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Egerton-Green in elite company Sports Package, making only her third appearance at Gloucester Park, maintained breeder-owner-trainer Terry Ferguson’s happy knack of scoring upset wins in close finishes with outsiders when Dylan Egerton-Green drove Sports Package to victory in the $120,000 WA Oaks on Friday night. Ferguson’s previous group 1 success was with $27.70 roughie Cimorene (a full-sister to Sports Package) who beat the $1.10 favourite Miss Sangrial by a shorty half-head in the $100,000 Diamond Classic in June 2017. Sports Package, an $18.40 chance from the prized No. 1 barrier, finished fast to snatch victory by a half-neck from the $1.50 favourite Double Expresso to elevate Egerton-Green into elite company. A month earlier Egerton-Green brought $7.50 chance Patronus Star home with a well-timed burst to win the WA Derby, and now he becomes just the fourth reinsman in the 53-year history of the Oaks to win the Derby-Oaks double in the same year. The feat has also been achieved by Rod Chambers with Whitbys Miss Penny winning both feature events for three-year-olds in 1991, Chris Lewis scoring with In The Force (Derby) and Sheer Royalty (Oaks) in 2009 and Gary Hall jnr winning with Beaudiene Boaz (Derby) and Major Reality (Oaks) in 2015. Sports Package went into Friday night’s classic with excellent credentials. At her previous outing she had run on to snatch a short half-head victory over Blue Chip Adda in the WA Country Oaks at Bunbury, and four starts before that she had scored at $81, beating My Sweet Deal by a short half-head at Gloucester Park.  My Sweet Deal was smartest into stride from the No. 2 barrier on Friday night and got a half-length in front of Sports Package but was unable to cross to the front. Double Expresso began speedily from barrier three before Chris Lewis was able to move her into the one-out, one-back position. About 300m after the start, Lewis took Double Expresso three wide, but Stuart McDonald kicked up in the breeze with My Sweet Deal, forcing Lewis to restrain and, fortunately, was able to regain the one-out, one-back position. Turning into the home straight after a lap Lewis dashed Double Expresso forward again, three wide, to wrest the lead from Sports Package at the winning post. Tiffany Rose then surged forward from eighth to assume the breeze position. Egerton-Green remained cool and calm when he was under lock and key down the back straight in the final circuit. Then he was able to ease off the pegs about 230m from home when Tiffany Rose began to wilt. Sports Package sprinted strongly and took the lead in the final couple of strides to win at a 1.56.9 rate to equal the race record recorded by Maczaffair in 2017. The final quarters were run in 28.4sec. and 28.9sec. Watch the race here. Intheskyrocket, who raced in seventh position on the pegs, finished fast along the inside to just deprive Star Fromthepalace third place. My Sweet Deal faded badly to finish a distant last. Sports Package, by American sire Sportswriter, now has earned $125,407 from seven wins and four placings from 15 starts. She was bred by the 70-year-old Ferguson from his Northern Luck mare Ultimate Package, who raced 45 times for five wins (three at Albany and one each at Kalgoorlie and Gloucester Park) for stakes of $29,216. Ultimate Package’s first foal Cimorene earned $117,191 from four wins and 11 placings from 38 starts, and her second foal Bettor Pack It (who set the pace and finished third behind Semiramide in the Race For Roses on Friday night, has had 53 starts for eight wins, 13 placings and $64,337 in prizemoney. Ultimate Package is out of Saabrina, a winner of six races, whose dam Soky’s Number produced 11 winners, including Saab (63 starts for 21 wins, 18 placings and $577,197), Talladega (18 wins and $411,680) and Saabella (17 wins and $205,745).   Semiramide ends losing run of 23 New Zealand-bred mare Semiramide celebrated her first appearance in a stand by scoring a narrow victory in the $24,000 Laurie Kennedy Race For Roses over 2503m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Her last-stride triumph by a short half-head over Delightfulreaction ended a 12-month drought and a losing sequence of 23. Driven patiently by Gary Hall jnr three back on the pegs in third place, Semiramide, an outsider at $23.20, finished fast to deprive the Aiden de Campo trained and driven Delightfulreaction ($6.50) of victory by a short half-head. Delightfulreaction, also having her first start in a stand, raced in fifth place on the pegs in an Indian file first half of the field before de Campo got the four-year-old off the pegs 750m from home. This gave Miss Sangrial, the 40m backmarker, an ideal trail. But Miss Sangrial failed to respond to the challenge and finished a disappointing tenth. Bettor Pack It ($14) set the pace and held on to finish third, with Delightfull an excellent fourth after galloping at the start and coming from ninth at the bell. Semiramide, named after an opera by Gioachino Rossini, was prepared by Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen in New Zealand for nine starts for one win and three placings before being purchased by Peter Ensel. The mare is the second foal out of the Victorian-bred mare La Fenice, who was unplaced at four Victorian country starts as a two and three-year-old in 2008 and 2009 before being retired. Semiramide’s great granddam Tuapeka Star produced champion millionaire pacer Iraklis, who won at 22 of his 51 starts. Semiramide has had four trainers in WA for her six wins and 13 places from 47 starts in the State. On Friday night she was having her fifth start for Hopeland trainer Giles Inwood, who welcomed her into his stables just five weeks ago.   Iceenothink’s WA links South Australian-bred gelding Iceenothink, who caused a major upset at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he beat champion Chicago Bull in the Better Your Club With TABtouch Pace, has strong links with Western Australia. By champion sire Mach Three, Iceenothink’s dam Decethree Lombo was bred in WA and had her first two starts for unplaced efforts as a two-year-old at Gloucester Park early in 1996 before moving to Victoria where she had five starts before being retired. She won at her final two appearances in minor $3000 events in Albury. Iceenothink is the 14TH foal out of Decethree Lombo and has earned $206,323 from 17 wins and 17 placings from 56 starts. He won at nine of 18 starts in Victoria, was unplaced at one start in Queensland and now has raced 37 times for trainer Ross Olivieri in WA for eight wins and 11 placings.  Decethree Lombo has excelled as a broodmare and has produced 11 winners of 136 races, including her first foal, Lombo Skyrider, who had a remarkable 321 starts for 63 wins, 84 placings and $841,611 in stakes. Decethree Lombo is out of Misty Maiden, who had 37 starts for 12 wins, 11 placings and $245,449 as a two and three-year-old in 1990 and 1991-92. She was retired after winning the Australian Derby at Albion Park in July 1992 when she beat New Zealand colt Bonamax by a nose. Two starts before that Misty Maiden won the $250,000 El Dorado at Moonee Valley. She inherited much of her ability from her dam Smooth Gale, who won at 14 of her 45 starts. Iceenothink was a $10 chance from the No. 1 barrier on Friday night and, driven by Mitch Miller, she enjoyed a perfect passage behind the pacemaker Im Soxy. Chicago Bull, the $1.32 favourite from the outside barrier in the field of nine, was restrained to last before Gary Hall jnr sent him forward, three wide after about 550m to move outside the pacemaker Im Soxy 1200m from home. He took a narrow lead on the home turn but failed to withstand Iceenothink’s powerful finishing burst which took him to the front in the final couple of strides. The winning margin was a half-length and Iceenothink rated 1.55.7 after the final three quarters were run in 28.6sec., 28.4sec. and 27.8sec.   Double to Cortopassi In-form reinsman Aldo Cortopassi drove with supreme confidence to land Pradas Ideal Dahling an effortless winner in the 2130m TABtouch Giddy Up Premium Form Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. This completed a double for Cortopassi, who had won the previous event, the Download The TABtouch App Today Pace, with the speedy Marquisard for West Swan trainer Craig Abercromby. Pradas Ideal Dahling, a seven-year-old New Zealand-bred gelding, trained in Collie by Wayne Justins, was a $4.60 chance from barrier six. Cortopassi sent the gelding forward from the start and was quite content to allow him to travel comfortably in the breeze while the $3.60 chance Folsom Prison set the pace with the $2.45 favourite Our Rhythm N Blues in the box seat, one-out and one-back. Pradas Ideal Dahling coasted to the front 260m from home and held on stoutly to beat Our Rhythm N Blues by just under a length at a 1.57 rate, with final quarters of 28.9sec. and 27.9sec. This was Pradas Ideal Dahling’s third run after a spell and he looks set for a profitable campaign. Marquisard was an $8.50 chance from barrier three in the previous event in which Cortopassi was able to get to the early lead, despite a spirited four-wide early effort from Sightseeing Anvil from the No. 4 barrier. Marquisard, a five-year-old gelding by Mach Three, carried too many guns for his rivals when he sprinted the final 800m in 56.8sec. and defeated the $3.30 favourite Brookies Jet by just over two lengths at a 1.56.7 rate. This ended a losing sequence of 14 by Marquisard, who now has raced 90 times for 15 wins and 13 placings.   Raksjameson makes it two from two Recent arrival Raksjameson, who arrived in WA from New Zealand just over a month ago, showed a touch of class when he notched his second win from two appearances in the State with a convincing all-the-way victory in the 2130m Off The Track WA Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. From barrier two, Raksjameson, the $2.40 favourite, was beaten for early pace by $9 chance Bee Jays Boy. But Gary Hall jnr was able to withstand the strong early challenge from Bee Jays Boy, who got three-quarters of a length in front but was unable to cross to the lead. Hall then was able to get Raksjameson to relax with a leisurely lead time of 38.1sec. and casual opening quarters of 32.6sec. and 31.6sec. before sprinting over the final 400m sections in 28.5sec. and 27sec. to win by 2m from stablemate Copy N Pace, who dashed forward in the first lap to work in the breeze. Raksjameson, who won easily at Pinjarra four days earlier, appears to have the ability to develop into a handy candidate for the rich four-year-old classics next season under the care of champion trainer Gary Hall snr. By American stallion Hes Watching, Raksjameson raced six times in New Zealand as a three-year-old for two seconds and one third placing.   Bee Seventeen shines for fifth trainer Baldivis trainer Cliff Woodworth is enjoying his experience of preparing five-year-old gelding Bee Seventeen, who produced a typical strong finishing burst to win the 2536m Better Your Industry With TABtouch Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Woodworth is the fifth trainer to prepare the Mr Aviator pacer, who entered his stables mid last November and now has raced 19 times for him for three wins and four placings. From the No. 1 barrier on Friday night Bee Seventeen was second favourite at $3.60 who led early before Chris Voak opted to take the sit behind Valbonne after 120m. Valbonne bowled along in front, with the $3.20 favourite Eloquent Mach in the breeze. Bee Seventeen burst to the front with 55m to travel and won by a length from Valbonne, rating a smart 1.56.3, with Jack William fighting on to be a well-beaten third. Eloquent Mach, a star three-year-old last season, faded badly to finish ninth, more than ten lengths behind the winner. Bee Seventeen, whose dam Perform Some Magic was bred in WA, did all her racing in Victoria for eight wins and 22 placings for earnings of $36,708. Be Seventeen is related to smart WA mare Boobiana, who won many races in the 1970s. Bee Seventeen now has had 94 starts for 13 wins (eight at Gloucester Park) and 19 placings for earnings of $113,758.   The Buckeye Bullet overcomes problem Smart four-year-old The Buckeye Bullet overcame a gear malfunction before winning The Better Your Bet With TABtouch Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The deafeners failed to release, but this did not prove to be a setback as the New Zealand-bred gelding coasted to a comfortable 5m victory over Balcatherine after sprinting the final 800m of the 2536mn event in 55.3sec. The Buckeye Bullet, driven by leading reinsman Ryan Warwick for leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, was hot favourite at $1.30 who gave his backers no worries as he straight to the front from the No. 2 barrier and dictated the terms of the race. By American stallion Well Said, The Buckeye Bullet is the 14TH foal out of New Zealand-bred mare Titan Bloss, who won at five of her 21 starts. The Buckeye Bullet is a half-brother to Toulouse Lautrec, who won 20 races in Victoria and eight in South Australia in a career of 218 starts for 29 wins, 62 placings and $257,126 in stakes. The Buckeye Bullet won once (at Addington) from two starts in New Zealand and he now boats an imposing record in WA of 17 starts for nine wins and five placings.   Hall’s splendid record Champion reinsman Gary Hall jnr is forging quite an impressive association with the Justin Prentice-trained four-year-old Always An Honour. Hall set the pace with Always An Honour, the $2.70 favourite for the Community TAB Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night when the gelding held on to win from the fast-finishing Talkerup and Bletchley Park at a 1.57.8 rate over 2130m. This took Hall’s record behind Always An Honour to 14 drives for nine wins and one third placing. It also took the mare’s record for the Solid Gold Standardbreds, managed by John Lohman, to 25 starts for 12 wins and four placings for earnings of $95,485. Always An Honour is the seventh foal out of the unraced Village Jasper mare She Annie, who also has produced Alleluia, who has had 187 starts for 35 wins, 61 placings and $582,082 in stakes. Alleluia, who finished seventh behind Gatecrasher at Menangle last Saturday, finished second to Bling It On in the Queensland Derby at Albion Park in July 2014 and was third behind Let It Ride in the group 1 Blacks A Fake Championship in July 2018.    Soldier Of Fortune, a full-brother to Alleluia and Always An Honour, notched his 17TH victory when he beat Blue Moon Rising in a Free-For-All at Albion Park on April 17 this year. A half-brother Kingsman had ten WA starts in 2018 for two Gloucester Park wins in $7000 events.   Bettor Be Oscar hat-trick Capel trainer-reinsman Aiden de Campo has four-year-old Bettor Be Oscar firing in fine style and the WA-bred gelding completed a winning hat-trick when he scored a convincing victory over the fast-finishing pair of Machlani and Parisian Partygirl in the 2536m TABtouch Replays Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Bettor Be Oscar ($3.40) began speedily from barrier six and burst to the front after 300m before bowling along in front and giving his rivals little chance when he sped over the third quarter of the final mile in 27.8sec. Sir Galahad ($3.60) raced wide early and then in the breeze before fighting on to finish fourth. Taroona Bromac (also a well-fancied $3.60 chance) finished fifth. From out wide at barrier eight Taroona Bromac raced in eighth place before starting a three-wide move at the bell which took him to third at the 500m mark. But he faded to finish fifth.   Ken Casellas

