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You can put the pen through Australia’s most exciting pacer Jilliby Kung Fu for the Len Smith and Queensland Winter Carnival. Trainer Marg Lee is only focused on the Vicbred 4YO series now with the Chariots Of Fire winner and Miracle Mile runner-up. Jilliby Kung Fu, who sadly missed the Harness Jewels after a minor hiccup, returned from a spell with a narrow but ultra-impressive Shepparton win last Friday night. Forced to sit parked at his first run since the Miracle Mile, Jilliby Kung Fu kept lifting under pressure for driver Glen Craven and snatched a neck win over the underrated and emerging leader, Wrappers Delight. They paced a 1min56.8sec mile rate for 2190m on a cold wet night, which was just 1.1sec outside the track record. “I doubt he’ll travel in the short term, we’re only thinking about the Vicbred for now,” Marg Lee’s son, Jason, said. “The long term plan is the (Melbourne) Inter Dominion because we think he’ll love the long trip.” Jason confirmed his cousin Glen Craven would drive Jilliby Kung Fu through the Vicbred series and he would partner another of the family’s promising pacers, Jilliby Chevy. _______________________________________________________________________________________ Leviathan owner-breeder Rob Watson has found his next star. Kiwi-bred American Ideal colt Franco Edward oozes X-factor. Trained and driven by Kyle Harper, Franco Edward made it three wins from four starts when he arrogantly thrashed a crack field in the $100,000 Pearl Classic final (1730m) at Gloucester Park on Friday night. In contrast to his heat win when he raced greenly and did plenty wrong, Franco Edward looked a real professional in the final, zooming out to lead from the pole and winning as he liked in a 1min56.4sec mile rate. “He’s really exciting. It looks like we’ve got another really nice one,” Watson said. The run of second-placed Shockwave was also fantastic considering he came wide and made-up plenty of ground and the last three quarters were paced in 28.3, 28.8 and 28.0sec. The disappointment was Bling It On’s baby brother, Bletchely Park, who blazed a 1min53.6sec mile rate for the same trip a week ago, but weakened after sitting parked last Friday and ran seventh. Back to Harper and it both ends of the spectrum for him last Friday with baby Franco Edward winning and stable veteran and stalwart Bettors Fire also saluting. It was the nine-year-old’s 39th win from 100 starts and edged him very close to $800,000 in earnings. _______________________________________________________________________________________ The news is a lot better than first feared with high-class former Kiwi pacer Shandale. Now based in WA with Mike Reed, Shandale seemed to trip and crash heavily to the track in the free-for-all at Gloucester Park last Friday night. He was tended to for a long time on the track, but a relieved Reed later said Shandale had cuts, abrasions and would require some time off, but seemed to have escaped really serious injury. _______________________________________________________________________________________ Champion driver Luke McCarthy had a night to remember at Menangle last night. McCarthy drove both semi-final winners of the rich NSW Breeders Challenge series for two-year-old colts and geldings with Victorian raiders Lochinvar Art and Hardhitter. The Laura Crossland-trained Lochinvar Art toyed with his rivals in the first semi, sitting off the pace then blowing them away to win by 8.8m in a 1min55.4sec mile. Hardhitter showed he was yet another Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin juvenile star when he blasted to the front and smashed the clock to beat buzz baby Muscle Factory in the second semi. Despite the fact he went a 1min52.7sec mile – much quicker than Lochinvar Art – McCarthy confirmed he would drive Lochinvar Art in the July 1 final. It’s expected Chris Alford will take the reins on Hardhitter. McCarthy also partnered the Darren Reay-trained Rollin With Holly for a dominant win in the first semi of the Challenge for two-year-old fillies in a 1min54.3sec mile. That series was thrown wide-open when nominal final favourite Miss Halfpenny was narrowly upset by Cee Cee Armbro in the second semi in a 1min54.9sec mile. _______________________________________________________________________________________ Leviathan NSW-based owner Emilio Stride has found his next star. Improving mare Cherry Stride sparkled winning the first semi-final of the NSW Breeders Challenge for flour0-year-old mares and looks to have a mortgage on the July 1 final. Trained by KerryAnn Turner, it was her husband Robbie Morris who worked forward to find the lead after the start on Cherry Stride and played with their rivals. The daughter of Rocknroll Hanover opened right up to win by 21.4m in a sizzling 1min51.4sec mile signailing she is a bit special. _______________________________________________________________________________________ Another Victorian trotting feature and another win for Andy Gath’s former Kiwi gelding Tornado Valley. Owned by Norm Jenkin of Flashing Red fame, Tornado Valley was blasted to the lead from outside draw (gate seven) by Kate Gath and always looked in control. He cruised around in a 1min59.5sec mile rate for 2240m to post his ninth win from just 12 starts since crossing the Tasman to join the Gaths’ stable. _______________________________________________________________________________________ The buzz around WA three-year-old Jack Mac hit a slight snag when he beaten but certainly not disgraced at Gloucester Park last Friday night. On face value, he seemed to be beaten by a very smart former Kiwi gelding in Bettor Aim, who has sparkled winning all three WA runs for Greg and Skye Bond. Driver Ryan Warwick drew six and inside Jack Mac (eight) and used that advantage to work to the front and park Jack Mac. They blazed a 1min55sec mile rate for 2230m, including a 27.4sec split down the back straight, but Bettor Aim found plenty to beat Jack Mac by 3.9m. _______________________________________________________________________________________ Brilliant former Kiwi mare Reaza Grunter continues to zoom through the grades for Shane and Lauren Tritton. The four-year-old daughter of Christian Cullen led and thrashed a handy field in her most impressive Aussie win yet at Menangle last night. She ran the mile in a slick 1min51.5sec, won by almost 11m and posted her 10th win from just 15 starts since crossing the Tasman.   Adam Hamilton

