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The Justin Prentice-trained Rocknroll Lincoln has made it back-to-back wins to start the new season, taking out the Fred Doy Memorial (2130m) at Gloucester Park last night. Reinsman Gary Hall Jnr fired the $2.50 TABtouch favourite Rocknroll Lincoln to the lead early in the race, a move which proved to be a race winner. Rocknroll Lincoln’s closest rival in the market was Mister Versace ($2.80), who was forced to settle directly behind Hall Jnr after the early move. The five-year-old came home in 56.5 to hold off a game Kasey John and Soky’s Bigbullet, while Mister Versace was couldn’t get clear running and had to settle for fourth. Trainer Justin Prentice said he left it up to Hall Jnr to decide how he would drive the son of Rocknroll Hanover and was pleased with how the race panned out. “It was good,” he said. “Junior changed his mind on the track and decided to go forward. “He showed really good speed and he got a got breather in the middle which he probably needed. “It was good for him to hit the line strongly.” It was one of three wins on the night for Hall Jnr, who also teamed up with King Of Swing in the Retravision Online Pace (2130m) and You Gotta Have Faith in the Kelvinator Pace (2130m). King Of Swing kept his Golden Nugget preparation firmly on track with his sixth win from seven starts this campaign. Hall Jnr went to the front from barrier three and never looked in danger of being beaten, despite a game effort from his stablemate Extreme Prince, who got within a metre over the closing stages. Meanwhile, Tanaka Eagle has recorded his first Friday night win at Gloucester Park since January, taking out the Electrolux Pace (2130m). Reinsman Mark Reed had little problem finding the front with Tanaka Eagle and he was able to control the tempo of the race from there. Tanaka Eagle, who competed in the Inter Dominion series last year, recorded his 20th win from 196 starts last night, much to the delight of his trainer Reg Phillips. Elsewhere at Gloucester Park, star mare Eden Franco made a strong return to the track in the Retravision.com.au Pace, where she defeated Mitch Maguire. Kyle Harper also drove a double on the night, one he trained in Thereugo, before he teamed up with the Errol Ashcroft-trained Kissmecougar in the penultimate event of the night. Tim Walker

Trainer Gary Hall Sr couldn’t have scripted Chicago Bull’s build-up to tomorrow night’s $200,000 Group 1 Victoria Cup (2240m) any better. Well, maybe he’d have drawn the pole and not barrier three, but everything else has been world perfect. “I won’t have any excuse in the world if he’s beaten,” Hall Sr said. “He’s had a perfect build-up, handled the trip across really well on Wednesday, settled in superbly and the draw is certainly good enough. “This has been his first major target for six months now and everything has fallen into place. “It’s now just a matter of whether he’s good enough and we certainly think he is.” Chicago Bull has eased slightly from $2.20 to $2.25 with the Aussie TAB since Tuesday’s barrier draw, mainly because of strong support for rivals Shadow Sax ($6.50 to $5.50) and Mach Doro ($26 to $10) along with talk barrier three could prove tricky. “Of course we’ve looked long and hard at the draw and thought of all the possibilities, but it’s over to Junior (driver Gary Hall Jr). That’s his job and there’s nobody better at it in these big races,” Hall Sr said. “He’s got more speed than a lot people realise, but the danger in going too hard early is how much petrol we have to spend and the risk of not finding the lead.” Hall Sr did, however, hint at his preferred driving tactics. “My horses traditionally go better when they’re not used too hard at the start. It’s always been the case. It must be the way I train them,” he said. “Ultimately it’s Junior’s call what he does at the start, but this little bloke is versatile enough to win a few different ways. I even think he could win sitting parked as long as the leader had to do some early work to hold the front.” Hall Sr conceded tomorrow night was an obvious class rise from Chicago Bull’s recent WA dominance which has seen him win past nine starts and 12 of his past 13. “You could say he’s been beaten glorified claimers at home, but it’s the way he’s been doing it and the sectional times he’s been running,” he said. “And let’s not forget he competed so well against the best of the best in the Inter Dominion last year. “I’ve got no doubt, none at all, that’s he’s a better horse now than when he ran second to Lazarus in last year’s Inter final. “And I couldn’t have asked for a better preparation. I’ve left something in tank along the way, but I’ve wound him up for this and then it’s onto NZ.” Chicago Bull is booked on a flight from Melbourne to Auckland next Thursday and plans remain for him to tackle a 2200m standing-start race at Alexandra Park on October 26 ahead of going south for the NZ Cup. “He’ll thrive on this hard racing. Look how well he handled the Inter Dominion series last year,” Hall Sr said.   Adam Hamilton

Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall Snr has no hesitation in declaring Im Themightyquinn as the best horse he has prepared. The retired champion won 58 races, including three Inter Dominion Championships and earned $4,567,456 in prizemoney. But Hall was unable to win the prestigious Victoria Cup with three attempts with Im Themightyquinn. “He didn’t have any luck in his three Victoria Cup runs and now I’m hoping it will be fourth-time lucky with Chicago Bull in the Cup on Saturday night,” Hall said. Chicago Bull has won at 39 of his 59 starts and is in peak form after effortless wins at his past nine starts. He is handily drawn at the No. 3 barrier on the front line in this week’s $200,000 Victoria Cup over 2240m. He possesses excellent gate speed, but it is problematic that he will be able to cross the speedy Tiger Tara, who begins from the No. 2 barrier. Champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr said “There’s a bit of speed on the inside and the outside and I’ll have a few decisions to make early. But he’s good enough to win.” Tiger Tara, trained by Kevin Pizzuto and to be handled by Todd McCarthy, appeals as the toughest for Chicago Bull to beat. Tiger Tara and Chicago Bull last clashed when they met in the final of the Inter Dominion Championship over 2936m at Gloucester Park last December. Tiger Tara led from the No. 1 barrier and was still in front on the home turn.  He fought on grandly to finish third behind Lazarus and Chicago Bull. Before that, he raced in the breeze when second to Chicago Bull in a 2536m qualifying heat, led and won a 2100m heat from Lazarus (at Bunbury) and had a tough run in the breeze when second to Lennytheshark over 2130m. Im Themightyquinn contested the Victoria Cup at Melton in 2010, 2011 and 2012. He was favourite at $3.50 in 2010 when he was in 11th place in the one-wide line, under lock and key with 500m to travel before getting clear approaching the home turn and thundering home, six wide, to finish third to Mr Feelgood. In 2011, Im Themightyquinn was the $4.20 second favourite from the No. 2 barrier. He raced in sixth position in the one-out, two-back position and was held up for most of the final circuit before finishing last behind Smoken Up. Then a year later he was the $1.60 favourite from barrier three. He led for the first 500m and then trailed the pacemaker Terrorway before getting clear 300m from home and after going three wide on the home turn and hitting the front 130m from the post he wilted slightly and finished third behind Caribbean Blaster. Ken Casellas

Sparks are likely to fly in the early stages of the $22,000 Fred Doy Memorial at Gloucester Park on Friday night when polemarker Mister Versace and veteran pacer Sokys Big Bullet are expected to be locked in a battle for the early lead. If that transpires and the early speed is fast, it will play into the hands of classy five-year-old Rocknroll Lincoln, who faces a testing time from the outside barrier (No. 9) on the front line in the 2130m event. Rocknroll Lincoln is an M4-class pacer and the best-assessed runner in the race and the Justin Prentice-trained stallion will have the services of champion reinsman Gary Hall jnr who drove the horse four times as a four-year-old for two wins (including the group 3 Narrogin Cup in which he beat Our Jimmy Johnstone). Prentice produced Rocknroll Lincoln in fine fettle for his first-up run at Gloucester Park last Friday week when Jocelyn Young was in the sulky. Rocknroll Lincoln started from barrier six and enjoyed a perfect passage, one-out and one-back, before sprinting home brilliantly to get up and win from the pacemaker Speed Man, with final quarters in 28.3sec. and 27.7sec. Chris Voak will drive Mister Versace for Banjup trainer Annie Belton and he is sure to seriously contemplate attempting an all-the-way victory. Voak took full advantage of the No. 1 barrier four starts ago when he guided Mister Versace to a strong all-the-way win over Madame Meilland. However, Mister Versace is likely to be challenged hard for the lead by nine-year-old Sokys Big Bullet, who will start from the No. 2 barrier. Reinsman Giles Inwood said that he was sure that the gelding’s trainer Tony Svilicich would instruct him to attempt to get to an early lead and then set a solid pace. Sokys Big Bullet’s three runs since resuming from a spell have been encouraging. He followed his third to Speed Man and fourth to Argyle Red with a fighting second to the pacemaker Overboard Again last Friday night when he worked hard three wide early (from barrier six) and then in the breeze. The Errol Ashcroft-trained Forever Remembered ran a splendid trial for this week’s race when she started from barrier seven and was last in a field of 11 at the bell before dashing home from eighth at the 400m and going six wide on the home turn to get up and win from Neighlor. Forever Remembered will again be driven by Kyle Harper, who is hoping that the eight-year-old will become only the second mare to win the Doy Memorial, which was first run in 2006. The only mare to have won the race was the Victorian-bred Smooth Hayley, who was driven by Chris Lewis and defeated Mon Gee and Master Beaudale. Lewis, who has also won this event with Tee Pee Village (2008), Sneakyn Down Under (2013) and Our Jericho (2016), will drive the Svilicich-trained Cyclone Mitch from barrier seven. The ten-year-old’s most recent success was in March 2016. Ken Casellas

