Be Optimistic will bid to claim a feature race hat-trick ahead of her grand final mission at Ascot on New Year’s Day.
Be Optimistic gave trainer Luke Fernie one of his best moments in racing when winning his hometown Kalgoorlie Cup (2300m) in October and he’s daring to dream he can relive the same emotions if not better in the Group 2 Perth Cup (2400m) on January 1.
With a host of emerging top liners exposed from his stable, Be Optimistic has been a genuine surprise packet for Fernie this campaign, successful in the Kalgoorlie Cup and Scahill Cup (2100m) at Ascot when he defeated Perth Cup favourite Casino Seventeen.
Winning the Perth Cup was a mile away from Fernie’s thinking when Be Optimistic commenced her campaign at Belmont last September, but such has been the improvement from the daughter of Blackfriars that Fernie believes she’s in with a big shot of taking out the $1 million race.
“I’m really, really happy with her, she’s in top shape and I’m excited for New Year’s Day and she’ll go super, that is for sure,” Fernie told Tabradio.
“I didn’t think that the Perth Cup was a realistic chance for her at one stage, but they say mares in form are very hard to knock off.
“She seems to be in that purple-patch at the moment and as long as she can relax in her races that’s when she does her best work.
“She beat Casino Seventeen two starts ago and had a good weight swing on it, so it will be interesting to see how they both line up with 53kg.”
Be Optimistic has drawn barrier eight with regular jockey Clint Johnston-Porter to maintain his association with her.
In a vote of confidence Johnston-Porter chose to stick with Be Optimistic after receiving overtures to ride interstate raider, Numerian.
Trainer Annabel Neasham was eager to retain Johnston-Porter after he guided Numerian to a Ted Van Heemst (2100m) victory last Saturday.
Since the Coolgardie Cup (1760m) in September, Johnston-Porter has ridden Be Optimistic in six of eight races this campaign, including the Kalgoorlie Cup.
Fernie said retaining Johnston-Porter was important.
“He’s got a great affiliation with her,” Fernie said.
“It’s great to keep him on, obviously he rode the winner (Numerian) on the weekend and chose her (Be Optimistic), so that gives me a lot more confidence as well.”
Be Optimistic and Casino Seventeen have been allocated 53kg in the Perth Cup after carrying 57kg and 59kg respectively last-start in the Northerly Stakes.
Casino Seventeen has drawn barrier five for William Pike. Co-trained by Grant and Alana Williams, the six-year-old is the $2.85 favourite.
Be Optimistic is currently rated at $9.