Trainer John O’Shea will give serious consideration to a 2016 Queen Elizabeth Stakes bid next month with It’s Somewhat after the import won the Ajax Stakes on Coolmore Classic Day.
In the third win for Godolphin at Rosehill Gardens at the meeting, Dynaformer gelding It’s Somewhat enjoyed a notable weight relief from his lead-up runs carrying 57.5kg home in the $157,000 Group 2 Ajax Stakes (1500m).
Jumping from a wide barrier in the handicap clash, the five-year-old had Sam Clipperton in the saddle fresh off his maiden Group 1 winning ride aboard the Ron Quinton-trained Peeping in the Coolmore Classic.
O’Shea admitted post-win that perhaps they should have put the stable’s number one hoop James McDonald aboard, but Clipperton did a great job getting It’s Somewhat home first past the post in the Group 2.
“We’d made the bookings…I thought I’d made a blue, but good on Sammy,” O’Shea said.
“He’s a young jockey with his tail in the air and he rode well today.”
Last time out the horse ran a first-up sixth to Charlie Boy in the Group 3 Liverpool City Cup (1300m), a race he won last Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival before a failed ninth to Real Impact in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m).
That followed strong summer placings when runner-up in the Listed Festival Stakes (1500m) carrying 59kg and third to Happy Clapper in the Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) with the same weight in December.
“He’s been racing very well during the summer with massive weights and he was just looking for a bit of weight relief and he got it today,” O’Shea explained.
Second-up the Ajax Stakes suited It’s Somewhat to a tee this season, Clipperton taking the horse up close to the speed to settle second behind Chris Waller’s Group 1 Railway Stakes winner in Perth Good Project.
Good Project hopped out in front to lead from the eventual winner while Casino Dancer tracked in third ahead of Waller’s Kool Kompany.
Around the turn It’s Somewhat ($8) was travelling very strongly and shaded Good Project to snare front running 300m from the line.
He drew clear over the closing stages, holding off the challenges after enjoying a ride on pace to beat home the returning Gai Waterhouse-trained Lexus Stakes winner from the spring Excess Knowledge ($11) having his first run since a seventh in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) over the two miles last November.
Finishing off the Ajax Stakes trifecta in third, missing out on second in a photo for the placings with Excess Knowledge, was Gerald Ryan’s roughie hope Dances On Stars ($34) who made up all the late ground coming from last to finish in the money.
Good tactics got the good win on the day, It’s Somewhat still looking to have plenty of upside ahead of tougher races coming up at Royal Randwick during April’s ‘The Championships’.
O’Shea is hoping to extend the horse out over 2000m for the first time in Australia to tackle Waller’s mighty mare Winx on April 9 in the $4 million Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m).
He is also nominated for the shorter-distanced $3 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) as a ‘Plan B’.
“I’ve been really keen to get him out to the 10 furlongs (2000m) and lead on him,” O’Shea said.
“He’s in the big one (the Queen Elizabeth Stakes), but we’re yet to get him to 10 furlongs in Australia.
“He’s in the Doncaster too so he’s got a few options.”
O’Shea said the horse’s third in the 2014 Group 1 Eclipse Stakes (2000m) in Britain could prove good enough form to win the Queen Elizabeth Stakes this autumn.
“He has run third in an Eclipse Stakes, that’ probably better form for the Queen Elizabeth,” he said.
“It will be interesting to see when we get him over that.”
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2016 Ajax Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Rosehill Race 8 – 12/03/2016
|1||5||IT’S SOMEWHAT (USA)||John O’Shea||Sam Clipperton||–||11||57.5kg||$8|
|2||3||EXCESS KNOWLEDGE (GB)||Gai Waterhouse||Kerrin McEvoy||0.4L||10||58kg||$10|
|3||14||DANCES ON STARS (NZ)||Gerald Ryan||Christian Reith||0.5L||7||53.5kg||$31|
|4||7||KOOL KOMPANY (IRE)||Chris Waller||Tye Angland||2.9L||6||57kg||$9|
|5||2||GENERALIFE||John O’Shea||James McDonald||3.3L||5||58.5kg||$5|
|6||12||RUDY||Helen Page||Thomas Huet||3.6L||4||55kg||$18|
|7||4||GOOD PROJECT||Chris Waller||Brenton Avdulla||4.1L||12||57.5kg||$6|
|8||8||WEARY (FR)||Chris Waller||Tommy Berry||5.1L||1||57kg||$20|
|9||15||ALPHA BEAT||Anthony Cummings||Daniel Moor||5.9L||9||53kg||$61|
|10||9||PUCCINI (NZ)||Darren Weir||Brett Prebble||6.1L||3||55.5kg||$10|
|11||13||CASINO DANCER||Mike Van Gestel||Ms Winona Costin (a)||6.7L||8||53.5kg||$31|
|12||6||ROCK STURDY||Joseph Pride||Jason Collett||7.6L||2||57.5kg||$4.80F|
|–||1||BIG MONEY||Rodney Northam||Robert Thompson||–||0||–||–|
|–||10||SADLER’S LAKE||Chris Waller||Tim Clark||–||0||–||–|
|–||11||RED EXCITEMENT||Gerald Ryan||Jay Ford||–||0||–||–|