Day At The Track

Can 'Team Bond' break the Cup hoodoo?

08:21 AM 16 Jan 2020 NZDT
Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print
Vampiro holds off stablemate Ana Malak,Harness racing
Scott Hamilton Photo

Team Bond has strength in numbers.

But that does not guarantee success, certainly not in the biggest event on the West Australian harness racing calendar, the Gr.1 $450,000 TABtouch WA Pacing Cup at Gloucester Park this Friday night.

The famed Grand Circuit event, first staged in 1913 when Letty Lind proved triumphant, has a rich and proud history and features some of the biggest names of the sport, both human and equine.

Champion pacers Pure Steel and Village Kid are forever etched in the pages of history with four wins apiece while the Gary Hall trained duo of The Falcon Strike and Im Themightyquinn have each won it three times.

But many a talented horse and trainer/driver partnership have come up short over the course of time.

Greg and Skye Bond, the husband and wife combination who work together from their picturesque Forrestdale property are yet to strike glory in the state’s biggest race.

And it’s through no lack of trying.

Since 2013, the leading stable has had 13 starters including six representatives last year with El Jacko doing best for the stable after finishing a close second behind Rocknroll Lincoln.

Their list of starters during that period includes Can Return Fire, Russley Rascal, Ima Rocket Star, Our Jimmy Johnstone (x 3), Delightful Offer, Galactic Star (x 2), Our Max Phactor, Vampiro, Saying Grace and the already mentioned El Jacko.

The stable never had a starter in 2016.

In the 2020 version, the reigning State Trainers of the Year will have a record seven (7) starters facing the gate in the 2936m mobile start feature including Our Jimmy Johnstone (Bailey McDonough), Our Alfie Romeo (Michael Grantham), El Jacko (Kim Prentice), Mighty Conqueror (Dylan Egerton-Green), Ana Malak (Nathan Turvey), Vampiro (Colin Brown) and Galactic Star (Ryan Warwick).

Is aging warrior Our Jimmy Johnstone the pick of their runners after landing the coveted inside gate?

The 11-year-old gelding is lining up at his 4th attempt at glory; he had his first start in the WA Pacing Cup back in 2015 when he finished fourth behind My Hard Copy.

He finished 11th in 2017 behind Chicago Bull while he was 5th last year behind Rocknroll Lincoln.

Or will it be in-form mare Our Alfie Romeo to provide the couple with their maiden Pacing Cup trophy?

Possessing a brilliant win strike rate and superb Gloucester Park record, the Washington VC mare will become the first mare since Pyramus (1972) to win the Pacing Cup.

Both Ana Malak and Galactic Star seemed luckless last week in the Fremantle Cup behind Caviar Star while El Jacko, Mighty Conqueror and Vampiro all have solid claims with normal luck.

Will the Pacing Cup go the way of the Gary Hall stable yet again?

Since 2002, the Hall surname has featured in the winners list twelve times with Snr preparing 11 winners during that period while Jnr has driven eight (8) winners including last year’s victor Rocknroll Lincoln.

Clint Hall combined with Snr to claim three straight winners – Hokonui Ben (2014) while My Hard Copy went back to back in 2015/16.

Last week’s Fremantle Cup winner Caviar Star is the sole representative for the powerful stable and again will be handled by young Stuart McDonald.

The last pacer to claim the Fremantle/WA Pacing Cup double in the same year was the Hall trained Chicago Bull in 2017.

Will the husband and wife combination of Chris and Debbie Lewis land the Pacing Cup with their emerging star Bill Haley?

His third placing last week in the Fremantle Cup gives an excellent chance of providing Chris Lewis his sixth winner in the event after previous victories behind Village Kid (x 3), Hilarion Star and Saab.

Golden Nugget winner Shockwave is looking to bounce back following his unplaced effort last week in the Fremantle Cup, trainer Ryan Bell has handed the reins to Gary Hall Jnr again and is hoping to land his biggest success as a trainer.

Shockwave is co-owned by Kevin Jeavons who shared in the ownership of 2010 winner Washakie.

Former WA Derby winner Handsandwheels is looking to overcome a tough run last week in the Fremantle Cup but faces a difficult challenge after landing a second-line draw.

Aiden De Campo will take the drive behind the classy six-year-old entire, a pacer he prepares himself.

And evergreen performer Vultan Tin lines up for his third Pacing Cup start, the Phil Costello trained gelding has finished 10th in the past two editions (Rocknroll Lincoln & Soho Tribeca).

Regular reinsman Chris Voak will take the drive behind the popular performer.

The WA Pacing Cup is the fifth leg of the 2019/20 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit, the Australian owned and New Zealand trained Cruz Bromac sits atop of the leaderboard with 170 points after contesting all four legs staged to date.

No runners from the east coast of Australia are represented this year owing to transport difficulties.

The TABtouch WA Pacing Cup is scheduled as race 6 and listed to start at 7.58pm local time.

 

by Chris Barsby

Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print

Read More News About...

Stallion Name

Next article: