Allan Sharrock could cap one of the great unheralded seasons in New Zealand thoroughbred training with Our Hail Mary in the $100,000 Travis Stakes at Te Rapa today.
The Taranaki trainer goes to today's meeting fourth-equal on the trainers' premiership with the Baker-Forsman team, no small feat.
But it's his strike rate that stands out, as Sharrock is training a winner every 3.95 starts, his 44 victories coming from just 174 starters.
While some of those have been slightly easier kills in softer Central Districts company, Sharrock has had plenty of horses competing at the highest level, headlined by Tavi Mac and Waisake, and with few royally bred or expensive yearling sales purchases in the stable.
Any time a stable achieves a strike rate below five it is a massive performance, and only the Benner-Wynyard stable, at a staggering winner every 3.42 starters, and Richard Collett, who is having a stunning season with a 3.93 strike rate, sit ahead of Sharrock on that table.
Immediately after come Ken and Bev Kelso with a 4.07 strike rate and ubiquitous South Island strike rate queen Terri Rae at 4.58.
The other big player training a winner less than every five starters is Jamie Richards with 4.77 but that is from a jaw-dropping 711 starters in a season that turned the record book into tangerine confetti for his own personal parade.
So Sharrock is a trainer in rare form and he rates Our Hail Mary right up there with his stable stars.
"She's in my top five, she's a really good mare," he told the Weekend Herald. "She showed us winning last time she will handle Te Rapa and it's great to have Leith [Innes] on because he has won on her before.
"I have huge respect for Savy Yong Blonk and Travelling Light, but if there is any tempo and the swoopers are coming into it late in the day, she has a real chance."
Sharrock also tells punters filly Sumi can win the first on the card at a meeting which looks set to be run on a Dead5 track.
Aussie assault divided
New Zealand's attention across the Tasman today turns away from Sydney and splits between Adelaide and the first arrival in the Kiwi assault on the Queensland winter carnival.
Waikato Guineas winner Tokorangi and Lowlands Stakes winner Llanacord contest the A$500,000 Australasian Oaks at Morphettville, and while both have genuine claims, they are unwanted in the market, as the New Zealand 3-year-old form has largely failed to stack up in Australia this season.
Former City Of Auckland Cup winner Platinum Invader starts his Brisbane Cup campaign carrying topweight in a handicap at Eagle Farm (race three) but the bulk of the New Zealand raiders for Queensland, headlined by Melody Belle and Tiptronic, don't start until next week.