After a year Mach Shard is back

By Adam Hamilton

Forgotten former Kiwi star Mach Shard returns from almost a year on the sidelines at Menangle on Saturday night.

Co-trainer Luke McCarthy said a bold showing could see Mach Shard chase a Miracle Mile berth through Friday week’s Group 1 Newcastle Mile.

The Mach Three gelding, who built an impressive NZ record with Barry Purdon, hasn’t raced since winning the Group 1 Ainsworth free-for-all (effectively a Miracle Mile consolation) on Miracle Mile night (March 6), last year.

“He’s come back well. He’s had a couple of trials and would’ve broken 26sec his last quarter in the latest of them,” McCarthy said.

“This run will tell us where he’s at. Barry (Purdon) has been great. He’s told us to play it by ear and let the horse tell us if he’s ready to step-up quickly.

“If he ran really well this week, we’d probably go to the Newcastle Mile the week after.

“We really liked him in those couple of runs he had for us a year back. He was unlucky not to make the Miracle Mile field and would’ve been very competitive given how impressively he won that other race on the same night.”

Team McCarthy already has big guns King Of Swing, Spirit Of St Louis and Expensive Ego chasing the Miracle Mile.

“King and Louis will go straight to the sprints (February 26), while Ego has bounced-back and freshened-up well. He’ll go to the Newcastle Mile (Friday week),” Luke McCarthy said.

The stable has been further bolstered by the arrival of classy Kiwi mare The Honey Queen, who ran fourth to South Coast Arden at Cambridge on January 27.

The daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven arrives with a record of 19 starts for seven wins and four placings.

“She’s got plenty of speed, but hasn’t been here long, so it’ll be good to see how she goes this week,” McCarthy said.

The Honey Queen will tackle a second-tier mares’ race (race three) at Menangle on Saturday night from barrier six where her main danger looks to be another former Kiwi, Be My Rose, who has won all three Aussie runs for Paul Fitzpatrick.

“I’m sure this mare will measure up. You’ve obviously got Stylish Memphis up there as the one to beat in the Ladyship at this stage,” McCarthy said.

Stylish Memphis, impressive winning both runs for Jack Trainor this NSW raid, faces a bigger challenge from a wide draw (gate 10) in Saturday night’s $50,000 Sibelia Stakes (1609m) at Menangle.

In a talented-packed field, her major rivals include last season’s brilliant three-year-old filly Anntonia (gate three), the classy Wainui Creek (five), and established high-quality mares Maajida (six) and Rocknroll Angel (seven).

The Kiwi flavour at Menangle extends to the last of the Chariots Of Fire qualifiers where Krug has drawn the pole after his horror show last Saturday night.

It’s a strong and fascinating race with Victoria Derby winner Act Now drawn two and almost certain to lead with Krug on his back.

Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin have also sent up talented pair Longfellow (gate seven) and Beyond Delight (10), but they will need luck from tricky draws.

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