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Ryan Warwick is driving with wonderful aggression and skill and punters who believe in omens will support him to win the opening event, the Retravision Christmas Gift first heat, at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He will handle evergreen veteran Courage Tells, who is favourably drawn at the No. 2 barrier in the field of nine in the 2130m event. Warwick was also in the sulky behind Courage Tells in the corresponding meeting 12 months ago when the gelding, a rank outsider at $114.50, finished boldly from four back on the pegs at the bell to win from Johnny Disco and Three Blind Mice. The 11-year-old Courage Tells, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, has been a consistent performer throughout his 200-start career which has produced 33 wins (two in New Zealand, eight in Victoria, seven in New South Wales and 16 in Western Australia) as well as 50 placings for earnings of $339,093. Courage Tells was far from disgraced in a 2631m stand at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon when he raced five back on the pegs and finished strongly to be third behind Tanaka Eagle and Importer Exporter. At Pinjarra the previous Monday Courage Tells took the lead in the middle stages and won by almost three lengths from Sweet N Fast, with a final 800m in 56.7sec. Warwick is enjoying an outstanding season and has already chalked up 81 wins from 171 drives to be the State’s leading driver, 34 wins ahead of Chris Lewis. The Bonds also are setting a cracking pace on the trainers’ premiership table, with 78 winners from 168 starters a lead of 51 over their nearest rival, Gary Hall Snr. Courage Tells cannot be disregarded on Friday night, despite the presence of several in-form pacers, including The Art Form, Gotta Go Gabbana, Carter Micheal and Livura. The Mike Reed-trained The Art Form deserves favouritism and should prove hard to beat from barrier six. The six-year-old has been gallant in defeat at his past two starts when second to Fizzing and second to Tisadream, two excellent efforts following a sequence of six successive victories. The Art Form started from barrier nine last week and settled down in eighth position before he commenced a three-wide run after a lap. He quickly moved into the breeze and fought on determinedly to finish a neck second to the pacemaking Tisadream. Gotta Go Gabbana, the only mare in the field, is racing with tremendous heart for trainer Annie Belton and reinsman Chris Voak and looks set to fight out the finish. The Nathan Turvey-trained pair of Carter Micheal and Livura are racing keenly and are sure to be prominent. Turvey will handle Livura and Jocelyn Young will drive Carter Micheal, who is overdue for a change of fortune after several recent excellent performances. Ken Casellas

Star reinsman Ryan Warwick has fond memories of his first Group 1 driving success when he brought 8/1 chance Gee Whiz Fizz home with a sizzling late burst to snatch a thrilling last-stride, half-head victory over the 2/1 favourite Precious Dylan in the Golden Nugget championship on December 16, 2005. Gee Whiz Fizz, trained in Bunbury by Steve Burton, started from the No. 1 barrier, but was outgunned in the early stages by Precious Dylan and Warwick had to be content to take the trail behind the pacemaker before Gee Whiz Fizz, veering out wide on the track, stormed to the front in a dramatic finish. Warwick, now 40 and at the peak of his powers as a top-flight reinsman, is quite understandably thrilled that Ana Malak has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier for the $200,000 Retravision Golden Nugget for four-year-olds at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The lightly-raced and comparatively inexperienced New Zealand-bred horse, prepared by the State’s leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, is in superb form and Warwick will be looking for an all-the-way success over the 2536m trip and hoping for a less traumatic and spine-tingling finish than he experienced with Gee Whiz Fizz. Ana Malak, who has been successful at six of his eight starts, revealed excellent gate speed from barrier one when he comfortably resisted an early challenge from the speedy Golden State in the $125,000 Yes Loans Four-Year-Old Classic over 2130m last Friday week. Ana Malak dashed over the first quarter of the final mile in 28.8sec. before an easy 30.1sec. second section, followed by two final quarters of 28.4sec. He defied a strong late burst from the fast-finishing Ideal Liner to beat that gelding by a half-neck, with the classy Mighty Conqueror, a stablemate of the winner, surging home with a powerful three-wide burst from second-last in the middle stages to be an eye-catching third. Warwick, the Bonds and part-owner Rob Gartrell will be hoping for an Ana Malak victory before Warwick drives Galactic Star, from the coveted No. 1 barrier in the $500,000 Inter Dominion championship final at Melton on Saturday night. Galactic Star has excellent winning prospects. The Bonds hold a powerful hand in the Golden Nugget. Apart from Ana Malak, they will be represented by Bettor Aim, Mighty Conqueror, Fizzing, Thisbeachrighthere and Bright Diamond. The only previous time a trainer had six runners in a Golden Nugget championship was in 2014 when Gary Hall Snr was represented by Waylade, Majorly Foxy Styx, Classic American, Soho Lennon, A Boy Named Rosie and VC Manoeuvre. Waylade, the 11/8 favourite, raced in 11th position and met with interference in the final circuit before finishing with great determination to be a 2m second to Libertybelle Midfrew. Mighty Conqueror, to be driven by Dylan Egerton-Green from barrier three, has won at seven of his nine starts and is certainly capable of testing Ana Malak. Colin Brown will drive Bettor Aim, a winner at six of his nine starts, from the No. 2 barrier. He possesses great gate speed and is a brilliant frontrunner, but he is unlikely to muster enough early speed to get past Ana Malak and take up the running. Aiden de Campo has been engaged to handle the consistent and improving Fizzing from barrier four, Nathan Turvey will drive Thisbeachrighthere from the outside (No. 9) on the front line and Chris Lewis will be in the sulky behind Bright Diamond, who looks set to enjoy an ideal passage after starting from the inside of the back line. Lewis has been successful in the Golden Nugget with Vero Prince (1987), Flashing Star (1994), Saab (1998) and Dasher VC (2010). Hall has won the Nugget with Valley Champ (as a driver in 1993), The Gold Ace (2011) and Beaudiene Boaz (2015) and he will need plenty of luck with his three runners, Ideal Liner (Gary Hall Jnr), Think About Me (Stuart McDonald) and Benhope Rulz (Clint Hall), all of whom have drawn poorly. Ideal Liner, the least experienced runner in the race, with two wins and a close second to Ana Malak from three starts, has wonderful potential, but his prospects slumped when he drew out wide at barrier eight. Think About Me will be at long odds from the No. 6 barrier and Benhope Rulz faces a massive task from the outside of the back line. Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed has prepared three Nugget winners Tricky Vic (2002), Bonavista Bay (2009) and Libertybelle Midfrew (2014) and he refuses to concede defeat, despite his runner, Golden State, drawing barrier two on the back line, which robs the horse of his greatest asset, his dazzling gate speed. “Golden State can also produce a sparkling sprint,” Reed said. Golden State was shuffled back to ninth at the bell and was 11th at the 250m mark before being hampered for room until the final stages, when he finished full of running to be a splendid fifth behind Ana Malak in the Four-Year-Old Championship. Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri, who has won the Nugget with Saab and Dasher VC, is pinning his faith on Stefsbest, a winner at five of his 20 starts. Stefsbest will start from the No. 5 barrier and will be at liberal odds. The only mare in the race is the Kristian Hawkins trained Dontstopbelievin, who faces a monumental task from barrier seven. This week’s classic has been robbed of considerable interest by the absence of the brilliant Jack Mac, who notched his 16thvictory from 18 starts in Western Australia when he scored a stylish win in a Nugget prelude last Friday night. Jack Mac is suffering from a fractured near fore pedal bone. Ken Casellas

