Michael Heaton | Photo: Gloucester Park Harness Racing
Champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr had a red-letter night at Gloucester Park on Friday night, driving four winners from eight drives.
The Hall of Famer guided Vivere Damore to victory in the opening race of the 10-race card before landing a treble for his father, trainer Gary Hall Snr, with stablemates Will I Rocknroll, Jumpingjackmac and Finvara.
Hall Jnr, who goes on an annual holiday to Exmouth on Monday, says the results came at a handy time.
“It was good to get that night in before I left,” he said.
“We go up every year with Justin and Jacqueline Prentice and a few other couples.
“Deni Roberts and Mitch Miller are coming this year, so there are 10 of us going.”
Veteran mare Vivere Damore kicked off Hall Jnr’s good night in the opening race of the program when relishing a change of fortune and jumping from barrier one in the Trotsynd Fillies & Mares Pace (2130m).
The Peter Tilbrook-trained seven-year-old had drawn the pole position only once from her previous 46 starts and justified her $2.50 favouritism with an all-the-way win.
“She deserved that win,” Hall Jnr said.
“She’s raced without luck at the draw for a long time so her and Will I Rocknroll both came up with a marble and took advantage.
“You could be waiting another 20 starts for a good draw so it was good to get the win when they get a draw.
“They’ve both been racing really well and anybody who had been following them were probably happy enough to be on them on Friday.
“It’s pretty competitive out there at the moment so when you don’t draw good it’s pretty hard.
“They both picked themselves on their form I thought.”
Later in the night Jumpingjackmac proved why the Hall camp have such a high opinion of him when toying with rivals in the Know When To Run Pace (2536m).
Starting a $2.05 favourite, the Free-For-All event was the Mach Three four-year-old’s first race start for more than four months.
“I said all last time in that I think he’s one of our best horses, if not the best,” Hall Jnr said.
“He’s been a little immature but he’s starting to put it all together now.
“He seems to go really well fresh and last time in his first-up run was super as well.
“We threw him in the deep end first-up, I suppose, but he won pretty comfortably and I think there are big things in store for him if he stays fit and healthy.”
Stablemate Finvarra, a four-year-old entire, continued the Halls’ good form when justifying his white-hot $1.10 favouritism with an easy win in the Has No Fear – G1 Winner Pace (2130m).
The son of American Ideal has won seven of his 14 race starts to date, as well as recording six minor placings, and Hall Jnr says he is a model of consistency.
“He’s just a horse everyone would love to own,” he said.
“He’s above average and he tries every time he goes out there.
“He’s had his little issues along the way – he’s really shallow in the foot and has a few issues, but we seem to be on the top of them at the moment.
“There’s actually not much between him and Jumpingjackmac on ability.
“They work up at home together and I was pretty confident Finvara would get the job done after Jumpingjackmac won.”
Hall Jnr was also pleased about the performance of Ron Huston’s Robbie Rocket ($4.20) when finishing second to the Michael Brennan-trained and Michael Grantham-driven Pinny Tiger ($1.85) in the Manning – G1 Winner Pace (2130m).
“I didn’t think he could hold Pinny Tiger out and win the race,” he said.
“When it crossed us it was probably all over for everyone, really.
“Pinny Tiger’s racing really well and it went super but I was actually really happy with Robbie Rocket’s run.
“He chased hard and he beat home the rest of the field pretty comfortably – I thought he was really good.
“For him to come out the gate hard, run that time and still finish off is a good sign.”