Shock ‘Em Ova powers home at Caulfield

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  • September 25, 2023
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The lightly raced Shock ‘Em Ova lifted his promising career up a notch with an impressive win from well off the pace in Saturday’s Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield.

The New Zealand-bred five-year-old went into the race with two wins and three second placings from his six-start career, most recently an eye-catching second in his resuming run at Sandown on August 30.

Shock ‘Em Ova was a hot favourite to add a third win to his record on Saturday, but his supporters may have had a few nervous moments after he was slow to leave the starting gates and was still last at the top of the home straight.

But jockey Craig Williams brought the son of Shocking to the outside and sent him into top gear, and he powered past his 10 opponents to win with ease. His time of 1:36.70 was a new class record, beating the 1:36.91 set by Seb Song on Memsie Stakes Day earlier this month.

“I rode this horse near the end of his last campaign, and I’ve been on his back from the start of this preparation and ridden him in his lead-up work,” Williams said.

“His attitude is still not perfect, but he was much better today. The race mapped out to suit him, but he still had to do the running when the chips were down in the straight. He was a very effective racehorse today. I’m very pleased for him, and I think he’ll take good confidence from the win.”

Shock ‘Em Ova has now earned A$186,850 in stakes for Cranbourne trainer Alex Rae, who also shares in the ownership of the gelding.

“We’ve put a lot of time and effort into this horse,” Rae said. “The key is getting him to switch off and race properly. It’s great to win a race on a Group One day like this at Caulfield today, but we’re looking at the bigger picture, so I loved the way Craig dropped him out and rode him quietly. That’s going to hold him in good stead as we pick him up in distance later on.

“He still has quite a low rating, so he’ll just continue to go through the grades for now. He’s still working things out a little bit. He’s a bit of a bozo, really. Hopefully he’ll continue winning and continue to toughen up, and then we can target better races as he gets older and stronger.”

Rae believes Shock ‘Em Ova may come into his own at higher levels in the autumn.

“When you keep winning races, it forces your hand to step up and run in better races a bit more quickly,” he said. “But there’s plenty of prize-money around this spring for us to pick our way through the grades. Hopefully, come the autumn, his rating will be high enough that we can target something really nice.”

Shock ‘Em Ova was bred by Eales Racing Pty Ltd and is the first foal to race out of the two-race-winning Domesday mare Domerova, who comes from the family of the Gr.1 Irish St Leger (2800m) Wicklow Brave.

Shock ‘Em Ova was offered by Rich Hill Stud in Book 2 of Karaka 2020, where Northumberland Thoroughbreds bought him for $26,000.

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