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RECORD RUN BY TALKS UP A STORM Pony-sized gelding Talks Up A Storm set a race record and gave his trainer Murray Lindau his first group 1 success when he revealed sparkling gate speed and ran his rivals ragged in scoring an easy victory in the $100,000 Sales Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Driven aggressively and with supreme confidence by Dylan Egerton-Green, Talks Up A Storm, a well-fancied $3.70 chance, began speedily from the No. 5 barrier and burst to the front after about 300m. After an opening quarter of 28.2sec. he relaxed with a second 400m section in a comfortable 31.2sec. before dashing over the final 800m in 57.4sec. His rate of 1.56.2 over the 1730m journey broke the race record of 1.56.6 set by Its Rock And Roll in 2018. He won by seven metres from Aiden de Campo’s Rock On The Beach, with Rich American, trained by David Thompson and driven by Aldo Cortopassi, a half-head away in third place.  The win gave the 65-year-old Lindau his biggest success in harness racing. His previous important feature race wins came in the 1990s when he trained and drove Krooz Mode and Let Me Decide to victory in $60,000 State Sires Series Classics. Let Me Decide won the three-year-old version in June 1997 and Krooz Mode was successful in the event for two-year-olds in July 1998. For Egerton-Green Friday night’s win was his third group 1 triumph. Lindau bought Talks Up A Storm for $22,500 at the 2019 APG yearling sale and the gelding is raced by his partner Claire McNaughton and his stepmother Sylvie Lindau. “I actually went to the sale wanting to buy a colt by Captaintreacherous (who was later named The Swiss Maestro) but he got up to $30,000 and that blew me out of the water,” he said. “I finished up getting Talks Up A Storm for $22,500 which was affordable.” Talks Up A storm now has won a heat and the final of the Sales Classic at his first two starts and has earned $66,085 in prizemoney. “I didn’t know much about his sire, Artspeak, but I liked the dam Typhoon Tan who earned $141,722 from 14 wins and 24 placings from 74 starts which showed that she was no slouch.” Lindau said that he was seriously considering not running the small, lightly-framed Talks Up A Storm in rich feature events, including the Champagne Classic, Golden Slipper and Pearl, for two-year-olds later in the season. “My whole campaign for him was based around the heat and the final of the Sales Classic and then putting him away,” he said. “Maybe, when I cool down and relax, I might look at the program. But at this stage, I want him to develop and become more mature. If I look after him, he could go places. So, he’s now off to the paddock. “The long-term plan for him is the WA Derby next season. The Derby was one race my father (the late Darcy Lindau) always wanted to win and I’d love to win a Derby for him. It was always his ambition.” $5000 BARGAIN TRIUMPHANT Banjup trainer Annie Belton and her husband Colin reinforced their reputation as excellent judges of juvenile pacers when Lady Jadore scored a brilliant victory in the $100,000 group 1 Sales Classic for two-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night. They picked out Lady Jadore at the 2019 APG yearling sale and purchased her for a mere $5000 before giving shares in the filly to their three daughters. Lady Jadore now has raced three times for three easy victories and $70,569 in prizemoney. Lady Jadore, driven by Aldo Cortopassi and starting a hot $1.32 favourite from barrier five, won by just over a length from stablemate Adore Me Some More (Chris Lewis) at a 1.57.2 rate over 1730m. The Vicki Lea-trained Benesari Lane was an excellent third after racing without cover. Adore Me Some More took an early lead before Cortopassi dashed Lady Jadore to the front after about 500m. The win gave Cortopassi his second success in this event, following his victory as trainer and driver of Artemis Belle in 2010. Cortopassi, who had the filly in his stable for a month early in her first preparation, said he predicted a bright future for the daughter of New Zealand stallion Tintin In America. “I said to Annie and Colin ‘this is the best one’; she has speed and is a really nice filly.” SPORTS PACKAGE FLIES HOME Well-bred black filly Sports Package will be aimed for the $150,000 WA Oaks on May 1 after her thrilling victory in the 2130m Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Starting the rank outsider at $71.90 (and at $81 on the fixed market), Sports Package started from barrier six and thundered home, out five wide, from a seemingly impossible position on the home turn to get up and win by a short half-head from the $2.65 favourite My Sweet Deal, who had come from last at the bell to hit the front in the home straight. Run For Mercy, who set a fast pace was a half-head away in third place. The win completed a double for Dylan Egerton-Green, who had won earlier in the program with Talks Up A Storm. Sports Package was bred and is owned and trained by Terry Ferguson and is closely related to former top-line performers Saab (63 starts for 21 wins, 18 placings and $577,197), Talladega (66 starts for 18 wins, ten placings and $411,680) and Saabella (74 starts for 17 wins4 placings and $205,745). Ferguson bred Sports Package from his black mare Ultimate Package, who raced 45 times for five wins, ten placings and $29,216. Sports Package is the third foal out of Ultimate Package, who produced Cimorene (38 starts for four wins, 11 placings and $117,191) and Bettor Pack It (45 starts for eight wins, 11 placings and $61,183). Egerton-Green drove Sports Package at her first three starts as a two-year-old in February of last year for a second to Double Expresso at Bunbury and all-the-way victories at Pinjarra. “I had a lot of time for her as a two-year-old before she went amiss,” said Egerton-Green. The filly now has earned $31,899 from five wins and two seconds from ten starts. ROSIES IDEAL FOR THE GOLDEN GIRLS MILE Pinjarra trainer-driver Shane Young produced Rosies Ideal in fine fettle for her impressive first-up victory in the Perth Plasterboard Centre Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night and the five-year-old will now be set for the group 3 Golden Girls Mile at Pinjarra on March 23. Rosies Ideal, having her first start since winning at Gloucester Park two months ago, was a 4/1 chance from barrier four. She began well and Young was content to allow her to race outside the pacemaker Mileys Desire before she forged to the front 450m from home and went on to beat Miss Sangrial, who fought on gamely after enjoying an ideal passage, one-out and one-back. The WA-bred Rosies Ideal is developing into one of the State’s best mares and she looks set to improve significantly on her record of 13 wins, six seconds and three thirds from 38 starts for earnings of $215,364. Eight of her wins have been at Gloucester Park and she also has won twice at Northam and once each at Bunbury, Pinjarra and Narrogin. OCEAN RIDGE BOUNCES BACK Ocean Ridge, a disappointing failure when a 5/4 fancy two weeks earlier, bounced back to top form when he enjoyed the run of the race in the one-out, one-back position before dashing to the front on the home turn and winning from hot favourite and pacemaker Simba Bromac in the Retravision Free-For-All over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He was a $6.10 chance for leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond and ace reinsman Ryan Warwick, who admitted that he was to blame for Ocean Ridge’s fading eighth placing in a field of eight behind Ideal Liner over 2130m at his previous outing. “I was just trying to be too smart, going too slow (in front) and he obviously didn’t like it,” he said. “I like it better when he’s got a helmet (to follow) or is free-rolling. I wasn’t terribly confident tonight because they had gone so slow early. But I do like him better, driven that way.” Simba Bromac, resuming after an absence of just over two months, set the pace, but was challenged in the middle stages by Roman Aviator and he was unable to respond when Ocean Ridge loomed alongside him approaching the home turn. He is sure to be improved by the run and will pay to follow. Ocean Ridge now has earned $169,340 from 12 wins and seven placings from 30 starts. BRACKEN SKY BREAKS THROUGH Smart five-year-old Bracken Sky broke through for his first win in Western Australia when he trailed the pacemaker Grinny Vinnie and finished fast to beat that pacer in the 2130m Better Your bet With TABtouch Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.  This was his 17th start in WA after he had raced 45 times in New South Wales for ten wins. Trained at Wanneroo by Debbie Padberg, Bracken Sky was purchased from NSW for $22,000 and he now has earned $28,253 from his one win, five seconds and two thirds in this State. From barrier No. 1 Bracken Sky, a $13.40 chance, was first into stride before Shannon Suvaljko surrendered the lead to Grinny Vinnie after 250m. Grinny Vinnie survived a strong challenge from Iconic Valor in the middle stages, but was able to dash over the final quarter in 28.2sec. before being overhauled in the final couple of strides. Mrs Padberg, who also trains Bracken Sky’s half-brother Absolution, said that it was the plan on Friday night to race with a trail. “He’s a good frontrunner but is inclined to fire up when he is challenged as a pacemaker,” she said. “He is better suited with a sit.” TOUCH OF SUCCESS MAKES A FLYING START A sizzling start from out wide at barrier No. 7 paved the way for an easy victory for the Nathan Turvey-trained Touch of Success in the 2130m Direct Trades Supply Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Champion reinsman Gary Hall jnr seized the early initiative when he fired Touch of Success away brilliantly and the seven-year-old, a 5/2 fancy, burst straight into the lead. The gelding then dictated terms and sprinted over the final quarters in 27.7sec. and 27.4sec. to beat oldtimer Maximum Demand by more than two lengths. “He got to the front after 50 metres which is always helpful,” Hall said. “I know that I got away with a bit there, even though he blasted off the arm, the lead time (38.3sec.) wasn’t that quick at all. He came back to me really nicely, which was obviously the key. He did it with the ear plugs in and on the line was going well.” WARWICK SEIZES THE OPPORTUNITY Star reinsman Ryan Warwick made the most of the opportunity to drive smart six-year-old Dreamy Nights in the 2130m Mexican March Madness Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Astute Mt Helena trainer Ray Williams engaged Warwick to handle Dreamy Nights after the New Zealand-bred gelding’s regular reinsman Aldo Cortopassi was committed to handle his own nomination Naval Aviator. Warwick stole a march on his rivals when he bounced Dreamy Nights straight to the front from barrier four and the gelding set the pace, with Runaway Three in the breeze and Naval Aviator behind the leader. Dreamy Nights, driven by Cortopassi when a winner at his previous outing, dashed over the final 800m in 56.1sec. and won convincingly by one and a half lengths from Naval Aviator, who fought on determinedly. Dreamy Nights now has earned $78,209 from 13 wins and ten placings from 46 starts. TURVEY'S 100% RECORD Nathan Turvey has made the most of the chance to drive experienced five-year-old Bee Seventeen and he has a 100 per cent record behind the brown gelding --- two wins from two attempts. Turvey drove the Cliff Woodworth-trained Bee Seventeen for the first time when he guided him to a fast-finishing narrow victory over Major Spoilt last Friday week. On Friday night, Bee Seventeen was a $7.10 chance from the inside of the back line and Turvey gave him the run of the race behind the pacemaker Hoiho before gaining a late split to get up in the final stride to beat While They Pray by a half-head. “Turning for home I thought there was enough room to get through (on the inside of Hoi Ho),” said Turvey. “He (Hoi Ho) obviously saw me coming and I reckoned it wasn’t going to work. Really late, it just opened up for me to get through. I couldn’t drive him out and couldn’t pull the ear plugs. The horse darted through himself.” RUM DELIGHT ENDS LOSING RUN OF 20 Baskerville trainer Ryan Bell was rewarded for his patience with Rum Delight when the seven-year-old gave a bold frontrunning display for Deni Roberts to win the 2503m stand, the Westral Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Rum Delight ($6.90) sprinted over the third quarter of the final mile in 28.3sec. and then covered the final 400m in 29.1sec. to defeat ten-year-old Over Loaded by 2m. Atmospherical came from fifth on the pegs at the bell to be third. Rum Delight, whose previous win for Bell and Roberts was in a stand at Northam last July, has now won 11 races and been placed 27 times from 93 starts.   Ken Casellas

