Day At The Track

Hall seeks a cup record

03:13 PM 19 Jul 2018 NZST
Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print
The Bucket List, harness racing
The Bucket List
Gloucester Park Photo

Champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr has received an unexpected opportunity to win the Garrards Horse And Hound BOTRA Cup for a record fifth time when he drives The Bucket List, the sole backmarker off 50 metres in the 2503m feature event at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Trainer Michael Brennan engaged Hall after The Bucket List’s regular reinsman Michael Grantham was suspended for seven days for causing interference in a race last Friday night.

Grantham has driven The Bucket List to victory seven times and Hall has handled the eight-year-old only twice for a second placing behind Hectorjayjay in a 2536m mobile heat of the Inter Dominion championship at Gloucester Park in December 2016 and for a ninth in a field of nine in a 2503m stand on April 20 this year.

The Bucket List gave a remarkable performance when ninth, only five lengths behind the winner Rock Diamonds. He started off 40m, broke into a gallop after 75m and settled down 130m behind the pacemaker The Real Nadal. The Bucket List made up an enormous amount of ground in the final circuit.

He is a capable standing-start performer, with his 16 starts in stands in Western Australia producing seven wins, five seconds, two thirds, one fourth and one ninth. He had seven starts in stands in New Zealand for three wins (over 2500m, 2700m and 3000m), a second, two thirds and a sixth.

History shows that it is extremely difficult to win off back marks in stands at Gloucester Park. The BOTRA Cup has been run 38 times and only one pacer, Highest Honour in 2005, has been successful after starting off the 50m mark. Three horses (Hilton Adonis, Spirit of Shard and Albert Jaccka) have won from 40m and the two winners from 30m were Speedy Cheval (1991) and Shattering Class (2000).

Hall has driven the winner of the BOTRA Cup four times, scoring with Strike A Blow (2002), Spirit of Shard (2008), Classic American (2015) and the Brennan-trained Naughty Maravau in 2016. The only other driver to have won the BOTRA Cup four times is Chris Lewis, who scored with Village Kid (1985), Elteei (1986), Mach Ruler (2009) and Tartary Gladiator (20011).

Lewis will drive the Ross Olivieri-trained Motu Premier, who will start off 40m in Friday night’s Cup. Olivieri was successful with Speedy Cheval in the 1991 BOTRA Cup.

Sharing the 40m mark with Motu Premier is the highly-promising four-year-old Rock Diamonds, who is trained by Greg and Skye Bond and will be driven by Ryan Warwick. Rock Diamonds notched his 15th win from 35 starts when he began off 30m in a field of eight and finished with a powerful burst from sixth at the bell to beat the pacemaker Always Arjay by a half-length, with an impressive final 800m in 56.3sec. last Friday night.

Warwick and the Bonds will be hoping to go one better this year than they did 12 months ago when 10/1 chance Bettor Not Bitter dashed to the front after 600m, set a solid pace and was a neck second to the fast-finishing Sky Art.

Motu Premier has the class to fight out the finish at his second outing after a spell, following his first-up ninth in a field of nine behind Galactic Star in a 1730m mobile event last Friday week when he was restrained from barrier seven at the start and raced at the rear. It is well worth remembering that at his previous outing Motu Premier ran on from seventh at the bell to finish fifth behind Soho Tribeca, Chicago Bull, The Bucket List and American Boy in the group 1 2936m WA Pacing Cup on January 19.

Major Catastrophe is a tough stayer and the David Young-trained and driven gelding will have admirers even though the nine-year-old will start off 30m. His past 16 runs have been in mobiles, but keen students of form will point out that Major Catastrophe was successful at his two most recent appearances in stands, both over 2503m in February this year. His 34 starts in stands have resulted in five wins, seven seconds, four thirds and 18 unplaced efforts.

 

Ken Casellas

Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print

Read More News About...

Stallion Name

Next article: