The all-conquering father-and-son combination of Gary Hall sen. and Gary Hall jun. ended the 2012-13 season on a high note at Gloucester Park on Friday night when Northview Punter scored an impressive victory in the Mornings With Matt McDermott Pace and emerged as a leading candidate for the rich Golden Nugget Championship in November.
Never in the history of Western Australian harness racing has a trainer and driver been so dominant.
The 63-year-old Hall and his 31-year-old son scored runaway wins in the awards for the State’s leading trainer and reinsman. Hall sen. trained 192 winners and 155 placegetters from 673 starters for earnings of $2,715,678 and Hall jun. drove 237 winners and 229 placegetters from 871 starters for total stakes of $2,982,094.
Greg andfinished second in the Statewide trainers’ premiership with 153 winners and 197 placegetters from 736 starters, with next with 92 winners and 127 placegetters from 457 starters.
took second place in the Statewide drivers’ premiership with 139 winners from 787 starters, with and next with 130 winners each.
In thepremierships, Hall sen. trained 150 winners to finish well ahead of the Bond team, with 74 winners. Hall jun. (163 winners from 520 starters) was the leading city reinsman, finishing ahead of (69 winners from 604 drives), Brown (63) and Woodley (60).
Northview Punter, a solidly-supported 6/4 favourite from the outside of the back line on Friday night, settled down in ninth position and moved to seventh, three wide, at the bell before forging past the pacemaker Big ben Lombo 320m from home and going on to win by a length from Deluxe Edition, the only filly in the race, who finished strongly from sixth on the pegs at the bell. Slick Chapel, a stablemate of the winner, ran home strongly from the rear to be third.
Northview Punter covered the final 800m in 59.1sec. and rated 1.58 over the 2130m journey on a slowish track. This took his record to 19 starts for 11 wins and five placings for stakes of $145,425. He won once from two starts in New Zealand before entering Hall’s stables. He is by American stallion Bettors Delight out of an American mare Watch Your Step, who had 48 starts in the United States for five wins, 16 placings and $59,806. He is a close relation to 1990 Little Brown Jug winner, the American harness Horse of the Year that season.
HAS THE ANSWERS WINS EASILY, BUT SUFFERS FROM A DAMAGED HOOF
Evergreen champion Has The Answers bled profusely from a nasty puncture wound in his off fore hoof after scoring an effortless all-the-way win in the 2130m Racing Radio Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
It is not known what caused the injury or whether it affected him during the race. Trainermust produce a veterinary certificate of soundness before the stewards will permit the gelding to race again. It is hoped that the problem is not serious.
Has The Answers, favourite at 3/1 on from the No. 1 barrier and he was surprising beaten for early speed by 20/1 chance Lord Lombo, who began very fast from barrier six. However, Lord Lombo was unable to cross to the front andthen cleverly manoeuvred him to the pegs to enjoy the perfect passage behind the noted frontrunner.
After a moderate lead time of 38sec. Has The Answers had the luxury of being able to amble through the first 400m section of the final mile in 30.5sec. beforeincreased the tempo and the ten-year-old dashed over the next three quarters in 29.1sec., 27.2sec. and 28.9sec. to win by two lengths from Lord Lombo, rating 1.56.5.
Sneakyn N Down Under, second favourite at 4/1, was more than two lengths farther back in third place after he had enjoyed a perfect sit, one-out and one-back. Shardons Rocket (23/1), a stablemate of Has The Answers, was a wilting fifth after racing without cover.
Has The Answers is seemingly indestructible and he now has raced 240 times for 76 wins, 40 seconds and 25 thirds for $1,326,582 in prizemoney. Woodley has enjoyed a wonderful association with thegelding, having driven him 47 times for 22 wins, six seconds and four thirds.
