Day At The Track

A pair of leading stables is eyeing the upcoming Queensland summer carnival. The summer features, to be staged at Albion Park from December 1 through until December 15 has caught the attention of Craig Cross and Luke McCarthy plus Kerryann Turner and Robbie Morris. And both stables are likely to bring plenty of talent north of the border. In recent times, both combinations have been frequent visitors to the Sunshine State while success has also followed and consistently. The Queensland summer carnival clashes directly with the famed Inter Dominion series, being staged in Melbourne this year after spending the past three years based in Perth. With many leading stables heading to Melbourne, the Sydney combinations have focused on the Brisbane features. The Cross/McCarthy stable arrives this week and again will be based south of Brisbane at the property of Cristina Monte and Charlie Cini with six horses and the possibility of more to come in the coming weeks. “The carnival looks a good option for a number of our horses and we’re still considering on bringing Mach Doro up for the open class events. We haven’t made a decision about him yet but it’s definitely an option,” McCarthy explained. “We have runners this weekend at Redcliffe and they will remain for the Albion Park carnival. Hopefully, we can make a good start this weekend.” He added. The stable has Young American, Ima Kennedy Two, Blue Moon Rising, Rich Virgin and Living Again starting this Saturday night at the Redcliffe meeting. The Turner/Morris stable are yet to head north as they have confirmed their team but numbers should be strong with at least six to eight shortlisted. Stable favourite Aztec Bromac is likely for the open class events in December. Last year, the American Ideal gelding scored victories in both the Christmas and Queensland Cups. Two starts ago, Aztec Bromac rated a new personal best time of 1:51.6 when successful at TABCORP Park, Menangle. “We’re definitely looking at bringing him up again at this stage, he’s engaged to race again this weekend at Menangle while we’re sorting what races suit some of our team best,” Morris said. “As long as the features are at Albion Park, we’re keen to be part of the action again.” He added. The Queensland summer carnival features over three consecutive Saturday nights include; December 1 – Gr.3 $30,660 Be Good Johnny Sprint, $20,660 APHRC Members Cup, December 8 - $20,660 Christmas Cup, $20,660 Forever Gold Mares FFA December 15 – Gr.2 $50,660 Queensland Cup, Gr.2 $40,770 Darrell Alexander Memorial Trotting Championship Final, $20,660 C2-C5 Feature & $14,999 King of the Claimers Final Chris Barsby

