Although they don’t see each other on the track these days, Graham told Melbourne Racing that Sun Of Sonoko and Hilltown Yankee spent plenty of hours working together before they started racing.
“We used to work them on the track at home and then we floated them out to Marong (the other side of Bendigo) for trials, so they know each other fairly well,” he said.
“Sunday was the first time in a while they’d been on the track together, though.”
Graham, who trained star trotter Viva La Fever to many big race victories, said Sunday’s win was one of his most satisfying.
Like Hall, Graham bred and broke in Sun Of Sonoko and races him with his twin brother Leigh.
They were rewarded when their star two-year-old raced flawlessly around the Maryborough track.
Just two runners in the race managed to run the 2190 metres without breaking into a gallop.
The other one was Hilltown Yankee.
Graham said getting two-year-olds to keep their gait under race pressure was always a challenge.
“You’ve just got to be patient,” he said.
“You can’t rush the young ones early.”
Sun Of Sonoko ($14) was a clear benefactor when hot favourite Blitzthemcalder ($1.50) broke stride twice in the race – the second time when he was outside leader Hilltown Yankee.
When the favourite galloped it broke up the field, leaving just four horses to fight out the finish.
Hilltown Yankee fought on bravely after being challenged mid-race, but couldn’t hold off Graham’s charge, which had enjoyed a cosy run just off the speed.
Once Graham put Son Of Sonoko into clear running, it was game over for the opposition.
The star squaregaiter found an extra gear and burned off his rivals to win by four-and-a-half metres in a mile rate of 2:07.1.
It took Son Of Sonoko’s career win tally to four from eight starts.
The $33,750 prizemoney from Sunday also made it almost $70,000 in stakes for the trotter.
Sun Of Sonoko is now resting in a paddock, but it is expected Hilltown Yankee will keep going this preparation with the upcoming Breeders Crown for 2YO trotters in mind.
No doubt if Hall's star can keep trotting neatly, he'll be one of the main contenders.