O’Shea banking on drying weather for Hollindale Stakes chances

By: Mark Mazzaglia
May 5th, 2016

Godolphin’s trainer John O’Shea is banking on drying weather over the next couple of days to help the chances Huaraki and Old North in the Group 2 $358,000 All-New Jaguar F-Pace A.D. Hollindale Stakes (1800m) at the Gold Coast on Saturday.

Three year old Old North needs a dry track to produce his best in the A.D. Hollindale Stakes at the Gold Coast. Photo by Steve Hart.

Three year old Old North needs a dry track to produce his best in the A.D. Hollindale Stakes at the Gold Coast. Photo by Steve Hart.

Hauraki has been supported early in betting at Ladbrokes.com.au and has firmed in from $3.50 to be the $3.10 favourite for the A.D. Hollindale Stakes just ahead of his stalemate Old North at $5.50.

The Gold Coast track was rated a soft 7 on Thursday afternoon and both Hauraki and Old North have proved in the past their dislike for rain affected tracks, but with sunny skies forecast in the lead up to the weekend, the track could get an upgrade.

“The curator (Steve Andrews) has given us an indication it will get to a (Good) four. It’s not a shifty surface, so I think that will be OK,” O’Shea told The Courier-Mail.

“The three-year-old (Old North) is very good but he needs firm ground.”

“He’s not as good when he’s getting his toe in the ground. He’s got a really good turn of foot on firm ground.”

“He just found one a bit better last time out, but still ran very well.”

“Since then he’s shown that he took no harm from the run and has pleased us at home, so he’ll get his chance with the nice weight pull he receives as a three-year-old against older horses.”

Old North was a winner on a good 3 track two starts back in the Group 2 $175,000 Tulloch Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on March 26 and then ran second to He’s Our Rokkii on a soft 5 in the Group 3 $150,000 Frank Packer Plate (2000m) at Randwick on April 16.

And O’Shea is willing to forget Hauraki’s last start effort on a soft 5 track when seven and a quarter lengths seventh to Lucia Valentina in the Group 1 $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on day two of ‘The Championships’ on April 9.

“Hauraki’s rider reported that he didn’t appreciate the wet track at all in the Queen Elizabeth, so I’m prepared to overlook that run,” O’Shea said.

“He’s drawn better on Saturday and he should get the chance to be ridden how he likes it.”

James McDonald has stuck with Hauraki who has drawn barrier two in the fourteen horse field while Tim Clark takes over from McDonald on Old North who has drawn the rails.

O’Shea will also saddle up It’s Somewhat in the A.D. Hollindale Stakes and the English import has recorded a win on a rain affected track in the Group 3 $150,000 Liverpool City Cup (1300m) at Warwick Farm in February, 2015.

O’Shea is also looking for an improved performance from It’s Somewhat after he raced on the pace before fading to finish sixth in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

“The way it turned out, he had to work hard for a long way and it told on him at the end,” O’Shea said.

“He’ll come here nice and fresh for the 1800 metres and he’s capable of running a good race.”

At his two previous starts, It’s Somewhat was able to put two wins together with victories in the Group 2 $175,000 Ajax Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on March 12 and in the Group 3 $150,000 The Daily Telegraph Neville Sellwood Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill a fortnight later.

It’s Somewhat is listed as a $12 chance and will jump from gate eight with Damian Browne in the saddle.

A.D. Hollindale Stakes market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $3.10 Hauraki, $5.50 Old North, $8.50 Sir Moments, $9 Spiritjim, $9.50 Excess Knowledge, $11 Sakhee’s Soldier, $12 It’s Somewhat, $16 Volkstok’N’Barrell, $21 Kool Kompany, Sir John Hawkwood, $26 Strawberry Boy, $34 Puccini, Leebaz, $41 Honey Toast.

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