The future stars were out in force at the Devonport Showgrounds on Sunday afternoon when the first two heats of the 6ty Youngbloods took place, the six-race series continues in Hobart on Friday afternoon and again in Launceston the following week. It was a big week for the states leading trainer Ben Yole who trained five winners across the 14-races held last weekend. The only meeting of the week will be in Hobart on Friday afternoon for a six-race card that features a healthy Quinella Jackpot on the final race of the day. The Stars Riverboat Jasper – won his third consecutive NWTLHA Cup on Sunday in Devonport, the former Easter Cup and this years Devonport Cup winner was a tough winner being three-wide over the final circuit and was able to survive a protest to win the race. Conor Crook – found the winners circle on four occasions over the weekend, including his driving treble in Devonport on Sunday afternoon, last seasons leading junior driver currently holds a two-point lead in the 6ty Youngbloods Series. Lake Eyre and No Apachemee – these two Ben Yole trained pacers won four of the 14-races held in the state last weekend between them. After winning in Launceston on Friday night both horses were back in the winners’ circle in Devonport on Sunday. North Star Lad – it was great to see Shane Boon back in the winners stall as an owner of the first race winner on Sunday, Boon was sidelined from the sulky after a bad fall in Devonport on December 26, 2016. Multiple Winners Launceston - Friday Ben Yole - training double; Lake Eyre, No Apachemee, Rocknrollhighlight and My Jackofdiamonds. Rohan Hadley – driving double; Cardinal Art and Rocknrollhighlight. Troy McDonald – driving double; No Apachemee and My Jackofdiamonds. Devonport – Sunday Ben Yole – training treble – Lake Eyre, No Apachemee and Ready To Fire. Conor Crook – driving treble – Lake Eyre, No Apachemee and Rattlenhum. Calculated Sectional Standouts Quickest last halves (800m) from last week’s action. Launceston - Friday No Apachemee 58.02s, Kvitova Leis 58.38s, Lake Eyre 58.87s, Im Full Tilt 58.92s and Iam Aw Sam 59.30s. Devonport - Sunday Perfect Mach 58.54s, No Apachemee 58.70s, Riverboat Jasper 58.71s, Im Compliant 58.78s and Goggo Gee Gee 58.98s. You can view sectionals from every runner from the meeting and more Tasmanian Sectional Data by clicking here. Tasracing Official Price Launceston - Friday Hit's: General Jamane $9.00 into $3.20 (Price affected by late scratching of race favourite), Defied The Drift: Cardinal Art $7.00 out to $10 and No Apachemee $9.00 out to $12, Missed: Rainbow Phoenix $20 into $14, Goggo Gee Gee $8.00 into $6.00 and Ready To Fire $7.00 into $3.70, Devonport - Sunday Hit's: No Apachemee $4.20 into $3.10, Riverboat Jasper $8.00 into $7.00 and Ideal Karalta $7.50 into $3.60. Defied The Drift: Lake Eyre $3.20 out to $4.40 and Ready To Fire $7.00 out to $8.00. Missed: Good Feelings $16 into $11, Im Full Tilt $15 into $9.00 and Laconic Jamane $12 into $5.00 Trial File Hobart - Monday Laredo Torpedo looks set to continue on his winning way in Hobart on Friday afternoon and the Juanita McKenzie trained pacer warmed up for Fridays assignment with a trial victory on Monday night. It was a standing start trial over 2090-metres which was run in good time for a standing start trial. The mile rate was 2m 1.8s with the last three quarters all ran in under 30-seconds. The gelded son of Bettors Delight settled last in the field of three and was able to defeat Grinable by five metres with Isaac a further metre away in third spot. The remaining trials were won by Betterthanfetta (2:09.8) and Castor Troy (2:03.2). Carrick Park - Monday The husband and wife team of Adam and Natalee Emery combined to win the opening trial with seven-year-old gelding Devil Of Tyne, who recorded the quickest winning mile rate of the session of 2m 5.1s when he won a C0-C1 trial over 2150-metres. It was the first time Devil Of Tyne has been seen at the track since May 20. He won the trial by 15-metres over Laid Back Kenny. Remaining winners included; Safari Oakey (2:09.6), Buster William (2:11.0), Gypsys Crown (2:09.6) and Kilburnie North View (2:07.0). Week Ahead The 6ty Youngbloods continues in Hobart on Friday afternoon with the third and fourth heat of the six-race series taking place. Heat Three is race two on the card where the inform Mornings takes on her toughest field since arriving in the state. Samantha Gangell has been drawn to drive the Ben Yole trained pacer who is undefeated in five Tasmanian starts and has drawn wide on the track in barrier six. Race Six sees the fourth heat of the series where Troy Mcdonald has been allocated the drive on the expected race favourite Couta Rocks. The Marc Butler trained pacer won by over 22m here two starts ago and did a lot of work in the run last start in Launceston when finishing third. Punters have a few reminders for the Hobart meeting. The first is the early start of 13:57, Ubet have a $1,000 Quaddie Jackpot which commences on race five. Ubet also have a healthy $6,992 Quinella Jackpot on race eight, judging on previous jackpots of this nature the pool is expected to be in excess of $35,000. Friday’s meeting will be the first meeting of the season to have a hosted Live Stream coverage commencing with a preview at 13:30. A number of former pacers that had raced in Tasmania have been performing well in the past week including the former Troy Hillier trained Gotta Go Henry who recorded a time of 1m 53.3 at Menangle on Saturday night, of those that still have a Tasmanian connection racing interstate this week we see: Gloucester Park - Friday Race 5 Horse 7 – Devendra. Menangle - Saturday Race 1 Horse 10 – Pachacuti, Race 4 Horse 2 – Shesallapples, Race 5 Horse – 7 Rykov Leis, Redcliffe - Saturday Race 6 Horse 6 – Vande Velde.

At picturesque Yarra Valley racecourse today, Shepparton pacer San Carlo (pictured right, by Nikkita Ross) took another mighty step towards scaling the TAB Inter Dominion pinnacle. The brilliant eight-year-old dazzled as he sat parked outside one of the toughest horses in the caper in the United Petroleum Yarra Valley Pacing Cup before scooting clear in the last 200m for an emphatic win. San Carlo’s driver, Bec Bartley, only needed to gently flick the reins when she wanted her charge to go, and go he did, the pair romping home by 4.8 metres as Hickstead ran the race of his life in second place and early leader Im The Boss battled into third. “He took himself to the front, and as soon as I pulled the plugs he took off,” Bartley said of the 1:56.8 win. “He was so strong right to the line. We’re super happy with him.” Today’s win came at just his third run back from a spell and trainer Stephen O’Donoghue has San Carlo on track to peak during ID18, which kicks off on Saturday night December 1 at Tabcorp Park Melton. It was 12 days ago that San Carlo fiercely fended off Tiger Tara in the Decron Cranbourne Gold Cup. That pacer is a serious player in the New Zealand Trotting Cup on Tuesday. So it is little wonder TAB today slashed San Carlo’s ID18 price from $10 this morning into $7 by early evening. San Carlo was ranked No.6 at the most recent ID18 rankings released on October 31 after initially being No.14 when nominations closed. When the fourth and final rankings are revealed on Wednesday November 21, he’ll be higher again. Read more here   Cody Winnell Trots Media

