Day At The Track
Search Results
1 to 16 of 1973
1 2 3 4 5 Next »

Ace harness racing trainer-reinsman Kim Prentice has a high opinion of his lightly-raced six-year-old The Odd Lover and he is confident the stallion will take another step towards qualifying for a start in the rich TABtouch Inter Dominion championship series by winning the Soho Standardbreds Handicap over 2503m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Odd Lover has recovered fully from serious suspensory ligament damage which kept him on the sidelines for 14 months and should notch his second win from his second start on his comeback trail by proving too talented for his rivals in Friday night’s stand in which he will start off the 20m mark. He resumed in style last Friday week when he galloped out off 10m before dashing forward and taking the lead after a lap. He relished his pacemaking role and sprinted brilliantly over the final quarters in 28.1sec. and 27.9sec. to win by more than five lengths from Assassinator. “He was also entered for the Mount Eden Sprint, but I thought he needed one more run in lesser company before he goes and tackles the better class horses to see if he’s worth a spot in the Inters,” Prentice said. “He missed a little bit (at the start) at his first-up run, which he doesn’t normally do. So, he’ll be getting a fair bit of practice in the next couple of days. His first-up run sharpened him up and he’s really come to the party. I’m very happy with him.” The Odd Lover should be able to beat last-start winners Three Blind Mice, Fifth Edition and Always Arjay as well as Assassinator and Tommy Be Good, whose recent efforts have been very good. Assassinator, a recent edition to the Ross Olivieri stable, raced wide early and then without cover when a well-beaten last-start second to The Odd Lover. He will be driven by Chris Voak. Lewis, who last drove Assassinator 31 starts ago for a nose victory in a stand at Gloucester Park in August 2016, will be in the sulky behind the Barry Howlett-trained Three Blind Mice, who impressed first-up with a strong all-the-way win in a 2100m mobile event at Bunbury last Saturday week. Ken Casellas

Promising filly Beaudiene Beach Babe has suffered no ill-effects from being severely checked and breaking into a fierce gallop in a race at Wagin last Saturday night and Boyanup harness racing trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice is confident she will bounce back and fight out the finish of the AMF Ceiling Tiles Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Beaudiene Beach Babe will start from barrier five in the 2130m event restricted to three-year-old fillies. She is one of three Prentice-trained runners in the race, with Our Major Mama to be driven by Tom Buchanan from barrier four and Somersby to be handled by Gary Hall Jnr from the No. 6 barrier. Beaudiene Beach Babe was favourite at 7/4 on when she reappeared after an absence of six months in a 2180m event at Wagin on Saturday night. She did not handle the track at all well, but after being well back in the field, some 15 lengths behind the runaway pacemaker Reacher in the middle stages, she looked a strong winning chance when she forged forward in the back straight in the final circuit. She was in third place on the pegs, following Speed Man when that pacer broke in front of her with about 350m to travel. She galloped badly and finished seventh in a field of seven, 99 metres behind the winner, Reacher. “She was going roughly and didn’t handle the Wagin track at all,” Prentice said. “She’s still green and is still learning. I think she will be a nice filly, but will probably take a bit of time to learn what it is all about. “She was going to run first or second at Wagin until she got knocked over. I didn’t realise how tight the bends are at Wagin and she didn’t handle them that well. Hopefully, she handles Gloucester Park better. She was fine at her only other race start, at Gloucester Park early last April (when she raced in the breeze and finished fourth behind Ella Gant Player. She’s also fine at home.” Prentice said that Our Major Mama was capable of a strong first-up showing. “She is working well and seems to be a bit stronger this time than she was when she had five starts for three placings as a two-year-old,” he said. Somersby enjoyed an ideal passage behind the pacemaker before running on to win at her debut, at Pinjarra three starts ago. She set the pace before wilting to fifth behind Ladys Are Ideal at Pinjarra last Monday week. “Somersby is a bit behind Beaudiene Beach Girl and Our Major Mama and is drawn the worst as well,” Prentice said. Ken Casellas

