Day At The Track

Hall wins six of ten events on a wintry evening

01:22 PM 25 May 2014 NZST
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Gary Hall Sen. with connections of Famous Alchemist
Gary Hall Sen. with connections of Famous Alchemist

A brilliant victory by Famous Alchemist in the $40,000 WASBA Breeders Stakes was the icing on the cake for champion harness racing trainer Gary Hall sen. at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he again dominated proceedings, winning six of the ten events on a wintry evening.

Hall's six winners --- Notabadexcuse, Alta Christiano, My Hard Copy, Im Themightyquinn, Famous Alchemist and Ben Cartwright --- followed hauls of five winners on each of the two previous Friday nights. Two of the other winners on Friday night (This Time Dylan and Extreme Bromac) were formerly trained by Hall.

Hall also had the distinction of two quinella results and his stable runners earned a handy $95,049 in prizemoney, which represents not a bad result for a night's work.

The 64-year-old Hall holds an unassailable lead on the Metropolitan trainers' premiership. He has had 501 city starters this season for 127 wins and 100 placings and leads from Ross Olivieri (43 winners) and Greg and Skye Bond (39). Hall leads the Statewide premiership with 155 winners, with the Bonds (95) in second place, followed by Olivieri (58).

Famous Alchemist, a New Zealand-bred five-year-old, is owned by Hall's wife Karen and the mare was a heavily-backed 10/9 on favourite who gave the trainer his first success in a Breeders Stakes.

Famous Alchemist, driven by Hall's elder son Clint, started from barrier four and raced three wide for the first 450m before getting to the breeze outside the polemaker and 7/2 second fancy Jungle Genie.

The early pressure was considerable and the opening 400m section of the final mile on a rain-soaked track was a brisk 28.5sec. Then followed quarters in 29.2sec. and 29sec. before Famous Alchemist forged to the front 220m from home. The final section was covered in 29.6sec. and Famous Alchemist rated 1.55.6 over the 1730m in winning by just over a length from fast-finishing stablemate and 30/1 outsider Korobeit Angel, driven by Gary Hall jun.

Korobeit Angel raced three back on the pegs before she flashed home from fifth at the 100m mark. Selkie finished boldly, out wide, from eighth at the bell to be third. Jungle Genie wilted to finish in eighth place.

Star mare Leda McNally, third fancy at 9/2, found the disadvantage of starting from barrier four on the back line too difficult to overcome. She raced in tenth position in the one-wide line before battling on gamely into sixth place.

Famous Alchemist now has amassed $299,969 from 15 wins and 15 placings from 46 starts. She raced 17 times in New Zealand for five wins and five placings (including a third behind Twist And Twirl in the group 3 Sires Stakes for three-year-old fillies at Alexandra Park in December 2011). Her 29 WA starts have [produced ten wins and ten placings. By Mach Three, Famous Alchemist is the second foal out of the unraced Dream Away mare Alcheringa.


Equine superstar Im Themightyquinn ran one of the fastest quarters recorded at Gloucester Park on his way to a runaway victory in the Gloucester Standardbreds Pace on Friday night as he prepares for a rare experience and a fresh challenge.

In almost six years in Western Australia, the amazing nine-year-old has travelled to country tracks only twice, for a shock head second to Scan Air in the Village Kid Sprint at Northam in November 2009 and for a stylish victory over Has The Answers in the Bunbury Cup in November 2010.

Now ace trainer Gary Hall sen. is setting Im Themightyquinn for his first outing on the spacious Pinjarra track --- in the $50,000 Pinjarra Cup over 2692m on Monday week.

Advancing years are taking no toll whatsoever on Im Themightyquinn, who is racing as well now as he has at any time during his magnificent 105-start career which has produced 54 wins and 32 placings for $4,418,596 in prizemoney.

The New Zealand-bred son of Washington VC has returned to racing in grand style with effortless wins at his first three starts after a seven-month absence. After contesting the Pinjarra Cup Im Themightyquinn will travel to Queensland to contest three feature events in July.

