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Trainer Gary Hall Sr couldn’t have scripted Chicago Bull’s build-up to tomorrow night’s $200,000 Group 1 Victoria Cup (2240m) any better. Well, maybe he’d have drawn the pole and not barrier three, but everything else has been world perfect. “I won’t have any excuse in the world if he’s beaten,” Hall Sr said. “He’s had a perfect build-up, handled the trip across really well on Wednesday, settled in superbly and the draw is certainly good enough. “This has been his first major target for six months now and everything has fallen into place. “It’s now just a matter of whether he’s good enough and we certainly think he is.” Chicago Bull has eased slightly from $2.20 to $2.25 with the Aussie TAB since Tuesday’s barrier draw, mainly because of strong support for rivals Shadow Sax ($6.50 to $5.50) and Mach Doro ($26 to $10) along with talk barrier three could prove tricky. “Of course we’ve looked long and hard at the draw and thought of all the possibilities, but it’s over to Junior (driver Gary Hall Jr). That’s his job and there’s nobody better at it in these big races,” Hall Sr said. “He’s got more speed than a lot people realise, but the danger in going too hard early is how much petrol we have to spend and the risk of not finding the lead.” Hall Sr did, however, hint at his preferred driving tactics. “My horses traditionally go better when they’re not used too hard at the start. It’s always been the case. It must be the way I train them,” he said. “Ultimately it’s Junior’s call what he does at the start, but this little bloke is versatile enough to win a few different ways. I even think he could win sitting parked as long as the leader had to do some early work to hold the front.” Hall Sr conceded tomorrow night was an obvious class rise from Chicago Bull’s recent WA dominance which has seen him win past nine starts and 12 of his past 13. “You could say he’s been beaten glorified claimers at home, but it’s the way he’s been doing it and the sectional times he’s been running,” he said. “And let’s not forget he competed so well against the best of the best in the Inter Dominion last year. “I’ve got no doubt, none at all, that’s he’s a better horse now than when he ran second to Lazarus in last year’s Inter final. “And I couldn’t have asked for a better preparation. I’ve left something in tank along the way, but I’ve wound him up for this and then it’s onto NZ.” Chicago Bull is booked on a flight from Melbourne to Auckland next Thursday and plans remain for him to tackle a 2200m standing-start race at Alexandra Park on October 26 ahead of going south for the NZ Cup. “He’ll thrive on this hard racing. Look how well he handled the Inter Dominion series last year,” Hall Sr said.   Adam Hamilton

Queensland's premier trainer Grant Dixon finds himself in familiar territory a month into the new harness racing season.  As of 11 October the talented horseman sat on 30 wins nationwide for the season, five clear of Victoria's Emma Stewart.  Dixon has won Queensland's state premiership every year since taking over the reins from his father, Bill Dixon, in the 2011/12 season.  If he continues on his winning ways in 2018/19, the Victorian Derby winning trainer will also crack the 2000 career wins mark. He would then join the likes of Darrel Graham, Gary Hall Sr, Andy Gath and Steve Turnbull as trainers inside the current top-20 national standings to have achieved the mark.  Trainer Milestone report here.  Driver Milestone report here.    Racing Queensland

The Trotters will again rewrite the history books in Hobart on Friday night when the Tasmanian Pacing Club stage the first ever Mobile Start trotting race in the state. It will be the sixth race on the Hobart card which will see a field of six horses face the starter. The meeting in Hobart on Friday is the first of two Tasmanian Harness Racing fixtures with the Devonport Harness Racing Club staging a competitive eight-race card on Sunday evening. Saturday night is also another big night on the Tasmanian Harness Racing scene when the award winners from the 2017-2018 season will be crowned at the Hotel Grand Chancellor in Launceston.   The Stars Bianca Heenan and Taylor Ford – teamed up for a long-priced double on Friday night in Hobart with Jacks Command and Bounty Eyre. Ben and Mark Yole – also teamed up for a training and driving double with Iam Aw Sam causing an upset win before the team come up with three-year-old filly Mornings who remains unbeaten since joining Ben’s stable. Couta Rocks – seven-year-old Art Major gelding bounced back into the winner’s circle with an easy 22.8-metre victory. It was the injury plagued pacers first win since December 2016. Laredo Torpedo and Ten Cassies – both horses continued their recent good form of late and were back in the winner’s circle on Friday night.   Multiple Winners Hobart Friday Ben Yole – training double; Iam Aw Sam and Mornings, Bianca Heenan – training double; Jacks Command and Bounty Eyre, Mark Yole – driving double; Iam Aw Sam and Mornings, Ricky Duggan – driving double; To The Rescue and Laredo Torpedo, Taylor Ford – Jacks Command and Bounty Eyre.   Calculated Sectional Standouts Quickest last halves (800m) from last week’s action. Hobart - Friday Full Speed Ahead 57.66, The Aussie 57.69, Rocknrollhighlight 57.71, Jaccka Len 57.90 and Jacks Command 57.98. You can view sectionals from every runner from the meeting and more Tasmanian Sectional Data by clicking here.   Tasracing Official Price Hobart - Friday Hit's: To The Rescue $6.00 into $4.00, Laredo Torpedo $2.20 into $1.70 and Couta Rocks $4.00 into $3.80. Defied The Drift: Ten Caisses $2.50 into $2.20, Jacks Command $21 out to $41 and Bounty Eyre $17 out to $21. Missed: Ready To Fire (2nd) $14 into $8.00, Albayzin (2nd) $2.80 into $2.50 and Major Callum (2nd) $21 into $15.   Trial File Carrick Park on Monday evening. Five trials were staged at Carrick Park on Monday evening, with the Carrick Park Pacing Club reverting back to Monday night trials during the daylight savings period. The quickest time of the trial session was recorded by Timely Sovereign in Trial 4. The Kent Rattray trained gelding worked to the lead in the first 400-metres of the trial and was able to dictate the tempo of the trial. Driven by Hannah Van Dongen, Timely Sovereign was able to pull away over the concluding stages to win the trial by 10-meters over Vinnie Torretto, with Western Karamea six-meters away third. The mile rate for the 2150-metre trial was 2:03.4 and was just the quickest trial of the night. The remaining trials were won by; Miss Atomic Betty (2:.9), Invest (2:08.8), Keep Playing (2:03.8) and Statement Please (2:10.2)   Week Ahead We are back to two meetings on the one weekend for the first time this season and the team at Ubet have come to the party with a $5,893 Quinella Jackpot on the opening race in Hobart on Friday night. The Deborah Williams trained Our Percius gets into the race well with the concession claim for driver Conor Crook, who guided the horse to a brilliant win in Launceston two starts back. The Live Or Die gelding followed that performance with a third placing behind To The Rescue in Hobart on October 5 when only defeated a half neck after starting from the second row over the 1609-metre trip. Ubet also have a $1,000 Quaddie Jackpot on the Hobart card with the first leg kicking off with Race Two which is set down to start at 17:59. Sunday Night racing returns to Devonport for an eight-race card. The opening race, that gets underway at 18:07, looks to be a good battle between three north-west trained pacers. Recent Carrick Park trial winner, Keep Playing has drawn in barrier two for driver Gareth Rattray. The Shadow Play gelding has drawn nicely in barrier two and ended last preparation in good form with one win and three second placings in his last four starts. He faces strong opposition including the Paul Ashwood trained duo Miracle Marcus and Krafty Boy. Miracle Marcus hasn’t been seen since winning in Hobart on July 27 which was his third start back since rejoining the Paul Ashwood stable after an interstate campaign while Krafty Boy is also first up from a spell and hasn’t been seen since finishing third to Island Bliss in a 1680-metre standing start race in Launceston in mid-June. Both Tasmanian harness race meetings will be telecast on Tasracing TV at tasracing.com.au. With the meeting in Hobart to be shown on Sky Racing 2 with Devonport card to be televised on Sky Racing 1. Interstate this week at Metropolitan venues across Australia we see; Melton – Saturday night Race 1 - Horse 11 Star Chamber, Race 5 – Horse 1 Resurgent Spirit. Menangle – Saturday night Race 3 - Horse 2 Rykov Leis and Horse 10 Pachacuti. Don't forget you can get all the form for this week's meetings on Tasracing's new form service, FORMPLUS, by clicking on the form guide tab on tasracing.com.au Duncan Dornauf

Comeback pacer The Art Form will look to make it six wins in a row, when he lines up in the Retravision Lowest Price Guarantee Pace (2130m) at Gloucester Park tomorrow night.  The six-year-old returned from a 26 month absence from the track in July when he finished fourth and has gone on to win his subsequent five starts.  Trainer Mike Reed will give the son of Art Major his first start at Gloucester Park in Friday night company this campaign tomorrow night, where he has drawn barrier eight. Reed said he was pleased with how The Art Form had handled his return to racing this campaign. “He’s has gone really well since he injured himself in the paddock 18 months ago,” he said. “I think it’s the fittest he’s been. “His work the other morning was unbelievable.” Reed said the barrier draw was some concern heading into tomorrow night’s event, but was confident The Art Form was versatile enough to overcome it. “Mark (Reed) might come out and use his gate speed,” he said. “He may be able to slot in somewhere if he can’t lead. “If he can’t get in, he can always go back as well. “He’s just as good from behind as he is in front.” Reed said The Art Form could develop into a Fremantle and WA Pacing Cup contender later this season if he was able to continue his progression through the classes. Atchoo and After Lunch represent the Reed stable in the second qualifying heat of the Preux Chevalier Pace (2130m) for the fillies and mares. Reed said he leant slightly to After Lunch in the $18,000 event. “After Lunch has got a lot of ability, but has had a lot of problems,” he said. “Her work was good this week. “Atchoo will need a lot of luck.” Meanwhile, a number of Reed’s up-and-coming pacers are nearing a return to the track ahead of their summer campaigns. Three-year-old Bletchley Park will be put in hobbles for the first time on Saturday morning, following a prosperous two-year-old campaign which featured a Golden Slipper Prelude win. Four-year-olds Golden State and Bechers Brook will be first-up at Pinjarra on Monday, or Gloucester Park on Tuesday.  Tomorrow night’s Gloucester Park meeting gets underway at 5.22pm.  Tim Walker

