Day At The Track
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WA Trotting Media Guild thoughts 23rd November

Classy mare Eden Franco has been earmarked as a special at Gloucester Park on Friday night by three members of the WA Trotting Media Guild. The Colin Brown-trained and reined six-year-old will start a short-priced favourite in the $50,000 Norms Daughter Classic (2130m) after drawing favourably in gate four. Last year’s leading tipster Matt Young, longshot king Pat Harding and Guild president Wayne Currall have all made Eden Franco their best for the night. “Eden Franco has drawn the advantage in the feature mares event, she should roll to the top and control and win the event,” a confident Young said. Harding believes she will prevail via a different method. “I think Eden Franco could be a good bet for punters,” Harding said. “While Colin Brown doesn't have that many drives these days, he is very astute and I think he will position the horse in the one-out line and pounce in the last lap.” Currall is singing from the same hymn sheet. “From gate four, Colin Brown has a few options,” he said. “Eden Franco is a big, powerful mare and leading or facing the breeze she should be too strong for her rivals.” GPTV’s Ken Casellas is keen on the consistent Tyler Brett in the final of the $30,000 Kersley Pace (2130m). “Tyler Brett is one of the State’s best up-and-coming pacers and he is my best bet to maintain his excellent form by setting the pace and winning on Friday night." Casellas said. “Dylan Egerton-Green should make full use of the No. 1 barrier and Tyler Brett looks capable of holding out chief rival Our Max Phactor.” The West Australian’s Ernie Manning has opted for Vampiro as his star bet. “Vampiro has the class to overcome a wide draw and complete a winning hat-trick before he flies out to tackle next month’s Inter Dominion series,” Manning said. “He has been promoted from 31st to ninth in Inters rankings and looks set to be prominent against tough opposition in Victoria.” The racing co-ordinator at The West Australian Ryan Havercroft believes punters should forgive King Of Swing’s last start. “King Of Swing had a torrid run when dragged back to last and then three wide a long way from home in the Parliamentarians Cup at his last outing,” Havercroft said. “He has been freshened-up since, and looks a serious Golden Nugget contender.” RWWA’s Tim Walker is confident punters can start the night off on a winning note with Our  Angel Of Harlem. “I think we can get in early this week with star mare Our Angel Of Harlem,” Walker said. “She was exceptional last week first-up without a trial and would have taken plenty of benefit from the run. Looks a standout here.” Budding racecaller Hayden King is keen on Theo Aviator. “Theo Aviator trialed impressively on Sunday when he defeated Franco Edward,” King said. “He has the draw advantage and some of his better credentialed adversaries possess long-term goals rather than a win tonight. He could take a power of beating.” VALUE BETS Matt: Ace Bromac has been racing well as of late and with a quick tempo early it could bring him right into play. Pat: Value bet of the night comes up in the last race for the trotters. I think Earl Harbour from barrier two is ready to win. Wayne: Alfa Queen should get a lovely run behind likely leader Eden Franco. This Shane Young-trained and driven mare can run a race at odds. Ken: For value, I suggest Rocknroll Lincoln in race six in which he is unfavourably drawn at barrier seven. Rocknroll Lincoln had no luck when a last-start 10th behind Vampiro after being hampered for room in the final lap. Ernie: Tuas Delight has not won in his past 21 starts, but he is better drawn this week and should not be underrated. He ran on after dropping back from awkward barriers at his past two appearances. Ryan: Machrie caught the eye last week when flooding home behind Our Angel Of Harlem. From a wide draw he will be dropped out and will be each-way odds again. Tim: Stefsbest was super impressive winning at Pinjarra on Monday. Meets a high-class field here and will need to step up even further, but prepared to give him a chance here from barrier one. Hayden: Mister Ardee was a career-best effort last week, coming wide and finishing off in outrageous sectionals. He has to be respected again. To view all of the Media Guild tips click here. Good Punting   Wayne Currall

Aiden de Campo,Harness racing

Don't overlook Tisadream

Tisadream has managed just one third placing from three starts since resuming from a spell, but reinsman Aiden de Campo warned punters not to overlook the five-year-old when he contests the Chris Carr Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. De Campo pointed out that Tisadream, prepared in Capel by his father Andrew, was extremely unlucky when seventh behind Soho Wonder last Friday night. Tisadream, who was restrained at the start from barrier seven, was eighth in the one-wide line at the bell and was unwinding a spirited finishing burst when he broke gear and galloped in the home straight. “His was a really good run until he broke gear,” de Campo said. “He broke a breastplate, which caused the saddle to slip. If it hadn’t been for that mishap, he would have finished top three, second or third at worst. It was an encouraging run after disappointing efforts at his two previous starts after resuming from a spell.” “This is a nice race this week, but if he is able to lead from barrier two, he’ll go really well. I’m not sure about Kimani’s gate speed from barrier one. I’ll just have to wait and see.” Kimani’s trainer Gary Hall Snr said that the New Zealand-bred gelding had not before been drawn to lead. “But I’m sure he will go all right,” he said. Kimani sustained a powerful finishing burst from fifth at the bell when second to Walkinshaw last Friday week. He was most impressive a week earlier when he was restrained at the start from barrier eight and was eighth at the bell before surging home, three wide, to win easily from Starlight Brigade and The Redmeemer. Tisadream and Kimani are expected to receive stiff opposition from back-line runners El Jacko and Mister Ardee. El Jacko, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, resumed after a spell last Friday week and disappointed in finishing tenth behind Maczaffair. He began from the prized No. 1 barrier, but he dropped his head and raced roughly at the start, allowing Overboard Again to race to the front. Ryan Warwick then quickly moved El Jacko into the breeze before obtaining the one-out, one-back trail. He was forced wide at the 400m and resented this before taking the final turn awkwardly, thus losing momentum and dropping back. He has won at 16 of his 41 starts and is capable of bouncing back to his best form. Mister Ardee, to be driven by Madeleine Young for trainer Matt Saw, is racing in great heart and should fight out the finish.        Ken Casellas

