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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

Some 20 years ago frozen semen of some of the world’s leading pacing sires was imported into Australia and a small number of harness racing breeders began to take advantage of the technology. Western Australian breeder Jim Pantelos used frozen semen from the super sire Abercrombie with his handy New Zealand mare Top Shelf and in 1998 she dropped a filly later named Acropolis. Acropolis was one of just four foals born in Australia in 1998 and all four were fillies and only one managed to win and that was Royal Abby which won just one race. Acropolis had four just starts as a 2yo in Albany in the 2000/2001 season and never managed to finish closer that fifth. She was sent to stud in Victoria and in 2003 produced a colt by Christian Cullen which was later named Parthenon Strike which won two races and just $10,420 in stakes. Parthenon Strike finished fourth to Sheza Clout in the 2006 Group Three Champagne Classic with Colin Brown at the reins. After producing another colt by Christian Cullen in 2005 which failed to win a race Acropolis was transferred to the owner of Christian Cullen, Ian Dobson, who in 2006 bred a filly later named Yankee Dream. A daughter of Dream Away, Yankee Dream was a star on the racetrack winning 15 races and some $277,214 in stakes including a win in the Group One 2yo NZ Sires Stakes final. Acropolis was then sold to Clemence Drilling Contractors in 2010 and in 2014 she dropped a filly by Betterthancheddar which was named Detroit Lily. Detroit Lily had just two starts in New Zealand earlier this season prior to being sold to Greg Bond and Robbie Gartrell. She was a winner at Wyndham over a mile in 1:55.4 before finishing second at her only other start on the other side of the Tasman. Last Friday night Detroit Lily was a brilliant winner of a prelude of the WA Oaks to bring up her third win in seven WA starts. This Friday night Detroit Lily will be attempting to become the second Group One winner produced by her dam Acropolis when she lines up from barrier five in the $150,000 Gannon’s WA Oaks for trainer Skye Bond and driver Ryan Warwick. It is a long way from a $2,000 2yo race at Albany in 2001. Alan Parker

Born on 27th October 1884 in Northam, farmer Hugo Vivian Hope Throssell was a member of the 10th Light Horse Regiment and was the first Western Australian awarded a Victoria Cross in WW1 and the only Australian Light Horseman so honoured. Captain Throssell was awarded his Victoria Cross for most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty during operations on the Kaiakij Aghala (Hill 60) in the Gallipoli Peninsular on 29 and 30 August 1915. Although severely wounded in several places during a counter-attack, he refused to leave his post or to obtain medical assistance till all danger was passed, when he had his wounds dressed and returned to the firing-line until ordered out of action by the Medical Officer. By his personal courage and example he kept up the spirits of his party, and was largely instrumental in saving the situation at a critical period. One of 14 children, Captain Throssell’s father George Throssell was Western Australia’s second premier for just three months between February and May 1901, and Hugo Throssell was educated at Prince Alfred College in Adelaide where he excelled at sport. After a period working on cattle stations in the State’s north before taking up land with his brother Ric in Cowcowing in 1912 where the two developed a remarkable bond. Both brothers joined the 10th Light Horse which was formed in October 1914 and they arrived at Gallipoli in August 1915 just a couple of days before the infamous charge at the Nek which he survived by virtue of being in the fourth and last line of attacking troops. After his gallantry in late August 1915 Throssell was sent to hospital in England to recover from his wounds. After his recovery he was promoted to Captain and re-joined his regiment in Egypt before being wounded in the second battle for Gaza where his brother Ric was killed. While in England being treated for his wounds Hugo Throssell met the Australian author Katherine Susannah Prichard and after the war the couple were married in a Melbourne registry office and moved back to Perth where they settled on a 16 hectare mixed farm in the Perth Hills at Greenmount. Prichard was a founding member of the Communist Party and Hugo Throssell joined her as a speaker supporting unemployed and striking workers. Somewhat unsurprisingly in light of his wartime experiences, Throssell became a pacifist but the effects of the Great Depression and his poor business acumen saw him struggle financially and on 19th November 1933 Throssell shot himself hoping that his war service pension would better provide for his widow Katherine and his then 11yo son Ric. Hugo Throssell was buried with full military honours in the Anglican section of Perth’s Karrakatta Cemetery. His son Ric Throssell was later to become distinguished diplomat and in the late 1940s he was and adviser to H V Evatt in his capacity as President of the United Nations General Assembly. While farming at Darlington, Hugo Throssell began to breed Standardbreds but he died before any of the horses he bred won. On 13th December 1933, less than a month after he died, the Alfred Donald gelding Don Patch won a double at a race-meeting held on the East Northam Oval. The best of the three winners bred by Hugo Throssell was the Antique mare Miss Curio which won six races in Perth and Kalgoorlie between 1936 and 1938 for owner/trainer James Kidd. In three of those wins Miss Curio was driven by another WW1 veteran Bill Johnson. The third of the winners bred by Hugo Throssell was an Alfred Donald gelding called Coonardoo which won races in the country as a trotter but failed to win in Perth despite several attempts. Coonardoo was the name of a novel written by Katherine Susannah Prichard and published in 1929. It was notorious for its candid portrayal of relationships between white men and black women in the North West of Western Australia. In 1954 and memorial to Hugo Throssell was unveiled in Greenmount, opposite his home at 11 Old York Road, and in 1983 Throssell’s Victoria Cross was presented by his son Ric to the People for Nuclear Disarmament. It was later purchased by the Returned Services League and presented to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. Lest We Forget. Alan Parker