The time for talk is over. Following the departure of superstar pacer and reigning Grand Circuit champion Lazarus to the northern hemisphere earlier this year, the debate has raged. Who holds the mantle as the best pacer in this part of the world? And everybody has an opinion. Many believe pint-sized Perth based pacer Chicago Bull is the heir apparent, his form is without doubt sensational in his home state but he’s yet to prove himself on the eastern seaboard. Until now. The ‘Wonder from The West’ has arrived in Melbourne in preparation for Saturday night’s Gr.1 $200,000 Pryde’s Easifeed Victoria Cup, the opening leg of the 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit series. Prepared by the masterful father/son combination of Gary Hall Snr and Jnr, the Bettors Delight six-year-old has won his past 9 starts - all at his home track of Gloucester Park. But history is against the millionaire pacer. Since first being staged back in 1974 when Kings Mead scored, only once has a sandgroper proven triumphant and that was the mighty Preux Chevalier back in 1984. And since the turn of the millennium, Perth trained pacers haven’t fired in the Garden State feature. That list also includes champion pacer Im Themightyquinn (58 wins - $ 4,567,456). Six runners have attempted to grab glory but the best result is a 6th placing (twice). 2015 - David Hercules - 6th behind Christen Me 2013 - Im Victorious - 12th behind For A Reason 2011 - Im Themightyquinn - 12th behind Smoken Up 2005 - Ohoka Ace - 8th behind Be Good Johnny 2003 - Baltic Eagle - 9th behind Young Rufus 2000 - Saab - 6th behind Breenys Fella So, can the ‘Bull’ etch his name into the record books? Can Snr and Jnr claim more Grand Circuit glory? As it stands, Snr has trained 26 Grand Circuit winners while Jnr has driven 22 Grand Circuit winners. Standing in their way is 11 rivals boasting outstanding credentials headlined by local ace Shadow Sax, prepared by record breaking Emma Stewart, fresh from her 309 win season last term. Triple Victoria Cup winning reinsman Chris Alford will partner Shadow Sax and aims for his 19th Grand Circuit victory. The late Vin Knight remains the most winningest driver of the Victoria Cup with 5 victories. Fellow Victorian based trainer David Aiken, a dual Cup winner with recently retired Lennytheshark, prepares both Im The Boss and Wrappers Delight. Im The Boss, a winner of the Cobram, Mildura, Shepparton and Kilmore Cups will be handled by Greg Sugars while Kima Frenning sticks with in-form pacer and last start Smoken Up Sprint winner Wrappers Delight. The last female driver to land success in the Victoria Cup was Kate Gath (Caribbean Blaster) back in 2012. Three female drivers have won the Victoria Cup – Kate Gath, Amy Tubbs and Natalie Rasmussen. Speaking of the fairer sex, both Carlas Pixel and Ameretto are both looking to become the first mare to win the Victoria Cup. The Dean Braun trained Carlas Pixel, the recently crowned Australian Mare of the Year; finished an eye-catching 5th last week while the Kerryn Manning prepared Ameretto finished a close-up second behind Wrappers Delight after sitting in the trail. But both mares have drawn awkwardly off the second-line. The state of New South Wales has a proud and strong history in the Victoria Cup and head south with strength in numbers this year. Winners that have come from north of the Murray River include Don’t Retreat (1976), Paleface Adios (1977), Koala King (1978, 79 & 80), Frosty Imp (1981), Jofess (2002), Double Identity (2003), Mr Feelgood (2010) and For a Reason (2013). Koala King remains the only pacer to have claimed three Victoria Cups. The team from the Harbour City this year has five representatives including a trio from the Shane and Lauren Tritton stable with Gotta Go Ya Hu, Franco Nelson and My Alpha Rock as they chase their biggest victory. Lauren Tritton will partner Franco Nelson and like Kima Frenning, is aiming to become the latest female to drive a winner of the Victoria Cup. Kevin Pizzuto is duly represented with millionaire Tiger Tara and last start Paul Fitzpatrick FFA winner Majordan stepping out while Craig Cross will start last start Les Chant Cup winner Mach Doro. Dual Victorian Cup winning driver Luke McCarthy will take the drive behind the speedy beginner. Surprisingly, there is no representation from New Zealand this year. The 2018 Victorian Cup field has won 263 races collectively while amassing more than $6.7 million in stakes. The Australian Pacers Grand Circuit began in 1977 and was designed to be the showpiece of the Australian Harness Racing Industry with horses competing from every State within Australia.  In 1992 New Zealand was admitted and the Circuit was renamed the Australasian Grand Circuit.   The best horses available are brought together to race for very attractive prizemoney.  With the associated opportunities for promotion and marketing, this benefits owners and harness racing clubs as well as the industry overall.  In its first season in 1977, total stakemoney for the eight races forming the Circuit was $554,020.  Now, the Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit series is racing for total stakemoney of $3.65 million. Points are awarded during the Circuit, 100 points for a win, 60 points for second, 40 points for third, and so on, to last placing. The horse with the greatest number of points is crowned Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit Champion. So, who will strike the first blow in the new season of Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit racing? Time will tell.   Chris Barsby