Champion trainer Gary Hall Snr has prepared five of the past 15 winners of the Mount Eden Sprint and he has high hopes that two of his harness racing stable stars will fight out the finish of the Group 2 $50,000 Perth Plasterboard Centre feature event over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He will be represented by the New Zealand-bred trio of Chicago Bull, Ohoka Punter and Run Oneover and is finding it difficult to separate Chicago Bull and Ohoka Punter as the stable’s best winning chance. Star reinsman Gary Hall Jnr will stick with superstar Chicago Bull and young reinsman Stuart McDonald has been engaged to drive eight-year-old Ohoka Punter, who is favourably drawn at barrier No. 2 on the front line in a top-class field of ten. Ohoka Punter will be having his first start for five months and has not been produced at trials, while five-year-old Chicago Bull will be having his eighth start in his current preparation. Both are leading candidates for the rich TABtouch Inter Dominion championship which will get underway with the first set of qualifying heats on November 24. Asked for his thoughts on the race, Hall Snr said: “I’d say that if Ohoka Punter leads, he should win. I also reckon he’s a definite chance in the Inters. I like the horse a lot. He lacks a little bit of point-to-point speed, but he’s very strong. “Chicago Bull also will perform very well. He’s got a few options as the only runner off the back line.” Hall also has a lot of respect for the Kim Prentice-trained Soho Tribeca, who will start from barrier three. “Chicago Bull has never beaten Soho Tribeca when he (Soho Tribeca) has drawn better --- or vice-versa,” he said. “I don’t think there’s much between them. Soho Tribeca is probably a better stayer, but Chicago Bull’s point-to-point speed is better. “Nathan Turvey will drive Run Oneover and he’ll go back from barrier five. We’re trying to teach him to settle in his races.” Run Oneover also drew barrier five in last year’s Mount Eden Sprint (which was surprisingly run over 2130m). He enjoyed the one-out, one-back trail and ran on to take a very narrow lead 60m from the post before finishing a close second to the pacemaker and 5/4 on favourite Libertybelle Midfrew. McDonald is excited at the prospect of driving Ohoka Punter for the first time in a race. “I’m very much looking forward to the experience,” he said. “He’s a very good horse and I’m thankful for Senior (Hall Snr) for asking the owners to agree to having me drive the horse. I have had plenty of trackwork drives on him and he’s working super.” Ohoka Punter, a striking stallion who will boost his earnings past the $1 million mark if he is successful on Friday night, has been sparingly raced, with his 56 starts producing 25 wins and 23 placings. He has had a spell since finishing a close third behind Heez On Fire and Run Oneover at Gloucester Park on May 19.         An attack of colic, followed by a lung infection, forced Ohoka Punter to miss the Inter Dominion championship series late last year. Soho Tribeca’s has resumed after a short spell in dazzling form and he will have many admirers. At his most recent appearance, last Friday week, he settled down in ninth position and moved to seventh at the bell before sustaining a powerful three-wide burst to finish a head second to the frontrunning Shandale over 2130m when the final three quarters whizzed by in 28.5sec., 27.4sec. and 28.7sec. “I think that was the best I’ve had a horse perform for me,” said Prentice. “I was so proud of him. He really surprised me how close he got; he wasn’t entitled to get that close. “This week it will be tough from barrier three. He most likely will be in the breeze outside Ohoka Punter, with Chicago Bull on our back.  If My Hard Copy holds the lead from the inside barrier, I can see myself being three wide for the trip. So, I hope that doesn’t happen. “His main aim is the Inter Dominion and he is still getting worked towards that.” Shandale, trained by Mike Reed and driven by Shannon Suvaljko, will start from the No. 4 barrier and faces a stern test. The five-year-old stallion was outstanding at his latest appearance when he was checked early, took the lead after 400m, set a bold pace and won narrowly from Soho Tribeca, with Chicago Bull in third placed. “Shandale’s previous trainer spoke to Mike Reed and said that he considered that was the horse’s best win,” Suvaljko said. “However, I think Shandale will get better. I reckon he’s still only about 75 per cent and I’m sure he will get fitter and harder. “He has shown his liking for 1730m, having won twice, rating 1.53.8 and 1.53.7, after racing in the breeze,” he said. Shandale also won over 1730m, rating 1.54.7 at his West Australian debut and has yet to be beaten over this distance. “This looks his biggest test so far,” Suvaljko said. “We’ve got a couple of options. We don’t have to go forward; we can just slot in.” Suvaljko has won the Mount Eden Sprint behind the Tony Svilicich-trained Real Life in 2010 and the Reed-trained Libertybelle Midfrew last year. Clint Hall, who drove Run Oneover when second in last year’s event, hopes to go one better this year when he drives dual WA Pacing Cup winner My Hard Copy from the prized No. 1 barrier. He was in the sulky when My Hard Copy flew home from eighth at the bell to be a neck second to Waylade in the Mount Eden Sprint in November 2015. My Hard Copy has not raced since September 22 when he started from the No. 1 barrier and was in front for the first 400m before handing up the lead to Americanbootscoota in the 2130m Navy Cup. He fought on gamely when third to Chicago Bull and Americanbootscoota. Ken Casellas

Herne Hill trainer Kevin Keys declares that four-year-old Sarah Goody has become more tractable and he is full of confidence she will make a successful return to harness racing after a spell when she contests the third heat of the Perth Plasterboard Centre Canning Vale Preux Chevalier Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. As a two and three-year-old Sarah Goody impressed with nine wins and six seconds from 24 starts, despite a tendency to race erratically at times. She showed her class as a three-year-old earlier this year with seconds to Maczaffair in the Daintys Daughter Classic and WA Oaks and a win in the Group 3 Westsired Pace. “She kept improving and that was the good part about her last time in when she surprised me a couple of times when she did things wrong and still got home very good,” Keys said. “I hope she has matured. She seems as though she has. What I do like about her is that she can sit off high speed and still duck home. The quicker they go, the better she likes it. I’ve put a bigger shadow roll on her because she seems to be looking at something on the inside of the track and her trackwork has been very good. She hasn’t looked like doing anything wrong. “On Friday night I think she will cross to the front and dictate. I’m very happy with her and I’m sure that whatever she does she’ll improve on. Then again, I’m not producing her underdone and I expect her to go very good.” Chris Lewis has given punters a good lead by choosing to drive Sarah Goody in preference to the consistent Sea Me Smile, who is prepared by his wife Debra. Sea Me Smile has been placed at each of her past four starts at Gloucester Park and boasts a record of 86 starts for 11 wins and 31 placings for $138,279 in stakes. She will start from barrier two on the back line with Clint Hall in the sulky. Adding interest to the race will be the return of the Robbie Williams-trained Dame Puissant, who will be making her first appearance for just over five months. A winner at nine of her 36 starts, she will start from the inside of the back line. Ken Casellas