Raksjameson, unsuccessful at six starts in New Zealand, impressed with a stylish victory at his Australian debut at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon and should celebrate his first appearance at Gloucester Park by winning the final event, the Off The Track WA Pace over 2130m on Friday night. Produced in fine fettle by ace trainer Gary Hall Snr, Raksjameson, a three-year-old by American sire Hes Watching, dashed to an early lead at Pinjarra, set the pace and sprinted over the final 800m in 56.8sec. to win easily from Terror In Texas and Sidstrepo. From the No. 2 barrier on the front line on Friday night, Gary Hall Jnr is expected to take full advantage of the gelding’s excellent gate speed. However, getting straight to the front is unlikely to be a mere formality because Sidstrepo (barrier one), Bee Jays Boy (three) and Real Rocket (four) all possess sparkling gate speed. Apart from those four runners, the other five horses in the field are in good form and this should prove a good measuring stick for Raksjameson, who did not race as a two-year-old and whose six starts in New Zealand this season produced two seconds and a third placing. The Hall stable will have an excellent second-string runner in Copy N Pace, who will be driven by Stuart McDonald from the No. 6 barrier. Copy N Pace won for the third time from nine starts when he started from the outside barrier (No. 9), raced three wide early and in the breeze before taking the lead 220m from home and winning at a 1.58.5 rate from Lucky Sensation over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening. An interesting runner in Friday night’s event will be the Kristy Elson-trained Real Rocket, who has impressed at his first four starts with two wins and a second at Pinjarra and a last-start easy win over Galante and Caveman at Gloucester Park. He will be driven for the first time by Chris Voak, who replaced Aiden de Campo, who is committed to handle his own nomination Keptain Courageous, the sole runner on the back line. The Hall stable will be looking for champion Chicago Bull to return to the winning list after his fighting third behind Ocean Ridge and Shockwave in the Memorial Day Stakes over 2536m last Friday night. Chicago Bull, a narrow first-up winner over El Jacko two starts ago, will start from the outside barrier in a field of nine in the 2130m Better Your Club With TABtouch Pace. El Jacko (barrier seven) is likely to be one of Chicago Bull’s most serious rivals, along with As Happy As Larry and Iceenothink. El Jacko, trained by Greg and Skye Bond and to be driven by Ryan Warwick, led when he won from Im Soxy and Galactic Star two starts ago. The Bonds and Warwick have bright prospects of opening the program on a winning note with The Buckeye Bullet, who will be strongly fancied from the favourable No. 2 barrier on the front line in the Better Your bet With TABtouch Pace over 2536m.   Ken Casellas

Talented New South Wales-bred five-year-old Miss Sangrial is the most experienced standing-start performer in the $24,000 Laurie Kennedy Race For Roses, a 2503m stand at Gloucester Park on Friday night, and she has bright prospects of becoming the first dual winner of this event for harness racing mares in the 24-year history of the race. Miss Sangrial, prepared by Michael Brennan and driven by Michael Grantham, is the backmarker off 40 metres, but she has the class to overcome this significant disadvantage. She started off the 20m mark in last year’s Race For Roses in which she emerged triumphant by a head over Beaudiene Beach Babe. She dashed to the front after 600m and then took the sit behind Our Angel of Harlem 350m later before obtaining an inside run to take the lead 500m from home. She fought on doggedly to hold the strong-finishing Beaudiene Beach Babe at bay. Miss Sangrial, who has earned $241,831 from 19 wins and 20 placings from 67 starts, has raced 11 times in stands for three wins and three placings. She warmed up for this week’s feature event in grand style with superb efforts in stands at her past two outings. Two starts ago, on April 9 Miss Sangrial began from 30m in the 2902m Easter Cup and was 11TH and last on the pegs at the bell before finishing strongly to be fifth behind As Happy As Larry. Then, last Friday night she again started off 30m and impressed in finishing strongly from ninth at the bell to be second to the pacemaker The Buckeye Bullet. Also looming as strong prospects in this week’s event are New Zealand-bred four-year-olds Countess Grace and Arma Indie. Neither mare has contested a standing-start event. But, with a safe start, each has definite winning prospects. Countess Grace should prove to be a good each-way value bet from barrier three on the front line. She will be driven by Dylan Egerton-Green, who replaces Grantham, who drove the mare when she caught the eye last Friday night by surging home from 11TH at the bell to finish fourth behind Millwood Molly over 2130m when the final 800m was covered in 56.5sec. Countess Grace qualified to contest a standing-start event when she began safely in a 2470m trial at Wanneroo on April 15. The trial was contested by two pacers and Countess Grace finished a 1m second to Arma Indie (who also qualified to run in stands). Apart from Countess Grace and Arma Indie, three other runners, Delightfull, Delightfulreaction and Semiramide, will be making their first appearance in a standing-start event. Pick My Pocket and Madame Meilland, both off 20m, each has had only one start in a stand when each mare galloped at the start and was unplaced. Countess Grace and Arma Indie are sure to provide Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed with an excellent chance of victory. Suvaljko has given punters a good lead by electing to handle Arma Indie in preference to in-form mares Vivere Damore and Delightfull. Vivere Damore will be driven by Peter Tilbrook and recent placings at Pinjarra behind Forgotten Highway and Bettor Copagoodone have been encouraging. Delightfull, bred, owned and trained by Kevin Charles, impressed at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon when she worked hard without cover before winning from the fast-finishing Camilla.  Ross Olivieri, who will be represented by Madame Meilland (Chris Lewis), has the best record in the Race For Roses, winning the event with Yippy Yi Yo in 1998, Arctic Fire (2011), Selkie (2014) and Sheer Rocknroll (2017). Lewis has been the successful driver four times with Lady De Beau (2007), Arctic Fire, Selkie and Sheer Rocknroll.   Ken Casellas

