Godolphin’s number one rider James McDonald will stick with millionaire three year old Exosphere in the Group 1 $750,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington on Saturday.
The John O’Shea trained Exosphere will be having his first run back after finishing fourth to Japonisme in the Group 1 $500,000 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on October 31.
McDonald had originally thought he would ride in at the Hobartville Stakes Race Day Rosehill on Saturday, but he has had second thoughts and will travel to Melbourne for Flemington’s Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Day.
Top Melbourne jockey Craig Williams had been tentatively booked to ride Exosphere this week, but will now miss out on the plum ride on the winner of 2015 Group 1 $1m De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill last September.
“Initially Craig was going to ride him and James was going to stay home here, because Astern’s having his first run this prep,” O’Shea told racing.com.
“James was going to stay and ride him, but he wants to ride the big horse, so that’s no problem.
“He seems to think he’s going a bit better (this time in), but we’ll see on raceday.”
O’Shea’s Golden Slipper Stakes hopeful Astern was the reason McDonald had originally decided to stay in Sydney but Hugh Bowman will now ride the Medalglia d’Oro colt in the Group 2 $250,000 Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill.
Williams was quick to pick up another ride in the Black Caviar Lightning and will partner the Chris Waller trained Delectation who McDonald won on in the Group 1 $1m Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival last year.
After winning the Golden Rose Stakes, Exosphere went on to record an effortless three and a quarter lengths win in the Group 2 $300,000 Canterbury BMW Roman Consul Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on October 3.
The Lonhro colt was then sent out as the odds on favourite for the Coolmore Stud Stakes but struggled to stay in touch with the leaders down the Flemington straight and was a well beaten four and a quarter lengths fourth.