ELEGANT CHRISTIAN FOLLOWS A FAMILY TRADITION
Elegant Christian, a sturdily-built New Zealand-bred gelding, followed a family tradition when he scored a fighting victory in the 2130m TABtouch.Mobi Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
It was his second win from first two starts (after a runaway victory at Pinjarra earlier in the month) to emulate the performance of his dam English Elegance, whom was successful at her first two starts, as a two-year-old at Addington in April-May 2007 before she finished a close third at her next start, in a group 1 $75,000 event for fillies at Alexandra Park.
English Elegance, by American stallion Camtasticus, was retired as a three-year-old with a record of five wins, six placings and $82,936 from 13 starts and Elegant Christian is her sixth foal.
Elegant Christian is trained by Gary Hall sen., who also had Pelusiac, an easy winner at his first two starts, engaged in the race. Gary Hall jun. chose to drive the Washinghton VC gelding in preference to Elegant Christian, who gavea welcome 52nd birthday present.
Pelusiac, who had won his first two starts by margins of eight lengths and four lengths, was a warm 7/4 on favourite from the outside (barrier two) on the back line. Elegant Christian was drawn out wide, at No. 6 on the front line, but was a well-supported 9/4 second fancy.
Polemarker All Williams (12/1) led for the first 350m before Pelusiac took up the running, with Prentice quickly getting Elegant Christian into the breeze. After a third quarter in 29.4sec., Elegant Christian applied considerable pressure on Pelusiac and got on terms with 220m to travel. Elegant Christian gained the upper hand 100m from home and went on to beat Pelusiac by 1m at a 1.59 rate after the final 400m was covered in 28sec.
Soho Star, the third runner in the race trained by Hall sen., raced in the one-out, one-back position before fighting on to third to give Hall a trifecta result which returned a dividend of $13.40 for a $1 investment.
LOVING YOU MAKES QUITE AN IMPRESSION
Loving You, a filly by, revived memories of Victorian pacer Impressionist’s victory in the group 1 Golden Nugget Championship at Gloucester Park in January 1992 when she gave a bold frontrunning display to outclass her rivals in the 2130m Big Breakfast Show Pace on Friday night.
Loving You, owned by Neven Botica, trained byand driven by , was a heavily-supported 5/2 on favourite who set the pace and defeated outsider Firth of Tay by four and a half lengths.
Loving You is related on her dam’s side to Impressionist, who was driven by star Victorian horseman Ted Demmler to victory over Whitbys Miss Penny in the 1992 Golden Nugget. Loving You is the third foal out of Roustabout, whose great granddam Tilla was the mother of Impressionist, who ended his career with a splendid record of 56 starts for 23 wins and 12 placings for earnings of $427,005.
Roustabout is a half-sister to two-year-old Pelusiac, who finished a close second in the opening event at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Roustabout’s first foal is Arousing, a winner at Northam last Tuesday night after winning at Pinjarra the previous week. Arousing, also owned by Botica, has earned $46,873 from six wins and 16 placings from 55 starts.
Roustabout, by, was retired after having 12 starts for four wins, two placings and $33,171 in stakes. She won twice in WA, at Pinjarra and Gloucester Park in March 2006. Herr Gloucester Park success was by a nose over Precious Maiden in the group 3 Empress Stakes.
Loving You, who finished third behind Frith in the group 1 WA Oaks in May this year, went into Friday night’s race with a losing sequence of 11. But she looked outstanding from the No. 2 barrier on the front line.
Indomitable, a 10/1 chance, began speedily from barrier six, but was unable to cross to the lead, with Loving You kicking up strongly on her inside.then was able to get Indomitable across to the pegs after 350m to take the trail behind Loving You.
Eselar (10/1) raced three wide before getting to the breeze after 700m and she faded to finish ninth. Indomitable did not threaten danger and finished tenth.
Zonya, a last-start Northam winner for trainer Mike Beech, caught the eye in coming from 12th at the bell to be a fast-finishing third.
