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Champion reinsman Chris Lewis was born in 1955, the year that famous American rocknroll singer and songwriter Bill Haley topped the charts with Rock Around The Clock. Bill Haley, in the form of five-year-old New Zealand-bred pacer by Rock N Roll Heaven, is sure to have punters singing his praises at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he makes his West Australian debut in the Direct Trades Supply Pace over 2130m. Prepared at Hopeland by Lewis’s wife Debra, Bill Haley will start from barrier No. 1 and Lewis should take advantage of the draw by leading all the way with the gelding and beating his chief rival Major Pocket. Bill Haley has been purchased by Debra and Chris Lewis’s son Mark, Luke Montgomery, Nathan Morrone, Julie Champion, Paul Webster and Victorian harness racing personality Cameron Lee. He is lightly raced, having had 32 starts in New Zealand for four wins and five placings and six starts in Queensland for four wins. He is renowned for his blistering finishing bursts but is also a speedy beginner and highly capable frontrunner. He led from barrier three four starts ago when he won a 2040m event by ten lengths at a 1.58.5 rate at Redcliffe. Bill Haley was most impressive in unwinding dazzling late bursts to win a $31,600 Four-Year-Old Championship over 2138m at Albion Park and a 2280m $25,500 feature event at Redcliffe at his two most recent outings in late July. Two starts ago, he was a 14/1 chance when he raced three wide for the first 300m and then in the breeze for a while before settling in sixth position in the one-wide line. He was sixth with 350m to travel and went five wide on the home turn for reinsman Mark Purdon and flew home to get up and win by a head at a 1.54.5 rate with the final three quarters run in 28.4sec., 28.3sec. and 27.3sec. Six days later at Redcliffe Bill Haley, a 22/1 outsider driven by Kylie Rasmussen, unleashed a devastating burst from sixth at the 400m to get up and win by a half-length from the pacemaker Our Uncle Sam. Bill Haley is out of Presidential Ball mare Elite Belle, who raced 73 times for 11 wins, 15 placings and $102,927 in prizemoney. Elite Belle’s half-sister Five Card Draw has had 163 starts for 31 wins, 49 placings and stakes of $647,224. Her 17 wins in Queensland before going to America in 2016 included the Group 3 Four-Year-Old Championship at Albion Park in July 2014 and the Group 3 Redcliffe Cup in July 2016.   Ken Casellas

Star reinsman Chris Lewis has fond memories of his brief association with Bettor Reward and he is looking forward to joining forces again with the eight-year-old in the opening event, the Allwood Stud Farm Pace over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “He looks my best drive at the meeting,” he declared after the Clint Hall-trained eight-year-old drew the coveted No. 1 barrier in the $20,000 sprint. “It’s a good race for him, 1730m and barrier one. Wesley (barrier five) has good gate speed, but one is a good advantage.” Bettor Reward has raced 51 times for 13 wins and 11 placings, but Lewis has driven him only four times for a second to Three Bears at Bunbury in February 2016, an all-the-way win over The Odd Lover in the Manea Classic at Bunbury the same month, an unplaced run at Gloucester Park in December 2017 and fort an all-the-way win over 2190m at Northam seven starts ago. Bettor Reward was a winner three starts ago when he was handled by Hall and worked hard in the breeze for much of the way before beating Dominate The Dojo and The War Nurse at a 1.57 rate over 1730m at Gloucester Park on August 9. At his next two starts, with Hall in the sulky, Bettor Reward started from wide barriers and was unplaced over 2130m Black Jack Zac (barrier two) and Ardens Concord (three) should appreciate favourable draws, while Wesley (five), You Gotta Have Faith (six), Saleahs Comand (eight) and Hy Leexciting (No. 3 on the back line) will have admirers. Wesley, to be driven by Dylan Egerton-Green for Bunbury trainer Sarah Wall, possess sparkling gate speed and is overdue for a change of luck after close seconds to Catastrophic Event (over 1609m at Bunbury) and Magestic Prince (over 1684m at Pinjarra). However, Lewis is confident Bettor Reward can hold out the speedy pacer in the early battle for the lead. Saleahs Comand and Roman Aviator (barrier nine) also possess excellent gate speed, but like Wesley, they face tough tasks to outspeed Bettor Reward after the mobile releases the field.              You Gotta Have Faith, to be driven by Gary Hall Jnr for Waroona trainer Bob Mellsop, looks set for a strong return to racing after an absence of almost six months. He impressed in a 2185m trial at Pinjarra last Sunday morning when he began speedily from barrier four, led for the first 550m and then took the trail behind James Butt before sprinting home strongly to win from that pacer at a 1.57.9 rate, with final quarters of 27.6sec. and 28.3sec. Ken Casellas

