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HE HAS taken his time to mature, but Brohart is certainly rewarding Lars Ahlfors for his patience. Bred, owned and trained by Ahlfors, Brohart is racing in sensational form with three wins from his last four starts. As great as that sounds, the son of Santanna Blue Chip only registered seven victories from his previous 61 outings! Thrilled Brohart is fulfilling his potential, Ahlfors is quietly confident the five-year-old can complete a hat-trick at Globe Derby on Saturday night. To be driven by Ken Rogers, Brohart has drawn awkwardly in barrier five. “He’s going great, but this weekend will be his biggest test,” Ahlfors said. “His draw isn’t great and he has higher class runners drawn inside him with claims. “It’s a pretty even field and he’ll need a bit of luck from five, but he is versatile and has shown a bit of bottom. “Ken does an excellent job and I’ve got the greatest confidence in him as there is a great understanding between him and the horse.” With no set plans in mind for the gelding, Ahlfors will continue to select suitable race as Brohart works through the grades. “His wins have been good up to this stage and suggest he can keep going through the grades,” Ahlfors said. “It’s taken a while for the penny to drop with him and he’s now just starting to learn to race. “I remember one night earlier in his career two others galloped, he didn’t, but decided to stop and watch instead of racing! “I do think he will be suited to open class as the harder they go the better he likes it. “I couldn’t be happier with his current form but can’t take all the credit. My partner Vena does a lot of the background work and John Berry is great help around the place.”   HRSA Media

A tragedy avoided could bring triumph to Shane Tritton's team with Franco Nelson, only months from a near-death illness, well-placed for a mighty tilt at Saturday night's Pryde's EasiFeed Victoria Cup. The New South Wales' trainer joined Jason Bonnington and Blake Redden on RSN 927's Gait Speed ahead of yesterday's barrier draw, when Franco Nelson drew barrier six, outside Tiger Tara and Chicago Bull but still rated by some to make a forward running. This will be the Christian Cullen nine-year-old's 13th start for Tritton, all in 2018, a year of a significant up - his first Group 1 win in the Bohemia Crystal - and a significant down, which Tritton outlined on Gait Speed. "He's had an interesting year since he won his Group 1 at Miracle Mile time, we gave him a little let up and brought him up for the Len Smith," Tritton said. "We didn't know that he was racing and training with pneumonia. We didn't find this until he got crook and he actually had his intestines turned toxic and almost died." Having been first up from a two-month spell before the July 1 Len Smith Mile, Franco Nelson wouldn't return again until the September 29 Les Chant Cup, when he was fourth, 3.8m behind Victoria Cup contender Mach Doro. "We've taken our time, he's probably feeling the best I've ever had him - he's screaming at all the mares and is certainly on the top of his game," Tritton said. "I'm confident that, he's obviously going to improve with racing, but if he gets the right trip I wouldn't be swapping him for any in the race. "Someone asked me the other day what's the best horse you've ever trained. I think Nelson is a horse that can race under any conditions and if you have got to do the bullocking work he's still there at the end." While Franco Nelson's gate 6 draw and My Alpha Rock's gate 11 draw are tricky, stablemate Gotta Go Ya Hu claimed the polemarker and is well placed. "I'm very happy with all three of them, I think Nelson's a proven horse. I think Lauren will stick with him to drive, which says a lot. If you are going to take one into a battle you want one that's done it plenty of times before." Trots Media

See how Chicago Bull's driver, Gary Hall Jnr, rates his #VictoriaCup barrier draw; as the mighty #ChicagoBull heads off on his whirlwind Gr.1 tour of Australasia! PLUS: King of Swing, Rocknroll Lincoln AND a very nice pick-up drive for Jnr on NZ Cup day!   Ken Casellas

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) today conducted the barrier draw for the 2018 Pryde's EasiFeed Victoria Cup at the Amora Hotel in Richmond. The race will be run at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. The final field for the Group 1, $200,000 race to be run at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night is:   1: Gotta Go Ya Hu (Shane and Lauren Tritton / Lachie Manzelmann) 2: Tiger Tara (Kevin Pizzuto / Todd McCarthy) 3: Chicago Bull (Gary Hall Snr / Gary Hall Jnr) 4: Im The Boss (David Aiken / Greg Sugars) 5: Mach Doro (Craig Cross / Luke McCarthy) 6: Franco Nelson (Shane and Lauren Tritton / Lauren Tritton) 7: Wrappers Delight (David Aiken / Kima Frenning) 8: Majordan (Kevin Pizzuto / Chris Geary) 9: Shadow Sax (Emma Stewart / Chris Alford) 10: Carlas Pixel (Dean Braun / Gavin Lang) 11: My Alpha Rock (Shane and Lauren Tritton / Josh Aiken) 12: Ameretto (Kerryn Manning / Kerryn Manning) 13: Three Ways (EM) (Andy Gath / Kate Gath)   CODY WINNELL EDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER      

