Chicago Bull is Simply the Best
Just over two years ago Chicago Bull cheated death in a freak stable accident in New Zealand, and at Gloucester Park on Friday night the superstar seven-year-old reinforced his standing as Australia’s best pacer with an incredible victory in the $300,000 Retravision Fremantle Cup.
It was a notable triumph for the chunky little gelding as well as for champion trainer Gary Hall Snr and reinsman Gary Hall Jnr, who can lay claim as the country’s finest driver.
Chicago Bull, presented in outstanding condition by Hall Snr and driven in masterly fashion by his son, was favourite at $1.80 and he thrilled an excitable crowd with his sheer brilliance as he stormed to an effortless victory, beating $23 chance Galactic Star by just under two lengths, with up-and-coming star Shockwave ($2.65) a gallant third.
“Chicago Bull was on the floor and we all thought he was taking his last breath,” said Hall Jnr as he recalled the devastating moments after the gelding suffered an anaphylactic reaction to an intravenous injection in Auckland in October 2018 and fractured eight bones in his wither region.
“I got a bit emotional in the cool-down lap tonight because memories came flooding back about what happened in New Zealand. To go from there to here, there’s so many people to thank. The horse has a heart bigger than himself and he’s an absolute marvel.
“I think he is now as good as he was then, if not better, and it’s all credit to Dad, who has done a super job to get him back to this form. Hopefully, we will be able to take him away again (with the Hunter Cup in Melbourne next year the likely target).”
Hall Snr was ecstatic after Friday night’s magnificent performance, saying: “He’s unbelievable; he won so easily tonight, and I’m happy for Junior because he was nervous , and it was devastating for him to be over there in New Zealand when he was caretaking him. The accident wasn’t his fault.
“This makes up for it now. Chicago Bull is running to the line better and is running away from them (his rivals). Before, he used to wait for them, but tonight it was amazing the way he went to the line.
“I’ve won a few Fremantle Cups and I’m surprised at how overwhelmed I am the way Chicago Bull went tonight. He never ceases to surprise me. He’s the smallest horse I’ve trained, and he’s got a heart like a lion.”
Friday night’s victory gave Hall a record tenth win in the Fremantle Cup, and his fifth success in the past six years. It was Hall junior’s ninth win in the big race.
Vampiro ($31), from barrier four, was the smartest to begin, but the polemarker Bletchley Park set the pace for the first 300m before Colin Brown sent Vampiro to the front soon after Vampiro had locked sulky wheels with stablemate Mighty Conqueror, causing that pacer to break into a fierce gallop and drop back to the rear.
Shockwave settled down in sixth position in the one-out, one-back trail, before Aiden de Campo urged him forward, three wide, 600m after the start, with Chicago Bull in ninth place in the one-wide line.
Shockwave moved to the breeze, and after a lap of the 2536m journey had been completed, Hall sent Chicago Bull forward, three wide. The champion raced three wide for about 500m before he wrested the breeze position from Shockwave.
Chicago Bull forged to the front approaching the home turn before he burst away to leave his rivals floundering in his wake. He rated 1.56.9 after a final quarter of 28.3sec. Galactic Star, who had raced in the breeze briefly in the early stages and was sixth in the one-wide line at the bell, finished powerfully to be second, with Shockwave in third place ahead of Bletchley Park. Vampiro wilted to finish sixth.
Chicago Bull, who improved his record to 89 starts for 60 wins, 14 seconds, nine thirds and stakes of $2,228,843, will now tackle the $450,000 WA Pacing Cup next Friday week.