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Veteran pacer The Bucket List has finished in eighth position in 2130m mobile events on the past two Friday nights, but he should relish a return to standing-start conditions and a considerable drop in class when he begins off the back mark of 30 metres in the TABtouch Better Your Industry Handicap over 2503m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The New Zealand-bred nine-year-old has the credentials to bounce back to winning form: He has won eight stands in Western Australia and is the track record-holder for a 2503m stand. The Bucket List rated 1.57.2 when he started off the 50m mark and came from tenth at the bell and went five wide at the 400m to charge to the front 110m from home and win the BOTRA Cup from Always Arjay and Motu Premier last July. This gave him the track record for a 2503m stand, beating the 1.57.9 rate recorded by superstar Im Themightyquinn when he began from 30m and beat Christopher Three and Our Mercurio in July 2010. The Bucket List was not suited by the fast early tempo in a 2130m mobile event last Friday night when he started from the No. 4 barrier, raced three wide early and then in the breeze before gaining the one-out, one-back sit after a lap. He was left without any sting when the final quarters went by in 28.4sec. and 29.4sec., but he finished less than three lengths behind the winner Im Full of Excuses, who won from smart pacers Gotta Go Gabbana and Simba Bromac. The Bucket List, to be handled by Michael Grantham (who has won seven races with the Christian Cullen gelding), is sure to appreciate much inferior opposition this week. His most serious rivals loom as Always Arjay (20m) and frontmarkers Carrera Mach, Bright Diamond and Destined To Rule. The Matt Scott-trained Always Arjay is in splendid form and will take a power of beating. He impressed in a 2503m stand two starts ago when he worked hard in the breeze and finished determinedly to get up and win from the pacemaking Carrera Mach and Bettor Not Bitter. That followed Always Arjay’s fast-finishing second to Lord Willoughby in a 2130m mobile event a week earlier. His two previous runs were in stands at Narrogin (for a hard-working win by four lengths over dead-heaters Keeper of Keys and Gaz Wannabet) and a strong third from the breeze behind Crime Scene at Bunbury. Carrera Mach, a small New Zealand-bred four-year-old trained by Ross Olivieri, is extremely consistent, with seven wins and nine placings from 25 starts. He makes strong appeal as the likely pacemaker and will take beating if left alone in front. Bright Diamond, a four-year-old in the Greg and Skye Bond stables, returns to standing-start racing after a series of excellent efforts against quality opposition in mobile events. This will be his first appearance in a stand at Gloucester Park, but he has impressed at his two standing-starts runs in WA both off the 30m mark last October when he worked forward early to set the pace and win from Rum Delight and Rafaello at Bunbury and when a close second to Cut For An Ace, after final quarters of 27.7sec. and 27.1sec.   Ken Casellas

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

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

Reigning Miracle Mile champion My Field Marshal is looking to join a select group. The fastest pacer in Australasia (1:46.9) is set to join an exclusive club by winning the Miracle Mile one year followed by the WA Pacing Cup the following year. The members include Our Sir Vancelot (1997/98), Westburn Grant (1990/91) and Village Kid (1987/88) - three of the all-time greats with 179 combined victories and prizemoney in excess of $6.3 million. Another great in Preux Chevalier (40 wins - $790,331) achieved the feat in reverse, he won the Miracle Mile in 1984 before winning the WA Pacing Cup in 1985. And My Field Marshal is drawn to advantage after landing gate three for the 2936m mobile start feature. Fresh from his commanding victory in last week’s Fremantle Cup, the Art Major entire is looking to provide master horsemen Tim and Anthony Butt another Grand Circuit triumph. The Canterbury born brothers have won in excess of 100 Grand Circuit events, pacers and trotters combined! Interestingly, they’re yet to strike Grand Circuit event in Perth. Chicago Bull was the last horse to complete the Fremantle/WA Pacing Cups double (2017). The last time a winner came outside of the state’s border was Washakie back in 2010, prepared by then Queensland based John McCarthy. My Field Marshal is the only interstate trained runner contesting this year’s feature. The Gr.1 $450,000 TABtouch WA Pacing Cup is the fifth leg of the 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit, the staying feature is steeped in history after first being staged back in 1913 when Letty Lind proved victorious. The great race has been won by the likes of Beau Don, Radiant Oro, James Eden, Just Too Good, Don’t Retreat, Pure Steel, San Simeon, Gammalite, Preux Chevalier and Village Kid among others. In recent times, names like Westburn Grant, Our Sir Vancelot, The Falcon Strike, Baltic Eagle, Im Themightyquinn and My Hard Copy are listed as winners. Many of these great names listed above have won the Cup more than once. Last year, Soho Tribeca defeated Chicago Bull in an enthralling battle but sadly, neither pacer will start this year. Since 2002, the Hall stable have won the staying feature 11 times. The master conditioner has triumphed with The Falcon Strike (x3), Tealsby Karita, Im Themightyquinn (x3), Hokonui Ben, My Hard Copy (x2) and Chicago Bull. This year, the Hall stable will be represented by Runrunjimmydunn. Team Bond, the leading stable in the state has weight in numbers and provide half the field, 6 of the 12 runners. Greg and Skye Bond will be represented by Our Max Phactor (Dylan Egerton-Green), Galactic Star (Ryan Warwick), Vampiro (Colin Brown), Our Jimmy Johnstone (Michael Grantham), El Jacko (Aiden De Campo) and Saying Grace (Chris Lewis). The impressive stable is chasing their maiden success in the Cup. Astute mentor Ross Olivieri, a winner of the Cup in 1999 with Saab, is represented by last start winner Im Full Of Excuses. Shannon Suvaljko, a winner of the Cup in 2008 with Vanlo Yorker is engaged to drive Im Full Of Excuses. Father/son combination of Mike and Mark Reed are chasing their first win in the Cup and line-up classy mare Maczaffair who starts from the inside gate. The last mare to win the state’s showcase event was Pyramus back in 1972 while Dainty’s Daughter won in 1970. Emerging open class force Rocknroll Lincoln will have plenty of followers after his unlucky effort last week in the Fremantle Cup. Prepared by brilliant young horseman Justin Prentice, Rocknroll Lincoln will be handled by champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr. Hall Jnr has won the Cup seven times previously. Rugged pacer Vultan Tin starts in the Cup for the second time for trainer Phil Costello and regular driver Chris Voak. Last year, they finished 10th. If My Field Marshal proves successful, he gains an excellent chance of being a major player for the title of Grand Circuit champion with a number of features still to come this term back on the east coast. Inter Dominion hero Tiger Tara currently leads the race with 260 points. The TABtouch WA Pacing Cup is scheduled as race 5 and listed to start at 7.58pm local time.   Chris Barsby

