Trainer Luke Fernie has quickly turned his attention to upcoming feature races with his stable stars, after several near misses during the recent Pinnacles carnival.

Fernie won the Listed Placid Ark Stakes (1200m) with Ripcord on the opening day of the Pinnacles, before he recorded placings in the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) and Group 3 Gold Rush (1400m) with the same galloper.

He rounded out his string of feature race placings with Be Optimistic narrowly beaten by Casino Seventeen in Monday’s Group 2 Perth Cup (2400m).

Wild Belle was also unlucky when running fourth in the Listed Summer Scorcher (1000m) behind Ghost Who Walks.

Fernie said there were plenty of positives to come out of the carnival.

“It could have been anything, but it wasn’t meant to be,” Fernie told The Races WA.

“I didn’t think we’d have so many runners in the features.”

Despite having to settle for runner-up in the Perth Cup, Be Optimistic was still able to score earlier wins in the Listed Kalgoorlie Cup (2300m) and Listed Scahill Cup (2100m) to establish herself as one of the state’s emerging stayers.

Fernie said he was confident Be Optimistic would run well in the Perth Cup but was pleasantly surprised how close she got to Casino Seventeen.

“I was confident she was going to run a super race,” Fernie told The Races WA.

“I didn’t think Casino Seventeen would get that far back, so it was ideal to be following him.

“At the 800 I thought we were both in a world of hurt.

“I didn’t think she would get there, but then you look at the photo and it was a lot closer than I thought it was.

“She hasn’t put a bad run in all year.”

Fernie indicated he would aim Be Optimistic at next year’s Perth Cup.

While he went close in the Perth Cup, Fernie was able to secure a consolation prize on the day when Stormchaser won the Schweppes Handicap (1200m).

It took the gelding’s record to four wins from seven starts and Fernie said he felt now was the time to aim him at feature races.

“He’s a very good horse,” he said.

“He will go to the Magic Millions Trophy and that looks a nice race for him fresh.

“I reckon when he’s chasing is when we see him at his best.

“Watching him on Monday at the top of the straight I thought it was going to be Wild Belle all over again.

“Someone was looking after me though.”

Fernie said he would make a decision this week whether Wild Belle takes her place in Saturday week’s Miss Andretti Stakes (1100m) or waits for the Scenic Blast Stakes a fortnight later.

“I think she would’ve blown them away if she got clear running,” he said.

“We will see how she pulls up before we decide whether to go to the 1100.

“She’s a proper animal and I think we will see that if we can keep her in one piece.

“The Quokka will be the plan for her.”

As well as Wild Belle, Fernie will look to secure a slot for Ripcord in the $5 million Quokka on April 20.

Fernie also has Laced Up Heels back in work ahead of an autumn campaign.

Tim Walker
www.rwwa.com.au