Ken Casellas | Photo: Gloucester Park Harness Racing
Valedictorian, a sensible and mature Art Major gelding, turned the tables on Rocket City when he beat that talented gelding by two lengths in the $50,000 APG Gold Bullion for two-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Rocket City was the $2 favourite after his fast-finishing victory over Valedictorian in a heat of the Gold Bullion, while Valedictorian was the $2.80 second fancy.
Noted frontrunner Major Overs ($5) set the pace, with Valedictorian in the breeze after a fast start from barrier five, and Rocket City in sixth and last place.
Hall sent Valedictorian to the front with about 550m to travel and the gelding quickly surged away from his rivals and went on to score in fine style from Rocket City, who finished with a determined burst.
“I wasn’t disappointed with Valedictorian’s second in the heat,” said Hall. “Justin (trainer Justin Prentice) said that he had pulled up really big and would be better for the run. And tonight, Valedictorian was a lot sharper.
“The leader was my worry, not beating him but doing enough to beat him and then holding off Rocket City. That was the worry.
“Once I saw that the leader was not travelling, I thought I should go for home and try to pinch a break. Valedictorian is mature and is like a five-year-old who knows what he is doing, and that’s a good part about him.”
Valedictorian, raced by the Trotsynd No. 20 syndicate, was purchased for $40,000 at the 2021 APG Perth yearling sale. He has had five starts for three wins, a second placing and $99,935 in stakes. He will now have a spell before being brought back for a tilt at the $100,000 Pearl Classic for two-year-olds on August 26.
Prentice and Hall are hoping for another feature event victory when Hall drives the Prentice-trained Mighty Ronaldo in the rich final of the Gold Bullion for four-year-olds at Menangle next Saturday week (May 7).
Mighty Ronaldo, winner of the Golden Slipper in July 2020, the Sales Classic and WA Derby early last year and the Bunbury Cup in March this year, left Perth by air for Melbourne on Thursday night before travelling by float to Sydney.