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Lightly-raced five-year-old Herrick Roosevelt has made a full recovery from leg surgery and champion trainer Gary Hall Snr is confident the New Zealand-bred gelding can make a successful return to racing after an absence of 421 days by winning the $50,000 RWWA Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. This will be Herrick Roosevelt’s first start since he led and held on grimly to win the $50,000 Christmas Gift by a short half-head from Walkinshaw in December 2017 and his first-up prospects have been enhanced by drawing the prized No. 1 barrier in this week’s Group 2 feature event over 2130m. The Christian Cullen pacer has not appeared in recent trials, but Hall said he was fit and ready to run a big race. “His work in this preparation has been the best of his career and he’s a quick beginner and smart frontrunner,” he said. Herrick Roosevelt, to be driven by Gary Hall Jnr, underwent surgery after winning the Christmas Gift when he developed a cyst in a stifle joint in a back leg. He has raced only 18 times (all in Western Australia) for ten wins and six placings for stakes of $138,206. The Halls are seeking to win the RWWA Cup for the second year in succession. They were successful last year when Chicago Bull, favourite at 10/1 on, raced four wide early, took the lead after 650m and defeated stablemate Ohoka Punter by four lengths. Herrick Roosevelt is likely to be tested seriously by dependable iron horse Vultan Tin, who is in grand form for Coolup trainer Phil Costello and reinsman Chris Voak. Vultan Tin will start from barrier four and Voak is expected to make full use of the hardy seven-year-old’s good gate speed. “The worst case scenario will be working in the breeze,” Voak said. Vultan Tin maintained his excellent form when he was first out from the No. 4 barrier, but was unable to cross the polemarker Mr Mojito and then raced without cover before taking a narrow lead in the final stages and being beaten by a head by the fast-finishing Mitch Maguire over 2130m last Friday night. The final quarters were run in 28.2sec. and 27.7sec. A week earlier, Vultan Tin led from barrier two and gave a bold frontrunning display to win the Group 2 2536m City of Perth Cup by just under two lengths from the flying El Jacko. The final sections were run in 28.2sec. and 27.8sec. Talented reinsman Aiden de Campo warned punters not to underestimate Handsandwheels, who is awkwardly drawn at barrier No. 6. “He raced four back on the pegs and didn’t get a clear run in the last lap when sixth behind Mitch Maguire last week,” de Campo said. “He was unlucky and if he’d got a run he would’ve gone close to winning. He’s got another tricky draw this week and I haven’t yet decided on my tactics.” Mitch Maguire, prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, is a brilliant sit-sprinter who is capable of overcoming his wide barrier at No. 7. He won for the ninth time from his past 15 starts and for the 23rd time from just 38 starts when he was sixth at the bell and finished powerfully to beat Vultan Tin last week. Shannon Suvaljko said that he was expecting the lone back-line runner Always Arjay to gain a perfect run behind the likely pacemaker Herrick Roosevelt and then figure in the finish. The Nathan Turvey-trained and driven Simba Bromac will reappear after a month’s absence, but the gelding faces a stern test from the outside barrier (No. 9). Simba Bromac warmed up for the race with a stylish all-the-way victory in a 2185m trial at Pinjarra on Sunday morning when he was unextended in dashing over the final 400m in 26.9sec. in beating Chelsea Royale by 19 metres.   Ken Casellas

The induction of Robert Peters, Gary Hall Jnr, David Hamer and Old Comrade are several of the highlights of the 2019 WA Racing Industry Hall Of Fame inductees that were announced today by Racing and Wagering Western Australia (RWWA). They are among twelve new members across the thoroughbred, harness and greyhound codes who will receive their accolades when the star-studded WA Racing Industry Hall Of Fame ceremony is conducted at Crown Perth on February 28. The 2019 class of intakes in WA racing’s highest honour includes five horses, three associates, two trainers and one jockey, driver and greyhound. Peters’ elevation is recognition for his unprecedented achievements and feats on the race track as a breeder, owner and administrator. He has amassed more than 1350 victories across Australia including over 200 at stakes level. At the end of the last racing season Peters had won seven Perth Cups, nine Derbies, thirteen Oaks, four Kingston Town Classics, two Railway Stakes, an Australian Cup, Emirates Stakes and two Goodwood Handicaps. Gary Hall Jr shares the privilege of becoming the second member of his family to join the elite of WA harness racing after his father Gary Hall Snr’s induction as a trainer in the 2014 intake. Hall Jr has been Perth’s champion driver for nine seasons, a tally exceeded by fellow inductees Fred R Kersley (17), Frank Kersley (11) and Chris Lewis (10). A winner of 54 Group races, including three Inter Dominions Championships, Hall Jnr is one of only five drivers to have passed the 2000 career wins mark in Western Australia. Hamer’s elevation as a greyhound trainer is remarkable when you consider the Victorian-born arrived in Perth with no background or experience in the sport. Hamer was a five-time leading trainer and prepared three Greyhound of the Year Champions: Pearl King (1980), Icy Monaro (1982) and Blue Echo (1984). Hamer’s biggest win was the Group 1 Perth Cup with Legatee (1984). Hamer’s star chaser, Blue Echo, who won 22 of 26 starts in WA, including seven feature races, will also be an inductee later this month. Thoroughbred Inductees Easingwold (Horse) F (Ted) McAuliffe  Old Comrade (Horse) R G (Bobby) Morley (Jockey) Robert Peters (Associate) Harness Inductees Gary Hall Jnr (Trainer/Driver) Jack Morris (Horse) John Hunt (Associate) Mick Lombardo (Associate) Norms Daughter (Horse) Greyhound Inductees Blue Echo (Greyhound) David Hamer (Trainer)   RWWA

Talented young trainer-reinsman Kyle Harper will gauge Franco Edward’s prospects in the $200,000 WA Derby when the colt competes over the Derby distance of 2536m in the Westral Crimsafe Doors Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Franco Edward, a dual Group 1 winner as a two-year-old last winter, has yet to race beyond 2185m in a brilliant career of eight wins and two seconds from 11 starts. “It was part of the reason why I put him in this race to see how he handles the 2500m,” Harper said. “I don’t think it will worry him at all. “From barrier four this week, I reckon he will find the front early. He hasn’t reached his peak in this current campaign (five starts for four wins) and after this week’s race I plan to run him in the Caduceus Club Classic the following Friday night as part of his preparation for the WA Derby (April 5).” Harper, who has a healthy respect for several smart three-year-olds, including Shockwave and Patrickthepiranha, singled out the Justin Prentice-trained four-year-old Sweet N Fast as Franco Edward’s most serious rival on Friday night. Sweet N Fast, who has won by big margins at Bunbury and Pinjarra at his past two starts, has an impressive record of nine wins and five placings from 22 starts. He will start from barrier five, alongside Franco Edward on Friday night. Anime (barrier one) and Mister Bushido (two) also will have admirers. Anime, trained at Coolup by Phil Costello, has a losing sequence of 15, but has been knocking on the door, with five seconds from his past six starts. He worked hard in the breeze and fought on grandly when second to Thisbeachrighthere over 2130m last Friday night. Mister Bushido, a former New Zealand performer and a newcomer to the stables of Gary Hall Snr, will pay to follow. He enjoyed a good passage in the one-out, one-back position before running home solidly into third place behind Thisbeachrighthere and Anime last Friday night. Vrai Amour, a lightly-raced seven-year-old with three wins from seven starts, will have many admirers when Jocelyn Young drives him for trainer Debra Lewis from the prized No. 1 barrier in the final event, the Westral Plantation Shutters Pace over 2130m. Vrai Amour reappeared after an absence of 19 months in a 1730m sprint last Friday night. From barrier six, he raced at the rear and was eighth, out five wide, on the home turn before charging home with a powerful burst to finish an eye-catching sixth behind Chok Chai. He will clash with the promising Our Rhythm N Blues, who faces a first-up test from the No. 8 barrier. Our Rhythm N Blues, a five-year-old trained by Gary Hall Snr, raced three times in WA last April and May after arriving from New Zealand for a first-up second to Pick My Pocket at Pinjarra and two wins over 2130m at Gloucester Park after setting the pace.   Ken Casellas

