John O’Shea’s Stradbroke Handicap hopeful Colorado Claire needs to take out the 2012 Inglis 3YO Scone Guineas this Saturday if she is any chance of making the field for Queensland’s richest race next month, and her trainer confident that is exactly what she is capable of doing.
The Hussonet filly posted her fifth win from just seven career starts last time out beating home the boys including runner-up Rekindled Alliance in the Group 2 Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on March 24.
Despite being a Group 2 winner in open class Colorado Claire was handed the 50.5kg minimum in the $1 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) when weights for the June 9 feature were released this week.
In a position that angered O’Shea she currently sits 38th on the order of entry but will look to move up the Stradbroke ballot this week when she runs in the $500,000 Inglis 3YO Guineas (1400m) at Scone on Saturday.
O’Shea saw enough in Colorado Claire’s latest Randwick trial to suggest she will be ultra-competitive in the Guineas, the filly running second in a 1050m hitout on April 27 beating her subsequent Group 1 BTC Cup winning stablemate Sea Siren.
“There’s probably a fair case to say she trialled marginally better than Sea Siren,” O’Shea said.
For the Phar Lap Stakes victory and the recent trial Colorado Claire was ridden by boom New Zealand jockey James McDonald who retains the ride on Saturday, the filly to jump from gate nine of 15.
“She’s drawn a bit awkwardly but I won’t be giving James any instructions because I think it’s hard to gauge what will happen in the early stages of the race with horses coming into the race with such different formlines and credentials,” O’Shea said.
“We have the option of leading. Traditionally when she’s fresh she tends to jump well but there may well be sufficient enough speed that allows us to be a bit more conservative.
“I’ll just be saying to James to ride the race to suit how the race is.”
In the latest Scone Guineas odds at bookmaker.com.au Colorado Claire is the $3.20 second favourite.
Topping the markets is another Stradbroke hope in Pampelonne, Tim Martin’s last start Gosford Guineas winner easing out slightly over the past 24 hours from $2.20 to $2.30.
“She’s had a wonderful preparation,” O’Shea said of Colorado Claire.
“She’s one of two horses in the race that has won at level weights (along with Pampelonne).
“I’m very happy with her and I think if she gets a fair run in the race she’ll be very competitive.”
There have been no other changes to the Scone Inglis Guineas betting markets with Pampelonne and Colorado Claire the only single figure chances.
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