Talented winter galloper London Express bounced back from an unlucky run first-up at Te Rapa last month with a determined effort to score over 1200m at Matamata. The five-year-old Shamexpress mare had been buffeted several times when resuming over the same distance at Te Rapa with trainer Allan Sharrock somewhat disappointed in the ride of his apprentice Hazel Schofer on that occasion.
Sharrock provided Schofer with opportunity to redeem herself on Saturday and she covered herself in glory with a copybook effort despite once again suffering some jostling at a crucial moment in the contest. Allowed to settle handy after jumping well from an inside barrier, London Express travelled kindly amongst runners before Schofer angled out wide approaching the home bend.
With several rivals improving even further out at the same time London Express was jostled between horses for two or three strides before Schofer extricated herself from the melee and set out after pacemaker Call Me Evie, who was in front with 300m to run. London Express stretched out gamely to hit the lead short of the post with Midnight Runner and Call Me Evie battling on strongly to fill the minor placings. “I’m actually prouder of the girl (Schofer) than the horse as she redeemed herself from the time before with a top effort,” Sharrock said.
“She’s not an easy mare to ride as she gets on the chewy and got a bump midrace as well. “Hazel did well to circumnavigate all that and I think the last 50m was the best part of the race as she really stretched out nicely. “I’m proud of both horse and rider.”
Sharrock will now look for some bigger targets with the mare who won the Listed Castletown Stakes (1200m) as a two-year-old. “She’s got a great record at 1200m even though I think she can get further,” he said. “There’s a stakes race (Group 3, 1400m) at New Plymouth coming up in September which she may get away with on her home track so we might look for an open sprint to lead into that.
“I might even throw a nomination in for the first Group 1 at Hastings (Tarzino Trophy, 1400m) because, if she got a heavy track there and it all went skew whiff for the good ones, she might lob a place. “I think that race at home does look like a good one for her though so that’s my first thought at this stage.”