He boats a superb record at Gloucester Park where he has raced 55 times for 36 wins, ten seconds, four thirds, two fourths and three sixth placings.

Im Themightyquinn's effort in sprinting the third quarter of the final mile in a sizzling 26.9sec. on a rain-soaked track was simply awesome. Rarely has a 400m section been covered in under 27sec. at Gloucester Park. Im Themightyquinn dashed over the final 400m in heat four of the interdominion championship at Gloucester Park in February 2012 in 26.8sec. when he rated 1.55.8 in beating Has The Answers by five metres over 1700m.

West Australian-bred three-year-old Prince Aradan scorched over the opening quarter of the final mile in 26.8sec. in a 1700m event at Gloucester Park in February 2002 when he was being hotly challenged by James Victor. Prince Aradan went on to win by a nose from James Victor at a 1.58.9 rate.

There was a slight scare before Im Themightyquinn raced on Friday night. Hall discovered some swelling on the gelding's rib cage, obviously caused by an insect bite. As a precaution Im Themightyquinn was examined by the course veterinary surgeon, who passed the gelding fit to start.

Im Themightyquinn, the 10/1 on favourite, had no trouble in jumping straight to the front from the No. 1 barrier and after a slow lead time of 38.5sec. and a modest first quarter of the final mile in 30.2sec., Gary Hall jun. livened him up for quarters of 28.2sec., 26.9sec. and 27.8sec.

Hokonui Ben, the 14/1 second favourite, raced four wide early and then worked hard in the breeze before wilting to finish fourth. Crombie (17/1) trailed the pacemaker throughout and he held on to be second, six lengths behind the winner and a nose ahead of Polak, who finished strongly after racing three back on the pegs. Im Themightyquinn was not extended in rating 1.54.5 over the 2130m journey.


New Zealand-bred gelding This Time Dylan is a tiny pacer with a big heart who is proving a wonderful investment for Brian Ridley.

This Time Dylan, one of the smallest pacers to have raced at Gloucester Park in recent years, appreciated a drop in class when he made light of a 30m handicap to storm to an impressive victory in the 2503m Fresh Express Handicap on Friday night.

Ridley outlaid $20,000 to claim This Time Dylan on December 27 and in five months the gelding has earned $84,150 from three wins and two placings from 13 starts, including his third behind Hokonui Ben and Toretto in the WA Pacing Cup and a victory in the group 3 Narrogin Cup in January.

This Time Dylan is following in the footsteps of Rakarebel, a pacer claimed by Ridley for $10,000 12 months ago. Rakarebel had ten starts for Pinjarra trainer Michael Brennan for one win, four placings and $18,500 before Ridley received $20,000 when Rakarebel was claimed in July by eastern states owners.

Gary Hall jun. drove a superb race to land 9/2 chance This Time Dylan a winner by a neck over co-backmarker and 5/2 favourite Shardons Rocket. He stole a march on his rivals when he sent This Time Dylan forward with a three-wide burst 500m after the start. This Time Dylan moved into the breeze outside the pacemaker Flyalong Falcon (9/2) 200m later and then secured the perfect one-out, one-back trail when Colin Brown sent Shardons Rocket into his familiar position in the breeze.

Shardons Rocket moved on terms with Flyalong Falcon on the home turn, but was unable to hold out the fast-finishing This Time Dylan, who was taken three wide approaching the home turn and unwound a spirited sprint to get up and score by a neck at a 2.2.1 rate after a smart final quarter in 28.3sec. Flyalong Falcon was a nose away in third place.

"He will now contest the Pinjarra Cup on Monday week," Brennan said. "And after that we'll reassess his program. We might put him out for a little bit, but we might continue racing him. With Im Themightyquinn going away to race in Queensland it opens up the Free-For-All ranks --- and we might make some hay while the sun shines and Quinny is away.

"This Time Dylan is showing no signs at all of backing off. He enjoys racing. He goes out in a ten acre paddock and every day is a spell for him. And he also works himself hard; he's probably the strongest worker I have at home.

"Brian keeps reinvesting, which is really good. He's got three in my stable now, with another two coming from New Zealand."

