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Members of the WA Trotting Media Guild have been impressed by former Kiwi Mathew James, with many making the Justin Prentice trained, Gary Hall Jnr driven three-year-old their star bet at Saturday’s twilight meeting. Ernie Manning, Hayden King, Tim Walker and Ryan Havercroft all made Mathew James their standout for the night. Havercroft, perhaps best, summed up the thoughts of his colleagues. “Mathew James brought up a hat-trick of wins when successful here two weeks ago over The Kraken,” he said. “On that occasion he was way too classy for his rivals and went to the line with something in reserve. He looks to have a bright future and is yet to miss the placings after six starts.” Stuart Lowe and Pat Harding can see King Of Swing saluting again. “My best bet is former star juvenile King Of Swing, who  impressed with an all-the-way win here last start,” Lowe said. “He rises in class here but likely to find the front again and be very hard to beat.” Harding agrees. “My best bet comes up in race eight with the Hall-trained King Of Swing,” he said. “He had a good win last week and coming out of barrier four he should have no trouble accounting for this field.” Matt Young is keen on Caviar Star. “Caviar Star had a lot go wrong last week and still ran a good second,” he said. “Looks to be closing back to his best and the one to beat.” Wayne Currall fancies Mister Spot to land an all-the-way victory in the seventh race. “Master reinsman Christopher Allen Lewis jumps back in the bike from the pole ... need I say more,” he said. “This John Graham-trained four-year-old is racing with admirable zest and whatever beats him will win.” VALUE BETS ERNIE: Soho Leviathan has not won in five starts since a spell, but appears primed to show form which has enabled him to score three Gloucester Park victories. The gelding impressed when a close second to highly-rated Bechers Brook at Pinjarra on Monday. HAYDEN: Captured Delight has been racing in career-best form recently and strikes a chance to really announce herself as a top-line mare. TIM: Highroller Joe is starting to settle into this class of racing. A couple of horses on the front line don’t have consistent winning form here, so hopefully with a bit of pace in the race he can be storming over the top late. RYAN: Vincenzo Perrugia rises in class but that just means you’ll get a better price about a horse in outstanding form. STUART: The value bet is Mister Spot, who followed a strong win here with a close second to Ruling Gold. Drawn well and has each-way claims. PAT: It’s time for Madame Meilland to show us she is capable of a win. This field does not have a lot of form and I think Chris Lewis can guide her to victory from gate five. MATT: Soho Leviathan is a very good frontrunner and has explosive gate speed. Solid field should suggest he’s a good each-way price. WAYNE: Black Jack Zac is racing in career-best form and gets another opportunity to earn money for his connections in the first sprint of the night. To view all of the Media Guild tips click here. Good Punting at this rare metropolitan Saturday meeting.   Ken Casellas

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

Outstanding young reinsman Dylan Egerton-Green is poised to achieve a wonderful and well-deserved milestone this week by landing his 100th winner for the season. He chalked up his 99th success at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening when he drove 5/1 chance Mandy Joan to a stylish victory over the pacemaker My Prayer in a 2130m event for three-year-old fillies. Mandy Joan was restrained from barrier seven and settled at the rear before Egerton-Green brought her home with a storming three-wide burst. The victory gave Byford trainer David Thompson a welcome present for his 56th birthday which he will celebrate on Friday. The 26-year-old Egerton-Green is rapidly becoming one of the State’s finest drivers and he has already surpassed his previous most successful season when he won 69 races last season. “It’s always been an ambition to drive a hundred winners in a season,” he said. “Originally, I thought I’d have my best season when I had a claim. I lost my claim about three years ago and I’ve just been chipping away.” His victory with Mandy Joan was tinged with considerable sadness. Earlier in the day, Egerton-Green had attended the funeral of 20-year-old Lockie Hernaman, a close friend and teammate at the Harvey Bulls football club. Egerton-Green should bring up his century of winners this week either at the meeting at Narrogin on Friday night or at Gloucester Park the following evening. He has six drives at Narrogin and his better chances appear to lie with last-start winner She Said Diamonds in race one and the consistent Ultimate Offer, who is favourably drawn at barrier two in the fifth event. Egerton-Green is also looking forward to a busy night at Gloucester Park on Saturday where he has a drive in eight of the ten events. He is enthusiastic about the prospects of the Dennis Roche-trained Jaxon Jones in the opening event, the Christmas In July at the Beau Rivage Pace for two-year-olds. He has driven the gelding to impressive all-the-way victories at Bunbury at his past two starts. At his latest outing Jaxon Jones sprinted home over the final quarter in 27.5sec. and defeated Jaspervellabeach (unbeaten at his three previous starts) and Major Martini (who had won at each of his two starts). “You must respect Jaxon Jones, who beat a horse who had won at his only three starts,” Egerton-Green said. “Every time he has gone around Jaxon Jones has got better and better and I can’t see why he can’t go better this week. The draw (No. 3) makes it a bit harder because he can’t lead this week. But I really like the horse.” Egerton-Green also will drive six pacers from the stables of leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond with his best prospect among them expected to be Mighty Santana in race seven. He was impressed when he drove Mighty Santana for the only time in a 2631m stand at Pinjarra three starts ago when the five-year-old raced in the breeze for much of the way and won easily by two lengths from Captured Delight.   Ken Casellas

