There is always a sense of nervous anticipation when a new horse makes its debut for the stable and Shea and the team certainly felt that excitement as HARARE (4yo h Royal Academy x Willow) made his way onto the track for the Laugh @ Life maiden plate 1113m at Sale on Sunday.
Nerves overtook anticipation as the handsome chestnut son of Royal Academy was caught 3-wide outside the lead mid-race but any fears were eased by the 400m as jockey Ibrahim Gundogdu coaxed him to the lead and then home first for a comfortable win.
"It's good to get that one out of the way, he's a horse that had been showing us plenty on the training track but from a wide gate at their first run you can never be too confident," Shea said.
"I was really impressed by the way he jumped and travelled in the run and then that power was there late in the race. He's got plenty of upside as we head up through the grades."
Ibrahim had been doing plenty of work with Harare in the lead up to this race and was confident that he was on the best horse a long way from home.
"He's got gears but he's got that toughness as well. I'm sure he's going to win much better races in his career," he said.
Formerly trained by Pat Carey, Harare joined our team earlier this year and has shown all the hallmarks of a quality galloper.
A half-brother to Listed winners Durnford and Ulundi, Harare is another high quality horse to be bred by owner Trevor Delroy at his Wyadup Valley Farm in Western Australia, and we're thrilled to have this horse and a number of other well-bred racers in work for Trevor.
A big congratulations of course to Trevor on the win, and we appreciate the support he has given our stable as always.