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

Apart from the breeders of the handful of multiple WA Pacing Cup winners only one breeder has managed to breed two winners of a WA Pacing Cup. Western Australian breeder Norm Duncan had a stud farm in Mills Road, Gosnells and while he stood a stallion or two he was basically a hobby breeder and owner. Duncan’s two Pacing Cup winners were Dark David in 1947 and David’s Reward in 1955 and were two of nine individual WA Cup starters that Norm Duncan bred. Those nine horses had a total of 18 starts in a WA Pacing Cup. Some idea of the enormity of Duncan’s WA Pacing Cup record as a breeder can be gauged from the fact that only J P Stratton comes close with eight individual Cup starters as a breeder with those horses having a total of 15 starts in the race. Stratton bred the winners of 1034 races in Western Australia of which just under half (503). were in the city. Norm Duncan bred the winners of 309 races in this State of which 205 (67%) were in the city. Modern day breeding legend Mick Lombardo is third on the list of breeders of WA Pacing Cup starters with seven individual starters of 13 starts courtesy of his Lombo Standardbreds breeding operation. Mr Lombardo was involved with two other Pacing Cup starters through other breeding entities. Norm Duncan was also prominent as an owner of WA Pacing Cup runners with 9 individual starters which had a total of 19 starts in the race between 1941 and 1960. While Duncan was the sole owner of his 19 starters in the race, modern day owner Beth Richardson heads the list with a share in the ownership of 20 Pacing Cup starters through 11 individual horses. The record for most individual starters in a WA Pacing Cup for an owner is held by Hall Of Fame trainer Cliff Clarke who owned 13 individual Pacing Cup runners which had a total of 17 starts in the race. Hall of Fame nominee Jim Hand had 12 individual starters in WA’s premier harness race and those horses amassed 15 starts in the race. Both of the WA Pacing Cup winners bred by Norm Duncan were sons of the stallion Storm Cloud which had been bred in Tasmania by Edgar Tatlow in 1930 and imported to WA in late 1934 by Jack Hallam. Storm Cloud had been through several owners and trainers winning 10 races in Perth before being purchased by Norm Duncan in 1939 and entering the stables of Arthur Hough. Storm Cloud was to mix racing and stud duties for a further five years winning a further 10 races including a heat of the 1941 WA Pacing Cup and the 1944 Stratton Cup at the age of 14 years. Storm Cloud sired a total of 33 individual winners in WA of which 20 were bred by Norm Duncan and six of his 33 winners started in a WA Pacing Cup. In addition to his two winners for Norm Duncan he also sired Huon Cloud which was runner-up in the 1943 WA Pacing Cup. Eleven of the 12 starters in the 2019 WA Pacing Cup are New Zealand bred with only Vultan Tin representing Australian (and West Australian) breeders. Starter Breeder Year    Sire Dam El Jacko NZ Kahukuri Bloodstock Ltd 2012  g Elsu NZ Exposay NZ Galactic Star NZ P T Cummings, D J Cummings, J M Davie 2012  g Bettors Delight USA Petras Star NZ Im Full Of Excuses NZ O Haines, I K Haines 2011 g Jeremes Jet USA Minnie Me NZ Maczaffair NZ Alabar (NZ) Ltd 2013 f Mach Three CA Presidential Affair NZ My Field Marshal NZ S A Brown, S B Brown 2011 c Art Major USA Foreal NZ Our Jimmy Johnstone NZ J K McRae 2008 g P Forty Seven USA Sammi Franco NZ Our Max Phactor NZ Breckon Bloodstock Limited 2012 g Art Major USA Tact Philly NZ Rocknroll Lincoln NZ Lincoln Farms Ltd 2013 c Rocknroll Hanover USA Preside Over NZ Runrunjimmydunn NZ J P Green, B Hughes, P G Hughes 2013 g American Ideal USA Delightful Paula NZ Saying Grace NZ The Daily Grind Syndicate 2013 g American Ideal USA Move Heaven Andearth NZ Vampiro NZ L W Ridge, M E Slagter 2013 g Rocknroll Hanover USA Fortune Lover NZ Vultan Tin P J Costello, D A Costello 2011 g Dawn Ofa New Day USA Ellevarrac     Alan Parker

The Barrier Draw has been conducted for the 2019 TABtouch WA Pacing Cup worth $450,000 at Gloucester Park this Friday night. Last week’s Fremantle Cup winner and Australasia’s fastest pacer, My Field Marshal has once again fared well, drawing barrier three. The Tim Butt trained star should retain favouritism to win the big Western Australian double. The Justin Prentice trained and Gary Hall Jr driven Rocknroll Lincoln will start from an ideal barrier in two with the only mare in the field Maczaffair drawing the coveted rails ally. Once again, despite having six runners, the Greg and Skye Bond Stable were without luck with the majority of their runners drawing the outside of the front line. Galactic Star in seven, Vampiro in eight and Our Jimmy Johnstone out in nine, with El Jacko inside of the back line (10) and Saying Grace on his immediate outside in barrier eleven. Popular local pacer, Vultan Tin has drawn the outside of the back line in barrier 12.   The Barrier draw for the $450,000 TABtouch WA Pacing Cup for 2019 is as follows; Maczaffair Rocknroll Lincoln My Field Marshal Our Max Phactor Runrunjimmydunn Im Full Of Excuses Galactic Star Vampiro Our Jimmy Johnstone El Jacko Saying Grace Vultan Tin Gotta Go Gabbana (1st Emg) Mitch Maguire (2nd Emg) The first race scheduled for 5.50pm WA time, with the $450,000 TABtouch WA Pacing set to jump as race five at 7.55 WA time. There is live trackside entertainment all night and tables are still available for bookings in our premier restaurant The Beau Rivage. To book contact Gloucester Park on 9323 3530.  Gloucester Park

