Gotta Go Gabbana Out to Atone
Star reinsman Chris Voak freely admits that Gotta Go Gabbana is a pain to drive, but he is lavish in his praise of the tough six-year-old who has drawn perfectly at barrier No. 1 and should prove hard to beat in the Group 1 $125,000 Westral Mares Classic over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Voak is hoping that Gotta Go Gabbana will make amends for the bad luck she suffered when an 8/1 chance in this feature event 12 months ago.
Gotta Go Gabbana started from the No. 2 barrier in last year’s Mares Classic when, in a spirited bid to wrest the early lead from the polemarker Tricky Styx, she locked wheels with Dontstopbelievin and had to be retired with a badly damaged sulky wheel.
Voak also has unpleasant memories of the 2015 Mares Classic in which he drove the 11/8 favourite Frith, who started from the outside barrier (No. 9), raced four wide for the first 450m and then in the breeze before fading badly to finish last, 132 metres behind the winner, Nike Franco.
Voak also knows that favourites have been beaten in the past five Mares Classics and that Gotta Go Gabbana will have to be on her best behaviour as the likely favourite on Friday night. The most recent favourite to win the Mares Classic was the Chris King-trained Leda McNally, who set the pace from barrier five and won by two and a half lengths from Famous Alchemist in November 2013. This gave Voak his only success in the event.
Gotta Go Gabbana, who will be having her fourth start after a beneficial autumn and winter spell, is prepared by Annie Belton, who bred and races the mare with her husband Colin. She is out of Kinney Hanover mare Lady Gabbana, who managed only two wins in minor events at Northam and Gloucester Park from 64 starts, with a notable highlight of her career being her second placing to Supreme Royalty in the group 1 two-year-old fillies State Sires Series final in June 2008.
Gotta Go Gabbana, who is related to Bow And Arrow and Snakes And Ladders, top-line performers in Perth in the 1980s, has had 48 starts for 12 wins, 11 seconds, eight thirds and $148,614 in stakes. She will start from the No. 1 barrier for the fourth time.
From her previous starts from barrier one Gotta Go Gabbana finished seventh behind El Barcelona at Gloucester Park in November 2016 after breaking gait soon after the start, led and won from Truleylucky over 1684m at a 1.55.8 rate at Pinjarra in November 2017 and led and won from won from Mileys Desire over 2536m at Gloucester Park in June 2018.
Voak, who is mindful that Gotta Go Gabbana has a tendency to pull in her races, will be keen to jump to the front and dictate terms. He has been delighted with the mare’s past two runs --- sustaining a spirited burst from the rear to finish fourth behind Our Alfie Romeo in the Norms Daughter Classic last Friday week and then trailing the pacemaker Bettor Reward, getting clear 250m from home and finishing strongly four wide to be third behind Caviar Star and Speed Man over 2130m last Friday night.
Blythewood trainer Michael Brennan will be looking for a strong performance from the talented Miss Sangrial, who will be driven by Kyle Harper from the favourable No. 2 barrier. Miss Sangrial, who will be having her fourth run after a spell, has led and won at ten of her 16 victories.
Arma Indie (barrier three) and Dracarys (four) are racing keenly and have sound prospects. Arma Indie, trained by Mike Reed and to be handled by Michael Grantham, maintained her splendid form when she started from barrier two and enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, before fighting on to finish second to Our Alfie Romeo in the Norms Daughter Classic.
Dracarys, trained at Boyanup by Justin Prentice, has resumed after a spell in good form, following a first-up third behind Bill Haley with a tough win from the breeze (beating Millwood Molly) and a solid third in the Norms Daughter Classic after enjoying the perfect trail behind the pacemaker Our Alfie Romeo. She will be driven by Gary Hall jnr, who has won the Mares Classic with Im Elsa (2011), Majorly Foxy Styx (2014) and Ideal Alice (2017).
Prentice also has been prominent as a trainer in the Mares Classic with a third placing by Bettor Dreams (2014), a win by The Parade (2-016) and a third with Quite A Delight (2017).
Leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, who won the 2012 Mares Classic with Baby Bling, will be pinning their faith on the ultra-consistent Our Alfie Romeo, an easy all-the-way winner of the 2130m Norms Daughter Classic last Friday week. But Our Alfie Romeo, to be driven by Ryan Warwick, faces a stern test from the outside of the back line.
Chris Lewis, who had the choice of driving Queen Shenandoah, Sarah Goody and Pick My Pocket, has opted to handle the Kevin Keys-trained Sarah Goody, who finished strongly from the one-out, one-back position to score an impressive win over 2130m last Friday night. Sarah Goody is ideally drawn on the inside of the back line and has sound prospects of giving Lewis his third win in this event, after victories with Jilsander in 2007 and Ima Spicey Lombo in 2010.
Queen Shenandoah, trained by Ross Olivieri, will be driven by Aldo Cortopassi and Nathan Turvey has been engaged for the Prentice-trained Pick My Pocket.