Meursault has flown under the radar heading into the 2015 Hobartville Stakes, but trainer John O’Shea believes that the lightly-raced colt is ready to run a big race in the Group 2 event at Rosehill Gardens tomorrow.
Meursault was restricted to just one race start during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival, but he returned to racing in January and is will have a clear fitness edge over the majority of his rivals after running well in the Drummond Golf Handicap (1150m) at Royal Randwick on January 10, the Hyland Race Colours Handicap (1400m) at the same venue on January 24 before he won the Café Culture Handicap (1250m) at Canterbury on February 6.
O’Shea expects jockey Jim Cassidy to press forward on Meursault in the early stages of the 2015 Hobartville Stakes and he feels that the Medaglia D’Oro colt could prove difficult to run down.
“I think that Meursault has a little bit of a fitness edge on some of his rivals,” O’Shea told Racing Ahead.
“When he had a crack at them in the spring he wasn’t far off them and he had a bit of adversity in the run and he didn’t finish too far from Scissor Kick.
“I thought on Saturday that there doesn’t look to be an abundance of speed and his advantage will be that he should be able to dictate the race.
“I give him a good chance to run a cheeky race.”
Meursault will be joined in the 2015 Hobartville Stakes field by stablemate Sweynesse, who will be having his first race start since he finished a fast-finishing eighth in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley in October.
O’Shea said that he is thrilled with the physical condition of Sweynesse and is expecting him to perform well in the Hobartville Stakes as he builds towards the Group 1 Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) on March 7.
“Sweynesse has made dramatic improvement physically into the autumn and we will put the blinkers on him just to help him focus a little bit,” O’Shea said.
“We are very happy with where he is at and he has a good campaign ahead of him.
“He will equit himself well on Saturday and he looks to get a good run in the race.”
Sweynesse is currently available at 2015 Hobartville Stakes odds of $8, while Meursault is priced at a quote of $11.