Exosphere will return to the races in the 2016 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes and trainer John O’Shea believes that the Group 1 event at Flemington on February 20 will be a defining moment in the career of the star three-year-old.
Exosphere stamped himself as one of the most exciting horses in Australia when he took out the Group 2 Run To The Rose (1200m), Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) and Group 2 Roman Consul Stakes (1200m), but he failed to fire when he made his debut down the famous Flemington straight and could finish no better than fourth in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m).
O’Shea remains hopeful that Exosphere will have no issue handling the straight in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m), but he admits that he will be forced to change his plans with the Lonhro colt if he fails to fire in his return to the races.
“He will go down and run in the Lightning and we will just see after that,” O’Shea said.
“It is all relevant to how he performs down the straight as to whether we think that he is effective in that domain or whether he just needs to come back and poke around at Randwick.
“It will be a very interesting day out and a defining moment for him.
“I don’t think you can convict him on Coolmore Stakes Day.
“I would be disappointed if he didn’t gallop up straight because he is a big brute of a fellow and he runs a strong six and even runs seven, but stranger things have happened.
“He is the horse that has put the big performance up at Group 1 level and on his day he is a sensational race horse.”
Exosphere showed no problems running out a strong 1400 metres when he pasted a quality field to take out the Golden Rose Stakes, but O’Shea still believes that 1200 metres will be the ideal trip for the Group 1 winner during his autumn campaign.
“You would have to say that his best performance was over 1200 metres at Randwick when he won the Roman Consul,” O’Shea said.
“He put up a big performance that day and he was devastating, but when he won the Golden Rose he put them to the sword pretty quickly as well.”
Exosphere is currently available at 2016 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes odds of $3.20 with Ladbrokes and he is on the second line of betting behind Chautauqua ($3).