The West

A serious accident was luckily avoided after track lighting partially failed and Gloucester Park was plunged into semi-darkness when runners were 50 metres from last night's Chinese New Year Cup finish.

Horses finished safely, with reinsman Ryan Warwick getting Dundee Three up to win by a nose from pacemaker Old McDonald and third placegetter Topnotch Dan finished 5.5 metres back in third place.

A crowd of 7000 was stunned and in the confusion, course racing commentator Richard Bell called Old McDonald as the winner.

Chief steward Bill Delaney said he would not declare a no-race.

"None of the horses faltered in what was a very alarming home straight incident," Delaney said.

He declared correct weight after checking with drivers and finding their horses had not lost ground when the lighting dimmed sharply.

Gloucester Park chief executive officer Michael Radley said the partial lighting failure was caused by a power surge.

"Half the track lights went out," Radley said. "It was an unavoidable situation and we're thankful an accident was avoided. The veterans here can not recall a similar frightening occurrence with the Gloucester Park lights.

"Power was restored after several minutes. We had lighting back to normal. within quarter of an hour, after globes re-warmed."

The following race, the Formaction Pace, began on time and it was won by D B Dazzler.

Class pacer David Hercules pulled up in top order after returning from surgery to win last night's $50,000 Global Insurance Broking Governors Cup (2536m) at Gloucester Park and connections have ambitious plans.

The David Thompson-trained six-year-old, backed from $2.30 to $1.50 favouritism, led all the way for reinsman Morgan Woodley and scored by four metres from Russley Rasacal.

The $516,000 stake-earner David Hercules, a winner of 21 races, was having her first start since undergoing a throat operation last September to clear a breathing problem.

"It's always a worry whether horses will come back to peak form after that type of surgery," Thompson said.

"But he's pulled up a treat and we can now start planning his long-term future."

Next season's $400,000 WA Pacing Cup and $250,000 Fremantle Cup will be among target for David Hercules.

"He's done well in Melbourne campaigns," Thompson said. "But I now favour keeping him here and aiming at Gloucester Park feature events."

David Hercules was bought for $15,000 at a Perth yearling sale by Steve Johnson and David Botha.

A half-sister to David Hercules is expected to be in big demand at Gloucester Standard bred's yearling sale at Belmont Park racecourse on Sunday. The filly is by new sire Sportswriter.

The West Australian

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