Eight-year-old pacer Finbar Abbey shaped for a prosperous feature events campaign when he scored an upset win for his new trainer Ross Olivieri in tonight's $40,000 Easter Cup (2902m) at Gloucester Park.
Finbar Abbey ($13.50) fought on gallantly to beat Polak ($23.30) by a half-neck and favourite Alta Christiano ($1.60) held on to run a close third after leading.
"Big improvement has been shown by Finbar Abbey since his recent transfer to Ross Olivieri's stable," the gelding's reinsman Chris Voak said.
"He's won each of his three races for Ross. A few months ago, I couldn't have imagined he was up to winning an Easter Cup.
"We covered extra ground tonight and it wasn't an easy run."
Finbar Abbey was unplaced in his last six races before arriving at Olivieri's Oakford property.
"He's enjoyed the change of environment," Olivieri said. "I think he has a bright future in strong company."
New Zealand import Libertybelle Midfrew's brilliant victory tonight has confirmed her nominal favouritism for the $150,000 WA Oaks (2536m) on May 9.
Libertybelle Midfrew ($2 favourite) won the WA Oaks Prelude (2536m) by 19.5m from The Parade ($4.80). Highest Royalty ($9.40) was a further 7.7m back in third place.
Reinsman Shannon Suvaljko took Libertybelle Midfrew three-wide from the 1000m post and she drew clear of rivals at the 500m.
"She's all class," Suvaljko said. "I didn't extend her."
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