Extreme Prince Ticks the Boxes

One would suggest that it is highly unlikely that an eight-year-old pacer who has been unplaced at his past eight starts would excite harness racing pundits but champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr declares that everything points to a win by Extreme Prince in the $18,000 Better Your Bet With TABtouch Pace over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

“Everything is in his favour,” said Hall. “He’s got barrier one, he’s got gate speed and he loves the sprint trip. He went really good at his latest start when he ran home pretty well, and I think he should probably be winning this week.

“Franco Joaquin has good gate speed and Pradas Ideal Dahling is racing well, but I don’t think they will be able to beat Extreme Prince.”

Extreme Prince, trained by Hall’s father Gary Hall Snr, certainly caught the eye last Friday night when he started from the inside of the back line and raced three back on the pegs in fifth position before getting clear and finishing solidly, out three wide, to be fourth behind the pacemaker Son Of A Tiger over 2130m.

That was the New Zealand-bred gelding’s second appearance after an absence of five months. His most recent victory was 11 months ago when he started from barrier one and Lauren Jones drove him to an all-the-way victory over 2130m, beating Mister Ardee and Always Arjay.

With Extreme Prince setting the pace it will enhance the prospects, particularly the place prospects, of the Ross Olivieri-trained The Dali Express, who is the only runner on the back line. Chris Lewis is likely to take the opportunity of giving The Dali Express a perfect passage behind the pacemaker.

Hall is also bullish about the prospects of nine-year-old Mad Robber in the $20,000 Community TAB Pace over 1730m, in which the stallion will start from the coveted No. 1 barrier.

Mad Robber, trained by Hall Snr., started from the inside barrier in a 2536m event last Friday night and was not extended in setting a leisurely pace for the first couple of laps before sprinting over the final quarters in 28sec. and 28.4sec. and winning easily from Bob Wheel and Smoldering Ashes.

“He’s up in class, but he did it that easily last week,” said Hall Jnr. “He should win again. He felt as though he could’ve gone another two laps; he did it really comfortably.”

Hall also said that Mad Robber had derived plenty of benefit from a short two-month break from racing and that he was most impressed with the horse’s second-up fifth two starts ago when he started from the outside of the back line and charged home from twelfth (and last) at the bell to finish fifth behind Eloquent Mach