Even if you take the most extreme view of Te Akau Shark's maiden Group 1 win, it may not be enough for what lies ahead.

Because that is how deep the pool of talent is that The Shark is about to find himself swimming in.

On a beautiful afternoon at Te Rapa on Saturday it was easy to think you had seen a special horse in the $200,000 BCD Sprint. You would be right.

Fresh up since October and taken off the bit at the 500m mark by the cunning front-running ride of Jason Waddell on The Mitigator, Te Akau Shark was vulnerable.


But on a track not known for its swoopers, Te Akau Shark changed legs and changed gears at the top of the straight and the next 200m was equine excellence.

They call Saturday's meeting Legend's Day. One day, Te Akau Shark might be one himself.

But if the horse they call Daryl is going to become a legend, he is going to have to earn it the hard way.

He heads to Australia for a three-race campaign and is already the $2.50 favourite for the first of those, the A$600,000 Chipping Norton at Randwick on February 29.

A mile at Randwick at weight-for-age sounds perfect and gives The Shark the three-week gap between races trainer Jamie Richards says is ideal.

Then another three weeks to the A$1 million George Ryder, again weight-for-age, this time over 1500m at Rosehill.

Probably not as perfect but with his Epsom conqueror Kolding being aimed at the All Star Mile in Melbourne a week earlier, The Shark is going to be too good for most of the older Australian weight-for-age horses, with maybe the 3-year-olds the new threat.

But then comes the real target and the real test: the A$4m Queen Elizabeth at Randwick on April 11, stepping up to 2000m in the race Winx owned. No more Winx, time for a Shark attack.


Yet it might not be quite that simple.

Because a horse you may never have heard of stands between the winner's circle and a crowd of people wearing shark hats. His name is Danon Premium and he is one of the best horses in Japan.

You only have to think back to Mer De Glace (Caulfield Cup) and Lys Gracieux's stunning win in the Cox Plate last spring for a crash course in how good the Japanese horses are.

Te Akau Shark was a brave third in that Cox Plate, coming from the outside draw, and he looks more advanced for this campaign than that.

But it would be drawing a very long parochial bow to suggest Te Akau Shark is as good as Lys Gracieux and last year Damon Premium thrashed Lys Gracieux over 2000m in the Kinko Sho.

Of course Danon Premium is still to make it to Sydney, even though reports he is coming saw him vault straight to the head of the markets.

The explosive chestnut ball that is The Shark may, and that is only a may, have his Aussie weight-for-age rivals covered this autumn.

But if he can beat Danon Premium at his best, he really will be a legend.