After snaring the Golden Slipper with Mossfun in the autumn expat Kiwi jockey James McDonald on Saturday shoots for the Golden Rose 2014 victory with a horse he rates a top chance – Sarajevo.
The John O’Shea-trained, Godolphin-owned Lonhro colt is one of 15 three-year-olds in the mix for this year’s $1 million Group 1 De Bortoli Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill Racecourse.
Current Golden Rose odds at Ladbrokes.com.au are led by Peter Moody’s dual Group 2 winning filly Bring Me The Maid, a known wet track performer drawn ideally in gate six and paying $6 to get the job done.
Sarajevo meanwhile can be found further down the Golden Rose betting markets at a double figure quote of $16, a nice price according to McDonald.
“He is yet to put it together but I think he can with a good gate and a better track on Saturday,” he said when speaking at the official barrier draw at The Star Sydney.
“I think he is the horse to beat.”
No stranger to Group 1 success down under, on April 5 McDonald produced a smashing ride in the world’s richest race for two-year-olds when guiding Mossfun to victory in the $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on a Heavy (8) course.
After the filly was sitting second last McDonald cut the corner on the turn and took her to the lead on the inside, where no other jockeys had been brave enough to travel due to the rain-affected track.
He could then have the smarts to produce another upset win in a Group 1 in the wet at Rosehill this time with Sarajevo who was last seen running fourth behind Hallowed Crown in the Group 3 Run To The Rose (1200m) on August 30.
The colt was drawn wide in the outside barrier 10 draw that day and settled last before doing his best work late to make up ground on the Heavy (9) track.
It was also his second fourth place finish this time in having also been beaten by fellow Golden Rose acceptor Scissor Kick in the Listed The Rosebud (1200m) at Randwick at the start of last month.
Both of those runs were full of merit according to McDonald who can’t wait to partner Sarajevo from barrier eight on Saturday.
“I just don’t think he really handled the heavy conditions last start, he felt like he was going nowhere at the top of the straight, his wheels were just spinning,” McDonald said.
“He still managed to work to the line and get fourth, which surprised me.
“Everything that he has done in his work suggests he would be better on top of the ground, his work this morning (Tuesday) was very pleasing and I am happy to be riding him.”
O’Shea and Godolphin meanwhile will be dually represented in Saturday’s Golden Rose field having also accepted for Run To The Rose runner-up Kumaon paying $13 through Ladbrokes.com.au.
Set to jump from barrier one with Kerrin McEvoy in the saddle the Group 1 Champagne Stakes third placed son of Lonhro is a progressive colt that caught the eye last time out and can handle the heavy going.
To back Sarajevo for an upset Golden Rose 2014 result at his juicy price head to Ladbrokes.com.au where you’ll find all the weekend’s best markets plus generous future odds on the other upcoming spring Group 1s!