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Cracking New Zealand-bred five-year-old’s Lets Chase The Dream and El Jacko will continue an intriguing rivalry when they clash in the $25,000 Chandon final over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night and they look set to fight out the finish. They first met in a heat and the final of the Young Guns Cardigan Bay Stakes for two-year-olds at Alexandra Park in February and March 2015 when Lets Chase The Dream reigned supreme, winning the heat and the Group 1 final, in which Lazarus was second and El Jacko finished fourth after his sixth placing in the heat. They next clashed 14 months later when Lets Chase The Dream was second to Chicago Bull in the WA Derby at Gloucester Park and El Jacko finished seventh. They renewed their rivalry 15 months later when Lets Chase The Dream finished third behind Whozideawasthis at Gloucester Park on June 15 this year and El Jacko faded to 11th after racing three wide in the early stages before getting to the front after 600m. But El Jacko has turned the tables on Lets Chase The Dream, finishing ahead of him in two 2130m events earlier this month. Last Friday night El Jacko settled down in ninth position and sustained a spirited three-wide burst to take the lead in the home turn and fight on grimly to win by a nose from the fast-finishing Handsandwheels. Lets Chase The Dream had a tough run in the breeze before getting to the front 300m from home and then wilting to fourth, with the final quarters in 27.6sec. and 28.7sec. Two weeks earlier El Jacko, trained by Greg and Skye Bond and handled by Ryan Warwick, surged home from last at the 850m to finish second to the pacemaker Handsandwheels, with Lets Chase The Dream battling on into third place after enjoying a perfect passage one-out and one-back. Lets Chase The Dream, trained by Gary Hall Snr and driven by Gary Hall Jnr, is lacking the brilliance of his two and three-year-old days and has a losing sequence of 12. However, his recent efforts have been sound and he is favourably drawn at barrier three on the front line, with El Jacko drawn to start from the outside barrier (No. 9). The Hall camp will also be represented by another New Zealand-bred five-year-old Ima Rocknroll Legend, who will be driven by Stuart McDonald from barrier four. Ima Rocknroll Legend resumed after a spell last Friday night when he started from the back line and fought on gamely from the one-out, one-back sit to finish second to the pacemaker Mighty Mr Sharkey. Mighty Mr Sharkey will be driven by Colin Brown from the inside of the back line, but it is difficult to suggest that the four-year-old is capable of beating his stablemate El Jacko or Lets Chase The Dream. Ken Casellas

Champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr has received an unexpected opportunity to win the Garrards Horse And Hound BOTRA Cup for a record fifth time when he drives The Bucket List, the sole backmarker off 50 metres in the 2503m feature event at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Trainer Michael Brennan engaged Hall after The Bucket List’s regular reinsman Michael Grantham was suspended for seven days for causing interference in a race last Friday night. Grantham has driven The Bucket List to victory seven times and Hall has handled the eight-year-old only twice for a second placing behind Hectorjayjay in a 2536m mobile heat of the Inter Dominion championship at Gloucester Park in December 2016 and for a ninth in a field of nine in a 2503m stand on April 20 this year. The Bucket List gave a remarkable performance when ninth, only five lengths behind the winner Rock Diamonds. He started off 40m, broke into a gallop after 75m and settled down 130m behind the pacemaker The Real Nadal. The Bucket List made up an enormous amount of ground in the final circuit. He is a capable standing-start performer, with his 16 starts in stands in Western Australia producing seven wins, five seconds, two thirds, one fourth and one ninth. He had seven starts in stands in New Zealand for three wins (over 2500m, 2700m and 3000m), a second, two thirds and a sixth. History shows that it is extremely difficult to win off back marks in stands at Gloucester Park. The BOTRA Cup has been run 38 times and only one pacer, Highest Honour in 2005, has been successful after starting off the 50m mark. Three horses (Hilton Adonis, Spirit of Shard and Albert Jaccka) have won from 40m and the two winners from 30m were Speedy Cheval (1991) and Shattering Class (2000). Hall has driven the winner of the BOTRA Cup four times, scoring with Strike A Blow (2002), Spirit of Shard (2008), Classic American (2015) and the Brennan-trained Naughty Maravau in 2016. The only other driver to have won the BOTRA Cup four times is Chris Lewis, who scored with Village Kid (1985), Elteei (1986), Mach Ruler (2009) and Tartary Gladiator (20011). Lewis will drive the Ross Olivieri-trained Motu Premier, who will start off 40m in Friday night’s Cup. Olivieri was successful with Speedy Cheval in the 1991 BOTRA Cup. Sharing the 40m mark with Motu Premier is the highly-promising four-year-old Rock Diamonds, who is trained by Greg and Skye Bond and will be driven by Ryan Warwick. Rock Diamonds notched his 15th win from 35 starts when he began off 30m in a field of eight and finished with a powerful burst from sixth at the bell to beat the pacemaker Always Arjay by a half-length, with an impressive final 800m in 56.3sec. last Friday night. Warwick and the Bonds will be hoping to go one better this year than they did 12 months ago when 10/1 chance Bettor Not Bitter dashed to the front after 600m, set a solid pace and was a neck second to the fast-finishing Sky Art. Motu Premier has the class to fight out the finish at his second outing after a spell, following his first-up ninth in a field of nine behind Galactic Star in a 1730m mobile event last Friday week when he was restrained from barrier seven at the start and raced at the rear. It is well worth remembering that at his previous outing Motu Premier ran on from seventh at the bell to finish fifth behind Soho Tribeca, Chicago Bull, The Bucket List and American Boy in the group 1 2936m WA Pacing Cup on January 19. Major Catastrophe is a tough stayer and the David Young-trained and driven gelding will have admirers even though the nine-year-old will start off 30m. His past 16 runs have been in mobiles, but keen students of form will point out that Major Catastrophe was successful at his two most recent appearances in stands, both over 2503m in February this year. His 34 starts in stands have resulted in five wins, seven seconds, four thirds and 18 unplaced efforts.   Ken Casellas

