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Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators

Champion trainer Gary Hall snr proudly declares that Balcatherine is the best mare in Western Australia, and the brilliant five-year-old has bright prospects of enhancing her reputation by winning the $30,000 Christmas Belles Free-For-All at Gloucester Park on Friday afternoon.

Balcatherine will be driven by Maddison Brown from barrier four, and her clash with classy four-year-old Savvy Bromac will be a highlight of the ten-event program.

Balcatherine was the $1.55 favourite from barrier seven in the group 3 Christmas Belles 12 months ago when she was restrained at the start and then enjoyed the one-out, one-back passage before starting a three-wide move 1300m from home and then racing without cover, getting to the lead 220m from the post and winning by a length from Queen Shenandoah, rating 1.54.5 over the 2130m.

Savvy Bromac is favourably drawn at barrier two on Friday when Emily Suvaljko will be anxious to set the pace. Two starts ago Savvy Bromac led from the No. 1 barrier, and after comfortable early quarters she sprinted over the final 400m sections in 28.4sec. and 27.1sec. to win the 2536m group 1 Westral Mares Classic by two lengths from Born To Boogie, with Balcatherine a nose farther back in third place after starting from barrier seven, settling down in tenth position and then racing in the breeze for the final two laps.

Since the Mares Classic Balcatherine has raced twice — for a close second to Queen Shenandoah and a dashing victory in the group 2 City of Perth Cup.

Both those runs were outstanding. Balcatherine started from the outside barrier (No. 9), and she raced three wide for more than a lap in the middle and late stages when beaten by Queen Shenandoah. She set a brisk pace and upstaged several classy male rivals when she won by more than a length from Motu Premier and Magnificent Storm.

Savvy Bromac started from barrier four in that event in which she raced at the rear and did not show up, finishing last in the field of 12, just over seven lengths behind Balcatherine.

Friday’s event will be decided over 2130m. Balcatherine has won seven times over this trip, and Savvy Bromac has won six times over the journey. However, it is quite significant that Balcatherine has rated a sub-1.56 rate at four of her seven wins (1.54.3, 1.54.5, 1.55.1 and 1.55.3), while Savvy Bromac has just one sub-1.56 rate (1.55.9).

Polemarker Leap Of Faith has good gate speed and has led and won at four of her seven victories. However, it is unlikely she will be able to muster sufficient early speed to deny Savvy Bromac from getting to the front soon after the start.