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Ken Casellas | Photo: Gloucester Park Harness Racing

Wanneroo trainer Debbie Padberg and her husband John are keen judges of horseflesh, and they have no regrets that they outlaid $20,000 to purchase handy New South Wales pacer Bracken Sky in September 2019.

The Padbergs race Bracken Sky in partnership with long-time stable clients Don and Adele Simmons, and the seven-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven gelding relished a significant drop in class at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he began speedily from barrier six and was untroubled to set a solid pace for Shannon Suvaljko and score an easy victory in the 2130m TABtouch Pace.

Bracken Sky, a winner of ten races in NSW, has proved a wonderful buy for his WA owners, now having had 90 starts in the State for eight wins, 22 placings and $173,570 in prizemoney.

Bracken Sky went into Friday night’s event with a losing sequence of 23, but he was popular with punters and was the $3.60 second favourite from barrier No. 6, with smart frontrunner Regal Aura the $3.40 favourite from the prized No. 1 barrier.

Suvaljko stole a march when he got Bracken Sky away speedily, and the gelding burst past Regal Aura to take the lead after 60m. Graham Cox eased Regal Aura off the pegs and into the breeze after 550m.

Bracken Sky gave his rivals little chance of winning when he dashed over the final 800m in 56.7sec. He was not extended in winning by 8m at a 1.58.2 rate from $18 chance Steam Punk, who fought on from fifth (on the pegs) at the bell. Rupert Of Lincoln ($3.90) improved from sixth at the bell to finish third.

“He has been amazing,” said Mrs Padberg. “He is a little horse who tries hard.”

Bracken Sky is a half-brother to five winners, including Absolution, who raced 166 times for 25 wins, 58 placings and stakes of $147,778. Five of his wins were in WA (four at Gloucester Park and one at Northam) when he was trained by Mrs Padberg.

Bracken Sky and Absolution’s dam, the Live Or Die mare Redemption, who had 27 starts for ten wins, six placings and stakes of $60,768. After winning twice in New Zealand Redemption won at his first eight starts in New South Wales in 2008 and 2009.