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Rocknroll Baby to make WA debut

New South Wales-bred square gaiter Rocknroll Baby is a highly unusual trotter, whose sire and dam were outstanding pacers. Rocknroll Baby, a recent addition to the Serpentine stables of champion trainer Gary Hall Snr, will create much interest when she makes her West Australian debut in the $18,000 Cowden Since 1972 Trot, a 2503m stand at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “She was sent over to me from Adelaide about three months ago and she goes good,” said Hall. “She was the South Australian Horse of the Year last season (against the pacers).” A five-year-old mare, Rocknroll Baby is an experienced trotter who has raced 64 times for 19 wins and 15 placings. She has had 27 starts in stands for 12 wins and has led in 13 of her 19 victories. Her American sire Rock N Roll Heaven was a world champion as a two and three-year-old before being retired to stud. He amassed $2,774,478 from 20 wins and eight placings from just 30 starts, winning at four of his nine starts as a two-year-old and at 16 of his 21 starts the following season. Rocknroll Baby’s dam is the Canadian-bred Our Ice Baby, who had 56 starts for eight wins and nine placings for earnings of $240,293. Hall will be starting a trotter for the first time for a couple of years but he has enjoyed great success with trotters, including Makati Maximus (nine wins from 13 starts), Tuhimati Glass (six wins, eight seconds and two thirds from 20 starts), Prince Eddie (11 wins from 22 starts) and Armed Force (11 wins, including five in succession in early 2016). Gary Hall Jnr will drive Rocknroll Baby, who is sure to be fully tested by Ross Olivieri’s Sunoflindenny, Jocelyn Young’s Our Summer Vacation, Bruce Stanley’s Lightning Calder and Tonia Stampalia’s Balmoral Boy. Sunoflindenny (Chris Lewis) resumed after a spell in fine style at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon when he led for much of the way and won from Lightning Calder. He is a standing-start specialist, with ten of his 11 wins coming in stands. Our Summer Vacation has won seven stands in his tally of 14 wins, five in New Zealand, seven at Menangle and two in Launceston. He is capable of surprising at his first appearance in WA. Lightning Calder, a winner of 25 races and in excellent form, looks set to fight out the finish. Ken Casellas

Aldo Cortopassi,Harness racing

Theo Aviator is ready

Pinjarra trainer-reinsman Aldo Cortopassi was delighted with Theo Aviator’s sparkling trial at Byford on Sunday morning and he predicts a successful campaign for the three-year-old. Theo Aviator will be appearing after a beneficial spell when he starts from barrier two in the Matt Allen Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “He’s got gate speed and I wouldn’t be surprised if he wins first-up,” said Cortopassi, who has taken over the preparation of the lightly-raced gelding after Aiden Warwick decided last week to take a break away from harness racing. “Theo Aviator was probably a bit further forward than I thought he was when he ran such a good trial on Sunday. I didn’t even pull the plugs and he ran a pretty good last half (in 57.1sec.). He has developed into a lovely horse; the break has done him the world of good. He has grown a bit and filled out a lot. “Even though he has drawn well it won’t be an easy task for him on Friday night against some very smart three-year-olds in Gee Jay Kay, Bletchley Park, Shockwave, The Lightning Strike, Babyface Adda and Machlani. “However, if we find the front, which I think he can, they’ll definitely know he’s there. He’s a funny gaited horse, a little daisy-cutter, and when he actually gets up and running, he’s in a better rhythm. The faster they run, the better he is.   “He will be set for the Westbred Classics and the WA Derby this season.” Theo Aviator was not driven out from barrier four in Sunday’s trial and he settled down in third place on the pegs before Cortopassi sent him forward with about 1200m to travel. Theo Aviator then took the lead 950m from home and was challenged strongly by Franco Edward for much of the final circuit. He fought on grandly to win narrowly from Franco Edward. Also resuming after a spell on Friday night will be the Vicki Lea-trained Gee Jay Kay (barrier four) and Bletchley Park (six). Both should prove hard to beat. Gee Jay Kay won very easily at Pinjarra and Gloucester Park in July before going for a spell and Bletchley Park won at five of his eight starts as a two-year-old. He was a half-head second to Franco Edward in the group 1 Golden Slipper in July before being turned out. Cortopassi declared that his best winning chance ion Friday night was the Ray Williams-trained  Walkinshaw , who will start from the No. 4 barrier in the 2130m Colin Cowden Pace. Cortopassi drove Walkinshaw for the first time when the resumed racing after a four-month absence last Friday week when he scored an effortless victory over Kimani and Suspicious Life. “He’s a serious horse; he’s got a motor and I didn’t realise just how well he was travelling until I went back and looked at the times,” Cortopassi said. “He won in a jog.”       Ken Casellas

