IN Racing
Waisake shoots for second Wellington Cup
“That was an outstanding run. He ran the fastest last 800m, 600m, 400m and 200m in the race."
Richard Edmunds, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk | January 19, 2024
Waisake will contest the Gr.3 NZ Campus of Innovation & Sport Wellington Cup (3200m) on Saturday. Photo: Race Images

Waisake has had his share of ups and downs in the Gr.3 NZ Campus of Innovation & Sport Wellington Cup (3200m), but the Taranaki nine-year-old is set to step out as favourite for the 2024 edition of the famous two-miler at Trentham on Saturday.

The Zed gelding had his first taste of the Wellington Cup back in 2021, where a supreme staying performance carried him to a commanding victory. He returned to defend his crown 12 months later, and he looked to have it at his mercy after a dominant lead-up victory in the Gr.3 Trentham Stakes (2100m) on the opening day of the carnival. However, the $2 pre-post favourite was a shock withdrawal days out from the race and spent the next 10 months on the sidelines with a tendon injury.

Waisake returned for the 2023 edition of the Cup last year, but was tripped up by a Heavy10 track and finished 10th.

Trainer and part-owner Allan Sharrock believes he has Waisake on track for another shot at the $300,000 feature this weekend.

“It’s been a long and up-and-down road for him in this race over the years,” Sharrock said. “But we don’t think we could have him any better this time around, so now we’re just holding our breath with the weather and hoping the track won’t be too bad.”

The Trentham track was rated a Soft6 on Friday morning, with showers forecast for later in the day and the possibility of occasional rain on Cup Day.

Waisake produced an eye-catching Cup trial in last Saturday’s Trentham Stakes, launching a huge late run from second-last in the field of 14. He made up more than a dozen lengths and finished a close third behind Times Ticking and Sagunto.

“That was an outstanding run,” Sharrock said. “He ran the fastest last 800m, 600m, 400m and 200m in the race.

“I’ve tried to time it to have him peaking for the Cup this weekend, and it’s looking like it might work out that way. But we’ll see what happens on Saturday.”

Waisake will be ridden by Matt Cameron and was on Friday rated a $3.80 favourite. Fellow Taranaki runner Mary Louise was the second favourite at $5.50, with last-start Listed Marton Cup (2200m) winner Canheroc the only other runner in single figures at $6.50.

Sharrock will also be represented by two promising mares on Saturday’s supporting programme. Alexandra Quick takes a one-start, one-win record into the Farewell Tony Lee Premier (1200m), while Terra Preta will make her third career start in the Countdown to TAB Karaka Millions 27 January Premier (1400m) after finishing third and first in her two previous appearances.

“They’re both very tidy mares who won in good style when they were last presented,” Sharrock said.

“The blinkers will go on Alexandra Quick, whose gallop on Tuesday was huge. I couldn’t be happier with her.

“The other mare has drawn out a bit, but she’s pretty tractable and Spratty (Sam Spratt) is a good judge of pace, so I’d imagine she’ll go forward. They should both be nice chances.” 

Waisake Gr.3 NZ Campus Of Innovation & Sport Wellington Cup Matt Cameron Allan Sharrock Alexandra Quick Sam Spratt Zed