The All Stars stable of Natalie Rasmussen and Mark Purdon knows no boundaries. Their pursuit of excellence continues to defy belief, constantly rewriting the pages of history, producing brilliant talent season after season and across all age groups. The Inter Dominion Pacing Grand Final is a time honoured feature that tugs at the heartstrings of both Rasmussen and Purdon. After all, Rasmussen and her mighty champion Blacks A Fake won the event a record four times while Purdon has lifted the trophy on six occasions – 3 pacers and 3 trotters. This will be Rasmussen’s 7th Inter Dominion Grand Final, her previous six coming with Blacks A Fake – 4 wins and 2 seconds. In fact, the last time the Pacing Grand Final was staged in Melbourne (2008 - Moonee Valley), it was Rasmussen and ‘Blackie’ that proved victorious. And now they’re chasing another slice of history this weekend. The All Stars have qualified two runners for the Gr.1 $500,000 TAB Inter Dominion Pacing Grand Final, the top two point scorers following the three rounds of heats over the past week. Cruz Bromac and Spankem are the two combatants, both striving to provide the stable their third straight Inter Dominion hero. Yet all with different horses after Smolda scored in 2016 while Lazarus took honours last year. And here’s the magic, no stable has won the Inter Dominion three times and with a different champion each time. The famous stables of Bob and Vin Knight fell short back in 1990 after both Our Maestro and Jane Ellen scored in the previous. It was Thorate who scored at Globe Derby while the Knight trained Jane Ellen and Rockleigh Victory were both unplaced and therefore denied the Victorian stable a three peat. Obviously Rockleigh Victory would’ve created history if successful - three different winners in three consecutive years. But now the All Stars can claim this record if either Cruz Bromac or Spankem deliver. And both have undeniable chances, Spankem will start from gate five with Purdon driving after Rasmussen elected to stick solid with Cruz Bromac despite drawing gate nine. Purdon is taking his 9th Inter Dominion Pacing Grand Final drive; he has won three finals previously with Mark Hanover, Smolda and Lazarus while he has won 3 Trotting Finals with Pride Of Petite and I Can Doosit (twice). Cruz Bromac is the only runner during the series to win all three qualifying heats. With the series undertaking several changes throughout recent years, the last pacer to clean sweep a series (3 heats & Final) was the champion performer Im Themightyquinn back in 2012 at Gloucester Park in Perth while Elsu also achieved the feat in 2005 at Alexandra Park, Auckland. So, can Cruz Bromac and Rasmussen achieve the sweep? Will it be his stablemate, rising star Spankem? The professional four-year-old has thrived during the series winning two of his three heats and looks like he’ll relish the 2760m distance. Another New Zealand four-year-old I’m Pats Delight is also relishing the hard grind of the series and looms as a serious player for a formidable combination in Cran Dalgety and Gavin Lang. Between them, they have won more features than they care to remember. However, the Inter Dominion Pacing Grand Final trophy has proven elusive for both future Hall of Famers but can they etch their names into the record books this weekend? This will be Lang’s 10th Inter Dominion Grand Final drive and second for Dalgety after partnering London Legend back in 2006. I’m Pats Delight will start from gate three. Perth powerhouse Greg and Skye Bond are represented by the ideally drawn Galactic Star (gate one) and the Bettors Delight gelding has been outstanding throughout the series to date with top three finishes in each of his three heats. Last year, Galactic Star finished 5th behind Lazarus. In 2012, the Bond’s also finished 5th with Can Return Fire behind Im Themightyquinn. Ryan Warwick takes his third Inter Dominion Grand Final drive when he reunites with Galactic Star. Interestingly, the only proven Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit winner in the field this year is the tough Sydney trained millionaire Tiger Tara. And his maiden Grand Circuit victory came recently when successful in the Victoria Cup here at TABCORP Park, Melton when leading throughout. Placed third last year behind Lazarus and Chicago Bull, the Kevin Pizzuto trained and Todd McCarthy driven will need to overcome gate seven, the outside of the front-line. McCarthy is taking his 4th Inter Dominion Grand Final drive. The Bettors Delight entire was placed in all three heats including his victory last weekend at Cranbourne. Local star San Carlo lines up again following his impressive efforts last year in Perth where he won a heat but in the final, he finished 9th behind Lazarus after drawing poorly. Although winless during the heats and starting from gate eight, the inside of the second-line, San Carlo still rates as a winning hope. Prepared by Steve O’Donoghue and handled by Bec Bartley, the Mach Three gelding will carry plenty of local support. Another local which will have plenty cheering is the David Aiken trained and Kima Frenning driven up and comer Wrappers Delight. A winner in the sprint heat at Ballarat on night two, the Bettors Delight gelding needs to overcome gate 11. This opportunity provides Frenning with her first Inter Dominion Grand Final drive. One of the surprise packets of the series is the Mattie Craven trained and driven Can’t Refuse, responsible for some eye-catching efforts throughout the heats. The Bettors Delight gelding will start from gate two. Like Frenning, this is Craven’s first Inter Dominion Grand Final drive. Another pacer that has thrived throughout the series is the Bathurst prepared Our Uncle Sam for father/son combination of Chris and Anthony Frisby. Blessed with sharp speed and great determination, the Sportswriter gelding is looking at bringing another Inter Dominion trophy back to the famous region. Memories of Honda Grattan and Smooth Satin come flooding back when assessing the chances of Our Uncle Sam. The five-year-old will start from gate 10 and this is Anthony’s first Inter Dominion Grand Final drive. There’s no doubt rejuvenated pacer Maximan will have the biggest cheer squad, the one-time claimer has thrived under the care of Shane and Lauren Tritton. It will be their 3rd Inter Dominion finalist. Boasting owners from all parts of the country, the veteran performer will start from gate six. And Craig Cross is represented by two runners, just like the All Stars, speedy pacer Mach Doro starts from gate four while Cash N Flow is looking to overcome gate 13, the outside of the second-line. Luke McCarthy partners Mach Doro while John Caldow takes the drive behind Cash N Flow, McCarthy is lining up for his 7th Inter Dominion Grand Final drive while Caldow is taking his maiden drive in a Pacing Grand Final. McCarthy has finished third four times previously but is still chasing his maiden victory. Interestingly, Cash N Flow is a former member of the All Stars operation before joining Cross earlier this year. Owner Dominic Martello races both Wrappers Delight and Mach Doro. Audi Hare (gate 12) is listed as the emergency runner. Chris Barsby

