Hurricane Harley is Cups bound
Victorian-bred stallion Hurricane Harley, noted for his sizzling gate speed and dazzling sprinting ability in Melbourne and Sydney, is on target to contest the rich Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups in January after his brilliant win the $50,000 Allwood Stud Mount Eden Sprint at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
He has yet to win beyond 2240m and his only three runs over longer trips resulted in his third in a heat and seventh in the final of the 2400m New South Wales Derby at Menangle in early 2019, and his fourth placing in the 2555m Cranbourne Cup in December 2019.
However, his new trainer Justin Prentice is confident that the five-year-old will measure up to the 2536m Fremantle Cup and the WA Pacing Cup to be run over the marathon journey of 2936m.
“Hurricane Harley has raced in a lot of short races over there (in the eastern States), so we need to figure out the best way to have him ready for the big Cups in January,” he said. “It seems to me that he has the ticker to run (long) distances.”
Hurricane Harley was off the scene for nine months this year, and after his first-up fading fifth behind Perfect Major in the 2130m Stratton Cup a fortnight ago, he bounced back to form when he enjoyed a perfect passage in the one-out and one-back position before running home strongly with a three-wide burst from the 320m mark to hit the front at the 50m and win the 1730m Mount Eden Sprint by a half-length from the fast-finishing $71 outsider Babyface Adda, rating 1.53.3, with quarters of 28.9sec., 29.1sec., 27.7sec. and 28.5sec.
Polemarker and $1.90 favourite Perfect Major was crossed at the start by $6 chance Vampiro, who faded to finish sixth. Chris Lewis had no hesitation in easing Perfect Major off the inside and to race on the outside of the frontrunner, thus providing a perfect trail for Hurricane Harley, the $4.20 second fancy from the No. 7 barrier.
Perfect Major took a narrow lead about 120m from the finish and fought on grandly to finish third, a half-head behind Babyface Adda, who had an ideal passage three back on the pegs.
Hurricane Harley was driven perfectly by Gary Hall jnr to give him his eighth success in the Mount Eden Sprint, following wins with Bengeeman (2002), The Falcon Strike (2006), Im Themightyquinn (2011 and 2012), Waylade (2015) and Chicago Bull (2017 and 2020).
“Hurricane Harley was fit enough to handle his first-up run, but after being off the racetrack for nine months he probably needed that race experience to wake him up,” said Prentice.
“He has had a long break without any racing, so he will continue racing right the way through to the big Cups and try to get him used to our style of racing. And we should be able to learn more about him. His speed is his great strength, and when he leads, he can run such good sectionals.”
Hurricane Harley was bred and is owned by is prominent Victorian breeders Bill and Anne Anderson, owners of the showpiece Lauriston Stud.
“They got in contact with me several months ago and said they were interested in sending him over,” said Prentice. “They wanted to fly him over to Perth, but they couldn’t get a flight. It took months and I thought he wouldn’t be coming. But finally, he came by truck, and arrived in early August.”
Prentice is also looking forward to having his star pacer Rocknroll Lincoln, the all-the-way winner of the WA Pacing Cup in January 2019, fit and ready to contest the rich Cup events in January.
Rocknroll Lincoln has recovered after twice being laid low by suspensory ligament damage to his nearside foreleg and was due to contest a trial at Pinjarra last Wednesday.
“But I had to take him out of the trial because he had a high temperature,” said Prentice. “He’s good and I was looking forward to taking him to trials. But he didn’t seem quite right. He will now have an easy week and probably will have a trial in two or three weeks.”
Don’t Bother Me None is going places
Emerging star three-year-old Don’t Bother Me None notched his fifth win in a row and his ninth victory from 13 starts when he strolled to an easy triumph over Stamford in the 2536m Team Bond Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
The Greg and Skye Bond-trained Bettors Delight colt was bred in New Zealand but has done all his racing in Western Australia.
Favourite at $1.80, he was driven with great confidence by star reinsman Ryan Warwick, who said: “He is a horse going places, but he needs more experience. He has still got a lot to learn, but I think he will develop into a Golden Nugget prospect next year.”
Stamford, the $3.80 second fancy from barrier four, began speedily but was unable to cross $34 chance Unconditional, who began fast from the favourable No. 2 barrier. Stamford eventually was able to take the lead after 950m.
