Day At The Track

Hall looking forward to driving Im Soxy

02:39 PM 30 Jan 2020 NZDT
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Gary Hall Jnr,Harness racing
Gary Hall Jnr
Jodie Hallows photo

“I’ve always wanted to drive Im Soxy,” said champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr. “I remember watching him, driven by Deni Roberts, coming from last to win a race in Bunbury a couple of years ago.”

“Now, finally, I’m going to drive Im Soxy for the first time and I’m looking forward to it.”

Hall was engaged to drive the WA-bred seven-year-old by his Bunbury trainer Brian Clemens in the $20,000 Worldwide Packaging Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night when Ryan Warwick was committed to drive the Greg and Skye Bond-trained classy six-year-old Mighty Santana.

Im Soxy, who has been handled in his 88 starts by ten different drivers, is favourably drawn at barrier No. 2 in a field of eight and though he has a losing sequence of 19, Hall is confident of success.

“This is a huge drop in class for Im Soxy and he can go forward at the start and lead,” Hall said. “I believe he’s capable of holding out Mon Lillies (a speedy beginner who is drawn at barrier four).”

Im Soxy showed a return to form at his last start when he began speedily from barrier seven in a 2536m event last Friday night, but was unable to cross the polemarker Talktomeurmattjesty, who set the pace and won from Gotta Go Gabbana and Im Soxy, who was three back on the pegs in fourth position at the bell before fighting on to finish only a length behind the pacemaker.

McArdles Gem will start from barrier one and there is a strong possibility that Brett Smith will opt to take a sit behind Im Soxy and pin his faith in McArdles Gem’s strong finishing burst. The previous time McArdles Gem started from barrier one was five starts ago when Smith surrendered the lead after 250m to Saleahs Comand.

McArdles Gem then enjoyed a perfect passage behind the frontrunning Saleahs Comand before he burst to the front on the home turn and raced away to win by two lengths from Bad Round. McArdles Gem meets much stronger opposition this week.

Mighty Santana is in sparkling form and is sure to make a bold bid to defeat Im Soxy. He raced wide early (from barrier five) and then in the breeze outside the pacemaker Argyle Red before finishing with great determination to be a head second to the fast-finishing Roman Aviator.

A week earlier Mighty Santana started from barrier eight and was restrained to the rear before charging home from seventh at the bell to win easily from Braeview Bondi at a 1.54.2 rate over 1730m.

Braeview Bondi, to be driven by Michael Grantham for trainer Michael Brennan, looks one of the best bets on the ten-event program when he starts from the No. 1 barrier in the 2536m Skender’s Stakes Pace. Braeview Bondi was untroubled to set a brisk pace and win by more than three lengths over 2536m two starts ago.

Jocelyn Young, who finished Tuesday night’s meeting at Gloucester Park on a high, has excellent prospects of continuing in top form by driving talented four-year-old mare Has No Fear to victory in the opening event on Friday night.

Hass No Fear, trained by Justin Prentice, has the ability to overcome an awkward draw at barrier six and notch her eighth win from 27 starts. Her chief rival could the Corey Peterson-trained Dontstopbelievin, who will start from the No. 5 barrier. Dontstopbelievin has raced without cover at each of her past three starts for an easy Albany win, a half-length second to Pick My Pocket and a solid third behind Tyler Brett at Gloucester Park.

Peterson has opted to drive in four events at Busselton on Friday night and Dontstopbelievin will be handled by Kim Prentice.  

Young was the dominant performer in the final three events on Tuesday evening when she drove Commander Chapel and Our Mandingo before finishing a close second to the pacemaker Sagatious with Warriors Legacy.   

 

Ken Casellas

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