Day At The Track

Hall gives El Barcelona a big chance

07:00 PM 14 Jul 2016 NZST
Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print
El Barcelona
El Barcelona
Ian Munro (The West Online) Photo

Memories of the brilliant filly Via Vista winning the 1980 Golden Slipper will come flooding back when the great father-and-son harness racing combination of trainer Gary Hall sen. and reinsman Gary Hall jun. attempt to win the 2016 Premier Avan Golden Slipper at Gloucester Park on Friday night with the talented New Zealand-bred gelding El Barcelona.

Via Vista, trained and driven by Bill Duffy, had an outstanding career in Western Australia before she was retired with a record of 77 starts for 29 wins, 17 placings and stakes of $166,245 and returned to the breeding barn in New Zealand.

She was a half-sister to Via Veneece, the maternal great granddam of El Barcelona, who is by American stallion Dali

El Barcelona will start from the outside barrier (No. 3) on the back line in the 2130m classic and Hall sen. is bubbling with confidence, with a simple but precise prediction of “I think he will win.”

El Barcelona, inclined to be a bit skittish in the early stages of his career, has wonderful potential and has won at three of his six starts.

The gelding reappeared after a three-week absence when he started from the outside (No. 9) on the front line in a 2130m event last Friday night. Hall jun. sent him forward three wide in the early stages before he raced in the breeze outside the pacemaker Sergeant Oats for almost two laps. He wilted in the final stages to finish third behind Sergeant Oats and Vincenzo Peruggia.

“I was really happy with his run,” said Hall sen. “He will improve. He went into last week’s race after missing a bit of work when he had only one hoppled run in the previous three weeks. He should be cherry ripe this week and I think he will win.”

Hall said he had plenty of respect for several of the runners in this week’s classic, including the polemarker and hot favourite Mitch Maguire and The Real Ideal, a smart all-the-way winner of the group 1 Westbred Classic last Friday week.

“If El Barcelona had drawn barrier one I would have declared him,” he said. “But I’m not giving up yet. I think The Real Ideal will be the hardest to beat.”

The Halls have tasted success in the Golden Slipper, with Hall sen. the trainer and driver of Love of Glory, who beat stablemates Possibly and Almagest in 1989. Hall sen. and Hall jun. combined to win the event with Beaudiene Boaz in 2014.

Peter Anderson trained 10/1 on favourite James Matthew when he was fired up after a false start and raced wide early and then pulled hard in the lead before being beaten a nose in the final stride by Aussie Reactor in the 2008 Golden Slipper. He is hoping for better fortune with The Real Ideal, who will be driven by Chris Lewis from the No. 3 barrier.

Lewis has won the Golden Slipper a record seven times, scoring with Pardon Me Boys (1987), Harry Gunn (1995), Saab (1997), Talladega (1999), The Jobs On (2004), Aikido Whitby (2006) and Western Cullen (2011). 

Ken Casellas

Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print

Read More News About...

Stallion Name

Next article: