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Hall eyes Aussie record
Franco Renegade enjoys attention from trainer-reinsman Aldo Cortopassi's wife Ashlee. Pic: Steve Ferrier/WA News

Reinsman Gary Hall Jr is confident he can break an Australian record for elite race wins by driving Im Themightyquinn to victory in tonight's $400,000 SEW Eurodrive WA Pacing Cup (2536m) at Gloucester Park.

The Inter Dominion Champion, pursuing his third straight win in the Group 1 cup, was posted at $1.50 on Player fixed odds last night after betting opened yesterday.

He headed the cup market from Dasher VC ($4.20).

Hall, 30, said he could not have been more impressed when driving Im Themightyquinn in trackwork this week.

"He's going super," Hall said.

"We're switching back to our best race tactics pattern with him. He'll be poised for a late run.

"It'd be nice to break the Australian Grand Circuit driving record by winning with Quinnie.

"The retired Brian Hancock held the record on 19 wins and I'm now level with him."

Hall's father, trainer Gary Sr, has a strong hand in the WA Pacing Cup with Im Themightyquinn and Kim Prentice's drive Livingontheinterest ($6.50).

Hall Sr said the pacers were in line for interstate starts after tonight's race and next Friday's $250,000 Yes Loans Fremantle Cup (2936m).

"We're looking at the Hunter Cup in Melbourne on February 2," he said. "Then there's the Sydney Inter Dominion in March."

Betting operators anticipate punters will target outsider Franco Renegade.

Player fixed odds manager Ben Roberts said the cup's pole runner Rocket Reign was backed from $51 to $26 yesterday and Bunbury-trained six-year-old Uppy Son shortened to $19 after support at $51.

"We now expect significant demand for Franco Renegade," Roberts said.

"He drew badly at gate six on the front line and Player quotes him at $71. However, Sydney and Melbourne fixed odds companies have Franco Renegade in at $51 today and more support for him appears imminent."

Franco Renegade beat cup rivals Sneakyn Down Under and Mysta Magical Mach when winning last month's Nepean Conveyors Pace (2100m).

The Aldo Cortopassi-trained Franco Renegade finished powerfully and ran third to Mysta Magical Mach in _The West Australian _Village Kid Sprint (1700m) two weeks ago.

"Franco Renegade is thriving," Cortopassi said. "I couldn't be happier with him. We bought him in New Zealand when he was lightly-raced and he's gone on to become a class performer.

"Gate six looks daunting but the unpredictable frequently happens in cups."

Capel-based Andrew De Campo, who trains Dasher VC and the cup's $26 chance Lombo Navigator, said yesterday the horses were in peak condition.

"Dasher VC hasn't raced for 11 weeks but he's best when fresh," De Campo said.

"It'd be nice to break the Australian Grand Circuit driving record by winning with Quinnie."" *Gary Hall Jr *