Five-year-old Naval Aviator has managed just one placing from his past 13 starts, but he has excellent prospects of breaking through for an overdue victory when he starts from the coveted No. 1 barrier in the Mexican March Madness Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Mr Aviator gelding, who is trained and driven by Aldo Cortopassi, is a good frontrunner, having won when leading at Pinjarra, Narrogin, Bunbury, Gloucester Park, Northam and Albany. He put the writing on the wall for another win with a splendid performance over 2536m last Friday night. He started out wide at barrier eight and settled in ninth position in a field of ten before Cortopassi sent him forward in the first circuit and getting a half length in front of the pacemaker Runaway Three after 600m. But Naval Aviator was unable to cross to the front for two laps before dead-heating for fourth behind the fast-finishing Iceenothink. Runaway Three will start from barrier two in this week’s race and Gary Hall jnr is likely to make a bid for the early lead with the capable frontrunner. Also appearing certain to make a strong bid to lead is the Sue Wiscombe-trained Saleahs Comand, who will start from the No. 5 barrier. Lindsay Harper got Saleahs Comand away speedily from barrier seven at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week when the seven-year-old relished his pacemaking role and held on to win by a half-length from Minimum Wage. Mt Helena trainer Ray Williams has produced Dreamy Nights in fine fettle after a spell and the six-year-old will have admirers after his last-start victory when he sat behind the pacemaker and hot favourite Bletchley Park and finished strongly. Cortopassi has driven Dreamy Nights at his past eight starts and at 20 of his past 21 starts. He has been in the sulky for ten of the New Zealand-bred pacer’s 11 wins in WA. With Cortopassi committed to driving his own nomination, Naval Aviator, Williams has engaged Ryan Warwick to handle Dreamy Nights from barrier No. 5. The Ross Olivieri-trained The Dali Express also has winning claims. He will start from barrier two on the back line and should enjoy an ideal passage throughout. The Dali Express finished strongly when third behind Iceenothink and Runaway Three last Friday night. Chris Voak, who has landed 94 winners this season, has sound prospects of getting away to a flying start to the ten-event meeting by driving Iconic Valor to victory in the opening event, the Better Your Bet With TABtouch Pace. Iconic Valor, trained by Ross Olivieri, is handily drawn at barrier two and he should fight out the finish with last-start all-the-way winner My Carbon Copy (inside of the back line), Fanci A Dance and Grinny Vinnie.   Ken Casellas

