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The Group 2 J P Stratton Cup (2130m) heads up a great night of pacing at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

The $50,000 feature event will see a mouthwatering clash between fast-class star Vampiro, the returning Texas Tiger, who won his last eight starts before going for a spell, and former Victorian Hurricane Hartley, the winner of 21 of his 40 starts and more than $476,000 in stakes and now in the care of Justin Prentice.

Most members of the WA Trotting Media Guild have avoided the cup when searching for their star bets on the 10-event card.

But longshot guru Pat Harding is up for the challenge and has confidently predicted that Vampiro will make it an all-the-way victory in the cup.

“After last week’s tough night at GP, tipsters and punters alike will be hoping for a better night,” Harding said. “My best bet comes up in the main race –  race five – the time-honoured J P Stratton Cup. The Greg and Skye Bond-trained Vampiro from barrier one looks ideally placed to record another win.”

Guild president Wayne Currall believes punters can start the night off a winning note by supporting Jumpingjackmac in the opener.

“Jumpingjackmac has won seven of his 10 career starts and finished a courageous second behind Mighty Ronaldo in last season’s WA Derby,” Currall said. “He hasn’t been seen since winning at headquarters in late May, but master trainer Gary Hall invariably has his horses ‘ready to rumble’ when they return after a spell. Jumpingjackmac has drawn gate nine and it won’t be an easy ask first-up, but he has class with a capital C and should get the job done.”

TABradio’s Hayden King has made another Hall-trained runner – My Carbon Copy – his best for the night.

“My Carbon Copy is well drawn outside Saleahs Comand, who sat recently,” King said. “He is first-up, but he has visible class. In fact, around this time last year, he was placed behind Chicago Bull and Bletchley Park in the Navy Cup. In the process, he beat home likely J P Stratton Cup favourite Vampiro and stablemate Galactic Star. He should lead and take beating.”

Award-winning journalist Ken Casellas – still smarting after his beloved Tigers were knocked out of the premiership race last Sunday by the Bulldogs – is keen on Boom Time in race seven.

“Boom Time excels as a sit-sprinter, and he should be seen in that role from the No. 5 barrier in the Simmonds Steel Pace on Friday night,” Casellas said. “There promises to be plenty of early speed, which will suit the Ross Olivieri-trained Boom Time, who is my best bet on the program.”

But that’s not how The West Australian’s Ernie Manning and the newspaper’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft see the race. They believe Howard Hughes is the horse to beat.

“New Zealand import Howard Hughes looked back to his best when last start breaking a drought,” Manning said. “The Greg and Skye Bond-trained four-year-old charged from back in the field to win by 8m and rate 1:55.1 at Pinjarra on September 20. It was difficult to believe he had been beaten at his previous 10 starts. Howard Hughes won at his first five WA starts and at one stage he had a tally of 12 victories in 14 appearances. He has cups potential.”

And Havercroft agrees with his colleague.

“Howard Hughes is the baby of the small field at four years of age and has more upside than his rivals,” Havercroft said. “He has placed at four of five runs this preparation with his numerical form improving at his last three starts which include a convincing last-start win at Pinjarra in good time.”

TABradio’s Matt Young has opted for a bit of value by making Bettor Pack It as his best for the night.

“Bettor Pack It closed off well last start and has the good draw,” Young said. “She looks to lead from gate one and run a big race.”



PAT: My double comes up in race three with No. 5 Fanci A Dance. He had an unlucky second last week but I think he can go one better this week.

WAYNE: On a night where it’s hard to find value, I’m suggesting an all-up wager – Jumpingjackmac, into Euphoria, into My Carbon Copy. It will take a Gary Hall, Gary Hall Jr treble, but I think all three can salute.

HAYDEN: See The World is ticking over well. She missed a run a few weeks ago and her next run was solid. Last week she was unlucky, driving up behind a firm wall in the home straight and went to the line with something to give.

KEN: For value, I suggest Mini Mine Yet in the sixth event. She caught the eye last Friday night when she thundered home, out very wide, from last at the bell to finish a close third behind Wainui Creek and Star Of Diamonds.

ERNIE: Miss Lamarr, an impressive winner last May and June, is capable of bouncing back after being beaten at her past nine starts. A winner of nine races, the Michael Brennan-trained mare showed a glimpse of form when third at Bunbury last Friday night.

RYAN: Leap Of Faith is a bold frontrunner, evidenced by an all-the-way win in the Easter Cup in her last campaign. Drawn to run a race first-up.

MATT: Double Expresso was a very strong effort last start. This looks a more suitable race and she could be some value for once. Go well.

Click here to view all of the Media Guild tips for this week

Good punting.