Champion reinsman Chris Lewis has won the $50,000 James Brennan Memorial a record eight times and he has not given up hope of recording his ninth victory in the Group 2 2536m feature event at Gloucester Park on Friday night despite Our Corelli drawing the outside barrier (No. 9) on the front line. Our Corelli, trained by Lewis’s wife Debra, is in superb form and has been most impressive in recording effortless all-the-way victories over 2130m on the past two Friday nights when he started from the prized No. 1 barrier. Lewis admitted that the lightly-raced five-year-old faced a stern test from the wide barrier but said that the gelding could not be written off as a winning prospect. “He keeps on improving and has stepped up in the past couple of starts,” he said. “The saving grace this week is that the race is over 2536m and that gives us some chance.” Our Corelli, who has won at seven of his ten starts for the Lewis stable, possesses sparkling gate speed, but Lewis is unlikely to use this ability in a bid to outpace the eight runners drawn on his inside. “There’s nothing like leading,” Lewis said. “But he comes home strongly from behind, and we will be reliant on a good solid pace.” Lewis was philosophical about Our Corelli drawing the outside barrier, saying: “We’ve had a fairly good run with draws in recent times until Deb has got three runners on Friday night and they have all drawn barrier nine in random draws.” Leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond have high hopes of turning the tables on Our Corelli after Vampiro gave a fighting performance to finish a 7m second to Our Corelli in last Friday night’s group 3 York Cup. Vampiro raced wide early and then worked hard in the breeze and battled on gamely, with the final 800m being covered in 54.9sec. Vampiro will start from the outside (barrier two) on the back line and should settle down in a handy position in the one-wide line for star reinsman Ryan Warwick. Vampiro raced without cover before finishing determinedly to snatch a half-head victory over the pacemaker Our Corelli in the 2536m August Cup four weeks ago. Vampiro, a winner of one raced from seven starts in New Zealand, has been a wonderful performer in Western Australia with 18 wins and 15 placings from 42 starts. He was hot favourite at 3/1 on when he started from barrier three and dashed to the front after 120m before setting a solid pace and sprinting over the final 800m in 55.9sec. when he won the 2130m Brennan Memorial from stablemate Our Jimmy Johnstone and Tricky Styx last November. The Bond stable will again be represented by 11-year-old Our Jimmy Johnstone as well as seven-year-old El Jacko in this week’s feature event. The evergreen Our Jimmy Johnstone will start from the No. 1 barrier with Bailey McDonough in the sulky, with Dylan Egerton-Green handling the talented El Jacko from the inside of the back line. Adding interest to this week’s race will be the return of the smart Ross Olivieri-trained seven-year-old Motu Premier, who will be making his first appearance since he had a tough run in the breeze before winning the 2536m Media Guild Cup 50 weeks ago, beating King of Swing and Vampiro in a desperately close three-way photo finish. Lewis has driven Motu Premier for seven of his eight wins from 26 starts in WA. Chris Voak will handle the New Zealand-bred seven-year-old for the first time in a race. He handled the gelding in three recent 2150m trials at Byford for two wins and a third placing. Motu Premier was driven by Lewis when he finished powerfully from sixth at the bell to be third behind Chicago Bull and Soho Tribeca in the 2536m Brennan memorial two years ago. “The 2536m is not ideal for Motu Premier first-up,” said Olivieri. “His trials have been good. He will probably need a run or two to reach his peak, but he should be thereabouts. We’re ready to go and his main mission will be the Fremantle Cup and WA Pacing Cup in January.” Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall Snr will be represented by smart five-year-olds Speed Man (barrier four) and King of Swing (five). Stuart McDonald will handle King of Swing, who was driven by Gary Hall Jnr when he enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, and fought on well when third behind Our Corelli last Friday night. Hall jnr has opted to drive Speed Man, who started from barrier nine and raced at the rear when eighth behind Our Corelli last week. In-form Andrew de Campo-trained six-year-old Handsandwheels is awkwardly drawn at barrier five and Aiden de Campo is likely to keep his options open regarding his tactics. Handsandwheels, a winner of three races in a row last month, is capable of fighting out the finish. Ravenswood trainer Nathan Turvey is hoping for a strong performance from Simba Bromac, who is ideally drawn at barrier two. Lewis drove Simba Bromac to an all-the-way win from the No. 2 barrier over 2130m at his latest appearance, six weeks ago.   Ken Casellas

Our Corelli is the youngest and least experienced runner in the $25,000 August Cup over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night, but champion reinsman Chris Lewis is bubbling with confidence about the four-year-old’s winning prospects. Lewis said he was delighted when Our Corelli, trained by his wife Debra and owned by their son Mark, drew the coveted No. 1 barrier. “We’ll definitely push out and we’ll hold up,” said Lewis, who added that he was impressed with the sparkling gate speed the New Zealand-bred gelding showed in a 2130m event last Friday night. Our Corelli was unable to cross the polemarker Convert Denario and after racing in the breeze in the early stages he raced in sixth position, one-out and two-back, before finishing a sound sixth behind Handsandwheels, who rated a smart 1.55.6. “The extra distance this week won’t hurt Our Corelli,” Lewis said. “Barrier one suits him and he’s definitely a winning chance. He seems to be bouncing off his runs pretty well.”     Our Corelli has raced beyond 2185m only once in his 27-start career. That was at his first start for Debra Lewis when he finished boldly from sixth at the bell to win from the favourite The Lightning Strike at a 1.57.6 rate over 2692m at Pinjarra on July 1 this year. The gelding boasts a splendid record for the Lewis stable --- seven starts in the space of 41 days for five wins and $53,949 in stakes. He is the second foal out of the Christian Cullen mare Reklaw, who was retired after two starts in New Zealand in October 2012 for a head second over 2600m at Timaru and a strong-finishing nose victory over 1950m at Addington. Our Corelli’s full-brother Rishi is still racing n Victoria where he has won nine times for Lance Justice after winning at three of his five starts in New Zealand.  Our Corelli and Rishi are closely related to Franco Encore, who earned $593,738 from 28 wins and 19 placings from 70 starts. Franco Encore won eight times in New Zealand and three times from four starts in Australia (including the $50,000 Queensland Derby and the $100,000 Australian Derby at Albion Park in July 1997).  The August Cup was first run in 1950 when Doug Booth drove Lily Girl to victory over Johnnie Robert and Gamble King. Lewis was successful in the 2012 August Cup when he brought the Andrew de Campo-trained Dasher VC with a surging burst from eighth in the middle stages to beat Cromac Johnny and Sneakyn Down Under. One of Our Corelli’s most serious rivals on Friday night is the Stephen Reed-trained Kiwi Legend, who will be driven by Mark Reed from the No. 2 barrier. Mark Reed has won the August Cup as a reinsman with Another Party (2000), Buck The Odds (2004) and Tricky Vic (2005) and Stephen Reed prepared Uppy Son for his win over Has The Answers in the 2013. A win by Kiwi Legend would come as a welcome present for Mark Reed, who celebrated his 39th birthday on Wednesday this week. Champion trainer Gary Hall Snr has won the August Cup with Zakara (1991-92-93-94), Im Themightyquinn (2010), Northview Punter (2014) and Chicago Bull (2018). He will be represented in this year’s Cup by Herrick Roosevelt and Whozideawasthis. Hall’s son Gary (who will drive Herrick Roosevelt) has won the Easter Cup with Im Themightyquinn, Uppy Son, Northview Punter and Chicago Bull. Greg Bond, who prepares veteran Our Jimmy Johnstone (Bailey McDonough) and the talented duo of El Jacko (Dylan Egerton-Green) and Vampiro (Ryan Warwick) in partnership with his wife Skye, trained Mister Odds On when Colin Brown drove him to victory over Spirit of Shard and Fourmoore in the 2009 August Cup. El Jacko and Vampiro have drawn out wide but each is capable of a bold showing. The Phil Costello-trained Vultan Tin (Chris Voak) can never be left out of calculations, but the seven-year-old faces a stern test from the outside barrier (No. 9). Ken Casellas