There's no shortage of scratched heads throughout Australian trotting stables as some of the sport's greatest minds try to break down the Pryde's EasiFeed Victoria Cup post-barrier draw, including the man many think is in the box seat. Trainer Gary Hall Snr's favourite Chicago Bull makes his interstate debut in Saturday night's Group 1 at Tabcorp Park Melton, and the proud West Australian joined RSN 927 today to share his thoughts. "It's a bit tricky," Hall said. "Barrier three - where does (Chicago Bull) go? He's got good gate speed, but I wouldn't imagine Tiger Tara (gate 2) will let him cross him. "Nobody's sure what the one (Gotta Go Ya Hu) is going to do, whether it will hold up or whether it will hand over to Tiger Tara. You can't afford to do too much speed battling early because it doesn't matter how good you are you are going to be left wide open at the end." Hall said much of the deciding would be left in the hands of reinsman Gary Hall Jnr. "Junior's got a little bit of a tricky draw and he'll probably come out and have a look at what's going on and assess," he said. "As you know there's probably no one better in the game at doing that than he is. I've left it all in his hands. "There's quite a few different scenarios. If Mach Doro comes out a 100 mile an hour and crosses, Chicago Bull may even find the front. If Mach Doro doesn't come out, then I think Tiger Tara will find the front. Then it depends on if the one hands over and then it depends how fast horses like Franco Nelson and Im The Boss and all those horses go. It's a very hard race to read what's actually going to happen." Read more here!   Trots Media

See how Chicago Bull's driver, Gary Hall Jnr, rates his #VictoriaCup barrier draw; as the mighty #ChicagoBull heads off on his whirlwind Gr.1 tour of Australasia! PLUS: King of Swing, Rocknroll Lincoln AND a very nice pick-up drive for Jnr on NZ Cup day!   Ken Casellas

Chicago Bull’s driver Gary Hall Jnr forecasted improvement in the six-year-old ahead of last night’s Group 2 J.P. Stratton Cup (2130m) and, sure enough, he delivered one of his best performances yet this campaign. The returning Talktomeurmattjesty made Chicago Bull work for the lead in the early stages of the $50,000 event. Hall Jnr initially took a sit behind Talktomeurmattjesty, before he made his move to the front on the turn out of the home straight the first time. Despite having to run a slick 37.0 lead time to eventually find the front, Chicago Bull never looked in any danger of being beaten throughout the run and went on to win by 8m. Talktomeurmattjesty and Argyle Red finished second and third respectively. Chicago Bull flies out for Victoria on Wednesday, before his first run on the east coast in the Victoria Cup next Saturday. Owner Glen Moore said he wasn’t concerned by the early speed Chicago Bull had to use to find the front. “It worked out very well for us early,” he said. “We had the plan that Junior was going to be aggressive early because we had the gut feeling the one horse (Talktomeurmattjesty) may hand over. “Junior had to work around the bird cage bend a bit, but then he relaxed nicely.” Moore said he was confident Chicago Bull was ready for his first trip to the east coast and indicated there could be even more improvement left in the gelding. “We’re really happy with him,” he said. “We’ve left a bit of improvement in him because we haven’t been doing too much at home. “His coast is still a little dull, so we think he is on the way up. “They have to prove themselves when they travel. “We’re comfortable with the fact that we think he will travel alright.” Chicago Bull completed a winning treble on the night for the Gary Hall Snr and Jnr combination, after Overboard Again and King Of Swing saluted earlier in the night. The news wasn’t as good for the Hall’s other short price favourite on the night Speed Man, who had little luck in the Perth Plasterboard Centre Pace (2536m). Last season’s leading driver Shannon Suvaljko also enjoyed a double at the meeting with Shes Turbo Charged and Always Arjay. Tim Walker

Chicago Bull will take centre stage yet again at Gloucester Park tomorrow night, but it’s some of the lesser likes that has driver Gary Hall Jnr excited heading to the 10 race program. Hall Jnr teams up with trainer Gary Hall Snr on four short price favourites, including Chicago Bull and WA Derby winner King Of Swing. Tomorrow night’s Group 2 J.P Stratton Cup (2130m) will round out Chicago Bull’s preparations for the Victoria and New Zealand Cups over the next month. Hall Jnr said getting the six-year-old through the run in one piece was his priority. “First and foremost, we would like him to win,” he said. “We wouldn’t like him to be beaten before Melbourne. “We do hope him to get through the run.” Hall Jnr said he would look to adopt similar tactics with Chicago Bull to what he has done in previous starts, hoping to slowly work his way to the front from barrier six. Chicago Bull’s stablemate Runrunjimmydunn is expected to provide the most formidable opposition tomorrow night, but Hall Jnr said a lot would have to go right for him to beat Chicago Bull. The first of Hall Jnr’s favourites on the night is five-year-old  consistent gelding Overboard Again in the Glenroy Chaff Pace (2130m). Overboard Again has barrier one for tomorrow night’s event and Hall Jnr said he was hopeful he would be able to lead all the way. “He worked really well yesterday,” he said. “There are a couple of fast beginners outside of him, but I’m confident. “I think from the pole he will be able to hold the lead and be hard to beat.” King Of Swing went down narrowly to Motu Premier in last Friday night’s Media Guild Cup and has the chance to bounce back in tomorrow night’s Yes Loans Pace (2130m) from barrier three. Despite being beaten as a $1.50 chance last week, Hall Jnr said he was pleased with King Of Swing’s performance and expected him to get back on the winners list tomorrow night. “After a lap last week I thought he was no hope,” he said. “He pulled really hard and he hadn’t had the preparation we would’ve liked leading into that race. “If that race was this week, I think he would win.” Fellow four-year-old Speed Man was also as a short price favourite last week, but, similarly to King Of Swing, Hall Jnr said he expected a bold showing tomorrow night. “Speed Man is in really good form,” he said. “This looks like a drop in class for him and hopefully he will end up outside the leader at some stage.” Tomorrow night’s Gloucester Park meeting gets underway at 5.20pm. Tim Walker