BUTCHER HURT AND EGERTON-GREEN SEIZES HIS OPPORTUNITY
A fall when driving trackwork on Thursday left young reinsman Shane Butcher stiff and sore and unable to take the drive behind Ohoka Samson in the 2130m Drivetime With Stewart Maister Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Part-owner and trainerthen engaged Dylan Egerton-Green, who made the most of the unexpected opportunity to land the New Zealand-bred seven-year-old an easy winner.
Ohoka Samson, heavily supported to start favourite at 5/4 on, made the most of the favourable No. 2 barrier and he set a solid pace before sprinting over the final 800m in 56.8sec. to win at a 1.58.2 rate by three and a half lengths from Imtheguy (11/1), who finished gamely after racing three back on the pegs. Polemarker Arch On Fire (7/1) ran on solidly to be a head away in third place after trailing the leader all the way.
Ohoka Samson, owned by Howson in partnership with the gelding’s New Zealand breeders Lorraine and Pero Smith, has been plagued by injury throughout his career. After winning at three of his eight starts in New Zealand and once from two starts in Victoria, Ohoka Samson has had only 20 starts in Western Australia for nine wins and five placings to take his career record to 30 starts for 13 wins, eight placings and $102,714.
Ohoka Samson fractured his pelvis in a fall in April 2009 and was unable to race for 19 months. He resumed in November 2010 when he ran two seconds before winning six in a row. He damaged a tendon in the winter of 23011 and was forced on to the sidelines for 24 months. He resumed racing at Bunbury on July 13 this year and his first five starts in his comeback campaign have produced two wins, two seconds and a tenth placing.
MEXICANO INHERITS THE ABILITY OF PRECIOUS MAIDEN
Mexicano, who revealed outstanding potential as an early two-year-old in New Zealand, gave promise of better things to come when he recorded his first Australian victory with an impressive win in the 2130m TABform Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
After two fourths and a second at his first three appearances in Western Australia, Mexicano gave a sample of his class when he raced three wide for the first 250m and then outside the pacemaker and even-money favourite Grand Cru before surging to the front on the home turn and beating Grand Cru by two lengths.
Trained at Bickley byand driven with supreme confidence by , Mexicano, third favourite at 13/2, will now have a short spell before being prepared for feature events for four-year-olds in the coming summer months. After Grand Cru had coasted through the first two 400m sections of the final mile in 31.5sec. and 30.7sec., the final quarters went by in 28.4sec. and 29sec. and Mexicano rated 1.59.5.
He won at his debut, at Alexandra Park in December 2011 when he sprinted over the final 800m in 28.2sec. and beat Slick Chapel before he finished a head second at his next start to Ohoka Punter, who has developed into a star performer, earning $478,402 from his ten wins and seven placings from his first 17 starts. Ohoka Punter’s successes include the $200,000m Victoria Derby at Melton last February and the $246,000 New Zealand Northern Derby a month later.
Mexicano, who is owned by Ian Sermon, Lee Bunney, Greg Newbold, Peter and Michael Pike, Tracey Sermon, Dave Morley and Gary Charlton, is byand is the first foal out of Precious Maiden, who was retired after earning $158,498 from 12 wins and 28 placings from 70 starts.
Precious Maiden, a winner of two races in New Zealand, was trained in Western Australia byand won at each of her first three starts in the State in February-March 2006. At her final appearance she finished second to Jilsander in the group 3 Mares Mile at Gloucester Park in December 2007.
BRILLIANT START PAVES THE WAY FOR THE BLACK LORD
A flying start by The Black Lord paved the way for the New Zealand-bred five-year-old’s smart win in the 2130m Afternoons With Peter O’Neill Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Despite his easy victory when he raced three wide for much of the way at Bunbury at his previous outing, a fortnight earlier, The Black Lord was sent out at the liberal odds of 17/1 in a race in which Victorian newcomer Barkers Hall (5/4) and polemarker Saint Petersburg (11/4) dominated betting.
got The Black Lord away brilliantly from the No. 3 barrier and the gelding sped to the front after 150m and bowled along in front before sprinting the final 400m in 28.8sec. to beat 16/1 chance Myouri by a half-length at a 1.59.1 rate. Im Clean Cut, who raced three back on the pegs, ran on well to be third.