In youth we learn; in age we understand. That could well be the message to Hayden King, the newest and youngest member of the WA Trotting Media Guild. King was confidence personified when he claimed Mister Versace would lead all the way in the $22,000 Fred Doy Memorial (2130m) at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “Mister Versace will be able to hold up from the inside draw and was responsible for an outstanding effort from last at the bell at his last start,” King said. “He reeled off brilliant closing sectionals and this looks at his mercy.” Bold words indeed. Most of the older, wiser members of the WATMG know through bitter experience that “there’s no such thing as a good thing”. But King was undaunted and went on to proclaim another of his selections, Tanaka Eagle, as “unbeatable”. “Although not much value, I recommend taking Tanaka Eagle with my best bet,” he said. “He will lead from the advantageous gate and finds a race he can't lose.” Brash words when you consider Tanaka Eagle hasn’t placed at his past five starts. A much more cautious approach was adopted by three other members of the WA Trotting Media Guild when assessing their best bet. Veteran tipster Stuart Lowe, long-serving harness racing writer at The West Australian Ernie Manning and TABradio racecaller Matt McDermott have labelled former Kiwi pacer Our Max Phactor as their best. “My best bet is the former New Zealander Our Max Phactor, who has won all four WA starts,” Lowe said. “He was very impressive in winning here last week after racing in the breeze throughout. Should be too good here.” Manning also was singing the praises of Our Max Phactor. “This versatile former Kiwi should be able to handle his switch to a mobile start after racing from stands at three of his local appearances,” Manning said. “His tally from 19 mobile starts is nine wins and seven places.” McDermott is of the same opinion. “Our Max Phactor looks a nice pacer with four unbeaten starts in WA from various distances and start conditions,” McDermott said. “Back to a mobile on Friday night over 2536m he should be rolling forward and, if not leading, could possibly breeze and control things from there.” Longshot guru Pat Harding (watch him folks, he’s yet to strike this season) believes Mitch Maguire can continue on his winning ways. “My best bet comes up in race two with No.4 Mitch Maguire,” Harding said. “This is a very consistent horse and should win again. There's not a huge amount of opposition and I expect him to go to the front and lead all the way.” GPTV’s Ken Casellas hasn’t let Rocknroll Lincoln’s wide draw dampen his spirits. “Drawing the outside barrier is a significant disadvantage at Gloucester Park,” Casellas said. “But Rocknroll Lincoln has the class to overcome this and is my best bet on Friday night. The Justin Prentice-trained entire was most impressive first-up last Friday week when he revealed wonderful acceleration to charge home from the one-out, one-back position to win from Speed Man.” TABradio’s Matt Young, like King, believes veteran pacer Tanaka Eagle can return to the winners’ list. “Tanaka Eagle has drawn to lead and meets a moderate field and thought he would lead and win this race,”Young said. The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft is keen on the Kristian Hawkins-trained Dontstopbelievin. “Dontstopbelievin was classes above her rivals at Kellerberrin on Sunday and her form prior to that was more than sound,” Havercroft said. “She looks to have a bright future and appears well-placed in the Preux Chevalier heat this Friday.” Guild president Wayne Currall is at odds with Havercroft and has made the other Hawkins mare, She Could Be Good, as his best bet. “I know She Could Be Good is returning to racing after a three-month break, but the last time she drew the pole over 2130m she led all the way in a slick 1:56.9,” Currall said. “If she can run anywhere near that time they won’t be catching her on Friday night”   VALUE BETS Hayden: Not much value here, but Tanaka Eagle will lead and win. Double him up with Mister Versace, my best bet, for some value. Stuart: My value bet is Qtown Rip Roaring, who is racing better than his numerical form indicates. He is aided here with a drop in class and a good draw and should go close. Ernie: Collie mare Kissmecougar ran last in a six-horse field a week ago, but she had difficulty getting clear and should have finished closer. Her nine wins include two at Gloucester Park. Matt M: Whoswhointhezoo turned in a nice run on Monday, leading easy and sticking with the winner beaten only two metres in a 56.4 last half. Not sure what price he'll start with other chances in the race but drawn well enough to take advantage. Pat: My value bet is Mister Versace. Coming out of barrier one, he is ideally placed to repeat his performance four starts ago when he led from this draw and won. With Chris Voak aboard, I expect him to run really well. Ken: For value, I suggest Bettor Finish, the polemarker in race four. He has been placed at three of his four starts since resuming from a spell and is close to a win. Matt Y: Glow Bright is a throw at the stumps, could race close and handy and worth a small bet at big odds to open the program. Ryan: Sokys Bigbullet has had three runs since resuming and drawn to be in the breeze, which is where he wants to be. Others have better numerical form, but he’s not without claims. Wayne: Chiaroscuro was responsible for an outstanding effort last start at GP. He tramped three wide for the last 800m, which was run in a slick 56.8, when a gutsy third behind Mighty Flying Deal. With better luck in running he can win this at odds. To view all of the Media Guild tips click here. Good Punting Wayne Currall

Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall Snr has no hesitation in declaring Im Themightyquinn as the best horse he has prepared. The retired champion won 58 races, including three Inter Dominion Championships and earned $4,567,456 in prizemoney. But Hall was unable to win the prestigious Victoria Cup with three attempts with Im Themightyquinn. “He didn’t have any luck in his three Victoria Cup runs and now I’m hoping it will be fourth-time lucky with Chicago Bull in the Cup on Saturday night,” Hall said. Chicago Bull has won at 39 of his 59 starts and is in peak form after effortless wins at his past nine starts. He is handily drawn at the No. 3 barrier on the front line in this week’s $200,000 Victoria Cup over 2240m. He possesses excellent gate speed, but it is problematic that he will be able to cross the speedy Tiger Tara, who begins from the No. 2 barrier. Champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr said “There’s a bit of speed on the inside and the outside and I’ll have a few decisions to make early. But he’s good enough to win.” Tiger Tara, trained by Kevin Pizzuto and to be handled by Todd McCarthy, appeals as the toughest for Chicago Bull to beat. Tiger Tara and Chicago Bull last clashed when they met in the final of the Inter Dominion Championship over 2936m at Gloucester Park last December. Tiger Tara led from the No. 1 barrier and was still in front on the home turn.  He fought on grandly to finish third behind Lazarus and Chicago Bull. Before that, he raced in the breeze when second to Chicago Bull in a 2536m qualifying heat, led and won a 2100m heat from Lazarus (at Bunbury) and had a tough run in the breeze when second to Lennytheshark over 2130m. Im Themightyquinn contested the Victoria Cup at Melton in 2010, 2011 and 2012. He was favourite at $3.50 in 2010 when he was in 11th place in the one-wide line, under lock and key with 500m to travel before getting clear approaching the home turn and thundering home, six wide, to finish third to Mr Feelgood. In 2011, Im Themightyquinn was the $4.20 second favourite from the No. 2 barrier. He raced in sixth position in the one-out, two-back position and was held up for most of the final circuit before finishing last behind Smoken Up. Then a year later he was the $1.60 favourite from barrier three. He led for the first 500m and then trailed the pacemaker Terrorway before getting clear 300m from home and after going three wide on the home turn and hitting the front 130m from the post he wilted slightly and finished third behind Caribbean Blaster. Ken Casellas

Shannon Suvaljko, who will represent Western Australia along with Gary Hall Jnr at the Australian Drivers’ Championship at Globe Derby Park on November 3, has a drive in all ten events at Gloucester Park on Friday night. But after bringing home 6/1 chance Absolution with a spirited late burst to win from the 5/2 on favourite and pacemaker Amelias Courage at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night, he said that he was unable to declare any of his ten runners as a strong winning chance. “Most of them have reasonable place prospects and I consider that my best winning prospect is Bad Round in race six,” he said. “He is a versatile pacer and should be prominent after starting from barrier three.” Bad Round, a six-year-old trained by Debbie Padberg, has a losing sequence of 18 and has managed just one placing from those starts since Suvaljko set the pace with him from the No. 2 barrier and won from Trustytrev in April this year. Suvaljko also said that Bad Round’s ten-year-old stablemate Glow Bright was in sound form and that he gave the gelding a blow-out chance in the first event. Suvaljko had the choice of driving A Boy Named Rosie, Always Arjay and Shes Turbo Charged in the Fred Doy Memorial. He opted for Shes Turbo Charged, who will start from the outside of the back line. Suvaljko drove her to an all-the-way victory over Tajies Girl last Friday night. Always Arjay, who set the pace for Suvaljko and won a 2503m stand last Friday night, is poorly drawn at No. 9 this week. He will be handled by Nathan Turvey and Mark Reed has been engaged for A Boy Named Rosie, who will start from the no. 5 barrier. Ken Casellas

