Allan Sharrock will have quality and quantity on his side when he bids to regain the stable’s Gr.3 Wellington Cup (3200m) title at Trentham.
The New Plymouth trainer won the New Zealand Campus For Sport & Innovation-sponsored staying feature in 2021 with Waisake, who will form part of his three-pronged attack on the January 28 contest.
Waisake has been ticking over well in his quest for another Cup while barnmates Ladies Man, the current pre-post $3.20 favourite, and Southroad have more exposed form.
“I couldn’t be in a better place with them and personally believe Ladies Man is a bit short, but he is the favourite for mine and his run was super on Saturday,” Sharrock said.
The son of Zed heads the Cup market after rounding off strongly to finish a close third behind Soldier Boy and Sagunto in the Listed Marton Cup (2200m) at Trentham.
“It was his first time in open company and the leader ran second and the winner had been running in weight-for-age races and I said before the race he would be the one to beat,” Sharrock said.
“He got a run through the middle and we went right around them with half a-kilo more and came up 0.3 length short so we were the only one that took ground off those two and his run had plenty of merit.”
Waisake was a short-priced favourite in his bid for back-to-back Wellington Cups in 2022 before a tendon injury ruled him out.
Also by Zed, he had his fourth run back from a lengthy break in the Marton Cup and was doing his best work late to finish ninth with an effort that more than satisfied Sharrock.
“He was huge with 59kg and he’s coming to hand nicely and with 56kg in the Cup he’s got to be hard to beat,” he said.
Waisake is currently a $10 chance while Southroad is at $12 following his victory romp in Rating 75 company over 2200m on Saturday.
“The up and comer absolutely bolted in and being by Shocking he will get two miles all day,” Sharrock said.
“He will be the one that goes in short of the (lead-up) 10,000m that I like, but with Southroad it doesn’t worry me because he will stay all day and the further they go the better he will be.
“He had to put up his hand to make the field with 53kg and he did that.”
Sharrock has also booked a trio of Group One-winning jockeys to partner his representatives.
“I’ve got good riders on all three so I’ve ticked that box. Jake Bayliss will stick with Southroad, Craig Grylls will be on Ladies Man again and Opie Bosson will jump on Waisake so they just have to all stay heathy now,” he said.
Sharrock also enjoyed success at Trentham on Saturday with the exciting Shamus, who posted his sixth career victory from eight starts when the son of Shamexpress claimed the open 1100m handicap.
“He’s having a soft season and next year I think he will be a genuine weight-for-age horse,” he said.
“He’ll run at New Plymouth in an open 1400m next and may have one more race or we’ll park him because I know how good he can potentially be.”
Sharrock said Shamus still had further improvement to come and was happy to take him along quietly to fulfil his full potential.
“He’s probably 20 per cent short of where I’d like to see him physically and mentally so we’ll give him time and play the long game with him.
“The Telegraph (Gr.1, 1200m) at weight-for-age and the Thorndon Mile (Gr.1, 1600m) at set weights and penalties are the races for him next season.
“He never came early up in the spring and whether he’ll get to the Tarzino Trophy (Gr.1, 1400m) later on this year I don’t know, it’s more likely Darci La Bella will go down that path.
“He never lost his coat in the spring and was very slow so he might not be a Hawke’s Bay horse.”