Talented filly Double Expresso faces her toughest test to date when she lines up in Friday night's Group 1 Diamond Classic (2130m).  The Sweet Lou filly has put together an imposing record of six wins from seven starts, clearly the pick of this season's two-year-olds, but a wide barrier draw in seven has raised question marks if she's good enough to win the $100,000 feature. Double Expresso burst on to the scene with a 9.4m win at Bunbury in February over the mile. She then bought that form to town with commanding performances in both the heat and the final of the Sales Classic. However, the filly's momentum was bought to a screeching halt when she finished third to Jaspervellabeach in the Champagne Classic (2130m). The Ross Olivieri-trained filly bounced back with a sound performance in the Diamond Classic heat, rating 2.00.2 in the 3.1m win. Double Expresso's time was the slowest of the four heats, but if there were any chinks in the armour reinsman Chris Lewis is struggling to find them. "She's done that comfortablly," Lewis told GPTV of the heat win.  "It was probably a little bit too easy. "All it means is Ross has to adjust his workload in between and she should be fine." Since its inception in 2004, Lewis has won the Diamond Classic on three occasions with Dilingers Reign (2005), Sensational Gabby (2011) and Lady Luca (2016).  Lewis said Double Expresso was deserving of being one of the main fancies in the Group 1 from the wide barrier, but was still mindful of the her long-term prospects. "She's capable still of playing a big part in that race," he said. "She's still got to grow into herself a little bit. "She should be a pretty nice three-year-old, you would reckon." One three-year-old Lewis does get the chance to drive on Friday night is the Vicki Lea-trained Gee Jay Kay. Gee Jay Kay was made to trial after his last start fifth in the Group 2 Pearl Classic on May 18. The gelding broke soon after the start which ended his prospects of winning the race. However, he produced the run of the race to bounce back and finish fifth behind Theo Aviator. Gee Jay Kay now has to start from barrier nine for this Friday's APC By Schneider Electric 3YO Pace (2536m).  The son of Western Terror will have his work cut out to return to the winners stall, given the Justin Prentice-trained duo of Back In Twenty and Know When To Run have drawn to his inside. Lewis said he was disappointed Gee Jay Kay had the bad luck in the Group 2 last start, but indicated he would make a few changes going into Friday night. "He'd been going exceptionally well," he said. "Overall, we were probably a little bit too confident.  "I think we will drive him a little bit differently, a little bit conservatively and within himself.  "He can obviously do some work in a race, there's no two ways about that. "It's a matter of being close enough." The pair of youngsters headline a busy night for Lewis, who will also team up with Madame Meilland, Dominate The Dojo and Im Full Of Excuses among his other drives on the 11-event program.    Tim Walker

Talented gelding Gee Jay Kay has a history of breaking in running and racing roughly, but his trainer Vicki Lea is delighted that he has overcome those bad habits and is ready to perform strongly in the $50,000 Pearl Classic for three-year-olds at Gloucester Park on Saturday night. “He’s a different horse now and is more relaxed,” she said. “Before, he was quite angry and uptight and did things wrong in his races. When he was hopping and skipping, he was an angry horse. “He’s come a long way; he’s had some feet issues and we’ve worked through them and now we are just waiting for everything to fall into place. His whole attitude has changed and he’s now a happy horse. “It’s been a matter of what works for him. He’s a horse who is always busy; he’s always thinking and looking, and he doesn’t miss a trick. It’s been a matter of trying to find that niche for him which we think we’ve found. “We are happy with the way he’s coming along. He is starting to mature and has discovered what he’s meant to be doing. Barrier seven on Saturday night is not ideal, but we’re not the only ones who have drawn a difficult barrier. I think he should be thereabouts.” Gee Jay Kay, to be driven by master reinsman Chris Lewis, looks one of the main chances, along with Aldo Cortopassi’s Theo Aviator, the Colin Brown-trained pair of Its Rock And Roll and Patrickthepiranha and Justin Prentice’s Back In Twenty. Gee Jay Kay warmed up for the classic in good style with an effortless victory in a 2130m event at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night when he started from barrier four and raced without cover before taking a narrow lead 450m from home and cruising to the line to win, untouched by Lewis, from Jiving Jolt and the pacemaker Jilliby Jake. He could have gone considerably faster, but Lewis was quite content to give him an easy run in the breeze, with a very slow lead time of 39sec. and meandering opening quarters of 31.4sec. and 30.7sec. before he dashed over the final 400m sections in 28.8sec. and 27.9sec. The win improved Gee Jay Kay’s record to 15 starts for five wins and seven placings for earnings of $37,374 and he looks set for a bright future, with his chief mission as a four-year-old the prestigious Golden Nugget championship. The Pearl Classic was robbed of considerable interest with the absence of brilliant New Zealand-bred colt Franco Edward, who notched his 11th win from 18 starts when he set the pace and scored an easy victory at a 1.56.1 rate over 2130m in a qualifying heat of the classic on Tuesday of last week. Trainer-reinsman Kyle Harper said that the colt had been sent for a spell, explaining: “He’s been up for a while and has had a few little niggles. I wasn’t quite happy with him. He has been impressive in recent starts and racing in good form, but I think that was just because he is a high-calibre horse. “He wasn’t quite right and has gone to the paddock to make sure he gets the best opportunity to come back as a very good four-year-old. I wasn’t quite happy with the way he pulled up after his latest win, so I sent him to the paddock for a well-earned spell. The main concern is the horse and his well-being and to make sure he has a bright and long future. “It’s disappointing because I’m sure he would have been very competitive and hard to beat in the Pearl. There are still some classy horses in the race and some of the higher-assessed horses are drawn awkwardly. I think the one to follow could be Back In Twenty; he’s the one I like.” Back In Twenty, to be driven by Gary Hall Jnr, will start from the outside barrier (No. 2) on the back line and is capable of unwinding a strong finishing burst. He has led and won at two of his past three starts. Brown is hoping for a change of luck with Its Rock And Roll, who will start out wide at barrier eight on the front line. The gelding is a stout-hearted performer who has raced seven times this season for five placings after winning four times as a two-year-old. Patrickthepiranha, to be driven by Dylan Egerton-Green, is sure to be tested from the outside barrier (No. 9) but has the class to overcome this disadvantage. He won at his first seven appearances as a three-year-old before unplaced runs at his past three outings. His was last in a field of 12 in the middle stages before finishing solidly to finish seventh behind Franco Edward in the heart of the Pearl. “That was the best he’s hit the line at his past three starts,” said Egerton-Green. “He was racing a little bit flat going into the Derby two starts ago (when sixth behind Major Trojan) and then had a bit of a let-up and he’s come back a lot sharper.” Cortopassi said he was pleased with Theo Aviator’s last-start fourth behind Franco Edward when the gelding had a tough run, racing three wide early and then in the breeze. Theo Aviator, a winner at ten of his 26 starts, will begin from barrier four in the front line and Cortopassi aims to use the gelding’s gate speed in a bid for the early lead.   Ken Casellas