Four-year-old Vampiro should appreciate a considerable drop in class when he contests the 2536m Steelo’s Bistro Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Rocknroll Hanover gelding, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, has the class to overcome the disadvantage of starting from the outside barrier (No. 9). He gave a bold frontrunning display when an excellent third behind open-class stars Galactic Star and Bettors Fire over 1730m last Friday night at his third appearance after a spell. Going from a 1730m sprint to a 2536m event should pose no problems for the versatile Vampiro, who was successful at his most recent appearance in a 2536m event, when he defeated Mighty Flying Thomas five starts ago, in March. At his only other start over 2536m Vampiro finished a sound fifth behind Ultimate Machete in the Golden Nugget Championship last December. His most serious rivals are likely to be five-year-old Ideal Tyson and four-year-old Im Rockaria. Ideal Tyson, trained at Coolup by Kristy Elson, will be driven for the first time by Micheal Ferguson from out wide at barrier eight and he will have an army of followers after performing extremely well in much tougher company. He has been racing against several top-flight pacers, including star Bettors Fire, at each of his latest five starts. Ideal Tyson enjoyed a good passage, one-out and one-back, when a good fourth (just a head behind third placegetter Vampiro) over 1730m last Friday night. The Bonds and Warwick also have several excellent each-way prospects on Friday night, including Dodolicious (race two), The Lightning Strike (race five), The Freedom Fighter (race six), Fizzing (race eight) and Rock Diamonds (race nine). Dodolicious has good prospects of ending a losing sequence of 13 when she starts from the prized No. 1 barrier in the 2130m $7 Pints For Footy Fridays At JP’s Pace. She is a splendid frontrunner who drops in class after clashing with quality performers Bettors Fire, Eden Franco, Eagle Rox and Whozideawasthis in recent starts. Her toughest opponent looms as Walkinshaw, who will start out wide at barrier eight for trainer Ray Williams and reinsman Nathan Turvey. Walkinshaw started from barrier nine and raced in the breeze for much of the way when a fighting second to the brilliant Eden Franco over 2130m last Friday week. Walkinshaw also worked hard at his previous outing when he was beaten a head by the fast-finishing Trison. That followed stylish victories vat each of his three previous starts.   Ken Casellas

Exciting three-year-old Jack Mac faces a moment of truth at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he clashes with the highly-promising Bettor Aim in the Visit Princi Butchers in North Perth Pace. Neither youngster has tasted defeat in Australia and Jack Mac has the brilliance to overcome the outside barrier in the field of eight and beat Bettor Aim, who will be driven by Ryan Warwick for trainers Greg and Skye Bond from the No. 6 barrier in the 2130m event. Jack Mac will be strongly fancied to chalk up his tenth victory at his tenth start in Western Australia after scoring decisive victories at his two outings after resuming after a four-month absence. He followed his first-up win over 2130m at Gloucester Park on May 25 with a commanding victory by 12 lengths over Blackjack Anna over the same distance on Tuesday of last week when he raced three wide early, sped to the front after 550m and was unextended in careering away from his rivals. Busselton trainer Barry Howlett certainly is more than happy that he rejected a tempting offer of $100,000 for the Mach Three colt in April last year. Howlett, who races Jack Mac in partnership with his wife Lyn and their son Jim, was purchased for $31,000 at the Auckland weanling sales and a win this week will take the colt’s earnings to $236,181. Howlett picked out a couple of youngsters who were being offered for sale as weanlings and he asked experienced New Zealand trainer-reinsman Brent Mangos to have a look at them. Mangos took a liking to Jack Mac and he purchased him at the sale on behalf of Howlett. Mangos broke in the colt and gave him five starts for five unplaced efforts against the best two-year-olds in New Zealand. Those five runs netted his owners $7450 and few pacing pundits predicted that the colt, the seventh foal out of unfashionable mare Matavutu, would develop into a juvenile champion. Bettor Aim also looks destined to become a star performer. A winner at his farewell appearance in New Zealand, over 1950m at Addington in early April this year, the Bettors Delight gelding has been ultra-impressive in winning effortlessly at his first two starts in WA, both over 2185m at Pinjarra in the space of eight days this month. Bettor Aim sustained a powerful three-wide burst to beat Itsnotova by almost three lengths at a 1.57.3 rate and a week later, on Monday of this week, he was untroubled to lead from barrier one and coast to victory by two lengths from Seeknyoushallfind at a 1.57.8 rate, with a final quarter in 27.8sec.   Ken Casellas  

Outstanding juvenile Cott Beach looks set to notch her 14th win when she starts from the coveted No. 1 barrier in the $25,000 Princi Smallgoods Gourmet Range Westsired Three-Year-Old Fillies Pace. She has sparkling gate speed and Nathan Turvey is sure to attempt an all-the-way win with the filly who is trained at Coolup by Kristy Elson. Leading will be in stark contrast to her excellent efforts when third in both the WA Derby and WA Oaks in the past two months. Cott Beach started from the outside barrier (No. 9) and charged home from tenth at the bell to finish third behind King of Swing and Bechers Brook in the 2536m WA Derby, with the margins a head and a nose. Then she started from the outside of the back line in the Oaks and settled in 11th position before sustaining a strong run from ninth at the bell to finish third, less than a length behind the winner Our Major Mama. After her grand effort in the Oaks Cott Beach has won at Narrogin and Bunbury and she looks to have the measure of smart in-form fillies Infinite Symbol and Veiled Secret in Friday night’s race. One of the best bets on the ten-event program should be Better Scoot, a standing-start specialist who has resumed racing after an absence of 19 months in fine fettle. The lightly-raced New Zealand-bred six-year-old in the stables of Greg and Skye Bond, will start from barrier five on the front line in the Princi Smallgoods Handicap, a stand over 2503m, and Ryan Warwick is expected to make a spirited bid to send the gelding to an early lead and then dictate terms in front. Better Scoot took an early lead and went on to win in fine style from Lord Willoughby in a 2503m stand last Friday week when he sped over the final quarters of the last mile in 27.8sec. and 28.3sec. His chief rival looms as the Ross Olivieri-trained Lord Willoughby whose 21 starts this season have produced eight wins, nine seconds and four thirds. Ken Casellas

Ravenswood trainer-reinsman Nathan Turvey, Peter Ensel and Michael Rowe have no regrets of their decision to buy Livura from New Zealand for $45,000 in March of last year and the six-year-old looks a star bet in the second heat of the TABtouch Inter Dominion Starts November 24 Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The son of Live Or Die has been placed diligently and cleverly by Turvey and is still classified as an M0 performer, despite earnings of $168,420 from 16 wins and 26 placings from 62 starts. Livura has raced 36 times in Western Australia for 12 wins, 17 placings and stakes of $125,985. He was successful at his first four starts in this State, two at Northam and two at Narrogin in April-May 2016 and last summer he finished second to Master Jaxon in the Group 2 San Simeon Classic and third behind Rub of the Green and Ideal Tyson in the Group 3 Christmas Gift before finishing a head second to Harry Hoo in the Pure Steel Final, a listed classic, in May this year. Turvey is confident that Livura will prove hard to beat this week when having his first start for five weeks. At his latest appearance, on August 11, Livura started from the back line and Turvey quickly had him racing in the one-out, one-back position before dashing him forward in the middle stages to work in the breeze outside the pacemaker Argyle Red. Livura finished strongly to hit the lead 90m from the post and win by a short half-head from the fast-finishing Military Master. “I have given him a little freshen-up, but he’s pretty forward (in condition) and we’ll be coming out hard (from barrier three) in a bid to lead,” Turvey said. “If we can’t cross to the front, I’ll be quite happy to sit in the breeze.” Turvey said that he had placed Livura well in selecting his races. “I haven’t set any targets for him,” he said. “But this preparation we’ll see how far he can go. He can sit on good speed and still have a good kick at the end.” Livura’s chief rival on Friday night is sure to be the Skye Bond-trained Bettor Not Bitter, the only runner off the back line. Bettor Not Bitter, who has earned $56,739 from nine wins and nine placings from 31 starts, has a bright future and will pay to follow in the coming months. He galloped at the standing start and again 150m later and gave an eye-catching performance to surge home, out wide, from tenth at the bell to finish an extremely close fourth behind Ohoka Kentucky last Friday night. His past six starts have been in stands and he is sure to appreciate a return to mobile racing. Bettor Not Bitter will be driven by Ryan Warwick, who also has bright prospects with other Bond-trained pacers Donegal Rundlescreek and Mighty Mr Sharkey. Donegal Rundlescreek is in splendid form, but has to overcome the disadvantage of starting from the outside barrier (No. 9) in the Season Award Winners Pace for mares. She has the ability to do just that. Donegal Rundlescreek caught the eye last Friday night when she was tenth at the bell before sustaining a spirited burst to finish a close third to Thereugo and Lets Chase The Dream over 2130m.  She finished powerfully from the rear to win in fine style over 2185m at Pinjarra the previous Monday. Mighty Mr Sharkey should complete a hat-trick and record his ninth victory from 21 starts by proving too good for his 11 rivals in the Gloucester Park Leading Trainer Greg and Skye Bond Pace over 2130m. He will start from barrier five on the front line and he is capable of mustering sufficient early pace to get to the front and then dictate the terms of the race. He started from the No. 4 barrier, dashed to the front after 400m and sprinted over the final 800m in 56.3sec. to win easily from Im Master Charlie and Webb Ellis over 2130m last Friday night. Ken Casellas

