Day At The Track

Hall set to dominate at Bunbury

12:02 PM 17 Jun 2015 NZST
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Gary Hall Snr - Has 15 horses entered at Bunbury on Friday night
Gary Hall Snr - Has 15 horses entered at Bunbury on Friday night

Rising harness racing star My Hard Copy will reappear after a 20-week absence when he contests the $22,500 RSM Bird Cameron Pace over 1609m at Bunbury on Friday night and his sparkling form at trials is a firm indication that he will prove mighty hard to beat despite the serious disadvantage of starting from the outside of the back line over the metric mile.

Champion trainer Gary Hall sen. will have the New Zealand-bred five-year-old close to peak form and reinsman Clint Hall will be relying heavily on the stallion's ability to produce a sizzling finishing burst.

The Hall stable dominates Friday night's feature event, with six of the 12 runners, including stylish four-year-old stallion Crusader Banner, who should prove hard to beat from the prized No. 1 barrier on the front line.

The stable's other runners are Zacs Nuggett, Soho Highroller, Toretto and Soho Jackman.

My Hard Copy was a star at the summer carnival at Gloucester Park last January when he raced in fifth position before flying home to win the 2536m Fremantle Cup Consolation from Pacific Warrior and a week later unwind a paralysing sprint to come from 12th at the bell and sixth on the home turn to score a magnificent victory over David Hercules in the 2936m WA Pacing Cup.

Though many pundits quite correctly consider My Hard Copy a true-blue stayer, the horse is also a brilliant sprinter, having won four times over 1730m at Gloucester Park, rating 1.54.6 twice, 1.54.7 and 1.55.2.

He has won over 1684m (1.55.4) at Pinjarra and also was successful over 1700m in New Zealand as a two-year-old and over 1690m (1.56.5) at the Victorian country track of Shepparton.

My Hard Copy sparkled in a 2150m trial at Byford last Sunday week when he was seventh 550m from home before getting on terms with the pacemaker Condrieu at the 260m mark and then taking charge in the final 30m to defeat Condrieu by a half-length, without being extended.

The final quarters whizzed by in 28.7sec. and 28.4sec.

Then at Byford last Sunday morning My Hard Copy raced four back on the pegs before sprinting over the final 400m in 27.1sec. to win a 2150m trial by two lengths from stablemate High Courage, with Dundee Three nine lengths father back in third place.

Crusader Banner, the youngest and least experienced runner in Friday night's event, shows wonderful promise and has a fine record of ten wins and seven placings from just 20 starts.

He is a talented frontrunner and Gary Hall jun. is sure to be keen to set the pace with the son of Christian Cullen.

Crusader Banner impressed at Bunbury last Friday night when he started from the back line and raced in sixth position in the one-wide line before charging home to snatch a nose victory from Our Jimmy Johnstone, rating 1.55.9 over 2100m after final quarters in 28.1sec. and 27.9sec.

A week earlier he worked hard in the breeze and fought on grandly when a close third to Erskine Range and Soho Lennon and he showed his frontrunning ability three starts before that when won the 2100m Anzac Day Cup from Captain Proud at Bunbury.

On recent form Soho Jackman appeals as the third best of the six Hall runners.

He will start from barrier three on the back line.

Last Friday night he started from the outside of the front line and was restrained back to last in a field of 12 before running home strongly from seventh at the bell to be third behind Lovers Delight and Our Blackbird over 2100m.

Ten days before that he resumed after a spell and enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, before finishing strongly to win at a 1.54.4 rate from Our Major Mark over 1684m at Pinjarra.

Our Major Mark, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, has drawn ideally on the inside of the back line and should have a perfect run behind the likely pacemaker Crusader Banner.

He will again be handled by Ryan Warwick, with Colin Brown in the sulky behind stablemate Our Jimmy Johnstone.

Our Jimmy Johnstone is racing with considerable zest, but with not much luck.

He was overhauled in the final stride by Crusader Banner last Friday night to take his record in seven starts since resuming from a spell to two wins and five second placings.

He will start from the No. 2 barrier on the back line and is capable of upsetting the Hall runners.

Whatever the outcome of the race, it is a good bet that the track record for a mobile 1609m will be broken.

Ken Casellas

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