Graeme Rogerson has never been a trainer to hold back when rating his horses and he is supremely confident Sharp ‘N’ Smart will end his current Australian campaign as a dual Group 1 winner.
The Tuhikaramea-based horseman, who operates in partnership with wife Debbie, was at his ebullient best after Sharp ‘N’ Smart overcame a torrid run to claim top honours in the G1 Spring Champion Stakes at Randwick.
The Westbury Stud-bred son of resident stallion Redwood was caught three wide for the trip, but raised a gallant effort in the straight for rider Hugh Bowman.
“Hughie said he covered 50 yards more than any other horse, but every time you ask this horse to do more he does it – I haven’t had one like him for a while,” Rogerson said.
Sharp ‘N’ Smart will now head to Melbourne for the G1 VRC Derby and Rogerson is expecting more of the same at Flemington.
“He’s better on a good track and he only does what he has to and I think he’ll win the Derby,” he said.
Bowman won the G3 Gloaming Stakes on Sharp ‘N’ Smart at their previous outing and paid tribute to the gelding’s fighting qualities after the Spring Champion.
“He is a very courageous horse and I had a lot of confidence in him,” he said.
"I knew it was a sticky draw but I didn't want to fall into the trap of getting him up racing like he was over the mile at Warwick Farm when he bounced well and I rushed him into the box seat position,” he said.
“I just had to take my medicine, but what I was able to do was get him into a really good rhythm, he wasn't spending any gas and I knew I had the two to beat positioned right in front of me.
“That is why I didn't press forward to pocket them, I waited for them to inject pressure into each other.”
“I did my work around the course but they did their work from the 700m to the line and the best horse came out on top."
Bowman has engagements in Sydney next weekend and James McDonald has received the Derby call-up for Sharp ‘N’ Smart, who credited High Chaparral’s son Redwood with his second top-flight winner following Rock On Wood’s victory in the G1 Captain Cook Stakes.
Sharp ‘N’ Smart was purchased out of Westbury’s draft at Karaka by Rogerson for $55,000 and subsequently failed to meet his reserve at the Ready to Run Sale. He was bred by Gerry Harvey, who is involved in the ownership group of the three-year-old.
His dam is the late Swiss Ace mare Queen Margaret, who is a half-sister to the dual stakes winner Absalon and also the family of the multiple European Group 1 winner and sire Halling, also produced a Redwood filly before her premature passing.
Associate Westbury stallion Swiss Ace enjoyed overseas success at the weekend with Untold Riches successful in Hong Kong and January prospered in Singapore.
Trained by Jimmy Ting, Untold Riches came off a break to race away from his Class 4 rivals over 1200 metres in the hands of Keith Yeung at Sha Tin.
“This horse’s health gives me headaches,” Ting told the Hong Kong Jockey Club. “It’s sometimes his left leg, sometimes his right leg, sometimes it’s his lungs.
“When everything is okay with him he can win, but he still gives me headaches.”
Untold Riches was bought out of Westbury’s draft at Karaka for $60,000 by Tartan Meadow Bloodstock and is out of the late Redoute’s Choice mare Bannisters. She was a daughter of the G2 Yallambee Classic winner Toast Of The Coast and the family of G1 Caulfield Guineas winner Super Seth.
Expatriate Kiwi trainer Donna Logan looks to have an exciting prospect in January, who posted an early maiden success over 1400 metres at Kranji. He had placed in his first two appearances before opening his winning account.
Logan went to $75,000 to purchase January out of Westbury’s 2021 Ready to Run Sale draft at Karaka and he is a son of the Belong To Me mare Musically who has produced six winners. Her half-brother Magically won the G2 Yallambee Classic.
Westbury will offer a brother to January as Lot 184 at next month’s New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run Sale while Musically produced another Swiss Ace colt this season.
Meanwhile, El Roca’s progressive son Encierro added to his domestic record in gallant fashion when he accounted for a competitive Rating 75 line-up at Te Rapa.
The Westbury graduate was taken to the front and rated well by Wiremu Pinn and, with a never say die attitude, stayed on strongly for his third win.
“They really run for Wiremu and he can be a tricky horse to ride,” trainer Stephen Marsh said. “I knew the horse would be in for the fight and he kicked strongly.”
Bred by Gerry Harvey, Encierro was purchased by the Cambridge trainer for $110,000 at New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sale.
He is out of the Encosta De Lago mare Conferre, who was successful on four occasions, and she is a daughter of the Danehill mare Confer. She was a multiple black type placegetter, including a third in the G1 Flight Stakes.
Te Akau’s David Ellis and Fortuna purchased Encierro’s half-sister by Reliable Man for $35,000 at Karaka this year.
Conferre produced a filly by Telperion last season before she was served by Reliable Man.