Harness racing trainer Ross Olivieri and reinsman Chris Lewis have been a powerful and highly successful combination for 30 years and they will join forces at Gloucester Park on Friday night when they attempt to win three consecutive events with talented New Zealand-bred pacers Itz Bettor To Win, Motu Premier and Im Full of Excuses. These three pacers are raced by leviathan owner Merv Butterworth, who is hoping the trio will qualify for the rich TABtouch Inter Dominion championship series, starting on November 24. Butterworth makes no secret that he considers five-year-old Motu Premier a superior pacer to Im Full of Excuses and Itz Bettor To Win. Sharing his opinion is Lewis, who said: “Motu Premier is a nice horse who goes good. And now he’s got to step up to the next level if he’s going to be an Inter Dominion contender.” Motu Premier, whose six starts in Western Australia have resulted in five wins and a close second placing, will be making his first appearance for nine weeks when he starts from the No. 3 barrier on the front line in the $22,000 Simpson Pace over 2130m on Friday night. Motu Premier is a strong and dour gelding who has won many races after working hard in the breeze and he is likely to have to endure a tough run again on Friday night when his chief rival looms large as the Olivieri-trained El Hombre. El Hombre will start from the No. 1 barrier and Chris Voak said he would be keen to set the pace. “He produced a powerful effort when he raced without cover before winning from Soho Chelsea and Mach Time last week,” he said. “He should go even better by leading this week and I give him a good chance of beating Motu Premier.” Lewis appreciates that El Hombre will be a worthy opponent on Friday night, saying: “That was one of his best runs and this will be a challenge for Motu Premier. However, all things being equal, I’d say Motu Premier is a better horse.”   Adding considerable interest to Friday night’s race will be the reappearance of Natural Disaster, an up-and-coming five-year-old who will be driven by his trainer Justin Prentice. Natural Disaster, who impressed in winning at eight of his 13 starts last season, will be having his first start for ten weeks. He faces a stern test from the outside (No. 9) on the front line. Motu Premier is at No. 21 in the second list of ranking for the Inter Dominion championship series. Stablemate Jambiani is ranked No. 22, with Im Full of Excuses at No. 25, El Hombre at No. 58 and Itz Bettor To Win at No. 70. Itz Bettor To Win will start out wide at barrier eight in the Celebrating Melissa Renouf Pace on Friday night and Lewis expects him to perform strongly at his second start in Western Australia. The six-year-old gelding was favourite at 6/4 when he dashed to the front from barrier three after 200m and set a brisk pace before wilting slightly in the closing stages to finish fourth behind Soho Tribeca, Bronze Seeker and Ideal Tyson. “I think he ran pretty well,” Lewis said. “He obviously needed the run and even though he’s not well drawn this week, he will be one of the main players in the race.” Im Full of Excuses will start from barrier four in the $25,000 Fred Doy Memorial Pace on Friday night in which he will clash with in-form pacers Simply Susational, Ideal Tyson and Cut For An Ace, as well as outstanding mare Major Reality, who will be having her first start since winning the Golden Girls Classic at Pinjarra on March 27. Im Full of Excuses will be having his second start after a spell. He resumed last Friday week when he started out wide at barrier nine and was restrained to the rear before dashing forward to race in the breeze outside the pacemaker Sheer Rocknroll before wilting to fifth behind Simply Susational. “I was happy with his first-up effort and I think he should step up and run a pretty good race this week,” Lewis said. Ken Casellas

Byford trainer-reinsman Callan Suvaljko is hoping for just a little bit of luck when he drives Bettor Bling in the $18,000 Retravision Pace for harness racing mares over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The five-year-old certainly deserves a bit of good fortune after she was a certainty beaten when fifth behind Bethany Aitch over 2130m last Friday night. She started from the inside of the back line and met with severe interference when Its My Lucknow galloped badly at the start. She was seventh on the pegs at the bell and was badly blocked for a clear passage until the very late stages when she flashed home out wide. The previous Tuesday Bettor Bling charged home, out wide, from ninth at the 300m to finish a close third to Bad Round and a week earlier she was a fast-finishing second to Chiaroscuro. “Her run last Friday night, when she got cleaned up at the start, was very good,” Suvaljko said. “And then, if she had got out at the 400m she would’ve been very hard to beat. She’s racing well and with a touch of luck she will be right there this week. “A 1700m journey is her pet distance. In races over 2100m you have to save her up for one kick. So, on Friday night I intend to come out from barrier three. If we can’t cross She Could Be Good (barrier one) I hope that the speed will be on and that we get the one-out, one-back trail and the last shot at the leaders.” Bettor Bling, bought for $18,000 as a yearling in 2014 by Sue and Graham Worrall, won the Group 1 WA Sales Classic for two-year-old fillies in April 2015 and she now has earned $112,836 from eight wins and 12 placings from 55 starts. By Bettors Delight, she is the last of Whitby Solitaire’s ten foals and is a full sister to the ninth foal Delightful Jade, who has raced 65 times for 22 wins, 13 placings and stakes of $223,577. Suvaljko is also delighted at the form of Skippy Rascal, who will start from the No. 5 barrier on the front line in the $20,000 Electrolux Pace over 2130m. “He went to the line bolting and with nowhere to go last Friday night,” he said. “I kept kicking up between horses, but there wasn’t a run there. The opposition is tougher this week, so we’ll be virtually driving for luck.” Skippy Rascal will need all the breaks to defeat the polemarker Fifth Edition, who looks set to lead for Ryan Warwick and take a power of catching. Fifth Edition was unlucky last Friday night when he enjoyed the one-out, one-back trail but was hopelessly blocked for a clear passage until 130m from the line, when he surged home powerfully to finish second to Smoldering Ashes. He was terrorized in front when second to Jaxon Fella the previous week.   Suvaljko also gives another of his runners, Sightseeing Anvil, a good chance in the $20,000 Westinghouse Pace over 2130m in which the nine-year-old will start from the inside of the back line. “He’s a lot better horse in front, but this is a weaker field than the opposition he met when sixth behind Jaxon Fella last week,” he said. “It’s not over-strong and he has some chance.” Ken Casellas

Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall Snr has declared lightly-raced New Zealand-bred pacers Tuas Delight and Extreme Prince fit and ready to be prominent first-up in harness racing metropolitan maiden company at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Each pacer has recovered from injury. Tuas Delight, who will start out wide at barrier eight in the $18,000 Dishlex Pace, suffered serious injuries to a hock soon after finishing a most encouraging second to Mister Versace at Gloucester Park in the first week of April this year. That was his second start in Western Australia after his first-up fourth behind Americanbootscoota at Pinjarra at his WA debut. “He hurt himself when he got caught up in a fence,” said Hall. “He is better now and the injury is not going to affect him.” Tuas Delight, to be driven by Gary Hall Jnr, has won at four of his 24 starts and should prove hard to beat on Friday night. However, he may have to lower his colours to the Nathan Turvey-trained and driven six-year-old Livura, a winner of 17 races and capable of overcoming the distinct disadvantage of starting from the outside barrier (No. 9) on the front line. Extreme Prince, a six-year-old who has won at five of his 19 starts, will begin from barrier four on the front line in the 1730m Kelvinator Pace. He has not appeared since finishing fifth behind Majorlicious at Pinjarra on May 1 this year. “He has now recovered from an infected pedal bone,” said Hall Snr. Extreme Prince revealed excellent gate speed when he began speedily from barrier six and set the pace before winning in 1.53.3 over 1609m at Menangle five starts ago, back in October 2016. The David Thompson-trained Rudimental Sol will start from the prized No. 1 barrier and he and Extreme Prince are likely to dominate betting on the race.  Ken Casellas

Early last year El Machine was classified as an M6 harness racing performer after winning the $50,000 RWWA Cup. A year earlier he won the Village Kid Sprint from Uppy Son, rating 1.55.8 over 1780m at Northam, and four starts before that he won the Manea Classic from Leda McNally at Bunbury, rating 1.56.5. He has lost form and at nine years of age is in the twilight of his 103-start career of 21 wins and 17 placings for stakes of $243,598. He also was the winner of a WA Derby prelude in April 2012. He has dropped back to an M2 classification in a moderate field of mostly veteran pacers and will start from barrier two on the back line with Luke Edwards in the sulky. It should be a wide-open betting race in which punters should consider El Machine’s superior record. The eleven runners have chalked up a combined total of 1043 starts for 145 wins. Six of the runners are nine-year-olds and there are one ten-year-old, one eight-year-old, one seven-year-old and two six-year-olds. The Clint Hall-trained and driven Yackandandah (barrier four) is the likely favourite, after working hard and winning at Gloucester Park four starts ago. Another major hope is six-year-old mare Sea Cider, who will be driven by Dylan Egerton-Green from barrier five. Sea Cider has managed just one placing from her past 15 starts, but she is sure to take a power of beating. She revealed wonderful fighting qualities at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening when she raced wide early and then without cover for almost two laps when an extremely close fourth behind Guns With Cows in a four-way photo. Sea Cider is prepared by Sarah Suvaljko, who will also be represented by ten-year-old Atlastalone. A fast-finishing winner at Gloucester Park three starts ago. Michael Grantham had the choice of driving Sea Cider and Atlastalone, who raced at the rear and then three wide in the final circuit before finishing eighth, ten lengths behind the winner The Trilogy in a 2503m stand on Tuesday evening. Grantham opted for the Michael Brennan-trained Ona Happy Note, who has a losing sequence of 21 (including just two third placings). Ona Happy Note was eighth at the bell and just plugged on along the pegs when a last-start fifth behind Im Rockaria at Narrogin. The drive behind Atlastalone has gone to outstanding South Australian 17-year-old reinsman Jayden Brewin, who drove 62 winners last season, 55 in South Australia and seven in Victoria.  Ken Casellas

