Day At The Track
Pistol Abbey,Harness racing

Australian Pacing Gold graduate strikes first

IT DIDN’T take an Australian Pacing Gold graduate long to make its way into the winners’ circle during tonight’s Breeders’ Crown semi-finals. In fact, a filly purchased at the 2016 Sydney Sale captured the opening event on the card. Prepared by premier horsewoman Emma Stewart and driven by in-form reinsman Mark Pitt, Pistol Abbey proved too slick for her rivals to book her berth in next week’s Group One Final. After enjoying the perfect one-one trip from barrier two, the daughter of Western Terror was angled to the pegs around the home turn before finishing stoutly along the sprint lane. Rating 1:56.7 over 2150 metres, the three-year-old stretched her record to four wins and four placings from 12 starts for earnings of $61,990. Pistol Abbey captured her Breeders’ Crown heat at Shepparton 10 days ago when first-up since last February. “After getting a good trip like that she was always going to be hard to hold out,” Stewart said. “It was a good drive from Mark and the filly hit the line well. “That was only her second run from a six-month break and will top her off perfectly for the Final. “Without knowing the draw, but all things being even, she will be hard to beat in the Final.” APG Media

Shane and Lauren Tritton,Harness racing

Chariots the main aim for Gods Spirit

NEXT year’s Chariots Of Fire at Menangle will be the main aim for exciting new pacer Gods Spirit. The New Zealand-bred gelding made his Australian debut at Menangle on Tuesday leading all the way and rating the mile in 1:51.0. Trainers Shane and Lauren Tritton could not contain their excitement when the son of Tintin In America produced his final two quarters in 26.9 and 26.5 seconds. That was Gods Spirit’s second start. “He just has untapped potential,” said Shane. “It’s been a long time coming, we’ve worked him right up from a spell and we’ve pretty much known he’s been good from day one so it’s been pretty hard to hold him back. “But it’s good to get the first one out of the way and look forward to things to come.” This victory made Gods Spirit the fastest three-year-old in Australia for the season, eclipsing Ignatius’ winning time in the Alabar Breeders Challenge Final by three-tenths of a second. “I’m very aware that there are a lot of horses in his so called category like Ignatius, so if he’s going to be really good he’s going to find stiff competition but I’m very excited,” said Shane. “He’s one of the purist speed horses I’ve ever trained, it will be interesting to see what he does when he is fully wound up.” Gods Spirit made his racing debut in New Zealand last December, where he won at Manawatu in a mile rate of 2:03.8. And Tuesday was his first race start since then. “One of the things the owner said is give this horse time, he could be pretty special and we’ve done that and he was 100 per cent right,” said Shane. “He’s very exciting and we’re just trying to not get too ahead of ourselves.” The Chariots Of Fire is the only race earmarked for this impressive pacer at this stage. “The Chariots is the only one we’re aiming at, the rest of it is just him trying to learn how to race,” said Shane. “He’ll predominately stay at Menangle and race over the miles which he relaxed quite well today (Tuesday) which he hasn’t done a lot of his career. “If he can relax that maybe opens a few more doors. “Today was good just to see him get to the track and do what we thought he could do.” Team Tritton will be keeping a close eye on some of Gods Spirit’s potential rivals this Saturday in Semi-Finals of the Breeders Crown in Victoria. The likes of Colt Thirty One and The Black Prince will clash in one of the qualifiers at Bendigo while Ignatius and Poster Boy will go head-to-head in the other.   AMANDA RANDO | MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

Hilltopsomewhere,Harness racing

Hilltopsomewhere hoping for a win in the Mermaid

CONNECTIONS of talented filly Hilltopsomewhere hope to gain a ‘consolation’ win at Globe Derby tomorrow night. Engaged in the Mermaid Stake, Hilltopsomewhere heads into the feature fresh from her gallant second in the Southern Cross Final at the same venue three weeks ago. The Peter Bain-trained youngster was successful at her two starts heading into the $50,000 decider. With daughter of Somebeachsomewhere drawn to lead from the pole, Bain and his co-trainer son, Aaron, are confident Hilltopsomewhere can end her season on a high note. “Win, lose or draw, this will be her last start for the season,” Aaron said. “With a bit of luck it will be a winning end. “She’s in top form having won four of her last six starts and finishing second in the Southern Cross Final. “She has trained on well since the Final, and with her gate speed, will be looking to hold up from one. “If she can get the right run long in front, she will be right in the finish.” Citing Victorian raider Scarlett Brew as the main danger, Bain also rates The Shooting Star as a major threat. Prepared by Emma Stewart, Scarlett Brew will begin from barrier three, with The Shooting Star to come from four for trainer Les Harding. “Emma’s horse has been racing well against strong company and is the one to beat,” Bain said. “The Shooting Star has done a good job since she got here and there is no reason why that should change “Hopefully we can hold the lead as we plan to and be able lead all the way.”   HRSA Media

