Sydney trainer John O’Shea will launch his Queensland Winter Carnival assault on Saturday when he lines up his two smart fillies Sea Siren and Elite Falls in the Group 1 $400,000 Smirnoff BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben.
O’Shea held back on Sea Siren towards the end of the Sydney Autumn Carnival after the filly showed enormous potential in beating ATC Oaks winner Streama in the Group 2 $175,000 Patinack Farm Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) at Warwick Farm on February 18.
The BTC Cup will be a stepping stone for Sea Siren on her way to the Group 1 $1m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 9 but O’Shea expects the Fastnet Rock filly to be very competitive.
“Obviously she will have a lot of improvement on whatever she does on Saturday,” he said.
“Buffering is an extremely well-performed weight-for-age horse and this is easier than what he has been running in previously.”
“It will be dependent on the tempo, but if she was to get the right barrier and the right run in the race, she will be very competitive.”
Sea Siren will be coming up against top local sprinter Buffering who will start a short price favourite and is already heading the betting at $2.40 with O’Shea’s filly on the third line of betting at $8.
O’Shea sent Sea Siren out for a short break after finishing second to Streama in the Group 2 $175,000 Patinack Farm Surround Stakes (1400m) at Warwick Farm on March 10 with a second Stradbroke Handicap in mind after winning the $1m race in 2003 with his super filly Private Steer.
The Randwick trainer in looking for a return to form with Elite Falls who has disappointed the stable since an outstanding effort first up when second to Woorim in the Group 1 $400,000 Sportingbet Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on February 25.
The More Than Ready filly then ran fifth to Rain Affair in the Group 2 $175,000 Parramatta Leagues Club Challenge Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill on March 31 and then never threatened when eleventh to Temple Of Boom in the Group 1 $350,000 The James Boag Galaxy (1100m) at Randwick on April 21.
“The form out of the Oakleigh Plate, to be fair, has only been moderate,” O’Shea said.
“So she might have been a bit flattered that day if we analyse the form objectively. She will have to improve a bit to be in the finish.”
Elite Falls is way down the list in the BTC Cup market at $21 and O’Shea will analyse her run on Saturday to decide the rest of her Winter Carnival program.
O’Shea’s stable star Foxwedge has recovered from a minor setback which saw him fail to beat a runner home in the Group 1 $1m Darley T J Smith (1200m) at Randwick on April 14 and will leave for England on May 30 to compete at Royal Ascot.
“He will go over very fit and I will turn up the weekend after the Stradbroke to give him a bit of a liven up and then we will let him rip,” O’Shea said.
“I’m not thinking about it a great deal, because a lot of things can go wrong with horses.”