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It’s quite a mixed bag of specials for Gloucester Park this week from the members of the WA Trotting Media Guild. Only two members – veteran trotting scribe Ken Casellas and TABradio’s Hayden King – have settled on the same best bet. Hall of Fame journalist Casellas, who was recently honoured for his long list of work and awards in harness racing with the introduction of The Ken Casellas Media Excellence Award, is keen on Boom Time. “It’s always a warming feeling leaving Gloucester Park on a Friday night after backing the winner of the final event,” Casellas said. “And therefore I’m making Boom Time my best bet this week – to triumph in the 11th final race. Boom Time burst back to his best last week when he surged home from the rear to score an impressive victory. I’m predicting that the lightly raced seven-year-old will be seen in a different role this week by setting the pace from the No. 1 barrier and holding out the up-and-coming Mirragon.” And King agrees. “Boom Time finally gets the draw in the final race on the program,” King said. “ Chris Voak is going to have Mirragon right where he wants him and can rate Boom Time to win as he does so well.” Radio Great Southern’s form analyst Warren Wishart believes promising two-year-old Rock On Top can frank his heat victory by winning the Gold Bullion Final for colts and geldings. “Rock On Top was without doubt the most impressive winner of the heats,” Wishart said. “He should be too good again in this.” The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft has made Hampton Banner his best for the meeting. “Hampton Banner took advantage of his best barrier in four local starts to lead and win easily here 10 days ago,” Havercroft said. “I don’t expect Palatino to try and hold the nominal favourite out, and from there he would take catching on his last outing.” TABradio’s Matt Young has opted for a squaregaiter as his star bet. “Tenno Sho has wonderful gate speed and can overcome the wide draw to lead,” Young said. “The speedy squaregaiter has been racing really well and can lead them a merry dance here.” The West Australian’s Ernie Manning believes Star Of Diamonds can post an all-the-way victory in the Johnson Fillies & Mares Pace. “Star Of Diamonds displays the consistency that is a trademark of  her trainer Barry Howlett’s team and she has the prized No.1 barrier,” Manning said. The mare’s tally from her last seven starts is four wins and three places. She won last month’s Golden Girls Mile at Pinjarra before finishing third in the Empress Stakes. Her Gloucester Park win last Friday night was most impressive.” Longshot guru Pat Harding has landed on Galactic Star as his best bet. “Looks like another tough night at GP – seems to be the pattern of late,” Harding said. “My best bet comes up in race six with No. 6 Galactic Star. He had a great win last week and in this small field of seven he should be able to show his class again.” But Guild president Wayne Currall disagrees with Harding. “I loved the way old Vultan Tin attacked the line last week when the closest of seconds behind Galactic Star,” Currall said. “The rising 10-year-old did all the bullocking work outside of Galactic Star, who led comfortably from the pole. Will be a different story this week and I’m confident Vultan Tin can turn the tables.” VALUE BETS KEN: For value, I suggest Heavens Showgirl in the Group 3 Johnson Final. She has created a big impression at her first three starts in WA by leading from the No. 1 barrier and winning without being extended. She has an extremely bright future. HAYDEN: Rabchenko unwound a sustained burst through the final 800m in quick sectionals to win running away last week. He just needs a modicum of luck to be a sterling winning chance again. WARREN: I have thrown out As Happy As Larry a few times now, but this is the race for him. I’m hoping he is missed by the market. Doesn’t have the numerical form but this is his race. RYAN: On Fast Forward has been racing in consistent form and is safe from the mobile barrier. Likely to be at juicy each-way odds. MATT: Dunamis is a wonderful chance. The indicative price at $12 seems wonderful value from the draw in the Gold Bullion for the colts and geldings. ERNIE: Poisedtopounce is due to hit form for co-trainers Greg and Skye Bond after a five-start losing run. The four-year-old won at 10 of his previous 16 starts. He faced a difficult task from gate eight when unplaced last Friday night. PAT: My value bet comes in race 10 with No. 3 As Happy As Larry. While his recent form isn’t that flash, in this small field where there’s not a great deal of form I think Robbie Williams can guide him home. WAYNE: Anyone who saw Mortician’s run at Pinjarra last Monday would have been impressed. He came off 80m and only went down by a length. He’ll be at liberal odds on Friday night and can run a race at odds. To view all of the Media Guild tips for this week click here. Good Punting.   Wayne Currall

Champion harness racing reinsman Gary Hall Jnr declared that brilliant lightly-raced gelding Jumpingjackmac was on target to perform strongly in the $200,000 Sky WA Derby in a fortnight, and he is looking forward to testing him against several likely Derby rivals when he contests the Worldwide Printing Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Jumpingjackmac, prepared by Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall Snr, will not have a stroll in the park when he starts out wide at barrier seven, with several fast beginners and strong frontrunners drawn to his inside. They include polemarker Sugar Street, Powerplay (barrier two) and Be Rock Hard (three), all of whom have excellent gate speed and are strong frontrunners. Jumpingjackmac has had three runs in his latest preparation for an easy first-up victory over The Swiss Maestro, a strong-finishing second to Lavra Joe and a last-start narrow win over the pacemaker Arma Einstein, rating 1.56.2 over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week. “I was really happy with his latest run,” said Hall Jnr. “It would have been nice to have drawn a better barrier this week.” Sugar Street, trained in Busselton by Barry Howlett, showed that he was capable of earning a start in the Derby with a strong first-up victory over Bettors Destroya over 2100m at Bunbury’s Donaldson Park last Saturday night. Reinsman Chris Voak said he was sure that Sugar Street would be much improved after his Bunbury win. “We have the speed to hold up, but I have yet to speak to Barry about tactics,” he said. “Sugar Street is very talented, and we haven’t seen the best of him.” Perhaps the greatest threat to Jumpimngjackmac on Friday night could be Justin Prentice’s Mighty Ronaldo, who will start from the inside of the back line. On Friday night Prentice will be in the sulky, replacing Hall, who has driven Mighty Ronaldo at eleven of his 15 starts, including a head victory over Lavra Joe in the group 2 Sales Classic four starts ago, at Gloucester Park on February 26. Mighty Ronaldo impressed with his excellent third behind Lavra Joe in the Battle of Bunbury last Saturday night when he finished strongly from sixth at the bell. Leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond hold a strong hand in Friday night’s event, with Be Rock Hard at barrier three and Mufasa from the No. 6 barrier. Ryan Warwick has given punters a good lead by choosing to drive Be Rock Hard in preference to Mufasa, who will be handled for the first time in a race by Dylan Egerton-Green.   Ken Casellas