Amy Rees,Harness racing

Amy's making her mark

THIS time last year Amy Rees, newly moved from the Gold Coast, was experiencing her first Bathurst winter, and doing it pretty tough. In fact, when her own horse Wee Jimmy was successful there last July, she enlisted her partner John O’Shea as his driver so she could stay warm by watching the race at home on Sky! Twelve months on, the chilly nights don’t bother her any more, and she’s well and truly established on the racing scene, and in the wider Bathurst community. At Wednesday night’s Gold Crown Paceway meeting, she drove a perfect race behind favourite Sams Express, which she trains, to take out the C2/C3 Menangle Country Series heat, demonstrating the skills that are increasingly earning her drives for other stables. Drawn on the inside, she was awkwardly placed three back on the markers in the early stages, and then relegated one spot further back when leader Cherry Sweet Peach handed up to Blackwhiteandblue mid-race. Approaching the turn, she looked to be in an impossible position, but after navigating her way around a tiring Recipe For Dreaming NZ, she switched back to the sprint lane to chase after Blackwhiteandblue and Cherry Sweet Peach, collaring the pair right on the line. Unsurprisingly, she gained racecaller Craig Easey’s Drive of the Night award for her unruffled performance. Coming up trumps in a busy finish seems appropriate for a young woman who manages a very busy life of her own. She’s in the first year of a Communications degree at the local Charles Sturt University, works part-time in hospitality and management at a busy hotel/motel, and shares the training and driving of a team of nine or ten horses with her partner. And she even manages to participate enthusiastically in supporting worthy causes, such as her cupcake baking/selling  efforts for the recent Cobram fundraiser initiated by Sissy Wilson. A pair of kindred spirits, those two. The earlier C0/C1 Club Menangle heat was taken out by Cyclone Charlie NZ ( Mat Rue for Phil Thurston), first up in seven months. The Rock N Roll Heaven mare appeared set for an easy win until her condition gave out in the straight, but she raised another effort to just hold off Courageous Beau and Our Little Digger, which both ran on strongly from the rear of the field. Field Officer NZ ( Chris Geary for Tim Butt ) took the quickest way home via the sprint lane, in the fast-class, at just his second run back from a three-year lay- off, a great training effort and a  vindication of the owners’ decision to try the Cullen nine-year-old, a $200,000 winner, one more time. Nifty Studleigh scored his second win from 12 starts - with a further five placings demonstrating his consistency - in the first 2YO event, sitting in the one-one and sprinting just a touch too well for Writes Good and Kyle Shannon. Jake Davis, his driver, can also be described as “busy”, having started his day at the ungodly hour of three-thirty  - a.m. that is - on the family dairy farm outside Blayney, before going to work on the team of 20 horses that have just come back in from their winter spell. And all this at the same time his dad has headed off for a six-week spell of his own. Nice one, Leigh! Hot Flush NZ gave The Kerryann Turner/ Robbie Morris stable their customary Bathurst winner, the Bettors filly death-seating in the 3YO first event, home in 57.7s to complete the sprint trip in a 1:57.6 mile rate. There was plenty to like about the tidy win, but post-race everyone was talking about the effort of the Tim Butt-trained second starter Colby, which suffered severe interference just after release, losing a conservative 60 metres, before chasing hard to run on strongly in the middle of the pack. The win of Field Officer later in the evening might have been some little compensation for the stable, if not the punters who had declared the horse a good thing. The glorious uncertainty of racing strikes one more time! Colby, as the name suggests, is another of the progeny of Betterthancheddar. That sire should probably have book-ended the meeting, with Lady Swiss (Mat Rue, completing a driving double ) scoring in the final event, a second 2YO sprint. A large and enthusiastic group of owners and family celebrated on track, not just for the filly’s maiden win, but because it brought up a century of training wins this season for Bernie Hewitt, who joined in after returning on the unplaced Fantasy Blaster. Bernie’s back to Victoria this weekend, for Saturday’s Breeders Crown semi with College Chapel, but it was fitting that his first-ever “ton” should be completed at his home track, and that cricketing tragic Mat Rue should do the steering. Almost “a tale of two cheeses”, but at least we can say that Lady Swiss “got the bickies”. TERRY NEIL

INDUSTRY NOTICE- Tasmania- New Whip Rules effective 1 September 2018 Office Of Racing Integrity  Stewards provide the following  information  to outline to  participants  the manner in which the new  ‘whip rules’ will be interpreted and applied from 1 September 2018. Whilst the majority of the provisions of Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 156 are self-explanatory, ORI Stewards provide the interpretations below to assist participants. The provisions of AHRR 156 which are not included below should be interpreted as per the plain reading of the rule. Relevant Rules and ORI Stewards Interpretation AHRR 156(2) states: “A driver shall only apply the whip in a flicking motion whilst holding a rein in each hand with the tip of the whip pointed forward in an action which does not engage the shoulder.” ORI Stewards Interpretation includes but is not limited to: Drivers must maintain a rein in either hand at all times when applying the whip. Once a drivers whip hand is not pointing forward Stewards will deem the tip of the whip not to be pointed forward. Should the drivers whip hand be raised above shoulder height when the whip is applied it will be deemed to be engaging the shoulder. The whip should only be applied with a flicking motion. AHRR 156(3) states: “A driver shall not use a whip in an unapproved manner.” ORI Stewards Interpretation: Drivers will be deemed to have used the whip in an unapproved manner, including but not limited to when the whip is used in a manner contrary to any provision of AHRR 156(4). AHRR 156(4)(a) states: “For the purposes of sub-rule (3) a driver shall be deemed to have used the whip in an unapproved manner in the following circumstances which are not exclusive:- (a) If the whip is applied excessively, continuously and/or without allowing the horse time to respond.” ORI  Stewards Interpretation: Drivers must demonstrate a pause in their  use of the whip, continuous use without a pause will be considered to be a breach of the rules. AHRR 156(4)(c) states: “For the purposes of sub-rule (3) a driver shall be deemed to have used the whip in an unapproved manner in the following circumstances which are not exclusive:- (c) If the reins are lengthened so as to result in loose reining regardless of whether the whip is being used at the same time. “ ORI Stewards Interpretation: Loose reining will be interpreted as follows: - Loopy shaking of the reins; - Lengthening of the reins which allows the driver to apply the whip with more force; - The reins and drivers hands being lifted above the drivers shoulders. Penalty Guidelines To afford drivers sufficient time to adjust to the rule amendments the following minimum penalty guidelines will apply from 1 September 2018 – 31 October 2018: Minimum Penalty Guidelines 1 September 2018 – 31 October 2018 156(2) 1st Offence:  Reprimand 2nd Offence: Minimum $200 fine 3rd Offence: Minimum $400 fine 4th Offence: Minimum 2 Race date  Suspension of licence to drive in races 156(3) 1st Offence:  Reprimand 2nd Offence: Minimum $100 fine 3rdOffence: Minimum $200 fine 4th Offence: Minimum 2 race date  Suspension of licence to drive in races All drivers offence records will reset on 1 September  2018 and 1 November 2018. From 1 November 2018 the following minimum penalty guidelines will apply: Minimum Penalty Guidelines 1 November 2018 onwards 156(2) 1st Offence: Minimum $200 fine (suspended ) 2nd  Offence: Minimum $400 fine 3rd Offence: Minimum 2 Race date  Suspension of licence to drive in races 156(3) 1st Offence: Minimum $100 fine(suspended) 2nd Offence: Minimum $200 fine 3rd Offence: Minimum 2 Race date  Suspension of licence to drive in races. Further consultation and modelling will take place to determine the length of time that fines will be suspended for first offences. Where Stewards determine a breach of the rule to be a blatant breach then stronger penalties may be imposed. Feature Races- Where a breach occurs in a feature race fines will not be suspended. Feature races will be defined as those with total stakemoney of $15000 or more. Whip used with a free hand. Where a driver crosses their reins and uses the whip with a free hand fines will not be suspended.  Stewards will  speak advisedly to those drivers who are identified prior to 1 September with a whip action that requires modification to comply with the new rule. All drivers are advised to take note of the animation for guidance on the appropriate whip action that can be found outside drivers and Stewards rooms and on the ORI website.   HRA

