Allan Sharrock is stretching his resources like never before but is hoping for a landmark weekend of success as he produces runners in stakes races at three different venues for the first time in his career this weekend.
The New Plymouth trainer is in Melbourne putting the finishing polish on Group 1 Auckland Cup (3200m) winner Ladies First ahead of Saturday’s Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m), while back home London Express tackles the Group 3 Partners Life Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) at Ellerslie and Art Deco contests the Group 3 Gee & Hickton Thompson Handicap (1600m) at Trentham.
“We’re a bit stretched and Kane [Sharrock, son and stable foreman] is under the pump but they’ve all worked well this week and we’re hoping to make our presence felt everywhere,” Sharrock said.
Former stable apprentice and champion jockey Michael Walker takes the ride on Ladies First in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup from barrier one and was aboard in her trackwork at Tuesday’s Breakfast with the Stars session at Moonee Valley. “Michael had no knock on her work at all. She handled the Valley just fine. She looks really good and she’s fit,” Sharrock said.
“I’d liken her condition to how she was before the Auckland Cup. We think she’ll be at her optimum for Saturday but whether that’s good enough, we’ll find out.
“We’ve just had the misfortune to come up against one of the strongest Moonee Valley Cup fields in years. They had seven last year but this year it’s a full field of 15 and three emergencies.
“She should get a soft enough run from barrier one and if she could run in the top five we might back up (in the Hotham Handicap) on Derby Day and then get her home for another Auckland Cup preparation in the autumn.
“I couldn’t be any happier with her. We’ll see where she sits on Saturday.” Sharrock was pleased with Listed winner London Express ahead of the Soliloquy Stakes at Ellerslie, the Shamexpress filly’s first start at Group level.
“She won a jumpout at Hawera and she worked right-handed on Tuesday and we reckon she goes that way more comfortably than what she does left-handed,” Sharrock said.
“Media Sensation will be hard to beat but we’ll be more than competitive.” Safely through Saturday’s race, London Express will prepare for the Group 3 Lucia Valentina Wellington Stakes (1600m) at Otaki on November 30.
Art Deco is nearing the end of her preparation but Sharrock is expecting a typically bold performance from the Road To Rock mare in the Thompson Handicap after Group 3 placings at her last two starts.
“She’s super. She could have done with drawing a better barrier [than gate 12] but there’s a bit of rain coming and that would help her too,” Sharrock said.
“She never fails to please us. She probably won’t do much more after this. She’s had a long campaign but we’ll get her back for the autumn and she’ll probably be off to a stallion next spring.”