Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators
New Zealand-bred mare Queen Shenandoah has been a remarkably consistent pacer for eight-time WA premier trainer Ross Olivieri, and she broke through for a long overdue win at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
She was a $6.90 chance when she stormed home to win the 2130m Channel 7 Pace from the $1.70 favourite Balcatherine. This ended a losing sequence of 22 and improved her record to 87 starts for 15 wins, 30 placings and $250,855 in prizemoney.
In Western Australia Queen Shenandoah has had 56 starts for seven wins and 18 placings. She has finished outside the top five in only eleven of those 56 starts.
“She has been unlucky in the big races for mares, drawing badly and getting bad runs and still running right up behind them,” said Olivieri. “If she was a boxer, she would be a counter puncher; she has been wonderfully consistent.
“I thought she would go close tonight if Balcatherine got into a bit of a war with Vivere Damore. Shannon (Suvaljko) convinced me that Queen Shenandoah was a really big chance.”
As expected, the polemarker and $3.60 second fancy Vivere Damore was seen in the role of pacemaker, with the hard-pulling Alta Cinderella in the breeze and Balcatherine settling down in eighth position in the field of nine.
Queen Shenandoah was racing in sixth position, three back on the pegs, when Gary Hall jnr sent Balcatherine forward, three wide, 900m after the start. Balcatherine raced in the breeze until she forged to the front with 450m to travel. She led by a length on the home turn but was unable to hold off the late charge from Queen Shenandoah, who got off the pegs 480m from home and sustained a powerful burst to hit the front in the final 30m.
Alta Cinderella did a good job to finish third, with Vivere Damore fading to fourth.