John O’Shea is one of a handful of trainers who were sweating on withdrawals to be assured of a spot in the Queensland Derby but with Echoes Of Heaven pulling out yesterday his horse Leading is now safely in the field.
He’s confirmed that Leading will be a starter in the Derby and despite it being riddled with talent, he’s quite confident he’ll be very competitive.
Leading was very disappointing in the Grand Prix Stakes last weekend though, he floundered in 13th more than four lengths away from the winner.
Despite this O’Shea is expecting to see a different horse at Eagle Farm.
“I was pretty happy with his effort the other day, he relaxed probably a bit too much,” he said.
“We’re confident he’ll run a mile and a half, I think we’ve been able to secure Glen Boss so there’s a few positives there.”
He takes a lot out of the fact Leading finished alongside Peck in the Grand Prix Stakes as he’s considered a Derby favourite.
That’s despite the fact that Peck is yet to secure a spot in the field, so O’Shea has spotted an opportunity.
“We finished right beside peck in the run (Grand Prix Stakes) and there’s a genuine consensus that he’s one of the chances (in the Queensland Derby),” he said.
While the Derby is still two weekend’s away O’Shea has a few hopes in action this weekend both in Brisbane and at Rosehill.
Steps In Time will run in the Daybreak Lover in the last race at eagle Farm and while her form is impressive she has a mountain of work to overcome.
It’s a capacity field and from barrier 17 she’ll have to do it the hard way coming right around them all.
“We’ll ride her back from there, the big wide open spaces of Queensland will suit her,” O’Shea said.
“I’m not too worried about where she’s drawn.”
Legsman will run in the hotly contested Winter Cup in Sydney and O’Shea is hoping to see a lot of fight form the horse.
“He’s done really well, his form at a mile and a half is really good,” he said.
It’s a very tough field though and a win would be a huge boost to the career of the five year old gelding.
Staying at Rosehill and in race six O’Shea will also have Viva Lass running over 1300m.
She’s first up since the end of February and the trainer is keen to get as much out of her as he can in a short period of time.
“Her best runs are always early in the trip, she loves a bit of cut in the ground,” he said.
In the final race of the day at Rosehill O’Shea has two runners remaining in Honest Lies and Black Fix.
Both of them have drawn poorly but O’Shea is backing Black Fix to be the biggest threat.
“He’s down on the weight, looks to be genuine speed and late in the day his race pattern seems well suited,” he said.