Astute Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed is aiming to win the $50,000 Westral Daintys Daughter Classic for a record-equalling third time when high-priced New Zealand-bred filly Arma Indie contests the Group 2 feature event at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Arma Indie arrived in Perth less than two weeks ago and she has the raw ability to overcome the disadvantage of starting from the outside barrier in the field of nine at her first appearance in Australia. She and the Colin Brown-trained and driven Typhoon Tiff are likely to dominate betting on the 2130m event in which the connections of all runners are anxious to press claims for a start in the $150,000 WA Oaks on May 3. Arma Indie was purchased three weeks ago by Jim and Wilma Giumelli from owner-breeders Davinia Harrison and Johnny Mathers for what they (the owners) described as a “sizeable” figure. Co-trainer David Butt said that Arma Indie had come back as a three-year-old stronger and more sensible than she was as a two-year-old when she raced eight times for no wins, one second and two thirds. Arma Indie ended her two-year-old campaign on a high note at Cambridge last June when she was a 72/1 outsider and finished second to the classy Princess Tiffany in the Group 1 Diamond Classic when the quarters were covered in 27.7sec., 30.7sec., 27.6sec. and 28.2sec. She revealed excellent gate speed and took the lead after 450m before sitting behind the pacemaker Princess Tiffany 400m later. She fought on with admirable spirit. The filly resumed after a spell and an absence of exactly seven months when she started from the No. 1 barrier and led for the first 450m before taking a sit in a 2000m event at Otago on January 2. Taking full advantage of the sprint lane Arma Indie burst to the front 120m from the post and won by more than two lengths from Vergeofgreatness, rating 2.1.6, with a final quarter of 28.6sec. She started from barrier No. 6 over 2200m at Invercargill on January 10. She began speedily and dashed to the front after 250m before taking a sit 400m later. She then regained the lead with 1100m to travel and went on to win in fine style from the fast-finishing colt Mighty Flying Art. Arma Indie rated 1.59.4 and covered the final 40m section in 27.7sec. Arma Indie is by American stallion Well Said and is the second foal (and only one to have raced) out of Arma Courage, who won three minor races and $17,410 from 21 starts. Arma Indie is closely related to Armalight, an outstanding mare who had 36 starts for 18 wins, 11 placings and $277,520 in prizemoney. Armalight, the New Zealand Horse of the Year in 1982, won seven Group 1 events, including the New Zealand Oaks at New Brighton in April 1980, the New Zealand Cup at Addington in November 1981 and the Auckland Cup at Alexandra Park in February 1983. Mark Reed will drive Arma Indie for his father, who has trained the winner of the Daintys Daughter Classic with Sheer Royalty (driven by Chris Lewis) in 2009 and Maczaffair (driven by Shannon Suvaljkjo) in 2017. Champion trainer Gary Hall Snr holds the record with three winners of the classic Majorly Foxy Styx (2014), Nuala (2015) and Slick Artist (2018). Brown has won the Daintys Daughter Classic twice. He was successful with the Deb Sweet-trained Centrefold Angel in 2010 and he prepared 8/1 chance Gota Good Lookadda, who led and beat 6/4 on favourite Bettor Dreams by a half-length. Centrefold Angel, a 3/1 chance, showed great courage to race in the breeze before getting to the front on the home turn and beating the 5/4 favourite Ella Sue by a head. Centrefold Angel was owned by Colleen Lindsay, who bred and owns Typhoon Tiff, who will start from barrier five on Friday night. Mrs Lindsay also bred and owns Typhoon Tiff’s full sister Tiffany Twirl, who was a 75/1 chance when she finished eighth behind Slick Artist in last year’s Daintys Daughter Classic. Typhoon Tiff was produced in outstanding shape by Brown for her first-up run at Pinjarra last Monday week. She led from barrier three and gave an outstanding frontrunning exhibition to win by 8m from Dracarys, rating 1.55.2 over 1684m, with final quarters of 26.7sec. and 27.8sec. That was Typhoon Tiff’s first outing since she raced wide early and then in the breeze before finishing a neck second to Majorpride in the Diamond Classic for two-year-old fillies last June. Gary Hall Jnr has been engaged by Busselton trainer Barry Howlett to drive Millwood Gucci for the first time. The filly, a winner this year at Bunbury and Albany, steps up a lot in class, but has place prospects from the coveted No. 1 barrier. Mandy Joan, a winner at two of her nine starts for Byford trainer David Thompson, will be having her first start since August, but also has place prospects from barrier No. 3. She dashed over the final quarters of a 23150m trial at Byford on Sunday morning in 28.5sec. and 27.9sec. She will be handled by Dylan Egerton-Green. Champion trainers Greg and Skye Bond and leading reinsman Ryan Warwick, who combined for the fighting head victory by Dodolicious in the 2016 Daintys Daughter Classic, will be pinning their faith in Starlight Destiny, an all-the-way Northam winner over 1780m last Saturday night. Starlight Destiny will need a shade of luck from barrier seven, but she is an ultra-consistent filly who has had 15 starts for five wins, six seconds and three thirds. Ken Casellas

Vultan Tin has continued his outstanding run of form, taking out the Group 2 City Of Perth Cup (2536m) at Gloucester Park last night. The seven-year-old always looked the one to beat when he drew barrier two earlier in the week, together with his impressive win at Free-For-All level last week. Reinsman Chris Voak was able to find the front with ease in the early stages and control the race from there. Vultan Tin ran home in 56.0 and scored by 5.7m to the in-form El Jacko, while Handsandwheels was third. Voak said Vultan Tin would likely continue his campaign to the Pinjarra Cup on March 4 and hoped he would be able to win his share of Free-For-All races in the absence of Chicago Bull. Meanwhile, Shockwave has stamped himself as one of the horses to beat for the WA Derby in April, as he made it back-to-back wins for trainer Ryan Bell and reinsman Gary Hall Jnr. As he did last week, Shockwave had too much speed at the start for favourite Gee Jay Kay and was able to record a comfortable victory. Hall Jnr said he was looking forward to Shockwave taking on some of the superior three-year-olds ahead of the Derby. "He's going through the motions at the moment, he's doing it very easily," he told RWWA Harness. "It’s going to be very draw dependent. "This horse, from what he shows me in front, I doubt whether there's one in it that could bully him the whole race and beat him. "If he copped pressure in front, I think he could still hold them off. "The horse is getting fitness and confidence under his belt." Trainer-reinsman combination Andrew and Aiden De Campo also enjoyed a winning double on the program, with Michael Joseph taking out the Dorro's Dash Pace (2130m), before Mary Catherine won the Past President's Cup (2130m). Mary Catherine was able to hold the lead from barrier one and never looked in any danger of being beaten, despite the best efforts of WA Pacing Cup placegetter Maczaffair in second. Gary Hall Snr also enjoyed a winning a double on the night, with Campora making the most of barrier one in the Crystalpack Stakes (1730m), while Chok Chai made a winning return in the Crystal Printing Pacing Pace (1730m). RWWA

