Stakes targets looming for Sharrock pair

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  • July 07, 2023
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Butler is guaranteed to start a short-priced favourite in the open handicap at Te Rapa on Saturday, but trainer Allan Sharrock isn’t under-estimating the threat posed by his well-performed stablemate.

The highly regarded son of Showcasing will be at cramped odds in the Group One Turf Bar Sprint (1200m), in which he will take on model professional Justaskme, with stakes targets around the corner for the pair.

The winner of six of his 15 starts, Butler endured a horror four wide run when beaten last time out at Awapuni and Sharrock is expecting a change of fortune at the weekend.

“He’s probably weighted to win with Justaskme having a run before the Opunake Cup (Listed, 1400m), but I wouldn’t rule him out,” Sharrock said.

“There’s only six horses in it so he’s not going to be a mile off them, although at the weights and distance, Butler should have the edge on him.”

Kelsey Hannan’s claim will bring Butler’s weight down to 55kg, while the booking of Triston Moodley for Justaskme will have him carry 58kg.

“Justaskme is a very good horse and they opened him at $14 in the Winter Cup (Gr.3, 1600m) and we were clamouring to get on,” Sharrock said.

“He’s now $3.50 and that’s probably a more realistic price.”

Justaskme won the Listed Rangitikei Cup (1550m) at Awapuni in May and early last month added the Listed AGC Training Stakes (1600m) at Wanganui to his record.

“I just thought he needed another run before the Opunake Cup and then on to Riccarton and he will be vulnerable at the distance, the mile is really where he’s very good,” Sharrock said.

“If Butler wins on Saturday he will also probably go to the Opunake Cup, he’s got more natural speed and we haven’t really tried him at 1400m.”

Stablemate Librarsi also looms as a top winning hope in the Mark Sanders Memorial (1400m) following consecutive placings and the Reliable Man filly will be partnered by apprentice Donovan Cooper, who will claim 4kg.

“She was a bit stiff at her last start and raced really well first-up. She’s not a hard filly to ride and is going pretty well,” Sharrock said.

His representation is completed by It’s Margo in the closing event, the OTL Group Ltd (2100m), off the back of her fourth placing over 1800m with Hannan to ride the Jimmy Choux mare.

“She ran well at New Plymouth and the rain looks like it’s coming and shouldn’t worry her so she’s going to be competitive,” Sharrock said.

At Awapuni, he likes the chances of the resuming Fleming in the Rayner Building Ltd (1200m).

“His last two gallops have been sensational and he won his maiden by 13l. It’s a sticky draw, but Parkes (Johnathan) knows the track better than anyone,” Sharrock said.

“He’s probably going to have to do a bit early in the race, but I see him as one of my stronger hopes for the weekend.”

Sharrock will also be represented by the well-related debutante Crickets Chirping in the Marton Business House 2YO (1100m).

The daughter of Belardo is a half-sister to multiple winner Rhinoceros, with their dam Hot In Pink a half-sister to the Group Three winners Elephant and Melt.

“She went to Stratford last Saturday and the Tuesday gone and they were running 50s for 600m, the best was 43s and she was one of those and was too good for her galloping mate,” Sharrock said.

“She’s had enough jump-outs to be proficient. It’s a bit of an unknown with a two-year-old on a wet track, but she could be a rough each way play.”

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