Always Ready rewrote Maryborough's record books with a blistering run in the final Breeders Crown heat, setting the stage for a ripping finals night at Tabcorp Park Melton. Thursday's heats at Maryborough narrowed the Breeders Crown contenders for the prized finals on August 25, with $90,000 up for grabs in the two-year-old classes and $75,000 in the three-year-olds. None were more impressive than Yabby Dam Farms trotter Always Ready, with the Vicbred and Tatlow Stakes winner and Redwood Classic runner-up stopping the clock at a 2:00.8 mile rate, cutting a second off Wobelee's two-year-old track record. That was the eighth of the days heats and provided a clearer picture of who would contest the Crown finals, though final fields will not be declared until the commencement of tomorrow night's meeting at Bendigo in line with the pacing finals. Below are the fields as they stand ahead of the barrier draws, which will feature as part of the festivities for tomorrow's pacing semi-finals at Lords Raceway. The draws will be streamed live at www.thetrots.com.au in a special barrier draw telecast hosted by Rob Auber and Craig Rail. Tune in from 5pm. For more details click here. Yabby Dam Racing Breeders Crown 3YO trottting fillies final: Drawn on Trots Live after race 3 (6.02pm) on Saturday night at Bendigo. CADENAS DAMOUR NZ DI LI HADES SKY MAR PACIFICO MEADOW VALLEY SKY MOONLIGHT DREAM MOONSHINE LINDA OUR SHOW GAIT NZ PARISIAN OPERA PRETTY MAJESTIC THE GREAT REDEEMER NZ WILKES BARRE ALEPPO JEWEL (1st Em) Aldebaran Park Breeders Crown 2YO trotting fillies final: Drawn on Trots Live after race 4 (6.34pm) on Saturday night at Bendigo. COMMAND ME DENEUVE STAR EMERALD STRIDE GATESYS ALLEY GEORGIAS PRIDE IMSETTOGO MY LITTLE COMET ORLANDO STORM SLEEPEE SO TICKLE ME PINK NZ STARLIGHT RED WALKABOUT SUNRISE DELAROSE (1st Em) Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown 3YO trottings colts and geldings final: Drawn on Trots Live after race 5 (7.02pm) on Saturday night at Bendigo. ALDEBARAN PETE ALDEBARAN WILLO NZ ANYWHERE HUGO FIELDS OF KYVALLEY IMPERIAL WHIZ NZ KYVALLEY FINN LA GRANGE MAJESTIC COURTNEY NZ MAJESTIC PLAYER NEXTA NUNN STRESS FACTOR NZ WHIZZBANG DAN DELLSUN (1st Em) Aldebaran Park Breeders Crown two-year-old trotting fillies final: Drawn on Trots Live after race 6 (7.30pm) on Saturday night at Bendigo. ALDEBARAN ROCKY ALWAYS READY ARCHLEO CALIGULA NZ DREAM MASTAR JILLIBY BULLDOG KYVALLEY CLICHY MAJESTUOSO NZ MONTPELLIER ONEOFTHECLAN ORLANDO JOLT NZ XEBEC GLAD ALL OVER CRITICAL ADVANTAGE (1st Em) Michael Howard Trots Media

A TOUGH draw and a change of conditions have made life difficult for Bubbles And Cheese at Globe Derby on Saturday night. With a lack of nominations for the Lord and Ladyship Stakes, Harness Racing SA combined the features to create the Two-Year-Old Classic. As such, Bubbles And Cheese has gone from racing against her own sex to competing with the ‘boys’. Adding to trainer Bronte Giorgio’s woes is Bubbles And Cheese’s draw, with the filly to begin from the inside of the second row. “Going up against the colts has made it tougher,” Giorgio said. “On top of that she’s got the back line, which makes it harder again. “From there she is likely to settle three-back along the pegs, which is not an ideal position to be in. “We’ll have to rely on a bit of luck from there.” Although several factors are against the recent Southern Cross Final winner, Giorgio is positive the daughter of Betterthancheddar is primed to run a solid race. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the way she is within herself,” Giorgio said. “She has trained on great since the Final a couple of weeks ago. “She’s certainly going well enough to win…it’s just a matter of whether she gets a good crack at them. “This will be her last run for the season, so with a bit of luck, she will head to the paddock on a high note.”   HRSA Media

