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Star filly Tricky Styx is being set for the $125,000 Golden Slipper on July 18 after she produced her typical whirlwind finishing burst to snatch a thrilling last-stride victory in the group 1 $100,000 Del Basso Smallgoods Diamond Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night. "I think she has earned the chance to run in the Slipper," Northam trainer Jesse Moore said after Aiden De Campo had driven Tricky Styx to a head victory over Soho Tokyo. And the 22-year-old de Campo is looking forward to the challenge of contesting the Golden Slipper with Tricky Styx against the colts and geldings, saying: "She's a quality filly who has proved that she can race against the boys with her win in the Champagne Classic." Tricky Styx showed her class in the group 2 Champagne Classic early in May when she overcame the outside barrier and the task of charging home from the rear after settling in last position. Tricky Styx, who started from barrier two on the back line on Friday night, was sent out at the surprisingly good odds of 9/2, with Major Reality (10/9) and polemarker Sea Me Smile (13/4) more popular with punters. Major Reality was smartest into stride from the No. 3 barrier, but was unable to cross Sea Me Smile, who kicked up strongly on the inside to hold out Soho Tokyo and Tricky Styx. Justin Prentice quickly was able to get Major Reality into the one-out, one-back position behind Soho Tokyo (in the breeze), with Tricky Styx settling in seventh position. Massive Attack started a three-wide move after about 500m and Prentice eased Major Reality three wide with 950m to travel. It was a line of three in front passing the 400m mark, with de Campo having eased Tricky Styx out of a pocket and into the three-wide line 450m from home. Michael Stanley got Soho Tokyo (8/1) to a narrow lead on the home turn and Tricky Styx was fourth (and winding up) 90m from the post. She then flew to gain the verdict over Soho Tokyo in the final stride. The final quarters were covered in 28.7sec. and 29.1sec. and Tricky Styx rated 1.58.1 over the 1730m. "We got a dream trip," de Campo said. "But at the 400m she didn't let down as good as I thought she could. However, at the top of the straight she really started motoring. I think that she might have been a touch below her very best, but she still got the job done. Jesse wasn't one hundred per cent happy with her before the race. He said that her past two runs had not been as good as her two previous runs. Jesse is a very astute trainer and will have her ready for her next assignment. "I didn't pull the plugs because she doesn't respond to that. She has the plugs in, but you don't pull them. She is quite temperamental and you can't hit her too hard, either. "She is not the easiest horse to drive and she gets around a bit and it is a credit to Jesse that her race manners have improved immensely over the past six to seven weeks. She is probably green more than anything. Jesse had the block blinkers on early and then he took them off and put the Dollies on --- and that has been a big key to how she has been racing." Tricky Styx, by American stallion Jeremes Jet, is certainly proving a wonderful bargain for the 69-year-old Moore, who paid just $NZ5000 to buy the filly for his wife Maree at the New Zealand yearling sales in Christchurch early last year. Tricky Styx now has earned $110,435 from five wins and one placing from eight starts. Ultimate Major makes it four to Lewis Champion reinsman Chris Lewis was in dashing form at Gloucester Park on Friday night, landing four winners. He ended the night on a high with an astute frontrunning drive to score a smart win with 13/4 chance Ultimate Major in the 2536m Del Basso Smallgoods Pace for three-year-olds. He had been successful earlier in the night with the Ross Olivieri-trained trio of Shelby Cruzin, Might Be Luck and Selkie. Ultimate Major, a relatively inexperienced New Zealand-bred colt, gives promise of developing into a very smart pacer, and Aiden De Campo, son of Capel trainer Andrew De Campo, said that long-range plans for Ultimate Major included the rich group 1 Golden Nugget Championship next season. "He's a funny horse with a lot of speed and his record in New Zealand was very good and, hopefully, he will continue to improve," de Campo said. "The Golden Nugget will be his main aim. "After he arrived from New Zealand in February he tried rushing him for the WA Derby and didn't have enough time to have him ready. At his WA debut early in April he went very badly in the Western Gateway Classic (distanced behind Elegant Christian). So we freshened him up and now he's racing well. "He is a funny kind of horse. When he's in front he switches right off, like he did tonight. But when that horse (Mista Rush) got to him he lifted and was running through the line strongly." Ultimate Major clearly won the start from the No. 1 barrier and Lewis was able to give the colt an easy time early, with the first 400m section of the final mile going by in a pedestrian 32.3sec. before he increased the tempo with sections of 30.2sec., 29.1sec. and 28.4sec. He led clearly half-way down the home straight and had almost a full length to spare in defeating 3/1 second fancy Mista Rush, who was last at the bell and unwound a sparkling late burst. Soho Lennon, the 6/4 favourite, had a tough run before finishing third. He was trapped three wide for the first 500m and then worked hard in the breeze. Ultimate Major, owned by Paul and Tony Poli, won at two of his four New Zealand starts and he now has a record of nine starts for five wins, one placing and stakes of $37,225. He is a half-brother to Pas Ultimate Delight, who has had three starts in New South Wales for two wins, including a group 3 event for mares in Dubbo. Ultimate Major's maternal granddam Abbeybell produced Our Awesome Armbro, a winner in New Zealand, Australia and America before retiring with a fine record of 184 starts for 37 wins, 42 placings and $849,309. Lewis and de Campo continued in winning vein at Bunbury on Saturday night, with Lewis driving three winners (Major Rush, Miss Atomic and Onedin Crusader) and de Campo training a double with Captain Proud and Typhoon Tan. Olivieri praises Selkie Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri predicted a bright future for Selkie after Chris Lewis had driven the five-year-old to an effortless victory in the first heat of the Little Caesars Pizzas Lombardo Pace for mares at Gloucester Park on Friday night. "She is one of the better mares I have trained," he said. "I have trained a lot of good mares and Selkie rates pretty highly with some of the best of them. "Gliding Princess is the best mare, by far, that I have trained. She is only the third filly in history to have won the New South Wales Derby and Oaks. Ima Spicey Lombo and Miss Bo Scott were pretty good, but Selkie is much better than Elysees Crest (23 wins and $228,290) and Slick Lavra (15 wins and $143,026). The latter two were not in the same class as Selkie. "Selkie is fast, tough and versatile and when she's doing a 30sec. quarter she's absolutely cruising. Chris said that she was cruising on the line tonight." David Gravolin, an Oakford trainer whose property is about 5km from Olivieri's Oakford stables, recently cut down his training activities to concentrate on his thriving bitumen paving business and he handed over Finbar Abbey and Selkie to Olivieri to prepare them for racing. Olivieri then won the Easter Cup with Finbar Abbey and the Race For Roses with Selkie. He said that Selkie, who has had 24 starts this season since arriving from New Zealand, would continue racing. "Apart from qualifying for the final of this event for mares, she will run in suitable stands," he said. "She is a brilliant beginner in stands. She may require a break somewhere along the line, but at this stage she's not sending out any distress signals." Selkie was hot favourite at 2/1 on in Friday night's race and Lewis opted out of the early speed battle when polemarker Maggies Mystery led from the fast-starting Am Opulent. Lewis then sent Selkie to the front after 450m and she was untroubled to beat Maggies Mystery by just over a length at a 1.57.7 rate over 2130m, with the final three quarters being covered in 28.1sec., 29sec. and 29.8sec. Her 24 WA starts have produced five wins and three placings and she has a career record of 49 starts for ten wins, six placings and 79,920. Lennys In Heaven relishes a return to a stand Experienced seven-year-old Lennys In Heaven, an inconspicuous seventh at each of his first two starts after a spell, in mobiles on country tracks, relished a return to a standing-start event when he set the pace and scored an easy win over Pembrook Henry and Sonic Classic in the 2503m Sealanes Foodservice Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. This ended a losing sequence of eight, stretching back to a win in a 2518m stand in Kalgoorlie last November. The New South Wales-bred gelding, a 10/1 chance trained at Pinjarra by Michael George, was driven for the first time by Morgan Woodley. The gelding resisted an early challenge for the lead from Mister Sarkozy and then was rated perfectly after Finbar Abbey, favourite at 9/4, moved into the breeze 550m after the start. After the first 400m section of the final mile was covered in 30.9sec., Woodley lifted the gelding's rating and the final three quarters went by in 29.4sec., 28.3sec. and 29sec. Lennys In Heaven was not extended in beating Pembrook Henry, who raced three back on the pegs before finishing solidly along the inside. Lennys In Heaven, by Blissfull Hall, is out of Panorama mare Merry Rama, who had 33 starts for five wins, 18 placings and $31,267. His 17 West Australian starts have produced three wins and two placings to take his career record to 95 starts for 17 wins, 24 placings and $118,079. Soho Highroller bred to be a smart pacer Five-year-old Bettors Delight gelding Soho Highroller has inherited a good deal of his ability from his dam Pelicanrama and he looks set for many more wins after scoring an easy victory in the 2130m Del Basso Butchers Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Soho Highhroller, ended a losing sequence of ten when he was favourite at 7/4 on and dashed to the lead after 400m before bowling along in front and beating Barkers Hall by five metres at a 1.57.4 rate. He was most impressive in sprinting home over the final 400m in a sizzling 27.7sec. Trained at Serpentine by Gary Hall sen., Soho Highroller gave Gary Hall jun. an armchair drive with opening quarters of the final mile in 30.5sec. and 30.3sec. before dashing over the final 800m in 57.2sec. Polemarker Barkers Hall led for the first 400m before enjoying the perfect trail behind Soho Highroller. Soho Highroller, bred by Rob Watson, is a full brother to Soho Tokyo, who finished a very close second to Tricky Styx in the group 1 Diamond Classic for two-year-old fillies later in the program. He has earned $71,264 from nine wins and 18 placings from 48 starts. Pelicanrama was an outstanding juvenile performer before enjoying a successful career of 149 starts for 55 wins, 37 placings and $730,271 in prizemoney. Her wins in feature events as a two-year-old included the $250,000 Australian Pacing Gold and $75,000 NSW Sires Stakes at Harold Park and $30,000 Tatlow Stakes at Moonee Valley in 1999, and as a three-year-old she won the $100,000 NSW Sires Stakes. Her full-brother Mustang Fighter earned $292,566 from 29 wins and 26 placings from 108 starts. My Hard Copy is on the way up My Hard Copy maintained his standing as one of the State's most consistent four-year-olds when he set a brisk pace and strolled to victory over Heez Orl Black and The Feather Foot in the 2130m Top Cut Meats Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. His easy win graduated him to an M2 classification and he should have no difficulty in maintaining his excellent form and moving swiftly to open-class ranks on his way to contesting rich feature events during the summer carnival. Friday night's win completed a double for trainer Gary Hall sen. and reinsman Gary Hall jun. Soho Highroller was favourite at 3/1 on and Hall sen. notched yet another quinella result, with Lauren Jones bringing 8/1 chance Heez Orl Black home with a solid burst after enjoying the run of the race behind the pacemaker. My Hard Copy, owned by Steve, Christina and Danielle Chapman, has earned $134,167 from 13 wins and 13 placings from 39 starts. He won three times from 16 starts in New Zealand and twice from six starts in Victoria before arriving in WA where he has raced 17 times for eight wins and three placings. Change of training aids Shelby Cruzin Victorian-bred pacer Shelby Cruzin, described by his trainer Ross Olivieri as "a little fatso," has responded to a change in his training routine and made amends for a dismal failure at his West Australian debut with a stylish victory in the 1730m Del Basso Importers And Exporters Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He was a 10/9 on favourite at his first WA appearance three weeks earlier when he was a major disappointment, racing at the rear and then out wide in the final circuit, finishing eighth in a field of nine behind Loose Wire. He was favourite at 7/4 on on Friday night when he finished full of running to win by a half-length from 86/1 tote outsider Local Rogue, who had threatened to cause a major upset after starting from the outside of the front line and then racing out four wide for the first 350m before taking the lead 100m later and then setting the pace after a blistering first quarter in 27.3sec. Shelby Cruzin made the most of the prized No. 1 barrier by leading for the first 400m, but Chris Lewis then took the sit behind Local Rogue, who boasted a losing sequence of 16 since his previous win 18 months ago. Local Rogue was still travelling well when he led clearly approaching the home turn. But Lewis was able to ease Shelby Cruzin off the pegs 150m from home when Caesars Cloud, in the breeze, began to fade. Lewis then drove Shelby Cruzin hard and the five-year-old finished determinedly to hit the front in the final 20m. The winner rated 1.57.2. Olivieri said that Victorian trainer Geoff Webster had telephoned him recently to ask him to train Real Hammer and Shelby Cruzin. Olivieri was happy to oblige and he said that the two horses were entirely different. "Shelby Cruzin has been a bit hard to work out, but I have changed his training and the result was that he went a mile better tonight than he did first-up," Olivieri said. "First-up, he fooled me. I thought he was fitter than he was. He's a little fatso, and you've got to get into him. I've made him more interested in his work by galloping him on the sand instead of hoppling him. I haven't hoppled him since his first-up run, apart from one trial." Shelby Cruzin now has earned $44,520 from ten wins and ten placings from 48 starts. He is the eighth winner out of South Australian-bred mare Motoring Sassie (five starts for two wins and one placings for $2169). Motoring Sassie's progeny includes Sassy Gina (12 wins and $80,405) and Ombudsman (13 wins from 23 starts for $54,480 in prizemoney). Paramedic ends losing sequence of 27 Noted frontrunner Paramedic took full advantage of the coveted No. 1 barrier at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he set the pace and caused an upset in winning by just over a length from 5/4 on favourite Bettor Party in the 2130m Action Industrial Catering Westbred Pathway Pace. Paramedic started at 6/1 and ended a losing sequence of 27, stretching back to February 2013, and his win foiled Bettor Whitby from extending his winning sequence to four. Part-owned and trained by John Rogers, the six-year-old Paramedic was driven assertively by Kyle Harper. Bettor Party began out wide, from the No. 6 barrier, and he raced four wide for the first 300m. He then was trapped three wide before Colin Brown eased him back to last after a lap. Bettor Party was eleventh and last at the bell and he sustained a spirited burst, out wide, to finish second. Paramedic covered the final 800m in 58.5sec. and rated 1.58.4 in improving his record to 69 starts for ten wins and 15 placings for earnings of $75,823. He is related on his dam's side to former talented juvenile performer Shes Royalty, who had 96 starts for 24 wins, 27 placings and $288,146. Might Be Luck excels in front Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri told star reinsman Chris Lewis that West Australian-bred gelding Might Be Luck was a certainty to win the 2503m Del Basso Foodservice Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night if he was able to set the pace. Might Be Luck, a 5/1 chance from barrier No. 3 off the front line, began well and Lewis drove the gelding vigorously in an attempt to get to the front in the early stages. Polemarker Bartowski galloped out briefly, but was able to hold Might Be Luck at bay for the first 250m before he wilted under pressure and his rival forged to the front 250m after the start. Might Be Luck relished his pacemaking role and dashed over the final three quarters in 29.7sec., 29.1sec. and 29.9sec. to make life tough for his rivals. Bartowski fought on doggedly to finish second, just more than a length behind Might Be Luck, who rated 2.1.4. "I said to Chris that if he could lead, he would not lose," Olivieri said. "He's a horse who hasn't had a lot of luck, and tonight he led them a merry dance. On his trackwork at home he's one of the best four or five in my stable. Once he's in front, any horse has to be pretty good to catch him." Trojan Bromac impressed in thundering home, six wide, from tenth at the bell to finish third. Might Be Luck, a Northern Luck gelding bred and owned by Bob Fowler, has had 43 starts for ten wins, five placings and $48,982. He is related on his dam's side to former top-flight performer Buck the Odds, who earned $307,547 from 31 wins and 29 placings from 121 starts. Dalton drives first Perth winner Former Victorian horseman Clive Dalton landed his first Gloucester Park winner as a reinsman when he drove Retained to an all-the-way victory in the 2503m Del Basso Foodservice Trotters Handicap on Friday night. Retained, a 7/2 chance and trained at Herron by Dalton, jumped straight to the front from the inside barrier on the front mark and led throughout, holding on grimly to beat 22/1 chance Nicky Eileen by a nose. The 55-year-old Dalton, who has driven almost 500 winners in Victoria, enjoyed plenty of success as a trainer of square gaiters in Victoria. He prepared Right Interest to group 1 and group 3 victories in Victoria and Magic Interest for his victory in the group 1 Australasian Breeders Crown for two-year-old trotters at Bendigo in August 2008. Retained, an eight-year-old gelding owned by Jennifer O'Byrne, is a seasoned campaigner who has had 113 starts for 16 wins, 19 placings and $145,265 in stakes. He was successful in a $20,000 group 3 event over 2760m at Melton in October 2012. Dalton kept up the good work at Bunbury on Saturday night when he trained Miss Atomic (Chris Lewis) for her win at 6/1. by Ken Casellas To unsubscribe, please click here. To forward, please click here.

