Shamus is well exposed in the Group 1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby (2400m) market and a decision whether he will give trainer Allan Sharrock the chance of a second success in the staying classic will be made after his next run.
Currently on the third line at +1300, the gifted Taranaki three-year-old is unbeaten in three appearances up to 1400m and following Saturday week’s Group 2 Life Direct Wellington Guineas (1400m), his autumn goal will be locked in.
“That will be crunch time whether he is on a Derby path or the Levin Classic (Group 1, 1600m),” Sharrock said.
“It could be the Classic, as on pedigree he couldn’t get beyond a mile. He’s by Shamexpress out of a Per Incanto mare, but he is a horse that just loves to please and he’s a laid back, quiet type.
“He is still untapped and hasn’t had a hard race and sometimes three-year-olds can outrun their pedigrees. Snap and Wahid are two that did and I had Wahid and he was never going to get 2400m again.”
Sharrock prepared Wahid to claim the 2006 edition of the Derby for long-time stable clients Noel and Ron Stanley, who also race Shamus.
“After his next race I’ll sit down with them and they are open to either race, they are both good targets,” Sharrock said.
The New Plymouth conditioner is also planning a two-pronged attack on Saturday’s Listed JAPAC Homes Marton Cup (2200m) with Our Hail Mary and Waisake with the following week’s Group 3 Mode Technology Trentham Stakes (2100m) also very much in the mix.
However, track conditions on Saturday will have the final say on their programs.
“They will run on the proviso that the track isn’t too hard and I’ll late scratch them if I have to,” Sharrock said. “I’ll take them home and suffer the consequences.
“I can’t afford to have them going around on rock hard tracks. I’m not being a whinger but it’s about animal welfare and it would just be too tough. You can’t back them up seven days later, or at any stage, if you hammer them on rock hard ground.
“When it is at quarter to seven in the morning on a day that is going to be 28 degrees with light winds and the track is a Dead 4, what do you think it’s going to be at 2 o’clock – it’s a Good 2. I’m not going to pound them around on rock-hard tracks.”
Should both Our Hail Mary and Waisake run at Awapuni, Sharrock has suggested the former is his best chance.
A daughter of Ocean Park, Our Hail Mary will appreciate the step up in trip and has won three of her four starts beyond 1800m, including last season’s Trentham Stakes.
Reigning Group 3 Wellington Cup (3200m) champion Waisake is improving with recent racing and will be having his second middle distance run of his preparation.
“I would put Our Hail Mary in front of Waisake, but he is tracking nicely and the blinkers will go on in the Trentham Stakes,” he said.
Sharrock has also accepted with Darci La Bella in the Tom Trotter Memorial (1100m), Sumi in the Central ITM Handicap (1400m) and Tavattack in the Spreading Rural Bulk Handicap (1200m).
“I’d like more horses like Darci La Bella in the stable. She’s tenacious and tough and never stops trying,” Sharrock said.
The Darci Brahma mare opened her current campaign with consecutive wins on the course before she finished runner-up, again at Awapuni.
By Atlante, Sumi resumed with a hollow win on her home track and then earned a pass mark with her most recent effort for fourth.
“She’s going to the Wairarapa Breeders’ Stakes (Listed, 1600m) and her first-up run was huge and she was adequate second-up,” Sharrock said.
Tavattack returned following a 10-month break before Christmas and did well to finish second after racing three wide without cover.