Having to choose between two live chances - and personal favourites - in a Pryde's EasiFeed Victoria Cup is a nice problem to have, but it also brings a tinge of heartbreak. For rising star driver Kima Frenning, who less than four years ago relocated to Australia from Sweden as a monte rider, she never fathomed being in such a pleasant predicament. But this morning she made the call after seeking counsel from her team, siding with Wrappers Delight over Im The Boss for Saturday night's Pryde's EasiFeed Victoria Cup at Tabcorp Park Melton and beyond. "It was a very, very hard decision but I'll be driving Wrappers," she said. "I talked with Aik (trainer David Aiken) and the owners of both horses, and that's the decision we've come up with. He's done so much for me that horse (Im The Boss), but you've got to pick one."  Five-year-old Wrappers Delight heads into the Victoria Cup having taken out last weekend’s Group 2 TAB Multiplier Smoken Up Sprint, finishing ahead of three of his Vic Cup rivals on that occasion. He also won the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series and Hygain Breeders Crown finals last season. “He’s the up-and-comer,” she said. “I’d say there will be improvement (from last weekend). This will be his third run back and the way he raced through the Vicbreds he just kept improving. The earplugs never came off in the Smoken Up Sprint, so he should have a bit left.” Im The Boss has been a revelation since joining the Aiken stable after being claimed for $11,000. He’s since won the Park Douglas Printing Mildura Cup, Neatline Homes Shepparton Gold Cup and the Jet Roofing Kilmore Pacing Cup. Both horses will target the TAB Inter Dominion, which kicks off in Victoria on December 1. WA star Chicago Bull is the hot favourite for the Pryde's EasiFeed Victoria Cup. Frenning’s own rise in the sport in a short time has been nothing short of remarkable. She has transitioned from saddle to sulky with an ease that only comes from having an innate knowledge of standardbred horses. “It feels amazing. It’s just so special. I didn’t think I’d even be driving this much, let alone in the big races. I’ve got so many good people around me supporting me and I’m pinching myself,” she said. “It feels unreal. I’m loving it and just trying to take it all in.” Frenning hadn’t even heard of the Inter Dominion before moving Down Under, but now explains it to those back in Sweden as “the Australian version of the Elitlopp” “It’s clearly the biggest race here and to have four horses from the (Aiken) stable nominated, it’s crazy,” she said. Book your ID18 tickets today The confirmed starters for the 2018 Pryde's EasiFeed Victoria Cup in alphabetical order are: AMERETTO CARLAS PIXEL CHICAGO BULL NZ FRANCO NELSON NZ GOTTA GO YA HU NZ IM THE BOSS MACH DORO MAJORDAN MY ALPHA ROCK NZ SHADOW SAX TIGER TARA NZ WRAPPERS DELIGHT THREE WAYS NZ (Em 1)   CODY WINNELL MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER HARNESS RACING VICTORIA 

Racing Queensland will step in to assist Queensland’s standardbred breeding industry, which is one of many across the state feeling the crippling effects of drought. Following feedback from breeders via an industry survey, Racing Queensland found the rising cost of feed and agistment due to drought would likely accelerate a decline in breeding by up to 30%.   To shore up breeding numbers Racing Queensland will introduce an in-foal rebate of $500 payable to the breeder of any mare – inseminated between 1 August 2018 and 31 January 2019 – that receives a positive 42-day pregnancy test. The fee will be made available to the breeder if the mare in-foal meets QBRED eligibility criteria (i.e., the mare is inseminated and agisted in Queensland). Payment of the Rebate will be capped at 4 mares per breeder.   Racing Queensland COO Adam Wallish said the organisation recognised the importance of the breeding industry to the ongoing viability of harness racing in Queensland. “Without urgent action the harness industry will face significant challenges with reduced foal crops and field sizes in future years,” Mr Wallish said. The rebate is expected to cost between $90,000 to $110,000 dependent on the level of breeder uptake. Mr Wallish said it was a sound investment to provide some short-term security to the breeding industry and harness racing in Queensland. “A vibrant breeding industry is crucial to the ongoing viability of harness racing in Queensland, with QBRED horses making up 30% of the active racing population,” he said. “One-third of respondents to this recent survey indicated they would increase their breeding activity this season if they were provided short-term assistance to mitigate the increased costs in breeding as a result of the drought.” The survey also revealed 50% of breeders cited a low return on investment by way of sales and prize money as part of the reason for a decline in breeding in recent years. Mr Wallish said: “Racing Queensland will continue to work with the government and our commercial partners for a plan to improve the viability of our industry, particularly in comparison to NSW and Victorian industries that continue to announce significant prize money increases.”   Racing Queensland

