While Exosphere will make his Melbourne debut this Saturday at Flemington Racecourse in the Coolmore Stud Stakes, trainer of the Godolphin-raced star colt John O’Shea is far from confirming a seven day back-up into the 2015 Darley Classic.
One of the most scintillating showdowns this Melbourne Cup Carnival has shaped up as the clash between Team Hawkes’ super sprinter Chautauqua and three-year-old Golden Rose winner Exosphere in the $1 million Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m).
Run on Emirates Stakes Day down the famous Flemington straight on November 7, the Darley Classic however could be Chautauqua’s for the taking with O’Shea hesitant to take on last Friday night’s explosive Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) winner.
“I think he (Chautauqua) is the best sprinter in the country by a furlong and he showed it on Friday night,” O’Shea told Racing Victoria.
“I don’t think it (taking on Chautauqua) is something that we need to rush into doing to be honest.
“We’ve got a three-year-old colt who is a valuable stud prospect and getting a punch on the nose from the best sprinter in the country isn’t going to do anyone any good.
“I’ve got a responsibility to look after him and he’s probably only got four runs left in his career so I’ve got to be mindful of that.
“We’re not making any call on anything until we get through the Coolmore.”
A five-year-old son of Encosta De Lago, Chautauqua has now won over $3.25 million in prize money and has won all three of his runs this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
The grey ran in last year’s Darley Classic and was narrowly beaten by the Joe Pride-trained Terravista.
He looks in far more imposing form this season however after turning the tables on Terravista in Moonee Valley’s Manikato Stakes on Cox Plate eve, Pride’s runner finishing 4.65 lengths off Chautauqua in the Darley Classic lead-up.
Futures Darley Classic odds at Ladbrokes.com.au, who are running Best Tote or SP + 20% on the full Victoria Derby Day card this weekend at Flemington, have Chautauqua as the $2 favourite.
Exosphere follows at $2.70, with Ciaron Maher’s dual Group 1 winning mare Srikandi the only other single figure hope at $9 after she returned with a second in the Manikato Stakes beaten two lengths and finishing a nose ahead of third placed Rebel Dane.
O’Shea’s top colt is sure to be as short if not in odds-on territory for the Coolmore Stud Stakes this weekend as he looks to defeat the likes of Japonisme and Counterattack who Cox Plate winning trainer Chris Waller shoots for a hat-trick of wins with after the success of Zoustar (2013) and Brazen Beau (2014).
Exosphere had a jump-out at Flemington to familiarise him with the track last Friday and impressed O’Shea, who is also represented in this weekend’s Group 1 by Blue Sapphire runner-up Mogador.
“He had a nice stride down the straight last Friday and he’s very well and will just have an easy week ahead of the Coolmore on Saturday,” he said.
“He’s settled in really well in Melbourne and if anything it has perked him up a little and I’m very happy with him.”
To back Exosphere in the Coolmore Stud Stakes at Best Tote or SP + 20% and access the early Darley Classic all-in odds make sure you head to Ladbrokes.com.au now!