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High-priced New Zealand import Gran Chico has settled down well since arriving in Perth a fortnight ago and he looks set for a successful Australian harness racing debut when he contests the Catalano Truck and Equipment Sales Service Finance Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Now in the care of astute Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed, Gran Chico will be driven by Shannon Suvaljko, who is happy that the Bettors Delight gelding will be the sole runner off the back line. “From barrier ten there’s no horse on his outside and he’ll have time to relax before being put into the race,” Suvaljko said. “He’s a nice horse who should prove hard to beat. “I’ve watched the replays of all his races in New Zealand. He is a big horse who loves to just come into the race and he should get a good run from barrier ten. “Mike told me that the plan was, with the horse having been here for only a couple of weeks, was not to throw him in the deep end straight away (by racing in the group 2 feature for four-year-olds on Friday night). And after this week’s race, the plan is to go into the $125,000 Four-Year-Old Classic in two weeks and then the Golden Nugget two weeks after that.” Gran Chico, who has been purchased by Jim and Wilma Giumelli, last appeared when he gave a splendid performance to finish a close fourth behind top-flight pacers Chase Auckland, Ashley Locaz and Smokin By in the Group 3 Methven Cup on October 13.  This was a 3000m stand on a rain-affected grass track and Gran Chico galloped briefly at the start before settling down in fourth place. A 5/1 chance, he dashed to the front after about 500m before surrendering the lead after a lap to the 6/4 favourite Ashley Locaz. He finished gamely along the inside. At his previous outing, nine nights earlier, Gran Chico settled in sixth position and raced in the breeze before taking the lead 1000m from home for an easy first-up victory at a 1.57.1 rate in a 1980m mobile event at Addington. That was his first appearance since June 1 when he gave a superb performance on a wet track to finish third behind Mark Purdon’s Jesse Duke in the $150,000 Group 1 Emerald at Addington. He started from the outside barrier (No. 8) on the front line and settled down in 12th and last position before starting a three-wide run from last about 1100m from home. He raced three wide for much of the final circuit and finished with great determination. Gran Chico’s chief rival on Friday night is likely to be the polemarker Dominate The Dojo, who has finished creditable thirds to Bettor Reward and Mighty Santana at his first two starts since resuming from a spell. The Kevin Keys-trained Dominate The Dojo will again be handled by Chris Lewis, who said: “He’s a consistent little horse who is always going to be about the play. He’s got gate speed and we will push forward and see what happens.” Dylan Egerton-Green will drive the Karen Thompson-trained Our Perkins, who is handily drawn at barrier three on the front line. “He is racing really well and will run a bit of a race if I can find the top,” Egerton-Green said. With Suvaljko committed to drive Gran Chico, Byford trainer Courtney Burch had to find a new driver for Sergeant Oats, an impressive winner from Ocean Ridge last Friday night. Burch has engaged Gary Hall Jnr to handle Sergeant Oats, who is sure to be prominent from the No. 4 barrier.   Ken Casellas

Rising star Wildwest is spot on to tackle the three rich feature events for four-year-olds, but champion trainer Gary Hall Snr says that it will be far from a stroll in the park for the New Zealand-bred gelding when he starts from barrier six in the $50,000 Catalano Truck and Equipment 4YO Championship over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. But Hall remains optimistic that Wildwest will meet the challenge with his usual zest and retain his unbeaten before he tackles the $125,000 Simmonds Steel Four-Year-Old Classic and the $200,000 Retravision Golden Nugget over the next month.   “He’s on target for all the big four-year-old classics and he seems to have all bases covered,” said Hall, who added: “From barrier six this week, he faces a real test against some very nice horses. “Wildwest is a bit nervy, light-framed and a very good mover. He can stay and he’s got speed. You don’t have to be a star to win eight in a row, but I think that Wildwest is a star. In saying that, I admit that this is a hard race and he faces a real test this week.” Wildwest, who has the services of the recently crowned winner of the Australian Drivers’ Championship in Gary Hall jnr, won by big margins at his first seven starts before he had his admirers on tenterhooks at his eighth start, in a $25,000 four-year-old feature event over 2185m at Pinjarra last Monday week, when he began from the outside barrier (five) on the back line. Wildwest settled down in tenth position before he was sent forward, three wide, after 550m and quickly moved to the breeze outside the pacemaker Patrickthepiranha. These two geldings were locked together over the final 250m before Wildwest got up in the final stride to snatch victory by a half-head, rating 1.56.8. “I didn’t have my heart in my mouth; I always thought he was going to win,” said Hall Snr. “I know that he didn’t win by much, but on the line he was surging clear. I’m not really all that apprehensive about watching him on Friday night. But I’d like to see him maintain his unbeaten record.” The Hall stable will also be represented in this week’s event by Robbie Easton (Maddison Brown, barrier 2) and Eloquent Mach (Stuart McDonald, No. 2 on the back line). Robbie Easton has won at nine of his 26 starts and has struck a purple patch with decisive Gloucester Park victories at his past three starts. He charged home, three wide, from sixth at the bell to win easily at a 1.56.2 rate last Friday night. “Robbie Easton will go forward, but I’m not sure whether he can hold out Patrickthepiranha,” said Hall snr. “He goes good in front and we’d like to lead.” Eloquent Mach, who has won at 11 of his 22 starts, was a battling fourth behind Wildwest at Pinjarra after enjoying a cosy trip behind the pacemaker. “He was disappointing,” admitted Hall. Dylan Egerton-Green, who will handle Patrickthepiranha, and Chris Lewis, who will drive Gee Jay Kay, are looking forward optimistically to Friday night’s race. “Patrickthepiranha’s first two runs after a spell have been good and he definitely showed a lot more fitness from his first run to his second run,” Egerton-Green said. “So, I’m hoping he can keep on improving. The draw (barrier five) is a bit difficult, like it was at Pinjarra at his latest start (when the gelding showed explosive gate speed from barrier seven to burst to the front). “I’ll have to assess (my tactics) early, about what’s going on, particularly with Robbie Easton, Sangue Reale and Gee Jay Kay on his inside. They are all racing well and this will be another good test for Patrickthepiranha, who was probably a bit unlucky when beaten a half-head by Wildwest at Pinjarra. “He dropped a knee boot about 150 metres from the finish and this was in a quick quarter (26.7sec.) which didn’t help. The dropped knee boot affected him, but that’s racing. Wildwest has drawn right outside me this week and he’s probably got to do the same amount of work that I’ll need to do to get into the race. “And Wildwest is not the only horse to beat. They are all quality horses and it’s definitely a match race between the whole lot. Since his run at Pinjarra Patrickthepiranha has worked really well, and so has his stablemate Its Rock And Roll. It probably boils down to who gets the most economical run.” Gee Jay Kay, a winner at ten of his 23 starts and trained by Ross Olivieri, looms as a major player in this week’s event in which he is handily drawn at barrier three on the front line. Gee Jay Kay gave an outstanding performance to win a stand over 2631m at Pinjarra on Monday of last week after galloping fiercely at the start. “I reckon he gave the leaders about 60 metres start,” Lewis said. “And I didn’t expect him to do what he did. I thought that I’d just follow them around, but when we were coming in for the bell Gee Jay Kay was travelling a bit and I thought I’d flush a couple out and just track up and see how close we could get. “Nothing came out, so I just kept going and he went on with the job really well. From barrier three this week he’s definitely going to be in play. He feels a different horse at the barrier now from what he was when I drove him at trials. He feels very confident and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets off the gate (begins fast). “It is a very good field and Wildwest doesn’t know when to give up. These horses are all going to go to fast-class. It’s a very impressive field.” The powerful Greg and Skye Bond stable will be represented by extremely smart New Zealand-bred pacers in Ana Afreet and Taroona Bromac, with the stable’s No. 1 reinsman Ryan Warwick handing punters a good tip by choosing to drive the lightly-raced Taroona Bromac, who will start from the outside of the back line. At his debut in New Zealand Taroona Bromac was narrowly beaten before scoring impressive victories at his following seven starts, the latest being last Friday night when he set the pace and coasted to victory by more than four lengths from Robb Stark. Ana Afreet, a winner at 12 of his 17 starts, is in sparkling form and will be driven by Bailey McDonough. However, he faces a stern test from out wide at barrier eight. Ken Casellas

