Sharrock has big hopes for spring

  • user
  • June 19, 2023
  • No Comments

New Plymouth trainer Allan Sharrock will escape New Zealand’s winter chill for a couple of weeks as he heads to North America for a well-deserved break, and he is looking forward to welcoming back some of his stable stars on his return.

“I’m heading to America and then Hawaii on the way home. Emma’s (Davies, partner) been over there for a while,” Sharrock said.

He will get a chance to reflect on one of his better seasons, with the Taranaki horseman having already equalled his previous best prizemoney earnings of $1.2 million, and with seven weeks to go in the season he is just one stakes victory shy of his previous best of nine.

The Listed Opunake Cup (1400m) at his home track next month could be the race that gets him over that mark, with Sharrock set to target the feature with Group One performer Justaskme and Group Two performer Butler.

Sharrock said Butler had pulled up well after his tough unplaced run at Awapuni last Saturday, while Justaskme has returned in great order following a freshen-up after his back-to-back stakes victories.

“He (Butler) has come through it well. He saw a lot of the track,” Sharrock said.

“I am going to strip it all back and ride him cold and probably head to the Opunake Cup along with Justaskme.

“He will come in with a good weight with Justaskme at the top of the handicaps. He has got to get 1400m, but if we start working him that way and racing him that way, we are a chance.

“Justaskme had a week off and had his first day back on Monday. He has done super and I am really happy with him.”

On Sharrock’s return from overseas he will welcome back a handful of his stable’s leading lights for the spring, including Group One hopefuls Darci La Bella and Ladies Man.

The pair are currently in pre-training with Wanganui horsewoman Jo Rathbone, and Sharrock said they appreciate the change of environment.

“Darci La Bella has had one or two gallops. She is with Jo Rathbone at the moment and I’ll pick her up when I get home. I will be back by the end of June,” he said.

“Jo does quite a few of mine and does a really good job. It is a little bit different work and it is good to vary it up a little bit.

“She has got treadmills and she works them through the bush. It is work that they don’t do in a normal infrastructure. It is good for them.

“She has got Ladies Man, Southroad, and a couple of young ones. She is doing plenty for us.”

Darci La Bella continued her exceptional form last year, winning her last four starts, including the Gr.3 Taranaki Breeders’ Stakes (1400m), Gr.2 Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1400m), and Gr.2 Manawatu Challenge Stakes (1400m).

Sharrock said he was pleasantly surprised by her continued success last preparation and believes she has earned the chance to test herself at elite-level.

“She lifted the bar and got to a level I thought might have been above her, but she won really well, so the next step is a Group One,” he said.

“She will probably go to the Foxbridge (Gr.2, 1200m) first-up and straight into the Group One (Tarzino Trophy, 1400m) at Hastings.

“With her improvement at the end of last year, she is going to be competitive in those.”

Meanwhile, Sharrock is looking to offshore targets with promising stayer Ladies Man, where he hopes the rising six-year-old can join his half-sister Ladies First as a Group One-winning two-miler.

“The long-term plan with him is the Melbourne Cup (Gr.1, 3200m), but there is a lot of water to go under the bridge yet,” Sharrock said.

All going to plan, Ladies Man could be joined on his Australian raid by a handful of stablemates.

“It depends on how he comes up and what races are viable for which part of the team,” Sharrock said.

“We have got some nice horses and a horse like Tavattack could go over for some lesser races like the Seymour Cup (Listed, 1600m).

“We will see how it plays out.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.