The success story of this year's Young Drivers Challenge was undoubtedly the rise and rise of Rebecca Bartley. Over the space of three days the Congupna reinswoman, 22, became a household name in Victorian harness racing, winning the first four races in the five-race invitational series. And they weren't aboard odds-on favourites, in fact far from it. Bartley piloted two longshots to victory at Shepparton on Thursday night (Riviera Kiss $26.60 and Boom Boom Hall $18.80) before striking at enormous odds at Melton's Tabcorp Park on Friday night (Smiling Spirit winning at $54.30). To cap it off Bartley won the fourth race of the series at Ballarat on Saturday night (aboard Kankkunen at $10.70) before having to settle for fifth with Belvoirama in the last race to finish with a series points score of 46 - just four points shy of an unprecedented 50 points (the maximum a driver can accrue in the 10-points-per-win series). "She was the story of the series, that's for sure," said Ballarat and District Trotting Club CEO Paul Rowse. "By the time the series finished everyone knew who Rebecca Bartley was." Rowse described the Young Drivers Challenge as a great series and praised the Shepparton Harness Racing Club for developing the concept. "I'd encourage other clubs to follow Shepparton's lead and look at holding similar series in the future," Rowse said. "It certainly added interest to our meeting as we were the lucky beneficiary of the series' final." Rowse said any notion that harness racing was a sport dominated by males had long been debunked, with Victoria's driving ranks filled with top-line women's talent. "It wouldn't surprise me at all now if Rebecca can go on to achieve similar to what Kerryn (Manning), Jodi (Quinlan), Amy (Tubbs) etcetera have been able to do," he said. "It's a good news story for everyone that the girls are going so well in Victoria." Bartley thanked series organisers and her fellow young drivers in her victory speech at Ballarat. New South Wales based driver Todd McCarthy finished second in the series, 14 points behind Bartley, while Narissa McMullen (Queensland), Josh Duggan and Jason Lee all tied for third on 31 points. YOUNG DRIVERS CHALLENGE FINAL STANDINGS 1: Rebecca Bartley 46 2: Todd McCarthy 32 3: Narissa McMullen 31 3: Josh Duggan 31 3: Jason Lee 31 6: Dylan Ford 25 7: Aaron Bain 24 8: Josh Aiken 23 9: Aiden De Campo 22 10: Zac Phillips 18   By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

