Three in-form stablemates are set to make their bids for a place in the Jericho Cup (4600m) in Victoria later this year, representing a new training partnership.
Right Now, Jesko, and Sailor Jack, all contenders for extreme distances, will participate in the first New Zealand qualifying race, the NZB Airfreight Road To The Jericho (3210m) at New Plymouth.
These three horses will be the inaugural runners for the newly established training combination of Awapuni-based trainer and leading jumps jockey Shaun Fannin and his fiancée Hazel Schofer.
Schofer, a former jockey who achieved notable success, rode 123 winners during her career, including three at Group or Listed level.
However, her career was marred by weight issues, and Fannin mentioned that she might consider returning to riding in the future, but their primary focus now is on their training operation.
The trio of Right Now, Jesko, and Sailor Jack are in excellent form as they embark on their quest for a spot in the Jericho Cup, scheduled to take place at Warrnambool on December 3.
“It’s definitely the plan to go, all three of them stay really well. I don’t really want them all to clash, but I thought if they are all in then hopefully one of them could get the job done, and we’d definitely look at heading over there,” said Fannin.
When it comes to distinguishing between the three runners, Fannin finds it challenging because of their impressive form.
“They have showed that they can stay so the distance will suit them all down to the ground,” explained Fannin.
“They all look pretty good chances to me, it probably depends on the track with Jesko and Right Now liking it quite wet and Sailor Jack has form on wet ground, but he ran on a Good 4 at Hawera and won quite impressively.
“If I had to lean one way then probably Sailor Jack at the weights, he’s got 55kg and is a horse that has really improved.”
Sailor Jack, who was fourth at Otaki in a race won by Jesko two starts back, has been making significant progress under Gerald Innes’ stable and was a convincing winner in an amateur riders’ event at Hawera while carrying 67.5kg.
Fannin also spoke highly of Right Now, who has secured three consecutive wins over middle distances, including a recent triumph at Awapuni.
“He’s not the greatest trackworker so he can be a bit deceiving. He keeps stepping up and looks a promising jumper for next year, he’s done a fair bit of schooling and shows plenty so I’m quite excited by him.”
Jesko, another contender in the trio, recorded a strong victory at Otaki two starts ago and showed resilience in his subsequent race, finishing fifth after racing three wide without cover.
Fannin praised Jesko’s performance, saying, “The start before he beat quite a strong field, and his work has been quite impressive. All three are in with really good chances, they are fit and well, and I think it will probably come down to the track and the run they get on the day.”