Day At The Track

Stroke of Luck set to fire

04:05 PM 25 Jun 2020 NZST
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Chris Voak,Harness racing

The much-travelled and handy Victorian performer Stroke of Luck ran a sparkling trial at Pinjarra on Sunday morning and is poised for a strong performance in the Mondo Doro Smallgoods Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

He raced three back on the pegs in an Indian file five-horse trial before being switched three wide approaching the home turn and finishing strongly to get up and win narrowly from stablemates Motu Premier and Space Junk, rating 1.57.1, with final 400m sections in identical 27.5sec.

Stroke of Luck, a seven-year-old by American stallion Major In Art, will be driven by Chris Voak from the inside of the back line in Friday night’s event in which he will clash with his talented Ross Olivieri-trained stablemate Gee Jay Kay and in-form pacers Parisian Partygirl, Our Rhythm N Blues and Ideal Investment.

Stroke of Luck has had 52 starts for 12 wins (six in New Zealand and six in Victoria) and 16 placings. He has also raced once in Adelaide when fourth behind Kerryn Manning-trained stablemate Pat Stanley in the group 2 South Australian Pacing Cup over 2645m at Globe Derby park on February 8 this year. Keen harness racing enthusiasts will recall when Manning brought the gelding to Perth to contest a heat and the final of the San Simeon Pace late in 2017.

He finished second to El Jacko in the heat and worked hard in the breeze before fading to eleventh behind Mista Shark in the final. He has had 11 starts in his current campaign which has produced one win (beating Murranji Track by a head in the 1790m Italian Cup at Mildura on March 6), two seconds and one third placing.

At his most recent appearance Stroke of Luck was restrained from barrier six and finished powerfully from last at the 550m mark in the field of seven to finish a half-length third behind Im Sir Blake over 2180m at Stawell. At his previous outing he started from the outside barrier in a field of seven, was last at the bell and sixth 450m from home before running on strongly to finish second to Crime Writer over 2180m at Terang.

“He’s found a nice race to start off with, which is nice,” said Olivieri. “We are happy with the trial. The three of them split the line. Going into the trial Stroke of Luck was slightly fitter than Motu Premier and Space Junk. He’s come off a racing campaign in Victoria and has been here for five weeks.

“He’s got all that race fitness, whereas Space Junk and Motu Premier, who will be resuming racing on Friday night after a spell, will have to start from scratch.”

Olivieri said that he fancied Stroke of Luck ahead of talented four-year-old Gee Jay Kay, who resumed after a spell last Friday night when he raced three wide early and then in the breeze before wilting to finish eighth behind Cyclone Banner.

“I was disappointed with the run,” said Olivieri. “This week he will be driven differently; he won’t be used up early and will save his best for the second half of the race.”

Kyle Harper, who will drive polemarker Parisian Partygirl, advised punters to disregard the mare’s seventh in a field of eight behind Typhoon Tiff last Friday night when she started from the outside barrier and raced in last place in an Indian file affair in which Typhoon Tiff dawdled through the opening quarters of the final mile in 33.3sec. and 30.3sec.

“Parisian Partygirl had no chance of getting into the race,” said Harper. “She should go much better from the inside draw.”


Ken Casellas

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