Drive West Scores 2015 Ascot Gold Cup Upset

Joe Miller’s veteran seven-year-old Drive West scored a notable boilover in Saturday’s Ascot Gold Cup 2015 in Perth taking out the meeting’s staying feature as a 31/1 shot in betting.

A 10-starter field faced off in this season’s edition of the $100,000 Listed Ascot Gold Cup (1800m), which was one of three black-type features on the Ascot Racecourse card over the weekend for Lee Steere Stakes Day.

Of those the best in betting was the Adam Durrant-trained Medaglia D’Oro four-year-old Illuminated ($2.10) who came off three straight wins over 1600m – 1800m this campaign.

The hot favourite only managed to finish four and a half lengths off the upset Ascot Gold Cup winner however in fifth after fading late, jockey Ben Paterson guiding Drive West ($31) to a comprehensive one and a half-length victory over Lou Luciana’s Young Lionel ($4.20).

A son of the state’s top sire Blackfriars, Drive West came off a third behind Kia Ora Koutou in a Benchmark 72+ at Belmont from early October over 2200m, the winner of which subsequently travelled to Melbourne and was third to runaway winner Tarzino in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m).

In the Ascot Gold Cup, Drive West continued to frank the form coming out of the lead-up race, dropping back 400m and still being sharp enough to post his first win since August over 2000m.

The ageing galloper has now won eight of his 71 career starts, half of which have been at the Ascot track.

Another impressive Ascot winner over the weekend who saluted at much shorter odds was the Grant Williams-trained odds-on favourite in the second, Celebrity Dream ($1.80).

WA’s top hoop William Pike guided the Thorn Park filly to her half-length win over Puteri Jewel ($9) in the $60,000 Ameila Park Handicap (1200m) for three-year-olds.

The win puts the undefeated youngster, who is now two-from-two after a successful debut at Bunbury last time out, in line for a possible step up in class for the $500,000 Group 2 W.A. Guineas (1600m) over a mile on November 21.

Currently sitting in the top 10 in the futures WA Guineas odds at bookmakers around Australia, Celebrity Dream rose up those all-in markets post-Saturday win with the early favourite being fellow filly Blackwood.

Owner-breeders Bob and Sandra Peters however are more likely to take Celebrity Dream to Ascot on Railway Stakes Day in a fortnight and instead of the Guineas, run her in the $100,000 Listed Placid Ark Stakes (1200m) over less distance.

In that she will again face-off against Remember Berlin who she beat home by a length in her impressive debut, the Zizou gelding subsequently winning over 1100m at Ascot on November 3.

“She ran very well at Bunbury, obviously it was a little bit short for her,” Mr Peters told Perth Racing post-win on Saturday.

“Hopefully we can get a few more runs out of her before she goes out.

“If she went well today we would wait for the Placid Ark and keep her sprinting.”

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