Brazilian hoop Joao “Magic Man” Moreira will travel from Hong Kong to Sydney this weekend to partner Chris Waller’s smart filly Omei Sword in the 2016 Golden Rose Stakes field.
Sydney’s premier trainer chases his second in in the $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) this Saturday at Rosehill Gardens having won the set weights classic with Zoustar back in 2013.
Waller has two final acceptors in the 14-starer Golden Rose field this season with Snitzel colt Nikitas out to improve on a sixth in the Group 2 Run To The Rose (1200m) first-up and his class daughter of High Chaparral Omei Sword.
Both of Waller’s runners came up trumps in Tuesday’s Golden Rose Stakes barrier draw with Nikitas in gate eight and the stable’s top hope of success Omei Sword jumping from barrier three, which last produced a winner with Manawanui (2011).
As a two-year-old she had three starts including a ninth to fellow Golden Rose rival Yankee Rose, who runs first-up in Saturday’s Group 1, in the ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Randwick.
In her new season debut at Royal Randwick on August 20, Omei Sword made an instant impression with Brenton Avdulla aboard for a three and a quarter-length win in the Group 2 Silver Shadow Stakes (1200m).
She has now had the three weeks between runs, but has a jockey change scheduled for the Golden Rose with Moreira to have his second ride in the classic.
Avdulla meanwhile partners the John O’Shea-trained Run To The Rose third-placegetter Impending from barrier two, the Lonhro colt one of two in the mix for Godolphin along with Astern.
Astern won the Run To The Rose last time out and is looking to become the third horse in as many years to complete the double with success in Saturday’s elite level joining Hallowed Crown (2014) and the O’Shea-trained Exosphere (2015).
Waller’s other go-to hoop Hugh Bowman is the most successful Golden Rose Stakes winning hoop in the past 30 years with four victories aboard: In Top Swing (2003), Doonan (2004), Denman (2009) and Hallowed Crown (2014).
This weekend he partners the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained El Divino from a nice barrier four draw, the Group 3 winning Snitzel colt coming off a Run To The Rose fourth.
Waterhouse & Bott also saddle-up the consistent Thronum from a wide barrier 13 draw with Kerrin McEvoy booked for the ride.
The wide alley may not be as bad as it reads on paper with two of the past three Rose winners jumping from double digits: Zouster (16 of 16 in 2013) and Hallowed Crown (14 of 15 in 2014).
Waterhouse may be yet to prepare a Golden Rose winner, but McEvoy rode Denman (2009) to victory for Peter Snowden who was the then head trainer for Darley (now Godolphin).
He replaces James McDonald on Snitzel colt Thronum, McDonald having ridden The Rosebud winner for his third to Divine Prophet in the Group 3 Up & Coming Stakes (1300m) on August 20.
McDonald rode last year’s Rose winner Exosphere to victory and is engaged on Astern this weekend from gate 12, while the Team Hawkes-trained Up & Coming winner Divine Prophet jumps from barrier 10 with Tommy Berry in the saddle.
Berry is also a previous winning hoop in the race after success on Snowden’s Epaulette in 2012.
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