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Former Blue Diamond Stakes winning filly Earthquake will don blinkers when she shoots for back-to-back spring wins Saturday week stepping back up in class for the Coolmore Stud Stakes 2014 at Flemington Racecourse.
The John O’Shea-trained daughter of Exceed And Excel was one of the top performers in the Flemington jump-outs on Friday morning and is gearing up for a shot at the $500,000 Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) on Victoria Derby Day, November 1.
Last start winner of the Group 3 Thoroughbred Club Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield when finally returning to form, much to the relief of her Godolphin connections, Earthquake worked over 800m this morning down the famous Flemington straight and caught the eye with her third place finish.
She finished in 46.42 seconds in a nice effort with the blinkers on behind Paul Messara’s Golden Rose runner-up Scissor Kick, and will keep the hood on when she lines up under race conditions again on the opening day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
“I used to look at her pedigree and think she’d be a perfect candidate for blinkers. After this morning I’m convinced,” O’Shea told Racenet.
“Her nature is such that she is doing things so easily, I could not be happier with what I saw in blinkers this morning.
“She was more focused and travelled easily in what was respectable time, she was devastating and I was rapt with her.”
Earthquake was one of the most highly spruiked juveniles last season winning her four opening starts including the $1 million Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield before her second to Mossfun in the $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) on April 5 when under the guidance of former trainer Peter Snowden.
With O’Shea this time in she ran back-to-back thirds firstly in the Furious Stakes and then the Tea Rose Stakes at Group 2 level at Randwick before enjoying a return to Melbourne for her strong last start Caulfield win.
O’Shea is now hoping she can keep the winning form going in her Flemington debut up against the boys and become the second filly in three years to win along with Nechita (2012).
One thing firmly in her favour to do so will be the drop back to 54.5kg in the Coolmore Stud Stakes after carrying 59kg to victory in the Thoroughbred Club Stakes.
Also working with Earthquake in this morning’s hit-out was stable mate Ghibellines who was just off her on the line, the Shamardal colt also Coolmore Stud Stakes bound.
“He was pretty plain last start but if he can bring the form he showed when placed behind Rich Enuff in the Danehill Stakes down the straight two starts back then he can be competitive,” O’Shea said.
“He probably needed that today to blow away a few cobwebs.”
Ghibellines was third behind Rich Enuff in the Group 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) at Flemington first-up but then finished dead last behind the same horse in the Group 3 Guineas Prelude (1400m) when stepped up in distance for a disappointing 13th on September 28.
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