Awapuni trainer Mark Oulaghan is pleased with his Group One winning miler Shadows Cast heading into Saturday’s Gr.1 Haunui Farm WFA Group One Classic (1600m) at Otaki.
The son of Per Incanto was an impressive winner of the Gr.1 Thorndon Mile (1600m) last start and Oulaghan believes the six-year-old will run well again this weekend.
“He came through the win well and he has had a reasonably light time afterwards,” Oulaghan said.
“He handled it all okay and seems pretty well at the moment.”
The Central Districts horseman elected to bypass Group One races at Te Rapa over 1400m and 2000m respectively, meaning it has been more than a month between runs for Shadows Cast.
“The 1400m would have been a bit sharp for him and we didn’t want to step up to 2000m at that stage, so we decided to sit and wait for this race here,” Oulaghan said.
“I am comfortable with the gap between runs. He has done that in the past and been okay and just taking a line through that, I don’t think he is far off the mark.”
Shadows Cast will be re-united with Johnathan Parkes, who missed the Thorndon Mile ride after committing to Darscape Princess, but has enjoyed Group race success on the gelding previously.
While Oulaghan is pleased to have a quality rider engaged, he, like many, is miffed by the clash of race meetings at Matamata and Otaki which both feature Group races and splits the pool of premier riding talent.
“It’s a Group One race at Otaki on Saturday, but it’s not a Premier meeting, which I find a bit surprising,” he said. “You’d think they would just unite a bit better and work something out.”
Shadows Cast has drawn well in barrier five and is likely to be ridden forward once again.
“Over a mile, if he can cruise along quite handy, he seems to be quite happy and I think from barrier five he will be just off them,” Oulaghan said.
“There are some decent horses in the race, there is no doubt about that.
“Melody Belle has got the form on the board, Rogey’s three-year-old (More Wonder) I think is a good horse, but he has to do things right, Bostonian and Volpe Veloce are smart horses and I don’t know how to assess Chris Waller’s horse, Endless Drama.”
Shadows Cast’s performance on Saturday will dictate whether he pushes on to the Gr.1 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie.
“A mile is as far as he has raced over, but we would look at the weight-for-age race on Auckland Cup Day,” Oulaghan said.
Meanwhile, Oulaghan believes his progressive staying mare Shared Secrets will derive good benefit from her down-the-track performance in the Gr.2 Avondale Cup (2400m) last Saturday, where she was a well-beaten eleventh.
“She’s a funny sort of horse,” Oulaghan said. “She has got the ability but she is a little bit fragile and she is not the sharpest knife in the drawer as far as her brain goes and it just takes her a while to catch onto things.
“It was her first trip away and she didn’t do that well. We stayed at Te Rapa and she didn’t do what we were hoping she would do, but she will be much better for the experience.
“Having said that, I doubt we would go back for the (Auckland) Cup,” he said. – NZ Racing Desk