By Ray Hickson
Now that owner John Messara safely has classy filly Shoals in the field for The Everest he’s turning his attention to finding a slot for his under-rated colt Showtime.
Shoals, the winner of three Group 1s this season including the Robert Sangster Stakes on May 5 at her latest start, was secured by The Star to be their runner in the $13 million sprint at Royal Randwick on October 13.
She joins Redzel, Trapeze Artist, In Her Time and Brave Smash as a confirmed runner.
Messara admits Shoals has taken him by surprise in the last 12 months, and regretted not buying a slot when they were first offered, but is adamant the best is yet to come.
“We decided after her win in the Sangster that we were probably only scratching the surface with her,’’ Messara said.
“She was caught three or four wide and midfield or further back and unleashed a powerful finishing run.
“She’s won three Group 1s out of 10 starts which Black Caviar had done, I’m not saying she’s a Black Caviar. This filly has come out of the woodwork, she’s so consistent and so genuine.’’
Shoals wins the Group 1 Surround Stakes at Royal Randwick on March 3
The Star raced Redkirk Warrior in the inaugural Everest and Messara said the deal to race Shoals will be beneficial to both the owners and the slot holder.
“They are good people and it’s going to be a good collaborative thing that will bring new people into the industry,’’ he said.
Shoals, $15 in TAB’s Everest market, returns to trainer Anthony Freedman’s stable next week to begin preparations for Australia’s richest turf race.
She’s already a Group 1 winner at Randwick, having taken out the Surround Stakes earlier this year and Messara said a new side to her was on show in her latest win that encouraged him to extend her career.
“Because of circumstance we had to ride her off the pace and gee how good was she,’’ he said.
“We thought she might be even better than what we think. It’d be a pity to retire her as a three-year-old and we thought why don’t we have another year of racing.''
Not content with one runner in The Everest, Messara said he’s keen to shop around the colt Showtime who he feels will be in for his best season.
The rising four-year-old has won two of his 12 starts but has recorded Group 1 weight-for-age placings behind two confirmed Everest runners in Brave Smash and Trapeze Artist in 2018.
“(Trainer) John Hawkes is adamant he’s going to win a big Group 1 race,’’ Messara said.
“He said ‘don’t worry about the physical prowess, he’s got that, it’s just the mental development and maturity that needs to come’.’’
Showtime is in work with the Hawkes team and it’s likely he’ll need to impress any remaining slot holders by winning a race like The Shorts, a month before The Everest.
That’s the race inaugural winner Redzel won prior to being secured by a slot holder.
“He doesn’t have to improve much and he’ll be in the finishing group,’’ Messara said.
“If I can persuade someone else to think along the same lines we might have him in the race too.’’