Day At The Track

Halls set for another Winter Cup

09:42 AM 02 Jul 2014 NZST
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Gary Hall Snr,Harness racing
Gary Hall Snr
A favourable draw for My Hard Copy has greatly enhanced the prospects of champion trainer Gary Hall sen. and star reinsman Gary Hall jun. of continuing their remarkable dominance of the Channel 9 Winter Cup when the New Zealand-bred four-year-old starts from the No. 2 barrier in the $35,000 feature at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

The 64-year-old Hall has trained the winner of the group 3 Winter Cup a record seven times and his 31-year-old son has driven the winner of this event six times.

Hall sen. has won the event with Kaydee (1994), The Falcon Strike (2003), Iontheball (2004), Washakie (2008), Im Themightyquinn (2009 and 2013) and Davy Maguire (2012). Hall jun. has been the winning driver behind The Falcon Strike, Washakie, Im Themightyquinn (twice), Davy Maguire and Lookslikelightning in 2005.

For good measure, Hall sen. has trained the second placegetter in the Winter Cup five times.

My Hard Copy is the youngest runner in this week's Cup and Hall jun. looks set to make a bold bid to burst straight to the front and set the pace over the 2536m journey. My Hard Copy started from the No. 2 barrier in a 2536m event two starts ago, last Friday week, when he was smartest into stride, set the pace and sprinted over the final two 400m sections in 27.6sec. and 28.3sec. before being overhauled in the final stride and being beaten by a half-head by superstar Im Themightyquinn.

Then, last Friday night My Hard Copy started from the inside of the back line in the 2130m Past Presidents Cup. He trailed the pacemaker Please Release Me before fighting on determinedly to finish fourth, just a half-length behind the winner Our Arlington.

My Hard Copy is at his best when he leads, and if he repeats his effort when narrowly beaten by Im Themightyquinn two starts ago he should emerge triumphant.

Hall sen. bypassed the chance for Im Themightyquinn to win the Winter Cup for a record third time (in the Cup's 63-year history). He is in Brisbane with high hopes of a victory by Im Themightyquinn in the $60,000 group 2 Garrard's Sunshine Sprint over 1660m at Albion Park on Saturday night. Hall jun. will fly out of Perth after the Gloucester Park meeting to handle the champion.

My Hard Copy is one of three Hall-trained runners in the Winter Cup. The others are Our Arlington, who will be driven by Clint Hall and should be prominent from the coveted No. 1 barrier, and Bettor Reason. Both the New Zealand-bred five-year-olds are last-start winners.

Our Arlington began speedily from the No. 4 barrier last week and then obtained a perfect trip, one-out and one-back, before finishing powerfully to win the Past Presidents Cup from Dundee Three, Please Release Me and My Hard Copy.

Bettor Reason, who will start from barrier three on the back line, impressed at his second appearance after a ten-month absence when he raced without cover before finishing strongly to win a 1730m event in considerably weaker company at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week.

Brilliant pacer David Hercules fared badly in the random draw and will be tested from the No. 6 barrier on the front line. He led easily from barrier two when he went on to defeat Im Themightyquinn over 2130m at a 1.55.3 rate three Fridays ago. He possesses sparkling early speed, but it is problematical whether he will be able to muster sufficient pace to get to an early lead.

David Hercules, a winner of 30 races and $820,304 in prizemoney, warmed up for the Cup with an effortless win in a 2150m trial at Byford on Sunday morning. Morgan Woodley dashed the David Thompson-trained seven-year-old straight to the front from barrier five. But there will be far greater pressure on him to get to an early lead in Friday night's race.

After setting a slow early pace in the trial, with first quarters in 32.1sec. and 31.1sec., David Hercules was not extended in sprinting the final sections in 28.9sec. and 27.2sec. to win by four lengths from Condrieu.

Woodley drove David Hercules in last year's Winter Cup when the gelding started from barrier four, raced three wide early, sustained a punctured tyre of the sulky and had a tough run in the breeze before wilting to fifth.

Woodley drove Mysta Magical Mach when the gelding flew home from last at the bell to be a half-length second to Im Themightyquinn in the 2009 Winter Cup and he was successful in the race two years later when Has The Answers led from barrier five and easily beat Flamin Tact and Nowuseeme.

Chris Lewis, who drove Has The Answers to victory in the 2010 Winter Cup, has also been successful behind Village Kid in 1991 and Pocket Power in 2001. This year he will drive Dundee Three, who is racing keenly and cannot be disregarded, even from his awkward draw at No. 5 on the front line. Dundee Three worked hard without cover and fought on grandly when a close second to Our Arlington last Friday night.

Clint Hall was impressed with Our Arlington's performance last week and he is hoping that the six-year-old will give him another win in the Winter Cup after his success with Iontheball, who beat Hilton Adios and The Falcon Strike in 2006.

Mista Rush can overcome wide draw

Up-and-coming gelding Mista Rush has the ability to overcome a wide barrier and win the $100,000 Tim McMillan On Nine News Westbred Classic for three-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Trained at Boyanup by Justin Prentice, Mista Rush has had a well-planned preparation for the group 1 feature event, with his eight runs this season producing five wins, a second and a third placing.

He wound up his preparation with a striking performance at Gloucester Park on Monday of last week when he started from the No. 2 barrier on the back line and enjoyed the one-out, one-back sit for the first lap before starting a three-wide move at the bell.

Prentice then got the gelding back into then one-out, one-back position 250m later before again switching him three wide with 350m to travel. Mista Rush burst to the front on the home turn and won, untouched, by almost two lengths from Algranco Under Fire, rating 1.57.1 over the 1730m journey. He sizzled home over the final 800m in 55.4sec.