Emily Suvaljko will be the toast of Byford Secondary College tomorrow after she drove her first winner at last night’s Northam harness racing meeting. Emily was having just her second race drive behind the Eric Chabros trained mare Undercover Art when she manoeuvred the mare off the fence turning for home and went to the line clear of Win And Grin and Tahara’s Desire. As a full-time student Emily, who turned 17 last October, is only able to compete on weekends and she had her first race-drive the week before behind Erskine Range which came from a 70 metre handicap mark to finish fifth at Bunbury on February 10th. Emily has been helping Banjup trainer Colin Brown on weekends for the past 12 months to satisfy her passion for horses while completing her studies. Also based at Brown’s stables is Dylan Egerton-Green who drove last night’s runner-up Win And Grin. Egerton-Green has spent considerable time teaching Emily the finer points of race-driving and he can expect some banter in the coming week for getting beaten by his student. Emily’s father Shannon Suvaljko drove his 1500th winner last night behind the Kat Warwick trained Princess Major which brought up a winning treble for Suvaljko at the meeting. Emily’s uncles Callan and Joe Suvaljko also drove at the meeting. Alan Parker

Someone once said that a week is a long time in politics, but Forrestdale trainer Skye Bond and stable driver Ryan Warwick could be forgiven for thinking that 24 hours is a long time in harness racing. The stable sent five runners to the Albany Cup meeting on Friday, February 2 and managed two second and two thirds; and to cap off a bad night the truck broke down on the way home from the Great Southern. Fast forward 24 hours and Warwick headed off on a much shorter trip to the Northam Cup meeting with three runners hoping that the bad luck from the Friday night was consigned to history. The three-year-old Bettors Delight gelding broke its maiden status in the opening race and the night began to look a whole lot better when Better B Chevron showed blistering gate speed to lead throughout to win the Village Kid Sprint. After Warwick was able to steady the pace in the middle stages, Better B Chevron showed Village Kid like speed to run the last half-mile in a scintillating 55.8 seconds to hold on and win from Runrunjimmydunn and Madame Meilland. With the memories of Friday night rapidly fading, Warwick took advantage of the front-line handicap and urged Tas Man Bromac to the lead in the $30,000 Grafton Electrics Northam Cup. Once in charge Tas Man Bromac always look comfortable and although the final margin was just a half-head the gelded son of American Ideal won impressively from Major Catastrophe and Major Rush. Warwick has always enjoyed success at the Burwood Park track having driven some 136 winners there and Tas Man Bromac gave him his second win in a Grafton Electrics Northam Cup after he won the 2016 running with Our Ideal Act. Needless to say the trip home from Northam was much more upbeat that the previous night’s return home from Albany. Warwick chasing a second win in Dempster Memorial this Saturday. In 2016 he drove McClinchie to victory in the Peter Dempster Memorial after having won the Northam Cup earlier that same year. Warwick will be hoping history to repeat itself this Saturday night when the Northam Harness Racing Club stages the fifth running of the Dempster Memorial just a fortnight after Warwick won the Northam Cup with Tas Man Bromac. The race honours Grass Valley farmer Peter Dempster who was President of the Northam Harness Racing Club from 2000 to his untimely passing in December 2012. Peter Dempster may have appeared quiet and unassuming but he was incredibly passionate about trotting and got things done with a minimum of fuss as evidenced by his beloved Northam club being the site of the State’s first undercover stabling complex on a racecourse.   While farming was his work Peter’s passions were flying and horses and there was no better evidence of this than the Dempster family’s annual holidays in Mandurah. Peter’s daughter Amy recalled this week how their annual holiday resembled a re-enactment of Noah and the ark. “Dad used to pack up the horses, all their gear, feed and carts and load them into the float along with a couple of parrots, two dogs and a couple of cats,” she laughed. “I think the horses enjoyed the holiday as much as Dad did as he would take them swimming as part of their training which he wasn’t able to do on the farm”. While he may have been on holidays the farm still had to be looked after and Peter would fly himself home a couple of times a week to check on things. The Dempster family farm is still home to eight of Peter Dempster’s retired pacers although Amy admits they have to be taken to a farrier to have their feet trimmed, a task which Peter always did himself. “Dad used to breed his own horses to race and he would wait until mum was away before he would sneak the mares down to the stud in Baldivis to have them inseminated,” Amy laughed. “I think Mum used to let Dad think he was putting one over her as she always knew when the mares were in foal”. Alan Parker Reprinted with permission of The Avon Advocate

