Jockey James McDonald has declared lightly-raced colt Sarajevo the horse to beat in the 2014 Golden Rose Stakes at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
There were some doubts that Sarajevo would not earn a start in the Golden Rose Stakes due to his position in the order of entry, but with only 15 horses included in the acceptances, the Lonhro colt was guaranteed a start in the Group 1 event.
Sarajevo started his 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with an unlucky fourth in the Listed The Rosebud (1200m) at Royal Randwick on August 9 before he worked home fairly to finish fourth on a wet track in the Group 3 The Run To The Rose (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on August 30.
McDonald admits that Sarajevo is yet to live up to his potential on the track, but he revealed at the 2014 Golden Rose Stakes barrier draw that he was delighted with the condition of the three-year-old heading into the $1 million event this weekend.
“I have obviously had big wraps on the horse since day dot, he is yet to put it together, but I think that he definitely can on Saturday with a good track, if we get that, and a good gate,” McDonald said.
“I feel that he is the horse to beat.
“His work has been up to standard and obviously he hasn’t had a lot of luck with tracks, barriers and luck in running and I think that if he gets the breaks on Saturday whatever beats him beats the race.”
Godolphin Racing Manager Jason Walsh was in charge of selecting the barrier for Sarajevo and he was happy to select barrier eight for the promising colt.
Like McDonald, Walsh has always had a big opinion of Sarajevo and he is confident that the three-year-old can improve on his efforts in The Rosebud and Run To The Rose when he contests the Golden Rose Stakes this weekend.
“He is a horse that has shown a lot of talent for a very long time,” McDonald said.
“As James mentioned he is yet to quiet put that together, but back on top of the ground we are very hopeful that he will be a live competitive chance in this race.”
Sarajevo is currently available at 2014 Golden Rose Stakes odds of $16 with Ladbrokes Australia, with Bring Me The Maid ($4.20) currently favourite from Hallowed Crown ($5.50) and Better Land ($7).