Mista Rush showed his toughness and versatility when he raced without cover before winning over 1684m at Pinjarra in April and over 2100m at Bunbury in May. He will start from barrier No. 6 on the front line in Friday night's classic and Prentice will be anxious to obtain a favourable passage in the one-wide line.

Mister Jadore, the State's star two-year-old last season, is likely to be a short-priced favourite from his handy draw at No. 3 on the front line. Banjup trainer Annie Belton produced Mister Jadore in splendid shape for his first-up run at Bunbury last Saturday week when he began speedily from barrier six, set the pace and won easily from The Real Nadal and Choccy Mac over 2100m

That was Mister Jadore's first appearance since his unplaced effort behind Three Blind Mice in the WA Derby on April 11. His 27 starts have produced 11 wins, ten placings and $201,889 in prizemoney.

There is little doubt that Chris Lewis will be keen to get Mister Jadore straight to the front. But there is no certainty that he will be able to cross polemarker Khun Ratha and Keeper of Keys (barrier two). Both pacers possess excellent gate speed and have been successful when leading.

Mister Jadore worked in good style when he led from barrier four and won a 2185m trial at Pinjarra on Sunday morning when he dashed over the final 400m sections in 29.3sec. and 28.4sec.

Khun Ratha, trained at Capel by Andrew De Campo, has enjoyed a brief spell since finishing third to Mista Rush over 2185m at Pinjarra on March 17. He has not been produced in public trials, but he is a speedy beginner and smart frontrunner, capable of a bold first-up effort.

The David Thompson-trained Keeper of Keys led from barrier four and won from Soho Cash and Hugh Victor over 2190m at Northam on June 17. That was his third win from seven starts and he warmed up for Friday night's assignment when he rated 2min. and won a seven-horse trial over 2150m by more than eight lengths at Byford on Sunday morning.

Colin Brown will drive Keeper of Keys and Morgan Woodley will handle smart stablemate Hugh Victor, who will start from barrier five on the front line.

Im Bella Jay in peak form

Im Bella Jay gave a commanding exhibition of her ability when she obliterated her rivals in a 2130m event at Gloucester Park on Monday afternoon and she has excellent prospects of maintaining her winning form and completing a hat-trick when she contests the $100,000 Sally Ayhan On Nine News Westbred Classic for three-year-old fillies on Friday night.

She will start from barrier two on the back line in the 2130m group 1 feature event. But this should not prove a serious impediment to the chances of a tough and versatile filly.

She started from barrier four on the back line in Monday's race and settled in eighth position before Aiden De Campo set her alight mid-race and she stormed into third place, three wide, at the bell before she burst to the front at the 400m mark and raced away to score by seven lengths from Formyeyesonly, rating 1.58.3.

At her previous appearance, over 2180m at Wagin ten nights earlier, she raced three wide in the first lap and then in the breeze before winning easily from Navajo Windtalker in considerably easier company than she will meet on Friday night.

A winner at seven of her 24 starts for Capel trainer Andrew De Campo, Im Bella Jay is likely to meet the stiffest opposition from fellow back-line runners, her stablemate Maddy White, Harriet Elisabeth and Pure Royalty.

Maddy White has won seven times from 29 starts and has the ability to overcome the disadvantage of starting from the outside of the back line. Harriet Elisabeth has an impressive 50 per cent record, six wins from 12 starts. And with Colin Brown in the sulky from barrier three on the back line, the David Thompson-trained filly has the speed and strength to fight out the finish.

Mark Reed gave punters a lead when he decided to drive the Ryan Bell-trained All About Pink from the No. 6 barrier on the front line in preference to Pure Royalty, a smart filly and winner of five races who is prepared by his father Mike Reed. The in-form Chris Voak has been engaged to drive Pure Royalty.

Bond team in sparkling form

The powerful combination of trainers Greg and Skye Bond and ace reinsman Colin Brown are in dazzling form and they should give punters a flying start by winning the opening event at Gloucester Park on Friday night with the small but speedy Assassinator.

Assassinator has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier in the 2130m The Block On Nine Pace for two-year-olds.

He gave a sample of his ability when he started from barrier four and burst straight to the front before romping to a two-length victory over Front Cover Girl, rating 1.57.8 over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Monday afternoon. That followed his close second to Mynameskenny over 2130m six days earlier.

Assassinator has won just once from six starts, but is improving with every run. His win on Monday was the first of five winners for the Bonds and Brown in the space of two days. The combination also was successful on Monday with Machs A Pearler before a treble at Northam on Tuesday night with smart three-year-olds Jumbo Jet and Ima Tragedy and five-year-old Barrow Street.

Assassinator is sure to meet strong opposition from Mynameskenny and Mister Ardee, who will start from barriers, three and four, respectively.

Mynameskenny, trained by John Oldroyd, impressed first-up at Gloucester Park last Tuesday week when he raced wide for much of the way before beating Assassinator by a neck.

Mister Ardee, a winner at two races in New Zealand, is trained by Gary Elson and has showed excellent potential at his first two Australian starts, covering a lot of extra ground before winning first-up by five lengths at Gloucester Park and then running home strongly to be a close second to Sea Me Smile at Pinjarra.

Hall set to keep up the good work

Star reinsman Gary Hall jun. notched his century of city winners this season when he drove Globalization to an easy all-the-way victory at Gloucester Park on Monday afternoon, should keep up the good work by scoring an all-the-way win with Slick Chapel in the 2130m PWC People Business Pace on Friday night.

The New Zealand-bred four-year-old is the youngest runner in the race and he should carry too many guns for his rivals by setting the pace from the prized No. 1 barrier.

He started out wide from barrier six in a 2130m event last Friday night and was restrained back to last in the field of 12. He started a three-wide move approaching the bell and went four wide 420m from home before finishing powerfully to be second to El Machine.

by Ken Casellas


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