Melbourne Cup hopeful Sharp 'N' Smart is set to carry 53.5kg in the great race.  Photo: Trish Dunell

Jockey quandary for Rogersons

Joshua Smith, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk
19 September 2023

Trainers Graeme and Debbie Rogerson could find themselves in search for a new jockey for Sharp ‘N’ Smart come Gr.1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) time following the release of the weights for the time-honoured race on Tuesday.

Racing Victoria’s Head of Handicapping David Hegan has assigned the Kiwi 53.5kg for the first Tuesday in November, putting booked jockey Hugh Bowman in serious doubt for the ride.

“I think he is well-weighted. He is certainly up there with the top three-year-olds (of last season),” Graeme Rogerson said.

“I am not sure whether Hughy can make the weight, he was hoping that he would get 54.5kg. At this stage it is Hugh’s ride and we will see where we head.

“But I am very happy with the horse. If he is fit on the day and everything goes right, he is in with a really good chance.”

Sharp ‘N’ Smart has carried 53.5kg just once before, when runner-up in the Gr.1 Thorndon Mile (1600m) at Trentham in January with Ryan Elliot in the saddle.

Meanwhile, defending Melbourne Cup champion Gold Trip has been allocated 58.5kg, 1kg more than last year, while current race favourite Vauban is set to carry 55kg.

Of the Kiwi brigade, the Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott-trained Dark Destroyer has been given 51.5kg, while the Allan Sharrock-trained Ladies Man, Andrew Forsman-trained Full Of Sincerity, and Darryn and Briar Weatherley-trained Ess Vee Are have all been allocated 50kg.

While Sharp ‘N’ Smart’s Melbourne Cup will make for some interesting discussions in the Rogerson camp, the Hamilton team have been pleased with the way their Group One winner has come through his ninth placed run in the Gr.1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m), although Rogerson said he expects to see a lot of improvement over further ground.

“We fired him up and he raced on the speed. He is a staying horse and we tried to make him into a sprinter, which didn’t work,” Rogerson said.

“You can’t blame (Michael) McNab (jockey), I told him to ride him up there. I thought he would sprint better fresh than he did. He went a handy race considering where he was in the running.

“He is going to get better as he goes further. His main aim this time in is the Melbourne Cup and the International in Hong Kong at a mile and a half (Hong Kong Vase), he is proven at a mile and a half, but isn’t proven at two miles.

“I think he will qualify (for the Melbourne Cup), so at least he will get in the field. He has just got to keep building. He has done the miles and he looks the part.”

The Redwood gelding’s next assignment will be the Gr.1 Arrowfield Stud Plate (1600m) at Hastings on Saturday-week before likely backing up in the Gr.1 Livamol Classic (2040m) prior to heading to Australia.

“We are going to let him find his feet (in the mile),” Rogerson said. “The race that he looks like he can win is the Livamol. We will just play that by ear and then head to Australia with him."

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