Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators
Two-year-old Alta Christiano gelding High Price made a magnificent debut and looks set for stardom after setting then pace and winning easily in the 2130m Rock N Roll World Pedigree Perfection Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Trained by Gary Hall snr and driven confidently by Gary Hall jnr, High Price was the second favourite at $2.70 from the coveted No. 1 barrier, and he gave his supporters no cause for concern as he paced faultlessly in front and won by two lengths at a 1.58 rate from the $8.50 chance Paul Edward, who was last in the field of eight at the bell before running home fast, out four wide.
The $2.20 favourite Swingband started from the outside barrier and quickly moved to the breeze. But he wilted in the home straight to finish sixth.
High Price is owned by Victorians Adam Merrington and M. Howden and Hall senior’s wife Karen. The well-muscled gelding is the first foal out of the Grinfromeartoear mare Harriet Price, who won twice in New Zealand before being purchased for $30,000 by Hall snr for Merrington and Howden.
Harriet Price had eight starts for Hall in WA for just one placing, a nose second to Fay Darling at Bunbury in December 2016.
“Harriet Price was no good, so I retired her,” said Hall. “I said to the owners that we’ve got Alta Christiano here, and we’ll go halves in the foal. High Price is the result, and we now have a weanling full-brother to him.
“High Price is very smart and is right up there with some of the best young horses I have trained,” said Hall.
High Price had impressed in leading and finishing a close second to Free Wheeling in a Byford trial the previous Sunday. Eight minutes before High Price’s Gloucester Park victory Free Wheeling, the $3.20 favourite and driven by Jocelyn Young for trainer Craig Abercromby, set the pace and won over 2100m at Bunbury, beating Like It Love It by two lengths.
Free Wheeling’s victory completed a winning quartet for Young, who was successful earlier on the night with Tiger Royal, Lincoln Joel and Cowboys N Bandits. Deni Roberts was another female driver to have a successful night at the Bunbury meeting. She scored with American Bullitt and Miss Mucho.