The $500,000 Placid Ark Stakes (1200m) launches the Ascot Pinnacles Carnival on Saturday and it promises to be a belter.
With a host of top three-year-olds racing in WA presently, it is certain to live up to its billing and hype.
The race is named in honour of a sprinting great who was inducted into the WA Racing Hall Of Fame in 2010.
Placid Ark was purchased as a yearling by a syndicate headed by popular Perth hotelier Barry McGrath, on the advice of leading Ascot trainer Wally Mitchell. For many of the syndicate this was their initial foray into racehorse ownership.
After winning one of his only two starts at two years, it was at three years that Placid Ark took all before him. Following his win in the group three Sir Ernest Lee-Steere Classic at Ascot in early January, plans were made for Placid Ark to take on the best sprinters in the nation by contesting the ‘Triple Crown’ in Melbourne.
Ridden by regular rider John Scorse, Placid Ark became the first horse to win the group one treble of the Lightning Stakes, Oakleigh Plate and Newmarket Handicap all in the same season. A feat only since replicated by the great sprinter Schillaci.
Following his Melbourne campaign Placid Ark competed in Sydney where at his first start ‘the opposite way of going’ he won the Canterbury Stakes over 1200 metres in track record time before a narrow defeat in the Galaxy Stakes.
His feats as a three year old saw Placid Ark honoured as Australian Racehorse of the Year for the 1986/87 season. A remarkable achievement for a horse purportedly with ‘bad legs’.
Placid Ark’s career ended prematurely in 1988, recording 14 wins and 3 placings from only 21 starts.
Lightning Stakes [G1], Flemington 1000m
Oakleigh Plate [G1], Caulfield 1100m
Newmarket Handicap [G1], Flemington 1200m
Canterbury Stakes [G2], Canterbury 1200m
A.J. Moir Stakes [G2], Moonee Valley 1000m
Linlithgow Stakes [G2], Flemington 1400m
Winterbottom Stakes [G2], Ascot 1400m
Rupert Steele Stakes [G3], Flemington 1200m
Sir Ernest Lee-Steere Classic [G3], Ascot 1400m
Bobbie Lewis Quality [G3], Flemington 1200m