No excuse needed
Not for the first time in his career, Ross Olivieri was pleased his Kiwi stalwart Im Full Of Excuses did not live up to his name on Saturday night at Donaldson Park.
The reliable stalwart edged out compatriot Vampiro by 1.1m in the $30,000 Vandenbergh Veterinary Group Narrogin Cup (2569m), which snapped a 21/2-month winless streak.
The Narrogin Cup meeting was transferred to Bunbury last week after Racing and Wagering WA announced a range of precautionary measures to consolidate all harness race meetings.
To reduce the amount of travelling by industry participants, particularly in regional areas, all scheduled meetings will be transferred to Gloucester Park, Bunbury and the Pinjarra, affecting Central Wheatbelt (Kellerberrin), Narrogin, Northam and Wagin venues.
From the moment the mobile was released, the pace was genuine, with a moving line of three — Vampiro, Im Full Of Excuses and Captain Proud — streaking clear early.
Chris Lewis, piloting the eight-year-old, tried to bring him across to the rail, but Vampiro’s reinsman Colin Brown managed to cut back in front and maintain the ideal inside position.
Given the sheer speed early, proceedings were always likely to taper and despite Im Full Of Excuses sitting on Vampiro’s back for a solid portion of the journey, the race leader did not appear fazed by the pressure around him.
With 500m to travel, Rock Me Over joined the fray at the head of the field and for a while it appeared as though Matthew Scott would push the button on him.
However at the home turn, the cream of the crop rose, with Lewis finding the space he needed to sprint past a fading Rock Me Over and engage a thrilling dash to the post alongside Vampiro.
With a bulk of successful country cup experience at his disposal, Lewis’ masterful display in the spyder was complete in the final seconds as he passed Vampiro and delivered yet another piece of silverware for the Olivieri stable.
Given his ability to compete against some of the State’s finest regularly, Olivieri could earmark another summer carnival for him.
Aristocratic Star ($8 chance) was successful in the $30,000 Narrogin WA Country Derby (2569m) held on the same card.
The Justin Prentice-trained colt finished powerfully for driver Gary Hall Jr to get over the top of leader Bee Jays Boy while $3.80 favourite Tahi ran third.
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