Buoyed by a half-million dollar success from two of his human proteges, Allan Sharrock is hoping for big things from three of his equine stars at Otaki on Thursday. The Taranaki trainer heads to the Levin Racing Club meeting with Tavi Mac, Waisake and Our Hail Mary, an exciting trio that all have black-type targets ahead of them this season.
They will line-up five days after Sharrock watched two of his former employees – trainer Brett Scott and jockey Michael Walker – combine with former Taranaki galloper Irish Flame to win the $A500,000 Listed Ballarat Cup (2000m). Scott was a stable foreman for Sharrock in the 1990s, while Walker’s stellar apprenticeship was under Sharrock’s tutelage.
“I was best man at Scotty’s wedding, and Michael’s like a son,” Sharrock said. “I’ve spoken with Scotty a couple of times since the weekend and he’s pretty upbeat. I was thrilled. It was a real Taranaki job.”
Sharrock’s hand for Otaki is headed by cult hero Tavi Mac, an equine ugly duckling who is looking for more black-type in the Listed Courtesy Ford Levin Stakes (1400m). A winner of eight races from 13 starts, Tavi Mac has been racing since July, with the highlights being a second placing behind Avantage in the Group 2 Foxbridge Plate (1200m) and a very easy win carrying 59kg in the Listed Matamata Cup (1400m) on October 10.
He’ll need to shoulder 60kg at Otaki, but Sharrock has every confidence in his gelding. “He’s only a little horse but he seems to carry the weight no problem. He’s earned the weight I suppose, and we can’t duck and dive, he’s got to carry it.”
Sharrock said Tavi Mac is likely to start once more after the Levin Stakes this campaign most likely in the Group 2 Manawatu Challenge Stakes (1400m) at Awapuni in December, though continued good form could see him aimed at a race like the Group 1 Telegraph (1200m) or the Group 1 Thorndon Mile (1600m) at Trentham in January.
Further than that, Sharrock has some ambitious targets for 2021. “I wouldn’t rule out Brisbane in the winter, or we might look at the spring next year in Hawke’s Bay. He’s a serious racehorse and he’ll be more competitive knowing a bit more next year. He’s probably got to learn the racing game, but he’s a tenacious little fella. He wants to win, that’s the big thing with him, and he’s still got plenty of improvement.”
Waisake, who contests a Rating 74 2100m race, won three starts back at Hastings and has earned two third placings since then, while Our Hail Mary has her second start for the season in a Rating 74 1400m contest, having not started since a fast-closing fifth at Hawera on October 10 due to a wide draw in a scheduled Awapuni start.
“Waisake’s work in the last two weeks has been outstanding, and with Troy Harris back on him he’s a good chance as long as the track’s not too wet. “His long-term goal is the Wellington Cup (Group 3, 3200m), but he’s going to be very hard to beat on his work.
“Our Hail Mary is quality and she’ll be a good chance as well, though I think she’s probably going to be a better mare over 2000m. “She will head towards a Group race later on. What it will be at this stage I don’t know, I’m going to try and keep her and Sinarahma apart, but she may end up being targeted at the Wairarapa Breeders’ Stakes (Listed, 1600m), a race Sinarahma won last year.”