the feature on a bumper 11-event card. The West Australian’s Ernie Manning, TABradio’s form analyst Hayden King and Radio Great Southern’s form expert Warren Wishart have all made Shockwave their best bet. “Shockwave proved his class when winning the $200,000 Golden Nugget as favourite last December, before he was out of luck in the major cups,” Manning said. ”He ran sixth after covering extra ground in the Fremantle Cup, ahead of locking wheels when it appeared he was looming to win the WA Pacing Cup. The four-year-old looked forward when winning a trial by almost 20m last Sunday.“ King agrees. “Shockwave has the barrier and was desperately unlucky in the Pacing Cup,” King said. “He has had a little time off but now fresh he is back and ready to strike.” Wishart rounds our the trifecta. “I’m keeping it simple this week with Shockwave,” Wishart said. “Nugget winner who would have gone close to winning the WA Pacing Cup but for locking wheels late. When the best horse draws the pole it invariably wins.” Veteran trotting journalist Ken Casellas has found one at a price as his star bet. “Young trainer Joshua Dunn’s sprightly 11-year-old Oneonthewood continues to race with youthful enthusiasm and I’m making the old gelding my special in the standing start event on Friday night,” Casellas said. “He produced an eye-catching performance on Tuesday evening when he was 11th and about seven lengths from the leader Bettor Be Oscar with 300m to travel before charging home out six wide to finish fifth. He can overcome the 20m handicap on Friday night and record win No.27 at his 222nd start.” The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft is, however, at odds with Casellas and has made Always An Honour his best bet in the same race. “Always An Honour seems to show his best form under standing start conditions with all of his six wins this season coming from behind the strands,” Havercroft said. “He made an early mistake last week which saw him settle too far back to be a threat but will be looking to sit closer this Friday.” Longshot guru Pat Harding has urged punters to keep their powder dry until the last race on the program. “The standout for me comes up in the last race with No.3 Black Jack Baby,” Harding said. “With three wins from three starts, this two-year-old looks set for a big future. Add Chris Voak aboard and you have the perfect combination to end the night on a winning note.” Guild president Wayne Currall has gone the other way and believes punters can add to their bank early doors by supporting My Carbon Copy in the open wing event. “Stuart McDonald should have My Carbon Copy in a lot handier position than he did last week when he finished a gallant fourth to stablemate Sir Galahad,” Currall said. “My Carbon Copy came from last at the 800m and was pushed four and five wide, but still managed to make ground in a quick 56.9. He can sprint over the top of them at the business end of proceedings.” VALUE BETS ERNIE: On My Oath has not won in 31 starts since his Williams success 14 months ago. But he looked ready to break through when a Pinjarra placegetter twice this month. He has won three Gloucester Park races. HAYDEN: Over Loaded was heavily backed here last time and came up just short. I am confident he can find the front and go one better. WARREN: The race shape appears better for Sergeant Oats on Friday night and I think he will settle closer from a low draw not having to work. Is capable of a strong finish on his night and should be at each-way odds. KEN: For value, I suggest Saleahs Comand, who is capable of setting the pace over the 2130m and holding on to defeat some better-fancied rivals in race seven. RYAN: Mister Bushido is drawn behind the likely leader You Gotta Have Faith and should be poised to strike upon straightening and break a nine-start losing sequence. PAT: My value bet comes up in Race 3 with No.2 Ona Happy Note. While the horse doesn't have a great deal of form, I think Lauren Jones can get the best out of her for trainer Michael Brennan. WAYNE: The consistent Lord Rosco is drawn to get the run of the race behind likely leader Saleahs Command in the seventh. He can surprise at odds. To view all of the Media Guild tips click here. Good punting.     

