Brown duo set for black-type test

Shane Brown is quietly confident his mares can give bold black type accounts of themselves on Saturday.

The Woodville trainer will head north with his stakes performed pair of Sanibel (NZ) (Shamexpress) and Shelbyrock’n (NZ) (Rock ‘N’ Pop) for the Listed Team Wealleans Tauranga Classic (1400m) and is expecting them to make an impression.

“The bookies will probably have them quite long in the market, but I’m really happy with them and they will both cop the heavy track,” Brown said.

Sanibel is proven at this level having won this race two years ago and subsequently finished runner-up in the Listed Levin Stakes (1200m).

“She is going really well, she looks a treat and will get conditions to suit on Saturday,” Brown said.

“We targeted this race a couple of months ago and is working out quite well.  

“She had a run fresh-up at Wellington, which wasn’t really a suitable race for her, but it fitted in well leading up to this, she’s a mare that likes three of four weeks between runs.

“The track was a little bit good for her and they were too slick over 1100m, but she has come along nicely since.

“Her form right-handed is good and she also ran fourth in the Auckland Breeders’ (Gr.2, 1400m) in November on a track that was a little bit good for her. I don’t see why she won’t be a good chance.”

Another plus is the booking of Kate Hercock, who has won four times aboard the Shamexpress mare, including the 2022 Tauranga Classic.

Shelbyrock’n is a four-time winner and the daughter of Rock ‘N’ Pop also ran third in last season’s edition when it was relocated to Hastings.

“Bridget Grylls will ride her again and her work has been very good,” Brown said.

“I was a bit disappointed with her fresh-up run, but it was her first time down the Trentham straight and Bridget said she never got into a rhythm with the pressure on all the way.

“She was carrying a bit of weight (59kg) as well and, once again, it was a race that fitted in well ahead of Tauranga.

“The track conditions won’t worry her at all, the wetter the better.

“If you had a query it would be that it’s her first time right-handed, but she has done a lot of work that way around.

“The two mares are quite hard to split, Shelbyrock’n will be right on the speed and Sanibel will get back and be swooping. I won’t be surprised if they run far better than their odds.”

As long as the pair run up to expectations, there is every likelihood they will head south for the Grand National meeting.

“I’ve got them both in the Winter Cup (Gr.3, 1600m) at this stage and if they go good races this weekend then they deserve to go down to Riccarton,” Brown said.

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