Short priced favourite Contributer is facing the second-up syndrome when he lines up in the Group 1 $500,000 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on Saturday.
Contributer has failed to win at three second-up attempts including an eighth at his second Spring Carnival run behind Hucklebuck in the Group 1 $1m Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on last day of the 2014 Melbourne Cup Carnival.
The English import had previously won at his first start in Australia under the care of trainer John O’Shea when he beat Noble Protector and Signoff in the Group 3 $150,000 David Jones Cup (2000m) at Caulfield on October 18.
Contributer resumed from a spell with a devastating win in the Group 2 $250,000 Optus Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick two weeks ago but O’Shea is mindful of his second-up defeat at Flemington.
“It’s a valid concern,” O’Shea told AAP.
But the bookies have taken notice of his Apollo Stakes win and he is currently the $2.80 favourite with Ladbrokes.com.au.
“The market would have him top pick and he’s probably entitled to be favourite,” O’Shea said.
“But whether he alleviates the concerns mentioned, I can’t say yes or no. All I can say is the preparation has been good.”
O’Shea can’t fault Contributer’s condition since he beat Ninth Legion, Weary and Lucia Valentina with considerable ease in the Apollo Stakes and is facing similar opposition under the same weight for age conditions over a more suitable distance.
“We think he’s at least held his form or improved a little,” O’Shea said.
A win by Contributer in the Chipping Norton Stakes would be the first Group 1 win for O’Shea since he took over the reins last May as the number one trainer for the Australian arm of the giant thoroughbred operation of Godolphin.
Lucia Valentina is the $5 second favourite ahead of Weary at $9, one of eight runners premier trainer Chris Waller will saddle up in the Chipping Norton Stakes.
Next in the market order is the Apollo Stakes runner-up Ninth Legion at $9.50, Silent Achiever at $10, Hartnell at $12 and Boban at $14.