Day At The Track

Clint Hall to drive Im Themightyquinn

05:20 PM 11 Jun 2014 NZST
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I'm Themightyquinn - will be driven by Clint Hall on Friday.
Superstar Im Themightyquinn will have a new driver when he contests the $21,000 KA Cleans And Flushes Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

He will be handled for the first time in a race by Clint Hall, elder son of the champion pacer's trainer Gary Hall sen., with regular driver Gary Hall jun. taking the reins behind Toretto.

"Clint is driving him .... Just to give him the experience," Hall sen. said. "Im Themightyquinn has gone super since his Pinjarra Cup win."

Im Themightyquinn will start from the No. 3 barrier on the front line and is unlikely to have everything his way when he clashes with David Hercules, Crombie and his stablemate Toretto.

Im Themightyquinn, who has amassed $4,451,096 from 55 wins, 19 seconds and 13 thirds, has been handled by only seven reinsmen in his Fabulous 106-start career. Hall jun. has driven him to victory 47 times. The remarkable New Zealand-bred gelding has also been driven by Kim Prentice (one win), Greg Bennett (one), Shayne Cramp (no wins), Ricky May (four), Dexter Dunn (one) and Mark Jones (one).

"We always planned to give Clint a drive on Quinny at some stage," Hall jun. explained.

Friday night's event looks to be an intriguing affair, with the richly-talented David Hercules resuming after a spell for trainer David Thompson, Crombie starting from the prized No. 1 barrier after finishing strongly to be a nose second to Im Themightyquinn in the 2692m Pinjarra Cup on Monday of last week, and Toretto, a nose second to Hokonui Ben in the WA Pacing Cup in mid-January, resuming after a spell.

Morgan Woodley, driver of David Hercules, predicted that the race would not be a cakewalk for Im Themightyquinn, saying: "I'll be looking to make it difficult for Im Themightyquinn. I'm hoping that David Hercules is forward enough to really stretch his neck."

David Hercules, who has won at four of his ten first-up runs, is favourably drawn at the No. 2 barrier on the front line and Woodley is keen to send the seven-year-old to an early lead and then set the pace.

"David Hercules trialled well at Byford on Sunday morning," Woodley said. "He drew the inside of the back row behind Toretto, who led and rated 1.55.9, a nice rate over 2150m around the Byford track.

"I eased David Hercules out about 1000m from home and took a bit of closer order. They ran the last half in 56 seconds and David Hercules finished third, only about one and a half lengths from the winner, Toretto. Being the nice horse that he is, I think he will certainly be improved by the run.

"If he is able to get to his favourite role in front I am sure he will give a great account of himself. Crombie has led in the past, but he is getting on a little bit in his career and in recent times he seems to be racing a bit better when driven a bit more conservatively.

"He sat back on the pegs in the Pinjarra Cup and made some nice late ground against Im Themightyquinn. So, given his inside draw, he certainly will be one of the main dangers to both myself and Im Themightyquinn."

Toretto, who will start from barrier five, has not raced for four and a half months. But he has had a solid preparation and is sure to be prominent. He has contested a 2150m trial at Byford on each of the past four Sundays for three wins and a second. Before leading and winning last Sunday Toretto had worked in the breeze before finishing strongly at his three previous trials.

Toretto appeals as the likely breeze horse in Friday night's race, particularly as Lombo Navigator (who has worked in the breeze in many of his races) is reappearing after a four-month break and his new trainer-reinsman Ryan Bell is likely to be reluctant to give the seven-year-old a tough first-up run.

Woodley has opted to drive David Hercules in preference to the speedy Dundee Three, who finished strongly when a close fourth in the Pinjarra Cup, after stylish Gloucester Park wins at his two previous outings. Owner-trainer Stephanie Smith has engaged Chris Lewis to drive Dundee Three, who faces a stern test from out wide at the No. 6 barrier.