IT remains unclear whether Western Australian pocket rocket Chiacgo Bull will chase the Victoria Cup at Melton on October 14. A first-up win last Friday would have almost sealed he trip, but the five-year-old could only manage fourth – albeit a ripping run – in the Howard Porter free-for-all (2130m) at Gloucester Park.  It was an odd race and not much went right for Chicago Bull, most notably when stablemate Beaudiene Boaz bafflingly came away from the marker pegs rounding the last bend when seemingly under pressure. It oushed “The Bull” wider and cost him any chance.  Chicago Bull lifted late and surged to the line to finish four metres from upset winner Jambiani, who enjoyed a gun marker peg run and snatched victory as a $45.60 courtesy of a superb Shannon Suvaljko drive.  The headstrong Run Oneover led, overraced at times as he tends to, and lifted after looking beaten a few times for a close second in a sizzling 1min53.8sec mile rate.  Beaudiene Boaz was the flop of the race after trailing through from the back row to camp behind leader Run Oneover, but wilting late to finish 22m away in 10th spot.  Hall Sr unveils another of his Perth Inter Dominion contenders when much-travelled former Kiwi star Ohoka Punter returns from injury at Gloucester Park. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________  STILL on the Perth Inters and former Kiwi pacer Shandale is staking his claim for the series.  The Mike Reed-trained five-year-old has improved at each of his three runs this campaign and was simply breathtaking in the “B” free-for-all at Gloucester Park last Friday night.  Despite doing the work in a very hotly-run race, Shandale smashed the clock and powered to a 1.8m win over Ideal Tyson with classy sit-sprinter Heez On Fire in third spot.  Despite some queries over the timing on the race, the official result shows Shandale’s mile rate at a track record 1min51.8sec for the 1730m.  Shandale has raced just seven times in WA for five wins and a second, but it was last Friday’s win which really showed his arrival as a serious player.  Interestingly, former Purdon/Rasmussen pacer Lets Chase The Dream, who beat Shandale, Lazarus, Chicago Bull and others in the NZ 2YO Sires final, was beaten at his first run for the Gary Hall Sr stable last Friday night.  Lets Chase The Dream used the pole to lead, but copped pressure from Kyle Harper’s fit and in-form Thereugo, who simply outstayed him to win by a head in a 1min56sec mile rate.  Hall Sr felt Lets Chase The Dream would benefit from the run and also need some experience around the tight Gloucester Park track to be completely comfortable.   _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   MAORI Time is one of the biggest recent success stories in Aussie trotting.  A juvenile star with the now retired Chris Lang Sr, the eight-year-old mare is still winning feature races for former Kiwi trainer Brent Lilley.  Maori Time used her renowned gate speed to blast to the front from gate seven and control the Group 3 Maoris Idol (1720m) at Melton last Friday night.  It was her 21st career win from 57 starts with another seven placings and she has now earned $352,101.  Lilley snared the quinella when another veteran – also a former Chris Lang Sr-trained trotter – Kyvalley Blur showed a glimpse of his best form for a strong second in a 1min57.3sec mile rate.   _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   THE success rate of Greg and Skye Bond horses being sent across from Perth to the McCarthy family for stints at Menangle continues to grow.  The latest was the promising Galactic Star, who was sent to Craig Cross and Luke McCarthy having won six of his most recent eight starts in WA.  The Bonds cut their team recently when Greg copped a 12-month ban and Skye took over the team with help from Ryan Warwick.  Galactic Star could hardly have been more impressive winning his first Menangle outing despite having to step straight into open-class racing.  The five-year-old son of Bettors Delight powered to a 5.7m win in a slick 1min55.8sec mile rate for the 2300m trip and ran home in 54.3 and 27.5sec.  The former Kiwi’s record since coming to Australia in mid-2016 is 19 starts for 13 wins and three seconds.  The other star of the Menangle card was Amanda Turnbull with three driving wins, two of them she also trained.   _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   EMMA Stewart “owned” her home track meeting at Ballarat last Saturday night.  The champion trainer, still basking in the glory of dominating the huge Breeders Crown meeting, trained four of the nine winners at Ballarat.  And Chris Alford drove them all.  Just for good measure, Alford went one better by driving a fifth winner when he wife, Alison, trained Grinalltheway to win the fourth race.  

Five-year-old Vultan Tin is flourishing under the care of Coolup owner-trainer Phil Costello and he has bright prospects of ending a losing sequence of nine by winning the 2536m In Memory of Fred Hough Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He will start out wide at barrier seven in the field of nine and reinsman Chris Voak is planning to drive the gelding “tough” in a bid for victory. Vultan Tin put the writing on the wall last Friday night when he raced in the breeze for the final two laps and fought on grandly to be a close second to the pacemaker Ideal Alice. “He sat in the breeze in a Free-For-All last week and went down by a half-length,” Voak said. “So, I’d say he’d be comfortable in the breeze again. We’ll wait for him to settle and then he’ll be put in the race and driven positively. He’s dropping back to an M1/M3 field and should be hard to beat.” “I got the drive behind Vultan Tin by chance. Morgan Woodley was his regular driver, but in a race back in May Morgan elected to drive the $1.20 favourite Argyle Red and I got the opportunity to drive Vultan Tin for the first time. He performed like a super star that night and got up at 25/1 from Argyle Red. I’ve been fortunate to drive Vultan Tin since then and he hasn’t run a bad race for me.” Since that victory Voak has driven Vultan Tin 11 times for two wins, four seconds and two fourths and the gelding now has a record of 77 starts for 11 wins and 23 placings for earnings of $144,144. Blinding Light, trained by Greg and Skye Bond and driven by Ryan Warwick, looks the hardest for Vultan Tin to beat. Blinding Light enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, before finishing strongly to be second to Sprinter over 2130m last Friday night.   Ken Casellas

