Champion harness racing trainerstrengthened his grip on the 2014 G1 $200,000 Sky Racing WA Derby on 11 April after dominating the $40,000 (2536m) at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Hall's pair, Elegant Christian and Machtu, completely dominated the traditional Derby lead-up and sent an ominous warning to their rivals by gapping WA’s best three-year-olds by an ever widening seven lengths.
Elegant Christian jumped straight to the front for Clinton Hall to dictated terms, but it wasn’t a walk in the park for the unbeaten three-year-old, as his stablemate Machtu applied the blowtorch a lap out and the pair settled down for an enthralling battle.
The son ofand English Elegance held off a gallant Machtu by two and a half metres, with a closing last half of a sizzling 55.3, racing away from the rest of the field. Last season’s two-year-old of the year Mister Jadore was almost 30 metres away in third place.
Despite amazingly only winning his first Derby last season with the injury plagued Alta Christiano, this looks to be Hall’s best sophomore crop ever as far as depth is concerned, with the champion mentor appearing to hold all the aces for next month’s Group One Blue Riband event.
Elegant Christian should take natural improvement on his first-up effort, while Machtu could not have been more impressive in defeat.
“I don’t think there is much between these two” Hall said after the race “They are both pretty special.”
Hall also had an impressive three-year-old winner the night before at Northam, with Eye Crusher winning by four lengths in a slick 1.57.2 mile rate for the 2190 metres.
In other races on the night at Gloucester Park, Red Salute driven by Chris Voak held off stablemate Sensational Gabby to win the HBF Run For A Reason FFA, while Hokuri Handrail got under the guard of most punters with a returned to winning form in a heat of The Clarke at odds $64.30 with Tabtouch.