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Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators

Brilliant lightly-raced mare Balcatherine stamped herself as a genuine contender for the rich Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups early next year when she gave a superb frontrunning display to score an easy victory in the $50,000 Simmonds Steel City of Perth Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Champion trainer Gary Hall snr declared that the New Zealand-bred five-year-old was the best mare he has ever trained and said: “Her win tonight showed that she is worthy of a start in those big races.

“It was a feather in her cap, beating some of the State’s best pacers. She was most unlucky to miss selection for a start in the Cups last summer, and she now certainly deserves to get a start in those races in the New Year.”

And a buoyant Hall also served notice that superstar millionaire pacer Chicago Bull was firmly on track to contest the $300,000 Retravision Fremantle Cup on January 21 and the $50,000 WA Pacing Cup on February 4.

“Chicago Bull is the best horse in the State, and he is poised to make his comeback in a 1730m Free-For-All at Gloucester Park next Friday night,” he said.

“He has overcome a few slight setbacks and is ready to go.”

Balcatherine’s victory on Friday night gave Hall a record ninth win in the group 2 City of Perth Cup, which was formerly known as the Lord Mayor’s Cup. And Balcatherine’s win in the 45TH running of the event was quite significant, with her being only the third mare to win the race, following the successes of Windy Jean in 1978 and Another One For Me in 2012.

Hall’s previous wins were with Tricky Bey (1994), Abit Rich (1997), Live To Reign (2007), Talk To Me Courage (2010), Livingontheinterest (2014), Northview Punter (2015), Cyamach (2016) and Chicago Bull (2018).

Balcatherine, the $5.70 second fancy in Friday night’s Cup, upstaged the highly-acclaimed four-year-old Magnificent Storm (the $1.55 favourite), last season’s WA Pacing Cup winner Vultan Tin and other recent winners Hurricane Harley, Hampton Banner, Savvy Bromac, Wildwest and Galactic Star.

Driven with great confidence by Gary Hall jnr, Balcatherine began quickly from the No. 2 barrier, but was beaten out by Magnificent Storm, who challenged hard for the early lead after starting from the No. 3 barrier.

Magnificent Storm, a winner at 18 of his 20 starts, led by almost a full length but was unable to cross Balcatherine, and was left in the breeze until Hampton Banner, three wide early, assumed that position.

Then with Hampton Banner dropping back, Aldo Cortopassi eased Magnificent Storm three wide to dash forward and again move to the position outside the pacemaking Balcatherine.

After a fast lead time of 36.1sec. the opening quarter of the final mile was a slow 32.1sec. before Hall revved up Balcatherine, who sped over the final three 400m sections in 28.9sec., 27.4sec. and 28.1sec.

Balcatherine beat $12 chance Motu Premier by more than a length, rating 1.55.3 over the 2130m.  Motu Premier, who trailed Balcatherine throughout, finished strongly to finish almost a length ahead of a wilting Magnificent Storm in third place.

Balcatherine, who is raced by Steve and Tina Chapman and their children Danielle and Ben, has raced only 28 times for 11 wins, ten placings and $260,481 in prizemoney.