Busselton trainer Barry Howlett is delighted that he rejected a tempting offer of $100,000 for Jack Mac four months ago and he is looking forward with confidence to the brilliant colt winning the $125,000 Choices Flooring Golden Slipper at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Howlett picked out Jack Mac and bought him as a weanling in New Zealand. He races the two-year-old in partnership with his wife Lyn and their son Jim and he was seriously considering the big offer after Jack Mac had been unplaced at his first five starts in New Zealand when he earned just $7450. However, Howlett pointed out that Jack Mac, trained by Brent Mangos, had been racing against the best two-year-olds in New Zealand and he is more than happy that the colt has developed into a star performer in Western Australia where he is unbeaten in five starts, earning $99,298. Howlett’s confidence grew considerably when the colt drew most favourably at barrier two on the front line in Friday night’s 2130m classic. The colt will be driven by Chris Lewis, who holds the record in the 49-year history of the Golden Slipper with seven victories ---- with Pardon Me Boys (1987), Harry Gunn (1995), Saab (1997), Talladega (1999), The Jobs On (2004), Aikido Whitby (2006) and Western Cullen (2011). Howlett is hopeful of winning the Golden Slipper for the second time. He is a part-owner of Mitch Maguire, who started at 3/1 on and made full use of the prized No. 1 barrier by leading all the way for trainers Greg and Skye Bond and reinsman Ryan Warwick and scoring an easy win over Major Pocket and El Barcelona in last year’s classic. “I bought Mitch Maguire for $43,000 as a yearling in New Zealand, sold a share to Trevor Lindsay and gave Mangos a share,” Howlett said. “After Mitch Maguire had finished third in the Jewels we decided to sell him to Greg and Skye Bond. Then Greg asked if we would be interested in keeping a share. So, Trevor and I kept a ten per cent share. My wife wasn’t very happy when I sold Mitch Maguire and she strongly suggested that I shouldn’t sell Jack Mac. Therefore, I didn’t. Now I consider that Jack Mac goes better than Mitch Maguire.” Lyn Howlett named Jack Mac after her late father Jack McGowan. And, remarkably, there is little to suggest in his breeding that he should be such a brilliant young pacer. Jack Mac, by Mach Three, is the seventh foal out of Matavutu, whose first six foals had only a combined total of 62 starts for seven wins in minor races for combined earnings of $45,686. The only bright feature in Jack Mac’s breeding goes back a long way. His great, great granddam Wainoni Command’s first foal was Markovina (by Mark Lobell) who was a star of the 1970s, winning 35 races and being placed another 20 times from 97 starts. Trained and driven by Brian Gath, Markovina unwound a powerful finishing burst to win the 1978 Inter Dominion championship final at Moonee Valley. “I was up north fishing a couple of years ago when I picked out two or three youngsters at the weanling sales in Auckland,” Howlett said. “I asked Brent to have a look at them and he liked the look of Jack Mac and bought him for me. Brent broke in Jack Mac and the colt always showed a bit." He impressed at his final start in New Zealand in finishing fifth behind the outstanding colt Alta Maestro in a 1700m heat of the New Zealand Sires Stakes at Cambridge on March 23 this year. He started out wide at barrier seven and raced at the rear before running home solidly from eighth at the bell. The quarters were run in 27.9sec., 29.1sec., 28.3sec. and 28.3sec. and the winner rated 1.53.3, a national record for two-year-olds. Jack Mac has had to work hard and cover a lot of extra ground in four of his five WA starts, but he should be able to set the pace from the No. 2 barrier on Friday night. “He’s got a lot of early speed if you want to use it,” Howlett said. “He’s got speed and stamina and has also got a good kick when you want it.” At his most recent start, at Gloucester Park last Saturday week, Jack Mac started from barrier five, raced three wide early and then in the breeze before wobbling and running out on the turn into the back straight in the final circuit. Lewis quickly got his mind back on the job and the colt burst to the front and was coasting when he won by two lengths from Antero at a 1.57.8 rate over 2130m. “He went to run off the track,” Howlett said. “He thought he had finished and wanted to pull up, something he had never done before. However, he went to the line well and still had the ear plugs in. Chris said he was travelling easily." "We thought he was a little bit underdone, so we gave him a little light hit-out in a trial at Pinjarra on Sunday morning.” He set the pace and was not extended in winning the trial by more than three lengths. Ken Casellas

Nathan Purdon is "coming home" in the new season rejoining the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen harness racing stable after gaining valuable experience on both sides of the Tasman. Nathan has lived and breathed horses for a long time and his association with the champion mare ADORE ME from where he was never far away as a stropper throughout her career. But that was watching and Nathan never wanted to be just watching.  Nathan with his special fave Adore Me.  His first drive was a pointer to the future. He drove subsequent NZ Cup winner  Arden Rooney at Rangiora in a track record 3.09 for 2600m. It was a thrill but Nathan knew it was just the beginning and there was a long way to go, In 2015 he followed Mark's footsteps and headed to Australia for new opportunities. That began with Ian Gurney, trainer of Avonova who was a great supporter. Nathan won 28 of 114 drives on this stint in Brisbane.  "I was very lucky with the people I was associated with over there. Ian gave me every opportunity,  Luke and Belinda McCarthy got me some nice drives and then I had a good learning time with Greg and Skye Bond in Perth winning the Group 2 San Simeon Final at Gloucester Park. Then last year he hooked up with Dean Braun in Victoria but then when offered the opportunity to train and drive Ohoka Punter for the Brisbane carnival he was headed back north "where the opportunities for concession drivers are so good" Nathan realised his G1 dream earlier than even he thought he might, guiding Ohoka Punter to a lead up win in the Blacks a Fake beating Hectorjayjay and Ultimate Art in the rain at Albion Park. "Really unbelievable the way it happened. Obviously my biggest thrill in racing so far. I could hardly believe it " This year Nathan returned to New Zealand and took up an offer to work with Cran Dalgety's stable. "That was a great opportunity. Cran has given me every opportunity and I am really grateful for that support. It has meant a lot to me" Now it is back into the All Stars colours and Nathan looking to make his final mark in Junior Driver races. "I have one season left and I want to make the most of it, make my mark on the Junior scene" "But there will be plenty to do with the stable horses and driving those sort of animals in work is something that is obviously a big plus. But I will be just happy to learn a bit more from the old man. He knows a bit." And the next generation is there to learn as much as he can. Courtesy of All Stars Stables

With just three months left until the end of the 2016/17 season, the husband and wife team of Greg and Skye Bond are well placed to win their first metropolitan harness racing trainer's title. The Bonds already have the State trainer's title in the bag.  They have trained 162 winners throughout WA so far this season - almost double that of next best Gary Hall Snr - for stakes close to $2M but they have never won a city trainer's title, finishing second on a number of occasions, with their 88 winners for the season of 2011/12 - just 10 behind Hall - being the closest they've been. However, the Bonds currently lead the Hall camp in the city training race with 67 winners to Hall's 55. Twelve winners is a lot to catch up in three months, but if anyone can do it then Hall has proven time and time again that he's the man. Hall hasn't won nine of the last ten city training titles simply by luck (he finished second to Ross Olivieri in the 2010/11 season). His ability to find and then fine tune his horses underlines his ability and skill as a horseman with few peers. Greg and Skye Bond have shown they have the touch when it comes to finding the right horses for WA racing conditions and then getting them to their peak. On Friday night at Gloucester Park the Bonds and Hall go head-to-head in many races. The first race goes to Hall with the smart Herrick Roosevelt drawing the pole and looking the best of good things to post an all-the-way victory. The Bonds don't have a runner. The Bonds have Blinding Light representing them in the second and must be given an each-way chance. Hall doesn't have a runner. The classy Mcclinchie and Pay Me Cullen should even the score in the third for the Bonds as Hall doesn't have a runner and this is a very winnable race for Mcclinchie. Both stables bypass the fourth event. The Bonds have Vanquished and Condrieu flying the flag for the stable in the fifth race, with Hall again not represented. Hall has four runners in the Pure Steel Final - Harry Hoo, Zach Maguire, Overboard Again and Campora - while the Bond camp hasn't got a runner. Both stables will go head-to-head in the seventh, the Members Sprint, with the Bonds fielding four runners - Our Jimmy Johnstone, Phoenix Warrior, Simply Susational and Ima Connoisseur. The Hall camp will be represented by Run Oneover and Beaudiene Boaz. This promises to be the race of the night as far as the speed battle goes with Our Jimmy Johnstone (Barrier 2) and Run Oneover(3) both able to fly from the machine. A hectic early pace should bring horses like Bettor Reward, Beaudiene Boaz, Phoenix Warrior and Ima Connoisseur into the equation. Hard to call this for either stable, but the Bond camp's weight of numbers could be the deciding factor. And that's where both stables call it a night. With only 12 wins separating these two mighty stables, the next three months promises to be a battle of the big guns as the Bonds strive to wrest the city title away from a man who has made it his own in recent years. Stay tuned - it promises to be an intriguing contest. Wayne Currall