Western Australia’s leading harness racing driver this season Shannon Suvaljko is on the cusp of a milestone after a winning double yesterday at Pinjarra lifted his career wins tally to 1497. This season Suvaljko has driven 84 winners and leads Chris Lewis by eight with a further five winners to Chris Voak in third place. Shannon Suvaljko is in seventh place on the all-time list of the State’s leading drivers which is headed by Chris Lewis with 5223 wins. Shannon and his brother Callan (1183 wins) are the only siblings to have each driven in excess of 1000 winners in Western Australia. Shannon Suvaljko can add to his tally with six drives at this afternoon’s Gloucester Park meeting. Alan Parker

With close to 2800 winners and 47 Group One wins as a harness racing trainer Gary Hall has seen it all and it takes something pretty special for him to get emotional on the track. On Friday night at Gloucester Park Gary Hall was emotional as he took in the fact the his three-year-old filly Slick Artist had won the $50,000 Group Two Daintys Daughter Classic. Having just her ninth start, Slick Artist has now won three races and set a new race record when she rated 1:56.4 for the 2130 metres and took her earnings to more than $43,000 as she led home Infinite Symbol and short-priced favourite Cott Beach. Slick Artist is by Art Major from the Bettors Delight mare Slick Bird and she is raced by Beth Richardson, Gary’s wife Karen Hall, Gary Ralston and WA Turf Club Chairman Neil Pinner. The quartet bred Slick Artist along with the Falsify Syndicate. Slick Bird won ten races in WA including a prelude of the 2011 WA Oaks and finished third to Artemis Belle and If I Have A Dream in the final. “Slick Artist is the first horse I have been involved with breeding,” a visibly excited Hall said after the race. “I have had her since she was born and it is special to see her come so far”. “I have a two-year-old half-brother to Slick Artist by Alta Christiano and he looks like being even better,” he said. Alta Christiano won the 2013 WA Derby for Hall in a career severely restricted by injury and his first crop have just begun to appear in this season’s 2yo races. The Daintys Daughter Classic was first run in 2000 and was the brainchild of the WA Standardbred Breeders Association who wished to honour arguably the greatest race-mare to have raced in this State. Daintys Daughter, who was the first mare inducted into The West Australian Racing Industry Hall of Fame in 2010, won 36 races against all-comers including a WA Pacing Cup and Fremantle Cup and set World Records over one mile and two miles for her owner/breeder Jock Coleman and trainer/driver Bernie Cushing. Bernie Cushing's daughter Dot presented the 2018 Daintys Daughter Classic trophy to Gary Hall on Friday night. The first winner of the race was Black And Blue which coincidentally is from the same maternal family as Daintys Daughter. A grand-daughter of Black And Blue in Cott Beach started a favourite in Friday night’s race to add more to the coincidence. Alan Parker

