Theharness racing action returns west this weekend. And it’s without the dominant forces of the All Stars stable and their now very familiar livery of blue with silver stars.
The all-conquering Christchurch based combination of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen have swept all three legs to date.
From the headshaking performance of Lazarus in the New Zealand Cup back in November followed by the heroics of Smolda in the Inter Dominion in December and then completed by the sublime performance of Dream About Me in the Auckland Cup on New Year’s Eve, it’s fair to say it’s been a whitewash to date for the power couple.
Or more accurately, a bluewash!
But the Gr.1 $450,000 TABTOUCHat on Friday night doesn’t feature a runner from the All Stars nor does it feature a runner from an eastern states stable which therefore paves the way for a local stable to grab the lion’s share of the loot on offer.
The WA Pacing Cup is steeped in tradition and the roll of honour boasts some of the greatest names possible.
First staged back in 1913 and won by Letty Lind, the great race has been won by the likes of Beau Don, Radiant Oro, James Eden, Just Too Good, Don’t Retreat, Pure Steel, San Simeon, Gammalite, Preux Chevalier and Village Kid among others.
In recent times, names like Westburn Grant, Our Sir Vancelot, The Falcon Strike, Baltic Eagle, Im Themightyquinn and My Hard Copy are listed as winners.
Many of these great names listed above have won the Cup on more than occasion.
The WA Pacing Cup is a race of strength and toughness, only the best survive the arduous battle of the 2936m mobile start event.
Champion trainerhas won the Cup more than any other trainer; the wily veteran has won the past six editions while he has won 10 of the past 15 Cups.
The haul of Hall includes The Falcon Strike (x3), Tealsby Karita, Im Themightyquinn (x3), Hokonui Ben and My Hard Copy (x2).
On Friday night, he will have three runners engaged.
Last week’s Fremantle Cup winner Chicago Bull shoots for the big double while multiple feature race winner Beaudiene Boaz and the classy Cyamach represent his Serpentine stable.
Againwill partner the pint sized four-year-old Chicago Bull and if successful, he will join the legendary Phil Coulson as the most successful driver in Pacing Cup history.
Coulson steered to victory Lord Mina, Colour Glo, Pure Steel (x3), Gammalite and Village Kid, his victories spanning from 1965 to 1985.
Hall Jnr victories include The Falcon Strike (x3), Tealsby Karita and Im Themightyquinn (x2).
Ironically, the last four-year-old to win the Pacing Cup was The Falcon Strike back in 2002.
While the Hall stable has claimed the Pacing Cup during the past six years, no driver has won the Pacing Cup four straight times.
The talented horseman has won the past three editions with Hokonui Ben and My Hard Copy (x2), this year he will partner Beaudiene Boaz.
The Hall runners have drawn gates 4 (Cyamach), 6 (Beaudiene Boaz) and 8 (Chicago Bull).
Nathan Turvey partners Cyamach.
Star mare Major Reality landed the inside gate (1) but must defy recent history to win the Cup; the last mare to win the state’s showcase event was Pyramus back in 1972 while Dainty’s Daughter won in 1970.
Outstanding young horseman Justin Prentice prepares Major Reality and is yet to taste Cup success while his father Kim is a dual winner after Baltic Eagle (2003) and Im Themightyquinn (2011) proved triumphant.
This year, Kim will aim for another Cup trophy with Soho Tribeca, a richly talented pacer racing in excellent form but he must overcome gate 12, the outside of the second-line.
The speedy Bettors Fire has drawn ideally in gate 5 for talented young horseman Kyle Harper, his father Lindsay won the Pacing Cup back in 2001 with Havago.
Champion reinsman Chris Lewis recently celebrated his 5000th career winner and again takes a drive in the Pacing Cup aboard John Of Arc (gate 10), Lewis is a five times winner.
Lewis drove Village Kid (x3), Hilarion Star and Saab.
Trainer Ross Olivieri prepares Our Jericho (gate 11) and tasted Cup success back in 1999 with Saab.
Morgan Woodley takes the drive aboard Our Jericho.
The state’s leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond are chasing their maiden success in the Pacing Cup and have a dual pronged attack through Delightful Offer (gate 3) and Our Jimmy Johnstone (gate 7).
Ryan Warwick will partner Our Jimmy Johnstone, the Warwick name features on the honour roll through Trevor (Our Ian Mac – 1987) and Justin (Admirals Avenue – 2002) while Ryan Bell will take the drive behind Delightful Offer.
Also chasing their maiden Cup success are Mick Brennan (The Bucket List) and John Oldroyd (Mynameskenny).
The Bucket List will start from gate 2 for driver Michael Grantham while Mynameskenny starts from gate 9 for driver Chris Voak.
The TABTOUCH WA Pacing Cup is scheduled as race 7 and listed to start at 8.10pm local time.