Call him the “Crazy Burglar”, the “Deranged Intruder” or the “Insane Thief” - whatever tag you put on Mad Robber, you can add another one. On-top selection with all nine members of the WA Trotting Media Guild, with five making Mad Robber their best bet at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Former RWWA chief handicapper and now Radio Great Southern’s form expert Warren Wishart best sums up the thoughts of his colleagues and fellow Mad Robber fans - The West Australian’s Ernie Manning, TABradio’s form analyst Hayden King, Guild president Wayne Currall and The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft. “The best bet of the night comes up in race two with No.1 Mad Robber,” Wishart said. “This is astute placement by master trainer Gary Hall - it sees this horse meeting inferior opposition from the best draw. Should lead and win on a night many short-priced favourites should salute.“ Longshot guru Pat Harding believes another Hall-trained horse - the unbeaten Wildwest - will make it eight on the bounce. “ It should be a good night for favourites at GP this Friday,” Harding said. “Many have drawn favourably. My best of the night comes up in race five with Wildwest. He is without a doubt the best four-year-old in the State and while there is quite a bit of talent in the race, Wildwest from barrier six should bring home the bacon.“ Former president of the Guild and renowned form expert Ken Casellas is keen on Mighty Conqueror from the leading yard of Greg and Skye Bond. ”Mighty Conqueror was gallant in defeat a fortnight ago when he did all the work in the breeze and was nabbed in the final couple of bounds by Motu Premier,” Casellas said. “He certainly lost no admirers after that effort and he’s my best bet at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he should set the pace and prove too smart for his rivals in the Pat Cranley Memorial.” And TABradio’s racecaller Matt Young agrees. “Mighty Conqueror has the gate speed to lead and I’m expecting the five-year-old gelding to re-announce himself as the best in the State on Friday night.” Young said. VALUE BETS WARREN: I’m expecting an improved showing from Sarah Goody on Friday night. Well drawn and her best form would see her go close. Worth an each-way ticket. PAT: Simba Bromac is a talented horse due for a win. This week could see him fulfil his promise. ERNIE: Overboard Again will appreciate a class drop after running seventh last Friday night when he had difficulty getting a  clear run in the JP Stratton Cup. He has won eight Gloucester Park races. HAYDEN: Mighty Flying Deal should be at an each-way price and is racing in august fashion. If he can lead he will be hard to beat. WAYNE: Eloquent Mach will get out to a ridiculous price in the 4YO Championship. He’s often been the giantkiller and he’s drawn to get a drag into the race. RYAN: Mon Lillies takes on some in-form mares this week but will enjoy an inside draw over the sprint trip. Could surprise. KEN: For value, I suggest a solid each-way wager on Captain Mannering from barrier three in the opening event. He is a good frontrunner and his strong finishing burst to win easily from Justasec at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon was an impressive performance. MATT: Dennis has been racing well without much racing luck. He’ll be a decent price and looks a chance in an open first race to start the night. Vale “Pommy Mick” The Gloucester Park community is sad to farewell Michael “Pommy” Ditchfield. The part-owner of Destined To Rule had been battling cancer, but despite his failing health he was usually on course to cheer his horse on. And the Gods were smiling when Destined To Rule delivered for Mick at odds of 20/1 in a stand at headquarters last month. My last memory of Mick was him hooting and hollering for Destined To Rule all the way down the straight and hugging trainer and part-owner Sonia Zucchiatti as their horse saluted.  To view all of the Media Guild tips click here.   Wayne Currall

