A small field of five runners did battle in the Win the Group 2 Waikato Guineas Steeplechase (3900m) on Saturday and it was Waikato Steeplechase winner Shamal who took the honours.
Punters sent out impressive last start winner It’s A Wonder favourite, with topweight Shamal carrying a deserved notable amount more than his race rivals.
It’s A Wonder set a solid tempo for most of the event until down the back straight for the final time. Shamal, with regular rider Buddy Lammas aboard, coasted up the pacesetter and without difficulty careered away to record a two and a quarter length win over It’s A Wonder.
“I was a bit worried down the back straight but when we hit the steeplechase course he was better and travelled nicely,” Buddy Lammas said.
“It was a bit of weight but he’s a big horse and can handle it.”
“Hopefully we can defend the Grand National."
Shamal’s winning time was 4:34.21
“Huge relief winning so easily today,” trainer Ken Duncan said.
“He’s always been a day to day prospect and I hoped I had him right today and he showed his true class.”
“He was giving them plenty at the 1000m mark but he hit another gear.”
“Defending the Grand National has always been the number one target this season, so we’ll do all that we can to get there.”
It was the Trelawney Stud bred Shamal’s eighth career win from 43 starts earning nearly $195,000 for his group of owners that include Ken Duncan and Faith Taylor. -Te Rapa Racing