Ana Malak has drawn the pole and consolidated favouritism for the Group 1 Retravision Golden Nugget Championship (2536m) at Gloucester Park on Friday night.   One of six runners in the four-year-old feature for trainers Greg and Skye Bond, Ana Malak is unbeaten from his two starts in Perth since crossing from New Zealand.   The Bettors Delight colt is hoping to replicate his victory from an identical position in the Yes Loans 4YO Classic Pace (2130m) on November 30, when he held out Ideal Liner.   In another massive boost for the Bond camp as they strive to win their first Golden Nugget, Bettor Aim has come up with barrier two and Mighty Conqueror in gate three.   Bettor Aim has recovered from a mini setback and passed a vet examination after he was forced to miss the 4YO Classic, the bay gelding is unbeaten from five starts.   Bright Diamond (10), Fizzing (4), and Thisbeachrightthere (9) round out a wonderful barrier draw for Perth’s leading co-training partnership.   FULL BARRIER DRAW 1- Ana Malak (1) 2- Benhope Rulz (12) 3- Bettor Aim (2) 4- Bright Diamond (10) 5- Don’tstopbelievin (7) 6- Fizzing (4) 7- Golden State (11) 8- Ideal Liner (8) 9- Thisbeachrightthere ODM (9) 10- Mighty Conqueror (3) 11- Stefsbest (5) 12- Think About Me (6) 1st Emg Bettor B Abeliever 2nd Emg The Great Dane     Julio Santarelli

Six-year-old Our Max Phactor arrived in Western Australia completely unheralded at the end of August and has been a revelation under the care of leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, with his 11 starts in the State producing ten wins and a close second placing. And this remarkable run of success follows his modest career in New Zealand where he managed just nine wins from 70 starts. He has also shown exceptional qualities here as a standing-start specialist, with six wins from six stands, whereas he had ten runs in stands in New Zealand for one victory by a nose over the marathon trip of 3150m on the grass track at the spacious Hawera circuit. Ryan Warwick, in dazzling form in the sulky, has driven Our Max Phactor in all his races for the Bond camp and he is hoping that the Art Major gelding will maintain his winning ways when he starts off 20m (virtually 10m because there are no runners off the front) in the Mount Eden-No Dill Christmas Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. However, it is unlikely to be simply a walk in the park for Our Max Phactor, who will clash with other smart New Zealand-bred pacers in Mr Mojito and As Happy As Larry. Mr Mojito, to be driven by Chris Lewis for Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri, will start off 20m at his second appearance after a year’s absence. The six-year-old has raced only 28 times for 11 wins (seven in New Zealand, one in WA and three in Victoria). He resumed racing when he began off the 40m mark in a 2631m event at Pinjarra on Monday of last week when he moved forward in the first lap and then worked hard in the breeze before finishing an excellent first-up second to Saying Grace, with final quarters in 27.8sec. and 27.9sec. Mr Mojito was brought to Perth by ace New Zealand trainer-reinsman Mark Purdon at the end of 2016 when the gelding won the $50,000 Four-Year-Old Championship, beating Nathans Courage at a 1.56.2 rate over 2130m. A week later he was the 2/1 favourite in the Group 1 Golden Nugget, but wrecked his chances by hanging badly and he finished fifth behind Soho Tribeca, Nathans Courage, Chicago Bull and Natural Disaster. Victorian trainer-driver Kerryn Manning brought Mr Mojito to Perth late last year to contest the Inter Dominion Championship series in which he was unplaced in three heats. He has spent the past year in rehabilitation with Olivieri and he has the class to seriously test Our Max Phactor on Friday night. Seven-year-old As Happy As Larry is prepared and driven by Robbie Williams and he has been impressive in four outings since resuming from a spell. He raced wide in the early stages and then had a tough passage in the breeze when a fighting second to Mitch Maguire in a 2503m stand last Friday night. Ken Casellas

Western Australia’s sole representative in the 2018 Inter Dominion Series Galactic Star is well placed to make Saturday week’s final, following his third placing in the second round of heats at Ballarat last night. The Greg and Skye Bond-trained pacer sits third behind Cruz Bromac and Im Pats Delight in the rankings with one round of heats remaining at Cranbourne on Saturday night. Galactic Star won the opening heat at Melton last Saturday and continued his good form in last night’s 1710m second round of heats. The Bettors Delight gelding was posted wide in the early stages of last night’s heat, before he was able to settle in the running line in fourth spot. Reinsman Todd McCarthy then got the gelding into clear room at the top of the straight and he was able to run on strongly into third spot. Greg Bond said he was pleased to get another significant lot of points, which almost guaranteed him a spot in the final on December 15. “We were very happy with the performance, given the bad gate,” he said. “Nothing was coming from behind on the night, so we made the plan to follow Mach Doro out of the gate which we knew we may get posted three wide. “Eventually he was able to get a trail and he found the line really well.” Bond said he expected Galactic Star would only need to finish in the top eight of his heat on Saturday night to secure his spot in the final. Galactic Star has again drawn on the outside of the second line on Saturday night in barrier 10 and Bond said the stable wouldn’t take the race lightly, despite the fact a spot in the final looks assured. “The three main chances in Wrappers Delight, Spankem and Galactic Star are in eight, nine and 10 respectively,” he said. “We go in trying to win every race and Saturday night will be no exception. “He should finish in the top three or four depending on the run we get.” Galactic Star is a $9.75 chance with TABtouch to take out the Inter Dominion. Meanwhile, Bond said all of his four-year-olds were in good order following last Friday night’s Yes Loans 4YO Classic at Gloucester Park. He indicated Bettor Aim, who was scratched from the Group 1 event, was on track to make a full recovery in time for Friday week’s Golden Nugget.   Tim Walker

