Shiraz Breaks Two Year Drought in Winter Challenge

Mark Smith - Saturday July 29

Once the pride of Dubbo, Shiraz had been out of the winner's circle for nearly two years before taking his stakes tally to three with a fighting win in Saturday's $150,000 Listed Winter Challenge at Rosehill Gardens.

Ridden by Jason Collett, Shiraz gained an inside run to edge out a game Classic Uniform (Al Maher) by a short-head with a luckless Slightly Sweet (Charge Forward) one and a quarter length back in third. (photos Steve Hart). 

Making his 32nd start, the rising 8yo gelding was having his first try at a distance greater than 1400 metres.

It takes the overall record of Shiraz to 11 wins, 4 seconds and 1 third from 32 starts for earnings of $782,035.

The son of Zariz began life with Peter Nestor at Dubbo before switching to Tony McEvoy who trained the gelding for wins in the Group III Aurie's Star Stakes at Flemington and the Group III Concorde Stakes at Randwick back in August 2015.

That season Shiraz also placed in The Shorts at Randwick won by Rebel Dane and was beaten by three parts of a length by Griante in the Group I The Galaxy at Rosehill.

Switched to Kim Waugh after beating just one of the 12 runners home in the group III Heath 1100 Stakes at Caulfield in August 2016, Shiraz has race consistently without winning.

It was the highlight of an excellent day for Waugh who also won a race at Doomben with stable favourite Oxford Poet.

"He's had a lot of problems in the last couple of months and really deserved the win  today," Waugh said

"I know a few people had given up on him but his work has been sharp and really good," Waugh said.

"He pulled half his foot off a few weeks ago and we had the equilox (hoof filler) in. That was a real problem so today has been very pleasing.

Bred and part-owned by Colleen and Peter Dwyer, Shiraz is a son of the Kooringal Stud stallion Zariz, out of the prolific winner Moville Slipper who was bred Colleen's late father, Eddie Fitzgerald.

A daughter of Moville Dancer, Moville Slipper won eight and placed in 10 of her 37 starts mainly around the central west of NSW.

From a family devoid of stakes-winners for many generations, Moville Slipper has been a regular visitor to Zariz, visiting the son of Mukaddamah (USA) eight times.

She has a yearling colt by Zariz named Mozart and visited him again last season after missing in 2015. 

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