The Alain de Royer Dupre trained Shahwardi (FR) won the $220,000, Group 2 Sportingbet Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) at Caulfield on Saturday under a hands and heels ride by Kerrin McEvoy.
Shahwardi far too good for his rivals, picture quentinjlang.com
After jumping fairly from barrier 13, McEvoy was happy to sit second last at the turn out of the straight the first time. Allowing the French galloper to find his feet, McEvoy had Shahwardi (56kg) in last place some dozen lengths off race leader I’m Jake in the middle of the race.
As the pace increased from the 600m, McEvoy followed the lead of Excluded (NZ) (54kg) and Craig Williams who gave him a lovely trial into the race, providing cover all the way to the home turn before McEvoy edge wider for clear running on straightening.
At the 350m I’m Jake had a kick but Excluded and Shahwardi were finishing and finishing fast. At the 200m they were a couple of lengths off the leaders and at the 125m they both took the lead but it was Shahwardi who proved too strong over the concluding stages and he won with a length to spare.
Excluded (High Chaparral) was 1 1/2L ahead of Exceptionally (NZ) (54kg) (Ekraar) and Dean Yendall. Ironstein was fourth and Silent Surround fifth.
The time was 2.28.82 on the Good 3 track with the final 600m in 36.82. Shahwardi paid $12.20 on TAB.com.au.
“It was a great run and the trainer (Alain de Royer Dupre) has prepared the horse beautifully,” said Joe Murray, a stable representative.
“He has only been here a few weeks and to perform like that is amazing.”
“Tony (Bloom) who is the owner of it really wants to aim for the Melbourne Cup because he’s had a bit of bad luck with another horse so he’s hoping this one will do well for him.”
Murray was not sure if Shahwardi would back up in next Saturday’s Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m).
“Darley didn’t have a horse in the race and it was an opportunity for me to get on a stayer coming over here trained by Alain and his team,” said McEvoy.
“I knew Stephanie (Nigge, Foreman) from her time over here with the other horse (Americain) so I got in contact with a friend of mine over in France and contacted Stephanie here and it just fell into place.”
“It was a good win from the horse.”
“There was a bit of action early and a bit of pace and the plan was to ride him to be last off the bridle and he enjoyed it.”
“He has travelled over here great and travelled sweetly during the run and he was last off the bridle”
“I think it’s still up in the air whether he backs up in the Caulfield Cup but he will stay two miles and he may be a chance in the Melbourne Cup.”
“Obviously it’s a step up in grade again but he has travelled over well and he’d be some sort of chance in a Melbourne Cup,” he said.
Shahwardi, picture quentinjlang.com
Shahwardi is a seven-year-old entire by Lando out of the Dr Devious mare Shamdara. The win stopped a run of four races in France where he was either second or third, the last of which was a third in the Group 2 Prix Kergorlay over 3000m at Deauville on August 19th.
Overall this was his fourth win from 21 starts and with 11 placings he had previously earned stakes of $239,377. Saturday’s win was worth a further $132,000.