Superstar three-year-old Exosphere continued a top Epsom Handicap Day full of winning results for trainer John O’Shea and jockey James McDonald who combined for a third time in as many races to take out the Roman Consul Stakes 2015 with exciting stud prospect Exosphere.
The nicely-bred son of Lonhro went into the $300,000 Group 2 Canterbury BMW Roman Consul Stakes (1200m) as the odds-on favourite having won four of his previous six starts in Sydney including the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) last time out.
Having his maiden run at Royal Randwick this weekend, he dropped right back in class and came back to 1200m as well off his elite level success.
Post-win Godolphin’s head trainer O’Shea admitted he’d been nervous watching the Roman Consul Stakes mid-race when the always-composed McDonald had the hot favourite switched off towards the back of the pack.
“I was a bit worried,” he said after calling the overall run “very exciting.”
“James was obviously pretty confident in the run.”
It was Chris Waller’s super consistent Japonisme fresh off a short let-up leading around the field with the likes of Magic Millions Classic winner Le Chef, Zoutenant and Takedown on his tail after settling.
McDonald bode his time with Exosphere, not panicking even when the horse still had many lengths to make up as they travelled wide around the turn for home.
Japonisme looked to be travelling very well at top of the straight, the race seemingly within his reach.
McDonald continued to cuddle Exosphere ($1.50) before the horse took off 200m from home and gave chase to the frontrunner.
Within the blink of an eye Exosphere’s explosive turn of foot had him up front and bolting home in what looked like a very easy effort, the Kevin Moses-trained roughie of the field Zoutenant ($201) nicking second from the far better-fancied Japonsime ($6.50) who raced for the first time since his fourth to Exopshere in the Group 2 The Run To The Rose (1200m) back in late August.
With a winning three length margin, Exosphere put in a truly great performance doing it comfortably even though McDonald had set him a big task from that far back in the run before he loomed up and shot off running sizzling time in a laid-back effort reminiscent of the mighty Lonhro.
“This is what we wake up and dream about, horses like these,” McDonald said after riding Exosphere to victory in a sharp 1:08.52.
“He’s well up there with the best of them.
“He picked them up in three strides, he’s got an incredible turn of foot.
“I can’t wait to get back on his back.
“He’s a colt and his career’s limited due to stud duties so we’ll just enjoy him why we can.”
Godolphin’s Henry Plumptre was quick to credit McDonald’s timing and ability as one of the country’s best hoops.
“I think he’s a world class jockey James,” he said.
“Just that timing thing that you get with the top one percentage (of riders).”
Connections are likely to head to Melbourne now with Exosphere targeting a Flemington run on Victoria Derby Day, October 31, during the Melbourne Cup Carnival in the $500,000 Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) to further improve his value at stud.
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2015 Roman Consul Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Randwick Race 4 – 03/10/2015
|1||2||EXOSPHERE||John O’Shea||James McDonald||–||2||56.5kg||$1.50F|
|2||6||ZOUTENANT||Kevin Moses||Blake Shinn||3.3L||8||56.5kg||$201|
|3||5||JAPONISME||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||3.5L||10||56.5kg||$6.50|
|4||3||TAKEDOWN||Gary Moore||Glen Boss||3.7L||5||56.5kg||$26|
|5||7||COUNTERATTACK||Chris Waller||Jim Cassidy||4.7L||1||56.5kg||$12|
|6||9||SPILL THE BEANS||Gerald Ryan||Brenton Avdulla||6.7L||7||56.5kg||$15|
|7||11||YABOROO||Joseph Pride||Glyn Schofield||7.2L||6||56.5kg||$51|
|8||4||WICKED INTENT||Chris Munce||Zac Purton||9.5L||4||56.5kg||$31|
|9||8||SURFIN’ SAFARI||Paul Perry||Thomas Huet||9.9L||9||56.5kg||$61|
|10||1||LE CHEF||Darryl Hansen||Luke Tarrant (a)||18.2L||3||56.5kg||$41|
|–||10||SOOBOOG||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Tommy Berry||–||0||–||–|