John O’Shea will test Ghibellines against the best three year old company in the Spring with the Group 1 $1m BECK Caulfield Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on October 11 high on the agenda.
O’Shea is still settling in as Darley’s head trainer after taking over the reins from Peter Snowden in May but has a good handle on Ghibellines as he gets ready to prepare for a Spring campaign.
“He looks to have really come on,” O’Shea told Racing Network.
“He is definitely a Caulfield Guineas horse in the stable.”
“He’ll be trained for the best three-year-old races.”
Ghibellines, a half- brother to four times Group 1 winner Guelph, burst into Golden Slipper contention in the Autumn when he scored an upset win at $41 in the Group 2 $300,000 The Other Woman Todman Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on March 22.
The Shamardal colt was then sent out at $17 but was a well beaten eighth to Mossfun and Earthquake in the Group 1 $3.5m Tooheys New Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on April 5.
Ghibellines has earned over $250,000 from one win from five starts and a victory in the Caulfield Guineas would see Darley win the Spring three year old feature back to back after Long John won last year beating Divine Calling from the Gai Waterhouse stable and Shamus Award who went on to win the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley at his next start.
O’Shea has made a memorable start to his new job but said that it would take another year to feel apart of the Darley furniture.
“I don’t feel a part of the furniture yet, put it that way. I think that will be the case for another full year,” O’Shea told The Daily Telegraph.
“I’m getting my head around it all.”
The winners have kept flowing since O’Shea assumed control and he would like that pattern to continue, especially as the the Spring Carnival gets closer.
“If we can keep winning a couple of races a week, that would be nice, and I want to make sure the carnival horses are intact as they head towards their goals for the spring.’’
“The most satisfying thing to date would be the fact we’ve been able to keep chipping away and churning out a couple of winners each week.’’
O’Shea will have another busy week with five runners at Canterbury on Wednesday and one nominated for the Rosehill meeting on Saturday as well as four nominated for the Randwick trials on Friday.
In early Caulfield Guineas market order with Ladbrokes.com.au Ghibellines is marked as a $21 chance with the Waterhouse trained Almalad heading the betting at $8 after winning the Group 1 $500,000 Tatts Group J.J. Atkins (1600m) at Eagle Farm on June 7.
Also prominent in the betting is Melbourne colt Chivalry and Looks Like The Cat from the Tony Gollan stable, both marked at $11 with Ghibellines’ stablemate Meursault and Chris Waller’s Brazen Beau sharing the next line at $12.