Former Gloucester Park track curator Ray Donnell passed away on Tuesday in the WA country town of Narrogin. Mr Donnell started work at Gloucester Park in May 1988 and during his time with the WA Trotting Association he prepared the track surface for three Inter Dominion Championships in 1989, 1996 and 2004. Born in South Australia on 4th December 1939, Mr Donnell was stable foreman for Adelaide trainer Jack Roberts at the time Roberts prepared arguably Australia’s greatest ever female trotter in Gramel. While with Roberts, Ray Donnell was involved with the maintenance of the Semaphore Park track. Ray Donnell drove nearly 400 winners in South Australia and moved to WA in 1970 to become stable foreman for Bob Pollock at that trainer’s Mandurah stables. When Pollock moved to Byford Ray Donnell began to train horses himself before taking a position as farm manager for Mick Lombardo and designed and oversaw the construction of both the stables and track at Notable Downs near Dunsborough. Ray Donnell drove 40 winners in Western Australia and trained 24 winners including the city winners Dark Tower and Preston Adios. With his background Ray Donnell was well suited to the track curator position at Gloucester Park and he took to the role like a duck to water. His empathy with trainers was clear in his habit of sleeping in the Gloucester Park Driver’s Room on Friday nights after the race-meeting so that he could prepare his beloved track for the early trackwork arrivals on Saturday mornings. Ray was devastated one Saturday morning when he went to get the water truck from under the pipe-stand only to find the truck gone. Apparently a couple of inebriated trot patrons decided to create Western Australia’s first Uber and made a slow way home in the fully-loaded water truck. Ray would annoy the life out of the Gloucester Park Racing Office staff and receptionist on winter Fridays asking for regular updates on weather forecasts and the Weather Bureau’s radar as he strove to have the track perfect for that night’s racing. As a horseman Ray loved top-class horses and when the likes of Another Bart stepped off a plane on a Friday morning to race that night he was happy to prepare the outside half of the racing surface so that the horses could be exercised and become familiar with the surroundings. Mind you Ray was always on hand to ensure that the horses weren’t allowed to stray onto his beloved pole. Ray Donnell retired in December 2004 to live in Narrogin some 190 kilometres south-east of Perth. A date for his funeral is yet to be arranged but Ray Donnell will be buried in Narrogin in the same cemetery as his former boss, WATA President, John Higgins.     Alan Parker

Reigning Fremantle and Pinjarra Cup champion My Hard Copy makes his return to racing in tomorrow night’s Westral Pace (2536m) at Gloucester Park and trainer Gary Hall Snr says the veteran will be hard to beat. The veteran pacer hasn’t been seen since running eighth on April 6 at Gloucester Park at the end of a campaign which included the two feature Cup wins. With Chicago Bull having a short break prior to his east coast campaign, which includes a shot at the Victoria and New Zealand Cups and Inter Dominion, Hall Snr will call upon My Hard Copy to fill the void in Free For All races at Gloucester Park over the next month. My Hard Copy has drawn barrier one for tomorrow night’s $25,000 event, while The Bucket List (barrier two), Runrunjimmydunn (barrier five) and Bettors Fire (barrier six) are expected to feature prominently. Hall Snr said My Hard Copy was in good order ahead of tomorrow night and was looking forward to his return. “He’s good, really good,” he said. “I expect him to lead and be very hard to beat. “He worked yesterday morning as well as he ever has.” Gary Hall Jnr has the drive on My Hard Copy tomorrow night, while Stuart McDonald has the drive on last week’s Marathon Handicap winner Runrunjimmydunn. Hall Snr said My Hard Copy would be given the chance to defend his Fremantle Cup title in January and felt if barrier draws favoured him he could beat Chicago Bull. Despite last week’s win in the Marathon, Hall Snr conceded Runrunjimmydunn would have his work cut out tomorrow night, but said the four-year-old would be competitive. “He’s going well and he has no problems at all,” he said. “He will acquit himself well. “The 2500m from the mobile is like the standing start of 3300m and the distance drop isn’t too much of a concern for my horses.” The pair will look to continue a good week for Hall Snr, after WA Derby winner King Of Swing took out the JP’s Sportsbar Pace (2130m) on Tuesday night at Gloucester Park. Hall Snr said he was pleased with how King Of Swing returned in his two runs this campaign, and would now likely run in a three-year-old race at Gloucester Park next week. Tomorrow night’s Gloucester Park meeting gets underway with the second heat of The Schrader which jumps at 5.20.   Tim Walker

Tasmania’s champion three-year-old pacer Ignatius has arrived in Victoria in preparation for his bid for Breeders Crown glory. The James Rattray-trained and driven superstar will take his place in the $20,000 second Semi-Final of the Three-Year-Old Colts and Geldings Division of the IRT Breeders Crown on Saturday night at Bendigo. “We floated him down from New South Wales on Monday night to the stables of Keith Cotchin here at Elmore, the trip took seven hours but he handled it well and has settled in perfectly and eating just as he does at home,” said James. “I gave him a good hit out on Wednesday morning and he worked well, I will give him a couple of jogs in the cart and a little light work between now and Saturday.” Ignatius is unbeaten this season and will carry a record of winning streak of 13 into the Semi-Final including 11 straight this season. “I’ve been very happy with his performances this season, he crushed his rivals at Penrith and smashed the track record there after doing all the work, then went back to Menangle and streeted them in the Semi-Final of the New South Wales Breeders and strolled home in the Final,” said James. “He won his heat of this series at Menangle and then followed up with a 10-metre MO victory going 1:53.3, so he’s ticking over nicely.” Ignatius has started at the prohibitive odds of $1.04 at his last four outings but has been quoted at $1.50 in pre-post markets for Saturday’s Semi-Final. “I’d expect Emma Stewart and Chris Alford’s Poster Boy to be the main danger Saturday night and Duplicated for Dean Braun has been going well, they have both won seven races this season,” said the dual Interdominion winning trainer and reinsman. “Ignatius has drawn five on the front line and will start from the four alley with the early scratching of  Mach Up, so he is ideally suited and he has the speed to lead so we will more than likely use that to advantage.” Ignatius will run in race seven at 20.00 while the Paul Ashwood-trained Max Delight will tackle race eight the Two-Year-Old Colts and Geldings Division of the Breeders Crown at 20.30.   Shane Yates

