Day At The Track

Sheer Rocknroll fit for first-up success

01:59 PM 10 Mar 2017 NZDT
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Sheer Rocknroll to be handled by Chris Lewis
Sheer Rocknroll to be handled by Chris Lewis
Jodie Hallows (Paceway Photos)

Four-year-old Sheer Rocknroll is one of the State’s most promisingharness racing mares and she is poised to make a successful return to racing after a three-month absence when she contests the $19,000 Princi Butchers Pace for mares at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Ace Byford trainer Ross Olivieri said: “She’s got to contend with a crook barrier (No. 7) and being first-up. But I think she can do it.”

Sheer Rocknroll, to be handled by Chris Lewis, who chalked up his century of winners for the season when he drove stablemate Im Full of Excuses to a dazzling victory in the $50,000 Pinjarra Cup on Monday afternoon, has a superior record to those of her seven rivals. She is extremely versatile and has already amassed $177,922 in prizemoney from 17 wins and nine placings from 40 starts.

“I’m not sure how she will be driven,” Olivieri said. “It might be an option to come out (fast) in a bid to take the lead. She has really pleased us in her work and I think she’s going to run a super race. There’s some handy horses in the race, but probably none have done the sort of things she has done.

“She looks well placed in Friday night’s field, but the first thing I’d say is that she will improve on whatever she does. I’m sure of that.”

A winner of six races in a row earlier in the season, Sheer Rocknroll has not appeared since she raced three wide early and then faded from seventh in the one-wide line at the bell to finish last behind The Parade in the $125,000 Mares Classic at Gloucester Park on December 9. A week earlier she raced without cover when a fighting third behind Ideal Alice and A Piccadilly Princess in the Parliamentarians Cup.

Her major rival looms as Giuliana Rancic, who will be driven by Gary Hall jun. for his father, champion trainer Gary Hall sen. The New Zealand-bred five-year-old is ideally drawn at barrier two and will have many admirers after her solid effort when she raced wide early and then ran on gamely from the one-out, one-back position to be second to the speedy frontrunner Allthewaytothebank.

Olivieri, Lewis and Sheer Rocknroll’s owner-breeder Bob Fowler have high hopes for Lord Willoughby, who started at 11/2 and overcame the No. 6 barrier to score an impressive victory over Major Pocket in a 2130m event at Gloucester Park on Tuesday afternoon.

Lord Willoughby was sixth at the bell and fifth on the home bend before he surged home to win convincingly at a 1.56.9 rate. It was his third win from 15 starts.

A son of Mach Three, Lord Willoughby will be set for feature events for three-year-olds, including the $200,000 Sky Racing WA Derby on April 7. “Probably his main mission will be later on in the season in the Westbred Classic,” Olivieri said.

“But he won’t be out of place in the Derby. The thing about him which is particularly pleasing is that he’s improving with every start. He’s getting better and better.”

Olivieri was thrilled with the win of Im Full of Excuses (4/1) in Monday’s Pinjarra Cup in which he rated 1.55.9 over the 2692m trip. Lewis brought the five-year-old with a sizzling burst of speed from ninth at the bell to hit the front on the home turn and win by five lengths from the 11/8 favourite Our Jimmy Johnstone, with the final quarters (off the front) being run in 28.5sec. and 27.5sec.

“The final quarter was exceptional and Im Full of Excuses would’ve broken 27sec. out wide on the track,” Olivieri said. “Races for him in the next month could include the Four and Five-Year-Old Championship, the Harvey Cup at Bunbury and the Easter Cup.”

Ken Casellas

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