Not the for the first time, the Goldfields race round supplied two feature winners at the Ascot carnival when Be Optimistic (Blackfriars) and Let’s Galahavant (Galah) were successful on Saturday.
Be Optimistic was an on-pace winner of the LR Kalgoorlie Cup (2300m) last month and she came from the back of the field to claim the LR A J Scahill Cup (2100m) for trainer Luke Fernie.
Let’s Galahavant had been runner-up to Magnificent Andy (Magnus) in the LR Hannans Hcp (1400m) before turning the tables in the LR Carbine Club of WA Stakes (1400m) for co-trainers Dan and Ben Pearce.
“Even though it was a top win in Kalgoorlie, I thought we were probably reaching for the stars setting her for Cup races at Ascot,” Fernie told the West Australian Newspaper. “Then she ran an eye-catcher in the Luckygray Stakes and I realised we had a very nice horse on our hands.
“There’s plenty of water to go under the bridge to get her through to the Perth Cup but this is a good stepping stone.”
The A J Scahill Cup was previously known as the Tattersalls Cup and Blackfriars stayer Black Tycoon completed the Perth Cup double in 2013-14. Prizemoney for the 2024 G2 Perth Cup (2400m) on New Year’s Day has been doubled to $1 million.
Be Optimistic (5m Blackfriars – Mekie’s Dream by Pluck) was bred and sold by Scenic Lodge for $36,000 at the 2020 Perth Magic Millions and Saturday’s win increased her earnings to $440,500.
Mekie’s Dream had been retired unraced and was among the maiden mares in the Scenic Lodge legend’s final book. Her second-dam Mannerism (Amyntor) won a Group 1 Caulfield Cup and Be Optimistic was her first and only foal.
Let’s Galahvant (Photo / Western Racepix) enhanced his reputation as one of WA’s most durable gallopers with a third black-type victory in the LR Carbine Club of WA Stakes (1400m) on Saturday.
The Pearce Racing-trained iron-horse was having his 15th start this campaign and the win boosted his prizemoney to $624,000. A $10,000 yearling purchase from Rangeview Stud at the 2020 Perth Magic Millions, he had previously struck at Listed level in the 2022 Hannans Hcp and 2023 Northam Cup.
“We would like a few more like him in the stable,” co-trainer Dan Pearce admitted. “He’s tough, he’s sound and just keeps improving the deeper he’s goes into every prep.”
Let’s Galahvant (5g Galah – Secret Crush by So Secret) was on a seven-day turnaround following a close third to Mojo Rhythm and Alsephina in last week’s G3 R J Peters Stakes. He settled one-out and two-back for Chris Parnham and finished powerfully to score by a neck.
“He enjoys the work and came here in great order today,” Pearce added. “We just took him down the beach and let roam round a paddock this week.”
His dam Secret Crush had been a regular cover for Galah (Redoute’s Choice) at Rangeview Stud and foaled four winners from their first four to the races. She is a younger half-sister to the Key Business black-type winners Keyton Grace and Shock Value.