Day At The Track

Bill Haley can measure up

05:20 PM 14 Nov 2019 NZDT
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Bill Haley,Harness racing

Exciting five-year-old Bill Haley is capable of a bold harness racing effort in the 2130m $25,000 Pat Cranley Memorial at Gloucester Park on Friday night despite a steep rise in class, according to the New Zealand-bred gelding’s reinsman Chris Lewis.

Bill Haley unleashed a spectacular finishing burst from a seemingly impossible position at the rear on the home turn to get up and snatch a remarkable victory from Hy Leexciting at a 1.55.9 rate over 2130m last Friday night.

He was restrained from barrier eight and was eighth at the 250m mark before his whirlwind five-wide charge relieved the strain on the supporters of the odds-on favourite.

This week Bill Haley, prepared by the champion reinsman’s wife Debra, will be seriously tested in much tougher company and from out wide at barrier seven in the field of nine. He is undefeated at three starts in Western Australia after winning at four of his final five races in Queensland.

“He goes quite a lot in class and it’s another big test,” said Lewis. “It never gets easier. His main asset is his speed, but you have got to be realistic and Mighty Conqueror looks very hard to beat from barrier one. However, I still believe Bill Haley can measure up to this rise in class, whether it is this week or in three or four week’s time.

“He’s certainly got a bit of class on his side and he can definitely play a bit in the Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups. He has a good turn of foot and if he’s close enough, he’ll give them a bit of curry.”

Mighty Conqueror, a comparatively inexperienced performer whose 21 starts have produced 14 wins and five placings, looks the winner from the prized No. 1 barrier. He moved to the breeze after a lap in the 2130m Parliamentarians Cup last Friday week and took the lead 500m from home before being overhauled in the final couple of strides by Motu Premier, who finished strongly from sixth at the bell.

Chris Voak, who drives Motu Premier for Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri, said he expected another bold showing from the New Zealand-bred seven-year-old. “Ross has a plan for him to go to the Bunbury Cup in a couple of Saturdays time,” Voak said.

“Barrier five is not ideal on Friday night and we will probably have to sit outside Mighty Conqueror and if he beats that pacer he will be putting his hand up to be a real good chance to win a Cup at the summer carnival.”

Leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond will be represented by three runners Mighty Conqueror (Ryan Warwick), Our Jimmy Johnstone (Bailey McDonough), El Jacko (Dylan Egerton-Green) and Galactic Star (Colin Brown).

El Jacko is in top form and was a splendid second behind stablemate Vampiro in the Stratton Cup last Friday night when he trailed the pacemaker Major Pocket and was blocked for a clear passage until late when he finished strongly on the inside.

El Jacko is awkwardly drawn at barrier six, but Egerton-Green is expecting a strong effort from the seven-year-old. “I was very happy with his performance last week and I hope he can keep earning this week,” he said.

Galactic Star is a top-class performer who will be appearing for the first time since finishing at the rear in the WA Pacing Cup last January. A week earlier Galactic Star covered a lot of extra ground when a splendid second to My Field Marshal in the 2536m Fremantle Cup.

The Bond stable also has solid winning claims in the $22,000 Catalano Truck and Equipment Sales Kenwick WA Pace, a 2130m event in which Mighty Santana will start from the outside in the field of eight. Mighty Santana, to be driven by Ryan Warwick, has resumed after a spell in fine style and he impressed when he worked hard before scoring a comfortable win over El Hombre last Friday night.

Mighty Flying Deal, to be driven by Michael Grantham for Collie trainer Wayne Justins, will be strongly favoured from the prized No. 1 barrier. The seven-year-old is a strong frontrunner who will take plenty of catching.

King of Swing, the WA Derby winner two seasons ago, will be having his final start in Western Australia when Gary Hall Jnr drives him from barrier six. King of Swing, a winner of 18 races and $474,977 in prizemoney, has a losing sequence of ten.

“Win, lose or draw, this will be his final run for the stable,” said trainer Gary Hall Snr. “He will be going to Sydney where he will be trained by Luke McCarthy. “He is not suited by racing at Gloucester Park unless he leads. He is a winner of two Group 1 races, but I’m not able to get the best out of him.”


Ken Casellas

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