Thirty-eight years ago Ross Olivieri left Perth and moved to Sydney, taking with him three-year-old pacer Tebaldi, a filly he prepared and drove to victory in the 1982 New South Wales Oaks at Harold Park to achieve his first Group 1 success. Tebaldi had given Olivieri his final winner in Western Australia (at York in August 1981), and only his sixth victory in a fledging career as a trainer before heading east. Olivieri then notched two more Group 1 successes as a trainer when Gliding Princess, driven by Wayne Hancock, won the NSW Derby in March 1983 and the NSW Oaks in May that year when driven by Greg Tsolakis. Olivieri returned to Western Australia in 1990 after enjoying considerable success as a trainer in New South Wales and New Zealand and he has headed the WA trainers’ premiership table eight times. He has also notched another 26 Group 1 victories, including a WA Pacing Cup (Saab), Fremantle Cups with Speedy Cheval and John Albert, an Australian Pacing Championship with Ima Spicey Lombo, the WA Derby with Saab, Talladega, Argent Treasure and Crombie, the Golden Nugget with Saab and Dasher VC, the Pearl with Lombo Laredo and Argent Treasure, and the Golden Slipper with Harry Gunn, Saab, Talladega and Western Cullen. One of the few Group 1 feature events in WA that has eluded Olivieri is the WA Oaks and he should right that wrong by winning the $120,000 TABtouch WA Oaks over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night with his outstanding filly Double Expresso. Double Expresso, who has given Olivieri his two most recent Group 1 victories (in the Westbred Classic and the Sales Classic for two-year-old fillies last season), will be handled by champion reinsman Chris Lewis, who has combined with Olivieri in 23 of his 29 Group 1 triumphs. Double Expresso, purchased as a yearling for $22,000, has won at 12 of her 16 starts for earnings of $282,884 and is favourably drawn at barrier three on the front line. Lewis is expected to send Double Expresso forward at the start and the filly appeals as the likely pacemaker and should prove too strong for her 11 rivals. Lewis has won the WA Oaks four times as a driver behind Jamcaro (1988), Showtime Franco (1996), Sheer Royalty (2009) and Sensational Gabby (2012). Double Expresso warmed up for this week’s assignment in grand fashion, setting the pace and sprinting over the final 800m in 55.8sec. in winning, unextended, from smart geldings Gardys Legacy and Valentines Brook at a 1.56.2 rate over 2130m last Friday week. The New Zealand-bred filly My Sweet Deal, trained in Collie by her owner David Hunter, looms as a possible danger to Double Expresso, particularly after drawing the No. 2 barrier. She was an all-the-way winner over 2130m at a 1.58.8 rate three starts ago, but her major strength has always been as a brilliant sit-sprinter. My Sweet Deal, whose 19 starts have produced eight wins, eight seconds, one third, one fourth and a tenth, will be handled by Stuart McDonald, who has driven her in all of her starts. She rattled home from seventh at the bell when an excellent second to the pacemaker Fifty Five Reborn. Fifty Five Reborn, trained and driven by Colin Brown, shows good promise and has won at five of her 12 starts. But she is awkwardly drawn at barrier six on Friday night, with Olivieri’s second string Run For Mercy (Chris Voak), similarly facing a tough task at barrier seven. Byford trainer Peter Anderson has timed Star Fromthepalace’s Oaks preparation perfectly and the filly to be driven by Aldo Cortopassi should be prominent throughout after drawing the inside of the back line. Star Fromthepalace notched her fifth win with a commanding all-the-way victory at a 1.56.6 rate over 2130m last Friday night. Cortopassi trained and drove the speedy Artemis Belle to an easy victory in the 2011 WA Oaks. Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed has an excellent record in the Oaks, having been successful with Pharosan in 2000, Sheer Royalty (2009), Libertybelle Midfrew (2014) and Maczaffair (2017). He will be pinning his faith on the talented New Zealand-bred filly Tiffany Rose, a winner at six of her 18 starts. Tiffany Rose, to be driven by Shannon Suvaljko from barrier four, was an all-the-way winner over 2130m on Tuesday of last week. Suvaljko drove Libertybelle Midfrew and Maczaffair to their very easy Oaks victories when both fillies started at 10/1 on and were untroubled to lead throughout. Leading reinsman Ryan Warwick has chosen to drive outsider Intheskyrocket in preference to the Ian Foley-trained Misstiano, who will start out wide at barrier eight with Gary Hall Jnr in the sulky. Hall has won the Oaks with Miss Holmes (2004) and Major Reality (2015).   Ken Casellas

Ken Casellas reviews the harness racing action from Gloucester Park on the 24th April 2020 Ocean Ridge upsets stars Champion trainers Greg and Skye Bond have always been great admirers of There’s A Dancer, a modest performer on the racetrack in New Zealand, and their judgment and faith in her as a broodmare was further vindicated when Ocean Ridge stormed home to beat star pacers Shockwave and Chicago Bull in the Perth Plasterboard Centre Memorial Day Stakes at Gloucester Park on Friday night. They train and own in partnership with Rob and Anne Gartrell, Ocean Ridge, a highly-promising New Zealand-bred gelding who has won at ten of his 25 starts in Western Australia. Ocean Ridge is the third foal out of the Falcon Seelster mare There’s A Dancer (who managed just four wins from 32 starts) and he has the potential to figure prominently in the rich Fremantle Cup and WA Pacing Cup early next year. Watch the video replay here. The Bonds also purchased There’s A Dancer’s first two foals, Bracken Ridge and McClinchie. Bracken Ridge won at three of his 12 starts in WA in 2015 and 2016, scoring at Kellerberrin, Gloucester Park and Narrogin, and McClinchie had 26 starts for the Bonds for ten wins and eight placings before being sold to America.   A masterly drive by leading reinsman Ryan Warwick paved the way for Ocean Ridge’s surprise victory at $20.30 over Shockwave ($2.50) and Chicago Bull ($2.05), brilliant pacers who were widely predicted to fight out the finish of the 2536m event. Ocean Ridge started from the inside of the back line and Warwick drove him patiently, three back on the inside, behind pegs runners Talktomeurmattjesty and Our Jimmy Johnstone. Halfway down the back straight in the final circuit Ocean Ridge was hopelessly hemmed in, seemingly with nowhere to go. But Warwick, almost miraculously was able to ease the gelding off the pegs 470m from home to follow Chicago Bull, who was charging forward. Chicago Bull got to the front with about 300m to travel before being overtaken on the home turn by Shockwave, who then had Ocean Ridge on his back. Ocean Ridge responded grandly to Warwick’s urgings and he got up in the final couple of strides to beat Shockwave by a head, rating 1.55.4, with the final 400m being covered in a slick 27.7sec. Our Jimmy Johnstone fought on to finish fourth. He led for the first 700m before Kyle Harper sent the freewheeling Talktomeurmattjesty to the front. Chicago Bull, from barrier seven, was trapped three wide in the early stages before Gary Hall jnr restrained him to last in the field of twelve, 50 metres from the leaders. Chicago Bull dashed forward, three wide, at the 1400m, a move which flushed out Shockwave, who got to the breeze before Chicago Bull passed him at the bell, giving him the one-out, one-back trail. Hall bided his time in the breeze before sending Chicago Bull to the front with 300m to travel. Shockwave then gained the upper hand on the home turn and held his rival at bay in the home straight before being overhauled by the flying Ocean Ridge on the line. An untimely injury forced Ocean Ridge to miss the rich classics for four-year-olds, including the 2018 Golden Nugget, and he was out of action for 14 months. He has made a full recovery and this season his 19 starts have produced six wins, four seconds and a third placing. He showed abundant early promise in New Zealand, finishing third at each of his first three starts as a two-year-old before finishing strongly from last to finish an eye-catching fifth behind Mach Shard and Spankem in the group 1 Young Guns Cardigan Bay Stakes at Alexandra Park.     Lavra Joe poised for stardom Stylish colt Lavra Joe looks set for stardom after outclassing his rivals in the $40,000 Champagne Classic for two-year-olds at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Favourite at $1.30 from the No. barrier, Lavra Joe gave champion horseman Chris Lewis an armchair drive as he was untroubled to set the pace and career away from his rivals with a final quarter of 27.2sec. to beat Overjoyed by three and a half lengths at a 1.58.8 rate over 2130m. Trained by Greenbushes cattle farmer Ray Jones, Lavra Joe will contest three group 1 events over the next three months, providing he maintains his fitness and form. At this stage he looks the testing material in the Pearl on June 12, the Westbred Classic on June 26 and the Golden Slipper on July 10. Jones, who has always had a good eye for a young horse, was highly impressed when he watched Lavra Joe as a yearling prancing around in a paddock at breeder Kevin Charles’ property last year. The colt was passed in at the 2019 WA yearling sale when he failed to reach his reserve price of $25,000 and then Jones was able to negotiate with Charles and buy the colt by American stallion Roll With Joe for $22,500. Already Lavra Joe, who is raced by Jones and his partner Sayjai Sakaew, has earned $47,070 from four wins and two third placings from eight starts. His easy victory gave Lewis a record eighth success in the Champagne Classic, following wins with Pardon Me Boys (1987), Talladega (1999), Wirrpunda (2001), All Four Firing (2002), Slick Operator (2003), David Hercules (2009) and Mister Jadore (2013).   The Buckeye Bullet completes a Bond treble Leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond completed a winning treble at Gloucester Park on Friday night when The Buckeye Bullet overcame a scratchy start at the stand to score an easy victory in the 2503m Catalano Truck And Equipment Handicap. The Bonds had earlier been successful with Kingslayer and Ocean Ridge and they now hold an unassailable lead on the WA trainers’ premiership table with 131 wins, well ahead of Ross Olivieri (73), Gary Hall snr (63), Justin Prentice (54) and Aiden de Campo (53). The Buckeye Bullet, favourite at $2.80 and driven by Dylan Egerton-Green, galloped for three or five strides and lost three lengths. But he quickly made up the lost ground and dashed past On My Oath and into the lead after 350m. From then it was a cakewalk for The Buckeye Bullet, who coasted home to win by 7m from the fast-finishing Miss Sangrial ($9) who started off the 30m mark and improved from ninth at the bell. The victory gave Egerton-Green his 59TH winner for the season. Four-year-old The Buckeye Bullet now has made four appearances in stands for three wins and a second. After a win and a placing from two starts in New Zealand the son of American sire Well Said has raced 16 times in Western Australia for eight wins and five placings. He is the 14TH foal out of New Zealand mare Titan Bloss. The Bird Dance, a four-year-old stablemate of The Buckeye Bullet, failed in his first appearance in a stand, starting off the 20m mark and finishing eighth after racing in eighth position and out wide in the final lap. Former Victorian performer GI Joe finished last at his WA debut. He was trapped four wide early, was restrained to the rear, paced roughly and moved up to the breeze after just over a lap before fading in the final circuit.   Millwood Molly a Breeders Stakes prospect Millwood Molly, a sparingly-raced seven-year-old, gave a bold frontrunning display to win the Garrard’s Horse And Hound Johnson final at Gloucester Park on Friday night and showed that she would be a leading candidate for the $40,000 WASBA Breeders Stakes next Friday week. Driven by her trainer Aiden de Campo, Millwood Molly, second fancy at $3.30, sped straight to the front, while one of her chief rivals and last-start winner Typhoon Tiff ($5.50) broke in the early stages and dropped back to the rear. Balcatherine, the $2.90 favourite, started from the back line and was urged forward, three wide and into the breeze after 550m before Pick My Pocket sustained a three-wide burst to assume the breeze position 250m later. Balcatherine vacated the one-out, one-back position 520m from home to issue a three-wide challenge. She fought on determinedly to finish second, with Has No Fear ($31) coming from three back on the pegs to be third, ahead of Countess Grace, who finished solidly from last on the pegs at the bell. Dracarys fought on, out six wide, to finish seventh. The New Zealand-bred Millwood Molly, who rated 1.56.9, has earned $113,127 from 11 wins and ten placings from 37 starts.   Star Fromthepalace ready to go Talented filly Star Fromthepalace, who is related to former champion millionaire pacers Chokin and Changeover, is ready to fire in the $150,000 WA Oaks next Friday night after another dashing victory at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Star Fromthepalace, the $1.60 favourite for Byford trainer Peter Anderson and reinsman Aldo Cortopassi, set a strong pace and won convincingly from rank outsiders Missbillynotsilly ($101) and Rockin The Trend ($151), covering the 2130m in 2min.34.3sec. and rating 1.56.6. This compared favourably with another Oaks candidate Fifty Five Reborn, who won over 2130m with a gross time of 2min. 36.7sec. (a 1.58.4 rate) in an earlier event on Friday night. Star Fromthepalace, by Follow The Stars, is out of the unraced mare From The Palace and now has had 24 starts for five wins, nine placings and earnings of $68,665. Star Fromthepalace was not challenged at any stage as she bowled along in front and won by one and a half lengths. The unlucky runner was Blockjorg ($17), who finished fourth after enjoying no luck at all. After starting out wide at barrier seven, Blockjorg settled at the rear and was seventh at the bell before being badly hampered for room in the back straight. She was last at the 500m mark and did not get clear until late when she finished fast. Alta Louisa, second favourite at $3 from the outside barrier at No. 9, never got into the race. She was sixth, three wide, at the bell and finished sixth.   Oaks the target for Fifty Five Reborn Banjup trainer-reinsman Colin Brown has Fifty Five Reborn fit and firing and ready for a strong performance in the $150,000 WA Oaks next Friday night.  The WA-bred filly was all the rage as the $1.40 favourite for the 2130m Specialised Equipment Funding Solutions Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night when she led from the No. 1 barrier, and after a smart lead time of 36.9sec. was able to amble through the first quarters of the final mile in 32.1sec. and 31.7sec. before giving her rivals little chance by speeding over the final 400m sections in 28.6sec. and 27.5sec. Fifty Five Reborn was not extended in winning by one and a half lengths from the fast-finishing My Sweet Deal ($12), with a head to Intheskyrocket ($8.50) in third place. My Sweet Deal maintained her consistent form and did well to finish solidly from seventh at the bell. Intheskyrocket enjoyed a perfect sit behind the pacemaker throughout. Fifty Five Reborn, by Renaissance Man and the first foal out of the unraced mare Arma Fifty Five, has had 12 starts for five wins and two seconds for $59,003 in prizemoney.   Six in a row for Papinik Lightly-raced four-year-old Papinik continued on his winning ways and chalked up his sixth win in a row when he finished full of running to defeat the pacemaker Roman Art in the TABtouch Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Given a perfect passage in the one-out, one-back position by Mitch Miller, the Ross Olivieri-trained Papinik burst to the front on the home turn to win by two metres, rating 1.58.2. Miller now has driven Papinik three times for three wins and the event billed as a match race between the Advance Attack gelding and Roman Art, certainly developed into a battle between the only four-year-olds in the race. Roman Art, who also went into the race with a string of five successive victories, was a $3.40 chance from the No. 1 barrier, with Papinik, from barrier two, the $2.40 favourite. Chris Voak, who had driven Papinik to four victories, was able to defy an early challenge for the lead from Carramar Arapaho, and the Victor Bryers-trained Roman Art was able to stroll through the lead time in a casual 38.7sec. and the opening quarter in a slow 32.4sec. Roman Art then sprinted the third quarter in a swift 27.3sec. and covered the final 400m in 27.9sec. But he was no match for the fast-finishing Papinik, who now has raced only nine times for seven wins and two thirds for earnings of $35,594. Papinik is the ninth foal out of Artists Impression, who was retired after one placing from three starts in 2001. Artists Impression has produced seven winners, including Heez On Fire, who earned $287,607 from 20 wins and eight placings from 52 starts. He won the group 2 Westbred Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings in June 2012 and the group 2 San Simeon final in January 2014. He also finished third behind Nowitzki in the Golden Nugget championship in December 2013.   Bettor Be Oscar maintains top form WA-bred four-year-old Bettor Be Oscar maintained his wonderfully consistent form when he proved the master of his older rivals in the 2130m Retravision Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Bettors Delight gelding, trained and driven by Aiden de Campo, has certainly inherited much of the ability of his sire and his dam, Copper Beach Girl, who earned $156,851 from 14 wins and 24 placings. Bettor Be Oscar now has had 44 starts for 12 wins, 21 placings and $99,807 in stakes. Bettor Be Oscar is the second and last foal out of Copper Beach Girl, who died a few years ago. Copper Beach Girl’s first foal was Topless Beach Girl, who managed one win and ten placings from 21 starts in 2015 and 2016. Bettor Be Oscar started from the inside of the back line and was a $5.70 chance, with Mr Kiwi, at his Australian debut, a warm favourite at $1.75. Qtown Rip Roaring led early from barrier one before stablemate Brookies Jet dashed to the front. Mr Kiwi raced wide early before moving into the breeze after about 450m, with Bettor Be Oscar travelling well three back on the pegs. Mr Kiwi broke into a gallop approaching the bell and dropped back to finish a distant last. Bettor Be Oscar forged to the front 300m from home and won at a 1.56.1 rate from the strong-finishing Qtown Rip Roaring, with Marquisard running home solidly to be third.   Sergeant Oats at odds-on    Consistent and reliable WA-bred six-year-old Sergeant Oats was in an unusual position as the $1.80 favourite for the 2130m Westral Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. It was the first time he had started at odds-on since he was at $1.90 when he led and finished second to Golden State at Gloucester Park 26 starts earlier. However, this time he justified the short quote, with Shannon Suvaljko making the most of the coveted No. 1 barrier by setting the pace and scoring a comfortable victory over Soho Thunderstruck, who fought on gamely after following the pacemaker throughout. Sergeant Oats, who rated 1.57 and is part-owned and trained by Courtney Burch, has been a good moneyspinner, earning $141,688 from 12 wins and 17 placings from 51 starts. Suvaljko has formed an excellent association with the gelding and has handled him at seven of his victories.   Kingslayer makes it eight from 12 Lightly-raced New Zealand-bred six-year-old Kingslayer is proving a splendid acquisition for leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond and looks set for many more wins. He improved his record in Western Australia to eight wins and two placings from 12 starts when he gave star reinsman Ryan Warwick an armchair drive on the way to an easy all-the-way victory over Valbonne and Always An Honour in the 2130m Direct Trades Supply Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Warwick took full advantage of the No. 1 barrier by sending Kingslayer, the $2.20 favourite and $1.85 on the fixed market, straight to the front and setting a solid pace before sprinting over the final quarters in 27.8sec. and 28.1sec. Free-For-All performer Im Soxy was dropping back in grade and was a firm second fancy at $2.40. After starting from barrier five and racing three wide early, Im Soxy was restrained by Gary Hall jnr to sixth in the one-wide line. Hall then put Im Soxy into the race by sending him forward to the breeze 1200m from home. But he did not seriously challenge Kingslayer and wilted to finish fourth. Kingslayer, who has earned $77,155 from 12 wins and six placings from 27 starts, is by Christian Cullen and is the first foal out of Bettors Delight mare Millwood Manhattan, who was retired after winning at three of her 19 starts and earning $40,364.   Ken Casellas

Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall Snr is renowned for his ability to produce pacers in top condition for first-up assignments and he is hoping that recent New Zealand arrival Mr Kiwi will make a successful Australian harness racing debut when he contests the Retravision Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Mr Kiwi has not been produced at trials and has managed just one placing (a third) from his final five starts in New Zealand. However, even from an awkward draw at barrier five on the front line he should prove hard to beat. He left New Zealand on March 6, a month after his final start in that country, a seventh in a field of nine in a 2700m stand at Cambridge on February 9. He was the lone backmarker off 30 metres and was favourite at $3.40. He settled in ninth position, 45m from the early leader Fleeting Grin before racing three wide in the final circuit when he moved to second 600m from home. But he wilted to finish six lengths behind the winner Gambit. Two starts before that Mr Kiwi started from barrier seven in a 220m mobile at Alexandra Park when he enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, before sprinting strongly to hit the front 80m from the post. But he was swamped by the fast-finishing pair of Double Rocket and The Revolver. The final 800m was covered in 55.5sec. and Mr Kiwi’s effort was meritorious. Mr Kiwi’s most recent victory was seven starts ago when he began speedily from barrier four in a 2200m mobile event at Alexandra Park on November 1 last year. He burst to the front after 70m and gave a strong frontrunning display to win by a head from Ball of Art at a 1.56.6 rate, with final quarters of 28.3sec. and 27.2sec. Gary Hall Jnr, who will drive Mr Kiwi, has several other good drives on the ten-event program, including veteran Im Soxy, who will start from the No. 5 barrier in the 2130m Direct Trades Supply Pace. The big seven-year-old, trained in Bunbury by Brian Clemens, is sure to appreciate a considerable drop in class after recent placings behind Im Full of Excuses, Vampiro and El Jacko. He is likely to carry too many guns for his obvious toughest rival, the polemarker Kingslayer, who has won 11 times from just 26 starts.   Ken Casellas