An eye-catching performance at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night by veteran pacer Lot Twenty One was a strong pointer to a return to the winning list. The seven-year-old who has a poor winning record of just five per cent (six wins from 112 starts) will start from the No. 2 barrier on the front line in the final event, the 1730m GP Italian Fireworks Night Pace, has sound prospects of ending a losing sequence of 16. He began from the outside of the back line on Tuesday night and raced in eighth position before Chris Lewis moved him into sixth position, three wide, at the bell. He sustained his effort and finished second to the pacemaker Whoswhointhezoo. That was the gelding’s fifth start for Hopeland trainer Debra Lewis, with those starts producing four seconds and a third. Hardest for Lot Twenty One to beat is likely to be Hes Royal Blue, a five-year-old trained at Busselton by Barry Howlett. He is the youngest runner in the field of ten, and has, by far, the best winning record of 25 per cent. Hes Royal Blue will be driven by Gary Hall Jnr from barrier five and will have many admirers. He was an all-the-way Gloucester Park winner from barrier three six starts ago and he drops considerably in class from, with his recent encouraging efforts including a third to Benhope Rulz, a sixth to Mitch Maguire and a fourth behind Bright Diamond. The more one studies the form, the brighter Hes Royal Blue’s winning prospects appear. Estilo, a nine-year-old having his fourth start for trainer-reinsman Kristian Hawkins, will have friends after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier over the sprint journey.  He has won at 12 of his 125 starts and has managed just three placings from 19 Gloucester Park starts. His losing sequence is 31, which certainly is considerably better than that of nine-year-old Dagati Image, who has not won at any of his past 57 starts. Champion reinsmen Lewis and Hall should fight out the finish after appearing set for earlier successes on the ten-event program. Lewis should prove hard to beat with the Sonia Zucchiatti-trained Destined To Rule in the Maureen Clement Memorial Handicap, a 2503m stand in which Destined To Rule will start from the inside of the front line. His chief rivals are likely to be Always Arjay and Jason Rulz. Hall has excellent prospects with Overboard Again (race two), King of Swing (race three), Speed Man (race five) and Chicago Bull (race six). “I will be attempting to lead with Overboard Again from barrier one and he should be hard to beat,” said Hall. “And King of Swing and Speed Man are sure to appreciate a drop in class after last-start seconds.”   Ken Casellas

“It’s all systems go,” declared champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr as he said that superstar Chicago Bull, Australasia’s best pacer, was spot on to contest rich feature events over the next three months. And he said that he had no concerns over the outstanding six-year-old’s ability to handle the standing start in the $800,000 New Zealand Cup over 3200m at Addington on Tuesday, November 13. The mighty little gelding has not contested a stand in a glittering career of 58 starts for 38 wins and 15 placings for earnings of $1,624,424. After predicting that Chicago Bull would extend his winning sequence to nine by beating his six rivals in the $50,000 J. P. Stratton Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night, Hall said that he was not worried about the gelding handling the standing start and beginning smoothly in the Group 1 New Zealand Cup. “I know that he hasn’t raced in a stand yet, but he’s a good pacer and we don’t have to worry about pins and all that,” he said. “His hopples are too small, anyway. We gave him a trial in a stand at Byford three months ago and he felt as though I could push him out as fast as I wanted.” That was Chicago Bull’s second standing-start trial. He also paced away faultlessly at Byford in a trial in July 2017. Chicago Bull will leave Perth by air for Melbourne on Wednesday of next week and Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall Snr is sure to have him at his peak for the Victoria Cup, a 2200m mobile at Melton on Saturday, October 13. “If all goes well in the Victoria Cup, Chicago Bull will leave for New Zealand on the following Thursday (the 18th),” Hall Jnr said. “We then plan to run him in a 2200m stand at Alexandra Park on October 26 before travelling from Auckland down to Christchurch for the Cup. “All’s well with Chicago Bull and he’s had just two hoppled runs since winning the Navy Cup last Friday week. I expect him to win again this week and it would be good for him to have a relatively hard race before going away. I expect Talktomeurmattjesty to lead from barrier one and run along a bit. “I certainly would like Chicago Bull to keep the picket fence against his name, and that would give us a bit of extra confidence going into the big races away from home.” One of Chicago Bull’s main rivals in the New Zealand Cup looms as five-year-old Ultimate Machete, who is due to resume racing after an absence of nine months in a race at Addington on Friday night. His most recent appearance was at Gloucester Park last January when he finished fourth behind My Hard Copy, Lazarus and Chicago Bull in the 2536m Fremantle Cup. Earlier, in November and December last year Ultimate Machete won the Group 1 Four-Year-Old Classic and the Group 1 Golden Nugget at Gloucester Park. After contesting the New Zealand Cup, Chicago Bull will be set for the Inter Dominion championships series in Melbourne in December. The Hall father-and-son combination is no strangers to big-race successes in New Zealand, with Im Themightyquinn winning the $400,000 Auckland Cup in March 2011, the $800,000 Inter Dominion championship at Addington in April 2011 and the $250,000 Auckland Cup in March 2013. The Halls have combined to win the Stratton Cup with Bengeeman (2002), Alzona (2011) and Waylade (2015) and Chicago Bull is racing with such confidence and brilliance that it is extremely difficult to visualise him being beaten on Friday night. Chicago Bull will start from the No. 6 barrier in a field of seven and Hall Jnr will assess his tactics as the race unfolds. Busselton trainer Barry Howlett has the lightly-raced Talktomeurmattjesty working in good style and the even-year-old appeals as the likely leader. At his first outing since he had a tough run, three wide for much of the way, before fading to 11th behind Real Lucky at Gloucester Park on May 25. Talktomeurmattjesty will be driven by Chris Lewis, who has won the Stratton Cup seven times with Black Irish (1983), Village Kid (1985, 1988, 1991), Ohoka Ace (2005), Sneakyn Down Under (2009) and Sensational Gabby (2014). The Michael Brennan-trained The Bucket List (Michael Grantham) has excellent place prospects after several strong efforts in recent starts. He was seventh (and last) at the bell before finishing fast, out four wide, to be a close fourth, less than a length behind the winner Motu Premier in the Media Guild Cup last Friday night. He sat behind the pacemaker Chicago Bull before running on gamely to finish second to that pacer in the Navy Cup the previous week. Tricky Styx, a fast-finishing winner last week, is likely to be engaged in a keen duel with Talktomeurmattjesty, Waylade, Runrunmjimmydunn and Argyle Red for third place. Ken Casellas