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

It’s a mixed bag served up by members of the WA Trotting Media Guild for Friday night’s meeting at Gloucester Park. Only two members - multiple winner of the Guild’s tipping competition Stuart Lowe and   RWWA’s racing communications co-ordinator Tim Walker - have agreed on a best bet for the nine-event card. Lowe and Walker believe King Of Swing can get punters off to a winning start in the first race. “I think King Of Swing is the star bet,” Lowe said. “He was an impressive close-up fourth last week from barrier 12. The former star juvenile meets a similar field here, with the advantage of the pole draw, and is likely to lead throughout.” Walker agrees. “Race one, No. 1 King Of Swing is my best bet,” Walker said. “Get in early here. He should be able to bounce back to his best and win here. Looks a class above the rest.” The West Australian’s Ernie Manning is keen on The Bucket List. “The Bucket List is switching back to 1730m after winning over 2536m on April 26, but the versatile veteran has notched victory at a sprint journey and he should not be troubled by the shorter trip,” Manning said. “The gelding, a winner of 24 races, has scored two victories and run two places in his past five starts.” Longshot guru Pat Harding is banking on Miss Sangrial continuing on her winning ways. “My best bet of the night comes up in race five with Miss Sangrial drawing pole position,” Harding said. “She had a great win last week and I believe she can make it three wins in a row and give punters a bit of joy.” TABradio’s newest racecaller Hayden King, who did a magnificent job calling four races at last Friday night’s Northam meeting, believes punters should keep their powder dry until the last race. “The Midas Touch appears very well placed in the final event,” King said. “He has secured a dream draw and looks a very progressive type who can be winning country cups or graduating to FFA company soon.” GPTV’s Ken Casellas fancies Speed Man. “Speed Man was a disappointing second-up ninth behind Vincenzo Peruggia last week, but I’m predicting he will bounce back to winning form on Friday night,” Casellas said. “He drops in class and I expect him to carry too many guns for The Art Form and Baylan Jett in the 2536m event.” TABradio’s Matt Young is a Space Junk fan. “Space Junk has class on his rivals here and should be able to win easily,” Young said. The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft is keen on Dominate The Dojo. “Dominate The Dojo rarely runs a bad race and he has the gate speed to capitalise on a good draw in a small field,” Havercroft said. “I expect him to cross Tuas Delight and lead from start to finish.” Guild president Wayne Currall has tipped class mare Eden Franco to regain her top form. “Eden Franco came off 50m when she finished like a train to go down by just over five metres when an unlucky sixth behind Miss Sangrial in the Race For Roses,” Currall said. “She’s drawn to follow out Rosies Ideal and meets all of last week’s rivals on better terms.” VALUE BETS STUART: Eden Franco looks a strong value bet in the Breeders Stakes. She came off 50m last week and was beaten five metres when blocked for a run at the finish. Should be better suited here under mobile conditions. TIM: As Happy As Larry faces a big task coming off 30m here, but going to back in his class to beat a moderate group. ERNIE: Waimac Attack, a winner only once in his past 15 starts, impressed when he ran on to finish third after starting from the back line two weeks ago. He has recorded three Gloucester Park minor places in his last five appearances. PAT: If you want a nice double, The Midas Touch in the last race should provide it. Couple it up with Miss Sangrial and get a nice return. HAYDEN: Ruling Gold's last two efforts have been outstanding. He is building into career-best form and will prove the testing material in the stand. KEN: Carrera Mach is a smart four-year-old capable of overcoming the disadvantage of the outside barrier at his third run after a brief spell and following two unplaced efforts. MATT: Thereugo has great gate speed and could cross the polemarker. If he does he’ll go close to winning. RYAN: Im Full Of Excuses will drop out and be saved up for one crack at them. In a field of six he won’t sit too far off the pace and can run into the money if there is any speed in the race. WAYNE: American Dynasty was in good form before going for a spell. He’s first-up in the stand, but can give them something to chase if he’s anywhere near his top. To view all of the Media Guild tips click here. Good Punting.   Wayne Currall

Tony Svilicich gained considerable notoriety with his unconventional training methods with former star pacer Has The Answers, whose preparation consisted of being chased around a paddock in an old vehicle driven by the veteran horseman. Few could argue against the Svilicich regime: Has The Answers amassed $1,326,582 in prizemoney from 76 wins and 65 placings from 240 starts.    Svilicich is now a robust 72-year-old who is enjoying great success with five-year-old Vincenzo Peruggia. He has abandoned his former s unorthodox training methods and says he doesn’t really train the gelding. “I have been giving him a couple of starts every week  and that keeps him fit,” he says. “This saves me from giving the horse hoppled work. I like my sleep and sleeping in, instead of having to get out of bed early to work the horse.” Svilicich took over the preparation of Vincenzo Peruggia late last year and has given him 27 starts in the space of 103 days this year, and that’s an average of one run every 3.8 days (or about twice a week). Those 27 starts have produced nine wins (five at Pinjarra and four at Gloucester Park), seven seconds and two thirds. Cory Peterson has driven Vincenzo Peruggia twice for smart wins at his past two starts and he will be in the sulky again when the gelding starts from the No. 2 barrier in the opening event, the Budget Stockfeeds Pace, over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Svilicich said he was confident that Vincenzo Peruggia would prove hard to beat, but said he had plenty of respect for talented four-year-old King of Swing, whose 15 wins from 28 starts include a victory in the group 1 WA Derby last year. He added that Vincenzo Peruggia’s prospects would be greatly enhanced if he was able to cross Jing of Swing and dictate terms in front.  “Vincenzo Peruggia is not super quick over the first 30m, but he can then muster plenty of pace,” he said. Svilicich races Vincenzo Peruggia on lease from Chris Edwards, a prominent poker player. The gelding won on debut at Narrogin as a two-year-old when he was trained by Courtney Burch and was driven by Morgan Woodley. He then had a losing sequence of ten before winning three races in Kalgoorlie in 2016. He has really blossomed with age and under the care of Svilicich. There is no certainty that either King of Swing or Vincenzo Peruggia will set the pace on Friday night. Thereugo possesses dazzling gate speed and Donald Harper is likely to use this from barrier six in a bid for early ascendancy.    Ken Casellas

Ace trainer-reinsman Colin Brown has high hopes of going one better with speedy mare Eden Franco when she contests the $50,000 WASBA Breeders Stakes over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Eden Franco went within a whisker of winning the group 2 feature event for mares 12 months ago when she finished second, a half-head behind the pacemaker Maczaffair. A 4/1 chance, she started from the No. 11 barrier (No. 2 on the back line) and surged forward, three wide in the early stages, before racing in the breeze and finishing with great determination. Now a six-year-old and the oldest runner in this year’s race, Eden Franco again will start from the No. 11 barrier and she looms large as a major player. Eden Franco warmed up for this week’s assignment with a good sixth behind Miss Sangrial in the group 3 Race For Roses last Friday night when she was the backmarker off 50m. She was last in the field of 12 at the bell and was blocked for clear running in the final circuit. Brown has a splendid record in the Breeders Stakes, having won the event three times --- as the trainer-driver of Sand Pebbles in 2004 and Montel in 2008 and as the driver of the Greg Bond-trained Little Big Sister in 2010. Sand Pebbles also finished second in the Breeders Stakes in 2002 and third in 2003 and in recent years he has finished second behind Kamwood Laughter in 2012 and Alkira Jetstar in 2013. The Breeders Stakes was first run in 1979 and the only driver with a superior record to Brown is Chris Lewis, who has been successful with Tareena Bright (1985), Armbro Lucy (1993), Twinkle Paige (1997), Meggie Dear (2001) and Sheer Rocknroll (2017). This year Lewis will handle the up-and-coming four-year-old The War Nurse, who is trained by his wife Debra and is aiming to extend her winning sequence to five. The War Nurse revealed sparkling early speed from barrier five to burst straight to the front in a 2130m event last Friday night. She relished the frontrunning role and sped over the final 800m in 57sec. to win by more than a length from Ona Happy Note. The War Nurse meets far stronger opposition this week, but cannot be underestimated. Whether The War Nurse can prove the master of polemarker Miss Sangrial in the battle for the early lead is problematic. Miss Sangrial possesses excellent gate speed and Michael Grantham will be most anxious to win the race for the early lead. Miss Sangrial, trained by Michael Brennan, is in tremendous form, with a fast-finishing win in a 2631m stand at Pinjarra and a stylish victory in the 2503m Race For Roses last Friday night when she began speedily from the 20m mark, took the lead after 600m and then took the trail behind Our Angel of Harlem with two laps to travel. When Our Angel of Harlem broke 600m from home, Grantham sent Miss Sangrial through on the inside to take up the running. Miss Sangrial fought on with grim determination to hold out the fast-finishing pair of Beaudiene Beach Babe. Grantham has a wonderful association with the New South Wales-bred Miss Sangrial, having driven her at 30 of her 45 starts for 15 wins, five seconds, two thirds, four fourths, two fifths, one eighth and one ninth. Rosies Ideal, trained and driven by Shane Young, ran an excellent trial for this week’s event when she galloped at the standing start and was tenth at the bell before flying home, four wide, to finish third to Miss Sangrial last week. Rosies Ideal, a winner at ten of her 26 starts, is favourably drawn at the No. 2 barrier on the front line and will have many admirers. Another four-year-old in the Annie Belton-trained Lady De La Renta is capable of a bold showing, even though she is not particularly well drawn on the outside of the back line. She is racing with admirable enthusiasm and is capable of unwinding a powerful finishing burst. Other four-year-olds - Captured Delight, Cott Beach, Our Alfie Romeo, Come Dance With Me and Veiled Secret have strong credentials in what should prove to be a keen betting race.   Ken Casellas

Six-year-old Im Soxy, a $9000 yearling, continues to blossom and the State’s leading reinsman Ryan Warwick confidently predicts the gelding will graduate to open-class company and prove his worth in Free-For-Alls. There is little doubt that Im Soxy, a big bay with a distinctive white blaze, is one of the State’s most improved pacers under the care of 70-year-old Bunbury horseman Brian Clemens, who took over as trainer in February 2018 and has given the pacer 43 starts for nine wins and 19 placings. Warwick, who has driven 134 winners this season, is confident that Im Soxy will prove hard to beat in the Pacing WA and Girl Power In Pacing Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Im Soxy will start from barrier five and will clash with several smart performers, including Caviar Star, Campora and Tact Major (prepared by champion trainer Gary Hall Snr), as well as Back To The Beach and Chiaroscuro. Im Soxy maintained his excellent form when he enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, before finishing strongly to win from the pacemaker Bettor Be Lively at a 1.55.5 rate over 2130m last Friday week. Warwick was full of praise of the gelding, saying: “He can go to the next level. He’s getting better and better and is not finished with yet. He’s calmed down a lot pre-race and the way he does his preliminary is really good now. He can come off the arm or go back; he can do whatever you want him to do.” Warwick has established a strong affinity with Im Soxy, having driven him 20 times for six wins, five seconds and five thirds. The gelding, purchased for $9000 by Cono Condipodero at the 2014 Gloucester Standardbred yearling sale, is raced on lease by Lynette Clemens, wife of the trainer. Unplaced at his first eight starts (on country tracks in 2016), he now has raced 65 times for 11 wins and 20 placings for earnings of $134,487. By Rich And Spoilt, Im Soxy is out of the Mach Three mare Forza Di Volonta, who raced eight times as a two and three-year-old in 2010 for four wins. Im Soxy certainly inherited much of his ability from his great granddam Mitemptation, a brilliant juvenile who raced just 18 times as a two and three-year-old for 11 wins, five placings and $123,390. She won at each of her first nine starts, including a notable victory in the Group 1 Pearl Classic in January 1995. Hall has a healthy respect of Im Soxy and said that he considered polemarker Campora (to be driven by Lauren Jones) had the brightest prospects of his trio.” Campora is an excellent frontrunner and will be hard to beat,” he said. Four-year-old Caviar Star is racing keenly and, with Gary Hall Jnr in the sulky, should fight out the finish, while the lightly-raced seven-year-old Tact Major (Stuart McDonald) excelled last Friday night when he trailed the pacemaker Chicago Bull and ran home determinedly to finish second to the champion. Of the others, the Murray Lindau-trained Chiaroscuro is favourably drawn at barrier three and Dylan Egerton-Green could well take advantage of the five-year-old’s sparkling gate speed in a bid to cross Campora. Back To The Beach, to be driven by Chris Voak for trainer Ross Olivieri, has win at two of his past three starts and is worthy of consideration from the No. 2 barrier.   Ken Casellas

The Group 1 $250,000 WA Oaks headlines a stellar 10-event card at Gloucester Park on Friday night and members of the WA Trotting Media Guild are confident of sending punters home with plenty of cash in their pockets. Multiple winner of the Guild’s tipping competition Stuart Lowe and The West Australian’s Ernie Manning believe the impressive Mathew James can continue on his winning ways in the last race. “My best bet is the speedy three-year-old Mathew James, who has won three of five starts,” Lowe said. “He impressed last start when he breezed before winning in 1.56.2 over 2130m. Looks the class runner here.” And Manning agrees. “Mathew James has shown considerable potential for trainer Justin Prentice since arriving from New Zealand and looks set to complete a winning hat-trick,” Manning said. “He faced the breeze last week in his Gloucester Park debut and scored from Jilliby Jake, who has since won. Mathew James, a Pinjarra winner at his previous start, had travelled to WA after a Kiwi victory and has not missed a place in five starts.” Fresh from his recent honeymoon, leading tipster Matt Young believes Fanci A Dance is a good thing. “Fanci A Dance will be suited by the trip and can make his own luck,” Young said. “He is coming along nicely and looming large for a win.” GPTV’s Ken Casellas is in the Bettor Be Lively camp. “Bettor Be Lively is racing with admirable enthusiasm for veteran trainer Colin Joss and he’s my best bet on Friday night,” Casellas said. “I expect him to lead from barrier two and hold off his rivals in the 2130m event. He set the pace last Friday night before being overhauled in the final few strides to finish a half-head second to Im Soxy.” The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft believes Miss Sangrial is the way to go. “Miss Sangrial was a strong winner at Pinjarra on Monday under standing-start conditions when defeating Major Pocket,” Havercroft said. “She never got into the Easter Cup at her previous outing and should have finished closer than eighth. Her form prior to that was sound.” Longshot king Pat Harding is looking forward to the return of pacing superstar Chicago Bull and has made the little champ his best for the night. “My best bet of the night comes up in the fourth race,” Harding said. “Really looking forward to the re-appearance of Chicago Bull. Coming out of barrier two, this class horse should cap off his return to GP with a scintillating win.” Guild president Wayne Currall has made his best bet Dracarys in the WA Oaks. “Despite drawing the worst possible barrier (gate 10), Dracarys is the horse to beat in the Oaks,” Currall said. “She’s won 11 of her 16 starts and has champion reinsman Gary Hall Jr in the bike. Dracarys’ main rival, Typhoon Tiff, has drawn awkwardly in gate eight and Junior should have the last shot over the 2536m trip.” VALUE BETS STUART: The value bet is the mare Miss Sangrial, who followed a luckless eighth in the Easter Cup with a smart win off 30m at Pinjarra on Monday. Looks suited here. ERNIE: Hes Talking has barrier one and is capable of a bold first-up run, after not winning in 10 starts before going for a spell last October. The gelding has won twice at Gloucester Park and he is expected to have a successful campaign for trainer-reinsman Colin Brown. MATT: Rocknroll Delight is low flying and needs a few things to go her way in the mares feature, but she is capable of causing an upset at massive odds. KEN: For value, I suggest Frostyflyer in race eight. He has a losing sequence of 22, but gave promise of better things to come when he was 11th at the bell and thundered home, out six wide, to finish third behind The Midas Touch and Fanci A Dance last Friday night. RYAN: Hezgot Fusion Power resumed from an almost seven-year break when winning at the midweeks recently. He should have derived benefit from that outing and connections have come straight to Friday night company which suggests a level of confidence. PAT: My value bet of the night comes up in race six with No. 7 Lincs Tiger. This horse has shown excellent form in his last three races and should make it back-to-back wins. WAYNE: Halle Rage will be at liberal odds when she steps from the front line in the Race For Roses. However, master reinsman Chris Lewis can lead them a merry dance if he can take up the running with the the Ross Olivieri-trained six-year-old mare. To view all of the Media Guild tips click here. Good Punting.   Wayne Currall