DRIVERS Mitchell Turnbull and Trent Rue played the leading roles in the three-act drama - otherwise known as the Bathurst Shootout Final - that played out before an appreciative and vocal crowd right into horsepower, at Gold Crown Paceway on Friday night. The $12,000 final was the much-anticipated highlight of the mini-carnival held in conjunction with the famous Bathurst 1000 Race Week conducted at Mount Panorama, close by the Paceway’s home turn. Act One of the drama consisted of the two preceding races, a fast-class and a C1 sprint, both events taken out in accomplished fashion by Mitchell Turnbull with Smithstars Lexus and Grosestar, respectively. Smithstars Lexus enjoyed a lovely trail behind favourite Royal Story, Mitchell biding his time before angling into the sprint lane and reaching the lead in the shadows of the post for a copybook win. It continued his strong association in recent months with a horse he nominates as his favourite, not just for their six wins in that time but also because “ he’s such a perfect, easy horse to drive.” Grosestar crossed favourite Lets Pop The Bubbles NZ at the start, poured the pressure on through a 56.6s final half, and found plenty when needed to hold that horse close to the line, with Mitchell’s salute indicating his delight at getting the win against big sister Amanda. Act One finished on a light-hearted note, with Mitch speculating that John Starr, prominent real-estate figure and the owner of both horses, might like to give him the keys to a house rather than a Christmas card this year. That mood suddenly darkened at the start of the Shootout Final. The mobile had delivered the field at a very quick clip to the top of the home straight for the 1200 metres dash, with most -but not all - of them looking for a flying start. Just after release, Switowski, drawn out in six, leapt very extravagantly out of his gear and hit the deck, throwing Mitchell Turnbull out of the bike and into a somersault with pike that would do a gymnast proud. Back to earth with a thud, quite literally, for Mitchell. With his horse back on its feet and beginning to take off up the straight, Mitch sprinted to intercept him, blocking his escape, and when the horse wheeled and headed the other way, he was able to grab him finally, keeping control of one very panicky horse until he was joined by one of the clerks.  Stewards activated the no-race siren, and the field was assisted to a stop by the other clerk over at the home turn. The young reinsman’s outstanding horsemanship - along with his quick thinking and concern for the rest of the field -  was praised by everyone who watched the drama unfold, particularly fellow trainers and drivers who appreciated just how badly it all could have turned out. Switowski failed to pass a vet’s examination and was withdrawn from the subsequent re-run, but in a nice touch, Mitch Turnbull’s horsemanship earned him the Drive-of-the-Night award from racecaller Craig Easey. After all that excitement, and a 20-minute delay, Act Three might easily have fizzled out to be a real anti-climax. It proved to be far from that. Trent Rue, drawn the outside with Wrangler Duke, had been able to see what happened to Switowski, managed to get past him safely, and then didn’t push his horse at all, believing that the race might indeed be called off. That, in fact, had been his intention all along, and explained why he’d deliberately run a slow time-trial two nights earlier, knowing that with only eight triallists he was guaranteed a start, and from the outside, he could drop his horse out of the early speed and save him. He adopted exactly the same tactics in the re-run, dropping out and sitting at the tail of the field as Our Chittybangbang NZ flew the arm to cross Izzy Watt before the corner, with Sabrage NZ gaining the one-one trail when Bradness Eldefuego worked forward to the death. Quarters of 26.8s and 28.6s , and this for the second time in 20 minutes, left the leaders vulnerable, and they appeared to be out on their feet as they straightened, which is when Wrangler Duke and Kapow Shannon ( Amy Rees, drawn in six), the fresh horses on the scene, made their runs down the centre of the track.  Wrangler Duke won, seemingly with something in reserve, and Sabrage fought on doggedly to retain third place. The final quarter of 30.0s - for an overall time of 1:25.4 and a mile rate of 1:54.7- was the slowest, and indicated just what a slogging finish it was. Full marks to Trent Rue, who conceived a plan for the race and executed it perfectly, notwithstanding that circumstances might have played right into his hands. He trains the horse for himself, wife Amy, and Amy’s  parents Tony and Colleen Hagney. It was a delighted group, complete with the grandkids, which celebrated their biggest win with Gary and Barry Rogers, whose Gary Rogers  Racing Team was represented in the Top Ten Shootout over on the mountain the following day. Tony Hagney is track curator at Gold Crown Paceway and, along with his brother Michael, also serves as a clerk-of-the-course. He wouldn’t have had any time during that incident-charged first run to observe his horse, but the wide grin on his face at the presentation suggested that things panned out perfectly the second time around. As a famous playwright might have put it, All’s Well That Ends Well. TERRY NEIL