Mt Helena trainer Ray Williams has brought Dreamy Nights back from a spell in splendid form and the New Zealand-bred six-year-old has excellent prospects of completing a winning hat-trick by setting the pace and holding his rivals at bay in the 2130m DTS Security fence Specialists Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Reinsman Aldo Cortopassi was delighted when Dreamy Nights drew the prized No. 1 barrier and he plans to jump the gelding straight to the front and then dictate the terms of the race. “From No. 1 he won’t have to use a lot of speed,” Cortopassi said. “There’s no horse quicker than him off the arm; nothing will cross him off the gate. His past two runs have been very good and his main danger this week looks to be Jack William, who from barrier ten should be sitting on his back.” Jack William revealed strong staying virtues when he raced in the breeze and won from the fast-finishing One For Dave Andme over 2130m last Friday night when he covered the final 800m in 56.5sec. and rated 1.57.6. He also won from the breeze, beating Three Bears at Pinjarra at his previous outing. The Ross Olivieri-trained Iceenothink (barrier seven) also has claims. He is a talented sit-sprinter who has impressed with his strong finishing bursts at several recent outings. The in-form Cortopassi has several other good drives on the 11-event program, including Naval Aviator (race two), Im Soxy (race five), Oneonthewood (race eight) and Our Shelley Beach (race 11). “From barrier two on the back line I’ll have options with Naval Aviator,” said Cortopassi. He is capable of winning, with a bit of luck. I’ll have options --- whether to kick through early (in the one-wide line) or race three back on the fence. “I’ll be driving Im Soxy for the first time and he has not a bad draw at barrier two on the back line. He should get a nice soft run; he went to the line well when third behind Talktomeurmattjesty last week. Olivieri said that he was confident that Im Full of Excuses would prove hard to beat in that event. He will be driven by Chris Voak from the No. 3 barrier. “He has been knocking on the door and his run (when second to Vampiro) in the Pinjarra Cup was huge,” Olivieri said. Olivieri also has sound claims in the opening event, the DTS Farmnlock Fence Pace, with the enigmatic Dennis, who will start from the No. 1 barrier with Mitch Miller in the sulky. Dennis was a most unlucky fourth behind Jack William last week when he was hopelessly blocked for a clear passage until the final 50 metres. “Dennis is a capable frontrunner and he might try to lead this week,” Olivieri said. Cortopassi was engaged to drive Oneonthewood for trainer Joshua Dunn after Chris Voak opted to handle Jason Woodworth’s ten-year-old Attack On Command in the 2503m DTS 40,000 Stock Lines Under One Roof Handicap. Voak drove Oneonthewood, an 11-year-old veteran of 221 starts, when he caught the eye in a 2130m mobile event on Tuesday evening in which he was restrained  early and finished strongly, out six wide, from eleventh 300m from home to be fifth behind Bettor Be Oscar. He is also a good standing-start performer who is capable of a bold showing from the 20m mark. Voak drove Attack On Command when the gelding started from 30m and ran home solidly to win from The Lightning Strike over 2631m at Pinjarra two starts ago. Cortopassi is looking forward to driving the Mike Reed-trained regally-bred Our Shelley Beach from barrier six in the final event, the Direct Trades Supply Pace for two-year-olds. The New Zealand-bred Our Shelley Beach will be making his debut and should be prominent. “He gives promise of being a nice horse,” said Cortopassi. “I know what he can do, and he can only get better from the experience. “John Oldroyd broke him in and educated him and got me to drive him in trials. He’s got a lot of speed, but I’ll probably drive him quietly and see what happens. Mike has been good enough to leave me on.   Ken Casellas

Ross Olivieri, an eight-time premiership trainer in WA, is confident that he has an excellent second string runner in the $150,000 WA Oaks on May 1 in Run For Mercy, who looks a good bet from the No. 1 barrier in the Direct Trades Supply Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Olivieri, who prepares the brilliant Double Expresso, the favourite for the Oaks after winning 11 times from just 14 starts, said: “One-on-one, Run For Mercy is not as good as Double Expresso. But you saw how close she got when third behind Double Expresso and Starfromthepalace in the Daintys Daughter Classic last month. “That was her coming out moment, and she’s gone on with the job since then. At Pinjarra on Monday Run For Mercy jumped to the front and bolted in. You would think that would be the plan again on Friday night. She won in a similar field, and there were colts in the race, and on Friday night there are some classy fillies in the field. “She’s got more than a couple to beat, but she has the barrier draw advantage. She’s got the gate speed to use this advantage.” Run For Mercy, to be driven by Chris Voak, is favoured to win from Sports Package (barrier two) and Miss