Day At The Track

Gloucester Park with Ken Casellas

01:03 PM 08 Sep 2013 NZST
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Ima Rocket Star's connections
Ima Rocket Star's connections


Eight-year-old Ima Rocket Star has fully recovered from debilitating leg injuries and is firmly on track to contest rich feature events at the coming summer carnival, including the WA Pacing Cup and Fremantle Cup.

Driven assertively by Colin Brown, Ima Rocket Star, a heavily-supported 5/4 on favourite, gave a typical powerhouse performance to win the 2536m Clipsal And Schneider Electric New Season Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night to record his eighth win from his past 14 starts.

Ima Rocket Star is now repaying the faith and patience of trainers Greg and Skye Bond, who have persevered with the New Zealand-bred gelding, who was able to race only once in the space of 24 months, between January 2011 and January 2013.

A winner at six of his 12 starts in New Zealand, Ima Rocket Star has been a star for the Bond camp, with his 40 WA starts producing 18 wins and ten placings. He also raced twice at Menangle in July 2010, finishing a half-length second to Make Mine Cullen in the Hondo Grattan Sprint and a length second to Villagem in the Chariots of Fire.

Ima Rocket Star started out wide from the No. 6 barrier on the front line on Friday night and Brown sent him forward, three wide, as soon as the mobile sent the field on its way, with the polemarker Lord Lombo setting the early pace. Ima Rocket Star dashed to the front after 400m and he was joined soon afterwards by 13/2 chance Sneakyn Down Under.

Ima Rocket Star sped over the first 400m section of the final mile in 28.9sec. before covering the final three quarters in 29.3sec., 28.9sec. and 29.6sec. He won by 1m from ten-year-old Rocket Reign (16/1), who finished powerfully from ninth at the bell at his first appearance for two months. Adda Paternal Suit ran home solidly from fifth at the bell to be third, with Sneakyn Down Under fading to last in the field of eleven. Franco Renegade came from last at the bell to be fourth.

Ima Rocket Star now boasts the impressive record of 54 starts for 24 wins and 14 placings for earnings of $354,094.

Ima Rocket Star, by Badlands Hanover, is the sixth foal out of Star Rhapsody, who won four times from 31 starts in New Zealand and whose younger half-sister Anvil’s Star amassed $470,115 from 17 wins and 33 placings from 116 starts. Anvil’s Star was successful at her first Australian start, beating Desperate Comment in the group 2 Bendigo Cup in February 1997 before finishing second to desperate Comment in the group 1 Victoria Cup and a nose second to Surprise Package in the A. G. Hunter Cup at his next two starts.

Sneakyn Down Under’s trainer-driver Darren Duffy had his licence suspended for 18 days when the stewards completed an adjourned inquiry into an incident at the turn into the home straight in the first lap of a 2130m event the previous Friday night. Duffy was found guilty of causing interference to Adda Paternal Suit (Aiden De Campo).


A substantial plunge on Old McDonald failed narrowly when the seven-year-old set a fast pace and was overhauled in the final stride by Ohoka Samson in the 1730m Clipsal 56 Series Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Old McDonald, trained at Banjup by Colin Brown, was making his first appearance for six months and was a heavily supported favourite at evens, with last-start winner Ohoka Samson at the surprisingly good odds of 9/2.

Brown used the junior concession of Robbie Williams to enable Old McDonald, an M3-class pacer, to contest the event which was restricted to M2-class performers. And trainer Kade Howson also used the claim of Dylan Egerton-Green to enable Ohoka Samson to run.

Old McDonald drew the prized No. 1 barrier, with Ohoka Samson at No.2, prompting most pundits to declare the even a match between the two.

Williams got Old McDonald straight to the lead, with Egerton-Green content to race Ohoka Samson in the breeze. Old McDonald sped over the third 400m section of the final mile in 28.3sec. and appeared set to win. But Ohoka Samson, having his sixth start after a spell, finished with great determination to snatch victory on the line, with a final quarter in 28.6sec. Banana Dana, who enjoyed the one-out, one-back trail, ran on gamely to be third.