Jaspervellabeach, a star two-year-old last season when his four wins from six starts included the Group 2 Champagne Classic and the Group 1 Golden Slipper, will reappear after a four-month absence when he contests the Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Coolup owner-trainer Kristy Elson has a few concerns about the colt following his roguish behaviour in recent trials. But the style in which he set the pace and coasted to victory in a 2185m trial at Pinjarra on Sunday morning was a strong indication that he has sound winning prospects despite drawing the outside barrier in the field of seven. He began speedily from barrier four and charged straight to the front. After a modest pace in the first lap Jaspervellabeach dashed over the final 400m sections in 29.7sec. and 27.8sec. to win, unextended, by a length from Livin La Bamba. “I have trialled him twice (at Pinjarra) when his first trial wasn’t impressive at all,” said Elson. “Then I trialled him again last Sunday when I took the blinds off him because he had the blocks on, and I put him in an open bridle. “He went straight to the front and ran good time. But he was looking around and is getting a bit bully. So, I’m not sure if he is just mucking around and it will be interesting to see how he goes (in race conditions) on Friday night. I’m not sure whether he’s mucking around just because it’s trials and not at the races or whether he’s getting a bit older and a little bit silly. “I’m not sure how he will go on Friday night. It sort of depends on what he does from the outside barrier. It will depend on how Nathan (Turvey) feels after he has warmed up. He’s a lovely horse, but I’m not putting too much pressure on him. I just want to see how he goes.  “He might need to be gelded. But, hopefully, he’s just been mucking around at trials and knows when it’s pay day. We’ll see.” Elson will also be represented in Friday night’s event for three-year-olds by Secret Operation, who will start from barrier six with Gary Hall Jnr in the sulky. Secret Operation disappointed at his third outing after a spell when, from barrier three, he raced in sixth position, one-out and two-back, before wilting to finish a well-beaten seventh behind Rock me Over in a fast-run 2130m event on Tuesday evening. That followed easy wins at Gloucester Park over 2130m and 1730m at his two previous outings, after resuming from a spell. It is possible the colt was a little underdone and should be capable of an  improved effort on Friday night when Macz Brother, a half-brother to star mare Maczaffair (63 starts for 21 wins, 19 placings and $507,497) and the speedy Golden State (30 starts for 12 wins, six placings and $146,028) should prove hard to beat at his Gloucester Park debut. Macz Brother, trained by Mike Reed and to be driven by Michael Grantham, has raced three times for wins at Pinjarra and Northam and a third placing behind Hotfoot It at Pinjarra. At his most recent appearance Macz Brother began from the back line in a 1780m event at Northam last Saturday week when he settled in seventh position, was eighth at the bell and charged to the front with 420m to travel before winning by five lengths from Pocketfulofpepper. Ace trainer-reinsman Colin Brown will be keen to add to Adda Pocket Rinse’s record of three starts for three wins when he drives the Rich And Spoilt gelding. Adda Pocket Rinse possess excellent gate speed, but could find it difficult to cross to the front from barrier five. Adding considerable interest to the race will be the return to action of Some Copper Beach, the only filly in the event who will start from the No. 4 barrier for Capel trainer-reinsman Aiden de Campo. Some Copper Beach was a star two-year-old last season when her ten starts produced five wins, two seconds and a third.   Ken Casellas

The State’s best trotter, Lord Liam, and consistent four-year-old Robbie Easton are expected to continue on their winning ways at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Members of the WA Trotting Media Guild have earmarked the two horses as best bets on the 10-event card. The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft and Guild president Wayne Currall believe Lord Liam can extend his picket fence to eight in a row. “Lord Liam has won at his last seven runs, all from behind the mobile,” Havercroft said. “Bob Mellsop has the State’s in-form trotter firing and he should be fresh with three weeks since his last run.” Currall agrees. “Lord Liam is racing in a rich vein of form,” Currall said. “He knows where the winning post is and his will to win must be a delight to his owners/breeders, the Matthews family. Victory on Friday night will take the 10-year-old’s earnings past the $250,000 mark.” The West Australian’s Ernie Manning and Radio Great Southern’s form analyst Warren Wishart are firmly in the Robbie Easton camp. “Robbie Easton is in line to complete a winning hat-trick for trainer Gary Hall and could emerge as a genuine Golden Nugget contender after being in the shadow of his classy four-year-old stablemates headed by Wildwest,” Manning said. “Last Friday night, Robbie Easton jumped up from midweek class and faced the breeze on his way to an impressive victory. He has been a Gloucester Park winner at three of his past five starts.” Wishart is just as enthusiastic. “My best bet comes up in race seven with No. 5 Robbie Easton,” Wishart said. “This looks an easier assignment than last week when he was too strong. Just looks a good thing.“ Veteran form expert Ken Casellas is keen on the chances of Carter Micheal. “Carter Micheal is a model of consistency and the Nathan Turvey-trained six-year-old is my best bet this week when he starts from barrier five in the Glenroy Chaff Pace,” Casellas said. “The New Zealand-bred gelding has been most impressive on the past two Friday nights with close seconds in fast time behind Major Pocket and Bettor Reward.” TABradio racecaller Matt Young likes the chances of Ocean Ridge in the opening event. “Ocean Ridge bombed the start on Monday at Pinjarra and was a big run into second place behind the very smart Gee Jay Kay,” Young said. “The 2536m suits this pacer and he should be winning.” Longshot guru Pat Harding has settled on Our Alfie Romeo as his best for the evening. “My best bet of the night comes up in race six with the ever consistent Our Alfie Romeo from the Bond camp,” Harding said. “Coming out of barrier three this horse should continue on her winning way and notch up another impressive performance.“ But TABradio form expert Hayden King disagrees with Harding’s summation of the race. “Crystal Sparkles was magnificent last week when determinedly chopping down Vincenzo Peruggia in the shadows, who looked to have committed another theft,” King said. ”She can lead and win, showing that she is up to these ahead of the Mares Classic.” VALUE BETS RYAN: Anime resumes from a well-deserved break and could run a race. Will have the option of dropping to the pegs from barrier two.  WAYNE: Parisian Partygirl is drawn to get the run of the race in the sixth. She loves the pegs and will be thundering home at the business end of the event. ERNIE: Oneonthewood has not won in his past 18 starts, but he is due to break the victory drought. Seven places have been run by the veteran in his last eight appearances. Chasing his ninth standing start win, he should be fresh when racing for the first time in a month. WARREN: My best value is in race four No. 2 El Hombre. This is lovely placement by the stable taking on horses with considerable less earnings and on top of that he gets a plum draw. If he can lead he will go close and is likely to be at each-way odds. KEN: For value, I suggest Twilight Saga in race eight, a 2503m stand in which she will start from the inside on the front line and should enjoy a perfect run, either leading or sitting behind the pacemaker. She has managed just one placing from six starts this season, but will pay to follow. MATT: Cracka Star got home well last start and both runs back have been solid. It’s an open event and definitely worth something each way on. PAT: My value bet comes up in race seven with the Mike Reed-trained Valbonne. With Michael Grantham aboard I think he can give punters good value for money. HAYDEN: Mad Robber looks to have finally been incarcerated in the leaders back position this week, but if he gets out he should come all over the top. To view all of the Media Guild tips click here. Good Punting   Wayne Currall

