Sharp ‘N’ Smart may have been named with a good degree of optimism, but he has quickly lived up to his moniker and a trip to the Queensland winter carnival to showcase his talent is now under consideration.
Co-trainer Graeme Rogerson has long held the Westbury Stud-bred and sold son of Redwood in high regard and the two-year-old hasn’t let him down.
Redwood’s associate sire Swiss Ace was also in the black-type action with his strapping son Sergio making all the running to score at Awapuni.
Sharp ‘N’ Smart cost himself a debut victory last month at Ruakaka where he raced greenly in the straight before finishing second and on Saturday at Pukekohe Park he powered home late to go one better in the Listed Champagne Stakes.
“I really think a lot of this horse, he is the type that gets you up in the morning,” Rogerson said. “He has a tremendous amount of raw ability and is still very green.
“He is by Redwood, who I think is an underrated sire as I have a couple at home along with this guy and they have all showed me plenty so far.
“The target will be the G1 JJ Atkins over the mile in Brisbane. He could have a lead-up run in the G2 Sires’ Produce Stakes a fortnight before the mile, but we will know more once he recovers from this one and we work out a travel plan for him.
“Whatever happens now, I can’t wait to see him as a three-year-old as I think he could be a very special horse in the making.”
Sharp ‘N’ Smart was purchased out of Westbury’s draft at Karaka by Rogerson for $55,000 with breeder Gerry Harvey remaining in the ownership group.
The 10th individual stakes winner for Redwood, he is the first foal of the Swiss Ace mare Queen Margaret and is from the family of the multiple Group 1 winner and successful international stallion Halling.
High Chaparral’s Group 1-winning son Redwood was also represented by dashing Caulfield winner Tokorangi.
The Michael Moroney-prepared mare won last season’s G2 Waikato Guineas and finished a creditable seventh in the Group 1 New Zealand Derby before she relocated to the trainer’s Flemington operation.
Unfortunately, she suffered a series of setbacks, including an injury suffered on a horse walker, and was restricted to just one appearance in the spring.
Tokorangi made an impressive return over 1400 metres on Saturday, settling well back before thundering home in the straight.
The Group 2 Queen Of The South Stakes in Adelaide next month now looms as a target for Tokorangi, while Moroney is also looking at options in Queensland.
She sports the colours of prominent Australian owner Ozzie Kheir, who bought into the horse after she finished fourth in the Group 3 Gold Trail Stakes as a spring three-year-old.
He races the mare in a syndicate which includes co-breeder Glenice Dando and prominent racing journalist and administrator Dennis Ryan.
Progressive four-year-old Sergio credited Swiss Ace with his 15th individual black type winner when he led all the way to claim the thick end of the stake in the Listed Anzac Mile at Awapuni.
“He is a huge horse, 17 hands high and over 560kgs. Jockeys tell me they never quite know how fast they are going as he has such a huge stride,” trainer Chrissy Bambry said.
“He loves to get out in front and just roll along, where he sustains a very high cruising speed. Now that the penny has dropped, I can see him going on with it in his next campaign.
“He can have a week in the paddock now and if the weather stays okay, we might give him one more start in the Listed Rangitikei Cup at Trentham later next month.
“If the weather packs it in then he can take a longer break and then we will just get him on the water treadmill and tick him along before we get serious in the spring.”