The big question is: Can Campora break through for an overdue win in the Crystalpack Stakes? And the simple answer is: Yes, he certainly can end a losing sequence of 16. Six-year-old Campora, trained by Gary Hall Snr, has been unplaced at his past ten starts and has managed just one win from his past 31 outings. However, he should relish the luxury of starting from the No. 1 barrier against moderate opposition in the 1730m sprint event. He has been dogged by unfavourable draws in recent months and he showed his liking for the No. 1 barrier and his ability as a frontrunner when he set the pace for Lauren Jones and sprinted over the final quarters in 28.4sec. and 27.9sec. to win from Soho Chelsea and Chevrons Champion over 2130m late last July. Looming as the toughest for Campora to beat is Touch of Success, who will be driven by Dylan Egerton-Green from barrier two. Touch of Success, trained by Nathan Turvey, has a losing sequence of 12, but he showed signs of better things to come when he began from the back line and trailed the pacemaker Ohoka Darcy and ran home solidly to finish second to Caviar Star over 2130m last Friday week. He has set the pace in six of his 11 victories. Two pacers with substantial losing sequences will be two of the best backed runners in the Kyra’s Canter Pace. They are Luis Alberto (with a losing run of 21) and Sea Me Smile, who boasts a losing sequence of 46. Luis Alberto will be driven by Gary Hall Jnr from the No. 2 barrier and Sea Me Smile will be driven by Jocelyn Young from barrier three. Luis Alberto showed little sparkle from barrier No. 1 in a 2536m event last Friday night and he raced in fifth place, three back on the pegs, before finishing a well-beaten eighth behind James Butt. A week earlier, he raced three back on the pegs and ran on solidly, out wide, to finish fifth behind Hasani. Sea Me Smile enjoyed a perfect trip in the one-out, one-back position in a 2130m event last Friday night when she battled on gamely to finish fourth behind Caviar Star. Wanneroo trainer Debbie Padberg has two runners in this week’s event, Regal Ambition and Absolution, and both have realistic winning prospects. Ken Casellas

Talented but lightly-raced pacer Chok Chai will resume after an absence of almost seven months when he contests the Crystal Printing Pacing Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night and he should have too much class for his eight rivals. Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall Snr has not produced Chok Choi in trials, but the big gelding is sure to be fit enough to give a spirited first-up performance. The New Zealand-bred son of Washington VC has raced only 15 times for ten wins and two seconds. He had seven starts as a three-year-old for five wins and two seconds and then suffered a hairline fracture of a sesamoid in 2016 and was out of action for 11 months. Patient care and rest cured the problem. Chok Chai had two starts as a four-year-old for a first-up win and an 11th placing before being off the scene for nine months. He resumed in February 2018 and won four in a row before finishing eighth and 11th last July and then being spelled. He will start from barrier five in Friday night’s field of nine and Gary Hall Jnr could be tempted to use the gelding’s noted gate speed in a bid for the early lead in a race in which the Ross Olivieri-trained four-year-old Carrera Mach will be fancied from the prime No. 1 barrier. Adding interest to the race will be the reappearance after an absence of 19 months of Vrai Amour, a seven-year-old gelding who has had only six starts for three wins, two at Pinjarra and one at Bunbury. Bred, owned and trained by Debra Lewis, Vrai Amour has yet to race at Gloucester Park. He will start from the No. 6 barrier with Jocelyn Young in the sulky. Vrai Amour’s half-sisters Artemis Belle and Eagle Rox were outstanding juvenile performers, with Artemis Belle winning the Group 1 Sales Classic and the Group 3 Gold Bracelet for two-year-old fillies, the Group 3 Dainty’s Daughter Classic and the Group 1 WA Oaks in 2011. She was retired with a record of 31 starts for 19 wins, nine placings and stakes of $359,559. Eagle Rox won the Group 1 Diamond Classic as a two-year-old in a 29-start career of 16 wins and eight placings for earnings of $225,656. Chok Chai is one of several excellent drives for champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr who will supported strongly to win the opening two events, with Shockwave in the first and Bronze Seeker in the second. The Ryan Bell-trained Shockwave will start from barrier five and is sure to meet with plenty of opposition from the polemarker Gee Jay Kay, who will be handled by Shannon Suvaljko for trainer Vicki Lea. Gee Jay Kay also started from the No. 1 barrier when he resumed after a spell in a 1730m sprint last Friday night. He was a $1.45 favourite and led for the first 150m before Hall urged Shockwave ($2.70) past him and into the lead. Shockwave relished his pacemaking role and reeled off quarters of 28.3sec., 29sec., 28.7sec. and 28.4sec. to win by just over three lengths from Eloquent Mach, with Gee Jay Kay a neck away in third place. Gee Jay Kay had a tough run in the breeze and was at a disadvantage when one shortener failed to release. Like Shockwave and Eloquent Mach, Gee Jay Kay is developing into a serious candidate for the $200,000 WA Derby on April 5. Bronze Seeker is racing in grand style for Byford trainer Peter Anderson and will be favoured by the No. 1 barrier in the 1730m Worldwide East Perth Pace. He also started from barrier one three starts ago when he gave a splendid frontrunning display to win over 2130m from Benhope Rulz. Baylan Jett and Luis Alberto will be driven by Hall late in the program and the five-year-olds have sound prospects against moderate opposition.   Ken Casellas