It had to be seen to be believed. That’s the verdict after watching an outstanding performance by lightly-raced five-year-old Ocean Ridge at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. At his first appearance in a stand, Ocean Ridge galloped hopelessly at the start and settled down in last position in a field of 12, more than 15 lengths from the early pacemaker. He was tenth at the bell and ninth with 600m to travel before sustaining a spirited burst which carried him into second place behind Gee Jay Kay. The Greg and Skye Bond-trained gelding will return to mobile racing when he starts from the No. 5 barrier in the opening event, the Catalano Truck and Equipment Pace over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Ocean Ridge has had four starts since resuming from a spell and has finished second in three of those races, and the winner at seven of his 20 starts is ready to return to the winning list. He won at three of his ten starts in New Zealand and has raced ten times in WA for four wins and three seconds. He showed his class last year when he was an easy winner of a WA Derby prelude, beating King of Swing and Speed Man, before covering a lot of extra ground and finishing an excellent fourth behind King of Swing, Beachers Brook and Cott Beach in the Derby final. Ocean Ridge is awkwardly drawn at barrier five on Friday night, but has the class to overcome that disadvantage and win from in-form pacers The Dali Express, The Verandah, Sergeant Oats and Jack William. Ocean Ridge will be handled by his regular reinsman Ryan Warwick, who has excellent winning prospects with other Bond-trained pacers Mighty Santana, Ana Malak, Our Alfie Romeo, Twilight Saga and Taroona Bromac. Warwick is also looking forward to representing Western Australia, along with Gary Hall Jnr, in the seven heats (all over 2090m) of the Australian Derivers’ Championship in Hobart of Saturday night. Hall will miss Friday night’s Gloucester Park meeting and Stuart McDonald will have a busy night replacing Hall on seven horses, all with sound each-way prospects. His best drive should prove to be Robbie Easton, an up-and-coming four-year-old in race seven, the Allwood Stud Farm Pace.   Ken Casellas

Inexperienced New Zealand-bred four-year-old Taroona Bromac is poised to press his claims for a start in the $200,000 Retravision Golden Nugget on December 13 by making a successful debut at Gloucester Park on Friday night by winning the Better Your Bet With TABtouch Pace. He is bred in the purple and is ideally drawn at barrier two in the nine-horse field for leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond and star reinsman Ryan Warwick who enjoyed great success with the gelding’s half-brother Tas Man Bromac in the 2017-18 summer. Taroona Bromac has had only seven starts for wins at each of his past six starts after finishing a nose second to Demeter on debut in New Zealand in January this year. After three wins in New Zealand, Taroona Bromac has raced three times in Western Australia for easy victories at Kellerberrin when he coasted home and won, unextended, on each occasion. Competition for spots in the 12-horse field in the Golden Nugget will be fierce and metropolitan wins will be extremely important. Taroona Bromac gives every indication that he has the raw ability to chalk up successive wins in the city. At his latest outing, in the 2130m Merredin Cup last Sunday week, Taroona Bromac started from barrier three and burst to the lead after 50m. He ambled along in front and sprinted over the final quarters in 28.7sec. and 28.8sec. to win easily from Affluent Belle. He was not bustled at the start at his two previous runs at Kellerberrin when he raced out wide in the early stages before taking up the running after 550m and 400m, respectively. Warwick was in the sulky for Tas Man Bromac’s six WA starts which produced four wins, including the group 3 Northam Cup in February 2018. Tas Man Bromac’s career was cut short when he fractured a pastern after winning at his final start, at Gloucester Park on February 16, 2018. He had raced 37 times for 14 wins, 16 placings and $162,086 in stakes. Tas Man Bromac and Taroona Bromac are out of the unraced McArdle mare Tasmcmanian, whose half-brother Art’s Conquest had 31 starts in America for 12 wins, 12 placings and stakes of $880,576. The only serious threat confronting Taroona Bromac on Friday night appears to be handy five-year-old gelding Robb Stark, who has a losing sequence of 12, but is getting close to a win after solid placings at each of his past three starts. He started from the outside of the back line and finished with a strong three-wide burst from eighth at the bell to be third behind Robbie Easton and Braeview Bondi over 2536m last Friday night. He is handily drawn at barrier three this week when he will be driven by Stuart McDonald. McDonald has excellent winning prospects when he drives four-year-old Robbie Easton in the Allwood Stud Farm Pace in which he will start from the No. 5 barrier in a field of nine. He should carry too many guns for the polemarker Absolution and Joe With The Flow.   Ken Casellas

Twenty-one months ago, veteran trotter Lord Liam broke down with a recurrence of an old leg injury and Waroona trainer Bob Mellsop reluctantly decided to retire him. Now Lord Liam is a bright-eyed and happy ten-year-old in the throes of a remarkable comeback and  is acclaimed as the State’s best square-gaiter who will be attempting to record his eighth win in succession when he contests the Community TAB Trot over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “Early last year Lord Liam went sore in a back leg,” Mellsop said. “It was an old suspensory injury and he’d had an operation on a cannon bone which had got infected. So, I retired him and de-registered him. “I put him on Facebook, free for a good home. But I couldn’t find anyone who wanted him, and I refused to send him away to the happy hunting ground. He was such a great horse. “I put him in a paddock for 12 months and then he looked so good that I eventually put him back in work and re-registered him and now he’s as sound as a bell.” In his comeback preparation Lord Liam has had 16 starts for ten wins, four seconds, one third and one seventh for earnings of $65,097. This has boosted his record to 90 starts for 30 wins, 24 seconds, five thirds and $248,703 in stakemoney. Lord Liam has drawn out wide at barrier eight in the field of nine in Friday night’s race but has the ability to overcome this distinct disadvantage. He has been handled in his past seven starts for seven wins by Maddison Brown, but will be driven this week by Deni Roberts, who has recovered from a fractured right big toe. Brown was unavailable because she is in Hobart to watch the Australian Drivers’ Championship on Saturday night. Roberts has driven the Victorian-bred gelding once in a 2631m stand at Pinjarra 15 starts ago, on April 15 this year when he finished a half-length second to Mortician. On that occasion Lord Liam started from 50m, which in effect was a 30m handicap because there was no front or 10m line. The closest Lord Liam has gone to be beaten at his past seven starts was at his latest outing, over 2185m at Pinjarra four Mondays ago when he defeated Lightning Calder by a head after working hard, three wide in the final circuit. Lord Liam warmed up for this week’s assignment with a smart win in a 2116m standing-start trial at Pinjarra on Sunday morning when he led early for the first 350m and then sat behind the pacemaker Rabchenko before finishing strongly to beat that pacer by a neck at a 2.2.1 rate, with final quarters of 29.5sec. and 29.3sec. Lightning Calder, to be driven by Chris Voak for trainer Bruce Stanley, and Im Not Eyre, trained and driven by Jocelyn Young, loom large as Lord Liam’s main dangers. Lightning Calder, a winner of 26 races, will start from barrier seven. He started off 30m in a 2503m event last Friday night and came from the rear to race in the breeze throughout the final lap when a fighting third behind Im Not Eyre and the pacemaker Tenno Sho. Four days before that race Im Not Eyre dashed to an early lead, set a solid pace and won from Upandgone and Tokyo Joe over 2185m at Pinjarra. A newcomer to West Australian racing in Friday night’s race will be the eight-year-old chestnut gelding Rock Tonight, who is prepared by Nigel Johns and will be driven by Morgan Woodley from the outside barrier (No. 9). The winner of three races in New Zealand and nine in Victoria, Rock Tonight has a losing sequence of 21. His stablemate Diamond Geezer (barrier six) is a sentimental favourite because of his jaunty high-stepping action. If he finishes in the top four his stake-earnings will go past the $200,000 mark. He has a losing sequence of 74, but he has notched 11 seconds and 16 thirds from those 74 outings. Mellsop said that Lord Liam was thriving on racing. “As long as he is happy racing and is competitive, he’ll keep going,” he said. “I’ll retire him when he stops enjoying what he is doing. Veterinary surgeon Melanie McGregor will take him and give him a home when he retires.” Lord Liam was bred by Richard and Pauline Matthews, who own a petroleum business in Victoria. Their first contact with Mellsop was when he put in an offer to purchase Bullion Bill 13 years ago. “They wouldn’t sell, but sent Bullion Bill over to me to train,” Mellsop said. Bullion Bill had 23 starts for Mellsop for nine wins and five placings before being sold to America. Then three years ago Richard and Pauline Matthews sent Sammy Charles to Mellsop and the younger half-brother to Lord Liam thrived under Mellsop’s care, with 19 starts producing six wins and 11 placings.   Ken Casellas

Being the most inexperienced runner and drawing out wide at barrier No. 8 are not insurmountable problems for star New Zealand-bred five-year-old Ana Malak, who will be appearing at Gloucester Park for just the fourth time when he contests the Group 2 $50,000 J. P. Stratton Cup on Friday night. Prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond and to be driven by star reinsman Ryan Warwick, Ana Malak has the class to emerge triumphant against stiff opposition which includes talented stablemates and last-start winners El Jacko and Vampiro. The Bond runners are in top form and could well, with a slice of luck, produce a trifecta result, similar to the stable’s remarkable performance to provide the first five placegetters in the group 1 Golden Nugget Championship last December --- when Ana Malak won by a short half-head from Mighty Conqueror. These two brilliant pacers were followed home, in order, by Fizzing, Bright Diamond and Bettor Aim. Ana Malak’s Nugget triumph followed the horse’s success in the group 1 Four-Year-Old Classic at his West Australian debut. Ana Malak campaigned in Victoria in April, May and June for four wins, two thirds and one fourth from seven starts --- and he resumed after a four-month absence when he contested the Howard Porter Memorial two Fridays ago. With Dylan Egerton-Green in the sulky (replacing the suspended Warwick), Ana Malak was restrained from barrier seven before quickly mustering pace and dashing forward to work in the breeze outside the pacemaker Vampiro. Ana Malak fought on grimly and finished second, one metre behind Vampiro. Colin Brown will again handle Vampiro, who will start from the No. 6 barrier. Brown and Greg and Skye Bond combined to win the 2012 Stratton Cup when Russley Rascal, favourite at 7/4 on from barrier one, set the pace and held on grimly to score by a half-head from the fast-finishing Mysta Magical Mach. A year later, in the 2013 Stratton Cup, the Bond-trained Ima Rocket Star (a 5/1 chance driven by Brown) finished determinedly to be second to the Im Victorious. Egerton-Green will drive El Jacko from the prized No. 1 barrier and the seven-year-old will have an army of admirers. He notched his 22nd from 61 starts two Fridays ago when he was restrained from barrier six and finished powerfully from fifth at the bell to easily beat the pacemaker Mighty Flying Deal at a 1.55.2 rate over 1730m. Champion reinsman Chris Lewis will be looking to the consistent Our Corelli to give him his eighth success in the Stratton Cup, after victories with Black Irish (1983), Village Kid (1985, 1988 and 1991), Ohoka Ace (2005), Sneakyn Down Under (2009) and Sensational Gabby (2014). Our Corelli is favourably drawn at barrier two on the back line and should race in a commanding position. Champion trainer Gary Hall Snr has three runners in this week’s Cup --- King of Swing (Stuart McDonald, barrier three), Overboard Again (Corey Peterson, barrier four) and Speed Man (Lauren Jones, barrier seven). King of Swing has solid each-way claims and certainly is capable of giving Hall another Stratton Cup victory after scoring with Bengeeman (2002), Alzona (2011) and Waylade (2015). Gary Hall Jnr drove those three pacers for their Stratton Cup wins, but he will be absent from Gloucester Park on Friday night. He will be in Hobart where he and Ryan Warwick will represent Western Australia in the Australian Drivers’ Championship on Saturday night. Mt Helena trainer Ray Williams has two smart pacers in Major Pocket and Walkinshaw engaged in Friday night’s Cup. Aldo Cortopassi will drive the speedy Major Pocket from barrier two, and Aiden de Campo has been engaged for Walkinshaw, who will be at liberal odds from out wide at barrier No. 9.   Ken Casellas