Warwick had Don’t Bother Me None perfectly positioned in the one-out, one-back position for the first 1100m before he sent the colt forward, three wide, to race in the breeze. Don’t Bother Me None and Stamford had a spirited tussle in the final circuit before the favourite got to the front about 280m from home and won by one and a half lengths.
Otis ($5.50) raced at the rear in the field of seven before running home strongly to be third.
Don’t Bother Me None is the fourth foal out of the Christian Cullen mare Corbell and he is a full-brother to American winners Micky Gee and Anytime.
Don’t Bother Me None has raced 13 times for nine wins and two seconds for $48,370 in prizemoney.
Brennan’s birthday present
Trainer Michael Brennan left Gloucester Park on Friday night for the trip back to his Coolup stables a contended man, with his only runner at the meeting, Whatabro, scoring a convincing all-the-way victory in the 2536m Simmonds Steel Pace.
“It’s a good present,” said Brennan, who celebrated his 46TH birthday on Friday. The win brought back memories of Brennan driving Anvils Big Punt to a neck victory over Ohoka Courage at Harvey on his 38TH birthday.
Whatabro, the $2.80 favourite from the No. 1 barrier, was driven with supreme confidence by Michael Grantham, who released the ear plugs in the home straight, which saw the experienced four-year-old bound away from the opposition and win by 5m from Jaspervellabeach ($4), rating 1.58.7 over the 2536m journey.
This took Whatabro’s record in WA for Brennan to 13 starts for three wins and five placings, and the son of Four Starzzz Shark now has raced 83 times for 21 wins, 35 placings and stakes of $124,711.
Though Whatabro had started at $101 and raced at the rear before finishing last in the group 3 Kersley Pace a week earlier, Brennan and Grantham were full of confidence going into Friday night’s event.
“Michael got off him last week and said that the horse was ready to win, adding that all he needed was a (favourable) barrier,” said Brennan. “He said he was really sharp, even though he finished last. And Kim Young galloped Whatabro on Wednesday and said that it was the best he’s had him gallop.
“He is a big, strong horse and 2536m really suits him. He also has good high speed. He has probably nearly graduated to Free For All company, and he’ll do a good job in that class, though I’m not saying that he will win one. But tucked away on the rail, he will earn.”
Doc Holliday too tough for stablemate
Hopelands trainer Michael Young maintained his wonderful strike rate when his two runners Doc Holliday ($3.70) and Zazu ($3.30 favourite) fought out the finish of the Choices Floorings Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Young declared that the New Zealand-bred four-year-old Doc Holliday was the better of the two, but he favoured the six-year-old Zazu simply because of a more favourable barrier at No. 3 compared to Doc Holliday’s draw at No. 6.
Gary Hall jnr sent Zazu to the front after 250m and the gelding set a moderate pace before the tempo increased with a 27.9sec. third quarter, followed by a final 400m section of 29sec.
Doc Holliday settled down in seventh position before Chris Voak sent him forward in the first lap to race in the breeze. In what developed into a solid staying test, it was Zazu who emerged the victor. He proved too tough for his stablemate as he forged to the front in the final 55m and won by a half-length, rating 1.59.
The win certainly delighted Doc Holliday’s 20-odd owners. “I’ve got the quinella, but the wrong way round,” said Young. “I’m a terrible judge. Doc Holliday is a better horse than Zazu, but from a better barrier I thought that Zazu would get away with it.
“Chris Voak drove Doc Holliday really well, putting him into the race (early), and that made it hard for the sit-sprinters. The Doc is never impressive. He is never going to look impressive, but he always gets the job done.
“Doc Holliday has plenty of owners, all from over east and mainly from Adelaide. They found him in New Zealand, liked him and thought he would be suited to WA racing.”
Doc Holliday won three times from 24 starts in New Zealand and his six WA starts have produced four wins and two placings. He is a full-brother to Best Western, who has earned $173,564 from her three wins and 16 placings from 27 starts, with the highlight of her career being her win at $38 in the group 1 Northern Oaks at Alexandra Park in March 2019 when she defeated Belle Of Montana and Wainui Creek, rating 1.57 over 2700m.
