Jack hasn't jumped into Nullarbor just yet

31 March 2024 | Adam Hamilton

Jumpingjackmac Photo by Pacepix

BUNBURY Cup winner Jumpingjackmac is the front-runner, but no sure thing to land the Steve Waters/Gary Hall Sr slot in the $1.25mil Group 1 Nullarbor at Gloucester Park on April 19.

Trainer Gary Hall Sr admitted that Jumpingjackmac's fast-finishing win in last night's Bunbury Cup—beating several key Nullarbor hopefuls—put him in the box seat.

"But I'm reserving my judgment for another week," he quickly added.

"We're in no rush to have to decide, and the other two horses in the mix will run at Gloucester Park next Friday night."

"I think it's fair to say we'll know a lot more then and make our decision after that."

The other two contenders are exciting four-year-old Skylou, who returned from a spell with an impressive Easter Cup win at Gloucester Park last Friday night and proven topliner Diego.

"Don't rule out our Diego," Hall Sr warned. He just got too keen and cut off his wind a bit first-up. Forget about the run, and his work has been terrific."

Diego steps out in the $50,000 Group 3 Governors Cup (2130m) at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

"If he draws well, I'm sure you'll see the best of him," Hall Sr said. 

"It's fair to say he's the third seed of our (Nullarbor) contenders right now, but if he comes out and does something special, that could change."

Hall Sr has long been raving about his four-year-old, headed by Skylou, Mister Smartee and Im The Black Flash.

Skylou returned with such an impressive and easy win in last Friday's Easter Cup he looms as the main danger to Jumpingjackmac securing the Waters/Hall Sr Nullarbor slot.

"I love our four-year-old's and Skylou is probably the pick of them at the moment," he said. 

"Mister Smartee is as talented, maybe even a touch more so, but he's got some quirks, and Skylou is a perfect racehorse."

"Im The Black Flash is a lovely horse, too. He'll also make a good open-class horse, but he's a bit behind the other two at this stage."

Skylou will be back up at Gloucester Park next Friday night.

"He'll get the chance to press his case for the Nullarbor again, and I've got a terrific opinion of him. It's just a matter of whether it's come a bit early for him this year," Hall Sr said.

Jumpingjackmac's Bunbury Cup win capped a terrific weekend for Hall Sr, who has had an unusually quiet start to 2024 by his standards.

"I've still got it. I'm still a force," he laughed. 

"I love the team of horses we've got, and it's shaping up to look like a good year for the stable."

Regardless of which stable runner tackles the Nullarbor, Hall Sr's son, Gary Jr, is committed to Never Ending, who tired late for sixth, albeit beaten just 4.7m, in last night's Bunbury Cup.

"He really cost himself by hanging so badly," Hall Jr said. 

"I've got no doubt he goes close to winning if I'd been able to drive him out. He was so bad around the final bend and I'm sure he was going at least as good as Swingband at the time."

"He still felt like he had lots to give in the final stages, but I just couldn't drive him out."

"I've chatted with Justin (Prentice, trainer) and there's a few things he can try. We've still got almost three weeks and another race to get it all right before the Nullarbor."


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