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Trainer Ryan Bell concedes Shockwave has a difficult task in front of him if he’s to win the Group 2 Caduceus Club Classic (2130m) at Gloucester Park tomorrow night, but is confident he has the right horse to upstage warm favourite Patrickthepiranha. Shockwave, to be driven by Gary Hall Jnr once again, has impressed at his two most recent outings at Gloucester Park, where he overcame barrier five on both occasions, however he has drawn barrier eight tomorrow night. Despite the draw, Bell said he has Shockwave primed for a big performance in the $40,000 event. “As good as our bloke is going, the barrier is a bad one for him,” he said. “I’m confident he will put in a forward performance, but he will have to do the hard yards. “Our bloke is more forward than a lot of others in the field, but with Patrickthepiranha drawn barrier one over 2130 he can still afford to be fresh and be too good.” Shockwave produced, arguably, a career best performance over 1730m on January 25, where he rated 1.54.0, before he returned on February 1 over 2130m and rated 1.57.7. The Group 1 WA Derby on April 5 looms as the likely target for a majority of the three-year-olds engaged in tomorrow night’s feature. Bell described both performances as “pretty impressive” and said the fortnight between runs suited Shockwave perfectly. “He’s been lucky for most of his career so far that he’s been able to have two weeks between runs,” he said. “It has meant we’ve been able to keep him fresh a lot of the time. “He’s probably the type of horse I could keep fresh and I’d only work him at home to have him ready for the Derby.” Bell added he was hopeful he would be able to retain the services of Hall Jnr for the duration of Shockwave’s preparation. Patrickthepiranha, who is looking for seven straight wins, was installed a $1.55 chance with TABtouch, ahead of Gee Jay Kay ($5), Franco Edward ($5) and Shockwave ($5.50). Gee Jay Kay, who was the favourite in both of the recent races Shockwave won, has drawn barrier three tomorrow night, while Franco Edward has drawn barrier nine. Dylan Egerton-Green retains the drive on the Colin Brown-trained Patrickthepiranha and said he was confident the gelding would be able to lead all the way from the inside draw. “He’s got the right draw, but I still have to make sure that he runs off the gate and make sure nothing else can cross,” he said. “It’s a pretty handy field with Shockwave and Franco Edward, then you have a horse like Valbonne who has also been going well. “I have to keep my wits about me early but he should be able to capitalise on the good draw.” The Caduceus Club Classic gets underway at 7.25. Tim Walker

Lightly-raced five-year-old Herrick Roosevelt has made a full recovery from leg surgery and champion trainer Gary Hall Snr is confident the New Zealand-bred gelding can make a successful return to racing after an absence of 421 days by winning the $50,000 RWWA Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. This will be Herrick Roosevelt’s first start since he led and held on grimly to win the $50,000 Christmas Gift by a short half-head from Walkinshaw in December 2017 and his first-up prospects have been enhanced by drawing the prized No. 1 barrier in this week’s Group 2 feature event over 2130m. The Christian Cullen pacer has not appeared in recent trials, but Hall said he was fit and ready to run a big race. “His work in this preparation has been the best of his career and he’s a quick beginner and smart frontrunner,” he said. Herrick Roosevelt, to be driven by Gary Hall Jnr, underwent surgery after winning the Christmas Gift when he developed a cyst in a stifle joint in a back leg. He has raced only 18 times (all in Western Australia) for ten wins and six placings for stakes of $138,206. The Halls are seeking to win the RWWA Cup for the second year in succession. They were successful last year when Chicago Bull, favourite at 10/1 on, raced four wide early, took the lead after 650m and defeated stablemate Ohoka Punter by four lengths. Herrick Roosevelt is likely to be tested seriously by dependable iron horse Vultan Tin, who is in grand form for Coolup trainer Phil Costello and reinsman Chris Voak. Vultan Tin will start from barrier four and Voak is expected to make full use of the hardy seven-year-old’s good gate speed. “The worst case scenario will be working in the breeze,” Voak said. Vultan Tin maintained his excellent form when he was first out from the No. 4 barrier, but was unable to cross the polemarker Mr Mojito and then raced without cover before taking a narrow lead in the final stages and being beaten by a head by the fast-finishing Mitch Maguire over 2130m last Friday night. The final quarters were run in 28.2sec. and 27.7sec. A week earlier, Vultan Tin led from barrier two and gave a bold frontrunning display to win the Group 2 2536m City of Perth Cup by just under two lengths from the flying El Jacko. The final sections were run in 28.2sec. and 27.8sec. Talented reinsman Aiden de Campo warned punters not to underestimate Handsandwheels, who is awkwardly drawn at barrier No. 6. “He raced four back on the pegs and didn’t get a clear run in the last lap when sixth behind Mitch Maguire last week,” de Campo said. “He was unlucky and if he’d got a run he would’ve gone close to winning. He’s got another tricky draw this week and I haven’t yet decided on my tactics.” Mitch Maguire, prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, is a brilliant sit-sprinter who is capable of overcoming his wide barrier at No. 7. He won for the ninth time from his past 15 starts and for the 23rd time from just 38 starts when he was sixth at the bell and finished powerfully to beat Vultan Tin last week. Shannon Suvaljko said that he was expecting the lone back-line runner Always Arjay to gain a perfect run behind the likely pacemaker Herrick Roosevelt and then figure in the finish. The Nathan Turvey-trained and driven Simba Bromac will reappear after a month’s absence, but the gelding faces a stern test from the outside barrier (No. 9). Simba Bromac warmed up for the race with a stylish all-the-way victory in a 2185m trial at Pinjarra on Sunday morning when he was unextended in dashing over the final 400m in 26.9sec. in beating Chelsea Royale by 19 metres.   Ken Casellas

The induction of Robert Peters, Gary Hall Jnr, David Hamer and Old Comrade are several of the highlights of the 2019 WA Racing Industry Hall Of Fame inductees that were announced today by Racing and Wagering Western Australia (RWWA). They are among twelve new members across the thoroughbred, harness and greyhound codes who will receive their accolades when the star-studded WA Racing Industry Hall Of Fame ceremony is conducted at Crown Perth on February 28. The 2019 class of intakes in WA racing’s highest honour includes five horses, three associates, two trainers and one jockey, driver and greyhound. Peters’ elevation is recognition for his unprecedented achievements and feats on the race track as a breeder, owner and administrator. He has amassed more than 1350 victories across Australia including over 200 at stakes level. At the end of the last racing season Peters had won seven Perth Cups, nine Derbies, thirteen Oaks, four Kingston Town Classics, two Railway Stakes, an Australian Cup, Emirates Stakes and two Goodwood Handicaps. Gary Hall Jr shares the privilege of becoming the second member of his family to join the elite of WA harness racing after his father Gary Hall Snr’s induction as a trainer in the 2014 intake. Hall Jr has been Perth’s champion driver for nine seasons, a tally exceeded by fellow inductees Fred R Kersley (17), Frank Kersley (11) and Chris Lewis (10). A winner of 54 Group races, including three Inter Dominions Championships, Hall Jnr is one of only five drivers to have passed the 2000 career wins mark in Western Australia. Hamer’s elevation as a greyhound trainer is remarkable when you consider the Victorian-born arrived in Perth with no background or experience in the sport. Hamer was a five-time leading trainer and prepared three Greyhound of the Year Champions: Pearl King (1980), Icy Monaro (1982) and Blue Echo (1984). Hamer’s biggest win was the Group 1 Perth Cup with Legatee (1984). Hamer’s star chaser, Blue Echo, who won 22 of 26 starts in WA, including seven feature races, will also be an inductee later this month. Thoroughbred Inductees Easingwold (Horse) F (Ted) McAuliffe  Old Comrade (Horse) R G (Bobby) Morley (Jockey) Robert Peters (Associate) Harness Inductees Gary Hall Jnr (Trainer/Driver) Jack Morris (Horse) John Hunt (Associate) Mick Lombardo (Associate) Norms Daughter (Horse) Greyhound Inductees Blue Echo (Greyhound) David Hamer (Trainer)   RWWA

