Minor Concern for Chicago Bull

Superstar pacer Chicago Bull continues answer all challenges with aplomb and he should complete his preparation for the $450,000 TABtouch WA Pacing Cup on Friday week with a convincing victory in the $50,000 RWWA Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

He will start from barrier two on the back line and should carry too many guns for his rivals.

However, slaves to statistical information will point out that there are some unexpected warning signs. This will be only the seventh time in 81 starts in Western Australia that Chicago Bull has started from the back line.

The champion seven-year-old’s record from his six WA back-line barrier draws shows that he has won only twice and has finished second twice and third twice.

His wins from the back line were when he raced in the breeze and was untroubled to beat Bobby Teal and the pacemaker Choccy Mac in a 2100m $7000 event for C5-class pacers at Bunbury on August 27, 2016, and when he enjoyed the one-out, one-back trail and got up to beat Soho Tribeca by a head at a 1.51.6 rate in the 1730m Mount Eden Mile at Gloucester Park on October 20, 2017.

His seconds were outstanding efforts when he trailed the pacemaker Tiger Tara and finished behind Lazarus in the Inter Dominion Championship grand final at Gloucester Park on December 8, 2017, and when he raced wide and then in the breeze before losing by a half-head to his fast-finishing stablemate My Hard Copy in the Pinjarra Cup on March 5, 2018.

Chicago Bull raced in the breeze for much of the way when third behind Shandale and Soho Tribeca in the 2130m Stratton Pace at Gloucester Park on October 6, 2017, and he raced three back on the pegs and was held up until late when third behind Soho Tribeca and Devendra in an Interdominion heat at Bunbury’s Donaldson Park on November 28, 2017.

His recent dazzling form points to another triumph this week. He notched his sixth win in a row and his 12th from his past 13 starts when he demolished the opposition in the Group 1 2536m Fremantle Cup last Friday night.

He started from barrier No. 6 on the front line and settled down in ninth position before Gary Hall Jnr sent him forward after a lap. He raced three wide for about 500m before getting to the breeze outside the pacemaker Vampiro. He forged to the front 250m from home and surged away to win by two lengths from Galactic Star, rating 1.56.9.

Adding considerable interest to the RWWA Cup, an event which Chicago Bull won in 2018 when he started from barrier six, raced three wide early and then took the lead before dashing away to win by four lengths from stablemate Ohoka Punter, rating 1.54.4, will be the appearance of talented four-year-olds Perfect Major and To Fast To Serious.

Chris Voak will drive the Ross Olivieri-trained Perfect Major from the prized No. 1 barrier on the front line and he should have him in a commanding position all the way. He raced three back on the pegs and was badly blocked for a clear run when an unlucky eighth behind Chicago Bull in last week’s Fremantle Cup.

At his previous start, five days earlier, Perfect Major worked hard without cover and fought on grandly when third behind Chicago Bull and Shockwave in the 2130m Cranley Memorial.

Mt Helena trainer and ace reinsman Aldo Cortopassi share a high opinion of To Fast To Serious, a winner at 13 of his 19 starts who will begin from the inside barrier on the back line. To Fast To Serious made most of the running when he scored by three lengths from Gran Chico at a 1.57.7 rate over 2536m last Friday night.

Leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond are hoping for a strong showing from their indefatigable 11-year-old Our Jimmy Johnstone, who will be driven by Deni Roberts from the favourable No. 3 barrier on the front line. The gelding, a veteran of 146 starts, won the 2017 RWWA cup and he looks capable of fighting out the finish on Friday night.

The Bond stable will also be represented by Ocean Ridge, who will be driven by Ryan Warwick from the awkward barrier at No. 7. He has been unplaced at his five starts since a spell, but it is well worth considering that his most recent victory was seven starts ago when he finished strongly to win from Chicago Bull and Our Jimmy Johnstone at Gloucester Park on June 19.