Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators
Talented two-year-old filly Taking The Miki, second in two group 1 feature events earlier this year, as well as winning the $50,000 group Gold Bullion final and finishing third in the group 3 Gold Bracelet, is poised to make a winning return when she contests the Simmonds Steel Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday afternoon.
Astute trainer Ross Olivieri has Taking The Miki in wonderful shape for her first appearance after a 26-week absence, and she has the class to overcome the disadvantage of starting out wide at barrier eight in the 2130m event.
Taking The Miki will be driven for the first time by Chris Lewis, who replaces Chris Voak, who is serving a brief term of suspension.
Voak handled Taking The Miki in two 2185m trials at Pinjarra this month when the filly was most impressive in winning without being extended.
Taking The Miki started from the outside barrier and was restrained at the start of a seven-horse trial on Wednesday of last week. She was in last place at the bell, ten lengths behind the pacemaker Make Your Mark, and was still eight lengths from the leader with 400m to travel.
She then accelerated quickly and stormed home, out five wide, in the home straight to win by just over a length from her stablemate Follow The Music, rating 1.59.6, with the final three quarters (off the front) being covered in 28.9sec., 29.7sec. and 29.8sec.
In a trial the previous Wednesday Taking the Miki started from barrier four, settled down in sixth position, was fifth and three back on the pegs at the bell before starting a three-wide move 670m from home. She then took the lead 300m later and was not extended in winning by 2m from Follow The Music, rating 2.1.5 after final quarters of 28.6sec. and 29.6sec.
She certainly will meet stiffer opposition on Friday when she clashes with recent winners Beyond The Sea, Alta Queen, Five Bangles, Sonic Suzy, Sport Sport Sport and Billie Joe Star.
Beyond The Sea, trained by Murray Lindau, has excellent gate speed and she will be suited from the No. 1 barrier. Colin Brown drove her to an easy all-the-way victory over Diamond Dance and Sonic Suzy at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week.
With Brown taking three of his team, The Hope Diamond, Mister Piccolo and Joelene, to compete at the Albany meeting on Friday afternoon, Lindau has engaged Kyle Harper to handle Beyond The Sea. Harper has driven Beyond The Sea at one of her ten starts — for a third placing behind Little Darling seven starts ago, on June 15.
Harper is an excellent frontrunning driver, and Beyond The Sea is sure to make a bold bid for victory. It is interesting to note that horse No. 1 in race one has a 50 per cent winning record over the past five months at metropolitan-class meetings at Gloucester Park, with nine wins at the past 18 meetings.
If Taking The Miki is successful in the first event on Friday afternoon it will give Lewis four wins from four consecutive drives. He won with each of his three drives at Narrogin on Tuesday night, scoring with Souffle ($3.50), I Am The Real Thing ($9) and State Of Heaven ($1.20) to improve his season’s tally of winners to 121.