Champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr has given punters a valuable lead by choosing to handle New Zealand-bred four-year-old Silent Major in the opening event, the 2536m Better Your Bet With TABtouch Pace at Gloucester Park on Saturday night.
He decided to drive Silent Major from barrier No. 2 on the back line in preference to stablemate and another New Zealand-bred four-year-old Master Publisher, who notched his seventh win from 19 starts two runs ago when he led from barrier two and beat Ardens Winstar over 2536m, with a final quarter in 27.8sec. Stuart McDonald will handle Master Publisher this week.
Silent Major has won at two of his three starts in WA for champion trainer Gary Hall Snr when he produced strong finishing bursts. At his most recent outing, he enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, before running home fast to beat stablemate Copy N Pace in the 1780m Village Kid Sprint at Northam.
The Hall stable will also be favoured to win with Mr Kiwi in race three and Texas Tiger in the fourth event. Both New Zealand-bred pacers are perfectly drawn at the No. 1 barrier in 2130m events, and Hall jnr will be keen to take advantage of the favourable barriers.
Mr Kiwi has won only once from 15 starts in WA, but this will be the first time he has started from the No. 1 barrier. Recent efforts indicate he will prove hard to beat.
Three starts ago Mr Kiwi raced wide early and then in the breeze before fighting on determinedly to finish third behind the pacemaker Extradite, and at his latest appearance he trailed the pacemaker Blockjorg and was hampered for room until late when a close third behind Alta Rhett and Bettor Be Oscar.
Four-year-old Texas Tiger rises considerably in class in the Caduceus Club At Gloucester Park Pace in which he will clash with several far better-performed pacers. But he has been most impressive in winning at his first four appearances in Western Australia.
He raced three wide early and then in the breeze before getting to the front approaching the home turn and being unextended in beating the pacemaker Anvil Rollover and Cordero.
By Ken Casellas