The Standardbred Association Queensland Inc (SAQ) is excited to announce that the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) will be providing $2,000 in discounts to Off-The-Track racehorse owners who will be attending the upcoming “Re-training your OTT Racehorse Clinic with Kate Fenner” hosted by SAQ. The two-day Clinic to be held on 8th and 9th December 2018, is designed to help owners re-train their offthe-track racehorse for pleasure riding and will address the special training needs required to produce more confident riders and horses for a life after racing. SAQ President, Owanna Francisca, said this was a wonderful outcome and thanked both QRIC and Minister Stirling Hinchliffe for their ongoing support of SAQ. “QRIC and Minister Hinchliffe continue to provide fantastic support to SAQ in 2018. Firstly, with QRIC as one of the Major Sponsors of our State Championships held in August - and now supporting this very important training Clinic for our members who have adopted their Standardbred through the SAQ Rehoming and Adoption Program” said Ms Francisca. Celebrating its 20 Year Anniversary in 2018, SAQ established its Rehoming and Adoption program in 2002 and rehomes between 80 and 120 Standardbreds each year - with the rehoming of the 1,043rd Standardbred occurring last weekend. Racing Integrity Commissioner, Ross Barnett, said QRIC was proud to support volunteer organisations such as SAQ - who play a significant role in rehoming Standardbreds after their racing career. “Our ongoing support for SAQ this year is a perfect opportunity to highlight QRIC’s equine welfare program and the animal welfare priorities of the Commission,” Mr Barnett said. “QRIC supports events that promote life after racing for our equine athletes - and through our support of the “Re-training your OTT Racehorse Clinic with Kate Fenner” - we hope it encourages further demand for these horses to move into alternative careers and lifestyles after their racing career is over.” Further information on the “Re-training your OTT Racehorse Clinic with Kate Fenner” can be found here.   MEDIA CONTACTS:    Mark Hrycek (SAQ) - 0438 596 082 or Vincene Overs (QRIC) - 0472 842 346 or

Most members of the WA Trotting Media Guild expect punters to start Friday night’s meeting at Gloucester Park on a winning note if they invest their hard-earned on Walkinshaw in the opening event. Veteran tipster Stuart Lowe has made the Ray Williams-trained six-year-old his best bet for the night. “Walkinshaw, who resumes after four months off has won three times and been placed second twice from last his six starts,” Lowe said. “Classy type who is drawn to lead.” Longshot king Pat Harding and The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft believe El Jacko will make a winning return to the track in the York Cup. “My best bet of the night comes up in the fifth with El Jacko coming out of barrier one,” Harding said. “He is resuming after a spell for the Bond camp but had some good placings before a spell. I think first up with Ryan Warwick aboard he can deliver the goods.” Havercroft agrees. “El Jacko had an outstanding last season, winning six races and being placed another 10 times,” Havercroft said. “He resumes in the York Cup and having drawn the pole, he should be hard to hold out.” GPTV’s Ken Casellas and last season’s leading tipster Matt Young are keen on the consistent Chiaroscuro as their best. “The Murray Lindau-trained five-year-old Chiaroscuro will start from barrier one in the second qualifying heat of the Kersley Pace and I expect him to have the pace to hold up, even against the brilliant beginner Thereugo,” Casellas said. “And even if Dylan Egerton-Green decides to take the sit, I’m confident that Chiaroscuro will sprint home fast and notch his 11th win from 31 starts.” Young is of the same opinion. “Chiaroscuro has drawn the ace and is a superior frontrunner, he's likely to win well from the ace on Friday,” Young said. The West Australian’s Ernie Manning believes punters should give the disappointing Bettor Finish one more chance. “Bettor Finish has drawn barrier one and gets his chance to break a 10-start losing run,” Manning said. “A winner twice at Gloucester Park, he was placed there in 2130m events last month and showed glimpses of his best. He faced the breeze before finishing fifth last Friday night.” Budding racecaller Hayden King has opted for Scoobys Delight as his best. “Scoobys Delight went down fighting to the talented American Dynasty on Sunday at Bunbury when first-up from a spell,” King said. “I fancy this an easier assignment and he will lead once more. He should take all the beating.” Guild president Wayne Currall is keen on Pick My Pocket. “This Justin Prentice-trained and reined mare should be cherry ripe after two placed runs after a spell,” Currall said. “She’s found a race where she can dominate from the breeze or just sitting off the pace.” VALUE BETS Stuart: The value bet is Brotha Ofa Gangsta, who could not get into the race last week from barrier eight. Prior fourth was good. Drawn to play a part in the finish. Pat: Leftrightgoodnight  from barrier three stands as good a chance as any in this race and could get home at pretty good odds. Ryan: Scoobys Delight resumed on Sunday from an eight-month break when just run down by American Dynasty. Drawn to lead again, he will be fitter for that outing and this isn’t a strong field. Ken: For value, I suggest the rejuvenated Im Soxy in the TABtouch Pace in which he has drawn perfectly at barrier one and should be in a commanding position throughout. Matt: Firebrace is racing well and the distance suits, a genuine tempo should see him sailing home to be a major player. Ernie: Estocada can be prominent when he returns to Gloucester Park after having raced in the country at his past 25 starts. There was plenty of merit in his performance when he overcame a wide run to win at Bunbury last Sunday. Hayden: Armbro Bliss is racing in career best form and he looks set to enjoy a run just behind the pace. With one-paced types ahead of him, there should be sufficient pace for him to get out and show his late finishing burst to win. Wayne: Jaxon Fella is drawn to get the perfect run behind likely leader Sightseeing Anvil. He looks an excellent each-way chance in the fourth on the card. To view all of the Media Guild tips click here. Good Punting   Wayne Currall

