Shaquero tunes up for the Gold Coast with Canterbury trial win

5 min read
Shaquero (Shalaa {Ire}), winner of the G3 Breeders’ Plate on debut, is edging closer to his date with the R. Listed Magic Millions Classic after stepping out at the Canterbury trials on Tuesday and posting an impressive win.

Ridden by James McDonald, the Chris Waller-trained colt was quick out of the gates and went straight to the front, leading all the way before quickening in the straight without being hard ridden and going on to win the 900 metre heat by 1.8l.

Charlie Duckworth, Assistant Trainer to Chris Waller, said it was an ideal performance by the colt as he gets set to return to the races on Boxing Day.

“It was exactly what we asked of him and of James,” Duckworth told TDN AusNZ. “Obviously it didn’t really matter whether he won or whether he ran last, he was just there for fitness this morning before he resumes on Boxing Day.

“But he couldn’t have done it any easier or any more impressively, so we’re very happy.”

Watch: Shaquero trial at Canterbury

Duckworth said that McDonald, who was fresh off partnering Acrobat (Fastnet Rock) to win the R. Listed Inglis Nursery on Saturday, was also pleased with Shaquero’s performance.

“He (McDonald) was absolutely delighted,” Duckworth said. “He just said he was exactly where he needs to be at this stage of his preparation.

“Obviously he’ll be heading to the Magic Millions and he pulled up having a nice blow and he just said he was right on track.”

“Obviously he’ll be heading to the Magic Millions and he pulled up having a nice blow and he just said he was right on track.” - Charlie Duckworth

A $160,000 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale purchase by Guy Mulcaster from the draft of Fernrigg Farm, Duckworth said Shaquero showed signs of being a talented 2-year-old from the get-go.

He then came on to the radars of those outside the stable when comfortably winning a trial at the Gold Coast, before subsequently taking out the Breeders’ Plate.

“He put his hand up right from the start,” Duckworth said. “He was one of the first horses that we brought into the stable and Greg Bennett broke him in up in Queensland and we got cracking with him nice and early at our Gold Coast stable.

“Then he won that trial and then came down here and won the Breeders’ and from then we said ‘righto, we might as well target the Magic Millions,’ and then obviously try and go on to the Slipper, but we’ll just take it one step at a time.”

Shaquero as a yearling

Shaquero will have his first-up run on Boxing Day in either the G3 B.J McLachlan S. at Eagle Farm or the 2-year-old Plate at Randwick, but Duckworth said they are leaning towards the latter.

“He’ll nominate and more than likely accept in both Sydney and Brisbane on Boxing Day with our preference to keep him down here,” he said. “It was a set weights and penalties race down here but now it’s just set weights, so he’ll be a Group winner and carry level weights.

“Our clear preference is to stay here under our care rather than getting him up to Queensland early, and then he can stay with Chris and head up three or four days out, or a week out when we go up there, so that would be the plan.”

No rush

Having already seen the lay of the land up at Waller’s Gold Coast base, Duckworth said the stable is in no rush to get him back up to Queensland and believes it is a big positive to have a Magic Millions contender who is already familiar with the track which will host the juvenile feature.

“That’s another reason why we can afford to keep him down here because he already knows the Gold Coast track pretty well,” Duckworth said. “He’s already done plenty of work up there and he knows the stables.

“Considering he’s only had one race start, he’s actually pretty well seasoned which is obviously a massive advantage for these young horses.”

“Considering he’s only had one race start, he’s actually pretty well seasoned which is obviously a massive advantage for these young horses.” - Charlie Duckworth

Another juvenile who was impressive at Tuesday’s Canterbury trials was Journalism (I Am Invincible) who took out a 900 metre heat in a slick time of 54.54s on a wet track.

Trained by Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, it was Journalism’s second official trial and the colt was good out of an inside barrier before being driven up to the lead by Brenton Avdulla.

He was then asked to quicken at the top of the straight and he ran away from the rest of the field before being eased down on the line to win by 1.3l.

A $1 million Magic Millions Gold Coast purchase by his trainers from the draft of Rosemont Stud, Journalism is the second foal out of G1 Queen of the Turf winner Amanpour (Northern Meteor).

Journalism as a yearling

Fellow well-related juveniles Laurelin (Lonhro) and Gulf Of Saros (Snitzel) also made winning trial debuts at Canterbury on Tuesday.

The James Cummings-trained Laurelin, a sister to Group 1 winner Kementari, was slightly slow to begin her 900 metre heat under Rachel King and settled third last throughout the trip.

But, like her brother, she showcased an impressive turn of foot in the straight and overran her rivals to go on and win by 0.8l.

In the following heat, the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained Gulf Of Saros broke evenly and was driven up to lead by Tim Clark, and continued to cruise along to a 1.3l win without being asked to do much.

Having been withdrawn from the Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale this year, Gulf Of Saros is owned by Sun Bloodstock and is a brother to G1 The Galaxy winner Sweet Idea as well as Group 2-winning young Arrowfield stallion Showtime.

Watch: Gulf Of Saros trial