While many northern trainers will have their attention focussed on Ellerslie on Boxing Day, Daniel Miller’s sights will be centred further south. The Matamata conditioner has sent three horses to Wingatui for their Saturday meeting, including Group 3 winner Sheezallmine, and he has the added bonus of some local knowledge in the form of stable foreman Mason Stevens.
“We are really happy with how Sheezallmine has travelled down. She travelled down there last week with my foreman, Mason Stevens,” Miller said. “He was born and raised in Wingatui, so it’s a good trip for him to go away around Christmas. His father is also the track manager at Wingatui. “He shares in the ownership of Grand Gesture, another horse we have down there.”
Sheezallmine will jump from barrier one in the Listed Alleviate Administration Hazlett Stakes (1200m) and Miller is hoping the change in scenery will benefit his mare. The daughter of Super Easy finished sixth last start in the Listed Counties Bowl (1100m) and Miller thought a southern trip would be a good opportunity to try and add to her black-type tally.
“It was a really good run in the Counties Bowl, she just hasn’t had a lot of luck this preparation,” Miller said. “She has been going some nice, solid races without getting the money. “She was back last at the 200m with Levante, who is probably one of the best horses in New Zealand. We have been cleaned out and still managed to run on for sixth and hit the line strong, so we were more than happy with that. “We are hoping our run of bad luck can change, and hopefully a change of scenery can change the luck up a bit.”
Sheezallmine has a strong record in the south, having four previous starts for two wins, including the Group 3 Stewards Stakes Handicap (1200m), and a runner-up performance in the Listed Pegasus Stakes (1000m). “She seems to go well down South,” Miller said. “But she is a horse that needs to settle in and she is getting better at that as she gets older. She is travelling a lot better. Those sort of mares can perk up with a change of scenery.”
Sheezallmine will be met by a couple of highly rated horses on Boxing Day, including top-weight Enzo’s Lad, who will carry seven kilograms more than his northern rival. “There are some horses in there that are pretty smart on their day,” Miller said. “She gets in really well on the weights (with 53kg). “The forecast is for a bit of rain, so if the track comes up a bit soft it is not going to hurt her chances. “I am confident she can go a nice race.”
TAB bookmakers have installed Sheezallmine as a joint +350 favourite for the race, alongside the Terri Rae-trained Wekaforce.
Miller said his five-year-old mare will likely bypass the Group 1 JR & N Berkett Telegraph (1200m) at Trentham next month in favour of some more southern targets. “Unless she comes up and was very dominant on Saturday, she will likely miss the Telegraph,” Miller said. “But she will probably hang around down there for a little bit. “There is a Listed race (Timaru Stakes, 1400m) at Riccarton which she could go to on the way home. “That could be a nice race for her to get up over 1400m and have a decent crack at it.”
Miller is also looking forward to watching stablemate Grand Gesture contest the Wingatui Functions Centre 2 & 3YO (1200m) on Saturday. The three-year-old gelding has won two of his three starts to date and Guineas targets loom for the promising son of El Roca after a sale to Hong Kong recently fell through.
“He is a real racehorse,” Miller said. “He does the job and has got a bit of ability. “We had him sold to Hong Kong, but he failed the vet check. It’s bittersweet, but we get to carry on racing him. “We have taken him south with the goal of chasing those three Guineas races down there. “He is definitely a horse who can get black-type and I think it is a good opportunity for him to get it down there.”
Miller has also sent six-year-old mare Yamuna south, however, as the fourth emergency for the Speight’s Rating 74 (1400m), she is unlikely to gain a start this weekend. “She is unlikely to get a start, but if she can make it in I am pretty confident she will go a good race,” Miller said. “She has been working as good as the other two.
“She is a horse that has got quite a bit of ability, she just lets herself down sometimes. She has run second six times. “I thought she would be a great candidate for a change, just to spark her back up again. She was just getting a bit dull on life. “She will probably race on Wednesday (at Kurow) if she doesn’t get in. I am picking she will be more than competitive then.”