Hopeland trainer Debra Lewis is enjoying a golden run of successes which should continue when speedy four-year-old The War Nurse contests the www.gloucesterpark.com.au over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Saturday night. In the past 12 weeks Lewis has prepared 24 winners with The War Nurse winning at four of her six starts, and Luis Alberto (six wins), The Watch Maker (four), Carte Blanche (four), Vrai Amour (two), Lot Twenty One (two) and Pierre Whitby (two) all racing in with great enthusiasm. The War Nurse, to be handled by the trainer’s husband Chris, will start from the No. 5 barrier on Saturday night and the mare possesses such sparkling gate speed that she should be able to cross to the front and then dictate the terms of the 2130m event. Last Friday night, The War Nurse began very fast from barrier three and set the pace in the $50,000 WASBA Breeders Pace in which she fought on grandly to finish third behind Our Alfie Romeo and Rosies Ideal. She led from barrier five and won at a 1.55.8 rate from Ona Happy Note and The Trilogy a week earlier and scoring effortless victories at Pinjarra at her three previous outings. The War Nurse, who managed five thirds from 15 starts as a three-year-old, has really blossomed this season, with six wins, four thirds and three fourths from 13 starts. She is likely to be tested by smart mares in Beaudiene Beach Babe, Kitura and Purest Silk, but should emerge triumphant. Beaudiene Beach Babe, to be driven by Gary Hall Jnr for trainer Justin Prentice, is favourably drawn at barrier three and should fight out the finish. She dashed to the lead after 400m in the standing-start Race For Roses last Friday week before relinquishing the front and being shuffled back to fifth, three back on the pegs, and then running home with great determination to finish a head second to Miss Sangrial. Kitura, trained and driven by Nathan Turvey, was unlucky at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week when she trailed the pacemaker Breach The Beach and was badly blocked for a clear run in the closing stages when third to that pacer over 1730m. She will have many admirers this week from the prized No. 1 barrier. Purest Silk, trained by Barry Howlett, will start from the inside of the back line and should be prominent. She notched her eighth win from 25 starts when she finished powerfully to win from Crystal Sparkles and the pacemaker Cut Above at a 1.57./6 rate on Tuesday night. The Lewis stable will also have a strong following in other events on Saturday night, with Pierre Whitby (race two), Lot Twenty One (race six), Soho Leviathan (race seven) and Luis Alberto (race ten). Luis Alberto, a New Zealand-bred gelding, has been a revelation in the past few months, with his 13 starts for Lewis producing six wins and three placings. He is handily drawn at barrier three in the final event on Saturday night, the 1730m The Bridge Bar Pace, and should fight out the finish for Jocelyn Young, who has formed a strong association with the five-year-old. Considerable interest in this event surrounds the first appearance in Western Australia of Victorian performer Mad Robber, an eight-year-old stallion who has hade 43 starts for 11 wins, ten seconds and four thirds. Mad Robber, prepared by Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall Snr, will start from the coveted No. 1 barrier and reinsman Gary Hall jnr is sure to make full use of the horse’s good gate speed over the sprint trip. Mad Robber, driven by Maddison Brown, impressed in winning a 2150m trial at Byford on Sunday morning when the horse began fast from barrier one, set the pace and sprinted the final 400m in 27.5sec. in beating Galante by one and a half lengths at a 1.57.3 rate. He will be having his first start on Saturday night since he raced in the breeze and wilted to fifth behind Rackemup Tigerpie over 1710m at Ballarat on December 26 last year.   Ken Casellas

