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Ken Casellas | Photo: Gloucester Park Harness Racing

Some of the bitter disappointment suffered by Paula Petricevich when her highly-promising young pacer Bettor B Abeliever fractured a bone in a back leg almost three years ago and had to be retired was alleviated when Candy Apple scored a most encouraging victory at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Candy Apple, a $3.90 chance, owned and trained by Petricevich and having her third start in a race, set the pace from barrier one for star reinsman Gary Hall Jnr and won comfortably by a length and a half from the $1.20 favourite Indomitable Symbol in the Bridge Bar Open Pace for two-year-old fillies.

Petricevich, a 43-year-old veterinary nurse, bought the New Zealand-bred Bettor B Abeliever, who showed considerable early promise and caught the eye when he finished third behind Jack Mac and Cott Beach in the Golden Slipper at Gloucester Park in July 201.

Bettor B Abeliever fractured his leg as a four-year-old not long after he won at what was to be his final start, rating 1.56.7 over 2536m. He had raced 33 times for eight wins, 14 placings and $78,735 in stakes.

Petricevich was so impressed with Bettor B Abeliever’s ability that she purchased the next four foals out of his dam, the Mach Three mare Rearmachable — J P Got Faith, Penelope Garcia, Delightable and Candy Apple.

J P Got Faith has had 23 starts for five wins, four placings and $23,970; Penelope Garcia has had two unplaced runs and Delightable has managed a third placing at Pinjarra last November from three starts.

Candy Apple was not an expensive buy at $7000, and she has already earned $13,891 from a win and a second from three starts.

Candy Apple, a big, attractive filly, will soon have a brief spell before being prepared for the $100,000 Diamond on August 19. Petricevich also plans to start another of her fillies, Sweet Vivienne, in the rich classic. Sweet Vivienne has been placed at two of her four starts. Both fillies are by the American stallion Sweet Lou.

Despite her commanding appearance, Candy Apple is somewhat shy and reclusive, and in an attempt to keep her as relaxed as possible Petricevich has given her a stable companion, a 19-year-old palomino pony named Blue Eyes, who travels with Candy Apple on the float trips to the trots and then occupies an adjoining stall in the birdcage.

Hall predicts that Candy Apple will continue to improve, saying: “She is a little bit lazy, but she gets a bit better every time she goes around. At her first start (when last in a field of five at Pinjarra) she looked non-competitive and you would have said that she would have no chance of winning as a two-year-old.

“At her second start she was crossed at the start but held all the others quite easily (when second to Pocketful Of Opals). Tonight, she switched on and off three times over the final 400m.”