Canadian World Champion harness racing driver James MacDonald took out the third heat of the 2017 Perth International Driver Series at Gloucester Park in Perth on Friday night with a superb exhibition. Drawn the pole with the $7.70 change Skippy Rascal, MacDonald didn’t panic when he was crossed in the early battle for the lead and show his great skill and patience when he extracted the horse from the pocket turning for home and hit the line strongly to win from the $4.50 favourite Simba Bromac. American reinsman Marcus Miller was close up in third place with the $12.70 chance Wrappers Delight which had worked hard three wide over the final 900 metres of the race and fought on strongly in the straight. “It was an amazing buzz to win a race in Perth, not as good as the World Driving Championship but pretty close to it,” an ebullient Miller said post-race. “I have had an amazing stay in Perth and everybody involved in the Inter Dominion carnival has been so friendly and welcoming and the racing here is tight and exciting.” “Mick Radley and his staff here at Gloucester Park have done a superb job and the crowds have been great”. There were some 9,000 fans on-course on Friday night. James MacDonald enters the record books as the first Canadian reinsman to drive a winner at Gloucester Park. American Pat Iovine is the only other Northern Hemisphere driver to win a race at Gloucester Park and he achieved the feat in May 1976 behind a horse called Main Morris. MacDonald is the 1854th individual to drive a winner in Perth in the 53,062 races held in the city since harness racing began in Western Australia in 1910. The second of last night’s two Drivers Series heats was taken out by the $114.50 chance Courage Tells which his driver Ryan Warwick got up in the last stride to down Johnny Disco $8.70 and Three Blind Mice $17.10. With the $2.50 favourite Argyle Red finishing out of a place the first three horses home paid a trifecta dividend of $14,559. Local tipster Pat Harding, renowned for his tipping skill in terms of value selections, had selected Courage Tells as the winner on his Friday morning radio programme. MacDonald finished sixth in the final leg of the Drivers Series on the $73.70 chance Jaxon Fella while Marcus Miller, sitting in a perfect position on the leaders back had his drive Ohoka Darcy go out of its gear and break just as he was about to make a winning move. Local ace Gary Hall Jnr won the Drivers Series, sponsored by Sky Racing and Slater Gartrell Sports, with an overall points score total of 36 ahead of Ryan Warwick and Chris Lewis who each finished with 32 points. Hall failed to win a heat but was placed in three of the four races. MacDonald finished fifth with 27 points and Miller was in tenth place with 19 points. American reinswoman Hannah Miller drove the $17.50 chance Parisian Partygirl in the Retravision Invitation Lady Drivers Challenge which was won by the $1.50 favourite Dior Mia More which was driven by Kiara Davies. Miller finished in seventh place. Alan Parker

