Hazelmere harness racing trainer Gary Hall sen. has excellent prospects of landing his third winner in the Seven News Pace when Aussie Reactor and Albert Jaccka contest the $25,000 feature event at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Though the two pacers are drawn out wide in the 2100m event, they are likely to vie for favouritism with the speedy Can Return Fire and last-start winner Nickelmeldon.
Aussie Reactor maintained his consistent form when he worked hard three wide and then without a trail before winning narrowly from Jumbo Operator in the WA Pacing Cup Consolation last Friday week.
The WA-bred five-year-old is the youngest runner in the race and he has the ability to overcome the disadvantage of starting from the outside (No. 9) barrier. Victorian-bred eight-year-old Albert Jaccka was an all-the-way winner of the Fremantle Cup Consolation two starts ago before racing at the rear and finishing ninth behind Im Themightyquinn in the WA Pacing Cup. He will start from barrier eight.
The Channel Seven News Pace was first run in 2000 and Hall has been successful with(2004) and Hilton Adonis (2008).
Aussie Reactor is proving an outstanding purchase for Tony Giglietta and Bret Tottman, who bought him for $19,500 at the 2007 Gloucester Standardbred yearling sale. The son of American stallionhas earned $202,354 from his 16 wins, seven seconds and two thirds from only 39 starts. His most significant victory was in the Golden Slipper Stakes at Gloucester Park in July 2008 when he defeated the previously unbeaten superstar James Matthew by a nose.
Aussie Reactor has won six times when he has set the pace, but he has generally been at his best when held up for a late burst. However, he revealed an impressive new racing characteristic at his latest outing when he started a three-wide move from seventh position 1450m from home and then worked hard without cover before getting to the front in the final circuit and fighting on doggedly to beat Jumbo Operator by a nose.
Albert Jaccka is a seasoned campaigner, a veteran of 122 starts which have produced 22 wins, 41 placings and stakes of $244,773. He is versatile and warrants great respect in this week’s feature event.
The Ross Olivieri-trained Nickelmeldon, a standing-start specialist, bounced back to form at his fifth outing after a spell when he began speedily and trailed the pacemaker On All Fours before finishing fast to win from that pacer in a mobile event over 2100m last Friday night at a 1.57.6 rate.
Nickelmeldon is favourably drawn at barrier four this week and he should be prominent throughout. Can Return Fire, who covered a lot of extra ground before finishing fourth behind Lombo Navigator in the Harvey Cup last Saturday night, will have many admirers and he is capable of bursting back to the winning list.
Can Return Fire is trained at Forrestdale by Skye Bond, whose husband Greg has sound prospects with Pablito, who put up a tremendous performance two starts ago when he raced three wide for much of the 2506m journey before finishing third behind Aussie Reactor and Jumbo Operator in a three-way photo finish.
Seven-year-old Hy Royale, a first-up specialist with a reputation as a giantkiller, will resume after a spell for part-owner and trainer Ian Barker. He will start from the inside of the back line.
Seel N Print ready for strong Australian debut
Runaway victories in two recent trials at Byford are a strong indication that New Zealand-bred three-year-old Seel N Print will be hard to beat at his Australian debut when he contests the Today Tonight Stakes at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
The inexperiencedgelding is favourably drawn at the No. 3 barrier in a 2100m event in which he will clash with several promising three-year-olds, including Scot Bay, Who Thru Teddy, Blissfull Boy, Sexy Beast, Scuba Steve and Batavia Jack.
Trained at Forrestdale by Greg Bond, Seel N Print will be driven by Chris Lewis, who replaces Bond’s No. 1 reinsman Colin Brown.
Brown, who is serving a term of suspension, handled Seel N Print in his 2150m Byford trials when pitted against moderate opposition. The gelding ran home strongly to beat Coaltrain Blues by ten lengths, rating 2.5.8 on three Sundays ago.
He was more impressive the following Sunday when he rated 2.0.2 in winning by almost seven lengths from Beautiful Night.
Seel N Print managed just one placing (a third) from five starts as a two-year-old in New Zealand before showing plenty of promise at his two runs as a three-year-old last November.
He resumed after an eight-month absence at Wyndham’s Young Quinn Raceway on November 14 when he revealed sparkling gate speed from barrier one to jump a length clear of his rivals and then set the pace for the first 950m before taking the trail behind the pacemaker. He then was shuffled back on the pegs to eighth with 400m to travel before finishing strongly on the inside to be third behind Waterhorse, who rated 2.1.6 over 2400m. The final 400m was covered in 28.6sec.
