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Ken Casellas | Photo: Gloucester Park Harness Racing

Highly-promising New Zealand-bred pacer Ezana enhanced his reputation and showed that he would be a leading contender for the rich classics for four-year-olds in the summer when he scored a superb victory in the $30,000 group 3 Simmonds Steel Im Themightyquinn Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

The Bettors Delight gelding is bred to be a star. He is the first foal out of handy mare Hartofdixie, who won at six of her 25 starts for stakes of $50,299. Ezana has inherited much of the ability of Hartofdixie’s half-sister Our Splendour, the dam of rising WA superstar pacer Magnificent Storm and his full-brother Stamford, a talented four-year-old who finished powerfully from last in the middle stages to be an eye-catching fourth behind Ezana on Friday night.

Ezana, the $5 second favourite, was driven with extreme confidence by Emily Suvaljko, who settled the gelding down in ninth position in the one-wide line while Iamthefirecracker ($5.50) was setting the pace from Socrates ($6) in the breeze and the $4.20 favourite Markham Eye trailing the pacemaker.

Socrates led by a half-length, out four wide, in the early stages. But he was unable to cross to the front, with the fast lead time of 35.8sec.

Suvaljko sent Ezana forward, three wide, to be sixth at the bell, and soon after that the gelding surged into second place, outside Socrates, who had forged to the front 650m from home. Ezana finally burst to the front half way down in the home straight and drew away to win by two lengths from $21 chance Moonlite Drive, who followed Ezana over the final 1000m. Socrates fought on gamely to finish third.

Iamthefirecracker wilted to finish twelfth and last, with Markham Eyre finishing an unlucky ninth after being shuffled back behind the tiring pacemaker in the final circuit.

Ezana has now earned $71,330 from ten wins and five placings from 22 starts. He won once from nine starts in New Zealand, and his record in WA for Mt Helena trainer Ray Williams is nine wins and two seconds from 13 starts. Suvaljko did not rest on her laurels. She travelled to Kellerberrin on Sunday and landed a treble, winning with Love To Fly, Lets Rock Tonight and Tux And Tails.