Rock On Top, who was sold for $18,000 at the 2020 APG Perth yearling sale, has bright prospects of notching his third win from four starts when he contests the $50,000 Group 2 APG WA Gold Bullion final for two-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He reappeared after an absence of 40 days when he gave an impressive performance to win a qualifying heat from The Wildcard and Seven No Trumps on Tuesday of last week. Rock On Top started from barrier five in the field of six and raced in fourth position, one-out and one-back, before running home strongly with a three-wide burst in which he covered the final 400m in 28sec. Capel trainer-reinsman Aiden de Campo said he was pleased with the win, adding: “He did a bit better than I thought he would. He was a bit underdone, first-up for more than a month and he sprinted over the top of them really well. “He overcame barrier five in the heat, and he has definitely got the ability to win from barrier six this week. Although this is a bit stronger race, I reckon he’s up to them. I have been happy with him since his latest win, and his work this morning (Tuesday) was really good.” Rock On Top’s chief rivals appear to be the Ross Olivieri-trained Follow The Music and Shane Quadrio’s The Wildcard. Rock On Top rated 1.59.2 in his heat, and Follow The Music was not extended in setting the pace from the No. 1 barrier and winning his heat by just under two lengths from Rellim, rating 1.58.5. “Follow The Music went well in his heat and he should be better in the final,” said Olivieri. “He was injured in a heat of the Sales Classic (when fourth behind Rock On Top in mid-February) and was unable to run in the final. We were lucky that he didn’t damage a tendon when he was struck on a boot, but we had to give him two weeks off.” Star reinsman Chris Voak said that Follow The Music had trained on well since his heat win. “He is the only runner on the back line, and I’m not quite sure how to drive him. If I get clear running, he can win.” The Wildcard will be driven by Kyle Harper and will start from the No. 3 barrier. He followed an all-the-way win over 1684m at Pinjarra with a well-beaten third behind Griffin Lodge at Gloucester Park and then a good second to Rock On Top in the Gold Bullion heat when he trailed the pacemaker Seven No Trumps.   Ken Casellas

Wonderful To Fly had a tough run in the breeze before scoring an easy victory in a qualifying heat of the APG WA Gold Bullion classic for two-year-old fillies on Tuesday of last week, and Pinjarra trainer-reinsman Shane Young is quietly confident she can overcome the outside barrier in the field of five in the $50,000 final at Gloucester Park on Friday night. In the heat, Wonderful To Fly started from the No. 5 barrier and she raced without cover before dashing to the front 350m from home and winning by just under two lengths from Taking The Miki, who enjoyed a perfect passage on the back of Wonderful To Fly. “I don’t think that the draw this week is a worry, but I’m not saying that I’m just going to win,” said Young. “The way she went, she looks the testing material. She is still learning to race, and it was good that she didn’t overrace and was able to relax in the heat.” Wonderful To Fly, bred by Kevin and Annette Charles, was passed in at $10,000 at the 2020 APG WA yearling sale before Young purchased her for $20,000 a few months after the sale on behalf of himself, his daughter Alison and several stable clients. The filly now has earned $18,331 from three wins and two placings from six starts. Wonderful To Fly had been broken in and had had two preparations when Young asked Kevin Charles if he had anything for sale. “Kevin said he had some youngsters for sale, so I went and had a look at those horses, and I picked out Wonderful To Fly,” said Young. “Dad (Ron Young) had given the filly a preparation and he said that he liked her. She was quite an athletic type, and I was able to drive her on the track when she felt okay.” Wonderful To Fly is sure to be seriously tested by Extraordinary Mary (barrier two) and Taking The Miki (barrier three). Extraordinary Mary, trained by Jemma Hayman and to be driven by Shannon Suvaljko, has won at two of her five starts when Suvaljko took full advantage of her gate speed and drove her to all-the-way victories, including the Western Crown Classic two starts ago when she beat Wonderful To Fly by a neck, with Taking The Miki in third place. Chris Voak, who will drive the Ross Olivieri-trained Taking the Miki, said that the filly was still a bit immature, but was certainly capable of figuring in the finish. “She is improving and her trackwork is getting better,” he said. Trainer Michael Brennan is looking for a strong effort from Miss Sassy (barrier four). “She has been awfully unlucky at her past two starts,” he said. “If Extraordinary Mary and Wonderful To Fly go to war, Miss Sassy will play a part.”   Ken Casellas

“He’s now better than he has ever been, even better than when he won the WA Pacing Cup last December,” declared breeder-owner-trainer Phil Costello when assessing his wonderful nine-year-old’s prospects in the 2130m $25,000 TABtouch Free-For-All at Gloucester Park on Friday night.  Vultan Tin, to be driven by Emily Suvaljko from the outside barrier in the field of seven, gets a good chance to turn the tables on another outstanding evergreen performer in Galactic Star, who will be handled by Ryan Warwick from the No. 6 barrier. Galactic Star, prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, set the pace from barrier one and fought on grimly to defeat Vultan Tin by a half-head over 2536m last Friday night. Vultan Tin started out wide at barrier eight and worked in the breeze for most of the way. “Vultan Tin is jumping out of his skin and is loving racing,” said Costello. “I have changed his work this week to suit the race distances. He is dropping back from 2536m to 2130m, and his work has been lighter and he should have more sprint in his legs. “The shorter distance this week shouldn’t affect his chances of turning the tables on Galactic Star when much will depend on what tactics are used on that horse who has the advantage of drawing on the inside of Vultan Tin. “Vultan Tin is strong and doesn’t mind doing some work, but we don’t want to gas him out and bust his guts in the first 200m. The plan will be to just keep working forward. If you don’t bustle him too early, he usually finishes off really well. “His run last week was super, and his win in the Pinjarra Cup (2692m) about seven weeks ago when he led and beat Miracle Moose and Mighty Conqueror by a few lengths, going 1.57.2 in the mud, was outstanding. There probably hasn’t been a Pinjarra Cup win like that for ten years.” Costello said that Vultan Tin, a veteran of 178 starts for 29 wins and 46 placings for stakes of $936,678, would be aimed for the Fremantle Cup and WA Pacing Cup in the coming summer. “He will keep racing in Free-For-Alls until he shows me that he wants a break,” Costello said. “Then he will have a rest, and after a spell he will be prepared for the big Cups.” Vultan Tin certainly will need to be at his peak to defeat the eight-year-old Galactic Star, who took his earnings to $683,127 from 31 wins and 29 placings from 93 starts when he beat Vultan Tin last Friday night. Adding interest to this week’s race will be the first appearance in Free-For-All ranks for New Zealand-bred five-year-old Valbonne, who will be driven by Michael Grantham from the No. 1 barrier. Valbonne had his first start for Blythewood trainer Michael Brennan when he finished strongly from sixth at the bell to win from Rock Me Over and Quick Stride over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday of last week. “Valbonne is a really nice horse,” said Brennan. “We decided to step up a grade to enable him to get a good draw. They tell me that he goes really good in front. But I haven’t yet spoken to Albert (owner Albert Walmsley) or Michael (Grantham) about what we will do. “He won’t disgrace himself. His win at Pinjarra was very good and he has come on in leaps and bounds since then.”   Ken Casellas

