It is shaping-up as a huge year for Benjamin...
Saturday’s super impressive BTC Cup winner Sea Siren is no certain starter in the 2012 Stradbroke Handicap next month despite it being the race Sydney-based trainer John O’Shea bought the smart filly to Queensland for this winter.
A masterful training effort from the Queensland-bred O’Shea paid off on Saturday when his highly promising daughter of Fastnet Rock became the first three-year-old filly to win the Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben since it became a weight-for-age feature in 1991.
And she didn’t just win she smashed the competition, and the race record, being only “80 per cent right” according to jockey Jim Cassidy.
Sea Siren shaved an incredible .29 seconds off the former race record set a decade ago by Lord Essex when she beat home evergreen veteran Scenic Blast and game third placegetter Beaded in a time of 1:08.39 on the weekend.
Originally Sea Siren was to stay on in Sydney a week longer and then target a fillies and mares race at Doomben this coming Saturday.
O’Shea however saw something a little special and decided to bring her up with an eye on Queensland racing’s richest prize, the $1 million Group 1 AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 9.
A Stradbroke Handicap 2012 start however is now in jeopardy with O’Shea worried about the weight penalty she will incur after Saturday, and if she presses on to also win the $650,000 Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1340m) on May 26 as she looks set to do.
“We’ll see what the handicapper wants to do,” he said.
“If I think she is badly treated she won’t run in the Stradbroke.
“It is all relevant to weights now.
“She was always targeted to go to the Stradbroke but now that she has won a Group 1 race, she might end up a little higher in the weights.”
The trainer is no stranger to preparing a three-year-old filly for a Stradbroke either.
Back in 2003 his freakishly talented daughter of Danehill Dancer Private Steer ran second to Black Caviar’s father Bel Esprit in the Doomben 10,000 before going on to beat a crack Stradbroke Handicap line-up by an easy two and a half lengths.
While O’Shea isn’t rating Sea Siren in quite the same league as Private Steer she really does look positioned to travel home at the end of the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival with more than just the BTC Cup title to her name.
“Private Steer went on from the Stradbroke to prove herself a freak,” O’Shea said of the horse that also enjoyed winning the 2004 Doncaster Handicap – All Aged Stakes double.
“For the moment I just say this filly (Sea Siren) is very, very good.”
Cassidy will be able to maintain his association with Sea Siren in the 2012 Doomben 10,000 despite incurring a six meeting ban for careless riding in the first at Doomben on Saturday.
Sea Siren is still not favourite in the Doomben 10,000 odds at bookmaker.com.au.
Top spot belongs to BTC Cup withdrawal Buffering ($3.70) who missed the race due to a minor injury with Sea Siren occupying the second line of Doomben 10,000 betting at a quote of $6.50.
In the Stradbroke Handicap odds the Peter Snowden-trained Mental retains their favouritism at a price of $8 while Sea Siren has firmed in from double figures to $9 second elect.
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