The all-conquering Greg and Skye Bond stable is in dazzling form and punters will follow their eight runners at Gloucester Park on Friday night with keen interest. All have winning prospects, with, perhaps, Vampiro appearing to be the stable’s brightest prospect, despite drawing the outside barrier (No. 9) in the $25,000 Enrique Aldana Free-For-All over 2130m. Vampiro, a talented New Zealand-bred five-year-old, again will have the services in the sulky of leading reinsman Ryan Warwick, who will have options from the outside barrier. Warwick is likely to give Vampiro time to settle down before choosing the right moment to send him forward into the firing line. Vampiro has been freshened up since he was a stylish winner of the group 2 James Brennan Memorial three Fridays ago when he began fast from barrier three, took up the running after 120m and sped over the final quarters in 28.1sec. and 27.8sec. in beating his Our Jimmy Johnstone at a 1.57.1 rate. That followed his head victory over Maczaffair, rating 1.55.2 in the group 2 Mount Eden Sprint over 1730m two weeks earlier. From barrier six, he raced three wide for the first 350m and then had a tough run outside the pacemaker Maczaffair. Nine-year-old Devendra has drawn perfectly at barrier one and Aiden de Campo (who will be driving the gelding for the first time) is likely to make use of his good gate speed. Another veteran in Sokys Big Bullet is favourably drawn at barrier three and Lindsay Harper appears certain to issue a strong challenge for the early lead. Vampiro’s main dangers appear to be Rocknroll Lincoln (barrier seven), Runrunjimmydunn (eight) and Rock Diamonds (the solitary runner off the back line). Greg and Skye Bond have struck a purple patch and when Warwick drove Thisbeachrighthere to victory at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening it gave the outstanding trainers nine winners from ten starters, with Warwick driving all those runners. The winning run began at Gloucester Park last Friday night when Galactic Star won race five and Mighty Conqueror race six before Lincs Tiger had no luck when blocked for a clear passage until late when third behind Sunrose Village in race eight. Then the Bonds and Warwick had three starters Bitcoin, The Lightning Strike and Saying Grace for three wins at Kellerberrin on Sunday. Another three runners Starlight Destiny, Ana Malak and Bettor Aim were all successful at Pinjarra on Monday and the winning sequence continued with Thisbeachrighthere on Tuesday. The Bonds hold a commanding lead in the Statewide trainers’ premiership with 59 wins, 17 seconds and 16 thirds from 118 starters to lead from Gary Hall snr (25 wins, 20 seconds and eight thirds from 100 starters). Warwick leads the drivers’ premiership table with 61 winners, 24 ahead of Chris Lewis and 30 more than Dylan Egerton-Green in third place. Apart from Vampiro, the Bond camp will be represented on Friday night by El Jacko, Our Max Phactor, Dodolicious, Rock Diamonds, Fizzing, Lincs Tiger and The Lightning Strike. Ken Casellas

Some of the world’s best young harness racing drivers have arrived in Queensland ahead of the 2018 Garrard’s Australasian Young Driver’s Championship to be staged in Brisbane between Thursday and Saturday. Racing Queensland Harness Strategy and Development Manager David Brick said if last year’s series was anything to go by, the 2018 edition would provide plenty of thrills.  “The drivers from across Australia and New Zealand are not only recognised as the best young talents in harness racing, but as some of the most well-known names in the sport,” he said. “The 10 drivers have amassed a combined 2359 winners and more than $15 million in stakes, despite all being aged under-25.” The series returns to Queensland for a second-straight year where defending champion and Queenslander Narissa McMullen will join cousin and leading Queensland driver Nathan Dawson to try and keep the trophy in the Sunshine State. The points-based series will be determined over nine heats (four at Redcliffe on Thursday, two at Redcliffe on Friday and the final three heats at Albion Park on Saturday) with the leading point-scorer earning themselves glory for their state or country and, a new Rio Mark 2 sulky thanks to major sponsors Garrard’s – long-time supporters of harness racing in Queensland. Mr Brick said the young drivers had again agreed to throw their support behind a charity through the donation of their driver’s fees and raising funds throughout the series. “This year the young drivers will be racing in support of Youngcare,” he said. “The drivers will visit a Youngcare facility to meet some of the residents during their stay in Brisbane and have set a fundraising goal of at least $4000 to help provide appropriate housing for young people with high care needs.” The drivers will be welcomed to Queensland at an opening function at the famous Breakfast Creek Hotel – just steps away from the Albion Park club – on Thursday morning. To follow the series head to www.racingqueensland.com.au or follow Racing Queensland on Facebook and Twitter (@racing_qld) or the event Twitter handle @AustralasianYDC               Driver State Drives Wins Places Stakes ($) Narissa McMullen QLD 6139 669 1345 $3,658,885 Deni Roberts   WA 1221 83 243 $697,257 Chris Geary   NSW 3711 501 914 $4,369,376 Nathan Dawson QLD 4688 549 1045 $2,549,854 Jack laugher   TAS 901 74 185 $555,994 Darby McGuigan VIC 1298 135 333 $929,157 Jayden Brewin   SA 1246 154 314 $664,869 Benjamin Butcher NZ (Nth Island) 1374 103 260 $988,218 Sheree Tomlinson NZ (Sth Island) 976 75 145 $840,111 Alicia Harrison   NZ (Nth Island) 128 16 22 $142,387   Racing Queensland