The ever-consistent Simba Bromac and speed machine Johnny Disco have been labelled as good things by members of the WA Trotting Media Guild for Friday night’s meeting at Gloucester Park. Last season’s leading tipster Stuart Lowe, The West Australian’s Ernie Manning and longshot king Pat Harding believe punters can start the night off on a winning note by supporting Simba Bromac. “My best bet is Simba Bromac, who has won 15 of 22 starts this season,” Lowe said. “He won in 1.52.8 over 1730m two starts ago and then breezed when a close-up second at his last start. Perfectly drawn to lead all the way.” Manning agrees. “Simba Bromac has been freshened and should possess sufficient gate speed to hold the lead from gate one at his first start in three week.” Manning said. “He is a winner at 16 of 28 starts, while his 10 Gloucester Park races have resulted in five wins and four places. He was an impressive all-the-way winner two starts ago and then endured a tough run when second on July 27.” Harding, who threw out Rock Diamonds as his best bet last week when it led all the way at the juicy odds of $26.70, is in agreement with his colleagues. “Another tough night of pacing at GP on Friday night.” Harding said. “However, I think punters can get off to an excellent start in the first event with Simba Bromac. With two wins and three places from his last five starts, this consistent horse, with Chris Lewis aboard and coming out of barrier one, should easily account for his rivals.” TABradio’s Matt Young and Guild president Wayne Currall are keen on Johnny Disco. “Johnny Disco has the draw and over the distance looks about ready to enter ‘Beast Mode’ on Friday night,” Young said. “He nearly knocked off Ultimate Machete over the summer and I think he’ll be winning here.” And Currall agrees. “Greg and Skye Bond are poised to score their first win with new stable acquisition Johnny Disco on Friday night,” Currall said. “His last-start fifth behind Chicago Bull was a great lead-up to this race. The pole draw and Colin Brown jumping into the cart for the first time over the sprint trip makes Johnny Disco the horse to beat.” GPTV’s Ken Casellas is keen on the Debbie Padberg-trained Cracka Star. “Cracka Star is racing with abundant enthusiasm and the five-year-old is my best bet on Friday night when he should make the most of the No. 1 barrier by leading and holding his rivals at bay,” Casellas said. “Cracka Star drops appreciably in class after he led early and then raced behind the pacemaker before wilting to sixth behind Runrunjimmydunn in the Marathon Handicap last Friday night. He made most of the running to win a stand in convincing fashion at his previous outing.” The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft has made Detroit Lily his star bet for the night. “Detroit Lily represents the class in her race, finishing runner-up in the WA Oaks six starts ago,” Havercroft said. “She has had a short break, but will no doubt be near her best for a tilt at another metro win before the end of the season.” VALUE BETS Stuart: My value bet is Johnny Disco, who has had three unplaced runs since a spell. Improved effort when a last-start fifth to Chicago Bull. Down in class here and drawn to play a part. Ernie: Presidentmach, with 14 wins to his credit, is capable of running a bold race. He should be good value after unplaced efforts at his past four starts and no wins in eight Gloucester Park appearances. He faced the breeze when a last-start sixth at Pinjarra. Pat: The Bond camp should continue on its merry winning way in race three with El Jacko. Again Ryan Warwick has the drive and barrier eight should not worry him over the sprint journey. Matt: Kapeka Fella in the last has the speed to lead and control the race and with little depth can pinch it at odds. Wayne: The Craig Abercromby-trained No Wow Factor - eight placings from his last 10 starts - could finally salute in the last. Ken: For value, I suggest Amelias Courage in race four. She has the ability to overcome the disadvantage of starting from the outside of the back line. Ryan: Raffaello has good gate speed and led all the way when he last drew the pole here. This is stronger but he grows a leg in front and he is a great each-way prospect. To view all of the Media Guild tips click here. Good Punting Wayne Currall

Punters face a puzzling predicament as they ponder the possibilities in the TABtouch Pace over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Friday night, with the powerful Greg and Skye Bond stable providing four of the eight runners. The Bonds will be represented by the speedy frontrunning Johnny Disco and the in-form trio of El Jacko, Vampiro and Mighty Mr Sharkey. Interestingly, Ryan Warwick, the No. 1 stable driver for the Bonds, has elected to handle the talented, but somewhat enigmatic El Jacko, who will start from the outside barrier in the field of eight. Chris Lewis will drive Vampiro from barrier No. 7, Nathan Turvey will be in the sulky behind Mighty Mr Sharkey (barrier six) and Colin Brown will drive Johnny Disco from the prized No. 1 barrier. This will be Brown’s first drive behind Johnny Disco, who will be having his second start for the Bond stable. Brown is one of the State’s most accomplished frontrunning drivers and, given Johnny Disco’s brilliant gate speed, the plan to lead with him is quite obvious. Johnny Disco has started from the No. 1 barrier seven times for two wins (when he set the pace), a second (when he sat behind the pacemaker), two thirds and two fifths. He has started from barrier No. 2 nine times for four wins (three of which he led), three seconds (when he led), one fourth and one fifth. He has also led and won from barriers three and nine. Perhaps what will sway punters to support Johnny Disco will be the fact that he gave a superb frontrunning display from the No. 1 barrier when he led until the final 30m and finished a half-length second to the New Zealand superstar Ultimate Machete over 2130m at Gloucester Park last January. Johnny Disco made an excellent debut for the Bond stable last Friday week when he started at $71.20 from barrier two and raced three back on the pegs before finishing fifth behind champion pacer Chicago Bull, Devendra, Runrunjimmydunn and Beaudiene Boaz, a quartet of pacers with combined earnings of $3,408,702 and a total of exactly 100 wins. Vampiro and El Jacko are comparatively lightly raced and are extremely talented. Each has raced only once over 1730m, with El Jacko working in the breeze and winning at a 1.55.6 rate from the pacemaker Franco Rayner and Chicago Bull as a three-year-old in November 2015. Vampiro’s only appearance over 1730m was six weeks ago when he set the pace and finished third to stablemate Galactic Star and Bettors Fire, with the winner rating a brilliant 1.52. Vampiro is in solid condition after six splendid efforts (two seconds, three thirds and a fourth) after resuming from a spell. He gave an outstanding performance when a close third behind Runrunjimmydunn and Motu Premier in the 3309m Marathon Handicap last Friday night. He started off 30m and had a tough run without cover for much of the journey before taking the lead 620m from home and fighting on grandly.    Ken Casellas