Less than a month after he trained his last winner 78yo Ken Giudice died suddenly at home on 27th September. At Northam on 1st September Ken Giudice trained his first winner for more than 16 years when Leeseme Lifestyle won at Northam with Ken’s brother Barry at the reins. His previous winner had been Divine Justice at Narrogin on 10th February 2002. Leeseme Lifestyle followed his win with a close second to Bettorgrinanbarit at his next start at Pinjarra on September 10th. It was to be Ken Giudice’s final starter as a trainer. Ken Giudice trained his first winner with Scotch Valley at York in September 1971 and like every one of his 17 wins as a trainer Scotch Valley was driven by his brother Barry. Ken Giudice’s funeral will be held at Pinnaroo Valley Memorial Park on Wednesday 10th October commencing at 10:30am.   Alan Parker

Don’t hold your breath hoping for any northern races to be given automatic qualifying status for the New Zealand Trotting Cup.   That’s the clear message of the committee which decided Northview Hustler’s stunning win in the Spring Cup was only good enough to elevate him five spots on the crucial ranking list.   The big team of owners who greeted Northview Hustler after he ran his rivals ragged at Alexandra Park last Friday night not surprisingly started making plans to attend cup week in Christchurch.   With cup second favourite Star Galleria behind him, along with eight ranked Jack’s Legend and 14th ranked No Doctor Needed, hopes were high that he would jump from 23rd place to be inside the 15-horse cut.   But when the new ranking order was finally released today Northview Hustler was only 18th, sparking questions from his connections why the race didn’t carry the same free ticket to the cup as the Maurice Holmes Vase and New Brighton Cup which qualified Thefixer and Letspenddanitetogetha.   The group was also looking for answers on how Northview Hustler, who ran the second fastest 2200 metre stand in history, was still ranked below a clearly out-of-form Classie Brigade (15th).   So who decides the rankings?   Harness Racing New Zealand’s southern based handicapper Andrew Morris heads the four-man committee along with long time Addington secretary Brian Rabbitt and Addington board members Barry Dent and Peter Evans. Northern based handicapper Kevin Smith doesn’t get a say.   When the committee met this week Morris says the main topic of discussion was where to place Northview Hustler and it weighed on the members’ minds so much they delayed a decision until Wednesday morning.   Morris says there was no denying the merit of Northview Hustler’s performance - “he won and he ran time.   “To my mind this race was the next highest of interest behind the Group races run this season.   “He ran the second fastest 2200 metres in history and he beat good horses, even though he had a head start on them.’’   But Morris says the committee had no appetite to elevate the horse ahead of New Zealand Derby winner Sheriff, and because Sheriff was ranked one lower than Classie Brigade it meant Northview Hustler couldn’t go any higher than 18.   Late entry Australian Alleluia also jumped onto the list, coming in at 15, courtesy of his third in the Group I Blacks A Fake at Albion Park in July.   Morris says Northview Hustler only just got the nod to leap frog Forgotten Highway, who ran third equal in the Group III New Brighton Cup.   Sadly the Spring Cup isn’t Group rated and there’s little to no chance it will ever be added to the list of three races gifting free entry to the cup. Friday night’s Canterbury Classic at Addington actually gifts spots to the first three home.   “I lobbied for the Holmes DG (run at Auckland on Friday week) to be a cup qualifying race but the others said no.   “Some might argue the cup is New Zealand’s race but it’s actually NZ Met’s race - they run the race and pay the money.   “They want to keep the optimum races for Addington and get the best lead-ups there that they can.’’   It’s a marketing strategy that the New South Wales Harness Racing Club uses, for example, giving Miracle Mile invites to horses who compete in their lead-up events at Menangle.   “If Northview Hustler runs well in the Holmes DG that would elevate him further,’’ says Morris. “Now that he’s built up capital, he wouldn’t have to do much more to supplant those other two horses (Classie Brigade and Sheriff). I could see second placing being good enough to shift him again.’’   Morris says while Classie Brigade might be racing well below his best, he still had credit for a number of good performances in Group races, including three Group III wins in the Rangiora Classic, Invercargill Cup and Central Otago Cup.   Those Group performances were actually two seasons ago - Classie Brigade raced only three times last term - but under the club's guidelines they still seem to carry more weight than current form.   Northview Hustler’s Group form isn’t too shabby either - he ran fifth to Vincent, Titan Banner, Heaven Rocks and Star Galleria in the Group I Auckland Cup, fourth to Vincent, AG’s White Socks and Titan Banner in the Group II Franklin Cup and fifth behind Eamon Maguire, Star Galleria and AG’s White Socks in the Group I Harness Jewels.   Morris isn’t sure that the committee would favour dropping horses down the order if they perform badly, a logical enough strategy after their initial ranking on last season’s form.   “I’m happy to put it up for review but at the moment we only elevate horses for performing well. The more you bring in, the more complicated it gets and the committee doesn’t want it getting too murky.   “In previous years there was some artistic licence taken but I think we’re getting it pretty right now. It’s a robust process.’’   But you have to ask is it right that a race like the Methven Cup, run on grass on Sunday week, will carry more weight than the Spring Cup, because it is designated a Group III race, and run over 3000 metres, closer to the conditions of the New Zealand Cup. Shouldn’t the strength of the field be a crucial factor too?   On the positive side, Morris believes Northview Hustler has a good shot at making the field just on natural attrition with the likely sale of Classie Brigade and trips to New Zealand hinging on the upcoming performances of Alleluia, Chicago Bull and Tiger Tara.   Barry Lichter    

