Queen Shenandoah is Olivieri's Best

Eight times WA premier trainer Ross Olivieri has nine runners at Gloucester Park on Friday night, and he declares all are each-way prospects, with stable newcomer Queen Shenandoah the best winning hope, despite drawing out wide at barrier eight in the 2130m Meat Me At The Post Pace.

Queen Shenandoah, a New Zealand-bred five-year-old mare, boats an impressive record of 31 starts for eight wins (one in New Zealand, four in Victoria and three in South Australia), ten seconds and two thirds for earnings of $89,639.

Possessed with excellent gate speed and a noted frontrunner, Queen Shenandoah is a last-start winner at a 1.57.5 rate over 2230m at Globe Derby Park on September 14 when she finished strongly from last in a field of five at the bell to win convincingly by almost four lengths from Lochinvar Hugo.

Five starts before that she set a track record when she rated 1.55.7 to win by a half-length from Delightful Mia over 1750m at Wedderburn.

“All our stable runners have got solid chances on Friday night, without pointing to one,” Olivieri said. “If Queen Shenandoah (who will be driven by Chris Voak) had a good draw I’d say she would be over the line. However, from eight, she will go well and whatever she does she will improve on. She’s strong and fast.”

Olivieri also predicted a strong performance from Crystal Sparkles in the Pastrami Pace over 2130m in which the mare will start from the favourable No. 2 barrier with Voak in the sulky. “She’s improving run by run and is a real good chance, a winning chance,” he said.

Crystal Sparkles, a winner of 20 races from 57 starts, finished solidly from seventh at the bell to be third behind Just Rockon Bye and Our Alfie Romeo last Friday night. She looks set to fight out the finish with the speedy Tony Svilicich-trained Vincenzo Peruggia, who is in the best form of his career. Vincenzo Peruggia will be driven by Emily Suvaljko from barrier three.

Olivieri said that Motu Premier was a solid each-way hope in the Parliamentarians Cup and that he was leaning towards Carerra Mach ahead of stablemate Iceenothink in the Xmas Ham Classico Pace. “Carerra Mach ran a super race last week and he’s my fancy ahead of Iceenothink (a last-start first-up winner at Pinjarra),” he said.

Chief interest in this event will be the return to racing of the brilliant Justin Prentice-trained Dracarys, who will be driven by Gary Hall jnr from the No. 1 barrier. Dracarys, now a four-year-old, will be having her first start for six months. She has been most impressive in winning at 11 of her 17 starts.