Prentice praises The Odd Lover

Hopeland harness racing trainer-reinsman Kim Prentice is excited at the wonderful potential of The Odd Lover and is bubbling with confidence about the colt's winning prospects in the $100,000 International Animal Health Pearl Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

"He's got heaps of raw ability and is a very good horse," he said. "He hasn't had the deafeners pulled yet and I'm sure he will find a lot more lengths once we pull them."

That was the chilling warning issued to the connections of the other two-year-olds who will contest the group 1 classic over 2130m.

Prentice is fully aware of what is required to win the Pearl after having trained and driven 6/4 on favourite Your Call Lombo for his brilliant all-the-way victory over Spanna and Winforus in the 2002 Pearl. Your Call Lombo smashed the race record with a 1.57.5 rate over 1740m.

The New Zealand-bred The Odd Lover, owned by Robert Watson, was the fastest of the three heat winners at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week, rating 1.58.2, which was considerably faster than the rate set by the other heat winners, Artillery Major (2.3.2) and Isaiah Artois (2.0.4).

The Odd Lover began out wide at barrier six in his heat and Prentice restrained him at the start and the colt settled down almost seven lengths behind the early leader In Nyrobi before he urged him forward, three wide to burst to the front after 550m had been covered. He bowled along in front and sped over the final 800m in 56.9sec.

The Ross Olivieri-trained Artillery Major, who set the pace in his heat, covered the final 800m in 58.9sec. and Isaiah Artois, prepared by David Thompson, came home in 58.5sec.

The Odd Lover, who is by Art Major, races with his head held low, and he raced with spreaders at his latest appearance. "He had been brushing his off-side knee and was losing his confidence a little bit," Prentice explained. "So I put the spreaders on in his final track workout before the qualifying heat and he went a lot better. He will probably wear them for the rest of his two-year-old career, but I'm sure as a three-year-old he will not need them."

Regarding the colt's habit of racing with his head held low, Prentice said that he worked him with a head check before he made his race debut with an easy win at Northam in late April.

"But before his first start I removed the head check and put his hopples right out, and he just went a lot better," Prentice said. "Since I've had the head check off he has paced a lot better and has found a lot more speed.

"I was trying different things, the one percenters, trying to get him perfect. He still hangs a bit, but he's got heaps of raw ability."

The Odd Lover will start out wide at the No. 6 barrier on Friday night, but this is not causing Prentice any great concern. "In his two trials he showed very good gate speed and I've got no doubt that if I want to come out of the gate he can come out humming. He crossed from barrier five or six in his second trial at Byford."

Chris Lewis gave punters a good lead when he opted to drive Artillery Major (from the favourable barrier No. 2 on the front line) ahead of the Bryan Cousins-trained In Nyrobi, whom he has driven at his only three starts for three second placings.

In Nyrobi led for the first 550m in his heat and then trailed the pacemaking The Odd Lover before finishing gamely to be second, just under two lengths behind the winner.

Cousins has engaged Gary Hall jun. to drive In Nyrobi and Hall is hoping that the unfavourable barrier No. 11 (four out on the back line) will be an omen for success. Hall drove 11/4 chance Swagga for trainer Kristie Morrone in last year's Pearl when the colt settled in tenth position and charged home from fifth at the bell to win by ten and a half lengths from the 10/9 on favourite Mister Jadore.

Hall drove Go West U Terror for Cousins when he started from barrier two and set the pace before winning the 2009 Pearl by just under ten lengths from Soho Dionysus. Hall also won the Pearl behind the Jesse Moore-trained The Jobs On in 2004 and the Kevin Keys-trained Itsallabout Nicole in 2009.

Lewis has won the Pearl with the Olivieri-trained Lombo Laredo (1994) and Argent Treasure (2007) and in 1995 with Mitemptation, who was trained by his wife Debra.