Champion trainer Gary Hall Snr admits that he is nervous as he prepares to watch his superstar pacer Chicago Bull make his much-anticipated comeback in the $25,000 Gannon’s Harness Racing Colours Free-For-All over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “Yeah, I’m apprehensive,” Hall said. “But only because I want him to do well.” Six-year-old Chicago Bull has made a full recovery from a freak stable accident in New Zealand last October when he flipped over backwards and fractured eight bones in his wither region. “There’s no problems with the injuries and he is not worried about them,” Hall said. “Recent cross-firing problems have been cured. We have trimmed his feet a bit. He had a size five shoe and we’ve now dropped down to a size four. “He’s underdone, but I’m really happy with him. He worked well this morning (Wednesday) when he and Ideal Liner finished together. We didn’t put him to the sword. He’s drawn two on Friday night and we don’t want to burn him out in a bid for the early lead. “He will have a few starts during the winter before getting ready to contest the Interdominion championship series in Auckland in November. And, all going well, he will return to Perth for the Fremantle Cup and WA Pacing Cup.” Star reinsman Gary Hall Jnr will handle Chicago Bull on Friday night and he is expected to get the little gelding away smartly from the No. 2 barrier before making a bid for the lead. Polemarker Tact Major, a stablemate of Chicago Bull, is a speedy beginner. But Lauren Jones appears certain to take a sit when challenged by Chicago Bull. That would be in Tact Major’s best interests. Bunbury trainer Stephen Reed’s comeback pacer Kiwi Legend possesses sparkling early speed and much interest surrounds the tactics employed by reinsman Mark Reed. The Hall stable dominates the event, with five of the ten runners Chicago Bull, Tact Major, Whozideawasthis, Herrick Roosevelt and Campora. Herrick Roosevelt (Stuart McDonald) is in tremendous form and Whozideawasthis (Micheal Ferguson) is also racing with great spirit. But neither has the class to seriously challenge Chicago Bull, who has earned $1,693,747 from 40 wins and 16 placings from 61 starts. Chicago Bull boasts an amazing record at Gloucester Park where he has been unbeaten at his past 12 starts on the track where he has raced 46 times for 35 wins, four seconds, six thirds and one fourth placing.   Ken Casellas

Brilliant filly Typhoon Tiff has not raced for seven weeks, but ace trainer-reinsman Colin Brown is quick to warn punters not to disregard her as a major chance in the $150,000 Gannon’s WA Oaks at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Brown has revealed that her absence was caused by an illness, which she has now overcome. “She’s ready for a strong performance and you can’t overlook her prospects,” he said. “Just have a look at her record.” Typhoon Tiff, who boasts an impressive record of six wins and two placings from nine starts, is awkwardly drawn at barrier eight. “Unfortunately, the draw is no help and I’m not making any plans,” Brown said. “But the 2536m journey and the draws of other fancied runners makes the Oaks anybody’s race.” Typhoon Tiff last appeared when she finished fifth behind Eloquent Mach and Major Trojan in a WA Derby prelude on March 15 when, from the No. 7 barrier, she raced three wide early and then in the breeze before she raced roughly in the final circuit, but still finished fifth in a field of 12. At her previous start, three weeks earlier, she raced wide early and then in the breeze and won by a head from Dracarys, who finished strongly from sixth at the bell. Two weeks before that, Typhoon Tiff started from barrier five, took the lead after 270m and won the Dainty’s Daughter Classic by more than two lengths from Arma Indie, and at her previous outing she led and won by 7.9m from Dracarys over 1684m at Pinjarra. It is, indeed, interesting to note that the only defeats suffered by Dracarys at her past seven starts has been at the hands of Typhoon Tiff.       “In the Derby prelude, in which the winner rated 1.55.5, Typhoon Tiff paced roughly down the back when I pulled the earplugs out,” Brown said. Soon after that, Typhoon Tiff was badly affected by a cold and Brown decided to treat the ailment and not to race the filly in preparation for the Oaks. “While I was treating her, I kept the workload up,” Brown said. “If I had raced her, it would have meant that, with the clearance times (for treatment) I would have had to give her X number of days off treatment before starting the treatment all over again. “Last Saturday we scoped her and she came up crystal clear. So, she’s ready to rock’nroll. She’s done plenty of work and has been working against Eden Franco, and at her latest workout --- two one-mile heats --- she ran home in 27.6sec., swinging, and Franco Eden couldn’t get past her.             “We’re looking forward to the Oaks, and after that there’s a $50,000 race and the $100,000 Westbred Classic. We’ve made a couple of slight gear changes for this week, without going to extremes. The changes include racing her without the ear plugs.” Dracarys is sure to start a warm favourite on Friday night, despite drawing the inside of the back line. She is in dazzling form and is aiming to stretch her winning sequence to five and her career record to 12 wins from 17 starts. Hall of Fame reinsman Gary Hall Jnr will handle the New Zealand-bred Dracarys for Boyanup trainer Justin Prentice, who caused a major upset in the Oaks 12 months ago when he prepared and drove Our Major Mama to victory over Detroit Lily and Cott Beach. Our Major Mama, a rank outsider at $139.80, began out wide at barrier eight and stormed home from tenth at the bell. Hall has driven the winner of the Oaks twice. He was successful behind Miss Holmes (trained by his father Gary Hall Snr) in 2004 and won in 2015 with the Prentice-trained 9/1 chance Major Reality, who beat her stablemate Quite A Delight (driven by Prentice) by a half-head. Prentice also trained and drove The Parade when she finished second to Libertybelle Midfrew in 2014. In the 2013 Oaks Prentice drove 33/1 chance Bettor Dreams into second place behind Frith; he trained Southern Legacy when she finished second to Sensational Gabby in 2012 and in 2017 he trained Im Stylish, who was driven by Tom Buchanan into third place behind Maczaffair and Sarah Goody. Dracarys completed her Oaks preparation in superb fashion when she outclassed the opposition in a prelude on Easter Thursday. She started from the outside of the back line and settled in sixth position before Hall sent her forward, three wide, after 600m to surge to the front 150m later. She was not extended in speeding over the final 400m sections in 28.1sec. and 28.5sec. and beat Soho Interceptor by two lengths, with a neck to the early leader Fake News. Fake News, trained by Hall snr, goes into this week’s classic with sound credentials, seven wins and four placings from 18 starts. She will be driven by Micheal Ferguson from the outside of the back line. She finished strongly, three wide, from last at the bell to finish an excellent second to stablemate Balcatherine in a prelude last week. Balcatherine (Stuart McDonald) will start from barrier six on Friday night and is capable of a bold showing. Apart from Dracarys, Prentice will be represented in the classic by Has No Fear, a winner of six races who will be handled by Jocelyn Young from the outside barrier on the front line (No. 9), and Majorpride, a winner at three of her 17 starts. She will be driven by Michael Grantham from barrier two on the back line. The Barry Howlett-trained My Prayer (Chris Lewis) and the David Thompson-prepared Mandy Joan (Dylan Egerton-Green) are racing keenly and will have admirers after drawing favourably, at barriers one and two, respectively. Annie Belton’s promising filly La Roue De Lamour will be driven by Kim Prentice from the No. 3 barrier, and though she has managed only one win (at Bunbury four starts ago) she is on the upward path and is capable of a bold showing. She was most unlucky in a prelude last Friday night when she trailed the pacemaker Arma Indie before being shuffled back at the 500m mark when the leader began to tire badly. La Roue De Lamour recovered and flashed home to be an eye-catching fourth behind Balcatherine.   Ken Casellas

