In-form jockey Kathy O’Hara has no doubts that the big hearted mare Single Gaze has the will and determination to run out the 3200m of the Group 1 $6.25m Emirates Melbourne Cup at Flemington on Tuesday.
O’Hara has come off a very successful weekend in the saddle with a winning treble at Rosehill on Saturday plus a winner at Goulburn on Sunday and will again be on board Single Gaze who ran the best race of her career last start when a fighting second to the outsider Boom Time in the Group 1 $3.15m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 21.
Single Gaze had the job of taking the field up to the tear away leader Sir Isaac Newton in the Caulfield Cup and the tough mare was there fighting out the finish at the end of the gruelling 2400m.
The Lindsay Park trained Boom Time only got the better of the Nick Olive trained mare in the last fifty metres and O’Hara is confident that with a better run in the Melbourne Cup she will be there again at the finish.
“She has the grounding for the Melbourne Cup, she has the miles in her legs — I’m confident she will run the trip,’ O’Hara told The Daily Telegraph.
“In the Melbourne Cup, we can ride her differently to the Caulfield Cup. I will try to get her to fall ‘asleep’ early in the race.”
“I don’t need to ride her so close to the lead as it is a bigger track and a different race tempo to Caulfield.”
“I can’t tell you how many people tell me she looks beaten in her races.’’
“But that is her, the thing is she never really travels but she is so determined. She might get off the bridle but that doesn’t mean she won’t find under pressure.”
Single Gaze had always shown plenty of staying potential and as a three year old filly was able to win the Group 1 $500,000 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill during the 2016 Sydney Autumn Carnival.
But then disaster struck at her next start in the Group 1 $1m James Boag’s Premium Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick when Single Gaze and O’Hara crashed heavily on the home turn which saw both horse and jockey spend several months on the sidelines.
O’Hara returned to the saddle after six weeks, much quicker than anticipated, after suffering a punctured lung, broken collarbone and ribs while Single Gaze escaped any serious injury but was given a long spell to recover anyway.
Single Gaze was quick to find the winner’s stall again when she returned to racing with two wins in Brisbane during the 2017 Queensland Winter Carnval, her last at Group 2 level in the $200,000 Pages Event Equipment Hire P J O’Shea Stakes (2200m) at Doomben on June 3.
Oliver has gradually built up Single Gaze’s race distances during her Spring Carnival campaign and prior to the Caulfield Cup the Not A Single Doubt mare finished fourth to Gailo Chop in the Group 1 $1m Ladbrokes Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on October 14.
O’Hara will be trying to find a position just behind the leaders from barrier eleven in the Melbourne Cup field that has been reduced to twenty-three runners following the scratching of the Chris Waller trained Who Shot Thebarman because of an elevated temperature.
Single Gaze has been listed as one of the outsiders of the Melbourne Cup field at $41 with Ladbrokes.com.au who have the English stayer Marmelo as the $8 firming favourite in a wide open betting race.
Last year’s winner Almandin is on the second line of betting at $9 just ahead of the Darren Weir trained Humidor and tough Irish stayer Johannes Vermeer at $10.