Bull's biggest moment
It was Chicago Bull’s defining moment.
Yes he’d already won 59 races, a stack of them features, and more than $2 million in stakemoney, but last night’s dominant $300,000 Group 1 Fremantle Cup win was the pinnacle, so far at least.
It was just over two years ago in Auckland he had that freakish accident which left him with a broken back and his career in tatters, just when it seemed he was on the verge of greatness.
Trainer Gary Hall Sr nursed him back to the races, but at his comeback campaign he wasn’t quite the same horse.
But connections were patient and tried again and now – somehow – Chicago Bull is arguably better than ever as he nears eight years of age.
The pint-sized former Kiwi did all the work in a dramatic and action-packed Fremantle Cup and still left his rivals standing in the run home to score by 5.7m in a 1min56.9sec mile rate for 2536m.
The Gary Hall Jr drive was as sublime as it was confident, surging his way around to sit parked in the middle stages and giving his younger arch-rival Shockwave the one-one trail.
But Chicago Bull was simply better than them.
The usually unflappable Hall Jr was choked with emotion after the win, probably because he was caretaker trainer of Chicago Bull in Auckland when he had that accident a couple of years back.
“That was devastating for ‘Junior’. It wasn’t his fault or anything, but he took it hard. I think this makes up for it in his mind now,” Hall Sr said.
“He’s an unbelievable horse, yes that’s the word for it, unbelievable. He won so easily tonight.
“He’s going at least as good as ever. If anything he’s finishing off his races better, he’s getting to the line stronger. Look at tonight, despite the work he did, he still kicked away from them.”
Hall Jr marvelled at Chicago Bull’s win.
“What can you say about that. He was incredible,” he said. “All the credit goes to ‘Senior’ (Gary Hall Sr). We all doubted if he’d make it back, including Senior, but he kept at it and look at the results.”
Evergreen Galactic Star ran a mighty race for second, while emerging star Shockwave was perhaps slightly disappointing in third spot, albeit only beaten seven metres.
When Shockwave got the breeze and then took the one-one on Chicago Bull, most would’ve had him favourite to win from there with a lap to go.
The most exciting part is the same horses lock horns again with a new set of barrier draws in the $450,000 Group 1 WA Pacing Cup at Gloucester Park on December 4.