Major Trojan Starts his Nugget Campaign
Major Trojan is an up-and-coming star and he will resume racing after an absence of almost four months when he contests the $30,000 Chandon Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
This will be his first appearance in an ambitious campaign which includes the rich Golden Nugget championship in December.
Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall Snr has Major Trojan, a lightly-raced New Zealand-bred three-year-old, in excellent shape for his first-up engagement, judged by the ease of his win in a 2150m Byford trial on Sunday morning.
Driven by Maddison Brown, Major Trojan dashed to the front after 300m in the trial before relinquishing the lead to stablemate Wildwest after a lap. Major Trojan then took a narrow lead 400m from home and won, unextended, by 4m from Wildwest, rating 1.57.7. The final three quarters were covered in 28.8sec., 29.2sec. and 27.5sec.
Champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr will be in the sulky behind Major Trojan on Friday night when the Art Major colt will start from the No. 2 barrier on the front line. Major Trojan has not raced since he gave convincing proof of his class when he finished powerfully to win the 2536m WA Derby from Bletchley Park and Franco Edward early in April. That took his record to ten starts for four wins and five placings for earnings of $173,964.
Major Trojan is the youngest and least experienced runner in Friday night’s race when he will be opposed by nine pacers in solid racing condition. His most serious rivals appear to be the two four-year-olds in the race, Bechers Brook (barrier three) and Roman Aviator (six).
The Mike Reed-trained Bechers Brook has a splendid record of 27 starts for 12 wins, seven seconds and two thirds. He ran on solidly from sixth at the bell to finish a good second to Saying Grace over 2130m last Friday night.
Roman Aviator, trained and driven by Aldo Cortopassi, is in grand form and boasts a fine record of 41 starts for 11 wins, ten seconds and one third placing. From barrier four, he took up the running after 400m in a 2536m event last Friday night. He received a flat tyre 600m from home but was still able to win by a half-length from Waimac Attack.
A win by Major Trojan would continue a great run of successes for Hall jnr, who has had 651 drives this season for 175 wins and 199 placings. He is in fourth place in the national top 20 drivers’ premiership table --- behind Victorian stars Chris Alford (374 wins from 1514 drives) and Greg Sugars (235 wins from 1280 drives) and Queenslander Grant Dixon (213 wins from 1167 drives).
Major Trojan is the best of the Hall stable’s seven runners on Friday night, with the other six runners all sound each-way chances. Robb Stark (Hall jnr) and One Off Delight (Stuart McDonald) are leading prospects in race one, the 2536m Retravision Pace.
Robb Stark gets an excellent chance to end a losing run of seven when he starts from barrier No. 2 on the back line. He covered extra ground early and then enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, before running home strongly to finish second to Gee Jay Kay over 2130m last Friday night. One Off Delight is a smart frontrunner, who will be fancied from the No. 1 barrier.
The Dali Express, a newcomer to the powerful Ross Olivieri stable, also has strong claims in race one. The Dali Express ruined his chances at his West Australian debut last Friday night when he galloped at the standing start and then worked hard without cover before wilting to sixth behind Fizzing in the BOTRA Cup.
The Hall camp will be represented by three runners Speed Man (Lauren Jones), Ideal One (Maddison Brown) and King of Swing (Hall jnr) in race six, the 2130m Direct Trades Supply Pace. This is an open affair in which Im Soxy, from barrier six for Bunbury trainer and reinsman Ryan Warwick, should prove hard to beat following his excellent head second to Vultan Tin over 2536m last Friday night.