Venerable eight-year-old Shadows Cast turned back the clock as he gave his rivals weight and a beating when taking out the Listed Bramco Granite & Marble Flying Stakes (1400m) at Awapuni.
The Mark Oulaghan-trained gelding has been a consistent performer at the highest level over the past five years, having collected eleven career victories prior to Saturday including the Gr.2 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile (1600m), the Gr.2 Manawatu Challenge Stakes (1400m) and the Gr.1 Thorndon Mile (1600m).
Despite finishing a tidy fourth behind Avantage at Group One level at his most recent run, punters were prepared to overlook his chances on Saturday, allowing him to start at a quote of $21 for the sprint feature.
Rider Michael McNab bounced his mount away nicely from an inside barrier before settling comfortably in midfield. Despite lumping topweight of 60kgs, Shadows Cast looked to be travelling nicely as McNab moved him into contention approaching the home turn.
McNab wound the son of Per Incanto up at the 200m and he produced a powerful finishing burst to down a game Deerfield and the late-closing Motivation to register win number twelve at his 56th start.
Owner Ron Cunningham was thrilled to see his pride and joy back in the winner’s enclosure at the track where he has won six of his 18 starts.
“He just never goes a bad race,” said Cunningham.
“He has got the weight he probably deserves so that was fair enough, but I was just happy with the old horse coming into the race.
“We had knocked a couple of kilos off him this week, so he was lighter than when he last raced and I think that helped and made the difference.
“The track helped him as he had run well on similar in the past.”
McNab, who was having his first ride aboard the horse, was suitably impressed by the effort.
“I’ve never ridden him before, but I had followed him,” he said.
“You always see him out there doing his best and he did that again today.
“I was really struggling across the top, which a lot of horses have today, but as soon as I got him out into the better part of the track he really let down.
“With that weight it was a very solid effort.”
With twelve wins and 14 minor placings, Shadows Cast has now won over $600,000 in career prizemoney. – NZ Racing Desk