The Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 2, the first day of ‘The Championship’ will now the be the main Autumn Carnival target for Exosphere.
The glamour colt from the John O’Shea stable missed a place in the six horse field in the Group 1 $750,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington last Saturday when fourth, one and three quarter lengths behind the winner Chautauqua.
Jockey James McDonald elected to go to the centre of the track and follow the speedy Va Pensiero, but it was clear from the half way mark that he was struggling to stay in touch with the outside division.
Chautauqua, Terravista and Japonisme crosed the line the together with only a short neck between first and third at the end of the scampered down the Flemington straight.
While O’Shea was disappointed that Exosphere failed to figure in the finish, he still had plenty of positive thoughts coming out of the race, but has decided to head back to Sydney for the remainder of the Autumn Carnival and miss the Group 1 $1.25m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 12 .
“It was an outstanding performance under the circumstances and we will continue with his autumn campaign,” O’Shea told Racenet.
“We’ll get him back to Sydney next week and get him ready for the TJ Smith Stakes.”
“He jumped left and then he sort of got following Va Pensiero, who was always going to be the early speed and by the time he looked up and realised the chances had gone to the other side and it was game over”
“I was very proud of the horse, I’d say there was probably a two to four length disparity between the inside and the outside at Flemington yesterday. I don’t think that’s unrealistic.
“I think the horse was great, but I think tactically we come up short. There’s not much else to say.”
O’Shea also thinks the bias nature of the Flemington straight also paid a considerable contribution to Exosphere’s defeat, the outside of the track clearly faster than the inside as was proven later in the day when We’ve Got This skimmed the outside fence to take out the last race of the day, the Hong Kong Jockey Club Trophy.
“We’ll bring him home now and run him on tracks where the bias doesn’t have a major impact on where we finish,” O’Shea said.
“We’re just better off running him where those scenarios don’t eventuate, basically where barriers and other variables that can impact performance or finishing position aren’t evident.”
Exopshere is still well in commission in the betting for the T J Smith Stakes and is the second favourite at $4.40 with Ladbrokes.com.au behind Black Caviar Lightning winner Chautauqua at $3.40.
Early market order for the T J Smith Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $3.40 Chautauqua, $4.40 Exosphere, $9 Terravista, $11 Delectation, Japonisme, $13 English, $15 Bounding, Press Statement, $17 Counterattack, Lucky Hussler, Our Boy Malachi, Petits Filous, Winx, $21 Lumosty.