Speedy four-year-old Slick Chapel emerged as a genuine summer carnival prospect when he gave a stylish frontrunning performance to win the $25,000 Australian Marine Complex Pure Steel final at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Slick Chapel, driven by Clint Hall, held on to defeat stablemate My Hard Copy by one metre, with Vapour third and Heez Orl Black fourth to give champion trainer Gary Hall sen. a quartet result in the feature event. But Hall was not his usual effervescent self after such a result. He was downcast --- with good reason: His up-and-coming superstar Alta Christiano, the 5/2 on favourite for the race, was scratched one minute before the scheduled start of the 2130m event and his racing future hangs in the balance. Alta Christiano, an outstanding four-year-old and winner of the 2013 WA Derby, was scratchy in the preliminary and was withdrawn on veterinary advice when found to be sore in the near hind leg. It is not sure what the exact problem is and X-rays will be taken to determine the extent of the damage. Alta Christiano, who has earned $309,163 from 13 wins and two placings from just 18 starts, has had an injury-plagued career. He fractured a cannon bone in New Zealand in October 2012 and then last year he damaged a suspensory ligament in his near front leg, an injury which was cured with stem cell treatment. Plans for Hall to take the Christian Cullen stallion to Brisbane to contest feature events at Albion Park in July have been abandoned. Hopes are held that his current injury is not too serious and that he will be able to continue his outstanding career. A syndicate of Hall's clients paid $NZ500,000 for an 80 per cent share of Alta Christiano. Moments before Alta Christiano was scratched on Friday night My Hard Copy and Slick Chapel shared second favouritism at $10.30 on the tote. When the race started without Alta Christiano, My Hard Copy was the new favourite at $2.40, with Slick Chapel at $2.50. Kim Prentice jumped My Hard Copy straight to the front from the No. 1 barrier before Slick Chapel surged to the lead after 200m. The lead time was run in a dawdling 40.5sec. and the first 400m section of the final mile was covered in an ambling 32.3sec., with the second quarter in just 30.6sec. Heez Orl Black was in the breeze before Mark Reed sent 68/1 outsider Xupan Three forward, three wide, from the rear after 600m to work without cover. Slick Chapel dashed over the third quarter in 28.3sec. and sprinted the final section in 27.2sec. My Hard Copy finished determinedly and failed narrowly to overhaul the pacemaker. Vapour came from three back on the pegs to be third, with Heez Orl Black in fourth place after enjoying the one-out, one-back trail for most of the journey. Slick Chapel, owned by Max Grynberg, Bill Paterson, Frank Borrello, Tony and Ruth Thompson, Dave Kahl and Karen Hall, has earned $100,496 from eight wins and seven placings from 26 starts. He was placed at three of his seven New Zealand starts and has won eight times from 19 starts in Western Australia. He is showing steady improvement and Hall sen. has high hopes that he will develop into a candidate for the Fremantle Cup and WA Pacing Cup next summer. HAPPY REUNION FOR WOODLEY Ace reinsman Morgan Woodley celebrated a reunion with four-year-old La Stella del Mare by stealing a march on his rivals with an unexpected flying start from barrier five before guiding her to a narrow victory in the $30,000 RSM Bird Cameron Westbred Mares final at Gloucester Park on Friday night. La Stella del Mare, fourth favourite at 15/2, burst straight to the front and then after a moderate lead time of 38.1sec. Woodley was able to get the Live Or Die mare to relax and amble through the first 400m section of the final mile in 32sec. before final quarters in 29.8sec., 28.8sec. and 29.5sec. She fought on doggedly to score by a neck from 2/1 favourite Hoylakes Firstlady, rating 1.59.5. The consistent Lucky Jay sustained a spirited burst from 11th in the middle stages to be third, with Adda Rising Star a fighting fourth after racing in the breeze. Woodley drove La Stella del Mare at her first seven starts, as a two-year-old, in 2012 for one placing. He had not handled her since she finished sixth behind Adda Rising Star at Bunbury in July 2013. La Stella del Mare, part-owned and trained by Terry Ferguson, has had 52 starts for seven wins, 13 placings and $64,982 in stakes. She is out of Capture A Million, who had 19 starts for two wins, 11 placings and $15,368, and is a half-sister to Schinzig Buller (55 starts for 11 wins, 13 placings and $290,837) and Polak (65 starts for 16 wins, 20 placings and $194,765). TURVEY'S DELIGHTFUL DOUBLE A bargain went begging when Baldivis horseman Nathan Turvey drove 26/1 outsider My Bachelors Delight to a surprise victory over 7/4 second fancy Soho Highroller in the 1730m Sadliers Nexus Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. "He has been advertised for sale for $12,000 on the internet, but I haven't had any takers," Turvey said after My Bachelors Delight had completed a training and driving double, following his success earlier in the night with 11/1 chance Sonic Classic. The double was the highlight of a wonderful night for the 37-year-old Turvey, who had six other drives for four second placings --- with Major Flirt (68/1), Wynberg Terror (5/4), Hoylakes Firstlady (2/1) and Flyalong Falcon (9/1). Turvey owns My Bachelors Delight, a six-year-old he purchased for $25,000 (landed in Western Australia) and has now earned $66,321 from ten wins and 19 placings from 50 WA starts to take his career record to 78 starts for 13 wins, 30 placings and $101,597. "He's been a really good horse for us, but hasn't been 100 per cent genuine all the time," Turvey said. "Lately, I have been keeping him fresh and he seems to be enjoying it." My Bachelors delight is a half-brother to Albert Albert mare Bachelorette, who had 61 starts in New Zealand for ten wins, 16 placings and $187,406 in prizemoney. Mr Nickel, having his third start after a spell, was a solidly-supported 10/9 on favourite who was beaten out from the pole by Soho Highroller, from the No. 3 barrier. However, Soho Highroller was unable to cross to the pegs and Mr Nickel set the pace. He was inclined to overrace and the quarters went by in 29.2sec., 29.5sec., 28.4sec. and 29.1sec. Soho Highroller got to the lead 500m from home, but was unable to hold out My Bachelors Delight, who enjoyed a perfect trail in the one-wide line in fifth and sixth positions before finishing fast to hit the front 120m from the finish. Barkers Hall improved from seventh at the bell to be third, with Mr Nickel fading to eighth. EGERTON-GREEN GRABS HIS CHANCE Young reinsman Dylan Egerton-Green made the most of his opportunity to drive promising filly Typhoon Tan in the absence of the three-year-old's regular reinsman Aiden De Campo at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Typhoon Tan, a 13/2 chance, was smartest to begin from barrier two and Egerton-Green rated the filly perfectly to get her home by a metre from 68/1 outsider Major Flirt, with The Parade running home strongly from the rear in the middle stages to be third in the 2130m Bell-Vista Fruit And Veg Company Pace. De Campo was away in Melbourne, representing Western Australia in a Young Drivers Championship series, and Egerton-Green jumped at the chance to drive Typhoon Tan. Typhoon Tan is trained at Capel by de Campo's father Andrew, who completed a double when Chris Lewis replaced Aiden De Campo and steered Conniving Major Dave to victory in the R H Trotter and Company Pace. Andrew De Campo continued in fine style by training three winners (Delightful Jade, Maddy White and Captain Proud) at Bunbury's Donaldson Park on Saturday night. Matt White replaced Aiden De Campo behind Delightful Jade and Maddy White and Kaiden Hayter drove Captain Proud. Meanwhile, Aiden De Campo didn't have much luck in the five-heat Young Drivers series which was won by Victoria's Rebecca Bartley, who drove four of the five winners --- Riviera Kiss (25/1), Boom Boom Hall (18/1), Smiling Spirit (53/1) and Kankkunen (10/1). De campo's drives at Shepparton on Thursday night were outsiders Turnoffate (55/1) and Philotes (53/1), each of whom tired badly to finish in last place. At Melton on Friday night de Campo drove 11/4 chance Field Major, who finished solidly from eighth at the bell and finished second, a half-length behind the fast-finishing Smiling Spirit. At Ballarat on Saturday night de Campo drove 8/1 chance Oils Jay Bee, who led and wilted to eighth behind Kankkunen, and 16/1 chance Sign of Oro, who led early and then trailed the pacemaker and 7/4 on favourite Hellovaway (Todd McCarthy) before finishing second to that pacer. Typhoon Tan, who is owned by Carlo Baggetta, Leanne Dean, Danny Roberts, Susan Beven, Arthur Hall, John Wychowanko, Gary Old, Harry Capararo, Mark Armstrong and the B and S Group, finished second at two of her three starts as a two-year-old in New Zealand (in January 2013) and now has earned $50,114 from seven wins and seven placings from 24 starts. Her maternal granddam Scottish Bella produced Mister Skye Rocket, who is still racing as a nine-year-old and was successful at Albion Park five starts ago, in April. He is an iron horse, having had 280 starts for 41 wins and 81 placings for stakes of $236,667. He won 16 races in New South Wales before moving to Queensland where he has won another 24 times. He won once from two starts in New Zealand. HUMPHRIES TIPS BRIGHT FUTURE FOR OHOKA COURAGE Forrestdale trainer Jarrad Humphries predicted a bright future for Ohoka Courage after the New Zealand-bred seven-year-old charged home from twelfth and last at the bell to score an easy victory in the 2536m Bell-Vista Fruit And Veg Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. "Hopefully, he will now go through the classes," Humphries said. "He's probably not a genuine Free-For-Aller, but he'll get there into open class. And because he likes to race with the tempo on, up in class won't worry him; it probably will suit him. "Ohoka Courage is a little odd in that he is a very high-speed horse, but is not a short-trip horse. He's a stayer with high speed. He's been beaten a couple of times by being used for speed early, and then hasn't got that big sprint at the finish. Tonight I told Kyle (Harper) to drive him exactly like that (by keeping him at the rear). He is a bit one dimensional, but when a race is run to suit him, he's very dangerous. "I picked him out and watched his races in New Zealand for about six months before I made an inquiry. He comes from the same stable as Bobby Teal and I rang the fellow up and asked him that when he was ready to move Ohoka Courage on that I would like the chance to buy him. Some time later he phoned me and I got him for $20,000, landed in Australia, which is not expensive. He has been a great moneyspinner and is way in front for good stable supporters Harry Capararo, Darryl McLeod and Wayne Innes." Ohoka Courage started from barrier three on the back line and was second favourite at 4/1 behind Galactic Galleon (7/2). Raza Sharp Lombo dashed to an early lead, with Jay Bees Grin (5/1) moving to the breeze in the first lap. Jay Bees Grin got to the front 400m from home, but faded in the home straight. Ohoka Courage was still near the rear turning out of the back straight before Harper took him wide and the gelding was six wide on the home turn before bursting to the front in the final 100m to score effortlessly by more than two lengths from Flyalong Falcon, who finished boldly from tenth on the pegs at the bell. Ohoka Squire came from 11th at the bell to be third. TUAPEKA KAHU MAKES THE MOST OF SECOND CHANCE The prospects of Tupeka Kahu winning the 2130m Mortgage Choice In South Perth Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night looked forlorn when he broke in the score up and was left a long way behind his eleven rivals. But he earned a reprieve when the starter declared a false start because Tuakepa Kahu was unable to fill his position at No. 2 on the front line when the mobile barrier was about to release the field. Tuapeka Kahu, a 12/1 chance, was on his best behaviour in the re-start and Ryan Warwick got the New Zealand-bred six-year-old straight to the front before he was untroubled to set the pace and hold on to win by a neck from stablemate Black Mr Mach (13/2), with a half-length to 5/4 favourite Wynberg Terror in third place. After moderate quarters of 30.9sec. and 30.5sec., Tuapeka Kahu dashed over the final sections in 28.6sec. and 28.8sec. Black Mr Mach settled down in tenth position before he finished strongly, out wide, from sixth at the bell. Tuapeka Kahu, who is trained by Greg and Skye Bond, was placed at four of his seven starts in New Zealand. He has raced 14 times in WA for four wins and four placings and looks set for many more wins. RODRIGO TAKES NO PRISONERS Rodrigo, owned by Victorian Federal policeman Mark Salathiel, arrested a losing sequence of eight when he overcame the disadvantage of starting from the outside of the back line and sustained a powerful burst to win narrowly from Bet Your Life in the 2130m Quayside Transport Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Produced in fine fettle by Pinjarra trainer Michael Brennan, Rodrigo, second favourite at 4/1, was driven in grand style by Gary Hall jun. Polemarker Bet the Max led for the first 500m before the even-money favourite The Phantom got to the front after working hard, out three wide. Hall quickly manoeuvred Rodrigo into eighth place in the one-wide line and he waited until the field approached the bell before sending the New Zealand-bred six-year-old forward, three wide. Bet Your Life was in the breeze and The Burnside Flyer was beginning to wilt in the prime one-out, one-back position. This unexpected situation enabled Hall the luxury of moving Rodrigo into the one-out, one-back position shortly after the bell. Stuart McDonald sent Bet Your Life (7/1) to the front 430m from home and Hall waited until the 250m mark before sending Rodrigo forward, three wide. Rodrigo dug deep and fought on doggedly to get the upper hand in the final 50m. He beat Bert Your Life by a metre, with 62/1 outsider Life Boat improving from seventh on the pegs at the bell to finish third. Rodrigo rated 1.56. 4 after dashing over the final 800m in 58.7sec. Rodrigo, who was having his third run after a spell, won once from nine New Zealand starts and then had 48 starts in Victoria for ten wins and 18 placings. He has had 16 starts in WA for two wins and two placings and his career record stands at 73 starts for 13 wins, 23 placings and stakes of $108,558. His maternal granddam Fern Glen won ten races and produced Maheer Lord, who had 197 starts for 34 wins, 46 placings and earnings of $515,470. Maheer Lord won three times at Gloucester Park --- the Parliamentarians Cup and Media Guild Cup in 2005 and the group 1 WA Pacing Cup in January 2006. SONIC CLASSIC TAKES THE NEXT STEP New Zealand-bred five-year-old Sonic Classic, placed in stands in modest company at his previous three starts, made a successful switch to mobile racing and showed a touch of class when he took on several better-performed runners in the 2130m Cash Convertors Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. An 11/1 chance from barrier two on the back line, Sonic Classic was one of two M0-class runners in the field of 12 which included three M3-class performers and seven M1-class runners. He defied the odds when trainer Nathan Turvey had him perfectly positioned, three back on the pegs in a fast-run race, and brought him home with a powerful burst to win by just over two lengths from the 10/9 on favourite and pacemaker Ben Cartwright, with almost four lengths to the third horse, Trojan Bromac, who surged home from tenth at the bell. Ben Cartwright, a last-start winner, overraced in the lead and was three lengths clear of his nearest rivals passing the 300m mark. But he wilted and Sonic Classic cruised to the front 120m from home. The sections of the final mile whizzed by in 29.4sec., 28.6sec., 28.9sec. and 29.1sec., with Sonic Classic rating a smart 1.55.8. "His previous run at Narrogin last Sunday (when he started off the 40m mark and finished on from ninth at the bell to be second to Art Connoisseur) was really good," Turvey said. "He got a flat tyre at the 1000m and the tyre came off the rim. And he still came home. "Even though it was a step up tonight I considered he was an each-way chance. We picked him out in New Zealand and his form over there was pretty good. So we were a bit disappointed up to this stage. Now, hopefully, he has turned the corner. He cost $30,000 landed and for a couple of his part-owners, Ron Sciani and Mike Wood, this is their first Friday night winner. Sonic Classic, by Mach Three, won at four of his 16 starts in New Zealand and he now has had 32 starts in WA for seven wins, 15 placings and $48,091. His career record stands at 48 starts for 11 wins, 20 placings and $68,957. His dam Classical (by Soky's Atom) was an outstanding performer who had 23 starts for five wins and ten placings for stakes of $291,590. She finished second to Pullover Brown in the New Zealand, Victorian and Australian Oaks in 2003. Tom Buchanan, who drove the fourth placegetter Mighty Flying Thomas, was suspended for nine days for causing interference to Well Hello Dolly in the back straight in the final lap. This was the first suspension imposed on Buchanan, who was having his 706th drive in a race. In reaching the penalty the stewards took into account Buchanan's guilty plea and his excellent record. They also took into account that Mighty Flying Thomas had just been tightened by another runner and that he was running about a bit. They considered that these factors could have contributed to the interference. Buchanan was granted a three-day deferment and he won the final event at Bunbury on Saturday night when 11/4 chance Reckless Abandon charged home from last in the field of six on the home turn to get up and score a last-stride victory over the hot favourite Major Rush. CONNIVING MAJOR DAVE LOVES LEADING Champion reinsman Chris Lewis welcomed the opportunity to take over from Aiden De Campo as the driver of Conniving Major Dave in the 2130m R H Trotter and Company Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. De Campo was in Melbourne, contesting a Junior Drivers' Championship series and Lewis got Conniving Major Dave, the 15/4 second favourite, away fast from barrier four and sent the four-year-old to the front after 500m. Conniving Major Dave excels as a frontrunner and he bowled along in the lead and rated 1.56.5 in beating the 5/2 favourite Notabadexcuse by a half-length, with a length to Dominus Vobiscum. Conniving major Dave won at three of his 12 New Zealand starts and now has raced 39 times for nine wins, nine placings and $66,408. He is the seventh foal out of Kind Martar, whose dam Kind Hearted produced eight winners, including Gracious Knight, who amassed $383,155 from 12 wins and 12 placings from 49 starts. PRIDE OF COLORADO JUST TOO STRONG Strong WA-bred seven-year-old Pride of Colorado generally thrives on working hard in his races, but trainer-reinsman Aldo Cortopassi successfully adopted different tactics with the gelding in the 2130m Homestyle Salad Makers Claiming Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Pride of Colorado, the 15/4 second favourite from the outside of the back line, was kept back in last place in the field of ten until the runners approached the bell --- when Cortopassi sent Pride of Colorado forward, with a strong three-wide burst. Pride of Colorado sustained his effort and the final quarters were covered in 28.8sec. and 28.5sec. as he swept to the front in the final 90m and defeated the 6/4 favourite Shardons Rocket by just over a lengths, with Lively Highlander (14/1) in third place after trailing the pacemaker Elite Under Fire all the way. Shardons Rocket, who raced three wide early and then in the breeze, got to the front 270m from home, but was unable to hold out Pride of Colorado. Pride of Colorado, who ended a losing sequence of eight, is out of Lady Legacy, whose six winners include Scram Jet, who had 172 races for 24 wins, 42 placings and stakes of $235,076. by Ken Casellas  

Champion harness racing trainer Gary Hall sen. has a stranglehold on the $25,000 Australian Marine Complex Pure Steel final at Gloucester Park on Friday night with five runners in the field of 12 and he issued a chilling warning to rival trainers when he declared that sensational four-year-old Alta Christiano was at the peak of his powers. "He has gone super since his latest run and he'll go as good as he's been going," he declared. Alta Christiano, to be driven by champion reinsman Gary Hall jun., fared the worst in the random draw, but he has the speed and class to overcome the considerable disadvantage of starting from the outside barrier (No. 7) on the front line. A winner at 13 of his 18 starts, the New Zealand-bred son of Christian Cullen is in devastating form and he notched his fourth successive victory when he started from the back line and burst to the front 1100m from home before careering away to win by more than six lengths from Pride of Colorado at a 1.56.7 rate over 2536m last Friday night. He was not extended in winning over 2130m twice and 1730m at his three previous outings. Most punters will bank on Hall providing the quinella, trifecta and first four on Friday night, with his other runners My Hard Copy, Slick Chapel, Vapour and Heez Orl Black expected to be fighting out the minor positions behind the all-conquering Alta Christiano. Four-year-old My Hard Copy will be driven by Kim Prentice, and from the coveted No. 1 barrier, he is capable of a bold effort. The four-year-old should set the early pace and is capable of running a fast time over the 2130m journey. He impressed at his first appearance for just over four months when he gave a bold frontrunning display to win easily from the fast-finishing Heez Orl Black, rating 1.56.9 in a qualifying heat over 2130m last Friday night. Vapour, another talented four-year-old, is racing with tremendous enthusiasm and has won at 12 of his past 27 starts. He is ideally drawn on the inside of the back line and Lauren Jones looks set to enjoy a perfect passage behind the freewheeling My Hard Copy. Slick Chapel will be driven by Clint Hall from the No. 3 barrier on the front line and Justin Prentice will drive Heez Orl Black from barrier four. Slick Chapel is in sparkling form and he warmed up for Friday night's event with an effortless win over 2150m at Harvey last Saturday night when he overcame a check in running and raced three wide and then in the breeze before winning by four lengths from Captain Proud at a 1.57.3 rate over 2150m. The best of the runners outside the Hall camp appear to be Robbery (Robbie Williams), Firebomb (Ryan Warwick) and the Ross Olivieri-trained Finbar Abbey. These three horses are in sound form, but face a monumental task of breaking Hall's grip on the race. ADDA RISING STAR HAS THE RUNS ON THE BOARD Punters face a particularly tough challenge in trying to find the winner of the $30,000 RSM Bird Cameron Pace for Westbred mares at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Perhaps the best advice is to boil down their choice to four-year-olds Adda Rising Star, Lucky Joy and Mon Lamour, each of whom has drawn awkwardly in the 2130m feature event. But they appear to have a slight advantage in class on their rivals. Adda Rising Star, trained at Bunbury by Frank Bonnett, has the best winning percentage (27) of the 12 runners and Lucky Joy has the second best percentage (22). And they have the ability to overcome unfavourable barriers, with Adda Rising Star starting from No. 4 on the back line and Lucky Joy from the outside (No. 7) on the front line. Mon Lamour, in the Hazelmere stables of Mike Reed, is an improving type who boosted her winning percentage to 17 when she notched her fourth win from 24 starts by racing three back on the pegs before finishing fast along the sprint lane to defeat Hoylakes Firstlady over 2185m at Pinjarra last Monday week. Adda Rising Star, to be driven by Callan Suvaljko, has the most impressive record of the 12 runners, with earnings of $143,234 from 14 wins and 17 placings from 51 starts. She fought on from sixth in the middle stages to be fourth behind Mon Lamour and she caught the eye two starts before that when she covered a lot of extra ground before finishing strongly to win from Kanata Queen and Lucky Diva over 2150m at Harvey. Lucky Joy is a little filly with a big heart who has been a model of consistency for trainer-reinsman Robbie Williams. She overcame a wide barrier at Northam on Thursday of last week when she surged home, out wide from the rear, to win from Cheeryrose and Sweet Charlee over 2190m. MR NICKEL IS READY TO FIRE A five-year-old who has been unplaced at his first two outings since resuming after an injury-enforced absence of 17 months looks one of the star bets on the ten-event program at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He is the New South Wales-bred Mr Nickel, who will start from the coveted No. 1 barrier in the 1730m Sadliers Nexus Pace for Forrestdale trainers Greg and Skye Bond. "He suffered a serious fetlock injury and had a fair bit of time off," said ace reinsman Colin Brown. "He has recovered and has had two runs in stands off back marks (30m) at Pinjarra and he was unable to get into either race. "First-up last Monday week he just couldn't get into the 2631m race when they ran home in very quick time (29.1sec. and 26.7sec. for the final two 400m sections) and it was the same story on Monday this week when they got home pretty snappy (when Mr Nickel finished seventh behind Barrow Street over 2116m when the final 800m was covered ion 56.7sec.). "He felt good on Monday and punters should be aware that he is a class horse who has won a fair bit of stakemoney. After two runs off a long spell they shouldn't forget him. This is an ideal draw and he is a very quick horse." Mt Nickel, who has won at four of his nine starts in Western Australia, has amassed $284,124 in stakes from 16 wins and nine placings from 42 starts. He is the winner of two group 1 events --- the Australian Pacing Gold for two-year-old colts and geldings at Melton (when he beat Magic Bliss and Soho Valencia) and the Tasmania Derby at Elwick in March 2012. Mr Nickel's main rival is likely to be five-year-old Soho Highroller, who will be having his first start for leading trainer Gary Hall sen. for almost four months. He will be driven by Gary Hall jun. from barrier three on the front line. Soho Highroller has a losing sequence of nine and was unplaced at his past eight starts. But he warmed up for his return to racing in fine style when he set the pace and rated 1.57.3, beating his top-flight stablemate Toretto by two metres after sprinting over the final 400m in 28.2sec. JUNGLE JEWEL WORKS IN SENSATIONAL STYLE Smart New Zealand-bred filly Jungle Jewel worked in dashing style at Greg and Skye Bond's Forrestdale track on Tuesday morning to boost her prospects in the $17,000 Bell-Vista Fruit And Veg Company Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. "I drove her and she felt sensational," said Colin Brown. "It was the best she has ever felt and she can overcome the back-line draw in Friday night's race. "She was suffering from the effects of a virus in the WA Oaks prelude (on May 2 when she led before fading to the rear) and then she showed that she is back in form with her win at Harvey last Saturday night. And she stepped up a notch this morning on the track when she felt sensational. "Greg added a Murphy blind for her run at Harvey and this made a dramatic difference. She was always inclined to get on one rein and the Murphy blind has had the desired effect. Shed raced a lot straighter, even though she wanted to get up the track a bit, instead of getting down the track." At Harvey on Saturday night Jungle Jewel, driven by Ryan Warwick, raced without cover early before getting to the front and sprinting over the final 800m in 56.8sec. when she beat Dontdoubtme and The Parade. Trainer Gary Hall sen. Is confident that Dontdoubtme will improve on her Harvey performance when she faced the breeze for most of the way. "She is each-way for ever," he declared. "Her Harvey run was very good; she's not a breeze horse and she probably needed the run." Reinsman Aiden De Campo, son of Capel trainer Andrew De Campo, said that he expected a strong showing from his father's filly Typhoon Tan, who is nicely drawn at barrier two on the front line. Typhoon Tan will be driven by Dylan Egerton-Green, who replaces Aiden De Campo, who will be driving at Melton in Victoria on Friday night. "She went very well at Harvey on Saturday night when she trailed the leader Three Blind Mice and finished second to that pacer," he said. "She has good gate speed and if she leads she'll be a pretty good chance. Sitting is not really her go and if she rolls along in front she'll give plenty of cheek." Typhoon Tan led and won twice in fast time at Bunbury at two of her past four starts. Boyanup trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice also gives his smart filly The Parade a good winning chance, despite drawing the outside of the front line. "The Parade started from a wide barrier (six) at Harvey on Saturday night and after racing three wide for most of the way did very well to finish third behind Jungle Jewel. "I was stoked with her run," he said. "I thought that it was one of her best runs. They have come home in 56.8sec. They went 28 flat down the back and I've made up about three lengths." DE CAMPO TO REPRESENT WA IN VICTORIA Outstanding reinsman Aiden De Campo will leave Perth on Thursday morning to represent Western Australia in a Young Drivers' Challenge series. He will drive Turnoffate in the first heat and Philotes in the second heat at Shepparton on Thursday night, Field Major at Melton on Friday night and Oils Jay Bee and Sign of Oro in the final two heats at Ballarat on Saturday night. In his absence, Dylan Egerton-Green will drive Typhoon Tan in race one at Gloucester Park on Friday night; Chris Lewis will replace him behind the consistent Conniving Major Dave in the fourth event, the 2130m R. H. Trotter Pace, and Kaiden Hayter will replace him behind Vertical Four in the Mortgage Choice in South Perth Pathway Pace. "Number four is a good barrier for Conniving Major Dave," de Campo said. "I don't know whether he'll find the top or not. If he does, he'll give a lot of cheek. His latest run was probably his best run this time in. He sat in the breeze against some pretty good horses and he finished second to Oneheart Twofists." STANLEY LANDS A WINNER AT FIRST WA VISIT Victorian reinsman Michael Stanley celebrated his first appearance at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night when he brought Enjoy A Malabu with a spirited burst to win the International Animal Health Products Trot by a head from the 6/4 favourite Hot Holiday and The Beau Brummell. Enjoy A Malabu, a 16/1 chance, ran home strongly from sixth at the bell. The gelding is trained by Stanley's uncle Bruce Stanley and is owned by his aunty Pauline. "This was my first drive for Uncle Bruce and it was a thrill to win the race," Michael Stanley said. by Ken Casellas  

The Shepparton Harness Racing Club, in conjunction with Tabcorp Park Melton and Ballarat, will again conduct their annual Young Drivers Challenge over three meetings, kicking off on Thursday May 29. The two races involved on the card will be the C2 to C3 for four-year-old and older as well as the C1 for four-year-old and older horses with drivers to be randomly allocated from the list of outstanding junior talents. Josh Aiken, Josh Duggan, Haydon Gray, Jason Lee and Zac Phillips will be representing their home state while interlopers Aaron Bain (SA), Aiden De Campo (WA), Dylan Ford (Tas), Todd McCarthy (NSW) and Narissa McMullen (QLD) all converge to try and take the title. In an exciting new turn for the competition, the young drivers will not only compete in two penalty free races at Shepparton, they will also take centre stage at Tabcorp Park Melton the following night. That will be followed up by the chance to compete on one of Victoria’s most popular tracks, Bray Raceway Ballarat the very next night. Shepparton Harness Racing Club Secretary/Manager Ian McDonald was thrilled with the opportunity being provided to those driving. “I think we’ve assembled the best young driving talent in Australia and it’s just terrific to see them get the opportunity to compete in the Young Drivers Challenge,” McDonald said. “This year we’ve added races at Melton and Ballarat to spice things up and it will give all the drivers a chance to drive on one of the biggest stages in the sport. “The fact that the winner of each of the races won’t incur a handicapping penalty just gives trainers the best opportunity to race for good prizemoney.” For more information visit the meeting calendar for the Shepparton meeting calendar here, the Melton meeting calendar here and finally for more on the Ballarat leg, click here. by HRV Media

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

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

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

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

Outstanding horseman Kim Prentice has gone close to winning the WA Derby a couple of times and now he feels that the time is right for him to put the record straight by winning the $200,000 Sky Racing WA Derby at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He will drive the New Zealand-bred three-year-old Machtu for leading trainer Gary Hall sen. and both men believe the gelding has the ability, the form and the barrier draw to win the 2536m classic. Prentice drove Machtu for the first time in a race last Friday night when he covered a good deal of ground, starting a three-wide run from eighth with 1200m to travel in the 2130m Western Gateway Pace in which stablemate Elegant Christian set the pace from the No. 1 barrier and won at a 1.56.1 rate from two other Hall runners Classic American and Eyre Crusher. Machtu, who moved to third, out three wide, at the bell, battled on gamely to finish fifth, just one and a half lengths behind the winner. Prentice went close to winning the Derby when he drove the filly Dilingers Reign into third place behind Mr Yankee and Devastating in 2006. In the previous year's Derby Prentice trained Alberta Retreat, who was driven by Chris Lewis and turned for home in front before finishing a close second to Richard Henry. "Machtu will definitely be a big player on Friday night," Prentice said. "I'm happy with the draw at barrier three on the back line and I've just spoken to Senior and he thinks that Machtu might be the pick of the stable runners, from that draw. "Machtu gave me a good feel last week and I'm happy to be sitting behind him in the Derby. I had driven him only once before, on the track, and I think the 2500m will be right up his alley. All he needs is a nice run into the race and then we'll go from there. Definitely he can fight out the finish and hopefully, if things go our way, it will be my first Derby." Hall said he considered Machtu to be a "good chance," pointing out that the gelding faced the breeze before winning a 2536m Derby prelude by 20 metres last Friday week. "Over 2130m last week it was too much rush and tear for him, and he was up there pulling at the bell," he said. "And it was too much to ask of him with Elegant Christian running those sectionals. I think he will be a big improver." Hall, who prepared his first Derby winner 12 months ago when his son Gary drove Alta Christiano to a runaway victory over Victorian pacer Macha after racing without cover for much of the journey, has four runners in Friday night's classic, Machtu, Elegant Christian (barrier No. 4 on the front line), Eyre Crusher (inside of the back line) and Classic American (barrier four on the back line). "The draw hasn't done our runners any favours," he said. "I think the draw has made it a very interesting race. It has brought Three Blind Mice into contention after drawing barrier one. And it probably has taken a couple out, like Bettor Offer and Mister Jadore. I think they will find it a lot harder from back-line draws. "Before the draw I thought those two horses would be the main dangers to our stable runners. If either had been drawn to lead I would have been really worried about them. I certainly think that Elegant Christian can win. "I think he was out of his comfort zone last week, being pushed out to lead by Ultimate Major and Bettor Offer. This led to a fast lead time of 35.6sec. and I think those two horses paid the penalty, with both of them finishing well back. "So taking a line through that I think that Elegant Christian's run was pretty good. This week I think he will be better off just coming out at his leisure and just getting across to the breeze or to the front. It's a Derby and horses drawn favourably generally do go forward in a bid to lead. I think Three Blind Mice has shown enough ability, and he can stay a bit, to maybe want to lead. And Bettor Rules (No. 3) generally likes to get to the front. If Elegant Christian gets to the breeze outside Three Blind Mice I think he would win." Clint Hall will again drive Elegant Christian and he declared that the gelding was the horse to beat. "I'm not going to put all my eggs in one basket, so I won't be going flat out for the lead," he said. "I would like to lead and if the lead is there for the taking I'll certainly take it. However, I believe that I can sit outside any of the three horses drawn on my inside and win the race." Pelusiac, trained by Andrew De Campo, is favourably drawn at the No. 2 barrier and reinsman Aiden De Campo said that he was very happy with the draw. Pelusiac, a winner at five of his 11 starts, was unlucky in last week's Western Gateway Pace when he was distanced. "He was travelling pretty well, three wide and three back and was definitely getting into the race in the back straight in the final lap when he was knocked over by his stablemate, who was going roughly," de Campo said. "From barrier two he won't have to do too much early and we should get into a nice position. "He worked well this morning (Tuesday) and hopefully he will get a nice sit on the speed and get a bit of luck over the final 500m. And then, hopefully, he'll finish over the top of them." Hall sen. said that if Three Blind Mice set the pace it would bring Eyre Crusher (Morgan Woodley) into the race with a chance. "Morgan said that Eyre Crusher probably should have won last week's race by three or four lengths if he had got out in the home straight. He said he was bolting." Eyre Crusher finished third, just behind Classic American, who flew home from last at the bell. "It was exciting to see Classic American come back to form," Hall sen. said. "Obviously we have been driving him wrong. Soft driving helped him a lot." Henley Brook trainer-reinsman Robbie Williams will not push out with Calais from the No. 5 barrier and is hoping to obtain a favourable sit before asking the promising gelding to produce a strong finishing sprint. "It's no use worrying about the barrier," Williams said. "I will drive him softly and hope to be able to use his speed late in the race. He can run a fast 400m." Boyanup trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice had no luck at the draw, with Mista Rush drawing barrier six on the front line and Tasmanian Bromac No. 7. Both geldings will need plenty of luck to figure in the finish. The lightly-raced Mista Rush has impressed in winning the South-West Derby at Pinjarra and the Country Derby at Bunbury at his past two starts. SENSATIONAL GABBY SET TO MAKE THE SPARKS FLY The clash between noted frontrunners Hokonui Ben and Sensational Gabby in the 2130m Big Sports Breakfast TV Channel 519 Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night looks set to produce plenty of fireworks and should be a major highlight on the nine-event program. Hokonui Ben, the all-the-way winner of the 2936m WA Pacing Cup in January, gained a significant early advantage by drawing barrier two in the seven-horse field and trainer-reinsman Aldo Cortopassi is sure to attempt to burst past the polemarker Rocket Reign in the early stages. However, Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri hopes that Sensational Gabby's sizzling early speed from barrier four will enable her to outpace the three runners drawn inside of her and assume her favoured role of pacemaker. "She has very good gate speed and obviously Plan A will be to lead," Olivieri said. "If Chris (Lewis) feels that there is something happening inside of him that he doesn't like, then he will go to plan B. She has been working really well since she led and won easily from Soho Valencia two Fridays ago." In that event Sensational Gabby rated 1.54.8 over 2130m. Olivieri also has an excellent second string in Red Salute, who will start from the No. 5 barrier and will again be handled by Chris Voak. "Red Salute is a consistent performer, but he has been suffering from a sore foot," Olivieri said as he offered that problem as a legitimate excuse for the five-year-old fading to fifth behind Northview Punter and Soho Valencia after setting the pace at his latest appearance, over 2130m three Fridays ago. "Chris said that Red Salute was going like a camel down the back. The horse then blew an abscess out in a foot at his next track run, and that was obviously bothering him in the race when his effort, on the surface, was disappointing compared to his previous run (when he led and won from Sensational Gabby over 2130m). Adding considerable interest to Friday night's race will be the reappearance of star pacer Dasher VC, who will start from the outside in the field of seven. The seven-year-old and winner of the 2013 Fremantle Cup when he defeated Im Themightyquinn will be having his first start since finishing tenth in the WA Pacing Cup on January 17. His driver Aiden De Campo (son of Capel trainer Andrew De Campo) said that Dasher VC had been working strongly. "He worked with a galloping pacemaker on our track this morning (Tuesday) and worked really well," he said. "He'll probably need the run on Friday, but hopefully he's coming back to his best. "During his previous preparation we were trying to patch up a lot of holes with him, trying to be nice to him and getting him sound. This time it will be either make or break for him." Also resuming after a spell will be Rocket Reign, who should enjoy an ideal passage from the No. 1 barrier. Wanneroo trainer Debbie Padberg said that the ten-year-old was working really well, was sound and is looking a million dollars. GOOD DRIVE FOR LEWIS Champion reinsman Chris Lewis has been engaged to drive promising lightly-raced four-year-old Leftrightgoodnight in the Sky Racing Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night and he should send punters home on a winning note. Leftrightgoodnight, trained at Baskerville by Sonia Zucchiatti, impressed at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon when he overcame the disadvantage of a punctured sulky tyre to finish strongly from eighth at the bell to win easily from Deimos at a 1.56 rate over 1684m. He was driven by Kim Prentice, who will handle Zucchiatti's other runner Sir Kale in Friday night's race. Sir Kale, who will start from barrier four on the front line, has a losing sequence of 23 stretching back to a win in Bunbury in June 2011. He has been placed at three of his past seven starts. Prentice has driven Leftrightgoodnight at seven of his eight starts for three wins and one placing. Lewis has driven the gelding only once --- for an easy all-the-way victory over 2130m at Gloucester Park in mid-February. Leftrightgoodnight will start from barrier two on the front line and Lewis will be keen to get the gelding to an early lead. COMPACT ROCKET FAVOURED TO TURN THE TABLES Handy five-year-old Compact Rocket gets an ideal opportunity to turn the tables on his stablemate Pembrook Henry when he starts from barrier three on the front line of the 2503m Big Sports Breakfast TV Channel 519 Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Last Friday night Compact Rocket sat behind the pacemaking Pembrook Henry and was hampered for room in the closing stages when a sound third to that pacer in a 2503m stand. Pembrook Henry faces a tougher task this week off the 10m mark. Trainer Ross Olivieri said that he was confident of a bold showing this week from Compact Rocket, whose barrier manners were improving. "He was a bit hit and miss in stands, but we think that we've got him (to get away smoothly)," Olivieri said. "He went from a pole to a line pole to nothing and since we've got rid of the pole he seems a lot better." Olivieri also warned punters not to discount the winning chances of the nine-year-old Pembrook Henry, who led and won from Copagrin last week. "Starting from 10m won't be as good for him," he said. "However, I do believe that Pembrook Henry is a better horse from behind than in front, and he is beginning quickly, so he could be handily placed." MATTHEW LANDS FIRST CITY WINNER Twenty-two-year-old Harley Matthew gave a polished exhibition in the sulky to bring Loving You with a spirited burst from last to win the Young Drivers Pace at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night. Loving You, trained at Herron by Clive Dalton, started at 7/1. The four-year-old mare started from the outside of the front line and Matthew wisely restrained her back to last in the field of ten before starting a three-wide burst approaching the bell. Scuba Steve got past the pacemaker Visigoth 450m from home before being overhauled at the 250m mark by Loving You, who won by a half-length from the fast-finishing Blue McCool. by Ken Casellas

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

Reinsman Clint Hall declared that inexperienced gelding Elegant Christian was spot on for the WA Derby on Friday week and was supremely confident that he would wind up his preparation for the $200,000 classic by winning the $50,000 TABtouch Western Gateway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Elegant Christian stunned punters when he started at 25/1 on and was beaten in a minor event at Gloucester Park on Monday of last week. However, Hall said that there was a significant excuse for that defeat (by a nose behind Mister Jadore) and that the lightly-raced three-year-old had bounced back to his brilliant best with a dazzling performance in a 2150m trial at Byford on Sunday morning when he romped to a 15-length victory after flying home over the final 800m in 55.5sec. "He drew the outside of the front line in the trial and I kept him four and five wide on the first corner before easing him back to last," he said. "And then after we got through the first quarter I asked him to come out and he went up and took the breeze and he raced there for a lap until he went to the front at the bell. "I sent him around the last two corners and he was fine, back to normal. We added a nearside lugging pole, a Murphy blind and an underhead check --- and he felt super. "I made him run round the corner from the 800m to the 600m and made him run again from the 400m to the 200m. I then let him ease up going to the line and I was quite surprised when I saw he had run 26.9sec. for the last quarter." Six days earlier Elegant Christian hung very badly in a 2130m event at Gloucester Park when he raced in the breeze outside Mister Jadore. He fought on gamely, but just failed to overhaul the pacemaker. Trainer Gary Hall sen. then discovered that the gelding was suffering from an ulcer in his mouth which caused him to hang inwards. This has been cured. That was Elegant Christian's first defeat in a six-start career and now Clint Hall is bubbling with confidence that the gelding will be untroubled to set the pace from the prized No. 1 barrier on the front line in Friday night's group 3 event. Elegant Christian is one of four runners from the powerful Hall stable, the others being Machtu, Eyre Crusher and Classic American. Kim Prentice will drive Machtu from barrier two on the back line, Morgan Woodley has been booked to handle Eyre Crusher (inside of the back line) and Chris Voak will drive Classic American from barrier four on the back line. Clint Hall drove Machtu when he gave a superb performance to score a runaway victory in a 2536m Derby prelude last Friday night. But he had no hesitation in choosing to drive Elegant Christian this week. Machtu settled at the rear in last week's event before surging forward to the breeze in the middle stages and then charging away from his rivals to win by just under seven lengths from Three Blind Mice. "It was a super run by Machtu and he is sure to be prominent in this week's race," Hall said. "Eyre Crusher will appreciate drawing the inside of the back line and should follow Elegant Christian. He should finish in the top three." Eyre Crusher has had nine starts for four wins and four seconds. Classic American has won at six of his nine starts, but faces a stern test from barrier four on the back line. Mister Jadore, a winner of ten races, also faces a tough task from the outside of the back line. Pelusiac, with a record of five wins and three seconds from ten starts, left Hall's stables last Sunday week and will be making his first appearance for Capel trainer Andrew De Campo. He will be handled by Aiden De Campo from barrier three on the back line. Adding further interest to the race will be the Australian debut of Ultimate Major, who has entered de Campo's stables this year after winning at three of his four starts in New Zealand late last year. He will start from barrier four on the front line. Three Blind Mice (barrier two) and Calais (three) are smart geldings who are racing keenly and should be prominent. However, Elegant Christian appears likely to carry too many guns for his rivals and should give Hall sen. his third success in the Western Gateway Pace. He trained and drove The Falcon Strike when he beat Knightwatchman and Shadow Maker in 2001 and he prepared Alta Christiano for his success 12 months ago. HALL SAYS SOHO VALENCIA IS "GOING PLACES" "I think he's going places and is a Christmas horse, and a Christmas horse should take care of these," said Clint Hall when assessing the prospects of Soho Valencia in the 2130m Princi Butchers Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Hall will drive the five-year-old, who will start from barrier three on the back line and is likely to make a sweeping move in the first lap in a bid to burst to the front. Soho Valencia is one of four runners in the race prepared by leading trainer Gary Hall sen., the others being last-start winner Dashing Christian (Kim Prentice), Benjamin Banneker (Kiara Davies) and Our Arlington (Lauren Jones). They are better-assessed pacers than Soho Valencia, who is an M1-class performer. But Soho Valencia has greater ability and potential than that trio and he is certain to prove very hard to beat after second placings as favourite on the past two Friday nights. They were his first two runs after an injury-enforced absence of 17 months and they were full of merit. He had a tough run when a fighting second to his classy stablemate Northview Punter last Friday week and then he raced without cover all the way when second to the brilliant mare Sensational Gabby last Friday night. "He drops down a bit in class this week after last week's Free-For-All," said Clint Hall. "His run last week was super. Chris Lewis (Sensational Gabby) didn't make the mistake of letting Soho Valencia into the race after having the advantage of the barrier draw. This week Soho Valencia will be hard to beat." The prospects of Lovers Delight, the impressive winner of the Clarke final last week when he worked hard in the breeze before getting up to defeat Lord Lombo, deteriorated when he drew the outside of the front line in the preferential barrier draw. Dashing Christian has drawn ideally at No. 2 on the front line and is capable of a bold showing. He should be prominent throughout. He impressed last Friday night when he raced three back on the pegs before charging home to snatch a nose victory over Mighty Flying Thomas. Adding interest to the race will be the return of smart eight-year-old Ohoka Samson for Pinjarra trainer-reinsman Kade Howson. Ohoka Samson has been off the scene for four months, but impressed when he sprinted over the final 400m in 27.6sec. to win a 2185m trial at Pinjarra on Sunday morning, rating 1.55.9. He will start from barrier four on the back line. DROP-DOWN RULE SHOULD HELP MAGGIES MYSTERY When smart five-year-old mare Maggies Mystery was an unlucky fourth behind Erris Lad last Friday night she increased her losing sequence to ten and immediately became the latest beneficiary of the drop-down rule, with her classification being altered from an M3 to an M2 mark. This has enabled her to be handicapped off the front line in the discretionary M1 and better Bet Today Collect Today Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night, thus boosting her prospects. Maggies Mystery, to be driven by Aldo Cortopassi for Burekup trainer Colin Reeves, was unlucky last week. She was in ninth position on the pegs at the bell and was finishing strongly, but was hampered for room when fourth, just over a length behind the winner. She caught the eye four days earlier when a fast-finishing fourth behind Soho Jackman in a 1730m, sprint at Gloucester Park. There is plenty of exposed form in Friday night's standing-start event over 2503m and punters should get great value for their investments, with polemarker Copagrin and last-start all-the-way winner Major Fury (barrier two) sure to be prominent. Hez Got The Nod, J Walker, Pembrook Henry, Balleybofey, Danieljohn and Erris Lad all have sound claims. QUINNY GETS ALTA CHRISTIANO ON THE MOVE Richly-talented New Zealand-bred four-year-old Alta Christiano was beaten in a track workout last Saturday morning. But it was an effort which enhanced his prospects of winning the first heat of the Making Smoking History Johnson Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Why? The answer is simple. He was beaten on the home track of Serpentine master trainer Gary Hall sen. by none other than superstar Im Themightyquinn. Alta Christiano, driven by Clint Hall, set the pace in then workout before being beaten comfortably by Im Themightyquinn (Gary Hall jun.). "We ran the mile and a half on the 1000m track in 3min. 3sec. and the last quarter took 27.1sec.," said Clint Hall. "It was Quinny's first real hit-out and his first workout with another horse in this preparation. He went to the line under a strong hold. "Alta Christiano should be too good for his rivals on Friday night. His first-up run was very good. He was nice and relaxed and sharp at the end, and he wanted to run another quarter." In that 2536m event at Gloucester Park last Monday week Alta Christiano made most of the running and won easily from Jungleface Jake after sprinting over the final 800m in 55.8sec. and the last 400m in 27sec. It was his first appearance after a ten-month absence. Alta Christiano will start from the inside of the back line on Friday night and Hall is likely to attempt to get him off the pegs and to go forward as early as possible. Im Themightyquinn will return to Gloucester Park on Friday week with an exhibition workout. He is expected to return to racing on the same track a fortnight later. SCHOOLBOY LANDS FIRST CITY WINNER Sixteen-year-old schoolboy Micheal Ferguson took time off from his studies to go to Gloucester Park with his parents Brian and Allison on Tuesday evening --- and he landed his first city winner by driving 5/2 chance Barkers Hall to an all-the-way victory over the even-money favourite Dashing Major in the 2536m Schweppes Pace. A day earlier, he got permission to take the afternoon to attend the meeting at Pinjarra where he drove Adda Notherzero to a thrilling nose victory over Chooks Reward after bringing Guilty Grin from the rear to finish a nose second to Director Whitby Ferguson now has driven four winners in his brief career after learning the ropes from his father, a Byford trainer-reinsman who has been concentrating on breaking in young pacers in recent years. Young Ferguson also has been assisting at the Serpentine stables of leading trainer Gary Hall sen. during school holidays and on weekends. Barkers Hall, a Victorian-bred five-year-old, is trained by Hall and his win on Tuesday night was his first in 12 starts in Western Australia. Ferguson jumped Barkers Hall straight to the front from the No. 2 barrier and he stole a march on his rivals when he was able to get the gelding to amble through the first two 400m sections of the final milem in 32.7sec. and 30.7sec. before increasing the tempo with two final quarters in 28.4sec. by Ken Casellas  