Sparks are likely to fly in the early stages of the $22,000 Fred Doy Memorial at Gloucester Park on Friday night when polemarker Mister Versace and veteran pacer Sokys Big Bullet are expected to be locked in a battle for the early lead. If that transpires and the early speed is fast, it will play into the hands of classy five-year-old Rocknroll Lincoln, who faces a testing time from the outside barrier (No. 9) on the front line in the 2130m event. Rocknroll Lincoln is an M4-class pacer and the best-assessed runner in the race and the Justin Prentice-trained stallion will have the services of champion reinsman Gary Hall jnr who drove the horse four times as a four-year-old for two wins (including the group 3 Narrogin Cup in which he beat Our Jimmy Johnstone). Prentice produced Rocknroll Lincoln in fine fettle for his first-up run at Gloucester Park last Friday week when Jocelyn Young was in the sulky. Rocknroll Lincoln started from barrier six and enjoyed a perfect passage, one-out and one-back, before sprinting home brilliantly to get up and win from the pacemaker Speed Man, with final quarters in 28.3sec. and 27.7sec. Chris Voak will drive Mister Versace for Banjup trainer Annie Belton and he is sure to seriously contemplate attempting an all-the-way victory. Voak took full advantage of the No. 1 barrier four starts ago when he guided Mister Versace to a strong all-the-way win over Madame Meilland. However, Mister Versace is likely to be challenged hard for the lead by nine-year-old Sokys Big Bullet, who will start from the No. 2 barrier. Reinsman Giles Inwood said that he was sure that the gelding’s trainer Tony Svilicich would instruct him to attempt to get to an early lead and then set a solid pace. Sokys Big Bullet’s three runs since resuming from a spell have been encouraging. He followed his third to Speed Man and fourth to Argyle Red with a fighting second to the pacemaker Overboard Again last Friday night when he worked hard three wide early (from barrier six) and then in the breeze. The Errol Ashcroft-trained Forever Remembered ran a splendid trial for this week’s race when she started from barrier seven and was last in a field of 11 at the bell before dashing home from eighth at the 400m and going six wide on the home turn to get up and win from Neighlor. Forever Remembered will again be driven by Kyle Harper, who is hoping that the eight-year-old will become only the second mare to win the Doy Memorial, which was first run in 2006. The only mare to have won the race was the Victorian-bred Smooth Hayley, who was driven by Chris Lewis and defeated Mon Gee and Master Beaudale. Lewis, who has also won this event with Tee Pee Village (2008), Sneakyn Down Under (2013) and Our Jericho (2016), will drive the Svilicich-trained Cyclone Mitch from barrier seven. The ten-year-old’s most recent success was in March 2016. Ken Casellas

Astute Byford trainer David Thompson holds a strong hand in the opening event at Gloucester Park on Friday night with three runners in the 2130m Retravision Westbred Pace and in-form young reinsman Dylan Egerton-Green has given punters a valuable lead by choosing to drive Liam Neil in preference to stablemates in preference to Whoswhointhezoo and Our Perkins. Thompson has got away to a flying start in the 2018-19 season with six wins and three placings from his first 12 starters, while Egerton-Green is in seventh position in the Statewide drivers’ premiership table with seven winners and 31 placegetters. Four-year-old Liam Neil is in sparkling form, with three wins and a last-start third to The Art Form from his past four starts. He will start from barrier six in the field of nine, with Whoswhointhezoo (barrier two) and Our Perkins (three) are better drawn. Stuart McDonald will drive Whoswhointhezoo, an all-the-way winner over subsequent city winner Lot Twenty One two starts ago, and Aiden de Campo has been engaged for Our Perkins, who led and won for Egerton-Green at Pinjarra three starts ago. Liam Neil is by Modern Art and is out of Jane Elouise, a winner of four races from 14 starts, including the group 3 Sales Classic for two-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park in February 2006. Liam Neil is a half-brother to three winners, including Soho Jackman, who earned $282,518 from 26 wins and 25 placings from 94 starts. Liam Neil is the youngest runner in Friday night’s race, which promises to provide a keen struggle for early ascendancy between the polemarker Bhagwan (Mitch Miller) and the massive gelding Whoswhointhezoo. Liam Neil possesses a strong finishing burst and he and he and the Aiden Warwick-trained Hastalavista will have many admirers. Hastalavista, who will be driven by Aldo Cortopassi, is awkwardly drawn at barrier eight, but the six-year-old has the ability to overcome this significant disadvantage. He was placed once from four starts as a four-year-old and reappeared in August after a 13-month absence. His six outings in this campaign have produced five wins and a second placing. The Neil Lloyd-trained Bhagwan is an M2-class performer and the noted frontrunner is sure to appreciate meeting lower-assessed rivals on extremely favourable terms.   Ken Casellas