A STIRRING track workout has convinced Gary Hall Sr his stable star Chicago Bull is better than ever. And the timing has the champion trainer even more excited. “I feel like I’ve timed it all well. He’s just now getting to his peak, The run this week (Gloucester Park on Friday) night will top him off nicely for the Victoria Cup,” Hall Sr said. Chicago Bull is a dominant favourite in Friday night’s $50,000 Group 2 JP Stratton Cup (2130m) at Gloucester Park tomorrow (Friday) night. He’s aiming for his ninth win on end and his 12th victory from his past 13 starts. “His work on Tuesday was outstanding, just outstanding. It’s as good as he’s ever worked at home,” Hall Sr said. “He’s been building nicely and he’s had some easy wins over here, but the plan was always to wind him right up for the Victoria and NZ Cups. It’s all coming together well. “I deliberately picked the race this week because it’s eight days before the Victoria Cup and he thrives on the quick back-up.” Chicago Bull will start from gate six tomorrow night and looks like finding the lead, unless the headstrong polemarker Talktomeyourmattjesty wants to try and him out from the pole. “It shouldn’t matter either way given how well he’s going,” Hall Sr said. It’s then onto the plane to Melbourne Wednesday night ahead of the Group 1 Victoria Cup on Saturday week. Then it’s another plane flight from Melbourne to Auckland on Thursday, October 18. “That gets him there a week or ahead of the race which suits him at Alexandra Park (October 26),” Hall Sr said. Looking ahead to the NZ Cup, Hall Sr made light of suggestions the 3200m standing-start would be a daunting challenge to a pacer known more for his brilliance. “Everyone talks about his speed, but he’s tough this horse, very tough. He doesn’t have the point-to-point brilliance of Quinny, but not many in history have had that, but he’s tough and he’s versatile,” he said. “The distance doesn’t worry me. He’ll love it. I can’t wait to get over there and give it a crack, you know how much I’ve always to have a runner in the NZ Cup.”   Adam Hamilton

Trainer Gary Hall Snr is in firm agreement with the TAB Inter Dominion handicappers. Chicago Bull is No.1. The Peth superstar pacer owns the rare air of being top-ranked horse for Australasia’s premier harness racing series after Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) announced the first round of rankings today. Last season’s Inter Dominion runner-up has won 11 of his last 12 starts and is about to embark on a monster campaign that will take in the $200,000 Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Cup on Saturday night October 13, the $800,000 New Zealand Cup at Addington in November, and ID18 in Victoria, which kicks off on December 1. “He ran second to Lazarus (in the Inter Dominion final) and never got a crack at him; he won two heats and was third in the other. He’s won 11 out of 12 races since … you can’t fault his form,” Hall Snr said. “They keep saying he hasn’t beaten anything but that’s just not true. Lazarus, San Carlo, Tiger Tara … he was racing all those horses over here. I know he was on his home track … but they’re grossly underrating him.” Pressed on where Chicago Bull ranks right now among Hall Snr’s all-time top horses, the trainer was a mix of circumspect and audacious, if it’s possible to be both.  “Right now, he’s the second best horse I’ve ever had,” he said, “But, saying that, he’s also better than Quinny (Im Themightyquinn) was at this stage in his career.” Any suggestion therefore that Chicago Bull requires a coming out party against the best is erroneous; he’s been there and done that in the Inter Dominion. Are travel questions fair? Sure.  “I think he’ll handle that. He’s a pretty laid back fella,” Hall Snr said. “The only thing is you never quite know I suppose. He’s always got a paddock mate, so he needs the right company, that’s all.” The Bulls’ Michael Jordan was always the best, but Scottie Pippen helped. On the New Zealand Cup Hall Snr said it was a race he’d tried to win three times before. “Fourth time lucky hopefully,” he said. “I tried to win it with Quinny but he fibrillated, bled, broke a leg… it just didn’t work out. It’s a great meeting. I went 12 years in a row and would love to win it.” Meanwhile, Tim Butt-trained rising star Let It Ride, who produced a slashing run to win the Grand Circuit Blacks a Fake classic in Queensland, is second on the ID18 pacing rankings, ahead of New South Wales’ Tiger Tara. Kiwi superstar Speeding Spur is top ranked in the TAB Inter Dominion Trotting Championship, with Andy Gath-trained Tornado Valley number two, ahead of Temporale, Kyvalley Blur and Glenferrie Typhoon.   Cody Winnell