Punters take heed - backing Bettor Reward in the opening event at Gloucester Park on Friday night will give you a great start to the evening’s proceedings. That’s according to several members of the WA Trotting Media Guild, who have made the Clinton Hall-trained pacer their best bet on Parliamentarians Cup night. Form expert Ken Casellas, TABradio’s form analyst Hayden King, TABradio’s racecaller Matt Young and Guild president Wayne Currall all believe champion reinsman Chris Lewis will steer Bettor Reward to an all-the-way victory. Casellas summed up the thoughts of his colleagues when assessing the merits of Bettor Reward. “Eight-year-old Bettor Reward is a speedy beginner and he should give punters a flying start to Friday night’s meeting by relishing the No. 1 barrier in race one and leading all the way over the sprint trip of 1730m,” Casellas said. “Bettor Reward has been unplaced at his past three starts since he started from barrier one and set the pace before winning by three lengths at a fast 1.52.7 rate over 1730m seven weeks ago. He’s my best bet this week to repeat the dose.” Class mare Dracarys is another horse many members of the Guild have made their star bet on the 10-event program. The West Australian’s Ernie Manning, Radio Great Southern’s form analyst Warren Wishart and The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft are all confident she’ll return to the track a winner. Manning’s comment echoed the thoughts of his colleagues. “Four-year-old Dracarys, looking set for victory at her first start in six months, has shown outstanding potential by notching 10 wins from 14 appearances since joining trainer Justin Prentice’s stable,” Manning said. ”The Kiwi import opened her WA account with wins at five consecutive appearances. She again struck top form last autumn, when recording four straight victories. The $125,00 Mares Classic (2536m) in December will be among her Gloucester Park summer carnival targets.” Longshot guru Pat Harding believes it could be a good night for the Michael Brennan/ Michael Grantham combination. “My best bet comes up in race two with Braeview Bondi coming out of barrier two,” Harding said. “He’s looking for three wins in a row and I think he has an excellent chance off doing just that.” VALUE BETS KEN: For value, I suggest Waltzingwithsierra in race seven in which she is ideally drawn on the inside of the back line. She is a talented sit-sprinter who is sure to be charging home at the business end of proceedings. HAYDEN: Phar From Kalahari has strung a few impressive runs together and has been assigned a cosy draw. She is a live chance, regardless of what happens. MATT: Waltzingwithsierra is getting better with every run and represents each-way value with some racing luck. WAYNE: Black Jack Zac is drawn to get the run of the race behind likely leader Bettor Party in the fourth. Can fly late at an each-way quote. ERNIE: Absolution is on an 11-run losing streak and has won only twice in his past 44 races. But he looked ready to break the drought when third at Gloucester Park on the past two Friday nights. There was plenty of merit in his $30,000 Preux Chevalier Pace effort a week ago. WARREN: Race six, No. 5 Mighty Conquerer. If the indicative price of $7 is correct then it will be Christmas in November for punters as Mighty Conqueror, despite the rise in class, looks a cups class horse and can account for his rivals. RYAN: Diamond Geezer has a habit of finding his way into the minor money often enough for him to be an each-way chance in the last. PAT: My value bet comes up in race six with the Brennan/Grantham team with The Bucket List. He is ideally placed in barrier two and although his recent form isn't that good I think he can give punters a great sight. To view all of the Media Guild tips click here. Good Punting   Wayne Currall

Fifteen months ago, the highly-regarded New Zealand-bred gelding American Brave broke down when having his second start in a race in Australia and harness racing fans are anxiously awaiting his return to action when he contests the Smallgoods Special Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. American Brave fractured his off hind leg, a spiral fracture above the hock, in the race in which he finished sixth behind Our Corelli at Gloucester Park in August 2018. That followed his Australian debut a month earlier when he started from barrier eight, raced wide early and then set the pace before winning by seven and a half lengths from Parisian Partygirl. “He has been in work for quite a while, but he’s still very big,” said champion trainer Gary Hall Snr. “So, he will be underdone and has drawn out wide. But he’s a class horse and hopefully his class will get him through. He is definitely going to improve with the run.” Hall is also looking for a forward showing from King of Swing, the lone back-line runner in the Mondo Doro Cup over 2130m. The five-year-old, a winner at 18 of his 46 starts, gave a fighting display last Friday week when second to Walkinshaw in a fast-run 2130m event. King of Swing challenged hard, but unsuccessfully, for the early lead and then worked hard in the breeze before getting to the front 550m from home and then being swamped by Walkinshaw, who had enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back. Friday night’s event will see the return to action of the highly dependable Im Soxy, who was a credit to his Bunbury trainer Brian Clemens when he raced 34 times last season for six wins, eight seconds and ten thirds. Im Soxy will be driven by Ryan Warwick from the prized No. 1 barrier. He is a good frontrunner who should prove hard to beat in an even field. The Ray Williams-trained Major Pocket will have many admirers from his favourable draw at barrier two. The six-year-old will be handled for the first time by Dylan Egerton-Green who replaces Aldo Cortopassi, who has driven the horse at his past 28 starts for six wins, ten seconds and four thirds. Cortopassi was committed to driving his own nomination Roman Aviator, who is awkwardly drawn out wide at barrier seven. Major Pocket maintained his excellent form when he had a tough run in the breeze before getting up to snatch victory in a three-way photo finish from Carter Micheal and Mighty Santana. He rated 1.55.7 over the 2130m trip.   Ken Casellas

