Voak Aims to Lead

Star reinsman Chris Voak aims to make full use of his natural aggression in a bid to win the opening the event, the 2130m TABtouch Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night, with the New Zealand-bred mare Queen Shenandoah.

Queen Shenandoah, trained by Ross Olivieri, is favourably drawn at barrier two, alongside the polemarker Parisian Partygirl.

“I think we’ll have to press the button and try to do what Fake News did last Friday night,” said Voak, referring to the win of Fake News, who began speedily from the No. 2 barrier and sped past the polemarker Parisian Partygirl to take up the running after 40 metres. Fake News dictated the terms of the race and went on to win by more than a length from Parisian Partygirl, with Queen Shenandoah finishing a sound fourth after racing in the one-out, one-back position.

“We’ll definitely have a good go to lead, and if Queen Shenandoah leads, she will take beating.”

Parisian Partygirl, trained at Bindoon by Bernie James, will be driven by Emily Suvaljko, who is expected to stick to the mare’s general racing pattern of surrendering the lead and relying on her sit-sprint ability.

Parisian Partygirl has set the pace from favourable barriers only twice at her past 50 starts. She led and finished fourth behind Our Corelli over 1730m on July 5, 2019 and was a $3.40 favourite when she led from barrier two over 2130m 19 starts ago (on March 6 this year) and wilted to finish sixth behind Dontstopbelievin. Early in her career Parisian Partygirl set the pace and won twice at Northam in July 2018 and over 2130m at Gloucester Park on December 21 that year.

Queen Shenandoah and Parisian Partygirl are most unlikely to have things all their own way and are likely to be tested by Arma Indie (barrier three), Mandy Joan (four), Madame Meilland (five) and Typhoon Tiff (six).

The Mike Reed-trained Arma Indie will pay to follow. She has shown abundant promise with nine wins and eight placings from 26 starts. She was most impressive two starts ago at her first appearance for two months when she had a good sit, one-out and one-back, before finishing strongly to be third behind speedsters While They Pray and Cyclone Banner.

Voak has a drive in nine of the ten events on Friday night and he made no hesitation in declaring two-year-old filly Black Jack Baby as his best winning prospect. The Shane Quadrio-trained pacer possesses sparkling pace and has won at seven of her nine starts. Each of her five rivals has won one race.

“From barrier five I’d love to sit her up,” said Voak. “We don’t want to go too hard early, but she’s just too quick off the gate. It’s not a strong field and we look likely to set the pace.”