Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators
Outstanding three-year-old Jumpingjackmac faces a serious test when he will be challenged by some of the State’s best pacers in the $25,000 Garrard’s Horse And Hound Pace at Gloucester Park over 2130m on Friday afternoon.
Jumpingjackmac, trained by Gary Hall snr, is being set for the rich Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups in the next couple of months, and his performance in this elite company will be a guide to his prospects in the big races.
He boasts a wonderful record of 17 starts for ten wins and six seconds, and goes into this week’s event in top form, following his all-the-way victory in the $50,000 Christmas Gift last Friday night.
Emily Suvaljko will drive Jumpingjackmac for the first time, and from the awkward draw at barrier No. 5, with proven Free-For-All performers on his inside and outside, she will have many options.
Jumpingjackmac’s stablemate Wildwest is also on target for the major Cup events. He looks set to fight out the finish after drawing favourably at the No. 2 barrier on the front line.
Wildwest, to be driven by Callan Suvaljko, revealed good gate speed last Friday night when he led from barrier one, set a solid pace and sprinted over the final 800m in 55.6sec. He held on gamely to beat his fast-finishing stablemate Diego by a half neck at a 1.52.8 rate over 1730m.
Whether Wildwest will be able to cross the polemarker Perfect Major is problematical. Perfect Major has led at nine of his 18 wins.
Diego, another smart performer trained by Hall, will be driven by Deni Roberts from barrier four. He caught the eye last Friday night when he raced three back on the pegs before flashing home with a late charge to be second to Wildwest.
The powerful Greg and Skye Bond stable will be represented by Patronus Star (barrier four) and Minstrel, the solitary runner on the back line.
Patronus Star (Dylan Egerton-Green) finished strongly when a close-up seventh behind Wildwest last week. That followed his excellent first-up, fast-finishing fourth behind Hurricane Harley a fortnight earlier.
Minstrel also has had two runs after a spell and is sure to be close to his peak this week. He raced in the breeze for much of the way when a first-up second to Hurricane Harley and raced wide early and then without cover when an excellent third behind Wildwest last week. He should fight out the finish. The Hall stable’s other talented three-year-old Finvarra, who has been placed behind Jumpingjackmac at his past two outings, is capable of overcoming the disadvantage of starting from the outside barrier in the field of nine in the 2130m Sky Racing Pace. He will be handled by Callan Suvaljko and has bright prospects of winning from Blitzembye, Star Of Willoughby and Squinta.