Story courtesy Tom Walter www.racenet.com.au
Shiraz, trained by Kim Waugh at Wyong, ranged up to win the Listed Winter Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill a fortnight ago but was edged out in a blanket finish after attempting to take a chunk out of Burning Passion.
Photo courtesy www.bradleyphotos.com.au
It was subsequently revealed in the stewards’ report that Shiraz’s actions were in retaliation to being struck over the nose by the whip of Josh Parr, rider of Burning Passion.
“It took me by surprise a bit. It came out of nowhere,” Collett said.
“I was pushing him out, the run had presented itself and the next thing he’s launched into the other horse. It cost him a lot of momentum.
“It’s hard to say if it cost him victory but it was costly nonetheless – he was only beaten 0.4 of a length.”
“I was unaware at the time that he had been struck by a stray whip so that probably aggravated him.”
Stewards placed a warning against the racing manners of Shiraz but the rising eight-year-old gelding has been cleared to start in Saturday’s Listed Winter Challenge (1500m) back at Rosehill where he will be tested beyond 1400m for the first time in his 31-start career.
“He’s going to need to be ridden quietly to see out the trip, because he’s primarily a sprinter, but we’ve got a nice gate to do that,” Collet said.
“Obviously if the track was soft or heavy you’d probably be a bit more confident knowing that he’s going to handle it whereas others may not but he’s versatile and felt fine the other day on good ground.”
Shiraz is an $8 chance with online bookmaker Sportsbet to break a drought spanning almost two years.