Voak Tips Queen Shenandoah
Chris Voak, the State’s most dashing and aggressive driver, is enjoying a purple patch in the sulky and is pressing Ryan Warwick hard for the honour as West Australia’s leading driver.
And he is happy to provide punters with a welcome festive season gift by landing Queen Shenandoah a winner of the ninth event, a 2130m mobile, at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
“She’s my best drive, by far, and she will lead and win,” he declared. “Her latest run (when fourth behind Our Alfie Romeo last Friday night) was very good.
Queen Shenandoah, prepared at Oakford by Ross Olivieri, raced in fifth position, three back on the pegs and was hampered for room in the final stages in last week’s Group 3 2130m event.
The New Zealand-bred Queen Shenandoah has yet to win from five starts in Western Australia, but she has given a strong indication of her class with seconds behind Ocean Ridge and Live Like A Royal.
Ardent followers of Voak were celebrating on Monday afternoon after Voak drove in grand style to land a long-priced double with Iconic Valor, a $23 chance, finishing strongly to beat the $1.18 favourite Its Rock And Roll and Marquisard, a $41 outsider, charging home to snatch victory from the $1.30 favourite Shadow Roll.
After Monday’s meeting Voak’s tally of wins this season stood at 58 to have him in second place on the drivers’ premiership table behind Ryan Warwick (65 wins) and ahead of Gary Hall Jnr (48) and Chris Lewis (39).
Iconic Valor, an injury-plagued seven-year-old, gave Olivieri the second leg of a training treble at Monday’s meeting. He was also successful with Joe With The Flow and Mr Sundon, who were driven by Chris Lewis.
Mr Sundon was most impressive at his WA debut. He was not bustled out from barrier six and raced at the rear before starting a three-wide move at the bell. He sprinted fast and charged to the front with 450m to travel before winning, unextended, by ten lengths from Lightning Calder.
Mr Sundon will return to Gloucester Park on Friday night to contest the Chris Murphy Band Trot, in which he will clash with the brilliant Lord Liam and the promising Tokyo Joe.
Olivieri is confident that Mr Sundon will repeat the dose on Friday night when he is favourably drawn at barrier two on the front line in the 2130m event.
“He is a lovely big horse and his heart rate today (Monday) shows that he will improve with the run,” Olivieri said. “From all his racing in Melbourne that I’ve seen, he is a sit and sprint horse. He also has good gate speed and should appreciate barrier two on Friday night.”