Top reinsman Gary Hall Jr has narrowly escaped suspension and is confident his star drive Im Themightyquinn can bounce back from defeat in a rough-house race to win next Friday's $400,000 WA Pacing Cup (2536m) at Gloucester Park.
Hall was charged with jostling on Im Themightyquinn, who ran fourth at $1.20 in last night's Lancaster Park Pace (2130m).
He faced two grillings by stewards in a lengthy inquiry.
The race was won by Im Themightyquinn's stablemate Livingontheinterest ($8.50), who led all the way for reinsman Kim Prentice and earned a WA Pacing Cup start.
Hall pleaded guilty and asked for leniency in view of his engagements in summer carnival feature events.
Kyle Harper's drive Mysta Magical Mach, who finished third, was jostled in early stages by Hall before he hauled Im Themightyquinn back from three-wide to settle last of 11.
Chief steward Bill Delaney, after telling Hall his offence was "at the top end of the serious scale", decided to let him off with a $500 fine.
"You jostled Mysta Magical Mach for more than 200m when he had a position which you were not entitled to take," Delaney said.
"You disadvantaged Im Themightyquinn and affected his winning prospects.
"In deciding the penalty, stewards have taken into account your engagements to drive in forthcoming major races."
Hall said he was relieved to have avoided a ban.
"I made a blue by putting Im Themightyquinn in a position where he was racing tight," Hall said.
"The horse resented having been in a dogfight and he would not produce his best as the race proceeded.
"Luckily, he's pulled up problem-free. I'm confident he'll bounce back to win again next Friday."
Im Themightyquinn, trained by Hall's father Gary Sr, had won his previous 18 Gloucester Park starts.
Hall Jr drove four winners last night and his father was the trainer of six winners.
The Hall-trained Makati Maximus was plunged from $8 to $3.80 before leading all the way to win _The West Australian _ Trotters Cup (2503m) for Shane Butcher.
Hokonui Ben and Code Red qualified for next Friday's $50,000 Nights Of Thunder Final (1730m).
The fastest nine runners in five heats went through to the final.
"Hokoniu Ben can win the final and confirm his class," Hall said.Co-trainers Greg and Skye Bond qualified Empire Flame, Waipawa Junior, Bettor Still and Midnight Dylan for the final. Other finalists are Heisbackinblack, Governor Art and Wrongly Accused.
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