Gary Hall Snr attended the 2000 New Zealand Cup meeting on 14th November 2000 for both a holiday and again on the lookout for a prospective addition to his stable. The major support race on New Zealand Cup day is the Group One 3yo Sires Stakes final and Hall was taken with the luckless fifth, coming from near last five and six deep on the final corner, of a unfancied maiden 3yo called Falcon Strike. The winner of the Sires Stakes was Franco Heir and it wouldn’t be the last time the pair would clash. He went and inspected the Falcon Seelster colt in the stalls post-race and felt that, given the extra work that Hall was renowned for, that once fully fit he wouldn’t take a lot of time to break his maiden status. Hall’s group of Western Australian owners eventually agreed to the $NZ100,000 price tag and he was transferred into their names on December 20th. While waiting for a flight to Australia Falcon Strike had one final start in New Zealand in the $120,000 New Zealand Sales Classic on December 27th when he again finished fifth. The Falcon Strike made his Perth debut at Gloucester Park on 16th February 2001 and those present were agog at the performance. A massive on-course plunge saw him start a 5/2 second favourite to the 2000 Australian 2yo Pacer of the Year Disco Force. With his trainer Gary Hall Snr at the reins The Falcon Strike raced three-wide throughout and literally destroy Disco Force mentally blitzing Chandon’s State Record rate of 1:56.4 for the 1700 metres in the process. The Falcon Strike was early favourite for the WA Derby after winning his next three Perth starts including the Group Three Western Gateway Pace but a chequered run in the Derby saw him finish down the track behind the interstate trained pair of Manifold Bay and Franco Heir. Manifold Bay again proved his nemesis eight months later in the 2001 Group One 4yo Golden Nugget Championship after The Falcon Strike had won seven of his eight starts leading into the race including the Group Three McInerney Ford Classic. By this stage Gary Hall Snr had sacked himself as driver and handed the reins to his 20yo son after convincing The Falcon Strike’s owners of the merit of the change. A month after the Golden Nugget, in January 2002, The Falcon Strike won both the Group One WA Pacing Cup and Group One Fremantle Cup and the big race record of Gary Hall Jnr was under way. Winning the WA Pacing Cup and Fremantle Cup as a 4yo was remarkable and even champions Village Kid and Pure Steel had been unable to win the State’s two premier races for aged horses in the same season. The Falcon Strike was taken to Melbourne for the 2002 AG Hunter Cup and it was a decision that almost ended the young stallion’s career. In a roughhouse race that saw him effectively put out of action in the first 50 metres, The Falcon Strike was shoved from pillar to post and then had the temerity to hit the front turning for home before being mown down in the shadows of the post to finish fifth just 1.6 metres from the winner Safe And Sound. After the race the severe tendon injury was plain to see and The Falcon Strike was destined to spend the next 14 months recovering from the injury and he completed a short season at stud in the process. Mother and daughter Debbie and Kristy Padberg nursed The Falcon Strike throughout his convalescence with a series of laser treatments and a programme of walking and light exercise for which Gary Hall Snr was forever grateful. “Without the countless hours that Debbie and Kristy put into him he would never had made a successful return to the race-track”, he said in 2003. The Falcon Strike returned to the track in April 2003 with nine wins in 11 starts in Perth including the Easter and Winter Cups before Hall took him East for the 2003 Newcastle Mile which he won in a time of 1:54.5 to earn a start in that year’s Miracle Mile at Harold Park. Drawn in barrier one, which was hardly ideal for a horse whose only possible flaw was a lack of gate speed, The Falcon Strike was made a $2.40 favourite but was forced to race in the breeze throughout and he finished last behind Sokyola in a time of 1:54.6. He remained in Sydney for a week and despite a wide second row draw he finished fourth to Double Identity, Smooth Satin and Flashing Red in the Group One Treuer Memorial at Bankstown. The Falcon Strike returned to Perth and was straight back in the winners list with four straight wins in as many weeks in the Group Two Celebrity Sprint on New Year’s Eve 2003 and then wins in a trio of Group One races – the 2004 Fremantle Cup, 2004 Australian Pacing Championship and 2004 WA Pacing Cup before a short break leading into the 2004 Inter Dominion at Gloucester Park. The remarkable record of The Falcon Strike’s driver Gary Hall Jnr in the Inter Dominion began with a winning double behind his father’s horses in two of the three heats on the opening night of the 2004 Championship. Faking It won the first heat and The Falcon Strike won the third heat on opening night and with subsequent placings Hall qualified both horses for the final. It wasn’t a difficult decision for Gary Hall Jnr to choose The Falcon Strike as his drive in the nation’s biggest race despite the stallion drawing wide in barrier six. Faking It had drawn even wider and the drive on the 80/1 outsider went to Fred Kersley. After working early Hall settled The Falcon Strike outside the leader Jofess in a carbon copy of the pair’s second night clash which saw Jofess draw away in the straight to win comfortably by a little over a length. The Inter Dominion final was a lot closer as The Falcon Strike, carrying the hopes of his legion of Western Australian fans that had sent him out as a $3.30 favourite, dug deep with many on-course believing that he had got up in a desperate final lunge. The photo-finish showed otherwise with Jofess holding on to win by a nose from The Falcon Strike with a further nose to Sokyola in third place and Mister D G another nose away in fourth place in what ranks as one of the all-time great Inter Dominion finishes. He was sent for a break after the 2004 Inter Dominion and when The Falcon Strike resumed in the winter of 2004 he looked to be a shadow of his former self with just two placings in five starts before again being spelled. He was back on December 10th 2004 with a win and a second a fortnight later before a third placing to Baltic Eagle and La Valiente in the Celebrity Sprint on New Year’s Eve 2004. A 20 metre handicap in the Fremantle Cup proved too hard as he finished down the track behind Sandy Bay but seven days later he was back in the winners list with a win in the Group One Australian Pacing Championship over Ohoka Ace and Buck The Odds followed a week later with victory over Sandy Bay and Ohoka Ace in the WA Pacing Cup. The Falcon Strike then made another ill-fated trip to Melbourne for the 2005 AG Hunter Cup where he shared the 20 metre back-mark with Kiwi star Elsu. He showed little fight in finishing down the track and a post-race examination showed the stallion to be sore and announcements were made about his retirement to stud. So well did The Falcon Strike appear in the paddock he was put back into work and in May 2006, after a break of some 15 months he was again in the winner’s list at Gloucester Park with a pair of wins just a week apart. While that campaign in the winter of 2006 and extending into late spring was to yield six wins and a couple of placings in a dozen starts the wear and tear and his age were now starting to show and, after finishing fifth to Gee Whiz Fizz on December 1st 2006, The Falcon Strike was retired for good. His retired with a reputation as one of the toughest horses to look through a bridle with the only possible flaw in his makeup a lack of blinding gate speed. While his toughness on the racetrack was his trademark Gary Hall Snr revealed another side to The Falcon Strike in an interview after his retirement. “He was one of the family and a real sook at home. A tiny cut would get a reaction as if he was seriously injured and he hated needles when the vets tried to get a blood sample on race-night”, he said “He had the most amazing temperament for a stallion and he could be floated between two mares and completely ignore them”. “He had a real personality and knew that he was good and carried himself that way”. Enquiries about tickets to the 2019 WA Racing Industry Hall of Fame Induction night on 28th February should be directed to Hall of Fame Coordinator Suzy Jackson on (08) 9445 5371 or suzy.jackson@rwwa.com.au   Alan Parker    