Morsels of trivia by their very definition are trivial. So it matters very little that no horse has won a Del-Re National Italian Cup and an Inter Dominion Pacing Grand Final in the same year, because if Soho Tribeca proves ID18 king of Victoria this coming December he’ll obviously have created all kinds of history. That said, I did find it interesting that My Lightning Blue, somewhat relatively similar to Soho Tribeca in that he was famous in the mid to late 1980s for his toughness, won the ’86 Italian Cup and went on to win the ’87 Interdom. Tonight at Tabcorp Park Melton, Michael Stanley produced a racehorse perfectly placed to grab command of the Grand Circuit spotlight in coming months and seasons, Soho Tribeca, to take out this year’s Del-Re National Italian Cup. The talented Burrumbeet trainer/driver in fact, for just the first time ever, had the reins behind the authoritative five-year-old son of American Ideal in a race situation. He’s driven the horse to countless laps of his training track, but this was something else. Despite being only “about 80 per cent” according to Stanley post-race, Soho Tribeca thoroughly thrashed his rivals in the 2240-metre fast-class feature from the extreme second-row draw, cruising home in a 1:54.5 mile rate and in a style that made it crystal clear he could have significantly lowered that mark if required.                                                                                               -Stuart McCormack photo Stanley spoke of the “privilege” of being involved with a horse like Soho Tribeca post-race. “That’s the first time I’ve had the privilege of sitting behind him in a race and that was something special,” he said. “I’ve never felt that before. We’re really excited to see what’s in store for the rest of the preparation.” It’s a preparation that will take in New South Wales and Queensland in coming weeks, and the superstar pacer’s race-fitness levels will only improve each time he steps out until his Queensland Grand Final in the Blacks A Fake. “He’s 80 per cent, I’d say. We’ll press on to the Len Smith (Mile) in two weeks then we’ll go to Queensland for the Blacks A Fake. The whole preparation is aimed at that last run in Queensland,” he said. Soho Tribeca and Stanley wasted no time getting into the action tonight from barrier 11, working around the field for the first 600m or so before taking up the running. The Kilmore Cup winner and Hunter Cup runner-up then produced a final half-mile of 56.1 and cruised home by 5.2m ahead of a gutsy Sams The Master in second for Greg Sugars, with a further 9.4m back to Magical Marn in third place. Stanley acknowledged all his training as a “team effort”, making special mention of wife Gen and the stable’s gun rising star reinsman Ryan Duffy, and he lauded Soho Tribeca’s maturation in the previous 12 months. “This time last year he won the four-year-old Vicbred, and what he has done since then has been amazing,” he said. “I’m just very grateful from Robert and Annette Watson to have the opportunity with Soho Tribeca and hopefully he’s the one to step up and take that place (at the top of the Grand Circuit ladder).” Tonight’s trotting feature, the Wagon Apollo Trotters Free for All, went to another rising open-age star in Tornado Valley for trainer Andy Gath and reinswoman wife Kate Gath. The six-year-old son of Skyvalley led from gate seven in the 2240m race and held off a flashy Kyvalley Blur by 2.5m in a rate of 1:59.5. Driver Kate Gath dictated terms perfectly from the front in full knowledge her major danger, Tough Monarch, was following her helmet. Approaching the final bend Gath saw Alford and Kyvalley Blur coming out wide and upped the ante aboard Tornado Valley, the gun squaregaiter responding to make it nine wins from his past 10 starts (and nine wins out of 12 since joining the Gath stable from New Zealand). “I saw Puppet (Alford) coming so I thought ‘I have to ask him now’,” Gath said. “When you got a little bit slower like that it does bring other ones in, so you do have to be careful but it worked out well tonight. “He’s just done such a good job. He’s been up a long time but he’s relishing where he is and he just knows how to find the line.” Gath said the Trotters Inter Dominion later this year was the major aim for Tornado Valley. Earlier tonight Lance Justice produced Rishi for a narrow win in the M0 Allied Express Pace over 2240m from gate two. The four-year-old gelding by Bettors Delight held the front early, which proved invaluable, and then held off an audacious Artful Christian for Chris Svanosio to win by a half-head in 1:58.0. Punters who took the $1.5 about the favourite may have been nervous as the margin got shorter and shorter in the home stretch, but Justice said he always felt confident. “It felt like he was always going to do the job. That’s the sort of horse he is, he just does what he has to do. There are plenty of races left him, that’s for sure,” Justice said, going on to nominate the Breeders Crown as the target after a freshen-up. And trainer Dean Braun told Trots Vision that Duplicated, his three-year-old gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere, would head to Queensland for a Derby tilt after an effortless win in the Nicola Pace Final over 2240m with Nathan Jack in the gig. Duplicated has a four-out-of-four win record since crossing the ditch and did it very comfortably tonight in 2:01.7. Other winners were Solarsonic for Chris Svanosio in the DNR Logistics Pace, Kinvara Sue for Anton Golino and Jason Lee in the TAB Multiplier Trot, Deltasun for Terry Young and Gavin Lang in the Alabar 4YO Trot, Classy Western for trainer/driver Allan McDonough in the Pasticceria Padova Claiming Pace, Eleniark for Qld’s Grant Dixon and reinsman John Caldow in the DRN Gold Vicbred Pace, Hot Breakfast for Malcolm Phillips and James Herbertson in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Country Series O Final and Flyin Around for Anne-Maree and Glenn Conroy in the Bertocchi 3YO Trot.   Cody Winnell