Olivieri said that Artillery Major was capable of a bold showing on Friday night. "He should strip a bit fitter than he did when he raced first-up and won his heat," he said. "First-up, he was a bit slack in front, but when the challenges came he held them comfortably. He should be the early leader and will run a good race."

The speedy Isaiah Artois cannot be discounted after winning in good style at each of his past three starts. He will start from barrier five on the front line and possesses good gate speed.

Trainer Peter Anderson and reinsman Morgan Woodley, who combined to win the Pearl in 2008 with the brilliant James Matthew, will be represented by Nitro Lad, who will start from barrier three on the front line. He is the most experienced runner in the race, having had ten starts for one win (at Narrogin in March) and seven minor placings. He will be at long odds.

Bond fancies Jungle Genie

Forrestdale horseman Greg Bond, who trains Jungle Genie in partnership with his wife Skye, is confident the four-year-old will maintain her consistent form and prove hard to beat in the second heat of the Neutra Syrup Neutralises And Removes Lombardo Pace for mares at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

"She's drawn a bit wide (No. 5), but she's more of a sit-sprint horse and is a good chance," he said. "The race lacks a bit of depth and hopefully there will be a bit of genuine speed. She can sit on speed and kick real good."

Jungle Genie, who will be driven by Colin Brown, has won at 13 of her past 32 starts and she finished strongly from sixth at the bell to be second to Macintosh over 1684m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon when the final 800m was covered in a slick 55.5sec.

The Bonds also have two other runners in Friday night's event, four-year-olds Am Opulent and Showstopper.

Am Opulent, a smart Pinjarra winner on Monday of last week, finished last in a field of seven behind Selkie at Gloucester Park last Friday night. "She was travelling well when she clipped a wheel and broke," Bond said. "It wasn't her fault and she should be running on this week."

Showstopper faces a hard task from barrier six. She has not been dangerous when she started from the back line and finished eighth at Pinjarra at her past two starts. She was an easy all-the-way winner in moderate company at Harvey three starts ago.

Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri said he expected Arousing to, prove hard to beat after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier. "This will suit her and she is capable of leading and she is a good chance," he said.

Jungle Genie's younger half-sister Jungle Jewel has sound prospects in the Electromix Electrolytes And Sweat Pace for three-year-old fillies on Friday night.

"She went great at Pinjarra on Monday and won with a leg in the air," Bond said. "But this is a step up in class against fillies like The Parade, Maddy White, Harper Grace and All About Pink. They show good ability and Jungle Jewel will need some luck from barrier five."

Morgan Woodley, who will drive Harper Grace for owner Steve Johnson and trainer David Thompson, said that the filly had sound prospects, even though she has been unplaced at her past five starts.

"I think she has a great chance from barrier one over 1730m," he said. "The statistics say that we're in with a good chance, purely on the distance and the barrier draw. I was impressed with Harper Grace's latest run when she made nice late ground to finish fifth behind Typhoon Tan.

"She got wide on the last turn in a race in which they did slip home in relatively good time, and I thought that she hit the line well. The barrier draw and short trip really bring us in with a really good chance."

Spectacular poised for debut victory

New Zealand-bred five-year-old Spectacular should make a successful Australian debut by winning the 2130m Mecworma And Bot-Worming Paste Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Leading trainer Gary Hall sen. said that the Christian Cullen gelding was "nothing special," but looked the goods from his ideal barrier at No. 2 on the front line over 2130m.

Spectacular has won five stands in New Zealand, but is also a capable mobile performer, with three wins in mobile events. He last appeared when he started from 20m, raced four back on the pegs and finished strongly along the inside to hit the front 30m from the post and score narrowly in a four-way photo finish, rating 2.0.7 over 2700m at Waikato..

Two starts before that he won an 1800m mobile event, rating 2.7.6 on the grass track at Wanganui when he was sixth early and then in the one-out, one-back position before spring fast in the home straight to hit the front 80m from the post.

by Ken Casellas


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