Classy mare Leda McNally has won races on the Golden Slipper program on the past two years and she has excellent prospects of completing an unusual hat-trick at by outpacing her harness racing rivals in the Premier Suzuki Genuine Parts Handicap at Gloucester Park on tonight.
Trained at Pinjarra by Chris King, Leda McNally has been unplaced at her past five starts and has a losing sequence of seven. But she looks ideally suited, and well handicapped, off 20m in the 2503m event for M4 and better class pacers.
The five-year-old Leda McNally has won at 19 of her 57 starts and has an M10 assessment. This will be only her second appearance in a standing-start event. She gave an outstanding performance at her only run in a stand, when she began off 50m, was tenth at the bell and stormed home, five wide, on a heavy, rain-soaked track to finish third behind Selkie and Salliwood in the Race For Roses over 2503m at Gloucester Park on May 9 this year.
She was a 5/1 chance when Chris Voak took her to an early lead and she went on to win by two lengths from Blissfull Cullen in a 2100m mobile on Golden Slipper night in July 2012. Voak again was in the sulky when Leda McNally, favourite at 11/4, sustained a powerful burst to win easily from Slick Bird over 2130m 12 months later.
Voak handled Leda McNally when she was untroubled to win a four-horse trial at Pinjarra on Sunday morning. After a moderate early pace Leda McNally sprinted over the final 800m in 56sec. and defeated Countess Krista by a length at a 1.59.5 rate.
A small field of seven should help Leda McNally’s cause on Friday night when she is likely to meet stiff opposition from the four runners trained by Gary Hall sen. They are Bettor Reason, My Hard Copy, Our Arlington and Some Kinda Tactics. The Tony Svilicich-trained Shardons Rocket is a tough, consistent campaigner who should again fight out the finish.
Hall marching to 200 winners
Champion trainer Gary Hall sen. has 13 runners at Friday night’s meeting at Gloucester Park and he looks set to take a giant step towards his ambition of becoming the first West Australian to train 200 winners in a season in WA.
He and his younger son Gary, the State’s premier reinsman, should give punters a flying start to the meeting by winning the opening event, the Suzuki Way Of Life Pathway Pace with the brilliant three-year-old Soho Lennon.
Soho Lennon, a winner at six of his 20 starts, gave a tremendous performance last Friday night when he produced a powerful finishing burst to be a nose second to classy stablemate VC Manoeuvre over 1730m at a 1.55.3 rate.
Soho Lennon, who beat VC Manoeuvre at his previous outing, was driven at his latest two starts by the trainer’s elder son Clint.
“I’m looking forward to getting back behind him,” said Hall jun., who drove the gelding to easy wins at Pinjarra and Gloucester Park in June. “Starting from No. 12 (the outside of the back line) is not easy for a three-year-old taking on older horses,” he said. “But he races like an older horse and I really like him.
“I know that VC Manoeuvre beat him last week, but I reckon Soho Lennon is not far behind Elegant Christian and Machtu.
“Senior is not far from 200 winners for the season --- and that’s his aim. He gave us a rev up the other week when he reckoned we were running out of time. So it was nice to have five winners last Friday night and to keep him off our back for a week.”
Hall sen. is the State’s leading trainer with 190 winners and 189 placegetters from 717 starters.
by Ken Casellas