Impressive four-year-old Ana Malak has withstood a number of challenges from a star-studded field to hold on and win the Group 1 Yes Loans 4YO Classic (2130m) at Gloucester Park. Ana Malak, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, was having just his second start in Western Australia last night and was able to hold the front from barrier one for reinsman Ryan Warwick. Jack Mac eventually made his move to sit outside the leader with 1200m to go, while the unbeaten Ideal Liner was three pairs back along the inside. Ideal Liner was eventually able to get away from the inside coming to the home turn to give chase to Ana Malak, but the Gary Hall Snr-trained pacer fell short by a head. Mighty Conqueror, another runner from the Bond stable finished third, while Ideal Liner’s stablemate Benhope Rulz was fourth. Warwick said Ana Malak was still learning his craft and would continue to improve with racing. “He was very credible,” he said. “He was off the bit and on the bit. “He was probably doing a bit wrong and he nearly cost himself on the line. “I’m sure there’s more motor then what you saw tonight but he probably doesn’t know how to use it properly.” Winning owner Rob Gartrell paid tribute to the Bond team, who recorded their first success in the $125,000 feature last night. “I haven’t been so nervous for a long time,” he said. “Ryan was really confident we could lead, I was hopeful. “Skye has done a magnificent job, she does a lot of the work with him. “That’s one of the great four-year-old fields.” Of the beaten brigade, reinsman Mark Reed said he was impressed with Golden State’s sharp form turnaround to finish fifth, while Chris Lewis said Jack Mac would take plenty of benefit from his sixth placing heading towards the Golden Nugget on December 14. Ana Malak was one of five winners on the night for the Bond stable and Ryan Warwick. Earlier in the night they teamed up to win the We Say Yes To Commercial Loans Pace (2130m) with Our Max Phactor. Following Ana Malak’s win, Mitch Maguire, Fizzing and Bright Diamond all recorded impressive wins. Fizzing and Bright Diamond were emergencies for the Group 1 feature on the night, but both put forward compelling cases to be included in the field for the Golden Nugget. Mitch Maguire was driven patiently in the standing start event of the evening, before he stormed over the top late to record a win that led to Gartrell describing him as the “fastest horse he had.” The Bond, Warwick and Gartrell combination will be hoping their successful Friday night can transition to Bunbury tonight with Vampiro in the Bunbury Cup, while they also have Galactic Star in Melbourne ahead of the opening night of Inter Dominion heats. Meanwhile, Maczaffair has stamped herself as one of two key contenders for next week’s Group 1 Mares Classic, taking out the $30,000 Howard Porter Memorial for the Mike Reed stable. Mark Reed said there was nothing between Maczaffair and last week’s Norms Daughter winner Eden Franco.   Tim Walker

Former Victorian pacer Beltane has been strongly fancied when placed at Narrogin, Bunbury and Wagin at his first three starts in Western Australia and Ravenswood horseman Nathan Turvey is confident that the four-year-old can break through at his Gloucester Park debut by leading all the way in the final event, the Yes Loans Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “It’s the best I’ve had him; he’s got gate speed and is tough,” Turvey said. Turvey, who owns and trains Beltane, has driven him at his first three WA starts, but has engaged champion reinsman Chris Lewis to drive him on Friday night when he will start from the No. 1 barrier in a field of nine. After finishing second to smart mare Come Dance With me at Narrogin at his WA debut, Beltane had no luck at all at his next two outings when he raced three wide early and in the middle stages and then worked hard in the breeze before fighting on doggedly to finish third to Baylan Jett at Bunbury and then he had a tough run without trail when a fighting second to the pacemaker Hoiho at Wagin. Beltane also covered extra ground and had tough runs when winning at his final three starts in Victoria before arriving in WA early last month. He showed his liking for leading when he won a 1720m event for two-year-olds at Melton in April 2017, and in July that year he set a track record, rating 1.57.4 when he sat behind the pacemaker and won over 2190m at Maryborough. The Greg and Skye Bond-trained Lincs Tiger looks likely to be favourite and should prove hard to beat from barrier five. The four-year-old Lincs Tiger, a winner at eight of his 26 starts, is sure to appreciate a drop in class.   Anime, to be driven by Chris Voak for Coolup trainer Phil Costello, will have many admirers from the favourable No. 2 barrier. He has been racing in considerably stronger company and is set to fight out the finish. He is a smart sit-sprinter, but also possesses excellent gate speed and has led and won over 1684m at Pinjarra and twice over 2130m at Gloucester Park. The Mike Reed-trained All The Whispers and Luis Alberto, prepared by Gary Hall Snr, are other runners with each-way prospects. “All The Whispers has had a bit of a freshen-up, but he’s a bit of a hit and miss type,” said reinsman Mark Reed. “There’s two of him and if the real All The Whispers turns up, he’s a chance.” Hall said that Luis Alberto was a horse who seemed to not like winning, but he said that the five-year-old (second to Free To Air last Friday night) could not be left out of calculations. Hall is also looking forward to former smart New South Wales performer Lets Cut Loose making his West Australian debut when he starts from barrier five in the 1730m We Say Yes To Personal Loans Pace. The seven-year-old New Zealand-bred Lets Cut Loose has not raced since finishing last behind Let It Ride over 1609m at Menangle on June 2 this year. He has performed well in good company at Menangle and should prove hard to beat, first-up.   Ken Casellas

