Comeback reinsman Clinton Hall produced a brilliant front running drive to score an upset win with Hokonui Ben in last night's Group 1 $400,000 Nepean Conveyors WA Pacing Cup (2936m) at Gloucester Park.
Hokonui Ben ($6.50), trained by Hall's father Gary Sr, won by a nose from stablemate Toretto ($45) and This Time Dylan ($17.90) was 5m away in third place.
Hot favourite Im Victorious ($1.80) finished sixth after mixing his gait and racing three-wide.
Hokonui Ben, who rated 1:59.6, gave Hall Sr, 64, his eighth WA Pacing Cup victory in 13 years and the gelding was Clinton Hall's first Group 1 winner.
Champion Im Themightyquinn, who has won the past three WA Pacing Cups for Hall Sr, was recently forced out of training by a leg injury.
Clinton Hall, 37, returned to race driving last season after about six years aways from harness racing.
"Thank you to Hokonui Ben's owners for havng faith in me," Clinton Hall said. "I was out of race driving for a long time and I would have understood if they had said they did not want me driving their horse in a big race."
Jeremy Nieuwenburg, of Queensland, is Hokoniui Ben's managing-owner.
A crowd of more than 12,000 saw Hoikonui Ben coast to trhe lead in early stages of the cup.
The Michael Brennan-trained Im Victorious, driven by Clinton Hall's younger brother Gary, 31, broke gait when angling away from the pegs in the first lap. He then settled one wide and one back.
Gary Hall, who has driven six WA Pacing Cup winners, took Im Victorious three-wide at the 1000m. But he was under pressure near the 600m.
"It was ideal that Im Victorious got a good trail," Clinton Hall said. "He did not press forward and there was less pressure on Hokonui Ben in middle stages.
"This is clearly my biggest moment in pacing."
Kim Prentice, driving pole marker Toretto, trailed Hokonui Ben and charged at him in the last 50m.
Gary Hall Sr said he was overawed to have landed the cup quinella.
"Clinton spent time in America and he became overshadowed by his younger brother," Hall Sr said. "But Clinton came back to play an important role in our family development of new stables at Serpentine last year.
"He is up with the top drivers and we're very proud of him."
Clinton Hall, who took up a stable foreman role at Serpentine, praised staff on the property.
"We have a big operation with staff who are very good contributors," Clinton Hall said.
- Boyanup gelding Gday Mate maintained peak form when he finished powerfully to win last night's WA Pacing Cup Consolation (2936m) for trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice.
Gday Mate ($4), who rated 1:59, escaped from a pocket and stormed home four-wide to beat pacemaker Shardons Rocket ($7.40) by 4m.
Third placegetter Sanjaya ($11) was 1m away.
"Gday Mate has never raced better," Prentice said. "This is his second win in a week.
"He was never previously going well enough to back-up quickly."