He’s Watching has begun his stud career in fine fashion by siring the first two-year-old qualifier of the harness racing season in New Zealand! Eagle Watch (He’s Watching – Eagletons Girl) looked mighty impressive when finishing a close second to his three-year-old stablemate About Turn at Cambridge yesterday. The mile rate was a good 2:02.5 (well inside qualifying time), with the last half cut out in a slick 58.6. Trainer Mike Berger has always had a very good opinion of Eagle Watch and the plan now is to press on with him, hopefully towards the Young Guns Series. Eagle Watch comes from He’s Watching’s debut crop and he is displaying the same traits that made his sire a great horse. An undefeated US Two-Year-Old of the Year, He’s Watching showed incredible gait, speed and attitude to not only win all eight of his starts in his debut season but also set multiple world and track records. We continue to hear tremendous reports on the progeny of He’s Watching from trainers across New Zealand and Australia which gives us great confidence that he will make an immediate impact. Eagle Watch is just the beginning. He’s Watching stands at Alabar NZ.

Chicago Bull’s driver Gary Hall Jnr forecasted improvement in the six-year-old ahead of last night’s Group 2 J.P. Stratton Cup (2130m) and, sure enough, he delivered one of his best performances yet this campaign. The returning Talktomeurmattjesty made Chicago Bull work for the lead in the early stages of the $50,000 event. Hall Jnr initially took a sit behind Talktomeurmattjesty, before he made his move to the front on the turn out of the home straight the first time. Despite having to run a slick 37.0 lead time to eventually find the front, Chicago Bull never looked in any danger of being beaten throughout the run and went on to win by 8m. Talktomeurmattjesty and Argyle Red finished second and third respectively. Chicago Bull flies out for Victoria on Wednesday, before his first run on the east coast in the Victoria Cup next Saturday. Owner Glen Moore said he wasn’t concerned by the early speed Chicago Bull had to use to find the front. “It worked out very well for us early,” he said. “We had the plan that Junior was going to be aggressive early because we had the gut feeling the one horse (Talktomeurmattjesty) may hand over. “Junior had to work around the bird cage bend a bit, but then he relaxed nicely.” Moore said he was confident Chicago Bull was ready for his first trip to the east coast and indicated there could be even more improvement left in the gelding. “We’re really happy with him,” he said. “We’ve left a bit of improvement in him because we haven’t been doing too much at home. “His coast is still a little dull, so we think he is on the way up. “They have to prove themselves when they travel. “We’re comfortable with the fact that we think he will travel alright.” Chicago Bull completed a winning treble on the night for the Gary Hall Snr and Jnr combination, after Overboard Again and King Of Swing saluted earlier in the night. The news wasn’t as good for the Hall’s other short price favourite on the night Speed Man, who had little luck in the Perth Plasterboard Centre Pace (2536m). Last season’s leading driver Shannon Suvaljko also enjoyed a double at the meeting with Shes Turbo Charged and Always Arjay. Tim Walker

