Sergeant Major looking to farewell New Zealand in style

Sergeant Major
Following his recent sale, exciting juvenile Sergeant Major will have one final run in New Zealand before continuing his racing career in Australia. Photo: Race Images Palmerston North

Gavin Sharrock is confident his young protégé Sergeant Major can sign off his New Zealand career in perfect style.

The Stratford trainer’s well-related two-year-old son of champion sire Proisir will take aim at the Group 1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Trentham on Saturday week.

“He has been sold, but the new owner Ozzie Kheir wants me to carry on with him until after the Sires’ and then he’ll go to either Chris Waller or Ciaron Maher,” Sharrock said.

Sergeant Major ran second on debut at Otaki behind Final Force, who had previously placed in the Karaka Millions 2YO (1200m), before he impressively went one better at Trentham to attract Kheir’s attention.

His maiden success was all the more meritorious as he had reared at the start and hung throughout before unleashing a powerful finishing burst wide out on the track.

“He had never run crooked in his life and then I saw the replay and he got his tongue over the bit so he (Sam Weatherley, jockey) wouldn’t have been able to steer him,” Sharrock said.

“That’s probably why he went up when he jumped, the bit’s hit him under the tongue.

“I’ve put a tongue control bit on him and he’s worked every day in that and accepted it and everything should be fine.

“He is a freak and he’s from a staying family and he will be far better at 1400m than 1200m. He hasn’t missed a beat and is jumping out of his skin.”

Sergeant Major was bred and raced by Gavin O’Dea, with the seven-figure deal brokered by bloodstock agent Melissa Robinson.

Hawera accountant O’Dea has enjoyed a successful association with Sharrock through Sergeant Major’s multiple stakes winning brother Soldier Boy and their sister Vancooga, runner-up in the Group 1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m).

Another sister is currently being broken in and the mare is in foal to Vanbrugh while Vancooga has a yearling filly by Vadamos.

Sharrock and O’Dea are looking forward to a big day out at Trentham on April 6.

“It would nice if we could get a family double with Soldier Boy, running in the Awapuni Gold Cup (Group 2, 2000m),” Sharrock said.

The five-year-old is expected to be a major improver off the back of a pair of lead-up outings.

“He’s going well and he’s just taken a couple of runs to get him back because I put him out on dairy land for six weeks and he came back as big as a bull,” Sharrock said.

Soldier Boy has won on four occasions, including Listed successes in the Marton Cup (2200m) and the Wanganui Guineas (1340m).

He also has a runner-up finish to his credit in the Group 3 Taranaki Cup (1800m) and ran fourth in the Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) and Group 3 Wellington Stakes (1600m).

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