Champion reinsman Chris Lewis has been engaged to drive exciting mare Heavens Showgirl in the Group 3 $30,000 The Johnson Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night, and the five-year-old looks set to fight out the finish of the 2130m feature event. Trainer Nathan Turvey has driven Heavens Showgirl for effortless victories at her first three appearances in Western Australia and he has decided to concentrate on the training aspects this week. Heavens Showgirl has started from the No. 1 barrier at her three WA starts and has not been extended in setting the pace and winning by an average margin of three lengths. She sizzled over the final 400m in 27sec. at her latest appearance when she easily defeated her smart stablemate Savvy Bromac last Friday week. She rises in class this week when she will start from the No. 6 barrier. But she has the natural speed and strength to overcome her somewhat awkward draw. In an excellent field of mares, Heavens Showgirl is sure to meet spirited opposition from the polemarker Star Of Diamonds and other in-form performers including Somebeachsomeparty, Savvy Bromac, Nikasa, Leap Of Faith and Weewah. While Turvey has two of the main contenders in Heavens Showgirl and Savvy Bromac (who will start from barrier two on the back line and will be handled by Emily Suvaljko), so does Busselton trainer Barry Howlett, who will be represented by Star Of Diamonds and Somebeachsomeparty. Four-year-old Star Of Diamonds will be handled by Chris Voak and will start from the coveted No. 1 barrier. She is racing with refreshing enthusiasm and her past 16 starts have produced six wins and eight placings, including her easy victory last week. “She won with the earplugs still in last week,” said Voak. “She gets her chance to lead this week and should be very hard to beat. The last time she led was four starts ago when she was narrowly beaten by Altamatum (after a final 800m in 55.6sec.). I think she has the edge in fitness over her stablemate Somebeachparty, who is racing first-up.” Somebeachparty, who will be driven by Gary Hall Jnr, should enjoy an ideal trip after starting from the inside of the back line, and she should not be underestimated. She boasts a splendid record of 20 starts for eight wins, seven seconds and two thirds. This will be Somebeachsomeparty’s first appearance since she covered a lot of extra ground and finished third behind Waltzingwithsierra and Vivere Damore on January 8. Nikasa, prepared by Greg and Skye Bond, will be driven by Dylan Egerton-Green from the outside of the back line. She is racing keenly and is due for a change of luck after finishing second at five of her past seven starts. The Bonds will also be represented by another Bettors Delight four-year-old Weewah, who notched her 13TH win from 39 starts when she finished strongly to beat Western Arterra and Power And Grace over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday of last week. The Luke Edwards-trained Leap Of Faith, the fast-finishing winner over Lawrence and Glenledi Chief in the 2902m Easter Cup last Friday week, faces a stern test from the No. 8 barrier. Maddison Brown will be the new driver for the Jocelyn Young-trained Has No Fear, who will start from the No. 4 barrier. The five-year-old who has earned $259,677 from ten wins and 18 placings from 61 starts, has a losing sequence of 14. She finished strongly when second to Wainui Creek in the 2536m Empress Stakes two starts ago.   Ken Casellas

Friday was a very big night for Gloucester Park Harness Racing Committee Member Alan Parker. Parker knew one of the newly created GPHR Media Awards was to be named in his honour, but it came as a complete surprise when GPHR President John Burt announced he was the latest recipient of the prestigious James Brennan Award. The James Brennan medal is presented to those that have made a significant contribution to Gloucester Park and the harness racing industry and Parker more than fulfils that criterion. Already a keen fan of trotting since his days as a student at Wesley College, Parker applied for and won the job of Assistant Registrar with the WA Trotting Association in 1977, working alongside Registrar Laurie Collins.  During his 40 years in harness racing administration, Parker has carried out duties as WATA Racing Secretary and Assistant Harness Racing Manager for Racing and Wagering WA. After leaving Gloucester Park for RWWA, Parker was able to become a Member of the WATA and in 2015 he nominated for and was successfully elected to the Committee of Gloucester Park Harness Racing.  He was awarded Life Membership that same year and continues to be a valuable contributor to Gloucester Park. Parker’s harness racing records are legendary, going back to 1910 when trotting commenced in Perth.  With his own database and a wealth of knowledge it is no wonder that in 2007 RWWA invited him to carry out research for the harness section of the Racing Hall of Fame, for which Parker has been a nominee in recent years. Parker continues to contribute to the industry, writing numerous articles for various publications and working as a Pedigree Compiler for the National Stallion Guide and for several yearling sales.  He is also a regular presenter on the radio show Talking Horses on 91.3 SportFM.  Besides all that, Parker has contributed by writing “A Little Bit of History, detailing the formation of the Western Australian Trotting Association and the history of Gloucester Park, a copy of which can be found on the Gloucester Park website.  He has also written “The Village Kid Story”. Parker’s contribution has also been recognised by Harness Racing Australia.  He has received 13 Harness Racing Joseph Coulter Media Awards from 1985 to 2018 (12 historical and one novel). A most deserving recipient of the 2020 James Brennan Award, Parker also celebrated his wedding at Gloucester Park in 2006, marrying Dot Schrader during a Valentine’s Day race meeting, with the on-course photographer Bill Crabb taking the wedding photos between races. With his remarkable contribution to Gloucester Park and harness racing in general, there can be no worthier recipient of the James Brennan Award than Alan Parker.   Gloucester Park

At $109 odds, it was a boil over in the $150,000 Group One WA Oaks for the three-year-old fillies with the Ron Huston trained Benesari Lane (Mach Three - Terrifying (Western Terror) flashing late to claim victory in the feature of the night. Driven to perfection by Kim Prentice, the filly overcame her barrier eight handicap to settle midfield and was able to leave her run until the last 400m, when she was able to come home in 30.5 seconds, winning by a head in 1:57:8 for the staying journey. Watch the race replay click here! “I had a little bet because she is a bit of a one pace staying type and her last few races have all been sit sprint race. She had been keeping up, but she couldn’t sprint as quick as them. I thought if she could get a genuinely run 2500m, she was the best stayer in the race.” Huston said. The $16,000 purchase from the APG Yearling Sales more than paid for herself on Friday night when adding the $96,000 prizemoney to her earnings. “We missed on about 10 horses at the yearling sales, we were getting towards the end of the day and Vicki said to come and have a look at this little one and I thought ‘Gee she’s small’, but there wasn’t many left and I had a look at the breeding and it had a nice cross that I knew worked well with a couple of horses in Melbourne, so we had a crack at her and got her cheap enough” Huston said. Huston is aiming to set the filly towards the rest of the three-year-old feature races that remain for the season, with the Diamond Classics coming up Friday May 21 at Gloucester Park. “She’s (Benesari Lane) no star but she’s probably got one of the best heart rates and best motors I have had in a horse, she just doesn’t have any high speed. “ Aptly named after Vicki Leas favourite drinking spot in Bali, there is no doubt that the pair will be celebrating the fillies win for a long time to come. Huston was first involved in harness racing in the mid 1990’s, in Kalgoorlie where he was originally involved as a stable hand but went on to get his trainers licence in 2000. The 42-year-old is no stranger to racing success, with the Byford based trainer having talented pacer Jumbo Operator who earned just over $300,000 back in 2010. Ron currently has three horses in work and mentioned Robbie Rocket is his star of the stable who he is hoping to aim towards the Derby. Driving honours were firmly with Chris Voak on Friday night with the talented reinsman steering home four winners on the night. Voak, who was last years leading reinsman is currently sitting in second place, with total stake earnings of over $563,000 in just over three months. In the first he steered home the $3.60 favourite Perfect Major for Ross Olivier, backing it up in race 2 for the Olivieri stable with Boom Time NZ proving too strong for rivals.  In race 3, he partnered up with Barry Howlett on the consistent mare Star of Diamonds to take out the FFA Fillies and mares’ race in an impressive 1:55:3. Race 8 was a family affair, with Voak steering home the $10 hope Rabchenko for his father-in-law,  trainer Frank Vanmaris, with the eight-year-old gelding winning by 3.6m   Ashleigh Paikos