ON Friday 16 November 2018 Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards commenced an inquiry in relation to a report received from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory that O-desmethylvenlafaxine and Tapentadol were detected in the urine sample taken from EL KAPITAN following its win in race one, the SOUTHSTATE INDUSTRIAL SUPPLIES PACE (2210m) at Broken Hill on Saturday 27 January 2018. In addition, HRNSW Stewards inquired into the raceday treatment of that horse prior to the race. Mr Jacob Kerridge, the trainer of EL KAPITAN appeared at the inquiry and provided evidence as did licensed trainer/driver Mr Matt Schembri. Evidence including the Reports of Analysis were presented to the inquiry. Evidence was also taken from Mr Michael Honson by telephone as well as an interview involving HRNSW Investigator Natasha Ackland and Mr Mark Johnson. Evidence was also presented to the inquiry by HRNSW Regulatory Veterinarian, Dr Martin Wainscott. Prior to the inquiry being adjourned, Stewards invited submissions from Mr Kerridge, Mr Schembri and Mr Honson in relation to Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 15(1)(d) and AHRR 183 as follows: AHRR 15.  (1)  Stewards are empowered- (d)  to exclude or direct the removal of a person from a racecourse; AHRR 183            Pending the outcome of an inquiry, investigation or objection, or where a person has been charged with an offence, the Stewards may direct one or more of the following (a) that a horse shall not be nominated for or compete in a race; (b) that a driver shall not drive or otherwise take part in a race; (c) that the horses of certain connections shall not be nominated for or start in a race; (d) that a licence or any other type of authority or permission be suspended. Following consideration of submissions provided, HRNSW Stewards invoked AHRR 15(1)(d) and excluded Mr Kerridge, Mr Schembri and Mr Honson from all racecourses. In addition, HRNSW Stewards suspended the trainer and driver licences of Mr Kerridge and Mr Schembri pending the outcome of the Inquiry pursuant to AHRR 183(d). Further, Stewards invoked AHRR 183 (c) in respect of EMIIROMAR, a horse owned by Mr Honson. The inquiry has been adjourned until a date to be fixed pending provision of telephone records. Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) is the controlling body for harness racing in New South Wales with responsibility for commercial and regulatory management of the industry including 33 racing clubs across the State.  HRNSW is headed by a Board of Directors and is independent of Government. To arrange an interview or for further information please contact: MICHAEL PRENTICE | INTEGRITY MANAGER (02) 9722 6600 •  mprentice@hrnsw.com.au GRANT ADAMS | CHAIRMAN OF STEWARDS (02) 9722 6600 •  gadams@hrnsw.com.au  

For the second year in a row Queensland will host the Garrard’s Australasian Young Drivers Championship and defending champion Narissa McMullen looks to make it back to back wins. The series, beginning tomorrow (22nd November), showcases 10 of the best junior drivers, one from each state of Australia, one from each New Zealand Island, an overall New Zealand representative, as well as the defending champion. Last year racing enthusiasts saw a nail-biting finish on the concluding night at Albion Park where McMullen went into the final round just 2 points ahead of her nearest rival, New Zealand’s Dylan Ferguson. While McMullen led throughout the race, Ferguson swooped right on the post. A photo finish declared McMullen the 2017 winner and she was presented with a Rio Meter Race Sulky curtesy of Garrard’s. Alongside McMullen, Nathan Dawson represents Queensland in this year’s series. Other drivers are Chris Geary (NSW), Darby McGuigan (VIC), Jayden Brewin (SA), Deni Roberts (WA), Jack Laugher (TAS), Sheree Tomlinson (NZ South Island), Ben Butcher (NZ North Islander) and Alicia Harrison (NZ). The series kicks off tomorrow (Thursday 22nd) at Redcliffe with heats 1-4, followed by heats 5-6 at Redcliffe on Friday night before the series concludes at Albion Park on Saturday night with the final 3 heats. While the series will be very competitive on the track, the drivers will enjoy a number of social outings and activities including visiting the 2018 AYDC Charity partner Youngcare. For the meeting fields and form guide visit http://www.harness.org.au/racing/fields/   Albion Park Harness Racing  

The TAB Inter Dominion Pacing and Trotting Championships final rankings were revealed this morning as part of a special ID18 broadcast, when Jason Bonnington and Kima Frenning joined Michael Felgate on RSN 927. Tiger Tara and Speeding Spur remained top of the pops while Frenning told listeners about the chances of her pacing hope Wrappers Delight, ranked eight, and trotter Big Jack Hammer, who took the 24th and final rankings position. CLICK HERE FOR THE PACING RANKINGS CLICK HERE FOR THE TROTTING RANKINGS Click below to relive this morning's show, which includes TAB media's Adam Hamilton dialing in to share his thoughts.   https://player.whooshkaa.com/episode?id=305537     Trots Media

THE Inter Dominion rules have been addressed and top WA trainer Greg Bond has set his sights on Melbourne again. Bond was set to abort his plans with Galactic Star before the Inter Dominion Event Committee (IDEC) agreed to scrap a rule requiring all “visiting” horses to be in Melbourne five days ahead of the opening round of heats. Harness Racing Victoria, Harness Racing NSW and Harness Racing NZ successfully applied to for the rule to be deleted. “Today’s decision further highlights the willingness of our industry’s administrators to listen to participants in order to achieve industry best outcomes,” HRV chairman Dale Monteith said. Importantly, it solves what would have been an ongoing issue for the Auckland series next year and Sydney in 2020. Bond echoed the sentiments of the vast majority of trainers when he applauded the rule change. “Common sense has prevailed and we can all get on with things now,” he said. In Bond’s case, Galactic Star and, possibly Vampiro, were booked on a flight from Perth to Melbourne the Wednesday before the opening round of heats, which would’ve seen them ineligible. That’s because Bond wanted to give at least one of his possible contenders their final lead-up race at Gloucester Park this Friday night and the following Wednesday was the next available flight after that. The rule would also have significantly impacted the growing Kiwi contingent being set for the Inter Dominion trotting and pacing series. “Galactic Star is now a definite and we will decide on Vampiro in the next day or so,” Bond said. “It’s the Inter Dominion and I’m super keen to be part of it, but I wouldn’t have been if we needed to be there on the Monday.” Bond’s focus will be split between the Inter Dominion and WA’s string of major 4YO races in coming weeks. He and wife, Skye, could have as many as five runners in Group 1 races like the McInerney Ford and Golden Nugget over the next few weeks. On form, hype and potential, ex-Kiwi pacer Ana Malak is leading the way, especially after he thrashed a moderate field in slick time at Pinjarra on debut for the Bonds yesterday (Monday). “I’ve got a feeling when push comes to shove, Ryan (Warwick, stable driver) will pick Ana Malak as his drive,” Bond said. “I just wish we’d been able to get another couple of lead-up runs into him, but he missed some racing with a quarter crack. It’s fine now.” Bond’s other major players include Mighty Conqueror, who looked fantastic winning at Gloucester Park last Friday night, and Bettor Aim, who made it six wins from nine starts with an easy Pinjarra victory on Monday. But it’s Ana Malak who has most people talking. “I toyed with backing him up this Friday, but I won’t. He’ll go straight into the McInerney on Friday week,” Bond said. Adam Hamilton