Give Us A Wave, a $60,000 yearling, has impressed at his two starts and has the ability to overcome the disadvantage of starting out wide at barrier eight by winning the $100,000 Sales Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond and driven confidently by Ryan Warwick, the Mach Three colt gave a sample of his class when he started from the outside at barrier No. 9 in a qualifying heat at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week. A 10/1 chance, he began speedily and raced three wide in the early stages before working hard in the breeze outside the speedy pacemaker and odds-on favourite The Swiss Maestro. After a 29.2sec. third quarter of the final mile Give Us A Wave sprinted the final 400m in 27.5sec., took the lead 50m from the post and won by a metre from Swiss Maestro at a 1.57.7 rate. Give Us A Wave covered the 1730m journey in 2min. 6.5sec., which was better than the gross times recorded by the other three heat winners Rock On The Beach (2min. 7.2sec.), Talks Up A Storm (2min. 7.8sec.) and Robbie Rocket (2min. 8.5sec.). However, the other heat winners have drawn inside of Give Us A Wave and punters are sure to support them, as well as the polemarker Rich American and the highly-promising Machnificent, the solitary runner on the back line. Give Us A Wave was gallant in defeat at his debut at Pinjarra on February 3 when he led from barrier one and was beaten by a nose by Machnificent, who had enjoyed a perfect passage behind the pacemaker. Give Us A Wave is out of unraced Safely Kept mare Royal Tour, the dam of eight winners, including Truckers Ruffnut (53 starts for 20 wins, 14 placings and $249,770) and Tuxedo Tour (70 starts for 15 wins, 21 placings and $194,569). Truckers Ruffnut won the Sales Classic for three-year-old colts and geldings and the Battle of Bunbury in February 2009 before winning the group 1 State Sires Series three months later. Tuxedo Tour won the group 1 State Sires Series for three-year-old colts and gelding in July 2012 and the group 3 Christmas Gift in December 2014. Capel trainer Aiden de Campo had little luck at the barrier draw, with Rock On The Beach at No. 6 and The Good Life at No. 9. Rock On The Beach, a $87,500 yearling, set the pace and won by a half-length from the David Thompson-trained Rich American in a qualifying heat in which Dylan Egerton-Green drove The Good Life into third place after racing in the breeze. “Not much separates Rock On The Beach and The Good Life and they’ve both shown me a good deal of ability,” de Campo said. “I think that Rock On The Beach is a more complete racehorse at this stage. The Good Life can be a bit fiery at times. In the heat he pulled hard in the breeze which probably cost him from running a bit closer. De Campo will stick with Rock On The Beach while Egerton-Green has opted to handle the Murray Lindau-trained Talks Up A Storm from barrier No. 5. Michael Grantham will drive The Good Life. Talks Up A Storm made a splendid debut in winning a qualifying heat by a length from the pacemaker Regal Aura after racing without cover throughout. Talks Up A Storm, a $22,000 yearling, is by American stallion Artspeak from New Zealand mare Typhoon Tan, who raced 74 times for 14 wins, 24 placings and $141,722 in stakes. It will be 11.30 in Tasmania on Friday night when Robbie Rocket begins from the favourable No. 2 barrier and the colt’s owner-breeder Paddy O’Boyle will be watching Sky Channel with keen anticipation. “Paddy has retired to Tasmania where he loves playing golf and he watches his horses on television like a hawk,” said Robbie Rocket’s trainer Vicki Lea. Robbie Rocket, who was passed in when he failed to reach his reserve price of $30,000 at the Perth yearling sale, is unbeaten, following all-the-way wins at Narrogin and Gloucester Park. He was not extended by Chris Lewis when he set the pace and beat Our Boy Archie by more than two lengths in his qualifying heat. “We were happy with the run; he did everything right,” said Lea. “Frontrunning is not his only strength; he can sit up and is happy to follow speed. He has inherited the excellent gate speed of his dam Elite Angel.” Elite Angel, a small mare, also was capable of producing a powerful finishing burst. Purchased by Ron Huston for $6000, Elite Angel earned $128,702 from 12 wins and 14 placings from 62 starts. Her half-brother Son of Fergie amassed $376,765 in prizemoney from 23 wins in WA and four in America.      Ken Casellas

When Annie Belton went to last year’s Australian Pacing Gold Sale she had no plan to buy lot 548, a filly by Tintin In America out of Ima High Rolla. Belton, alongside husband Colin, only came across the filly, bred by John Coffey at Patrician Park, when they looked at another yearling in Patrician Park’s draft. “I said to John ‘my goodness who is this’,” she said. “She looked exactly like Dior Mia More. “Colin said to me ‘I still like the other one’, so I just kept her under wraps.” Belton would go on to buy three yearlings at last year’s APG sale all from Patrician Park. She forked out $40,000 for a Tintin In America filly out of I Am Special and $20,000 for a Warrawee Needy filly out of Right Of Passage. However, it was the other Tintin In America filly Belton really wanted and was confident she was getting a bargain. “I paid $40,000 for the one we originally went to look at and we went up to $20,000 for the other filly,” she said. “Not one person got this other filly out to look at though and I was rapt. “I know John breeds his horses really well. “She was the one I really wanted and I got her for $5,000 which is an added bonus. “I said to my daughters ‘I’ve seen this filly at John’s and I think you should all have a share’.” That $5,000 filly is Lady Jadore, unbeaten from two starts and a winner of last week’s The West Australian 2YO Fillies Sales Classic Heat (1730m). Lady Jadore rated 2.00.0 in the heat last week and led all the way from barrier three. She rated slightly slower than the other heat on the evening taken out by the Aiden De Campo trained and driven Secret Reaction. Regardless of the result in this Friday’s $100,000 final, the $5,000 buy has already pocketed more than $10,000 in prize money and is giving the Belton family quite the ride. Ken Casellas

With six winners already this week, Chris Voak makes strong appeal as the driver to follow at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he will be in action in the first nine events on the ten-race program.  He nominates Iceenothink, Captain Mannering, Batavia On Fire and Rock Me Over as his best each-way prospects and is sure to be strongly supported in the opening event when he drives Itsnotova for Byford trainer David Thompson. Voak was engaged to drive Itsnotova on Wednesday after the gelding’s regular reinsman Dylan Egerton-Green was suspended for seven days for causing interference in a race at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night. Itsnotova has a losing sequence of ten, but his recent efforts have been full of merit, including his fast-finishing burst from 11th at the bell to be an eye-catching third to Soho Thunderstruck and The Last Drop last Friday night. Itsnotova looms as the main danger to the polemarker My Carbon Copy, a promising four-year-old prepared by champion trainer Gary Hall Snr. My Carbon Copy is a speedy beginner who has won at five of his past six starts. “He goes all right and should set the pace and prove hard to beat,” said star reinsman Gary Hall Jnr. Voak, who is second on the WA drivers’ premiership table with 86 wins (three behind Ryan Warwick), likes the chances of the Ross Olivieri-trained Iceenothink, who will start from the No. 2 barrier in race two the 2536m Owners Only Pace. “Iceenothink’s second behind James Butt last Friday week was super,” said Voak. “He’s been sprinting home very good and, hopefully, we don’t get too far back.” The Kristian Hawkins-trained Runaway Three is a noted frontrunner and is ideally suited from the No. 1 barrier. Hall said that he planned to set the pace. Hopeland trainer Giles Inwood prepares Batavia On Fire (No. 1 barrier) in race three, the 2130m Community TAB Pace, and Captain Mannering (barrier ten) in the fourth event, the 2130m Off The Track Pace. Voak gives both pacers a strong each-way chance. “Batavia On Fire is a good chance from the inside barrier,” said Voak. “He sat in the breeze last Friday night and ran fourth to Always An Honour when they ran home in 55.5sec. He goes well in front. ”Captain Mannering is a really good chance. I reckon Hoiho will lead and we will have the chance to sit behind him.” Captain Mannering sat behind the pacemaker three starts ago when he ran on to win from Say It Now over 1730m and last Friday night he set the pace and finished an excellent second to Fake News. “Rock Me Over surprised me with the way he finished to be third behind Ideal Liner last week and he is sure to be prominent in the RWWA Cup from barrier one,” Voak said. Voak’s other drives at the meeting are Withoutthetuh, Marquisard, Sameplace Sametime and The Male Model. He started the week with a double at Williams on Sunday, getting Emjay Twenty Three ($6.50) home to win the Williams Cup by a nose after winning with $4.80 chance Carramar Philemon. He then landed a treble at Pinjarra on Monday with Black Jack Baby ($1.14), Stars of Gold ($9) and Roman Art ($6) before winning with Run For Mercy ($1.50) at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening. Voak also has several good drives at Bunbury on Saturday night, including James Butt in the $25,000 Manea Classic and promising three-year-old Magic Matteo.   Ken Casellas

