Allan Sharrock has a pair of trump cards to play in the main events on the card at Wanganui on Saturday.
The New Plymouth trainer will chase a notable black-type double with rising young star Carbonados in the Listed Castletown Stakes (1200m) and his flagship winter performer Justaskme in the Listed AGC Training Stakes (1600m).
Sharrock has booked Johnathan Parkes to ride his last-start winners, which are the Taranaki conditioner’s only runners at the meeting.
“It’s good to see Johnathan back and riding so well again. I’m pretty happy with both of my horses and it’s a nice position to be in for the Listed races with both to start favourite,” he said.
Carbonados debuted on a heavily rain-affected track on his home course earlier this month and romped home at short odds to the delight of his army of supporters.
“He’s just a genuine racehorse and I couldn’t be any happier with him,” Sharrock said.
“I’ve made no secret that he’s been working with open handicappers and he’s gone as good if not better than them.
“His work has continued to be the same and I can’t see the track being any problem to him on Saturday.”
Sharrock has no doubt that Carbonados will be equally effective on better ground to bring the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival into play next season for the son of Belardo.
The Listed Sir Colin Meads Trophy (1200m) and the Gr.2 Hawke’s Guineas (1400m) are a pair of possible targets.
“He won a trial in good time at Foxton on a good track. He’s just a good racehorse and handles anything to be honest, he’s very talented,” Sharrock said.
Carbonado’s stablemate Justaskme produced an emphatic last-start performance when he won the Listed Rangitikei Gold Cup (1600m) by five lengths with runner-up Mary Louise in receipt of 6.5kg.
“He did surprise me a bit, just with the weight (60kg) he carried and the way he won. It was a bit spooky really and we might be in for our best year with him,” Sharrock said.
The conditions of Saturday’s contest will further boost the chances of the son of No Excuse Needed.
“Times Ticking is a very good horse and he’s only one point behind us in the ratings and it’s now weight-for-age so my bloke is going to be pretty hard to beat,” Sharrock said.
“Fitness-wise and distance-wise he’s better off and the track isn’t going to worry him, he’s a toff in bad ground.
“He’s probably going to be freshened after this and I’ll have to have a go at the Opunake Cup (Listed, 1400m) again.
“He will have 60kg, but that will lead him nicely into the Winter Cup (Gr.3, 1600m).”
Two years ago, Justaskme was successful in the Opunake Cup before he finished runner-up in the Riccarton feature.
“That’s probably what I’m looking at and then I’ll tinker around with him until the last day at Hawke’s Bay and see what the track conditions may be like,” Sharrock said.
Justaskme struck a heavy track in last season’s Gr.1 Livamol Classic (2040m) and beat all but Mustang Valley with Sharrock hoping similar going will prevail at Hastings for this year’s edition.