Australasian Grand Circuit
Stories:   Pacers 2004/2005 Season
Leg 12:   Be Active WA Pacing Cup   2004/2005Results   Points
               28/01/2005  Gloucester Park, Perth  WA  2548m  Mobile Start  $200,000
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When The Falcon Strike NZ won its third Western Australia Pacing Cup on Friday night, it was making its farewell to racing in its home state.  Connections say the horse will now be sent to Melbourne for the A.G. Hunter Cup on February 12, with a decision then to be made on the stallion contesting the Auckland Inter Dominion before retirement to stud.

Unlike the week earlier when the horse virtually got up off the canvas to win the Australia Pacing Cup, The Falcon Strike NZ at its Perth swan-song had one of its easiest victories since first making the headlines.  This win was also the fastest of its three Be Active WA Cups.  Not bad for the injury-plagued 7YO that only recently had some knockers claiming the horse was just about finished and should be retired then.

Third-last early, The Falcon Strike NZ seemed to grow wings down the back straight 1400m from home, sweeping to the front and then being untroubled to go on and win from Sandy Bay NZ and Ohoka Ace NZ with a mile rate of 1:58.3 for the 2548m.

Gary Hall Jnr became the third reinsman to win this race three times driving the same pacer.  Phil Coulson won it three times in the 1970s with Pure Steel, then Chris Lewis did it in the 1980s piloting Village Kid.  (Lewis has actually won five WA Cups.)

The record of The Falcon Strike NZ in Grand Circuit races in Perth has been quite awesome.  However, largely because of its leg problems, harness racing followers in the eastern States have had limited opportunities to have seen this pacer when racing at its best.

On a trip to Melbourne two years ago for the Victoria Cup it struck interference and finished well back.  Then much later, while campaigning in NSW as a lead-up to the Miracle Mile, the horse became dehydrated and its trainer, Gary Hall Snr, explained at the time how the horse failed to adjust to being trained away from a sand-based surface that it thrived on back home.  Again The Falcon Strike NZ had its eastern states' program cut short.


The Falcon Strike NZ

All being well in the A.G. Hunter Cup at Moonee Valley, The Falcon Strike NZ will get its best chance yet to bare its claws and carry the flag for WA harness racing.  Perth is already having to cover the loss of former Inter Dominion champion, Baltic Eagle NZ, because of injury which has robbed fans there of witnessing these two great horses go head-to-head.

From just 65 lifetime starts, The Falcon Strike NZ (Falcon Seelster USA-Summertime Girl NZ) has won 35 races and has banked more than $1,131,000.  That it rounded up and beat the best horses currently racing in the west suggests it's far from being a   light of other days.

Because the Hunter Cup is Australia's major handicap event, it will be interesting to see what mark the Perth performer is given.  A handicap of at least 10m does seem likely.  The visit to Moonee Valley will whet the appetite of Victorian trotsgoers in seeing The Falcon Strike NZ and its talented 22 year-old driver against some outstanding stayers now being brought together in Melbourne.

What can often happen in a staying race, did on Friday night.  There were plenty of drivers who sought the lead with Sandy Bay NZ, Party Date NZ, Buck The Odds and Money Magnet NZ all turned loose early.  But none of them could head off the polemarker Faking It, a stablemate of The Falcon Strike NZ.

Trainer Gary Hall Snr embraced his son and driver when the pair came back to Victory Lane, though there seemed little of the emotion and the tears of the previous week when the horse, after seemingly beaten on the hometurn, just kept on giving.  This time the favourite blew all rivals away in the home straight without being driven right out to win by 6m to Sandy Bay NZ and a further 2m to Ohoka Ace NZ.

Hall Snr said he was so proud of both horse and son.  "The horse has gone as good tonight as it ever has gone.  Everyone loves him, and it's a privilege to train such a great horse", he said.

The stallion is raced by a syndicate headed by Michael and June vans Rens.  The other successful owners are E. Manolas, A. Kay and M. Taylor.  Like so many of the horses to be placed in all three Grand Circuit events in Perth this season, The Falcon Strike NZ did its early racing in New Zealand, and was later sold to Perth.



All Time Pacing and Trotting Records pre-2001 please refer to the Australian Harness Racing Annual.

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