Australia beckons the emerging three-year-old staying star Sherrif.
The impressive son of High Chaparral has won two of his three starts and a commanding last-start performance to trump his rivals in the Group 3 Manawatu Classic (2000m) has him in line for a trip across the Tasman.
Sherrif will make his next appearance at Pukekohe Park on April 21 and then his connections will confirm which Australian classic he will target.
“He’s going to run in the Valachi Downs Champion Stakes, a Group 2 race over 2100m, and then we will make a decision whether he goes to South Australia or to Queensland,” trainer Roger James said.
“If he goes to Queensland he will take in the Grand Prix before the Derby and if he goes to South Australia it will be for the Derby only.” Sherrif made a successful debut in February and was then second at Te Aroha before he successfully stepped up to a middle distance at Awapuni last month.
“Interestingly, that was the seventh time I’ve won the Manawatu Classic and it’s been the springboard for a lot of good horses to go to Australia,” James said.
“This horse has been quite frail up until now and that’s why I couldn’t get a New Zealand Derby preparation into him.”
Sherrif is raced by his breeders Brendan and Jo Lindsay, who also have his stakes-winning half- brother Von Tunzelman in the stable.
“They are late maturers, but quite different horses in a lot of ways,” James said.
“Von Tunzelman has a high cruising speed and while I always thought he would make a stayer, we had to get him to relax whereas all Sherrif wants to do is switch off and that’s a great attribute.”
By Zabeel, Von Tunzelman won the Group 3 Trentham Stakes (2100m) during the summer and is currently spelling after he was unplaced in the Group 1 Auckland Cup (3200m).