The barrier draws for the Alabar Breeders Challenge Two-Year-Old Finals were conducted at Tabcorp Park Menangle tonight. Semi-Finals for this age group were held earlier in the evening with reinsman Luke McCarthy winning three of the deciders. This included both colts and geldings Semi-Finals with Lochinvar Art and Hardhitter while McCarthy also drove Rollin With Holly to victory in one of the fillies Semi-Finals. The Wayne Sullivan trained and driven Cee Cee Armbro won the other fillies Semi-Final. The $125,000 Group 1 Alabar Breeders Challenge Finals will be held at Menangle on Sunday July 1.   Alabar Breeders Challenge 2YO Colts & Geldings Final   1 Leonidas 2 Make Mine Memphis 3 Mach Le More 4 Lochinvar Art 5 Hardhitter 6 Shoobee Doo 7 Tsunami Charlie (EM2) 8 First String (EM1) 9 Animal 10 Hurricane Roy 11 Muscle Factory 12 Rainbow Comet       Alabar Breeders Challenge 2YO Fillies Final   1 Belongtolou 2 Kept In Play 3 Delightful Jackie 4 Miss Halfpenny 5 Taylors Mill 6 Kiamasrosie (EM1) 7 Casuarina Belmer 8 Ally Rogan (EM2) 9 Cee Cee Ambro 10 Lady Swiss 11 Rollin With Holly 12 Sheeza Malteeza     AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

There are few boys as good to their connections as Bad Billy and Gary Lawlor's Inter Dominion bound pacer will again look to run 'pasta' plenty of opponents in Saturday's Del-Re National Italian Cup. Having burst into second behind Moonrock in last weekend's feature Bad Billy appears on course for another quiet pegs run at Tabcorp Park Melton for this weekend's feature, having drawn gate eight behind veteran Kotare Roland. It's a tricky draw given the likes of Soho Tribeca and Im The Boss loom large in the middle-distance pace, and Lawlor - who joined Blake Redden and Michael Howard on RSN's Gate Speed this week - said his country cups winner would just take his opportunities as they present. "Every time he goes around he puts in 110 per cent," Lawlor said. "I can never remember in any race he's ever had a horse pass him in the last 200m, even when he has been beat. He always puts in, just loves to run." December's Inter Dominion remains the carrot at the end of Bad Billy's pursuit and so good showings now are important to have him prominent in handicappers' eyes to gain a shot at ID18.  "He'll run on Saturday night (but) we won't overtax him, the long-term plan is to take him to the Inter Dominion," Lawlor said. "That's always been the plan with him from day one. We've always treated him as a cup horse, we've had that plan for four or five years and we've just followed it through. "We will just take him along quietly. Because we own him we don't have to be pushed into anything. We will take him along easily and let him make the moves. He'll tell us what he wants to do. "It's very, very exciting. It's a big thrill to go to (the big) races, and it's even bigger when each time you present him he just answers the question." Michael Howard

Anne-Maree Conroy appointed to Advisory Council   The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Board advises that Ms Anne-Maree Conroy has been appointed to the Harness Racing Advisory Council (HRAC).   The Daylesford trainer/driver has an extensive background in the harness racing industry.   “We’re delighted to welcome Anne-Maree to the Harness Racing Advisory Council,” HRAC Chair Elizabeth Clarke said.   “Anne-Maree’s vast experience and knowledge will prove invaluable and I’m very much looking forward to working closely with her.”   The HRAC is maintained in accordance with section 44B (3C) of the Racing Act 1958.   Trots Media