Kevin Pizzuto needs a good working Junior Driver for his stable. Lots of opportunities for the right person. Start immediately. Phone +61404638471

Chicago Bull will take centre stage yet again at Gloucester Park tomorrow night, but it’s some of the lesser likes that has driver Gary Hall Jnr excited heading to the 10 race program. Hall Jnr teams up with trainer Gary Hall Snr on four short price favourites, including Chicago Bull and WA Derby winner King Of Swing. Tomorrow night’s Group 2 J.P Stratton Cup (2130m) will round out Chicago Bull’s preparations for the Victoria and New Zealand Cups over the next month. Hall Jnr said getting the six-year-old through the run in one piece was his priority. “First and foremost, we would like him to win,” he said. “We wouldn’t like him to be beaten before Melbourne. “We do hope him to get through the run.” Hall Jnr said he would look to adopt similar tactics with Chicago Bull to what he has done in previous starts, hoping to slowly work his way to the front from barrier six. Chicago Bull’s stablemate Runrunjimmydunn is expected to provide the most formidable opposition tomorrow night, but Hall Jnr said a lot would have to go right for him to beat Chicago Bull. The first of Hall Jnr’s favourites on the night is five-year-old  consistent gelding Overboard Again in the Glenroy Chaff Pace (2130m). Overboard Again has barrier one for tomorrow night’s event and Hall Jnr said he was hopeful he would be able to lead all the way. “He worked really well yesterday,” he said. “There are a couple of fast beginners outside of him, but I’m confident. “I think from the pole he will be able to hold the lead and be hard to beat.” King Of Swing went down narrowly to Motu Premier in last Friday night’s Media Guild Cup and has the chance to bounce back in tomorrow night’s Yes Loans Pace (2130m) from barrier three. Despite being beaten as a $1.50 chance last week, Hall Jnr said he was pleased with King Of Swing’s performance and expected him to get back on the winners list tomorrow night. “After a lap last week I thought he was no hope,” he said. “He pulled really hard and he hadn’t had the preparation we would’ve liked leading into that race. “If that race was this week, I think he would win.” Fellow four-year-old Speed Man was also as a short price favourite last week, but, similarly to King Of Swing, Hall Jnr said he expected a bold showing tomorrow night. “Speed Man is in really good form,” he said. “This looks like a drop in class for him and hopefully he will end up outside the leader at some stage.” Tomorrow night’s Gloucester Park meeting gets underway at 5.20pm. Tim Walker