Equine millionaire Mysta Magical Mach, a forgotten harness racing star in recent years, will wind back the clock when he contests the $25,000 Fred Doy Memorial Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. This will be the 13-year-old New Zealand-bred gelding’s first appearance for three and a half years. The son of Mach Three will start from the outside barrier in a field of seven and will be the rank outsider. Veteran Byford trainer Tony Svilicich has never lost faith in Mysta Magical Mach, who has been troubled by leg ailments and spent a couple of years in the paddock. “He’s had bad legs, so I gave him a break,” the 71-year-old Svilicich said with a wry grin. “Demoralizer had similar leg problems --- and he kept going. So, I thought that Mysta Magical Mach could do it. I’ve had him back in work for about ten months to strengthen his legs. A horse has to be strong enough in the legs to compete.” Demoralizer was a wonderful money-spinner for Svilicich, retiring with earnings of $358,199 from 26 wins and 49 placings from 186 starts. Mysta Magical Mach, whose most recent appearance was when he finished last behind Im Themightyquinn at Gloucester Park on May 16, 2014. His record stands at 160 starts for 34 wins, 39 seconds and 15 thirds for $1,261,371 in prizemoney. Ben Millen drove Mysta Magical Mach in a 2185m trial at Pinjarra on Sunday morning when he led early and then took the sit behind the pacemaker Im Batman before fading to seventh and last, 32 metres behind the winner Johnny Disco. The final three sections of the final mile were run in 29.5sec., 28.5sec. and 28.7sec. “No horse could have run those sectional times at his first fast workout after such a long time,” Svilicich said. “And I told Ben not to push him. He could’ve gone quicker. He’ll improve a lot after Friday night’s run. He might run last, but next time he’ll be better and better.” The 30-year-old Millen, a farrier who also works occasionally as the catcher at Gloucester Park meetings, is hoping that Mysta Magical Mach will give him his first Gloucester Park success. “There’s a lot of good horses in Friday night’s race, but Mach will be alright,” Millen said. “He’ll get a lot better.” Mysta Magical Mach has been a wonderful pacer, winning nine group events, including the group 1 WA Pacing Cup. He also finished second in four other group 1 events, the 2012 Interdominion championship, the 2011 Australian Pacing Championship and WA Pacing Cup and the 2008 Golden Nugget. Ken Casellas

Punters will be looking to make a bright start to Friday night’s harness racing meeting at Gloucester Park by supporting Millview Sienna in the opening event, the second heat of the Retravision Preux Chevalier Pace for mares. Mt Helena trainer Ray Williams is confident the sparingly-raced New Zealand-bred five-year-old will prove hard to beat, particularly after she drew favourably at the No. 2 barrier on the front line in the 2130m event. She has won at two of her first four starts in Western Australia after winning at five of her 24 New Zealand outings. “She goes alright and the draw helps a bit,” said Williams. “She is still learning, but her latest run was good. She’s essentially a sit-and-kick horse, but she seems quite strong and I’d like to say that we’ll jump to the front. I know that Rockin The Boys gets out smartly. However, I’ll leave things to Ryan (Warwick); he can play things by ear.” At her most recent appearance, Millview Sienna began from barrier five and raced three wide early to move into the breeze before surging to the front 300m from home and winning easily from You Bettor Watch Me at a 1.56,9 rate over 1730m. Four-year-old Rockin The Boys, the youngest mare in the race, is in superb form for Hopelands trainer Debra Lewis, with her past eight starts producing five wins and two seconds to improve her career record to 29 starts for nine wins and eight placings for earnings of $50,834. She gave a bold frontrunning display and fought on determinedly to win from Ruling Gold and Abraxas Blues over 2130m last Friday night when she dashed over the final quarters in 28.1sec. and 27.9sec. “This week’s race looks a little bit harder, but she’ll be around the place again,” said reinsman Chris Lewis. “She’s consistent and I expect her to run a nice race.” Williams also has high hopes for New Zealand-bred five-year-old Walkinshaw, who is unbeaten at two West Australian starts. The Mach Three stallion was untroubled to score an easy victory over Lightning Jolt in a C1-C4 event over 2130m on Tuesday evening. He started from barrier seven and dashed to the front after 400m and sprinted over the final 400m in 27.8sec. That was his eighth win from 39 starts. “We put our toe in the water and nominated him for the Inter Dominion championship,” Williams said. “In fairness to the horse, he probably needs this preparation and then a break. And then, hopefully, he comes back and turns into a nice horse. At the moment, we’re just happy with the way he’s going.” Ken Casellas

