Chicago Bull out of Cup
By Michael Guerin
A freakish injury to Chicago Bull has turned his connection’s New Zealand Trotting Cup dream into a nightmare.
The brave little pacer surged to Cup favouritism with an incredible victory at Alexandra Park last Friday but an injury suffered just hours later means he won’t race again this season.
The prolific pacing pony flipped over backwards when being treated on Saturday morning and fell on his back, ultimately suffering six or eight fractures to his whither region.
“It didn’t look great but he seemed fine afterwards and we were able to jog him on Sunday and Monday,” says driver and caretaker trainer Gary Hall junior.
“But then it got worse and his movement got worse so we took him to the vets where they discovered the fractures.
“It is something I have heard of but never seen a horse get injured like that before. And the vet said he had seen a horse suffered a couple of fractures like that before but not six or eight.
“The most important news is the long-term prognosis is good and they are confident he will be able to race again.
“So he will have two months in a box here in Pukekohe, then two more months spelling and then maybe start jogging again.
“But this season is gone.”
While Chicago Bull had numerous feature race options this season the one that burned brightest for the Halls was the New Zealand Cup in 13 days time
It is a race trainer Gary Hall senior has always cherished but been unable to get his best horses to for one reason or another. Now he has found the cruellest way of all to be ruled out of it.
The way he won last Friday night Chicago Bull deserved favouritism for the Cup, especially in a year when the New Zealand open class ranks are lacking a genuine superstar.
Instead for Team Hall the New Zealand Cup 2018 will forever be the one that got away.
He joins a remarkable list of open class pacers who will be missing from this year’s Cup due to injury, sale or retirement.
Of the biggest names who contested the Cups, Inter Dominion and/or the Miracle Mile carnival last season Lazarus, Vincent, Heaven Rocks, Soho Tribeca, My Field Marshal, Jilliby Kung Fu and Lennytheshark will not be around for the pivotal next six weeks during which the Cup and Inter Dominion will be decided.
It is rare case of the Cup non-starters far outweighing the star power of those left in the great race, held for $800,000 at Addington on November 13.
Tiger Tara is now the only Australian-trained pacer in the Cup and could well start favourite depending what happens at Addington on Friday night.
One-time Cup favourite Ultimate Machete could snare that role back if he wins his final lead-up race over 2600m standing start in which he meets stablemate Dream About Me.
But much like the Dominion Trot on November 16, which has been shorn of injured champion trotter Monbet, the Cup is the most open in years.
One horse who won’t be coming to Cup week is in-form Victorian trotter Tornado Valley, with trainer Andy Gath deciding to stay home and concentrate on the Inter Dominion starting December 1 as the gelding doesn’t travel well.