Day At The Track

Chicago Bull poised for third Navy Cup

04:03 PM 17 Sep 2020 NZST
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Chicago Bull,Harness racing
Chicago Bull
Gloucester Park photo

Superstar pacer Chicago Bull holds a special place in the 50-year history of the Navy Cup. He is the only multiple winner of the Group 2 feature event, having scored effortless victories in 2017 and 2018.

And at Gloucester Park on Friday night the chunky little brilliant seven-year-old looks set to improve on that record by winning the 2020 $50,000 Navy Cup over 2130m.

He is handily drawn at barrier No. 4 on the front line in the field of 12 and punters will be clamouring to support him after his magnificent performance when he raced in the breeze throughout and finished powerfully to be second, a half-head behind the tearaway pacemaker Shockwave in the James Brennan Memorial last Friday night.

A win would give champion trainer Gary Hall Snr a record seventh success in the Navy Cup after wins with Abit Rich (1997), Real Life (2009), Hokonui Ben (2012), Beaudiene Boaz (2016) and Chicago Bull (2017 and 2018). The only other trainer with six Navy Cup wins is Mike Reed, who has been successful with Sylvies Secret (1986), Manageable (1989), Time Symbol (1992), Golden Resonator (2001), Tricky Vic (2002) and La Valiente (2004).

Champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr was ecstatic after Chicago Bull’s great effort last week when the gelding was 12 lengths behind the flying Shockwave at the bell and surged home to just fail to overhaul that pacer, who held a lead of four lengths on the home turn.

Hall Jnr has won the Navy Cup four times, and a win this week would move him one closer to evergreen champion Chris Lewis, who has won the race a record six times with Skiptar (1980), Western Gentleman (1994), Mark Craig (1985), Super Strike (1986), Lovers Delight (2015) and Our Corelli (2019).

Lewis will handle the Ross Olivieri-trained Motu Premier in Friday night’s Cup. Motu Premier fought on from fourth at the bell to be third in last week’s Brennan Memorial, just over six lengths behind Shockwave and Chicago Bull.

The Hall stable will have an excellent second-string runner in this year’s Cup in four-year-old My Carbon Copy, who will start from barrier three with Stuart McDonald in the sulky. My Carbon Copy won for the tenth time from only 27 starts when he set the pace and sprinted over the final quarters in 28.1sec. and 27.6sec. to beat Patrickthepiranha over 2130m last Friday night.

The Hall runners are sure to meet with stiff opposition from the trio of the Greg and Skye Bond-trained pacers Galactic Star, Vampiro and El Jacko and Bunbury trainer Stephen Reed’s up-and-coming star Bletchley Park.

Mark Johnson will drive Bletchley Park from the No. 6 barrier, replacing usual reinsman Dylan Egerton-Green, who has opted to handle Vampiro from the awkward draw at barrier seven. Deni Roberts will drive El Jacko from barrier eight. El Jacko raced in the one-out, one-back position in last year’s Navy Cup when he hit the front 250m from home and was beaten by a half-head in the final stride by Our Corelli.

The best of the Bond runners looks certain to be Galactic Star, who will be driven by star reinsman Ryan Warwick from the No. 2 barrier. Galactic Star possesses excellent gate speed and Warwick is sure to make a bold bid to get to an early lead from Chicago Bull, who also has sparkling gate speed.

Galactic Star started from out wide at barrier eight in the Brennan Memorial when he fought on doggedly from eighth at the bell to be fifth, eight lengths behind Shockwave. A week earlier, Galactic Star raced in the breeze before winning the group 3 York Cup in good style from Wildwest, and at his previous outing he led from barrier four when an easy winner in moderate company.

 

Ken Casellas

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