Champion trainer Gary Hall sen. maintained his dominance of feature events at Gloucester Park when his younger son Gary produced a near-perfect drive to land up-and-coming star Northview Punter a decisive and impressive winner of the $35,000 Alltools Four And Five-Year-Old Championship at Gloucester Park on Friday night. And to emphasise the 64-year-old's overwhelming superiority in West Australian harness racing he produced the trifecta, with Soho Valencia (Clint Hall) finishing second, a neck ahead of Benjamin Banneker (Justin Prentice). The trifecta paid $514.70 for a $1 investment. Hall sen. is now mapping out plans for the New Zealand-bred four-year-old Northview Punter to contest the rich feature events at next summer's Gloucester Park carnival. "He has taken his time to hit his straps," Hall jun. said. "He's always had the ability, but it has taken a little while to get it out of him. He's a bull and he's starting to mature at the right time. "I always thought that he was just below them (the State's top pacers), but the way he's going now, and if he keeps heading in that direction, he's going to be a player come Christmas." In a keen betting race, Northview Punter was solidly supported to start third favourite at 7/2, with five-year-olds Soho Valencia and Red Salute sharing favouritism at 2/1. Benjamin Banneker was a 52/1 tote outsider. Red Salute, as expected, jumped straight to the front from the No. 1 barrier and Hall jun. urged Northview Punter forward from the No. 4 barrier to race three wide for the first 200m before applying some pressure on Red Salute. Northview Punter then gained the one-out, one-back trail after a lap when Soho Valencia (sent forward, three wide, after 600m) moved into the breeze. After moderate first sections of the final mile in 30.8sec. and 30.4sec., the third 400m section whizzed by in a sizzling 27.7sec. when Soho Valencia challenged Red Salute for supremacy. Finally, Soho Valencia took the lead 250m from home, but he was unable to withstand the powerful late burst from Northview Punter, who burst to the front with 70m to travel and went on to win by just under a length at a 1.57.1 rate after a final quarter of 28.8sec. Benjamin Banneker raced three back on the pegs before finishing strongly to be third, with Rocky Marciano sustaining a spirited three-wide burst to be a splendid fourth. Red Salute wilted to fifth. Northview Punter, by Bettors Delight, has now earned $256,915 from 18 wins and 12 placings from 38 starts. Hall jun. admitted that he was "not really confident" after the third quarter in 27.7sec., saying: "He did sort of drop the bit at that stage. He does struggle a bit with point-to-point speed. But that quarter down the back definitely brought me into the race and on the bend he was charging, full of running." HALL SUSPENDED FOR 30 DAYS AND WILL MISS WA DERBY Champion reinsman Gary Hall jun. has been denied the opportunity of winning the $200,000 WA Derby on April 11 after being suspended for 30 days for causing interference in the Alltools Red Lithium Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The 31-year-old Hall, in the sulky behind 7/4 favourite Korobeit Angel, was suspended for severely checking the early pacemaker Lord Lexus rounding the first turn shortly after the start of the 1730m event. Korobeit Angel, who started from barrier three and raced three wide early, contacted the off fore leg of Lord Lexus, causing the 5/1 third favourite to break into a gallop and drop back to the rear. Korobeit Angel then went on to set the pace. She pulled hard in the lead and wilted to finish third behind the fast-finishing last-start winner and 20/1 chance Hokuri Handrail and Little Boy Blue. The 30-day suspension is the heaviest penalty in recent years imposed on a driver causing interference in a race in WA. The stewards intended to hand down a 34-day suspension before reducing the penalty to 30 days after Hall pleaded guilty to the charge of careless driving in that he allowed Korobeit Angel to shift in and check Lord Lexus. Hall decided to start his suspension immediately and did not drive at the Bunbury meeting on Saturday night. He has driven 99 winners in WA this season and will be eligible to resume at the Pinjarra meeting on Monday April 21. Korobeit Angel sprinted over the first 400m section of the final mile in 28.4sec. and sustained a smart pace with the next quarters in 29.3sec., 29.3sec. and 29.1sec. Hokuri Handrail, an M3-class pacer, became eligible to contest Friday night's event restricted to M0 and M2-class performers when trainer Kristie Morrone engaged Luke Edwards to make use of his concession as a junior driver. Hokuri Handrail started from the outside of the back line and was on the pegs in eighth position at the bell before Edwards brought the New Zealand-bred six-year-old home with a brilliant burst. Edwards eased the gelding off the pegs with 250m to travel and after going four wide on the home turn Hokuri Handrail charged home from fifth at the 100m mark to burst to the front 50m from the post. He rated 1.56 in scoring his 13th win from 39 starts in WA. He now has earned $129,752 from 18 wins and ten placings from 61 starts. DALTON MAKES A GREAT START TO WA CAREER Former Victorian trainer-reinsman Clive Dalton made a wonderful debut as a trainer at Gloucester Park on Friday night when Major Fury set the pace and held on to win the 2503m Alltools The Name Says It All Handicap. The 55-year-old Dalton, who has driven about 500 winners and trained almost 700 winners in Victoria, prepares Major Fury for New South Wales breeder-owner Matthew Sandblom at Neven Botica's Herron property, 60km north of Bunbury. Dalton took over the preparation of Major Fury from Peter Tilbrook after the NSW-bred five-year-old had finished second to Hez Got The Nod at Gloucester Park a fortnight before Friday night's success. In an unusual coincidence, Next Dawn, the winner of the final race on Friday night's program, was trained and driven by Dalton for 17 starts in 2011 for three wins at Shepparton and one win at Cobram. Major Fury was a firm even-money favourite on Friday night and his supporters were on good terms with themselves when Callan Suvaljko got the gelding away to a flying start from the inside of the front line. After an opening quarter of the final mile in 30.7sec., Suvaljko increased the tempo and Major Fury covered the next three sections in 29.7sec., 28.9sec. and 29.2sec. Major Fury fought on tenaciously to beat 10/1 chance The Pacing Priest, who finished strongly from fifth at the bell to go down by only one metre. A neck away in third place was Black Cracker, who trailed the pacemaker throughout. "As soon as he jumped away I was pretty confident," Suvaljko said. "He can roll 30sec. quarters and sprint home pretty well. That was the plan to roll along and make it difficult for the backmarkers. He should win more races." Major Fury, a winner of four races in NSW as a two and three-year-old, has had 16 starts in WA for six wins and three seconds to boost his career earnings to $63,189 from ten wins and five seconds from only 27 starts. His dam The Kindly One (by American stallion Praised Dignity) raced 42 times in NSW for eight wins, 11 placings and $95,562. She has produced six winners, including Art Princess, an earner of $179,364 from 14 wins and 21 placings from 62 starts. The Kindly One's dam, the Queensland-bred Kotare Fury, had 100 starts form 19 wins and 38 placings for stakes of 72,958. EYRE CRUSHER STAKES HIS DERBY CLAIMS Leading trainer Gary Hall sen. has a vice-like grip on the $200,000 WA Derby on April 11 with a team of brilliant three-year-olds, including Elegant Christian, Machtu, High Courage, Pelusiac and Classic American. And Eyre Crusher emerged as another realistic prospect for the Hall camp in the group 1 classic when Clint hall drove him to a thrilling fast-finishing victory in the 2130m Milwaukee Nothing But Heavy Duty WA Derby Prelude at Gloucester Park on Friday night. "Eyre Crusher will beat any of my three-year-olds, sitting on them, as long as he doesn't work early," Hall sen. said. "When Gary drives him at home he says he feels the closest to Im Themightyquinn. But he's not strong. He's got a lightning burst for about two furlongs, and once he's at the end of that he falls in a heap. He's an opportunist." Pelusiac was all the rage in Friday night's race and was sent out favourite at 5/2 on, with Eyre Crusher second favourite at the gift odds of 15/2 and Bettor Offer, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, at 8/1. Pelusiac lacked sparkle from the No. 2 barrier and raced without cover for the first 500m taking over as pacemaker from 33/1 chance Back On Board. Bettor Offer then was left in the breeze and Eyre Crusher gained the perfect one-out and one-back trail. Colin Brown sent Bettor Offer to the front 140m from the post, but he was overhauled in the final stride by the flying Eyre Crusher, who gained the verdict in the photo by a nose. Both the final 400m sections were covered in 28.1sec. and Eyre Crusher rated 1.56.7. Eyre Crusher won once from two starts as a two-year-old in New Zealand and his record now stands at nine starts for four wins and four seconds for earnings of $39,623. He is the first foal out of Mach Three mare Lucasta Midfrew, who won twice from 30 starts. Lucastra Midfrew's half-sister (by Christian Cullen) Libertybelle Midfrew won the $156,000 Yearling sales final for two-year-old fillies by five lengths at Alexandra Park in April 2013. DELIGHTFUL JADE OVERCOMES A CHECK TO WIN Delightful Jade, who is closely related to former star performer Whitbys Miss Penny, remained unbeaten after two starts when she unwound a spirited finishing burst to win the $21,000 Alltools Western Crown Classic for two-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night. She overcame a check approaching the home turn to get up and beat the pacemaker and 7/4 on favourite Mohito, who dead-heated for second with 20/1 chance Lady Willoughby. Mohito was two lengths clear of her nearest rival with 100m to travel before she wilted and was defeated by Delightful Jade, who trailed her throughout. Tricky Styx, a 6/1 chance driven by Aiden De Campo, raced in last place in the field of six before starting a three-wide move at the 550m mark. She sprinted strongly to get three-quarters of a length in front of Mohito 250m from home. She had not crossed to a clear lead when she broke into a gallop approaching the home turn. "When I got checked when Aiden's horse galloped I didn't think I was going to pick up the leader," said Delightful Jade's driver Matt White. "To her credit she knuckled down and did the job. She has got a great attitude and will only improve. This is the first time I have driven her and I was pretty impressed." Delightful Jade, second favourite at 9/4 and trained at Capel by Andrew De Campo for breeder-owner Melissa Howie, is by Bettors Delight out of Booth Hanover mare Whitbys Solitaire, who raced only nine times for two wins, four placings and $5443. Delightful Jade has earned $18,620 for her two wins from two starts. Whitbys Solitaire is out of Fiscal Miss, a mare who won 15 races and earned $53,854. The first foal out of Fiscal Miss was Whitbys Miss Penny, who was retired after having had 50 starts for 32 wins and six placings for $568,289 in prizemoney. Whitbys Miss Penny won the $80,000 Edgar Tatlow Stakes at Moonee Valley in March 1990 at her third start and her victories in 1991 included the Western Gateway Pace, the Battle of Bunbury, the WA Oaks, the WA Derby, the Caduceus Club Classic, the Sires for three-year-old fillies, the Pink Diamond and the Four-Year-Old Coca Cola Pace. In 1992 she finished second to Impressionist in the Golden Nugget Championship and won the Fremantle Cup, the Mount Eden Sprint, the Bunbury Cup and a prelude of the WA Pacing Cup. RED HOT MAJOR CALLS THE TUNE Red Hot Major, the 11/4 second favourite, made the most of an abominable start by 2/1 favourite Artillery Major by leading all the way in the $21,000 Alltools Western Crown Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Artillery Major galloped badly and lost about 200m and this enabled Kim Young to drive Red Hot Major hard from the No. 4 barrier to cross to the front soon after the start. Red Hot Major was joined in the lead in the first lap by 13/4 third favourite Out Of The Shadow and he looked set for an easy victory when that gelding began to wilt in the final circuit. But debutant Military Master, a 7/1 chance who had trailed Red Hot Major all the way, loomed as a serious threat when he got into the clear approaching the home turn and ran home determinedly. However, Red Hot Major revealed splendid fighting qualities to resist the challenge and go on and win by 1m at a 1.59.6 rate over 1730m. "The other horse (Military Master) went really well and surprised me a bit," said Young. "I was probably driving to beat two of the others (Artillery Major and Out Of The Shadow) and when Military Master came at me I thought we were going to get beaten. Military Master was not the worst horse, but one we didn't know anything about. However, my horse showed good endeavour." Red Hot Major, owned and trained by Gary Elson, has won at his first two starts and has earned $18,035. His dam Red Hot Rita earned $32,564 from 11 wins and 13 placings from 46 starts. Red Hot Rita also produced smart performers Just Live Life (43 starts for ten wins, 16 placings and $60,440) and Im Smouldering, who had 31 starts for 14 wins, 14 placings and $262,475 in prizemoney. Im Smouldering won the group 2 Tatlow Stakes for two-year-old fillies at Melton in May 2012, defeating the brilliant Frith, and the group 1 $100,000 Vicbred Super Series final for three-year-old fillies at Melton last July. NEXT DAWN SHINING FOR CUMMINGS Former Victorian pacer Next Dawn maintained his sound form for his new trainer Graham Cummings when he finished in dashing style to score an easy victory in the 1730m Make Smoking History Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. A winner at Northam four starts earlier, Next Dawn was a 14/1 chance from barrier two on the back line, with polemarker I Am Legend (boasting a losing sequence of 17 and unplaced at his previous 12 starts) a well-supported favourite at 5/2, with Absolute Cool, placed once at his previous eight starts, a strong second fancy at 13/4 from barrier four on the front line. Next Dawn, driven for the first time by Robbie Williams, raced in seventh position, three back on the pegs while I Am Legend set the pace with Absolute Cool working hard in the breeze. Williams got Next Dawn off the pegs and into the clear approaching the home turn and the Victorian-bred six-year-old finished strongly to take the lead 90m from the post. He won by one and a half lengths from I Am legend, with two lengths to Im Terrific in third place after that pacer had trailed the pacemaker all the way. Next Dawn, who rated 1.56.3, has won 11 times from 42 starts in Western Australia to take his record to 75 starts for 16 wins, 14 placings and $97,947. By American stallion Dawn Of A New Day, he is the fifth and final foal, and only winner, out of unraced What's Next mare Next Interest. PACIFIC WARRIOR A MAJOR CHANC E IN CLARKE FINAL New Zealand-bred six-year-old Pacific Warrior emerged as the horse to beat in the $25,000 final of the Clarke Pace next Friday night when he gave another powerhouse performance to score a narrow but impressive victory in the third qualifying heat at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Pacific Warrior was a 6/1 chance from barrier five on the front line, with most punters pinning their faith in the polemarker Lovers Delight, who started favourite at 6/4 on. Our Arlington (barrier three) and Menelaus of Sparta (four) were smartest into stride, but neither was able to get to an early lead, with Chris Lewis driving hard to keep Lovers Delight in front with a slick lead time of 36.6sec. Kade Howson did not bustle Pacific Warrior early before he sent the gelding forward to move into the breeze after about 600m. After the first two sections of the final mile in 30.5sec. and 30sec. Howson applied more pressure on the leader and the next two quarters whizzed by in 28.4sec. and 28.1sec. Pacific Warrior got his head in front 400m from home and he and Lovers Delight matched strides down the home straight, with Pacific Warrior prevailing by a half-head, with 5m to Pride of Colorado, who trailed the leader all the way. "Lovers Delight ran the lead time (a brisk 36.6sec.) and we stayed out of that," Howson said. "And from there we just had to keep at him. Lovers Delight had burnt early and was a bit vulnerable. Pacific Warrior just keeps coming. He's a tough, big horse and hopefully he will develop into a Cups prospect." Pacific Warrior, trained at Mt Helena by Ray Williams, has had 30 starts in WA for 16 wins, six seconds and two thirds to take his career record to 57 starts for 20 wins, 15 placings and $176,293 in stakes. SHIRLZ SENSATION LOOKS SET FOR A BRIGHT CAREER Lightly-raced four-year-old Shirlz Sensation has taken his time to develop and is now giving promise of becoming a good winner for Jandabup trainer Mike Beech. Shirlz Sensation started from the outside of the front line at the gift price of 15/2 in the third qualifying heat of the 2130m Community Newspaper Group Westbred Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night and gave a most impressive display to score an effortless victory. Atlastalone, favourite at 11/8 from barrier three on the front line, hung out in the score-up and locked sulky wheels with Kissed Flush when the mobile sent the field on its way. Outsider Mako Shadow was smartest into stride, but was unable to wrest the lead from polemarker Atomic Chip (4/1) in a fast lead time of 36.1sec. Ryan Warwick then sent Firebomb to the front after 520m and soon after that Chris Lewis dashed Shirlz Sensation forward to work hard in the breeze. Shirlz Sensation led by a half-length at the bell and remained in that position for the next 500m before forging to a clear lead 300m from home. Shirlz Sensation then careered away from his rivals to cover the final 400m in 28.4sec. and win at a 1.56.7 rate by a margin of 31 metres from Soho Monza, with a head to Firebomb. Shirlz Sensation has had 21 starts for six wins, three placings and stakes of $48,971. COMPACT ROCKET DELAYS THE START AND THEN BEHAVES PERFECTLY West Australian-bred five-year-old Compact Rocket, who has been unreliable at the start in several recent stands, again was fractious behind the tapes and delayed the start of the 2503m Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Chris Voak then got Compact Rocket away to a perfect flying start and the gelding burst straight to the front before bowling along in the lead and scoring an easy victory, beating Pacific Playboy by one and a half lengths, with Veitchy flashing home along the pegs to be third. Compact Rocket, a 7/1 chance trained by Ross Olivieri, kept his rivals, particularly 2/1 favourite Trojan Bromac, well at bay in the middle stages when he dashed through the second and third quarters of the final mile in 29.9sec. and 28.2sec. Trojan Bromac, who moved into the breeze with two laps to travel, wilted to finish fifth. Compact Rocket is by American sire Dr Drew and is the only winner out of New Zealand-bred mare Pipe Dreamer, who raced eight times in New Zealand and eight times in Victoria for just one win, at Cranbourne in August 2001. Compact Rocket, bred and owned by Bob Fowler, has been a handy performer who has earned $64,396 from nine wins and nine placings from 55 starts. by Ken Casellas

