Sydney trainer John O’Shea’s future is riding on his promising sprinter Foxwedge in the Group 1 $1m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on Saturday.
O’Shea has been ordered by the New South Wales Court Of Appeal to pay $500,000 in damages and court costs for action taken by owner Humberto Vieira over a dispute involving his racehorse Dashere.
A win in the Newmarket by Foxwedge would be the boost that O’Shea needs both financially and mentally as this dispute has been dragging out for several years over a problem relating to a cyst on Dashere’s stifle area.
“I’m assessing my future and whether I continue in the industry,” O’Shea said. ”I have been struggling with this for the past four years and all my fight is just about gone.
”It has major ramifications for the industry and trainers or agents that buy yearlings and then sell them to clients.”
Foxwedge is coming up against a crackerjack Newmarket field that O’Shea describes as the best he has ever seen and a win here would greatly increase the stud value of the three year old to possibly more than $5m.
A trip to England also would depend on Saturday’s result but if Foxwedge was able to win at Royal Ascot in June his stud value would increase by three to four times that amount.
The Fastnet Rock three year old will find it tough going coming up against the second best sprinter in the country, Hay List, but does have the advantage of 8.5kg pull in the weights.
But Hay List is not the only one to beat with the Newmarket loaded with top class sprinters including Oakleigh Plate winner Woorim, Sydney sensation Rain Affair along with Group 1 winners Albert The Fat, Toorak Toff and Beaded.
“Hay List is the second-best sprinter in the world and a multiple Group 1 winner and Foxwedge hasn’t won a Group 1,” he said.
“It’s a tough, tough race – the best Newmarket I’ve ever seen.”
O’Shea is hoping his turn for Group 1 glory is not far away after his filly Elite Falls was nosed out by Woorim in the Group 1 $400,000 Sportingbet Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield two weeks ago.
“I’ll snaffle any prize I can, but if push came to shove I think I’d rather win a Group 1 with a three-year-old colt than filly, so I’ll take this week,” he said.
Foxwedge has been performing well at the top level and returned from a spell to finished fourth behind Black Caviar and Hay List in the Group 1 $750,000 Coolmore Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on February 18.
Big race jockey Craig Williams has taken over from Nash Rawiller on Foxwedge who has drawn seventeen in a field of twenty-three in the Newmarket.
Topweight Hay List has drawn close by in fifteen for the 1200m scamper down the Flemington straight.
The Joe Pride sprinter Rain Affair, who will be having his first look at Flemington, has drawn the inside with Woorim drawing along side of him at two.