The powerful Greg and Skye Bond harness racing stable appears to have a stranglehold on the $23,000 Retravision Online Pace over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Friday night with three of the ten runners, Galactic Star, Superimposed and Condrieu, the only last-start winners in the race. And the stable’s No. 1 driver Ryan Warwick has sent a strong message to punters by opting for Galactic Star, a brilliant four-year-old who has drawn perfectly at barrier one on the front line. Galactic Star was most impressive last Friday night when he started from 10m and raced in fifth position with a trail before unleashing a powerful burst to take the lead 70m from the post on his way to winning by more than a length from New World Order over 2503m. That gave the Bettor's Delight four-year-old a winning record of 50 per cent --- 15 wins from 30 starts --- to go with his seven seconds and three thirds. Warwick also drove Superimposed, a Jeremes Jet four-year-old, to a smart all-the-way victory over 2130m last Friday. That was the gelding’s tenth win from 34 starts. He will start from the No. 2 barrier on Friday night, with Dylan Egerton-Green in the sulky. Ryan Bell will drive seven-year-old Condrieu from barrier five on Friday night after guiding the gelding to an easy all-the-way victory from Franco Rayner over 2130m on Easter Thursday. Erskine Range, who showed a welcome return to form last Friday night when he set a solid pace and was overhauled in the final couple of strides by the fast-finishing Heez On Fire, faces a much tougher test this week from out wide at barrier No. 7 on the front line. The Bond stable also holds a strong hand in the $23,000 Retravision Your Fujitsu Specialist Pace over 2130m with Vanquished (Ryan Warwick) and Risk (Mitch Miller) drawn to be prominent. Four-year-old Vanquished has good prospects of leading from barrier two and five-year-old Risk is handily drawn at No. 4. They are sure to meet stiff opposition from the Michael Brennan-trained Billies A Star, who will be making his first appearance for six months. However, Billies A Star is at somewhat of a disadvantage from out wide at barrier No. 8. Brennan has given the New Zealand-bred six-year-old a solid preparation, including three sound trials at Pinjarra earlier this month. He won a 2185m trial by seven lengths from Downtoafineart last Sunday, with final quarters in 27.2sec. and 29.1sec. A week earlier Billies A Star set the pace and won a four-horse trial by seven lengths, with final sections in 28.4sec. and 28.3sec. Vanquished has been placed at his three starts since resuming from a spell and is ready to return to the winning list. He finished solidly from sixth at the bell to be third behind Condrieu over 2130m at his latest outing, on Easter Thursday. Risk is a most consistent performer, with 14 wins and 16 placings from 44 starts and he can never be underestimated. He raced without cover when a fighting third behind Livura at Bunbury last Saturday night. Ken Casellas

A commanding performance on debut on Tuesday of last week by Play The Boys stamps the impressive colt as the winner of the $95,000 Clipsal By Schneider WA Sales Classic for harness racing two-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Play The Boys, to be driven by Ryan Warwick for leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, was assured of favouritism when he drew ideally at barrier No. 2 on the front line in the 1730m classic. He looks set to lead or to race in a prominent position and should carry too many guns for the opposition. He overcame the disadvantage of a wide barrier (No. 8) in last week’s race when he settled in sixth position before starting a three-wide move to the breeze outside Hughey The Hammer, who had assumed control after 550m. Play The Boys got his head in front of Hughey The Hammer at the 100m mark and went on to win by a neck, but in good style, from that colt, rating 1.56.2 after final quarters of 28.7sec. and 28.5sec. Play The Boys, by American stallion Shadow Play, is out of Hello Boys, who raced 55 times for 12 wins, 17 placings and stakes of $89,541. Hello Boys, an elder sister to Party Date (111 starts for 25 wins, 27 placings and $256,003) is also the dam of Kiss Chasey, who has earned $146,358 from 16 wins and 15 placings from 59 starts. Kohli, trained by Bryan Cousins and to be driven by Kim Prentice, will have many admirers, particularly after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier on the front line. Kohli has finished second at each of his two starts (over 1730m at Gloucester Park) and shows excellent potential. He raced in the one-out, one-back position when second to Pocket More For Less and then raced without cover when a fighting second to Rock Me Over. He is bred to be a winner, being by former champion New Zealand pacer Courage Under Fire and out of Elegant Eyes, whose elder full-sister Innocent Eyes earned $421,875 from 18 wins and 17 placings from 62 starts. Innocent Eyes won four group 1 events --- the Victoria and Australian Oaks at Moonee Valley in July 2005, the Chariots of Fire at Harold Park and the Vicbred Super Series for four-year-old mares the following year. Rock Me Over, a good winner at each of his past two starts for trainer Katja Warwick and reinsman Gary Hall jun., has drawn awkwardly at barrier six, but cannot be left out of calculations. He was untroubled to lead throughout from the No. 1 barrier and win by more than two lengths from Kohli on Tuesday of last week after racing in the one-out, one-back position and winning easily from Mistersandman at Pinjarra at his previous outing. Rock Me Over, by American sire Rock N Roll Heaven, is a half-brother to Handsandwheels, the winner of the WA Derby last Friday week. He is also closely related to several smart pacers, including Suave Stuey Lombo (110 starts for 33 wins, 23 placings and stakes of $587,032) and Miss Trick In Lombo (109 starts for 15 wins, 29 placings and $230,312). Ken Casellas

