Sydney horseman John O’Shea has named the 2012 The Galaxy at Royal Randwick on Doncaster Handicap Day as the likely grand final autumn aim for his Group 2 winning filly Elite Falls.
A nicely-bred daughter of More Than Ready from Danehill mare Niagara Falls, now three-year-old Elite Falls began her career as a very promising juvenile before fizzling out in her most recent prep.
She broke her maiden status two runs into her opening campaign taking out the Inglis Banner at Moonee Valley in October 2010 beating home subsequent Blue Diamond Stakes third placegetter Masthead by an easy two and a half lengths.
She resumed in February last year and enjoyed a very strong summer – autumn campaign the highlights of which were her one and a quarter length victory over Satin Shoes in the Group 2 Reisling Stakes (1200m) on a Slow Rosehill track on March 19, and her brave third behind Darley superstar Sepoy in the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m).
Backing up from the Golden Slipper in the Group 1 Inglis Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) at Randwick, Elite Falls was far from disgraced when seventh to another Peter Snowden-trained champion Helmet, beaten less than two lengths.
Her most recent campaign, however, left a lot to be desired and O’Shea is hoping Elite Falls will bounce back this year.
Out of three runs from August to September last time in Elite Falls’ best performance was her sixth to Streama, who went on to win the Group 1 Flight Stakes, in the Group 2 Furious Stakes (1400m) coming within three lengths of the winner after being blocked for a run.
She was beaten by Streama again last-start when ninth in the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1500m) proving to O’Shea that Elite Falls is better kept at a sprint distance.
This autumn Elite Falls will look to return to form over the shorter sprints with her major aim the $350,000 Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) on April 21.
“I think she is best restricted to sprint races,” O’Shea said.
“She likes a good tempo, races where she can sit back on a hot speed and hit the line strongly.”
Elite Falls had her first official trial on Tuesday morning at Warwick Farm over 800 metres on the course proper.
The hitout was won by Gai Waterhouse’s Group 1 performer Montana Flyer in easy fashion, Elite Falls pleasing O’Shea in running sixth and hitting the line well.
The trial also featured Golden Rose winner Manawanui who had a soft run crossing ninth.
“He wasn’t out there to do much, just stretching his legs but I was very impressed with the way he felt,” Manawanui’s jockey Glyn Schofield said.
“It’d say he has come back as well as we could have hoped.”
Manawanui’s trainer Ron Leemon is hoping to have the young gun ready to race first-up in the $175,000 Group 2 Royal Sovereign Stakes (1200m) at Warwick Farm on February 18.
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