Unbeaten filly Double Expresso faces a moment of truth when she clashes with a trio of talented colts in Secret Operation, Poisedtopounce and Jaspervellabeach in the $50,000 Champagne Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night. However, trainer Ross Olivieri and champion reinsman Chris Lewis have a high opinion of Double Expresso and are confident she is capable of maintaining her impeccable record. Lewis, who has won the Champagne Classic a record seven times with Pardon Me Boys (1987), Talladega (1999), Wirrpunda (2001), All Four Firing (2000), Slick Operator (2001), David Hercules (2009) and Mister Jadore (2013) said: “If she can beat the colts, it will be an exceptional feat. “It is always hard for a filly to come up against the colts, but she’s pretty relaxed and I’m able to use a few options with her. She hasn’t raced beyond 1730m, but I’m sure the 2130m won’t be a problem.” Double Expresso is a free-rolling filly who has not been fully extended in recording convincing victories in all of her five starts in which her average winning margin is 7.6 metres. She is favourably drawn at the No. 2 barrier in the field of five in the group 2 event. Coolup trainer Kristy Elson holds a strong hand in the race with three runners, Secret Operation (Michael Grantham), Jaspervellabeach (Nathan Turvey) and Telk Tayte. Jaspervellabeach is unbeaten at his two appearances, both over 1730m. He will start from barrier four. He possesses excellent gate speed and he began fast from the No. 5 barrier when he set the pace and won by two and a half lengths from Secret Operation at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week. Secret Operation was slow to begin, and he caught the eye with a powerful finishing burst when he charged home from last in a field of seven to make up several lengths on Jasperbellabeach in the home straight. “He flew home,” said Grantham. “If the pace is on, he’ll be flashing home and they’ll definitely know he’s there. Double Expresso’s form is faultless and Poisedtopounce was impressive when he won at Pinjarra on Monday.” Poisedtopounce, to be driven by Ryan Warwick for leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, will start from the prized No. 1 barrier. He has good gate speed, but not exceptional early pace. He warmed up for Friday night’s classic with a convincing victory at Pinjarra on Monday. He began smartly from barrier five but was forced to race four wide for the first 250m before he took up the running 200m later. The four quarters of the race whizzed by in 28.7sec., 28.9sec., 27.7sec. and 28.7sec., with Poisedtopounce rating a fast 1.54.1. Fillies have a reasonable record in the Champagne Stakes, which was first run in 1970. In the past 25 years five fillies have been successful - Nowuseemenowudont (2000), Sheza Clout (2006), Arma Xpress (2012), Tricky Styx (2014) and Cott Beach (2017). Cott Beach, a 6/1 chance driven by Turvey, finished powerfully from ninth at the bell to win from another filly, Miss Sangrial (33/1). Cott Beach was trained by Gary Elson, whose daughter Kristy is keen to emulate him by scoring this week with one of her three runners. Lewis has driven 99 winners this season (98 in WA) and Double Expresso is the best of his eight drives on the night. It would be fitting if he brought up the century in a Group 2 feature event. Ken Casellas

Eight-year-old Soho Wonder has impressed on the past two Friday nights with fast-finishing placings over 2536m. However, the Jet Laag gelding could well be seen in a vastly different role when he starts from the prized No. 1 barrier in the 2130m Westral Pace for trainer-reinsman Brett Smith at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. He has set the pace and won nine times --- at Ballarat, Ararat (before being relegated to second after a protest), Cranbourne, Young, Echuca, Gloucester Park (twice), Pinjarra and Wagin. Soho Wonder was a 100/1 chance two starts ago when he was restrained from barrier six and was 11th at the bell before flashing home, out five wide, from ninth on the home turn to finish second to the pacemaker Debt Free Charlie. Then, last Friday night, he was restrained from barrier eight and sustained a spirited three-wide burst from last at the bell to finish third behind Mighty Flying Deal and Good Times Ahead. Smith is sure to seriously contemplate making full use of Soho Wonder's excellent gate speed in a bid to record an all-the-way victory. Veteran Three Kings (barrier two) and the promising Just Bet On Black (barrier three) possess excellent gate speed, but it is difficult to visualise either of them outgunning Soho Wonder at the start. Just Bet On Black, trained and driven by Dylan Egerton-Green, appeals as Soho Wonder's toughest rival. The six-year-old who has had 41 starts for 11 wins, nine seconds and three thirds, is in good form. He finished boldly from seventh at the bell when a last-start fourth behind Bob Wheel last Friday week and he was a strong winner from Dominate The Dojo and Mistersandman two starts before that. Champion reinsman Chris Lewis has given punters an excellent lead by opting to handle Marquisard in preference to Carte Blanche and Destined To Rule in the 2130m Cowden The Insurance Brokers Pace. Marquisard, trained by Craig Abercromby, has drawn the coveted No. 1 barrier and Lewis will be determined to use the four-year-old's natural gate speed in a bid for an all-the-way victory. Marquisard set the pace from barrier one over 2130m last Friday night and was overhauled right on the line by the fast-finishing Ideal One to go down by a half-head. Marquisard now has started from the No. 1 barrier four times from 53 starts for three all-the-way wins and last week's second placing. Lewis has been the regular driver for Destined To Rule and Carte Blanche. Deni Roberts will drive Destined To Rule from the No. 3 barrier and Jocelyn Young has been engaged for Carte Blanche, who is poorly drawn out wide at barrier eight.   Ken Casellas

Eight-time WA leading trainer Ross Olivieri and Hall of Fame reinsman Chris Lewis have formed a powerful combination over the past 35 years and they are poised to record another Group 1 success by winning the $100,000 WA Sales Classic for two-year-old fillies at Gloucester park on Friday night. They have teamed together for wins in this feature event with Parthenon (1994), Backin A Jiffy (2000) and Hindu Sitara (2003), and for good measure Lewis has also been successful behind Miss Booth (1991), Amongst Royalty (2006), Fidelius Charm (2008) and Tenniele Erin (2017). This week Olivieri and Lewis (who have combined for 21 Group 1 successes) will join forces with brilliant filly Double Expresso, who looks outstanding from barrier four. “She is a very laid-back filly and the fastest two-year-old I have ever trained,” declared a confident Olivieri. Double Expresso has not been extended in scoring effortless victories at Bunbury and Gloucester Park. She raced wide early and then in the breeze before winning in 1.57.3 by three lengths from Sports Package. The final quarters were run in 28.1sec. and 27.4sec. Then Double Expresso, from barrier seven, raced wide early before taking the lead after 550m and rating 1.55.7 in beating Brave Lady by just under four lengths in a 1730m qualifying heat at Gloucester Park. Double Expresso, bred by Kevin and Annette Charles, was sold for $22,000 at the 2018 APG yearling sale in Perth. She is by American stallion Sweet Lou and is out of the Rich And Spoilt mare Here For The Money. Here For The Money raced 79 times for seven wins (three at Bunbury, three at Narrogin and one at Pinjarra) and 18 placings for earnings of $81,874. She was placed at nine of her 38 starts at Gloucester Park. Here For The Money finished second to Soho Cannes in the 2011 Sales Classic for two-year-old fillies and Double Expresso should go one better in the classic this week. She is owned by Olivieri’s wife Jemma Hayman in partnership with first-time owners Brian Miller, Roslyn Carbon and her brother Peter Carbon, a top-flight golfer from the Fremantle Golf Club who combined with his brother Glenn to win the Australian foursomes title many years ago. Peter Carbon’s only involvement in harness racing was when he toiled as a penciller for good friend and on-course Gloucester Park bookmaker Brett Lenton, also many years ago. Double Expresso’s rise to stardom revives wonderful memories of former star New South Wales pacing mare Wickawack. She traces her breeding back to the Lawrie Moulds-trained and driven Wickawack, who finished second to Redwin and to James Scott in the 1962 Interdominion championship series in Perth before being unplaced behind James Scott in the final. Wickawack had a strong connection with WA pacing. Her dam Brunswick Girl’s first four foals were bred in WA and Brunswick Jack, Lawnwick, Comedian and Countess Brun were winners in WA in the 1950s. The other heat winner in this year’s classic is $6500 yearling Moon Goddess, who revealed excellent gate speed from barrier seven for trainer-driver Ryan Bell before setting the pace and beating Major Think Twice at a 1.58.2 rate. Her gross time of 2min. 7sec. was considerably slower than the 2min. 4.4sec. recorded by Double Expresso. Fifo, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, warmed up for the classic with an easy all-the-way win over 1684m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. She is the first foal out of Major Flirt, who finished fourth behind Artistic Copper in the 2013 Sales Classic. Fifo, to be handled by Ryan Warwick, faces a tough task from barrier six.   Ken Casellas

