Trainer John O’Shea is expecting improvement from Impending when he lines up with the blinkers back on in the Group 1 $500,000 BMW Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Randwick on Saturday.
O’Shea is willing to forget Impending’s first up run when a disappointing sixth of nine as favourite to Le Romain in the Group 3 $150,000 The Chi-X Southern Cross Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on February 13.
O’Shea said that the Lonhro colt has shown tremendous improvement since that run and he can see him figuring the finish with his head gear back on from barrier seven with Hong Kong based jockey with Zac Purton in the saddle .
‘’On face value he did look a bit disappointing the other day. I thought there were plenty of excuses for him,” O’Shea said.
“He was on the worse part of the ground and he doesn’t like being cluttered up and he never had his blinkers on.”
“He gets his blinkers this week, a smaller field and he won’t get cluttered up. Looks good tempo.”
O’Shea won the Canterbury Stakes last year with another three year old Holler but rates Impending better at the same stage of their careers.
“We won this race last year with Holler and I would think that albeit a stronger version of this race, Impending is a much better horse in terms of his form so he would be very adapt in the ground and I thought he has improved dramatically since his last run,” O’Shea said.
Impending had an excellent record as a Spring three year old and after running third to stablemate Astern in the Group 1 $1m De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill went on to win the Group 2 $200,000 Stan Fox Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill before running fourth to Divine Prophet in the Group 1 $1m Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield.
O’Shea will also saddle up Hauraki in the Canterbury Stakes but said that the 2016 Epsom winner will need a couple of runs to reach his peak and has been set for the Group 1 $3m The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick on April 1, day on of ‘The Championships’.
“Won first up last time at seven. Probably 1300m is a little short of his best and he is effective in ground,” O’Shea said.
“He is just going to take a couple of runs to hit his stripes. Going into the Doncaster third up that is when he will really peak.”
Even though O’Shea thinks Haruaki won’t be at his best in the Canterbury Stakes, his price at Ladbrokes.com.au has firmed in from $12 to $10 while Impending has drifted from $9.50 to $11.
The Team Hawkes trained Chautauqua heads the market order at $2.90 ahead of Doomben 10000 winner Music Magnate at $3.80, Le Romain at $5 and former Kiwi three year old Ugo Foscolo at $7.50.