Diego and Mirragon are good things at Friday night’s meeting at Gloucester Park, according to members of the WA Trotting Media Guild. TABradio colleagues Matt Young and Hayden King have made Diego their best bet on a fantastic night of pacing, featuring the Group 1 WA Oaks. “Diego has a beautiful draw and should trail through nicely and be able to put them away whenever Junior wishes to do so,” Young said. “He looks the winner.” And Young agrees. “Diego is simply a class apart from rivals this Friday.” King said. “I think the backline draw will prove no object and he can win in any way he chooses. He has the high speed of a promising horse who will reach loftier heights than this.” The West Australian’s Ernie Manning and veteran trotting journalist Ken Casellas are equally buoyant about the winning prospects of Mirragon. “Victorian import Mirragon looked back to peak form when running on strongly in a Gloucester Park win last Friday night,” Manning said. “The four-year-old, who often competed in Melbourne feature events, proved his class with four Melton victories. He launched a WA career by winning last February 8 and is now chasing his fourth victory since joining Debra Lewis’ stable.” Casellas is on the same page as Manning. “Mirragon is the youngest runner in the sixth event at Gloucester Park on Friday night and the four-year-old has a decided edge in class over his seven rivals,“ Casellas said. “It’s therefore a simple and straight-forward task of nominating him as my best bet for the evening. Mirragon sped over the final 800m in 55.9sec. last Friday when he dashed home from fourth at the bell to snatch a last-stride victory over Plutonium.” The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft is keen on Nota Bene Denario, a former Kiwi pacer who makes his Australian debut for the Gary Hall stable. “Nota Bene Denario hasn’t raced for over six months but would have derived benefit from his trial win at Byford on Sunday,” Havercroft said. “He won six times and was placed on another 22 occasions in a 49-start New Zealand career – that record suggests he should be more than competitive at his local debut.” Longshot guru Pat Harding has opted for Miss Limelight as his best bet on the 10-event card. “After a tough afternoon at GP last Friday, punters and tipsters could fare better this week,” Harding said. “My best bet comes up in race three with No. 2 Miss Limelight. She has run some good places and is due for a win. I think she will do well in this fillies and mares pace.” Radio Great Southern’s form analyst Warren Wishart has opted for Battlescard as his best for the night. “Have to forget Battlescard’s last start and go on his previous runs, most of which were wins,” Wishart said. “With the low draw he should find the pegs and be very hard to beat in front.” Media Guild president Wayne Currall is sticking with his best bet from last week in Boom Time, who didn’t win but finished a game third behind Mirragon. “Boom Time has run two slashing thirds at his past two starts after doing all the bullocking work in the breeze,” Currall said. “This is a race in which there looks to be plenty of pace, so if Chris Voak can give Boom Time an easier run I think he can salute at good odds.” VALUE BETS MATT: Manofthepeople wasn’t a bad run last start, steps well and looks a suitable race to earn. HAYDEN: Whoswhointhezoo has been in career-best form recently. He now steps up in class, but comes up with the pole draw. The times he has been running suggest that he is a big chance in anything he contests. ERNIE: Henwood Bay, the winner of 15 races, gets his chance to break a 17-start losing run when he begins from barrier two. The Errol Ashcroft-trained gelding finished second at Gloucester Park on March 26 after being held up. He came from three back on the pegs to run fourth last Friday night. KEN: For value, I suggest Savvy Bromac in race three. She caught the eye when she sprinted home fast from last to finish second to her smart stablemate Heavens Showgirl last Friday. RYAN: Whoswhointhezoo has shown a return to form in recent runs and gets the benefit of an inside draw here. Good each-way prospect from the pole. PAT: My value bet comes up in race six with No. 4 Mr Kiwi. He had a win five starts ago and I believe Gary Hall Jr can guide him to victory at a good price. WARREN: This is a rare city run for Budd Sidewinder, but he comes to town off a good last start win. Loves the stand and not a bad draw for him. Great each-way bet. WAYNE: I’m expecting the WA Oaks to be run at high-speed and some of these fillies will be “feeling the pinch” at the end of a gruelling 2536m trip. One filly who should relish the distance is Royal Essence. Her toughness has been on show at her past three starts where she’s done it hard outside the leader. If she can get an economical run in transit, she’ll be storming home at the business end for young Emily Suvaljko. It’s great to see Bill Crabb, the former long-time photographer at GP, and Robbie Dewar, the former Sunday Times trotting writer, being honoured with races named after them. Both gentlemen have been wonderful servants of harness racing in WA. To view all of the media guild tips click here. Good punting.   Wayne Currall

On paper, Perfect Major stands out as a star bet in the opening event, the 2130m Simmonds Steel Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Perfect Major, prepared by Ross Olivieri, is one of four stablemates in the field of seven, and Voak had the choice of driving Perfect Major, Stefsbest or Carrera Mach. Perfect Major will be having his first start since he led and finished third behind Cyclone Banner over 2130m on December 18. He had raced against superstar Chicago Bull and other star pacers at each of his four previous starts following wins at his first four appearances in WA. He finished third behind Chicago Bull and Shockwave in the Cranley Memorial, eighth behind Chicago Bull in the Fremantle Cup, won from Chicago Bull in the RWWA Cup and then finished fifth behind Vultan Tin and Chicago Bull in the WA Pacing Cup. Voak is now somewhat puzzled at Perfect Major’s seemingly disappointing form in three recent Byford trials in which he raced in the breeze and finished a close fourth behind Ace Bromac, third in a field of three behind Gran Chico, and a three-length second behind Alice Kay on Sunday morning after racing without cover. “It doesn’t look like that he is going any good,” said a perplexed Voak. “His trials have been ordinary. However, his work during his previous preparation wasn’t much good. But when he went to the races, he was a totally different horse. He ran fifth in the WA Pacing Cup, so he must have some chance, first-up.” Olivieri also was guarded in his prediction of how Perfect Major would perform on Friday night, saying: “He probably needs the run.” Perfect Major will start from the outside in the field of seven, and Voak will wait and see how the race unfolds before deciding on his tactics.        Stefsbet, a smart first-up winner over Gee Jay Kay at Pinjarra two starts ago, will be handled by Shannon Suvaljko from barrier five; Chris Playle will drive Carrera Mach from barrier four, and Olivieri’s other runner, Kiwi Bloke will start from the No. 1 barrier with Chris Lewis in the sulky. Making up the field will be recent winners Extradite, Thomson Bay and Rakasinc. View the Gloucester Park fields click here!   Ken Casellas

