Big plans for Lavra Joe
Owner-trainer Ray Jones patted Lavra Joe fondly on the nose after the powerful gelding had crushed his rivals in the group 2 Bill Newman Four-Year-Old Championship at Gloucester Park on Friday night, and he declared that his pacer simply loved racing.
“The plan is for him to run in the $125,000 Four-Year-Old Classic next Friday week and then contest the $200,000 Golden Slipper a fortnight later,” he said.
“I reckon he’ll then have a couple of weeks off before getting ready for the $300,000 Fremantle Cup on January 13 and the $450,000 WA Pacing Cup two weeks later. He loves racing, and he’ll tell me when he gets sick of it.”
Lavra Joe, hot favourite at $1.30 from the prized No. 1 barrier in Friday night’s $50,000 feature event, led for the first 200m before $126 outsider Stamford charged forward with a brilliant burst from the outside barrier (No. 9) to hit the front, with a fast lead time of 35.8sec.
However, champion reinsman Chris Lewis was in no mood to allow Aiden de Campo to dictate terms in front, and he immediately eased Lavra Joe off the pegs and accelerated to regain the lead 250m later.
Lavra Joe then relaxed and after opening quarters of 30.3sec. and 29.3sec. he dashed over the final 400m sections in 28.7sec. and 28.2sec. to win by just over a length from $11 chance Jumpingjackmac, who settled down in ninth position before surging forward, out three wide, with 1050m to travel and sustaining a spirited burst from sixth at the bell.
Mighty Ronaldo ($23) followed Jumpingjackmac and finished solidly to be third, 2m ahead of Stamford. Lavra Joe rated 1.55 over the 2130m.
Lavra Joe now has amassed $472,119 from 28 wins and 11 placings from 49 starts. “He was short of a run when he won at Pinjarra eleven days earlier (when he set the pace and held on to beat El Chema and Jumpingjackmac at a 1.55.6 rate in a group 3 classic),” said Jones. “And that run topped him off for tonight’s race.”
Hampton Banner is Cups bound
New Zealand-bred five-year-old Hampton Banner revealed his class with a typical stylish frontrunning display to score a narrow victory in the 1730m Pat Cranley Memorial at Gloucester Park on Friday night, with part-owner Mark Lewis saying the Bettors Delight gelding was on target to play an important role in the rich Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups in January.
Hampton Banner, prepared by Lewis’s mother Debra and driven by his father Chris, has set the pace in all of his 11 victories from 31 WA starts, which have included five seconds and one third placing.
This was his second appearance over 1730m, following his win over Palatino in April 2021 when he rated 1.55.2. He revealed a good fighting spirit on Friday night to hold on and win by a half-head from the strong-finishing Wildwest, rating 1.54.9.
Hampton Banner was the $2.30 favourite from barrier three on Friday night and he had to work hard to get to the front after the polemarker and $20 chance Jaspervellabeach had held him at bay for the first 300m.
“He hasn’t been a hundred per cent recently, but all went well tonight,” said Mark Lewis. “Hopefully, we’ll get him back in the right direction before the Cups. He had a couple of little setbacks a month or so ago which held him up a little bit. He is now fine and should get better, going forward.
“He is good in front over short distances and is hard to beat. But he actually likes the distances of the big races (the 2536m Fremantle Cup and the 2936m WA Pacing Cup). He was pretty good in the Pacing Cup last February (when sixth behind Wildwest). He didn’t get the right run and he could have won with a little bit of luck.”
Before that sound effort Hampton Banner had finished second to Papinik in the Fremantle Cup Consolation. He won at three of his ten starts in New Zealand, and now has an excellent record of 41 starts for 14 wins, five seconds and one third for earnings of $207,063.
The Amber Hare continues to improve
“She gets better every time she goes around,” said Ravenswood trainer Jocelyn Young after driving The Amber Hare to an effortless victory in the $26,000 Dack Hardwick Free-For-All at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
“She will go around in the $150,000 Mares Classic next Friday night, and then after that there is the $50,000 Christmas Belles on December 23.”
The Amber Hare was the $1.80 favourite from barrier five in Friday night’s 2130m event. She was trapped four wide in the early stages before Young dashed her to the front after 500m. She then ran the opening quarters in 31sec. and 30.7sec. before sprinting over the final 400m sections in 27.8sec. and 27.9sec. to coast to victory by four and a half lengths from the strong-finishing $3.30 second fancy Three Rumours, who raced three back on the pegs.
Alcippes Delight ($19) began speedily from barrier six and burst to the front after 100m before relinquishing the lead to The Amber Hare 400m later. She then trailed the pacemaker and fought on gamely into third place.
“It was a lot easier than I thought it would be,” said Young. “I did predict that Junior (Gary Hall jnr) would go forward with Alcippes Delight, but I didn’t expect that they would hand up to me, and that made my job a lot easier.”