This Friday night will witness the 106th consecutive running of the WA Pacing Cup since the race was first run on 27th December 1913 as the WA Trotting Cup. Only the New Zealand Cup, which was first run in 1904, has a longer history in terms of races run for pacers anywhere in the world. In fact a couple of trotters started in the WA Cup in the early days when it was a regular occurrence for trotters and pacers to compete against each other. The race was run at Western Australian Cricket Association (WACA) ground track between 1913 and 1928 before moving across the road to the course now known as Gloucester Park where it was first run on 28th December 1929. The 1929 edition of the Cup was won by the New Zealand bred gelding Taurekareka for trainer/driver Dave Michael. The 2019 Tabtouch WA Pacing Cup will be the 90th running of the race at Australia’s premier harness racing track. Tim and Anthony Butt looking to go one better in 2019 In the 2007 WA Pacing Cup the Tim Butt trained and Anthony Butt driven Flashing Red finished second to Tealsby Karalta and the duo will be looking to go one better this year with their Fremantle Cup winner My Field Marshal. Flashing Red is one of only four New Zealand Cup winners to have started in a WA Pacing Cup. Flashing Red won the 2006 and 2007 New Zealand Cup and started in the WA Cup in those same years. Steel Jaw won the New Zealand Cup in 1983 before finishing sixth behind Preux Chevalier in the 1984 WA Cup while Trusty Scot won the 1978 New Zealand Cup before he finished sixth to Pure Steel in the 1979 WA Cup. The first New Zealand Cup winner to contest a WA Cup was the Australian bred Sheik which stunned the Kiwis when he took out the 1924 edition of their flagship race. Sheik finished fifth in the 1929 WA Cup won by Taurekareka and while he didn’t win the Cup he did win three races in Perth before retiring to stud in WA where he sired the mare Queens Gift which took out the 1942 WA Cup. Only two winners of a WA Cup have managed to sire a winner of the WA Cup. The New Zealand bred Bintravis won the race in 1949 and then sired the dual WA Cup winner Radiant Oro which took out the race in 1969 and 1971. The 1938 WA Cup winner Kolect sired the 1941 WA Cup winner Kolrock during a break from his racing career which began in 1932 and ended in 1940. Kolect not only sired a WA Pacing Cup winner but he is the only WA Cup winner produced by a mare which won the Cup. WA Racing Industry Hall of Fame inductee Kola Girl won the 1918 WA Cup and her first foal was Kolect. Kolect was a son of Vin Direct which competed against Kola Girl in the 1925 Australasian Championship at the WACA ground. Vin Direct not only sired a WA Cup winner but he also sired the dam of WA Racing Industry Hall of Fame inductee Beau Don which won the Cup in successive seasons 1952/53 and 1953/54. Maczaffair out to break long drought Still looking for room in the home straight of last Friday’s Fremantle Cup, the connections of the 5yo Mach Three mare Maczaffair will be hoping the additional 400 metres of the 2019 WA Pacing Cup will see a few more openings appear in the last lap this week. Maczaffair has a 47 year hoodoo to overcome as the last mare to win a WA Pacing Cup was Pyramus on 1st January 1972 which incidentally was the last year the race was run as a standing start. Pyramus was the 19th mare to win the State’s major harness race and she was part of a cluster of three wins by mares in six years as she followed the efforts of Color Glo (1967) and Daintys Daughter (1970). After mares won 12 of the first 22 runnings of the Cup (1913 – 1935) there have only been seven mares win the race in the past 82 years. First family of the WA Pacing Cup When Fred Thomas started the Huon Jnr gelding Wally M in the first WA Pacing Cup in 1913 he began what was to become a remarkable family record in the State’s major harness race. Fred and Francis Thomas had eight children, three boys and five girls who grew up surrounded by horses as their father was both a trainer of Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds. Fred trained the 1911 Railway Stakes winner Apple Charlotte and in 1920 he trained a WA Pacing Cup winner in Harold Rose. Six of the eight Thomas children either rode or drove winners on the track: Pearl Thomas (b 1899) – won a Lady Riders race at the WACA and later married Athol Robertson who was a prominent trainer/driver and later a WATA Committeeman Charles Thomas (b 1900) – highly successful trainer/driver with 260 winners in Perth including four WA Pacing Cups Ruby Thomas (b 1903) - won a Lady Riders race at the WACA and later married Gordon Bradford who drove some 33 winners in WA Hilda Thomas (b 1905) – outstanding driver of winners at the WACA and an even better equestrienne who won events at the Royal Sydney Show and Perth Royal Show. She married trainer/driver Charles Coulson and their son Phil Coulson drove more than 1100 winners including an Inter Dominion with Binshaw and seven WA Pacing Cups Lella Thomas (b 1908) – didn’t win a race but married Arthur Hough and their son Fred Hough drove 512 winners and trained and drove the champion Frosty Nelson John Thomas (b 1911) – drove some 106 winners including a Fremantle Cup Ivy Thomas (b 1913) - won a Lady Riders race at the WACA Don Thomas (by 1919) – drove 165 winners including a WA Pacing Cup winner in Buller Pass and he later became WATA Chairman of Stewards and officiated at three Inter Dominions between 1962 and 1974. All up the Thomas family trained a total of 22 starters in a WA Pacing Cup for eight winners in Harold Rose (1920 Fred Thomas), Frosty Nelson (1955 Fred Hough), Buller Pass (1959 Don Thomas), Hycraft (1965 Phil Coulson), Lord Mina (1966 Phil Coulson), Color Glo (1967 Phil Coulson), Pure Steel (1977 Phil Coulson) and Pure Steel (1978 Phil Coulson). Members of the Thomas family had a total of 61 drives in a WA Pacing Cup for a truly remarkable 13 wins comprising Harold Rose (1920 Charlie Thomas), Black Childe (1924 Charlie Thomas), Connie Glo (1935 Charlie Thomas), Lulu Mick (1938 Charlie Thomas), Frosty Nelson (1955 Fred Hough), Buller Pass (1959 Don Thomas), Lord Mina (1966 Phil Coulson), Color Glo (1967 Phil Coulson), Pure Steel (1977 Phil Coulson), Pure Steel (1978 Phil Coulson), Pure Steel (1979 Phil Coulson), Gammalite (1983 Phil Coulson) and Village Kid (1985 Phil Coulson).   Alan Parker