Champion horseman Tim Butt, who has prepared more grand circuit winners than any other harness racing trainer in Australasia, is poised to set more records when his brilliant seven-year-old My Field Marshal contests the $450,000 TABtouch WA Pacing Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The 51-year-old New Zealand-born Butt, who relocated from Christchurch to Menangle in New South Wales early last year, is confident that My Field Marshal will prove the best stayer and win the testing 2936m mobile group 1 classic in the stallion’s first attempt over a distance beyond 2700m. “He’s fantastic and has come through his wins in the Village Kid Sprint and Fremantle Cup absolutely terrific,” he said. Asked if the 2936m was a concern, Butt said: “It’s only 400m longer than last week’s Cup and I couldn’t be happier with the barrier draw (No. 3 on the front line).” Queried about the likely driving tactics to be employed by his elder brother Anthony, he said: “We haven’t done the form yet, but we’ve got options from that draw. “The horse hasn’t done a lot since he led and won the Fremantle Cup. He had a hoppled run this morning (Tuesday) and I just ticked him over like I normally do. He’s bright and he loves it here.” The Butt brothers are full of hope that they will be able to go one better than they did when Flashing Red finished second to Tealsby Karita in the 2007 WA Pacing Cup. Flashing Red, second favourite at 3/1 from barrier five, raced wide early and three wide again in the middle stages before working hard in the breeze. He fought on doggedly behind Tealsby Karita, the 11/4 favourite who made most of the running. “Flashing Red was a great horse and a great stayer, but My Field Marshal has got a bit more brilliance,” Tim Butt said. If My Field Marshal is successful this week, it will give the famous Butt family a special record, with the first set of brothers training a WA Pacing Cup winner. Roddy Butt, the youngest of the three Butt brothers, prepared Justaboyden, who was driven by Fred Kersley jnr and produced one of the most spectacular bursts of speed in a Pacing Cup when he was ninth at the 400m and sprouted wings to charge to the front at the 250m mark and career away to beat Southern Knight by more than three lengths in the big race in 1995. The WA Pacing Cup was first run in 1913 and the inaugural Fremantle Cup was in 1928 and, if successful, My Field Marshal will become only the eighth pacer to have won the WA Pacing Cup-Fremantle Cup double in the one season, a feat that has been performed by Black Bertha (1942), Pure Steel (1980), Village Kid (1988 and 1989), The Falcon Strike (2002 and 2004), Baltic Eagle (2003), Im Themightyquinn (2011 and 2012) and Chicago Bull (2017). My Field Marshal, bred and owned by Syd and Shona Brown (who also bred and owned the horse’s dam Foreal, a winner of 18 races and $664,800 in stakes. My Field Marshal has earned $1,324,712 from 26 wins and 21 placings from 61 starts, has won six group 1 features --- the Taylor Mile and Messenger Championship at Alexandra Park, the Four-Year-Old Emerald at Cambridge (in successive starts in 2016), the Len Smith Mile at Menangle in 2017, the Miracle Mile in 1.46.9 on the same track last February and last week’s Fremantle Cup at Gloucester Park. Anthony Butt, who will return to Perth from Sydney on Friday, was full of praise for My Field Marshal after the horse’s exciting all-the-way victory in the 2536m Fremantle Cup last Friday night, saying: “To lead and cop that pressure just shows what a great horse he is. He did a mighty job; he had to burn out of the gate and then never got any peace. “He kept running fast quarters and it was a great effort. It won’t be easy this week when I’m sure it will again be a truly-run affair. But he has got that class on his side and no matter what race he’s in, he’s always hard to beat.” Tim Butt said that My Field Marshal would not contest the $500,000 Hunter Cup at Melton on February 2 and that the horse’s main mission after the WA Pacing Cup would be the Miracle Mile at Menangle on March 3. “My Field Marshal will return to Sydney next Wednesday and he’ll probably have one lead-up run before the Miracle Mile.” With My Field Marshal starting from barrier three on Friday night, Anthony Butt will be ready to make snap decisions after the mobile barrier releases the quality field of 12 runners. He knows that Maczaffair (barrier one) and Rocknroll Lincoln (two) will come out flying in bids to take the early lead. Whether the speedy My Field Marshal can burst straight to the front is highly problematical. Sharing the Butt camp’s confidence is Mike Reed, the trainer of Maczaffair, and Gary Hall Jnr, who will be in the sulky behind the Justin Prentice-trained Rocknroll Lincoln. Maczaffair is the only mare in the field and Reed is bullish about her prospects of becoming the first of her sex to win the WA Pacing Cup since Pyramus beat Chief Attain and Sir Alex in 1972. She will again be handled by Reed’s son Mark, who was most impressed with her effort when an unlucky sixth in the Fremantle Cup, only one and a half lengths behind the winner. She was ninth at the bell and was badly blocked for a clear passage before flying home along the pegs in the final few strides. Maczaffair, the winner of five group feature events, showed her class against all-male opposition when second to Ultimate Machete in the group 1 2536m Golden Nugget championship in December 2017. Hall, who has driven the winner of seven WA Pacing Cups, said that Rocknroll Lincoln was travelling strongly and was a sound winning chance before being badly checked approaching the home turn in the Fremantle Cup. Rocknroll Lincoln broke into a gallop and finished 11th. Hall said that the 2936m journey this week would not worry Rocknroll Lincoln. “Barrier two looks good on paper and he’s got genuine gate speed,” he said. “If we get to the front, and I think he can, I won’t consider handing up.” Galactic Star, a gallant second in the Fremantle Cup, is in peak form and must be considered, despite drawing awkwardly at barrier seven. Ryan Warwick looks certain to opt out of any early speed battle and is likely to drive conservatively before deciding when to send the six-year-old forward. Galactic Star raced in eighth position in the one-wide line in the Fremantle Cup before Warwick sent the gelding forward, with a three-wide, burst approaching the bell. He sustained the effort and his performance was full of merit. Galactic Star is prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, who will also be represented in the Cup by Our Max Phactor (Dylan Egerton-Green), Vampiro (Colin Brown), Our Jimmy Johnstone (Michael Grantham), El Jacko (Aiden de Campo) and Saying Grace (Chris Lewis). El Jacko and Saying Grace will start from the back line and have sound place prospects after unlucky runs in the Fremantle Cup in which El Jacko, a smart sit-sprinter, was badly blocked for a clear passage in the final circuit before going across the line, full of running, in seventh position. Saying Grace, who trailed the pacemaking My Field Marshal throughout, went to the line, bolting under lock and key, in fourth place. Champion trainer Gary Hall Snr, who has won the WA Pacing Cup a record 11 times, is pinning his faith on Runrunjimmydunn, who will be driven by Clint Hall from barrier five. Runrunjimmydunn fought on from tenth in the middle stages to be a sound fifth in the Fremantle Cup. The WA-bred Vultan Tin, trained in Coolup by Phil Costello, is the only non-New Zealand-bred runner in the race. He will be driven by Chris Voak and will start from the outside of the back line. Vultan Tin was seventh at the bell in the Fremantle Cup before finishing fast, out six wide, to be an eye-catching third. Ace trainer Ross Olivieri, who prepared Saab for his WA Pacing Cup victory in 1999, has engaged Shannon Suvaljko to drive Im Full of Excuses from the awkward No. 6 barrier. Im Full of Excuses bounced back to form and ended a 22-month drought when he charged home with as three-wide burst from eighth at the bell to win narrowly from Gotta Go Gabbana in a 2130m mobile event last Friday night. He will again be at long odds this week.   Ken Casellas

