Sharrock brothers enjoy a timely hometown win

By Dennis Ryan

28 Jul 2021

Sharrock brothers enjoy a timely hometown winAllan and Bruce Sharrock, pictured with club president Vaughan Watson’s wife Fiona, celebrate Just

There are multiple layers to the satisfaction Taranaki horseman Allan Sharrock took from his home track win with Justaskme in last Saturday’s $70,000 Powerworx Opunake Cup.
A week out from the end of the season, Sharrock put the seal on a milestone 2020-21 which has seen him register a number of personal bests: 54 wins, a strike-rate of 4.09 and stakes of $1,112,076.
Sharrock, best recognised as the trainer of multiple Group One winners Kawi and Shez Sinsational, is rarely without a decent horse or two in his stable. The past 12 months have continued that pattern with the emergence of a cult hero in pint-sized Tavi Mac, Wellington Cup and St Leger wins to late developing stayer Waisake and now the latest of 55 black-type successes with Justaskme.
Apprentice Hazel Schofer has also been a shining light for the stable, with a tally of 76 wins and a lead of 10 over her nearest rival virtually assuring her of the champion apprentice title.
Saturday marked Sharrock’s second win in Taranaki’s most important winter race, having taken the 1400-metre feature with Don’t Ya Lovett in 2006, the last year it was contested at Hawera before the Opunake Racing Club transferred activities to New Plymouth. Don’t Ya Lovett had won the previous year’s Winter Cup at Riccarton Park and ended his racing career in California. There he was able to race on Lasix after bleeding twice in New Zealand and added another five wins and more than US$100,000 to his record before eventually being retired as an 11-year-old.
Justaskme, a five-year-old son of No Excuse Needed, was bred by Sharrock, who races him in partnership with his Auckland-based brother Bruce and fellow Waitara High School graduate Tony Kemp, a star of New Zealand and international rugby league. On the weekend he was having just his 11th start for win number six when heading a stable quinella completed by seven-time winner London Express.
“It was a great result to get the quinella in one of our big local races and to win it with my brother and one of our best mates was the icing on the cake,” Sharrock told RaceForm.
The win was also timely just days after the announcement that Bruce Sharrock had been appointed to the role of Chief Operating Officer with New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing, having been on the NZTR Board since September 2019. Although growing up in racing and at one point acting as agent for his brother’s champion apprentice Michael Walker, Sharrock has made a career in the wider sporting field as co-founder and director of international sports management consultancy Esportif.
“I’m proud of Bruce and what he’s achieved, but he always was the brains in the family,” said his brother with typical dry humour. “Maybe I’m biased, but he’s an important part of the way the industry has to be run if we’re going to make progress.
“That’s going to be a major focus for him and the rest of the team; the time for looking back is over, now it’s all got to be forward.”
Involvement in racing administration is nothing new to the Sharrock family. The brothers’ late father Bob, a successful and well-respected trainer in his own right through to the late 1990s, was part of the old order as president of the New Zealand Trainers’ Association and thus a member of the former NZTR Board’s regional and sector group model.
Allan Sharrock’s reach has for a number of years included breeding, his most notable achievement in that sphere as co-breeder with Waikato Stud principal Mark Chittick of the quality racemare I Do. Like Justaskme she was by No Excuse Needed, while the pair also share a common granddam in New Zealand St Leger winner Freequent.
Sharrock developed I Do from a lean and fragile filly to one of the most effective sprinter-milers with 15 wins on the full range of track conditions. She landed the first of six black-type wins as an autumn five-year-old and saved the best for last with victory in the Gr. 1 Makfi Challenge Stakes.
“Mark and I are now breeding from I Do and both her foals to race have been winners. I’ve got a grouse Tivaci out of her that’s rising three and we’ve just about finished breaking in her rising two-year-old filly by Savabeel. She slipped last year, but she’s due to foal to Super Seth in the spring.”
Descendants of Freequent enjoyed a big day at New Plymouth on the weekend, with a treble completed by the Rating 74 winner Run Like Boo, who is trained and part-owned by Sharrock’s former partner Tracey Bliss, and the Anna Clement-trained Miss Dixie, who won the MAAT 1400 race.
Justaskme’s dam, the unraced O’Reilly mare Often, is also the dam of two winners in the early stages of her broodmare career. The other is one-race winner Icehouse, who Sharrock is now breeding from in partnership with his partner Emma Davies. Another he has a breeding interest in is the Wanganui Cup winner Madonna Mia, whose Sweynesse daughter Signora Nera is now with Chris Waller and finished third in last month’s Gr. 1 Queensland Oaks.
“Often is in-foal to Contributer, which we’re happy about, and all told I’m involved in five or six mares, which is an interesting sideline to my main business,” added Sharrock, who believes he’s a prospect to win the final black-type race of the season, the Listed Ryder Stakes at Otaki on Saturday.
“Catsacharmer has won her only two and Yeaboi rounded them up well enough on debut, so I suppose I fancy my chances a little bit.
“My cousin Nicole Pye and her husband Garry bred and race Yeaboi, who they named in memory of my father. That’s how he always greeted you when you called him up on the phone.”
Perhaps not wanting to tempt fate, what Sharrock didn’t mention was that should either two-year-old win on the last raceday of 2020-21, he would have another personal best of eight black-type wins to add to his landmark season.