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His three-year-old may be rated a $101 outsider in Golden Rose 2015 betting for next month’s Group 1, but Mornington trainer Tony Noonan is hoping Mr Optimistic can run well in the lead-up to the classic this weekend.
The Domesday colt is one of seven gallopers facing off in the $175,000 Group 2 The Run To The Rose (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens this weekend, which is the traditional preparatory run into the $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) back at the track this year on September 12.
Current Golden Rose favourite Vancouver ($3) misses Saturday’s clash, trainer Gai Waterhouse instead saving her Golden Slipper winner for a Randwick trial next week before going straight into next month’s Sydney Spring Racing Carnival feature.
That opens up Saturday’s race to the likes of the Chris Waller-trained top fancies Press Statement and Japonisme drawn at opposite ends of The Run To The Rose field in barriers seven and one respectively.
Drawn one outside of Waller’s flying San Domenico Stakes winner Japonisme, who shoots for his fifth win on the trot, is Noonan’s hopeful Mr Optimistic who Joshua Parr is booked to ride first-up.
A winner of one of his four starts so far, Mr Optimistic has also twice run third including his last start when beaten under a length by Real Good in the Listed Hampden Stakes (1200m) at the Sunshine Coast in Queensland on May 16.
He has trialled once since then, but left a lot to be desired when seventh of eight runners over 850m on August 18 after spelling in Queensland.
“Years ago the great Victorian trainers used to race horses in Queensland during the carnival and then send them for a spell up there,” Noonan told AAP.
“Over 25 years, all the good horses I’ve trained have got to Queensland and they normally come back better horses.”
Saturday will be Mr Optimistic’s first run in Sydney, but the distance should suit (2-1-0-1), and Noonan is expecting a big turnout with connections of the horse’s dam and his former Group 1 winner Be Positive ready to cheer her first foal on.
“Some of the people that were involved in Be Positive kept the mare and bred the horse, so there will be a pretty good crew there on Saturday,” he said.
Noonan is hoping for a strong run on Saturday that is strong enough to warrant pressing onto the 2015 Golden Rose, and is confident that can happen despite the high class of The Run To The Rose competitors.
“There are some nice horses in it that are better credentialed than him,” Noonan said.
“The horse is going to measure up at some stage, but this is nice race that will test him out.
“He’s such a raw type of animal and it’s hard to evaluate those horses sometimes.”
Along with Waller’s returning JJ Atkins winner Press Statement and the flying Japonisme other notable The Run To The Rose runners include the John O’Shea-trained Godolphin pair Exosphere and Holler.
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