It was a month behind schedule but yesterday Ana Malak made his Western Australian debut, and was an impressive winner at Pinjarra Harness Racing Club. “He did what I was hoping he would,” said co-trainer Greg Bond following the win. “His work at home had been good so we expected a good run today, we had a slight setback with him otherwise he would have been racing a month ago so today was a bit of a fact-finding mission.” The 4yo Bettors Delight import was nursed out of the gate by driver Ryan Warwick who was able to find cover and race in the one-out-one-back position for a majority of the event. The $1.04 favourite made his move at the 750 metre mark and showed brilliant speed to level up with, and pass the leaders before the final quarter. Racing home in 56.8 seconds, covering the final 400 metres in 28.2, Ana Malak rated 1:56.0 for the 2185 metre mobile, winning by 37.1 metres. WATCH RACE REPLAY HERE  “He seems to be the sort of horse that you really have to ask him to perform, but as you saw today, when you ask him to do it, he does," said Bond. “He ticked all the boxes today, now onto the classics.” Ana Malak is nominated for the Golden Nugget Prelude this Friday night, with Bond aiming at gaining a start in the Gr.1 4yo Classic on November 30 at Gloucester Park. It was another successful meeting for the Bond camp; with Starlight Brigade ($1.30), and Bettor Aim ($1.04) both scoring effortless victories on the card.   Scott Hamilton

The Queensland summer carnival features now beckon for Lilac Flash. That won’t shock anyone given the recent form of the former New Zealand pacer who made it 8 straight wins on Saturday night at Redcliffe when triumphant in the Comfort Inn Northgate Pace. Lilac Flash has been a revelation since heading across the Tasman Sea; the pint-sized Bettors Delight gelding has now won 12 of his last 15 starts. Since joining the stables of Kylie Rasmussen and Darren Weeks, Lilac Flash has won 12 of his 19 starts in the Sunshine State. But his recent win streak has prompted connections to focus on the upcoming Albion Park features. “We’re considering some of the open class races during the summer carnival, his form is excellent and he deserves his shot for the better prizemoney. No doubt, this will be much harder but his form speaks for itself.” Co-trainer Weeks said. The Gr.3 $30,660 Be Good Johnny Sprints kicks off the carnival on December 1 followed by the $20,660 Christmas Cup (December 8) and then the Gr.2 $50,660 Queensland Cup (December 15). The trio of open class features will be raced over the distances of 1660m, 2680m and 2138m. And all distances shouldn’t pose any issues for Lilac Flash. The zippy pacer has already recorded victories at Albion Park at the 1660m and 2138m while he is untried at the 2680m distance. However, he recently scored a comfortable victory at Redcliffe over the 2280m. “He’s still very green and he’s not simple to drive just yet because he’s always running in and out during his races, he’s slowly getting there but he’s not perfect yet. “His speed is obviously his key asset, he just seems to follow pace all day long and then rattle off some quick splits of his own. It will be interesting when he’s forced to follow the higher pressure in the open class races, we think he’ll handle it but it’s an unknown at this stage. “There’s obviously some handy open types running around currently plus there’s talk of some southerners heading up for it so competition will be strong but it will give us a good guide going forward. He’s been a great buy for the stable and it’s still pretty much his first campaign for us so a few more like him will be great.” Lilac Flash was previously prepared by respected south island trainer Tony Stratford in New Zealand. Unraced as a two-year-old, Lilac Flash won two races with 11 minor placings from 20 starts before being sold. Lilac Flash is raced by Darren Wilson.   Chris Barsby

