Josh Shaw tasted Group glory with Hinepara last year and he has got a craving for more.
The Horowhenua horseman came close to tasting it again last Saturday when Faraglioni was runner-up behind Campionessa in the Group 2 Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1400m) and Shaw was duly rapt with the result.
“I was pretty confident going into the race and I was rapt that she ran up to my confidence levels,” Shaw said.
“The only question mark was whether she would cop the better track. I had no reservations about that and she handled it well.”
Shaw is now setting his sights on loftier targets and is eyeing a tilt at the Group 1 TAB Classic (1600m) at Trentham on Saturday-week.
“Looking at the long-range weather forecast for Trentham and knowing she doesn’t mind a bit of moisture, we are probably going to have a throw at the stumps and have a look at the TAB Stakes,” he said.
Having a Group One contender is what every trainer aspires to have and Shaw said he couldn’t dream of reaching such heights when he first got involved with horses after leaving school as a fresh-faced 18-year-old.
“I started off working for Jack Scott at Ohau Stud as an 18-year-old. I did a few years working on studs and ended up moving up to Cambridge and working for Chris Wood,” he said.
“I then worked on the starting gates up north for about eight years and ended up coming back down here and giving training a go.
“My first horse to the races was Rayas and she won and by then I was engrained (in training).”
Shaw has gone on to record a further 15 victories, including Hinepara’s win in last year’s Group 2 Avondale Cup (2400m) at Ellerslie.
“Hinepara winning the Avondale Cup was a massive achievement. She went into the race under the radar and I had set her for that race for a wee while,” Shaw said.
“To come back and run second in the race behind Aquacade this year was a massive thrill for me. For her to come back 12 months later to show that it wasn’t a fluke was very satisfying.”
Shaw is enjoying running his boutique training operation out of Levin and is excited about the prospects of a couple of younger stock in his barn, including a two-year-old half-sister to Faraglioni.
“You have got the use of whichever track you want at Levin,” he said.
“You can work on the grass every day of the week if you want to. It is not the hustle and bustle of a Cambridge or Matamata, it is pretty good.
“I have got eight horses in full work and three or four breakers, and I have a half-sister to Faraglioni by U S Navy Flag that I am quite excited about.”