An incredible $12,000 was raised at Ballarat and District Trotting Club last night when it hosted its annual Girls Night Out fundraiser. The event has long raised much-needed funds for charity groups that either support or raise funds to fight breast cancer and this year’s supported the Love Your Sister Charity founded by Gold Logie winning actor Samuel Johnson and his beloved late sister Connie. Samuel made a special trip to be on-course on the night, which added a personal touch to an already popular evening. Once the details of the event were released the 380 available dining packages were sold within weeks. The night was a huge success with the $12,000 raised on-course on the night through raffles, sponsorship of races, live auctions in addition to the trotting club donating $10 from every dining package to the cause. Club spokeswoman Belinda Eden said the support of local businesses and the response from the community was a key reason the night was such as success. "The local businesses that either donated prizes or gave up their time to offer their services on the night was such a big reason this fundraiser was such a success and puts into perspective on why clubs play such an important role in our community," she said. Samuel played a key part in the night, entertaining the sold out event with stories, book signings and photos. His energy and passion for the cause was infectious. He also tried his hand at harness racing, participating in the HRV pony trot challenge where he raced against leading reinswomen Kerryn Manning, Kate Gath and Jodi Quinlan, who are also Team Teal ambassadors, the Harness Racing Victoria fundraiser for Women’s Cancer Foundation.   The Trots Victoria

The mantle is up for grabs and Mick Stanley is doing his best to claim it with Soho Tribeca. Lazarus was Australasia’s undisputed top pacing seed and now the door is open. Right now you’d say My Field Marshal just holds the tag, but Soho Tribeca is right there with him and the next few weeks could change everything. Fittingly, both pacers are in action this weekend: Soho Tribeca resumes from a spell as a $1.50 Aussie TAB in the Italian Cup (2240m) at Melton at 8.57pm NZ time on Saturday night. Little more than an hour later, My Field Marshal is a $1.70 favourite despite drawing out in gate 10 in the $30,000 Golden Mile at Menangle. It two weeks they come together in the Group 1 Len Smith Mile at Menangle. The last time they clashed at Menangle, My Field Marshal finished over the top of Soho Tribeca in an Australasian record 1min46.9sec. Soho Tribeca was, however, the run of the race after sitting parked, doing all the work and finishing less than a neck from My Field Marshal. Trainer Mick Stanley says Soho Tribeca is primed for his return this week and can’t wait to get to Sydney, then onto the Queensland Winter Carnival for the Sunshine Sprint and Blacks A Fake. “He’s ready to race for sure. He has been working up super. Sure he will better for the hitout, but it will have him spot-on for Sydney,” he said. “He’s so ready, he’ll just need this one lead-up run. “From Sydney, he’ll head to the Sunshine Sprint (July 14) and Blacks A Fake (July 21).” If there is an X-factor in this quest for Australasian’s top pacing seed it is surely Chariots Of Fire winner and Miracle Mile runner-up Jilliby Kung Fu. Sadly he missed the Harness Jewels after a minor setback, but the gun four-year-old resumes in a race he should win for fun at Shepparton tomorrow night. If he wins well, the focus will turn to whether trainer Marg Lee sends him straight to Sydney for the Len Smith Mile second-up from a break. Adam Hamilton

On 12 June 2018 Racing and Wagering WA (RWWA) Stewards concluded an inquiry into comments that had been posted on a Facebook page concerning a senior RWWA Racing official. In conclusion to this inquiry, harness owner Mr R Hughes pleaded guilty to a charge relating to the publication of offensive comments about a Steward and was issued with a fine of $2,000 with $1,000 of that fine being suspended for a period of 12 months on the condition that no further breaches to this or similar rules occur (Rule 248 RWWA Rules of Harness Racing). In considering the penalty Stewards took into account:  Previous penalties issued in Western Australia and South Australia in regards to comments made within the same Facebook page.  That the inquiry was able to be completed by way of written submissions from Mr Hughes who acknowledged culpability for the breach of the rules and thus expedited the process.  The obvious remorse and that a written apology was made for the comments.  The need to send a clear message to Mr Hughes and the wider racing industry that Stewards performing their duties were entitled to be protected from offensive comments. Media Contact: Russell Quinn – Manager Corporate Communications Ph: 9445 5418    Racing and Wagering WA

RWWA Stewards finalised an inquiry into the betting activities of licenced trainer/driver Mr Colin March. Evidence was taken from Mr March and an analysis of Mr March’s betting account was undertaken. Mr March pleaded guilty to two (2) charges pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule 173(1) in that on 30 January 2018 and 6 February 2018 he placed bets on a horse that he drove in a race. In determining penalty stewards took into account: His guilty plea, co-operation throughout the inquiry and personal circumstances The small value of the bets His previous record over a long period which showed no prior offences under this rule The seriousness of the offence and the need for deterrence both general and specific. Mr March had his licence to drive in races suspended for two months on each charge.  Stewards ordered these penalties be served concurrently.   Media Contact: Barbara Scott – Chief Steward, Harness Ph: 9445 5176   RWWA Harness