The Amber Hare, who rated 1.57.4 over the 2130m, has gone from strength to strength and has raced only 19 times for ten wins, five placings and stakes of $85,487. She won once from five starts in New South Wales, and her 14 starts in Western Australia have produced nine wins and four placings. She is by former star pacer For A Reason and is the seventh foal out of the unraced Blissfull Hall mare Amber Bliss.
Cyclone Charlotte is on song
Highly promising New Zealand-bred filly Cyclone Charlotte ruined her chances when she broke in running at two of her first three appearances in WA and was sent back to trials.
But she has overcome this bad habit and was on her best behaviour at Gloucester Park on Friday night when Aldo Cortopassi drove her to a splendid victory in the $20,250 Ned The Chess Player Pace.
Cyclone Charlotte, trained by Ray Williams, was the $3.80 second fancy, with Taking The Miki, the recent WA Oaks winner and third placegetter in the WA Derby the $3.50 favourite.
Miss Allegra ($5) dashed to the front after 300m and she was able to coast through the opening quarters in 31.3sec. and 29.8sec., with Taking the Miki working in the breeze, and Cyclone Charlotte enjoying an ideal passage, one-out and two-back in sixth position.
Cortopassi bided his time before he sent Cyclone Charlotte forward with a three-wide burst 550m from home. The Bettors Delight three-year-old accelerated quickly and surged to the front with 250m to travel before winning by a length and a half from $4.20 chance Wall Street Girl, who finished solidly from eighth at the bell.
“She did everything right tonight,” said Cortopassi. “She had a bad habit and would get out of her gear at high speed. She threw away a couple of races. Tonight, she was on song, and everything was perfect. She hit the line great, and it’s now onwards and upwards for her.
“She’s got a really good turn of foot; really explosive. Taking The Miki had to do a bit of work, going around to the breeze, and that helped us a bit. Settling, one-two gave us every chance.
“Her early problems were mainly due to gear issues. But they have been cured, all’s good.”
Cyclone Charlotte is certainly bred to be a winner. She is out of the Mach Three mare Cyclone Kate, who earned $341,723 from 21 wins and 18 placings from 60 starts. She won six times in New Zealand, 13 times in New South Wales and twice in Victoria.
Cyclone Charlotte has had nine starts for three wins, five placings and stakes of $27,936.
Himself is a stands specialist
Sportswriter four-year-old Himself is proving an outstanding standing-start specialist, and he gave his supporters no cause for concern as he romped to an easy victory in the Mrs Trotting Camel Handicap, a 2503m stand at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
He was the $1.60 favourite from the inside of the 10m line, with Dylan Egerton-Green giving him time to settle before dashing him past $14 chance Deeorse and into the lead after 550m.
After an opening quarter of a leisurely 31.2sec. Himself covered the final 400m sections in 29.7sec., 28.1sec. and 28.6sec. on his way to win by just over four lengths from $7 chance Firerockfireroll, who fought on doggedly after racing in the breeze. Robbie Rocket ($4.80) ran on from sixth at the bell to be third.
Himself, prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, has raced nine times in Western Australia for six wins and three seconds. Seven of those starts were in stands and produced six wins and a second placing. Three of his 11 New Zealand starts were in stands and resulted in two wins and a second.
Himself also is a capable performer in mobile events. His final New Zealand appearance was in a 2600m mobile event at Addington on April 16 this year when he won by five and a half lengths from Arnies Army. He is out of the McArdle mare Shards Of Myross, who managed just one win and four thirds from 21 starts.
Routine change lifts Our Shelley Beach
New Zealand-bred four-year-old Our Shelley Beach, generally recognised as a frontrunner, produced a sample of his versatility when he sprinted home strongly to score an impressive win in the 2130m Jnr Vice President Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Astute trainer Mike Reed attributed the three-length victory over Marquisard to a change of the Sweet Lou gelding’s training routine, saying: “This week I didn’t hopple him. I just galloped him at home, and that might have done the trick. I jogged him on the sand and also put him in the cart and galloped him on the sand track.”
Our Shelley Beach, who led before wilting to finish third behind Master Publisher and Ima Rockabilly Rebel two starts before Friday night’s race, was a $6.10 chance from the No. 4 barrier. Shannon Suvaljko did not bustle him early and was happy to position him in sixth place, one-out and two-back while the $1.55 favourite Lamandier was setting the pace.
After a slow lead time of 38.8sec. and opening quarters of 31sec. and 30sec. Lamandier sprinted the third 400m section in 28.9sec. Suvaljko switched Our Shelley Beach out four wide with 300m to travel. He burst to the front at the 90m mark and charged away to win in effortless style.
Our Shelley Beach, who ended a losing sequence of seven, has raced 47 times for eight wins, 13 placings and stakes of $57,839.
