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  Ken Casellas | Photo: Gloucester Park Harness Racing

New Zealand-bred four-year-old Louie The Lip arrived in Western Australia in November 2019 with high expectations. But he had leg problems soon after he joined the stables of Gary Hall Snr, and there were grave fears that he would never be able to race.

However, he has finally overcome his problems and he appeared in his sixth start in a race when he contested the 2130m Garrard’s Rio Cobra Sulky Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

He was the $3.60 second fancy from barrier two, and after enjoying an ideal passage in the one-out, one-back position with the polemarker and $1.85 favourite Naval Aviator setting a solid pace, he finished strongly to score an emphatic one-length victory over his stablemate and $6 chance Euphoria, who battled on gamely after racing in the breeze.

Louie The Lip made his debut when second in a race at Pinjarra on May 16 this year, and he now has won four races in a row.

The win gave champion reinsman Gary Hall Jun his fifth winner for Friday. He won earlier in the night with Beat City after landing a treble at Bunbury in the afternoon with the Justin Prentice-trained trio of Rambo Rabbit, Tricki Miki and Mr Fantastic.

“I don’t know how Louie The Lip has been able to race after he bowed his tendons that badly,” said Hall Snr. “He bowed both tendons three times, and I thought he would never stand up and be able to race.

“But he is now pretty sound, and he has got a bit of toughness about him.”

Louie The Lip is by American Ideal and is out of Blistering Belle, a winner at four of her 63 starts and the dam of nine winners, including Elite Belle, Five Card Draw and Ideal Belle.

Elite Belle earned $102,927 from 11 wins and 15 placings from 73 starts, Five Card Draw had 225 starts for 34 wins, 71 placings and stakes of $680,534, and Ideal Belle raced 34 times for seven wins, 13 placings and $204,316.

Five Card Draw won seven races in New Zealand and 17 times in Queensland before going to America in 2016 where he won another ten times. Three of his victories in New Zealand were in group 1 feature events in 2012 — the Cardigan Bay Stakes at Alexandra Park (when he beat Ohoka Punter, Sky Falcon, Rocky Marciano and My Hard Copy), the Sires Stakes series final at Addington, and the Emerald at Cambridge.