When harness racing 6yo Dawn Ofa New Day gelding Vultan Tin enters the track at Gloucester Park on Friday night for the $1.1 million TABtouch Inter Dominion Grand Final he will become just the 28th Western Australian bred runner out of 178 starters in Perth finals. Vultan Tin is providing the dream of all hobbyists in harness racing in that he was bred by his owners Phil and Denise Costello and is trained by Phil on the same Coolup property where the gelding was born. Friday night will be a couple of days short of three years since Vultan Tin broke his maiden status in a 3yo maiden Westbred race at Gloucester Park on Saturday 20th December 2014. Willowcliffe was the sole WA bred in the final of the first Inter Dominion run on a Wednesday night – 19th February 1936. A stallion foaled in 1925 and bred by F W Godecke and W P Baker he was a son of legendary sire Alfred Donald from the mare Miss Willow. There has been at least one locally bred starter in every Perth Inter Dominion apart from 1940 when the field was dominated by progeny of Globe Derby and his son New Derby who produced five of the nine starters that year. Western Australian bred horses dominated in 1957 providing six of the 11 starters. Only one Western Australian bred has won an Inter Dominion final in Perth – Binshaw in 1967. Three WA bred horses in San Simeon (1st in 1981 in Hobart), Red Vicar (4th in Brisbane in 1972) and Daintys Daughter (4th in Melbourne in 1970) have started in Inter Dominion finals in other States since Binshaw’s historic win. The full list of Western Australian bred finalists in a Perth Inter Dominion follows; Winner Date Place Breeder Year Sex Sire Dam Willowcliffe 19-02-36   8 F W Godecke, W P Baker 1925 c Alfred Donald Princess Willow Stormy Weather 22-02-47   8 N S Craven 1938 g Peter Stretta USA Miss Eileen Kolrock 22-02-47   10 H H Richter 1936 g Kolect Miss Rock Dixie Stretta 22-02-47   2 G F Fraser 1937 g Peter Stretta USA Lily Whips Beau Don 28-02-53   9 L F Carter 1948 c Don Sebastian Nellies Vin Jack Oro 02-03-57   7 W Clarke 1949 c King Oro NZ Jacks Queen NZ Robert Sheen 02-03-57   2 A S Dreyer 1949 c Prince Robert Wilvasheen Magic Flute 02-03-57   6 T Early 1951 c King Oro NZ Star Song NZ Beau Don 02-03-57   8 L F Carter 1948 c Don Sebastian Nellies Vin Precipitation 02-03-57   3 T Bell 1951 c Wilver Mint Grand Elect Frosty Nelson 02-03-57   pu E C Waters 1949 c Nelson Direct Heather Lu Kolworth 03-03-62   8 J P Stratton 1958 g Kolector Ideal Girl NZ King Capri 03-03-62   9 W Clark 1956 c King Oro NZ Jacks Queen NZ Moonspeed 03-03-62   13 A G Richards 1956 g Speedy Raider Lady Monty Super Paddy 03-03-62   3 H L Cheshire 1956 g Superdel NZ Dainty Patsy Binshaw 18-02-67   1 B Cook 1961 g Bintravis NZ Panminton Color Glo 18-02-67   pu A M Ward 1960 f Wrack Again Mays Flame Velocipede 18-02-67   7 L Baldwin 1959 c Kellett Alliteration Haddock 23-02-74   5 J H Bele 1969 c Admiral Way NZ Snowbird NZ Indian Chant 19-03-82   9 G M Ward 1973 c Indian Lake NZ Wexford Lass NZ Paavo 17-03-89   9 A R Annear, D L Annear 1983 c Afella Rainbow USA Eldora Norms Daughter 15-03-96   5 S D L Palmer 1990 f Northern Lights USA Aeroflight Shattering Class 15-03-96   8 Patrician Park 1991 c Golden Greek USA Earth Shattering Faking It 26-03-04   12 Lombo Standardbreds Pty Ltd 1998 g Fake Left USA Sassie Brassie Buck The Odds 26-03-04   11 Allwood Stud Farm 1998 g Million To One USA Marilyn Ann Nats Nifty 26-03-04   7 N M Poyser 1995 g Trev Leo Thrilling Lombo Navigator 02-03-12   3 Lombo Standardbreds Pty Ltd 2006 g Million To One USA Lombo Anastasia Vultan Tin 08-12-17   3 P J Costello, D A Costello 2011 g Dawn Ofa New Day USA Ellevarrac     Alan Parker

When Runaway Three won the last race at Pinjarra yesterday for driver Ryan Warwick and trainer Skye Bond he brought up a major milestone for women trainers in Western Australia. It was the 6,700th winner in Western Australia for women trainers. The first win for a woman trainer was a lady called Alice Olsen at Narrogin in April 1922 with a mare that went by the name of Julia. A total of 2431 winners in Perth have been trained by women with the first of them going to the credit of Hilda Coulson with a horse called Wee Globe at Gloucester Park in January 1941. Hilda Coulson was the mother of a seven year old boy at the time – that boy was Phil Coulson who trained and drove the 1967 Perth Inter Dominion winner Binshaw. Significantly for yesterday’s successful trainer Skye Bond she will become just the fifth woman to have a starter in her own right in a Perth Inter Dominion final when Galactic Star faces the barrier on Friday night. Skye was in a training partnership with her husband Greg when they started Can Return Fire in the 2012 Perth Inter Dominion final. Alan Parker