Ana Malak is an inexperienced and laid-back pacer who has not revealed sparkling gate speed and has not led all the way in any of his seven starts that have produced five wins and two placings. The New Zealand-bred stallion has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier in the $125,000 Yes Loans Four-Year-Old Classic over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night and leading reinsman Ryan Warwick is expected to take full advantage of the draw by attempting to hold up at the start and then set the pace in the Group 1 classic. The exciting son of Bettors Delight has been driven conservatively in his brief career in which he has created a wonderful impression with his tractability and his determination, will to win and brilliant turn of foot. Ana Malak, prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, goes into this week’s race with only one start in Australia in modest company at Pinjarra last Monday week when he was not bustled out from barrier five and settled down in sixth place before enjoying a perfect trail in the one-out, one-back position. Warwick sent him forward with a sizzling burst three wide 650m from home to take the lead 100m later. Ana Malak then careered away from his seven rivals and rated 1.56 over 2185m in winning, unextended, by more than 12 lengths from Eely Point Bomber. The final three quarters were run in 28.7sec., 28.6sec. and 28.2sec. That was his first appearance for three months when he was not driven out hard from barrier five before mustering good early pace to take the lead after 120m. He then surrendered the lead 200m later and sat behind the pacemaker Wrangler before easing off the pegs with 300m to travel and taking the lead 150m later and winning by four and a half lengths at a 1.57.4 rate over 1980m, with a final quarter of 27.8sec. At his previous outing, over 2200m at Invercargill on January 27, Ana Malak gave an outstanding performance to finish second to the brilliant Sheriff. He started from the outside of the back line in a field of 12 and settled down last, almost 15 lengths behind the leader, Sheriff. He was last with 750m to travel and eighth at the 300m before going five wide on the home turn and surging home in grand style. He was not pushed out at the start at any of his four previous starts which produced three easy victories and an excellent dead-heat for third behind Anthem over 1950m at Addington when he was restrained to the rear from barrier five on the back line. The Bonds hold a powerful hand in Friday night’s event and Warwick gave punters a strong lead by electing to drive Ana Malak in preference to Bettor Aim (six wins from nine starts) and Mighty Conqueror (seven wins from eight starts). Warwick’s only success in the Four-Year-Old Classic was behind the Steve Burton-trained Gee Whiz Fizz in 2005. Colin Brown will drive Bettor Aim from the No. 5 barrier and Dylan Egerton-Green will be in the sulky behind Mighty Conqueror from the No. 2 barrier on the back line. Mighty Conqueror has not been extended in winning at each of his four starts in Western Australia. He led and beat Bechers Brook by two and a half lengths in the $50,000 Group 2 Four-Year-Old Championship last Friday week. Gary Hall Snr, who has been successful in the Four-Year-Old Classic eight times with Love of Glory (1990), Valley Champ (1993), Slick Vance (1995), The Falcon Strike (2001), Im Themightyquinn (2008), Waylade (2014), Beaudiene Boaz (2015) and Chicago Bull (2016) has four runners in this year’s classic - Think About Me (barrier two), Benhope Rulz (three), King of Swing (eight) and Ideal Liner (inside of the back line). Gary Hall Jnr has opted to drive the inexperienced Ideal Liner, who should enjoy a perfect passage and is capable of unwinding a spirited finishing burst. Stuart McDonald will drive Think About Me, Clint Hall will handle Behope Rulz and Kim Prentice will handle the 2017 WA Derby winner King of Swing. Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed, who has won the classic with Manageable (1988) and Bonavista Bay (2010), will be represented by Golden State (barrier four) and Bechers Brook (outside of the back line). Mark Reed, son of the trainer, has chosen to drive Golden State, and Shannon Suvaljko has been engaged for Bechers Brook. Initially, Mark Reed has been in two minds about the tactics he will use with Golden State, a winner at seven of his 17 starts and disappointing with last placings at his two latest appearances. “Golden State hasn’t been himself at his past couple of starts and I’m hoping that Dad can turn him around, because if the real Golden State turns up, he would be right in it up to his eyeballs,” he said. “Golden State is very quick out of the gate and I’m not too sure about Ana Malak’s gate speed. “I’m still not sure what I’ll do, but I really wouldn’t mind driving him, sit and kick, so we might drive him for a bit of luck.” Adding to the intrigue of what should be an exciting spectacle is the appearance of Jack Mac, an enigmatic superstar who after five unplaced efforts in New Zealand has raced 16 times in Western Australia for 15 wins and one second placing. Jack Mac has been raced sparingly over the past 12 months and his part-owner and trained Barry Howlett remains reluctant to discuss the horse’s wellbeing and prospects from the outside barrier (No. 9) on the front line. Jack Mac has raced four times this season and has not been fully tested and he certainly has the raw ability to overcome the distinct disadvantage of the outside draw. Chris Lewis, who has driven the horse in all of his 16 WA starts, is a big-race specialist and he is sure to pick the right moment to issue a strong challenge. Lewis has won the Four-Year-Old Classic with Village Kid (1984), Tamai Boy (1985), Vero Prince (1986), Flashing Star (1994) and Saab (1998). He combined with trainer Ross Olivieri for Saab’s win, and Olivieri, who also trained the 2010 winner Crombie, will be hoping for a touch of luck with his talented stallion Stefsbest, who will be handled by Chris Voak from the awkward No. 7 barrier. Stefsbest has been most impressive in winning stylishly at his past three appearances.   Ken Casellas

WA’s sole 2018 Inter Dominion representative Galactic Star has arrived in Melbourne ahead of the Saturday night’s opening round of heats at Melton. The Greg and Skye Bond-trained pacer won a heat of last year’s Inter Dominion series at Bunbury, before he went on to finish fifth in the final. Galactic Star travelled to Melbourne overnight and arrived this morning, with Greg Bond reporting the six-year-old travelled well and was in good order ahead of light work today. Galactic Star has had two starts for two wins this campaign, the Don Randall Memorial at Pinjarra and the Pat Cranley Memorial 11 days later at Gloucester Park. He has drawn barrier four for Saturday night’s heat, which will be the second of three Inter Dominion heats on the night. Todd McCarthy has the drive on Galactic Star in the early part of the series, with regular driver Ryan Warwick remaining in Perth to drive in local feature races. Mach Doro and Franco Nelson have drawn barriers one and two respectively in Galactic Star’s heat, while the in-form pair San Carlo and Shadow Sax are on the back row in barrier 10 and 12 respectively. WATCH: Galactic Star's Last Start Win Here Greg Bond said Galactic Star deserved to have another chance in this year’s Inter Dominion series, following his game performance in last year’s series. “We are taking a more seasoned horse,” he said. “We thought he’d done enough last year in the Inters and he ran fifth in a Victoria Cup last year. “He’s probably still learning his trade. “He won a heat of the Inters last year and horses can sometimes take a while to get used to that level of racing.” Bond said he expected the Melton track would suit Galactic Star’s style of racing. “At that grade, he’s probably a little bit of an opportunist,” he said. “He’s a good gaited horse, he gets around Gloucester Park and obviously they are 1000m tracks over there. “If anything, it suits him a bit more because he can wind up and the runs will come with the sprint lanes at Melton.” Cruz Bromac occupies the top line of TABtouch’s Inter Dominion market at $4.20, with the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen-trained pacer to start from barrier four in the third of Saturday night’s heats. Tiger Tara is the star attraction in the opening heat of the night, where he starts from barrier four. The Kevin Pizzuto-trained pacer was brave in running second in the New Zealand Cup on November 13, before an unplaced run in the New Zealand Free-For-All and he’s now a $6 chance for the Inter Dominion. The second round of Inter Dominion heats take place on December 4 at Ballarat, ahead of the final round of heats on December 8 at Cranbourne and the final to take place back at Melton on December 15.   Tim Walker

