The John O’Shea-trained Gimcrack Stakes winning filly Calliope headlines Godolphin’s best juveniles heading towards next February’s Blue Diamond Stakes 2016 at Caulfield Racecourse.
Last week O’Shea suggested the stable had around five standout two-year-olds eyeing a bid in the headline Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival event for youngsters, the $1.5 million Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) on February 27 next year.
Shooting for his maiden win in the classic, O’Shea confirmed their early favourites were Calliope and an unraced daughter of Lonhro Precautions.
Exceed And Excel filly Calliope caught the eye in September winning an 838m barrier trial in Sydney by four lengths before her October 3 debut in the Listed Gimcrack Stakes (f1000m).
With James McDonald aboard she jumped at nearly odds-on territory and didn’t disappoint with her one and three-quarter length stakes win over Jeanneau.
She hasn’t raced again for lack of suitable races, but is likely to kick off again in mid-February contesting the $200,000 Group 3 Blue Diamond Fillies Prelude (1100m) on CF Orr Stakes Day at Caulfield.
“There hasn’t been much for her,” O’Shea told Racenet this week.
“The Group 3 Blue Diamond Prelude, over 1100 metres at Caulfield on February 13 is her next scheduled start, with the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes two weeks later hopefully her next target after that.”
Futures Blue Diamond Stakes betting markets at bookmakers around Australia have Mick Price’s Inglis Nursery winning Not A Single Doubt colt Extreme Choice and 2016 Magic Millions 2YO Classic favourite Capitalist for Team Snowden at the top of futures odds.
Calliope is also at single-figures in the all-in markets while stablemate Precautions is yet to be added to betting.
O’Shea is already talking up the chances of Precautions however who is doing everything right at home ahead of her debut run and blitzed a recent Werribee jumpout by six lengths.
“(She’s) a lovely filly, who I believe has a lot of ability,” he said.
“I like the way she is progressing.
“She is another, who will start her campaign in Melbourne, with a view to target the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes on February 27.”
All going to plan during the autumn O’Shea also hopes to target the world’s richest race for two-year-olds, the $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) in Sydney at Rosehill Gardens on March 19 with Calliope.
“If all goes well, the Group 1 Golden Slipper is also a possibility,” he confirmed.
O’Shea has also never prepared a Golden Slipper winner, but has a livewire hope in 2016 with Astern.
The Medaglia D’Oro colt is second favourite in the early markets behind Capitalist after an impressive two and a half length win on debut over 1000m at Randwick on December 5.
“He has come through his first start on December 5 very well. He won that very easily,” O’Shea said.
“We have since given him an easy couple of weeks, and now we will start his build-up to the Group 1 Golden Slipper, taking in the Group 2 Silver Slipper (Stakes) and the Group 2 Todman (Stakes) along the way.
“He is straightforward to handle and to train.”
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