Cassius looking to knock them out from good draw
By Garrick Knight
Andrew Sharpe is looking forward to seeing what his horse, Cassius, can do from his first decent draw at Cambridge tonight.
The Sir Lincoln three-year-old contests an $8,000 maiden and has come up with the ace draw after drawing no better than six in three starts to date.
He has good form through those races, running strong seconds to both Hampton Banner and Cruzee Mach, who each led and won.
“I’m rapt with the draw,” Sharpe told HRNZ.
“I think he has enough gate speed to lead up or hand up so he should be pretty hard to roll.
“He was never going to beat the winners in those last two starts, but he hasn’t been knocked around and is still learning.”
Sharpe, who works for Derek Balle in Pukekohe, has his boss to thank for getting Cassius, who he races on lease.
“We broke him in at Derek’s and he went out in the paddock. I had the trotter, My Boy Boo, at the time but ended up finishing with him.
“Derek asked if I had a replacement then offered me him to lease.
“He just sort of owned too many and couldn’t have them all in work.
“I had nothing else so figured I might as well give him a go.
Sharpe said his initial thoughts on Cassius were just fair, but he’s continued to impress.
“When we broke him in, I thought he was just ok.
“But since then, everything I’ve asked of him, he’s done it and done it nicely.
“He just wants to be out there and is getting better and better with every run.”
The higer stakes at Auckland are something Sharpe longs for, but can’t target at this point.
“I just can’t quite get him going right-handed. He’s a lot better the Cambridge way.
“Personally, I think he’s good enough to race at Auckland but it’s off the cards right now.”
There’s always the potential the horse could get sold, and he’s had some interest, but has resisted the offers for now.
“We could get some money for him, but I just want a little more.
“Even if he wins a race, it’s only going to help his price.”
In weighing up this week’s opponents, Sharpe initially thought the Brian and Gareth Hughes-trained Miss Shuga would be the hardest to beat.
“But everyone’s telling me it’s not much good and the bookies only opened her at $9.
“So, I guess we have to be guided by the market and say Euphoria ($5.50) and Brookies Jaffa ($2.90).”
Cassius opened at $5 yesterday and was backed in to $4.60 soon enough.
Race favourite Brookies Jaffa has been a revelation since joining Jason and Megan Teaz’s stable, putting in two huge efforts to run third and fourth after sitting three-wide for the last lap.
But he’s drawn wide again and will have to raise his game another notch to beat Cassius, it seems.