Alta Intrigue scrambles home
Star reinsman Gary Hall jnr had many anxious moments before Alta Intrigue held on grimly to beat the pacemaker Shadow Roll in the 2130m Cowdens The Insurance Brokers Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
“I thought Alta Intrigue was going to win easily, and then he sort of switched off a bit and Dylan (Egerton-Green) kicked back on the inside with Shadow Roll,” said Hall. “It was close on the line.”
Shadow Roll ($3.10) led from barrier two and made it tough for his rivals when he sprinted over the third quarter of the final mile in 27.9sec. Alta Intrigue, the $2.90 favourite who had raced without cover, challenged strongly over the final 400m and the two horses were locked together in the home straight, with Alta Intrigue gaining a narrow advantage.
Hall was not sure whether Alta Intrigue had held on to win until the photo finish revealed that he had won by a half-head.
“I didn’t really want to be in the breeze, but there probably wasn’t another spot we could aim for from our draw (barrier five),” said Hall.
Alta Intrigue, a seven-year-old Mach Three gelding prepared by Gary Hall snr, has been a good moneyspinner, with earnings of $219,073 from 11 wins and 25 placings from 59 starts. A winner of four races in New Zealand, he has had 33 starts in WA for seven wins and 12 placings. He is out of former American pacer Samantha Q, who earned $130,597 on north American tracks before being sent to New Zealand as a brood mare.
Delightfull does it again
Five-year-old mare Delightfull, a newcomer to Ryan Bell’s Baskerville stables, unwound a trademark finishing burst to win the Westside Auto Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
She is proving to be a wonderful acquisition, with her three starts for Bell producing two fast-finishing victories for stakes of $22,367.
The WA-bred Delightfull, third favourite at $4, began fast from the No. 4 barrier but was unable to cross the polemarker Weewah, and left Aiden de Campo with little option but to remain in the breeze until Alta Louisa ($3.80) moved outside the frontrunning Weewah 1150m from home.
De Campo reserved Delightfull for a late charge, and the mare responded and burst to the front in the final 50m to beat the fast-finishing $3.10 favourite Savvy Bromac, who was last in the field of nine until Emily Suvaljko set her loose with 300m to travel. Savvy Bromac charged home with a spectacular six-wide burst to fail by a half neck.
Ideal Agent on the way up
Four-year-old New Zealand-bred bred stallion Ideal Agent gave an emphatic sample of his class when he scored a runaway victory in the 2130m The Sports Daily Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Favourite at $1.04 from barrier three, Ideal Agent, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, revealed excellent gate speed and raced three wide in the early stages to hold out $26 chance Dominate The Dojo, who was first to begin from barrier six and got to the lead by three-quarters of a length, but was unable to cross.
Ideal Agent continued to race three wide for the first 580m before getting to the front 120m later. He then set the pace and sprinted over the final 400m sections in 28.1sec. and 27.8sec. to win by eight lengths from $51 outsider Trinity Bromac, who finished strongly from sixth on the pegs at the bell.
Ideal Agent, a winner at four of his 31 New Zealand starts, gives every impression of developing into a top-flight performer in WA where his four starts have produced a first-up nose second to Doc Holliday followed by three wins.
“When he arrived, he didn’t really know how to win,” said reinsman Ryan Warwick. “After his first-up second (when he raced three wide early and then in the breeze) his work at home was a lot different, and he has taken it to the races. He will win more races in town.”
Ideal Agent is by American Ideal and is the first foal out of the unraced Bettors Delight mare Lady Smack, whose dam Lady Finger produced The Orange Agent, who amassed $746,423 in prizemoney from her 23 wins and six placings from 33 starts. The winner of the Northern Oaks at Alexandra Park in February 2015, The Orange Agent won four group 1 events, three group 2 features and one at group 3 level.
Mix-up helps Jay Elle
An unfortunate incident in the home straight when the $1.50 favourite In The Spotlight locked spider wheels with the $10 pacemaker The Hope Diamond knocked those fillies out of contention in the Hoist Torque Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night and played into the hands of $7.90 chance Jay Elle.
Jay Elle, trained by Justin Prentice and driven by Gary Hall jnr, was racing first-up for nine months and looked likely to finish third after enjoying the perfect one-out, one-back trail. But after the mishap Hall seized the opportunity and dashed Jay Elle to the front 50m from the post on her way to winning narrowly from Catch the Red Eye and Follow The Ark.
