It was a day for the locals at Awapuni on Saturday when classy sprinter-miler Shadows Cast upset predictions in the Gr.2 Kamada Park Manawatu Challenge Stakes (1400m).
Just thirty minutes earlier Awapuni galloper Rock On had scored at outside odds in the Gr.3 Hotel Coachman Manawatu Cup (2200m).
Shadows Cast added to the local celebrations as he bounced back to his best form to race clear in the home straight as he captured a second victory at stakes level following his dead-heat for first in the 2017 Gr.2 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile (1600m) at Riccarton.
The win was also testament to the skills of trainer Mark Oulaghan who produced the horse in a fresh state after returning from a disappointing southern campaign that saw him finish last in this year’s edition of the Coupland’s Bakeries Mile, just over a month ago.
Rider Johnathan Parkes was full of praise for the effort of his charge who has now won nine of his 32 career starts.
“They travelled him down there (Riccarton) and he pulled up a bit crook, but he’s bounced back great,” he said.
“From a gun draw I was able to get him in a gun position. Coming into the straight I was able to get off the fence and he’s simply been too strong.
“I think a mile is really his go as he’s always been thereabouts in better company and it has shown today as he has beaten a couple of handy horses.
“I don’t see why not to have a crack at a Thorndon (Mile) or something like that.”
Oulaghan was his usual under-stated self as he discussed the performance, preferring to look ahead to the next challenge for the Per Incanto gelding in the coming weeks.
“He had a bit of a set-back (at Riccarton) but he got over it okay,” Oulaghan said.
“1400m is his pet distance, although at a pinch he can get out to a mile, but I do think 1400m is his go.
“In saying that we might have a look at the Thorndon Mile with him next.”
The Gr.1 Harcourts Thorndon Mile (1600m) is one of the feature events at Trentham on January 19.
There was sensation before the race when pre-post favourite Ocean Emperor was deemed a late scratching after undergoing a veterinary inspection at the starting gates