Lamarr (three), with most of the other fillies in the race capable of figuring strongly in the finish. The Terry Ferguson-trained Sports Package flew home, five wide, from seventh at the bell to win narrowly from My Sweet Deal and the pacemaker Run For Mercy at a 1.57.3 rate over 2130m last Friday week before she raced without cover and finished second to All The Bells over 2265m at Albany last Saturday night. Miss Lamarr finished strongly from three back on the pegs to win from Soho Whisper at a 1.57.9 rate over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday, with trainer Michael Brennan saying: “She was very good at Pinjarra and also at her previous start when fourth in a four-way photo behind Sports Package at Gloucester Park. “From barrier three I’d say we’ll drop back to three back on the fence with Miss Lamarr.” Brennan also is setting Sweet Maddison for the Oaks. She followed smart wins at Narrogin and Pinjarra with a comfortable all-the-way victory from Faiselle over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening when she sprinted over the final quarters in 28.6sec. and 28.1sec. “Sweet Maddison is a long, long way from being wound up,” said Brennan. “We’ve had the Oaks in mind from the time we got her. She did everything right on Tuesday; she relaxed and did everything easily.” Brennan is also looking for a strong performance from Miss Sangrial, who will start from the outside (No. 9) on the front line in the DTS Farm Fence Made in WA Pace over 2130m. “Miss Sangrial and Rosies Ideal (trained and driven by Shane Young) are the two class mares in the field, with American Delight (Aiden de Campo) also a very smart mare who was impressive two starts ago when she led and finished third to Miss Sangrial and Fake News at Gloucester Park,” Brennan said. Rosies Ideal was impressive first-up last Friday week when she raced in the breeze before winning from Miss Sangrial over 2130m.   Ken Casellas

Up-and-coming star Shockwave will reappear after a two-month absence when he contests the $50,000 Direct Trades Supply Four And Five-Year-Old Championship at Gloucester Park on Friday night as the first stage of a mission culminating in a trip to Brisbane to run in two $250,660 Group 1 feature events at Albion Park in July. Trainer Ryan Bell said that tentative plans were for the brilliant four-year-old to run in the Rising Sun, a new event for three and four-year-olds over 2138m on July 18 and the 2680m Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship over 2680m on July 25. Shockwave has not raced since he locked wheels with another runner about 200m from home and dropped back to finish last in the WA Pacing Cup on January 17. He has drawn perfectly at barrier one on Friday night and Bell said that the plan was for Aiden de Campo to set the pace in the 2130m Group 2 event. Shockwave warmed up for this week’s assignment in grand style, scoring an effortless victory by six and a half lengths over stablemate and pacemaker Blue Blazer, rating 1.56.5 in a 2150m trial at Byford on Sunday morning in which he sped over the final quarters in 28.1sec. and 27.6sec. Bell was in the sulky behind Blue Blazer and Deni Roberts drove Shockwave in the trial. “It was a plan to give him a tough run in the breeze, and that’s because it wasn’t an overly strong trial and he’s a horse you’ve got to keep up to the mark with hard runs,” Bell explained. “He thrives on hard work. Deni knows Shockwave as good as I do; she does most of his trackwork. In the trial Shockwave put his head in front of Blue Blazer about 450m from home and Deni just sat on him until the home straight when she let him really slide. She didn’t pull the plugs. She just gave him a flick with the whip and made him run through the line. She made sure that he really savaged the line and she said that he had never felt better. His final three sectionals were pretty slick.” Bell said that Shockwave hadn’t really had a spell since contesting the WA Pacing Cup. “He had an easy two weeks after the Cup in which he locked wheels,” he said. “He knocked his hindquarters and they swelled up a bit. He just did a bit of power walking up and down the hills at my place and then resumed full training. He’s not a horse who does particularly well when spelling. “His program now is pretty much week-in, week-out, running in Free-For-Alls, and then Queensland is on the agenda. We haven’t one hundred per cent cemented it in, but we would like to get there for the Rising Sun and Blacks A Fake. “It’s a long haul to Queensland, but if he’s in the zone and we’re happy with him, we might as well give him a crack. However, everything has to be a hundred per cent for us to jump on a plane.” Shockwave, who has won at ten of his 32 starts for earnings of $298,704, is expected to receive plenty of opposition on Friday night from Rock Me Over, Bletchley Park, Ocean Ridge and Braeview Bondi. Rock Me Over, to be driven by Chris Voak for trainer Matt Scott, is handily drawn at barrier three and is capable of a bold showing. Rock Me Over, who was hampered for room when a splendid second to Handsandwheels in the RWWA Cup three starts