Contributer will return to racing in the 2015 Apollo Stakes at Royal Randwick tomorrow and trainer John O’Shea is confident that the imported galloper is forward enough to run well in the Group 2 event.
Contributer was sent to the spelling paddock after he was beaten as favourite in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on November 8, but he looks to have returned in outstanding condition ahead of his 2015 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival campaign after performing strongly in two barrier trials.
The High Chaparral entire was kept under a tight hold in his first barrier trial over 1050 metres at Royal Randwick on January 15, but he was still able to work home strongly before he recorded an impressive victory in a barrier trial over 1000 metres at the same venue on February 2.
O’Shea is already looking ahead to races like the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on February 28 and the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 21, but he told Racing Ahead that he still expects the five-year-old to perform well in the 2015 Apollo Stakes tomorrow.
“His trials have been great and he is forward,” O’Shea said.
“We have him forward enough to run well here on Saturday with the view to hopefully being competitive in either the Chipping Norton and the Ranvet or Australian Cup because they are races that if he is going to step-up to weight-for-age they are nice races for him to be winning.
“He has shown that he has improved having had the preparation and he has settled in really well.”
Contributer was purchased by the Godolphin operation after he took out the Listed Wolferton Handicap (2012m) at Royal Ascot on June 20 and he made his Australian racing debut with a professional victory in the Group 3 David Jones Cup (2000m) at Caulfield on October 18.
O’Shea elected not to set Contributer for the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) and he was dropped back in distance for the Emirates Stakes, but he could finish no better than eighth in the Group 1 event.
Expressway Stakes winner Weary has been backed into favouritism in the 2015 Emirates Stakes betting market with Ladbrokes, while Contributer ($6) is on the second line of betting with Turnbull Stakes winner Lucia Valentina ($6) and the resuming He’s Your Man ($6).