Eight times WA premier trainer Ross Olivieri has nine runners at Gloucester Park on Friday night, and he declares all are each-way prospects, with stable newcomer Queen Shenandoah the best winning hope, despite drawing out wide at barrier eight in the 2130m Meat Me At The Post Pace. Queen Shenandoah, a New Zealand-bred five-year-old mare, boats an impressive record of 31 starts for eight wins (one in New Zealand, four in Victoria and three in South Australia), ten seconds and two thirds for earnings of $89,639. Possessed with excellent gate speed and a noted frontrunner, Queen Shenandoah is a last-start winner at a 1.57.5 rate over 2230m at Globe Derby Park on September 14 when she finished strongly from last in a field of five at the bell to win convincingly by almost four lengths from Lochinvar Hugo. Five starts before that she set a track record when she rated 1.55.7 to win by a half-length from Delightful Mia over 1750m at Wedderburn. “All our stable runners have got solid chances on Friday night, without pointing to one,” Olivieri said. “If Queen Shenandoah (who will be driven by Chris Voak) had a good draw I’d say she would be over the line. However, from eight, she will go well and whatever she does she will improve on. She’s strong and fast.” Olivieri also predicted a strong performance from Crystal Sparkles in the Pastrami Pace over 2130m in which the mare will start from the favourable No. 2 barrier with Voak in the sulky. “She’s improving run by run and is a real good chance, a winning chance,” he said. Crystal Sparkles, a winner of 20 races from 57 starts, finished solidly from seventh at the bell to be third behind Just Rockon Bye and Our Alfie Romeo last Friday night. She looks set to fight out the finish with the speedy Tony Svilicich-trained Vincenzo Peruggia, who is in the best form of his career. Vincenzo Peruggia will be driven by Emily Suvaljko from barrier three. Olivieri said that Motu Premier was a solid each-way hope in the Parliamentarians Cup and that he was leaning towards Carerra Mach ahead of stablemate Iceenothink in the Xmas Ham Classico Pace. “Carerra Mach ran a super race last week and he’s my fancy ahead of Iceenothink (a last-start first-up winner at Pinjarra),” he said. Chief interest in this event will be the return to racing of the brilliant Justin Prentice-trained Dracarys, who will be driven by Gary Hall jnr from the No. 1 barrier. Dracarys, now a four-year-old, will be having her first start for six months. She has been most impressive in winning at 11 of her 17 starts.   Ken Casellas

New Zealand-bred square-gaiter Im Not Eyre gave a faultless exhibition of trotting when he coasted to victory in a 2185m mobile event at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon and part-owner and trainer-driver Jocelyn Young is confident the eight-year-old can produce a similar effort in a 2503m stand at Gloucester Park on Friday night. She said that the gelding was capable of switching from a stand to a mobile without any problems and that she was hoping that the gelding would maintain his normal good behaviour in a stand in a bid to take advantage of an ideal barrier at No. 2 in the Chorizo Too Hot To Trot Handicap. “He usually steps really good,” Young said. “He’s good from any position in a race and is racing really well. Obviously, I’d like him to get to the top on Friday night which is the place to be. “Having two starts in a week should be no problem. He does have a few issues with his feet, but if he pulls up well after Monday’s win there should be no problems. I thought he still had a bit to give at the end of Monday’s race. He’s very responsive to the whip, but I try not to hit him too much. In Monday’s race, Im Not Eyre began well from barrier five and raced three wide for the first 300m before taking the lead. He was not extended in beating Upandgone and Tokyo Joe. “Looking at the opposition, Lightning Calder is the class horse, but he’s off 30 metres. Ton Tine is racing well, and Tenno Sho can improve on his first-up sixth.” Young, who has six drives on Friday night, is looking forward to driving promising five-year-old Bill Haley in the 2130m Xmas Ham Classico Pace in which he will start from an awkward barrier at No. 6. Bill Haley, prepared by Debra Lewis, made an auspicious West Australian debut at Gloucester Park three Fridays ago when he raced in seventh position before finishing determinedly to win by a length from Rock Me Over. He did not look particularly impressive, but in hindsight it was a good performance, considering that all other eight mobile events were won by the pacemaker. “I have driven him once on the track and he’s a pretty nice horse,” said Young. “There’s a couple of nice horses in the race, but I don’t think they’re better than him, providing he’s right.”       Among Young’s other drives on Friday night are Athabascan in race one and Commander Chapel in race three. Athabascan is poorly drawn at No. 7 and faces a hard task over the sprint trip of 1730m. Considerable interest will surround the return to racing of eight-year-old Commander Chapel, who will start from the outside of the back line in the 2130m What’s The Beef Pace. The gelding has raced 40 times for 13 wins, nine seconds and three thirds and this will be his first appearance since finishing second to Bettor Offer at Gloucester Park in February 2017.   Ken Casellas

Young star reinsman Michael Grantham is looking forward keenly to driving Braeview Bondi at his Gloucester Park debut, in the 2536m Coppa Kabana Pace on Friday night, declaring that the Victorian-bred five-year-old had the ability to measure up to city racing. Braeview Bondi, prepared at Blythewood by Michael Brennan, is favourably drawn at barrier two and Grantham is planning to have the gelding in the firing line throughout. “His work at home suggests he can beat horses like Robbie Easton, Robb Stark ad Absolution,” Grantham said. “The 2500m will suit him; the longer the distance, the better he goes.” Braeview Bondi has created a good impression in Western Australia, with Grantham driving him to effortless wins over 2242m at Narrogin and 2569m at Bunbury at his only two appearances in the State. “He drew the back line in both those races and made a mid-race move (to get to the front) in both,” Grantham said. “He’s been going well, and I’ve been happy with him. His two wins have been great.” Grantham plans to go forward at the start, but said he was not sure whether Shannon Suvaljko would be willing to surrender the early lead with Absolution, who will start from the No. 1 barrier. “However, I’d be quite happy to hold the breeze,” he said. “And there might be a little bit of pressure (from wider runners) early, and that could lead to us taking the lead.” Absolution, trained by Debbie Padberg, has a losing sequence of 11, but is getting close to another win after fast-finishing thirds behind talented pacers Wildwest and Ana Afreet at his past two outings. Grantham has made a flying start to the 2019-20 season and is fifth with 20 winners on the drivers’ premiership table. He has a busy night on Friday, with seven drives on the ten-event card. He is enthusiastic about the prospects of It Aint Royal and Waltzingwithsierra. It Aint Royal, trained at Pinjarra by Ed Burnham, is an eight-year-old who has managed just one win from his past 49 starts at Bunbury 13 starts ago and boasts a winning record of just eight per cent. However, several of his recent efforts for a couple of thirds and fifths have been encouraging. Drawing the prized No. 1 barrier in Friday night’s 2130m The Smallgoods Special Pace has boosted Grantham’s confidence. “He’s got brilliant gate speed and I know we’ve got Pradas Ideal Dahling (barrier five) outside of him. But I think he can win. If he doesn’t win, he’ll run second or third.” Waltzingwithsierra, trained by Katja Warwick, is ideally drawn on the inside of the back line in the Meat Me At The Post Pace over 2130m. Her effort in charging home from eighth (and last) at the bell to finish third behind Extreme Prince and Gordon over 2536m last Friday night was full of merit. She also impressed two starts before that when she finished strongly to win from Ideal Investment over 2130m. “She’s got the draw this week and I was really happy with her run last week,” Grantham said. “She is a very good sit and kick horse. I expect to be three back on the rails and if she can get off I expect her to be a great chance.”   Ken Casellas

