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Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators

Victorian-bred stallion Hurricane Harley, noted for his sizzling gate speed and dazzling sprinting ability in Melbourne and Sydney, is on target to contest the rich Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups in January after his brilliant win the $50,000 Allwood Stud Mount Eden Sprint at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

He has yet to win beyond 2240m and his only three runs over longer trips resulted in his third in a heat and seventh in the final of the 2400m New South Wales Derby at Menangle in early 2019, and his fourth placing in the 2555m Cranbourne Cup in December 2019.

However, his new trainer Justin Prentice is confident that the five-year-old will measure up to the 2536m Fremantle Cup and the WA Pacing Cup to be run over the marathon journey of 2936m.

“Hurricane Harley has raced in a lot of short races over there (in the eastern States), so we need to figure out the best way to have him ready for the big Cups in January,” he said. “It seems to me that he has the ticker to run (long) distances.”

Hurricane Harley was off the scene for nine months this year, and after his first-up fading fifth behind Perfect Major in the 2130m Stratton Cup a fortnight ago, he bounced back to form when he enjoyed a perfect passage in the one-out and one-back position before running home strongly with a three-wide burst from the 320m mark to hit the front at the 50m and win the 1730m Mount Eden Sprint by a half-length from the fast-finishing $71 outsider Babyface Adda, rating 1.53.3, with quarters of 28.9sec., 29.1sec., 27.7sec. and 28.5sec.

Polemarker and $1.90 favourite Perfect Major was crossed at the start by $6 chance Vampiro, who faded to finish sixth. Chris Lewis had no hesitation in easing Perfect Major off the inside and to race on the outside of the frontrunner, thus providing a perfect trail for Hurricane Harley, the $4.20 second fancy from the No. 7 barrier.

Perfect Major took a narrow lead about 120m from the finish and fought on grandly to finish third, a half-head behind Babyface Adda, who had an ideal passage three back on the pegs.

Hurricane Harley was driven perfectly by Gary Hall jnr to give him his eighth success in the Mount Eden Sprint, following wins with Bengeeman (2002), The Falcon Strike (2006), Im Themightyquinn (2011 and 2012), Waylade (2015) and Chicago Bull (2017 and 2020).

“Hurricane Harley was fit enough to handle his first-up run, but after being off the racetrack for nine months he probably needed that race experience to wake him up,” said Prentice.

“He has had a long break without any racing, so he will continue racing right the way through to the big Cups and try to get him used to our style of racing. And we should be able to learn more about him. His speed is his great strength, and when he leads, he can run such good sectionals.”

Hurricane Harley was bred and is owned by is prominent Victorian breeders Bill and Anne Anderson, owners of the showpiece Lauriston Stud.

“They got in contact with me several months ago and said they were interested in sending him over,” said Prentice. “They wanted to fly him over to Perth, but they couldn’t get a flight. It took months and I thought he wouldn’t be coming. But finally, he came by truck, and arrived in early August.”

Prentice is also looking forward to having his star pacer Rocknroll Lincoln, the all-the-way winner of the WA Pacing Cup in January 2019, fit and ready to contest the rich Cup events in January.   

Rocknroll Lincoln has recovered after twice being laid low by suspensory ligament damage to his nearside foreleg and was due to contest a trial at Pinjarra last Wednesday.

“But I had to take him out of the trial because he had a high temperature,” said Prentice. “He’s good and I was looking forward to taking him to trials. But he didn’t seem quite right. He will now have an easy week and probably will have a trial in two or three weeks.”