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Sydney-based trainer John O’Shea will look to continue his good association with the winter races in Queensland this weekend with his progressive galloper Lightinthenite stepping up to weight-for-age company in the 2013 Hollindale Stakes.
Running as the feature race at the Gold Coast and a lead-up to all the major Cup races during the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival, the $358,000 Group 2 A.D. Hollindale Stakes (1800m) this year features a final field of 13 hopefuls including five individual Group 1 winners.
Markets on the staying showdown are led by Peter Moody’s reigning Brisbane Cup – Eagle Farm Cup champ Lights Of Heaven ($3) followed closely by the Chris Waller-trained Ranvet Stakes winner Foreteller ($3.80).
Further down the Hollindale Stakes odds punters can then find O’Shea’s Galileo five-year-old Lightinthnite who pays $14 to score an upset and who the trainer rates as a genuine chance at a nice price.
“Lightinthenite has always been a very good horse and there is nice program of races for him in Queensland, which we have targeted,” he said.
Winner of the Group 3 David Jones Cup (2000m) at Caulfield last spring, the gelding has had two runs this time in both of which O’Shea has been happy with.
First-up they were beaten just one and a quarter lengths by Havana Rey in the Group 2 Ajax Stakes (1500m) which was an excellent run before they found themselves way back in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m), run on a Heavy (10) track, making up plenty of ground to finish a still credible ninth four and a half off the winner Sacred Falls.
They get their chance to improve on that again when they go up in distance for the Hollindale on Saturday but must handle the extra weight going up from 53kg to 59kg under the weight-for-age conditions.
“He has had the two runs, and his Doncaster run was very good,” O’Shea said.
“It is first time to weight-for-age but he has proven he is worth having a crack with at this level.”
O’Shea has enjoyed plenty of success in the sunshine state during the winter carnivals over the years including his 2003 Stradbroke Handicap winner Private Stear, and Sea Siren who won the BTC Cup – Doomben 10,000 double 12 months ago and who will be back to defend her title in the former Saturday week.
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