CHICAGO Bull will farewell his home state, at least for a couple of months, when he tackles Friday night’s $50,000 J P Stratton Cup at Gloucester Park. Trainer Gary Hall Sr confirmed he would run Chicago Bull this week, just eight days ahead of the Group 1 Victoria Cup at Melton. “It’s a good race this week and he thrives on backing-up,” Hall Sr said. Chicago Bull will dominate betting regardless of draws on Friday given he’s won his past eight on end and 11 of his past 12 starts. Beyond the Victoria Cup, Hall Sr still has his sights on a 2200m standing-start handicap at Alexandra Park on October 26 for Chicago Bull. The Aussie TAB has Chicago Bull $3 favourite for the Victoria Cup and $4.50 favourite for the NZ Cup. __________________________________________________________________________________ EMERGING star Kima Frenning could face a big choice in a week or so. Frenning, the popular former Swede with the infectious smile, won her fourth Victorian country cup inside the past 12 months aboard former claimer Im The Boss last Thursday night. It the biggest of the four as well when Im The Boss led throughout to snare the $70,000 Group 2 Kilmore Cup, a race won by Lennytheshark and Soho Tribeca. It followed last season’s wins in the Cobram, Mildura and Shepparton Cups. The win, first-up from a spell and despite overracing at times in the lead, surely makes Saturday week’s Group 1 Victoria Cup a logical next target. But the same can be said for Im The Boss’ stablemate and another of Frenning’s regular drives, Wrappers Delight, who won well again at Melton last night. Frenning loves both horses, but has a special affinity for Im The Boss as he was her “breakthrough” horse. “I have got absolutely no words for this horse, he has just done so much for me. He just came to the end of his preparation last campaign and to come back and win a race like the Kilmore Cup against horses like that, he is just ridiculous,” she said. “When he is at his best he just goes to the front and keeps going and that is the way he races and that is what he does, he just knows it’s raceday.” Frenning admit to concern down the back straight the last time after Im The Boss had been so keen in front. “I was a bit worried as he’d been pulling a bit and then I saw I had My Kiwi Mate outside of me and Bettermatch out three-wide, but he just felt so strong on the bit and he just keeps boxing on and that is his best asset. He’s just got the biggest heart ever.” Im The Boss held-on to beat the rejuvenated Three Ways by 2.6m with another 1.9m away to Bad Billy in third spot. Favourite My Kiwi Mate didn’t enjoy doing the work outside the leader and tired late for seventh. __________________________________________________________________________________ A VICTORIA Cup tilt is next for classy sit-sprinter Mach Doro after his return to winning form at Menangle last night (Saturday). Owner Dom Martello looks set to have two runners in the Cup with his emerging pacer Wrappers Delight also right on target after winning at Melton last night. For Mach Doro, it won’t be his first Victoria Cup. Trainer Craig Cross took him down for the January, 2017 Cup won by Lazarus, but it was over at the start when Mach Doro galloped away. Cross looks to have timed his run at the race well with Mach Doro needing the run when first-up at Menangle two week’s back, then making the most of a gun run to beat quality rivals last night. Driver Luke McCarthy blasted Mach Doro off the gate to find the lead and then, sensibly, took the trail on seasoned Grand Circuit star Tiger Tara over the longer 2300m trip. Favourite Franco Nelson, first-up since June, had to work outside the leader, while Mach Doro had the cold trail. Tiger Tara sizzled a 26.9sec split from the 800-400m and still ran home in 27.7sec, but Mach Doro out-zipped him along the inside to win by 2.2m. Much-improved mare Village Witch ran a fantastic third, while Franco Nelson tried hard and was only beaten 3.8m in fourth spot in a slick 1min54sec mile rate. __________________________________________________________________________________ A DARING dip into open-class just failed to pay-off with emerging WA star King Of Swing last Friday night. With stable star Chicago Bull having a week off and knowing the Media Guild Cup was a preferential draw, trainer Gary Hall Sr threw King Of Swing into the race. The immensely talented former Kiwi drew the pole and led as expected, but was nabbed late by the tough and more seasoned Motu Premier. King Of Swing certainly had his chance with comfortable early splits and, although got a tad keen at times, driver Gary Hall Jr kicked away with what looked a winning break rounding the home bend. But Motu Premier, who did the work outside, just kept coming and snatched victory by a half-head over King Of Swing with Vampiro another head away in third spot in a 1min57.6sec mile rate for 2536m. It’s great to see Motu Premier, himself a former member of the All Stars’ barn, getting back to his best form for Merv Butterworth and trainer Ross Olivieri. __________________________________________________________________________________ SHANE Tritton has turned his unbeaten Chariots Of Fire hopeful Gods Spirit out for a spell. “He pulled-up with a bit of a cold after winning at Menangle last Tuesday so he can have a break now and come back around Christmas time to wind-up for the Chariots,” Tritton said. Gods Spirit won his first and only NZ run and, since being sold to Tritton, has won all four runs at Menangle by an aggregate of 65.1m. And he’s already paced a 1min50.9sec mile. __________________________________________________________________________________ FORMER Kiwi trotter Father Christmas just keeps getting better for Brent Lilley. The eight-year-old posted his fourth and best win from just 12 Aussie runs – he’s been placed six times as well – when he made light work of a 10m handicap to thrash his rivals in the Group 3 Kilmore Trotters’ Cup last Thursday night. Lilley flexed his muscle with five runners in the race and also snared third spot with Kyvalley Barney.   Adam Hamilton