On a night when there looks like being at least four pacers in the red, members of the WA Trotting Media Guild have earmarked their specials for Gloucester Park on Friday night. Outstanding fast-class pacer Bettors Fire, exciting two-year-old Franco Edward and the prolific winning Cott Beach have all come up with the pole in their respective races and will all be sent out as short commodities. And Jack Mac, unbeaten in all his nine starts in WA, will be looking for the perfect 10 when he steps out as the long odds-on favourite in the last race on the card. Guild members believe all four hot pots can justify their short odds by winning. Last season’s leading tipster Stuart Lowe, The West Australian’s Ernie Manning and Guild president Wayne Currall are all fans of Bettors Fire. “My best bet is the outstanding pacer Bettors Fire, who has dominated free-for-all company recently with three wins and a second from his last four starts,” Lowe said. “Advantaged here with the pole draw and should lead all the way.” Manning and Currall agree. “Classy evergreen Bettors Fire looks primed to celebrate his 100th start in grand style,” Manning said. “He is poised for his 39th win after the bonus of a pole draw. The veteran, a winner at four of his past six starts, looked in peak form when he scored impressively after racing three-wide last Friday night.” Currall was even more succinct. “Bettors Fire leads and wins,” he said. “No value for punters, but he looks the best of good things.” The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft and longshot king Pat Harding believe Cott Beach can continue on her winning ways. “Cott Beach has an imposing record and seems back to her best after successive wins at Narrogin and Bunbury,” Havercroft said. “She is one of many short-priced favourites that will be fancied on the card.” Harding agrees with his colleague. “Looking forward to a great night at GP this Friday - a night that should prove to be a good one for punters,” Harding said.” My best bet of the night comes up in the sixth with No.1 Cott Beach. A great draw with only a small field and Nathan Turvey should bounce this horse out and lead all the way and win.” GPTV’s Ken Casellas and TABradio’s Matt Young are keen on Better Scoot. “Better Scoot comes up with a well-programmed event by the stable in the stand and has the front line again,” Young said. “He should work his way to the top and continue on his winning way.” And Casellas agrees with Young’s summation. “My best bet on a star-studded program is Better Scoot in the stand,” Casellas said. “He’s a lightly raced outstanding standing-start performer who resumed last month after a 19-month absence when he finished a game third behind Lord Willoughby. He franked that good form with an all-the-way victory from the strands a fortnight ago and only has to begin safely to be the one to beat again.”   VALUE BETS Stuart: My value bet is Dredlock Rockstar, who ran a big race when third off 50m at Pinjarra last start. Going better than numerical form indicates and with the benefit  of coming off the front line of the stand here should have each-way claims. Ernie: Rockin The Boys has drawn barrier nine and a Northam second has been the only placing in her past six starts but she looks suited in mares company after having difficulty getting clear last Friday. Wayne: Tommy Be Good can’t beat Bettors Fire but he’ll get all the favours following the favourite and could run into the quinella again. Ryan: Hillbilly Time has been racing consistently while alternating between stands and mobiles in recent times. Drawn behind Carter Micheal, he should be handily placed to figure again. Pat: A great win last week by Bletchley Park and I see no reason why he can’t win again from barrier three. Obviously Franco Edward is the main danger but Bletchley Park could be at good each-way odds and continue his winning form. Matt: Major Catastrophe has been racing well in stronger company and thrives on the longer trip. The draw is decent and expect him to go very close on Friday. Ken: For value, I suggest Suspicious Life in the second event. This pacer is blessed with wonderful gate speed and he could run a cheeky race if he can find the front from gate six. To view all of the Media Guild tips click here. Good Punting   Wayne Currall  

Exciting three-year-old Jack Mac faces a moment of truth at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he clashes with the highly-promising Bettor Aim in the Visit Princi Butchers in North Perth Pace. Neither youngster has tasted defeat in Australia and Jack Mac has the brilliance to overcome the outside barrier in the field of eight and beat Bettor Aim, who will be driven by Ryan Warwick for trainers Greg and Skye Bond from the No. 6 barrier in the 2130m event. Jack Mac will be strongly fancied to chalk up his tenth victory at his tenth start in Western Australia after scoring decisive victories at his two outings after resuming after a four-month absence. He followed his first-up win over 2130m at Gloucester Park on May 25 with a commanding victory by 12 lengths over Blackjack Anna over the same distance on Tuesday of last week when he raced three wide early, sped to the front after 550m and was unextended in careering away from his rivals. Busselton trainer Barry Howlett certainly is more than happy that he rejected a tempting offer of $100,000 for the Mach Three colt in April last year. Howlett, who races Jack Mac in partnership with his wife Lyn and their son Jim, was purchased for $31,000 at the Auckland weanling sales and a win this week will take the colt’s earnings to $236,181. Howlett picked out a couple of youngsters who were being offered for sale as weanlings and he asked experienced New Zealand trainer-reinsman Brent Mangos to have a look at them. Mangos took a liking to Jack Mac and he purchased him at the sale on behalf of Howlett. Mangos broke in the colt and gave him five starts for five unplaced efforts against the best two-year-olds in New Zealand. Those five runs netted his owners $7450 and few pacing pundits predicted that the colt, the seventh foal out of unfashionable mare Matavutu, would develop into a juvenile champion. Bettor Aim also looks destined to become a star performer. A winner at his farewell appearance in New Zealand, over 1950m at Addington in early April this year, the Bettors Delight gelding has been ultra-impressive in winning effortlessly at his first two starts in WA, both over 2185m at Pinjarra in the space of eight days this month. Bettor Aim sustained a powerful three-wide burst to beat Itsnotova by almost three lengths at a 1.57.3 rate and a week later, on Monday of this week, he was untroubled to lead from barrier one and coast to victory by two lengths from Seeknyoushallfind at a 1.57.8 rate, with a final quarter in 27.8sec.   Ken Casellas  

