After a thrilling battle down the Randwick straight between the John O’Shea-trained stablemates Complacent and Hauraki to win the Craven Plate quinella for Godolphin, both the winner and runner-up are set for a Melbourne raid targeting the Caulfield Cup 2015.
Continuing an almost flawless Epsom Handicap Day for O’Shea, Godolphin and world-class hoop James McDonald they made it four from four with yet another black-type win this time in the $125,000 Group 3 APN Outdoor Craven Plate (2000m).
Hot favourite in the markets was former star three-year-old, Group 1 winner Complacent having his fourth run back from an injury that saw him sidelined from November 2013 when runner-up in the Victoria Derby to August this year.
His last two runs produced a Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) victory and third in the Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m) both at Randwick where he returned for the Craven Plate with McDonald in the saddle.
There was a good level line out in the race at the jump with Complacent rolling forward before the roughie of the bunch Celtic Prince pushed on to find the front ahead of the hot favourite.
Celtic Prince lead them round at a decent gallop, while O’Shea’s other runner Reset four-year-old Hauraki settled mid-field off the pace with the ‘Magic Man’ Brazilian hoop Joao Moreira in the saddle.
On the turn Celtic Prince still was up front while McDonald was riding Complacent quietly in second as Hauraki slowly slid forward to enter calculations.
Complacent made the move to hit the front, but Hauraki made it a two horse race for the line flashing down the outside to join his better fancied stablemate as the Godolphin duo broke well free from the rest.
It was a stride-for-stride battle between ace hoops McDonald and Moreira in a classic race, two of the world’s great riders both looking to salute for the same stable.
In an all-guts performance from the winning horse, Complacent ($2.15) was able to salute for the punters after fighting back on the inside, a courageous effort ahead of Hauraki ($5) who third-up looked just one run short of his peak.
“Full credit to the horse,” McDonald said after the bob-of-the-head photo finish win.
“The team have also done a wonderful job.”
Finishing off the Craven Plate trifecta in a distant third was Chris Waller’s veteran 10-year-old veteran I’m Imposing who got closed out on the straight, but fought back for his first top three run this prep.
O’Shea was full of praise for the winning hoop who he said originally wanted to jump on the subsequent runner-up.
“I felt for Mac (James McDonald),” O’Shea said.
“He wanted to ride Hauraki…we knew Hauraki was ready to fire today and he got himself back in the game in regards to the Caulfield Cup.
“That’s toughened them (Complacent and Hauraki) right up for a fortnight.”
The $3 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) runs on October 17 in Melbourne and O’Shea confirmed the same jockeys aboard his two major hopefuls in the Craven Plate would retain the rides for the mile and a half major.
“Complacent goes to the Caulfield Cup, he’s only got 53kg so Mac will go on the diet to ride him,” he said.
“And hopefully Joe will come back and ride Hauraki.
“I think they’re two nice chances.”
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2015 Craven Plate Results & Finishing Order
Randwick Race 6 – 03/10/2015
|1||1||COMPLACENT||John O’Shea||James McDonald||–||4||59kg||$2.15F|
|2||9||HAURAKI||John O’Shea||Joao Moreira||0.1L||3||58kg||$5|
|3||6||I’M IMPOSING (GB)||Chris Waller||Tye Angland||3.4L||6||59kg||$12|
|4||2||MORIARTY (IRE)||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||3.7L||5||59kg||$10|
|5||4||GRAND MARSHAL (GB)||Chris Waller||Jim Cassidy||5.9L||1||59kg||$16|
|6||3||GALLANTE (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||Craig Williams||6L||8||59kg||$17|
|7||5||FORETELLER (GB)||Chris Waller||Glen Boss||6.1L||2||59kg||$26|
|8||10||RULING DYNASTY||James Cummings||Tommy Berry||7.2L||7||58kg||$11|
|9||7||SENSE OF OCCASION||Joseph Pride||Tim Clark||8L||9||59kg||$41|
|10||8||CELTIC PRINCE (NZ)||Bjorn Baker||Brenton Avdulla||15.3L||10||59kg||$101|