The John O’Shea-trained Mohave is firm favourite to win the Phillip Hughes Tribute (1150m) on Saturday however the trainer has some slight concerns about the distance of the race.
The three-year-old colt is $2.70 favourite to win the Benchmark 80 race at Ladbrokes.com.au, ahead of three other single figure hopefuls Murder Of Crows ($5.50), Forget ($7), and Mr Jackman ($8.50). He will carry just 55kg in the race as he jumps from barrier four with champion jockey James McDonald in the saddle.
Despite all this, O’Shea still has a nagging concern about how Mohave will perform in the race.
“I would have preferred this race was at Randwick and over 1200 metres,” he told TVN.
“Having said that I’m really happy with him and he’s a progressive horse.”
The 2014 Phillip Hughes Tribute was originally due to run on the Kensington track at Randwick Racecourse but it has been closed due to concerns with the ground and seeing as it has been transferred to Rosehill Gardens, the race length has had to be shortened to 1150 metres from 1200m.
Mohave was an impressive second last time out in the Hunter Valley Horse Capital Handicap (1150m) after winning a Benchmark 71 over 1200m on November 1. He was in between runners three lengths off the lead and only got clear at the 350m mark. He sprinted well but found the leader too far in front, ultimately finishing two and a half lengths off Senta De Noche.
The leader’s had a huge advantage in the race and O’Shea believes Mohave would have won on a different track.
“I think he was a victim of the track that day but he still ran super,” he said.
O’Shea is also due to saddle Vashka in the preceding race on Saturday – the International Animal Health Handicap (1300m). The four-year-old gelding is also firm favourite, paying $2.30 at Ladbrokes.com.au after drawing barrier one with Blake Shinn to ride.
“He’s still on a low rating so he can race his way through the grades, but he’s a nice horse going the right way,” O’Shea said of Vashka.
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