ago, met with a check on the first turn and veered out before obtaining an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, when a fighting second to Simba Bromac last Friday night. Ocean Ridge, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, will have admirers from barrier four. He has won six races this season and possesses excellent gate speed. Bletchley Park, trained in Bunbury by Stephen Reed, is the only runner on the back line and Michael Grantham will weigh up his options whether to trail the likely pacemaker Shockwave or to attempt to secure an advantageous position in the one-wide line. Bletchley Park notched his eleventh win from 26 starts when he raced in the breeze before finishing strongly to win from the pacemaker The Kraken over 2130m on Tuesday night, with final quarters of 28.3sec. and 28.2sec. Trainer Michael Brennan said he was looking forward to Braeview Bondi’s step up in class, following his impressive victory over 2536m last Friday night when he went forward from barrier nine, raced three wide for the first 200m and took the lead 250m later on his way to beating Captain Mannering by two lengths. Braeview Bondi will be driven by Kyle Harper, with Grantham opting to handle Bletchley Park. He will start from the No. 2 barrier. “We won’t be pressing the button at the start,” Brennan said. “He’s not fast enough to cross Shockwave. Our tactics could be dictated a bit by what Ryan (Warwick) does on Ocean Ridge, who could have a chance of crossing Shockwave. Our decision is whether we go back on the fence or stay in the running line. “A race like this (a step up in class) probably suits Braeview Bondi. In nearly all of his runs he’s been driven against his best racing patters which is sit and sprint. If he gets the right sort of run this week it won’t surprise me if he wins. It’s a very good field; a bunch of very nice horses.”   Ken Casellas

Busselton visitor Terry Ferguson wrapped up a remarkable season at Harold Reid Paceway, walking away with the Albany trainers’ premiership at the conclusion of Friday night’s last meet. Ferguson has been a regular at the Albany Harness Racing Club in the past few seasons and produced 15 winners from 39 starters this season at an outstanding strike rate of almost 40 per cent. Despite not training a winner at the final meeting of the 2019-20 season, Ferguson finished 15 points clear of runner-up Barry Howlett. Ferguson was delighted with his stable’s return across the 10 Albany Harness Racing Club meetings. “We’ve always had winners down there, but this year we had a nice team so it was good to do extra-well,” he said. “I think the Albany track suits our horses — it’s a lovely track and the horses we brought down liked the style of racing there. “We had some quality types that had lower ratings so they just went through the classes.” Ferguson also had his runner Bettor Copagoodone claim the AHRC pacer of the year title, winning by a single point over stablemate Bettor Pack It. Bettor Copagoodone and Bettor Pack It both won three races, but the leading pacer had one more third placing to win the award. Albany Harness Racing Club's leading trainer Terry Ferguson. Credit: Laurie Benson “It was a big surprise to the stable — it grew another leg down there,” he said. “Sports Package really stepped up down there this season — it won at Gloucester Park the start before, then had to do all the work on Saturday night and just went down, but we will aim her at the Oaks. That race will suit how she likes to run.” Talented youngster Emily Suvaljko secured the AHRC drivers’ premiership after a breakout season. Suvaljko led the standings going into the last meeting, in which she had one winner, one second and two third placings to defeat Trent Wheeler by 11 points. She drove 10 winners from 74 drives during the season. Emily Suvaljko was the leading driver at the Albany Harness Racing Club this season. Credit: Taj Stubber Saturday night’s final meet was headlined by the $10,000 Denmark Cup (2265m). Howlett notched his second feature race win in Albany this season after My Prayer, driven by Chris Voak, won by 3m over American Delight. It was part of a winning treble for Howlett. Trainer-driver Aiden De Campo finished with a winning double on the seven-race card, while Voak also notched two victories in the sulky. By Taj Stubber  Reprinted with permission of The Albany Advertiser