New Zealand-bred six-year-old Nota Bene Denario looks a good bet at his Australian debut when he starts from barrier No. 1 in the Allwood Stud Farm Pace, a 2503m stand at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The son of American stallion Well Said, Nota Bene Denario excelled in standing-start events in New Zealand where four of his six wins from 49 starts were in stands, three over 2400m and one over 2700m. He gave a sample of his ability when he won a 2150m mobile trial at Byford on Sunday morning for champion trainer Gary Hall Snr. Driven by Gary Hall Jnr, Nota Bene Denario was not bustled at the start from the outside (No. 6) barrier and the gelding settled down in fourth position, five lengths behind the leader. He then enjoyed a perfect passage, one-out and one-back, before being switched three wide 650m from home and then taking the lead 100m later on his way to victory over Bettor My Dream, rating 1.59.9 after final quarters of 29.8sec. and 29.4sec. Nota Bene Denario meets moderate opposition and should be capable of winning, with his chief rival likely to be veteran pacer Budd Sidewinder, who ended a losing sequence of 36 when he raced without cover in the middle stages before scoring an easy win in the 2590m Wagin Cup on Thursday of last week. “Nota Bene Denario’s trial was good, and he should go close on Friday night,” said Hall Snr. The Hall camp also has bright winning prospects with Diego in the 2130m Westral Pace in which the New Zealand-bred five-year-old will start from the No. 2 barrier on the back line. Diego, a winner at nine of his 32 starts, drops appreciably in class after seconds behind Mighty Conqueror and Miracle Moose at his past two appearance. Diego impressed last Friday when he ran home powerfully from fifth at the bell to be second to Miracle Moose over 2130m, with the final 800m being run in 55.5sec. View the Gloucester Park fields click here!   Ken Casellas

Veteran New Zealand-bred pacer Galactic Star is poised for his 31st  win after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier in the 2536m In Appreciation of Bill Crabb Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The evergreen eight-year-old, who will be driven by ace reinsman Ryan Warwick for leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, is an excellent frontrunner who has set the pace at seven of his Gloucester Park victories. He has been unplaced from poor draws at his past three runs since he led from barrier four and won from Vultan Tin and Bletchley Park over 2536m when he dashed over the final 800m in 55.5sec. Galactic Star began out wide from barrier seven when he worked hard in the breeze for most of the 2130m journey before wilting to finish sixth behind his talented stablemate Mighty Conqueror, who led from barrier one and defeated Diego and Runaway Three last Friday week. Mighty Conqueror faces a sterner test this week when he will start from the outside barrier in a field of nine. He will be handled by Dylan Egerton-Green. Adding interest to the race will be the return to action of six-year-old Jack Farthing, a New Zealand-bred pacer in the stables of Justin Prentice. Jack Farthing won at his WA debut when he ran on to beat Braeview Bondi over 2536m last October. Then, after finishing third behind Chicago Bull and Shockwave at his next start, he was unplaced in top company at his following three starts before being sent for a spell. Jack Farthing warmed up for his return to racing in fine style with a most encouraging win in a seven-horse trial over 2185m at Pinjarra last Wednesday week. He raced in last position before Aiden de Campo eased him off the pegs and sent him forward with a lap to travel. Jack Farthing finished strongly to gain a last-stride victory over Aliman and Jack Mac in a three-way photo finish. The final 400m sections were covered in 27.9sec. and 27.5sec. and the winner rated 1.56.6. Jack Farthing will start from barrier four and Prentice is confident of a good first-up performance. “The trial was good, and Aiden was happy with him,” said Prentice. “He settled really well which is obviously the main thing. “He is up to the class, but first-up over 2536m we will be on the cautious side, and, hopefully, he’ll hit the line strongly.” Phil Costello’s nine-year-old Vultan Tin is in excellent form and should make a bold bid for victory. He will start out wide at barrier eight and Emily Suvaljko is likely to send him forward to race in the breeze. Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri is happy with Im Full Of Excuses draw at barrier two, and said that after working strongly this week, the nine-year-old was capable of a bold showing. View the Gloucester Park fields click here!   Ken Casellas

