A patient ride by Bailey Rogerson paid off in spades as she guided Just As Sharp to a convincing victory in the Listed Trevor & Corallie Eagle Memorial 3YO (1500m) at Te Rapa.
Co-trainer Graeme Rogerson, who prepares the three-year-old in partnership with wife Debbie, was on hand to cheer on his granddaughter, who didn’t panic when the son of Swiss Ace slipped at the start and she found herself last of the seven runners.
With hot favourite Grail Seeker ($1.80) stalking pacemaker Leroy Brown, the task for Just As Sharp looked a tough one but he found his rhythm as Rogerson guided him to the outer in the home straight.
Just as Grail Seeker was being hailed the winner, Just As Sharp sailed down the middle of the track to claim her at the 100m and register his third win from just four starts for an ownership group that includes breeder Gerry Harvey, Craig Leishman, Australian couple Merv and Meg Butterworth and Graeme Rogerson himself.
“Ryan (Elliot) thinks he is a Derby horse and told me to just ride him quietly,” he said.
“I was disappointed the day he got beaten, but it was Crocetti who beat him although we then had him gelded.
“I think, with any luck, he can be a Derby horse.
“He will go to the Karaka Million 3YO (1600m) next and then we will look at the Derby.
“I think there is a hell of a lot of improvement still in him.”
With regular pilot Ryan Elliot suspended, Rogerson was struggling to get a rider for the horse before settling on his granddaughter for the mount.
“We offered the ride to ten jockeys, seven of them were suspended, two went to Wanganui so then Bailey,” he said.
“I’d rather she was a trainer than a jockey, but I can’t stop her as she is too old now.”
The twenty two-year-old had a grin a mile wide as she made her way back to the winners’ enclosure after capturing the first black-type victory of her career.
“I’m trying to let it sink in but it is pretty neat eh,” she said with a giggle.
“The plan was to head forward but he lost his footing coming out of the gates, so that went out the window.
“He settled nicely and when I let him rip on the corner, he has really found the line.
“His breeding suggest he shouldn’t go much further, but I think he will, as he is very promising.
“Being such a big race, this is very special and it’s good to get one for Granddad.”
A $145,000 purchase by Rogerson out of the Westbury Stud Book 1 draft at Karaka in 2022, Just As Sharp is out of the stakes winning mare Readyor and hails from an extended family that includes five time Australian Group One winner Triscay, along with Gr.1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) winner and now successful sire Astern.