Sydney trainer John O’Shea is ready to match up his smart three year old Foxwedge against Black Caviar in the Group 1 $750,000 Coolmore Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on Saturday.
The fact that rival trainer Peter Moody has changed tact with Black Caviar hasn’t deterred O’Shea from sticking to his original plans and starting his up an coming sprinter down the Flemington straight on the weekend.
“It is what it is and we are getting ready irrespective of what he is or isn’t doing with Black Caviar,” O’Shea said.
Foxwedge is already in Melbourne preparing for the Autumn and O’Shea is heading towards the Group 1 $1m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 10 hoping to collect a Group 1 for his Fastnet Rock colt.
O’Shea was very happy with the way Foxwedge performed in an 800m Flemington jumpout last Friday down the straight in smart time.
“I couldn’t be happier with my bloke,” O’Shea said. “He’s in as good form as I can have him. He’s improved a good bit since last preparation.
“I’m sure he will run very well regardless of who is or who isn’t there.”
O’Shea has had the Melbourne Autumn sprints in mind since Foxwedge ran Peter Snowden’s top class three year old Sepoy to a short head in the Group 1 $500,000 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m)) down the Flemington straight.
Foxwedge arrived in Melbourne last Spring with a win in the Group 2 $175,000 Roman Consul Stakes before showing his liking for the straight Flemington course when a fast finishing second to Sepoy.
“He performed very well down the Flemington straight during the spring,” he said.
“He’s got a very good record without winning a Group One and obviously being a colt, an expensive colt that has a very good pedigree, it’s important to try and win a Group One so that is why we have targeted the Lightning and the Newmarket which are both run down the straight.”
O’Shea hasn’t ruled out a overseas trip with Foxwedge after receiving an official invitation to the Royal Ascot Carnival in June where the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes and the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes look suited.
With Foxwedge already showing his liking for the Flemington straight it would be fair to say that he undulating straight course at Royal Ascot would be to his liking.
Brisbane’s leading trainer Robert Heathcote is resigned to the fact that his Lightning Stakes contender Buffering will be fighting out the placings behind Black Caviar.
But Heathcote is not stepping away from the challenge but admits Buffering will have to for wait another day to pick up his first Group 1.
“I thought Buffering was a great chance of winning the Lightning but it looks like he’ll be running for second and third again,” Heathcote said.