Star pacer Chicago Bull will travel to Melbourne to contest the harness racing $200,000 Victoria Cup at Melton on Saturday week if he wins the $50,000 J. P. Stratton Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. That’s the tentative plan formulated by the five-year-old’s master trainer Gary Hall Snr. “We’re thinking about tackling the Victoria Cup, and if he wins on Friday night we will seriously consider it,” Hall said. “I’ve tentatively booked the flight to Melbourne. “I had also planned to run Beaudiene Boaz in the Victoria Cup, but he has a quarter crack in his off fore hoof and he won’t be ready to resume racing for a month.” The Victoria Cup is a 2240m mobile event, with a random barrier draw. It is a race that Hall would dearly love to win. He took Im Themightyquinn to Melbourne for the Victoria Cup in 2010, 2011 and 2012. In 2010, Im Themightyquinn finished third to Mr Feelgood in the Victoria Cup a week after winning the Cranbourne Cup. In 2011, Im Themightyquinn finished last behind Smoken Up in the Victoria Cup after finishing third to Smoken Up in the Miracle Mile, a nose second to Melpark Major in the Group 3 Popular Alm Free-For-All and second to Mr Feelgood in the Cranbourne Cup. Then, in December 2012, Hall made a hit-run trip to Melbourne when Im Themightyquinn finished third to Caribbean Blaster in the Victoria Cup after winning a Free-For-All at Gloucester Park the previous week. Chicago Bull, who has earned $963,434 from 23 wins and eight placings from just 36 starts, has drawn awkwardly on the inside of the back line in the 2130m Stratton Cup and reinsman Gary Hall Jnr’s initial thoughts are to stay on the pegs, trail the likely pacemaker Shandale and rely on a slice of luck to obtain a clear run in the final circuit. “I reckon it’s too hard to go back (from the inside of the back line) and then go around the rest of the field,” Hall Jnr said. Hall Snr agreed that the inside of the back line was far from an ideal draw. “I was hoping for a front-line draw so we could push him out of the gate, just to test his gate speed a bit. “He’s just a great little horse and his latest run was outstanding. That was his second run after a short spell and I wouldn’t have thought he was 100 per cent for that race, so I was a bit surprised at how well he did it. He’s going to keep getting better and better, I hope, leading up to the Inters.” The wonderful combination of Hall Snr and Jnr has won the Stratton Cup three times --- with Bengeeman (2002), Alzona (2011) and Waylade (2015). Hall Snr will also be represented in this year’s Cup by Norvic Nightowl (Stuart McDonald), Run Oneover (Nathan Turvey) and American Boy (Lauren Jones). Norvic Nightowl ran a splendid Cup trial last Friday night when he was ninth at the bell before sustaining a powerful three-wide burst which took him to a narrow lead 70m from the post before finishing an extremely close third behind Simply Susational and Tricky Styx. He is handily drawn at barrier two on Friday night and is sure to be prominent. Chicago Bull’s chief rivals are likely to be Soho Tribeca (barrier two on the back line), Shandale and Norvic Nightowl. Soho Tribeca made a wonderful return to racing after a short spell when he started out wide at barrier nine, raced three wide for much of the first lap and then in the breeze before getting to the front on the home turn and winning from Bronze Seeker and Ideal Tyson over 2130m last Friday night. That was his fourth win in a row and his 16th victory from 40 starts. Shannon Suvaljko, who has been successful in the Stratton Cup with The Hunter (2010) and Libertybelle Midfrew (2016) is delighted at Shandale’s barrier draw at No. 1 on the front line and said he expected the five-year-old to prove hard to beat. “Chicago Bull and Soho Tribeca have difficult draws and I’ve got a good draw over 2130m,” he said. “I’ll definitely be holding the lead and I’ll be letting Shandale roll along. His latest run, when seventh behind Chicago Bull in the Navy Cup last Friday week was good. He was off the track when they ran the third quarter of the last mile in 27.4sec. and he still fought on. “I honestly think he’s a winning chance; he’ll definitely finish in the top three. If they get over him, they get over him. But they’ll have to run some time to get past him.” Shandale is prepared by Mike Reed, who has won the group 3 Stratton Cup with Just Packapunch (1995), Capitol V (2008) and Libertybelle Midfrew (who set the pace from the No. 1 barrier and won easily from The Bucket List and Bettors Fire last year). Hall of Fame reinsman Chris Lewis is seeking his eighth win in a Stratton Cup after being successful with Black Irish (1983), Village Kid (1985, 19888, 1991), Ohoka Ace (2005), Sneakyn Down Under (2009) and Sensational Gabby (2014). He will drive Americanbootscoota, who was outstanding in defeat when second to Chicago Bull in the Navy Cup after setting the pace and being under extreme pressure from Run Oneover, who overraced badly in the breeze. Americanbootscoota is awkwardly drawn at the No. 6 barrier on the front line. Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri, who won the Stratton Cup with Just Packapunch (1993) and Sensational Gabby (2014), will be represented by Jambiani (Chris Voak) and Sheer Rocknroll (Morgan Woodley), who face tough tasks from wide barriers. Ken Casellas

Ten-year-old gelding Cut For An Ace is racing with youthful enthusiasm for Blythewood harness racing trainer Michael Brennan, and his nephew Michael Grantham predicts that the old-timer has excellent prospects of turning the tables on top-flight pacer Heez On Fire when they clash in the 2503m TABtouch Inter Dominion Barrier Draw Luncheon Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Heez On Fire, trained by Bill Horn, unwound a sizzling late burst of speed to win narrowly from Cut For An Ace in a 2503m stand last Friday week. This week Heez On Fire will start from the back mark of 40m, with Cut For An Ace handicapped off 20m. This means that Cut For An Ace will meet Heez On Fire on 10m better terms. “Cut For An Ace was super impressive last start,” said Grantham. “He led up the three-wide train, with Heez On Fire on his back. Heez On Fire had the advantage of the cart-up and he was able to get over the top of Cut For An Ace in the closing stages. This week Cut For An Ace can definitely beat Heez On Fire.” Aldo Cortopassi, who has driven Heez On Fire at his past 11 starts for four wins for veteran trainer Bill Horn, will be in Kalgoorlie on Friday night where he has ten runners on the six-event program. Colin Brown has been engaged to handle the eight-year-old Heez On Fire, reuniting with the gelding he drove five times for three wins as a two-year-old in 2012. Adding considerable interest to Friday night’s race will be the appearance of The Odd Lover for Oldbury trainer-reinsman Kim Prentice. The Odd Lover, a six-year-old with an imposing record of 20 starts for 11 wins and seven seconds, will start from the 10m line at his first outing since winning at Gloucester Park 14 months ago. He has recovered from a suspensory injury and has had a thorough preparation. Ken Casellas

