The best horse, but can he win?
By Michael Guerin
Gary Hall knows two things heading into Chicago Bull’s Alexandra Park debut tonight — he has the best horse in the race, and that may still not be enough to win.
Hall is one of the biggest stars in Australian harness racing, doing most of the driving for the superstar team trained in West Australia by his father Gary senior.
“Junior” as he is universally known has unofficially taken over the training duties as Chicago Bull counts down to the New Zealand Cup in two and a half weeks, with tonight’s race a chance to keep him fit and get some much-needed standing start experience.
But while Hall is happy with the last-start Victoria Cup runner-up he admits there are some concerns tonight.
“I don’t really like the idea of a 20m back mark over the 2200m,” he says.
“It could make he race really tricky and it is also his first standing start, so while I’d be surprised if he blew it, he could settle last.
“That means we could be chasing for a while in his first start right-handed so there are a few things against us.”
Hall says last season’s Inter Dominion runner-up has been working well right-handed and if this race was at his home track of Gloucester Park he would be red hot but the reality is punters should be careful with him tonight.
A crucial stage of the race will be the start because if Jack’s Legend can step safely from his 10m handicap and stay in front of Chicago Bull then he has a tactical advantage, especially if the field slows at any stage and it looks the lead is there.
Two runs back into his Cup campaign, Jack’s Legend should be fit enough to win and looks the best bet if Chicago Bull’s presence pushes him toward $3-$3.50.
Chicago Bull isn’t the only group one winner facing a stiff handicap tonight as Lemond and Temporale share a 50m backmark in the main trot but such has been their dual dominance of similar races in the past whoever settles in front of the other will probably still win.