Two strong performances in recent trials are a firm indication that Gotta Go Gabbana is poised for a forward showing at her return to racing in the second event, the TABtouch Pace, at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Gotta Go Gabbana, trained at Banjup by Annie Belton and bred and owned by her and her husband Colin, will start from the No. 5 barrier, with regular reinsman Chris Voak in the sulky. The five-year-old with an imposing record of 33 starts for ten wins, eight seconds and five thirds, has completed a solid preparation for her first-up assignment with three trials, two at Pinjarra and one at Byford. At Pinjarra on October 14, Gotta Go Gabbana broke 30m after the start and made up several lengths to be a nose second to the pacemaker Walkabout Creek. A fortnight later at Byford, Gotta Go Gabbana raced without cover in the middle stages and took the lead with 500m to travel before winning from the fast-finishing Brotha Ofa Gangsta, rating 1.59.2 over 2150m. At Pinjarra on Sunday morning, Gotta Go Gabbana rated 1.57.2 over 2185m when a nose second to Bettor Reward. She raced in the breeze over the final 1400m and sprinted over the third 400m section of the final mile in 27.6sec. before a final quarter in 29.3sec. She got to the front 50m from the post and was joined on the line by the experienced campaigner Bettor Reward. Gotta Go Gabbana, a last-start winner at Gloucester Park on June 29, will start from the No. 5 barrier on Friday night and will meet with stiff opposition from Im Soxy, Soho Chelsea, Maxentius, Arthur Lowe, Always Arjay and Forever Remembered. Maxentius is sure to fight out the finish and deserves a change of fortune after very unlucky seconds at his past two starts. However, he will need all the breaks from an awkward draw at barrier six. Maxentius, trained and driven by Colin Brown, settled in seventh position, started a three-wide burst with 1100m to travel and then raced in the breeze before getting to the front at the 450m and then being outgunned in the final stages by Khun Ratha, who had enjoyed a perfect passage behind the pacemaker Handsandwheels. Maxentius had torrid run and covered a lot of extra ground when an unlucky second to Bechers Brook at his previous appearance, a fortnight earlier. Im Soxy will also have many admirers after drawing the No. 1 barrier. He led early from barrier one and then took the sit behind Thereugo before finishing fast to win from Carter Micheal and Thereugo last Friday night.   Ken Casellas