Cool Water Paddy follows Eyre Crusher’s footsteps
Former Tasmanian pacer Cool Water Paddy’s win in the opening event, the Rex Far Too Good Pace, at Gloucester Park on Friday night revived memories of Eyre Crusher’s close second to Three Blind Mice in the 2014 WA Derby.
Eyre Crusher, trained by Gary Hall snr, had 18 starts in WA between 2013 and 2017 for eight wins and seven placings. He was the first pacer sired by the New Zealand-bred stallion Ohoka Arizona to race in Western Australia.
Cool Water Paddy is only the second of the progeny of Ohoka Arizona to have raced in WA. Ohoka Arizona was a talented pacer who had 20 starts for eight wins, four placings and stakes of $273,498. As a two-year-old in New Zealand in 2007 he won two group 1 events and two group 3 races.
Cool Water Paddy is the sixth and last foal out of the Village Jasper mare Glentara, who managed one win (by a nose and rating 2.8.3 in a 2200m stand at Greymouth in March 2006) and six placings in minor events in a 29-start career for earnings of $10,902. However, all of Glentara’s progeny have been winners, and they include Monifieth (149 starts for 31 wins, 31 placings and $622,283) and Ohoka Johnny (107 starts for 21 wins, 23 placings and $147,460).
After Cool Water Paddy had raced 33 times in Tasmania for 15 wins and 12 placings and twice in Victoria for one placing) his Tasmanian owners sent him to WA to be trained by Nathan Turvey.
“He had reached Free-For-All company over there but had never won a metro-class race,” said Turvey. “And that meant he was able to come here on an easy handicap mark.
“Cool Water Paddy has a lot of ability, but he has had a lot of problems after arriving here. He doesn’t handle the Gloucester Park track all that well. He gets on one rein when he’s out wide on the bends.”
Cool Water Paddy started from the No. 2 barrier in Friday night’s 2130m event and was equal favourite at $3.90 with Armed Reactor, who broke soon after the start and settled down a distant last.
Cool Water Paddy took the lead after 130m and he was not extended in setting the pace and winning by just under two lengths from $13 chance Woodlea Ragnar, who trailed the leader throughout.
“I turned around soon after the start and saw that Armed Reactor was galloping,” said Turvey. “I was expecting him to come around and put pressure on us, but once I saw that he was out of play it made our job a lot easier.”
The win improved Cool Water Paddy’s WA record to nine starts for two wins and a third placing and took his career record to 44 starts for 17 wins, 14 placings and $147,945.
Ideal Agent is more confident
Star reinsman Ryan Warwick notched his 99TH winner for the season when he drove Ideal Agent to a comfortable victory in the $23,750 Vale Robbie Dewar Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Ideal Agent, prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, was the $2.50 favourite from the No. 4 barrier, and after a slow lead time of 38.1sec. Warwick quickly dashed him forward to race in the breeze outside the pacemaker Tyler Brett ($5.50).
Warwick was content to race without cover before he took Ideal Agent to the front 250m from home, and the New Zealand-bred five-year-old won by a length from $2.70 chance Typhoon Banner, who fought on gamely after enjoying an ideal passage in the one-out, one-back position.
Ideal Agent covered the final 800m in 56.8sec. and he rated 1.56.7 over the 2130m. He now has had 53 starts for 15 wins, 20 placings and $221,470. He raced 30 times in New Zealand for four wins and 12 placings.
“He seems to be getting a lot more confidence in his past couple of starts,” said Warwick. “Greg and Skye have changed something at home, and this has been quite noticeable in his performances. He is now close to the horse of old.
“It would be good to get a sit in a race instead of having to race in the breeze. The problem is that he’s been racing in small fields that are not all competitive with a few other horses. You have sort of got to be out there (in the breeze) to control the tempo. Otherwise, things could get away from you. It will be nice when he gets in a race in which he doesn’t have to do the work.”
Age doesn’t weary Fanci A Dance
Nine-year-old Fanci A Dance showed that age and a wide barrier (No. 8) are certainly not insurmountable barriers when he proved far too good for his eleven rivals in the 2536m It’s Camel Time Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Driven aggressively by master reinsman Chris Lewis, Fanci A Dance, the third favourite at $5.10, raced three wide for much of the race. He led narrowly from the pacemaker Dominus Factum ($13) at the 1000m mark before taking a clear lead 550m from home and racing away to win by two lengths from $4.40 chance Dont Bother, rating 1.57.9. Master Publisher, the $3.20 favourite, was a well-beaten third.
Fanci A Dance, who was bred and is owned by Busselton trainer Barry Howlett and his son Jimmy, has been a wonderful performer who has earned $178,415 from 15 wins and 29 placings from 83 starts. His win on Friday night ended a sequence of seconds behind The Code Breaker, Whatabro and Ideal Agent.
