Godolphin’s private trainer John O’Shea will saddle-up two chances in the Concorde Stakes 2014 field in Sydney on Saturday including the equal highest rated hope in the field, Sessions.
Drawn in barrier four with ace Kiwi expat James McDonald to ride, Lonhro stallion Sessions is one of 11 gallopers in the mix for this year’s $125,000 Group 3 Concorde Stakes (1000m).
The sprint showdown runs as Race 6 at Randwick on the weekend and sees five-year-old Sessions return to racing for the first time since a disappointing 13th behind Smokin’ Joey in the Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) in Adelaide back on May 10.
Before that he also ran in two other elite level races when 10th behind current world’s top rated sprinter Lankan Rupee in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick and a closer fourth behind Tiger Tees in the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) at Rosehill.
First-up Sessions has an ace record with three wins and a second from five resuming runs and should also be suited to the distance on Saturday with another two wins and a second from four starts over the 1000m.
Down in class from Group 1 level will also work to his advantage as he looks to improve on a second in last year’s Concorde Stakes.
O’Shea will also be represented in the race by Safeguard drawn one closer to the rail in gate three with Kerrin McEvoy booked for the ride.
Also first-up here the Exceed And Excel four-year-old was last seen running a brave sixth when beaten just over a length by Sir Moments in the Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1400m) at Eagle Farm.
Coming off a winning Warwick Farm trial from August 29, Safeguard is a promising youngster that runs well fresh having lost just one of his four first-up runs so far.
The other big name entry for the Concorde on Saturday is then drawn in gate two for jockey Blake Shinn with the Joe Pride-trained Rain Affair looking to return to form.
Rain Affair enjoyed a purple patch of form early in his career winning 11 of his opening 13 starts including four Group races.
He was also racing against the best going around at the top level finishing second in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes and behind Atlantic Jewel in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes two years ago.
Fourth Tiger Tees in the 2012 Concorde Stakes, the now seven-year-old son of Commands hasn’t won a race in over 12 months and had three very poor autumn runs last season that he’ll be out to improve on this time in.
Like O’Shea Pride is dually represented on Saturday also saddling up last start winner Target In Sight from gate eight with Jim Cassidy in the saddle.
The Nadeem gelding won over this track and distance on August 9 beating Rifleman to continue an excellent Randwick record (4-3-1-0).
Also drawn well with the rails run from barrier one is the Gary Portelli-trained I’m All The Talk, the Stratum stallion having finished fourth to Decision Time in this race last year.
Other top Sydney trainers with Concorde hopes then include Chris Waller with his Magic Millions Sprint winner Whittington in the outside gate, Gai Waterhouse with Aussies Love Sport which won the Ming Dynasty Quality on this day last spring and David Pfieffer with the consistent Atmospherical.
See below for the complete Concorde Stakes 2014 field, barriers, jockeys and set weights plus penalties.
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2014 Concorde Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Randwick Race 6 (3:45pm) – 06/09/2014
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||1430x6400x||SESSIONS||John O’Shea||James McDonald||4||59kg||105|
|2||2638x0256x||SAFEGUARD||John O’Shea||Kerrin McEvoy||3||58.5kg||92|
|3||0x136x090x||RAIN AFFAIR||Joseph Pride||Blake Shinn||2||58kg||105|
|4||1x2410x46x||I’M ALL THE TALK||Gary Portelli||Brenton Avdulla||1||58kg||88|
|5||4x43113x6x||AUSSIES LOVE SPORT||Gai Waterhouse||Joshua Parr||5||58kg||86|
|6||x73x1x558x||WHITTINGTON||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||11||57kg||97|
|7||88x244130x||DIDNTCOSTALOT||Marc Conners||Jason Collett||9||56kg||92|
|8||9x113152x1||TARGET IN SIGHT||Joseph Pride||Jim Cassidy||8||56kg||90|
|9||40×4246334||WOULDNT IT BE NICE||Paul Perry||Sam Clipperton||7||56kg||79|
|10||114x11x||ATMOSPHERICAL||David Pfieffer||Tim Clark||10||55kg||80|
|11||101301×210||NUCLEAR CLASS||Tas Morton||Ms Kathy O’Hara||6||54kg||82|