A strong contingent of autumn hopefuls trial at Sydney’s Royal Randwick Racecourse this Thursday including a team for Godolphin that includes promising colt Sarajevo.
The John O’Shea-trained three-year-old son of Lonhro trials over 1050m in the second hit-out of the morning along with the likes of Gai Waterhouse’s Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes winner Hampton Court, Sandown Stakes winning stablemate Pornichet and the Chris Waller-trained 2013 Queensland Derby champ Hawkspur.
Sarajevo hasn’t raced since last September when stepped up to Group 1 company at his fourth career start in the Golden Rose Stakes (1400m).
With the tongue tie on for the first time, the youngster was held up in between runners for most of the Rose showdown and even though he made up late ground could only manage to hit the line three lengths away sixth behind the winner Hallowed Crown.
A win on debut at Randwick’s Kensington track in April broke Sarajevo’s maiden status but he hasn’t been able to win again since.
Josh Parr rode him for his successful debut before Kiwi expat James McDonald jumped aboard for his three runs during the early Sydney Spring Carnival that resulted in a fourth in both The Rosebud and Run To The Rose before his Group 1 run.
Sarajevo trialled for the first time this summer – autumn season at Randwick on December 30 working well early to settle second and travelling strongly into the straight to win by a nose over 1045m with Christian Reith aboard.
He trials again over the same track and distance this week taking on the older horses at 8:25am (local time).
After failing to live-up to the hype during his Golden Rose campaign, O’Shea said the stable would be taking it race-by-race when he returns in the autumn.
“We will be taking it race-by-race this time in,” he told Racenet.
“I think seven furlongs (1400m) is as far as he wants, so I will be trying to keep him to sprint races against his own age, at least early into this campaign.”
O’Shea named a 3YO Benchmark 72 over 1200m at Rosehill on January 31, Expressway Stakes Day, as a possible first-up run for Sarajevo.
He could then progress onto something like the Group 3 Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m) back at the track on February 7 or the $150,000 Group 3 Southern Cross Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on February 14.
“He did everything right winning his first trial this time in,” O’Shea said.
“We have him forward enough to get him racing by the end of this month but we’ll know more after the trial.”
O’Shea failed to name the $3 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick on April 4 as an aim for the youngster but the bookmakers are playing it safe with Sarajevo listed as a $41 chance through Ladbrokes.com.au in the all-in markets for the weight-for-age classic.
Doncaster Mile betting is led by Hong Kong Mile champion Able Friend ($6) and Japan’s World Ace ($8).
The other headline horse at the Randwick trials on Thursday for O’Shea is then European import The Contributer who heads towards The BMW 2015 during Sydney’s The Championships.
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