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Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators

A dazzling first to last victory on debut at Pinjarra three Mondays ago stamped Never Ending as one of the State’s best two year olds, and the brilliant son of Sweet Lou should end Hall Of Fame reinsman Gary Hall Junior’s 40TH birthday week on a high note by winning the final event at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Never Ending, prepared at Boyanup by Justin Prentice, will start from the No. 1 barrier and he should lead his three rivals on a merry dance.

Hall, who celebrated his milestone birthday on Tuesday, will be anxious to score an all the way victory.

“I was rapt with the way he went on debut, winning at Pinjarra,” said Prentice. “I’ve always liked him. I wanted to see him hit the line strongly, and he did. The win was a bonus. He has good gate speed and I’d say he’s a good chance of leading on Friday night. He has come out good in his trials.”

Never Ending began from the outside barrier (No. 7) in his debut race when he raced four wide early before Hall restrained him back to last in the field of eleven. Never Ending began a three wide move from last 600m from home when he sprinted brilliantly to move quickly to the outside of the pacemaker Rockokoko before getting to the front in the final 25 metres.

Never Ending’s times for the final 800m (54.59sec.) and the last 400m (27.61sec.) were remarkable for a two year old over 2185m.

His most serious rival is sure to be the Glenn Elliott trained Soho Confidential, who will start from the No. 2 barrier, with Shannon Suvaljko in the sulky.

Soho Confidential trailed the pacemaker Star Lavra for the first 800m before moving to the breeze 1250m from home when an excellent first up second to Crowd Control over 2130m at Gloucester Park last Friday week. That was his first run since he led and won on debut over 1684m at Pinjarra on February 14.

Never Ending is one of several excellent drives for Hall on Friday night when he would dearly love to drive nine year old champion Chicago Bull to victory in the City Discount Tyres Free-For-All.

Chicago Bull, a winner of 62 races, has a losing sequence of nine. He will start from the No. 2 barrier and Hall will be looking to take advantage of his good gate speed in the field of six.

Chicago Bull, who holds the track record for 1730m with a rate of 1.51.6, set the pace last Friday week when he was overhauled in the final couple of strides and finished a head second to Magnificent Storm over 2536m.

This week he should carry too many guns for his stablemates Diego (Maddison Brown) and Jumpingjackmac (Stuart McDonald) as well as Papinik (Chris Voak), Handsandwheels (Aiden de Campo) and Bletchley Park (Lindsay Harper).

The Ross OIivieri trained Papinik will be making his first appearance since he set the pace and finished a short half head second to Vultan Tin over 2130m on March 18. He warmed up for his first up run with an effortless win in a four horse 2185m trial at Pinjarra three Wednesdays ago.

Papinik raced in last place before finishing strongly to win by five lengths from Cheer the Major, rating 1.57.6, with final quarters of 28.5sec. and 27.7sec.

“I was very happy with the trial,” said Olivieri. “Realistically, his rivals on Friday night have got race fitness over Papinik.  But he is a horse who comes to hand very quickly, and he will run a forward race. He’s not impossible.”

Trainer-reinsman Aiden de Campo said he was pleased with the run of Handsandwheels in the 2190m York Cup at Northam last Saturday night when the eight year old, at his second run after a 23 month absence, set the pace and finished a close third behind Magnificent Storm and Patronus Star.

“I’m not expecting too much from him just yet,” he said. “I’m letting him work back into form.”