The eight-year-old Ohoka Samson rated 1.55.5 and improved his record in an injury-plagued career to 14 wins and eight placings from just 31 starts for prizemoney of $114,594.

Ohoka Samson was trained and driven by Tony Herlihy in New Zealand for three wins and three placings from eight starts before arriving in Western Australia. His nine-year-old full-brother Ohoka Arizona raced 20 times for eight wins and four placings for earnings of $273,498. Ohoka Assassin, a younger full-brother of Ohoka Samson, looks set for a bright career. His first 14 starts have produced three wins and five placings.


Durable nine-year-old Shardons Rocket, an M7-class pacer three months ago, made the most of the drop-down rule when he started from the back mark of 30m in the M0-class Clipsal Modena Handicap over 2503m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

He went into the event with a losing sequence of 20 and was downgraded to an M5 classification. He had a vastly superior record to all of his 11 rivals and astute punters cashed in handsomely when he was sent out at the tempting odds of 11/2.

His narrow victory completed a treble for star reinsman Chris Lewis, who had been successful earlier on the program with Arousing and Kiss Chasey.

Frontmarkers Our Classie Mach and Gallileo began badly and 10m runners Braemoor, J Walker and Erris Lad met with interference while polemarker That is Correct set the pace.

Shardons Rocket was ninth after a lap and Lewis dashed him forward to be fourth, three wide, at the bell before he got to the front 300m from home after a third quarter of 28.8sec. J Walker was 11th at the bell and he sustained a spirited three-wide burst to join Shardons Rocket on the line. Shardons Rocket gained the verdict by a nose and rated 1.59.5.

Shardons Rocket, trained at Byford by Tony Svilicich, boasts a wonderful record of 114 starts for 22 wins and 38 placings for stakes of $250,237. He won once from seven starts as a three-year-old in New Zealand and has won ten times in Victoria, twice in Tasmania and nine times in Western Australia.

He was successful at his WA debut, at Narrogin in May 2011 and then had a losing sequence of 26 before scoring at Bunbury in December 2012. And then he won at six of his next 12 starts at Gloucester Park.

His granddam Shardon Lass produced Shardons Aflyin, who earned $500,651 from 21 wins and 16 placings from 61 starts. Shardons Aflyin won at 11 of his first 12 starts in WA for trainer-reinsman Grant Williams. In March 2007 he won the Fremantle Cup and Australian pacing Championship and was second to Vanlo Yorker in the WA Pacing Cup in January 2008.


East Fremantle key defender Tom Howlett has a good eye for a horse. He certainly made a wise decision to outlay $10,000 to claim New Zealand-bred gelding Empire Flame on August 9.

The eight-year-old, a 16/1 chance driven perfectly by Bunbury reinsman Ashleigh Markham, scored an impressive victory in the 1730m Clipsal Datacomms Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night at his second start for his new owner.

This followed Empire Flame’s strong-finishing third to Bettors Fire at Gloucester Park three days earlier. These two efforts by Empire Flame have netted $12,110 in prizemoney. The gelding is now trained at Busselton by Howlett’s father Jamie.

Empire Flame started from barrier two on the back line and Markham quickly had him in the one-out, one-back position, with Lucie Boshier (3/1) setting the pace from Black Pontiac (10/1), Wrongly Accused out on a limb, three wide, and Jambo Emaili on the pegs behind the leader.

Benjamin Banneker, the 7/4 favourite, was eighth at the bell before unwinding a spirited burst to finish second, just over a length behind Empire Flame, who took the lead 80m from the post. Black Pontiac fought ion grimly to be third, a head behind Benjamin Banneker, with Lucie Boshier a wilting fourth.

Empire Flame, who ended a losing sequence of 14, has raced 70 times for 16 wins, 15 placings and $119,030 in stakes.


One month ago Arousing had a losing sequence of 20 and had managed just three wins, at Narrogin, Kalgoorlie and Pinjarra, from 51 starts.

Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri has rejuvenated the six-year-old mare who notched her fourth win in the space of 32 days when she finished boldly to beat the pacemaker and 6/4 favourite Beautiful Night by a half-length in the 1730m Clipsal Led Lighting Pace.

Arousing, third favourite at 4/1, had warmed up for Friday night’s event by contesting a 2130m race on the same track three days earlier when she worked hard in the breeze, got to the front in the home straight and was overhauled in the final stride and beaten by a nose by Kinsfolk.

On Friday night Arousing started from the inside of the back line and Chris Lewis was happy to have her trailing the pacemaking Beautiful Night before she got into the clear when the breeze horse Big And Smooth began to drop back leaving the back straight. Arousing sprinted fast to get to the lead in the final 20m.

Chloe Vargarita, second fancy at 7/2, enjoyed the perfect trail, one-out and one-back, and Gary Hall jun. switched her three wide 520m from home. She got on terms with Beautiful Night 200m later and the pair settled down to a head-and-head struggle in the home straight before she broke into a gallop in the final 20m and dropped back to finish a close third.

Arousing now has raced 57 times for seven wins, 17 placings and $59,943 in prizemoney. By American stallion Western Terror, Arousing is out of the Christian Cullen mare Roustabout, who had 12 starts for four wins.

Roustabout won at Pinjarra at her West Australian debut in March 2006 before winning the group 3 Empress Stakes at her next appearance, beating Precious Maiden and Sovereign Beejay. Roustabout is a half-sister to highly-promising three-year-old Pelusiac and her granddam Impressionable is a daughter of Impressionable, whose dam Tilla produced former star Victorian pacer Impressionist, who won the group 1 Golden Nugget at Gloucester Park from Whitbys Miss Penny at Gloucester Park in January 1992. Impressionist retired with a record of 56 starts for 23 wins, 12 placings and stakes of $427,005.


The considerable advantage of the No. 1 barrier on the front line in mobile events at Gloucester Park was further illustrated at Gloucester Park when Chris Brew drove 9/2 chance Cup of Life to a smart all-the-way victory in the opening event, the 2130m Clipsal Powerhouse Pace.

And this set the pattern for the night, with three more No. 1 horses (Kiss Chasey, Franco Torres and Millies Girl) winning and three others (Beautiful Night, Domino Bromac and Old McDonald) finishing second.

Myouri (6/1) was smartest into stride from barrier two, but was unable to cross Cup of Life, who coasted through the first 400m section of the final mile in 31.6sec. before increasing the tempo with quarters of 28.7sec., 29.4sec. and 30.1sec. to win by 4m from 10/1 chance Turnpike Cruiser, who followed the leader all the way.

High Five Mozza (50/1) caught the eye when he charged home , five wide, from last at the bell to be third, ahead of the 5/2 favourite Imtheguy. Lord Diego, second fancy at 4/1, faded to sixth after racing in the breeze over the final 1000m.

Cup of Life won twice in New Zealand and he arrived in Western Australia with a losing sequence of 19. He now has had 16 starts for Brew for three wins and six placings to take his career record to 43 starts for five wins, ten placings and $39,878.


Champion trainer Gary Hall sen. freely admits that former Victorian performer Real Hammer is a one-dimensional pacer who excels when leading and struggles when he races back in the field.

The speedy five-year-old again relished the pacemaking role when he started favourite at 5/1 on, began speedily from the No. 3 barrier and bowled along in front before scoring an effortless victory from Donovan Bromac in the first heat of the 2130m Clipsal Saturn The Warwick Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Real Hammer now has won ten races from 36 starts, when he has set the pace in eight of those victories. There was no pressure applied to Real Hammer in the early stages of Friday night’s event and he strolled through the first 400m section of the final mile in 31.5sec. before dashing over the next three quarters in 30.2sec., 29.1sec. and 27.4sec. He rated 1.57.8 and beat 38/1 outsider Donovan Bromac by just over two lengths.