Australian harness racing doesn’t have an overabundance of books written about its champions and the latest Our Mate Smolda by Marcus Kirkwood is more than a tome about one of the outstanding horses of the past decade – it is a book about the tragedies of life and the human spirit which overcomes these tragedies. Marcus Kirkwood has pottered about with pacers for some 40 years but harness racing took a backwards step as Marcus and his wife Sharon raised their four sons and looked after the family stock feed business. Their second son Tom was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a brain tumour at the age of nine not long after his older brother Sam finished treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Tom, who had a great love of horses, battled the tumour for nine years before losing the battle on the eve of his eighteenth birthday. Not long after Tom’s passing Marcus Kirkwood made the decision to again become involved in harness racing and began looking at yearlings by a stallion he had a soft spot for – Courage Under Fire. There were a number in the 2010 Melbourne Australian Pacing Gold catalogue and shortly thereafter he noticed an advertisement for a share in a Courage Under Fire yearling on Mark Purdon’s All Stars website. Intrigued, he enquired through the website. He was somewhat surprised when Mark Purdon called him and explained about the yearling and that while longtime clients Glenys and Philip Kennard and Neil Pilcher had taken two shares there was one available. It didn’t take Marcus long to begin what was to be the ride of his life. Fate plays a hand in a lot of horse stories and Smolda’s was no different. The colt had originally been sold and then a bid dispute saw him put back in the ring. Mark Purdon had already bought a yearling at the sale but it was for less than his budget and a single bid of $53,000 saw the Courage Under Fire NZ colt head across the Tasman for the first of some 14 flights across the ditch. Unraced as a two year old Smolda retired in 2017 in New Zealand as a rising nine year old with a record of 68 starts which yielded 32 wins and 23 placings and stakes of $2,558,544 in a career which included victory in the 2016 Inter Dominion Final at Gloucester Park. Those 32 wins included nine at Group One level and a host of annual honours including New Zealand 3yo Pacing Colt/Gelding of the Year, Australian Harness Horse of the Year and twice New Zealand Aged Pacing Horse/Gelding of the Year. Smolda set track records in the majority of his Group One wins and these came in New Zealand, Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia and New South Wales which is in itself remarkable and in his second win in the Group One Ballarat Cup he became the only horse to beat Lennytheshark and Lazarus in the same race. Smolda was an eight year old at the time of this win and he was giving the four year old Lazarus some head start in terms of age. In Smolda’s 3yo campaign Mark Purdon decided that the now gelding would tackle the New South Wales Derby and Marcus felt that Smolda could become an ambassador for the Children’s Cancer Institute Australia and race in colours bearing the Institute’s logo. Not only was the Cancer Institute happy for their logo to be used and Marcus was delighted when his New Zealand partners in Smolda were delighted to be involved. Again fate seemed to have a hand in the matter as Glenys and Philip Kennard were longtime supporters of the Child Cancer Foundation New Zealand. Mark Purdon was also happy for his All Stars silks to be used as the basis for a set of Australian colours which incorporated the CCIA logo while also featuring the words “Our Mate Tom” on the cuffs. Not only has Smolda become the catalyst for Tom’s story being known across both islands of New Zealand and in five Australian States but the Kirkwood family, with the support of their community in Singleton in New South Wales, have raised more than $800,000 for fight against children’s cancer. Our Mate Smolda not only includes Marcus Kirkwood’s story about his champion but also features chapters from a number of people who have documented their memories of their mate Smolda. As for Smolda in retirement – he now resides on Marcus and Sharon Kirkwood’s property at Singleton in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales. With an adoring owner who has a stock feed business and a paddock full of green grass life couldn’t be any better for Smolda and his mates. Our Mate Smolda can be purchased online from the website at a cost of $35 which includes postage in Australia https://www.ourmatesmolda.com.au/product/our-mate-smolda/ Alternatively copies will shortly be available from Garrards.   Alan Parker

Victoria lost a great competitor in Stawell trainer/driver Trevor Martin last week. A renowned horse breaker, Trevor enjoyed numerous successes over the years with many fine horses and was revered when presenting a two year old at the races first up. Trevor’s best known pacer’s was in all probability Dark Paul which was later trained by Andrew Peace, however Spring Find was also a multiple winner. The majority of Trevor’s horses were driven by former World Driving Champion Ted Demmler. Harness Racing Victoria extends its sincere condolences to Mr Martin's family and friends.    Len Baker

THE major prize was headed back down the mountains to Menangle at the conclusion of a very successful TAB Carnival of Cups meeting at the Blayney on Sunday. Junior reinsman Josh Gallagher steered the KerryAnn Turner-trained race favourite Dance For Glory to a strong win in the feature event, the Billy Soo Memorial Blayney Cup. After some wretched luck for the stable’s two earlier runners, Gallagher took luck out of the equation in the 2400m feature when he came around the field to take the lead at the mile mark, and dictated terms thereafter to score the win. Ned Pepper, well positioned in the one-one throughout, ran home strongly but was well held by the winner, with early leader Master Benny holding on for the minor placing. The  mile rate of 2:02.8 established a new record. The race honours the memory of a much-loved character who made famous the local Chinese restaurant - still operating today - as “ the best in the Golden West”, and far beyond, and his widow Jill was on hand to present the Cup to Josh Gallagher, representing the owner. Bernie Hewitt has been coming to Blayney for many years now, from the Crookwell farm originally and from a much-closer Bathurst since his move there almost 20 years ago, and he had one of his most enjoyable visits with a driving treble and a fourth training win at Sunday’s meeting. His driving wins came courtesy of We Salute You, a strong death-seat effort in the 3C0-3C1 opener, and brilliant first-up performances in the later Menangle Country Series sprints from Scarlet Babe and Mackeral. Scarlet Babe led throughout in the C0 sprint, her mile rate of 1:57.3 erasing the previous track record establshed four years ago. Hewitt believes the daughter of champion mare Ashlees Babe will mature into a serious race horse by the end of this season. Mackeral came from behind with a very strong finish to take the C1-C2 sprint, rating just one-tenth of a second slower than his stablemate, and the four-year-old McArdle gelding, whose last campaign included close up places behind Ignatius, looks to have returned bigger and better than ever. Hewitt then completed his training quartet when Mitch Turnbull scored with Royal Story in the C5+ Kriden Park Drivers Invitational, charging the Blacks A Fake relation out of the gate and dictating terms for an authoritative win. Mitch had only just returned from a trip to the New Zealand Cup carnival, where he’d seen Natalie Rasmussen, Blackie’s trainer-driver, take out the Cup with the latest Purdon star The Fixer. Perhaps that might have been seen as some sort of omen, or could it have been the recent visit from Harry and Megan? There are omens all over the place if we want to go searching for them, but whatever their worth, Royal Story was the best-performed runner in the field and a deserved favourite. Angela Hedges charged home with Smithstars Lexus, and John O’Shea trailed the leader throughout with Two Ply NZ, and the males finished slightly ahead of their female rivals in the accompanying pointscore from the race. Amanda Turnbull took a driving double, with first leg Big Heart leading for most of the way in a 2000 metres C0-C2 race and hanging on from an equally-tired runner-up The Restauranteur in a slogging 31.3 closing quarter of the 2000 event. The final of the C0-C1 Peter Marshall Memorial proved to be a much easier assignment, when favourite My Secret Beach continued his recent improvement by leading, maintaining a solid speed throughout and holding on strongly to defeat Brads Luck, which raced outside the winner throughout in a good effort. Lucky To Make took out the 2000 metres C0-C2 third race, which had more than its fair share of drama. Two false starts resulted in the disqualification of pole-marker Dreaming Gypsy, and a last-lap mix up put paid to the chances of most of the field, leaving Nathan Hurst way out in front and quite oblivious to the shambles behind him. Recent good form suggested that the Safari mare would have been hard to beat in any case, but Hursty was naturally pleased to get the win, whatever the circumstances, and quick to appreciate the irony of the name. Racing Minister and local member, Paul Toole,  and Blayney Mayor Scott Ferguson both got to see the action alongside the starter in the back of the mobile, and came away full of admiration for the skill of the drivers and the power of their horses. It’s the best seat in town, they reckon. TERRY NEIL

