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Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators

Star reinsman Gary Hall jnr had many anxious moments before Alta Intrigue held on grimly to beat the pacemaker Shadow Roll in the 2130m Cowdens The Insurance Brokers Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

“I thought Alta Intrigue was going to win easily, and then he sort of switched off a bit and Dylan (Egerton-Green) kicked back on the inside with Shadow Roll,” said Hall. “It was close on the line.”

Shadow Roll ($3.10) led from barrier two and made it tough for his rivals when he sprinted over the third quarter of the final mile in 27.9sec. Alta Intrigue, the $2.90 favourite who had raced without cover, challenged strongly over the final 400m and the two horses were locked together in the home straight, with Alta Intrigue gaining a narrow advantage.

Hall was not sure whether Alta Intrigue had held on to win until the photo finish revealed that he had won by a half-head.

“I didn’t really want to be in the breeze, but there probably wasn’t another spot we could aim for from our draw (barrier five),” said Hall.

Alta Intrigue, a seven-year-old Mach Three gelding prepared by Gary Hall snr, has been a good moneyspinner, with earnings of $219,073 from 11 wins and 25 placings from 59 starts. A winner of four races in New Zealand, he has had 33 starts in WA for seven wins and 12 placings. He is out of former American pacer Samantha Q, who earned $130,597 on north American tracks before being sent to New Zealand as a brood mare.