New Zealand-bred five-year-old Gambit is a big heavily-built horse standing almost 16 hands — and champion trainer Gary Hall snr makes no secret that he dislikes big pacers.
But Hall is prepared to make an exception and is looking forward to Gambit developing into a top-flight performer in Western Australia.
Gambit, making his first appearance for six months and the $2.40 favourite from the No. 7 barrier, made a successful Australian debut when he beat Pocket The Cash and Shanway in the 2130m Pacing For Pink WA Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Gary Hall jnr had no hesitation in sending Gambit forward, three wide, during a slow lead time of 39.5sec. and then was content to get the gelding to relax in the breeze with $2.50 chance Pocket The Cash setting a moderate pace with opening quarters of 31.7sec. and 29.1sec.
Then the race changed tempo with final 400m sections of 27.8sec. and 28.5sec., with Gambit getting to the front 50m from the post and winning by a metre at a 1.58.3 rate.
“He lost form at his final few runs in New Zealand,” said Hall snr. “It now seems that he is back to something near to his best, and he should be improved by the run. They walked early but ran the last half quick enough. He did all the work and won comfortably.
“I will set him for the Cups at the end of the year if he can get up to that level. He has beaten some good horses in New Zealand and has definitely got the ability.
“However, I don’t like big horses. Zakara would’ve been the biggest horse I’ve trained, and he wasn’t that big. I haven’t had any really big horses. I prefer smaller horses. Beaudiene Boaz, The Falcon Strike, Im Themightyquinn, Chicago Bull and My Hard Copy were all on the small side.”
Gambit is by American sire Shadow Play and is the eighth and last foal out of New Zealand-bred mare Whata Breeze, who raced 38 times for four wins, 12 placings and $42,639. Gambit’s maternal granddam Reign In New York produced Immortal Quest, who raced successfully in New Zealand, Australia and America before being retired after a 103-start career produced 30 wins, 29 placings and $449,590.
Written by Ken Casellas | Photo Credit: Hamilton Content Creators