Remeber El, one of a record six winners for Gary Hall Junior at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Photo by William Crabb.
Champion reinsman Gary Hall jun. etched his name in the history books at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he drove with the precision of a Swiss watchmaker and the dash and flair of a Spanish matador.
In a spectacular display of his prowess as a horseman of the finest calibre, the 30-year-old Hall drove six winners in the space of 179 unforgettable minutes. No one in the 83-year history of Gloucester Park had achieved such a feat.
Hall, who had driven five metropolitan-class winners at a meeting six times, now stands alone as the only person to have landed six winners at a Gloucester Park meeting, with the six winners coming in succession.
Hall joins Morgan Woodley as the only reinsman to land six winners at a meeting in Western Australia, a feat performed by Woodley at outer country track Collie in March 2011. Hall and Woodley are members of a select group of 15 who have driven six winners at a meeting in Australia.
Hall joins the late Phil Coulson and Darren Kerr as the only reinsmen to have driven six winners at six consecutive drives at a metropolitan-class meeting at Gloucester Park. But Coulson’s effort was spread over two meetings and Kerr’s over four meetings.
The self-effacing Hall said that he had considered driving six winners at a city meeting an impossible dream. “I remember when Chris Lewis had five winners up at a Gloucester Park meeting one Friday night and then was driving an odds-on favourite,” he said. “I think the horse led and got all the favours before he capitulated and got beaten. So then I thought no one was ever going to drive six winners. If he couldn’t do it, then no one was going to do it.
“Funnily, I did pick myself to drive six winners when I first looked at the fields. I went through the form and made my picks, and I had selected myself to win six races.”
Hall’s winners were Libra Belle ($3.40), Remember El ($3), Soho Valencia ($1.60), Go West U Terror ($1.70), Im Themightyquinn ($1.60) and Tosti Boy ($1.70).
“I didn’t pick Libra Belle, but I did pick Benjamin Banneker in the first event,” Hall said. Benjamin Banneker, unbeaten at his only two starts, was a $1.70 favourite who finished third behind Empire Flame and Wotavugot.
“I thought Benjamin Banneker was one of my best drives, but from barrier 12 (outside of the back line) and over 1700m I had to drive him upside down and that didn’t suit him.” Hall had a chance to bring up a seventh winner when he drove 10/1 chance The Bantam from barrier No. 1 in the final event on the ten-race program.
The Bantam led briefly in the early stages before racing three back on the pegs and then being hampered for room until late before finishing gamely to be sixth behind Looks Promising.
“It will be a long time before I get anywhere near six again, I reckon,” Hall said. “Good draws go a long way, but generally races a hard to win. Every race is competitive.”
It was business as usual for Hall early on Saturday morning as he toiled at his father Gary Hall senior’s Hazelmere stables and drove several pacers on the track. Then he celebrated with an afternoon at the Ascot thoroughbred meeting with good friend and star Mildura reinsman Shayne Cramp before enjoying dinner with friends.