Superstar pacer Chicago Bull is a youthful eight-year-old who is out to build on his outstanding record of winning first-up after a spell when he contests the $25,000 Christmas In July at the Beau Rivage Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
At his first appearance for 18 weeks, he will start out wide at barrier eight in the 2536m event in which he will clash with evergreen nine-year-old Vultan Tin, who beat him by just over a length in the $450,000 WA Pacing Cup early last December.
Chicago Bull finished third behind El Jacko and Franco Rayner at his Australian debut for champion trainer Gary Hall Snr, at Gloucester Park in November 2015 and since then he has raced first-up for Hall five times for five wins.
“I expect him to race well,” said Hall. “Obviously, 2536m first-up is not ideal, but he is ready. Major Times (trained by Ross Olivieri) also is first-up and in the same boat, and I’d say that Vultan Tin is the one to beat.
“Chicago Bull is working as good as he can at home, but I’m not sure how he’s going because he hasn’t got the quality that we used to work him with. The plan is to give him a solid preparation for the big Cups in the summer. Last season he had 25 starts for 17 wins, seven seconds and one third.”
Chicago Bull has never had any problems racing over 2536m, with his 20 starts over that distance producing 14 firsts, three seconds and three thirds.
The Hall stable will also be represented in this week’s race with the polemarker Whozideawasthis (Maddison Brown) and Eloquent Mach (Dylan Egerton-Green).
“Whozideawasthis goes best in front and will lead,” said Hall Snr. “Eloquent Mach is definitely an each-way chance after his good first-up fourth behind Perfect Major last week.”
Vultan Tin, prepared at Coolup by Phil Costello, will be having his first start for three weeks since he was restrained from the outside barrier in a field of nine and running home strongly from last at the bell with a five-wide burst to finish fifth behind Perfect Major over 2130m.
Outstanding young driver Emily Suvaljko will again be in the sulky behind Vultan Tin, and she predicted it appeared likely to be a tricky race.
“I’m doubtful whether Whozideawasthis will hand up (the lead) to us,” she said. “Phil wanted to sit him up at his latest start, so I’ll see what he wants me to do this week.”
by Ken Casellas