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Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators

Rising superstar Magnificent Storm has the speed, strength and versatility to notch his sixth victory in a group feature event by proving the master of his 12 quality rivals in the $50,000 group 2 Pat Cranley Memorial at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

The Ray Williams-trained five-year-old has the class to overcome the awkward draw at barrier six in the 2130m event, which is likely to be his final appearance before tackling the $300,000 Retravision Fremantle Cup two weeks later.

Aldo Cortopassi was full of praise for the gelding’s strong victory in a 2536m Free-For-All last Friday night when he began smartly from barrier five, took the lead after 350m and then survived a spirited interrogation from Chicago Bull for much of the journey.

“These hard runs will make him better,” said Cortopassi. “It was only his third run after a break, and he is still on the way up.”

Magnificent Storm, the least experienced runner in Friday night’s race, has won at 19 of his 23 starts. He has competed in seven group features for five wins (one at group 1 level, three in group 3 races and one at his only appearance in a group 3 race), one second in a group 1 race and a third at group 2 level.

Nine-year-old champion Chicago Bull will be competing in his 100TH race and his legion of fans will be hoping he will achieve his 62ND victory in this milestone event in which he will start from the inside of the back line.

At his second start after a six-month absence, he raced without cover before fading to seventh behind Magnificent Storm last Friday night.

“At one stage it looked like he was going to be beaten by 40 metres,” said reinsman Gary Hall jnr. “But he ended up being beaten by 11 metres. Everyone has written him off, and I’d love to prove them wrong. He should be sprinting home, provided he gets a clear run.”

Chicago Bull is one of four runners in Friday night’s event who are prepared by Gary Hall snr, the others being Balcatherine (Aiden de Campo, barrier two), Diego (Chris Lewis, barrier seven) and Wildwest (Callan Suvaljko, barrier nine).

Leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond also have four runners — Patronus Star (barrier four), Vampiro (five), Minstrel (barrier two on the back line) and Mighty Conqueror (barrier three on the back line).

Dylan Egerton-Green will drive brilliant last-start winner Minstrel, Deni Roberts will handle the up-and-coming Patronus Star, Michael Grantham will be in the sulky behind hardy veteran Vampiro, and Colin Brown will drive Mighty Conqueror.

“Minstrel is racing in super form, and so is Patronus Star,” said Egerton-Green. “They are both good chances of finishing in the money.”

Perfect Major has drawn perfectly at barrier one for trainer Ross Olivieri, and reinsman Chris Voak is keen to take advantage of the draw by setting the pace.

“Perfect Major beat them (his rivals) out at the start from barrier one when he set the pace and finished third behind Minstrel and Patronus Star last Friday week,” said Voak. “I’d like to lead, and he’s not without a winning chance. He will be a lot sharper than he has been in recent starts.”