Twelve months ago, 20/1 chance Handsandwheels finished fast to score a narrow victory in the RWWA Cup and at Gloucester Park on Friday night the brilliant five-year-old is poised to be seen in a different role and should notch his second win in the $50,000 Group 2 feature event. Capel trainer Aiden de Campo is serving a seven-day suspension and he has engaged Ryan Warwick to handle the horse for the first time after he (de Campo) had driven Handsandwheels 69 times from his 76 starts. Originally, Dylan Egerton-Green was pencilled in for the drive, but he was suspended for seven days for causing interference in a race at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night. Ironically, Egerton-Green’s suspension was imposed after he had caused Donegal Art Chokin, driven by Warwick, to be checked and break into a gallop. Warwick was free to accept the drive behind Handsandwheels after Galactic Star was scratched on Wednesday morning to enable him to travel by air to Sydney to contest a $24,480 event over 2300m at Menangle on Saturday night, with Warwick in the sulky. Talented mare Our Alfie Romeo, a stablemate of Galactic Star at leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond’s establishment, has been withdrawn from the eighth event at Gloucester Park on Friday night and will be driven by Warwick from the outside barrier in a field of ten in the $50,000 Robin Dundee Stakes at Menangle on Saturday night. Handsandwheels has given stylish frontrunning displays at his past two starts to win the $50,000 City of Perth Cup and the $50,000 Governor’s Cup, both over 2130m, the distance of this week’s RWWA Cup. “The plan will be to come out of the gate as fast as we can,” said de Campo. And this task should be comparatively easy for Warwick to achieve, with Chris Voak, the driver of the polemarker Rock Me Over, saying: “You’ve got to be realistic and Rock Me Over should be better suited racing with a sit. “In a 2130m event last Friday night Rock Me Over (from barrier seven) raced in seventh place, four back on the pegs and he came home off the track (three wide) to be a close third to Ideal Liner and Bill Haley. The final quarters were run in 27.4sec. and 27.6sec. and he finished better than Bill Haley. “And two starts before that, Rock Me Over came from the one-out, two-back position to finish third to Handsandwheels and El Jacko, with a final 800m in 55.4sec.” Matt Scott, who trains Rock Me Over, is confident the gelding will fight out the finish, saying: “His run last week, and to take ground off Bill Haley was a brilliant effort. He’s in a rich vein of form.” Scott prepared Always Arjay when he finished powerfully to be a head second to Handsandwheels in last year’s RWWA Cup. One of the hardest for Handsandwheels to beat this week is the Debra Lewis-trained Bill Haley, who will start from the inside of the back line. He finished determinedly from sixth at the bell to be second to Ideal Liner over 2130m last Friday night. Ideal Liner, trained by Gary Hall Snr, will again be handled by Maddison Brown, who drove the five-year-old to perfection to score by a head from Bill Haley. He will start from barrier three this week and is sure to be a major player. Eleven-year-old Our Jimmy Johnstone (Bailey McDonough) is racing keenly but is likely to be tested from out wide at barrier nine. He started from the No. 8 barrier in the 2017 RWWA Cup and was driven by Warwick when he began brilliantly and crossed to the front after 80m before setting the pace and winning easily from Bronze Seeker.   Ken Casellas

A dashing performance by Franco Ecuador in a 2150m trial at Byford last Sunday week was a strong indication that the big, powerful colt is close to his peak and has excellent prospects of remaining unbeaten by winning the $40,000 Caduceus Club Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Franco Ecuador, trained and driven by Kim Prentice, started from the back line in the 2150m trial in which he enjoyed a perfect passage, one-out and one-back, before bursting to the front 450m from home and careering away from his rivals to win by 20 metres from stablemate Soho Major Player at a 1.58.9 rate after sprinting over the final 400m in 27.7sec. Franco Ecuador was purchased for $28,000 at the 2018 New Zealand premier yearling sale by Rob Watson, who hopes the colt will reign supreme at his first appearance at Gloucester Park and help relieve the disappointment of Franco Edward’s unplaced run in last year’s Caduceus Club Classic. Franco Edward, a half-brother to Franco Ecuador (who was bought by Watson for $17,000 as a yearling), started from the outside of the front line in last year’s classic and was restrained to last before charging into the breeze position 1100m from home and then wilting to seventh behind the hot favourite and pacemaker Patrickthepiranha. Franco Ecuador has a better barrier this year at No. 4 on the front line and Prentice will determine his tactics as the mobile barrier sends the field on its way. Franco Ecuador possesses good gate speed, but it is problematic whether he will be able to get to an early lead, with speedy beginner Al Guerrero favourably drawn at barrier two. Franco Ecuador is the least experienced runner in this week’s race, having had only two starts, both at Pinjarra in December, when he led and won by more than ten lengths over 2185m and when he raced three wide and then in the breeze before winning by three lengths from four-year-old My Carbon Copy at a 1.54 rate over 1684m. Kyle Harper gives Al Guerrero, trained at Serpentine by Kyle Anderson, a good chance, saying: “He’s got very good gate speed and is very good in front. It’s a classy field and obviously it is a step up in class for him. “His best chance would out in front, and that’s what I’ll trying to do. If he leads, he‘s a really good winning chance. He’s one of the nicer horses I’ve driven out in front.” Al Guerrero is in excellent form, winning at four of his past six starts. His only defeat at his past four outings was two starts ago, over 2130m at Gloucester Park when he led and was beaten by the fast-finishing Major Martini. “Al Guerrero was very unlucky, with Major Martini racing three back on the pegs and getting clear at the 300m when another runner bubbled and enabled Major Martini to get off the trail,” Harper said. “He beat us for speed when he ran home in 55sec. Not many horses run 55sec. in front and get rolled. Kyle Anderson has done a terrific job to get Al Guerrero where he’s at, at this stage. All reports are that all cylinders are firing.”   Major Martini’s prospects on Friday night diminished when he drew the outside (No. 9) on the front line. A winner at four of his ten starts for Boyanup trainer Justin Prentice, Major Martini has explosive speed when held up for a late charge. He will be driven by Prentice, with Gary Hall Jnr sticking with stablemate Gardys Legacy, who will start from barrier five. Gardys Legacy won five races in a row before finishing sixth as a $1.70 favourite behind Valentines Brook last Friday night when he went forward from barrier eight, raced three wide for the first 550m and then in the breeze before fading to sixth. “He looked a bit disappointing last week, but I don’t reckon he was,” said Hall. “He was absolutely barbecued for the first 150m.” Hall has won the Caduceus Club Classic six times and certainly has reasonable prospects of notching his seventh victory. He has been successful with Latte (2003), Ulrich (2004), Alberts Fantasy (2006), Gracias Para Nada (2012), Northview Punter (2013) and Beaudiene Boaz (2015). Chris Lewis, who has won the classic behind Almagest (1990), Flashing Star (1993), Classy Claude (1996), Saab (1998), Johnny Disco (2016) and Golden State (2018), will handle the brilliant Double Expresso, who will start from the inside of the back line for trainer Ross Olivieri. She is the only filly in the event and should obtain ideal passage. Olivieri, who prepared Saab for his win in 1998, said: “It was a hard decision to decide whether to race the boys or keep Double Expresso racing against the girls. But I thought she deserved a chance. If she gets out, she’ll make her presence felt. On her times, she should go good. Her work since her latest run (working in the breeze before winning the Dainty’s Daughter Classic at a 1.56 rate over 2130m last Friday week) has been the best she’s ever worked.” Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed, who has won the classic with Rich And Spoilt (2000) and Golden State (2018), will be represented by Valentines Brook (a brilliant all-the-way last-start winner), Caveman (a winner at four of his five starts) and Yourshoutrocky, a former Victorian performer and winner at four of his ten starts. Ken Casallas

