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Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators

Champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr has driven Chicago Bull to victory 58 times during the evergreen pacer’s glittering career, but he had no hesitation in choosing to handle the comparatively inexperienced four-year-old Jumpingjackmac in preference to his nine-year-old stablemate in the $30,000 Members Free-For-All at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

And Hall is confident that Jumpingjackmac not only will beat Chicago Bull but will also prove the master of rising superstar Magnificent Storm in the 2130m event.

Jumpingjackmac will start from the No. 1 barrier in the quality field of six runners, with Chicago Bull (to be driven by Callan Suvaljko) on the outside, and Magnificent Storm drawn at barrier four.

“It was an easy decision to pick Jumpingjackmac,” said Hall. “Chicago Bull is racing first-up and will definitely be underdone, and I do give Jumpingjackmac a good chance of beating Magnificent Storm.”

Hall is basing his confidence after assessing Magnificent Storm’s first-up victory by a head over While They Pray in a 2536m event last Friday night when While They Pray was driven by Hall and set a solid pace.

Magnificent Storm, having his first start for 19 weeks, raced three back on the pegs in the Indian file affair before racing without cover over the final 900m and gaining the narrow verdict after a titanic struggle with While They Pray over the final 400m.

“While They Pray stretched Magnificent Storm’s neck all the way to the line,” said Hall. “And I think that Jumpingjackmac has a bit more tactical speed than While They Pray, so he should be able to make it a bit harder for Magnificent Storm.

“If Jumpingjackmac is as good as we think he is and hope that he is, then if he can’t win under this scenario, it is hard to see him beating Magnificent Storm in the big events (like the Fremantle Cup and WA Pacing Cup) in the summer.

“Magnificent Storm did a good job to pick up (and beat) While They Pray, who is a good frontrunner. Jumpingjackmac is a great frontrunner and I think he is good enough to win.”

Jumpingjackmac, who is trained by Gary Hall Snr, has impressed with his 12 wins and six second placings in his 21-start career. He has performed strongly at his first two appearances after a spell, leading and winning first-up by more than two lengths from While They Pray over 2536m and then finishing fast from sixth at the bell to be second to Double Up over 1730m three weeks ago.

Chicago Bull, the winner of 62 races from 106 starts, has had a spell since he set the pace and wilted to fifth behind stablemate Diego in the 2692m Pinjarra Cup on March 7. He was placed at his three previous outings — behind Wildwest in the 2936m WA Pacing Cup, Balcatherine over 2130m and Cordero over 2536m.

“I have driven Chicago Bull once on the track (in recent weeks) and he felt normal,” said Hall Jnr. “It was just what you would expect from him. He will need the run for sure on Friday night, and so will Diego (who will be driven by Maddison Brown from barrier No. 2). At his previous preparation Chicago Bull took a bit longer (than usual) to come to his top.”

Aiden De Campo, who will drive Magnificent Storm for Mt Helena trainer Ray Williams, said: “It’s a small but interesting field on Friday night, and I reckon Magnificent Storm will improve on his first-up run.

“I was really happy with his performance, and it was the fight within him that got him across the line.”