Chicago Bull in High Spirits
Superstar pacer Chicago Bull has thrived since his brilliant victory in the Mount Eden Sprint a fortnight ago and he looks set to give champion trainer Gary Hall Snr a record fourth victory in the $30,000 Howard Porter Memorial at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Star reinsman Gary Hall Jnr is taking nothing for granted, saying: “It should be a walk in the park, but we don’t think like that until the job’s done.
“Chicago Bull is enjoying his racing and his time at home and I couldn’t be happier with him.”
Chicago Bull will dominate betting on the race, particularly after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier in the 2130m group 3 feature event and Hall jnr is confident that the remarkable seven-year-old will follow in the footsteps of Maczaffair ($1.10) and Vampiro ($1.50) by making the most of the No. 1 barrier by setting the pace and winning the past two Porter Memorials.
Hall Jnr has won the race twice, behind the Ken White-trained Fletcher Christian in 2003 and the 9/2 chance Crusader Banner, who set the pace from the No. 2 barrier and defeated Red Salute and Bettors Fire in the 2015 Porter Memorial. Crusader Banner gave Hall Snr his third success in the event after he trained and drove Make The Rules (1999) and Its Written In The Stars (2000).
Chicago Bull notched his 58th victory last Friday week when he was untroubled to lead from barrier one and scored by two lengths from Shockwave.
“There was talk before the race that Vampiro could cross Chicago Bull at the start,” said Hall Jnr. “But that did not eventuate. I had Bully pretty wound up, and I don’t think that anything could cross him, the way he felt.”
Ryan Bell echoed the feelings of the other trainers in Friday night’s race when he said that his horse Shockwave had no chance of beating Chicago Bull.
“It’s a matter of the luck of the draw, and, unfortunately, we were the unlucky ones,” said Bell. “From barrier five, Shockwave just can’t beat the Bull. Shockwave is fit and well, but the Bull keeps drawing favourable alleys and we keep drawing not badly, but not favourable barriers against him.
“Hopefully, we can run second again. I’ll leave the tactics, one hundred per cent, up to Aiden (de Campo). The three horses drawn to the immediate inside of Shockwave (Vultan Tin, Argyle Red and Convert Denario) all have superior gate speed, so it’s going to be hard.”
Kevin Jeavons, the managing part-owner of Shockwave, said that he received some consolation after Shockwave had drawn the No. 5 barrier when his other runner Jack Farthing, drew the inside barrier on the back line.
Jack Farthing, to be driven by Chris Lewis for Boyanup trainer Justin Prentice, looks set to gain a perfect passage behind the frontrunning Chicago Bull and is capable of unwinding a powerful finishing burst.
Jack Farthing made an impressive West Australian debut last Friday week when he sat behind the pacemaker Baylan Jett before sprinting home fast to win from Braeview Bondi over 2536m.
Leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond prepared Vampiro for his all-the-way victory in the 2019 Porter Memorial and they will be pinning their hopes this year on El Jacko, who will start from the No. 2 barrier on the back line with leading driver Ryan Warwick in the sulky. El Jacko, a winner of 23 races, has been unplaced at his past seven starts, but he should enjoy an ideal trip and is capable of being placed.