Dashing reinsman Chris Voak, who has driven 124 winners this season, has given punters a good lead by choosing to handle Roman Art ahead of the highly-promising Papinik in the opening event, the TABtouch Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. When Roman Art drew barrier one and Papinik No. 2, Voak was faced with a dilemma. The two four-year-olds, the least experienced runners in the field of 12, look set to have an intriguing battle for ascendancy. Voak has a high opinion of the Ross Olivieri-trained Papinik, who has won at six of his eight starts. Voak has driven the black gelding six times for four wins and two thirds, with Mitch Miller having driven him twice for two wins. Miller will drive Papinik on Friday night. Roman Art, who is trained at Coolup by his lessee owner Victor Bryers, has had 15 starts for eight wins and three placings. He is in top form, having won at each of his past five starts on South-West tracks. His only appearance at Gloucester Park was on August 30 last year when he finished seventh. Roman Art has won six times at Pinjarra and twice at Bunbury. Voak has been the successful driver seven times and he is sure to attempt to take full advantage of the No. 1 barrier. Roman Art has started from barrier one three times for three all-the-way victories. Papinik has an excellent turn of foot and he has unwound strong finishing bursts in several of his victories. Collie owner-trainer Wayne Justins has engaged Dylan Egerton-Green to drive the speedy Carramar Arapaho, who will start from the No. 4 barrier. The only time Egerton-Green has driven the six-year-old was five starts ago when he led from barrier one and held on to win by a short half-head from Flying Mister Ideal over 1684m at Pinjarra on March 23. That has been his only win from 11 starts in Western Australia after winning once in the country in Victoria and nine times in New South Wales. Voak also had the choice between two Olivieri-trained pacers in the eighth event, the Catalano Truck And Equipment Handicap, a stand over 2503m. He chose newcomer GI Joe over fellow frontmarker Kiwi Bloke, who will be driven by Chris Lewis. GI Joe is a lightly-raced seven-year-old who has had only 29 starts for seven wins and eight placings. He raced 15 times in New Zealand where his five wins included victories in stands over 2400m at Ashburton and over 2700m at Addington in the winter of 2016. He then had 13 starts in Victoria for two wins (in mobiles at Stawell and Charlton) and four placings.       Leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond hold a strong hand in the race with front-line runner The Buckeye Bullet and The Bird Dance, who will start off the 20m mark. Ryan Warwick has given punters a lead by choosing to drive The Bird Dance, who will be making his first appearance in a stand. But he goes into the race with an impressive record of 11 wins from 16 starts (two wins from five starts in New Zealand ands 11 starts in Western Australia for nine wins and a last-start second to Sergeant Oats). The Buckeye Bullet, to be driven by Dylan Egerton-Green, has raced three times in stands for two wins and a second placing. After a win and a second from two New Zealand outings The Buckeye Bullet has raced 15 times in WA for seven wins and five placings.   Ken Casellas

The long-awaited first clash between rising star Shockwave and millionaire superstar Chicago Bull will be the highlight of the ten-event program at Gloucester Park on Friday night when they lock horns in the $20,000 Perth Plasterboard Centre Memorial Day Stakes. Four-year-old Shockwave, the youngest runner in the field of 12, will start from the outside barrier (No. 3) on the back line and is ready to meet the challenge full on after superb victories at each of his past four starts. However, the Ryan Bell-trained stallion will need to be at his best to topple Chicago Bull, who is awkwardly drawn out wide at barrier seven on the front line. Chicago Bull was produced in splendid condition for his first-up appearance after a ten-month absence when he won at a 1.54 rate over 2130m last Friday night. He settled down 40m behind the pacemaker Talktomeurmattjesty, was eased off the pegs at the 1050m mark and got to the front on the home turn before fighting on determinedly to beat the fast-finishing El Jacko by a head. Seven-year-old Chicago Bull, the winner at 44 of his 67 starts, is sure to have derived great benefit from that effort and he has bright prospects of notching another victory in this 2536m event against some solid opposition, including Shockwave, Our Jimmy Johnstone, Im Full of Excuses, As Happy As Larry, Golden State and other smart performers. Our Jimmy Johnstone’s prospects cannot be overlooked from the coveted No. 1 barrier. His recent form over 2536m has been excellent. The 11-year-old to be driven by Bailey McDonough for leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, started from the outside barrier and sustained a strong burst from sixth at the bell to win by a neck from stablemate Mighty Santana and Golden State over 2536m last Friday night. A week earlier, over 1730m, he raced in fifth position, three back on the pegs, before finishing strongly, out four wide, to be a head second to Shockwave. He finished powerfully when second to Vampiro over 2536m two starts before that. Champion trainer Gary Hall Snr is looking for Chicago Bull to give him and his reinsman son Gary a third success in the Memorial Day Stakes, after victories with John of Arc in 2015 and Whozideawasthis in 2018. Hall snr also prepared Memorial Day Stakes placegetters Zakara, Bengeeman, Dartmoor, Talk To Me Courage and Sanjaya. Morgan Woodley (Argyle Red) and Aldo Cortopassi (Mighty Flying Deal) will be driving outsiders after each having won the event multiple times --- with Woodley scoring with Mysta Magical Mach in 2009 and Tsunami Lombo, an 8/1 chance who beat Has The Answers and 10/1 on favourite Ima Spicey Lombo in 2011, and Cortopassi winning with 11/1 chance Just Jasper, who got up in the final stride to defeat 3/1 on favourite Scruffy Murphy in 2008, and scoring with Hokonui Ben in 2014 and Heez On Fire in 2017. Chris Voak will be driving Im Full of Excuses, a recent Bunbury winner and city placegetter behind Handsandwheels and Vampiro for trainer Ross Olivieri, who prepared Memorial Day Stakes winners Captain Lee in 1995 and Tsunami Lombo in 2011.   Ken Casellas

Champion reinsman Chris Lewis has won the Champagne Classic a record seven times and he has high hopes of adding to this impressive tally by driving Lavra Joe to victory in the $40,000 feature event for two-year-olds at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He gave punters a strong lead by choosing to handle the Ray Jones-trained Lavra Joe in preference to Ross Olivieri’s promising colt Star of Willoughby. Lavra Joe notched his third win from his past four starts when he started from the outside barrier in a field of five in a 1609m event at Bunbury last Saturday night. He raced three wide for the first 150m and then in the breeze outside the pacemaker Sugar Street before racing locked together with that pacer over the final 300m and prevailing by a head. The time for the 1609m was 1.55.9, with final quarters of 27.9sec. and 28.2sec. Lavra Joe’s prospects in the 2130m Champagne Classic improved considerably when he drew the prized No. 1 barrier and Lewis is sure to make full use of the colt’s excellent gate speed and attempt an all-the-way victory. Star of Willoughby, who will start from barrier No. 5, with Chris Voak in the sulky, enjoyed the one-out, one-back trail in last Saturday’s Bunbury event and he finished solidly to be a close third. That followed a solid first-up second to Machnificent at Gloucester Park. Machnificent, who is trained at Byford by Katja Warwick and will be driven by Gary Hall Jnr, looms large as a serious threat to Lavra Joe in the Champagne Classic. He was most impressive when he set the pace and dashed over the final quarters in 28.7sec. and 27sec. to win from Star of Willoughby and Robbie Rocket at a 1.58.9 rate over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Easter Thursday. That was his second win from five starts and he looks set for a bright career. With Hall opting to handle Machnificent, Boyanup trainer Justin Prentice decided to drive his promising gelding Adda Something, who was driven by Hall at his past two outings for a second to Lavra Joe at Gloucester Park and an all-the-way win over Disco Demon at Bunbury last Saturday week when he sped over the final 400m in 27.3sec. Adda Something’s prospects diminished significantly after drawing out wide at barrier seven. Prentice will also be represented by Beat The Bank, who will be driven by Dylan Egerton-Green from barrier three. Beat The Bank set the pace from barrier one and won from Troopingofthecolor over 1730m at Gloucester Park two starts ago. Shannon  Suvaljko, who drove the Noel Keiley-trained Bettors Ace to victory in the 2010 Champagne Classic, will handle Robbie Rocket in this week’s race, but the colt, a winner at two of his four starts, faces a daunting task from the outside barrier at No. 9. Lewis has won the Champagne Classic behind Pardon Me Boys (1987), Talladega (1999), Wirrpunda (2001), All Four Firing (2002), Slick Operator (2003), David Hercules (2009) and Mister Jadore (2013).    Ken Casellas