“He’s freshened up really well since his latest run and I can’t fault him,” said Ravenswood trainer Nathan Turvey when assessing the prospects of Simba Bromac, one of three stable runners in the second heat of the Schrader Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Turvey had no hesitation in declaring that Simba Bromac was the stable’s best prospect, ahead of Arthur Lowe and Robert The Bruce, and he is expecting the New Zealand-bred four-year-old to make amends for his last-start second behind Tyler Brett three Fridays ago. Simba Bromac is perfectly drawn at barrier No. 1 and will be driven by Chris Lewis. Turvey will handle Robert The Bruce from barrier eight and Jocelyn Young will drive Arthur Lowe from the No. 5 barrier. “Arthur Lowe is working very well, but is racing first-up and I’d say that he will probably need the run,” said Turvey. “And Robert The Bruce will need luck from his wide draw. Simba Bromac boasts an outstanding record of 28 starts for 16 wins, six seconds and three thirds and he will be at short odds. But he should get punters away to a flying start in the first of the ten events on the program. Turvey is also looking forward keenly to driving the extremely consistent six-year-old Livura, who will start out wide at barrier seven in the Inter Sport Slater Gartrell Pace over 2536m. This will be Livura’s first appearance since he finished with a typical stout-hearted burst to be second to Zennart on March 16. “He is working really well, but 2536m first-up will test him,” Turvey said. “I will have to drive him patiently, but he never performs badly and I’m sure he will put his best foot forward.” Livura has had 76 starts for 19 wins and 31 placings for earnings of $209,315 and is still classified as an M1-class performer. Hardest for Livura to beat appears to be the Greg and Skye Bond-trained The Freedom Fighter, who will be driven by Ryan Warwick from out wide at barrier No. 8.   The Freedom Fighter won six races in a row before an extremely gallant last-start second to Major Pocket over 2130m last Friday week when he started from barrier eight, raced three wide for the first 650m and then worked hard in the breeze before fighting on doggedly to fail by a head. There is likely to be a spirited battle for the early lead between smart beginners Raffaello (barrier one) and Whenmechief (No. 2) and The Freedom Fighter is again expected to have a tough run in the breeze. Ken Casellas

Ace reinsman Mark Reed drove the speedy Pazam to six victories at the turn of the century and he is confident of continuing the family tradition by winning races with promising two-year-old filly Countess Grace. Trained by Reed’s father Mike, Countess Grace is closely related to Pazam, who won 19 races in Western Australia in a splendid 41-start career of 22 wins and six placings for stakes of $136,113. Mark Reed was in the sulky when the New Zealand-bred Pazam won for the final time, at Gloucester Park in February 2004 when he beat The Die Is Cast and Sand Pebbles in a 2140m Free-For-All. He also drove Pazam when he finished sixth behind Lombo Rapida and Shakamaker in the 2000 Chariots of Fire at Harold Park. Countess Grace emerged as a strong winning prospect in the Glenroy Chaff Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night when she unwound a spirited finishing burst to be an eye-catching third behind Fake News and Major Artist over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening. Countess Grace was restrained from barrier eight at the start and settled down in 11th position. She was seventh at the bell, three back on the pegs, before sprouting wings in the home straight, with the final 400m being covered in a slick 28.1sec. Countess Grace has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier in Friday night’s $18,000 event and Mark Reed said: “She will give them something to chase. She has good gate speed, the aim will be to lead and I consider her to have excellent winning prospects. “She was unlucky at her previous start when third behind Majorpride and Fake News. She raced behind the pacemaker Cosmic Horizons and was shuffled back when that filly weakened and dropped back in the final stages.” Majorpride, Fake News and Countess Grace should dominate Friday night’s race in which Countess Grace has a significant advantage over the other two fillies, who will start out wide, with Fake News at barrier seven and Majorpride on the outside in the field of eight. Fake News, trained by Gary Hall Snr, was impressive on Tuesday evening when she enjoyed the perfect trail behind the pacemaker Major Artist before running home fast to snatch victory for star reinsman Gary Hall Jnr. However, Hall Jnr has decided to drive the Justin Prentice-trained Majorpride in preference to Fake News. “There’s not much between them, but Majorpride is probably a bit more of a racehorse at the moment,” he said. Majorpride has raced ten times for three wins, three seconds and two thirds. Mark Reed will fly out of Perth early on Saturday morning to drive star filly Our Angel of Harlem in the second semi-final of the Breeders Crown for three-year-old fillies at Bendigo on Saturday night. Our Angel of Harlem, trained by Mike Reed, has drawn poorly and will start from the outside (barrier three) on the back line. However, she is in top form and should have little difficulty in qualifying for the final the following week. Western Australia will also be represented in semi-finals of the Breeders Crown on Saturday night by the Michael Brennan-trained The Embezzler and the David Thompson-trained Mandy Joan. Michael Grantham will drive The Embezzler from the outside (No. 7) on the front line in the first semi-final for two-year-old colts and geldings. A winner at four of his eight starts and a strong fourth behind Franco Edward in the Pearl Classic, The Embezzler has won at Pinjarra at his past two starts. He possesses wonderful gate speed and is sure to make his presence felt. Mandy Joan also has drawn barrier seven in the second semi-final for two-year-old fillies in which she will be handled by champion Victorian reinsman Gavin Lang. She has won twice from seven starts and is working strongly enough to qualify for the final. Ken Casellas

