Trainer Allan Sharrock rounded off arguably his best season with a winning double at Otaki yesterday, where the successful return of popular equine personality Tavi Mac was one of the highlights of the day.
The pint-sized warrior, who is affectionately known as Frodo, provided five of Sharrock's 56 victories for the season, with three of those at stakes level, including the Group2 Manawatu Challenge Stakes (1400m) in December.
The son of Tavistock maintained an unbeaten fresh-up record yesterday as he held out a stern challenge from hardy sprinter-miler Deerfield to win an open 1100m event and move his career record to 11 wins from 17 starts.
It was just the type of effort that Sharrock was looking for as he sets his charge for an attack on lucrative targets early in the new season.
"He got the job done, like he does, and I was more than happy with his effort," Sharrock said.
"He blew really hard afterwards, so he will improve a ton, and now it's straight to the Foxbridge Plate [Group2, 1200m] next.
"I thought it was a very nice ride by young Bailey Rogerson, as she didn't beat him up on a track that was pretty hard going.
"It also looked to me like his manners have improved, which is what I was hoping for and that gives me plenty to look forward to with him as we get set for those Group1 races at Hastings."
The Group2 Foxbridge Plate (1200m) is the feature event at Te Rapa on August 28, with the Group1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) at Hastings on September 11.
Sharrock has bigger plans for his other impressive winner on the day, rising 4-year-old Butler, who ran away from his rating 74 rivals to win by a widening four lengths.
"He [Butler] has some knee issues, but he is a serious horse on wet ground. He's going to have a week off now and then go to an open 1100m at Awapuni, where he will be a major threat off a light weight."
Sharrock also reported that 2-year-old Yeaboi, who finished a close second in the day's feature event, the Listed Ryder Stakes (1200m), would now be set for the Listed HS Dyke Whanganui Guineas (1340m) next month, while stablemate and race-rival Catsacharmer (fifth) would be sent to the spelling paddock for a short break.
Talented filly Ima Roca Bee produced an undeniable finish in testing conditions to win the Ryder Stakes.
Despite an eight-week break since her last run, Ima Roca Bee proved the strongest in the field as she came from last at the 600m to drive past the well-fancied Yeaboi in the final 150m to break her maiden status at just her fourth start.
A tilt at the Listed O'Leary Fillies Stakes (1200m) at Whanganui early next month is now the aim with Ima Roca Bee, before she heads to the paddock for an extended summer break. - NZ Racing Desk