Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators
Speedy New Zealand-bred five-year-old Hampton Banner ended a losing sequence of ten when he had to work hard before holding on to beat the strong-finishing pair of Valentines Brook and Vivere Damore in the 2130m APG Magic Millions Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Hampton Banner, the $1.40 favourite from the outside barrier (No. 9), began with his normal brilliance, but had to work hard for the first 300m to get past $6.50 chance Alta Rhett, who was responsible for the fast lead time of 35.9sec.
Hampton Banner was able to relax with opening quarters of 31.7sec. and 31.1sec. before withstanding a challenge from Hesashark 600m from the finish. He dashed over the final 400m sections in 28.5sec. and 27.9sec. and Chris Lewis did not have to use the whip in the closing stages as the Bettors Delight gelding held Valentines Brook and Vivere Damore at bay.
Hampton Banner’s losing run of ten came after he had won six races in a row. A winner at three of his ten New Zealand starts, Hampton Banner, who is prepared by Hopeland trainer Debra Lewis, has raced 20 times in Western Australia — all at Gloucester Park — for seven wins. His 30 starts have produced ten wins and five seconds for stakes of $131,996.