Last Saturday progressive Sydney colt Foxwedge suffered their second defeat to Anthony Cummings’ emerging superstar Smart Missile, but trainer John O’Shea saw enough in that run to suggest that come 2011 Golden Rose Day next month the limelight will be firmly focused on his galloper.
The undefeated Smart Missile remained just that, undefeated, at Rosehill on Saturday when they pulled out a scintillating late burst to run down and defeat Foxwedge by a mere neck in the $125,000 Group 3 Run To The Rose (1200m).
“I thought we had it,” O’Shea of the Run To The Rose win on Saturday.
“Take nothing away from the winner but I’m not disappointed in my colt.”
It was the second time Smart Missile, now raging $2.20 favourite at Luxbet in the Golden Rose 2011 odds, was able to get the better of Fastnet Rock colt Foxwedge.
The first time the pair met was in the Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill back in March, a race that Smart Missile claimed an upset victory over Peter Snowden’s champion Sepoy and that Foxwedge ran an eye-catching third in.
After the Todman, Smart Missile missed their chance in the $3 million Group 1 Golden Slipper when scratched at the barriers while Foxwedge did contest the lucrative feature, finishing five lengths away seventh to Sepoy in their final run as a two-year-old.
2011 Golden Rose Odds
Futures all-in betting showing top 24 horses.
On August 13 Foxwedge made their new-season debut with an excellent win in the Group 3 San Domenico Stakes (1100m) before being regulated to second by Smart Missile on Saturday.
“Everyone kept saying going into the race (the Run To The Rose) that Foxwedge had the fitness edge but I don’t agree with that,” O’Shea said.
“My bloke sat in a box for seven days last week while it was raining, the favourite was galloping on the course proper on the Sunday.
“I’ll tell you he’ll improve dramatically off the run.”
Foxwedge will get their third chance to emerge the winner over Smart Missile when they run third-up in the $1 million Group 1 Golden Slipper (1400m) on September 10 and O’Shea is optimistic over their chances.
“Going into the Golden Rose third-up, we will be up on the speed and hopefully be further in front (of Smart Missile),” he said speaking of race tactics for the million dollar showdown.
“It’s a pretty exciting time of the year with all these good colts.
“I love going into Group Ones third-up.”
While Golden Rose betting at Luxbet is lead by Smart Missile, Foxwedge is paying a generous $8.
Helmet, a dual Group 1 winner and third-placegetter in the Run To The Rose on Saturday, sits as the $5 second elect while at equal odds with Foxwedge is Group 3 Up & Coming Stakes (1300m) winner Manawanui – yet to be nominated for the feature.
O’Shea was happy to take the Golden Rose odds on Foxwedge and an upset Golden Rose result.
“We wouldn’t swap our bloke,” O’Shea said.
“They’ve got a talented racehorse (in Smart Missile) and they deserve all the accolades they are going to get.
“But don’t worry, we’re happy with our fellow and we’re going to go into the race (the Golden Rose) thinking we can win.”
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