Voak's Plan Succeeds
Star reinsman Chris Voak’s major concern going into the Group 3 Preux Chevalier Pace with the $1.90 favourite Perfect Major at Gloucester Park on Friday night was being trapped on the pegs after starting from the inside of the back line in the $30,000 feature event over 2130m.
His tactics were simple: Ease off the pegs as quickly as possible.
“It was my intention to get off the pegs safely as soon as I could,” he said after driving Perfect Major to a dashing victory over the pacemaker and $5 second favourite Euphoric Moment, rating a smart 1.55.5 and extending his winning sequence to five.
Voak eased Perfect Major back immediately after the mobile barrier released the field of 12 and the former Victorian pacer settled down in ninth position in the one-wide line.
“They were going very hard early and a few horses dropped to the pegs and I was able to find Gary Hall Junior’s back in the first lap,” Voak explained.
Hall sustained a strong three-wide burst with Alta Intrigue to get to the breeze outside Euphoric Moment, who had revealed good gate speed to take advantage of the No. 1 barrier. Then Voak was happy to maintain Perfect Major’s impetus and move into the breeze.
“So, we had the perfect cover into the race, getting to the breeze in a fast tempo, but cheaply,” Voak said. “And Perfect Major showed great tenacity over the final 600 metres to wear down the leader.”
Alta Intrigue ($6.50) fought on gamely to be a well-beaten third, with The Kraken ($31) finishing strongly from tenth at the bell to be fourth, with the final quarters being run in 27.7sec. and 28.2sec.
Perfect Major’s victory gave Voak his 221ST driving success for the season, and it was win No. 114 for trainer Ross Olivieri in the extended 2019-20 season.
Perfect Major, unbeaten in three appearances in Western Australia, won once from one start in Tasmania, once from four starts in South Australia and six from 21 Victorian starts when prepared by Emma Stewart.
Perfect Major has inherited much of her ability from her dam Perfect Life (who raced 33 times in Victoria for eight wins, 13 placings and $47,588). Perfect Life’s dam Secret Life raced 52 times for 11 wins, 14 placings and $86,798. Her final 11 starts were in WA in 2007 and 2008 for trainer Bob Mellsop.
“I think that Perfect Major will graduate to top company,” said Voak. “But not driven like he was tonight. I think he’s going to be a sit and sprinter. He hasn’t had that much racing and I think he’s a season behind the better ones at the moment. He certainly has exceeded the expectations of everyone, and he’s gone a great job so far.”