His victory completed a driving treble for Lewis, who had been successful earlier in the night with Hampton Banner and Lavra Joe. Lewis, who also finished third with Rascal, second with Three Rumours and second with Wall Street Girl during the night, kept up the good work by driving the Ian Foley-trained General Jolt to victory in a 2190m event at Northam on Saturday night.
Velocipede shows his class
Velocipede, a big, tall and athletic two-year-old, showed he has a bright future when he gave a splendid frontrunning exhibition to score an easy victory in the $20,250 The Current Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Champion reinsman Gary Hall jnr, who had driven stablemate Hes Never Been Beta three times for three wins, gave punters an important lead when he opted to drive Velocipede in preference to Hes Never Been Beta.
However, Hes Never Been Beta, driven by Stuart McDonald, was a warm favourite at $1.70, with Velocipede the second fancy at $3.30 in the field of six.
Velocipede began smartly from the No. 2 barrier and dashed to a clear lead before ambling through the lead time in a slow 40.1sec. and dawdling through the opening quarters of the final mile in 32.6sec. and 31.5sec. He then sprinted over the final 400m sections in 28.8sec. and 27.7sec. to win by 5m from Hes Never Been Beta.
Hes Never Been Beta raced wide early and then in the breeze before battling on gamely.
Velocipede has had seven starts for two wins, two seconds and stakes of $20,983.
“I have always considered that Velocipede and Hes Never Been Beta (trained by Gary Hall snr) are about on an equal par,” said Hall jnr. “Velocipede has done good things at home, when he didn’t have the pressure of racing. He has exceptional gate speed, but he struggles a bit with the other stuff.
“Tonight, he ran a pretty good half, coming off a slow speed. He did that pretty easily, running home in 27.7sec.”
Velocipede, named after a smart pacer, trained and driven by Les Poyser more than 50 years ago, is by Fly Like An Eagle and is out of the unraced Allamerican Ingot mare Not Now Delilah, whose dam Queen Delilah raced 67 times for ten wins, 25 placings and $66,421 before being retired and then producing six winners.
The best of Queen Delilah’s progeny were Jumbo Operator (43 starts for 24 wins, nine placings and $313,175) and Getaway Plan (35 starts for four wins, eight placings and $135,549). Jumbo Operator won the group 3 Caduceus Club Classic and the group 2 Western Gateway Pace in 2009 before winning the group 2Navy Cup in 2010 and the group 3 Northam Cup in 2011.
Velocipede is also related to West Australia’s former world champion mare Daintys Daughter.
Hall jnr went to the 2021 Perth APG yearling sale where he bid for the Fly Like An Eagle colt on behalf of Maddison Brown.
“I was bidding against Shane Young, who was having great success with the colt’s full-sister Wonderful To Fly, before the colt was knocked down to me for $42,000,” said Hall. “Maddy and Dad as well as other stable clients including Sue Beven, Danny Roberts and Gary Ralston race Velocipede in partnership.”
Papinik set for a crack at the Cups
It’s all systems go for the lightly-raced Papinik to contest the rich Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups in January after the WA-bred six-year-old simply toyed with the opposition and scored a wonderful victory in the 2130m Harley Smug Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Papinik, trained by Ross Olivieri and driven by Chris Voak, looked a picture at his first outing for 16 weeks when he started favourite at $1.20 and was untroubled to lead all the way and cross the finishing line with his ear plugs still in. He sprinted over the final quarters in 28.1sec. and 27.4sec. and rated 1.57.6 in beating Beat City ($4.60) three lengths.
This was the fifth time that Papinik had scored a first-up victory in a career of 25 starts for 14 wins, seven placings and $145,511 in prizemoney.
“Papinik is a very athletic horse, and a lot of credit for this first-up win goes to my wife Jemma,” said Olivieri. “She actually trains him and knows him inside out.
Papinik was making his first appearance since finishing fourth behind Diego in a 1730m on July 29. That was his first run for just over four months.
“We then had a look at the Christmas races and decided we couldn’t keep him up all the way through to the big races,” said Olivieri. “So, we opted to put him out in the paddock for three or four weeks and then bring him back in.
“He is now headed for the Fremantle Cup and WA Pacing Cup, and the Slot race in April if someone wants him. Tonight’s race was a beautiful race to get him underway for his campaign. What he didn’t need was to go in a Free-For-All and get gutted. He will now race fortnightly; that’s his normal pattern.
“Point to point he is near on the fastest horse I’ve ever had. Last February he finished ninth behind Wildwest in the Pacing Cup when Voaky came off the fence and went six wide and got nothing, while Wildwest came from behind him, got up on the inside and won. I think Papinik should have run in the first four.
“The race he could have won was the Fremantle Cup. But he didn’t get in the field, and he won the consolation.”