Sarajevo has the chance to record his maiden win at stakes level in the 2015 Autumn Stakes and trainer John O’Shea believes that the application of blinkers will help the promising colt live up to his potential in the Group 2 event at Caulfield this weekend.
Big things were expected at the start of the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival, but we was beaten as a short-priced favourite when he did plenty wrong in the Listed The Rosebud (1200m) at Royal Randwick on August 9, could finish no better than fourth again in the Group 3 The Run To The Rose (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on August 30 and was sent to the spelling paddock after he finished sixth in the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on September 13.
Sarajevo impressed with two barrier trial victories at Royal Randwick on December 30 and January 15 and he took that winning form to the races when he scored a fighting win in the Place Multi Handicap (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on January 31.
O’Shea admits that Sarajevo will need to improve on his first-up performance to win the Autumn Stakes, but the Godolphin trainer feels that the three-year-old has taken plenty of improvement out of the win and will produce a sharper effort with blinkers on this weekend.
“I think that the key to him is that he started with nice residual fitness and his coat was nice and shiny,” O’Shea said.
“As a result he looks a lot fitter and more streamlined and I was extremely happy with him yesterday.
“He needs to run a race on Saturday, but I am sure that with the addition of blinkers that he will.
“He has a good fitness run under him and a confidence builder.
“I would have like to see him be a bit more definitive in his win the other day considering the opposition, but he got the job done and he has improved since the win.”
The 2015 Autumn Stakes field was released on Wednesday and the likes of UCI Stakes winner Magicool, Victoria Derby runner-up Bondeiger, last start winner Profit Share, Manfred Stakes winner Affirmation and the promising Zebulon are all set to contest the Group 2 event at Caulfield tomorrow.
Sarajevo is currently available at 2015 Autumn Stakes odds of $6, while Profit Share ($4.60) is a narrow favourite from Affirmation ($5.50) and Hong Kong Captain ($6) with Ladbrokes Australia.