Dual WA Pacing Cup winner My Hard Copy is poised to make a successful return to racing after an absence of 19 weeks when he starts from the coveted No. 1 barrier in the $25,000 Westral Pace over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The eight-year-old equine millionaire is a first-up specialist, having won five times at his first run after a spell and champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr gave punters a valuable lead when he said that the New Zealand-bred stallion had thrived during a long, solid preparation. Hall also said that he was determined to take full advantage of the inside draw by holding the lead against fast beginners Rock Diamonds, Bettors Fire and Devendra. My Hard Copy, who earlier this year won the 2536m Fremantle Cup, rating 1.55.4 in defeating Lazarus and Chicago Bull, and the 2692m Pinjarra Cup when he finished strongly to beat Chicago Bull and Our Jimmy Johnstone, was a first-up winner (after a nine-week absence) when he drew the No. 1 barrier and resisted an early challenge from Bettors Fire before setting the pace and rating 1.54 in winning a 2130m Free-For-All at Gloucester Park last December. Hall Jnr had no hesitation in choosing to drive My Hard Copy ahead of stablemate Runrunjimmydunn, who will start from the No. 5 barrier with Stuart McDonald in the sulky. Hall gave a masterly display to win the 3309m Marathon Handicap with Runrunjimmydunn last Friday night. Outstanding young reinsman Michael Grantham intends to angle The Bucket List across from barrier two at the start to take the trail behind My Hard Copy and this should enable The Bucket List to fight out the finish. The Michael Brennan-trained The Bucket List finished strongly from sixth at the bell to be second to Rock Diamonds over 2130m last Friday night and set a track record when he won the BOTRA Cup, a 2503m stand, at a 1.57.2 rate two starts before that. Rock Diamonds, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, will start from the No. 3 barrier and will be handled by Colin Brown, with Ryan Warwick opting to drive stablemate Galactic Star, who will start from the outside in a field of eight. Rock Diamonds began brilliantly from barrier five and gave a bold frontrunning performance to score an easy victory last week, rating 1.54.7 over 2130m. Galactic Star is racing keenly, but he faces a stern test from the outside barrier. Evergreen nine-year-old Bettors Fire continues to impress with his sparkling speed and fighting qualities. He will be tested from barrier six. Last week he started from the No. 6 barrier and was forced to work hard in the breeze before fighting on determinedly to be third behind Rock Diamonds and The Bucket List.   Ken Casellas

