Classy four-year-old Texas Tiger is poised to retain his unbeaten record in Western Australia and notch his eighth win from eight starts in the State when he starts from barrier two in the 2130m Retravision Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday afternoon.
Prepared by champion trainer Gary Hall Snr, Texas Tiger has captured the imagination of harness racing fans with his brilliance and sparkling gate speed.
Star reinsman Gary Hall Jnr declared that he would make a bold bid to set the pace, saying: “We’ve got to press the button early and try to work our way to the front. That will be the main plan. If that doesn’t eventuate, it will probably bring Antero and Vultan Tin into contention.”
Antero, a stablemate of Texas Tiger, has bee a revelation in recent months, with his 13 starts for the Hall stable producing seven wins, four seconds, a fourth and a sixth placing.
“He keeps going to the next level,” said Hall Jnr. Antero, who will start from barrier four, will be handled by Stuart McDonald in his farewell drive for the stable and in WA before leaving for Victoria on Sunday to work for young New Zealand trainer Nathan Purdon.
Whozideawasthis (barrier six) will be driven by Callan Suvaljko, who has just started working for the Hall stable as a replacement for McDonald. Suvaljko will also continue preparing his pacers at his Byford property.
Vultan Tin, to be driven by Emily Suvaljko from barrier seven in the field of seven, continues to race in wonderful form for Coolup trainer Phil Costello and can never be left out of calculations. The tough and versatile nine-year-old won the Pinjarra Cup and Narrogin Cup last month.
Hall Jnr said that Texas Tiger would continue racing until the stable star Chicago Bull was ready to resume in six to seven weeks time. Texas Tiger then would have a spell before being prepared, along with Chicago Bull, for the Fremantle Cup and WA Pacing Cup in the summer.
The Hall camp is hopeful of ending Friday’s meeting on a winning note with Will I Rocknroll in the ninth and final event, the 2536m Mondo Doro Smallgoods Pace in which he will start from the outside in a field of six.
Will I Rocknroll, a six-year-old who has raced 35 times for 11 wins and six seconds, will be making his second appearance in Western Australia.
He made an inauspicious WA debut at Gloucester Park on November 20 when raced fiercely and broke in running before finishing a long last, 145 metres behind the winner To Fast To Serious.
Will I Rocknroll raced in fourth position in a six-horse Indian file trial at Byford on Sunday morning before Hall Jnr eased him off the pegs at the bell and then gained the one-out, one-back position 600m from home. He went three wide 220m from home and ran on strongly to finish a nose second to the pacemaker Bettor My Dreamz, with final quarters of 29.3sec. and 28.5sec.
“It was a good trial, and I was happy enough with his performance,” said Hall Jnr. “However, he shut off when he lost sight of the horse on his inside and ran wide. I didn’t pull the earplugs.
“At his first run at Gloucester Park I think he galloped out and then bolted on me. And I had to go around to the breeze because he was going to choke down. He was a bit too keen in the trial, so I got him back to last.
“I will have to drive him pretty quietly for a few starts. He is very fast, and we will know more about him after he has had a few starts.”
By Ken Casellas