McDonald to test White Sage in Festival Stakes

Jockey James McDonald has been given the task of testing unbeaten mare White Sage for next year’s Sydney Autumn Carnival when he partners her in the Listed $100,000 Festival Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on Saturday.

White Sage first, daylight 2nd at Rosehill last start.

White Sage first, daylight 2nd at Rosehill last start. Photo by Steve Hart.

White Sage made it four wins from four starts when she won over 1350m in a Benchmark 80 Handicap at Rosehill on November 16 and trainer John O’Shea has no doubts that the Reset mare will make it to the top grade.

O’Shea has selected the Group 1 $600,000 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill on March 22 next year as her major Autumn goal and will get McDonald to test her over the Group 1 distance at Rosehill on Saturday.

“My goal is to aim her at the Coolmore Classic in the autumn so that is why I want her to run over 1500m here,” O’Shea told The Sunday Telegraph after the four year old’s latest win.

“I’ll let ‘Macca” have a burn around on her and we will see how she handles 1500m.

“She is by Reset so you would think she could run a mile (1600m) without too much trouble.”

White Sage was sent out the $1.20 favourite when she made it an one act affair in scoring a three and a half lengths win at Rosehill which followed a similar demolition over 1200m at the same track the start before when she was the $1.50 favourite.

O’Shea is not concerned that White Sage only weighs 430kgs and is the smallest horse in the stable and compares her with Gai Waterhouse’s smart mare Assertive Lass who won the 1997 Coolmore Classic before being runner up in the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick.

“This mare is only 430kg, weanlings are bigger than her,” O’Shea said.

“But it is not the size of the dog in the fight … not when it comes to fillies.

“I looked after Assertive Lass when I worked for Gai and she was a very small filly.

“White Sage’s sire, Reset, was only a little horse but he won all five starts.

“This mare has only had four starts but won them all pretty well. She can’t do any more that what she has done so far.”

White Sage has collected $135,750 in prizemoney for her connections from four wins from four starts.

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.

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