On Friday night Gloucester Park will host a cracker night of harness racing headlined by two Group features. The highlight event is the $200,000 Group 1 SKY Channel WA Derby and the support race will be the $50,000 Group 2 Empress Stakes.
To view the final field and preview of the WA Derby click here.
This year the 2010 Empress Stakes has drawn 12 brilliant mares including the highly popular five-year-old Nowuseeme in barrier eight.
The daughter of Christian Cullen is coming off a commanding last start victory in the Melville Times Community Pace, showing she had the strength and determination to come from worse than mid-field to win.
Trained by Andrew de Campo, Nowuseeme will be driven by Matt White on Friday night as she attempts to go one better after her one-length loss to Ruby Dazzler in the race last year.
The mare that ran second to the favourite last start, Sunsets West, has her chance of revenge in the Empress Stakes when the daughter of Pacific Fella lines up in barrier six.
Other classy mares set to contest the Empress Stakes on Friday night include the in-form Ross Olivieri-trained Slick Lavra starting from the far outside barrier 12 and her stablemate Elysees Crest in barrier 10, coming off a gallant third to Nowuseeme in the Melville Times Community Pace.
Slick Lavra has had a recent burst of success winning six of her past eight starts, running second and third in the other two, which will have earned her plenty of fans.
Also worth keeping an eye on is the consistent Kiwi-bred Little Big Sister drawn ideally in barrier two. Coming off two consecutive wins, Little Big Sister is in fact a half sister to the pre-race favourite Nowuseeme, both sired from Christian Cullen.
The good barrier position and expertise of successful driver Colin Brown may see the Greg Bond-trained Little Big Sister take the lead early and maybe even hold on for the win. Brown has a previous Empress Stakes victory to his name when he won with Sand Pebbles in 2005.
The 2010 Bazzo Real Estate Empress Stakes will run as Race 6 at 8:20pm, one race prior to the highly anticipated WA Derby.
2010 Empress Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
|C Harding||Mark Reed||C3 M0|
LITTLE BIG SISTER (NZ)
|G F J Bond||Colin Brown||C9 M2|
|B T Stampalia||Brad Stampalia||C8 M1|
|D M Padberg||Shannon Suvaljko||C4 M1|
|G E Hall Snr.||Shayne Cramp||C13 M2|
|C L Cummins||Michael Tenardi||C4 M2|
|G P Elliott||Gary Hall Jnr.||C7 M2|
|A L De Campo||Matthew White||C13 M3|
|S Torre||Vance Stampalia||C16 M9|
|R A Olivieri||Morgan Woodley||C9 M1|
TUAHIWI WILD GIRL (NZ)
|K N Hawkins||Giles Inwood||C5 M1|
SLICK LAVRA NZ
|R A Olivieri||Chris Lewis||C13 M4|