Jo Surgeonor has leapt at an opportunity to snare her first Group win with Showoroses at Ellerslie on Saturday. The Auckland trainer hadn’t planned on backing up the Showcasing filly after her all-the-way win at Ellerslie last weekend but when entries for Saturday’s Group 3 Mitchell Family Bonecrusher Stakes (1400m) were left open, she was quick to snap up a spot in the three-year-old feature.
TAB bookmakers have shortened Showoroses from her $15 opening price to $12 in a market dominated by the unbeaten Nigel Tiley-trained Proisir gelding Riodini at $1.50. “She’s backing up and stepping up to 1400m for the first time but she seems really well,” Surgeonor said. “She’s come through last week well so we’re hopeful she can run well again. Nigel’s horse is going to be hard to beat but we’re happy to give her the chance.”
Surgeonor trains a small team at Ardmore, primarily for owner Peter Walker and his wife Sherin, who race Showoroses. Walker was a part-owner of Fully Funded, who gave Surgeonor her biggest moment in racing when he won the 2017 Listed Counties Bowl (1100m) at Pukekohe. “I’ve had a few other stakes placings but never won or placed in a Group race,” Surgeonor said.
She hopes that will change late afternoon on Saturday. “It’s a Group 3 race and she’s a filly. It would be nice even to place to get black-type to her name,” Surgeonor said. “She ran well last week and pulled up well so we thought we’d have a go.”
Bred by the Walkers out of their Group 3-winning and Group 1-placed mare Rodrigo Rose, Showoroses finished second on debut as a two-year-old last season before an unplaced run in stakes company at Te Rapa. She returned at three with a narrow maiden win at Avondale and a gritty Rating 65 win at Ellerslie last week. “It was an amazing win. She broke 1:10 for 1200m and she’s done it all herself out in front. She’s coped amazingly,” Surgeoner said. “She’s always given me the feeling she was above average. Everything she’s been doing up to now has been easy for her. It all comes naturally. She’s a happy horse. But as we go up in the grades, it does get harder.”
Surgeonor wouldn’t be drawn on upcoming targets for Showoroses, suggesting a third run in the space of a month in the Group 2 Ladies Mile (1600m) might be too taxing for her filly. “A lot will depend on how she goes but we’re not under any pressure to force anything with her. She’s a lovely filly and we have to put her first,” Surgeonor said.
Outside Showoroses, Surgeonor’s focus is on progressive gallopers Mussolini and Finale, having retired giant sprinter Mighty Me after an unplaced return at Ellerslie last week. “He’s nine now and he just said to us the other day ‘that’s it, I’ve had enough’.”