All-conquering trainers Greg and Skye Bond are full of hope that history will repeat itself when they send Saying Grace, Our Jimmy Johnstone and Our Max Phactor out to do battle in the $25,000 Glenroy Chaff Ray Duffy Memorial over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. They are hoping that they will get a trifecta result to replicate their performance when they last had three runners in the Duffy Memorial in April 2013 when Russley Rascal, the 9/4 favourite from the No. 1 barrier and driven by Morgan Woodley, set the pace and won from stablemates Can Return Fire (Nathan Turvey) and Ima Rocket Star (Ryan Warwick).    This week the Bonds have excellent prospects of a 1-2-3 finish with Warwick in the sulky behind Saying Grace, Dylan Egerton-Green driving veteran Our Jimmy Johnstone from the No. 2 barrier and Colin Brown handling Our Max Phactor from an ideal draw at No. 2 on the back line. The New Zealand-bred Saying Grace is the least experienced runner in the field, with a record of 11 wins and five placings from 27 starts. He drops considerably in class after stout-hearted efforts in the Fremantle Cup and WA Pacing Cup on the past two Fridays and he should be capable of setting the pace and notching another victory. Saying Grace raced in seventh position in the one-wide line for much of the way in the 21936m Pacing Cup and battled on gamely to finish seventh, less than three lengths from the winner Rocknroll Lincoln. In the 2536m Fremantle Cup the previous week, he trailed the pacemaker My Field Marshal and was hopelessly blocked for a clear passage when a close and unlucky fourth being My Field Marshal. Our Jimmy Johnstone impressed in the Pacing Cup when he ran home solidly from last at the bell to finish fifth, while Our Max Phactor was always at the rear and was forced to cover a lot of extra ground in the final circuit. Our Max Phactor gave a sample of his class three starts ago when he raced wide early and then in the breeze before finishing second to My Field Marshal in the 1730m Village Kid Sprint. His previous 13 starts in Western Australia resulted in 12 wins and one second placing. Trainer Ross Olivieri and reinsman Chris Lewis combined to win the Duffy Memorial with Sensational Gabby in 2014 and Flaming Flutter in 2017 and they will be looking for Mr Mojito to cause an upset from barrier five. Olivieri will also be represented by Itz Bettor To Win, who will start from barrier six with Mitch Miller in the sulky. Handsandwheels, Vultan Tin and Runrunjimmydunn are racing with plenty of spirit, but will need luck from wide barriers. Handsandwheels warmed up for the race by starting from 60 metres over 2503m at Bunbury last Saturday night. He sustained a spirited burst, out wide, from the rear to win by a half-length from Attack On Command. He is a noted frontrunner, but reinsman Aiden de Campo contends that the powerful five-year-old will develop into a strong sit-sprinter. The Matt Scott-trained Always Arjay steps up in class, but has place prospects from the inside of the back line. The seven-year-old won for the fifth time this season when he started from 20m, raced three wide early and then without cover before finishing determinedly to snatch victory from Carrera Mach last Friday night.   Ken Casellas