Chris Voak, last season’s champion driver in Western Australia, is delighted that Black Jack Baby has drawn the coveted No. 1 barrier in the $150,000 WA Oaks at Gloucester Park on Friday night and he is planning for an all-the-way win in the testing 2536m classic event for three-year-old fillies. “We have been drawing badly for so long, and now she gets her chance to lead,” he said. “Nothing can cross her and she has been beaten only once when she has set the pace.” Black Jack Baby, bred, owned and trained by Shane Quadrio, has won at 11 of her 20 starts. She has set the pace in eight of her races, with her only defeat being at her fifth race start, as a two-year-old in the Western Crown Classic when she was second, a half length behind Rumour Has It. She has enjoyed the luxury of the No. 1 barrier only once, and that was nine starts ago when she led early and then raced three back on the pegs before finishing eighth, nine lengths behind the winner Cordero over 2185m at Pinjarra on January 4 this year. Voak said that he has not been disappointed with Black Jack Baby’s fourth placings at each of her past two starts (behind Newsy and Unconditional) when she was restrained from wide barriers. “In those races Black Jack Baby was four deep on the last bend, spotting the leaders three lengths,” he said. “This week, she is going to be three lengths in front of her rivals, and they will have to come wide. Her sectionals in those races were the fastest last halves, with times of under 56sec.” Black Jack Baby will be having her first start over 2536m. Her only appearances in races beyond 2130m have been two starts over 2185m at Pinjarra for an eighth and a second placing. The only runners to have contested a race beyond 2400m are Bettor Beach Belle and Just For Love, who fought out the finish of the $25,000 Country Oaks over 2569m at Bunbury last Saturday week. Bettor Beach Belle, trained by Terry Ferguson, led early and then trailed the pacemaker Just For Love before finishing strongly to win the event by a neck from that filly, with final quarters of 28.9sec. and 27.8sec. Michael Grantham guided Bettor Beach Belle to victory in the Country Oaks, but he has opted to handle the Michael Brennan-trained Miss Boudica on Friday night. Aiden de Campo will drive Bettor Beach Belle for the first time in this week’s race. Bettor Beach Belle will start from the inside of the back liner and should enjoy a good trip behind Black Jack Baby. Miss Boudica, a winner at Gloucester Park in December at Northam last month, is awkwardly drawn at barrier six. Boyanup trainer Justin Prentice is looking for a strong showing from Always An Angel, a talented filly who has won at six of her 11 starts. She returned to close to her best form last Friday week when she started out wide at barrier eight, settled in last position in the field of ten, dashed forward three wide to move to the breeze at the bell and finished second to Newsy. Always An Angel again will be driven by Gary Hall jnr. “I thought Always An Angel was back to herself last start when she ran a really strong last 1200m,” said Prentice. “It was a really good lead-up for the Oaks after I was slightly disappointed with her couple of runs before that. The draw (barrier five) is not perfect; it could be worse, so I can’t complain.” Ace trainer-reinsman Colin Brown is happy with the progress of his filly Joelene, who is favourably drawn at barrier No. 2. She has been placed at four of her five starts as a three-year-old, including seconds behind Black Jack Baby at her past two outings. “We’ll try to settle as close as we can, and hopefully do a job,” said Brown. “She hung a bit at her latest start when I expected her to have gone better. We have straightened her up, and she should go better. She is a good honest little filly and should be competitive.” Star trainers Greg and Skye Bond are sure to be prominent with their three runners, last-start winners Newsy and Unconditional and Booraa, a newcomer from New Zealand who will start from barrier three at her Australian debut. Ryan Warwick will drive Newsy, who should enjoy an ideal passage after starting from barrier two on the back line. Newsy has won in dashing style at her past two starts and should fight out the finish. Unconditional, an all-the-way winner from the promising Royal Essence last Friday will be driven by Dylan Egerton-Green from the No. 6 barrier, and Deni Roberts will handle Booraa from barrier three. Booraa has shown promise at her four starts this season for two wins, a second and a third, in New Zealand. View the Gloucester Park fields click here!   Ken Casellas

