Progressive galloper Ladies Man cemented his claims to start favourite in the Group 3 Wellington Cup (3200m) in a fortnight with a solid staying effort to take out Saturday's Group 3 Trentham Stakes (2100m).
The Allan Sharrock-trained five-year-old turned the tables on his last start conqueror Sagunto, when he ran down the tearaway pacemaker in the shadows of the Trentham winning post after Sagunto had looked like he would lead all the way in the Group Three feature.
2023 Group 3 Trentham Stakes – Ladies Man
Sharrock went within a neck of producing the quinella in the event after last year's winner Waisake turned his form upside down with a determined finish in the hands of Opie Bosson to take third, less than a length from his stablemate.
“I'm not one hundred percent with him yet, but he's in the Cup and he is a big chance to win it as he is the favourite,” Sharrock said.
“I think I can improve the horse as he has had a rough week with a few things that have gone wrong, so that was a good run.
“It was also a massive run by Waisake as he has never raced that handy before, but you put old magic hands on (Bosson) and he travelled beautifully.
“He will improve too and you know one (Waisake) gets the two miles and the other is bred to.”
Sharrock was referring to Waisake's win in the 2021 Wellington Cup, with the eight-year-old set to start favourite in the race last year before injuring himself when winning the Trentham Stakes in his final lead-up run.
Sharrock isn't planning to do much with the duo in the next week, with stablemate Southroad likely to join them in the Cup on January 28 despite finishing down the track over 2200m earlier in the day.
“I think Southroad is a good lightweight chance in the Cup for us as well, so we are in with a strong hand,” he said.
“They won't do much this week and maybe have some light work on Friday but they will have a strong hit-out the week after and I will have them spot on (for the 28th).”
TAB Bookmakers have Ladies Man as the +160 Fixed Odds favourite for the Wellington Cup ahead of stablemate Waisake at +250 with Southroad the outsider of the trio at +2000.
The winner of five of his 15 starts, Ladies Man was bred at Grangewilliam Stud and purchased out of their Book 2 draft at Karaka in 2019 by Sharrock for $60,000.
His sire Zed will be represented by two Book 1 individuals and further three Book 2 entrants during the New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sale which kicks off at Karaka on January 29.