Chicago Bull resumes in style Champion pacer Chicago Bull reappeared after a ten-month absence at Gloucester Park on Friday afternoon when he gave convincing proof that he is capable of regaining his crown as Australia’s best harness horse. Starting from the outside in a field of six in the 2130m Perth Plasterboard Centre Pace, Chicago Bull was restrained to the rear and settled down almost 40 metres behind the noted frontrunner Talktomeurmattjesty and at the lucrative price of $2.40 (and at $2.10 on the fixed market) --- after being an odds-on favourite at his 19 previous appearances at Gloucester Park. Gary Hall jnr was content to keep the seven-year-old in last position in the Indian file affair until he eased him off the pegs with 1050m to travel. Chicago Bull then gradually made up ground as he led the one-wide line forward until he wrested the lead from Talktomeurmattyjesty on the home turn. He then held on grimly to win by a head from El Jacko, who finished determinedly after following Chicago Bull until the champion went to the front. After a smart lead time of 34.8sec. and quarters of 29.2sec., 29.1sec. and 28.1sec., the final 400m was covered in a relatively modest 29.7sec., with Chicago Bull rating 1.54. Watch the video replay here. Chicago Bull, who was having his first start as a seven-year-old, was produced in splendid condition by champion trainer Gary Hall snr and is sure to derive great benefit from his comeback to racing action. Hopes are high now that he will continue an upward path which could see him being set for the Interdominion championship in New South Wales in November and December and the Fremantle Cup and WA Pacing Cup in the New Year. Chicago Bull now has raced 67 times for 44 wins, 17 placings and $1,756,520 in prizemoney. Talktomeurmattjesty, a brilliant all-the-way winner at a 1.52.9 rate over 2130m two starts before Friday’s race, wilted to finish a well-beaten fifth. This followed his fading sixth behind Argyle Red after leading at his previous outing.   Our Jimmy Johnstone’s flame burns brightly Evergreen veteran Our Jimmy Johnstone managed only five placings from 21 starts last season, but the 11-year-old has been racing with youthful enthusiasm this season. He overcame the disadvantage of starting from the outside barrier in a field of eight in the 2536m Mondo Doro Smallgoods Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday afternoon when he sustained a three-wide burst from sixth at the bell to get up in the final couple of strides to win by a neck from his six-year-old stablemate Mighty Santana. Our Jimmy Johnstone, the $3.20 second favourite prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, was driven confidently by Bailey McDonough. The final quarters were run in 28.1sec. and 28.4sec. and the winner rated 1.58.8 in taking his record to 134 starts for 30 wins, 289 seconds and 22 thirds for stakes of $750,533. Golden State, the $2.80 favourite, began speedily from the No. 4 barrier and he led for the first 400m before Ryan Warwick sent Mighty Santana ($5.50) to the front. Iceenothink, well fancied at $4, enjoyed a perfect passage, one-out and one-back, but was held under lock and key down the back straight in the final circuit before finally getting clear and running home solidly into fourth place. Our Jimmy Johnstone, by American stallion P Forty Seven, had 28 starts in New Zealand for nine wins, ten placings and $141,449 before arriving in Western Australia as a six-year-old in November 2014. He won at his WA debut, in a 2631m stand at Pinjarra on December 15, 2014 and has been a wonderful money spinner ever since, with his 106 WA starts producing 21 victories and 40 placings.   Always An Angel sparkles New Zealand-bred filly Always An Angel showed that she should be a major player in feature events for two-year-olds this season when she gave a stylish performance to win the Off The Track Pace over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Friday afternoon. Favourite at $1.90 on the tote (and second fancy at $2.25 on the fixed market), Always An Angel was driven aggressively by Gary Hall jnr, who dashed her (from barrier No. 4) to the front after 200m and an opening quarter of the final mile in 28.5sec. made life tough for her rivals. She was not fully extended in strolling to victory by three lengths over Benesari Lane ($8) who was fifth at the bell and then finished strongly, out wide. This gave the Justin Prentice-trained Always An Angel her second success from three starts. Always An Angel, by Art Major, is the first foal out of the Christian Cullen mare Angel of Destiny, who was retired after managing three placings from ten starts. Interestingly, exactly 11 years ago on April 17, 2009, In The Force won the WA Derby at Gloucester Park. Always An Angel’s great granddam Dark Angel was the mother of In The Force, who won 15 times from 45 starts. Angel of Destiny is a half-sister to Its Onlyforyou, who earned $365,459 from nine wins and 17 placings from 46 starts. She was an outstanding two-year-old who won two group 1 feature events in New Zealand at that age.   A cakewalk for Double Expresso Super filly Double Expresso looks to have the $150,000 WA Oaks at her mercy. That was the conclusion after she crushed her eight male rivals in the Westral Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday afternoon. Her effortless victory over Gardys Legacy and Valentines Brook improved her record to twelve wins and three thirds from 16 starts for stakes of $282,884 and she looks certain to start a short-priced favourite for the rich classic for three-year-old fillies on Friday week. Trainer Ross Olivieri produced Double Expresso in fine fettle on Friday and Chris Lewis had an armchair drive, sending the filly straight to the front from the No. 1 barrier. After a lead time of 37.7sec. and comfortable opening quarters of 31.1sec. and 29.2sec. Double Expresso dashed over the final two 400m sections in 28sec. and 27.8sec. and beat Gardys Legacy by one and a half lengths. Gardys Legacy, who had finished second to Major Martini in the Western Gateway Pace and fourth behind Patronus Star in the WA Derby at his two previous outings, had the perfect trail behind Double Expresso throughout, but was unable to seriously challenge the filly in the final stages.   Suvaljko’s successful association Shannon Suvaljko is one of 11 drivers to have handled Sergeant Oats during his 50-start career and he maintained his successful association with the WA-bred six-year-old when he brought the gelding home with a well-timed finishing burst to beat the pacemaker The Bird Dance and Soho Thunderstruck in the 2130m Community TAB Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday. Sergeant Oats, who had finished second at each of his past three starts, represented terrific value at $20.70 from the No. 3 barrier, with most punters pinning their faith on Soho Thunderstruck ($1.90) and The Bird Dance ($2.15). Soho Thunderstruck was expected to lead from barrier two, but Ryan Warwick stole a march on his rivals by getting The Bird Dance away brilliantly from the No. 6 barrier to take up the running after 60m. The Bird Dance set a solid pace, with Soho Thunderstruck in the breeze and One For Sassy enjoying an ideal trail behind the leader. Sergeant Oats raced three back on the pegs in fifth place before he sprinted home fast to hit the front 15m from the post. Sergeant Oats, part-owned and trained by Courtney Burch, has proved to be a splendid money spinner, with his 50 starts producing 11 wins and 17 placings for earnings of $132,983. Suvaljkjo has driven the Rich And Spoilt gelding 23 times for six wins, eight seconds and one third placing. Royal Patina, the great granddam of Sergeant Oats, produced five winners, including The Last Padron, a pacer with whom Suvaljko enjoyed considerable success. He drove him 38 times for seven wins, five seconds and 13 thirds.   Brown’s decision pays off The skill of Maddison Brown to ease Balcatherine off the pegs and into the one-wide line 450m after the start paid handsome dividends when the lightly-raced four-year-old mare went on to win the 2130m Westside Auto Wholesale Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday afternoon. Balcatherine, third favourite at $4.20, started from the inside of the back line and Brown was determined not to face the danger of being hemmed in on the pegs --- and the supporters of the mare were on good terms with themselves when Brown got Balcatherine into the running line, one-out and two-back in sixth position. Purest Silk ($3.40) set the pace for Dylan Egerton-Green, with Talkerup, equal favourite at $3.40, in the breeze for Emily Suvaljko. Brown sent Balcatherine forward, with a three-wide run 650m from home and the mare hit the front with 225m to travel and won by a half-length from Cut Above ($26), who ran on solidly after enjoying a perfect passage behind the pacemaker. Balcatherine sprinted over the final 400m in 28.3sec. and rated 1.56.5. Balcatherine, trained by Gary Hall snr, was having only her second start after a 12-month absence and she now has raced only seven times for four wins and a second placing for stakes of $36,496. She showed wonderful early promise, winning at her only two starts in New Zealand (as a three-year-old). She finished strongly to win over 2200m at Gore on December 27, 2018, with a final quarter of 27.9sec. and then produced another powerful finish to win easily over 2200m on a rain-soaked track at Invercargill on January 21, 2019. Balcatherine, by American Ideal, is the seventh foal out of Holmes Hanover mare Touche Franco, who has produced honest performers Tyler Bromac (107 starts for 11 wins, 22 placings and $66,846), Levi Jade (132 starts for 11 wins, 37 placings and $70,832) and Glenisla (91 starts for 19 wins, 17 placings and $86,402).   Persistence pays off The persistence of Millendon trainer Sonia Zucchiatti paid off when Ideal Investment, unplaced at his six previous outings and with just one win from his previous 46 starts, gave a solid frontrunning display to win the Direct Trades Supply Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday afternoon. Ideally drawn at barrier one, Ideal Investment ($5.40) was perfectly rated by Zucchiatti’s daughter Deni Roberts and the seven-year-old won by a length from $17 chance Bee Seventeen, who finished fast from last at the bell. Kingslayer, the $2.80 favourite, trailed the pacemaker until Ryan Warwick eased him into the one-wide line at the bell. He battled on to finish third. The victory took Ideal Investment’s earnings to $102,006 from ten wins and 20 placings from 134 starts.   Saleahs Comand loves to lead Noted frontrunner Saleahs Comand maintained his excellent record from the No. 1 barrier when he set the pace and held on to win the 2130m TABtouch Pace by a half-head from $71 outsider Allwood Peacemaker at Gloucester Park on Friday. The seven-year-old, part-owned and trained by Sue Wiscombe, now has started from the No. 1 barrier eight times at Gloucester Park for four wins, three seconds and one fourth placing. Saleahs Comand, good value at $7.70 on the fixed market, survived an early spirited challenge from Dominate The Dojo, who was first out from barrier five and led by a half-length in the early stages, but was unable to cross Saleahs Comand and take up the running. Saleahs Comand now has raced 80 times for 12 wins, 23 placings and $109,279 in stakes. The disappointment of the race was the failure of the $1.85 favourite Eloquent Mach, who finished ninth. From barrier eight, he raced three wide early before being restrained to the rear. This was his first appearance for 126 days and he is sure to have derived considerable benefit from the run.   Two in a row for Princess Mila Former Victorian trotter Princess Mila followed her effortless victory at Pinjarra with another commanding performance to win the Allwood Stud Farm Trot over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday. Prepared by Gary Hall snr and driven confidently by Gary Hall jnr, Princess Mila, the $1.40 favourite, was first out from barrier three and relished her pacemaking role to win by a length at a 1.59.5 rate from Rock Tonight ($10), who finished gamely from sixth at the bell. This improved the five-year-old mare’s record to 36 starts for nine wins, 12 placings and stakes of $80,958. Roll With Me bred to win New South Wales-bred five-year-old Roll With Me is bred to be a good winner. His dam Miss Hazel amassed $310,063 in prizemoney from 15 wins and eight placings from just 29 starts. And Miss Hazel’s dam My Ami Lee produced seven winners of 96 races, and her dam Cosmophylla produced nine winners of 138 races. Roll With Me, by American sire Roll With Joe, is now owned and trained by Robin Zec, who has prepared the gelding for 23 starts in WA for five wins and nine placings to take his career record to 47 starts for ten wins, 14 placings and earnings of $73,198. Roll With Me, driven by Shannon Suvaljko and second favourite at $4.10, began speedily from the No. 4 barrier and, after an early battle with Carramar Arapaho, he took up the running after 400m and then bowled along in front with final quarters of 30sec., 28.8sec., 28.6sec. and 28.5sec. to win by a length from the $2.20 favourite ($1.80 fixed) Miracle Moose. Miracle Moose started from the back line and settled in seventh position before Emily Suvaljko sent the four-year-old forward after 550m and into the breeze. He fought on doggedly to notch his third second placing in a row.   Ken Casellas

Veteran reinsman Lindsay Harper is happy with the proven formula for success: Draw barrier No. 1, dictate the terms in front and go on and win. That’s exactly what he did when Middlepage started from the No. 1 barrier, led and won by four lengths from Shirmaya over 2130m in the final event at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night. Now he plans for a similar outcome when he drives Saleahs Comand from barrier one in race one, the TABtouch Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday morning. Saleahs Comand, an experienced seven-year-old gelding trained by Sue Wiscombe, possesses sparkling gate speed and is a good frontrunner. He has started from the No. 1 barrier seven times at Gloucester Park for three wins, two seconds and one fourth placing. He was a $51 outsider on Thursday of last week when he started from the inside of the back line in a 2130m event at Gloucester Park. He raced in fifth position, three back on the pegs, and fought on well when fourth behind Mighty Santana, who sprinted over the final 400m in 27.9sec. Friday’s race will see the return to action of the smart New Zealand-bred four-year-old Eloquent Mach, who will be having his first start for four months. Eloquent Mach, trained by Gary Hall Snr and driven by Stuart McDonald, is the quality performer of the field of 12 but faces a test from the wide draw at No. 8. He last appeared when he covered a lot of extra ground and finished eighth behind Shockwave in the Golden Nugget Championship on December 13. That followed a fast-finishing fourth behind Sangue Reale in the $125,000 Four-Year-Old Classic. That was the best of his five unplaced efforts in top company as a four-year-old. He was outstanding as a three-year-old when his 16 starts produced ten wins, four seconds, one third and one eighth placing.   Ken Casellas