Mister Bushido, a lightly-raced six-year-old, will make his Australian debut when he starts from barrier six on the front line in the $20,000 TABtouch Race Replays Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He arrived in Perth from New Zealand just over four months ago and is being prepared by Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall Snr for his breeders and owners Syd and Shona Brown, who race champion pacer and Fremantle Cup favourite My Field Marshall. Mister Bushido was trained in New Zealand by Tim Butt, who said that the Bettors Delight gelding’s strength was his ability to produce a powerful finishing burst. “He’s a pretty handy sort of horse, is good and honest and should pay his way here,” said Butt. “He’s probably more of a finisher late in the race.” Mister Bushido, who will be driven by Stuart McDonald, has not been produced at trials. His latest appearance was in a 1980m event at Addington on August 17 last year when he was trained and driven by Jonny Cox. He was restrained from barrier seven, raced in seventh position and went five wide on the home turn before finishing sixth in a field of eight behind the brilliant pacer Ana Malak. His most recent win in a career of 21 starts for four wins and five placings was six starts ago when he rated 1.55.5 in beating Joey Maguire by a half-head over 1950m at Addington. It was a most impressive victory. He started from barrier 14 the outside of the back line and was a $23.80 outsider. He was 12th at the bell and 11th with 600m to travel before he charged home, out six wide, to get up and win in the final stride. He won at his previous start, also over 1950m at Addington, when he was restrained at the start from barrier eight, was eighth at the bell and seventh on the home bend before surging home, four wide, to get up and beat the favourite Cindy Bromac by a neck, rating 1.57.6, with a final; quarter in 27.7sec. Mister Bushido’s chief rivals on Friday night appear to be his stablemate Liberty Rose and the Colin Joss-trained eight-year-old Lagoon Stride. Liberty Rose was an odds-on favourite last Friday night when she started from the No. 2 barrier, set the pace, but was kept under pressure by Mary Catherine, who overraced in the breeze. She wilted after final quarters of 27.6sec. and 28.1sec. to finish third behind the fast-finishing Lady De La Renta and Mary Catherine. Liberty Rose is sure to enjoy a much more comfortable run this week and will take plenty of beating. Lagoon Stride has not been successful for 34 months, but he should pay to follow after he set the pace and refused to give in when a fighting second to Bronze Seeker over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday of last week.   Ken Casellas

This Friday night sees the running of the $450,000 TABtouch-WA Pacing Cup (2936m) at Gloucester Park, the first of seven Grand Circuit Harness races for the calendar year. First run in 1913, where it was taken out by Letty Lind, the state’s premier race became a part of the Grand Circuit in 1977 where it sits alongside races like the Hunter Cup and Inter Dominion. Notable winners of the WA Pacing Cup previously include; Pure Steel (1977, 1978, 1979, 1980), San Simeon (1981), Preux Chevalier (1984), Village Kid (1985, 1986, 1988, 1989), The Falcon Strike (2002, 2004, 2005), Im Themightyquinn (2011, 2012, 2013) and My Hard Copy (2015, 2016). Friday night will mark the 90th time the WA Pacing Cup has been run at Gloucester Park, after the first 16 editions of the race were run at the WACA Ground. Soho Tribeca took out last year’s WA Pacing Cup for reinsman Kim Prentice and trainer Bryan Cousins. Soho Tribeca’s win in last year’s Pacing Cup broke a run of seven straight wins in the race for champion trainer Gary Hall Snr. Hall Snr has been the dominant figure in the WA Pacing Cup over the past two decades, winning 11 of the past 17 editions of the race. This year, his sole runner in the race is Runrunjimmydunn, to be driven by Clinton Hall, a winner of three Pacing Cups himself. Gary Hall Jnr has been a big beneficiary of his father’s dominance in the race, winning it on seven occasions. As he did in the Fremantle Cup last week, Hall Jnr has elected to team up with the Justin Prentice-trained Rocknroll Lincoln in this week’s feature. My Field Marshal is once again the favourite to take out the WA Pacing Cup, as he was in the Village Kid Pace and Fremantle Cup. The last horse to win the Village Kid, Fremantle Cup and WA Pacing Cup in the one year was The Falcon Strike in season 2003/2004. Chicago Bull was the most recent horse to claim the Fremantle Cup and WA Pacing Cup in the one season, one of eight times since 1988 a pacer has achieved that feat. Maczaffair, the sole mare in this week’s WA Pacing Cup, will be looking to become 20th mare to win the race and the first since 1972. The TABtouch-WA Pacing Cup gets underway at 7.55 on Friday night.   Tim Walker

With a winning double at yesterday’s Pinjarra meeting trainer Gary Hall Snr brought up his 2900th win as a trainer courtesy of Caviar Star in the last race. Hall, the most successful trainer in WA Pacing Cup history, trained his first winner with Plebette at Collie on 5th March 1971 and the first of  2159 city winners with Tobaree at Gloucester Park on 16th September 1972. Hall will gear up his 58th starter in a WA Pacing Cup when Runrunjimmydunn starts in Friday night’s big race. He has already trained a remarkable 11 winners of the State’s major race courtesy of The Falcon Strike (3 wins), Im Themightyquinn (3 wins), My Hard Copy (2 wins), Chicago Bull, Hokonui Ben and Tealsby Karita. Even more remarkable is that those 11 wins have come in the last 17 seasons and Hall has also had eight placings in the race since The Falcon Strike brought up Hall’s first win in the race in 2002. For the record Gary Hall’s first runner in a WA Pacing Cup was the stallion Zakara which finished 4th behind Westburn Grant, Franco Ice and Imprimartar on 3 January, 1992 in what will always be remembered as the most emotional win in the 106 year history of the race. The story of that WA Pacing Cup, A Summer of Frost and Ice, won producer/commentator John Hunt a Joseph Coulter Award in 1993. While his son Gary Hall Jnr won’t be behind Runrunjimmydunn on Friday night, Hall Jnr has an undeniable chance of recording his eighth win in the WA Pacing Cup when he takes the reins of the Justin Prentice trained Rocknroll Lincoln which has drawn well in barrier two inside the pre-post favourite My Field Marshal. Hall Jnr will be having his 18th drive in the race and will be out to eclipse the Cup record seven winners tally he presently shares with former champion reinsman Phil Coulson. Hall Jnr’s seven WA Pacing Cup wins have come behind The Falcon Strike (3), Im Themightyquinn (2), Chicago Bull and Tealsby Karita while Coulson’s seven winners in 22 Cup drives came per medium of Pure Steel (3), Lord Mina, Color Glo, Gammalite and Village Kid. Coulson may well have won eight WA Pacing Cups had it not been for a stewards decision to refuse him the choice of drives on his two stable runners in the 1965 WA Cup. Coulson trained both Hycraft and Pacing Lawn and the Chairman of Stewards Don Thomas refused to allow Coulson to drive Hycraft as no other driver had ever sat behind the sprint sensation Pacing Lawn whereas Hycraft had been driven by other drivers. Ironically Don Thomas was Phil Coulson’s uncle but the family ties meant nothing when it came to his job as Chairman of Stewards. (see hoofnote) As history records Hycraft, with Laurie Robinson at the reins, downed the champion Mercedes in the shadows of the post after the pair staged a veritable dogfight up the Gloucester Park straight. Coulson watched on some distance back as Pacing Lawn finished third. HOOFNOTE: Don Thomas has one WA Pacing Cup record which will never be broken. He was just 15 years of age when he drove Adonaldson into 18th place in the WA Pacing Cup on Boxing Night 1935 for his father, trainer Fred Thomas. He is the youngest person to drive in the race. Don was one of three Thomas brothers who drove in the Cup that year with Charlie winning the race with the Harry Moran trained Connie Glo and John Thomas driving his own nomination Nelson Pronto. In addition two of Don Thomas’s brothers-in-law in Arthur Hough and Charlie Coulson drove Huon Pic and Con Derby respectively in the 1935 Cup. Coincidentally Con Derby was a three-quarter brother to the winner Connie Glo and the brother and sister came to WA after each had won a Victoria Derby.   Alan Parker