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

Champion trainer Tim Butt hotly disputes persistent suggestions that millionaire pacer My Field Marshal is purely a brilliant sprinter who will struggle to win the $300,000 Retravision Fremantle Cup over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. There is no doubting that the New Zealand-bred seven-year-old is a magnificent speedster over short trips, but Butt said that he had no concerns whatsoever that the stallion would be found wanting over the 2536m journey. “It takes a strong stayer to excel over sprint trips,” said Butt, who is bubbling with confidence that his brother Anthony will guide My Field Marshal to victory on Friday night, particularly after drawing favourably at barrier two on the front line. “My Field Marshal has done everything right and has pleased me with his work since he led and won the Village Kid Sprint two Fridays ago. He is showing no breathing problems after two successful wind operations.” My Field Marshal, who rated 1.54 when he was untroubled to win the 1730m Village Kid Sprint, became the fastest pacer in Australasia when he won the Miracle Mile in 1.46.9 at Menangle in February last year. He has raced 60 times for 25 wins, 15 seconds and six thirds for earnings of $1,132,712. His wins have been over 1609m (11), 1650m (one), 1700m (one), 1730m (one), 1950m (five), 2000m (one), 2200m (one), 2240m (two), 2400m (one) and 2700m (one). His 2700m victory was as a four-year-old at Alexandra Park in the group 1 Messenger Championship when he started from barrier four and enjoyed a perfect trip, one-out and two-back in sixth position before finishing strongly out wide to convincingly beat My Kiwi Mate at a 1.56.6 rate in April 2017.     “His runs over middle distances in Australia have been good,” said Butt. My Field Marshal finished a one-metre second to Hectorjayjay in the 2680m Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship at Albion Park in July 2017 when Tiger Tara was third and Lennytheshark fourth. The winner rated 1.56.1. In October 2017 My Field Marshal was a one-length second to San Carlo (1.56.6) in the group 3 Maryborough Gold Cup over 2690m and two weeks after that he was a wonderful 4m second to Lennytheshark, who rated 1.55.4 to smash Restrepo’s track record. My Field Marshal started from the back line and he raced in sixth position before moving into the breeze 1200m from home. He fought on with admirable determination, with the final quarters whizzing by in 26.9sec. and 27.3sec. My Field Marshal finished his 19-start campaign as a six-year-old with a well-beaten ninth behind Let It Ride in the 2680m Blacks A Fake Championship last July. He started from the back line, raced at the rear and three wide in the final circuit. Her resumed after a spell with an easy 1609m victory in 1.50.9 at Menangle on December 17 before his impressive win in the Village Kid Sprint 11 nights later. The Butt brothers are aiming to make amends for Raglan’s splendid second to champion Im Themightyquinn in the 2012 Fremantle Cup when Raglan surged home from last at the bell. They first campaigned in Western Australia in 2004 when Mister D G won two heats and finished second in another before finishing a desperately close fourth behind Jofess in a four-way photo finish in the final of the Inter Dominion championship. Tim Butt decided just over a year ago to move from his property in Christchurch to set up stables at the Menangle complex and he is currently preparing My Field Marshal at leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond’s stables in Forrestdale. My Field Marshal faces strong challenges from the Bond camp, which dominates the Fremantle Cup with a record of seven of the 12 runners, the New Zealand-bred band of Galactic Star, Saying Grace, El Jacko, Our Jimmy Johnstone, Our Max Phactor, Mitch Maguire and Vampiro, who between them have won 142 races and amassed $2,135,457 in prizemoney. Greg Bond has fond memories of his first runner in a Fremantle Cup Money Magnet, who was an 8/1 chance and was driven to an easy all-the-way victory by Colin Brown in a 2907m stand in January 2006, a week after he started at 14/1 and came from last to win the Australian Pacing Championship consolation, a mobile over 2143m. Not surprisingly, Greg Bond rates Galactic Star as the stable’s best winning prospect 12 months after the gelding was the rank outsider at tote odds of $228 and finished 11th behind My Hard Copy, who charged home to win the Fremantle Cup in a thrilling finish from Lazarus and Chicago Bull. Then, in February, Galactic Star was beaten into second place in the Albany Cup by Major Stare. Galactic Star’s form this season has been outstanding. He started with wins in the group 3 Don Randall Cup over 2631m at Pinjarra and the Cranley Memorial, a listed classic over 1730m at Gloucester Park in November, before winning a heat and being placed in two other heats of the Inter Dominion championship in Victoria in December before finishing an unlucky sixth in the final after he was badly checked and lost valuable ground soon after the start. Ryan Warwick, the State’s leading reinsman with 88 winners this season, has chosen to drive Galactic Star, who will start from the inside of the back line. The winner of 25 races and $417,335, he possesses dazzling point-to-point speed and has outstanding winning prospects. Brown has been engaged to drive Vampiro, whose prospects slumped when he drew the outside barrier (No. 9) on the front line. Mitch Maguire (Aiden de Campo) also faces a tough test from barrier eight and ten-year-old warhorse Our Jimmy Johnstone (Michael Grantham) will need luck from the No. 7 barrier. Our Jimmy Johnstone finished solidly along the inside when third behind Chicago Bull and Soho Tribeca in the 2017 Fremantle Cup. El Jacko (Nathan Turvey) has sprinted home fast to win on the past two Friday nights and he is capable of a bold showing from barrier two on the back line. Our Max Phactor (Dylan Egerton-Green) will start from the outside (barrier three) on the back line and will be at liberal odds despite his splendid second to My Field Marshall in the Village Kid Sprint after working hard in the breeze. He boasts a remarkable record in WA of 14 starts for 12 wins and two seconds. Bond considers lightly-raced five-year-old Saying Grace a realistic chance from the prized No. 1 barrier. The American Ideal gelding who has had only 25 starts for 11 wins and six placings will be driven by Chris Lewis, who has won the Fremantle Cup six times with Black Irish (1983), Village Kid (1988 and 1989), John Albert (1995), Sandy Bay (2005) and Dasher VC (2013). Saying Grace also started from barrier one at his latest appearance, over 2130m last Friday week, when he was first out and then broke into a gallop and lost six lengths. He settled in fifth position before quickly dashing forward to the breeze and finished a close-up fifth behind El Jacko. Gary Hall Jnr, who has won the Fremantle Cup a record eight times, will drive Rocknroll Lincoln for Boyanup trainer Justin Prentice. Rocknroll Lincoln, a smart winner at two of his past three starts, will begin from barrier four and should be prominent. Gary Hall Snr, who has trained the winner of the Cup eight times, will be pinning his faith in the tough and consistent Runrunjimmydunn, who will start from an awkward draw at No. 5 with Clint Hall in the sulky. The Mike Reed-trained Maczaffair (barrier six) is the only mare in the Cup and the only non-New Zealand-bred runner is the WA-bred Vultan Tin, who is prepared at Coolup by Phil Costello and will be handled by Chris Voak. Vultan Tin, who set the pace and finished second to El Jacko over 2130m last Friday night, will start from the No. 3 barrier. Ken Casellas

Champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr has given punters a strong lead by opting to drive Bronze Seeker in the opening event, the $20,000 Retravision.com.au Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Hall chose to handle the Peter Anderson-trained Bronze Seeker in preference to smart performer Kimani, who is prepared by his father Gary Hall Snr. He made that decision after driving Bronze Seeker to victory over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon and after Bronze Seeker drew the coveted No. 1 barrier and Kimani drew out wide at barrier eight. Kimani will be driven by Stuart McDonald, whose previous drive behind the gelding was eight starts ago when he began from barrier eight and impressed in charging home from eighth at the bell to win easily from Starlight Brigade, after final quarters of 28.7sec. and 28.8sec. in a 2130m event at Gloucester Park. Hall, one of 25 drivers to have handled Bronze Seeker in his 191 starts in Western Australia, will be driving the versatile ten-year-old for only the fifth time. His record behind the gelding is a win, a second and two fourths. Bronze Seeker broke an 11-month drought and ended a losing sequence of 26 at Pinjarra on Monday when he began speedily from barrier three to take up the running after 50m. Hall then opted to take a sit behind Lagoon Stride and Bronze Seeker finished strongly along the sprint lane to win from Lagoon Stride and Thisbeachrighthere, rating 1.57.4. At his previous start, over 2130m on New Year’s Eve, Bronze Seeker (driven by Hall) was restrained from barrier seven and was not suited by the dawdling pace over the first 1200m. He was ninth at the bell and impressed when he sustained a powerful three-wide burst from the 700m to finish a very close fourth behind Carrera Mach. Bronze Seeker has been a credit to Anderson, who has given the Mach Three gelding 191 starts for 15 wins and 35 placings. Bronze Seeker, who had 26 starts in New Zealand for 11 wins (one as a two-year-old and ten as a three-year-old), has earned $407,424 from 26 wins and 39 placings from 217 starts. Among Bronze Seeker’s rivals this week are three from the Hall stable Kimani, Benhope Rulz and Campora. Benhope Rulz, to be driven by Corey Peterson from barrier six, is in splendid form and will have many admirers. He was an excellent second to star four-year-old Jack Mac four starts ago and was an effortless all-the-way winner at a 1.55.1 rate over 1730m two starts ago. Another fancied runner will be the evergreen Mister Ardee, who will again be driven by Madeleine Young for Pinjarra trainer Matt Saw. Mister Ardee is sure to figure prominently from barrier two on the front line.   Ken Casellas

The Barrier Draw has been conducted for the 2019 Retravision Fremantle Cup worth $300,000 at Gloucester Park this Friday night. The big winner was Australasia’s fastest pacer, My Field Marshal who came up with barrier two. The Tim Butt trained star will now be a short price favourite to take out the time-honoured Group One event. Despite having seven runners, the Greg and Skye Bond Stable were not so lucky in the draw, with their main chances Galactic Star drawing inside the back line (10) and Vampiro on the outside of the front line. Their inform pacer, El Jacko has come up with their best draw, following out My Field Marshall from the second line in barrier 11. Local favourite Vultan Tin is in barrier three with the Justin Prentice trained and Gary Hall Jr driven Rocknroll Lincoln outside him in barrier four. The only mare in the field Maczaffair has draw barrier six. The Barrier draw for the $300,000 Retravision Fremantle Cup for 2019 is as follows; Saying Grace My Field Marshal Vultan Tin Rocknroll Lincoln Runrunjimmydunn Maczaffair Our Jimmy Johnstone Mitch Maguire Vampiro Galactic Star El Jacko Our Max Phactor The Bucket List (1st Emg) Waylade (2nd Emg) The first race 5.50pm WA time Gloucester Park

Consistent pacer El Jacko has added to trainer Greg and Skye Bond’s strong artillery for the upcoming Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups, taking out the Direct Trades Supply Free-For-All at Gloucester Park last night. With Inter Dominion champion Tiger Tara being scratched earlier in the week from both Cups, along with the Bond’s star four-year-olds Ana Malak and Mighty Conqueror, together with El Jacko’s two consecutive Free-For-All wins, means the gelding is now well placed for the features. El Jacko was perfectly driven by Dylan Egerton-Green, settling on the back of Runrunjimmydunn, who was in the breeze, while short price favourite Vultan Tin led throughout. In similar circumstances to last week though, El Jacko was well poised on the turn and showed a tremendous finishing burst to win by a head to Vultan Tin. Egerton-Green said El Jacko had a few key traits that would hold him in good stead for next week’s feature. “It was a good win and he probably had that little bit of luck go his way at his last two starts,” he said. “He’s capitalised on it and his quick turn-of-foot probably pays dividends at the end of the day.” Greg Bond said he had seven runners nominated for next week’s Fremantle Cup, headlined by last month’s Inter Dominion Final runner Galactic Star and consistent performer Vampiro. My Field Marshal remains the favourite for both races, following his win in the Village Kid Sprint last week. In the other feature event of the night, trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice was able to steer Sun Of Anarchy to victory in the $50,000 Trotters Cup. Tenno Sho opened up a big lead throughout the running of the 2503m event and looked the winner for much of the home straight, before Sun Of Anarchy eventually got passed him in the final 50m. Elsewhere on the night, trainer-reinsman combination Mike and Mark Reed teamed up with half-siblings Golden State and Maczaffair to score a winning double. Tim Walker