Valentines Brook is Derby bound Astute Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed has the superbly-bred Valentines Brook firmly on target for the $200,000 WA Derby on April 3 after the gelding was not extended in scoring an effortless victory in the APG Perth Sales Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Driven with supreme confidence by Shannon Suvaljko, the Victorian-bred Valentines Brook, a $4.80 chance, began speedily from the No. 5 barrier, dashed to the front after 150m and sped over the final quarters in 28.1sec. and 27.8sec. to beat Miss Eerie by one and a half lengths at a 1.56 rate over 2130m. He certainly was the omen bet or the night --- on Valentine’s Day --- and the gelding, purchased for $52,000 by Albert Walmsley at the 2018 APG yearling sale in Melbourne, now has earned $42,072 from five wins and four placings from 12 starts. Suvaljko, who leapt at the opportunity to drive Valentines Brook for the first time (with Michael Grantham serving a term of suspension), was full of praise for the gelding’s performance and rated him a genuine Derby prospect. “I was happy to let him bowl along in the lead and he had plenty left on the line,” he said. “They said he went for a knee a bit but he was pretty clean in front. He did it quite easily.” Valentines Brook’s win completed a double for Suvaljko, who was successful with the Matt Scott-trained Son Of A Tiger in the Perth Plasterboard Centre Pace. Son Of A Tiger Successful in Perth Plasterboard Centre Pace Five-year-old Son Of A Tiger, the $2.80 favourite from barrier two, relished the role of pacemaker and won from the fast-finishing The Dali Express and Touch Of Success, rating 1.58 over 2130m. “He won’t run in the $50,000 RWWA Cup next Friday night,” Scott said. “I’ll take him to Bunbury for the $25,000 Manea Classic the following night before looking at the $50,000 Four and Five-Year-Old Championship at Gloucester Park on March 13. “Son Of A Tiger is a better sit and kick horse, but when you draw barrier two, like  did last week and this week, you’ve really got to lead.” Son Of A Tiger, a winner of three races in New Zealand, is proving a good buy for Tim Blee and now has raced 25 times in WA for eight wins and five placings. Stylish Win by Fake News Gary Hall jnr brought up a double when he landed smart four-year-old mare Fake News a stylish winner in the final event, the Catalano Truck and Equipment Pace over 2130m. Fake News, the even-money favourite, enjoyed a perfect trail in the one-out, one-back position, before sprinting home strongly to beat the heavily-supported $2.65 pacemaker Captain Mannering by almost a length. Champion trainer Gary Hall snr was delighted at the victory. He bred the mare on his property after training both her sire Alta Christiano and her dam Is She Talking. Hall prepared the brilliant, but ill-fated Alta Christiano for his ten starts in WA for nine wins (including the Western Gateway Pace and the 2013 WA Derby in 2013) before injuries forced the star pacer into retirement after only 18 starts for 13 wins and $309,163. The New Zealand-bred Is She Talking had 32 starts for the Hall stable for 11 wins, eight placings and $81,615. Fake News now has raced 30 times for ten wins and five placings for $121,285 in prizemoney. Standing Start Specialist Always An Honour takes out the Direct Trades Supply Handicap Hall junior’s earlier winner was behind standing start specialist, the Justin Prentice-trained $2.45 favourite Always An Honour, who led throughout and won from outsider Over Loaded in the 2096m Direct Trades Supply Handicap. Hall has driven the Art Major four-year-old 12 times for eight wins. Brown Steers Ideal Liner to Victory Hall snr also prepared the lightly-raced Ideal Liner for his narrow victory in the 2130m Retravision Pace, which gave Maddison Brown perfect record in the sulky behind the New Zealand-bred five-year-old. Brown only previous drive behind the gelding was at Gloucester Park on December 13 last year when he led and beat Simba Bromac over 2536m. Ideal Liner’s win on Friday night was due to the aggression of Brown, who surged the gelding forward, three wide for the first 450m before working in the breeze, with the strongly-supported Ocean Ridge setting the pace. Ideal Liner finished powerfully, took the lead on the home turn and won by a head at a 1.56.9 rate the $2.10 favourite Bill Haley, who finished strongly from last at the bell. “Ideal Liner was a bit disappointing at his previous couple of runs,” said Hall snr. “But worked brilliantly on Wednesday morning. He’s more tough than he’s quick and the RWWA Cup next Friday night probably will be his last run before going for a spell. He will be a better horse next summer.”    Trainer-Reinsman Hayter's First City Success Hoiho, who was making his first appearance at Gloucester Park for exactly one year, gave Bunbury trainer-reinsman Kaiden Hayter for his first city success since he drove eight-year-old Soho Wonder to a last stride nose victory over the pacemaker and $1.50 favourite Argyle Red on November 16, 2018. Hoiho enjoyed a perfect passage behind the pacemaking Illusionation before finishing determinedly to beat the hot favourite While They Pray, who had taken the lead 430m from home. Hoiho, a New Zealand-bred seven-year-old, was a $14.10 tote chance who started at handsome fixed odds of $19. Hayter, a mechanic at Bunbury Honda/Kia, races Hoiho in partnership with his boss Adam Jones and his cousins, twins Heath and Liam Stewart. They purchased the gelding for $10,000 two years ago. “It was a bit more than I would’ve liked to pay,” said Hayter. ”But he’s certainly justified that price.” The gelding has had 39 starts for his new owners for six wins, 12 placings and $45,896 in stakes. Caretaker Cortopassi Delivers  Darling Downs horseman Aldo Cortopassi leapt at the chance to take over the preparation of Lightning Jolt when Byford trainer John Oldroyd left with his wife Val for an ocean cruise just over a week ago. Lightning Jolt, a 6/1 chance, sat behind the pacemaker and hot favourite Athabascan before Cortopassi brought the seven-year-old with a strong burst to hit the front on the home turn and win the 2536m Westral Pace from the fast-finishing Clarenden Hustler. “John asked me to look after the horse while he was away and I jumped at the opportunity,” Cortopassi said. “He said that I had the licence to do what I wanted to do with him. Things fell into place for us, drawing the No. 1 barrier. “I drove him for John for the first time a fortnight ago and he just felt he didn’t hit the line one hundred per cent genuine. So, I thought I’d try the pull-down blinkers on him, to see if they would spark him up a little bit. Everything fell into plan.” Lewis Fillies & Mares Pace A dashing drive by Aiden de Campo paved the way for American Delight’s impressive victory over Mandy Joan and Dancing With Mach in the $30,000 group 3 Lewis Pace. From barrier six, American Delight settled down in 11th position, with the $2.40 favourite Dancing With Mach setting a slow early pace, with a lead time of 38.1sec. and an opening quarter of the final mile in 31.3sec. De Campo set American Delight alight at the 1400m mark and the four-year-old mare burst past Dancing With Mach and into the lead with 1050m to travel. The stewards found de Campo guilty of causing interference to Dancing With Mach and suspended him from driving for seven days. Woodworth Turvey Combo Snatches Victory Five-year-old Bee Seventeen, driven perfectly in the one-out, one-back position by Nathan Turvey for Baldivis trainer Cliff Woodworth, finished gamely to snatch a half-head victory over Major Spoilt in the 2530m Mexican March Madness Pace. Turvey had driven the gelding only once before in his 85 starts --- and that was on debut when he finished second to Warriors Code at Northam on February 4, 2017. Impressive Soho Thunderstruck Four-year-old Soho Thunderstruck revealed impressive fighting qualities when he started from the back line, raced three wide early and then in the breeze outside the pacemaker and hot favourite The Last Drop before finish with great determination to win narrowly from The Last Drop in the 2130m Choices Pace. Trainer-driver Kim Prentice said that the horse still a few problems to iron out, but had a promising future.   Ken Casellas

