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Up-and-coming star pacer Minstrel stamped himself as a leading candidate for the rich Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups in the summer with an outstanding performance to win the Garrard’s Horse And Hound BOTRA Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Great value at $2.80, Minstrel was the lone backmarker off 30 metres, and he gave leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond their second success in the 2503m standing-start feature event, after their victory with Fizzing in 2019.

The New Zealand-bred four-year-old was driven with wonderful assurance by Dylan Egerton-Green, who sent the Rocknroll Hanover gelding forward from last with 1500m to travel to move to the breeze 300m later.

Awaitinginstructions, second fancy at $3.30, was the pacemaker and Shannon Suvaljko increased the tempo in a bid to make life difficult for the backmarker, and the third quarter of the final mile whizzed by in 27.8sec. But Minstrel continued to travel powerfully, and he got to the front on the home turn and went on to beat Awaitinginstructions by 4m at a 1.59.2 rate after a final 400m of 28.7sec.

This took Minstrel’s record to 21 starts for 11 wins, six placings and $242,289 in stakes. He has won in superb style at his first three outings after resuming from a spell.

While Minstrel revealed exceptional ability to overcome his 30m handicap and to run an extremely fast final 1200m, the inexperienced four-year-old Awaitinginstructions showed above average ability and is destined for a bright future. He now has raced 15 times for nine wins and three seconds. Six-year-old Hit the Sky, a $91 outsider, also gave promise of better things to come when he was eighth at the bell before running home solidly, three wide, to finish third.

Written by: Ken Casellas | Photo Credit: Hamilton Content Creators