A sizzling track gallop by Federal has convinced trainer John O’Shea that the four year old is ready to return to the winner’s stall in the Listed $100,000 FKG Group Spear Chief Handicap (1500m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Federal galloped with Royal Ascot bound Holler last week and O’Shea rated the work better than the Group 1 winner.
“His work when they galloped at Randwick last week was equal to Holler’s, he might even have had the better gallop,” O’Shea said.
Holler led all of the way to win the Group 1 $500,000 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Randwick during the Sydney Autumn Carnival and is off to England to run in the Group 1 £600,000 The Diamond Jubilee Stakes (6 furlongs) at Royal Ascot on June 18.
But Federal has a way to go to match it with Holler on the race track and heads into Saturday’s Listed race on the back of a fourth to Clearly Innocent in the Listed $140,000 Yarraman Park – Horsepower Luskin Star Stakes (1300m) at Scone on May 14.
Federal has drawn midfield at barrier nine in the eighteen horse field with James McDonald in the saddle again and the The Medaglia D’Oro gelding is currently the $4.40 favourite for the Spear Chief Handicap after opening at $5 with Ladbrokes.com.au
His nearest rival at $6 is the Chris Waller trained Religify who was narrowly beaten after leading when second to Snippets Land in the Group 3 $125,000 Darley BRC Sprint (1350m) at Doomben on May 21.
The only other runner under double figures is the top weight Hi World who has firmed in from $12 when the final field was released on Wednesday to be a $9 chance.
Co-trainers Lee and Anthony Freedman have taken the blinkers off Hi World and added a visor and a tongue tie after the four year old ran sixth to Charmed Harmony in a 1400m Handicap at Caulfield on April 30.
Spear Chief Handicap market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4.40 Federal, $6 Religify, $9 Hi World, $10 Dances On Stars, Bachman, $12 Elegant Composure, $13 Electric Power, Feltre, Tan Tat Diamond, $17 Beckham, $18 Glendara, Bewhatyouwannabe, $21 Heart Of Warrior, $26 Aldini, Allknight Saint, $31 Harada Bay, $34 Gotyacovered, $51 Hi Son, $61 Spur Le Jourer, $101 Red Letter Day, Old Habits.