The $40,000 WASBA Breeders Stakes, first run in 1979, is one of the very few feature events in Western Australia that has eluded champion trainer Gary Hall sen.
And now Hall reckons it is high time to post his first victory in this classic event for mares by winning the 1730m sprint at Gloucester Park on Friday night with speedy five-year-old Famous Alchemist.
Hall labelled four-year-old Jungle Genie, drawn the prized No. 1 barrier, as the hardest for Famous Alchemist to beat. But he believes that Famous Alchemist has the speed and strength to emerge victorious.
"From barrier four, Famous Alchemist probably will have to face the breeze outside of Jungle Genie," he said. "However, she proved last week that she is capable of doing that, especially over the short distance."
In the 2130m Breeders Stakes Prelude last Friday night Famous Alchemist gave a commanding performance to win in grand style from Alkira Jetsar and Jungle Genie. Famous Alchemist, driven by Clint Hall, started from the outside barrier on the front line and was eighth early before dashing forward to race outside the pacemaker Kristen Louise after 500m.
Famous Alchemist forged to the front with 700m to travel and she won by almost a length at a smart 1.56.4 rate. Alkira Jetstar and Jungle Genie also were most impressive, with Alkira Jetstar charging home from seventh at the 300m and Jungle Genie (who started out wide at the No. 6 barrier) surging home from eleventh at the bell.
Alkira Jetstar won this event two years ago after racing in the breeze and then raced without cover before finishing a neck second to Centrefold Angel in last year's Breeders Stakes. She will start from barrier five on the front line on Friday night, with Tom Buchanan in then sulky.
Jungle Genie, trained by Greg and, is sure to prove hard to beat. will be looking to lead all the way. He has won this event three times --- with Sand Pebbles in 2004, Montel (2008) and Little Big Sister (2010). Jungle Genie is very smart and is versatile. Her past 29 starts have produced 12 wins and 11 placings.
Quality mare Leda McNally, whose 19 wins from 53 starts include the group 1 $100,000 Mares Classic over 2130m and the $40,000 Norm's Daughter Classic over 1730m last November. Famous Alchemist finished second in both those events. She also finished second to Sensational Gabby in the $50,000 Empress Stakes in February before winning the $20,000 Golden Girls Mile at Pinjarra last month.
The Hall stable has two good second-string mares in Friday night's event --- Korobeit Angel (Gary Hall jun.) and Askmenow (Lauren Jones).
Korobeit Angel, an all-the-way winner over Jungle Genie and Am Opulent over 1730m two starts ago, will start from barrier two on the back line and Askmenow will begin from barrier three on the back line.
Askmenow, an 80/1 chance last Friday night, caught the eye when she was 12th at the bell and flashed home, six wide, to be fifth behind Famous Alchemist. "She went very well and hasn't had any luck lately," said Hall sen. "She is definitely a chance."
The-trained Selkie, an easy all-the-way winner of the 2503m Race For Roses last Friday week, faces a stern test this week from the outside of the back line. Olivieri won the 1992 Breeders Stakes with Miss Bo Scott and , who will handle Selkie, has been successful with Tareena Bright (1985), Armbro Lucy (1993), Twinkle Paige (1997) and Meggie Dear (2001).
MISTA RUSH READY FOR A BIG TEST
Up-and-coming gelding Mista Rush is improving in leaps and bounds and, despite his unfavourable draw on the outside of the front line, he has the ability to upstage well-credentialled newcomers Soho Lennon and Avalon Bromac in the Budget Stockfeeds Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
The first appearance in Western Australia of beautifully-bred Victorian three-year-old Soho Lennon and the New Zealand-bred three-year-old Avalon Bromac is adding considerable interest to Friday night's ten-event program.
These youngsters are prepared at Serpentine by premier trainer Gary Hall sen. and are sure to attract strong support. However, the WA-bred Mista Rush has the advantage of recent racing. He is in peak form for Boyanup trainer-reinsmanand has won at four of his five starts as a three-year-old.
Mista Rush won the South-West Derby and Country Derby in March-April and has been most impressive at his past two outings, scoring by 16 lengths from Guns With Cows at a 1.54.5 rate over 1684m at Pinjarra on April 28 after racing without cover and then working hard before sprinting over the final 800m in 56.3sec. and winning by three lengths from Bettor Light Up at a 1.58.5 rate over 2100m at Bunbury last Saturday night.
Gary Hall jun. will drive Soho Lennon and his elder brother Clint will handle Avalon Bromac. The stablemates will start from barriers five and six, respectively, off the front line.
"Their trials at Byford on Sunday morning were okay without being outstanding," said Hall sen. "They are nice horses, but they didn't run any times. Mista Rush looks the hardest to beat and Black Mr Mach went well at Pinjarra on Monday."
Soho Lennon raced without cover before winning a 2150m trial at Byford on Sunday morning by more than two lengths from the pacemaker Bhagwan, rating a modest 2.4.4 after covering the final 400m in 28.9sec. Avalon Bromac also raced in the breeze in his 2150m trial in which he finished a half-length second to stablemate Get Outta Eyre, rating 2.0.2 after a final 400m in 29sec.
Avalon Bromac has had only one race. He raced in the one-out, one-back position before being shuffled back to the rear before finishing ninth behind Jack Black kin a 2700m stand at Forbury late last October.
Soho Lennon, by, has had 14 starts in Victoria for three wins and four placings. He won once from eight starts as a two-year-old (at Ararat last July) and won at his first two outings as a three-year-old, at Bendigo and Geelong in November. At his most recent appearance he was a fading sixth in a field of seven over 1710m at Ballarat on January 2 when he raced in the breeze for much of the way and wilted from second on the home turn. He was not suited by the blistering early pace when the first quarter of the final mile was covered in 26.7sec.
Black Mr Mach, trained by Greg and, won for the second time from 15 starts when he dashed to the front 300m after the start and sped over the final 400m in 26.9sec. to beat Dezba by almost seven lengths at a 1.58.4 rate over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon.
QUINNY SET FOR PINJARRA CUP
Champion pacer Im Themightyquinn will have his final lead-up race for the $50,000 Pinjarra Cup next Monday week when he contests the $21,000 Gloucester Standardbreds Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
"It's just the luck of the draw," said trainer Gary Hall sen. when Im Themightyquinn drew the No. 1 barrier in Friday night's event. "He should lead and win. Then he will be going for the 2692m Pinjarra Cup."
Im Themightyquinn, an effortless winner at his first two appearances at Gloucester Park after a seven-month absence, will stifle betting on Friday night. He led from barrier five and won from Rocket Reign and Hokonui Ben for his first-up win over 2130m two Fridays ago. Then he started from the outside of the front line and raced in last position before starting a three-wide move 950m from home when he won untouched from Polak and Crombie over 2536m last Friday night.
Crombie, who finished solidly from sixth at the bell when third last week, will start from the inside of the back line and he should enjoy a perfect trip behind Im Themightyquinn. He looks a place certainty.
Hokonui Ben, winner of the WA Pacing Cup last summer, is awkwardly drawn at No. 5 on the front line, but he has the class to finish in the minor placings.
The Hall camp also is supremely confident that star four-year-old Alta Christiano will continue on his winning ways when he starts from the inside of the back line in the 2536m Milne Feeds Pace. He has not been extended when winning at each of his past three starts.
Stablemate My Hard Copy will resume after a spell when he starts from the No. 1 barrier in the third qualifying heat of the Allwood Stud Farm The Pure Steel Pace over 2130m. A winner at 11 of his 36 starts, he has not appeared since he raced wide early and then without cover before winning easily over 1684m at Pinjarra at a 1.55.4 rate on January 13.
He warmed up for Friday night's assignment by winning a 2550m stand trial at Byford on Sunday morning when he raced without cover before beating the pacemaker Flyalong Falcon at a 2.3.8 rate after dashing over the final 800m in 56.9sec. and the last 400m in 28.2sec.
My Hard Copy is a good frontrunner and Gary Hall jun. should dictate the terms of the race in front and the New Zealand-bred four-year-old should prove too strong for his nine rivals.
by Ken Casellas