Shiraz thrived on heavy and soft going during his impressive spring campaign and trainer Tony McEvoy plans to take the talented sprinter anywhere he can find a rain affected surface during his upcoming autumn preparation.
Shiraz returned to the races with a win in the Tab.Com.Au Handicap (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on July 4 and he went on to take out the Primo Smallgoods Handicap (1200m) at the same venue on July 18 before he made his black-type racing debut with a narrow win in the Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on August 8.
The Zariz gelding proved that win was no fluke when he beat a strong field to take out the Group 3 Concorde Stakes (1000m) at Royal Randwick on September 5 and he finished a more than credible third behind Rebel Dane in the Group 2 The Shorts (1100m) at the same venue on September 19, but he was sent to the spelling paddock after he failed to beat home a single runner in the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on October 10.
Shiraz is now back in work and building towards a return to racing, with McEvoy confident that Shiraz can return to winning form if he is able to find the right sort of tracks during the Autumn Racing Carnival.
“That was a very poor run from him and we didn’t see that coming, but he had been up a very long time and raced at a good level,” McEvoy said.
“The ground was very firm that day and Hughie Bowman thought that it was a combination of things – he thought that the horse was at the end and with the ground jarring it up it was too much.
“He came back here and had a spell at my spelling farm and he did his first six weeks on the hills here at Angaston.
“Now he has gone back to Sydney and he is galloping away.
“There are no real plans for him, but I just want to run him where the rain is.
“Wherever it is raining in Australia that is where he will be.”
The T.J. Smith Stakes has been contested on a heavy track in the past two years and Shiraz will likely be included in the nominations for the Group 1 event that will be held at Royal Randwick on April 2.