When Reaza Grunter took out last Friday night’s heat of the San Simeon Classic at Gloucester Park she set a new Track Record for a harness racing mare with a rate of 1:54.0 for the 2130 metres. She took .2 of a second off the previous record rate of 1:54.2 set by WA mare Tricky Styx in October last year. Her driver Lauren Tritton took a cautious approach early out of the gate allowing Reaza Grunter to find her feet before dashing the daughter of Christian Cullen to the lead after 500 metres and then running her rivals ragged to win eased down by 12.5 metres. Reaza Grunter covered the last lap in 57 seconds and final quarter in 27.9 and she will take a power of beating in the $50,000 Group Two San Simeon Classic on Inter Dominion Grand Final night this week. Gloucester Park was in superb condition last Friday night as not only did Reaza Grunter set a track record by Inter Dominion favourite Lazarus broke Im Themightyquinn’s track record for 2536 metres when he took out the last heat of the Inter Dominion. There is no doubt that Gloucester Park will handle the four Inter Dominion runs in a fortnight with aplomb. Alan Parker

On Friday night America’s leading harness racing amateur driver Hannah Miller will take on the likes of Kerryn Manning (World’s leading female driver with more than 3730 winners), Rebecca Bartley (298 winners and driver of 2017 Inter Dominion heat winner and subsequent grand finalist San Carlo) and Lauren Tritton (798 winners) in the Retravision Lady Drivers Challenge at Gloucester Park. A supporting event on the mammoth 11 race programmed highlighted by the $1.1 million TABtouch Inter Dominion Grand Final and three other Group One races, the Retravision Lady Drivers Challenge is a new event on Inter Dominion Grand Final night. While she may not be well-known in Australia, Hannah Miller has done something very few Australian drivers have managed to do – driven against a field of American drivers who are all Inductees into the USTA Hall of Fame. The race was held at Goshen Historic Track in July 2016 and is an annual tribute race for the late Mr and Mrs Elbridge Gerry whose dedication and leadership and dedication to both Historic Track and adjacent Harness Racing Museum and Hall Of Fame helped those venues endure and thrive. The 2016 race featured all Hall of Fame drivers and Hannah Miller was the replacement driver for  Dave Palone who was unable to drive due to other commitments. Hannah Miller was honoured in 2016 as the Harness Racing Museum's and Hall of Fame's top amateur driver by virtue of being the top contributor to the Museum, waiving her driving fees to maintain her amateur status. "It's an honour just to be asked. It was absolutely not expected and it's a great feeling," said the 24-year-old graduate of the University of Central Florida at the time. The daughter of former Trainer of the Year Erv Miller and sister of top driver Marcus Miller, Hannah has been watching the drivers she'll be competing against for a very long time and also hopes to meet some horse crazy girls who may have visions of driving racehorses. "I've been watching them all compete since I was born and now to be able to go out there and compete against them is just an honour," she said. For the record the other drivers in last year’s Hall Of Fame Invitational Trot were  John Campbell, David Miller, Jimmy Takter, Bill O’Donnell, Wally Hennessey and Ron Waples. While Hannah didn’t manage to beat John Campbell home she did finish fifth with a couple of Hall Of Famers in her wake. The race was won by the Jimmy Takter driven Linda Marie which was trained by Jim Doherty Jnr whose father Jim Doherty drove at Gloucester Park on 11th December 1981. The race was an International Drivers Championship staged as a supporting race on the opening night of that year’s WA Pacing Cup carnival. Three American drivers in John Campbell, Jim Doherty and Eddie Lohmeyer took part against five Australasian legends in New Zealand’s Peter Wolfenden, Sydney’s Brian Hancock and Western Australians Fred Kersley, Phil Coulson and Chris Lewis. The three heats were won by Brian Hancock, Phil Coulson and Chris Lewis and Hancock headed the points tally across the three races. Of the eight drivers only Chris Lewis is still driving following the retirement of John Campbell earlier this year. Alan Parker

Western Australian Racing Industry Hall of Fame Inductee Fred Kersley met celebrated American harness trainer Erv Miller at yesterday’s barrier draw function for the 2017 TABtouch Inter Dominion Final. Born on 11th December 1966 in the Amish community of Arthur in Illinois, Erv Miller has put together a remarkable record as a trainer and since the USTA began keeping training records in 1992 Erv Miller has trained 5,100 winners of some $78,691,123 in stakes. Those figures place Erv in 4th place on the stakemoney won list of American trainers and 3rd on the list of leading trainers by number of races won. By way of comparison Western Australia’s leading trainer, in terms of career wins, Gary Hall Snr has trained the winners of some 2446 races and $33,619,313 in the same period. Fred Kersley trained 2285 winners including 1565 in Perth, where he was a 14 time Premiership Trainer,  before switching to thoroughbreds where he gained fame as the trainer of the legendary Perth galloper Northerly. Northerly won 19 of his 37 career starts and stakes of $9,341,850 including nine Group One wins in the Cox Plate (2), Australian Cup (2), Underwood Stakes (2), Caulfield Cup, Yalumba Stakes and Railway Stakes. In 2004 Erv Miller was honoured by the Illinois Harness Horseman’s Association with its Person of the Year Award and in 2005 Miller was presented with the Brian Pinske Memorial Award for his achievements on the Grand Circuit. That same year, 2005, Miller won the Glen Garnsey Trainer of the Year Award from the United States Harness Writers Association and the Delvin Miller Trainer of the Year Award from the Grand Circuit. Among the better horses that Erv Miller has trained are the 2010 2yo US Breeders Crown Trotting Champion colt Manofmanymissions, the three-time Dan Patch Award pacing winner Loyal Opposition (56 wins in 98 starts and $2,861,294) and the unbeaten 2yo pacing filly  Incredible Tillie (12 wins from 12 starts as 2yo for $512,782). Miller also trained Lis Mara, Shark Gesture and Shadyshark Hanover and that trio of stallions are currently standing at stud in either New Zealand or Australia. Erv and his son Marcus like the chances of Western Australia’s champion Chicago Bull in the Inter Dominion Final and at yesterday’s function they followed their opinion by paying second top price of $2,550 for Chicago Bull in the Inter Dominion Calcutta. Alan Parker

When he lines up in the harness racing $1.1 million 2017 TABtouch Inter Dominion final at Gloucester Park on Friday night Tiger Tara will be having his sixth start in 24 days with all six starts at either Group One or Group Two level. On November 14th Tiger Tara finished third behind Lazarus and Jacks Legend in the $784,000 New Zealand Cup over two miles and followed that with a neck second to Ultimate Machete in the $234,000 New Zealand Free For All three days later on November 17th. Arriving in Perth on a Singapore Airlines charter flight on November 20th Tiger Tara finished second to 2015 Inter Dominion champion Lennytheshark in his opening night heat after working hard early from a wide barrier before being forced to race in the breeze on the outside of Lennytheshark. A good barrier at Bunbury resulted in a track record win and last night Tiger Tara was a gallant second to WA champion Chicago Bull again after racing outside Chicago Bull throughout. Purchased earlier this year from the stallion’s New Zealand owners after he finished fourth in last season’s Auckland Cup by Mikey Hawli, Courtney Pizzuto, Tanya Pizzuto and Kevin Pizzuto he has blossomed under Pizzuto’s training. Since entering Pizzuto’s Rossmore stables south of Sydney Tiger Tara has had 24 starts for 12 wins, four seconds and three third for stakes of $372,149. Tiger Tara’s overall record stands at 77 starts for 25 wins, 18 seconds, 11 thirds and stakes of $1,136,931. He was an outstanding 3yo, winning the Group One New Zealand Sires Stakes and Great Northern Derby on his way to being named New Zealand 3yo Colt Pacer of the Year in 2014. He also won the Group One New Zealand Free For All in 2015 as a 5yo. Under Pizzuto’s care he has won the Group Two Renshaw Cup and a string of Group Three races in New South Wales including the Golden Mile, Sydney Cup, Coca Cola Pace, Christmas In July Pace, Kevin Newman FFA and Nick Robin Memorial. Unlike many horses with a reputation of being tough, Tiger Tara also possesses high speed and he is capable of carrying it over a distance. Tiger Tara set a track record 1:52.3 rate over 2100 metres in beating Lazarus and San Carlo in the sixth heat of the Inter Dominion at Bunbury last Tuesday. When he won the Canadian Club Pace over a mile at his home track of Menangle on March 24th Tiger Tara covered the mile in 1:49.8. Tiger Tara is one of five runners in Friday night’s Inter Dominion final by super-sire Bettors Delight and his unraced dam is the 100% producing Dream Away mare Tara Gold. Tara Gold has five foals of racing age and each has been a winner which is hardly surprising as she is a half-sister to the Group One Fremantle Cup winner Power Of Tara which finished his career in the USA as a winner of 31 races and $907,000. Tiger Tara’s grand-dam Atomic Gold is a half-sister to the Group One New Zealand Easter Cup winner Matthew Lee 2:00.1 $281,850, Gawler Cup winner Home For Gold 2:00.8 $158,643 and the dam of Group Two Bendigo Cup winner Sammy Maguire 1:57.0 $241,382. Alan Parker

