The colt would carry the hopes of the Crosby’s while being known as ‘Rufus’.
Sent to Dan Russell for his breaking-in and early education, the regally bred youngster proved to be a challenging student.
Russell does an excellent job working with the younger stock. His list of star graduates include Captain Shuffles, his younger full-brother Frankie Ferocious plus Uncle Shank, Feelingforarainbow, Checknoutthetalent and Roses Are Sweet among others.
“He wasn’t easy. In fact, he proved quite difficult to get pacing before I sent him home to Billy and Ben. When I was long reining him he gave you a good feel, but the pacing part took a bit of time and wanted to crossfire,” Russell said.
Crosby continued to fine tune his rookie and gave him two educational workouts at Albion Park before qualifying him on July 20, 2021, when third behind Goodtime Roy and Teachers Pet in a time of 2:01.1.
Nikki Chalk qualified him and had the drive when Captain Shuffles made his debut at Albion Park on July 29. He finished a sound fifth (beaten 13m) behind Rebline in a time of 1:58.1.
Nine days later, he started at Redcliffe and raced very green and rough before finishing fourth behind Shadys Cullect. It proved to be a difficult drive for Nathan Dawson.
Crosby was being tested by his young pacer and tinkered with some changes before starting him three weeks later, again at Redcliffe. But this time he showcased his true ability with a dominant and effortless victory.
Captain Shuffles scored by more than 35m while rating a slick 1:58.4 for the 1780m event.
After securing his 1st win QBRED bonus, Crosby sent his young pacer to the paddock.
Returning in March, Captain Shuffles relished his time off and scored back-to-back victories at Marburg including an impressive first up 1:58.8 clocking for the 1850m.
Back-to-back defeats then followed at Albion Park before Crosby decided to back off again.
Returning in July, Captain Shuffles seemed a more complete product.
A thumping first up victory at Redcliffe in 1:55.5 was followed by a scorching 1:51.6 victory at Albion Park, only One Change and Crunch Time (1;51.1) have gone quicker for a three-year-old at the famed Breakfast Creek oval.
“He’s super quick but I could feel him getting stronger and maturing with every campaign Ben bought him back for and that’s a frightening thing,” driver Nathan Dawson said.
“At this rate, he should develop into a very serious prospect.”
Naturally, the Group 1 $106,090 QBRED Triad in August was the primary focus and the exciting prospect cruised to an easy victory in his heat at Albion Park the following week.
In the final, Crosby required a new driver with regular reinsman Dawson committed to Teddy Disco, which then paved the way for Shane Graham to take his first drive behind the race favourite.