Trainer John O’Shea is confident that undefeated mare White Sage can record a win at Group level during the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival; with the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) the major target for the four-year-old.
White Sage extended her undefeated winning streak to four when she scored a dominant three and a half-length victory in the Cellarbrations Scone Handicap (1350m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday, which came just a fortnight after an equally impressive win in the West Tradies Handicap (1200m) at the same venue.
The daughter of Reset was given five barrier trials before finally making her racing debut with a dominant seven lengths victory in the Ann Tanks Fair Handicap (1200m) at Kembla Grange and O’Shea told Sky Racing HQ that he has been surprised by just good the progressive mare is.
“She pretty much surprised us as soon as she stepped foot onto a racetrack,” O’Shea said.
“We thought she had nice ability but we would never have thought that she would turn out as good as this.
“It is always nice because a lot of the time it is often the opposite; they don’t quiet live up to expectations.
“We have been very happy with her so far and hopefully it will continue the next time we step her out.”
White Sage has shown plenty of speed over shorter trips but her breeding, out of Reset who sired Caulfield Cup winner Fawkner, and the way that she finishes her races suggests to O’Shea that she will run out a strong mile.
The leading Sydney trainer is eyeing the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) with White Sage and revealed that he believes he has won plenty of Group races with horses that he believes had less talent than this ‘pocket rocket’.
“She is strong through the line so I would be surprised if she didn’t run the mile,” O’Shea said.
“She is coping really well with her workload this time and if anything isn’t at her full peak fitness yet.
“Obviously that is very encouraging.
“I would be very disappointed if she wasn’t a black-type filly.
“We have won black-type races with fillies and mares that haven’t started as well as her.
“She might even improve a little bit when she gets a little further.
“She worked very strongly to the line on Saturday and she was only getting rounded up the last little bit so I think she will be able to run through the mile.”
O’Shea revealed after White Sage won on Saturday that she weighed in at only 430kg but, although he admits that he has had bigger weanlings than the potential star, he has never been able to question her guts and tenacity.
“There is not much of her but she is a good eater and she is a pretty tenacious little thing,” O’Shea said.
“There is plenty of punch in her.
“I don’t think it is that big of a deal for fillies.
“In my time I have come across some really good fillies that were not overly big and it looks like this might be another one.”
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