Experienced horseman Allan Sharrock has few concerns with Ladies First sitting at 51st on the order of entry for this year’s A$7 million Gr.1 Melbourne Cup (3200m).
The New Plymouth trainer aimed his Dylan Thomas mare at the Melbourne Cup at Flemington on November 6 after she won this year’s Gr.1 Auckland Cup (3200m) at Ellerslie in March.
This week, Ladies First was allocated 51.5kg for the Melbourne Cup and in the first elimination order released on Wednesday, she was 27 places from securing a start in the feature.
“We’re not panicking at this stage. In years gone by there’s been horses race in the Cup with 50 kilos. They’ll fall away. They always do,” Sharrock said.
Ladies First has had two runs back in her Cup campaign for a seventh placing at Waverley and eighth placing at Hastings and while neither looked compelling performances, she reeled off impressive closing sectionals that pleased Sharrock.
He will send her back to Hastings on Saturday week for the 2000m open handicap then step her back up to Group One company in the Livamol Classic (2040m) at the same track on October 6 before tackling the Gr.2 Moonee Valley Cup (2500m) three weeks later.
Sharrock’s immediate focus, however, is on Saturday’s Gr.3 Boehringer Ingelheim 1550 at Awapuni with talented Road To Rock mare Art Deco, an impressive winner at Wanganui last week.
“She’s flying. She raced really well last week and has cruised through that race,” he said.
“We’re hoping the weather stays like it is now because a slow track benefits us more than a heavy track.”
TAB bookmakers have Art Deco as a $5.50 equal third favourite with Dez behind Rosewood at $4.50 and She’s Poppy at $4.80.
Meanwhile, Sharrock has given his emerging three-year-old fillies London Express and Tutta La Classe a week in the paddock after they placed behind Peaceful in last Saturday’s Listed The O’Learys Fillies Stakes (1200m) at Wanganui.
He intends aiming both at upcoming spring stakes races.
“Had we drawn the one marble and got better runs, it may well have been a different story,” Sharrock said, in reference to the winner Peaceful getting an economical run from that draw.