Trainer John O’Shea has booked leading Hong Kong jockey Douglas Whyte to partner Shelford in the Group 1 $3.5m AAMI Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on April 7.
O’Shea is confident that Shelford will scrape into the Slipper field even though he is currently thirty-two in the order of entry with only $50,000 in prize money from a second and a third from two starts.
The Redoubte’s Choice colt pushed Gai Waterhouse’s Slipper fancy Raceway when a nose second in the Listed $100,000 Sharp Canonbury Stakes (1100m) at Warwick Farm on February 18 then finished third to Slipper second favourite Pierro in the Group 2 $300,000 Spotless Todman Slipper Trial (1200m) at Rosehill last Saturday.
Whyte has a phenomenal record in Hong Kong with eleven premierships plus the record for most career wins in Hong Kong with 1395 victories.
The South African born jockey is currently setting a hot pace with seventy-nine wins so far this season and will be having his first ride in Sydney if Shelford takes his place in the Slipper.
O’Shea and Shelford’s connections came up with Whyte while searching for a suitable jockey and are happy to bring him out here to give their colt the best possible chance of winning the rich two year old race.
“We did a list of jockeys that were available and he came out on top,” O’Shea said.
“There’s a bit of water to go under the bridge but he’s been consulted and he showed he’s very enthusiastic about it all.”
“We are not flying him all the way down here for a day out at the races. We’re flying him down here to be competitive.”
O’Shea will have to wait until early next week to see if Shelford gains a start but will have a pretty good idea after Saturday’s final qualifying races at Rosehill.
“We have him pretty close to getting a run but we’ll see what happens on the weekend and go from there,” O’Shea said.
The Randwick trainer is hoping his good luck will continue after taking out the Group 1 $400,000 Power Tracker William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley last Friday night with his smart three year old Foxwedge and could possibly have three Slipper runners.
His More Than Ready colt Ashokan is guaranteed a start after winning the Group 3 $125,000 Hyland Race Colours Skyline Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on March 17 and Faustus who has a win and a second from three starts and $98,000 in prize money.
Top New Zealand jockey James McDonald will take over from Jim Cassidy on Ashokan in the Slipper while Cassidy will stick with Faustus.