A week later Seel N Print finished an encouraging half-length second to Lovers Delight over 2200m at Invercargill’s Ascot Park course. He started out wide at barrier eight and settled in eighth place before making a fast move at the 1400m mark to move outside the leader.
The gelding then obtained a good sit, one-out and one-back, before finishing solidly from fourth on the home turn to be a close second. The final 400m was covered in 28.4sec.
Seel N Print is the only non-winner in the race in which his 11 rivals have won a combined total of 34 races. Showing the way is Scot Bay, with nine wins and stakes of $82,473 from 16 starts.
The Ken White-trained Blissfull Boy has earned $114,818 from his seven wins and nine placings from 24 starts, Who Thru Teddy has had 15 starts for five wins and Batavia Jack has had 20 starts for four wins and eight placings.
Scot Bay, trained at Manjimup by Debra Sutton, has won at three of his four starts this season after winning at six of his 12 starts as a two-year-old.
Scot Bay, a handsome upstanding gelding, impressed at Harvey last Saturday when he started from the inside of the back line and charged to the front in the middle stages before careering away from his rivals to win by five lengths from Armbro Lincoln at a 2.0.7 rate over 2150m. He dashed over the final 800m in 58.8sec.
Blissfull Boy will have many admirers after finishing second to the outstanding colt Ohokas Bondy at Gloucester Park at each of his past two starts.
The versatile Amanda Suvaljko-trained Who Thru Teddy cannot be underestimated after winning at his past three starts, while the New Zealand-bred Scuba Steve made a brilliant debut for trainer-driver Ryan Bell with a runaway all-the-way victory over 2242m at Narrogin on Wednesday of last week.
Veteran pacers set to fight out the finish
Veteran pacers Conte Centovalli and October Son are set to fight out the finish of the Packed To The Rafters Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night after strong, fighting efforts last Friday night.
They are, by far, the highest stake-earners in the event and are the best handicapped in the 2096m stand.
Conte Centovalli and October Son are the only M2-class pacers in the race and each will start off 10m. Nine-year-old Conte Centovalli, who has had 125 starts for 21 wins, 26 placings and earnings of $156,056, dropped back from an M3 classification last Friday night because he had just brought up a losing sequence of ten.
Driven by his part-owner and trained Nathan Turvey, Conte Centovalli put in a splendid effort to finish a nose second over 1700m to the brilliant Ohoka Samson. He raced outside the pacemaker Serial Pest before getting to the front 450m from home. Ohoka Samson just poked his nose in front in the final stride.
Ten-year-old October Son, trained by Gary Hall sen. and a winner of $138,595 from his 26 victories and 30 placings from 126 starts, impressed last Friday night when he started from 20m and raced without cover over the final two laps before finishing a splendid second to the pacemaker Dream Guest over 2503m. He finished with dogged determination to win at his previous outing.
Waikawa Bay and Jackdylan, who will also start off 10m, are racing keenly and will have admirers. Waikawa Bay, who dropped back from an M2 classification to an M1 mark two starts ago (after a losing run of ten) is getting close to another win. He followed his third to Ohoka Georgia three weeks ago with a close fourth behind Salliwood and Country Change in much stronger company last Friday night when he set the pace in a 2503m stand.
Jackdylan notched his fifth second placing from his past six starts when he led early and then raced without cover before fighting on grimly to lose by a nose to Liquid Radar at Northam last Thursday night.
Scan Air bursts back to his best form
Scan Air, placed only once from his previous ten starts, burst back to top form with a brilliant victory in the 1609m Dynamic Print Pace at Bunbury on Tuesday night.
Driven by his trainer Gary Jones, Scan Air, a seven-year-old son of Saab, enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, before sprinting home fast to win from odds-on favourite Belhelvie and Barachias. He dashed over the final 800m in 55.9sec.
Scan Air, whose previous win was at Pinjarra last April, caused a major upset the previous November when he won the Village Kid Sprint at Northam, beating Im Themightyquinn. He now has had 58 starts for 14 wins and 15 placings.
New Zealand-bred five-year-old So Talk About Courage made an impressive Australian debut when he charged home from 11th approaching the bell to surge to the front 100m from home to win the 1609m Smith Constructions Pace at a 1.56.4 rate.
Driven by his Waroona trainer Bob Mellsop, So Talk About Courage beat Zenthura by 4m. It was his third win from 27 starts.
Five-year-old Packed Safely made a successful return to racing after an absence of 15 months when Ron Young brought him with a strong burst from seventh at the bell to win the RTW Steel Fabrication Handicap from Turbo Diesel. This was his sixth win from 13 starts.