Cambridge apprentice Michael McNab got a surprise phone call when offered the ride on the multiple Group One winner Shez Sinsational at Gate Pa on Saturday.
New Plymouth trainer Allan Sharrock has entrusted McNab with the ride on Shez Sinsational in the Stewart Browne Group 1400, which will be the mare's lead-up to a three-race Queensland campaign.
McNab will be just the third jockey to ride Shez Sinsational on raceday with Opie Bosson and James McDonald being aboard on the 19 occasions. Bosson rode Shez Sinsational in her first 10 starts and McDonald then took over.
"I've been watching Michael since he started back and he's riding very well," said Sharrock. "He'll help by taking a couple of kilos off her back, too.
"I'm also taking the blinkers off her. I always take them off when she's fresh. She doesn't need them fresh."
The appearance of Shez Sinsational will be a drawcard for Racing Tauranga. She is one of just two horses to have won three Group One races this season, the other being Veyron, who captured last Saturday's Group I Easter Handicap for the second successive year.
Shez Sinsational's first Group One win came in the Zabeel Classic at Ellerslie when beating Veyron and she later won the Group I Darci Brahma International Stakes at Te Rapa.
She completed a Group One treble when taking the Stella Artois Auckland Cup last month and has been freshened since the 3200 metre triumph.
"She had two or three weeks off after the Cup and it's amazing how she has let down," said Sharrock.
Shez Sinsational pleased Sharrock when winning a jumpout last week and has continued to work well. "She's very well and as long as she's running on well I'll be happy," he said. "The 1400 metres will be too short for her, but it's be a good build-up to Brisbane."
Shez Sinsational's main mission in Queensland will be the Group I A$500,000 Doomben Cup, (wfa 2020m) at Doomben on May 19. She will also contest the Group II A$300,000 Hollindale Cup (wfa 1800m) on May 3 and the Group II A$250,000 P J O'Shea Stakes (wfa 2200m) at Eagle Farm on June 2.
McNab, a son of former top jockey and successful trainer Chris McNab, has ridden 53 winners in total, 10 of them since making his comeback to raceriding at New Plymouth on February 18.
Apprenticed to Stephen Marsh, McNab was third on the the stable runner Cheetak on that first day back riding and four days later he was successful on High Priest at Dargaville for Todd Mitchell.