Talented young trainer-reinsman Kyle Harper will gauge Franco Edward’s prospects in the $200,000 WA Derby when the colt competes over the Derby distance of 2536m in the Westral Crimsafe Doors Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Franco Edward, a dual Group 1 winner as a two-year-old last winter, has yet to race beyond 2185m in a brilliant career of eight wins and two seconds from 11 starts. “It was part of the reason why I put him in this race to see how he handles the 2500m,” Harper said. “I don’t think it will worry him at all. “From barrier four this week, I reckon he will find the front early. He hasn’t reached his peak in this current campaign (five starts for four wins) and after this week’s race I plan to run him in the Caduceus Club Classic the following Friday night as part of his preparation for the WA Derby (April 5).” Harper, who has a healthy respect for several smart three-year-olds, including Shockwave and Patrickthepiranha, singled out the Justin Prentice-trained four-year-old Sweet N Fast as Franco Edward’s most serious rival on Friday night. Sweet N Fast, who has won by big margins at Bunbury and Pinjarra at his past two starts, has an impressive record of nine wins and five placings from 22 starts. He will start from barrier five, alongside Franco Edward on Friday night. Anime (barrier one) and Mister Bushido (two) also will have admirers. Anime, trained at Coolup by Phil Costello, has a losing sequence of 15, but has been knocking on the door, with five seconds from his past six starts. He worked hard in the breeze and fought on grandly when second to Thisbeachrighthere over 2130m last Friday night. Mister Bushido, a former New Zealand performer and a newcomer to the stables of Gary Hall Snr, will pay to follow. He enjoyed a good passage in the one-out, one-back position before running home solidly into third place behind Thisbeachrighthere and Anime last Friday night. Vrai Amour, a lightly-raced seven-year-old with three wins from seven starts, will have many admirers when Jocelyn Young drives him for trainer Debra Lewis from the prized No. 1 barrier in the final event, the Westral Plantation Shutters Pace over 2130m. Vrai Amour reappeared after an absence of 19 months in a 1730m sprint last Friday night. From barrier six, he raced at the rear and was eighth, out five wide, on the home turn before charging home with a powerful burst to finish an eye-catching sixth behind Chok Chai. He will clash with the promising Our Rhythm N Blues, who faces a first-up test from the No. 8 barrier. Our Rhythm N Blues, a five-year-old trained by Gary Hall Snr, raced three times in WA last April and May after arriving from New Zealand for a first-up second to Pick My Pocket at Pinjarra and two wins over 2130m at Gloucester Park after setting the pace.   Ken Casellas

Astute Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed is aiming to win the $50,000 Westral Daintys Daughter Classic for a record-equalling third time when high-priced New Zealand-bred filly Arma Indie contests the Group 2 feature event at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Arma Indie arrived in Perth less than two weeks ago and she has the raw ability to overcome the disadvantage of starting from the outside barrier in the field of nine at her first appearance in Australia. She and the Colin Brown-trained and driven Typhoon Tiff are likely to dominate betting on the 2130m event in which the connections of all runners are anxious to press claims for a start in the $150,000 WA Oaks on May 3. Arma Indie was purchased three weeks ago by Jim and Wilma Giumelli from owner-breeders Davinia Harrison and Johnny Mathers for what they (the owners) described as a “sizeable” figure. Co-trainer David Butt said that Arma Indie had come back as a three-year-old stronger and more sensible than she was as a two-year-old when she raced eight times for no wins, one second and two thirds. Arma Indie ended her two-year-old campaign on a high note at Cambridge last June when she was a 72/1 outsider and finished second to the classy Princess Tiffany in the Group 1 Diamond Classic when the quarters were covered in 27.7sec., 30.7sec., 27.6sec. and 28.2sec. She revealed excellent gate speed and took the lead after 450m before sitting behind the pacemaker Princess Tiffany 400m later. She fought on with admirable spirit. The filly resumed after a spell and an absence of exactly seven months when she started from the No. 1 barrier and led for the first 450m before taking a sit in a 2000m event at Otago on January 2. Taking full advantage of the sprint lane Arma Indie burst to the front 120m from the post and won by more than two lengths from Vergeofgreatness, rating 2.1.6, with a final quarter of 28.6sec. She started from barrier No. 6 over 2200m at Invercargill on January 10. She began speedily and dashed to the front after 250m before taking a sit 400m later. She then regained the lead with 1100m to travel and went on to win in fine style from the fast-finishing colt Mighty Flying Art. Arma Indie rated 1.59.4 and covered the final 40m section in 27.7sec. Arma Indie is by American stallion Well Said and is the second foal (and only one to have raced) out of Arma Courage, who won three minor races and $17,410 from 21 starts. Arma Indie is closely related to Armalight, an outstanding mare who had 36 starts for 18 wins, 11 placings and $277,520 in prizemoney. Armalight, the New Zealand Horse of the Year in 1982, won seven Group 1 events, including the New Zealand Oaks at New Brighton in April 1980, the New Zealand Cup at Addington in November 1981 and the Auckland Cup at Alexandra Park in February 1983. Mark Reed will drive Arma Indie for his father, who has trained the winner of the Daintys Daughter Classic with Sheer Royalty (driven by Chris Lewis) in 2009 and Maczaffair (driven by Shannon Suvaljkjo) in 2017. Champion trainer Gary Hall Snr holds the record with three winners of the classic Majorly Foxy Styx (2014), Nuala (2015) and Slick Artist (2018). Brown has won the Daintys Daughter Classic twice. He was successful with the Deb Sweet-trained Centrefold Angel in 2010 and he prepared 8/1 chance Gota Good Lookadda, who led and beat 6/4 on favourite Bettor Dreams by a half-length. Centrefold Angel, a 3/1 chance, showed great courage to race in the breeze before getting to the front on the home turn and beating the 5/4 favourite Ella Sue by a head. Centrefold Angel was owned by Colleen Lindsay, who bred and owns Typhoon Tiff, who will start from barrier five on Friday night. Mrs Lindsay also bred and owns Typhoon Tiff’s full sister Tiffany Twirl, who was a 75/1 chance when she finished eighth behind Slick Artist in last year’s Daintys Daughter Classic. Typhoon Tiff was produced in outstanding shape by Brown for her first-up run at Pinjarra last Monday week. She led from barrier three and gave an outstanding frontrunning exhibition to win by 8m from Dracarys, rating 1.55.2 over 1684m, with final quarters of 26.7sec. and 27.8sec. That was Typhoon Tiff’s first outing since she raced wide early and then in the breeze before finishing a neck second to Majorpride in the Diamond Classic for two-year-old fillies last June. Gary Hall Jnr has been engaged by Busselton trainer Barry Howlett to drive Millwood Gucci for the first time. The filly, a winner this year at Bunbury and Albany, steps up a lot in class, but has place prospects from the coveted No. 1 barrier. Mandy Joan, a winner at two of her nine starts for Byford trainer David Thompson, will be having her first start since August, but also has place prospects from barrier No. 3. She dashed over the final quarters of a 23150m trial at Byford on Sunday morning in 28.5sec. and 27.9sec. She will be handled by Dylan Egerton-Green. Champion trainers Greg and Skye Bond and leading reinsman Ryan Warwick, who combined for the fighting head victory by Dodolicious in the 2016 Daintys Daughter Classic, will be pinning their faith in Starlight Destiny, an all-the-way Northam winner over 1780m last Saturday night. Starlight Destiny will need a shade of luck from barrier seven, but she is an ultra-consistent filly who has had 15 starts for five wins, six seconds and three thirds. Ken Casellas

The big question is: Can Campora break through for an overdue win in the Crystalpack Stakes? And the simple answer is: Yes, he certainly can end a losing sequence of 16. Six-year-old Campora, trained by Gary Hall Snr, has been unplaced at his past ten starts and has managed just one win from his past 31 outings. However, he should relish the luxury of starting from the No. 1 barrier against moderate opposition in the 1730m sprint event. He has been dogged by unfavourable draws in recent months and he showed his liking for the No. 1 barrier and his ability as a frontrunner when he set the pace for Lauren Jones and sprinted over the final quarters in 28.4sec. and 27.9sec. to win from Soho Chelsea and Chevrons Champion over 2130m late last July. Looming as the toughest for Campora to beat is Touch of Success, who will be driven by Dylan Egerton-Green from barrier two. Touch of Success, trained by Nathan Turvey, has a losing sequence of 12, but he showed signs of better things to come when he began from the back line and trailed the pacemaker Ohoka Darcy and ran home solidly to finish second to Caviar Star over 2130m last Friday week. He has set the pace in six of his 11 victories. Two pacers with substantial losing sequences will be two of the best backed runners in the Kyra’s Canter Pace. They are Luis Alberto (with a losing run of 21) and Sea Me Smile, who boasts a losing sequence of 46. Luis Alberto will be driven by Gary Hall Jnr from the No. 2 barrier and Sea Me Smile will be driven by Jocelyn Young from barrier three. Luis Alberto showed little sparkle from barrier No. 1 in a 2536m event last Friday night and he raced in fifth place, three back on the pegs, before finishing a well-beaten eighth behind James Butt. A week earlier, he raced three back on the pegs and ran on solidly, out wide, to finish fifth behind Hasani. Sea Me Smile enjoyed a perfect trip in the one-out, one-back position in a 2130m event last Friday night when she battled on gamely to finish fourth behind Caviar Star. Wanneroo trainer Debbie Padberg has two runners in this week’s event, Regal Ambition and Absolution, and both have realistic winning prospects. Ken Casellas

Talented but lightly-raced pacer Chok Chai will resume after an absence of almost seven months when he contests the Crystal Printing Pacing Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night and he should have too much class for his eight rivals. Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall Snr has not produced Chok Choi in trials, but the big gelding is sure to be fit enough to give a spirited first-up performance. The New Zealand-bred son of Washington VC has raced only 15 times for ten wins and two seconds. He had seven starts as a three-year-old for five wins and two seconds and then suffered a hairline fracture of a sesamoid in 2016 and was out of action for 11 months. Patient care and rest cured the problem. Chok Chai had two starts as a four-year-old for a first-up win and an 11th placing before being off the scene for nine months. He resumed in February 2018 and won four in a row before finishing eighth and 11th last July and then being spelled. He will start from barrier five in Friday night’s field of nine and Gary Hall Jnr could be tempted to use the gelding’s noted gate speed in a bid for the early lead in a race in which the Ross Olivieri-trained four-year-old Carrera Mach will be fancied from the prime No. 1 barrier. Adding interest to the race will be the reappearance after an absence of 19 months of Vrai Amour, a seven-year-old gelding who has had only six starts for three wins, two at Pinjarra and one at Bunbury. Bred, owned and trained by Debra Lewis, Vrai Amour has yet to race at Gloucester Park. He will start from the No. 6 barrier with Jocelyn Young in the sulky. Vrai Amour’s half-sisters Artemis Belle and Eagle Rox were outstanding juvenile performers, with Artemis Belle winning the Group 1 Sales Classic and the Group 3 Gold Bracelet for two-year-old fillies, the Group 3 Dainty’s Daughter Classic and the Group 1 WA Oaks in 2011. She was retired with a record of 31 starts for 19 wins, nine placings and stakes of $359,559. Eagle Rox won the Group 1 Diamond Classic as a two-year-old in a 29-start career of 16 wins and eight placings for earnings of $225,656. Chok Chai is one of several excellent drives for champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr who will supported strongly to win the opening two events, with Shockwave in the first and Bronze Seeker in the second. The Ryan Bell-trained Shockwave will start from barrier five and is sure to meet with plenty of opposition from the polemarker Gee Jay Kay, who will be handled by Shannon Suvaljko for trainer Vicki Lea. Gee Jay Kay also started from the No. 1 barrier when he resumed after a spell in a 1730m sprint last Friday night. He was a $1.45 favourite and led for the first 150m before Hall urged Shockwave ($2.70) past him and into the lead. Shockwave relished his pacemaking role and reeled off quarters of 28.3sec., 29sec., 28.7sec. and 28.4sec. to win by just over three lengths from Eloquent Mach, with Gee Jay Kay a neck away in third place. Gee Jay Kay had a tough run in the breeze and was at a disadvantage when one shortener failed to release. Like Shockwave and Eloquent Mach, Gee Jay Kay is developing into a serious candidate for the $200,000 WA Derby on April 5. Bronze Seeker is racing in grand style for Byford trainer Peter Anderson and will be favoured by the No. 1 barrier in the 1730m Worldwide East Perth Pace. He also started from barrier one three starts ago when he gave a splendid frontrunning display to win over 2130m from Benhope Rulz. Baylan Jett and Luis Alberto will be driven by Hall late in the program and the five-year-olds have sound prospects against moderate opposition.   Ken Casellas

Gary Hall Snr attended the 2000 New Zealand Cup meeting on 14th November 2000 for both a holiday and again on the lookout for a prospective addition to his stable. The major support race on New Zealand Cup day is the Group One 3yo Sires Stakes final and Hall was taken with the luckless fifth, coming from near last five and six deep on the final corner, of a unfancied maiden 3yo called Falcon Strike. The winner of the Sires Stakes was Franco Heir and it wouldn’t be the last time the pair would clash. He went and inspected the Falcon Seelster colt in the stalls post-race and felt that, given the extra work that Hall was renowned for, that once fully fit he wouldn’t take a lot of time to break his maiden status. Hall’s group of Western Australian owners eventually agreed to the $NZ100,000 price tag and he was transferred into their names on December 20th. While waiting for a flight to Australia Falcon Strike had one final start in New Zealand in the $120,000 New Zealand Sales Classic on December 27th when he again finished fifth. The Falcon Strike made his Perth debut at Gloucester Park on 16th February 2001 and those present were agog at the performance. A massive on-course plunge saw him start a 5/2 second favourite to the 2000 Australian 2yo Pacer of the Year Disco Force. With his trainer Gary Hall Snr at the reins The Falcon Strike raced three-wide throughout and literally destroy Disco Force mentally blitzing Chandon’s State Record rate of 1:56.4 for the 1700 metres in the process. The Falcon Strike was early favourite for the WA Derby after winning his next three Perth starts including the Group Three Western Gateway Pace but a chequered run in the Derby saw him finish down the track behind the interstate trained pair of Manifold Bay and Franco Heir. Manifold Bay again proved his nemesis eight months later in the 2001 Group One 4yo Golden Nugget Championship after The Falcon Strike had won seven of his eight starts leading into the race including the Group Three McInerney Ford Classic. By this stage Gary Hall Snr had sacked himself as driver and handed the reins to his 20yo son after convincing The Falcon Strike’s owners of the merit of the change. A month after the Golden Nugget, in January 2002, The Falcon Strike won both the Group One WA Pacing Cup and Group One Fremantle Cup and the big race record of Gary Hall Jnr was under way. Winning the WA Pacing Cup and Fremantle Cup as a 4yo was remarkable and even champions Village Kid and Pure Steel had been unable to win the State’s two premier races for aged horses in the same season. The Falcon Strike was taken to Melbourne for the 2002 AG Hunter Cup and it was a decision that almost ended the young stallion’s career. In a roughhouse race that saw him effectively put out of action in the first 50 metres, The Falcon Strike was shoved from pillar to post and then had the temerity to hit the front turning for home before being mown down in the shadows of the post to finish fifth just 1.6 metres from the winner Safe And Sound. After the race the severe tendon injury was plain to see and The Falcon Strike was destined to spend the next 14 months recovering from the injury and he completed a short season at stud in the process. Mother and daughter Debbie and Kristy Padberg nursed The Falcon Strike throughout his convalescence with a series of laser treatments and a programme of walking and light exercise for which Gary Hall Snr was forever grateful. “Without the countless hours that Debbie and Kristy put into him he would never had made a successful return to the race-track”, he said in 2003. The Falcon Strike returned to the track in April 2003 with nine wins in 11 starts in Perth including the Easter and Winter Cups before Hall took him East for the 2003 Newcastle Mile which he won in a time of 1:54.5 to earn a start in that year’s Miracle Mile at Harold Park. Drawn in barrier one, which was hardly ideal for a horse whose only possible flaw was a lack of gate speed, The Falcon Strike was made a $2.40 favourite but was forced to race in the breeze throughout and he finished last behind Sokyola in a time of 1:54.6. He remained in Sydney for a week and despite a wide second row draw he finished fourth to Double Identity, Smooth Satin and Flashing Red in the Group One Treuer Memorial at Bankstown. The Falcon Strike returned to Perth and was straight back in the winners list with four straight wins in as many weeks in the Group Two Celebrity Sprint on New Year’s Eve 2003 and then wins in a trio of Group One races – the 2004 Fremantle Cup, 2004 Australian Pacing Championship and 2004 WA Pacing Cup before a short break leading into the 2004 Inter Dominion at Gloucester Park. The remarkable record of The Falcon Strike’s driver Gary Hall Jnr in the Inter Dominion began with a winning double behind his father’s horses in two of the three heats on the opening night of the 2004 Championship. Faking It won the first heat and The Falcon Strike won the third heat on opening night and with subsequent placings Hall qualified both horses for the final. It wasn’t a difficult decision for Gary Hall Jnr to choose The Falcon Strike as his drive in the nation’s biggest race despite the stallion drawing wide in barrier six. Faking It had drawn even wider and the drive on the 80/1 outsider went to Fred Kersley. After working early Hall settled The Falcon Strike outside the leader Jofess in a carbon copy of the pair’s second night clash which saw Jofess draw away in the straight to win comfortably by a little over a length. The Inter Dominion final was a lot closer as The Falcon Strike, carrying the hopes of his legion of Western Australian fans that had sent him out as a $3.30 favourite, dug deep with many on-course believing that he had got up in a desperate final lunge. The photo-finish showed otherwise with Jofess holding on to win by a nose from The Falcon Strike with a further nose to Sokyola in third place and Mister D G another nose away in fourth place in what ranks as one of the all-time great Inter Dominion finishes. He was sent for a break after the 2004 Inter Dominion and when The Falcon Strike resumed in the winter of 2004 he looked to be a shadow of his former self with just two placings in five starts before again being spelled. He was back on December 10th 2004 with a win and a second a fortnight later before a third placing to Baltic Eagle and La Valiente in the Celebrity Sprint on New Year’s Eve 2004. A 20 metre handicap in the Fremantle Cup proved too hard as he finished down the track behind Sandy Bay but seven days later he was back in the winners list with a win in the Group One Australian Pacing Championship over Ohoka Ace and Buck The Odds followed a week later with victory over Sandy Bay and Ohoka Ace in the WA Pacing Cup. The Falcon Strike then made another ill-fated trip to Melbourne for the 2005 AG Hunter Cup where he shared the 20 metre back-mark with Kiwi star Elsu. He showed little fight in finishing down the track and a post-race examination showed the stallion to be sore and announcements were made about his retirement to stud. So well did The Falcon Strike appear in the paddock he was put back into work and in May 2006, after a break of some 15 months he was again in the winner’s list at Gloucester Park with a pair of wins just a week apart. While that campaign in the winter of 2006 and extending into late spring was to yield six wins and a couple of placings in a dozen starts the wear and tear and his age were now starting to show and, after finishing fifth to Gee Whiz Fizz on December 1st 2006, The Falcon Strike was retired for good. His retired with a reputation as one of the toughest horses to look through a bridle with the only possible flaw in his makeup a lack of blinding gate speed. While his toughness on the racetrack was his trademark Gary Hall Snr revealed another side to The Falcon Strike in an interview after his retirement. “He was one of the family and a real sook at home. A tiny cut would get a reaction as if he was seriously injured and he hated needles when the vets tried to get a blood sample on race-night”, he said “He had the most amazing temperament for a stallion and he could be floated between two mares and completely ignore them”. “He had a real personality and knew that he was good and carried himself that way”. Enquiries about tickets to the 2019 WA Racing Industry Hall of Fame Induction night on 28th February should be directed to Hall of Fame Coordinator Suzy Jackson on (08) 9445 5371 or suzy.jackson@rwwa.com.au   Alan Parker    

Ron Huston made a wise decision when he outlaid $12,000 to purchase a Western Terror colt at the APG yearling sale in Perth two years ago. Now a three-year-old gelding by the name of Gee Jay Kay, he looks destined for an extremely bright career and he should resume after a two-month absence on a winning note. Trained at Byford by Vicki Lea, Gee Jay Kay will start from the coveted No. 1 barrier in the $18,000 Retravision Pace and Shannon Suvaljko’s intentions will be to set a solid pace over the 1730m sprint journey. Gee Jay Kay is the first foal out of the unraced Artistic Fella mare Case of Bubbly and the champagne should be flowing when Lea celebrates her 41st birthday next Thursday. Gee Jay Kay, who has raced six times for two wins and two seconds for earnings of $13,668, showed that he was ready for a powerful first-up performance with an outstanding trial over 2150m at Byford on Sunday morning when he dashed to an early lead and sprinted over the final quarters in 28.9sec. and 28.5sec. to win by seven lengths from Robbie Easton. Robbie Easton followed his trial effort with an easy four-length victory over Fulfil The Dream at Narrogin on Tuesday night when he finished strongly from sixth at the bell. Gee Jay Kay’s chief rival this week is sure to be the talented Ryan Bell-trained Shockwave, who has earned $86,990 from five wins, five seconds and three thirds from 15 starts. Shockwave will start from the No. 5 barrier with Gary Hall Jnr in the sulky. Gee Jay Kay has not raced since contesting a 2130m event at Gloucester Park on November 23 when he began speedily from barrier four and worked hard in the breeze before surging to the front 500m from home. He was still in front when challenged by Shockwave 250m later, but he then broke into a fierce gallop, losing about four lengths. He recovered and finished second, more than six lengths behind Shockwave. Shockwave covered a lot of extra ground before winning easily in moderate company at Bunbury two starts ago. He then raced at Gloucester Park a month ago when he raced in the breeze for much of the way before finishing third behind smart three-year-olds Patrickthepiranha and Its Rock And Roll. Ace trainer Gary Hall Snr has two runners in Friday night’s race, last-start winners Eloquent Mach (Stuart McDonald) and Major Survivor (Lauren Jones). But they will be tested from difficult draws, with Eloquent Mach starting from barrier six and Major Survivor from the outside (No. 9). Eloquent Mach has won at three of his past four starts and impressed at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon when he was sixth at the bell before finishing full of running to win from Galante and Bettor Be Oscar. Eloquent Mach covered a lot of extra ground before winning from Extradite at Pinjarra the previous Monday. Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri will be represented by Morant (Chris Voak) and Babyface Adda (Chris Lewis), but they will be tested from wide draws. Wanneroo trainer Debbie Padberg’s runners Antagonistic (Mark Reed) and Amadeo (Luke Edwards) have place prospects from barriers two and three, respectively.   Ken Casellas

Gary Hall Jnr has produced another masterful display of driving at Gloucester Park tonight, chalking up his eighth win in the Group 1 WA Pacing Cup (2936m) with the Justin Prentice-trained Rocknroll Lincoln. Three months ago it looked as if Hall Jnr would struggle to add to his seven Pacing Cup wins when his father’s superstar pacer Chicago Bull injured himself in New Zealand. But on the state’s biggest Harness Racing stage, Hall Jnr showed his class with the horse that filled the breach left by Chicago Bull. There was some doubt as to whether Rocknroll Lincoln would be able to find the lead from barrier two, but that doubt was quickly dispelled within the first 100m of the race, as the five-year-old crossed Maczaffair with ease. Fremantle Cup winner My Field Marshal elected to ease back in the early stages and eventually found himself only slightly better than midfield on the back of Galactic Star. Vampiro was forced to settle outside the leader, which gave Galactic Star, the best chance of Greg and Skye Bond’s six runners, the perfect trail into the race. Despite the high quality of horses behind him, Rocknroll Lincoln fought on strongly to the line and rated 1.56.8 in the 1.3m victory. El Jacko ran on well for second, while Maczaffair held on for third. Hall Jnr said he had some small concerns heading into the race, but was full of praise for Prentice’s training performance. “I was confident and hopeful, but I think I was more hopeful than I was confident,” he said. “The horse was in such good order. “He warmed up really well and he was nice and relaxed. “Hats off to Justin because in his last two starts he hadn’t really got a good crack at them. “For him to turn him out again tonight and lead and run that trip, it was a pretty special effort.” Hall Jnr returned later in the evening to drive a further two winners in You Gotta Have Faith and Caviar Star. You can hear from the beaten drivers from the WA Pacing Cup below. Review all of the action of TABtouch-WA Pacing Cup night here.   Tim Walker

It’s Prentice….again! Outstanding young horseman Justin Prentice has joined his father Kim as a winner of the state’s biggest event following the all the way victory of emerging talent Rocknroll Lincoln in the Gr.1 $450,000 TABtouch WA Pacing Cup at Gloucester Park tonight (Friday). The victory provides back to back triumphs for the Prentice family after Kim steered the Bryan Cousins trained Soho Tribeca to victory last year. Kim has also scored with Im Themightyquinn (2011 - driver) and Baltic Eagle (2003 – trainer/driver). But tonight was all about this young formidable combination. The Prentice prepared stayer was expertly handled by master reinsman Gary Hall Jnr who controlled the speed perfectly behind the five-year-old before holding off the fast finishing El Jacko and Maczaffair to claim the 2936m mobile start feature. For Hall Jnr, 35, the victory now provides him with his 8th Cup winner and he now passes legendary horseman Phil Coulson as the most successful driver in the events history. Amazingly, Hall Jnr has won 8 of the past 18 editions (The Falcon Strike x3, Tealsby Karita, Im Themightyquinn x 2 and Chicago Bull). Starting front gate two, Hall Jnr pounced on the early lead from Maczaffair while My Field Marshal and Galactic Star both took up handy positions in the moving line. The lead time was covered in 97.8 seconds. With positions sorted quickly and Hall Jnr controlling the early speed, the lack of pressure was obvious and the race was unfolding perfectly for the connections of Rocknroll Lincoln. The first half of the final mile was covered in identical splits of 29.4 and 29.4 seconds. Rocknroll Lincoln remained the leader from Vampiro who raced without cover with Maczaffair behind the leader while Galactic Star and My Field Marshal sat close in the moving line. Entering the back straight for the final time, Hall Jnr increased the pressure while Vultan Tin got My Field Marshal moving three wide which in turn flushed Galactic Star from the one out, one back position. And that’s when Hall Jnr really quickened the speed. The third quarter was covered in 27.7 seconds. In the home straight, Rocknroll Lincoln kicked clear before holding the late challengers El Jacko and Maczaffair. At the line, Rocknroll Lincoln ($3.50) scored by 1.3 metres from El Jacko ($8.50) who used inside runs with a similar margin back to Maczaffair ($41) in third. Race favourite My Field Marshal ($2.75) finished fourth. The final quarter was covered in 28.7seconds. The mile rate was 1:56.8 and established a new race record but was outside of the track record of Smolda at 1:55.8. “It’s a massive thrill and it’s great to win for this group of owners who have supported me from the start, it’s quite surreal and I was really nervous before the race but it played out well and it was a great drive from Jnr.” Prentice said. Rocknroll Lincoln has now 14 of his 42 starts and takes his earnings in excess of $464,000. He now joins Tiger Tara (Victoria Cup & Inter Dominion), Thefixer (New Zealand Cup) and Turn It Up (Auckland Cup) as winners on the 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit. The remaining legs for the current term include the Hunter Cup (February 2 - Melton), Miracle Mile (March 3 - Menangle) and the Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship (Albion Park – July 20).   Chris Barsby

Trainer Mike Reed has declared Maczaffair will be doing everything she can to hold the lead in the early stages of tomorrow night’s Group 1 TABtouch WA Pacing Cup (2936m) at Gloucester Park. The sole mare in the field had her chances of winning increase following the barrier draw on Tuesday morning, when she drew barrier one, with fancied runners Rocknroll Lincoln and My Field Marshal to her outside. Earlier this week, Gary Hall Jnr, who drives Rocknroll Lincoln tomorrow night, indicated on TABradio he would look to lead from barrier two, but Reed told the same station this morning Maczaffair would look to utilise her advantage from gate one with his son Mark Reed engaged to drive. “I couldn’t be happier with her and she’s ready to rock and roll,” he said. “I will leave it up to Mark, but he said when he worked her ‘she’s the best she’s ever felt’. “The only one we’d be handing up to would be My Field Marshal, but Mark said yesterday ‘why hand up’. “If she gets a lot of pressure from My Field Marshal we may let him go.” Maczaffair drew barrier six in last week’s Fremantle Cup and had little luck in the closing stages, before she eventually finished sixth behind My Field Marshal. The five-year-old will be out to become the first mare since 1972 to take out the state’s most prestigious race. She will also be looking to become just the 20th mare to win the race. Reed said he was confident Maczaffair was back to the form from the start of her preparation that saw her run second to Vampiro in the Mount Eden Sprint. “She ran the quickest half she’s ever run at Gloucester Park yesterday,” he said. “She ran second in the Mount Eden Sprint first-up and it might have just taken the edge off her a bit. “The last couple of weeks we have freshened her up and she’s jumping out of her skin. “12 months ago she ran second to Ultimate Machete in the Golden Nugget. “If Ultimate Machete had drawn one, he’d most probably be favourite.” My Field Marshal remains a solid $1.85 favourite for the WA Pacing Cup, while Rocknroll Lincoln ($4.20) and Galactic Star ($4.60) are the only other runners in single figure odds. Reed’s Henley Brook stable also has the in-form Golden State engaged in the second heat of the Nights Of Thunder Series (1730m). Golden State won back-to-back races after his sixth placing in the Golden Nugget last month, before he finished second at his most recent start behind Neighlor last Friday. The smart four-year-old has drawn barrier four tomorrow night and Reed said he expected him to be driven quietly. “I expect Tanaka Eagle will lead and we will be outside him or in the one-one position,” he said. “If you don’t burn him out of the gate, he definitely comes home a lot better.” Each of the three Nights Of Thunder heats have nine runners engaged, with the fastest nine horses across the heats qualifying for next week’s Final. Tomorrow night’s Gloucester Park meeting gets underway at 5.50.   Tim Walker

Champion horseman Tim Butt, who has prepared more grand circuit winners than any other harness racing trainer in Australasia, is poised to set more records when his brilliant seven-year-old My Field Marshal contests the $450,000 TABtouch WA Pacing Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The 51-year-old New Zealand-born Butt, who relocated from Christchurch to Menangle in New South Wales early last year, is confident that My Field Marshal will prove the best stayer and win the testing 2936m mobile group 1 classic in the stallion’s first attempt over a distance beyond 2700m. “He’s fantastic and has come through his wins in the Village Kid Sprint and Fremantle Cup absolutely terrific,” he said. Asked if the 2936m was a concern, Butt said: “It’s only 400m longer than last week’s Cup and I couldn’t be happier with the barrier draw (No. 3 on the front line).” Queried about the likely driving tactics to be employed by his elder brother Anthony, he said: “We haven’t done the form yet, but we’ve got options from that draw. “The horse hasn’t done a lot since he led and won the Fremantle Cup. He had a hoppled run this morning (Tuesday) and I just ticked him over like I normally do. He’s bright and he loves it here.” The Butt brothers are full of hope that they will be able to go one better than they did when Flashing Red finished second to Tealsby Karita in the 2007 WA Pacing Cup. Flashing Red, second favourite at 3/1 from barrier five, raced wide early and three wide again in the middle stages before working hard in the breeze. He fought on doggedly behind Tealsby Karita, the 11/4 favourite who made most of the running. “Flashing Red was a great horse and a great stayer, but My Field Marshal has got a bit more brilliance,” Tim Butt said. If My Field Marshal is successful this week, it will give the famous Butt family a special record, with the first set of brothers training a WA Pacing Cup winner. Roddy Butt, the youngest of the three Butt brothers, prepared Justaboyden, who was driven by Fred Kersley jnr and produced one of the most spectacular bursts of speed in a Pacing Cup when he was ninth at the 400m and sprouted wings to charge to the front at the 250m mark and career away to beat Southern Knight by more than three lengths in the big race in 1995. The WA Pacing Cup was first run in 1913 and the inaugural Fremantle Cup was in 1928 and, if successful, My Field Marshal will become only the eighth pacer to have won the WA Pacing Cup-Fremantle Cup double in the one season, a feat that has been performed by Black Bertha (1942), Pure Steel (1980), Village Kid (1988 and 1989), The Falcon Strike (2002 and 2004), Baltic Eagle (2003), Im Themightyquinn (2011 and 2012) and Chicago Bull (2017). My Field Marshal, bred and owned by Syd and Shona Brown (who also bred and owned the horse’s dam Foreal, a winner of 18 races and $664,800 in stakes. My Field Marshal has earned $1,324,712 from 26 wins and 21 placings from 61 starts, has won six group 1 features --- the Taylor Mile and Messenger Championship at Alexandra Park, the Four-Year-Old Emerald at Cambridge (in successive starts in 2016), the Len Smith Mile at Menangle in 2017, the Miracle Mile in 1.46.9 on the same track last February and last week’s Fremantle Cup at Gloucester Park. Anthony Butt, who will return to Perth from Sydney on Friday, was full of praise for My Field Marshal after the horse’s exciting all-the-way victory in the 2536m Fremantle Cup last Friday night, saying: “To lead and cop that pressure just shows what a great horse he is. He did a mighty job; he had to burn out of the gate and then never got any peace. “He kept running fast quarters and it was a great effort. It won’t be easy this week when I’m sure it will again be a truly-run affair. But he has got that class on his side and no matter what race he’s in, he’s always hard to beat.” Tim Butt said that My Field Marshal would not contest the $500,000 Hunter Cup at Melton on February 2 and that the horse’s main mission after the WA Pacing Cup would be the Miracle Mile at Menangle on March 3. “My Field Marshal will return to Sydney next Wednesday and he’ll probably have one lead-up run before the Miracle Mile.” With My Field Marshal starting from barrier three on Friday night, Anthony Butt will be ready to make snap decisions after the mobile barrier releases the quality field of 12 runners. He knows that Maczaffair (barrier one) and Rocknroll Lincoln (two) will come out flying in bids to take the early lead. Whether the speedy My Field Marshal can burst straight to the front is highly problematical. Sharing the Butt camp’s confidence is Mike Reed, the trainer of Maczaffair, and Gary Hall Jnr, who will be in the sulky behind the Justin Prentice-trained Rocknroll Lincoln. Maczaffair is the only mare in the field and Reed is bullish about her prospects of becoming the first of her sex to win the WA Pacing Cup since Pyramus beat Chief Attain and Sir Alex in 1972. She will again be handled by Reed’s son Mark, who was most impressed with her effort when an unlucky sixth in the Fremantle Cup, only one and a half lengths behind the winner. She was ninth at the bell and was badly blocked for a clear passage before flying home along the pegs in the final few strides. Maczaffair, the winner of five group feature events, showed her class against all-male opposition when second to Ultimate Machete in the group 1 2536m Golden Nugget championship in December 2017. Hall, who has driven the winner of seven WA Pacing Cups, said that Rocknroll Lincoln was travelling strongly and was a sound winning chance before being badly checked approaching the home turn in the Fremantle Cup. Rocknroll Lincoln broke into a gallop and finished 11th. Hall said that the 2936m journey this week would not worry Rocknroll Lincoln. “Barrier two looks good on paper and he’s got genuine gate speed,” he said. “If we get to the front, and I think he can, I won’t consider handing up.” Galactic Star, a gallant second in the Fremantle Cup, is in peak form and must be considered, despite drawing awkwardly at barrier seven. Ryan Warwick looks certain to opt out of any early speed battle and is likely to drive conservatively before deciding when to send the six-year-old forward. Galactic Star raced in eighth position in the one-wide line in the Fremantle Cup before Warwick sent the gelding forward, with a three-wide, burst approaching the bell. He sustained the effort and his performance was full of merit. Galactic Star is prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, who will also be represented in the Cup by Our Max Phactor (Dylan Egerton-Green), Vampiro (Colin Brown), Our Jimmy Johnstone (Michael Grantham), El Jacko (Aiden de Campo) and Saying Grace (Chris Lewis). El Jacko and Saying Grace will start from the back line and have sound place prospects after unlucky runs in the Fremantle Cup in which El Jacko, a smart sit-sprinter, was badly blocked for a clear passage in the final circuit before going across the line, full of running, in seventh position. Saying Grace, who trailed the pacemaking My Field Marshal throughout, went to the line, bolting under lock and key, in fourth place. Champion trainer Gary Hall Snr, who has won the WA Pacing Cup a record 11 times, is pinning his faith on Runrunjimmydunn, who will be driven by Clint Hall from barrier five. Runrunjimmydunn fought on from tenth in the middle stages to be a sound fifth in the Fremantle Cup. The WA-bred Vultan Tin, trained in Coolup by Phil Costello, is the only non-New Zealand-bred runner in the race. He will be driven by Chris Voak and will start from the outside of the back line. Vultan Tin was seventh at the bell in the Fremantle Cup before finishing fast, out six wide, to be an eye-catching third. Ace trainer Ross Olivieri, who prepared Saab for his WA Pacing Cup victory in 1999, has engaged Shannon Suvaljko to drive Im Full of Excuses from the awkward No. 6 barrier. Im Full of Excuses bounced back to form and ended a 22-month drought when he charged home with as three-wide burst from eighth at the bell to win narrowly from Gotta Go Gabbana in a 2130m mobile event last Friday night. He will again be at long odds this week.   Ken Casellas

With a winning double at yesterday’s Pinjarra meeting trainer Gary Hall Snr brought up his 2900th win as a trainer courtesy of Caviar Star in the last race. Hall, the most successful trainer in WA Pacing Cup history, trained his first winner with Plebette at Collie on 5th March 1971 and the first of  2159 city winners with Tobaree at Gloucester Park on 16th September 1972. Hall will gear up his 58th starter in a WA Pacing Cup when Runrunjimmydunn starts in Friday night’s big race. He has already trained a remarkable 11 winners of the State’s major race courtesy of The Falcon Strike (3 wins), Im Themightyquinn (3 wins), My Hard Copy (2 wins), Chicago Bull, Hokonui Ben and Tealsby Karita. Even more remarkable is that those 11 wins have come in the last 17 seasons and Hall has also had eight placings in the race since The Falcon Strike brought up Hall’s first win in the race in 2002. For the record Gary Hall’s first runner in a WA Pacing Cup was the stallion Zakara which finished 4th behind Westburn Grant, Franco Ice and Imprimartar on 3 January, 1992 in what will always be remembered as the most emotional win in the 106 year history of the race. The story of that WA Pacing Cup, A Summer of Frost and Ice, won producer/commentator John Hunt a Joseph Coulter Award in 1993. While his son Gary Hall Jnr won’t be behind Runrunjimmydunn on Friday night, Hall Jnr has an undeniable chance of recording his eighth win in the WA Pacing Cup when he takes the reins of the Justin Prentice trained Rocknroll Lincoln which has drawn well in barrier two inside the pre-post favourite My Field Marshal. Hall Jnr will be having his 18th drive in the race and will be out to eclipse the Cup record seven winners tally he presently shares with former champion reinsman Phil Coulson. Hall Jnr’s seven WA Pacing Cup wins have come behind The Falcon Strike (3), Im Themightyquinn (2), Chicago Bull and Tealsby Karita while Coulson’s seven winners in 22 Cup drives came per medium of Pure Steel (3), Lord Mina, Color Glo, Gammalite and Village Kid. Coulson may well have won eight WA Pacing Cups had it not been for a stewards decision to refuse him the choice of drives on his two stable runners in the 1965 WA Cup. Coulson trained both Hycraft and Pacing Lawn and the Chairman of Stewards Don Thomas refused to allow Coulson to drive Hycraft as no other driver had ever sat behind the sprint sensation Pacing Lawn whereas Hycraft had been driven by other drivers. Ironically Don Thomas was Phil Coulson’s uncle but the family ties meant nothing when it came to his job as Chairman of Stewards. (see hoofnote) As history records Hycraft, with Laurie Robinson at the reins, downed the champion Mercedes in the shadows of the post after the pair staged a veritable dogfight up the Gloucester Park straight. Coulson watched on some distance back as Pacing Lawn finished third. HOOFNOTE: Don Thomas has one WA Pacing Cup record which will never be broken. He was just 15 years of age when he drove Adonaldson into 18th place in the WA Pacing Cup on Boxing Night 1935 for his father, trainer Fred Thomas. He is the youngest person to drive in the race. Don was one of three Thomas brothers who drove in the Cup that year with Charlie winning the race with the Harry Moran trained Connie Glo and John Thomas driving his own nomination Nelson Pronto. In addition two of Don Thomas’s brothers-in-law in Arthur Hough and Charlie Coulson drove Huon Pic and Con Derby respectively in the 1935 Cup. Coincidentally Con Derby was a three-quarter brother to the winner Connie Glo and the brother and sister came to WA after each had won a Victoria Derby.   Alan Parker

As we approach the 106th running of the WA Pacing Cup it is timely to look at the driving record of Gary Hall Jnr who, with seven wins in the race, is currently equal with harness racing Hall of Fame inductee Phil Coulson in terms of the most successful driver in the history of the event. Gary Hall Jnr has been nominated for the 2019 WA Racing Industry Hall Of Fame and is in line to join his father as an inductee when announcements are made on 28th February. In 1996 Sue Hall approached WA Trotting Association officials seeking permission for her 14yo son to be allowed to join his parents behind the railing in the stable area at Gloucester Park. The request revolved around her horse-mad son being more than capable at handling horses for the remainder of the week but the race-night restrictions saw him left to his own devices and away from the watchful eye of his parents. WATA Racing Manager Ray Holloway was sympathetic to the request but he needed a workable solution to maintain a level of control in what was potentially a risky area restricted to trainers, drivers, stablehands and owners of horses engaged at the meeting. The minimum age for issue of a Stablehand Licence was lowered from 15 years to 14 years and Gary Hall Jnr was the first applicant and first approval of the new licence. The young Hall’s first recollection of the mere existence of harness racing was when, at the age of six, he experienced the fuss when his father trained the trifecta in the Group One Golden Slipper Stakes for two-year-olds in June 1989. “Dad won the race with Love Of Glory and I can remember the celebrations with John and Eileen Dunstone who bred and owned him”, Hall recalled recently. “We used to spell the horses at the Dunstone’s in Baldivis and their grand-son Mark Lewis and I used to bet against each other at a very early age”. With a backyard full of horses it was only natural that the young Hall gravitated to the stables and soon graduated from cleaning boxes and delivering feeds to helping his father with the working of the horses. “I have never really modelled my driving on anybody and I can remember watching replays of Dad’s first really good horse Zakara competing in Cup races and being told to take notice of the way Fred Kersley and Chris Lewis drove”. “I am not really sure though that I knew what I was supposed to be looking at”, Hall laughed. The advice was clearly on the mark as even now Hall ranks Lewis as the hardest driver to beat. “Chris is tough and his skills are better than anyone else. He always seems to be in the position you don’t want him to be in”, Hall said. A couple of years after receiving his Stablehand’s licence Gary Hall Jnr got his licence to drive in races and promptly celebrated his 16th birthday at the Pinjarra trots by driving a horse called Enhancer to victory for his father Gary Hall Snr. It was his first drive in a race and the first of more than 1850 winners and the first of more than 1100 winners recorded by the father/son combination. Enhancer was raced by Mike and June Van Rens who were later involved with the father/son combination in owning champion The Falcon Strike in partnership with Sydneysider Alex Kay. Somewhat ironically Alex Kay and Mike Van Rens were to later become part-owners of Victorian champion Smoken Up which became one of the great race-track rivals of the Hall’s subsequent star Im Themightyquinn. With seven winners and 11 placegetters in his first 30 race drives the younger Hall’s aptitude at the reins hastened his father’s scaling back from driving duties. He has maintained a highly creditable strike rate across more than 8300 drives with 48.5% of his drives finishing in the first three. Hall had some 70 winners under his belt when his father negotiated the purchase from New Zealand of the Falcon Seelster colt The Falcon Strike. Racing in New Zealand as Falcon Strike, he had finished fifth to Franco Heir in the Group One New Zealand Sires Stakes before coming to Perth. The Falcon Strike was early favourite for the WA Derby after winning his first four races in Perth including the Group Three Western Gateway Pace but a chequered run in the Derby saw him finish down the track behind the interstate trained pair of Manifold Bay and Franco Heir. The Falcon Strike Manifold Bay again proved his nemesis eight months later in the 2001 Group One 4yo Golden Nugget Championship after The Falcon Strike had won seven of his eight starts leading into the race including the Group Three McInerney Ford Classic. A month after the Golden Nugget, in January 2002, The Falcon Strike won both the Group One WA Pacing Cup and Group One Fremantle Cup and the big race record of Gary Hall Jnr was under way. He became the youngest driver to win Western Australia’s premier race at 19 years 177 days beating the 53 year old record of Alan Woodworth who was 20 years and 296 days old when he won with Bintravis in 1949. The euphoria of a pair of Group One wins was soon to be followed by the despair of injury a month later after the 2002 Hunter Cup at Moonee Valley. The Falcon Strike not only galloped at the start but was checked shortly afterwards by a galloping Tailamade Lombo and, despite being forced off the track, the stallion made up a massive amount of ground to finish less than two metres from the winner Safe And Sound in fifth place. “He had broken down during the Hunter Cup and we were devastated as the run had shown just how good and gutsy he was”, Hall recalled. While The Falcon Strike was off the scene for more than 12 months he lost none of his ability although it was to take all of Gary Hall Snr’s considerable skill and expertise as a trainer to keep the stallion sound and fit to compete at the highest level. And compete at the highest level he did as he added a further two WA Pacing Cups, two Australian Pacing Championships and a second Fremantle Cup on his way to more than a million dollars in earnings. So strong were his performances, and with a home track advantage, The Falcon Strike was installed as pre-post favourite for the 2004 Perth Inter Dominion. The remarkable record of Gary Hall Jnr in the Inter Dominion began with a winning double behind his father’s horses in two of the three heats on the opening night of the 2004 Championship. Faking It won the opening heat and The Falcon Strike won the third heat on opening night and with subsequent placings Hall qualified both horses for the final. It wasn’t a difficult decision for Hall to choose The Falcon Strike as his drive in the nation’s biggest race despite the stallion drawing wide in barrier six. Faking It had drawn even wider and the drive on the 80/1 outsider went to Fred Kersley. After working early Hall settled The Falcon Strike outside the leader Jofess in a carbon copy of the pair’s second night clash which saw Jofess draw away in the straight to win comfortably by a little over a length. The Inter Dominion final was a lot closer as The Falcon Strike, carrying the hopes of his legion of Western Australian fans that had sent him out as a $3.30 favourite, dug deep with many on-course believing that he had got up in a desperate final lunge. The photo-finish showed otherwise with Jofess holding on to win by a nose from The Falcon Strike with a further nose to Sokyola in third place and Mister D G another nose away in fourth place in what ranks as one of the all-time great Inter Dominion finishes. It was to be another seven years before Gary Hall Jnr was to have a second drive in an Inter Dominion final as his father continued to search for a second champion with a series of purchases from New Zealand and the Eastern States of Australia. “I don’t have any input into the horses that Dad gets for his owners and in fact Dad gets cranky when he tells me about the new one and I don’t bother looking them up on the internet”, Hall laughed. In June 2008, less than a month after he had finished third in the $200,000 Harness Jewels final for three-year-olds in New Zealand, a diminutive brown gelding called Themightyquinn arrived at the Hall’s Hazelmere stables. Despite his high price-tag Hall was hardly impressed with the new arrival. “He arrived as a late three-year-old and I didn’t think much of him as he appeared pretty runty and not much to look at. I guess it just goes to show that good things come in small packages”. Re-named Im Themightyquinn, to avoid a clash with an average Australian bred gelding of the same name, the son of Washington VC was given a short break before being prepared for the 2008 Summer Carnival at Gloucester Park. A third placing behind Schinzig Buller and Mysta Magical Mach in the Group One Golden Nugget 4yo Championship was followed by an all-the-way win from barrier one in the Group One McInerney Ford Classic. An attempt to emulate the four-year-old performances of The Falcon Strike in the WA Pacing Cup and Fremantle Cup failed but the following season Im Themightyquinn won the Fremantle Cup from his stablemates Alzona and Dartmoor and then finished second to Washakie in the WA Cup. His tendency to pull hard in his races and over-race wasn’t helping Im Themightyquinn and Gary Hall Snr spent many hours teaching the horse to relax. As a six-year-old Im Themightyquinn established himself as the best pacer in the Southern Hemisphere with a series of sensational performances. Im Themightyquinn Wins in the 2011 Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups were followed by a third placing as favourite behind the New Zealand pair Stunin Cullen and Smiling Shard in the Hunter Cup at Melton. Hall missed the WA Pacing Cup drive due to a suspension and Kim Prentice proved a more than able substitute. Hall was back in the sulky when Im Themightyquinn returned to his homeland for that year’s Inter Dominion series. Originally scheduled to be held in Christchurch, the Championships were transferred at the eleventh hour to Auckland after an earthquake devastated the Canterbury region in February that year. Racing at Auckland is conducted in a clockwise direction as opposed to the anti-clockwise racing at Australian tracks and Gary’s father decided that a couple of starts at the track would benefit the horse. After finishing a close third to Power Of Tara and Monkey King in the Group Two City of Auckland FFA a typically cool and calculated drive from the younger Hall saw Im Themightyquinn sprint over Mr Feelgood and Pembrook Benny in the straight to win the Group One Auckland Cup. The Inter Dominion was shortened to two rounds of heats and final and after a pair of brilliant heat wins Im Themightyquinn started a warm favourite in the final but failed to run down Smoken Up in the straight. Months after the actual race Im Themightyquinn was announced as the winner following the discovery of the anti-inflammatory dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) in the swab taken from Smoken Up. While he was feted as the winner of the 2011 Inter Dominion it didn’t sit particularly well with Hall. “It was a pretty flat feeling as we hadn’t had the chance to celebrate the win at the time and had I not won the Inter Dominion again I would never have felt that I had actually won the race”, Hall said. After returning to Perth Im Themightyquinn was given a long spell with the 2012 Inter Dominion series, at his home track of Gloucester Park, the target. After winning the 2012 WA Pacing Cup from Dasher VC and Lightning Raider a week later he obliterated the field in the Fremantle Cup winning easing down by ten metres from Raglan and Lombo Navigator. That night Im Themightyquinn entered the back straight at Gloucester Park near last in the quality field and literally exploded to the front in the space of 150 metres before cruising to the line. The 2012 Inter Dominion series was run in the time-honoured format of three heats and a final over a fortnight and Im Themightyquinn joined elite company in going through the series undefeated and providing the on-track euphoria for the connections that was absent a year earlier. “I guess I was a bit over the top in 2012 but it was just such a great feeling and being able to share it in front of so many of Quinny’s fans at home was very very special” Hall said. “I was also so pleased for Dad as the four runs in a fortnight really is the ultimate test of the skill of a trainer”, he added. “As a driver I probably shouldn’t admit it but the trainer is the key. There is an old saying that the driver can't get a horse to go any better than the trainer has it ready to go”. The format of the Inter Dominion changed after the Perth Championship and in 2013 Im Themightyquinn qualified for the final at Menangle in New South Wales with another brilliant win in a qualifying heat run at Gloucester Park a fortnight before the $750,000 final. Yet another quality big race drive from Hall saw Im Themightyquinn come from last with 1000 metres to travel to win by more than a length from the pace-making Mah Sish and Excel Stride and record his third straight Inter Dominion win. “Sydney was his best win and it well and truly put the seal on his greatness”, said Hall. Following his 4yo season, and after learning to relax more in his races, Im Themightyquinn has proven almost unbeatable and in 18 starts against the Southern Hemisphere’s best over four seasons of racing Im Themightyquinn has never been unplaced at Group One level recording a remarkable 12 wins, three seconds and three thirds. Those 12 wins include three Inter Dominion Championships and Hall has the amazing record of having driven four starters in the country’s biggest harness race with just the nose second for The Falcon Strike standing between the driver and an unblemished record at the top level. His coolness as a driver at the Inter Dominion level is underlined when comparing his career placings percentage of 48.5% with his record in Inter Dominion heats and finals. His 22 drives at this level have resulted in 11 wins, five seconds and one third which means he has been placed a remarkable 77% of the time when it really matters. Gary Hall Jnr with Gary Hall Senior While he credits his laid-back attitude as a major factor in his big-race success, and may appear nerveless and relaxed, as horses complete their preliminaries Hall is far from relaxed inside. “Yes I do get nervous before a big race especially on the day of the race with all the advice and as the various scenarios go through your head”, he explained. “The Sydney Inter Dominion was the worst I have been and I had no idea how I was going to drive Quinny that day. Once the barrier let us go I was fine and just in the zone”. Enquiries about tickets to the 2019 WA Racing Industry Hall of Fame Induction night on 28th February should be directed to Hall of Fame Coordinator Suzy Jackson on (08) 9445 5371 or suzy.jackson@rwwa.com.au By Alan Parker

Champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr has given punters a strong lead by opting to drive Bronze Seeker in the opening event, the $20,000 Retravision.com.au Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Hall chose to handle the Peter Anderson-trained Bronze Seeker in preference to smart performer Kimani, who is prepared by his father Gary Hall Snr. He made that decision after driving Bronze Seeker to victory over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon and after Bronze Seeker drew the coveted No. 1 barrier and Kimani drew out wide at barrier eight. Kimani will be driven by Stuart McDonald, whose previous drive behind the gelding was eight starts ago when he began from barrier eight and impressed in charging home from eighth at the bell to win easily from Starlight Brigade, after final quarters of 28.7sec. and 28.8sec. in a 2130m event at Gloucester Park. Hall, one of 25 drivers to have handled Bronze Seeker in his 191 starts in Western Australia, will be driving the versatile ten-year-old for only the fifth time. His record behind the gelding is a win, a second and two fourths. Bronze Seeker broke an 11-month drought and ended a losing sequence of 26 at Pinjarra on Monday when he began speedily from barrier three to take up the running after 50m. Hall then opted to take a sit behind Lagoon Stride and Bronze Seeker finished strongly along the sprint lane to win from Lagoon Stride and Thisbeachrighthere, rating 1.57.4. At his previous start, over 2130m on New Year’s Eve, Bronze Seeker (driven by Hall) was restrained from barrier seven and was not suited by the dawdling pace over the first 1200m. He was ninth at the bell and impressed when he sustained a powerful three-wide burst from the 700m to finish a very close fourth behind Carrera Mach. Bronze Seeker has been a credit to Anderson, who has given the Mach Three gelding 191 starts for 15 wins and 35 placings. Bronze Seeker, who had 26 starts in New Zealand for 11 wins (one as a two-year-old and ten as a three-year-old), has earned $407,424 from 26 wins and 39 placings from 217 starts. Among Bronze Seeker’s rivals this week are three from the Hall stable Kimani, Benhope Rulz and Campora. Benhope Rulz, to be driven by Corey Peterson from barrier six, is in splendid form and will have many admirers. He was an excellent second to star four-year-old Jack Mac four starts ago and was an effortless all-the-way winner at a 1.55.1 rate over 1730m two starts ago. Another fancied runner will be the evergreen Mister Ardee, who will again be driven by Madeleine Young for Pinjarra trainer Matt Saw. Mister Ardee is sure to figure prominently from barrier two on the front line.   Ken Casellas

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