This Time Dylan now has had just 51 starts for 16 wins, 11 placings and stakes of $196,275. His win on Friday night completed a driving quintet for Hall.


The expected match race between Mista Rush (6/4) and Victorian newcomer Soho Lennon (10/9) failed to eventuate at Gloucester Park on Friday night when 16/1 chance Macheaven caused an upset by snatching a last-stride victory by a nose from the pacemaker and 9/1 chance Black Mr Mach in the 2130m Budgets Stockfeeds Pace for three-year-olds.

Macheaven, produced in fine fettle by Mt Helena trainer Ray Williams, made the most of the coveted No. 1 barrier, with Ryan Warwick setting the pace for the first 450m before taking the sit behind Black Mr Mach, fresh from his seven-length win at Pinjarra four days earlier.

Soho Lennon started from the No. 5 barrier and raced four wide for the first 250m before being trapped three wide for the next 200m and then working hard in the breeze. Mista Rush was restrained to the rear from the outside of the front line. He was still last at the bell and then ran home solidly, three and four wide, to finish third. Soho Lennon wilted to finish seventh.

The New Zealand-bred Macheaven rated 1.57.8 and improved his record to ten starts for three wins, three placings and $20,488. His dam Close To Heaven had 43 starts for seven wins, 14 placings and $55,428.

Macheaven is a half-brother to handy performers Elijah (11 wins), Heavens Delight (13 wins and $92,016), Elysium (four wins) and Queen of Heaven (who won at five of her 22 starts in New Zealand before winning in America, with a best rate of 1.53.6).


New Zealand-bred four-year-old My Hard Copy gave promise of developing into a top-flight performer when he reappeared after a spell with a commanding performance in the third heat of the Allwood Stud Farm Pure Steel Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Making the most of the prized No. 1 barrier at his first outing since winning at Pinjarra in mid-January My Hard Copy, trained by Gary Hall sen and favourite at 3/1 on, gave an impressive frontrunning display to win by 10 metres from stablemate Heez Orl Black, an 11/1 chance who surged home from eighth at the bell.

My Hard Copy was driven by Gary Hall jun. and Heez Orl Black was handled by Hall's elder brother Clint. Kiss Chasey, who trailed the leader throughout, finished third, with Firebomb maintaining his splendid form, running home solidly to be fourth. The winner rated 1.56.9.

My Hard Copy has earned $118,117 from 12 wins and 12 placings from 37 starts. He won at three of his 16 starts in New Zealand and twice from six starts in Victoria before arriving in Western Australia where his 15 starts have produced seven wins and two placings.

My Hard Copy is by American stallion American Ideal and is the first foal out of Readallaboutit, who was retired after only one start, when last 205m behind the winner at Alexandra Park in July 2008. Readallaboutit's dam Natalia's Joy won an $80,000 three-year-old classic for fillies at Cambridge in June 1991.


An operation about ten months ago to remedy a serious breathing problem has prolonged Extreme Bromac's career and the New Zealand-bred seven-year-old broke through for a well-deserved win in the 2536m Make Smoking History Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

The gelding was driven in fine style by 24-year-old Chris Playle, who got Extreme Bromac straight to the front from the No. 2 barrier before dictating terms and winning by two lengths from the fast-finishing Fire of Rock.

Extreme Bromac was a solidly supported 11/4 favourite and his win ended a sequence of eight unplaced runs since winning at Northam last August. It completed a double for Pinjarra trainer Michael Brennan, who had been successful earlier in the program with This Time Dylan.

"He's got a terrible breathing problem and he needs everything to fall into place for him to win races," Brennan said. "He was suffering from a collapsed palate when he underwent an operation last year. The problem is 100 per cent better than it was, but it is still a worry.

"I'm rapt for Chris, who is such a hard worker at my stables. He really deserves the win."

Extreme Bromac won once from ten starts in New Zealand, at his only three starts in Victoria in August 2010 and once from four starts in New South Wales before arriving in Western Australia where he has won six times from 53 starts.

