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A trip back to Melbourne to target Moonee Valley’s William Reid Stakes later in the month is on the agenda for John O’Shea’s impressive Canterbury Stakes 2016 winning colt Holler who led all-the-way in the Randwick Guineas Day feature this weekend.
The three-year-old son of Commands was a big mover in the early markets for the $500,000 Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m), the weight-for-age classic featuring a small field of just seven hopefuls.
Sydney’s boom jockey James McDonald dictated the race right from the jump with Holler brilliant away from his outside barrier hitting the front where he stayed right to the post.
Two back Holler won the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley before his fifth to Mahuta in the Group 2 Autumn Stakes (1400m) last time out with Damien Oliver in the saddle at Caulfield.
After that run Oliver made the recommendation to Godolphin’s private trainer O’Shea that blinkers would help sharpen Holler up, and O’Shea took up that suggestion for the horse’s Group 1 test in Sydney.
Seven-year-old Our Boy Malachi wasn’t as brilliant from the barriers only getting away fairly before being revved up by his hoop Tommy Berry to settle second on the back of the pace setter, while Ecuador bounced well into third.
The John Thompson-trained favourite First Seal, second-up off a good Millie Fox Stakes win last time out, settled into fourth saving ground on the fence while the returning superstar Criterion was midfield throughout.
In the closing stages First Seal ($2.90) was under the whip by jockey Blake Shinn while Holler ($8) continued to go great guns leading from start to finish beating home the well-fancied Fastnet Rock mare by a notable margin in a smart 1:15.04.
Rounding out the Canterbury Stakes trifecta in third was Chris Waller’s Doncaster Mile winner Kermadec ($5) in a grinding first-up run with Hugh Bowman aboard from the inside alley.
Fourth was the Patrick Webster-trained Villiers Stakes winner from December Happy Clapper in the ideal first-up run from the Teofilo gelding who will be spot on for the extra 300m on April 2 back at the track for his shot at the $3 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m).
It was a great plan tactically by the Godolphin team to get the Canterbury Stakes result, and the next stage of that plan is to take Holler back to his pet Moonee Valley track for a shot at the $500,000 Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) on March 24.
“A great plan that’s come off,” was O’Shea’s post-win assessment.
“He’s thrived in the last three weeks and that was another great James McDonald ride.
“We knew we had a fit racehorse. It’s nice when it comes off like that, very rewarding for the team.
“Now we’ll send him back to Melbourne. He loves the Valley and we’ll go back there for the William Reid and see if we can continue him on his way.”
McDonald described the win as “brilliant” and said Holler “should be a good chance” in the Moonee Valley Group 1.
Whether he has another run before then is up to the stable, but history shows no William Reid Stakes winner has backed up from a run outside of Melbourne since Spanish Mix back in 1993.
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2016 Canterbury Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Randwick Race 5 – 05/03/2016
|1||7||HOLLER||John O’Shea||James McDonald||–||7||56kg||$7.50|
|2||6||FIRST SEAL||John P Thompson||Blake Shinn||1.3L||3||57kg||$2.70F|
|3||2||KERMADEC (NZ)||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||1.6L||1||59kg||$5|
|4||5||HAPPY CLAPPER||Patrick Webster||Brenton Avdulla||2.4L||2||59kg||$21|
|5||3||OUR BOY MALACHI||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Tommy Berry||2.9L||6||59kg||$4.20|
|6||4||ECUADOR (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||Tim Clark||3.6L||4||59kg||$31|
|7||1||CRITERION (NZ)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Kerrin McEvoy||5.5L||5||59kg||$8|
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