Ace reinsman Mark Reed will be reunited with veteran pacer Tanaka Eagle at Gloucester Park on Friday night and owner-trainer Reg Phillips is bubbling with confidence, declaring that the sprightly eight-year-old will win the Electrolux Pace and end a losing sequence of 17, which includes just one placing. Reed, one of 29 drivers to have handled Tanaka Eagle during his 196-start career of 20 wins, 20 seconds, 18 thirds and stakes of $206,546, will join forces with the striking black gelding after a break of 903 days. The previous time Reed was in the sulky behind Tanaka Eagle was when the son of Elsu finished third behind Three Bears at Gloucester Park on April 22, 2016. Since then the iron horse has raced 101 times, frequently running twice a week. Phillips, who will celebrate his 76th birthday on Thursday of next week, was delighted when Tanaka Eagle drew the prized No. 1 barrier in Friday night’s 2130m event and he said his instruction to Reed would be: “Handlebars down and lead at all costs. He’s capable of running a sub-27sec. quarter and I’m sure he can run 1.56 off the front on Friday night when I don’t think he’ll be beaten.” Reed, who has handled Tanaka Eagle just seven times for a win, a second and a third placing, followed the instructions of Phillips when he drive Tanaka Eagle (from barrier two) to an all-the-way victory at 7/1 over the 2/1 favourite Avalon Bromac at Gloucester Park in March 2016. “Tanaka Eagle hasn’t had much luck lately and has ruined his chances a few times by galloping in stands,” Phillips said. Tanaka Eagle galloped badly from the 10m mark in a 2503m standing-start event at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night and settled down 12 lengths behind the leader Smackwater Jack before making up a lot of ground and finishing fifth, four lengths from the winner Righteous Brother, in the six-horse field, with solid final quarters of 29.1sec. and 28.2sec. “He loves racing twice a week,” Phillips said. “This means that I don’t need to give him track work. I’ve never had any serious problems with him; he’s never had a sore leg, blisters or ulcers. He’s had sore feet at times. He does not respond to working in heavy sand and he never goes in a heavy jog cart. “I noticed he was for sale when he was racing in Kalgoorlie in 2014 and I bought a half-share in him, pretty cheap, $2500. I bought him on a Tuesday and he won up there the following Friday. He then won at his next three starts, two in Kalgoorlie and one in Albany (earning $21,459). “About a year later I bought Tanaka Eagle outright for $5000 and $3000 out of his first city win. I’m a pensioner and he has become the family breadwinner.” Last season, Tanaka Eagle raced 49 times for five wins, four placings and $62,845 in stakes. In the first five weeks of the current season the gelding has earned $6829 from his ten starts which have produced one placing, a second to Neighlor six starts ago. Tanaka Eagle, by Elsu, is the only foal to have raced out of the unraced Badlands Hanover mare Miss Tanaka, whose half-brother Lochinver earned $284,300 from 23 wins and 31 placings from 139 starts. Lochinver won the group 3 Treuer Memorial at Bankstown in December 2014 and finished second to Franco Ledger in the $100,000 Group 1 Bohemia Crystal Free-For-All at Menangle in March 2015.   Ken Casellas

The time for talk is over. Following the departure of superstar pacer and reigning Grand Circuit champion Lazarus to the northern hemisphere earlier this year, the debate has raged. Who holds the mantle as the best pacer in this part of the world? And everybody has an opinion. Many believe pint-sized Perth based pacer Chicago Bull is the heir apparent, his form is without doubt sensational in his home state but he’s yet to prove himself on the eastern seaboard. Until now. The ‘Wonder from The West’ has arrived in Melbourne in preparation for Saturday night’s Gr.1 $200,000 Pryde’s Easifeed Victoria Cup, the opening leg of the 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit series. Prepared by the masterful father/son combination of Gary Hall Snr and Jnr, the Bettors Delight six-year-old has won his past 9 starts - all at his home track of Gloucester Park. But history is against the millionaire pacer. Since first being staged back in 1974 when Kings Mead scored, only once has a sandgroper proven triumphant and that was the mighty Preux Chevalier back in 1984. And since the turn of the millennium, Perth trained pacers haven’t fired in the Garden State feature. That list also includes champion pacer Im Themightyquinn (58 wins - $ 4,567,456). Six runners have attempted to grab glory but the best result is a 6th placing (twice). 2015 - David Hercules - 6th behind Christen Me 2013 - Im Victorious - 12th behind For A Reason 2011 - Im Themightyquinn - 12th behind Smoken Up 2005 - Ohoka Ace - 8th behind Be Good Johnny 2003 - Baltic Eagle - 9th behind Young Rufus 2000 - Saab - 6th behind Breenys Fella So, can the ‘Bull’ etch his name into the record books? Can Snr and Jnr claim more Grand Circuit glory? As it stands, Snr has trained 26 Grand Circuit winners while Jnr has driven 22 Grand Circuit winners. Standing in their way is 11 rivals boasting outstanding credentials headlined by local ace Shadow Sax, prepared by record breaking Emma Stewart, fresh from her 309 win season last term. Triple Victoria Cup winning reinsman Chris Alford will partner Shadow Sax and aims for his 19th Grand Circuit victory. The late Vin Knight remains the most winningest driver of the Victoria Cup with 5 victories. Fellow Victorian based trainer David Aiken, a dual Cup winner with recently retired Lennytheshark, prepares both Im The Boss and Wrappers Delight. Im The Boss, a winner of the Cobram, Mildura, Shepparton and Kilmore Cups will be handled by Greg Sugars while Kima Frenning sticks with in-form pacer and last start Smoken Up Sprint winner Wrappers Delight. The last female driver to land success in the Victoria Cup was Kate Gath (Caribbean Blaster) back in 2012. Three female drivers have won the Victoria Cup – Kate Gath, Amy Tubbs and Natalie Rasmussen. Speaking of the fairer sex, both Carlas Pixel and Ameretto are both looking to become the first mare to win the Victoria Cup. The Dean Braun trained Carlas Pixel, the recently crowned Australian Mare of the Year; finished an eye-catching 5th last week while the Kerryn Manning prepared Ameretto finished a close-up second behind Wrappers Delight after sitting in the trail. But both mares have drawn awkwardly off the second-line. The state of New South Wales has a proud and strong history in the Victoria Cup and head south with strength in numbers this year. Winners that have come from north of the Murray River include Don’t Retreat (1976), Paleface Adios (1977), Koala King (1978, 79 & 80), Frosty Imp (1981), Jofess (2002), Double Identity (2003), Mr Feelgood (2010) and For a Reason (2013). Koala King remains the only pacer to have claimed three Victoria Cups. The team from the Harbour City this year has five representatives including a trio from the Shane and Lauren Tritton stable with Gotta Go Ya Hu, Franco Nelson and My Alpha Rock as they chase their biggest victory. Lauren Tritton will partner Franco Nelson and like Kima Frenning, is aiming to become the latest female to drive a winner of the Victoria Cup. Kevin Pizzuto is duly represented with millionaire Tiger Tara and last start Paul Fitzpatrick FFA winner Majordan stepping out while Craig Cross will start last start Les Chant Cup winner Mach Doro. Dual Victorian Cup winning driver Luke McCarthy will take the drive behind the speedy beginner. Surprisingly, there is no representation from New Zealand this year. The 2018 Victorian Cup field has won 263 races collectively while amassing more than $6.7 million in stakes. The Australian Pacers Grand Circuit began in 1977 and was designed to be the showpiece of the Australian Harness Racing Industry with horses competing from every State within Australia.  In 1992 New Zealand was admitted and the Circuit was renamed the Australasian Grand Circuit.   The best horses available are brought together to race for very attractive prizemoney.  With the associated opportunities for promotion and marketing, this benefits owners and harness racing clubs as well as the industry overall.  In its first season in 1977, total stakemoney for the eight races forming the Circuit was $554,020.  Now, the Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit series is racing for total stakemoney of $3.65 million. Points are awarded during the Circuit, 100 points for a win, 60 points for second, 40 points for third, and so on, to last placing. The horse with the greatest number of points is crowned Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit Champion. So, who will strike the first blow in the new season of Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit racing? Time will tell.   Chris Barsby

