Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators
Champion reinsman Gary Hall jnr drove stablemates Alta Blues and Alta Intrigue to impressive victories last Friday night, and he has given punters a good lead by opting to handle Alta Blues in preference to Alta Intrigue in the $19,000 Allwood Stud Farm Pace over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
“Both have got a pretty good chance,” he said. “I have chosen to drive Alta Blues. He is a bit of a favourite of mine, and I’ve done a lot of work with him when he was a baby. And he does all right as well.
“I was also stoked with Alta Intrigue’s run last week. He is low flying and is really putting it all together.”
Alta Blues will start from the No. 6 barrier in the field of eight, with Alta Intrigue, to be driven by Callan Suvaljko, favourably drawn at barrier two in an event in which the polemaker Caveman (Mark Reed) is expected to lead.
Alkta Blues started from the No. 6 barrier in a 2536m event last Friday night when he was last 550m after the start before Hall set him alight and he burst to the front after a lap and went on to dash over the final 800m in 56.9sec. when he won by more than two lengths from Tyler Brett, rating 1.58.8. That was the WA-bred four-year-old’s eleventh win from 23 starts.
The New Zealand-bred Alta Intrigue notched his second win in a row last Friday night when he enjoyed a perfect trail in the one-out, one-back position before sprinting strongly to gain a last-stride win from the pacemaker Al Guerrero in the 2130m group 2 Binshaw Classic over 2130m, rating 1.57.8.
Alta Blues and Alta Intrigue are trained by Gary Hall snr, who has a high opinion of Alta Blues. The Hall camp also is confident of a strong showing from Euphoria in the 2130m Channel 7 Pace in which the American Ideal four-year-old will start out wide at barrier eight.
Euphoria raced without cover before fighting on grandly to be a half-neck second to the pacemaker Shadow Roll over 2130m last Friday night. He set the pace and won in good style at his two previous starts.
“He went super last week,” said Hall jnr. “Each run back in has been better and better, and I reckon last week’s effort was his best run. He is maturing and should continue to get better.”
In an open field this week, Euphoria will meet with plenty of opposition from Manning, Euphoric Moment, Tyler Brett and Boom Time.
Euphoric Moment, to be driven by Deni Roberts from the No. 1 barrier for Collie trainer Errol Ashcroft, is knocking on the door after excellent seconds — behind Mandy Joan and One For Dave Andme — at her past two starts.
Euphoric Moment generally races better when he races in the field and produces a strong finishing burst. He has started from the No. 1 barrier nine times for two wins (leading at Wagin and sitting behind the pacemaker at Gloucester Park). His best performance from barrier one was when he set the pace and finished a half-length second to Perfect Major in the group 3 Preux Chevalier Pace last October.
Manning (barrier two) and Tyler Brett (five) possess excellent gate speed, with Manning capable of holding the lead by virtue of his superior barrier.