Test for Chicago Bull
Superstar pacer Chicago Bull holds the track record of 1.51.6 for 1730m at Gloucester Park, but he must overcome the curse of the No. 3 barrier if he is to win the $20,000 Members Sprint on Friday night.
The New Zealand-bred seven-year-old has started from barrier three at his past two appearances in races over 1730m and has finished third at $3.30 behind Bettors Fire ($56) and Soho Tribeca ($1.60) in December 2017 and second at $1.07 to stablemate Whozideawasthis in the Members Sprint 12 months ago.
He set the pace and was defeated by a half-length by Whozideawasthis, who finished fast after trailing Chicago Bull throughout.
Chicago Bull enjoyed the one-out, one-back passage and finished strongly, out four wide, when a close third behind Bettors Fire and Soho Tribeca at his previous appearance over 1730m. He started from the inside of the back line and raced in the one-out, one-back position when he ran home strongly to get up in the final stride and beat Soho Tribeca in 1.51.6 in the Mount Eden Sprint in October 2017 and he also won at his three previous starts over 1730m with rates of 1.55.9, 1.53.2 and 1.52.6.
The first of his seven starts over 1730m was as a three-year-old at Gloucester Park when he made his Australian debut in November 2015. From barrier five he was a $7.30 chance who raced in the one-out, one-back position and finished third behind El Jacko ($3.20) and Franco Rayner ($1.80).
El Jacko, trained by Greg and Skye Bond and to be handled by Ryan Warwick, will be one of Chicago Bull’s five rivals on Friday night and the seven-year-old who finished strongly when a head second to Chicago Bull over 2130m three starts ago, cannot be overlooked from barrier four. He is capable of unwinding a powerful finishing burst.
However, El Jacko’s evergreen 11-year-old stablemate Our Jimmy Johnstone looms large as a strong chance of beating Chicago Bull this week. Our Jimmy Johnstone, who will be driven by Bailey McDonough, will start from the No. 2 barrier. He possesses excellent gate speed, and if he is able to burst past the polemarker Vultan Tin and set the pace he will take plenty of beating.
Our Jimmy Johnstone caused an upset last Friday night when he was restrained at the start from barrier five and then raced in sixth (and last) position before charging home, out wide, to snatch a last-stride victory by a half-head from Chicago Bull, who had raced in the breeze before hitting the front 240m from home.
Our Jimmy Johnstone will be aiming for his second success in the Members Sprint --- after starting from barrier one and setting the pace before beating Beaudiene Boaz at a 1.54.3 rate in May 2017. He has raced 13 times over 1730m for three wins, three seconds, two thirds, two fourths, two sixths and a ninth.