King Of Swing will take centre stage at Gloucester Park for the Gary Hall stable tonight and looks poised to continue his hot winning streak. The Rocknroll Hanover colt has been in imperious form since taking out the WA Derby in April, justifying his high purchase price from New Zealand. King Of Swing, drawn in barrier one, is the raging $1.50 TAB favourite to make it six straight wins when he tackles a class rise in the 2018 WA Trotting Media Guild Cup (2536m). Hall’s son Gary Jr, who will drive King of Swing, says the bay horse faces his strongest test since arriving from New Zealand, but remained confident he was up to the challenge. The top reinsman said it was his intention for King Of Swing to take full advantage and go to the lead from his coveted inside draw. “I think if you get it right at the start from one at Gloucester Park it’s pretty hard to get crossed,” Hall Jr told Tabradio. “He gets out pretty good and is a lot more keener in his races this time in so the start shouldn’t be a concern. “I don’t think he deserves to be as short as he is and first time in this type of company which will be pretty hard. “You have to take him on trust a little bit meeting this company for the first time, but you would expect him to win if he leads comfortably. "There is no denying his class and ability." Vampiro ($3.80), Motu Premier ($6.50) and The Bucket List ($7.50) are the other runners in the field of seven that are in single figures. At $21 is Im Full Of Excuses, the Ross Oliveri-trained gelding has been unplaced in three runs this campaign and last-start ran fifth to Chicago Bull in the Navy Cup (2130m). But reinsman Chris Voak believes the bay gelding has shown signs of improvement and won’t rule him out of finishing in the placings. “I think he is on the improve and I think this prep you will see him come back to his best form,” Voak said. “His run last-start was good and he worked very well during the week. “He is probably this run and another off recapturing his best form. “I give him a sneaky place hope and thought his last run was full of merit. “He came wide and down the line and wasn’t covered up on the pegs. “He actually made ground and it will be a good race.” Julio Santarelli

Champion trainer Gary Hall Snr has just purchased promising New Zealand three-year-old Major Trojan on behalf of stable clients and will set the son of Art Major for the rich WA Derby next May. Hall, who has won four of the past six the WA Derbies with New Zealand youngsters Alta Christiano, Beaudiene Boaz, Chicago Bull and King of Swing, was impressed when Major Trojan scored a superb first-up victory at Alexandra Park last Friday. After starting from barrier five, Major Trojan settled down in second place before bursting to the front after 400m and then setting a solid pace and winning by four lengths from the fast-finishing Bettorstartdreaming. He dashed over the final 800m in 56.9sec. and the last 400m in 28.4sec. and rated 1.56.6 over the 2200m journey. That was Major Trojan’s second start. After he made his debut at Addington early in February this year when second to Heisenberg over 1950m the colt fractured a cannon bone which kept him out of action for seven months. Major Trojan, who is trained by Michael Purdon and has been driven at his two starts by Nathan Purdon, is a full-brother to the brilliant but injury-plagued The Odd Lover, who has managed to contest only 22 races for 12 wins, seven seconds and one third for earnings of $117,681. Beaudiene Boaz, winner of the 2015 WA Derby, has died in the South West of the State after being retired to stud. The cause of death is believed to be a snake bite. Beaudiene Boaz was an outstanding performer for Hall, winning four group 1 events, four group 2s, one group 3 and two listed classics. His major victories were the Golden Slipper in 2014, the WA Derby the following year, the Golden Nugget championship in 2015 and the 2016 Fremantle Cup. Ken Casellas

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