Impressive performer Tenno Sho has wasted little time stamping himself as one of the more exciting trotters in Western Australia since coming from the east coast last year and he gets a chance to further prove himself in tomorrow night’s Trotters Cup (2503m) at Gloucester Park. The six-year-old has had five starts in WA, under the care of trainer-reinsman Nathan Turvey, for two wins and three placings. His first win in at Pinjarra on December 3 was by more than 33m, a performance which Turvey said made him aim for a Trotters Cup berth. “He’s done a good job,” Turvey said. “He was advertised online and I bought him for $11,000. “I bought him to race in lower grade races…you always have hope with them though.” Tenno Sho rounded out his preparation for the $50,000 event with a sound second placing to Balmoral Boy at Gloucester Park on New Year’s Eve. The gelding starts off the 10m line in tomorrow night’s feature, while other fancied runners in the race Sunoflindenny and Sun Of Anarchy are off 20m. Turvey said he had hoped to give Tenno Sho a lighter week, but was content with the preparation he’s had. “I didn’t want to race the week of the Trotters Cup, but he hadn’t raced for three weeks,” he said. “It wasn’t a bad run, but I reckon he’s better from the stand and able to lead. “When he gets out in front, that’s his best asset. “We will weigh it up tomorrow night, but I reckon he will be able to lead.” Turvey said Sunoflindenny was the one to beat in the Group 2 event, with the Ross Olivieri-trained trotter looking for four straight wins. Turvey also has last start winner Carter Micheal engaged in the Direct Trades Supply Free-For-All (2130m), with the five-year-old to start from barrier six. It’s a sharp rise in grade for Carter Micheal, but Turvey said he’s hopeful of a competitive showing. “He won’t be driven aggressively,” he said. “I’m hoping he can surprise a few of them. “They’re all good horses in that race, so if he runs home well that would be good.” In a further boost for Turvey’s stable, up-and-coming pacer Simba Bromac is on track to make his return to the track next week. Simba Bromac was scratched from a Free-For-All race on December 7. Turvey is hopeful of gaining a start in either the Fremantle Cup on January 11 or the WA Pacing Cup on January 18.   Tim Walker

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

Last year’s Inter Dominion winner Tiger Tara is on track for this month’s Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups at Gloucester Park, according to trainer Kevin Pizzuto. Tiger Tara blew his rivals away in the Inter Dominion at Melton on December 15 and stamped himself as the one to beat for the Perth features. Pizzuto said Tiger Tara, who also finished second in the New Zealand Cup last November, had been on light duties following his Inter Dominion success. “He had a week off, but he track worked well this morning,” he told TABradio. “I’ll be coming to Perth on Tuesday or Wednesday night, I’ll just have to see what the flights are.” Pizzuto brought Tiger Tara to Perth for the 2017 Inter Dominion series. The eight-year-old won a heat of that series at Bunbury, while was placed in the other two heats at Gloucester Park, before finishing second to Lazarus in the final. Pizzuto said Tiger Tara would need to be every bit as good to win the Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups as he was in the past two Inter Dominions. “He’s about the same now as he was (in the Inter Dominion),” he said. “He’s just got to be good on the day. “I hope it’s good competition and I think it will be.” Tiger Tara will join fellow east coast visitor My Field Marshal, pictured above, in Perth, who blew his rivals away in last Friday night’s Group 2 Village Kid Pace at Gloucester Park. Pizzuto said he had great respect for My Field Marshal, who beat Tiger Tara in their most recent clash in last year’s Miracle Mile. Following My Field Marshal’s win on Friday night, trainer Tim Butt said he wasn’t deterred by the Inter Dominion winner’s presence in Perth. “Field Marshal has got a good record against Tiger Tara,” he said. “We’re not too worried about him coming. “It all comes down to the draw and who’s right on the night.” Meanwhile, a number of local hopefuls for the upcoming Cups will be out to strengthen their claims for a spot in the feature events in this Friday night’s Free-For-All. Mitch Maguire, Runrunjimmydunn, Natural Disaster, Im Full Of Excuses, Vultan Tin and Mr Mojito are all in the mix to run in the Free-For-All after last week’s Village Kid. The runner-up from last week’s feature Our Max Phactor has been nominated for this week’s Standing Start event. Final acceptances for the meeting will be taken later this afternoon.   Tim Walker

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