No mare has won the Laurie Kennedy Race For Roses more than once. But ace Banjup trainer-reinsman Colin Brown firmly believes that six-year-old Eden Franco has the ability to create history by winning the $30,000 2503m standing-start feature event for the second time. Eden Franco is the lone backmarker off 50m in Friday night’s Race For Roses at Gloucester Park when her clash with brilliant four-year-olds Our Angel of Harlem and Miss Sangrial should provide one of the highlights on a highly attractive ten-event program. Brown admits that the 50m handicap represents a serious challenge to Eden Franco, a big and powerful Christian Cullen mare who has raced only 36 times for 14 wins, 11 seconds and four thirds. But he believes she has the class to overcome that disadvantage. “Starting off 50 metres provides a big task,” Brown said. “However, I’m sure she will go very well. Without a doubt, she is the fittest I’ve ever had her and on occasions she has shown that she can absolutely fly the stand. “We stood her up on the track the other day and she belted out. She’s got the hood on for the first time. I thought she’d been becoming complacent and had been having a lend of me lately. With the hood, she’s a different animal. “I put her in this race because I thought it would be a better lead-up for her for the $50,000 Breeders Stakes the following week, rather than go in the Free-For-All against the boys and have them dictate to me, whereas over the 2503m of the Race For Roses I can run the race that I want to run.” Twelve months ago, Eden Franco started off the 10m mark in the Race For Roses and was a 9/2 chance. She began speedily and burst to the front after 550m. She gave her rivals little chance when she sped over the final quarters in 28.4sec. and 28.1sec. to win by two and a half lengths from Sarah Goody. Miss Sangrial (20m) and Our Angel of Harlem (30m) are racing in grand style and look set to fight out the finish, while other good four-year-olds Rosies Ideal (10m), Veiled Secret (10m), Our Major Mama (front) and Purest Silk (front) cannot be underestimated. The Michael Brennan-trained Miss Sangrial (Michel Grantham) warmed up for Friday night’s race in marvellous fashion when she started from the 30m mark and sustained a powerful finishing burst to win a 2631m stand from Major Pocket at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. Three starts before that she was a $59.60 outsider when she ran home strongly from fifth at the bell to win the 2536m Empress Stakes from Our Alfie Romeo and Lady De La Renta. “She loves racing and I consider that she is one of the top three mares in the State,” said Brennan. Miss Sangrial has already earned $198,119 from 16 wins and 124 placings from 47 starts. Our Angel of Harlem, trained by Mike Reed, has won at 11 of her 32 starts and was most impressive last Friday night when she started out wide at barrier eight and finished powerfully from last at the bell to be third behind Herrick Roosevelt and Overboard Again. Our Angel of Harlem won at each of her three previous starts and has bright prospects of giving reinsman Mark Reed his second victory in the Race For Roses. He trained and drove Regina Mia when she was successful in 2000. Ross Olivieri boasts the best record as a trainer in the Race For Roses which was first run in 1997. He has been successful with Yippy Yi Yo (1998), Arctic Fire (2011), Selkie (2014) and Sheer Rocknroll (2017). He will be represented this year by Veiled Secret (10m) frontmarker Halle Rage. Veiled Secret, to be driven by Chris Voak, ran an excellent trial for Friday night’s race when she set the pace and dashed over the final quarters in 27.9sec. and 28.7sec. to win the group 2 Johnson final for mares over 2130m last Friday night. Halle Rage will be handled by champion reinsman Chris Lewis, who notched his 100th winner in WA this season when Jilliby Jake led and easily beat Allwood Peacemaker in a 2536m event at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night. Halle Rage, unplaced at her four starts since winning a 1730m mobile event two months ago, faces a tough task. Lewis has the best record as a driver in the Race For Roses, having won the event behind Lady De Beau (2007), Arctic Fire, Selkie and Sheer Rocknroll. Justin Prentice trains and drives Our Major Mama, whose recent form has been only fair. Prentice was successful as a trainer and driver with The Parade (2015) and Digital Art (2016).   Ken Casellas

Last year’s WA Derby winner King Of Swing is expected to make a winning return to the racetrack at Gloucester Park tonight, according to the majority of WA Trotting Media Guild members. All but one - longshot guru Pat Harding - believe King Of Swing is ready to recapture his winning ways after a five-month spell. The West Australian’s Ernie Manning and RWWA’s racing communications co-ordinator Tim Walker have made the Gary Hall-trained King Of Swing their best bet on the program. “King Of Swing showed class and looked set for an outstanding future when he won last year’s WA Derby on a limited lead-up program,” Manning said. “He won at seven of his first nine WA starts before disappointing with four unplaced runs last October and November. However, he looked back to his bet in an easy win at Pinjarra trials last Sunday and should be hard to beat first-up.” And Walker agrees. “The Derby winner of last year returns here,” he said. “If the real King Of Swing shows up, he’s classes above these. Can lead or breeze here and be too good. Expect a big campaign from him.” For the record, Harding has Warriors Code on top in King Of Swing’s race, the hot favourite not even figuring in his first four. The longshot king believes unbeaten filly Double Expresso can take it up to the boys in the  $50,000 Group 2 Champagne Classic (2130m). “Without doubt, one of the standouts at this week’s meeting at GP comes up in race nine with No. 2 Double Expresso,” Harding said. “This filly is in superlative form and is the best horse that Ross Olivieri has in his stable. Combine that with the driving talents of Chris Lewis and you have a wonderful combination that should romp away with another tremendous win.” However, budding racecaller Hayden King is locking horns with Harding. He’s declared Poisedtopounce in the Champagne Classic. “Poisedtopounce was a brilliant winner at Pinjarra and I think he will lead all the way,” King said. “Could be at an OK price with several touted and untapped runners.” GPTV’s Ken Casellas is keen on the consistent As Happy As Larry. “Seven-year-old As Happy As Larry is racing in the best form of his career and he gets the nod as my best bet,” Casellas said. “He has drawn somewhat awkwardly at barrier five in race three, but has the class to overcome this disadvantage. He gave a wonderful performance in the 2902m Easter Cup last week when he met with early interference and still finished a nose second to Mighty Conqueror.” The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft has settled on Arma Indie as his star bet. “Arma Indie was brave at her local debut when runner-up to Typhoon Tiff in the Daintys Daughter Classic here in February,” Havercroft said. “She was subsequently found to have a bone chip which might have contributed to her defeat on that occasion and if back to her best, can ignite her Oaks campaign from the pole.” Guild president Wayne Currall believes Herrick Roosevelt can get the job done from the pole in race seven. “Forget Herrick Roosevelt even went around last week,” he said. “He was knocked sideways on the turn and was lucky to stay on his feet. He’s drawn the ace tonight and will take no end of beating on the rails.” VALUE BETS ERNIE: Madame Meilland has won five Gloucester Park races and is capable of overcoming a second-line draw when racing third-up after a spell. The mare has not won in her past seven starts, but ran a stylish last-start fifth after she had difficulty getting clear. TIM: Madame Meilland is a nice mare in a good race. Drawn on the second row may not be a bad thing here if there is early pace as expected. Can be descending on them late. PAT: I think the Brennan/Grantham combination can get the goods with The Bucket List. He has been very consistent and I think he can get the money here. HAYDEN: Come Dance With Me was exceptional running home from midfield to win at Bunbury. The last half was superb and with any pace and a trail forward she can streak straight past. KEN: Come Dance With Me will start from the outside of the back line in the Johnson Final. But she possesses a supercharged finishing burst and looks set to fight out the finish. RYAN: Carrera Mach has won first-up in the past and resumes this week from a trailing draw. King Of Swing will likely be short in the same race and has the propensity to do things wrong. WAYNE: Im Full Of Excuses hasn’t won for more than three months, but he’s been about the place in that time. Will appreciate the pole draw and he has the master in Chris Lewis doing the steering. He’s each-way value all day. To view all of the Media Guild tips click here. Good Punting.   Wayne Currall

Seven years in the wilderness is a very long time and ten-year-old pacer Hezgot Fusion Power made a remarkable return to racing after an absence of 2061 days when he won $7500 2130m event at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night. He was so fat late last year that Coolup farrier and harness racing trainer Hayden Reeves feared that he would have a heart attack when he was jogging him. A winner of two races from 13 starts in New Zealand, Hezgot Fusion Power was purchased by clients of Bunbury trainer John Graham and he impressed greatly for his new connections with three wins and a second from seven starts as a three-year-old, as well as a sound seventh behind Im Victorious in the WA Derby at Gloucester Park in April 2012. The Derby run was followed by a second at Bunbury and a win at Harvey. He then fractured a sesamoid bone in a hind leg, and after surgery had a year off. “He was brought back into work after that, but broke down again,” said Reeves. “Then he kinda got left because a whole bunch of babies were coming through the Graham stable. “I was shoeing for John one day last November and he said ‘do you want a challenge, a project?’ I’m always looking for horses and said I was up for about anything. John told me about the horse’s history and said that he was really, really fat. I asked how fat a horse could be and he said ‘he’s exceptionally fat.’ “We decided to take him and when we went to pick him up, we had to take up two bays in the float by removing the divider. He was just enormous, and my wife Ash said that if she had known the horse was that fat there was no way that she would have agreed for me to take him. “And since we had got him home, he’s basically been on a starvation diet just hay in the morning and at night. He is such a good doer that it’s still a job to keep the weight off him. “However, you wouldn’t know that he’s a ten-year-old; he’s so athletic. I started tracking him in January and have brought him along very slowly. It’s amazing that he has made it (to this stage).” Hezgot Fusion Power, a 9/2 chance, was not bustled out from barrier six by Bailey McDonough and the oldtimer settled down in sixth position in the one-wide line. McDonough urged Hezgot Fusion Power forward, three wides, after 250m and he ambled to the breeze. Hezgot Fusion Power took a narrow lead 250m from home and he was not extended in winning from the pacemaker and 11/8 favourite Glowing Report. The win gave Reeves his first city success since Edna Anne, driven by Nigel Johns, charged home from last at the 700m to get up and beat Kamwood Girl by a head in an event for three-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park on August 13, 2010. Three starts earlier, Edna Anne, a $123 outsider, ran on from 11th in the middle stages to win the Group 1 $100,000 State Sires Series final for fillies to give Reeves his biggest moment in harness racing.   Ken Casellas

Talented young horseman Michael Grantham lives a very busy life, but he is still seeking to conquer fresh challenges. He took a gamble recently and backed his judgment when he purchased veteran pacer Maras Ace Man, considered by many as a hopeless proposition. He was rewarded at Bunbury’s Donaldson Park last Saturday night when he produced the seven-year-old Maras Ace Man in fine fettle and drove him to a decisive all-the-way victory, giving him his first success as a trainer. Backed from $11 to $3.90 on the fixed market and paying $5.80 on the tote, Maras Ace Man romped to victory, beating the $3.30 favourite Newsletter by just over six lengths after speeding over the final quarters in 28.8sec. and 27.6sec. and rating 1.57.8 over the 2100m journey. This was a remarkable performance by a pacer who had managed just one win and eight placings from 95 starts. It ended a losing sequence of 39 and showed that none of us should give up hope. His only victory was at Gloucester Park in August 2017 when he was a rank outsider at $83.60, with Robbie Williams in the sulky The gelding had been beaten by a combined total of 2886.8 metres (or 962.3 lengths) in his previous 94 unsuccessful starts and that represents an average losing margin of 10.2 lengths or 30.7 metres. He had been unplaced at his 13 previous starts before appearing at Bunbury last Saturday and his form in those outings made miserable reading: a sixth, two sevenths, two ninths, five tenths and three elevenths. In those races he started at the following long odds: $58.80, $59.70, $108.20, $64.80, $160.50, $130.30, $104.40, $26, $165.70, $160, $126, $101 and $91. And how and why did the 23-year-old Grantham buy Maras Ace Man? “I had driven him just once, and that was at Gloucester Park last December when he finished tenth (beaten by a margin of 64.9m),” Grantham explained. “I liked him and when I saw that he was offered for sale for $1500 in February, I bought him with the idea of rejuvenating him.” Grantham offered a share in Maras Ace Man to his good friend, Kurt Pellington, a painter from Byford who had never owned a share in a horse. “I thought that a change of scenery would benefit Maras Ace Man and I give him no hopple work,” said Grantham, a former brilliant apprentice jockey and now a highly successful reinsman who has already driven 63 winners this season. Maras Ace Man is stabled at Neville Parnham’s pre-training establishment in Banjup, a plush property managed by Grantham’s uncle Paul. “Becoming a trainer gives me something different to do,” Grantham said. “I have a lot to do; I drive full-time for my Dad (who runs a horse transport business) and I do trackwork on Wednesdays and Saturdays for Mouse (Michael Brennan). I ride Maras Ace Man at 3.30 every morning and also gallop him down at the beach.” For good measure, he also drives at two, three or four meetings every week. Grantham started his training career late last year when he leased Heez Chivalrous but after three disappointing unplaced runs on country tracks, Grantham relinquished his lease and Maras Ace Man gave him his first training success at his fourth attempt. There is little doubt that the modest stake of $2562 for winning at Bunbury will be just the tip of the iceberg. Grantham retains an interest in thoroughbred racing and is a member of a syndicate which owns handy three-year-old galloper Apparition, a winner at York recently. He is a young man with fierce ambitions, a great work ethic and the ability to be a leading light in the harness racing industry for many years.   Ken Casellas

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

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