Rival reinsmen Kyle Harper (Franco Edward) and Shannon Suvaljko (Bletchley Park) are excited at the sheer brilliance of their colts who look set to make the sparks fly in the $100,000 Princi Smallgoods Pearl Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The New Zealand-bred Franco Edward earned favouritism after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier in the 2130m Group 1 classic for two-year-old colts and geldings but Bletchley Park has drawn favourably at barrier three on the front line and will have a legion of admirers, particularly after he rated a sizzling 1.53.6 when he gave a dazzling frontrunning display to beat Euphoric Moment by four lengths over 1730m at Gloucester Park last Friday night. The Victorian-bred Bletchley Park was not extended in speeding over the quarters of the final mile in 28.5sec., 28.9sec., 28.2sec. and 28.5sec. and his rate smashed the 1730m track record for two-year-olds, the 1:55.0 rate set by El Barcelona in May 2016. Franco Edward and Bletchley Park are by American stallion American Ideal and will be meeting in a race for the first time, with Harper upbeat about his colt’s prospects in the Pearl, declaring after driving him to a superb victory in a qualifying heat on Tuesday of last week that “I think that he’s a bit special.” Franco Edward, who had set the pace and won easily at a 1.54.2 rate (with final quarters of 28sec. and 27.2sec.) over 1684m at Pinjarra at his previous start, was surprisingly beaten out from barrier one in the qualifying heat but there was a particular reason for that: The colt was racing with a splash sheet on for the first time and he became scared when the sheet touched him on the rump in the mobile score-up. “So, I had to nurse him out of the gate and this allowed him to be crossed,” said Harper. “And then when we got to the first corner I had to ease him when the sheet touched him again. He ran out with a little bit of fright and then when we got to the breeze he over raced a bit. To his credit, all these things went wrong and he still won and did a fantastic job.” Franco Edward’s gross time in the 2130m heat was 2min. 35.1sec. which was considerably faster than the time recorded by Bletchley Park (2min. 38sec.) and quicker than the other heat winner, Shockwave (2min. 35.3sec.). However, Suvaljko was full of praise for Bletchley Park’s heat win and then with the colt’s superb performance over 1730m last Friday night when he was unextended and scored with ridiculous ease. “Bletchley Park is probably the best two-year-old I’ve driven, better than Jumbo Operator,” said Suvaljko. “I didn’t pull the plugs and he had plenty left and was still going strong on the line. He’s a versatile horse who is suited by rolling along in front, but he can also come from behind as he showed when he came from second-last to win his heat.” The WA-bred Jumbo Operator was unbeaten at two starts as a two-year-old in August 2008 before having ten starts as a three-year-old for seven wins, two seconds and a most unlucky fifth in the WA Derby. He was retired with earnings of $313,175 from 24 wins, eight seconds and one third from 43 starts. Bletchley Park is trained by Mike Reed, who has won the Pearl twice with Rich And Spoilt in 1999 and Willowleaf Boy in 2003. Shockwave, a Mach Three colt trained and driven by Ryan Bell, notched his third win from seven starts when he began from out wide at barrier eight and raced in seventh position before starting a three-wide burst approaching the bell in his qualifying heat. He dashed over the final 400m in 28sec. and beat the talented Its Rock And Roll by almost a length. Shockwave has the ability to overcome his wide draw (No. 7) in the final. Its Rock And Roll, trained and driven by Colin Brown, has impressed with his three wins and three seconds from six starts. He is speedy and tough, but has fared poorly in the random draw and will need all the breaks to overcome the disadvantage of the outside barrier (No. 9) on the front line. Brown drove the David Thompson-trained Isaiah Artois to victory in the 2014 Pearl. Bitcoin, to be driven by Ryan Warwick for trainers Greg and Skye Bond, is racing keenly, with two wins and two seconds from five starts and, from barrier four, will have friends. Three starts ago, Bitcoin finished powerfully to win from the Barry Howlett-trained colt Smart Fortune over 1609m at Bunbury. Smart Fortune, a winner at Alexandra Park in December, faces a stern test from barrier eight, but cannot be underestimated with Chris Lewis in the sulky. Lewis has won the Pearl four times with Lombo Laredo (1994), Mitemptation (1995), Argent Treasure (2007) and Jack Mac (2017). Ken Casellas