Three more heats of the Australasian Young Drivers Championship were held at Bathurst last night. Sam Ottley picked up a win in the first heat. Andre Poutama also had a good night, gaining three placings and increasing his lead in the Championships. In the first heat Sam started her night strong with a win in the third heat of the Championships and first heat of the night. She drove the horse brilliantly and was able to hold off Dylan Egerton-Green from Western Australia who finished in second. Andre stuck on for a good third and Simon McMullan’s horse tired after having to work hard early. Andre continued his great run in Heat 4, holding on for 2nd after sitting parked throughout. Simon came into 7th place and Sam’s runner got back and failed to run on. Heat 5 saw Andre finish the night well, bringing up another 3rd placing. He has now had 5 drives in the Championship for a win and three placings. Sam ran home late for 6th and Simon came in 9th. Andre has a strong lead of 13 points. The current leader board after the first five heats is as follows: 1st        Andre Poutama NZ North            49 2nd       Dylan Egerton-Green – WA         36 3rd        Amanda Turnbull - NSW             35 4th        Aaron Bain – SA                        34 5th        Narissa McMullen - QLD            32 5th        Samantha Ottley – NZ South      32 7th        Aiden De Campo - WA               29 8th        Dylan Ford - TAS                       28 9th        Joshua Duggan - VIC                 27 10th      Simon McMullan – NZ                23 Heats continue at Young tonight in Heat 6 (5:53pm NZT) & Heat 7 (6:33pm NZT). Full fields are below. 2014 AYDC - Young - Thursday 26 February - Heat 6 - 5.53pm (NZT)   Form Horse Driver 1 6r155 GLADS GRIN (Em 1)   2 24327 CASINO LASS Joshua Duggan (C) 3 667s1 STARZZZ IN ORDER Dylan Egerton-Green (C) 4 34832 CLAIRE ELIZABETH Aaron Bain (C) 5 64538 KENNETH LLOYD Amanda Turnbull 6 75231 JACK RUSTLER Andre Poutama (C)  ---------- Second Row ----------  7 1r251 BRYCE COOPER Aiden De Campo (C) 8 21215 PINEGROVE Narissa McMullen (C) 9 5172s HOME IN INDIANA Samantha Ottley (C) 10 46252 FUI FUI Simon McMullan (C) 11 53484 CHIEF FAIRMAN Dylan Ford (C)   2014 AYDC - Young - Thursday 26 February - Heat 7 - 6.33pm (NZT)   Form Horse Driver 2 63257 BEETSON Narissa McMullen (C) 3 12315 PERFEZIONE Dylan Ford (C) 4 65119 KYALLA LUKE Samantha Ottley (C) 5 22114 GENERAL ATWORTHY Simon McMullan (C) 6 44113 USHER NZ Dylan Egerton-Green (C)  ---------- Second Row ----------  7 71120 BEE MINE Aaron Bain (C) 8 55748 GREY NOMAD SCRATCHED 9 41081 COOGEE COOGEE Amanda Turnbull 10 38392 TRANSACTION NZ Andre Poutama (C) Harness Racing New Zealand

The first heats of the Australasian Young Drivers Championship were held at Tabcorp Park Menangle last night. In the first heat Sam Ottley made the most of her inside draw and went to the lead and set the pace throughout, her horse tired but managed to hold on for 5th. Simon McMullan had a good trip in the one-one and ran home for a nice second. Andre Poutama settled at the back and couldn’t make up much ground in a fast-run race. The second and last heat of the night saw the tables turn and Andre led all the way on the favourite to win in a mile rate of 1.52.8! Sam’s horse galloped behind the mobile and Simon’s broke on the home turn, they both finished near the back. Andre is now leading the Championships with 19 points on the board. Simon is sitting 5th= and Sam in 7th. Heats are continued tonight at Bathurst, with Heat 3 run at 8.37pm, Heat 4 at 9.40pm and Heat 5 at 10.11pm. Australasian Young Drivers Championships - Heat 3, Heat 4 and Heat 5 fields 2014 AYDC - Bathurst - Wednesday 26 February - Heat 3 - 8.37pm (NZT)  Form Horse Driver 1 51s24 WARNER Narissa McMullen (C) 2 45s19 AURORA SCOTT Dylan Ford (C) 3 77268 IM NO LADY Aiden De Campo (C) 4 97124 PRINCE RAYMAC Simon McMullan (C) 5     s2811     CORZAN    EFFECT    NZ    (Em    1)         Samantha    Ottley    (C) 6 1s483 VAMPISH HANOVER SCRATCHED 7 34232 ONAJOYRIDE Aaron Bain (C)  ---------- Second Row ---------- 8 1211s ABERCROMBIE ALICE Dylan Egerton-Green (C) 9 s1821 MARQUEZ Andre Poutama (C) 10 6291s AUSSWIN Joshua Duggan (C) 11 31635 TULHURST JAILBREAK Amanda Turnbull 2014 AYDC - Bathurst - Wednesday 26 February - Heat 4 - 9.40pm (NZT)  Form Horse Driver 1 35344 MYSTERIOUS BLISS Amanda Turnbull 2 s4399 SUNSHINE FILLY (Em 1) 3 76586 TRULY MISS TERIOUS NZ Joshua Duggan (C) 4 26s11 OH SO SWEET Andre Poutama (C) 5 35241 RAGING RHUBEN NZ Dylan Egerton-Green (C) 6 25333 CRACKERJACK JO Aaron Bain (C) 7     5s303     DANCELITTLEBABY         Samantha    Ottley    (C)  ---------- Second Row ---------- 8 13763 GRIN FOR MISS Simon McMullan (C) 9 2s322 SO KOOL HARRY Aiden De Campo (C) 10 s6313 WILLIAM PETER Dylan Ford (C) 11 72688 BEEJAY EMDEE Narissa McMullen (C) 2014 AYDC - Bathurst - Wednesday 26 February - Heat 5 - 10.11pm (NZT)  Form Horse Driver 1 11191 SMOKIN BOPPER NZ Dylan Ford (C) 2 56543 SIGNORY SHANNON Simon McMullan (C) 3     44727     JOANNIE    PONY         Samantha    Ottley    (C) 4 62345 GETALOADAHER Narissa McMullen (C) 5 0460s MINERS LANE Aiden De Campo (C) 6 11222 PRECIOUS M NZ Andre Poutama (C) 7 11238 TANGLES NZ Amanda Turnbull  ---------- Second Row ---------- 8 11117 HIGHVIEW CONALL NZ Aaron Bain (C) 9 24439 RED VEE HANOVER Dylan Egerton-Green (C) 10 607s2 TRUCKER Joshua Duggan (C) Harness Racing New Zealand