Bunbury trainer-reinsman Kaiden Hayter has seven-year-old Hoiho racing keenly on South-West harness racing tracks and will be looking for a strong showing from the gelding when he makes a rare city appearance at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The New Zealand-bred Hoiho is favourably drawn at barrier two on the front line in the opening event, the 2130m Happy Valentine’s Day Pace after he led and dashed over the final two quarters in 28.8sec. and 27.8sec. on his way to victory over Free To Air at Bunbury last Saturday night. Hoiho has not appeared at Gloucester Park for exactly 12 months when he started from the inside of the back line, raced three back on the pegs and ran on solidly to finish third behind James Butt and Absolution over 2130m. His previous run at Gloucester Park was ten months before that when he finished sixth behind Whozideawasthis and El Jacko. Hoiho has won five races at Bunbury and has also won once at Narrogin, Williams, Wagin, Collie, Bridgetown and Busselton. He is seeking his first city success and is sure to meet stiff opposition from While They Pray, Iconic Valor and Illusionation. Illusionation, trained by Reg Phillips and to be driven by Donald Harper, looks the likely pacemaker from the No. 1 barrier, but is expected to be tested in the final stages by Hoiho, While They Pray and Iconic Valor. While They Pray is racing in splendid form for Pinjarra trainer Michael George and looks hard to beat from barrier five with Gary Hall Jnr in the sulky. The WA-bred four-year-old notched his tenth victory from starts when he had a tough run without cover before beating Tajie Baby at a 1.55.6 rate over 1730m on Tuesday of last week While They Pray is by former champion pacer Alta Christiano, who was driven by Hall seven times for seven wins, including the 2013 WA Derby. Hall also drove While They Pray’s dam Slick Bird for three wins and a splendid third behind Artemis Belle in the WA Oaks in May 2011. Slick Bird is a half-sister to High Courage, who raced 35 times in WA for ten wins and six placings before continuing his career in America. Hall was in the sulky for six of High Courage’s WA victories. Ken Casellas

Eye-catching sparkling late finishing bursts in strong Group 2 feature harness racing events on the past two Friday nights have stamped Bill Haley as a star bet at Gloucester Park this week when he will appreciate a drop in class when he contests the $25,000 Retravision Pace over 2130m. The New Zealand-bred five-year-old, trained by Debra Lewis and driven by her husband Chris, has the ability to overcome an awkward draw at barrier six in the field of eight. Bill Haley was 11th at the bell in the 2130m Group 2 Governor’s Cup last Friday night before he went four wide on the home turn and sprinted fast to be third behind Handsandwheels and Galactic Star. A week earlier, after starting out wide at barrier eight, Bill Haley was tenth and last at the bell before surging home, out five wide, to finish fifth behind Handsandwheels and El Jacko.   A winner of 12 races from 51 starts, Bill Haley will clash with up-and-coming five-year-old Ocean Ridge, who ideally drawn at barrier three, giving Ryan Warwick an excellent opportunity to use the gelding’s good gate speed in a bid to burst to the front in the early stages. Ocean Ridge has set the pace and has won very easily over 1730m at his past two outings, rating 1.53.5 and 1.52.6. Adding interest to the race will be the return to racing of the Barry Howlett-trained Three Bears, a smart frontrunner who will be handled by Gary Hall jnr from the prized No. 1 barrier. The eight-year-old, a winner at 19 of his 55 starts, has not raced for five months. Whether he can hold out Ocean Ridge in the early battle for the lead remains to be seen. And adding further intrigue will be trainer Murray Lindau’s speedy six-year-old Chiaroscuro, who will be driven by Dylan Egerton-Green from barrier four. Chiaroscuro, a winner at 15 of his 50 starts, possesses explosive gate speed. He made his first appearance after a five-month absence when he was restrained from barrier six and raced near the rear before finishing eighth behind Handsandwheels last Friday week. That was his first appearance since he revealed dazzling gate speed to lead from the No. 4 barrier and win easily in modest company at a 1.55 rate over 2130m early last August. He led from barrier seven when he won over 1730m from Livura two starts before that. Ideal Liner (Maddison Brown) and Rock Me Over (Chris Voak) have been in sound form in top company and are sure to appreciate a drop in class. Voak has given punters a good lead by choosing to drive The Last Drop for trainer Ross Olivieri in the 2130m Choices Flooring Pace in preference to stablemate Salacious Gossip. The Last Drop, a good frontrunner, has drawn perfectly at barrier one and Voak is set to make every post a winner by attempting an all-the-way victory. The Last Drop, a four-year-old who has had 21 starts for six wins and four placings, started from the outside of the front line and was restrained to the rear before fighting on from last at the bell to finish sixth behind My Carbon Copy over 2130m on Tuesday of last week. He set the pace and won over 2185m and 2692m at Pinjarra at his two previous outings. Salacious Gossip will be handled by Chris Lewis from barrier No. 3 on the front line and has solid each-way claims. She started from the outside of the back line and raced in seventh position, four back on the pegs, before running home solidly to finish fourth behind Parisian Partygirl last Friday night. Olivieri also has sound prospects with his two runners, Atmospherical (Voak) and The Dali Express (Lewis) in the Perth Plasterboard Centre Pace over 2130m. Atmospherical, a versatile six-year-old, will start from the No. 1 barrier, with The Dali Express at barrier four. Atmospherical has had a short let-up and is capable of a bold showing, while The Dali Express maintained his sound form when he finished solidly from seventh at the bell to be fourth behind his stablemate James Butt last Friday night. Northam Cup winner Son of a Tiger, veteran Waylade and stylish last-start winner Theo Aviator will have plenty of admirers. By Ken Casellas

Outstanding Boyanup trainer Justin Prentice has been happy with Always An Honour’s unplaced runs in harness racing mobiles at his past three outings and is delighted that the comparatively inexperienced four-year-old will be returning to his favoured standing-start event when he begins from the inside of the front line in the 2096m Direct Trades Supply Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “He seems to settle better early in stands and he quickly gets into his rhythm,” said Prentice. Always An Honour, a 33/1 outsider from barrier seven in a 2536m mobile event last Friday night, impressed when he was a distant 11th at the bell before finishing solidly to be fourth behind Valbonne. He improved from 12th in the middle stages to finish seventh behind Its Rock And Roll over 2130m at his previous appearance. The New Zealand-bred Always An Honour’s first three wins were when he set the pace in mobiles at Gloucester Park. Since then he has proved himself to be a standing-start specialist, with seven starts in stands producing five wins, a third and a seventh placing. The lightly-raced Ross Olivieri-trained eight-year-old Jimmy Mack will be driven by Chris Lewis from the outside of the 20-metre line and looks set to play a major role in Friday night’s event. Jimmy Mach, who has had only 28 starts for 12 wins and 12 placings, impressed in the 2560m Northam Cup last Saturday week when he started off 20m and was 12th and last with two laps to travel before he followed the three-wide run of Miss Sangrial in the final circuit to finish second to Son Of A Tiger. A winner at his only appearance in a stand in New Zealand (over 2700m at Forbury in April 2017), Jimmy Mach’s 18 starts in Western Australia have produced seven wins and eight placings. Seven of those runs were in stands for two wins, two seconds, two thirds and a ninth placing. Another runner with sound each-way prospects is the rejuvenated ten-year-old The Black Cardinal, who will be driven by Ryan Warwick for Jandakot trainer Tommy Sheehy. He will start from barrier three on the front line. The Black Cardinal made an unsuccessful challenge for the early lead before gaining the sit behind the pacemaker Burning Shadows and then finishing gamely to be second to Miss sangria in a 2631m stand at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. By Ken Casellas