The Black Lord, trained at Henley Brook by, shows good promise and has a record of seven wins and eight placings from 39 starts for stakes of $39,097. His dam Visa Girl is a full-sister to Lord Miles, who raced with in Perth in 2000 and 2001 when he had 19 starts for seven wins and four placings.
His wins included the $20,000 Country Cup at Gloucester Park in November 2000 and the Christmas Gift in December 2001 when he defeated The Die Is Cast, Chivalrous Fella and Baltic Eagle. He retired with earnings of $143,072 from 21 wins and 27 placings from 103 starts.
GDAY MATE ENDS A LOSING SEQUENCE OF 27
New Zealand-bred six-year-old Gday Mate ended a losing sequence of 27 and broke a 14-month drought when young Boyanup trainerbrought him home with a sparkling burst of speed to score an easy win in the 2503m Late Nights With Ashleigh Paikos Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
His previous success was also in a 2503m stand in June of last year.
Gday Mate, a 13/2 chance, started from barrier four on the front line and Prentice had the gelding travelling smoothly in the one-wide line before he finished boldly from fifth at the bell to burst to the front 250m from home. He sprinted the final 400m in 28.3sec. and beat 2/1 favourite J Walker by three lengths, with the pacemaker To Transcend (3/1) seven lengths farther back in third place.
J Walker will pay to follow. He was eighth at the bell and after being switched four wide by Robbie Williams with 450m to travel, he finished powerfully.
Gday Mate, bred in New Zealand by Lorraine and Pero Smith, has had 77 starts for 11 wins, 29 placings and $130,033.He is a younger full-brother of smart open-class performer Please Release Me, who has earned $232,820 from 20 wins and 33 placings from 84 starts.
SMOOTH CAESAR MAKES THE MOST OF PRIZED No. 1 BARRIER
Giant pacer Smooth Caesar outmuscled his 11 rivals when he made full use of the prized No. 1 barrier whendrove him to an all-the-way victory in the 1730m Friday Morning Pacing Preview Westbred Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Punters rallied to support Smooth Caesar, trained at Mardella by Matthew Henwood, and the seven-year-old gelding was a warm 5/4 on favourite.
Loaded Aussie was smartest to begin from barrier three, but was unable to cross to the pegs, with Suvaljko driving Smooth Caesar hard to maintain the lead. Kissed Flush, who started from the outside of the back line, was sent forward byin the early stages to take up the position in the breeze.
Criminal Minds finished fast from ninth at the bell to be a close second, with Kissed Flush holding on to be third, in front of Soho Monza, who fought on from eighth with a lap to travel.
Smooth Caesar, whose dam Hilarion Lass had 48 starts for five wins, ten placings and $9209, has raced 60 times for nine wins, 14 placings and stakes of $66,549.
BACKAS COBBER MAKING A GOOD START TO HIS WA CAREER
Six-year-old Backas Cobber, who arrived in Western Australia from Victoria about five weeks ago with a losing sequence of 29, notched his second win at his third start in the State when he held on to score a narrow victory in the 2130m 1206AM Trotters Trot at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Owned by Bruce and Pauline Stanley, Backas Cobber is trained at Wundowie by Bruce Stanley, who drove the gelding assertively. Backas Cobber started from the inside of the back, line and Stanley wasted no time in easing the gelding off the pegs and dashing him forward.
got last-start winner Idle Maple away with a fast start from barrier five and the seven-year-old led for the first 600m before Stanley got Backas Cobber to the front. This left Hot Holiday in the breeze and that trotter finished with great determination to finish a nose behind Backas Cobber, who rated 2.3.4.
Backas Cobber has raced 101 times for 18 wins and 23 placings for stakes of $154,716. He is a half-brother to Backa Beyond, who had 35 starts in WA a couple of years ago form one win from 35 starts in that State.
by Ken Casellas