After the first two heats of the International Invitation Drivers Series at Gloucester Park the harness racing contest is too close to call with a three-way tie for top spot between Victorians Greg Sugars and Chris Alford and Western Australian Gary Hall Jnr. All three drivers have 21 points while another Western Australian in Chris Lewis is on 20 points. Sponsored by Sky Racing and Slater Gartrell Sports the final two heats will be held at Gloucester Park on Inter Dominion Grand Final night – December 8th. The opening heat saw a daring drive by Gary Hall Jnr behind Abraxas Blues just fail as he was nailed on the line by Bronze Seeker being driven by Greg Sugars for trainer Peter Anderson. Anderson’s second runner Lisharry was a close-up third with Chris Alford in the cart. The second heat saw the Colin Brown trained Christian Cullen mare Eden Franco lead throughout for driver Chris Lewis and score comfortably from the Chris Alford reined Madame Meilland and the Gary Hall Jnr driven Ace Bromac. Visiting North American reinsmen James MacDonald and Marcus Miller found it hard to leave each other’s side finishing sixth and seventh in the opening heat and eleventh and twelfth in the second heat and both finished on eight points at the half-way point. MacDonald, the current World Champion finished 7th on the $6.00 chance Your Excused in the opening heat and 11th on the $37.50 chance A Boy Named Rosie in the second heat. Miller, who finished third in the recent World Championships, was 6th on the $92.60 chance Ona Happy Note in the first heat while his drive Extreme Prince at $98.30 suffered an atrial fibrillation in the second heat. Points Tally Driver State     Ht 1 Ht 2 Ht 3 Ht 4 Total Chris Alford Victoria     10 11     21 Greg Sugars Victoria     12  9     21 Gary Hall Jnr WA       11 10     21 Chris Lewis WA             8 12     20 Kerryn Manning Victoria      9  3     12 Todd McCarthy Victoria      4   8     12 Kim Prentice WA      5  6     11 Ryan Warwick WA      2  7     9 James MacDonald Canada      6  2     8 Marcus Miller USA      7  1     8 Shannon Suvaljko WA      3  5     8 Mark Purdon NZ      1  4     5   Alan Parker

Soho Tribeca headed the qualifiers for the 2017 TABtouch Inter Dominion final after the three rounds of harness racing heats wound up at Gloucester Park last night. Soho Tribeca was bred by Perth businessman Robert Watson and should the son of American Ideal win the final he will become the 99th Perth winner bred by Watson. Tomorrow morning Father Brian Glasheen will officiate at the time honoured Inter Dominion Mass which he will conduct at Perth’s St Mary’s Cathedral and getting under way at 9:30am and all are welcome. Known as The Pacing Priest Father Glasheen will carry out the blessing of the silks in endeavouring to impart some additional luck for participants in the $1.1 million final. Father Glasheen in one of four Catholic priests to have bred a standardbred winner in Western Australia since trotting began in Perth in 1910. The other three are Father O'Donnell (1920's), Father Reidy (1920's) and Father Kelleher from Queensland (1930's). Father Glasheen has only ever missed seeing one Inter Dominion Grand Final in the past 30 or so years and that was in 1992 when other commitments forced him to miss the final won by the Kim Prentice trained and driven Baltic Eagle. Father Glasheen will miss this coming Friday’s Grand Final due to his having to be in Victoria for a wedding on the Saturday. One can only wonder if the Kim Prentice trained and driven Soho Tribeca is therefore the omen bet for the 2017 Inter Dominion final. Alan Parker  

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