Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators
Champion reinsman Gary Hall jnr is in awe of three-year-old Jumpingjackmac, declaring that the inexperienced New Zealand-bred gelding is the best pacer in the powerful stable run by his father and Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall snr.
Hall jnr heaped praise on Jumpingjackmac after he had driven him to a desperately close victory over Otis and the pacemaker Stamford in the 2130m Better Your Bet With TABtouch Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Racing first-up after a 19-week absence, Jumpingjackmac, the second fancy at $2.70, overcame the disadvantage of starting from the outside barrier (No. 9) and a tough run in the breeze to finish with great determination to get up in the final couple of strides to beat the $1.70 favourite Otis by a half-head, with $16 chance Stamford a nose away in third place.
Stamford was smartest into stride from barrier six and Aldo Cortopassi sent him past Otis and into the lead 50m after the start. Jumpingjackmac settled in seventh position in the one-out, two-back position before Hall switched him three wide after a lap and into the breeze with 1200m to travel, with Otis trailing the pacemaker.
Otis lost few friends with his strong three-wide finishing burst in an event in which the final quarters were covered in 29.1sec., 28.9sec. and 28.3sec., with the first three placegetters rating 1.56.3.
“I had always planned to go to the breeze, and when Otis got crossed and went to the fence it made it a bit easier for us,” said Hall. “If Otis had stayed in the breeze it would have made it harder for us. It is hard when you win by a half-head to determine whether the horse has gone as good as he can.
“He has done a good job. He wasn’t really tractable, and he did a few things wrong, and he has done that before. We need to iron those faults out. He will get better with the more racing he has.
“He hung in when I was going around into the breeze, and I got close to Aldo’s wheel. It was a bit of a nightmare for a second. And then he hung in again on the final bend.
“I think Jumpingjackmac is our best horse. You have to count Chicago Bull out because he is in the twilight of his career. Potentially, Jumpingjackmac is our best; he does things that he shouldn’t be able to do on limited work. He’s got a big motor, and rating 1.56.3 was very good, considering that the track was rain-affected.”
Jumpingjackmac, who has raced eleven times (all in WA) for eight wins, two seconds and $103,049 in stakes, is looming large as the horse to beat in the rich classics for four-year-olds early next year.