He’s long since matured as a racehorse, so now Shiraz is being asked to put that experience to good use when he resumes after a flat performance against the all-conquering Winx.
The seven-year-old begins this preparation, his second under Wyong trainer Kim Waugh, at Rosehill where he lines up in the Octagonal Handicap.
Shiraz last raced in mid-February at Randwick and trailed super mare Winx home by 10 lengths when ninth in the Group Two Apollo Stakes (1400m).
He tackles the same trip on Saturday without the likes of a Winx or Hartnell alongside.
Waugh would have preferred to start the 27-race veteran over 1200m but there were no suitable races at the distance.
He has form over 1400m, running second in the Listed Carrington Stakes third-up last preparation and Waugh is confident Shiraz can handle the assignment with leading Sydney jockey Brenton Avdulla to ride.
“He’s well. I’m very happy with the way he’s been coming along. He just needed to freshen up. Most horses do after they run against Winx,” Waugh said.
After a month in the paddock, Shiraz got back into work and had an encouraging barrier trial on May 22 at Wyong where he beat the Kris Lees-trained Danish Twist by three lengths.
“His trial was nice and the way he’s been working is very pleasing,” Waugh said.
Providing he performs to expectation on Saturday, he will head north where the Listed Glasshouse Handicap on the Sunshine Coast on July 1 is the prime target.
Shiraz was on the third line of Luxbet fixed odds betting at $8 on Thursday alongside Danish Twist. The Hawkes Racing-trained Snoopy led the market at $4.60.
Waugh also has lightly raced three-year-old Uptown Lad in a benchmark 70 (1500m) at Rosehill, where a good surface might help him atone for his last-start fifth on a soft Canterbury track.
“He didn’t have much luck last start. He’s pulled up well,” Waugh said.
“We’re just stepping up a little bit in distance this run. I think he’ll handle it well.”