Trainer-reinsman Aldo Cortopassi justified the faith placed in him by Queensland owner Jeroen Nieuwenburg when he brought Hokonui Ben home with a sparkling late burst to snatch victory from Northview Punter in the $50,000 MMJ Real Estate RWWA Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Nieuwenburg shocked West Australian harness racing fans early this month when he switched Hokonui Ben from the stables of leading trainer Gary Hall sen. and gave him to Cortopassi to train. In his final two starts for Hall Hokonui Ben Hall had scored a splendid all-the-way victory in the $400,000 WA Pacing Cup and then finished a half-head second to stablemate Livingontheinterest in the $35,000 Lord Mayor's Cup. Clint Hall was in the sulky for Hokonui Ben's WA Pacing Cup triumph, and in an ironic twist, Hall drove Northview Punter in Friday night's race. Northview Punter, a 7/1 chance, began with tremendous dash from the No. 3 barrier and burst straight to the front. Northview Punter looked the winner when he rounded the home bend full of running and holding David Hercules at bay. But he was unable to hold out 13/2 chance Hokonui Ben, who started from the back line and was tenth when he started a three-wide run 950m from home. Hokonui Ben was in eighth place, out wide, with 450m to travel before he thundered home to gain the upper hand in the final couple of strides. He beat Northview Punter by a neck, with David Hercules, equal favourite at 7/4 with polemarker This Time Dylan, a fighting third after starting from the outside of the front line. Morgan Woodley sent David Hercules forward in the first circuit, but the gelding was kept three wide by 26/1 chance Mysta Magical Mach until David Hercules finally got to the breeze after a lap. This Time Dylan enjoyed an ideal passage behind Northview Punter before finishing fourth. In an up-tempo race the New Zealand-bred Hokonui Ben rated a smart 1.55.8 over the 2536m and took his record to 18 wins and 15 placings from 53 starts for stakes of $581,639. His 29 starts in Western Australia have produced 12 wins and ten placings. "We were on a hiding to nothing when we took him and I had a big set of shoes to fill," taking a horse off Senior (Hall sen.)," Cortopassi said. "He has done a huge job with the horse and won the Pacing Cup. I'm just grateful to have the opportunity to race on with the horse. He's a lovely horse and is the real deal. He's probably the best horse I've had the opportunity to train. "Special thanks to Jeroen to have the faith in me to have a crack with the horse. We didn't have to do a lot with him. All I had to do was to try to keep him at that level after all the work that had been done with the horse previously. "This was probably the weakest race Hokonui Ben has contested for a while. There was no Im Victorious or Livingontheinterest. So he was probably the class runner and has done a great job. He really sprinted brilliantly. The race was put on as well after the early burn which made it for horses like him. Luck was on our side." LEDA McNALLY IS SPOT ON FOR THE LADYSHIP MILE AT MENANGLE Leda McNally completed her preparation for the $200,000 Ladyship Mile at Menangle next Sunday in dashing style with a stylish all-the-way win in the first prelude of the MMJ Land Sales Empress Stakes at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The 5/2 on favourite was untroubled to bounce to the front from the No. 1 barrier and set a solid pace before sprinting over the final 400m in 27.9sec. to defeat Sensational Gabby by just under a length at a 1.57.2 rate over 2130m. Famous Alchemist (13/4) trailed the pacemaker and battled on doggedly into third place. It was a performance that pleased reinsman Chris Voak, who said that Pinjarra trainer Chris King had the five-year-old spot on for her battle against her nine rivals, including champion New Zealand four-year-old Adore Me and Baby Bling, winner of last year's Miracle Mile. "She has broken 1.54 on this track (Gloucester Park) and I've driven at Menangle and run at a 1.52 speed and I think that she can easily handle breaking 1.52 speed there," he said. "We'll rely on the barrier draw and hopefully there is genuine tempo in the race. She certainly does her best work when sat up." Voak said he was hopeful that Leda McNally (who will leave Perth for Sydney by air on Tuesday) would handle the travel and change of environment. He pointed out that Leda McNally had won the group 3 Norms Daughter Classic and the group 1 Mares Mile at Gloucester Park in November, with star New Zealand mare Bettor Cover Lover finishing third and fourth in those feature events. "So now we are hoping that Leda McNally is not affected by the travel," he said. The versatile Leda McNally has raced 50 times for 19 wins and nine placings for earnings of $278,308. BROWN PREDICTS BIG THINGS FROM MACH BANNER Recent New Zealand import Mach Banner gave a sample of his class and showed that he is capable of developing into a top-line performer in Perth when he set the pace and held on to beat the fast-finishing Marooned in the third heat of the MMJ Valuations and Consultancy Lewis Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Reinsman Colin Brown said that he had been informed by trainer Greg Bond and stable worker Ryan Warwick that Mach Banner's work during the week, and following his second West Australian appearance when fifth behind Im Victorious in the interdominion championship heat the previous Saturday, had been sensational. "This is the first time that he has put his hoof up, if you like, and declared how good he is," Brown said. "On the track he ran home in 26 (sec.) something and so the horse is on the way up. I think he has got a little bit of class." Mach Banner, a New Zealand-bred five-year-old, arrived in Western Australia with a splendid record in top company in New Zealand where he had 55 starts for 12 wins and 17 placings for stakes of $225,565. Even though he performed soundly in the interdominion heat the previous Saturday and was favourably drawn at No. 2 on the front line on Friday night, Mach Banner was sent out second fancy at 9/4, behind the less-credentialled Northern Assassin, who started from barrier three as a heavily-supported 5/4 favourite. Brown stole a march on Northern Assassin when he urged the seven-year-old forward in the early stages to take up the running after 100m. Polemarker The Oyster Bar broke badly after 200m and Ryan Bell was left in the breeze with Northern Assassin. After a lead time of 37sec. Mach Banner reeled off quarters in 30sec., 29.1sec. 29.1sec. and 28.8sec. and he just held on to beat 15/1 chance Marooned, who trailed the leader before flashing home. Franco Torres, a 66/1 outsider, raced in the one-out, one-back position and finished third, with Northern Assassin wilting to sixth. LITTLE BOY BLUE PROVING A GOOD BUY FOR VAL MELLSOP Val Mellsop, wife of Waroona trainer-reinsman Bob Mellsop, made a wise decision when she outlaid $10,000 to purchase Little Boy Blue from Gary Elson last July. The New Zealand-bred five-year-old notched his fourth win for his new connections when Mellsop drove him to an effortless all-the-way victory from the No. 1 barrier in the 1730m MMJ Facilities Management Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. That boosted his earnings for the Mellsops to $29,930 and took his career record to 54 starts for 12 wins, 17 placings and $95,887 in prizemoney. Little Boy Blue, a strong-finishing winner at Harvey ten nights earlier, was favourite at 3/1 on and he gave his supporters no cause for concern. Little Boy Blue rattled home over the final 400m in 27.3sec. and won at a 1.56.1 rate by just over two lengths from 14/1 chance Hoylakes Firstlady, who started immediately behind the favourite and trailed him throughout. "He's going super and just like me, he loves being spoilt," Mellsop said. "I'm not in a hurry to come back to town. I'll run around in the country and milk it a little bit. He's only five, and he's sound." The win gave Mellsop a belated birthday present. He turned 57 the previous Sunday and had further reason to celebrate when he prepared The Big Bite for his all-the-way win in the Hahn Pace at Bunbury on Saturday night. The Big Bite was driven by Colin Brown and paid $12.40 on the tote. Little Boy Blue did not race in New Zealand. By Armbro Operative, he is out of Robyn Blue, a mare who earned $99,634 from eight wins and 17 placings from 48 starts. As a two-year-old in December 2004 Robyn Blue was placed three times behind Foreal in group 1 and 2 events for two-year-old fillies at Alexandra Park. TRUCKERS RUFFNUT PROVIDES A BOOST FOR EGERTON-GREEN Eight-year-old Truckers Ruffnut caused his second upset in the space of three starts in his long-awaited comeback when 21-year-old Dylan Egerton-Green celebrated his first drive behind the horse by bringing him home with a storming run to win the 2130m MMJ Investment Sales Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Not only was the win a triumph for Bunbury trainer Murray Hansen, but it gave Egerton-Green a timely boost before he represents Western Australia in the $50,000 Australasian Young Drivers championship at Menangle next Sunday. The State's other representative at Menangle next Sunday is Aiden De Campo, who drove even-money favourite Danieljohn in Friday night's race in which Truckers Ruffnut was an easing 33/1 outsider. Danieljohn started from barrier one and bowled along in front before he was overhauled by Truckers Ruffnut about 60m from the post. The final 800m was covered in 56.9sec. and Truckers Ruffnut rated a smart 1.56. Mighty Flying Thomas (4/1) trailed the pacemaker and finished full of running to be a close-up third. This was Truckers Ruffnut's fifth start after an absence of 39 months. He was successful two starts before Friday night's race when he started at 21/1 on the tote. He had been driven at his three previous runs before Friday by Shane Butcher, who returned home to New Zealand about a week ago. This gave Egerton-Green the opportunity to take the drive. Truckers Ruffnut started from barrier two on the back line and Egerton-Green had him three back on the pegs in fifth place at the bell when Rocky Marciano was in the breeze and Whos Mistake was enjoying the one-out, one-back trail. Egerton-Green got Truckers Ruffnut off the pegs 250m from home and took him three wide on the home turn. Truckers Ruffnut accelerated strongly and Danieljohn was powerless to defy his late challenge. Egerton-Green was the 13th reinsman to have driven Truckers Ruffnut during his 52-start career which has produced 20 wins, 14 placings and stakes of $249,770. "He did it pretty easily and was just too good," Egerton-Green said. "But I had to get stuck into him a bit. He was just being a bit cunning." Truckers Ruffnut, a top-flight juvenile who as a three-year-old won the group 3 WA Sales Classic, the group 1 $100,000 State Sires Series and the consolation of the Breeders Crown at Melton, damaged a suspensory ligament in 2010 and then injured his other leg. This is his fourth attempt at a comeback after he had gone amiss at his three previous attempts to resume racing. He is related to New Zealand-bred chestnut Motoring Magic, who earned $366,395 from ten wins and ten placings from 34 starts. FOOTNOTE: Aiden De Campo had three drives on Friday night for seconds with Conniving Major Dave and Danieljohn and a third with Trojan Bromac, all trained by his father Andrew. It was a different story at Donaldson Park in Bunbury the following night when they dominated the eight-event program. Aiden De Campo drove four winners --- Gotta Go Chocolate, Typhoon Tan, Vertical Four and Tricky Styx. The first three are trained by his father and Tricky Styx is trained by Jesse Moore. Andrew De Campo also trained Lovers Delight, who was driven by Chris Lewis for his smart victory in the Bunbury Patrons Cup. GALACTIC GALLEON PROVES TOO TOUGH FOR THE PACEMAKER Galactic Galleon maintained his recent splendid form and notched his fourth win from his past five starts when he revealed wonderful fighting qualities to get up a beat 2/1 on favourite Conniving Major Dave in the 2130m MMJ Real Estate Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. After starting from barrier two on the back line Galactic Galleon(second fancy at 6/1) was rushed forward by Colin Brown to race in the breeze, but well back from the pacemaking Conniving Major Dave. After a third quarter in 28.6sec. Conniving Major Dave looked the likely winner turning for home. But Galactic Galleon refused to give in and surged home to get to the front 40m from the post and win by a head from the favourite. The final section was also covered in 28.6sec. and the winner rated 1.58.6. "Galactic Galleon had the advantage of race fitness over the leader and that told in the end," said Brown. Galactic Galleon, by Art Major and the ninth and last foal out of the unraced Soky's Atom mare Moonshaker, was placed at three of his five starts in New Zealand and now has raced 23 times in WA for eight wins and ten placings. STAMPALIA REPEATS THE DOSE AND STEALS A MARCH WITH KRISTEN LOUISE Almost seven years ago Vance Stampalia drove horse No. 5 in the tenth and final event at Gloucester Park. He stole a march on his rivals when he set the pace with Black Line, an 11/2 chance trained by Debbie Padberg. Black Line went on to win from Ideal Lavros. Stampalia repeated the dose at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he was in the sulky behind the No. 5 runner, Kristen Louise, in the tenth and final event, the 2130m second prelude of the MMJ Real Estate Empress Stakes. He again stole a march on his rivals when he got Kristen Louise, the 16/1 rank outsider in a field of six, away to a flying start. Kristen Louise simply had too much pace for her rivals and burst to the front after 100m before setting a solid pace and winning by a half-length from 7/1 chance Selkie, who trailed her all the way. Ace of Cards came from the one-out, one-back position to finish third. Stampalia was able to get Kristen Louise to relax after her fast start and the four-year-old mare, the youngest and least experienced runner in the race, was able to dawdle through the lead time in 39.1sec. and the first 400m section of the final mile in a slow 32.3sec. She had plenty in reserve and was able to keep the opposition at bay with final quarters of 28.9sec. and 28.5sec. The wonderful connection behind the No. 5 runner in race ten is that Kristen Louise is closely related to Black Line. Kristen Louise, bred and owned by Marshall Taylor and Tony Glass, is the 11th foal out of Windshield Wiper mare Demarcation (a winner of nine races in Victoria). Demarcation's dam Picket Line produced ten winners of 109 races, including Black Line, who earned $255,232 from 18 wins and 13 placings from 78 starts. Picket Line is a half-sister to Shadow Line, who won 14 times in WA for Ken White. Stampalia drove Shadow Line twice for an 11th placing and a nose second to Guys Laughing over 1700m at Gloucester Park in September 2001. Kristen Louise has earned $38,590 from five wins and eight placings from 34 starts. LEWIS MAKES THE MOST OF A LUCKY BREAK WITH LORD COBURN Invariably when a horse gallops fiercely at the start of a stand the runner behind him meets with severe interference and frequently is virtually out of contention. The polemarker Czargem galloped badly when the tapes released the field for the MMJ Commercial property Management Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The well-supported 13/4 second favourite and last-start winner Lord Coburn was immediately behind Czargem on the inside of the 10m line. But most fortuitously Czargem veered outwards to provide a dream saloon inside passage for Lord Coburn, who burst straight to the front while the well-fancied Erris Lad was inconvenienced by the galloping Czargem and was foiled in an anticipated bid for the early lead. Chris Lewis then dictated terms in front with the Ross Olivieri-trained Lord Coburn, who was not extended in running the first two sections of the final mile in 31.5sec. and 30.2sec. before sprinting over the next two quarters in 28.6sec. and 28.5sec. to coast an easy 7m victory over Erris Lad, who had trailed the pacemaker all the way. Trojan Bromac, favourite at 3/1, fought on to be third after racing in the one-out, one-back position. "A bit of luck goes a long way," said Lewis. "You take it when you can. Obviously it made this horse's job a lot easier. Lord Coburn is in form and once he was in front he was going to be pretty hard to beat. I think he has stepped up a notch and he's definitely got more wins in him." The Victorian-bred Lord Coburn has had 53 starts for 14 wins, 14 placings and $103,665. He has had 15 starts in WA for four wins and four placings. PREORDAINED BREAKS THROUGH AND ENDS A LOSING SEQUENCE OF 16 Preordained, a New South Wales-bred five-year-old, had been unplaced at all his 16 appearances at Gloucester Park before he was sent out a warm 5/4 favourite from the prized No. 1 barrier in the 1730m MMJ Commercial Strata Pace on Friday night. But he gave his supporters a giant scare before prevailing by a nose as he held on grimly to defeat the fast-finishing 11/4 second fancy Barkers Hall to end a losing sequence of 16. Preordained, driven by Morgan Woodley for Northam trainer Glenn Elliott, was beaten out by 25/1 chance Nuclear Bunny from barrier three. However, Nuclear Bunny was unable to cross to the pegs and Preordained, after a slick first quarter in 29.7sec., coasted through the next 400m in a leisurely 31.5sec. before final quarters of 28.8sec. and 28.9sec. Woodley dashed Preordained away after rounding the home turn, but the Parsons Den gelding had to fight grimly to keep Barkers Hall at bay. "He put the writing on the wall at Northam last week when he whizzed forward from an outside gate, got to the lead and hung in really good (when second to Fully Zapped)," Woodley said. "And on paper this looked like his race from barrier one over a mile on a predominately leader-biased track. Everything looked in his favour. "But it was a lot closer than I would have liked on the line. He got away with easy sectionals and I thought he would have had a fairly good kick left in the straight. But when I went for him there wasn't quite as much there as I thought I might have had. "I was definitely worried when Barkers Hall came at him. Preordained was a short-priced favourite and I probably could have made the decision just to keep sitting against the horse and keep Barkers Hall in a pocket a lot longer than I did. When I made the decision to kick I thought I had plenty in reserve. But then there were certainly nervous moments for me." Preordained has raced 59 times for eight wins, 14 placings and $50,703. IT'S JUST A STROLL IN THE PARK FOR MISTER JADORE It certainly looked a one-sided affair when Mister Jadore lined up against four moderate rivals in the $21,000 MMJ Commercial Leasing Sales Classic for three-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Mister Jadore was the State's star two-year-old in the 2012-13 season and went into the race as the winner of seven races and $168,129, with the combined earnings of his rivals being a mere $28,514 from a total of four wins. Starting at 10/1 on, Mister Jadore made it a one-act affair as Chris Lewis drove him to an effortless all-the-way victory, rating 1.58.4 after sprinting over the final quarter in 28.7sec. He crossed the line 19m ahead of the 9/1 second fancy Apache Cruiser, who trailed him throughout. Mister Jadore, trained by Annie Belton and raced by her and her husband Colin, boosted his prizemoney to $181,989 from eight wins and nine placings from 20 starts. "He has run a nice time, which he needs to at this time of the year," said Lewis. "It has taken him a little bit of time to get back to his best and he's now bringing his times down." by Ken Casellas  

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