Champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr greatly admires Chicago Bull’s brilliance, his fighting qualities and great will-to-win, and he is looking forward, as usual, to driving him when he starts from the outside barrier at No. 9 in the 2130m Book A Private Box At Gloucester Park Pace at harness racing’s headquarters on Friday night.
This will be the evergreen eight-year-old’s second appearance after a spell a week after his somewhat disappointing sixth behind Whozideawasthis last Friday night.
“Chicago Bull is probably going to be at an enticing sort of price, I reckon,” said Hall. “However, I think he is still a risk. Perfect Major is going to make it tough for him to get into the race.”
Last week Chicago Bull began speedily from barrier eight but was unable to get to the breeze, or to the lead, forcing Hall to restrain him back to the rear. Chicago Bull then started a three-wide move from the rear with 900m to travel and fought on doggedly to finish sixth.
“He was pretty good last week,” said Hall. “I knew he was out of contention a fair way from home, and I didn’t push him. Actually, when I watched the replay, he was still trying to chase the others in the run to the line. Hes slowly making ground and didn’t give it away, something you wouldn’t expect him to do. I was a bit more pleased with his effort after watching the replay.”
Chicago Bull is one of five runners in the race from the stable’s a leading trainer Gary Hall Snr, the others being Ideal Liner (Michael Grantham), Eloquent Mach (Aiden de Campo), Balcatherine (Callan Suvaljko) and Whozideawasthis (Maddison Brown).
Ideal Liner, the winner of 13 races from 33 starts, will be having his first starts since finishing fifth behind Galactic Star in the York Cup at Gloucester Park early last September. Hall jnr said that the six-year-old’s third in a recent Byford trial was okay, and that the gelding had recovered from feet problems.
Eloquent Mach has resumed after a spell in most encouraging form, with a fourth behind Perfect Major and a second to Whozideawasthis last Friday night.
Balcatherine, the only mare in Friday night’s race, will start from the No. 6 barrier. A winner at ten of her 21 starts, she was most impressive last Friday week at her first appearance for four months when she raced in the one-out, one-back position before finishing fast, out wide, to be a nose second to Perfect Major over 1730m.
“She was left flat-footed, and that was to be expected, first-up,” said Hall Jnr. “She was coming on strongly on the line.”
Whozideawasthis gave a strong frontrunning performance from the No. 1 barrier to win over 2536m from Eloquent Mach and Vultan Tin last Friday night. He faces a far more difficult task this week from the outside of the back in the field of 12.
Chris Voak said he expected a strong effort from the Ross Olivieri-trained Perfect Major, who will start from the No. 5 barrier. Perfect Major also started from barrier five when he raced outside the leader Jack Farthing and went on to win the 1730m Members Sprint in a three-way photo finish from Balcatherine and Stroke Of Luck last Friday week.
“Perfect Major has got a good each-way chance and is tough enough to take it out,” Voak said.
by Ken Casellas