The all-conquering Greg and Skye Bond stable is in dazzling form and punters will follow their eight runners at Gloucester Park on Friday night with keen interest. All have winning prospects, with, perhaps, Vampiro appearing to be the stable’s brightest prospect, despite drawing the outside barrier (No. 9) in the $25,000 Enrique Aldana Free-For-All over 2130m. Vampiro, a talented New Zealand-bred five-year-old, again will have the services in the sulky of leading reinsman Ryan Warwick, who will have options from the outside barrier. Warwick is likely to give Vampiro time to settle down before choosing the right moment to send him forward into the firing line. Vampiro has been freshened up since he was a stylish winner of the group 2 James Brennan Memorial three Fridays ago when he began fast from barrier three, took up the running after 120m and sped over the final quarters in 28.1sec. and 27.8sec. in beating his Our Jimmy Johnstone at a 1.57.1 rate. That followed his head victory over Maczaffair, rating 1.55.2 in the group 2 Mount Eden Sprint over 1730m two weeks earlier. From barrier six, he raced three wide for the first 350m and then had a tough run outside the pacemaker Maczaffair. Nine-year-old Devendra has drawn perfectly at barrier one and Aiden de Campo (who will be driving the gelding for the first time) is likely to make use of his good gate speed. Another veteran in Sokys Big Bullet is favourably drawn at barrier three and Lindsay Harper appears certain to issue a strong challenge for the early lead. Vampiro’s main dangers appear to be Rocknroll Lincoln (barrier seven), Runrunjimmydunn (eight) and Rock Diamonds (the solitary runner off the back line). Greg and Skye Bond have struck a purple patch and when Warwick drove Thisbeachrighthere to victory at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening it gave the outstanding trainers nine winners from ten starters, with Warwick driving all those runners. The winning run began at Gloucester Park last Friday night when Galactic Star won race five and Mighty Conqueror race six before Lincs Tiger had no luck when blocked for a clear passage until late when third behind Sunrose Village in race eight. Then the Bonds and Warwick had three starters Bitcoin, The Lightning Strike and Saying Grace for three wins at Kellerberrin on Sunday. Another three runners Starlight Destiny, Ana Malak and Bettor Aim were all successful at Pinjarra on Monday and the winning sequence continued with Thisbeachrighthere on Tuesday. The Bonds hold a commanding lead in the Statewide trainers’ premiership with 59 wins, 17 seconds and 16 thirds from 118 starters to lead from Gary Hall snr (25 wins, 20 seconds and eight thirds from 100 starters). Warwick leads the drivers’ premiership table with 61 winners, 24 ahead of Chris Lewis and 30 more than Dylan Egerton-Green in third place. Apart from Vampiro, the Bond camp will be represented on Friday night by El Jacko, Our Max Phactor, Dodolicious, Rock Diamonds, Fizzing, Lincs Tiger and The Lightning Strike. Ken Casellas

TWO of the major Inter Dominion players – trotter Tornado Valley and pacer Shadow Sax - had easy warm-up wins at Melton last Friday night. The first was Inter Dominion trotting favourite Tornado Valley, who effortlessly made it 13 wins from his past 15 starts. He’s the $3 favourite on the Aussie TAB for the trotting final from Kiwi star Speeding Spur at $3.80. Kate Gath took Tornado Valley straight to the front from gate three, cruised through a 62sec middle half and really just sprinted a 28.2sec to win hard-held by four metres in the Group 3 Lenin Trotters’ free-for-all (2240m). The fact Kyvalley Blur performed so well in his two NZ Cup Week runs last week speaks volumes for Tornado Valley’s form given he’s been easily beating that horse in Victoria of late. Shadow Sax and San Carlo clashed in the Group 3 Popular Alm free-for-all (2240m), but it proved a fizzer. Shadow Sax cruised to the lead, while San Carlo was three pegs and that was the race. Driver Chris Alford dictated terms in front and ripped home in 54.7 and 26.9sec to win easily on Shadow Sax, while San Carlo only saw daylight late and charged home for second. The Emma Stewart-trained Shadow Sax has won his past two on end from good draws and boasts 23 wins from just 37 career wins. _________________________________________________________________________________________ TOP WA trainers Greg and Skye Bond will make a final decision this week on a Melbourne Inter Dominion raid. The Bonds have set last year’s finalists Galactic Star and the emerging Vampiro for the series, but have travel concerns. “If they stick with this requirement to be in Melbourne five days before the first round of heats, then we won’t go,” Greg Bond said. Galactic Star, who finished fifth to Lazarus in last year’s final, has returned with wins at his two starts after a let-up. The latest win came in strong style at Gloucester Park last Friday night where Ryan Warwick gave him a lovely one-one trail and he scored by 3.4m in a 1min54.2sec mile rate for 1730m. It was part of a big night for Team Bond, who also won the $50,000 4YO Championship with the exciting former Kiwi, Mighty Conqueror. The son of American Ideal won three of his four NZ runs before heading to Team Bond where’s easily won all four starts. But it was last Friday’s win which stamped him as a major Golden Nugget player. Mighty Conqueror won a blazing 200m sprint for the lead at the start then copped plenty of midrace heat from Golden State – who finished a distant last – and still held-off the classy Bechors Brook to win easily by 7.7m. His 1min53.9sec mile rate for 2130m was just 1.0sec outside Beaudiene Boaz’s track record. “We thought he could make a Nugget horse and he keeps stepping-up,” Bond said. Team Bond already has a major Nugget hopeful in buzz Kiwi import Ana Malak, who makes his debut for the stable at Pinjarra tomorrow (Monday). Another winner of note last Friday night’s Gloucester Park meeting was former star Kiwi filly Our Angel Of Harlem, who overcame a wide draw to score easily for father/son Mike and Mark Reed. It will be interesting to see if they throw the now fiur-year-old mare in against the “boys” in the Nugget. _________________________________________________________________________________________ LET It Ride looks right on target for the Inter Dominion despite being beaten at Menangle last night. Anthony Butt drove the Group 1 Blacks A Fake winner more aggressively from the outside draw at his third run from a spell and Let It Ride ran a mighty race in slick time. He did all the work outside the leader and was in front until the emerging Ellmers Image nabbed him in the last 50m. They went a 1min49.9sec mile. Ellmers Image’s win gives Amanda Turnbull two good Inter Dominion heat drives, the other being Joes Star Of Mia, trained by her father Steve. The other feature race at Menangle, the Group 3 Sue Kelly Stakes for mares’, went to the flying Village Witch in a 1min50.9sec mile. _________________________________________________________________________________________ THE rise and rise of young Swede Kima Frenning continues to build momentum. Frenning has enjoyed a stellar 2018 through her relationship with open-class pacing stars Wrappers Delight and Im The Boss. And Wrappers Delight gives her a serious chance of winning the Inter Dominion final. Frenning scored another career first when former classy Kiwi pacer Buster Brady won easily at Cranbourne last night. It was Frenning’s first win as a trainer in her own right. _________________________________________________________________________________________ DAVID Aiken thinks his recent stable addition Big Jack Hammer won’t be out of his depth in the Inter Dominion trotting series. The six-year-old, raced in the same interests as Aiken’s leading Inter Dominion pacing hope Wrappers Delight, looked sharp winning at Melton last Friday night. It was just his second run for Aiken. Big Jack Hammer was backed for plenty on debut for Aiken in the Yarra Valley Trotters’ Cup, but made a mess of the start and caught the eye making up loads of ground afterwards. His manners were much better from the mobile start last Friday, pushing forward from gate five to find the front and never looking in danger. The eye-catching run came from runner-up Aleppo Murphy, who galloped at the start, lost at least 30-40m, but flew home to get within 3.3m of the winner. The flop was Inter Dominion hopeful Magicool, who went into the race with nine wins and two seconds from 11 starts, but weakened after sitting parked to finish almost 30m away in seventh spot.   Adam Hamilton