In-form reinsman Shannon Suvaljko will be busy at Gloucester Park on Friday night with drives in eight of the ten events. He declares Foxy Dame the best of his drives and astute harness racing punters are sure to share his enthusiasm. Foxy Dame, trained at Henley Brook by Mike Reed, has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier in the 2130m TABtouch Inter Dominion Grand Final December 8 Pace and Suvaljko is aiming for an all-the-way victory. “I think she is a really good chance,” he declared. “She’s a good horse in front or sitting. Her latest run was full of merit; she hit the line charging. From the draw on Friday night I think we will definitely hold up and control the race in which a few of her main rivals haven’t drawn particularly well. She’s the one to beat. “At her latest start (last Friday night) she was in a good field and I sat four back on the rails and she got out only late. The final quarter was run in 27.7sec. and I got out only half-way down the straight and she really charged the line and finished fifth, just over a length from the winner Abraxas Blues. Foxy Dame ended a losing sequence of 18 two starts before that when she raced wide early and then without cover for a while before obtaining the one-out, one-back trail and then finishing strongly to win from Sea Me Smile and Donegal Rundlescreek. Mighty Major, trained at Jandabup by Ryan Cummins, has place prospects from the No. 2 barrier, despite being unplaced at his past 14 starts and boasting a losing sequence of 18. “His numerical form does not indicate the way he is going,” said reinsman Michael Grantham. “He’s going well and, hopefully, I can save him up for that last little bit.” Another with each-way prospects is Shes Artful, who will start from barrier three. Wundowie trainer Bruce Stanley has engaged Chris Voak to handle the five-year-old mare who has an all-the-way winner over 2130m three starts ago. Ken Casellas

Aiden de Campo, fresh from the excitement of being one of the 100,021 spectators at the AFL grand final at the MCG last Saturday, is bullish about the prospects of giving harness racing punters a good start to Friday night’s meeting at Gloucester Park by driving Smoldering Ashes to victory in the opening event, the 2130m TABtouch Inter Dominion Starts November 24 Pace. Five-year-old Smoldering Ashes, a recent newcomer to the Capel stables of de Campo’s father Andrew, has overcome a wide barrier (eight) and a 30m handicap to win decisively at his past two starts. He is ideally drawn at the No. 1 barrier on the front line on Friday night and Aiden de Campo is aiming to win the start. “His runs since arriving at the stable have been really good and if he leads he’ll give a ton of cheek and will take beating,” he said. “There’s bit of pace on the front line from horses like Im Batman and Messi. This is Smoldering Ashes’ first run back in the draw and from all reports he gets out pretty well. Hopefully, he can hold the front.” Messi, to be driven by Colin Brown from barrier seven, is a speedy beginner and looms as a major rival to Smoldering Ashes. Messi, from barrier one, led for the first 120m in a 2130m event last Friday night before taking the sit behind the stablemate and hot favourite Idealindiamonds and finishing a sound second to that talented and lightly-raced six-year-old. Ryan Warwick will drive Fifth Edition from barrier six in Friday night’s race and the New Zealand-bred eight-year-old, trained by Skye Bond, will have many admirers. Fifth Edition, favourite at 6/4 on, was most unlucky last Friday night when second to Jaxon Fella after being under duress in front by Debt Free Charlie, who overraced badly. De Campo will also have many friends when he drives veteran mare Its My Lucknow from the No. 1 barrier in the TABtouch Inter Dominion Heat Night Two Pace over 2130m. De Campo will replace Dylan Egerton-Green, who will drive his own nomination Honey And Lime, an easy last-start all-the-way winner over 1684m at Pinjarra. However, Honey And Lime faces a stern test from the outside of the back line. Its My Lucknow is an honest nine-year-old who will be having her 225th start in a race. She started from a wide barrier and raced four back on the pegs before finishing solidly to be third behind Millview Sienna over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week. Bettor Bling, trained and driven by Callan Suvaljko, will be one of the fancies in Friday night’s event for mares. A winner at Pinjarra five starts ago, she has impressed with fast-finishing efforts at her past two outings. She was seventh at the bell and finished fast to be a close third to Bad Round and Torrevean Mio over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night. A week earlier she finished strongly from fourth at the bell to be second to Chiaroscuro. She will start from the inside of the back line and is sure to threaten danger if she obtains a clear run in the concluding stages. Ken Casellas  