Leap Of Faith is a life-changer When life-long friends Luke Edwards and Dave Simmonds studied video recordings of New Zealand races 18 months ago they were greatly impressed with the wonderful natural speed of a three-year-old filly Leap Of Faith, who has developed into one of Western Australia’s best stayers. “She is a very special horse, the first one I have bought from New Zealand,” said the 31-year-old Edwards after Shannon Suvaljko had driven Leap Of Faith, a $43 outsider, to a thrilling victory in the $50,000 Easter Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “She is the horse who has changed my whole career. She cost $NZ33,000 and she won at her first five starts for me at her first preparation in WA.” Those early successes prompted Edwards, a former foreman for Debbie Padberg’s Wanneroo stable, to branch out and become a trainer in his own right. Leap Of Faith, who is raced by Simmonds and Edwards’s main owner Melvin King, now has had 24 starts in WA for seven wins, seven placings and stakes of $75,277. “We picked her out just on her sectionals in New Zealand,” said Edwards. “They were really good, and in a race over there (in the winter of 2019) she recorded the quickest quarter over a period of six meetings. So, we bought her for her speed. “She’s fast when she does nothing in a race. Therefore, in long-distance events you have to put her to sleep and let her have the last crack at them.” Suvaljko agreed that it was unwise to ask Leap Of Faith for too much of an early effort. He was able to get the mare away swiftly from the No. 2 barrier on the front line in the 2902m Easter Cup after the polemarker and $2.90 second fancy Glenledi Chief was slow to begin and lost about three lengths. “She flew away and I was able to hold the lead and wait for one of the better ones to come around,” said Suvaljko. “I didn’t want to burn early because it was a 2900m race and you need to save energy. Therefore, I was able to relinquish the lead after 500m (to Glenledi Chief) and let Leap Of Faith go to sleep. “She got into the right spot; two and then three back on the pegs at Gloucester Park is not too bad, if they run along. And when Hally (Gary Hall jnr) made a move with Mista Shark (and got to the front with just under two laps to go) it played into my hands. “I got off the pegs about 600 metres from home and got on to the back of Lawrence (the $2.70 favourite).” Lawrence took the lead at the 250m mark before Babyface Adda gained a narrow lead at the 100m. Leap Of Faith then sprinted fast to get up and win by a neck from Lawrence, with Glenledi Chief a neck away in third place, a head in front of Babyface Adda. Edwards said that Leap Of Faith would continue racing for a month or so before going for a spell. “After that she will come back in the spring and be prepared for the feature events for mares,” he said.   Reeves strikes gold with Thomson Bay “This is like winning $20,000 with a $2 scratchy,” said Coolup trainer Hayden Reeves after four-year-old Thomson Bay had finished powerfully to snatch a half-head victory over the pacemaker Machlani in the 2536m Mondo Doro Smallgoods Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “It’s a one in a million chance that I’ve got Thomson Bay, who I was able to buy for $1000,” he said. The gelding, an abject failure at his only start as a two-year-old --- when he was a $126 outsider who faded badly to finish eleventh, 80m behind the winner Caveman at Pinjarra in June 2019 --- now has had 13 starts for Reeves for eight wins, three placings and $64,150 in prizemoney. “I am always on the look-out for horses, with the intention of winning (at least) one race,” said Reeves. “About a year ago I got a phone call and was asked whether I would like to lease Thomson Bay, who had been out in the paddock for 15 months after not making it as a two-year-old. “I was told that he was useless and had performed terribly at his only start as a two-year-old. But that was pretty normal and similar to all the horses I get, so I agreed to lease him. “Later, before he had had a trial or had done anything, I asked them (the owners) if they wanted to sell him. They said yes and I was able to buy him for $1000.” Thomson Bay, who is raced by Reeves’s wife Ashleigh, then made a successful debut for his new stable (at his first appearance for 18 months) when he was a $10 chance in a 2185m maiden at Pinjarra last December. “He won by about 20m and then he went to the Albany for their annual season (when he had seven starts for five wins and two seconds) and that was the making of him,” said Reeves. “It was there that he learnt how to race. “Out of the hundreds of horses I’ve had over the past couple of years he is already way smarter than all of them in terms of intelligence. He’s had just a handful of starts and he has already got more manners. You show him something once, and he picks it up. “Regarding his wonderful form, I’m not having a go at other trainers. It is just quite remarkable that he has delivered the way he has.” On Friday night Thomson Bay, fourth favourite at $4.90, trailed the pacemaker Machlani ($4.80) before Bailey McDonough eased him off the pegs with 300m to travel and he went three wide on the home turn before finishing determinedly to hit the front in the final couple of strides.   Our Rhythm N Blues no longer a bridesmaid Experienced pacer Our Rhythm N Blues has turned the corner for champion trainer Gary Hall snr and has struck a purple patch, winning at six of his past 12 starts. A $4.90 chance, he overcame the disadvantage of starting from the outside barrier in a field of eight when Gary Hall jnr drove him aggressively and confidently to score a narrow victory in the 2536m Westral Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Our Rhythm N Blues settled down in last position before Hall jnr dashed him forward, three wide, after 700m to move outside the pacemaker Mr Kiwi ($9.50) with two laps to travel. Our Rhythm N Blues took a narrow lead 320m from home and he went on to win by a short half-head from the $3.70 favourite Lord Rosco, who sustained a spirited three-wide burst from last in the middle stages. Mr Kiwi held on to finish third. Our Rhythm N Blue had managed just one win from 28 starts before his recent burst of splendid form which has boosted his record to 84 starts for 15 wins, 28 placings and $187,949 in prizemoney. “He has decided to win for a change,” said Hall snr. “He used to be a bridesmaid, and I don’t really know what has turned him around.”   Unconditional earns Oaks start Lightly-raced New Zealand-bred filly Unconditional earned a start in the $150,000 WA Oaks next Friday night when she gave a strong frontrunning performance to win the 2130m Etch Coatings Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Bettors Delight filly, raced by Team Bond and prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, was a $15.10 chance from the No. 2 barrier. Ryan Warwick dashed her past the polemarker Miss Boudica 250m after the start and she set a modest early pace with opening quarters of 31.6sec. and 30.8sec. before she gave her rivals little chance by sprinting over the final 400msections in 28.1sec. and 27.8sec. She won at a 1.57.8 rate by a half-length from $11 chance Royal Essence, who fought on determinedly after working hard in the breeze throughout. Miss Boudica ($5) was a neck away in third place after trailing the leader. Unconditional, who is bred to be a good winner, has raced nine times for four wins, two placings and $26,613 in stakes. She is a full-sister to Our Bettor Dream (68 starts for 13 wins, 24 placings and $224,334), Bettor Offer (50 starts for 15 wins, 14 placings and $207,614), Delightful Offer (99 starts for 27 wins, 28 placings and $336,928), Cant Refuse (89 starts for 16 wins, 27 placings and $288,733), Ultimate Offer (39 starts for 12 wins, 11 placings and $81,128), Acceptance (eight starts for two wins, one placings and $16,790) and Some Do (22 starts for six wins, four placings and $62,460). Unconditional will give the Bonds a strong presence in the WA Oaks, with the stable expecting strong efforts from stylish last-start winner Newsy and Booraa, a Mach Three filly who has yet to appear in WA after racing 13 times in New Zealand for three wins and four placings.   Mirragon gets there in the final stride Talented former Victorian four-year-old Mirragon gave further proof of his potential when he finished strongly, out four wide, to gain a last-stride victory over the pacemaker Plutonium in the 2536m TABtouch Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Mirragon, second fancy at $7, began from the outside in the field of eight, and Chris Lewis gleefully sent him forward in the first lap to follow an early three-wide move from the $7.50 chance Boom Time, who quickly moved to the outside of the frontrunning $1.32 favourite Plutonium. Lewis then was able to slot Mirragon into the prime one-out, one-back position. After a third quarter of 2.3sec. Plutonium sprinted over the final quarter in 28.1sec., but was unable to hold out the strong-finishing Mirragon, who gained the verdict by a nose. This was the Debra Lewis-trained Mirragon’s third win from eight starts in WA and it improved his record to 41 starts for ten wins, 11 placings and stakes of $164,691.   Emily is happy to oblige Top-flight reinsman Shannon Suvaljko faced a difficult decision in choosing his drive in the 2130m Catalano Truck And Equipment Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Eventually, he opted to drive A Boy Named Rosie, a ten-year-old with a losing sequence of 14, mainly because he had drawn perfectly at barrier No. 1 and because he was a splendid frontrunner. He picked A Boy Named Rosie ahead of The Last Drop, a five-year-old with a losing sequence of eight. He had driven The Last Drop at 12 of his 15 previous starts for three wins. So, after he had made his decision, Suvaljko’s daughter Emily was more than happy to take the drive behind the Josh Dunn-trained The Last Drop. A Boy Named Rosie was favourite at $3.10, with The Last Drop the second fancy at $4.50. A Boy Named Rosie was smartest into stride and his supporters were on good terms with themselves as he ambled through the lead time in 38sec. and the opening quarters in 30.4sec. and 29.4sec. One For Dave Andme, third favourite at $4.60, raced in the breeze, with The Last Drop racing in sixth position, one-out and two-back. A Boy Named Rosie was still in front on the home bend before being swamped in the final stages, with The Last Drop finishing powerfully, out wide, to win by more than a length from Naval Aviator ($6.50), with A Boy Named Rosie hanging on to finish fourth. The Last Drop, raced on lease by Dunn and Kristy Sheehy, gave Emily Suvaljko a flying start to the Easter weekend. She completed a double in the following event by guiding Miracle Moose to victory, and she followed that with a double with Miss Harlequin and Foxy Rose at Northam on Saturday night and scored with Addisyn at Collie on Sunday afternoon to take her season’s tally to 29. The Last Drop has thrived under the care of Dunn and Sheehy and his 21 starts for them have produced five wins and four placings to improve his career record to 44 starts for 11 wins, nine placings and $88,302.   Miracle Moose deserves a break Up-and-coming five-year-old Miracle Moose maintained his sound form when he sustained a spirited three-wide last-lap burst to score an easy victory in the 2130m Direct trades Supply Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The $1.60 favourite settled down in seventh position before Emily Suvaljko sent him forward, three wide, approaching the bell, and he gave a sample of his class by dashing over the final two 400m sections in 27sec. and 28.5sec. on his way to a 4m win over the $6.50 equal second favourite Diego, who ran home solidly from fifth at the bell. My Carbon Copy, who raced in the breeze early, took the lead after a lap and was still in front approaching the home turn before wilting to finish fourth. After winning twice from 15 starts in New Zealand, Miracle Moose has excelled in Western Australia, with his 26 starts for Ravenswood trainer Nathan Turvey have produced nine wins and ten placings to improve his career record to 41 starts for 11 wins, 14 placings and $118,050 in stakes. “He is a pretty good horse, and he is now going to the paddock,” said Turvey. “After a spell I’ll be bringing him back to get ready for the major Cup races in the summer.”   Heavens Showgirl remains unbeaten in WA Former Victorian pacer Heavens Showgirl has yet to be extended in Western Australia and she shows promise of developing into a capable candidate for the feature events for mares next summer. The five-year-old mare completed a training double for trainer Nathan Turvey when he drove her to a comfortable all-the-way victory in the 2130m Simmonds Steel Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Her three-length win over fast-finishing stablemate Savvy Bromac followed Turvey’s earlier success with Miracle Moose. Heavens Showgirl dawdled through the early stages of the race, with a slow lead time of 39.1sec. and modest opening quarters of 32sec. and 30.8sec. “Heavens Showgirl is going from strength to strength, and her all-the-way wins from three starts for the stable has obviously been helped by drawing the No. 1 barrier in all three starts,” said Turvey. “I am planning to keep her racing in events for mares. And I’m also pleased with Savvy Bromac’s form. She is a fast mare.” Heavens Showgirl now has had 26 starts for nine wins and ten placings. She has inherited much of her ability from her dam Miss Deville, who had 22 starts in Victoria for 13 wins, one placings and stakes of $53,232.   Texas Tiger amazes Chapman Millionaire pacing champion My Hard Copy had 81 starts for his owner Steve Chapman and his family, and the dual WA Pacing Cup winner never won more than two races in a row. Now Chapman is completely stunned at the brilliance of the family’s latest pacing star Texas Tiger, who crushed his rivals in winning the $25,000 Retravision Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night to chalk up dazzling wins at his first eight starts in WA for his new owners. “This sequence of eight in a row is amazing me,” said Chapman after the four-year-old Texas Tiger, trained by Gary Hall snr and driven by Gary Hall jnr, had set the pace and strolled to an easy victory over Stroke Of Luck and Vultan Tin, rating 1.55.8 after dashing over the final 800m in 552sec. “I just think that the horse has excelled with the training he’s been given. He has always had talent; we all know that after watching the replays when he was running around in New Zealand. He had some terrible draws in New Zealand, and we’ve been pretty lucky with his draws here in Perth, and that’s a big thing. “I think he has got it all; he’s got speed and he’s got toughness. He’s only young, and who knows? Hopefully, the sequence will go on for ever. “I didn’t know he had that much gate speed (as he revealed tonight). I’ve never seen it before. The New Zealand videos didn’t show he could begin like that. The only thing he’s got to do now is to show me that he can sit in the breeze. That’s something he has got to do one day. “And if he has the ability that we all think he has, then I don’t think there’s any doubt that he will become a top-liner. He’s only four and we don’t want to go too big with him too early. Let him mature a bit more. He has done a great job, more than we expected.”  “I think we will nurse him along until Chicago Bull gets back, and then he will have a spell before being brought back for the big races in the summer.”   Ken Casellas