There's no shortage of scratched heads throughout Australian trotting stables as some of the sport's greatest minds try to break down the Pryde's EasiFeed Victoria Cup post-barrier draw, including the man many think is in the box seat. Trainer Gary Hall Snr's favourite Chicago Bull makes his interstate debut in Saturday night's Group 1 at Tabcorp Park Melton, and the proud West Australian joined RSN 927 today to share his thoughts. "It's a bit tricky," Hall said. "Barrier three - where does (Chicago Bull) go? He's got good gate speed, but I wouldn't imagine Tiger Tara (gate 2) will let him cross him. "Nobody's sure what the one (Gotta Go Ya Hu) is going to do, whether it will hold up or whether it will hand over to Tiger Tara. You can't afford to do too much speed battling early because it doesn't matter how good you are you are going to be left wide open at the end." Hall said much of the deciding would be left in the hands of reinsman Gary Hall Jnr. "Junior's got a little bit of a tricky draw and he'll probably come out and have a look at what's going on and assess," he said. "As you know there's probably no one better in the game at doing that than he is. I've left it all in his hands. "There's quite a few different scenarios. If Mach Doro comes out a 100 mile an hour and crosses, Chicago Bull may even find the front. If Mach Doro doesn't come out, then I think Tiger Tara will find the front. Then it depends on if the one hands over and then it depends how fast horses like Franco Nelson and Im The Boss and all those horses go. It's a very hard race to read what's actually going to happen." Read more here!   Trots Media

LUKE McCarthy expects his drive Mach Doro to pounce on the early lead in the Victoria Cup and thinks he can give the Group 1 race a big shake. Mach Doro is renowned for his blazing gate speed and his best hope on Saturday night is to cross them from gate five then take a sit on one of the big guns and try for a sprint lane win. “That’s his go for sure. I think I can cross, he’s very, very quick off the arm,” McCarthy said. “If we get across, then I’ll take the sit on the first of the good horses to get to us. We’ll need to sit behind the leader to have a winning chance. “If we get across, I’m not sure who will get to us first … whether Tiger Tara can keep Chicago Bull on his outside, then burrow through and get to us or whether even a horse like Franco Nelson might be cut loose from his wide draw and just keep charging forward. “Whatever happens, if we get the front and sit on one of the better horses, we should get our chance. “I’m not absolutely sure he’s good enough, but he’s getting better all the time and he surprised me how  easily he won last time when I was sure he might have been a run short.” It’s worth noting Mach Doro led, took a trail on Tiger Tara and comfortably ran past him when they met at Menangle two weeks ago. The Craig Cross-trained Mach Doro has firmed from $26 to $16 on the Aussie TAB since the draw. Favourites Chicago Bull ($2.20 to $2.25) and Tiger Tara ($4.80 to $5) have both eased, while Shadow Sax has been the other firmer in from $6.50 to $5.50. “Chicago Bull is the best horse in the race for sure, but a lot will depend on where he ends up from the draw,” McCarthy said. “He’s got the form in the best races, but it’ll be hard if he got to do all the work.” Beyond Saturday night, McCarthy is looking forward to the Melbourne Inter Dominion with Mach Doro. “We’ve looked after him and he’s kept improving. This is his chance this season to show if he’s right up to them or not,” he said. “He’s such a lovely race horse and with his early speed he can put himself into his races.” Adam Hamilton

