Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators
Talented driver Maddison Brown is looking forward keenly to driving champion pacer Chicago Bull for the first time in a race when the evergreen nine-year-old contests the $30,000 Channel 7 Media Guild Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
And the 26-year-old Brown has high hopes of creating history by becoming the first female to win this event in its 42-year history, with Lisa Smith being the best-placed female driver — when Bow And Arrow led on the home turn before being beaten into second place by the fast-finishing Gusty Way, driven by Trevor Warwick in 1988.
Brown will replace her partner, champion reinsman Gary Hall jnr, who is serving a brief term of suspension.
“I used to drive Chicago Bull in all his trackwork, but haven’t done so recently,” said Brown. “It will be good to drive him in a race. It’s a shame that Junior has got time, but obviously this has given me the opportunity to drive Bull. I’m very grateful.
“Chicago Bull will start from the outside in the field of six, and tactically it is always difficult in a small field.”
Hall Of Fame trainer Gary Hall snr said he was extremely happy with the way Chicago Bull had worked since his superb third placing in a three-way photo finish behind Wildwest and Miracle Moose in the WA Pacing Cup two Fridays ago.
“He should be very hard to beat,” he said. “I envisage Bully being in the breeze at some stage.”
Hall will also be represented in the Cup by Balcatherine, who will start from barrier two with Deni Roberts in the sulky. Balcatherine is the only mare in the race, and if she is successful she will join Via Vista (1984) and Libertybelle Midfrew (2016) as the only mares to win a Media Guild Cup.
Hall has trained the winner of the Media Guild Cup four times. He has been successful with The Falcon Strike (2003), Kotare Flame (2007), Washakie (2008) and Our Arlington (2014).
It will be a most unusual sight to witness Chicago Bull racing without Hall jnr in the sulky. Hall has driven Chicago Bull 92 times for 58 wins, 15 seconds and ten thirds.
Chicago Bull will need to be at his top to win on Friday night when he will clash with recent winners Miracle Moose, Papinik, Sangue Reale and Balcatherine, as well as the outstanding seven-year-old Mighty Conqueror, a winner at 20 of his 48 starts for earnings of $632,488.
Champion reinsman Chris Lewis has been engaged to handle the Nathan Turvey-trained Miracle Moose, a half-head second to Wildwest in the WA Pacing Cup two Fridays ago, a week after finishing fast to win from Magnificent Storm. Lewis will replace Emily Suvaljko, who is serving a term of suspension.
Lewis has won the Media Guild Cup with Village Kid (1987 and 1991), Paly (2002), No Blue Manna (2007), Has The Answers (2010) and Motu Premier (2018). Miracle Moose, who will start from barrier three, will have an army of supporters.
Ryan Warwick, who drives Mighty Conqueror for leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, has won the Cup with Fernlea (2004) and Simply Susational (2017).