Elite Falls was surely one of the finds of the Autumn season in Sydney and there are big expectations that she’ll come back even bigger and stronger in the spring.
The John O’Shea trained filly is being geared towards the Group 1 Golden Rose, Sydney’s biggest and most prestigious race of the carnival.
She took a couple of runs to really hit her straps at the start of this year so it will be interesting to see just how well she goes first up in the Silver Shadow Stakes.
She will have plenty of time to find her best though, the Golden Rose isn’t scheduled until Saturday September 10th at Rosehill Gardens.
Elite Falls had an ongoing dual with Satin Shoes this year, Elite Falls running second to her rival on a couple of occasions before turning the tables and getting the better of her at the end.
Their biggest test though was in the Golden Slipper where both horses were blown out of the water by star performer Sepoy.
Elite Falls overcame a bad barrier to recover from last on the home turn to finish third, that performance no doubt giving O’Shea confidence that she can challenge Sepoy with the right conditions.
Another of her rivals will come from her own stable, Foxwedge making his return after another solid run earlier in the year.
He’s already had his first barrier trial winning over 728m last week at Randwick.
Top jockey Nash Rawiller rode Foxwedge for his three starts during the Autumn and is set to continue that association over the spring.
Foxwedge won the Clarry Conners Plate at Warwick Farm before running third in the Group 2 Todman Stakes and then seventh in the Golden Slipper.
He was much more lightly raced than Elite Falls which took to the track seven times as a two-year-old.
She won two of them, the most important being the Group 2 Reisling Stakes at Rosehill shortly before the Golden Slipper.
As mentioned earlier she also had a string of placings including two seconds and a third at Group 1 level.
Elite Falls was pushed on to the Group 1 AJC Sires Produce Stakes as well however it seemed like one race too many, her usual late surge not evident in a steady seventh placed finish.
She is still a little bit off her racing return but O’Shea says she’ll trial in the beginning of August.
“She will probably trial in the next few weeks,” O’Shea said.
“I’ll give her the one trial and she’ll go first-up into the Silver Shadow.”
The Silver Shadow Stakes is rated a Group 3 and will be run at Warwick Farm on August 20.
From there she will move on to the Golden Rose and she will remain in Sydney for the length of the spring carnival.
The Flight Stakes on October the first could give her a chance at becoming a dual Group 1 winner.
“She will go the conventional fillies’ path to the Flight Stakes,” O’Shea said.
Elite Falls had a different jockey nearly every week at the start of her career but Jim Cassidy gave her some stability riding her in her last three starts.
He’s expected to continue that association over the spring as he’s picked her out as one he’s most interested in.
“I’m riding for anyone that wants me; John O’Shea, he has got Elite Falls coming back,” Cassidy said.
Foxwedge is due to return the week before Elite Falls, he’ll run in the Group 3 San Domenico Stakes at Rosehill on August 13th.