SYDNEY — Thousands of angry demonstrators gathered outside the Sydney Opera House on Tuesday night to protest the use of its iconic roof to promote a horse race. Racing authorities projected 20 minutes of images of the draw for the starting positions for Saturday’s The Everest horse race at Sydney’s Royal Randwick Racecourse. Protesters yelled “Shame” and used lights to attempt to obscure the projected images. The New South Wales state government triggered a public backlash last week when it overturned a decision by the Opera House’s chief executive, Louise Herron, not to allow the World Heritage-listed building to be used to promote such a commercial event. Since last Friday, more than 250,000 people have signed an online petition calling for Herron’s decision to be upheld. Anti-gambling advocates say the controversy is evidence of the political sway of the horse racing industry. Racing NSW, the race organizer, had planned to project the draw live onto the Opera House. But it opted to conduct the draw hours earlier in case the protest disrupted the Opera House promotion. Betting was suspended between the time of the draw and when the result was projected. Demonstrators protest against the decision to project race results on the Sydney Opera House.AP Minister for Sport Stuart Ayres called on Sydney to end the bitter division over the Opera House’s use. “I think it’s been a little bit hysterical to be honest with you,” Ayres told reporters. “This is a good opportunity for New South Wales and Sydney to come together.” The NSW Heritage Council, an adviser to the government on heritage issues, said it was disappointed with the government’s decision to turn the “international architectural masterpiece” into a billboard. “The use of the Opera House for the commercial advertising of this event is completely unsatisfactory and is an inappropriate use of this significant heritage place,” council chair Stephen Davies wrote in a letter to state Premier Gladys Berejiklian delivered on Tuesday. The Everest has 13 million Australian dollars ($9 million) in prize money and is billed as the world’s richest turf race. By Associated Press  

It's hard to believe but today harness racing's www.harnesslink.com celebrates its 16th birthday.  Harnesslink is the brainchild of international horse agent, John Curtin (J.C. International), who 16 years ago saw a need for a world-wide harness racing website that put online the latest harness racing news from around the globe. John says, "Our policy is to keep improving every single day - 365 days of the year. We have staff working every day of the year to bring you all the latest harness racing news from every corner of the world. When Harnesslink launched in 2002 there were only four harness racing websites on the internet, so we've been in a unique position to have watched the harness racing community embrace the technological world during this time. It has been our pleasure to keep harness racing fans around the world informed of what is happening within our sport. We are projected to have over 3 million unique IP users in 2018, which will make Harnesslink the world’s most read harness racing site. We are still looking for ways to improve and provide you, our customers, with better coverage throughout the world, we continously strive to do this! If any of our readers have a worthy news item, please feel free to send it to news@harnesslink.com and we will do our best, as always, to print your article. We'd like to thank all of you for coming back regularly to read Harnesslink, if you're reading this you're obviously one of our faithful followers and we thank you. Harnesslink Media

EQUITANA Melbourne patrons will be offered the opportunity to witness the excitement of the trots through free entry into one of the 2018 TAB Inter Dominion events with a recognised 2018 EQUITANA Melbourne gate pass. In December, the TAB Inter Dominion returns to Victoria for the first time in 10 years, and the reintroduction this year of the Trotting Inter Dominion Championship – to run alongside the Pacing Inter Dominion Championship – will see the best standardbred horses of both gaits journey to Victoria for Australasia’s most prestigious harness racing event. ID18 opens with heats at Tabcorp Park Melton on opening night, Saturday December 1, followed by heat nights two and three at Ballarat (December 4) and Cranbourne (December 8). Then, on Saturday night December 15, ID18 culminates with the exhilarating Inter Dominion Grand Finals at Tabcorp Park Melton. The Seven Network will broadcast TAB Inter Dominion Grand Final Night between 9pm and 10.30pm. For all equine enthusiasts, the EQUITANA and TAB Inter Dominion events provide a unique opportunity to experience two vastly different aspects of the equine world. EQUITANA is famous as an education, entertainment and shopping frezy, and the ID18 showcases the most exciting harness racing in the southern hemisphere, and you can have both for the price of one EQUITANA ticket. HRV’s HERO (Horse Education and Re-homing Opportunities) program will feature at EQUITANA. Secure your EQUITANA ticket at www.equitana.com.au   CODY WINNELL MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

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