AJC Derby winner Shoot Out’s affinity with the Randwick track has swayed leading jockey Hugh Bowman to take the ride in the Group 1 $350,000 George Main Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Sydney premiership trainer Chris Waller has nominated four runners for the George Main Stakes with Bowman elected to ride Shoot Out over last start winner Danleigh who was a winner for the top jockey in the Group 2 $175,000 Tattersalls Club Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on Saturday 8.
Waller’s other George Main entries are stable warhorse Rangirangdoo and English import Class Is Class who ran a respectable race at his first Australian start when seventh to Tagus in the Group 3 $125,000 Tattersalls Club Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Warwick Farm on September 8.
Bowman has been aboard Danleigh at his two runs back this campaign but will hand the reins over to Jim Cassidy who has been placed twice on the nine year old.
From three rides on Danleigh, Cassidy ran into third behind Rain Affair in the Group 2 $250,000 Hako Australia Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on February 25 then was beaten 2 lengths by stablemate Shoot Out in the Group 1 $350,000 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on March 10.
Shoot Out’s excellent Randwick form was enough to convince Bowman to swap from Danleigh and hopefully he has made the right choice heading into the Group 1 $500,000 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick on October 6.
“It wasn’t an easy decision to make but the race being at Randwick swayed me,” Bowman said.
“Even though he is first-up, I think he is a better horse and his record at Randwick is exceptional.”
“If it was Rosehill or Warwick Farm it might have been a different story but I think Danleigh struggles to run a strong mile at Randwick, it is much tougher than the 1500m at Rosehill or going around at Warwick Farm.”
As a three year old, Shoot Out’s three wins at Randwick included the two at Group 1 level, the $350,000 Turnpoint Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) and the $1.3m David Jones AJC Australian Derby (2400m).
And in the Autumn Shout Out was beaten less than a length when second to More Joyous in the Group 1 $2m BMW Doncaster Mile (1600m) with Bowman aboard.
Bowman is expecting a forward showing from Shoot Out after partnering him in two barrier trials for his Spring return.
“I haven’t ridden him in any work but I was really impressed with his last trial, he is a top-class animal,” Bowman said.
Waller will wait until after Saturday’s George Main before committing Shoot Out to an Epsom Handicap start and said he could change plans if the Epsom favourite shows that he is looking for more ground.
“There are a few options with him at this stage, we could continue towards the Epsom or if he shows that he is looking for further, the Craven Plate is an option,” Waller said.
“I’m not ruling the Epsom out but it isn’t locked in either, Saturday will tell us more.”
Shoot Out is currently at the head of the Epsom Handicap markets at $8, just ahead of last year’s winner Secret Admirer at $9 with Nash Rawiller’s George Main mount Rangirangdoo at $15 for the Randwick feature ‘Mile’.