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Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators

Champion driver Gary Hall jnr was highly impressed when he drove the Justin Prentice-trained Tricky Miki to an all-the-way win last Friday week. But he was quick to admit that he was shocked by the sizzling finishing burst of trainer-reinsman Aiden de Campo’s The Miki Taker.

The Miki Taker raced in fifth position and was fourth at the 100m mark before flying home to fail by a head to catch Tricky Miki, who sped over the final 400m sections in 27.9sec. and 27.6sec.

“I was flying with Tricky Miki and thought that he was going that fast that nothing could make ground,” he said. “And then I was almost caught by The Miki Taker.”

De Campo has two runners in the 2536m Honsun Pace for three-year-olds at Gloucester Park on Friday night, and he has opted to handle Rock On Top, while engaging Hall to drive The Miki Taker for the first time in a race.

Hall said that he was reluctant to decide against driving the Annie Belton-trained Mister Montblanc, a colt he has driven to easy victories at Gloucester Park and Pinjarra at his past two outings.

“I felt bad by jumping off Mister Montblanc, but I chose The Miki Taker because he was so impressive at his latest run,” said Hall. Mister Montblanc will be driven by Emily Suvaljko in Friday night’s seven-horse event.

The Miki Taker, who has been driven at six of his nine starts by de Campo, will start from the outside barrier, at No. 7, with Rock On Top starting from barrier six.

De Campo will drive Rock On Top, and he said: “Rock On Top and The Miki Taker have equal chances. They are different horses, and on ability I reckon they are about equal. The Miki Taker is the more complete package, while Rock On Top has a heap of high speed.

“This is a very competitive race, and it looks hard for my two horses from the outside barriers against Maungatahi (barrier one) and Swingband (two), who are racing really well,” said de Campo. “Perhaps the 2536m might sort some of them out, but with only seven runners I don’t expect the race to be run at a great pace.”

Maungatahi has raced 11 times for two wins and six placings, and Dylan Egerton-Green will be anxious to use the colt’s good gate speed in a bid for an all-the-way victory. Baskerville trainer Ryan Bell has Swingband racing in splendid style, and he looks set to fight out the finish. He worked hard in the breeze and fought on grandly when a close third behind Tricky Miki and The Miki Taker last Friday week.

De Campo said he was hoping for success earlier in the program with the improving four-year-old Dominus Factum, who has drawn ideally at barrier one in the 2130m Imperial Finance Pace.

Dominus Factum relished his pacemaking role last Friday night when he was a comfortable winner over Orlando Blue and Arma Einstein.

“Dominus Factum worked well again this (Tuesday) morning, and he will lead on Friday night and see how we will go,” he said. “It’s a harder race and we are up against a few nice horses.”

Horses starting from the No. 1 barrier look certain to dominate the program, with veteran pacer Marquisard the only polemarker in the ten events unlikely to be a very strong winning chance.