An eye-catching trial at Byford on Sunday morning showed that Benesari Lane is poised to issue a powerful challenge to unbeaten filly Lady Jadore in the Off The Track Pace for two-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday. Benesari Lane, to be driven by Shannon Suvaljko for Byford trainer Vicki Lea, will start from barrier five in the 1730m event, with Lady Jadore, to be driven by Aldo Cortopassi for Banjup trainer Annie Belton, at barrier six in the field of six. Benesari Lane was restrained from the outside of the front line in Sunday’s 2150m trial and settled down in ninth position, about ten lengths from the pacemaker Unearthed. She was eighth at the bell and sixth with 300m to travel before switching five wide on the home turn and finishing purposefully to be second to the highly promising gelding Peligroso. She was not extended by Suvaljko. Lady Jadore will be having her first start for seven weeks since she raced three wide early, took the lead after 500m and won the Group 1 $100,000 Sales Classic final by more than a length from Adore Me Some More, with Benesari Lane one and a half lengths farther back in third place.  At her previous outing Lady Jadore led and won by three lengths from Foxy Rose, with Benesari Lane a half-length away in third place. Benesari Lane has improved noticeably since those two third placings behind Lady Jadore. She led and won easily from Star For Me at Gloucester Park a fortnight ago. Boyanup trainer Justin Prentice will be represented on Friday by last-start Bunbury winner Always An Angel and Star Of The Bay, a last-start second to Shes A Bright Star at Gloucester Park. But neither appears capable, at this stage, of testing Lady Jadore or Benesari Lane. Cortopassi, who has a high opinion of Lady Jadore, also is hoping for a change of luck with the Karen Thompson-trained Whoswhointhezoo, who will start from the No. 1 barrier in the Retravision pace over 2536m. Whoswhointhezoo gave signs of better things to come when he finished with a strong sprint to be second to Purest Silk over 1684m at Pinjarra last Friday and he has sound prospects of ending a losing sequence of 33. Purest Silk, who set the pace at Pinjarra and rated 1.56.7, with final quarters of 28.6sec. and 27.9sec., has sound prospects of repeating the dose when she starts from the No. 2 barrier in the final event on Friday, the 2130m Westside Auto Pace for mares. Purest Silk’s most serious rival is likely to be Balcatherine, who will be driven by Maddison Brown from the inside of the back line. Balcatherine, prepared by Gary Hall Snr, reappeared after an absence of 12 months when she finished an unlucky fourth behind Typhoon Tiff last Friday night when she was badly hampered for room in the closing stages.   Ken Casellas

She’s big, fast and strong. That’s star filly Double Expresso, who will have her final start before contesting the $150,000 WA Oaks on Friday week when she clashes with eight colts and geldings in the Westral Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday afternoon. The Ross Olivieri-trained filly fared perfectly in the random barrier draw and will start from the prized No. 1 position in the field of nine. Double Expresso, a winner at 11 of her 15 starts, has begun from the No. 1 barrier twice when she has been untroubled to set the pace and win easily in the Diamond Classic for two-year-olds in May 2019 and in the Group 2 Sales Classic for fillies two starts ago. Chris Lewis is sure to be keen to set the pace in this week’s race and Double Expresso has the ability to prove the master of her male rivals, with Gardys Legacy appearing to be the major danger. Gardys Legacy, to be driven by Gary Hall Jnr for Boyanup trainer Justin Prentice, is expected to take the sit behind Double Expresso, with Hall biding his time before making a determined bid to overhaul Double Expresso in the closing stages. Gardys Legacy’s past two runs have been full of merit. He started from barrier one and sat behind the pacemaker Major Martini before fighting on gamely to be second to that pacer in the Western Gateway Pace two starts ago. Then he ran on from seventh, four back on the pegs, at the bell to finish fourth behind Patronus Star in the WA Derby two Fridays ago. Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed is well represented in this week’s race with Pocket The Cash (barrier three) and Valentines Brook (six). Pocket The Cash, to be handled by Michael Grantham, has been placed at his past three starts and is handily drawn at barrier three. Valentines Brook won for the sixth time from 17 starts when he led and defeated Hotfoot It and Verstappen over 2185m at Pinjarra last Monday week. The Greg and Skye Bond-trained Poisedtopounce has also won six times from 17 starts, including very easy wins over 2096m and 2536m at Gloucester Park at his past two outings. He will start from barrier five with Ryan Warwick in the sulky. Champion pacer Chicago Bull’s first appearance for ten months will be the highlight of the ten-event program. He will start from the outside barrier in the field of six in the 2130m Perth Plasterboard Centre Pace and is forward enough in condition to prove mighty hard to beat. Noted frontrunner Talktomeurmattjesty will start from the No. 1 barrier and Kyle Harper is sure to again make the most of the eight-year-old’s sparkling gate speed and his ability to set a very fast pace. Talktomeurmattjesty was an odds-on favourite in a 2130m event last Friday week when he led, contacted his own sulky and faded noticeably to finish a well-beaten sixth behind Argyle Red. This was a serious let-down after he had set a scorching pace and had won by eight lengths from Chiaroscuro at a 1.52.9 rate over 2130m at his previous start, a month earlier.   Ken Casellas

Harness racing backmarker triumphs in Easter Cup. As Happy As Larry, a $10.40 chance, made light of being the sole backmarker off 50 metres when trainer Robbie Williams produced a near perfect drive to land him an impressive winner of the $40,000 Easter Cup over 2902m at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. The victory was a welcome compensation for the eight-year-old’s desperately close fast-finishing second to Mighty Conqueror in the 2019 Easter Cup. Punters rallied to send Taroona Bromac out as a hot $1.70 favourite despite the four-year-old not having contested a standing-start event. Taroona Bromac began safely from the 20m mark before breaking into a gallop moments after the start and dropping back to the rear in the field of eleven. Outsider On My Oath led for the first 550m before Always An Honour, who had begun brilliantly off 30m, swept into the lead. Ryan Warwick seized the initiative by sending Taroona Bromac forward with a swift move after the completion of a lap --- and this proved a vital ingredient in As Happy As Larry’s victory.   Williams followed Taroona Bromac’s three-wide burst and he then skilfully manoeuvred As Happy As Larry into the one-out, two-back position after Dylan Egerton-Green eased the polemarker Where Ya Bin off the pegs into the one-out, one-back position, behind Taroona Bromac in the breeze. After Always An Honour had sprinted over the third quarter of the final mile in 28.2sec., Taroona Bromac began to wilt, and Williams set As Happy As Larry alive with a four-wide burst from the 250m. This carried As Happy As Larry into the lead on the home turn and the New Zealand-bred gelding won comfortably by just over a length from Where Ya Bin, who finished with a determined surge. On My Oath ran on solidly to be third, just ahead of Rum Delight. Miss Sangrial did a fine job in finishing strongly from last at the bell to be a close-up fifth, with Taroona Bromac fading to tenth. As Happy As Larry is by American sire Live Or Die and is the third and last foal out of Smart Shelley, a mare who managed one win and five placings from nine starts in New Zealand before being retired. As Happy As Larry won twice from 17 starts in New Zealand and now has raced 53 times for Williams in WA for 14 wins and 21 placings for a career record of 16 wins, 28 placings and $219,964 in stakes. To watch the video replay of As Happy As Larry's victory click here. Four in a row for Shockwave Star four-year-old Shockwave enhanced his reputation as Western Australia’s best pacer when he overcame the disadvantage of starting from the outside barrier in a field of seven to score an exciting victory in the Simmonds Steel Free-For-All at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. The WA-bred stallion by Mach Three, prepared by Ryan Bell, extended his winning sequence to four and looms large as the State’s leading candidate for the Interdominion Pacing championship in New South Wales in November and December, as well as the rich WA Pacing Cup and Fremantle Cup at Gloucester Park in the New Year. Aiden de Campo stole a march on his rivals when he got Shockwave away speedily from behind the mobile barrier in the 1730m sprint and  immediately slotted into the ideal one-out, one-back position as Ocean Ridge set the pace, with stablemate Galactic Star in the breeze and Golden State behind the leader. De Campo bided his time before urging Shockwave forward, three wide, 300m from home. Galactic Star took a narrow lead at the 250m mark before Shockwave, the $2.05 favourite, burst to the front on the home turn and fought on grimly to win by a head from evergreen 11-year-old Our Jimmy Johnstone, who had raced three back on the pegs. Golden State was third and Galactic Star fourth in a blanket finish. Shockwave rated 1.53.4, with final quarters of 27.6sec. and 27.7sec. He now has had 36 starts for 14 wins, 11 placings and stakes of $370,057. To watch the video replay of Shockwave's win click here Sweet Maddison is Oaks bound New Zealand-bred filly Sweet Maddison is developing into a strong contender for the $150,000 WA Oaks on May 1. Prepared by Michael Brennan, Sweet Maddison ($2.80) notched her fifth win in a row and the sixth in a ten-start career when Michael Grantham drove her to a strong victory over Fifty Five Reborn and Advance Your Dream in the Mondo Doro Smallgoods Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. She began speedily from the No. 6 barrier and forged to the front after 220m, with a smart lead time of 36.5sec. The final quarters were covered in 27.7sec. and 28.9sec. and she rated 1.57.1. The Colin Brown-trained and driven Fifty Five Reborn also was impressive. She broke in the score-up and settled down a distinct last in the field of eight before sustaining a spirited three-wide burst from the rear at the bell. Advance Your Dream also did well to finish strongly, out three wide, to come from seventh at the bell to be third, just ahead of the $2.65 favourite Star Fromthepalace, who trailed the pacemaker Sweet Maddison and was hampered for room in the final stages. Sweet Maddison is by American sire Sweet Lou and is related to former good WA performers Pazam and Our Amazing Art. To watch the video replay of Sweet Maddison's victory click here. Machnificent is all class A quick glance at the pedigree of Machnificent is not particularly exciting. The colt is by super sire Mach Three and is the sixth foal out of Honourable Daughter, who was retired after finishing at the rear at each of her six starts in 2010. Honourable Daughter produced three modest performers, Master Flynn (five wins from 86 starts), Beach Landing (four wins from 30 starts) and For Honourandglory (two wins from 25 starts). But delving deeper, we discover that Honourable Daughter’s great granddam Chaangerr (six wins and $75,860 from 30 starts) is a full-sister to former champion pacer Chokin, who amassed $1,801,685 from 34 wins and 11 placings from 59 starts. Chaangerr’s progeny include the mighty Changeover (29 wins, 16 placings and earnings of $2,321,676 from 66 starts) and Change Stride (133 starts for 27 wins, 36 placings and $362,803). Two-year-old Machnificent, favourite at $1.50, trained at Byford by Katja Warwick and driven by Gary Hall jnr, gave a powerful frontrunning display to win from Star of Willoughby and Robbie Rocket at a 1.58.9 rate in the 1730m Happy Easter Pace at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. The disappointing runner was Lavra Joe ($3) who overraced and did not threaten danger. He finished last in the field of five. To watch the video replay of Machnificent's victory click here Typhoon Tiff returns in style Classy pacer Typhoon Tiff reappeared at Gloucester Park on Thursday night after an absence of almost ten months when she gave a dashing frontrunning display to win the 2130m Retravision Pace for mares. Produced in fine fettle by Banjup trainer-reinsman Colin Brown, the Bettor's Delight four-year-old was a $6.50 chance from barrier four at her first appearance since winning the $100,000 group 1 Westbred Classic for three-year-old fillies last June. Six-year-old Gotta Go Gabbana started from the outside barrier in the field of nine and Chris Lewis sent her forward, three wide, in a spirited bid to assume the breeze position. But Pick My Pocket (Michael Grantham) made his intentions clear that he was not about to relinquish the position outside the pacemaker, forcing Lewis to ease Gotta Go Gabbana back to the rear. Pick My Pocket performed strongly in the breeze and did well to finish third, just a half-head behind the second placegetter Millwood Molly, who finished gamely after enjoying an ideal passage, one-out and one-back. Balcatherine, having her first start for 12 months, was favourite at $2.50. She trailed the pacemaking Typhoon Tiff but was blocked for a clear passage in the home straight and finished an unlucky fourth. Dracarys found that barrier No. 8 was a major impediment and she raced at the rear before finishing in eighth place. Typhoon Tiff now has raced 12 times for breeder-owner Colleen Lindsay for eight wins, two placings and $151,539. To watch the video replay of Typhoon Tiff's victory click here Valbonne holds on grimly Smart four-year-old Valbonne gave owner Albert Walmsley a flying start to the Easter weekend when he set the pace and held on with grim determination to win the 2536m TABtouch Pace at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. This gave Walmsley the first of three winners in the space of 20 hours. He also was successful with Sweet Maddison on Thursday night and with three-year-old The Code Breaker, who led and won over 2185m at Pinjarra on Friday afternoon. Valbonne, favourite at $2.30 and driven by Michael Grantham, led from barrier three and was kept under pressure for much of the race by the $2.90 second fancy Soho Thunderstruck, who began from the outside of the back line and quickly dashed forward to the breeze position. After opening quarters of the final mile in 30.7sec. and 30.1sec., Valbonne increased the tempo with final 400m sections of 27.7sec. and 28.8sec. and held on to beat his adversary by a half-head at a 1.58.8 rate. Valbonne, by Mach Three and the second foal out of the unraced New Zealand mare Sayang, has had 42 starts for ten wins, nine placings and $88,010 in prizemoney. To watch the video replay of Valbonne's victory click here. The Bird Dance bounces back Promising New Zealand-bred four-year-old The Bird Dance bounced back to form after his unplaced effort when having a torrid run a fortnight earlier when he set the pace and held on to win by a neck from Iceenothink in the 2536m Etch Coating Pace at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. Prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond and driven by Ryan Warwick, The Bird Dance was favourite at $1.60 and he made life extremely tough for his rivals with solid quarters of the final mile in 29.4sec., 29.7sec., 29sec. and 28.9sec. Iceenothink ($6) maintained his excellent form. He started out wide at barrier eight and settled down in ninth place before he sustained a spirited three-wide burst over the final 650m. Talkerup did well to finish third after racing without cover throughout. By A Rocknroll Dance The Bird Dance has earned $65,693 from 11 wins from 15 starts. He won twice from five starts in New Zealand and has won at nine of his ten outings in Western Australia. To watch the video replay of The Bird Dance winning click here Good Times Ahead end losing run of 31 Even though he went into the Perth Plasterboard Centre Pace over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Thursday nighty with a losing sequence of 31 over the past 12 months, Good Times Ahead was favourite at $4.10. And the New Zealand-bred seven-year-old by Mach Three justified this confidence by setting the pace for star reinsman Gary Hall jnr and winning by a neck from Qtown Rip Roaring, who ran on strongly from sixth at the bell. This gave Good Times Ahead his third win from 55 starts at Gloucester Park, with his other wins in a 106-start career being at Albany (eight), Wagin (two) and one each at Pinjarra and Narrogin. To watch the video replay click here Bettor Be Oscar is consistent WA-bred four-year-old Bettor Be Oscar ($3.40) maintained his wonderful consistent form when he won for the fifth times from his latest eight starts, scoring by just over a length from the $2.80 favourite Miracle Moose in the 2130m Direct Trades Supply Pace at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. Aiden de Campo got Bettor Be Oscar away swiftly from barrier five and the gelding took over the role of pacemaker from polemarker Absolution after 550m. He sped over the final quarters in 28.7sec. and 28.1sec. and improved his record to 43 starts for 11 wins, 21 placings and $91,525 in stakes. By Bettor's Delight he has inherited much of ability of his dam Copper Beach Girl, who earned $156,851 from 14 wins and 24 placings from 84 starts. Miracle Moose, the Nathan Turvey-trained four-year-old, again revealed his excellent sit-sprint ability by finishing powerfully from ninth at the bell. He will pay to follow. To watch the video replay click here No trouble for Mighty Santana Leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond will be looking forward for further successes from their lightly-raced New Zealand-bred six-year-old Mighty Santana, who was untroubled to coast to victory in the 2130m Westral Pace at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. Favourite at $1.30, Mighty Santana began smoothly from barrier four and Ryan Warwick sent him past the polemarker Gangbuster and into the lead after 120m. Mighty Santana rated 1.58.5 and beat Gangbuster by just under two lengths. By Santanna Blue Chip, Mighty Santana won at five of his 17 starts in New Zealand and his 24 WA starts have produced six wins and nine placings. To watch the video replay click here By Ken Casellas

