Local trainer Allan Sharrock gained a special result on his home track on Saturday to round out a record-breaking season for his New Plymouth-based stable.
Sharrock prepared the quinella in the Listed Powerworx Opunake Cup (1400m) when rider Sam Weatherley guided race favourite Justaskme to victory over gallant mare London Express in an exciting finish to the feature event on the day.
Bred and raced by Sharrock in partnership with his brother Bruce, the newly appointed Chief Operating Officer at New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing and former Kiwi rugby league international Tony Kemp, Justaskme overcame being hindered by the riderless Mont Ventoux early in the home straight to down his stablemate by two-lengths.
The win was Sharrock’s 53rd for the season, the highest tally he has achieved in 33 years of training and his seventh black-type success in the last 12 months.
“That was a pretty special victory, winning a black-type race on your home track,” Sharrock said.
“I knew he was pretty spot on for the race and in the end, he was quite dominant.
“He did it the hard way as he had to come around them, which not many did today and he has run to the line well.
“We’ve got the Winter Cup next and the mile there will really suit him as that is his pet distance.”
Although a rising six-year-old, Justaskme was only having his 11th raceday start with Sharrock confident there is more to come for him.
“He’s very lightly raced and I think he will make it as a weight-for-age performer,” he said.
“He is a real genuine type and he was pretty effective on better tracks in his first few runs so he is not just a wet-tracker.
“We did the right thing last year and got the mare in foal to Contributer, which looks a good move now.
“I’m also pleased for my brother Bruce and for Kempy, who is laid up on the couch at home with a knee infection, so I hope he didn’t do any damage cheering him home.”
Bookmakers reacted swiftly to the win by installing Justaskme as the +160 Fixed Odds favourite for the Group 3 Winning Edge Presentations Winter Cup (1600m) at Riccarton on August 7.
Justaskme is the fourth living foal from O’Reilly mare Often, a daughter of Group 3 NZ St Leger Stakes (2500m) winner Freequent.
Sharrock added another victory to his season’s tally when Penelope Cruise took out the last race of the day for rider Lisa Allpress who registered a winning treble after earlier victories aboard the John Wheeler-trained Zeefa Zed and the Anna Clement-trained Miss Dixie.