Space Junk on the Way Back

Promising six-year-old Space Junk, crippled by a fractured pelvis 14 months ago, is on the way to developing into a contender for the rich summer feature events, including the Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups.

“He’s definitely a Christmas horse,” declared star reinsman Chris Voak, who is confident of completing a hat-trick of wins with Space Junk, who will start off the 10m mark in the 2503m Third Leading Tipster Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Space Junk, prepared at Oakford by eight-time WA premier trainer Ross Olivieri, has bounced back to his best this month with decisive victories in stands at Gloucester Park and Pinjarra.

He enjoyed the one-out, one-back trail before finishing powerfully to win easily from Estocada over 2631m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon, rating 1.58.6. Ten nights before that Space Junk set the pace in a 2096m stand at Gloucester Park and rated 1.58.7, with final quarters of 27.5sec. and 27.4sec.

“The track record over 2096m is 1.57.9 and Space Junk finished with the plugs in,” Voak said. “He is still on the improve and not yet a hundred per cent. He went a very good time in winning at Pinjarra on Monday when I did not pull the ear plugs.

“They were running 29sec. quarters and that’s what they run in Free-For-Alls and the final mile was run in 1.57.5. He made up 40 metres and probably ran his last mile in 1.55.8. And that’s pretty good going.”

A winner at five of his 12 starts in Victoria, Space Junk was purchased for $45,000 by Bernie Eales and a Sydney syndicate of five, including Ric Giometti and Anthony Moujalli. “He was bought as a horse we thought would we could take through the grades and do a good job,” Voak said. “But soon after he got here and worked on the track, we realised he was a serious horse.”

Space Junk won at his West Australia debut, beating El Jacko at a track record rate of 1.56.9 in a 2116m stand at Pinjarra in October 2017. After winning from Michael Joseph and Simba Bromac over 2242m at a track record rate of 1.56.5 rate at Narrogin in July last year the gelding fractured his pelvis when galloping in a jog cart on the heavy sand track at Olivieri’s property.

This kept him on the sidelines for ten months. “I was about 50 metres away when Space Junk hurt himself,” OIivieri said. “I heard a crack, like a 0.22 rifle,” he said. “My wife Jemma came up with a plan for him two months in a box, two months in a bigger yard, two months in a small paddock and then agisting him and then back in work. We took a conservative approach and it has been a long road back.”

Voak revealed that after recovering fully from the fractured pelvis, Space Junk had given Olivieri some problems during his current preparation. “They were only minor issues and Ross has treated them,” Voak said.

Space Junk managed only two placings from his first six appearances on the comeback trail. “But overcoming the minor issues have made a major difference to his performance,” he said.