Suddenly Friday week’s Group 1 WA Derby looks a real contest. After buzz former Kiwi colt Mitch Maguire thrashed his rivals in a Derby prelude two weeks ago, most conceded the Derby final was his for the taking. That changed last Friday night. Mitch Maguire won and took his WA record with Greg and Skye Bond to 10 wins and a second from just 11 runs, but he was far from impressive. Driver Ryan Warwick didn’t have to spend much petrol to lead from the pole, went through a solid but far from daunting 59.4sec middle half and then had to pull out everything to win by a half-head. In another stride, the late swooping filly Maczaffair would have snatched victory for sure. On that run, trainer Mike Reed has every reason to push ahead with running Maczaffair against the boys in the Derby. And the run of third-placed Herrick Roosevelt was most encouraging. He sat parked, looked spent on the home bend, but kept finding to finish less than a metre from the winner. The upside for Mitch Maguire is that he still won and the 1min57.3sec mile rate for the long 2536m trip was solid, but others will give themselves a serious chance of beating him in the WA Derby final, especially if draws go against him. Staying with the three-year-old’s and Justin Prentice’s filly Im Stylish looks a serious WA Oaks player on the strength of her dominant Gloucester Park win last Friday night. The Kiwi-bred daughter of Bettors Delight made it three wins on end when she scored by almost nine metres in a 1min58.7sec mile rate for 2130m. THE next stage of Tiger Tara’s career looks exciting. It’s taken a few runs with new trainer Kevin Pizzuto, but genuine glimpses of the horse who a genuine star in NZ are coming back. Three starts back the six-year-old covered plenty of extra ground and won narrowly, but impressively at Menangle. But it was last Friday’s win at the same track which reminded us all how good the best version of Tiger Tara really is. Driver Todd McCarthy drove aggressively from a wide draw and kept pushing forward until he found the lead, but it appeared at what cost given the petrol he had to spend. Instead of looking vulnerable, Tiger Tara thrived on the challenge and absolutely thrashed a handy field. The son of Bettors Delight opened right up, put a 17m gap on runner-up Spare Me Days and posted a career-best 1min49.8sec mile. Tiger Tara’s had five runs for Pizzuto for two wins and two fourths. HEADING into the NSW Oaks, most felt there wasn’t much between Victoria’s two top fillies Petacular and Miss Graceland. As it turned out, Petacular looked a class above Miss Graceland given she easily beat Miss Graceland in a heat and then beat her out of sight in the final when second to Partyon. That may still be the case, but Miss Graceland has come back home and arrogantly won two much easier races. The latest came at Kilmore last Friday night when she led, was never out of second gear for Chris Alford and strolled away to win by 12.3m. Of course, Petacular did absolutely blitz her rivals winning at her only run back in Victoria since the NSW Oaks. The pair is headed to another showdown in the upcoming Victoria Oaks. WHEN Maximan came to Australia he was known as a dour stayer. Now the eight-year-old son of Armbro Operative has won the shortest semi-feature race test of speed in Australia. Maximan held-off buzz pacer Tee Cee Bee Macray to win the City of Melton Stampede over the 1200m scamper at Melton last Saturday night. In contrast to so many of his wins, the big gelding came from off the pace and to hold-off renowned big finishing Tee Cee Bee Macray was a fantastic effort. It’s a credit to the patience of Andy and Kate Gath they have him back firing after so many injury issues and more than 12 months on the sidelines. The other Melton feature, the Group 3 Sires 3YO Classic, went to much-travelled gelding Emain Macha in easy fashion in a 1min56.3sec mile rate for 2240m. THREE Eagles fantastic strike rate as a broodmare has continued with David Aiken’s exciting juvenile Higherthananeagle. The son of Mach Three was a certainty beaten on debut when he ran second after an early gallop, then he won as he liked at Ballarat last Wednesday night in a 1min56.1sec mile rate for 1710m. The colt is owned by Kevin and Carol Riseley, who race Lennytheshark and also have a share in Lazarus, among many other star pacers. Higherthananeagle is Three Eagles’ fifth foal to race and all have been winners, most notably former top young pacer Fly Like An Eagle – also by Mach Three – who posted 19 wins and earned $699,419. Her other foals include the ill-fated but gifted filly Three Squared (two wins, $62,045) and current NSW open-class pacer Mach Doro, who boasts 15 wins and $161,086 in earnings. YOUNG trainer Kyle Harper must often wonder how good Bettors Fire could have been. The eight-year-old has won 31 races and over $620,000, but so often injuries have interrupted his career at crucial times. Bettors Fire returned from another let-up an simply outclassed a handy field in the free-for-all at Gloucester Park last Friday night. In contrast to so many of his front-running wins, Bettors Fire drew wide, snagged back to last and blew his rivals away with a big sprint from last to first in the final lap to post a 1min55.4sec mile rate for 2130m. DURING last year’s Perth Inter Dominion series champion driver Chris Lewis nominated emerging pacer Im Full Of Excuses as a likely contest for this year’s Inter Dom. The Ross Olivieri-trained former Kiwi was roaring through the grades. Im Full Of Excuses, raced by Merv and Meg Butterworth, has continued to impress since. He made it 10 wins from just 15 starts in WA when he sat without cover – outside classy performer Our Jimmy Johnstone – and smashed the clock easily winning the Harvey Cup at Bunbury last Saturday night. His mile rate was a slick 1min56.1sec for the long 2569m.   Adam Hamilton

