Day At The Track

Shadow Sax living up to potential

12:37 AM 20 Jan 2018 NZDT
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Shadow Sax, harness racing
Stablehand Nora Viljanen with Ballarat Pacing Cup contender Shadow Sax at Emma Stewart's Cardigan training complex.

Shadow Sax has it all. He is tough, versatile and has the touch of brilliance he needs to at the top. This is how Clayton Tonkin sums up the five-year-old pacer which is developing into a formidable force at the top end of the Australian harness racing scene.

“He can do whatever you like,” Tonkin said.

Trained by Tonkin’s partner Emma Stewart at Cardigan, Shadow Sax gets another opportunity to reinforce his rise in the group 1 $100,000 PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup, 2710m, on Saturday night.

Shadow Sax passed his biggest test so far when he took out the South Australian Cup on Saturday.

He did it tough outside the leader and then when he needed to found something extra to land the prize.

Tonkin said Shadow Sax had always shown he was something special, with not even a long-term ligament injury in the shoulder region holding him back.

“He's always shown he’s an A grader.

Tonkin said even as a youngster he could always keep up with the stable’s top-end performers.

Shadow Sax started his career with Tonkin’s father and training great Peter.

He had his first start for Stewart in a Vicbred Super Series final as a 2yo and duly won –  his first of two group 1 victories that season.

The son of Shadow Play continued to impress into his 3yo season until being sidelined just before some of the big features.

Tonkin said there had never been any doubt about Shadow Sax coming back and he was always confident he would measure up to the best.

The gelding has done that and more –  winning eight of nine starts, with the last seven successes in a row.

Tonkin said the “easy going” Shadow Sax had converted his raw ability in everything you wanted in a racehorse.

Tonkin said he was delighted for prominent breeders and owners Russell and Pam Hockham that Shadow Sax was starting to fulfill his promise.

He said the Hockhams, who had a long association with his father, had put a lot of money into the industry and had a lot of success over many years, but also a lot of heartbreak and Shadow Sax was giving them something to savour.

Stewart and Tonkin also have stable favourite Major Secret engaged in the Cup for the second year in a row.

Tonkin said he had defied leg problems – “ he has the worst legs in the stable” – to compete consistently at the top level.

A win to either Shadow Sax or Major Secret would give the Stewart-Tonkin combination their third Ballarat Pacing Cup. 

David Brehaut

Reprinted with permission of The Courier

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