Chicago Bull has his final start in WA on Friday night at Gloucester Park in the $50,000 J P Stratton Cup (2130m) before heading east for an ambitious campaign that includes the Victoria Cup, the New Zealand Cup and the Inter Dominion series. He’ll be at unbackable odds again and every member of the WA Trotting Media Guild won’t hear of hear of him being beaten. Longshot king Pat Harding has made him the best bet for the night, despite the $1.04 on offer. “The obvious stand out at GP on Friday is Chicago Bull in the J P Stratton Cup,” Harding said. “With only seven runners, this extraordinary horse should notch up another easy win as he heads towards the Inter Dominion.” Prominent tipster Stuart Lowe, The West Australian’s Ernie Manning and the racing co-ordinator at The West Australian Ryan Havercroft believe classy four-year-old King Of Swing will make amends for his last-start defeat. “The best bet is the brilliant King Of Swing, who was narrowly beaten in the Media Guild Cup last week,” Lowe said. “He won his previous four starts and looks classes above his rivals.” Manning agrees with Lowe’s summation of the race. “King Of Swing will appreciate a class drop after his close second to Motu Premier in the Media Guild Cup last Friday,” Manning said. “He was keen in that event when making only his second appearance after a month out of racing. The WA Derby winner had notched victories at his previous five starts and he looks a genuine Golden Nugget prospect.” Havercroft thinks his colleagues are on the money. “King Of Swing lost no admirers last week when outstayed by the accomplished Motu Premier,” Havercroft said. “He drops back in distance, and enormously in grade to an M0 front race and should return to winning form.” Novice racecaller Hayden King is keen on Destined To Rule in the stand. “Destined To Rule finds the perfect opportunity to lead and should record his first city win,” King said. GPTV’s Ken Casellas thinks punters can strike early with Madame Meilland in the opening event. “Classy mare Madame Meilland should give punters a flying start to Friday night’s meeting by proving too good for her rivals in the opening event,” Casellas said. “She’s my best bet and I’m extremely confident she will make amends for her most unlucky eighth behind Tricky Styx last Friday night when she raced in the breeze and was travelling like a winner before locking wheels with the pacemaker Better B Chevron 120m from the finish.” Last season’s leading tipster Matt Young believes Suspicious Life can post an all-the-way victory. “Suspicious Life is returning and has brilliant gate speed, should lead and control the race ultimately returning to the winners’ circle,” Young said. Guild president Wayne Currall is happy to make Amelias Courage his star bet. “Amelias Courage was rolled as a short-priced favourite last start,” Currall said. “But they did run home the last 800m in a slick 56.7 - and that was against the boys. She’s drawn wide but will appreciate dropping back to mares company and can bounce back here.” VALUE BETS Pat: For a bit of value I thought Loaded Aussie in the last race of the night could be the way to go. Coming out of barrier seven over the sprint journey is not great, but I think he stands a good each-way chance, particularly as there’s not a great deal of exposed form in the race. Stuart: The value bet is Always Arjay, who covered plenty of ground last week when sixth to Mitch Maguire. He was placed at three of his previous four starts and should appreciate a return to stand conditions. Ernie: Suspicious Life clearly won a recent trial and is expected to run a big race when resuming. The lightly-raced gelding has won three Gloucester Park events and he ran two seconds there shortly before being spelled last June. Ryan: Glow Bright's recent form, though numerically unappealing, has been sound and he should be emerging late from a soft draw. Hayden: Suspicious Life will spear to the front and lead all the way in a low-pressure contest. Ken: For value, I suggest Always Arjay in the fourth event, a 2503m stand. The Matt Scott-trained gelding is a standing-start specialist and if he reproduces his strong effort when second to The Bucket List in the BOTRA Cup in July he will notch his 17th victory. Matt: Estilo, now with the Kristian Hawkins stable, is nicely drawn and in an even race over the mile, could be a big price and worth having something on at each-way prices. Wayne: Forever Remembered needs the pace on in a race where Speed Man will go around as a short-priced favourite. However, if the Shattering Class mare gets conditions to suit she can run a big race at huge odds.    To view all of the Media Guild tips click here. Good Punting   Wayne Currall

An eye-catching performance at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night by veteran pacer Lot Twenty One was a strong pointer to a return to the winning list. The seven-year-old who has a poor winning record of just five per cent (six wins from 112 starts) will start from the No. 2 barrier on the front line in the final event, the 1730m GP Italian Fireworks Night Pace, has sound prospects of ending a losing sequence of 16. He began from the outside of the back line on Tuesday night and raced in eighth position before Chris Lewis moved him into sixth position, three wide, at the bell. He sustained his effort and finished second to the pacemaker Whoswhointhezoo. That was the gelding’s fifth start for Hopeland trainer Debra Lewis, with those starts producing four seconds and a third. Hardest for Lot Twenty One to beat is likely to be Hes Royal Blue, a five-year-old trained at Busselton by Barry Howlett. He is the youngest runner in the field of ten, and has, by far, the best winning record of 25 per cent. Hes Royal Blue will be driven by Gary Hall Jnr from barrier five and will have many admirers. He was an all-the-way Gloucester Park winner from barrier three six starts ago and he drops considerably in class from, with his recent encouraging efforts including a third to Benhope Rulz, a sixth to Mitch Maguire and a fourth behind Bright Diamond. The more one studies the form, the brighter Hes Royal Blue’s winning prospects appear. Estilo, a nine-year-old having his fourth start for trainer-reinsman Kristian Hawkins, will have friends after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier over the sprint journey.  He has won at 12 of his 125 starts and has managed just three placings from 19 Gloucester Park starts. His losing sequence is 31, which certainly is considerably better than that of nine-year-old Dagati Image, who has not won at any of his past 57 starts. Champion reinsmen Lewis and Hall should fight out the finish after appearing set for earlier successes on the ten-event program. Lewis should prove hard to beat with the Sonia Zucchiatti-trained Destined To Rule in the Maureen Clement Memorial Handicap, a 2503m stand in which Destined To Rule will start from the inside of the front line. His chief rivals are likely to be Always Arjay and Jason Rulz. Hall has excellent prospects with Overboard Again (race two), King of Swing (race three), Speed Man (race five) and Chicago Bull (race six). “I will be attempting to lead with Overboard Again from barrier one and he should be hard to beat,” said Hall. “And King of Swing and Speed Man are sure to appreciate a drop in class after last-start seconds.”   Ken Casellas

