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Harness Racing: Minstrel wins Fremantle Cup

Minstrel took advantage of the No.1 barrier draw to hold off a number of superstar pacers to win the Group 1 Retravision Fremantle Cup on Friday night.

Heading into the feature race champion trainer Greg Bond suggested that Minstrel was his best hope of scooping the prize and that is the way it turned out following a thrilling race.

Close finish

Minstrel was almost upstaged by his stablemate Patronus Star who came from nowhere with a late dash to take second place, just a short half-head behind the winner.

Hurricane Harley also finished strongly to take third place but there was disappointment for Magnificent Storm and Chicago Bull who paid the price for having to cover too much ground and finished ninth and tenth respectively.

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It was the second time Bond has won the Fremantle Cup and he was delighted with the way all of his stable performed, not just Minstrel.

"It was a great race; there was pressure and moves aplenty," Bond said. "It was the second and third favourites doing the work on the outside of Minstrel. So, probably, our main dangers were working harder than Minstrel was. I was not over concerned about that pressure, which obviously took the edge off us. It was a pressure race, as group ones should be.

"Patronus Star was great. He has the ability to sit off a hot speed and finish off very strongly. He showed that tonight, like he did when he won the Derby. He is that beautiful bit of insurance, back in the pack, and if things are run a bit upside down, he can finish strongly."

Next stop WA Pacing Cup

Now Bond has scooped the Fremantle Cup all eyes are on the next big feature and completing the double by winning the WA Pacing Cup.

"Minstrel has pulled up in great shape, and so have our other Cup runners (Patronus Star, Mighty Conqueror and Vampiro)," he added. "Mighty Conqueror was strong and was beaten (8TH) only by ten metres, and unfortunately Vampiro met with interference and broke, with Dylan (Egerton-Green) saying that if it wasn’t for the interference he would’ve been right up there, too.

"Everything with our four runners looks spot on, heading into the WA Pacing Cup in a fortnight."

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