BY ADAM HAMILTON
It is D-Day for Chicago Bull.
Friday night’s $50,000 Group Two Navy Cup (2130m) is the race, trainer Gary Hall Sr will use, to decide whether his stable star tackles the $200,000 Group One Victoria Cup at Melton on October 14.
“I’m just not 100 per cent sure where I’m at with him, but this race will tell me, especially from the wide draw against such a strong field,” he said.
“He doesn’t have to win for me to take him to Melbourne, he just needs to show me he’s right back to his best.
“I’ll need to decide soon after the race to arrange the travel.”
Chicago Bull resumed from an eight-week break when a luckless, but eye-catching fourth to Jambiani at Gloucester Park on September 8.
In leader dominated race, Chicago Bull tried to sustain a three-wide run without cover for the last 950m and kept coming strongly to the line despite being shoved three-wide again on the final bend. He was clocked to run 55.3sec for his own last half.
And the mile rate for that 2130m race was a blistering 1.53.8.
Still, Friday night’s race will be a real challenge from the outside front row draw (gate nine) against many of WA’s best pacers, including stablemates Run Oneover (gate six) and Beaudiene Boaz (10) as well as Mike Reed’s exciting former Kiwi Shandale (sight) and the classy Simply Susational (three).
The X-factor could former dual WA Cup winner My Hard Copy, now trained and driven by Clint Hall in his own right, who looks a possible leader from the pole.
Hall Sr said he was “slightly disappointed” by the first-up run and needed to see improvement this week.
“I don’t care what anyone says, he didn’t run up to his best the other night,” he said.
“I had a few little issues with him tying-up which I’d never had before, but he seems really well now and his work has been tip-top.
“In saying that, he’s got the worst draw against a really good field and he will need plenty to go right if he’s to win it.”
In other stable news, Hall Sr said another of his key Perth Inter Dominion hopefuls, Ohoka Punter, was recovering well from yet another setback.
“He’s had a history of quarter-crack issues, which I wasn’t fully across, and another one emerged last week, which is why he didn’t race last Friday as planned,” he said.
“You don’t mess around with quarter-cracks, so we got it all out and put an egg-bar shoe on.
“I still think we will have him back in time for the Inter Dominion. All going well from now, he should be right to race again in five weeks.
“It’s frustrating because he trialled well and was set to go, but it could be a blessing as now we’ve got right to the bottom of an ongoing issue and hopefully it won’t be a problem again.”
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