Harness racing driver Chris Voak sat behind Soho Tribeca (American Ideal) for the first time when the star five-year-old worked with two other pacers at Byford on Tuesday morning and he was left in awe at the stallion’s amazing talent. Voak will now drive Soho Tribeca in the Matt McDermott Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night when the Kim Prentice-trained pacer will start his spring and summer campaign with the main focus on the rich TABtouch Inter Dominion championship series at Gloucester Park in November and December. Voak has leapt at the opportunity to drive Soho Tribeca after Prentice was suspended recently for causing interference in a race. He has driven only twice for the Prentice stable when seventh with Soho Angel behind Rock Diamonds in the Caduceus Club Classic in February this year and when successful with Abraxas Blues at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon this week.  “I’ve had the experience of driving some outstanding horses of the calibre of Crombie, Dasher VC and Ima Spicey Lombo, and Soho Tribeca is one of the best horses I’ve sat behind,” Voak said. “We went even pace for a mile in the workout this morning (Tuesday) and then got home with a solid last half. I sat last and pulled out with a lap to go and won from The Odd Lover. We went under 55sec. for the last half and I haven’t driven a horse who can drop fractions like he can so easily. “Honestly, I haven’t driven one on the track who has done that and has felt like that. Kim told me that after he had driven Soho Tribeca to win the Golden Nugget last year that he’s the best horse he has trained, ahead of Baltic Eagle. I haven’t yet had the chance to speak to Kim to see how he wants me to drive the horse on Friday night. “What impressed me with Soho Tribeca was the ease in which he did it, and how much power he had. I haven’t had the opportunity to drive a horse of his capability in a race. I think he is the type of horse who in a good race will make his own luck. I’ve always had to drive horses who have had to rely on luck but this one is one who has the power to make his own luck.” Soho Tribeca, bred and owned by Rob Watson, faces the distinct disadvantage on Friday night of starting from the outside (No. 9) on the front line but he has the ability to overcome the wide barrier. He has not appeared since he raced wide early and then set the pace before winning the Group 1 Vicbred Four-Year-Old Classic for entires and geldings at Melton on July 8. He was in dazzling form in Perth last summer when he won the Golden Nugget from Nathans Courage and Chicago Bull before finishing second to Chicago Bull in the Fremantle Cup and third to the same pacer in the WA Pacing Cup. His chief rivals on Friday night are likely to be Itz Bettor To Win, Ideal Tyson and Bronze Seeker. Itz Bettor To Win is a highly-promising six-year-old who has had only 29 starts for 11 wins and seven seconds. He will be having his first start in Western Australia and will be driven by Chris Lewis from barrier three on the front line. He is being set for the TABtouch Inter Dominion championship series. “I have had him in my stable for five to six weeks and I expect him to run first or second on Friday night,” Olivieri said. He’s a big, strong horse whose major assets are his strength and speed. He is a serious horse and he will improve on whatever he does this week. “He’s got a win over in the Franklin Cup in New Zealand, beating top horses like Smolda, Have Faith In Me and Ohoka Punter.” Itz Bettor To Win raced 18 times in New Zealand for eight wins and three placings and his 11 starts in Victoria produced three wins and four placings. As a three-year-old Itz Bettor To Win won a 2700m stand at Alexandra Park, beating horses of the calibre of Border Control, Smolda and Have Faith In Me. Two months earlier, he won the Group 2 Alabar Classic, rating 1.55.9 over 2200m. As a four-year-old, he won the Franklin Cup, a 2700m stand, beating home Mossdale Conner, Have Faith In Me, Ohoka Punter and Smolda. Ideal Tyson, who gave a powerful frontrunning display to win from Mach Time and Bronze Seeker over 2130m last Friday night, faces a sterner test this week from out wide at barrier seven. He will be driven by Gary Hall Jnr, who replaces Aiden de Campo, who will be in Melbourne preparing to watch the AFL grand final between Richmond and The Adelaide Crows on Saturday. The Peter Anderson-trained Bronze Seeker will be driven by Deni Roberts from the No. 1 barrier and the versatile nine-year-old should be prominent throughout the race. Ken Casellas

Considerable interest will surround the first appearance in Western Australia of the Ross Olivieri trained New Zealand-bred trotter Blue Sky Commander (Skyvalley) when he contests the Pat Harding Handicap, a stand over 2503m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The six-year-old’s past seven starts, all in Victoria, have been in mobiles after the gelding was placed outside the draw in stands following his sixth as the 9/4 favourite in the Trotters Cup at St Arnaud in March when he broke soon after the start. However, Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri has had no hesitation in running Blue Sky Commander in a stand at his WA debut. The gelding is an experienced standing-start performer, with his three wins from 11 starts in New Zealand all being in stands and then his eight wins in Victoria included five in stands. Blue Sky Commander will be driven by Chris Lewis and will start from the outside of the 10m line. “He continues to please us and we’re confident he’ll go really well,” said Olivieri. “And whatever he does, he’ll improve on.” Blue Sky Commander’s chief rival looms as Lightning Calder, the solitary runner off the 20m back mark. Lightning Calder, to be driven by Chris Voak for Wundowie trainer Bruce Stanley, worked hard in the breeze when a fighting last-start third behind Lord Liam and Ropeburn at Gloucester Park. Olivieri is also optimistic about the prospects of Assassinator in the Wayne Currall Pace, a 1730m mobile event in which Assassinator will start from the No. 4 barrier with Chris Voak in the sulky. “He’s got a tricky draw, but he’s a good chance,” Olivieri said. “Punters should ignore his run when he finished tenth behind Heez On Fire last Friday night. He started off in the one-out, one-back position before being shuffled back to second last. He went to the line hard held.” Ken Casellas

1 to 16 of 1973
1 2 3 4 5 Next »