“She was lucky, with those horses locking wheels,” said Hall. “But she still got home in 28.2sec. and got the job done. The incident stopped both fillies pretty badly. I was probably going to run third behind those two.
“I thought I was going to win half-way around the bend. But when I pulled out, she sort of didn’t go anywhere, so I came back in for a bit. And when they locked wheels, I came to the outside.”
Discussing the incident soon after the field had rounded the home turn, In The Spotlight’s reinsman Ryan Warwick said: “She was going to win. After locking wheels we were out of play. That’s part of racing, unfortunately.”
Jay Elle, purchased for $56,000 at the 2020 APG Perth yearling sale by Prentice for a team of 14 owners, is by Alta Christiano and out of the Live Or Die mare Smart By Design. She won on debut in a heat of the Sales Classic for two-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park last February before she finished a distant last in the final after breaking into a bad gallop about 500m from home. She was then sent for a long spell and was having her third start in a race on Friday night.
Born To Boogie is flying
Six-year-old mare Born To Boogie managed five wins from 26 starts in New Zealand before turning the corner after arriving in Western Australia last February.
The daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven has flourished under the care of eight-time WA premiership trainer Ross Olivieri, and she has developed into a major contender for the $125,000 Westral Mares Classic over 2536m at Gloucester Park on November 26.
Born To Boogie, driven expertly by Chris Lewis, was in eleventh place with 950m to travel in the 2130m Direct Trade Supplies Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night before she unleashed a dazzling burst which took her to the front 320m from home on her way to winning by three lengths from the fast-finishing Typhoon Banner.
Starting favourite at $3, Born To Boogie, who is raced by Merv Butterworth’s racing syndicate, rated a slick 1.55.2, with an admiring Olivieri saying that the time she ran the final 2000m was pretty special. The final three 400m sections, off the front, were run in 29.3sec., 28.7sec. and 28.5sec.
“She had a couple of issues when she arrived here from New Zealand, and that’s part of the reason why she has been sparingly raced,” Olivieri said. Born To Boogie’s seven appearances in WA have produced five wins and two close second placings.
“We will space Born To Boogie’s runs leading up to the Westral Mares Classic,” Olivieri said.
Mandy Joan, trained and driven by Aiden de Campo, is also a contender for the major feature events for mares in the summer. She caught the eye in Friday night’s race when she sustained a spirited three-wide burst from ninth at the bell to finish third.
Miracle Moose sparks birthday celebrations
Not only was Miracle Moose’s stylish victory in the 2130m The Running Camel Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night a pointer to his prospects in the rich Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups in January, but it also gave trainer Nathan Turvey and driver Emily Suvaljko an extra reason to celebrate their respective birthdays.
Suvaljko was delighted to drive a winner the night before celebrating her 21ST birthday, while Turvey chalked up his 44TH birthday the following day.
Friday night’s success reminded the highly successful trainer-driver combination of Suvaljko’s win on her 20TH birthday last year when she drove the Turvey-trained Carter Micheal to a six-length victory over Crocodile Kid at Gloucester Park at the stallion’s final race before retiring to the stud.
“I wasn’t happy with Miracle Moose until the past ten days,” said Turvey. “All this preparation he hasn’t been right, and it was his feet that were causing problems. We changed a few things, including his shoeing, and now all is well.
“He is a versatile horse, and we are looking forward to the big Cups in January. We know his best is right up there, and he showed how good he is when he came from last and went past some pretty good horses when second to Vultan Tin in the Pinjarra Cup last February.”
Suvaljko said that she was confident going into Friday night’s event. “Miracle Moose gave me a really good feel at his previous start,” she said. “It was in Free For All grade, and he got pushed back before running fifth behind Bletchley Park. That showed he was back to his best, and I wasn’t too afraid to do that bit of work early in tonight’s race.”
Miracle Moose, the $1.90 favourite from the No. 2 barrier, was beaten out by the flying Thereugo before Suvaljko sent Miracle Moose to the front after 400m. Miracle Moose set a moderate early pace before dashing over the final quarters in 27.6sec. and 28.1sec.
He defeated the fast-finishing My Carbon Copy by 4m, rating 1.56.2, and the Mach Three gelding, who has 13 owners, including Turvey, has raced 33 times in Western Australia for 11 wins and 12 placings after his 15 New Zealand starts produced two wins and four placings.