The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Graeme & Deborah Rogerson’s Kiwi raider Sharp ‘N’ Smart produced a goliath effort at Randwick to overcome a horror run in transit and lunge on the line to win the Group 1 $2 million Spring Champion Stakes (2000m).
The three-year-old Redwood gelding was posted three wide the entire trip, but never gave up and showed true grit to charge late and get over the top of Anthony & Sam Freedman’s Caulfield Guineas runner-up Elliptical right on the line in an exciting Spring Champion Stakes 2022 result.
Jockey Hugh Bowman never panicked aboard the eventual Spring Champion Stakes winner, the master hoop riding Sharp ‘N’ Smart for the fourth time in Australia.
The New Zealand-based galloper travelled down under in the winter when second in the Listed Phoenix Stakes (1500m) and then fourth only three-quarters of a length beaten in the Group 1 JJ Atkins (1600m) with Bowman aboard as a two-year-old.
He won his first-up run for the spring at Warwick Farm on a Heavy (8) in the rescheduled Group 3 Gloaming Stakes (1600m) over a mile and was too good again in the Group 1 over 2000m.
“He’s a very courageous horse. I had a lot of confidence in him,” Bowman told Thoroughbreds Central post-win.
“I was just lucky I was on a horse that has a great will to win. I know him well, he’s come a long way in the last six months and he’s going to continue to improve as a galloper, very exciting.”
The speed map quickly went out the window as outside hope Bunker Hut, who was expected to settle back, pressed forward to take up the lead in the Spring Champion Stakes.
Williamsburg was restrained in second, while Elliptical ran around in third.
Sharp ‘N’ Smart meanwhile was running around fifth caught deep.
Williamsburg drew closer moving up on the outside of the front runner at the 600m, with Elliptical and Matcha Latte making it four across with 400m to go.
Bunker Hut at the big odds was gone at the top of the straight, while Elliptical hit the front up the middle at the 300m trying hard.
He hit another gear and looked off and gone, but Sharp ‘N’ Smart came strong late right down the outside inside the final furlong to get the bikkies and hand Bowman his 104th Group 1 winning ride.
Anthony Cummings’ Group 1 winning filly She’s Extreme made up ground to run third and complete the Spring Champion Stakes trifecta on the back of her second in the Flight Stakes here on October 1.
“She ran enormous. I was in the back third, I was expecting to be a bit further forward. She didn’t step away as well as I’d have liked. Nonetheless she ran an enormous race,” She’s Extreme’s jockey Glyn Schofield said after the race.
For Sharp ‘N’ Smart, a seven-day back-up into the Group 1 $2 million Victoria Derby (2500m) next weekend at Flemington could be on the cards after his huge effort.
“He’s a very good horse. He has nearly done what I want, he wins the Derby next Saturday and then he can have a holiday. He’s got a really big heart. He is still six months away,” co-trainer Graeme Rogerson said.
“Hughie just said he went 50 yards further than anything, but every time you ask him to do more, he just does it.
“I haven’t had a horse like him for a long time. He’s only got one more week and then he can come home and have a good holiday. I’m going to run him in the Derby, he’ll go a mile-and-a-half (2400m) no worries and he’s better on the good track than the wet.”
Ace High (2017) was the last horse to complete the interstate Spring Champion Stakes – VRC Derby double.
2022 Spring Champion Stakes Results & Finishing Order
|1||3||SHARP ’N’ SMART (NZ)||Graeme & Deborah Rogerson||Hugh Bowman||8||56.5kg||$7|
|2||1||ELLIPTICAL||Anthony & Sam Freedman||Blake Shinn||0.08L||1||56.5kg||$5|
|3||11||SHE’S EXTREME||Anthony Cummings||Glyn Schofield||0.5L||10||54.5kg||$4.20F|
|4||5||MATCHA LATTE||Mark Newnham||Tom Sherry||0.68L||7||56.5kg||$10|
|5||4||WILLIAMSBURG||Gerald Ryan & Sterling Alexiou||Kerrin McEvoy||2.3L||2||56.5kg||$6.50|
|6||12||RENAISSANCE WOMAN (NZ)||Bjorn Baker||Ms Rachel King||3.07L||9||54.5kg||$20|
|7||6||OWEN COUNTY||John Sargent||Keagan Latham||3.48L||11||56.5kg||$91|
|8||9||MANZOICE||Chris Waller||William Pike||4.57L||12||56.5kg||$20|
|9||7||CONQUEROR||Chris Waller||Jason Collett||14.46L||4||56.5kg||$26|
|10||2||PROMITTO||David Atkins||Joshua Parr||22.29L||5||56.5kg||$6.50|
|11||8||COPPLESON (NZ)||Chris Waller||Brenton Avdulla||24.16L||3||56.5kg||$41|
|12||10||BUNKER HUT (NZ)||Michael Freedman||Regan Bayliss||26.99L||6||56.5kg||$61|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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