Lovable larrikin reinsman Chris Voak likes to look back and have a bit of a laugh about his early days of trying to get a start in the sport of harness racing. Now a star in Western Australia Voak recently posted his 100th winner for season 2019-20 - the ninth consecutive time he's achieved the feat. But there's no doubt that the accomplished and aggressive reinsman did the hard yards to achieve his dream. He's one of 10 highly regarded Australian drivers competing in the Decron Horse Care/Noel Smith Memorial Invitation Drivers Championship at Horsham on Monday. Voak is competing with Victorians Chris Alford, Kate Gath, Kima Frenning, Jason Lee, Greg Sugars and Kerryn Manning; Nathan Dawson (Qld); Mark Yole (Tas); and Ryan Hryhorec (SA) in four ratings-exempt events. And although he's rubbing shoulders with the best now, it's a credit to the champion - known as the "Voak Train" - that he stuck fat to his dream. "I guess I was destined to be involved in harness racing one way or another, because right from when I was born, I grew up with horses around me," Voak said. "My mum and dad, Linley and Danny, always had a couple as a hobby and as they say, once it gets in your blood, it's hard to get out!" But it wasn't a straight progression into the sport, Voak training as an electrician after he left school. "That was okay until they put me onto part-time and my bank balance started getting down a bit," he said. "I needed to do something else and my dad suggested I have a go at driving. I started in 2009 and had a claim but it was hard work trying to get a start. "My first winner was Impulsive Gift at Gloucester Park on February 14 and in the next 16 months I probably only got about 30 drives. "I remember getting offered two drives at a Kalgoorlie meeting one night and I took them-I don't know why - because it was about a seven-hour drive and I had no money. "I had a tank of fuel and $80 cash and went up the night before and slept in my car and froze. "Both the drives were on the rank outsiders but fortunately I got up on one of them at 99/1. The trainer gave me a $100 sling and I rang my fiancée Asha and told her I wasn't driving back cos I could afford to stay in a motel!" Voak said his lucky break came after pestering successful Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri for race drives. (Olivieri made his name as a top-flight tennis player who competed on the world circuit before turning his hand to harness racing.) "I even had a mate sending Ross text messages on my behalf," Voak laughed. "Then Ross grabbed me aside one day at Pinjarra and basically asked me to stop all the calls because he had a junior driver, but he told me he'd give me a go when there was an opportunity." And that chance came later when Olivieri's claim driver called in sick. "Ross rang me out of the blue and said if I could get to a trots meeting within the next two hours, there was two drives for me. I was doing electrical work in Subiaco at the time but I spoke to my boss, who knew how much I loved the sport, and he told me to go for it. "They were both roughies but I can say I did drive them perfectly and finished in the placings and from that day on, I was the Olivieri stable claim driver." Voak has now been with the Olivieri team for the past decade (never missing the two-days a week trackwork driving) and has 1243 wins and 2539 placings to his name for $12M in stakes. "Dad was always big on making the most of your opportunities, so I have to credit him with that. I've learnt the best way in getting the most out of it is just to work hard and make the most of your opportunities. "But I've also been lucky to have a lot of loyal supporters in family, friends, owners and trainers. You don't get to where you are without that. "My fiancée Asha has been awesome and her family are involved in the sport. I actually drove a winner for them at Bunbury on Tuesday. I never thought I'd be doing what I am-I'll be so happy if it keeps going well. I keep telling the younger ones to work hard." Voak says one of his most favorite victories was for his dad on a former Queensland "battler" he had leased. "Dad's done okay over the years winning a York Cup and a few other nice races, but he took on a horse called Shamrock Tango and won a race in the central wheatbelt region," Voak said. "That was enough for Dad to decide the horse was good enough to run in the San Simeon at Gloucester Park, which is a heat and final series for metro maidens," he said. "We were lucky to get a start in the heats because the nominations were light, so we went around at 33/1 and I stayed on the pegs to finish fourth and qualify for the final. "In the final, dad instructed me to give the horse a chance- to put him three deep at the 1000m. I didn't quite have the faith my family did and I was bit concerned that I could be staring down at a six week stretch for an inappropriate drive! But we ended up winning by a length at 70/1. "That was my first listed race. It was a Group Two event I think, but what a thrill. The horse actually went on and won six of his next eight starts." Voak said he'd never consciously made a decision to turn to driving on a full-time basis. "It's sometimes in the back of my mind that the dream could end. There's so many talented juniors coming through and there's always the thought that one day I might be forgotten and put on the back burner," he said. "I'm nearly 32, but I'm keen as ever. I'm grinding it out as hard as I was when I started. There's a lot of travelling because I'm doing at least four meetings a week, but that doesn't worry me. "The closest I've got to winning the State Drivers premiership is a second and a third and I'd love to claim that title this year. "For the moment, though, I'm looking forward to Monday and getting to Horsham because it's a great chance to catch up with the other drivers. "I'll be doing my best to win it though - I've been twice before and haven't managed to yet, so all bets will be off when we get on the track!"   