Serpentine trainer Matt Scott holds a strong hand in the Perth Plasterboard Centre Pace over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Thursday night with four runners in the field of 12. Remarkably, Scott’s four runners, eight-year-olds Brookies Jet and Charlie El, nine-year-old Qtown Rip Roaring and six-year-old Neighlor, have had a combined total of 588 starts, and, between them, the 12 runners have contested 1648 races which means that they have covered approximately 3705 kilometres which is more than a trip by plane between Perth and Sydney. Brookies Jet (barrier two) and Qtown Rip Roaring (barrier three) are likely to dominate betting on the race after last-start second placings and their favourable draws. Shannon Suvaljko had the choice of drives between Brookies Jet, Qtown Rip Roaring and Neighlor. And, somewhat surprisingly, he opted to handle Qtown Rip Roaring, whose most recent win in a 129-start career was 15 months ago. Suvaljko obviously was impressed by Qtown Rip Roaring’s effort in a 2130m event at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week when the gelding sat behind the pacemaker Quick Stride before finishing with a powerful burst out six wide to be second, a half-head behind Machlani. Suvaljko also must have been pleased with Brookies Jet’s fighting effort in finishing a half-head second to the fast-finishing Crocodile Kid over 2130m last Friday night when the oldtimer started from the outside of the back line and worked hard in the breeze for much of the way before clawing his way to the front 10 metres from the finishing post. Brookies Jet, who finished strongly when second to My Carbon Copy a week earlier, will be driven this week by the in-form Mitch Miller and looks set to fight out the finish. Charlie El will start from barrier six with Kyle Harper in the sulky. He has been unplaced at his past 20 starts and will be at long odds. Neighlor, who has a winning percentage of 22 (the best of the 12 runners), will start from the outside of the back line at his first appearance for six and a half months. Suvaljkjo has turned his back on him after having driven him at each of his past 16 starts and at 51 of his 62 WA starts for 14 wins and nine placings. Replacing Suvaljko in the sulky will be his daughter Emily. Punters, looking for value, should lean towards Neighlor, who certainly has an edge in class on his 11 rivals. Michael Grantham has given punters a good lead by deciding to drive Valbonne in preference to stablemate Countess Grace and Machlani in the opening event, the 2536m TABtouch Pace. Valbonne, trained by Mike Reed and a winner at nine of his 41 starts, is favourably drawn at barrier No. 3 and should prove hard to beat after his sound third behind My Carbon Copy in the $30,000 final of the Clarke Pace last Friday week. Countess Grace will be driven by Dylan Egerton-Green and has each-way prospects from the No. 2 barrier on the back line. The Michael Brennan-trained Machlani, a narrow winner over Qtown Rip Roaring at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week, will be handled by Aiden de Campo from barrier four on the front line. The most competitive event on the program promises to be race five, the Retravision Pace for fillies and mares over 2130m, in which star three-year-olds of last season in Balcatherine and Typhoon Tiff will resume after lengthy spells. They will clash with several talented and in-form mares, including Gotta Go Gabbana, Dracarys, Pick My Pocket, Millwood Molly and Parisian Partygirl. The outside barrier in the field of seven will test star performer Shockwave when he meets in-form pacers Galactic Star, Ocean Ridge, Im Soxy, Im Full of Excuses and Our Jimmy Johnstone, as well as speedy frontrunner Golden State, who has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier in the 1730m Simmonds Steel Free-For-All.   Ken Casellas

With a pacing colt named Machnificent, the expectations of success on the track are sure to be high and he looks set to live up to this hyperbole by making a bold bid for victory in the Happy Easter Pace for two-year-olds at Gloucester Park on Thursday night. Machnificent, to be driven by Gary Hall Jnr for Byford trainer Katja Warwick, will be making his first appearance for six weeks and his prospects improved when he drew the prized No. 1 barrier in a quality field of five in the 1730m event. He showed that he is ready for a powerful first-up performance with a dashing trial over 1750m at Byford on Sunday morning when he began speedily from the outside barrier, burst straight to the front and set the pace before sprinting over the final 400m in 27.6sec. to win, unextended, by ten metres from Robbie Rocket and Star of Willoughby at a 1.58 rate. His clash with the highly promising Lavra Joe is sure to be a highlight on the ten-event program. Lavra Joe, to be driven by Shane Young with Greenbushes owner-trainer Ray Jones, has been most impressive in scoring easy victories in fast time at his past two appearances, both over 1730 at Gloucester Park, rating 1.57.4 and 1.56.1. He will start from barrier three on Friday night. Lavra Joe revealed toughness as well as a sparkling turn of foot in both of those wins in which he worked hard in the breeze before forging away from the opposition in the closing stages. Star of Willoughby, to be driven by Chris Lewis for Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri, will start from the No. 2 barrier at his first appearance since running on from sixth at the bell to finish third behind Dominus Factum over 1684m at Pinjarra on January 13. He worked hard in the breeze in Sunday’s trial and is sure to have derived considerable benefit from the workout. Robbie Rocket, to be driven by Shannon Suvaljko for trainer Vicki Lea, faces a tough task from the outside barrier in the small field. He enjoyed a perfect trip behind Machnificent in the trial in which he found the pacemaker simply too strong. Lavra Joe was timed in 1.58 when he won a 1609m trial at Bunbury last Saturday night. He dashed over the final quarters in 28sec. and 27.2sec. and won by 2m from Classic Choice.     Ken Casellas

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