People can be forgiven for confusing Shadows Cast for a pack horse of late given the amount of weight he has been carrying. The Group 1-winning miler carried a mammoth 63kg to victory last start at Awapuni to win the Red Craze Bowl (1400m) by 1-1/4 lengths, while he is set to be a clear topweight in the Group 2 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile (1600m) on Wednesday.
While Shadows Cast has proven he can carry extreme weights, trainer Mark Oulaghan still holds some concerns about the weight disparity on Wednesday, with the Per Incanto gelding set to carry 59kg, 4kg more than his nearest rival. “It is going to be a bit of a test for him tomorrow,” he said. “He showed he can carry it, but the way it is weighted tomorrow, you have got those horses down on 53 and 52 kilos. “He is giving some of them six or seven kilos and especially if the track is a bit off it might not be ideal for him, but that’s what handicap racing is and we have just got to take it as it is.”
One of those horses on the 52kg minimum is Son Of Maher, who dead-heated with Shadows Cast in the 2017 edition of the Coupland’s Mile. Shadows Cast won the Red Craze Bowl as a lead-in to the race that year and Oulaghan is hoping this year’s result is a good omen heading into Wednesday. “The pattern has proved successful in the past, so we are hoping for success again tomorrow,” he said.
While Shadows Cast has tasted success in the race, he has also had some misfortune after suffering a heart fibrillation in the event last year. However, he quickly recovered and went on to win his next two races, the Group 2 Manawatu Challenge Stakes (1400m) at Awapuni and Group 1 Thorndon Mile (1600m) at Trentham.
Oulaghan is happy with the way Shadows Cast has travelled down to Riccarton from his Palmerston North base and is not overly perturbed about drawing the outside barrier in the 14 horse field. “He went down on Sunday night and he worked there this (Tuesday) morning and did everything right, so we are happy enough with his condition,” he said. “We’ll probably just let him jump away and see where he can find a position. If there is a lot of speed on he will probably get back a little bit, but if there is not a lot of pace on down the back he will probably be a little bit handier, but I don’t think we will be leading on him.”
Oulaghan is looking forward to Wednesday and believes Shadows Cast is in peak condition ahead of his assignment. “His runs at Hawke’s Bay were good, he just didn’t have a lot of luck in the way he was ridden,” he said. “His run the other day was good, so I think he is on a par, if not better than the last two years.”