The Gary Hall-trained mare Liberty Rose looks the best of good things at Friday night’s Fremantle Pacing Cup meeting at Gloucester Park. Most members of the WA Trotting Media Guild have Liberty Rose on top, with three members making her the best bet on a star-studded evening of pacing. Multiple winner of the Guild’s tipping competition Stuart Lowe, The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft and RWWA’s racing communications co-ordinator Tim Walker have all made Liberty Rose a special. “My best is Liberty Rose, who impressed last week with a close second from a wide draw  to  top-class mare Maczaffair,” Lowe said. “Much better drawn here in an easier field and should go close.” Havercroft and Walker agree. “Liberty Rose took plenty of ground off Maczaffair to finish second when resuming last Friday night,” Havercroft said. “This week she meets an easier field and is drawn to be prominent.” Walker said Liberty Rose’s return last week was nothing short of stunning. “Second-up, I think we can back her with confidence here and right through the campaign,” he said. Longshot king Pat Harding has made Saying Grace - one of seven runners in the feature from the leading yard of Greg and Skye Bond - as his star bet. “My best bet comes up in the Fremantle Pacing Cup,” Harding said. “There is a great deal of talent in this field, but I think Saying Grace from barrier No.1 is the way to go. Up until his last run, Saying Grace had three great wins in a row and with experienced reinsman Chris Lewis aboard should give punters an excellent sight.” The West Australian’s Ernie Manning is a true believer in Bettor B Abeliever. “Bettor B Abeliever looks at peak form after his last-start win and barrier one is a bonus,” Manning said. “The four-year-old, who possesses gate speed, has shown considerable potential since arriving from New Zealand. An impressive tally of four wins and three places has been recorded in his past nine starts.” GPTV’s Ken Casellas thinks The Arsonist could set the track alight in his event. “Lightly-raced eight-year-old The Arsonist, one of the few chestnut pacers in training in WA, is racing with considerable enthusiasm and is my best bet on Friday night when he is sure to appreciate the favourable No. 2 barrier in race eight,” Casellas said. “The New Zealand-bred revealed improved gate speed from barrier five last Friday night and impressed with his determination when he worked hard in the breeze and fought on grimly to finish third behind the speedy Golden State.” Budding racecaller Hayden King has opted for The Bucket List as his best for the night. “The Bucket List was very unfortunate to have missed a spot in the Fremantle Cup,” King said. “He can win on Friday and shore up his selection for the WA Pacing Cup next week.” TABradio’s Matt Young believes punters can add to their bank early doors by supporting Bronze Seeker. “Bronze Seeker has drawn beautifully and is in form, looks the leader and can start the night off well for the punters,” Young said. Media Guild president Wayne Currall is keen on Bettor Vision. “Bettor Vision was downed as an odds-on favourite last Friday night,” Currall said. “But he was only beaten a nose by the talented Stefsbest. This looks to be an easier assignment and he could act as a banker for all-ups and quaddie punters.” VALUE BETS Stuart: The value bet for me is Mister Ardee. He was never in it last week from nine. He was narrowly beaten at his previous start. Better drawn here and can play a part. Ryan: Our Max Phactor handled the massive class rise when second to My Field Marshal in the Village Kid Pace. Could fill a placing again. Tim: Very excited to see Simba Bromac try his hand in FFA company. A big talent and a win here could see him secure a start in the Pacing Cup next week. Pat: My value bet comes up in race eight with No. 3 Anime. I tipped him to win last week and he ran a creditable second. With Chris Voak aboard I think he can go one better. Ernie: Whoswhointhezoo, who got a long way back and was unplaced after drawing wide last Friday, is capable of figuring in the finish if having a little luck from his slightly better barrier. He has won seven races, including four at Gloucester Park. Ken: For value, I suggest the ultra-consistent Lord Willoughby, who will start from the back line in race six. He has resumed after a spell in fine fettle and had a torrid run last week when unplaced behind Chiaroscuro. He looks set to fight out the finish of his race. Hayden: Be On Guard is going better than his form suggests. He is drawn awfully but is a chance in an open race. Matt: Baptism Of Fire ideally drawn, has options and is racing well. Solid each-way chance. Wayne: Former top-class pacer Waylade ran a slashing second behind El Jacko last start. He hasn’t graced the winner’s stall for more than two years, but he looks a genuine each-way chance here. To view all of the Media Guild tips click here. Good Punting!   Wayne Currall

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

Vultan Tin, firmly on track to contest the rich summer carnival cups this month, will be the odd horse out when he starts from the prized No. 1 barrier in the $25,000 Direct Trades Supply Free-For-All over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The West Australian-bred seven-year-old will be clashing with nine New Zealand-bred pacers and has bright prospects of leading all the way. Trained at Coolup by Phil Costello, Vultan Tin will be driven by Chris Voak, who is sure to make full use of the gelding’s good gate speed and ability as a frontrunner. Eight of his 18 victories have been achieved when he has set the pace. It will pay to completely disregard Vultan Tin’s last-start eighth behind My Field Marshal in the 1730m Village Kid Sprint last Friday night when he started out wide at barrier No. 8 and was restrained to the rear before starting a three-wide move about 550m from home. He was then forced extremely wide and had no chance of making ground on the leaders. At his previous outing, a fortnight earlier, Vultan Tin started from the outside barrier in a field of nine and quickly dropped back to the rear before Voak sent him forward to challenge Rocknroll Lincoln for the lead. He was unable to get to the front and then overraced in the breeze before hanging on grimly to finish second to Rocknroll Lincoln, with final quarters in 27.5sec. and 28.4sec. A week before that, Vultan Tin started from barrier four in a field of six and he raced in fifth position on the pegs before finishing strongly to dead-heat for first with Runrunjimmydunn in the 2130m event. The final sections were covered in 27.6sec. and 27.8sec. Runrunjimmydunn looms large as a serious rival for Vultan Tin. The five-year-old who is prepared by Gary Hall Snr, maintained his good form when he enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, before fighting on gamely to finish third behind My Field Marshal. Leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond hold a strong hand in this week’s event, with four of the ten runners El Jacko, Rock Diamonds, Vampiro and Mitch Maguire --- with the State’s leading reinsman and the stable’s No. 1 driver Ryan Warwick giving punters a lead by opting to handle Mitch Maguire, the solitary runner off the back line. Mitch Maguire raced three back on the pegs and fought on well when fourth in the Village Kid Sprint at his first appearance since finishing strongly to win a 2503m stand from As Happy As Larry a month earlier. El Jacko, a fast-finishing last-start winner, will begin from barrier three with Dylan Egerton-Green in the sulky; Aiden de Campo will drive Rock Diamonds from barrier seven and Colin Brown will handle Vampiro from the outside barrier (No. 9). Bettor Not Bitter gets his chance Locally-bred six-year-old Bettor Not Bitter has bright prospects of ending a losing sequence of 23 and a 15-month drought when he starts from the 10m mark in the 2503m Better Your Bet With TABtouch Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. His past two runs have been a firm indication that he is ready to return to the winning list. He started from the outside of the back line in a 2130m mobile event last Friday night and impressed in finishing a close fourth behind Carter Micheal. He raced three wide for the first 300m and then worked hard in the breeze before taking a narrow lead 200m from home and fighting on grimly over the final stages. A week before that he began out wide from barrier seven and raced without cover in the first circuit before enjoying a good sit, one-out and one-back, and then ran home gamely to finish second to the pacemaker Machiatto in a 2130m mobile. Bettor Not Bitter, to be driven by Ryan Warwick for star trainers Greg and Skye Bond, is a capable standing-start performer who has had 12 runs in stands for three wins, three seconds, one third and two fourths. His main rival appears to be the Ross Olivieri-trained Carrera Mach, who is ideally suited from barrier two on the front line, with Chris Lewis in the sulky. Carrera Mach has struck a purple patch with four wins from his past five starts. He enjoyed a perfect sit in the one-out, one-back position before fighting on doggedly to snatch a half-head victory from Lightning Jolt in a 2130m mobile event on Monday night. Carrera Mach set the pace and won easily from Trust My Judgement in a 2560m stand at Northam nine nights earlier. Four-year-old Carrera Mach, the youngest and least experienced runner in the field, with seven wins, seven seconds and one third from 24 starts, boasts a record in stands of four starts for two wins and two seconds. At the other end of the scale and at the other end of the scale are seasoned campaigners Courage Tells and Tanaka Eagle. Courage Tells, an evergreen 11-year-old trained by the Bonds, will be driven by Dylan Egerton-Green from the 10m mark. He won for the 34th time from 203 starts when he set the pace and beat Bettor Be Lively and Mighty Flying Thomas in a 2130m mobile on Monday night. Tanaka Eagle, an eight-year-old trained by Reg Phillips, has won at 23 of his 211 starts. He caught the eye two starts ago when he ran home solidly from sixth at the bell to finish second to Our Max Phactor in a 2503m stand at Gloucester Park and two starts before that he made most of the running to win a 2631m stand at Pinjarra, beating Importer Exporter and Courage Tells.   Ken Casellas  