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IT DIDN’T take an Australian Pacing Gold graduate long to make its way into the winners’ circle during tonight’s Breeders’ Crown semi-finals. In fact, a filly purchased at the 2016 Sydney Sale captured the opening event on the card. Prepared by premier horsewoman Emma Stewart and driven by in-form reinsman Mark Pitt, Pistol Abbey proved too slick for her rivals to book her berth in next week’s Group One Final. After enjoying the perfect one-one trip from barrier two, the daughter of Western Terror was angled to the pegs around the home turn before finishing stoutly along the sprint lane. Rating 1:56.7 over 2150 metres, the three-year-old stretched her record to four wins and four placings from 12 starts for earnings of $61,990. Pistol Abbey captured her Breeders’ Crown heat at Shepparton 10 days ago when first-up since last February. “After getting a good trip like that she was always going to be hard to hold out,” Stewart said. “It was a good drive from Mark and the filly hit the line well. “That was only her second run from a six-month break and will top her off perfectly for the Final. “Without knowing the draw, but all things being even, she will be hard to beat in the Final.” APG Media
NEXT year’s Chariots Of Fire at Menangle will be the main aim for exciting new pacer Gods Spirit. The New Zealand-bred gelding made his Australian debut at Menangle on Tuesday leading all the way and rating the mile in 1:51.0. Trainers Shane and Lauren Tritton could not contain their excitement when the son of Tintin In America produced his final two quarters in 26.9 and 26.5 seconds. That was Gods Spirit’s second start. “He just has untapped potential,” said Shane. “It’s been a long time coming, we’ve worked him right up from a spell and we’ve pretty much known he’s been good from day one so it’s been pretty hard to hold him back. “But it’s good to get the first one out of the way and look forward to things to come.” This victory made Gods Spirit the fastest three-year-old in Australia for the season, eclipsing Ignatius’ winning time in the Alabar Breeders Challenge Final by three-tenths of a second. “I’m very aware that there are a lot of horses in his so called category like Ignatius, so if he’s going to be really good he’s going to find stiff competition but I’m very excited,” said Shane. “He’s one of the purist speed horses I’ve ever trained, it will be interesting to see what he does when he is fully wound up.” Gods Spirit made his racing debut in New Zealand last December, where he won at Manawatu in a mile rate of 2:03.8. And Tuesday was his first race start since then. “One of the things the owner said is give this horse time, he could be pretty special and we’ve done that and he was 100 per cent right,” said Shane. “He’s very exciting and we’re just trying to not get too ahead of ourselves.” The Chariots Of Fire is the only race earmarked for this impressive pacer at this stage. “The Chariots is the only one we’re aiming at, the rest of it is just him trying to learn how to race,” said Shane. “He’ll predominately stay at Menangle and race over the miles which he relaxed quite well today (Tuesday) which he hasn’t done a lot of his career. “If he can relax that maybe opens a few more doors. “Today was good just to see him get to the track and do what we thought he could do.” Team Tritton will be keeping a close eye on some of Gods Spirit’s potential rivals this Saturday in Semi-Finals of the Breeders Crown in Victoria. The likes of Colt Thirty One and The Black Prince will clash in one of the qualifiers at Bendigo while Ignatius and Poster Boy will go head-to-head in the other.   AMANDA RANDO | MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER
CONNECTIONS of talented filly Hilltopsomewhere hope to gain a ‘consolation’ win at Globe Derby tomorrow night. Engaged in the Mermaid Stake, Hilltopsomewhere heads into the feature fresh from her gallant second in the Southern Cross Final at the same venue three weeks ago. The Peter Bain-trained youngster was successful at her two starts heading into the $50,000 decider. With daughter of Somebeachsomewhere drawn to lead from the pole, Bain and his co-trainer son, Aaron, are confident Hilltopsomewhere can end her season on a high note. “Win, lose or draw, this will be her last start for the season,” Aaron said. “With a bit of luck it will be a winning end. “She’s in top form having won four of her last six starts and finishing second in the Southern Cross Final. “She has trained on well since the Final, and with her gate speed, will be looking to hold up from one. “If she can get the right run long in front, she will be right in the finish.” Citing Victorian raider Scarlett Brew as the main danger, Bain also rates The Shooting Star as a major threat. Prepared by Emma Stewart, Scarlett Brew will begin from barrier three, with The Shooting Star to come from four for trainer Les Harding. “Emma’s horse has been racing well against strong company and is the one to beat,” Bain said. “The Shooting Star has done a good job since she got here and there is no reason why that should change “Hopefully we can hold the lead as we plan to and be able lead all the way.”   HRSA Media
THIS time last year Amy Rees, newly moved from the Gold Coast, was experiencing her first Bathurst winter, and doing it pretty tough. In fact, when her own horse Wee Jimmy was successful there last July, she enlisted her partner John O’Shea as his driver so she could stay warm by watching the race at home on Sky! Twelve months on, the chilly nights don’t bother her any more, and she’s well and truly established on the racing scene, and in the wider Bathurst community. At Wednesday night’s Gold Crown Paceway meeting, she drove a perfect race behind favourite Sams Express, which she trains, to take out the C2/C3 Menangle Country Series heat, demonstrating the skills that are increasingly earning her drives for other stables. Drawn on the inside, she was awkwardly placed three back on the markers in the early stages, and then relegated one spot further back when leader Cherry Sweet Peach handed up to Blackwhiteandblue mid-race. Approaching the turn, she looked to be in an impossible position, but after navigating her way around a tiring Recipe For Dreaming NZ, she switched back to the sprint lane to chase after Blackwhiteandblue and Cherry Sweet Peach, collaring the pair right on the line. Unsurprisingly, she gained racecaller Craig Easey’s Drive of the Night award for her unruffled performance. Coming up trumps in a busy finish seems appropriate for a young woman who manages a very busy life of her own. She’s in the first year of a Communications degree at the local Charles Sturt University, works part-time in hospitality and management at a busy hotel/motel, and shares the training and driving of a team of nine or ten horses with her partner. And she even manages to participate enthusiastically in supporting worthy causes, such as her cupcake baking/selling  efforts for the recent Cobram fundraiser initiated by Sissy Wilson. A pair of kindred spirits, those two. The earlier C0/C1 Club Menangle heat was taken out by Cyclone Charlie NZ ( Mat Rue for Phil Thurston), first up in seven months. The Rock N Roll Heaven mare appeared set for an easy win until her condition gave out in the straight, but she raised another effort to just hold off Courageous Beau and Our Little Digger, which both ran on strongly from the rear of the field. Field Officer NZ ( Chris Geary for Tim Butt ) took the quickest way home via the sprint lane, in the fast-class, at just his second run back from a three-year lay- off, a great training effort and a  vindication of the owners’ decision to try the Cullen nine-year-old, a $200,000 winner, one more time. Nifty Studleigh scored his second win from 12 starts - with a further five placings demonstrating his consistency - in the first 2YO event, sitting in the one-one and sprinting just a touch too well for Writes Good and Kyle Shannon. Jake Davis, his driver, can also be described as “busy”, having started his day at the ungodly hour of three-thirty  - a.m. that is - on the family dairy farm outside Blayney, before going to work on the team of 20 horses that have just come back in from their winter spell. And all this at the same time his dad has headed off for a six-week spell of his own. Nice one, Leigh! Hot Flush NZ gave The Kerryann Turner/ Robbie Morris stable their customary Bathurst winner, the Bettors filly death-seating in the 3YO first event, home in 57.7s to complete the sprint trip in a 1:57.6 mile rate. There was plenty to like about the tidy win, but post-race everyone was talking about the effort of the Tim Butt-trained second starter Colby, which suffered severe interference just after release, losing a conservative 60 metres, before chasing hard to run on strongly in the middle of the pack. The win of Field Officer later in the evening might have been some little compensation for the stable, if not the punters who had declared the horse a good thing. The glorious uncertainty of racing strikes one more time! Colby, as the name suggests, is another of the progeny of Betterthancheddar. That sire should probably have book-ended the meeting, with Lady Swiss (Mat Rue, completing a driving double ) scoring in the final event, a second 2YO sprint. A large and enthusiastic group of owners and family celebrated on track, not just for the filly’s maiden win, but because it brought up a century of training wins this season for Bernie Hewitt, who joined in after returning on the unplaced Fantasy Blaster. Bernie’s back to Victoria this weekend, for Saturday’s Breeders Crown semi with College Chapel, but it was fitting that his first-ever “ton” should be completed at his home track, and that cricketing tragic Mat Rue should do the steering. Almost “a tale of two cheeses”, but at least we can say that Lady Swiss “got the bickies”. TERRY NEIL
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