IN Racing
Another Foxbridge title in Sharrock’s sights
Butler will be one of three runners for trainer Allan Sharrock in the Gr.2 Waikato Stud Foxbridge Plate
NZ Racing Desk | August 23, 2022
Butler will run in the Gr.2 Waikato Stud Foxbridge Plate. Photo: Trish Dunell

Allan Sharrock has a strong hand to play in Saturday’s Gr.2 Foxbridge Plate (1200m) in a bid to trump his rivals for a second time in the Te Rapa feature.

The New Plymouth trainer is expecting to be represented in the Waikato Stud-sponsored feature by the proven Tavi Mac with Butler and Darci La Bella to front up for the sternest tests of their careers.

“The way they have been working they will all run, providing Butler gets in and he should at this stage,” Sharrock said.

“It’s very, very hard to split them and potentially it’s Butler, but Tavi Mac has done the job and Darci La Bella has the residual fitness so that’s how I would sum them up.

“I’m proud to have three runners in it, it’s a time-honoured race and I’ve been fortunate enough to win it before.”

He prepared I Do to claim an emotional victory in the 2014 Foxbridge Plate, the last Central Districts-trained runner to claim top honours in the event.

The daughter of No Excuse Needed was bred and raced by Sharrock and Waikato Stud principal Mark Chittick, who had tragically lost his wife Lisa to leukaemia earlier that year.

Butler is a rising star of the Sharrock stable with five wins from nine appearances and is unbeaten in his last three starts.

He completed his hat-trick in early July with success in an open sprint at Te Rapa and the son of Showcasing returned there a month later to win a trial.

“He’s a very, very smart galloper and he handles off ground with aplomb and has been the second favourite in the early markets,” Sharrock said.

Tavi Mac, who also trialled at Te Rapa, is proven at Group level and finished runner-up behind Avantage in the Foxbridge Plate two years ago.

“He has already won a Group Two and a Group Three and, back to his best, you would have to think he’s a good chance,” Sharrock said.

Darci La Bella has won seven of her 12 starts and was a last-start fifth in the Listed Opunake Cup (1400m).

“I think she is probably better at 1200m, but she has done nothing wrong at all,” Sharrock said.

“I would have loved some jump-outs at Stratford the last Tuesday gone. The tracks around the area were good and we’d had seven days of fine weather, but unfortunately they didn’t see fit to have them.

“I missed that with the three of them, but I have done as much as I can and hopefully that will prove enough.”

The Sharrock representatives’ performances at Te Rapa will determine if they carry on for a crack at the Gr.1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) at Hastings a fortnight later.

“It will all be there for everyone to see this Saturday, we’ll see what happens,” he said.

Meanwhile, stablemate and last season’s Listed Castletown Stakes (1200m) winner Sophmaze will kick off her three-year-old campaign at Wanganui on September 3, as will Librarsi.

“Sophmaze will run in the Wanganui Guineas (Listed, 1340m) and the other filly Librarsi will run in The O’Leary’s Fillies’ Stakes (Listed (1200m),” Sharrock said.

“I think Sophmaze will relish the distance and the other one is more pacy so 1200m will suit her.”

Another gifted galloper in Shamus has benefitted from a longer break and has now returned to Sharrock’s care to build up for his summer campaign.

“He has been back in the stable for three weeks and he’s a different horse. He has put on quite a bit of weight and has physically matured,” he said.

“Fortunately, with the Stanleys’ patience we were never in a rush to get him back for the Hastings carnival and I think they have played the right card there.

“He’ll be out pre-Christmas and races like the Thorndon Mile (Gr.1, 1600m) would be in his realm.”

Raced by Noel and Ron Stanley, Shamus won the Gr.2 Wellington Guineas (1400m) last season and has only been beaten twice in six outings. 

Allan Sharrock Foxbridge Plate Waikato Stud Tavi Mac Butler Darci La Bella Mark Chittick No Excuse Needed Showcasing Listed Powerworx Opunake Cup Librarsi Sophmaze