When Rocknroll Lincoln lines up in this Friday night’s Retravision-Fremantle Cup (2536m), it will deliver his owner Glen Mortimer his proudest moment in a sport he has held dear to him for more than 40 years. Mortimer will have a dual role to play in Friday night’s feature, as an owner of a runner in the $300,000 event, as well as being the major sponsor of the race with Retravision. Mortimer recalls spending a countless number of hours at Richmond Raceway as a teenager, where his love for Harness Racing grew. “I used to go and watch trials at Richmond Raceway when horses like Mount Eden were racing,” he said. “My parents often played tennis at a tennis court across the road from the Raceway, so I would sneak across and watch Mount Eden trial. “Watching participants like Fred Kersley and Chris Lewis and horses like James Eden, Binshaw then Preux Chevalier and Village Kid, I thought it was a great spectacle. “Seeing the horses go around the track two or three times a race and being really close to the action, it’s exhilarating.” Mortimer first got involved in ownership as an 18-year-old and said he has now had more than 150 winners as an owner, the highlight of those being Kim Prentice’s Breeders’ Stakes winner Absolutely Ruthless. The success with Absolutely Ruthless prompted Mortimer to continue investing in the industry, which has also provided a few speed bumps for him along the way. “I had a horse called Alberta Retreat, who was beaten as a $1.30 favourite in the WA Derby,” he said. “He won eight of his first nine starts and we thought he was a real good one. “Since then, we have tried to get that really good horse. “I had one win an Easter Cup, but he hurt his leg and we lost him. “That kept me motivated to find a really good one.” The persistence and patience Mortimer has shown to try and get ‘the good one’ is now a realistic chance to pay off over the next fortnight. Rocknroll Lincoln has emerged as a genuine Fremantle Cup contender over the past month, taking out the Bunbury Cup and a Free-For-All at Gloucester Park. It was a ride that Mortimer almost wasn’t a part of. Mortimer had a small team of pacers with Rocknroll Lincoln’s trainer Justin Prentice a couple of years ago, a team he was happy to keep small. When Prentice went to New Zealand in 2017, he called Mortimer to try and get him involved in the son of Rocknroll Hanover. “I had four or five horses with Justin and I said to him ‘I’ll sit with what I’ve got’,” Mortimer said. “He called me from New Zealand and said ‘I know you’re not interested in getting anymore horses, but just watch the video on this link and let me know what you think’. “I was taken with his gate speed, so I called Justin straight back and told him that I’d be in. “I called up another mate after that and said ‘I’ve just bought the best horse I’ll ever have’.” In a further boost for Rocknroll Lincoln’s Fremantle Cup prospects, champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr has elected to stick with him instead of his father Gary Hall Snr’s horse Runrunjimmydunn. The five-year-old will start from barrier four in the Fremantle Cup, with short price favourite My Field Marshal to start from barrier two. Mortimer said it would be a tough task for Rocknroll Lincoln to beat My Field Marshal, the fastest horse in Australasia, but was elated with Hall Jnr sticking by his charge. “Junior is worth two or three lengths because he’s the best in the sport,” he said. “I would’ve thought he’d bustle him out of the gate and maybe get to the breeze and see what happens from there. “My Field Marshal is an outstanding horse and he’s drawn very well. “Galactic Star was unlucky in the Inter Dominion where he stormed home and ran sixth.” After years of watching the champions win one of the state’s biggest races in the sport he loves, Mortimer said he was daring to dream about having his own horse win it. “It’s one of the great time-honoured events in WA pacing,” he said. “Last year we had one of the greatest races of all time at Gloucester Park with Lazarus and My Hard Copy. “It would be one of the biggest thrills in life…I love Harness Racing. “I’d love to be up there on Friday night handing myself the trophy.” Rocknroll Lincoln is on the fourth line of betting with TABtouch for the Fremantle Cup at $12, with Miracle Mile and Village Kid Sprint winner My Field Marshal rated a $1.50 chance.   Tim Walker

Champion reinsman Chris Lewis has given punters a strong pointer by choosing to drive Bettor Finish in preference to Beltane, Innocent Affair and Destined To Rule in the Retravision Lowest Price Guarantee Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He has handled the Barry Howlett-trained Bettor Finish in 28 races for six wins, ten seconds and two thirds and he will be aiming to take full advantage of the prized No. 1 barrier on the front line by attempting an all-the-way victory. Bettor Finish has good gate speed and is a noted frontrunner. The five-year-old led from barrier one when a fighting second to crack three-year-old Bletchley Park in a 2185m event at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. Two starts before that Bettor Finish led from barrier one and won from Northern Emperor and Luis Alberto over 2130m at Gloucester Park. Lewis drove four-year-old Beltane to a decisive 8m victory over Luis Alberto at Gloucester Park two starts ago and at Gloucester Park last Saturday night trainer Nathan Turvey was in the sulky when Beltane impressed greatly when he charged home from the rear to finish a nose second to Major Rush. Turvey will again drive Beltane on Friday night. Lewis has driven Innocent Affair, a four-year-old mare trained by his wife Debra, at 22 of her 23 starts for seven wins and eight placings. Innocent Affair is in top form, with her past five starts producing three wins and two placings. Jocelyn Young will drive Innocent Affair, who will start from barrier five. Deni Roberts will drive Destined To Rule for her mother, Millendon trainer Sonia Zucchiatti. Lewis has enjoyed a successful association with Destined To Rule, with his 33 drives on her producing six wins, two seconds and six thirds. One of the best bets on the ten-event program should be Our Angel of Harlem, who will enjoy the luxury of starting from the No. 1 barrier for the first time in 16 starts in Western Australia when she contests a heat of the Coulson Pace. The New Zealand-bred four-year-old has yet to lead all the way in any of her races, but trainer Mike Reed is confident she will lead and win on Friday night. Her chief rival will be the Justin Prentice-trained Our Major Mama, an effortless first-up winner at Pinjarra on November 12. Ken Casellas

Five-year-old New Zealand-bred gelding Simba Bromac boasts a winning record of 61 per cent and he has good prospects of making a successful return to racing after a spell when he starts from the No. 2 barrier in the $25,000 Westral Vertical and Panel Blinds Free-For-All at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He will be driven by Chris Lewis for Ravenswood trainer Nathan Turvey and should be prominent against stiff opposition from the three smart pacers from the Forrestdale stables of Greg and Skye Bond, Our Jimmy Johnstone, El Jacko and Rock Diamonds. Simba Bromac, whose 31 starts have produced 19 wins, six seconds and three thirds, warmed up for his first-up assignment in fine style with a dashing win over Chiaroscuro in a 2185m trial at Pinjarra last Sunday morning when he was not asked for an effort until the final stages when he sprinted over the final 400m in 27.7sec. This will be Simba Bromac’s first appearance since he began speedily from barrier seven, set the pace and sprinted over the final quarters in 27.9sec. and 27.3sec. to win by three lengths from Mitch Maguire at a 1.57 rate over 2130m on August 31. Ten-year-old Our Jimmy Johnstone, to be handled by Dylan Egerton-Green, still possesses excellent gate speed and a strong competitive attitude. He will begin from barrier four and looks set to fight out the finish. So, too, does the enigmatic, but highly talented El Jacko, who will be driven by Ryan Warwick from the coveted No. 1 barrier. El Jacko notched his 17th victory from 42 starts last Friday week when he started from the outside of the back line and charged to the front after 550m on his way to a stylish victory over Kimani. Turvey also holds a strong hand in the Westral Timber Blinds Pace in which he will be represented by the polemarker Livura and Carter Micheal at barrier two in the 2130m event. He will handle Carter Micheal and Chris Lewis will be in the sulky behind Livura. Lewis drove Livura to an effortless victory over Bad Round and El Machine, rating 1.57.3 over 2130 at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week. That ended a losing sequence of 16 and was the seven-year-old’s 20th win from 87 starts. Carter Micheal is racing with refreshing enthusiasm and looks hard to beat. He raced in seventh position on the pegs and was eighth 100m from the post before he sprinted fast to finish an eye-catching third behind Our Max Phactor over 2130m last Friday night. In what appears to be a highly competitive race, the Greg and Skye Bond-trained Saying Grace will have many admirers after winning at six of his past nine starts. He began off 40m and worked forward in the middle stages to race in the breeze when a close second to Carrera Mach over 2503m at Bunbury last Saturday night. He won easily at Kellerberrin and Pinjarra at his two previous outings.     Ken Casellas