Brilliant harness racing colt Mitch Maguire is in dazzling form and he looks a certainty in the $50,000 Intersport Slater Gartrell Western Gateway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. A victory would enable leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond to end the winning sequence of ace trainer Gary Hall sen. who has dominated the group 2 classic in recent years. Making the powerful Bond camp’s challenge for supremacy far easier was the random barrier draw, which saw Mitch Maguire gaining the prized No. 1 barrier in the 2536m event, with his classy stablemate Rock Diamonds drawing favourably at barrier two. The draw did the Hall stable no favours, with El Barcelona drawing out wide at No. 8 on the front line and Herrick Roosevelt even worse off at No. 9. Ryan Warwick, enjoying his best season in the sulky, returns refreshed from a holiday in Bali and he should make every post a winner by setting the pace with the New Zealand-bred Mitch Maguire. Ryan Bell will handle Rock Diamonds, who was most impressive in a WA Derby prelude last Friday night when he started from barrier five and was ninth at the bell before finishing with a powerful burst to be third behind Mitch Maguire, who gave a commanding performance from barrier two in setting the pace and sprinting over the final quarters in 27.8sec. and 28.4sec. to defeat Herrick Roosevelt by just under three lengths at a 1.54.9 rate over the 2130m journey. Greg Bond, a part-owner of Mitch Maguire and Rock Diamonds, prepared Ohokas Bondy for his win in the 2011 Western Gateway Pace, after his runner Mister Odds On, the 9/4 favourite, had finished second to Lively Royce in 2008. Hall sen., who trained and drove The Falcon Strike for his Western Gateway win over Knightwatchman in 2001, has trained the past four winners of the classic, scoring with Alta Christiano (2013), Elegant Christian (2014), Beaudiene Boaz (2015) and Chicago Bull (2016). This winning streak followed immediately after the Hall-trained Gracias Para Nada had finished second to Im Victorious in the 2012 Western Gateway.      Mitch Maguire, a winner at two of his seven starts as a two-year-old in New Zealand, has flourished in Western Australia, with his ten starts in the State producing nine wins and a second placing. Rock Diamonds, a Rocknroll Hanover colt, has had 11 starts in WA for eight wins and two placings. Colin Brown, who drove Mitch Maguire last Friday night in the absence of Warwick, was full of praise for the Sportswriter colt, saying: “He did it very easily and was really untapped. About a thousand metres out he started to crank up. He knew it was game on and he just got stronger and stronger.” The inexperienced Herrick Roosevelt will be driven by Gary Hall jun. on Friday night when his elder brother Clint will handle El Barcelona. Herrick Roosevelt reappeared last Friday night after an absence of three months and he performed in fine style, working in the breeze before fighting on grimly to be second to Mitch Maguire. His only previous runs were in December when he was untroubled to win at Bunbury and Gloucester Park. El Barcelona has raced ten times for four wins and five placings. He has not raced since he ran on from the one-out, one-back position to finish second to Im Rockaria at Gloucester Park on January 13. He warmed up for Friday night’s assignment with a strong performance in a 2185m trial at Byford on Sunday morning when he set the pace and won by seven lengths from Beach Goddess, rating 1.58.9. The improving Lord Willoughby will start from barrier two on the back line and trainer Ross Olivieri will be hoping for a victory to provide him with a splendid birthday present the following day. The West Australian-bred Lord Willoughby (by Mach Three) is starting to realise his potential with two wins and a third placing from his past three starts. He had a tough run without cover when a fighting last-start third behind Handsandwheels at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week. He finished strongly to win at his two previous outings. Ken Casellas

Mitch Maguire put up such a remarkable performance to buck the odds and win at Pinjarra last Monday week that he should continue his winning ways by proving the master of his rivals in the $23,000 Milwaukee 18V Fuel Heavy Duty WA Derby Prelude over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Several outstanding three-year-olds will contest Friday night’s event, but Mitch Maguire, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, has won with such authority at his past three starts that he should capitalise on his favourable barrier at No. 2 on the front line and notch his 11th win from 17 starts and his ninth win from ten starts in Western Australia. Colin Brown will handle Mitch Maguire, replacing the suspended Ryan Warwick, who has driven the colt at all of his nine WA outings. At Pinjarra on Monday of last week, Mitch Maguire started off 30m in a 2631m stand. He galloped badly and settled down some 20 lengths behind the early leader. He improved to be eighth at the bell and he sprinted brilliantly 550m from home to burst to the front at the 300m mark and then he coasted to victory at a 1.59 rate. “It was a tremendous run,” said stable driver Ryan Bell. “We clocked him off the video to go his final mile and a half in 2min. 52sec.” Bell said that he did not expect Friday night’s race to be a walk in the park for Mitch Maguire. “He’s got very good gate speed, but so have Im The Best (barrier one) and Herrick Roosevelt (three) and there might be fireworks early.” Bell will drive Mitch Maguire’s stablemate Rock Diamonds from barrier five, for the first time in a race. “It’s a tricky draw and we’ll probably stay out of trouble and do our best work late,” he said. Rock Diamonds has shown excellent promise and has won at eight of his ten starts in WA. Ace trainer Gary Hall sen. Will be represented by Herrick Roosevelt, who has made most of the running to win easily at his only two starts --- at Bunbury and Gloucester Park in December. He is favourably drawn at barrier three on the front line and will be driven by Clint Hall. Gary Hall jun. will continue as the driver of the Michael Brennan-trained Im Rockaria, who has won at ten of his 17 starts and is awkwardly drawn at barrier seven. Kim Prentice will drive Mustang Bart, a newcomer from Victoria who has drawn the inside of the back line for his WA debut for Victorian trainer Gary Barton. Mustang Bart has had 14 starts for three wins in Victoria and one in New South Wales.   Ken Casellas

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