Trainer John O’Shea believes that Earthquake will be caught wide in the early stages of the 2015 Oakleigh Plate, but remains hopeful that the talented filly is good enough to win the Group 1 event at Caulfield tomorrow.
Earthquake was allocated barrier 11 when the 2015 Oakleigh Plate field and barrier draw was released early in the week and O’Shea told Racing Ahead that the abundance of on-pace horses drawn inside the daughter of Exceed And Excel means that jockey Chad Schofield will have a difficult assignment in the early stages of the race.
“The concern for her is that the speed is drawn relatively soft as opposed to the Blue Diamond and it presents a few issues for Chad,” O’Shea said.
“The best we could expect would to be three deep with cover midfield, but she has won races on that mark previously.
“Probably not to the standard that she is going to meet on Saturday, but she is well enough and she does have the weight concession and hopefully that plays into her hands.”
While O’Shea is concerned about the run that Earthquake will get in the Oakleigh Plate, he has no such worries about the physical condition of the three-year-old heading into the race.
Earthquake has not been seen at the races since she finished a luckless eighth in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day, but has performed strongly in two barrier trials at Cranbourne on January 29 and February 9.
O’Shea feels that Earthquake is going as well as she ever has since he took over as head trainer for Godolphin and he is confident that she has ever chance of defending her unbeaten record at Caulfield in the 2015 Oakleigh Plate.
“She looks to be going well enough,” O’Shea said.
“We have been happy with her all preparation and she rounded it off with some nice trials and she had a sharp piece of work on Tuesday morning.
“She isn’t an overly flashy worker and she never sort of gives her top, but it was just a stretching gallop and indicative that she is fit and well.
“I think that she is up to it.”
Earthquake is currently available at 2015 Oakleigh Plate odds of $5 with Ladbrokes Australia and is a narrow favourite from Vain Queen ($5.50), Atmospherical ($8), Shamal Wind ($9) and A Time For Julia ($9.50).