Awapuni couple embarking on road to Jericho

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  • September 14, 2023
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By Paul Vettise, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

A trio of in-form stablemates will represent a new training combination when they start their quests on Saturday for a place in the Jericho Cup (4600m) in Victoria later this year.

Extreme distance contenders Right Now, Jesko and Sailor Jack will contest the first New Zealand qualifying race when they do battle in the NZB Airfreight Road To The Jericho (3210m) at New Plymouth.

They will be the first runners for Awapuni-based trainer and leading jumps jockey Shaun Fannin and his fiancé Hazel Schofer, whose training partnership was rubber-stamped this week.

Former jockey Schofer rode 123 winners, including a memorable six in a day at Hawera in 2020, with three at Group or Listed level during a career marred by weight issues.

“She might come back to riding one day, but not in the near future,” Fannin said.

Their primary focus is on the training operation with Right Now, Jesko and Sailor Jack in fine fettle to launch their bids for places in the Jericho Cup, to be run at Warrnambool on December 3.

“It’s definitely the plan to go, all three of them stay really well,” Fannin said.

“I don’t really want them all to clash, but I thought if they are all in then hopefully one of them could get the job done and we’d definitely look at heading over there.”

Fannin finds it difficult to split their runners, not surprising given they are all in fine form.

“They have showed that they can stay so the distance will suit them all down to the ground,” Fannin said.

“They all look pretty good chances to me, it probably depends on the track with Jesko and Right Now liking it quite wet and Sailor Jack has form on wet ground, but he ran on a Good4 at Hawera and won quite impressively.

“If I had to lean one way then probably Sailor Jack at the weights, he’s got 55kg and is a horse that has really improved.”

Sailor Jack was fourth at Otaki behind Jesko two runs back from Gerald Innes’ stable before the son of Jakkalberry relocated and was a runaway winner in an amateur riders’ event at Hawera under 67.5kg.

“Gerald approached me after Otaki to see if I would take him as a jumper and gave me a half share. He’s certainly going the right way,” Fannin said.

Wrote’s son Right Now has won three on the bounce over middle distances, including a last-start success at Awapuni after more than three months between outings.

“He’s not the greatest trackworker so he can be a bit deceiving. He keeps stepping up and looks a promising jumper for next year, he’s done a fair bit of schooling and shows plenty so I’m quite excited by him,” Fannin said.

Jesko won well at Otaki two starts back and the Atlante gelding backed it up with a fifth placing after racing three wide without cover.

“He got caught wide at Awapuni and not much went right for him there,” Fannin said.

“The start before he beat quite a strong field and his work has been quite impressive.

“All three are in with really good chances, they are fit and well and I think it will probably come down to the track and the run they get on the day.” – LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

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