Trainer John O’Shea is one hundred per cent focused on the Sydney Autumn Carnival with his current team before he takes up duties as the head Australian trainer for the huge Darley operation in Sydney and Melbourne.
It was announced this week that O’Shea will take over from Peter Snowden at the completion of the Carnival in May but the Randwick trainer is committed to chase the huge prizemoney on offer with the revamped ‘The Championships’ for his current band of owners.
“Anyone who knows me knows I give 100 per cent, and I’m extremely keen to do well this autumn,” O’Shea told The Daily Telegraph.
“If anything, I’ve now got more to prove because it will be the last time I’ll train in the public forum”.
The owners of Group 2 winner Steps In Time reacted to O’Shea’s appointment at Darley by taking the mare from his stable but prominent owner Max Whitby will let O’Shea continue to train his star three year old Savvy Nature for some big assignments during the Autumn.
“The temptation was there to leave, and I said to John last Friday, ‘I’m thinking of taking the horses off you and moving on’. But John is a good bloke, he’s loyal, honest and hard working, and at the end of the day there’s $20 million to be won during the autumn carnival. I’ll be very surprised if there’s an exodus of owners,” Whitby said.
O’Shea was disappointed to lose Steps In Time, saying that some people react differently in certain situations.
“It’s already happened and if it’s happened once, it could happen again,” O’Shea said.
“There’s a perception there that people need to react for whatever reasons.
“Sometimes you see a coach make an announcement that he’ll leave a club at the end of the season. But look what happened to the Cowboys when Neil Henry did that. They went on to win six in a row and make the preliminary (NRL) finals.
“When someone makes a decision about going somewhere, their mindset is to try and prove themselves, and this scenario is no different.”
O’Shea’s promising three year old Savvy Nature showed in the Spring that he has the potential to mix it with the best by winning the Group 2 $220,000 Mitchelton Wines Vase (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 26.
And even though Savvy Nature failed in the Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington on November 2, O’Shea still has high hopes for the three year old but is yet to map out a definite Autumn Carnival program.
O’Shea has two options for Savvy Nature on the first day of ‘The Championhips’ at Randwick on April 12, the Group 1 $3m The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) if he decides to keep to the shorter distances, or the Group 1 $2m BMW Australian Derby (2400m) if a staying program is followed.
And the Group 1 $4m Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick the following week is also on the agenda.
O’Shea’s other stable star, the undefeated White Sage will be aimed towards the Group 1 $600,000 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill on March 22 and the Group 1 $1m Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on April 19.