Bettor Finish is proving costly to punters, but he has bright prospects of breaking a losing sequence of ten by winning the ninth event, the Better Your Bet With TABtouch Pace, at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Barry Howlett-trained five-year-old has been strongly fancied in several recent starts and will again be driven by Chris Lewis. From his perfect draw at barrier one this week he looks set to lead and is sure to take plenty of catching. He started from the No. 1 barrier three starts ago, but was surprisingly beaten out by Ultimate Major (barrier five) and Thereugo (seven). He then raced three back on the pegs in fifth position before running home strongly, out five wide, to be third behind Thereugo and Chiaroscuro, with the final 800m being covered in a smart 55.9sec. The previous time Bettor Finish started from the No. 1 barrier was 11 starts ago when he set the pace and dashed over the final 800m in 56.3sec. to win from Righteous Brother and Forever Faster over 2130m last May. Howlett has a good second string in Hes Royal Blue, who fought on gamely when a well-beaten third behind the talented Our Corelli over 2185m at Pinjarra three Mondays ago. Challenging the Howlett pair will be The Arsonist and Luis Alberto, from the stables of champion trainer Gary Hall Snr. The Arsonist (Micheal Ferguson) will start from barrier six and Lauren Jones will drive Luis Alberto from barrier four. The Arsonist, at his second appearance after a 25-month absence, gave an encouraging performance last Friday night when he started out wide at barrier eight and came from last in the middle stages to finish third behind Wesley over 1730m. In the same event Luis Alberto disappointed as the 10/9 on favourite when he lacked sparkle and finished seventh. That followed his sound first-up second to stablemate Benhope Rulz when he enjoyed a soft run behind the pacemaker.   Another good winning prospect from the Howlett stable in Busselton will be Major Stare in race six, the HLB Mann Judd Pace, in which the lightly-raced New Zealand-bred seven-year-old will start from the outside of the back line and will be driven for the first time by Aiden de Campo. Major Stare will be having his first start for six months, but is capable of a bold first-up showing. He has raced only 33 times for ten wins, seven seconds and seven thirds. He is a half-brother to Chancellor Cullen, a winner of $327,973 from 38 starts in Australia and New Zealand for 13 wins and nine placings. Chancellor Cullen won the group 1 McInerney Ford Classic for four-year-olds at Gloucester Park in November 2012, beating Bronze Seeker in a desperately close finish by a half-head. Major Stare gave a sample of his ability when he set the pace for Lang Inwood and won the Albany Cup last February from classy pacers Galactic Star and Handsandwheels.     Ken Casellas

In-form reinsman Ado Cortopassi, with 20 wins in the first two months of the 2018-19 season, has been engaged to drive Walkinshaw for the first time when the New Zealand-bred six-year-old stallion starts from the prized No. 1 barrier in the opening event, the Ballantyne Showcase Jewellers Pace, at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Walkinshaw, trained at Mt Helena by Ray Williams, will resume his rivalry with the exciting Kimani and their clash should be one of the highlights on the ten-event program. Kimani showed that he will win many more races with a dashing performance last Friday night when he started from barrier eight and thundered home from eighth at the bell to hit the front 120m from the post and win easily from Starlight Brigade, rating 1.57.5 over 2130m. That was Kimani’s second outing after a spell (following his excellent second to Chiaroscuro) and he looms large as the chief rival for Walkinshaw, who will be resuming racing after an absence of 15 weeks. Walkinshaw made his debut when he started in a heat of the Young Guns (for two-year-olds) at Alexandra Park on December 31, 2014 and finished a sound fifth behind Lazarus and just a neck behind Kimani in fourth place. The two pacers met again in two heats of the three-year-old Sires, with Kimani holding the upper hand with a second and a third to Walkinshaw’s fifth and fourth placings. Then they clashed again, with Walkinshaw finishing third behind Lazarus and Chase The Dream in the Group 1 Great Northern Derby at Alexandra Park, and Kimani finishing ninth. Walkinshaw won at six of his 17 starts in New Zealand and his 16 starts in Western Australia have produced seven wins and five placings. He has an impeccable first-up record for Williams, having scored strong victories at each of his two first WA runs after a spell. This will be the first time in WA that Walkinshaw will start from the No. 1 barrier. He has started three times from the No. 8 barrier for two seconds and a sixth, five times from barrier six for four wins and a sixth, twice from barrier five for a first and a second, twice from barrier four for a win and a fourth and four times from the back line for a first, second, third and a fourth placing. Young Banjup trainer-reinsman Dylan Egerton-Green will be anxious to be the fly in the ointment by upstaging Walkinshaw and Kimani with his smart, lightly-raced seven-year-old Suspicious Life, who is ideally drawn at barrier two on the front line. Suspicious Life has sparkling gate speed and Egerton-Green will be strongly tempted to make a spirited bid for the early lead. Egerton-Green restrained Suspicious Life from barrier six last Friday night and the gelding raced in ninth position before he sustained a powerful three-wide burst from eighth at the bell to finish third behind Danieljohn and Bettor Not Bitter. Suspicious Life was hampered by a flat tyre over the final 400m. At his previous appearance, Suspicious Life began from the inside of the back line and impressed when he finished fast to win from Scotlynn Beach at a 1.55.6 rate over 1730m. Serpentine trainer Clint Hall has engaged Michael Blakemore to drive Mattjestic Star to take advantage of Blakemore’s claim as a novice. Mattjestic Star ended a losing sequence of 38 when he raced fiercely in the breeze for the first 1000m before charging to the front and racing away to win by almost seven lengths over 2130m. He is the solitary runner off the back line this week. Ken Casellas

