Trainer John O’Shea is more worried about a rain affected track then a bad barrier for Bow Creek in the Group 1 HK$14m Champions Mile (1600m) at Sha Tin in Hong Kong on Sunday.
Bow Creek drew barrier eleven in the final twelve horse Champions Mile field and while O’Shea said that was not ideal, he is hoping the weather clears and the track dries out a little before Sunday to give the five year old every chance.
“It would have been nice to have drawn a little bit softer, but he is a horse that is slow away so as long as we can get to the best part of the track,” O’Shea said.
“We need dry ground.
“The most important thing is that the horse is good and his work was outstanding.”
“If the track could just come up a tick in terms of the penetrometer between now and Sunday, it would be great for him.”
“But it is a fantastic surface and we are just happy enough to have a horse here good enough to compete.”
Bow Creek has bounced back to full health after it took a couple of days for him to recover from the plane trip from Australia.
“He only dropped four kilos on the flight and then his temp went up coming off the plane, just had a couple of ordinary days coming off the plane, but they were straight onto him. He has had no issues,” O’Shea said.
“He hasn’t missed any work, that is the most important thing.”
“He is in as good order as we can have him.”
“His weight is spot on as we like to have him around that 475 mark and he is in immaculate order and he seems a happy little horse.”
Bow Creek began his career in England and has won one race from six starts since joining the Godolphin Team in Australia under the care of O’Shea.
The Shamardal five year old was able to overcome a tardy start before scoring a sensational win in the Group 2 $200,000 Crown Golden Ale Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on February 27.
At his next start Bow Creek was beaten less than two lengths when eighth to Preferment in the Group 1 $1m Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 12 and then ran fifth to Winx in the Group 1 $3m The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick on day one of ‘The Championships’ on April 2.
O’Shea rates the Winx form in the Doncaster Mile as first class and said that the stable is happy to have Bow Creek competing on the world stage in the Champions Mile.
“He is a genuine Group 1 weight for age miler. I don’t think there is any doubting that the Winx form is the most superior mile form in the world at the moment and he was more than competitive there probably on an unsuitable track,” O’Shea said.
“We are happy with the horse. On his day he is a top class Group 1 horse but he just needs a few little things to go his way at this stage of his career.”
“I think that the way the race will be run here will suit him. He likes to sit back and suck up into the race and come late.
James McDonald was aboard Bow Creek when he ran in the Doncaster Mile but he had been booked early to ride Godolphin’s other runner Safety Check leaving O’Shea to book Zac Purton to ride Bow Creek in the Champions Mile.
“The boss had already booked James for Safety Check early on so when Bow Creek was accepted to come, just took the liberty to acquire Zac. I am sure that we have a capable replacement.”
Safety Check is prepared by Godolphin’s English trainer Charlie Appleby and the five year old is a winner of his last two starts at Meydan in Dubai in the Group 2 US$250,000 Al Fahidi Fort (1400m) on January 21 and in the Group 2 US$250,000 Zabeel Mile (1600m) on February 25.
Bow Creek is rated an $11 chance for the Champions Mile at Ladbrokes.com.au while Safety Check is marked slightly shorter at $8.
The well performed Japanese miler Maurice sits at the top of the market order at $2.05 ahead of local hopes Giant Treasure at $5.50 and Contentment at $6.
Market order for the Champions Mile at Ladbrokes.com.au: $2.05 Maurice (JPN), $5.50 Giant Treasure (HK), $6 Contentment (HK), $8 Safety Check (UAE), $10 Beauty Only (HK), $11 Bow Creek (AUS), $19 Packing Pins (HK), $21 Beauty Flame (HK), $34 Secret Weapon (HK), $71 Rewarding Hero (HK), $81 Dundonnell (HK), $126 Gun Pit (HK).