Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators
Lightly-raced six-year-old Just Wing It, described by his trainer Ross Olivieri as a problem child, impressed at his third appearance after a nine-month absence when he overcame a tardy beginning and finished with a powerful burst to win the 2503m Stay Safe, DTS PPE Products Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
A $7.90 chance, Just Wing It was slow into stride from the outside of the front line in the standing-start event, and he was seventh at the bell, with Nearis Green setting a brisk pace and the 40m backmarker and $3.20 favourite Alta Blues following Just Wing It in the one-wide line.
Chris Lewis sent Just Wing It forward, three wide, at the 400m, and the New Zealand-bred son of Art Major sprinted strongly to hit the front 50m from the post, passing $8.50 chance Gee Smith who had taken the lead with 350m to travel. Alta Blues fought on determinedly to be second, one and a half lengths behind Just Wing It.
Just Wing It was successful at his WA debut when he beat Impressive Signs by two lengths in June of last year. But he has caused Olivieri many headaches.
“He has been a nice horse around the stable, but has had a multitude of problems,” said Olivieri. “He was hitting his knees and we have tried everything in a bid to get him off his knees.
“We have experimented with full spreaders and go-straights and have tried all sorts of shoeing. He now wears a single spreader, and that has done the trick. He has had three runs in three weeks and will probably miss next week before contesting a stand the following week.”
Olivieri said that he was quietly confident on Friday night, revealing that his wife Jemma had worked Just Wing It on the track during the week and saying it was the best the horse had ever worked.
Just Wing It is a half-brother to Our Blackbird, who earned $288,647 from 18 wins and 26 placings from 112 starts. He was prepared by Olivieri when Stuart McDonald drove him into fifth place behind Lennytheshark in the final of the Interdominion championship at Gloucester Park in December 2015.
“There are no similarities between Our Blackbird and Just Wing It,” said Olivieri. “Our Blackbird was a little Bettors Delight horse, while Just Wing It is a big Art Major pacer.”