Latest News

Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators

Consistent five-year-old Euphoria is frustrating Gary Hall Jnr with his inability to finish strongly in his races, with the star reinsman at his wit’s end as he tries to discover the formula to get the gelding to become a more genuine performer.

“He is an enigma,” said Hall. “He should have won last Friday (when he refused to do his best in the closing stages when a half-head second to Whatabro). I haven’t been able to work out how to get him to run through the line.

“I’ve tried hitting him, not hitting him, I tried giving him one, leaving the ear plugs in. I’ve tried everything and I just can’t seem to be able to get the best out of him. I know it’s there. He goes from bolting to just giving it away.

“He has won races by leading, so that gives him a chance this week when he starts from barrier one. I’ll try to lead, but I’m not confident. If he does break through I reckon he will string a few together.

“He is quite tough and can race tough. He should lead and the distance (2536m) is not a worry.”

The four horses drawn to Euphoria’s outside (Euphoric Moment, Plutonium, Fanci A Dance and Jaspervellabeach) appear Euphoria’s chief rivals.

Plutonium is a promising six-year-old with a record of 32 starts for eight wins, six seconds and a third placing. The Michael Young-trained pacer will be having his first start for 13 months and will be driven by Maddison Brown.

Plutonium warmed up for his comeback event with an excellent trial at Pinjarra on Thursday of last week when he led for the first 400m and then trailed the pacemaker Always Fast before running home solidly to be second to that pacer, rating 1.56.3 over 2185m.

“Barrier three is a bit of a tricky draw, so we will tuck him away and let him run home,” said Young.

While Hall has his fingers crossed that Euphoria will end a losing sequence of 17, he is confident that Will I Rocknroll and Jumpingjackmac, pacers trained by his father Gary Hall snr, will prove hard to beat.

Will I Rocknroll will start from the No. 1 barrier in the 2130m Farmlock Fencing Pace, and Hall Jnr is planning to lead all the way in a race in which he will clash with in-form pacers Alta Rhett (barrier two) and Angel In White (three).

Will I Rocknroll returned to his best form last Friday night when he led for the first 200m and then trailed the pacemaker Typhoon Banner before he finished strongly to beat that pacer.

“He held Typhoon Banner out (early) last week, and there is a better chance here that he can hold up and lead on Friday night,” said Hall. It’s a good field but if Will I Rocknroll leads I think he should win.

“He is so much better in front. You can actually drive him like a good horse when he leads. He goes so much better on the rail.”

Jumpingjackmac will also start from the No. 1 barrier in the 2130m DTS All Your Civil And Construction Supply Needs Free-For-All, with Hall choosing to drive him in preference to stablemates Chicago Bull and Gambit, with Maddison Brown retaining the drive behind Diego, who led and won from Chicago Bull over 1730m last Friday night.

Adding great interest to this week’s event will be the first appearance in open-class company of outstanding four-year-old Lavra Joe, a winner at 22 of his 36 starts.

Lavra Joe, trained by Ray Jones, is handily drawn at barrier two, and Chris Lewis is looking forward to the gelding’s clash with Jumpingjackmac and established open-class pacers Chicago Bull, Minstrel, Diego, Gambit, Miracle Moose and Bletchley Park, as well as former Victorian pacer Always Fast.

Lavra Joe has not been extended in leading and winning at his first two outings after resuming following a 13-month absence. “On times, Lavra Joe has the ability to match the other runners,” said Lewis.

“It is early days for Lavra Joe; early in his preparation, and it will be testing time for him. But he’s in the mix. Regarding tactics, we will work things out on the track.”

Hall said he was confident that Jumpingjackmac had the pace to win the start. “I hope to lead and see what he can do,” he said. “Jumpingjackmac is a hard horse to pass when he leads.”

Always Fast is a newcomer to Michael Young’s Mundijong stables. He will be driven by Shannon Suvaljko, starting from the No. 5 barrier. A winner at 11 of his 51 starts, Always Fast showed good gate speed before getting to the front after 400m and going on to win comfortably from Plutonium, rating 1.56.2 in a 2185m trial at Pinjarra on Thursday of last week.

“He is the lowest assessed horse in the race, and he has drawn out of it,” said Young.