Five-year-old Dancing With Mach has inherited some of the ability of her dam Party Date and she has bright prospects of leading her harness racing rivals on a merry dance and winning the $30,000 Lewis Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. It would be a fitting victory for the Barry Howlett-trained mare who will be driven by champion reinsman Chris Lewis, after whom this feature event for fillies and mares is named. Dancing With Mach is a good frontrunner and Lewis is sure to be keen to take full advantage of the prized No. 1 barrier. Dancing With Mach impressed four starts ago when she set the pace from barrier two and won by a length and a half from Delightful Mandy over 2265m at Albany. Dancing With Mach started from the No. 2 barrier in a 2130m event last Friday night when her nose appeared to hit the arm of the mobile barrier a split second before the start. This caused the mare to become unbalanced for a moment and she was left in the breeze outside the polemarker Bettor Pack It before she was shuffled back to sixth position, one-out and two-back. Dancing With Mach, fifth at the 400m mark, unwound a spirited burst to take a narrow lead 15m from the post, but was overhauled in the final stride and beaten by the fast-finishing Parisian Partygirl. Dancing With Mach is bred to be a good winner, with her dam Party Date earning $256,003 from 25 wins and 27 placings from 111 starts. Party Date finished third behind Te Kanarama and Lombo Fe Fe in the Golden Nugget at Gloucester Park in February 2004, three months before she won the Group 3 Ladyship Cup at Moonee Valley. Party Date has produced seven winners, with Dancing With Mach earning $45,148 from seven wins and nine placings from 27 starts. Her other progeny include Bettor Party (38 wins, 52 placings and $314,182 from 190 starts) and Rocknroll Whitby (91 starts for 12 wins, 12 placings and $151,480). She is also the dam of Pierre Whitby, a four-year-old gelding who has sound each-way prospects in race two, the 2536m Mexican March Madness at the Beau Rivage Pace on Friday night. Bettor Pack It, who finished a close third behind Parisian Partygirl and Dancing With Mach last Friday night, will start from the inside of the back line this week and should enjoy a soft run on the pegs for Chris Voak and certainly is capable of fighting out the finish. Other mares with sound each-way claims in what appears to be a very even field include Tajie Baby, Fulfil The Dream, Countess Grace, Mary Joan and American Delight. Tajie Baby is a speedy beginner and Lindsay Harper is likely to attempt to send the eight-year-old veteran of 114 starts to the front from barrier five. She ended a sequence of nine unplaced efforts when she enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, before finishing solidly to be second to While They Pray over 1730m on Tuesday of last week. Four-year-old Fulfil The Dream, to be driven by Gary Hall Jnr for trainer Justin Prentice, gave a solid frontrunning display to win from Gunna Get Lucky over 2536m on Tuesday of last week. However, she will need a shade of luck to overcome the disadvantage of starting out wide at barrier eight. By Ken Casellas

Rising star Culpeka has overcome problems and is poised to extend his winning sequence to six when he contests the Happy Chinese New Year Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The New Zealand-bred five-year-old will start from the inside of the back line and has the ability to overcome the tricky draw and beat his most serious rival, Bletchley Park, who will be having his first start for Bunbury trainer Stephen Reed. Culpeka, trained at Busselton by Barry Howlett, arrived in WA in June 2018 after winning four times from 19 starts in New Zealand for Howlett, his wife Lyn and their son Jimmy. But on arrival in WA it was discovered that Culpeka had bone chips in his hind legs, which required surgery. The operation was successful, but Culpeka had a bad reaction to anti-biotics and was laid low by constantly scouring for 12 months. Another Howlett-owned pacer, Major Express, also had surgery to remove bone chips in a leg and also suffered from scouring which delayed his debut in WA for 16 months. Finally, Howlett’s patient care was rewarded when Culpeka and Major Express were fit enough to resume their careers. Major Express reappeared at Bunbury last December when he broke and finished last. He has since won at each of his next three starts, twice at Bunbury and once at Pinjarra. Culpeka, now a five-year-old, resumed after an 18-month absence when he finished a sound third to Its Rock And Roll and Shadow Roll at Pinjarra on December 2 last year. He has gone on to win at each of his next five starts by a total of 46.8 metres (an average margin of three lengths). Howlett certainly has no regrets now that he refused substantial offers to sell Culpeka and Major Express before they left New Zealand in mid-2018. Culpeka warmed up for his Gloucester Park assignment this week in fine style with a dazzling victory in the Albany Cup over 2690m last Saturday week. He charged home from tenth and last at the bell to win in effortless fashion by five lengths from Bettor Pack It. Bletchley Park will be having his first start since he met with interference and broke and finished last behind Shockwave in the Golden Nugget Championship on December 13. His 22 starts for astute Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed have produced ten wins, four seconds, one third and $162,867 in stakes. He is now being prepared in Bunbury by Reed’s son Stephen. Bletchley Park gave a sample of his wonderful ability when he finished second to Major Trojan in the WA Derby last April when he finished in front of several talented pacers, including Franco Edward, Shockwave, Patrickthepiranha, Eloquent Mach and Sangue Reale. He will start from barrier four on Friday night and will be handled by Michael Grantham. He will have many admirers.   Ken Casellas

A change in her training routine is paying dividends for exciting filly Double Expresso, who has bright prospects of overcoming an awkward draw at barrier six and winning the $50,000 Dainty’s Daughter Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Astute Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri is confident that Double Expresso will give him his first success in the classic for three-year-old fillies and star reinsman Chris Lewis his third win in the race after succeeding with Five Hundred More in 2005 and Sheer Royalty in 2009. Double Expresso, a winner at eight of her 11 starts, warmed up for this week’s classic with a devastating performance to win a 2185m trial at Pinjarra last Sunday week, rating 1.55.6 with her final four 400m sections of 29.5sec.,29.3sec., 27.8sec. and 28.1sec. She began fast from the outside of the front line to burst to the front after 80m. She led by two lengths at the 400m and romped home, unextended, by about eight lengths from Farawayeyes.      “That trial was a test to see how she was going after a change in her training,” said Olivieri. “A win in that fast time was a very good result. We wanted to keep her off the hard tracks and work her in the sand, galloping and working in the jog cart. And she loves it. “We’re very happy with her at the moment. And the way she went in the trial, you’d have to be happy with her. She had plenty up her sleeve.” Olivieri has a second string in this week’s race in Run For Mercy, who will be driven by Chris Voak from the No. 2 barrier on the back line. “Her run when fourth behind I Work Out at Northam last Saturday night was disappointing,” said Olivieri. “We’ve changed a few things around with her and, hopefully, she will respond.” Suing You, Tiffany Rose and Star Fromthepalace loom as the main rivals for Double Expresso whose main aim this season is the $150,000 WA Oaks on May 1. Suing You, trained at Boyanup by Justin Prentice, will be handled by champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr and will start from barrier No. 5 on the front line. Suing You, a winner of three races as a two-year-old, has resumed after a spell in fine style, with her first three outings as a three-year-old producing a first-up Pinjarra win, a head second to Double Expresso and an all-the-way victory at Gloucester Park. “She is a very nice filly and her three runs back have been good,” Prentice said. “She’s definitely up to the fillies on Friday night. It was a good run two starts ago when second to Double Expresso. At the time I thought that whatever she did that night she would improve on. I said to Junior (Hall) I don’t think I’ve got her quite right, so drive her conservatively. “I think that he might have under-driven her a little bit; and he was really happy with the way she went.” Hall also has a high opinion of Suing You, saying: “Double Expresso’s trial was off the map, but I think Suing You is capable of beating her. If Star Fromthepalace leads, she also capable of winning.” Star Fromthepalace, to be driven by Deni Roberts for Byford trainer Peter Anderson, is sure to be prominent throughout from the prized No. 1 barrier. “She’s a talented filly who has matured from her two-year-old days,” said Anderson. “Everything has worked perfectly this preparation, two strong trials at Byford and a first-up win at Pinjarra. I reckon she is among the best half dozen fillies in the State.” Star Fromthepalace is a tough staying type, who will take catching if she is able to hold the lead and set the pace. However, if she is headed in the first circuit, she should enjoy an ideal trail behind the pacemaker and is capable of unwinding a spirited finishing burst. The New Zealand-bred Tiffany Rose will have many admirers, particularly after drawing the No. 3 barrier on the front line for Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed and reinsman Michael Grantham. After being placed at seven of her eight starts in New Zealand, Tiffany Rose won easily at her first five starts in Western Australia before finishing a brilliant, fast-finishing third to Double Expresso and then covering a lot of extra ground before fading to last behind talented colt Howard Hughes at her past two starts. Owners Jim and Wilma Giumelli are hoping that Tiffany Rose can make up for the disappointment of Arma Indie, starting from the outside barrier and surging home from last to finish second to the pacemaker Typhoon Tiff in last year’s Dainty’s Daughter Classic. Typhoon Tiff gave trainer-driver Colin Brown his second success in the feature event (after driving Centrefold Angel to a head victory over Ella Sue in 2010) and he is hoping for a strong effort from Farawayeyes, who will start out wide at barrier seven. Farawayeyes is an improving filly who has raced nine times for two wins and five placings. My Sweet Deal and Some Copper Beach are smart types but will need a shade of luck from barriers eight and nine, respectively. My Sweet Deal, trained by David Hunter in Collie, will again be driven by Stuart McDonald, who has handled the filly at all of her 12 starts for seven wins, four seconds and a third placing. Aiden de Campo trains and drives Some Copper Beach, who has won at six of her 13 starts. She has been off the scene since finishing sixth behind Tiffany Rose at Gloucester Park on December 6. “She was just a bit disappointing after a good first-up win, so I have given her a light freshen-up,” said de Campo. “She’s been in work long enough to be forward enough. But barrier nine hurts us a lot. She seems to go better when driven forward and all of her good races have been when she’s been on-speed, going forward. There is a lot of speed inside of us, but it is more than likely that she’ll come across with them and then try to find a hole. Hopefully, we can slot in somewhere and run home late.”   Ken Casellas