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Major Martini has strings to his bow Brilliant sit-sprinter Major Martini is poised to boost his stake-earnings to $203,218 by proving the master of his six rivals in the $50,000 group 2 Sales Classic for three-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Trained at Boyanup by Justin Prentice and to be handled by champion reinsman Gary Hall jnr, Major Martini, who was purchased at the 2018 APG Perth yearling sales for $44,000, is favourably drawn at barrier two and Hall will have tactical options, either to lead or sit behind the polemarker Caveman. Though noted for his devastating finishing bursts, Major Martini also possesses excellent gate speed and is a capable frontrunner. He set the pace and won at Gloucester Park at his first two starts, as a two-year-old in February and March 2019. And at his most recent appearance he gave a magnificent performance to unwind a spectacular burst from eleventh at the bell to finish second, a short half-head behind Double Expresso in the Caduceus Club Classic last Friday week. Caveman, to be driven by Shannon Suvaljko for Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed, led from barrier six and won at Northam five starts ago. He has maintained that strong form with two wins from his next four starts, with each win coming after he had raced in the breeze.    Two years ago, in the two-year-old leg of the Sales Classic, Prentice had two runners, Major Martini ($3.30) and Manning ($1.60). Hall drove Manning, who began speedily from barrier four and dashed to the front after 50m. Prentice was in the sulky behind Major Martini, who went forward, four wide, at the start and got to the front after 400m. Major Martini, with final quarters of 28.3sec. and 28.2sec., went on to win by more than a length from Manning, rating 1.56.7 over 1730m. Manning, a winner of four races (including the group 1 Pearl Classic last year) and $98,938 in stakes, will start from the No. 3 barrier on Friday night and will be driven by Chris Lewis. The Sportswriter gelding set the pace before wilting to third behind Howard Hughes over 2185m at Pinjarra last Monday week. He is sure to be prominent. Major Martini, an Art Major gelding, is out of the unraced mare Gaetana Nicole, whose dam Hold Tight produced five winners, including Fake Embrace, who won the Sales Classic for two-year-olds in March 2004 before finishing fourth behind Alberta Retreat in the three-year-leg of that classic 12 months later. Fake Embrace won at 11 of his 26 starts in Western Australia before winning 26 races in America. Caveman, by Somebeachsomewhere, is the first foal out of Our Copper Art and was purchased as a yearling for $47,500. He is showing excellent promise for owners Wilma and Jim Giumelli, who purchased Caveman’s half-brother (by Well Said) for $30,000 at the APG yearling sale last Sunday. Leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond will be pinning their faith in Poisedtopounce, who will be driven by Ryan Warwick from barrier No. 4. Poisedtopounce faces a stern test at his first appearance since he overraced and faded to finish seventh in a field of seven over 2130m at Gloucester Park on December 23. Double Expresso looks far too good Super filly Double Expresso has won more races (ten) and more prizemoney ($240,179) than the combined totals of eight wins and $85,620 in stakes of her six rivals in the $50,000 Sales Classic for three-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night and she looks unbeatable. The Ross Olivieri-trained filly has drawn perfectly in barrier one and champion reinsman Chris Lewis should have an armchair drive out in front over the 2130m journey. Double Expresso, purchased for $22,000 at the 2018 APG yearling sale in Perth, has carried all before her in a glittering career, highlighted with two group 1 wins and one group 2 and one group 3 victories. She warmed up for this week’s assignment in superb style when  she was fifth 250m from home and got off the pegs 30m later before charging home, out wide, to win the 2130m Caduceus Club Classic by a short half-head from the fast-finishing Major Martini and the pacemaker Al Guerrero at a 1.55.4 rate. Double Expresso, by American stallion Sweet Lou, is the third foal out of the Rich And Spoilt mare Here For The Money, who raced 79 times for seven wins, 18 placings and $81,874 in stakes. As a two-year-old she was placed in the Sales Classic for fillies and in the Diamond Classic. Lewis drove Here For The Money only once --- for a seventh placing behind Cooper Trooper in a C2-class event over 1730m at Gloucester Park on October 25, 2013. Here For The Money has also produced star four-year-old Shockwave, winner of the Golden Nugget last December and the earner of $298,704 from ten wins and 11 placings from 32 starts. Double Expresso’s pedigree can be traced back in an unbroken female line to the American mare Trimbles Mare in the 1850s. Double Expresso is closely related to the