Lightly-raced gelding Suspicious Life is poised for a powerful first-up performance in the 2536m Retravision As Local As You Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He will start from the No. 4 barrier on the front line and Banjup trainer-reinsman Dylan Egerton-Green is planning to set the pace at his first outing for 16 weeks. Suspicious Life possess sparkling gate speed and his seven wins from 25 starts have all come when he has set the pace. “He should go well, first-up,” said Egerton-Green. “He’s got plenty of gate speed and I can’t see why we won’t be utilising that. He went really well in a Byford trial two Sundays ago. The lead time wasn’t fast and I led early before handing up to noted frontrunner Thereugo. “I came off Thereugo’s back at the 600m and ran two strong quarters (29.4sec. and 27.4sec.) to win by six lengths from Thereugo.” Suspicious Life, owned by Graham Skelton, was trained early in his career by Prue George and the gelding notched his first win when Egerton-Green drove him to an all-the-way success over Nellie Babe at Pinjarra in November 2015 when he was an outsider at $47.60. Suspicious Life then won at Northam two starts later and Egerton-Green took over as trainer two months after that when George was fully occupied with work and family commitments. The Life Sign gelding, with Michael Grantham in the sulky, won at three of his first five starts for his new trainer in February-March 2016 and also was successful at Gloucester Park in August and September. After winning by three lengths from Four Legged Frenzy in September Suspicious Life broke down with tendon trouble in a hind leg, an injury that resulted in a 20-month absence. “I brought him back into work early this year and gave him five starts in May and June,” Egerton-Green said. His five runs included two excellent seconds to Ardens Concord over 2536m and Dominate The Dojo over 1730m. “He didn’t have much luck in his other three runs and I gave him a month off and freshened him up,” Egerton-Green said. “His Byford trial was very good.” Egerton-Green nominated Hoiho, Ace Bromac and Twentynine Twelve as the main dangers to Suspicious Life on Friday night. He drove the Kaiden Hayter-trained Hoiho when the six-year-old finished an encouraging second to Fizzing at Wagin on Thursday of last week. Hayter has engaged Chris Lewis to drive Hoiho this week. Egerton-Green is also enthusiastic about the each-way prospects of Maxentius in the TABtouch Better Your Bet Pace and Amelias Courage in the The Direct Trades Supply first heat of the Preux Chevalier Pace for mares. He will handle both pacers for ace trainer Colin Brown. The New South Wales-bred Maxentius, a five-year-old by Mach Three and a winner at 11 of his 40 starts, will be resuming after an absence of six months and will start from the outside of the back line in the 2130m event. He shows wonderful promise and has been placed in three group feature events, including in his splendid second to Chicago Bull in the Group 2 Four and Five-Year-Old Classic last March when he finished ahead of Runrunjimmydunn, Sheer Rocknroll and Ima Rocket Legend. A winner of seven country races in NSW, Maxentius has had 14 starts in WA for four wins and three placings. He looks set for a bright career. “It’s a handy field in which Madame Meilland looks the hardest to beat,” said Egerton-Green. Maxentius has been working really well and if he gets a clear split he should run into the money. I can’t see why he can’t get home.” Madame Meilland, a five-year-old New South Wales-bred mare who won three country events in Victoria, has had 19 starts in WA for eight wins and seven placings. She will be handled from barrier four by Mitch Miller, who has driven the mare nine times for five wins and two seconds. Madame Meilland was extremely unlucky last Friday night when she raced three wide early and then in the breeze before being knocked out of the race 120m from the finish when she locked wheels with the pacemaker Better B Chevron. Amelias Courage is a promising four-year-old who has had 43 starts for ten wins, 14 seconds and two thirds and she has sound prospects, even from her wide draw at No. 8. She led when a half-head second to You Gotta Have Faith over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday of last week. “She had every chance at Pinjarra, but she should go well on Friday night,” Egerton-Green said. There appears to be many winning chances in a wide-open race, including the polemarker Miss Stonebridge, a fast-finishing winner for Capel trainer-reinsman Ash Markham over 1684m at Pinjarra two starts ago before she impressed at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week when she was seventh (and last) at the bell before finishing powerfully into second place behind Innocent Affair over 1730m. Innocent Affair, trained by Debra Lewis and driven by her husband Chris, maintained her excellent form when she set the pace and finished second to Our Alfie Romeo over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night. She will start from barrier five and cannot be underestimated. Bettorgrinanbarit, Anna Faye and Soho Changeling are also racing keenly.     Ken Casellas

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