Outstanding juvenile Cott Beach looks set to notch her 14th win when she starts from the coveted No. 1 barrier in the $25,000 Princi Smallgoods Gourmet Range Westsired Three-Year-Old Fillies Pace. She has sparkling gate speed and Nathan Turvey is sure to attempt an all-the-way win with the filly who is trained at Coolup by Kristy Elson. Leading will be in stark contrast to her excellent efforts when third in both the WA Derby and WA Oaks in the past two months. Cott Beach started from the outside barrier (No. 9) and charged home from tenth at the bell to finish third behind King of Swing and Bechers Brook in the 2536m WA Derby, with the margins a head and a nose. Then she started from the outside of the back line in the Oaks and settled in 11th position before sustaining a strong run from ninth at the bell to finish third, less than a length behind the winner Our Major Mama. After her grand effort in the Oaks Cott Beach has won at Narrogin and Bunbury and she looks to have the measure of smart in-form fillies Infinite Symbol and Veiled Secret in Friday night’s race. One of the best bets on the ten-event program should be Better Scoot, a standing-start specialist who has resumed racing after an absence of 19 months in fine fettle. The lightly-raced New Zealand-bred six-year-old in the stables of Greg and Skye Bond, will start from barrier five on the front line in the Princi Smallgoods Handicap, a stand over 2503m, and Ryan Warwick is expected to make a spirited bid to send the gelding to an early lead and then dictate terms in front. Better Scoot took an early lead and went on to win in fine style from Lord Willoughby in a 2503m stand last Friday week when he sped over the final quarters of the last mile in 27.8sec. and 28.3sec. His chief rival looms as the Ross Olivieri-trained Lord Willoughby whose 21 starts this season have produced eight wins, nine seconds and four thirds. Ken Casellas

Evergreen pacer Bettors Fire looks a certainty to celebrate his 100th start in style by proving too fast and strong for his seven rivals in the $25,000 Princi Smallgoods Free Range Salami Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He drew the No. 1 barrier and trainer Kyle Harper looks certain to make use of the nine-year-old’s sparkling gate speed and attempt an all-the-way victory. Owner Frank Ranaldi declared after Bettors Fire’s stylish come-from-behind win over 2536m last Friday night that the New Zealand-bred gelding was the best horse he has raced. And that was high praise indeed, considering that Ranaldi raced wonderful pacers Classic Garry and Admiral’s Avenue. Classic Garry and Admiral’s Avenue were successful in Group 1 feature events, whereas Bettors Fire has not been able to record a victory in a Group 1 feature event. Classic Garry’s 16 West Australian wins (14 at Gloucester Park) included the 1983 Group 1 Golden Nugget (beating Wondai’s Mate and Preux Chevalier) and the 1983 Mount Eden Mile when he defeated Sinn Fein and Garry John in 1.56.6, a race record. Classic Garry also became Australia’s first sub-1.55 performer when, as a four-year-old in March 1983, he sped over a mile in 1.54.9. In the late 80s Ranaldi campaigned with Classic Garry in America where the stallion won races and contested a World Cup series at the Meadowlands. Admiral’s Avenue earned $439,482 from 32 wins and 30 placings from 130 starts. He won the group 1 WA Pacing Cup in January 2000, beating The Accelerator and Saab, and a month later won a 2540m heat of the Inter Dominion championship at Moonee Valley. The level of prizemoney has risen substantially since then and Bettors Fire boasts a splendid record of 99 starts for 38 wins and 22 placings for stakes of $772,029. He was sold to Ranaldi after winning at 11 of his 30 New Zealand starts for his breeders Jim and Susan Wakefield. Bettors Fire’s 69 starts for Ranaldi and Harper in Western Australia have produced 27 wins and 15 placings. The gelding has not been successful in a Group 1 event, but has been wonderfully consistent and his wins include five in Group 2 events and three in Group 3 races. In last Friday night’s 2536m event, Harper restrained Bettors Fire from the No. 6 barrier and the gelding raced in seventh position for almost two laps before being sent forward, three wide, at the bell. Bettors Fire burst to the front with 500m to travel and he covered the final quarters in 27.5sec. and 28.5sec. to win by a metre from the strong-finishing Tommy Be Good, with The Bucket List running on from fifth (on the pegs) at the bell to be third. This week Bettors Fire appears certain to set the pace, with none of his rivals able to seriously challenge him for the early lead. Tommy Be Good, placed at five of his past six starts, should enjoy a perfect passage behind the pacemaker and looks a strong place prospect, with Shandale, Galactic Star and The Bucket List fighting it out for a minor placing. Ken Casellas