Plutonium, a much-travelled Auckland Reactor five-year-old has bright prospects of making a successful debut at Gloucester Park when he contests the opening event, the 2536m TABtouch Pace, on Friday afternoon. The Michael Young-trained gelding will start from the No. 5 barrier and reinsman Gary Hall Jnr is planning to use his good gate speed in a bid to set the pace. Plutonium made his Western Australian debut in a 2185m event at Pinjarra last Monday week when he was beaten out from the No. 2 barrier by the polemarker Moonlight Shadow before he mustered speed to take up the running after 250m on his way to an easy 10m victory over the fast-finishing Classic Choice. That first-up victory followed the gelding’s three starts in Victoria last December when he led and won all three events. Before that, he had nine starts in New Zealand for one win, and five starts in South Australia for two wins and two seconds. “His Pinjarra run was good,” said Hall. ”He usually gets out quicker than he did at Pinjarra, and I think he will get out better this time from the middle of the line. I think Palatino (barrier one) will hold up early, but we will be having a look for the lead. It’s a good field and Boom Time and Mirragon look the two to beat.” It is interesting to note that Palatino, trained and driven by Cody Wallrodt, is a renowned frontrunner whose six wins have all been achieved after he has set the pace. The Ross Olivieri-trained Boom Time is knocking on the door and will pay to follow after impressive placings behind Matai Geordie and Lawrence at his past two starts. Hall had the choice of driving Diego, Vespa, Liam Neil and My Carbon Copy in the 2130m Direct Trades Supply Pace, and he has opted to handle My Carbon Copy, who starts from the inside of the back line. Micheal Ferguson will drive Diego, a strong-finishing second to Mighty Conqueror last Friday night, Chris Voak has been engaged for Vespa, and Maddison Brown will be in the sulky behind Liam Neil. “It was a choice between My Carbon Copy and Diego and I went for My Carbon Copy because of the draw,” said Hall. “From the inside of the back line we should get a good run behind the likely pacemaker Shadow Roll.” Aldo Cortopassi will drive the Ray Williams-trained Shadow Roll and he said he planned to take full advantage of the No. 1 barrier. “There is a fair bit of speed to our outside, but we will pump the gate hard,” he said. Shadow Roll returned to his best form at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week when he led from the No. 1 barrier and won in good style from Dominate The Dojo.   Ken Casellas

Brilliant filly Black Jack Baby will lack nothing in fitness when she contests the $150,000 WA Oaks on Friday week. The winner at 11 of her 19 starts will race at Gloucester Park for the fourth successive Friday when she lines up at barrier No. 7 in the 2130m Etch Coatings Pace for three-year-old fillies on Friday afternoon. Leading reinsman Chris Voak will have plenty of options this week using Black Jack Baby’s sparkling gate speed in a bid to burst to an early lead or restrain her at the start and rely on her devastating finishing speed. The Shane Quadrio-trained filly had no luck last Friday night when she started from the outside barrier (No. 9) and settled down in last position before Voak sent her forward to follow the three-wide run of Always An Angel approaching the bell. Always An Angel then got to the breeze with a lap to travel, which left Black Jack Baby the task of racing out three wide for almost the entire final circuit. Black Jack Baby was far from disgraced in finishing fourth behind Newsy, Always An Angel and Royal Essence. Top-flight reinsman Aldo Cortopassi is delighted with the Peter Anderson-trained Simply Shaz drawing the prized No. 1 barrier and predicted that the New Zealand-bred filly would run a bold race. “She is a nice filly and this looks a good race for her,” said Cortopassi. “She has shown really good gate speed at her five starts in the State and from barrier one I don’t see her having any problems in holding up. “She was just jogging when she won at Kellerberrin on Sunday, and she is a strong each-way chance. Black Jack Baby is the one we all have to aspire to. However, they’re all beatable, as we saw last week.” Simply Shaz, who worked in the breeze before winning by eight lengths over 2185m at Pinjarra three starts ago, was untroubled to set the pace and win, unextended, by three lengths from Wilkins Judy Matao over 2130m at Kellerberrin on Sunday afternoon. Gary Hall Jnr will handle the Michael Young-trained Patrikiar, who will be the sole runner on the back line in Friday’s event. Patrikiar has not raced since she trailed the pacemaker before winning from Galaxy Warrior over 1780m at Northam on December 15. She then ran a sound trial when she raced three back on the pegs in an Indian file 2185m six-horse trial at Pinjarra last Wednesday week. She went to the line strongly and finished sixth, two lengths from the winner Bettor Finish. “Patrikiar has a fair bit of ability, but is her own worst enemy at times,” said Hall. “Hopefully, she will enjoy a good trail behind Simply Shaz and has top three claims.” In an even field on Friday, Miss Boudica (barrier two) and Unconditional (three) are sure to be prominent and have each-way claims.      Ken Casellas

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