Day At The Track

Hall lauds Sprinter's speed

10:42 AM 27 Jul 2017 NZST
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Ace reinsman Gary Hall Jnr was stunned at Sprinter’s explosive speed when the four-year-old scored an effortless victory last Friday night and he gives the Mach Three gelding a great chance of winning the $35,000 John Higgins Memorial at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Sprinter, trained at Blythewood by Gary Elson, has drawn poorly on the outside (No. 9) of the front line in the 2130m event but Hall is confident he has the ability to overcome that significant disadvantage.

“I was hoping for a bit better draw, but he’s going super,” Hall said. “I’d say he’s the equal to any horse in the race. Last week I thought he was throwing out distress signals on the bend, but I gave him one good cut (with the whip) and he just took off like he had just joined in. He really surprised me how much he had left.”

Sprinter certainly looked most impressive when he started from barrier seven in last week’s race and was ninth at the bell before unleashing a dazzling three-wide burst which took him into the lead 300m from home. He sprinted over the final quarters in 28.4sec. and 28.2sec. and won by three lengths from Blinding Light, rating 1.55.6.

Sprinter, purchased for $34,000 at the Australasian Classic yearling sale in Auckland, has amassed $256,305 from his 16 wins and 13 placings from 38 starts. He should develop into a candidate for the rich summer carnival events, including the Inter Dominion championship, Fremantle Cup and WA Pacing Cup.

Hall, who has won the Higgins Memorial behind Partywiththedevil in 2010, In The Perfect Storm (2014) and Rub of the Green, who led all the way and won easily from hot favourite Char Do Neigh 12 months ago, rates Sprinter a better pacer than Elson’s Victorian-bred four-year-old Ideal Tyson, who has raced 45 times for 18 wins, 15 placings and $164,294 in prizemoney.

However, Aiden de Campo, who will drive Ideal Tyson from barrier three on the front line, has high hopes of victory. “He’s probably got better with every run this time in,” he said. “His was a good win last week and that should have topped him off pretty well for this week.

“He’s drawn a good alley and I’ll be coming out hard and looking for the top. He’s a big horse who likes to roll, so I’ll be driving him like a truck, like I always do. If he gets to the front he will be very hard to beat.”

Last Friday night Ideal Tyson started out wide at barrier nine and settled down in eighth position before de Campo sent him forward with a three-wide burst which took him to the lead after 600m. He then bowled along in front and won by two and a half lengths from Khun Ratha, rating 1.57.5 over 2536m.

Hall also predicted a bold showing from Ima Rocknroll Legend, a New Zealand-bred four-year-old trained by his father Gary Hall Snr and to be driven by the trainer’s older son Clint.

“Ima Rocknroll Legend will go very well,” said Hall Jnr “He ran third at Pinjarra at his latest start when they ran 26.3sec. off the front (for the final 400m) and he made up about four lengths. He’s really fast, although Pinjarra suits him better than Gloucester Park.”

Another major chance in Friday night’s event is another four-year-old, the Debra Lewis-trained Americanbootscoota, the solitary runner on the back line. The big gelding has struck a purple patch, winning easily at each of his past four starts.

Leading reinsman Chris Lewis is confident Americanbootscoota will prove hard to beat. “A front-line draw would’ve been nice, but things might pan out okay. We’ll be moving off (the pegs) as soon as we can and then work out our tactics from there.

“Much will depend on the tempo of the race. He is versatile and in good form and I expect a good showing from him. He has always had ability; if you look back at his record when he was a three year old he ran some pretty good times and I’d say he’s now putting it all together. He’s now running times that mean he could be a carnival horse.”

Lewis has been successful in the Higgins Memorial with Hail The Judge (1997), Our Graedy (1998), Ianalbert (2006) and Sneakyn Down Under (2008).   

Leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond have two runners in Friday night’s race in smart three-year-olds Messi (Ryan Bell) and Rock Diamonds (Ryan Warwick), who are racing keenly. Messi has won at nine of his 19 starts and Rock Diamonds has won at nine of his 18 starts


Ken Casellas

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