Trainer John O’Shea is confident that Contributer will produce an improved performance in the 2015 Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes, but he does not expect the Middle Distance Horse Of The Year to peak until he gets to the Cox Plate.
Contributer started the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 5 as a short-priced favourite, but he was completely run off his feet by The Cleaner and could finish no better than fifth before he was never able to get into the race in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on September 26.
O’Shea told Racing Ahead that he has been thrilled with the improved that Contributer has taken ahead of the 2015 Caulfield Stakes, but he believes that the five-year-old will not perform at his best until he runs in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 24 and the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day.
“He is getting there,” O’Shea said.
“He has continued to make dramatic improvement over the last fortnight and we are very happy with the improvement that he has made.
“We are looking forward to taking him to the races in what is a very strong race.
“I am confident that he is going well.”
Contributer has shown a degree of tactical versatility since he made his Australian racing debut with a win in the Group 3 David Jones Cup (2000m) at Caulfield on October 18 and he has drawn the inside gate, but O’Shea still expects jockey Blake Shinn to settle the High Chaparral entire in the second half of the 2015 Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes field because he is concerned about the possibly of being blocked for a run in the final stages of the race.
“We will probably end up three pairs back on the fence and let Mongolian Khan close us if he jumps a bit better on Saturday,” O’Shea said.
“That will just allow us the opportunity to come around and I don’t really want to be box seating.
“I would be inclined just to ride him conservatively again and see if he can finish off.
“His best two runs will be Cox Plate and the Mackinnon and we have made sure that we have plenty of gas.”
Contributer is currently available at 2015 Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes odds of $8.50 with Ladbrokes and he is on the fifth line of betting behind Kermadec ($3), Fawkner ($4.20), Pornichet ($6) and Criterion ($6.50).
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