Mighty Conqueror has emerged as the horse to beat for the Group 1 Golden Nugget on December 14, following his dominant win in the Group 2 Four-Year-Old Championship at Gloucester Park last night. Despite WA Derby winner King Of Swing and last week’s Pinjarra Four-Year-Old Classic winner Jack Mac both missing last night’s event, Mighty Conqueror produced a performance that put his Nugget rivals on notice. The Gary Hall Snr-trained Think About Me was sent out a $2.35 TABtouch favourite from barrier one, but Ryan Warwick drove aggressively on Mighty Conqueror to find the front in the early stages. Think About Me was forced to settle on the back of Mighty Conqueror, while Golden State settled in the breeze. Bechers Brook enjoyed a perfect run throughout and was left as the final challenger to Mighty Conqueror on the home turn, but the Greg and Skye Bond-trained gelding fought off Bechers Brook to win by 7m. A winner at six of his seven starts now, Mighty Conqueror ran home in 57.1 and maintained his unbeaten record in Australia. Bechers Brook and Think About Me filled the minor placings, while the other Bond runner Bright Diamond was fourth. As impressive as the performance was from Mighty Conqueror, Greg Bond suggested post-race his most exciting four-year-old, and potentially his best, was yet to run in Australia. Ana Malak lines up at Pinjarra on Monday over 2185m, where he will be looking to enhance his Golden Nugget credentials, as will Bettor Aim, the only pacer to beat Jack Mac in Perth. Mighty Conqueror was the second leg of a feature double on the night for the Bond team, after Galactic Star took out the Pat Cranley Memorial (1730m). The Bond stable have expressed their interest in getting the six-year-old to Melbourne for next month’s Inter Dominion Series and he showed last night he would be more than competitive against some of Australasia’s best pacers. The race panned out perfectly for Galactic Star, who was second-up from a spell, with Warwick able to find the one out one back position from barrier six, while Tricky Styx held the front from barrier one. Galactic Star was well poised coming into the home straight and went on to win by 3m to Devendra and Our Jimmy Johnstone. Arguably the most impressive winner of the night was Our Angel Of Harlem in the Glenroy Chaff Pace (2130m). The mare was first-up without a trial last night and subsequently drifted to $2.05 second favourite with TABtouch, while Infinite Symbol was $1.70. Infinite Symbol led throughout, while Our Angel Of Harlem sat in the breeze, but when reinsman Mark Reed called upon the mare to make her run she responded brilliantly to win by 3m. Reed said there was still plenty of improvement left in the four-year-old. “She’s still very big in condition,” he said. “I knew she’d benefit from whatever she does tonight but she just got a little bit keen in the run.” Trainer Mike Reed said he would consider running Our Angel Of Harlem in the Golden Nugget as well as the Mares Classic a week earlier. It was also a landmark night trainer-reinsman Kaiden Hayter, who recorded his first Gloucester Park Friday night winning double in the sulky.   Tim Walker

Shannon Suvaljko, last season’s leading reinsman, has given punters a handy tip by electing to drive Regal Ambition in preference to Brookies Jet in the 1730m Garrards Horse And Hound Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Regal Ambition, trained at Wanneroo by Debbie Padberg, has managed just one placing from his past 11 starts. But Suvaljko chose him as his drive after the seven-year-old drew the coveted No. 1 barrier over the sprint journey. He drove Brookies Jet for Serpentine trainer Matt Scott last Friday night when the gelding set the pace before wilting over the final stages of the 2536m event to finish fifth behind Ace Bromac. Brookies Jet, a smart frontrunner who has been placed at four of his nine starts this season, will be handled by Chris Voak. Regal Ambition is an honest performer and a good frontrunner, and Suvaljko will be anxious to get the horse to jump in front and then dictate terms. He is proving a handy acquisition for Debbie and John Padberg, who outlaid $12,000 to purchase him 12 months ago after he had won nine minor events in Victoria. He has raced 30 times for the Padbergs for two wins, four placings and earnings of $20,814. Regal Ambition could be challenged for the early lead by the Graham Cummins-trained nine-year-old Blissntheblack, who has a losing sequence of 26, but has shown encouraging form in recent weeks with three placings from his past four starts. Blissntheblack was first out from barrier three in a 2130m event on Tuesday afternoon and then, after 200m, trailed the pacemaker Thisbeachrighthere before finishing a sound third to that pacer. Suvaljko will also drive Cracka Star (race one), Three Kings (two) and Bad Round (seven) for the Padbergs.  Cracka Star will appreciate a drop in class in a qualifying heat of the Retravision Kersley Pace, in which he will start from barrier No. 6. He raced three back on the pegs in sixth position before finishing solidly to be third behind Maczaffair and Eden Franco in the $30,000 York Cup last Friday night. He will clash with in-form pacers Our Max Phactor, Tyler Brett and Ace Bromac, but is capable of a bold showing. Our Max Phactor, a New Zealand-bred six-year-old is blossoming under the care of leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond and should prove hard to beat. He will start from the inside of the back line, with Ryan Warwick in the sulky. Our Max Phactor has raced 78 times for 17 wins and 21 placings. He is unbeaten in eight starts for the Bonds in WA (six in stands and two in mobiles) and his average winning margin is 5m. He is unbeaten at six appearances at Gloucester Park. Tyler Brett, trained and driven by Dylan Egerton-Green, has resumed after a spell in fine form with a first-up victory over Kerrin Joseph and Thereugo at Pinjarra and a second placing behind Saying Grace at Northam after covering a lot of extra ground. The Kyle Harper trained and driven Ace Bromac bounced back to his best form last Friday night when he was last in the middle stages before thundering home from eighth at the bell to win by two and a half lengths from Estocada over 2536m last Friday night. Ken Casellas

