Undefeated mare White Sage will jump from barrier 18 when she steps up in class to contest the Listed Festival Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday but trainer John O’Shea believes that the four-year-old is good enough to overcome the poor draw.
White Sage has recorded four wins from four starts since making her debut at Kembla Grange in May and earned herself a shot at Listed level by winning in dominant fashion at Rosehill Gardens on November 2 and November 16.
O’Shea told RSN that he has been very happy with the start that White Sage has made to her racing career and is excited to see how she goes against a strong field in the Festival Stakes; with the leading Sydney trainer confident that jockey James McDonald can put the Reset mare in a good position during the run.
“She is a little dynamo and we are very happy with the way that she has gone so far,” O’Shea said.
“To be fair, it is a straight run for two and a half furlongs to the first turn and she has good gate speed that will put her into the race and hopefully James can work a bit of magic early.
“There is pretty much nowhere else for her to go now; it is just open company or the Listed grade.
The Festival Stakes is the first major test for White Sage but O’Shea is full of confidence that the classy mare is good enough to win at the highest level of racing and has named the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens as her ultimate 2014 Autumn Racing Carnival goal.
White Sage will be stepping up to 1500 metres for the first time this weekend and O’Shea is hopeful that the lightly-raced grey will be ever stronger over more ground.
“We are really happy that she gets the opportunity to do so over 1500 metres at Rosehill, which is where her ultimate goal will lie during the autumn,” O’Shea said.
“I would be disappointed if she couldn’t measure up at Group 1 level, even if it is a Group 1 handicap.
“If she gets a little bit further she might become more effective, which would be good.
“There are horses that I have had previously that have gone on to win Group 1s that meet a similar profile, they are very effective early in their careers and win by big margins, and she has all of those credentials.”
O’Shea confirmed that White Sage will spend a couple of weeks in the spelling paddock after running on Saturday before beginning preparations for the Coolmore Classic and potentially the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1500m).
White Sage is on the second line of 2013 Festival Stakes betting markets at odds of $3.70; with Joseph Pride-trained Terravista, who is aiming for his fourth straight win, the favourite at a quote of $3.30.