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Classy mare Eden Franco has been earmarked as a special at Gloucester Park on Friday night by three members of the WA Trotting Media Guild. The Colin Brown-trained and reined six-year-old will start a short-priced favourite in the $50,000 Norms Daughter Classic (2130m) after drawing favourably in gate four. Last year’s leading tipster Matt Young, longshot king Pat Harding and Guild president Wayne Currall have all made Eden Franco their best for the night. “Eden Franco has drawn the advantage in the feature mares event, she should roll to the top and control and win the event,” a confident Young said. Harding believes she will prevail via a different method. “I think Eden Franco could be a good bet for punters,” Harding said. “While Colin Brown doesn't have that many drives these days, he is very astute and I think he will position the horse in the one-out line and pounce in the last lap.” Currall is singing from the same hymn sheet. “From gate four, Colin Brown has a few options,” he said. “Eden Franco is a big, powerful mare and leading or facing the breeze she should be too strong for her rivals.” GPTV’s Ken Casellas is keen on the consistent Tyler Brett in the final of the $30,000 Kersley Pace (2130m). “Tyler Brett is one of the State’s best up-and-coming pacers and he is my best bet to maintain his excellent form by setting the pace and winning on Friday night." Casellas said. “Dylan Egerton-Green should make full use of the No. 1 barrier and Tyler Brett looks capable of holding out chief rival Our Max Phactor.” The West Australian’s Ernie Manning has opted for Vampiro as his star bet. “Vampiro has the class to overcome a wide draw and complete a winning hat-trick before he flies out to tackle next month’s Inter Dominion series,” Manning said. “He has been promoted from 31st to ninth in Inters rankings and looks set to be prominent against tough opposition in Victoria.” The racing co-ordinator at The West Australian Ryan Havercroft believes punters should forgive King Of Swing’s last start. “King Of Swing had a torrid run when dragged back to last and then three wide a long way from home in the Parliamentarians Cup at his last outing,” Havercroft said. “He has been freshened-up since, and looks a serious Golden Nugget contender.” RWWA’s Tim Walker is confident punters can start the night off on a winning note with Our  Angel Of Harlem. “I think we can get in early this week with star mare Our Angel Of Harlem,” Walker said. “She was exceptional last week first-up without a trial and would have taken plenty of benefit from the run. Looks a standout here.” Budding racecaller Hayden King is keen on Theo Aviator. “Theo Aviator trialed impressively on Sunday when he defeated Franco Edward,” King said. “He has the draw advantage and some of his better credentialed adversaries possess long-term goals rather than a win tonight. He could take a power of beating.” VALUE BETS Matt: Ace Bromac has been racing well as of late and with a quick tempo early it could bring him right into play. Pat: Value bet of the night comes up in the last race for the trotters. I think Earl Harbour from barrier two is ready to win. Wayne: Alfa Queen should get a lovely run behind likely leader Eden Franco. This Shane Young-trained and driven mare can run a race at odds. Ken: For value, I suggest Rocknroll Lincoln in race six in which he is unfavourably drawn at barrier seven. Rocknroll Lincoln had no luck when a last-start 10th behind Vampiro after being hampered for room in the final lap. Ernie: Tuas Delight has not won in his past 21 starts, but he is better drawn this week and should not be underrated. He ran on after dropping back from awkward barriers at his past two appearances. Ryan: Machrie caught the eye last week when flooding home behind Our Angel Of Harlem. From a wide draw he will be dropped out and will be each-way odds again. Tim: Stefsbest was super impressive winning at Pinjarra on Monday. Meets a high-class field here and will need to step up even further, but prepared to give him a chance here from barrier one. Hayden: Mister Ardee was a career-best effort last week, coming wide and finishing off in outrageous sectionals. He has to be respected again. To view all of the Media Guild tips click here. Good Punting   Wayne Currall
Tisadream has managed just one third placing from three starts since resuming from a spell, but reinsman Aiden de Campo warned punters not to overlook the five-year-old when he contests the Chris Carr Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. De Campo pointed out that Tisadream, prepared in Capel by his father Andrew, was extremely unlucky when seventh behind Soho Wonder last Friday night. Tisadream, who was restrained at the start from barrier seven, was eighth in the one-wide line at the bell and was unwinding a spirited finishing burst when he broke gear and galloped in the home straight. “His was a really good run until he broke gear,” de Campo said. “He broke a breastplate, which caused the saddle to slip. If it hadn’t been for that mishap, he would have finished top three, second or third at worst. It was an encouraging run after disappointing efforts at his two previous starts after resuming from a spell.” “This is a nice race this week, but if he is able to lead from barrier two, he’ll go really well. I’m not sure about Kimani’s gate speed from barrier one. I’ll just have to wait and see.” Kimani’s trainer Gary Hall Snr said that the New Zealand-bred gelding had not before been drawn to lead. “But I’m sure he will go all right,” he said. Kimani sustained a powerful finishing burst from fifth at the bell when second to Walkinshaw last Friday week. He was most impressive a week earlier when he was restrained at the start from barrier eight and was eighth at the bell before surging home, three wide, to win easily from Starlight Brigade and The Redmeemer. Tisadream and Kimani are expected to receive stiff opposition from back-line runners El Jacko and Mister Ardee. El Jacko, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, resumed after a spell last Friday week and disappointed in finishing tenth behind Maczaffair. He began from the prized No. 1 barrier, but he dropped his head and raced roughly at the start, allowing Overboard Again to race to the front. Ryan Warwick then quickly moved El Jacko into the breeze before obtaining the one-out, one-back trail. He was forced wide at the 400m and resented this before taking the final turn awkwardly, thus losing momentum and dropping back. He has won at 16 of his 41 starts and is capable of bouncing back to his best form. Mister Ardee, to be driven by Madeleine Young for trainer Matt Saw, is racing in great heart and should fight out the finish.        Ken Casellas
