Te Akau Shark remains on target to travel to Sydney despite his defeat in the Foxbridge Plate at Te Rapa.
The Epsom Handicap favourite, named for Cronulla Sharks NRL captain Paul Gallen, finished second to Endless Drama in Saturday’s Group Two sprint in New Zealand after circling the field from near last on the turn.
Trainer Jamie Richards said both Te Akau Shark and stablemate Melody Belle, who ran fourth, were hampered by the two widest barriers.
Richards, who celebrated his 30th birthday on Sunday, said both had pulled up well and had trotted up nicely less than 24 hours after the race.
“They were both a little tired and left a wee bit of feed which was to be expected after a tough first-up run,” Richards told NZ Racing Desk.
“While we went there to win, you had to be satisfied with how they both performed and there is no shame in losing to a quality horse like Endless Drama.
“The wide draw made it tough for Te Akau Shark as he got back and had to come very wide in the straight but he closed things off nicely in the final stages.
“Michael McNab gave Melody Belle a great run from her draw but she is a year older now and I think she is definitely looking for 1400 metres and further.
“She never gave it away in the straight and was holding her ground well at the post so I don’t think she lost any admirers with the run.”
Richards confirmed the immediate plans for both horses would be for Te Akau Shark to head straight to Sydney while Melody Belle would continue to the three feature events during the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival.
“We will continue to monitor them over the next few days but as long as they have no issues then we will continue with their campaigns as planned,” he said.
“Te Akau Shark will head across to Sydney on Monday week and will run in the Tramway Stakes at Randwick on September 7.
“Melody Belle will go to the Tarzino Trophy at Hastings where she will meet Endless Drama again. She is going to have to lift to challenge him but we’re confident there is still a turn or two in the screw with her.
“We are focused on Hawke’s Bay at this stage and won’t make any further decisions for her until after that.