Ryan Warwick and Morgan Woodley, who share the distinction of having driven six winners on a program in Western Australia, will clash in the $30,000 Parliamentarians Cup over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Woodley, who has won the Parliamentarians Cup twice with Has The Answers (2009) and Real Life (2011) will handle noted frontrunner Argyle Red from the prized No. 1 barrier, with Warwick in the sulky behind up-and-coming star Mighty Conqueror, who has won at 14 of his 20 starts. Mighty Conqueror is more brilliant than Argyle Red and is capable of overcoming an awkward barrier at No. 5. The New Zealand-bred five-year-old prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye was the credentials and the form to emerge triumphant and give Warwick his first win in this feature event. A win to Mighty Conqueror would cap a memorable week for Warwick, who drove all six winners on the program at Kellerberrin on Sunday before following with a double at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. Fifteen years ago Greg Bond prepared Money Magnet for his win, with Colin Brown in the sulky, in the Parliamentarians Cup which was first run in 1993 and was a standing-start event for 15 years before being a mobile race for the past 11 years, with the event restricted to mares in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Mighty Conqueror gave a devasting performance to win at a 1.55.2 rate over 2130m last Friday week. He was nursed out from barrier seven and settled in sixth position before starting a three-wide run and moving into the breeze after a lap. He surged to the front 300m from home and won by four and a half lengths from the pacemaker Patrickthepiranha, with final quarters in 28.7sec. and 27.8sec. Argyle Red, trained by Rob MacDonald at Pinjarra, led from barrier one and won the 1730m Mount Eden Sprint at a 1.53.8 rate last Friday week. He also started from the No. 1 barrier two starts before that when he led and won at a 1.56.7 rate over 2130m. Our Corelli (barrier four) and Motu Premier (six) are racing keenly and will have admirers. Our Corelli, a winner at eight of his past 15 starts, sat behind the pacemaker Vampiro before running on solidly to be third behind that pacer ands Ana Malak over 2130m last Friday night. Our Corelli will again be handled by champion reinsman Chris Lewis, who has won the Parliamentarians Cup a record seven times with Hilarion Star (1993), Heros Knight (1998), Our London Pride (1999), Jimmy Nail (2003), Competitive Edge (2006), Ima Spicey Lombo (2010) and Leda McNally (2015). Ross Olivieri, who prepared Heros Knight and Ima Spicey Lombo, will be pinning his faith this week on the consistent Motu Premier, who impressed in the Mount Eden Sprint when he seventh in the middle stages before sustaining a powerful three-wide finishing burst to be fourth, a mere couple of centimetres from the winner Argyle Red. “That’s the closest you’ll get to winning without running a place,” was the appraisal from a philosophical Olivieri. Michael Brennan’s wonderful veteran The Bucket List is favourably drawn at barrier two and reinsman Michael Grantham plans to slot the ten-year-old in behind Argyle Red and enjoy a comfortable passage one or two back on the pegs, giving him the opportunity to unleash his typical flashing finishing burst.   Ken Casellas

Talented colt Secret Operation has maintained his unbeaten start to his three-year-old career, taking out last night’s TABtouch Pace (1730m). Secret Operation commenced roughly from barrier 10 and was shuffled back to a midfield position, while Livy Jay held the lead from barrier one in the early stages. Reinsman Nathan Turvey was quickly able to get Secret Operation off the rails and into the moving line on the first lap. The Kristy Elson-trained colt was too powerful over the last quarter to score a 5.2m win to Livy Jay and Cyber Storm. Secret Operation spent much of his two-year-old season in the shadow of stablemate Jaspervellabeach, who took out the Golden Slipper and Champagne Classic. Meanwhile, Argyle Red will start from barrier one again in this Friday’s Parliamentarians Cup (2130m) for the Free-For-All horses at Gloucester Park. The Robert MacDonald-trained gelding produced a career best performance last start in the Group 2 Mount Eden Sprint (1730m), where he also started from barrier one. Highly talented pacer Mighty Conqueror gets his first chance in FFA company from a mobile start and will need to bring his best form from barrier five. In-form stablemate Our Jimmy Johnstone also looks a key player in the $30,000 event from barrier three. Our Corelli gets his chance to return to the winner’s circle from barrier four, while Motu Premier will also be looking to end a frustrating run of outs from barrier six. The Mondo Doro Cup (2130m) has also attracted a high quality field, headlined by reigning Gloucester Park Horse of the Year Im Soxy from barrier one. Last start winners Major Pocket and Overboard Again have drawn barrier two and five respectively, while Simba Bromac and King Of Swing look key players from barrier nine and 10 respectively. Elsewhere, unbeaten Gary Hall Snr-trained Wildwest headlines nominations for Monday’s Pinjarra 4YO Classic (2185m). Hall Snr also has Eloquent Mach nominated for the $25,000 race. Ana Afreet is among four nominations from the Greg and Skye Bond stable, while Bletchley Park, Gee Jay Kay, Patrickthepiranha and Its Rock And Roll could also line up.   Tim Walker

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