Cambridge trainer Chris Wood faces a nervous wait to see if his stable star Open ’N’ Shut has done enough to secure a start in this month’s Gr I $250,000 Telegraph Handicap (1200m) at Trentham.
Wood opted to head south to Woodville for the sprinter’s final leadup to the Trentham feature and saw the son of Bachelor Duke produce the perfect dress rehearsal with a straight-forward three-quarters of a length win in the Prenters Ready Mixed Concrete Handicap (1400m).
“I don’t know if he’ll get enough rating points to get in so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens now,” Wood said.
“The race today fitted in well and he got the job done. He’s doing everything that’s been asked of him.”
Open ’N’ Shut has made a rapid progression through the grades with five wins, including a previous success at Woodville, from his seven raceday appearances.
“You can work him on his own and he can run the time and I think he’ll probably get a mile okay later,” Wood said.
Open ’N’ Shut had also been an impressive winner of his previous start when he finished strongly from off the pace to down subsequent Ellerslie winner and fellow Telegraph prospect Huffer.
“He’s a far better chaser as he showed when he won at Te Rapa when he came from off them and powered home,” Wood said.
“Woodville can be a tricky track and Kelly Myers rode him the way she was asked to. It was a better option than sitting back.”
Open ’N’ Shut was second into the straight and let down stylishly for a comfortable victory at the expense of Jaggard, who ran on well after coming off heels in the straight.
Trapiche fought on bravely to finish a close third, ahead of The Knight and Special Draw.
Meanwhile, Te Rapa mare Classcoroc overcame a steep rise in class to make an immediate impact in open company in winning Saturday’s Bambry’s Water Treadmill Woodville-Pahiatua Cup.
The Sirocco four-year-old’s previous wins had come in a five-horse maiden event at Pukekohe and a Rating 65 1600m race on her home course at the end of November.
However, a solid effort last season to finish fourth behind Gr I winner Rock ’n’ Pop in the Karaka 3yo Mile at Ellerslie was an indication of her ability and Saturday’s win justified the faith part-owner and trainer Graeme Hughes put in her.
“This was Plan B. Plan A had been the Rich Hill Mile, but she was on the ballot and never got a run,” he said.
“She’s been plagued by bad luck but she’s a capable mare who’s going to give us some exciting times. I’m not sure what rating she’ll go to but the Douro Cup [at Trentham on January 26] is one we’re looking at.”
Ridden by Mark Sweeney, Classcoroc tracked the leaders to the turn in the 1600m feature and took control early in the straight, holding off Fairway Wish to score by half a length.
Classcoroc’s Argentine-bred sire Sirocco, a three-time Gr III winner in the United States before racing in Hong Kong, stands at Cherie Archer’s Archer Park in Drury.
Archer, who watched the race at Thames, was in raptures afterwards.
Charlestown joined the race for a spot in the $1 million Karaka Million at Ellerslie on January 27 when he coasted to victory in the Crowley Forge Master Farriers Juvenile.
The Lisa Latta-trained youngster is raced by an Albert Bosma-managed Go Racing Syndicate, who currently have the second top qualifier Ruud Awakening in the Ellerslie feature.
“Charlestown’s in the Million and that’s the goal and this should put him in the field, but only just, so he’ll need to run again and that will probably be in the Wakefield Challenge Stakes [at Trentham] on January 19,” Bosma said.
“He’s a good horse and Ruud Awakening could be anything so it would be fantastic to get two in and they would both be good chances.”
Charlestown was making his third appearance as an easy 3 1/2-length winner, dropping back in grade from a sixth placing in the Listed Wellesley Stakes at Trentham and fifth in the Listed Welcome Stakes at Riccarton.
“He’s a good horse and that’s what he was showing us before he went to the races,” Bosma said. “He’s got a bit of scope about him and should be even better as a three-year-old.”
A $65,000 Karaka yearling purchase, Charlestown credited his sire Myboycharlie - a Gr I Prix Morny winner by Danetime, standing at Vinery Stud in the Hunter Valley - with his first New Zealand winner.
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