IN Racing
Waisake warming up for favourite carnival
The well-performed Waisake will take a big step towards his sixth Wellington Cup Carnival with a run in Saturday’s Majestic Horse Floats (2200m).
Richard Edmunds, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk | December 15, 2023
Trentham has been a happy hunting ground for Waisake. (Grant Matthew - RIPN)

The well-performed Waisake will take a big step towards his sixth Wellington Cup Carnival with a run in Saturday’s Majestic Horse Floats (2200m) at Trentham.

The winner of eight races overall from a 44-start career, the Zed gelding has saved some of his very best for Wellington’s summer showpiece meetings. He began his annual tradition of heading to Trentham every January with a pair of Rating 65 appearances, winning in 2019 and finishing a luckless eighth a year later.

The 2021 carnival was Waisake’s big breakthrough, romping home by four lengths in a Rating 74 before powering to victory in that year’s Gr.3 Wellington Cup (3200m).

He was the favourite to defend that crown after an outstanding win in the Gr.3 Trentham Stakes (2100m) on the opening day of the 2022 carnival, but was forced out of the Cup and sidelined for 10 months with a tendon injury.

Waisake made it back to Trentham again in January of this year, finishing third in the Trentham Stakes before struggling in Heavy10 ground in the Cup.

The nine-year-old’s trainer and part-owner Allan Sharrock is hoping to add to that record in January, and he sees Saturday’s $50,000 race as an ideal stepping stone.

Waisake brings strong form into Saturday’s race. He produced an eye-catching finish from last to run fourth behind subsequent Gr.3 Counties Cup (2100m) winner One Bold Cat in the Feilding Gold Cup (2100m), then picked up a third placing in last month’s Gr.3 New Zealand Cup (3200m).

“He’s going well,” Sharrock said. “He was a bit unlucky in the New Zealand Cup. I thought I had him right that day, but he just didn’t quite get the rub of the green in the running. We were still pretty happy with his performance.”

The TAB rates Waisake a $4.20 favourite on Saturday, but Sharrock warns that he is likely to benefit from this hit-out.

“He came back and had an easy week after the New Zealand Cup,” Sharrock said. “He’s definitely going to improve off the race on Saturday, but it’s a nice starting point in a campaign that will probably see him go to the Trentham Stakes next, then hopefully carry on to the Cup a week later.”

Stablemate Sumi is the $1.60 favourite for Saturday’s JAPAC Homes (1400m). The daughter of Atlante has won five of her 22 starts, including a first-up success over Belardo Boy in a 1340m race at Wanganui on November 5.

Apprentice jockey Jess Allen’s 3kg claim will reduce Sumi’s weight to 52.5kg on Saturday, and Sharrock is hoping this race will put the mare on a path towards black-type features through the summer months.

“She’s coming up really well,” Sharrock said. “She’s a pretty tidy mare and it was a good win first-up. I’m happy with her.

“Safely through this weekend, we’ll probably look at a race like the Anniversary Handicap (Gr.3, 1600m) during the Wellington carnival. Another option could be the Wairarapa Breeders’ Stakes (Listed, 1600m) in February. It would be good to add a bit more black type to her record this season if we can.”

Waisake Gr.3 Trentham Stakes Gr.3 NZ Campus Of Innovation & Sport Wellington Cup Allan Sharrock Sumi Anniversary Handicap Waiarapa Breeders' Stakes