Latest News

Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators

A dawdling lead time of 38.7sec. paved the way for Balcatherine’s smart victory over her champion stablemate Chicago Bull in the $30,000 Channel 7 Media Guild Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Deni Roberts sent Balcatherine, the $4.75 second favourite, past the polemarker Sangue Reale 100m after the start and she was able to get the six-year-old New Zealand-bred mare to relax and coast through the lead time and the opening quarters in 30.5sec. and 29.6sec. before giving her rivals little chance by sprinting over the final 400m sections in 27.8sec. and 27.3sec.

“I thought Balcatherine was a big chance tonight, leading,” said Hall. “And the slow lead time, that’s what happens in small fields.”

Chicago Bull, the $1.60 favourite from the outside barrier in the field of six, was four wide early before pressing forward, three wide, to move to the breeze after 500m. He fought on determinedly to finish a neck behind the winner, who rated 1.56.3 over the 2130m.

Balcatherine’s victory came a fortnight after she enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, in fourth position before wilting to finish last in the 2936m WA Pacing Cup.

“She pulled hard early, and that probably cut her wind off, which was uncharacteristic,” said Hall. “Balcatherine is a great mare, and she will contest a mares’ race next Friday night.

“Chicago Bull will run in a Free-For-All next Friday, and maybe he will then run in the Pinjarra Cup (March 7) and/or the Bunbury Cup (March 26). He is still going good, but has a few little niggling problems, including a fetlock joint problem. His will be his last season.”

Balcatherine, an American Ideal mare who won at her only two starts in New Zealand (as a three-year-old), has earned $296,138 from 12 wins, eight seconds and three thirds from 33 starts.  

She was driven for the first time on Friday night by Roberts, who has the distinction of being the first female driver to win the Media Guild Cup which was first run in 1979. Balcatherine, the only mare in Friday night’s Cup, joins Via Vista (1984) and Libertybelle Midfrew (2016) as the only mares to win the Media Guild Cup.

Balcatherine’s victory gave Hall his fifth win in the Media Guild Cup, following The Falcon Strike (2003), Kotare Flame (2007), Washakie (2008) and Our Arlington (2014).