Talented young colt Sweynesse will be set for a Group 1 run over the mile in the Epsom Handicap 2015 this Sydney Spring Racing Carnival according to Godolphin head trainer John O’Shea.
O’Shea is starting to set in stone the spring missions and paths towards the Group 1 targets for a host of the stable’s stars including Sweynesse, a rising four-year-old son of Lonhro.
A winner of four of his 10 career starts to date the galloper has already amassed over $600,000 in prize money thanks to a couple of brave elite level runs during the autumn.
Sweynesse won his opening four career starts from May – September last year before backing up from a Group 3 Gloaming Stakes (1800m) win at Rosehill to finish third to Hampton Court in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) last October in his maiden Group 1 run.
His spring rounded out with an eighth behind the Irish-trained Adelaide in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley a fortnight later where he was far from disgraced beaten under two lengths in the weight-for-age classic.
After a break Sweynesse returned in February for a first-up second behind Hallowed Crown in the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) and then his second Group 1 minor placing when runner-up to the same horse in the Randwick Guineas over the mile in early March.
From there he stepped up to 2000m once again and finished over five lengths away fourth to New Zealand visitor Volkstok’n’barrell in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas before things went amiss last start.
Sweynesse hasn’t raced since he failed to match it with the best at Royal Randwick in April’s Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) when as a 20/1 shot he finished second last nearly 12 lengths off the winner Kermadec.
O’Shea is hoping he can atone and return to his best form this season then as he heads towards the $500,000 Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m), also run over the mile at Randwick, on October 3.
Before he linked up with Godolphin, O’Shea had five Epsom Handicap starters since 1983 and won in 2006 with Racing To Win who also won that year’s George Main Stakes in the lead-up.
The Group 1 George Main Stakes also produced the following year’s Epsom Handicap winner Theseo (2008) who is one of a record seven winners in the Epsom for Sydney’s leading lady of racing Gai Waterhouse.
Waterhouse last won the Epsom Handicap three years ago in 2012 with Fat Al who saluted as the favourite on the back of a third in the Group 2 Shannon Stakes.
Premier Sydney horseman Chris Waller has won the past two editions of the Epsom with Boban (2013) and He’s Your Man (2014) who both got in on light weights carrying 53kg and 52.5kg to victory respectively.
The only horse to carry more than that to victory since 2008 meanwhile was Waterhouse’s Rock Kingdom (2009).
Other Epsom Handicap-bound hopefuls this Spring include Helen Page’s Red Dazzler four-year-old Rudy who ran fourth in the Doncaster Mile before a failed run in the Hollindale Stakes on the Gold Coast in April and John Thompson’s Group 1 winning filly First Seal.
Stay tuned to Races.com.au for all the latest Group 1 Spring updates then head to Ladbrokes.com.au to get behind your favourites at the right price all season!