Talented six-year-old El Jacko, one of the few pacers to have beaten champion Chicago Bull in Western Australia, will reappear after a brief spell when he contests the $30,000 Group 3 TABtouch York Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. For the New Zealand-bred gelding, who is being aimed at feature summer carnival events, this will be a rare experience starting from the coveted No. 1 barrier. El Jacko, owned by Skye Bond and prepared by her and her husband Greg, has had 33 starts in WA for 14 wins and 12 placings and the only time he started from the No. 1 barrier was at Pinjarra in February 2016 when he set the pace and won by four lengths from stablemate Donegal Kahlum. That remains as his only all-the-way victory in Australia. He has worked forward in the first lap to take the lead only three times. Many of his wins have come after he has worked hard in the breeze. El Jacko possesses excellent gate speed and leading reinsman Ryan Warwick is sure to take advantage of the draw by attempting to hold up and set the pace. He has been out of action for 11 weeks since he was a 5/1 on favourite from barrier No. 8 and finished a 5m second to stablemate and pacemaker Mighty Mr Sharkey over 2536m at Gloucester Park on August 24 when the final 800m was covered in 56.8sec. It will not be an easy task for El Jacko to hold the early lead against several speedy beginners, including Overboard Again (barrier two), Eden Franco, Maczaffair, Devendra and Argyle Red. Overboard Again, prepared by Gary Hall Snr, will be strongly fancied, despite his seventh behind Vampiro in the James Brennan Memorial last Friday night when he was a $45 outsider from the outside of the back line. He raced four back on the pegs and was hampered for room in the closing stages. Overboard Again impressed a week earlier when he started from barrier four, raced three wide early and took the lead after 500m before bowling along in front and winning by a half-length from odds-on favourite Eden Franco, with final quarters of 27.8sec. and 28.2sec. Lauren Jones has been engaged to drive Overboard Again for the first time, in the absence of star reinsman Gary Hall Jnr (in New Zealand) and Stuart McDonald (serving a seven-day suspension). The Colin Brown-trained and driven Eden Franco was gallant in defeat when second to Overboard Again last Friday week and she is set to run a bold race. That strong effort followed Eden Franco’s excellent first-up all-the-way win over Mitch Maguire. Maczaffair, the other mare in Friday night’s Cup, will start from the No. 4 barrier and is capable of vast improvement after unplaced runs at her past two starts. She will again be driven by Dylan Egerton-Green for trainer Mike Reed. The prospects of the Justin Prentice-trained and driven Rocknroll Lincoln, a winner at five of his past nine starts, slumped when he drew the outside barrier (No. 9) on the front line. For the record, El Jacko raced without cover before winning from the pacemaker Franco Rayner and Chicago Bull (at his Australian debut) in a 1730m event for three-year-olds at Gloucester Park on November 27, 2015. Then, El Jacko again asserted his authority over Chicago Bull when he won the 2692 Alcoa Cup at Pinjarra on September 26, 2016, beating the runner-up, Chicago Bull, by 2.2m.   Ken Casellas