New South Wales-bred square gaiter Rocknroll Baby is a highly unusual trotter, whose sire and dam were outstanding pacers. Rocknroll Baby, a recent addition to the Serpentine stables of champion trainer Gary Hall Snr, will create much interest when she makes her West Australian debut in the $18,000 Cowden Since 1972 Trot, a 2503m stand at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “She was sent over to me from Adelaide about three months ago and she goes good,” said Hall. “She was the South Australian Horse of the Year last season (against the pacers).” A five-year-old mare, Rocknroll Baby is an experienced trotter who has raced 64 times for 19 wins and 15 placings. She has had 27 starts in stands for 12 wins and has led in 13 of her 19 victories. Her American sire Rock N Roll Heaven was a world champion as a two and three-year-old before being retired to stud. He amassed $2,774,478 from 20 wins and eight placings from just 30 starts, winning at four of his nine starts as a two-year-old and at 16 of his 21 starts the following season. Rocknroll Baby’s dam is the Canadian-bred Our Ice Baby, who had 56 starts for eight wins and nine placings for earnings of $240,293. Hall will be starting a trotter for the first time for a couple of years but he has enjoyed great success with trotters, including Makati Maximus (nine wins from 13 starts), Tuhimati Glass (six wins, eight seconds and two thirds from 20 starts), Prince Eddie (11 wins from 22 starts) and Armed Force (11 wins, including five in succession in early 2016). Gary Hall Jnr will drive Rocknroll Baby, who is sure to be fully tested by Ross Olivieri’s Sunoflindenny, Jocelyn Young’s Our Summer Vacation, Bruce Stanley’s Lightning Calder and Tonia Stampalia’s Balmoral Boy. Sunoflindenny (Chris Lewis) resumed after a spell in fine style at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon when he led for much of the way and won from Lightning Calder. He is a standing-start specialist, with ten of his 11 wins coming in stands. Our Summer Vacation has won seven stands in his tally of 14 wins, five in New Zealand, seven at Menangle and two in Launceston. He is capable of surprising at his first appearance in WA. Lightning Calder, a winner of 25 races and in excellent form, looks set to fight out the finish. Ken Casellas
Pinjarra trainer-reinsman Aldo Cortopassi was delighted with Theo Aviator’s sparkling trial at Byford on Sunday morning and he predicts a successful campaign for the three-year-old. Theo Aviator will be appearing after a beneficial spell when he starts from barrier two in the Matt Allen Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “He’s got gate speed and I wouldn’t be surprised if he wins first-up,” said Cortopassi, who has taken over the preparation of the lightly-raced gelding after Aiden Warwick decided last week to take a break away from harness racing. “Theo Aviator was probably a bit further forward than I thought he was when he ran such a good trial on Sunday. I didn’t even pull the plugs and he ran a pretty good last half (in 57.1sec.). He has developed into a lovely horse; the break has done him the world of good. He has grown a bit and filled out a lot. “Even though he has drawn well it won’t be an easy task for him on Friday night against some very smart three-year-olds in Gee Jay Kay, Bletchley Park, Shockwave, The Lightning Strike, Babyface Adda and Machlani. “However, if we find the front, which I think he can, they’ll definitely know he’s there. He’s a funny gaited horse, a little daisy-cutter, and when he actually gets up and running, he’s in a better rhythm. The faster they run, the better he is.   “He will be set for the Westbred Classics and the WA Derby this season.” Theo Aviator was not driven out from barrier four in Sunday’s trial and he settled down in third place on the pegs before Cortopassi sent him forward with about 1200m to travel. Theo Aviator then took the lead 950m from home and was challenged strongly by Franco Edward for much of the final circuit. He fought on grandly to win narrowly from Franco Edward. Also resuming after a spell on Friday night will be the Vicki Lea-trained Gee Jay Kay (barrier four) and Bletchley Park (six). Both should prove hard to beat. Gee Jay Kay won very easily at Pinjarra and Gloucester Park in July before going for a spell and Bletchley Park won at five of his eight starts as a two-year-old. He was a half-head second to Franco Edward in the group 1 Golden Slipper in July before being turned out. Cortopassi declared that his best winning chance ion Friday night was the Ray Williams-trained  Walkinshaw , who will start from the No. 4 barrier in the 2130m Colin Cowden Pace. Cortopassi drove Walkinshaw for the first time when the resumed racing after a four-month absence last Friday week when he scored an effortless victory over Kimani and Suspicious Life. “He’s a serious horse; he’s got a motor and I didn’t realise just how well he was travelling until I went back and looked at the times,” Cortopassi said. “He won in a jog.”       Ken Casellas
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