Two starts back Steam Washed looked all but certain to pocket her second Group 1 win when she turned for home with a clear lead in the in the $100,000 Queen of the Pacific at Melton’s Tabcorp Park.
But it wasn’t to be for the Ruth Shinn-trained five-year-old, the mare getting run down late by in-form Gumdrops, which swooped down the outside to snare the glory.
On Friday night she gets the chance to register her first win since February after drawing gate three for the $25,275 Harness Breeders (Vic) Richmond Lass over 1720m at Melton.
As a three-year-old Steam Washed took out the South Australian Oaks, and earlier this year she enjoyed a hot spell of form with three triumphs on the trot in February – including the Nestle Country Cup at Melton and the Group 3 HBV Ladyship Cup.
“She’s going really well she just needs the luck,” said Noel Shinn, who trains the horse in partnership with wife Ruth at Wallan.
Shinn is predicting a strong early tempo off the front line on Friday night with pole marker Tandias Bromac, the two-horse Classic Bliss and Amy Tubbs’ Blazeaway Macray from four all tipped to come out humming.
Steam Washed also possesses plenty of speed and will be looking to race handy.
“She’s not real quick off the mobile but she’ll push forward,” Shinn said.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to land somewhere in the first three and then be in the finish.”
Shinn said Steam Washed, by Washington VC out of Laura Lace, had improved with age.
“She’s been getting better as she gets older, getting a bit better every year,” he said.
He also said son Christopher, who drives the stable’s horses, had a strong affinity with the mare.
“Chris really likes her. He’s won a lot of races on her.”
Avalon trainer Amanda Grieve holds the key to the Richmond Lass on Friday night with two runners drawn opposite sides of the front line (Tandias Bromac in one and 2013 Miracle Mile winner Baby Bling in seven).
George Batsakis-trained Classic Bliss has drawn two, Ross Sugars’ La Machane will start from five, Seven Mile Beach mare Laterron has drawn six, while Avenel’s Vansumic will be the lone runner from the back row and will be driven by Darren Hancock.
By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)