Nicholas Jones

Nicholas Jones is the New Zealand Herald’s education reporter.

Favourite racing for her future

If Shez Sinsational, here with handler Selina Leef, wins the Auckland Cup she will automatically qualify to run in the Melbourne Cup. Photo / Richard Robinson
If Shez Sinsational, here with handler Selina Leef, wins the Auckland Cup she will automatically qualify to run in the Melbourne Cup. Photo / Richard Robinson

She's the favourite to take out today's $500,000 Auckland Cup, but for the owners of Shez Sinsational the race is more about opportunity than immediate riches.

Trainer Allan Sharrock said winning the race - the centrepiece to New Zealand's largest, richest and most glamorous horse racing carnival - would qualify them for the Melbourne Cup.

"She'd have to win it pretty well to warrant a start in Melbourne, because it's a very, very hard race to win."

But Mr Sharrock said dreaming was free. "Water finds its own level, so you keep going forward until you drown and you've got to get out."

His father Bob and his close Taranaki friends were in a syndicate to race Shez Sinsational, and Mr Sharrock said the mare's strong form had buoyed his dad after a pre-Christmas heart attack.

Yesterday, the 72-year-old was still considering flying to Auckland for today's race at Ellerslie.

"But he has a lot of trouble with his breathing, so he's just contemplating what he can and can't do.

"It's great to have him involved ... it would be a big thing if I could do it for the old man."

Organisers expect between 8000 to 10,000 people to flock to Ellerslie Racecourse today to take in a day with more on offer than just a punt on the horses. Today's Herald contains a Stella Artois Auckland Cup Day sweepstake chart.

Fashion scouts will roam the crowds to find the best dressed couple on the day. Others who feel sufficiently glammed up can pose for a photo taken by Next Top Model judge and photographer Chris Sisarich.

And after the last race of the day people can dance late into the evening to the music of DJ Kieran Bell.

Ellerslie racing CEO Chris Weaver said the event was the perfect excuse to finish work early, given the Auckland Cup itself was not run until 5.52pm.

"It's about being able to be here for the race ... and then people stay and have a drink afterwards and really enjoy the revelry."

He said the most sought-after tickets granted access to the Gucci suite, but didn't know whether there was truth to rumours Heidi Klum's estranged husband Seal and Hobbit star Orlando Bloom were on the fashion house's guest list.

SEE ALSO

Racing coverage - T1

Sweepstake chart - B17

- NZ Herald

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