It’s a busy weekend coming up for the Marburg Pacing Association. The club will conduct two meetings, racing both Friday and Sunday afternoon with strong fields spread across both days. A total of 135 horses are listed to start across the two days of racing which will see 16 races staged. And several are looking to break their run of outs. At the top of the list is the Brian McCall prepared Ohoka Cooper who starts in the Speed-Action-Winners Marburg Pace on Friday. The Bettors Delight gelding will start from the coveted inside gate in the 2200m mobile start event with local reinsman Steven Doherty booked to drive. A winner of 10 races from 76 starts to date, the well-traveled pacer has forgotten where the winning post is situated with his latest victory coming way back in July of 2016 at Gloucester Park in Perth. Plenty has happened since his latest triumph. And a lot has changed too. Ohoka Cooper has traveled across the Nullarbor, making the 3900km trek from Perth to Sydney where he joined the stables of Darren McCall at Menangle. But the Sydney stint was short lived before heading further up the highway to join the stable of his current mentor. McCall trained former Albion Park speedster Lebron, a winner of 30 races and $250,000. “This horse is no Lebron, let’s make that very clear; he’s your typical old style New Zealand type that lacks high speed but grinds away and tries hard every time he starts. His lack of pace is his biggest detriment and he much prefers the longer trips compared the speed racing.” McCall said. Ohoka Cooper is raced by McCall’s partner, Rachel Beaton. Originally from New Zealand where he commenced his career with legendary horseman Tony Herlihy, the full-brother to talented performer On The Rantan scored a victory at Cambridge but was later sold to Perth connections following eight starts in his homeland. Joining the Perth stables of Kade Howson, Ohoka Cooper showed a liking for the Perth style of racing and contested several features including Preludes of the WA Derby, Golden Nugget, 4yo Championship and the McInerney Ford Classic. During his time in the west, he managed to win 9 races (7 at Gloucester Park) during his time with Howson and then Ray Williams. His stint in Sydney lasted for only eight starts where he failed to hit the board and his lack of high speed was exposed. “Darren said he couldn’t match them on the big track and wasn’t suited so he asked if I would take him on. Originally, I struggled to work him out and his form deteriorated but in recent times, he’s actually improved slightly. “I actually think he would thrive if we staged the long distance stand-start races, he’s not the type you can really use off the gate but he should land a good spot in his race this week. “The pressure is actually on because big brother Darren had a winner (Fortyeighthenson) at Menangle last weekend while my sister Sharon (Furey) was in the winners list at Redcliffe last night (Wednesday) with Living Grand.” Meanwhile, Lebron is finally settling into his life of retirement following his decorated racing career. The Jennas Beach Boy gelding hasn’t raced since July, 2016. “He took a while to adapt but he’s loving life now, he’s as fat as a fool.”   Chris Barsby

Three-time Inter Dominion winning trainer Chris Lang is hoping to make his long-awaited return from a spell next week. It has been three years and eight months since Lang last graced the track, stepping away from the sport he loves in 2015 after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. A masterful horseman, the now Riddells Creek based 58-year-old trained Galleons Sunset to win trotting’s greatest prize in 2008, and scored back-to-back ID successes with Sundons Gift in 2009 and 2010. In a nutshell, Lang was diagnosed with a mishmash of medical conditions – scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis and Reynaud’s Syndrome. “It’s a connective tissue disease,” Lang said. “I was hoping by stepping away from the driving it might resolve the issue, but it has stayed the same. It hasn’t gotten any better, but hasn’t gotten any worse. “I’m hoping I can manage myself a bit better this time.” The lengthy spell has revitalised the charismatic trots man. And if desire, skill and a fiercely competitive spirit mean anything, it won’t be long before Lang’s name is once again being etched on Group 1 trotting honour rolls.  “The hunger’s really good. The three years off has been a great thing for me,” he said. “Sometimes an extended spell can change a horse, and it’s certainly changed how I feel. I’ve got fresh eyes, a fresh outlook … everything is new again.” The prospect of training quality trotters excites Lang. He has 10 horses in work, including Next Thru for owner and friend Richard Matthews. That horse is a half-brother to Let Me Thru, who Lang trained for Matthews to win six Group 1s between 2009 and 2011 – including the $150,000 Australasian Trotting Championship Final at Tabcorp Park Melton. Additionally Lang also has smart mare Derrie Aire and untapped CR Commander colt Miyabomba – a half-brother to Cobram Cup winner Quillabamba and a full sibling to 2011 Victoria Trotters Oaks runner-up Moyabamba – in his stables. All going well, Miyabomba will be Lang’s first runner at Kilmore next Wednesday. “I’ve had to have 15 trial drives because of the extended break and I’ll wrap those up this weekend,” Lang said. “The goal now is to win another three Inter Dominions.”   Cody Winnell

It's not often in Harness Racing that a first starter winning a mid-week race could throw a spanner in a Gr.1 market; but thats exactly what happened today when Gary Hall Snr produced Ideal Liner to victory in a C0 only event at Gloucester Park. Hall is confident that the 4yo will "just keep winning" giving handicappers no choice but to give the lightly raced NZ import a birth in the prestigious Golden Nugget. We also catch up on the recovery of WA champion pacer Chicago Bull, Snr's NZ Sires Series hopeful Major Trojan AND each of the Hall camp runners on York Cup night at Gloucester Park.   Ken Casellas  