Outstanding trainer Ross Olivieri is bubbling with confidence that veteran square gaiter Sunoflindenny will give him his first Group 1 success for seven and a half years by overcoming a 20m handicap and proving the master of his 11 rivals in the $50,000 WA Trotters Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Olivieri, an eight-time premiership trainer in Western Australia and the fourth most successful trainer in the history of WA harness racing (behind Gary Hall Snr, Trevor Warwick and Fred Kersley Jnr), said: “Sunoflindenny is a second-to-none chance; he’s good at the stand and is the one to beat.” Sunoflindenny, a New Zealand-bred nine-year-old, will again be handled by champion reinsman Chris Lewis, who has combined with Olivieri in 21 of the trainer’s 27 Group 1 triumphs, including his most recent Group 1 victory with Western Cullen on debut in the Golden Slipper at Gloucester Park in July 2011. Olivieri has yet to taste success in the WA Trotters Cup which was first run 13 years ago. Lewis drove the Clive Dalton-trained 5/4 favourite Earl of Charity to a runaway victory in the Cup just over three years ago. In the most recent Cup, Lewis drove the Olivieri-trained Blue Sky Commander into third place behind the pacemaking Itsgettingcalder, and the combination also finished second to Nacokee with Apache Blue Jean in January 2010 and third behind Enjoy A Coldie in January 2015 with the 11/8 favourite Earl Or Nothing, who was hampered by a flat sulky tyre. Sunoflindenny, who is raced by Merv Butterworth’s racing syndicate, is in sparkling form, scoring stylish victories at each of his three appearances after resuming from a spell. He has reinforced his reputation as a foolproof beginner in stands and has relished the role of pacemaker in those three victories after dashing to the front soon after the start. He was an easy first-up winner from Lightning Calder and Tenno Sho over 2503m at Bunbury on November 17 before smart victories over Rocknroll Baby and Lightning Calder over the same distance at Gloucester Park and by four lengths over Ton Tine and Balmoral Boy over 2631m at Pinjarra. On Friday night Sunoflindenny, who has had 71 starts for 13 wins and 24 placings, will share the 20m back mark with Sun of Anarchy, Lightning Calder, Balmoral Boy and Diamond Geezer. His most serious rival appears certain to be Sun of Anarchy, who is prepared at Boyanup by his driver Justin Prentice, who made the most of an untimely suspension imposed on trainer Shannon Suvaljko to guide Scusi Doctor (backed from 7/1 to 3/1) to a one-length win over the pacemaker, the Merv Jupp-trained 2/1 favourite Nicky Eileen who was driven by Lewis. Sun of Anarchy, like Sunoflindenny a New Zealand-bred nine-year-old by super sire Sundon, is also in excellent form, with his impressive victory in a 2100m mobile event at Bunbury on December 18 improving his record to 105 starts for 20 wins, 39 placings and stakes of $180,496. He managed just three thirds from 20 starts as a three and four-year-old in New Zealand before racing 70 times in Victoria for 15 wins (eight in stands) and 29 placings. He has had 14 starts in Western Australia for five wins (four in stands) and seven placings. Prentice prepares Sun of Anarchy for leviathan New Zealand owner Trevor Casey, who bred the gelding, who is out of Niamey, who has also produced Pocaro (42 starts for 13 wins, 11 placings and $232,773) and Daenerys Targaryen (43 starts for 15 wins, 14 placings and $143,723). Casey also bred and raced champion trotter Stent, a winner of ten Group 1 events in a 70-start career of 30 wins, 25 placings and $1,130,406 in prizemoney. He also was a part-owner of superstar pacer Lazarus, a dual New Zealand Cup winner and winner of the Interdominion championship at Gloucester Park in December 2017. Another of Casey’s pacers was Our Sky Major, who has been retired after earning $796,486 from 15 wins and 16 placings in a 52-start career, which included five group 1 feature wins, highlighted by his victory over Bling It On in the 2015 Chariots of Fire at Menangle. Prentice trained Our Sky Major for a win and two placings in a brief seven-start campaign in Western Australia in 2016. Wundowie trainer Bruce Stanley has two runners, Lightning Calder and The Male Model, in Friday night’s Cup. He will drive the ultra-consistent Lightning Calder off 20m and he has engaged Michael Grantham to handle The Male Model, who will start off the 10m mark. Lightning Calder simply does not know how to perform below par and cannot be underestimated. The eight-year-old’s past 18 starts have produced seven wins, four seconds, two thirds and five fourths. Stanley trained and drove 20/1 chance Dance To Victory for a surprise win over Smooth Criminal in the 2008 Trotters Cup. The Tonia Stampalia-trained Balmoral Boy warmed up for the big race with a decisive victory over Tenno Sho and Lightning Calder in a 2130m mobile trot at Gloucester Park on Monday night.    The oldest runner is 11-year-old Nigel Johns-trained Diamond Geezer, who will begin off the 20m mark with Morgan Woodley in the sulky for the gelding’s 181st start. Woodley drove Diamond Geezer when he finished second to Enjoy A Coldie in the Cup in January 2015. Enjoy A Coldie was trained and driven by Nathan Turvey, who will be hoping for another success this week with the Victorian-bred Tenno Sho, whose five starts in his current campaign have produced two wins, two seconds and a third placing. Ken Casellas

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