Six-year-old Our Max Phactor arrived in Western Australia completely unheralded at the end of August and has been a revelation under the care of leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, with his 11 starts in the State producing ten wins and a close second placing. And this remarkable run of success follows his modest career in New Zealand where he managed just nine wins from 70 starts. He has also shown exceptional qualities here as a standing-start specialist, with six wins from six stands, whereas he had ten runs in stands in New Zealand for one victory by a nose over the marathon trip of 3150m on the grass track at the spacious Hawera circuit. Ryan Warwick, in dazzling form in the sulky, has driven Our Max Phactor in all his races for the Bond camp and he is hoping that the Art Major gelding will maintain his winning ways when he starts off 20m (virtually 10m because there are no runners off the front) in the Mount Eden-No Dill Christmas Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. However, it is unlikely to be simply a walk in the park for Our Max Phactor, who will clash with other smart New Zealand-bred pacers in Mr Mojito and As Happy As Larry. Mr Mojito, to be driven by Chris Lewis for Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri, will start off 20m at his second appearance after a year’s absence. The six-year-old has raced only 28 times for 11 wins (seven in New Zealand, one in WA and three in Victoria). He resumed racing when he began off the 40m mark in a 2631m event at Pinjarra on Monday of last week when he moved forward in the first lap and then worked hard in the breeze before finishing an excellent first-up second to Saying Grace, with final quarters in 27.8sec. and 27.9sec. Mr Mojito was brought to Perth by ace New Zealand trainer-reinsman Mark Purdon at the end of 2016 when the gelding won the $50,000 Four-Year-Old Championship, beating Nathans Courage at a 1.56.2 rate over 2130m. A week later he was the 2/1 favourite in the Group 1 Golden Nugget, but wrecked his chances by hanging badly and he finished fifth behind Soho Tribeca, Nathans Courage, Chicago Bull and Natural Disaster. Victorian trainer-driver Kerryn Manning brought Mr Mojito to Perth late last year to contest the Inter Dominion Championship series in which he was unplaced in three heats. He has spent the past year in rehabilitation with Olivieri and he has the class to seriously test Our Max Phactor on Friday night. Seven-year-old As Happy As Larry is prepared and driven by Robbie Williams and he has been impressive in four outings since resuming from a spell. He raced wide in the early stages and then had a tough passage in the breeze when a fighting second to Mitch Maguire in a 2503m stand last Friday night. Ken Casellas

Inexperienced New Zealand-bred gelding Mighty Conqueror will make his first appearance at Gloucester Park when he contests the $50,000 Four-Year-Old Championship on Friday night and owner-trainers Greg and Skye Bond have high hopes that he will extend his winning sequence to four to strengthen his claims for a start in the $125,000 Yes Loans Four-Year-Old Classic in a fortnight and the $200,000 Retravision Golden Nugget two weeks after that. Mighty Conqueror arrived in Western Australia five months ago and has scored an effortless victory at Kellerberrin and two stylish wins at Pinjarra in considerably weaker company than he will meet this week. This will be a serious test for the son of American Ideal who has won at six of his seven starts. He will be handled by Ryan Warwick and has drawn favourably at barrier two on the front line of the 2130m event. Mighty Conqueror possesses excellent gate speed, but so does several of his handily-drawn opponents, Think About Me (barrier one), Bechers Brook (three) and Golden State (five). Mighty Conqueror led and won by more than six lengths at Kellerberrin before leading and sprinting the final 400m in 27sec. to beat Carrera Mach by a length at Pinjarra. He revealed his versatility at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon when Warwick restrained him from barrier six and the gelding settled down in tenth position before he showed sparkling speed to dash forward and take up the running about 1200m from home and then cover the final three quarters in 29.1sec., 29.1sec. and 26.9sec. He won by 19.6m from Danny Del Vito. Mighty Conqueror showed splendid gate speed at his final appearance in New Zealand, in a 2200m event at Invercargill on May 26 when he was first out from barrier four. He was restrained after 200m to take the sit behind Smooth Mara and was eased off the pegs 300m from home, took the lead 150m from the post and won from the fast-finishing Young Conqueror, his elder half-brother. The Bonds will also be represented in Friday night’s race by Bright Diamond, who will be driven by Chris Lewis from barrier six. Bright Diamond is in fine form, with his past ten starts producing six wins, three seconds and one third. Mighty Conqueror’s toughest rivals loom large as the Mike Reed-trained pair of Bechers Brook and Golden State and the polemarker Think About Me, who has won at each of his past four starts and will be driven by Stuart McDonald. He is prepared by Gary Hall snr, who is in New Zealand. Dylan Egerton-Green will handle Bechers Brook, who has raced 19 times for ten wins, seven placings and $143,143 in stakes. Bechers Brook warmed up for his important assignment this week when he finished stoutly from sixth at the bell to be second to the brilliant Jack Mack over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday of last week. He is generally recognised as a powerful sit-sprinter, but he also possesses excellent gate speed. Golden State, a winner at seven of his 16 starts, has wonderful potential and has impressed with his sizzling gate speed. He will be driven by Mark Reed, who could well attempt to steal a march on his rivals by using the horse’s early brilliance. Pinjarra trainer Aiden Warwick has two runners, Shadow Maker (Nathan Turvey) and Sweet N Fast (Aldo Cortopassi). Each show considerable promise, but they face hard tasks this week from wide draws. Our Corelli’s prospects also slumped when he drew the outside barrier (No. 9) and the Justin Prentice trained and driven gelding will lead a lot of luck to overcome this significant disadvantage. Our Corelli has set the pace and won at three of his past four outings, one at Gloucester Park and two at Pinjarra, but he will be at liberal odds from his poor draw. Ken Casellas 

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