Former racetrack queen Forever Gold has settled into her role of motherhood perfectly. Considered one of the best mares produced in the Sunshine State, Forever Gold wowed fans with her fierce tenacity and great desire to win during her many seasons of racing for owner/breeders Murray Cole and Beau Watson. Prepared by Kylie Rasmussen and Darren Weeks throughout her glittering career, the Famous Forever mare retired with 42 victories from 92 starts while amassing more than $700,000 in stakes. Some of her biggest victories include the Queensland Oaks, Inter Dominion heat, Governors Cup, Robin Dundee Stakes, Make Mine Cullen, 4/5yo Championship, Qld Ladyship Stakes (x 4) and the 2yo & 3yo QBRED Breeders Classic and Triads Finals. Feature race placings include Nursery Pace Final, Gold Coast Oaks, Ladyship Mile, Teeny Teeny, Ranji Bill, Angelique Club Cup, Northern Breeders Stakes, Queen of Hearts, Redcliffe Gold Cup, Lord Mayors Cup, Christmas Cup, Sunshine Sprint and Blacks A Fake. Upon her retirement in 2015, Forever Gold headed to Egmont Park to take on her next role as a broodmare. At stud, the mare better known as ‘Tammy’ has delivered three foals. And the latest arrived just recently. Forever Gold delivered another healthy colt by North American siring sensation Captaintreacherous, a full brother to her previous mating. Captaintreacherous has enjoyed tremendous success in North America this season through the likes of Captain Ahab, Tall Drink Hanover, Captain Crunch, Treacherous Reign and Cruise Captain among others. His North American service fee has just been increased to $25,000 for 2019. Her first foal, now a two-year-old by Rock N Roll Heaven will soon head back to the Rasmussen/Weeks training operation for her next campaign. Rock N Roll Heaven has produced some wonderful fillies/mares including the likes of Shez All Rock, Rocknroll Magic, Mackenzie, Goodtime Heaven and Park Life among others. The filly is unnamed at this point. It is understood that Forever Gold will have the current breeding season off.   Chris Barsby

The return to racing for Leos Best is still a long way off. Since being crowned the 2016/17 Queensland Harness Horse of the Year, the Cammibest gelding has graced the racetrack only twice. Prepared by leading horseman Grant Dixon, the multiple feature race winner has been plagued by soundness issues for the past twelve months. The issues started after he pulled a shoe and drove a nail through his hoof late last year while niggling problems since have kept him away from the track. And he’s still no closer to a return. “He’s still spelling up at Egmont Park but he’s due for another scan next week so hopefully he gets the green light to resume work sooner rather than later.” Dixon explained. Raced by Kevin and Kay Seymour, Leos Best has been based at their iconic stud farm at Biddeston on the Darling Downs under the care of Tobi Raeth. The now six-year-old made a cameo back in November, 2017 which resulted in a first-up victory at Albion Park on November 11 followed by a dismal effort two weeks later when unplaced. Leos Best finished fifth behind Smooth Showgirl but never threatened at any stage. He hasn’t raced since. Overall, Leos Best has won 26 of his 44 starts while banking more than $345,000. Chris Barsby

Talented pacer Jack Mac has enhanced his credentials for the Golden Nugget next month, taking out the Garrards Horse And Hound 4YO Classic (2185m) at Pinjarra yesterday. The son of Mach Three had only been beaten at one of his 15 previous starts in Australia, but was facing his toughest test to date in the $25,000 event, with well credentialed runners Bechers Brook and Golden State in the race. Jack Mac was forced to settle in the breeze throughout, with Sweet N Fast setting the pace, while Bechers Brook settled on the back of the leader. The Barry Howlett-trained pacer took the lead coming into the home straight and quickly opened up a substantial lead. Bechers Brook fought on gamely to run second, while Bright Diamond was third. The $30,000 Don Randall Memorial Cup (2631m) saw Galactic Star enhance his credentials for the Inter Dominion in Melbourne next month, where he scored a narrow win over stablemate Rock Diamonds. Reinsman Ryan Warwick sent the six-year-old to the front going out of the home straight the first time, while Rock Diamonds eventually found the breeze. Rock Diamonds made a late surge at his stablemate, but fell short by a half-neck, with Cut For An Ace back in third. Tim Walker

A TOUGH draw at Bendigo on Friday night should have no impact on Whats In The Esky continuing his unbeaten record for the season. Successful at his four starts for the term, Whats In The Esky will begin from the outside of the second row for trainer Allan McDonough who is positive the Australian Pacing Gold purchase can extend his winning sequence. “I think he can still win,” McDonough said. “He is up in grade a little, but is still lightly-assessed based on his potential. “At least over 2100 metres he has a chance of getting into the race from the draw. “His work since his win at the same track last week has been great and he’ll be right in it.” Despite Whats In The Esky’s impressive form McDonough has no major plans in mind for the four-year-old. “At this stage I will just keep going through the country fronts with him,” McDonough said. “A heat and Final series would be ideal if I can find one. “There is an M0 series towards the end of the year, so if he keeps going the way he is, it is something I will look at when it gets closer.” APG Media