Brennan kept up the good work at the final meeting at the Harvey track on Saturday night when he was successful with Pocket Change, driven by Luke Edwards.


Handy New Zealand-bred five-year-old Jay Bees Grin ended a losing sequence of ten when Colin Brown drove him to an easy victory in the 2536m Yes Loans Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Favourite at 5/4, Jay Bees Grin began well from barrier four and Colin Brown sent him to the front after 200m. Jay Bees Grin then had the luxury of been placed under no pressure in front and Brown guaranteed victory and gave the opposition very little hope when he was able to get the gelding to amble through the opening 400m section of the final mile in an extremely slow 33.5sec.

This was followed by a 31sec. quarter before Jay Bees Grin dashed over the next two sections in 29.2sec. and 28.8sec. He rated a modest 2.3.8 on a heavy track in winning by more than two lengths from Elusive Courage, who trailed him all the way. What The Blazes, second fancy at 6/4, finished a head away in third place after racing without cover for most of the way.

Jay Bees Grin, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, has been a consistent performer, with his 38 starts producing nine wins, 13 placings and $64,943. After winning four times from 18 New Zealand starts, Jay Bees Grin has had 20 starts in WA for five wins and eight placings.

The Bond team continued in fine form at Harvey on Saturday night with a treble in the opening four races. Ryan Warwick drove Jungle Jewel to victory over Dontdoubtme in an event for three-year-old fillies and then Dylan Egerton-Green scored all-the-way wins with Showstopper and Bettor Party.


A perfect trail in the one-out, one-back position paved the way for Ben Cartwright's easy win in the 2130m Larkhill Vets Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Black Aquila was all the rage and was sent out a warm favourite at 5/4, with Ben Cartwright a well-supported second fancy at 5/2.

Favourite punters were on good terms with themselves when Gary Hall jun. sent Black Aquila to the front after 220m. However, Ben Cartwright looked a danger when Clint Hall slotted the Victorian-bred four-year-old straight into the one-out, one-back position.

Outsider Boofshalfbrother was working hard in the breeze and Clint Hall did not make a move until he switched Ben Cartwright three wide at the 400m mark. Black Aquila began to wilt and Ben Cartwright burst to the front on the home turn before racing away to win by 10m from 6/1 chance Dont Wanadie, who rattled home, out wide, from eighth at the bell.

Ben Cartwright, trained by Gary Hall sen., covered the final 400m in 28.7sec. and rated 1.59.9. He ended a losing sequence of eight and took his WA record to five wins and eight placings from 20 starts. His overall record stands at 49 starts for 11 wins, 12 placings and $71,744.


Star four-year-old Alta Christiano continues to enhance his reputation with his exhilarating performances at Gloucester Park.

He treated his rivals with utter contempt when he cruised to an effortless victory in the 2536m Milne Feeds Pace on Friday night.

Favourite at 5/1 on from the inside of the back line, Alta Christiano was quickly off the pegs and Gary Hall jun. moved him into the breeze in the first lap, with Onedin Crusader in front. Hall gave Alta Christiano more rein and he swept to the front with 1100m to travel before dashing over the final quarters in 28.8sec. and 28.1sec. to win by just over six lengths from 33/1 chance Pride of Colorado, with Anvils Big Punt running on from three back on the pegs to be third.

Alta Christiano rated 1.56.7 and took his record in Western Australia to ten starts for nine wins and one third placing. His career record stands at an imposing 13 wins and two placings from just 18 starts for earnings of $309,163.

This win gave leading trainer Gary Hall sen. the second of six winners on the night. His first winner was Notabadexcuse, who revealed excellent fighting qualities to win the Vision Produce Pace.

Notabadexcuse (3/1) raced outside the polemarker and pacemaker Say It Now (3/1) before outstaying that pacer to win by one and a half lengths at a 1.57.5 rate over 2130m. Last-start winner Ohoka Kentucky (7/2) ran on from fifth at the bell to be third.

The New Zealand-bred Notabadexcuse has earned $58,490 from ten wins and 16 placings from 55 starts.

by Ken Casellas


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