Ryan Warwick, the State’s leading reinsman, has given punters a massive lead by choosing to drive veteran pacer Our Jimmy Johnstone in the $50,000 Governor’s Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He has enjoyed remarkable success with all of the five Cup runners prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond and he elected to drive the 11-year-old Our Jimmy Johnstone, a marvel who will be having his 129th start in a race when he begins from the favourable No. 2 barrier on the front line in the 2130m feature event. Warwick has handled Our Jimmy Johnstone in only one of his past 18 starts and that was when the New Zealand-bred gelding began speedily from barrier five and stormed to the front after 500m on his way to an easy victory over Whozideawasthis and Ideal Liner at a 1.53.5 rate over 1730m three starts ago. Warwick has been in the sulky for 13 of Our Jimmy Johnstone’s 20 wins in Western Australia. He has driven star pacer Galactic Star in all of his 19 WA wins, Vampiro at 18 of his 21 WA wins, Our Alfie Romeo at 16 of her 17 WA wins and El Jacko at 16 of his 20 wins in the State. Our Jimmy Johnstone excelled in the major summer carnival events, finishing fifth behind Caviar Star and Vampiro in the 2536m Fremantle Cup and a close third to stablemates Mighty Conqueror and Vampiro in the 2936m WA Pacing Cup. Our Jimmy Johnstone will be contesting the Governor’s Cup for the fourth time. He was second favourite at 5/2 when, driven by Warwick, he led from the No. 6 barrier and won by two lengths at a 1.55.2 rate from Red Salute, with Im Full of Excuses in third place in 2017 before finishing seventh (from barrier six) behind Chicago Bull in 2018 and a fading tenth behind Rocknroll Lincoln 12 months ago. On Friday night Kim Prentice will drive El Jacko from the No. 3 barrier, Colin Brown will handle the in-form Vampiro from barrier nine, Dylan Egerton-Green has been engaged to drive the brilliant Galactic Star (inside of the back line) for the first time, and Michael Grantham will handle Our Alfie Romeo (the only mare in the race) from the No. 2 barrier on the back line. Six-year-old Vampiro is in superb form, with three wins from his past six starts and head seconds behind Caviar Star in the Fremantle Cup and behind Mighty Conqueror in the WA Pacing Cup at his past two runs. Remarkably, Vampiro has started from the No. 9 barrier in both the big Cup events in which he began brilliantly, dashed to an early lead and was defeated in desperately close photo finishes. Again, Vampiro and Brown will have to contend with the outside barrier this week. Brown is almost certain to attempt to charge to the front with Vampiro, but it is somewhat problematical that the gelding will be able to get straight to the front, with speedy beginners Rock Me Over (Shannon Suvaljko) drawn favourably at barrier one, Our Jimmy Johnstone at No. 2 and Talktomeurmattjesty (Kyle Harper) at barrier six. Galactic Star was far from disgraced last Friday night when he raced without cover in the breeze and finished fourth behind Handsandwheels over 2130m last Friday night. He can never be under-estimated. An eye-catching run in that event was handed in by the Debra Lewis-trained Bill Haley, who was restrained from barrier eight and was last at the bell before flashing home, out five wide, to finish fifth. Again, he is awkwardly drawn at barrier seven this week, but capable of causing an upset.    Fremantle Cup winner Caviar Star’s prospects slumped when he drew out wide at barrier eight, but reinsman Gary Hall Jnr has not given up hope, saying: “It’s tough, but not impossible. He’s too good a horse to leave out.” Handsandwheels, an effortless all-the-way winner from barrier one in the 2130m Group 2 City of Perth Cup last Friday night, fared poorly in the draw this week and will start from the outside of the back line. “Twelve is not as bad as some draws, but it is definitely not favourable,” said trainer-reinsman Aiden de Campo. “However, he’ll run a good race. He’s not purely a frontrunner and he has progressed well this week after his win last Friday night. Handsandwheels started from barrier two on the back line in the Governor’s Cup 12 months ago when he moved to the breeze after a lap and then gained a good sit in the one-out, one-back position. He was hampered for room until the final 100m before finishing strongly to be fourth behind Rocknroll Lincoln. Two starts ago, Handsandwheels showed his class as a sit-sprinter when he was tenth at the 500m before finishing fast to be fourth behind Mighty Conqueror in the WA Pacing Cup.   Ken Casellas

Dudley Kenneth Anderson, affectionately known as Boof throughout his long and distinguished career in harness racing, died aged 88 on Tuesday. A blacksmith by trade, he also was an astute trainer and skilful reinsman who drove a winner of a WA Derby, a Fremantle Cup and a Miracle Mile at Sydney’s Harold Park. He also had a keen eye when selecting a horse and it was on his recommendation that WA trainer Bill Horn and Gordon and Cecelia Cox purchased Village Kid for $36,000 after the pacer had won at three of his first nine starts in New Zealand. Trained by Horn, Village Kid developed into a superstar who raced 160 times for 93 wins, 25 seconds, 12 thirds and $2,117,870 in prizemoney. The highlight of Anderson ‘s career was when he drove Royal Force (trained by Wagin farmer George Kennett) to victory over Paleface Adios and Markovina in the Miracle Mile at Harold Park in March 1977. Anderson also drove Royal Force when the pacer finished third behind Pure Steel and Paleface Adios in the 1977 Hunter Cup in Melbourne and when he won the Fremantle Cup that year. Two years later, Royal Force was third behind Pure Steel and Koala King in the WA Pacing Cup. Anderson also achieved great success with several pacers he trained and drove, including Smooth Dave, Regal Counsel, Southern Knight and Just Mick. Regal Counsel, a chestnut, won the 1972 James Brennan Cup, Smooth Dave scored a notable victory over Classic Garry in the 1982 WA Derby and Southern Knight finished second to Flashing Star in the 1994 Golden Nugget championship. The WA-bred Southern Knight went on to finish second to Justaboyden in the 1995 WA Pacing Cup and third behind Our Sir Vancelot and Norms Daughter in the 1997 WA Pacing Cup.     Ken Casellas

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