Topweight overcomes shackles
THE Shackler coped admirably at Trentham with both weight of expectation and the top of handicap.
Strongly fancied in the market yesterday, the sprightly 11-year-old produced a faultless frontrunning performance under 69kg to hammer his opposition in the K S Browne Hurdle.
‘‘He relaxed well but I was a bit worried when they started coming at him,’’ trainer Paul Nelson said.
‘‘Wee Biskit came up to him and he said I don’t want to see you and away he went.’’
As he had done when successful in the Waikato Hurdles, The Shackler revelled in his work at the head of the field and measured his jumps well.
The son of Istidaad was eyeballed three flights from home but he jumped the last two fences with precision and drew clear for a hollow victory.
‘‘We got away with a soft lead and Thatz David challenged and then dropped off and Wee Biskit did pretty much the same,’’ regular rider Aaron Kuru said.
‘‘With the 69kg it was a good test for him today but he was too good.’’
Thatz David rallied well in the closing stages to cut Wee Biskit out of third money with the northern visitor El Corby a sound fourth in his opening jumping outing of the winter.
The Shackler completed an early double for Nelson and Kuru following their success in the Pak ‘n’ Save Upper Hutt Steeplechase with Perry Mason, raced by the successful I See Red Syndicate.
‘‘It’s a big thrill for the syndicate, they’ve had well over 30 winners since they got going in the early 2000s,’’ Nelson said.
Charlie Studd made the most of his opportunity at Trentham for one of the country’s top jumping stables.
The Cambridge-based jockey combined with the Kevin Myers-trained The Big Opal for victory in the Irvines McGregor Grant Steeplechase.
Although joining forces infrequently, they have a good strike rate with Studd now having ridden three winners from nine rides for the Wanganui horseman.
“It gives a lot of confidence and means a lot to be in these colours,” Studd said.
He allowed The Big Opal to bowl along in front and the nine-year-old gave an excellent display of jumping on his way to another win over the big fences.
“The track really helped him and he was going well and I was just saving him up,” Studd said.
The Big Opal had stablemate Sea King on his tail 600m from home but the son of Storm Creek wasn’t to be denied and he made the most of his four kilo pull in the weights to draw clear.
The Shackler on his way to victory in the K S Browne Hurdle at Trentham yesterday.