The Bond juggernaut looks set to sustain its relentless dominance of harness racing with crack sprinter Galactic Star poised to prove mighty hard to beat in the $25,000 Pat Cranley Memorial over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Some pacing aficionados contend that Galactic Star is a better stayer than a sprinter, pointing to his head second to Assassinator in the 2902m Easter Cup last year and six wins over distances ranging from 2503m to 2631m but the New Zealand-bred six-year-old is a splendid sprinter, having won twice over 1609m at Bunbury in 1.53.1 and 1.53.8 and twice over 1730m at Gloucester Park, rating 1.52 and 1.55.4. He is awkwardly drawn at barrier six in the field of nine across one line and Ryan Warwick will seriously consider giving Galactic Star time to settle before sending him forward. Galactic Star began off the 10m mark in a $30,000 standing-start feature event at Pinjarra on Monday of last week and he settled down in seventh place before he surged forward to take the lead after 800m. He covered the final quarters in 28.3sec. and 27.8sec. and won by a neck from stablemate Rock Diamonds. That was his first appearance since August 24 and he is sure to have derived great benefit from the outing.        Galactic Star and his smart stablemate Vampiro are still on track to contest the Interdominion championship in Victoria next month. Greg and Skye Bond, who prepare Galactic Star, will also be represented in Friday night’s event by evergreen veteran Our Jimmy Johnstone and up-and-coming five-year-old Rock Diamonds. Our Jimmy Johnstone is handily drawn at barrier three and will be driven by Dylan Egerton-Green. The ten-year-old resumed after a spell in fine style last Friday week when he raced wide early and then enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, before running home strongly to be an eye-catching second to Vampiro in the 2130m James Brennan Memorial. A winner of 27 races, Our Jimmy Johnstone is a smart sprinter who rated 1.54.3 when he led from the No. 2 barrier and won the 1730m Members Sprint at Gloucester Park in May of last year, rating 1.54.3 and beating Beaudiene Boaz by one length. Another proven sprinter in this week’s race is Tricky Styx, who will be driven by Aiden de Campo from the prized No. 1 barrier. The Jesse Moore-trained seven-year-old mare is in good form and looks the likely leader. She has had eight starts over 1730m for four wins and has also won over 1609m, 1684m and 1780m. The Bond stable which was successful in the Cranley Memorial with Motu Treasure in 2010 and Midnight Dylan in 2013, is setting a cracking pace and leads the trainers’ premiership with 50 winners from 109 starters. This gives them a 26-win lead over Gary Hall Snr. Warwick also has a commanding lead on the drivers’ premiership table. He has driven 52 winners from 113 starters and leads by 18 from Chris Lewis. The Bonds also have strong claims in several events on Friday night. Apart from Galactic Star and Our Jimmy Johnstone, the Bond camp has excellent prospects with Our Max Phactor, Dodolicious, Mighty Conqueror, Lincs Tiger and Infinite Symbol. Ken Casellas

Talented six-year-old El Jacko, one of the few pacers to have beaten champion Chicago Bull in Western Australia, will reappear after a brief spell when he contests the $30,000 Group 3 TABtouch York Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. For the New Zealand-bred gelding, who is being aimed at feature summer carnival events, this will be a rare experience starting from the coveted No. 1 barrier. El Jacko, owned by Skye Bond and prepared by her and her husband Greg, has had 33 starts in WA for 14 wins and 12 placings and the only time he started from the No. 1 barrier was at Pinjarra in February 2016 when he set the pace and won by four lengths from stablemate Donegal Kahlum. That remains as his only all-the-way victory in Australia. He has worked forward in the first lap to take the lead only three times. Many of his wins have come after he has worked hard in the breeze. El Jacko possesses excellent gate speed and leading reinsman Ryan Warwick is sure to take advantage of the draw by attempting to hold up and set the pace. He has been out of action for 11 weeks since he was a 5/1 on favourite from barrier No. 8 and finished a 5m second to stablemate and pacemaker Mighty Mr Sharkey over 2536m at Gloucester Park on August 24 when the final 800m was covered in 56.8sec. It will not be an easy task for El Jacko to hold the early lead against several speedy beginners, including Overboard Again (barrier two), Eden Franco, Maczaffair, Devendra and Argyle Red. Overboard Again, prepared by Gary Hall Snr, will be strongly fancied, despite his seventh behind Vampiro in the James Brennan Memorial last Friday night when he was a $45 outsider from the outside of the back line. He raced four back on the pegs and was hampered for room in the closing stages. Overboard Again impressed a week earlier when he started from barrier four, raced three wide early and took the lead after 500m before bowling along in front and winning by a half-length from odds-on favourite Eden Franco, with final quarters of 27.8sec. and 28.2sec. Lauren Jones has been engaged to drive Overboard Again for the first time, in the absence of star reinsman Gary Hall Jnr (in New Zealand) and Stuart McDonald (serving a seven-day suspension). The Colin Brown-trained and driven Eden Franco was gallant in defeat when second to Overboard Again last Friday week and she is set to run a bold race. That strong effort followed Eden Franco’s excellent first-up all-the-way win over Mitch Maguire. Maczaffair, the other mare in Friday night’s Cup, will start from the No. 4 barrier and is capable of vast improvement after unplaced runs at her past two starts. She will again be driven by Dylan Egerton-Green for trainer Mike Reed. The prospects of the Justin Prentice-trained and driven Rocknroll Lincoln, a winner at five of his past nine starts, slumped when he drew the outside barrier (No. 9) on the front line. For the record, El Jacko raced without cover before winning from the pacemaker Franco Rayner and Chicago Bull (at his Australian debut) in a 1730m event for three-year-olds at Gloucester Park on November 27, 2015. Then, El Jacko again asserted his authority over Chicago Bull when he won the 2692 Alcoa Cup at Pinjarra on September 26, 2016, beating the runner-up, Chicago Bull, by 2.2m.   Ken Casellas

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