The mighty Godolphin stable may have uncovered another 2016 Golden Slipper Stakes contender for Saturday’s week’s feature back at Rosehill Gardens after the all-the-way Pago Pago Stakes win by Souchez.
The well-backed favourite and market mover for the $175,000 Group 2 Pago Pago Stakes (1200m), the still-green Lonhro colt Souchez did a lot right to take out the feature with Sydney’s ace hoop James McDonald aboard.
“A great James McDonald ride on a really good young horse that wants to be a racehorse,” winning trainer John O’Shea said after the victory.
Taking advantage of the inside alley in the second race on Coolmore Classic Day, McDonald went straight to the front with an easy lead aboard Souchez after settling into stride.
“He got to the front nice and easy and got a nice rhythm,” O’Shea said.
The young horse was too professional for all the rest in the field, McDonald always in control over the two-years-old sprint.
The David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Lionhearted was best out of the barriers from a wide draw originally going ahead to lead from Souchez, while Mount Panorama missed the kick by a half-length before picking up on the rails to settle into fourth right behind the leaders.
Souchez was quick to take over front running from Lionhearted, the duo fighting it out around the turn for home.
Down the straight the eventual winner won the kick and was travelling strongly, while the talented Team Hawkes-trained Mount Panorama, coming off a Silver Slipper Stakes third from February 20, was rounding them up.
Mount Panorama looked like he was going to get there once he got into the clear, but the Sebring colt didn’t want to go straight and could be a contender for blinkers going on next race.
Also flashing home making up lots of late ground was the David Payne-trained Congrats colt Chimboraa in his first black-type assignment at his fourth start.
Souchez ($2.70) held them off however to win the Pago Pago Stakes ahead of promising Sam Clipperton-ridden roughie shot Chimboraa ($71) with Mount Panorama ($4.80) in third.
The Pago Pago Stakes winner also scored the ballot free ride into next weekend’s $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m), O’Shea rating him just below some of their better contenders for the world’s richest race for two-year-olds.
“I think irrespective, he’s a in the race,” O’Shea said of the Slipper.
“I think the market has our horses right.:
Astern leads the Godolphin Golden Slipper charge this Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival after a tidy Silver Slipper Stakes win, but O’Shea could saddle-up up to four or five runners in the classic on March 19.
Other hopes in the mix include Tessera who ran fourth to the Gai Waterhouse-trained Kiss And Make Up in the Todman Stakes last time out as well as O’Shea’s second pic, Telperion who ran fourth in the Skyline Stakes last start at Randwick on February 27.
The Pago Pago Stakes winning hoop McDonald was far from declaring Souchez the Slipper winner this season, but said he would make a lovely three-year-old later on.
“He’ll be there (in the Golden Slipper) so he’s always a chance,” he said.
“But I think he’ll make a good seven furlong to a mile horse in the future and a lovely three-year-old.
“He still has got a lot to learn though.”
The last two-year-old to complete the Pago Pago Stakes – Golden Slipper Stakes double was Stratum (2005) over a decade ago.
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2016 Pago Pago Stakes Results
Rosehill Race 2 – 12/03/2016
|1||1||SOUCHEZ||John O’Shea||James McDonald||–||1||55.5kg||$2.70F|
|2||8||CHIMBORAA||David Payne||Sam Clipperton||0.2L||4||55.5kg||$71|
|3||2||MOUNT PANORAMA||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Brett Prebble||0.3L||2||55.5kg||$4.40|
|4||3||LIONHEARTED||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Christian Reith||1.6L||10||55.5kg||$3.60|
|5||10||MEDITERRANEAN||Peter & Paul Snowden||Damian Browne||2L||8||55.5kg||$9.50|
|6||9||THE REVEREND DEMON||Bjorn Baker||Brenton Avdulla||2.9L||3||55.5kg||$21|
|7||7||ATTENTION||Peter & Paul Snowden||Tye Angland||3.6L||9||55.5kg||$13|
|8||5||OCEAN CITY||David Payne||Ms Winona Costin (a)||5.6L||6||55.5kg||$21|
|9||13||POTENT FORCE||James Cummings||Tommy Berry||5.8L||5||55.5kg||$31|
|10||11||BRAY (NZ)||Brett Cavanough||Jason Collett||5.9L||7||55.5kg||$151|
|–||6||CREDIBLE WITNESS||John Sargent||Tim Clark||–||0||–||–|
|–||12||MARROCK||Mitch Newman||Koby Jennings (a)||–||0||–||–|
|–||4||AVIATOR||Gerald Ryan||Kerrin McEvoy||–||0||–||–|