Trainer Allan Sharrock is hoping Shamus can help launch the next phase of his career in the $260,000 Levin Classic at Trentham tomorrow.
Victory in the Group 1 three-year-old 1600m would be the perfect way for Sharrock to start his unlikely venture into horse syndication.
The Taranaki trainer has long been one of New Zealand's most respected horsemen but with a smallish stable and a well-established clientele.
But he left the Karaka sales with eight new yearlings for the stable last week and ready to dive into the syndication pool, something he never thought he would do.
"I have always kept things small, been a trainer who concentrates on the horses and would call the owners once a week to update them," says Sharrock.
"But the world has changed and syndication is a big part of how people own horses now. They love showing their mates at the pub or work a video of their horses working and telling them what the trainer thinks. That has never been me but I realise I have to change with the times to keep up.
"I have a sharp guy in Marcus Corban [formerly of Cambridge Stud] to help me with getting owners together to race some of these new yearlings. I even have a website and it was time for a change so I am looking forward to it."
Sharrock is not only a great trainer but good at trading horses, with recent winners such as Alhambra Lad and London Point likely bound for Australia soon.
That still leaves him with two big guns in play tomorrow and Shamus will need to be good in the Levin Classic where he meets five from Jamie Richards' team.
For all the sheer class of Imperatriz and On The Bubbles, Sharrock thinks he can beat them.
"My horse is spot on, I couldn't have him any better," he starts. "And as good as those horses are, they aren't proven at a mile yet. I think Jamie's top two might be fast but a mile around Trentham can be hard.
"The way my fella beat some good horses here over 1400m two starts ago, I've no concerns about 1600m."
Shamus was stunning coming from near last to beat the talented Pareanui Bay in the Wellington Guineas and was then tried at 2000m in the Waikato Guineas to see if the Derby was an option. A battling third confirmed it was not.
He comes into tomorrow fresh and with a devastating sprint, but faces giving the Richards-trained favourites On The Bubbles and Imperatriz a start as they could race on the pace and even try to take the speed out of it, negating any fears over their 1600m ability.
The race is so crammed with talent it may even overshadow the $400,000 NZ Oaks as the three-year-old highlight of the impressive meeting, with Self Obsession a deserved favourite for that classic after a series of wins.
Sharrock's other big chance at black-type success tomorrow comes in the $80,000 Cuddle Stakes in which Sinarahma drops back from Group 1 weight-for-age company last start to what looks an ideal race.
"She won very well against the mares two starts ago and wasn't bad against the big boys last time," says Sharrock. "She is going to be very hard to beat."