Donovan Bromac started from the pole and trailed the leader throughout, while the third placegetter My Jasami ran on well after racing three back on the pegs.

Real Hammer, a winner of eight races in Victoria, has won at two of his seven WA starts for a career record of ten wins and 11 placings from 36 starts for stakes of $75,563.


Six-year-old Kiss Chasey, whose ancestry traces back to South Australian-bred pacers Main Morris and Forward Step, stars of the 1970s, maintained his consistent form when he gave a good frontrunning exhibition to win the 2130m Clipsal Energy Efficiency Westbred Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Trained at Oakford by Ross Olivieri for owner Debra Lewis and driven confidently by her husband Chris, Kiss Chasey, favourite at 5/4, made the most of the No. 1 barrier and he fought on gamely to defeat Soho Aintree by a half-length, with El Machine finishing strongly from the rear to be a close third. Kiss Chasey sprinted over the final 400m in 28.4sec. and rated 1.57.6.

Kiss Chasey now has earned $58,249 from eight wins and seven placings from 26 starts. His past ten starts have produced four wins, four seconds, one third and a fifth placing.

Kiss Chasey, by Yankee Sensation, is out of Hello Boys, who raced 55 times for 12 wins, 17 placings and $89,541. Hello Boys is out of Boom Or Bust, a winner at eight of her 36 starts and the dam of former star mare Party Date, who had 111 starts for 25 wins, 27 placings and $256,003.


New Zealand-bred six-year-old Franco Torres, whose dam There’s A Franco won two group 1 events in New Zealand, went into Friday night’s CMS Cup Pace at Gloucester Park boasting unplaced efforts at his previous eight starts and a losing sequence of 11.

But punters rallied to support him solidly to start a hot favourite at 10/9 from the prized No. 1 barrier. The Debbie Padberg-trained gelding did not let his supporters down, with Shannon Suvaljko making the most of the ideal barrier by driving him to an effortless all-the-way victory.

Franco Torres sprinted over the final 400m in 28.4sec. and beat Will of Iron (who trailed him throughout) by three lengths. Chaldea, who raced in the one-out, one-back position, battled on into third place. The winner rated 1.57.8 and improved his record to 51 starts for nine wins and 14 placings for earnings of $59,639.

There’s A Franco was a quality performer in New Zealand where she won at her first three starts, including a group 2 event for three-year-old fillies at Alexandra Park in December 1995. Later that season she won a group 1 classic for fillies at Addington and won another group 1 event at Canterbury two years after that as well as finishing fourth behind Christian Cullen, Iraklis and Franco Enforce in the $350,000 group 1 New Zealand Cup at Addington. She was retired after her 45 starts produced 13 wins, 13 placings and prizemoney of $217,588.

There’s A Franco’s full-sister This Time Franco was successful in group 1 and group 2 events before being retired with earnings of $249,151 from ten wins and 11 placings from 36 starts.


Even though Millies Girl had failed to be placed at her seven previous starts, she was a well-supported favourite at 13/4 for the 1730m Clipsal C-Bus Mares Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night --- and she did not let her supporters down, scoring an easy all-the-way win.

Trained at Pinjarra by David Young for owner Peter King, the seven-year-old was handled confidently by the trainer’s elder brother Shane, who jumped the mare straight to the lead from the No. 1 barrier.

Millies Girl set a solid pace and sprinted over the final 400m in 28.6sec. to beat 9/2 second favourite Terra Into The West by 5m at a 1.57 rate. My Lady of the Night (13/2) trailed the pacemaker and finished a sound third.

Millies Girl improved her record to 46 starts for six wins, six placings and $32,965. David Young kept up the work when he was successful with Trustytrev in the Perkins Builders Pace at Bunbury’s Donaldson Park on Saturday night. Trustytrev, favourite at 5/4 on, was driven by Shane Butcher. He set the pace from the No. 1 barrier and won from the fast-finishing Captain Proud.

by Ken Casellas


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