Sydney trainer John O’Shea is pinning his 2011 Melbourne Spring carnival hopes on promising three year olds Foxwedge and Elite Falls.
O’Shea has committed to starting Foxwedge in the San Domenico Stakes at Rosehill on Saturday while Elite Falls will resume a week later in the Silver Shadow Stakes, with both horses being primed for a big spring.
“They are the strength of my stable and how they go will decide how my spring goes,” O’Shea said.
“Foxwedge will have a couple of runs going into the Golden Rose, which is his main target. I think that 1400 metres is going to be his pet distance, the way he has come back.
“There is a lot of improvement left in him but he will be competitive on Saturday. I think going into the Rose third-up will be perfect for him. He will be at his top for this.”
O’Shea also confirmed that Elite Falls would resume a week after Foxwedge in the Silver Shadow Stakes and that she would more than likely focus on the Princess Series which includes the Group Three Silver Shadow Stakes, the Group Two Furious Stakes, the Group Two Tea Rose Stakes and the Group One Flight Stakes.
However it is worth noting that O’Shea did not rule out sending Elite Falls to the Golden Rose and that may still be an option if she handles the field at her first start back.
O’Shea admitted that having two three year olds as his main spring carnival horses was a big change to spring carnivals of the past, where he has targeted the richer staying events.
“Jessicabeel has been retired and Zebrasive has only just come back into work, so it is going to be different this year,” he said.
O’Shea is also confident of securing the services of boom Kiwi apprentice James McDonald, who is currently being courted by a number of trainers after an excellent start to his riding career in Australia.
O’Shea said that he was hopeful McDonald would choose to base himself with his team at Shipton Lodge.
“He has a commitment to Scarlett Lady for the spring but we are hoping to see a bit more of him in Sydney during the spring when he doesn’t have to rider her,” he said.
“My stable is very lucky to be able to call on form riders like Nash Rawiller and Christian Reith but to add James to the mix would be great.”
McDonald will ride up and coming filly Quackquack for O’Shea in the first race at Randwick tomorrow.
O’Shea has a very high opinion of the three year old filly who was scratched from her only start for playing up in the barriers.
“She will be a very nice filly in the autumn, but you have to get some runs into them and this is a good place to start,” O’Shea said.
“She’s done a lot of barrier work at Shipton Lodge and has trialled well, so I don’t think her racing manners will be a problem.”
Foxwedge is currently a $10.00 chance for the Golden Rose, while Elite Falls is being quoted at $14.00. Sepoy and Smart Missile share favouritism for the race at $4.00.
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