Day At The Track

Chris Voak admires Soho Tribeca

06:22 PM 28 Sep 2017 NZDT
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Soho Tribeca, Harness Racing
Chris Voak took his first sit behind Soho Tribeca on Tuesday morning and was more than impressed by what he saw.
Jodie Hallows Photo

Harness racing driver Chris Voak sat behind Soho Tribeca (American Ideal) for the first time when the star five-year-old worked with two other pacers at Byford on Tuesday morning and he was left in awe at the stallion’s amazing talent.

Voak will now drive Soho Tribeca in the Matt McDermott Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night when the Kim Prentice-trained pacer will start his spring and summer campaign with the main focus on the rich TABtouch Inter Dominion championship series at Gloucester Park in November and December.

Voak has leapt at the opportunity to drive Soho Tribeca after Prentice was suspended recently for causing interference in a race. He has driven only twice for the Prentice stable when seventh with Soho Angel behind Rock Diamonds in the Caduceus Club Classic in February this year and when successful with Abraxas Blues at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon this week. 

“I’ve had the experience of driving some outstanding horses of the calibre of Crombie, Dasher VC and Ima Spicey Lombo, and Soho Tribeca is one of the best horses I’ve sat behind,” Voak said.

“We went even pace for a mile in the workout this morning (Tuesday) and then got home with a solid last half. I sat last and pulled out with a lap to go and won from The Odd Lover. We went under 55sec. for the last half and I haven’t driven a horse who can drop fractions like he can so easily.

“Honestly, I haven’t driven one on the track who has done that and has felt like that. Kim told me that after he had driven Soho Tribeca to win the Golden Nugget last year that he’s the best horse he has trained, ahead of Baltic Eagle. I haven’t yet had the chance to speak to Kim to see how he wants me to drive the horse on Friday night.

“What impressed me with Soho Tribeca was the ease in which he did it, and how much power he had. I haven’t had the opportunity to drive a horse of his capability in a race. I think he is the type of horse who in a good race will make his own luck. I’ve always had to drive horses who have had to rely on luck but this one is one who has the power to make his own luck.”

Soho Tribeca, bred and owned by Rob Watson, faces the distinct disadvantage on Friday night of starting from the outside (No. 9) on the front line but he has the ability to overcome the wide barrier.

He has not appeared since he raced wide early and then set the pace before winning the Group 1 Vicbred Four-Year-Old Classic for entires and geldings at Melton on July 8. He was in dazzling form in Perth last summer when he won the Golden Nugget from Nathans Courage and Chicago Bull before finishing second to Chicago Bull in the Fremantle Cup and third to the same pacer in the WA Pacing Cup.

His chief rivals on Friday night are likely to be Itz Bettor To Win, Ideal Tyson and Bronze Seeker.

Itz Bettor To Win is a highly-promising six-year-old who has had only 29 starts for 11 wins and seven seconds. He will be having his first start in Western Australia and will be driven by Chris Lewis from barrier three on the front line. He is being set for the TABtouch Inter Dominion championship series.

“I have had him in my stable for five to six weeks and I expect him to run first or second on Friday night,” Olivieri said. He’s a big, strong horse whose major assets are his strength and speed. He is a serious horse and he will improve on whatever he does this week.

“He’s got a win over in the Franklin Cup in New Zealand, beating top horses like Smolda, Have Faith In Me and Ohoka Punter.”

Itz Bettor To Win raced 18 times in New Zealand for eight wins and three placings and his 11 starts in Victoria produced three wins and four placings.

As a three-year-old Itz Bettor To Win won a 2700m stand at Alexandra Park, beating horses of the calibre of Border Control, Smolda and Have Faith In Me. Two months earlier, he won the Group 2 Alabar Classic, rating 1.55.9 over 2200m. As a four-year-old, he won the Franklin Cup, a 2700m stand, beating home Mossdale Conner, Have Faith In Me, Ohoka Punter and Smolda.

Ideal Tyson, who gave a powerful frontrunning display to win from Mach Time and Bronze Seeker over 2130m last Friday night, faces a sterner test this week from out wide at barrier seven. He will be driven by Gary Hall Jnr, who replaces Aiden de Campo, who will be in Melbourne preparing to watch the AFL grand final between Richmond and The Adelaide Crows on Saturday.

The Peter Anderson-trained Bronze Seeker will be driven by Deni Roberts from the No. 1 barrier and the versatile nine-year-old should be prominent throughout the race.

Ken Casellas

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