Day At The Track

Hall keeps Cup promise

12:28 PM 14 Jan 2015 NZDT
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Justin Prentice - Trained the quinella in last nights West Australian Oaks
Justin Prentice

Champion harness racing trainer Gary Hall’s prospects of winning Friday night’s Western Australia Cup for the ninth time soared when Northview Punter drew the prized pole.

A noted frontrunner, Northview Punter will be driven by young reinsman Justin Prentice, who is aiming to join his father Kim on the Grand Circuit event’s honour roll.

Kim boasts two victories in the Group One, firstly with Baltic Eagle in 2003 and then Im Themightyquinn in 2011.

The only other father and son to have driven a WA Cup winner in the feature’s 101-year history are Fred Kersley and Fred junior.

Junior scored with Beau Travis (1961), Local Product (1974) and Justaboyden (1995), with his father successful behind James Eden in 1973.

Ace reinsman Gary Hall junionr, who has won the Cup six times, was extremely anxious to drive Northview Punter, but Hall stuck to his promise that Justin would retain the drive regardless of where the gelding drew.

Hall was full of praise for Prentice’s handling of Northview Punter when he brought the gelding home with a strong burst to finish second behind David Hercules in last week’s Fremantle Cup.

“It was a masterful drive and I told Justin that he could keep the drive no matter where he drew in the Pacing Cup,” Hall said. “It was also a phenomenal drive by Justin the previous week when he came from ninth on the pegs at the bell to finish third behind Toretto at Northview Punter’s first start for two months.

“Five week ago I didn’t expect Northview Punter to be contesting the big Cups after he had suffered from a bad virus in November. I thought he would be pushing it to reach this level so quickly.”

Hall has five of the 12 Cup runner, with Northview Punter to be joined by Toretto, My Hard Copy, Soho Highroller and Soho Jackman.

“Northview Punter has very good gate speed and is an excellent frontrunner,” Hall said. “I haven’t made any plans how we’re going to drive any of them yet.

“Northview Punter is versatile and he can lead or sit. He doesn’t go well off the track, but from one, he’s not going to be off the track at any stage.”

  • KEN CASELLAS

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