There isn’t a lot prominent harness racing owner Robert Watson hasn’t achieved in the sport, but this weekend he, and two of his star pacers, have quite a mountain to climb this weekend. On Friday night, Watson’s up-and-coming two-year-old Franco Edward will look to secure his first Group 1 win in the Pearl Classic Final (2130m) at Gloucester Park. On Saturday night, Soho Tribeca begins his campaign aimed towards the Len Smith Mile and Blacks A Fake Championship in the Italian Cup (2240m) at Melton. After the races are run and won, Watson boards a flight to South Africa for a fortnight where he will climb Mount Kilimanjaro. “I like challenging myself,” Watson said of his reasoning behind climbing the 5,895m mountain. “It’s an eight day trek up the mountain, and it’s minus 20 at the top of the mountain. “I’ll then explore Tanzania for another four days.” Watson’s trip to South Africa means he will miss Soho Tribeca’s run in the Len Smith Mile on July 1, while he has the chance to be crowned the Grand Circuit Champion if he wins the Blacks A Fake Championship on July 21. The WA Pacing Cup champion will be seen on the track for the first time since March 24 on Saturday night, where he starts from the outside of the second row in the $20,000 Italian Cup. Watson said he expected Soho Tribeca, now under the care of Mick Stanley, to win on Saturday night, and also expected him to be very competitive in Queensland. “He’s back, he’s really good,” he said. “He won’t be at his top, but we do expect him to win. “We want him to peak in Queensland.” Although the three start campaign in Queensland is at the front of Watson’s mind for Soho Tribeca, plans for a trip to the New Zealand Cup in November are well and truly underway. Soho Tribeca took part in a standing start trial earlier this week, as he looks to qualify for the New Zealand Cup, with Watson looking to win a Group 1 in New Zealand with the pacer to boost his stallion credentials. On the other side of the Nullarbor, Watson’s hopes of winning the Pearl Classic on Friday night at Gloucester Park received a significant boost when Franco Edward drew barrier one for the two-year-old feature. Franco Edward was, arguably, the most impressive of the three heat winners for the Pearl Classic last Tuesday night. Franco Edward has been installed as a $1.50 TABtouch favourite for the $100,000 event, ahead of the two other heat winners from last Tuesday night Bletchley Park ($3.20) and Shockwave ($10). Watson said while he did think Franco Edward would feature prominently in the finish, he was full of praise for this year’s group of two-year-olds. “It’s the best crop of two-year-olds I’ve seen race at Gloucester Park,” he said. “I’ve been in the Pearl before, and generally there’s only one smart horse in there. “This year there’s Its Rock And Roll, Smart Fortune, Shockwave, The Embezzler, Bitcoin, Bletchley Park and Franco Edward. “Those seven on the front line are all extremely good.” Watson said he hoped trainer-reinsman Kyle Harper would be able to hold up with Franco Edward from gate one. “Leading is half of the battle at Gloucester Park,” he said. “Hopefully we will hold up from the one. “He has got a lot of diversity though, he can race tough or on the speed.” Watson also has star two-year-old filly Soho Nolita, a sister to Soho Tribeca engaged in heats of the Vicbred series next week. The Pearl Classic Final gets underway at 7.20pm on Friday night.   Tim Walker

HARNESS Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards conducted an inquiry today into a report received from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory that meloxicam had been detected in the blood sample taken from CORRINYAH CONMAN following its win in race 5, the HUTCHEON & PEARCE PACE (2000m) at Temora on Friday 9 March 2018. The “B” sample was confirmed by Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) in Victoria. Mr Hillier appeared at the inquiry and presented evidence in relation to his registered training establishment, his husbandry practices and the horse CORRINYAH CONMAN.  Evidence including the Reports of Analysis and expert evidence from HRNSW Regulatory Veterinarian Dr Martin Wainscott was also presented. Mr Hillier pleaded guilty to a charge pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190 (1), (2) & (4) for presenting CORRINYAH CONMAN to race not free of a prohibited substance. Mr Hillier was disqualified for a period of 12 months to commence immediately. Mr Hillier also pleaded guilty to a charge pursuant to AHRR 190B for failing to keep and maintain a log book. Mr Hillier was fined $500. In considering penalty Stewards were mindful of the following: This was Mr Hillier’s second Prohibited Substance offence for which a penalty was imposed- there was also previous HRV arsenic matter for which no penalty was imposed by the RAD Board; Mr Hillier’s guilty plea; Circumstances of this matter; Class 3 Prohibited Substance; Mr Hillier’s offence record, training record and other personal subjective facts. Acting under the provisions of Rule 195, CORRINYAH CONMAN was disqualified from the abovementioned race. Mr Hillier was advised of his right to appeal these decisions.   Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) is the controlling body for harness racing in New South Wales with responsibility for commercial and regulatory management of the industry including 33 racing clubs across the State.  HRNSW is headed by a Board of Directors and is independent of Government. To arrange an interview or for further information please contact: MICHAEL PRENTICE | INTEGRITY MANAGER (02) 9722 6600 • GRANT ADAMS | CHAIRMAN OF STEWARDS (02) 9722 6600 •     Harnesslink Media

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