Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators
There was considerable drama and a tinge of good fortune before $1.40 favourite Carrera Mach was guided by star reinsman Chris Voak to victory in the 2130m Intersport Slater Gartrell Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
It was generally anticipated that The Ross Olivieri-trained Carrera Mach would take advantage of the No. 1 barrier and would be able to score a comfortable victory.
But Emily Suvaljko, driving the Brad Lynn-trained Joey James, a $9.50 chance from out wide at barrier No. 8, had different ideas.
Carrera Mach led for the first 130m before Joey James charged to the front, leaving Carrera Mach trailing the frontrunner, but in a tight pocket with Baylan Jett in the breeze and Machs Gold in the one-out, one-back position.
Carrera Mach’s prospects appeared forlorn as the field raced down the back straight for the final time, with the favourite still under lock and key.
It was then that Voak pulled a masterstroke. “I pulled the leader’s bluff at the 450m,” Voak explained. Voak eased back in a move that indicated that Carrera Mach was about to ease off the pegs.
“I checked him back and it looked as though we were going to go wide — and the leader kicked away— and I took my time and stayed on the pegs,” Voak said. “Eventually the breeze horse dropped back, and I was able to get out. It was a good win, taken with a bit of luck.”
Carrera Mach, a New Zealand-bred six-year-old, ended a losing sequence of 14 and improved his record to 75 starts for 12 wins, 25 placings and stakes of $142,053.