Allan Sharrock had a welcome travelling companion as he clocked up thousands of kilometres up and down the North Island this week: a smile.
Sharrock was left beaming by Waisake's final serious piece of trackwork on Tuesday morning heading into the $250,000 Wellington Cup for which he is the $3.20 favourite.
That sounds remarkably short for a horse in an 18-horse 3200m Cup race but Waisake has dominated betting since he smashed a intermediate field carrying topweight at Trentham two weeks ago.
He drops to 53kg with two-time Auckland Cup winner Samantha Collett aboard and even has the added bonus of drawing barrier four so the preparation could hardly have gone better.
"This is the race I have had in mind for over a year for this horse," admits Sharrock. "So to get him here, with so many things in his favour is a wonderful feeling and now it is up to him.
"He is exactly where he needs to be fitness-wise and health-wise so he will get his chance."
Putting the final touches on Waisake has made for a tiring week for Taranaki-based Sharrock.
"I was at the [Karaka] sales on Monday, drove home Monday night to watch him work early the next morning then drove back to the sales," he explains.
"Then I did the same on Wednesday night and back to the sales again and on Saturday we obviously drive him down to Trentham.
"So we have spent plenty time on the road but I think he will be worth it."
Waisake has looked a Cups type all season and is by Zed so there is little concern about him staying the 3200m. And to be blunt, this isn't the strongest Wellington Cup. But there is enough proven 3200m form and a few curveballs to suggest the $3.20 for Waisake will be a fair bit longer on the tote.
Wellington is expecting rain but it is forecast to clear for raceday so it is hard to imagine the track being wet enough to affect many.
"He would handle the wet but I'd prefer dry," says Sharrock.
"And a good tempo will suit us because he will stay."
Although Sharrock goes into the Cup confident he can win, stable rep Sinarahma goes into the Group 1 $200,000 Thorndon Mile with a different goal.
Sure, Sharrock would like to win that, too, but with Melody Belle and Rock On Wood in the race he has more realistic aspirations.
"She is there to try and pick up a Group 1 placing for her broodmare career," says Sharrock of the daughter of his former superstar Shez Sinsational.
The presence of Melody Belle, who is chasing a New Zealand record equalling 13th Group 1 win tomorrow, has scared many top milers off. Reading that two weeks ago, Sharrock kept Sinarahma up for the race.
She almost certainly can't beat the two favourites home — but Sinarahma has the family motor and if she can get away on terms her closing sectionals on the Anniversary over this trip two weeks ago give her a place chance, as she only has 53.5kg and premiership leader Danielle Johnson on her back.