The big wet in Sydney has come at exactly the wrong time in regards to the spring lead-up races with the new season return of star filly Earthquake possibly delayed this weekend.
Winner of the Blue Diamond Stakes in February and last seen running second in the Golden Slipper on April 5, the Exceed And Excel filly is nominated for a first-up run at Royal Randwick on Warwick Stakes Day on Saturday.
One of nine three-year-old fillies entered for this year’s $175,000 Group 2 Silver Shadow Stakes (1200m), the Goldolphin-owned Earthquake could though be a notable non-runner come the weekend.
While the Silver Shadow has been the scheduled starting point for her spring return for a while, the likelihood of a rain-affected track has thrown a spanner in the works.
Trainer John O’Shea confirmed on Tuesday the stable would not be running the $1.57 million earner if the course proper at Randwick was in the Heavy ratings for the weekend.
“She worked sensationally this morning, so she’s ready to go, but I don’t want to give her a gut-buster on a Heavy 10 first-up, she’s got a long preparation ahead of her,” O’Shea told the Racing Network.
Sydney copped over 50mm over the weekend causing a bog track at the Royal early in the week.
With only a few isolated showers predicted over the next few days however, the Australian Turf Club (ATC) is confident the track will be upgraded to at least a Slow rating before Saturday’s meeting.
Earthquake had her opening four starts on Good (3) tracks in Sydney and Melbourne winning all four to kick off her career in the best possible way.
Her first and so far only loss then came when she encountered a Heavy (8) track at Rosehill Gardens in the $3.5 million Slipper to run three quarters of a length away second behind the Team Hawkes-trained filly Mossfun.
Not wanting to ruin her chances first-up or risk injury on a mud track, O’Shea is on weather and track watch before confirming a run in the Silver Shadow Stakes for Earthquake.
“We’ll wait until Saturday morning and see how the track comes up before making any decision, but if it’s heavy she won’t run,” O’Shea said.
O’Shea and Godolphin could however still be represented in the set weights plus penalties clash with Memorial also in the mix.
The Street Cry filly ran fifth in the Golden Slipper in her only run on Heavy ground so far, but was also runner-up to Alpha Miss in the Listed Lonhro stakes (1100m) at Warwick Farm in March on a Slow (7).
Her latest effort was also on a Slow track but was far less impressive however when eighth behind Eloping in the Group 3 Keith McKay Stakes (1200m) on April 19.
The other chief Silver Shadow Stakes entries for Saturday meanwhile are Peter Moody’s Golden Slipper third placegetter Bring Me The Maid and Gary Nickson’s Reisling Stakes third placed Slipper failure Alpha Miss.
Stay tuned to Races.com.au for the official Silver Shadow Stakes field and barriers due out on Wednesday morning.
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