New South Wales-bred gelding Kingstar, who had 324 starts for 76 wins, 96 placings and $758,505 in prizemoney. As a two-year-old Kingstar won the $100,000 NSW Sires Series Stakes at Harold Park in June 1997 and as a three-year-old he won the Queensland and Tasmanian Derbies as well as finishing second to champion New Zealand pacer Holmes D G in the Victoria Derby. He won the Four and Five-Year-Old Championship at Harold Park, beating Holmes D G and was second to that pacer in the Chariots of Fire in April 1999. Kingstar’s great granddam Wickawack was placed in two heats of the 1962 Interdominion Championship series at Gloucester Park. Wickawack’s dam was Brunswick Girl, who produced Gloucester Park winners Lawnwick, Comedian and Brunswick Jack in the 1950s. Intheskyrocket (barrier seven) and Red Hot Lady (six) have sound claims to be placed behind Double Expresso. Intheskyrocket, to be driven by Ryan Warwick for leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, is racing first-up, after winning at her two most recent outings, over 2185m and 1684m at Pinjarra in December.  She also won at two of her four starts as a two-year-old and is bred to be a good winner, being closely related to Innocent Eyes, who amassed $421,875 from 18 wins and 17 placings from 62 starts. Her most notable victories were in the Victoria and Australian Oaks in July 2005 and the Chariots of Fire at Harold Park in January 2006. Red Hot Lady, trained at Byford by Katja Warwick and to be handled by Shannon Suvaljko, is in good form, with her three appearances after a spell producing a first-up third at Northam, a second to I Work Out at Northam and all-the-way victory over Classy Colby over 2050m at Collie. Follow ton-up Chris Voak Charismatic reinsman Chris Voak is riding high and is poised to continue his recent run of successes by guiding Marquisard to an all-the-way victory in the 2130m Westral Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The 31-year-old Voak is Western Australia’s leading reinsman at the half-way mark of the 2019-20 season, after bringing up his century of winners with a double with Cheddar Is Better and Roman Art at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. He kept up the good work with another double at Bunbury on Tuesday night, scoring with Justgivemerubies and Papinik. He now leads the WA drivers’ premiership table with 102 winners --- ahead of Ryan Warwick (94), Gary Hall jnr (80) and Chris Lewis (69). This is the ninth season in a row that Voak has driven a century of winners after he first appeared in WA’s top-ten list with 70 winners for an eighth placing in the 2010-11 season. Since then, his season’s tally of winners has been: 108 (6th placing), 130 (3rd), 150 (2nd), 140 (3rd), 119 (5th), 120 (4th), 153 (4th) and 118 (seventh). He is now firmly on target to notch 200 winners this season. Voak, who is now in third place behind Chris Alford and Greg Sugars on the national premiership table, will represent WA at the in Horsham Invitation Drivers’ Championship next Monday. Hall drove Off The Bench and Concealment to victory and won this event 12 months ago. Marquisard, bred and owned by Pat Gilroy and trained at West Swan by Craig Abercromby, has had 83 starts for 14 wins, ten placings and $114,449 in stakes. He has won only once from his past 22 starts (when he began from  barrier eight, raced wide early and then obtained an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, before finishing resolutely to beat Shadow Roll by a length over 2536m at Gloucester Park ten starts ago. This week Marquisard is favourably drawn at barrier one and Voak is expected to make full use of the five-year-old’s good gate speed by attempting to lead all the way. Saleahs Comand possesses sparkling gate speed, but Marquisard is capable of holding him at bay in the early stages. Marquisard has a most impressive record in the seven races in which he has started from the No. 1 barrier --- five all-the-way wins (three at Northam and two at Gloucester Park), a half-head second to Ideal One after leading over 2130m at Gloucester Park and a seventh behind The Bird Dance over 2185m at Pinjarra last November when he raced three back on the pegs. The main dangers to Marquisard appear to be Three Bears, The Dali Express, Naval Aviator and Twoandahalf Tigers. Three Bears, trained in Busselton by Barry Howlett, will be handled by Gary Hall jnr from barrier two and is sure to be prominent after his strong-finishing last-start second to Jack William at Pinjarra. Naval Aviator is close to another win, following his sound second to Dreamy Nights last Friday night and The Dali Express is overdue for a change of fortune after excellent placings at his past three starts. Voak has several other excellent drives at Friday night’s meeting, with Captain Mannering (race three), Always Arjay (four), Madame Meilland (seven), Iconic Valor (eight), Rock Me Over (nine) and Withoutthetuh (ten) all having sound each-way prospects. The best of those runners could prove to be Captain Mannering and Rock me Over.        Ken Casellas

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