Day At The Track

Blue Sky Commander to make WA debut

05:46 PM 28 Sep 2017 NZDT
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Ross Olivieri, Harness Racing
Ross Olivieri

Considerable interest will surround the first appearance in Western Australia of the Ross Olivieri trained New Zealand-bred trotter Blue Sky Commander (Skyvalley) when he contests the Pat Harding Handicap, a stand over 2503m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

The six-year-old’s past seven starts, all in Victoria, have been in mobiles after the gelding was placed outside the draw in stands following his sixth as the 9/4 favourite in the Trotters Cup at St Arnaud in March when he broke soon after the start.

However, Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri has had no hesitation in running Blue Sky Commander in a stand at his WA debut. The gelding is an experienced standing-start performer, with his three wins from 11 starts in New Zealand all being in stands and then his eight wins in Victoria included five in stands.

Blue Sky Commander will be driven by Chris Lewis and will start from the outside of the 10m line. “He continues to please us and we’re confident he’ll go really well,” said Olivieri. “And whatever he does, he’ll improve on.”

Blue Sky Commander’s chief rival looms as Lightning Calder, the solitary runner off the 20m back mark. Lightning Calder, to be driven by Chris Voak for Wundowie trainer Bruce Stanley, worked hard in the breeze when a fighting last-start third behind Lord Liam and Ropeburn at Gloucester Park.

Olivieri is also optimistic about the prospects of Assassinator in the Wayne Currall Pace, a 1730m mobile event in which Assassinator will start from the No. 4 barrier with Chris Voak in the sulky.

“He’s got a tricky draw, but he’s a good chance,” Olivieri said. “Punters should ignore his run when he finished tenth behind Heez On Fire last Friday night. He started off in the one-out, one-back position before being shuffled back to second last. He went to the line hard held.”

Ken Casellas

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