Progressive three-year-old Shakespeare broke maiden ranks for Otaki trainers Johno Benner and Hollie Wynyard on Thursday at Waverley over 1650m and looks to be a stayer of promise.
The son of Poet’s Voice came with a well-timed run under Lisa Allpress to win by a length going away, defeating older rivals. “He is a horse that we have had a lot of time for and it has been frustrating because we haven’t been able to get him to a trip that we know will suit him,” Benner said.
Benner was critical of the programme for young stayers in New Zealand. “He is a beautiful individual and has been a very hard horse to place. I had to run him against older horses as a two-year-old just to try and get him up to a trip that he can be competitive at. “It is one of my pet frustrations in New Zealand. We are known for breeding and raising a staying style of horse but we just don’t cater to them. You just wish that there were some more options.
“Looking at races like the VRC Derby (Group 1, 2500m), it is getting harder for New Zealand horses to get to those races unless you get them to Aussie early. “He’s smart. He doesn’t know how good he is and I am not sure what he beat today. He got into a beautiful spot and Lincoln Town put pace into the race and he was diligent late. “The future is bright for him and there are five Derbys in Australasia so that has been our goal.”
Out of the stakes-winning Encosta de Lago mare Ulfah, Shakespeare was purchased by Benner and bloodstock agent Phill Cataldo for $60,000 from the draft of Brighthill Farm in Book 1 of the 2018 Karaka yearling sales.