Soon to be Godolphin trainer John O’Shea will have several candidates for the Group 1 $1m Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on September 13, but Blue Diamond winner Earthquake is likely to miss out.
While this season’s juvenile star Earthquake hasn’t been completely ruled out of the first Group 1 of the Sydney Spring Carnival, O’Shea is leaning towards starting one or more of three colts Ghibellines, Sarajevo and Meursault in the Golden Rose Stakes.
“(The Golden Rose) is an option for us but the reality is that if one of the colts is going well she won’t run in it and we do have three nice colts set for the race,” O’Shea told Racing Network.
At the moment Ghibellines is the pick of the three colts and on what he has shown to date O’Shea can see the son of Shamardal stretching past 1400m as a three year old.
“Ghibellines to me, he looks to have strengthened, he’s grown quite a bit. He was a good Todman Stakes winner (and) that race traditionally is a great form race going forward,” O’Shea said.
He seems to be a horse that would appreciate a little further, maybe even further than the 1400m of the Golden Rose.”
Ghibellines burst onto the scene during the Sydney Autumn Carnival with a last to first win at huge odds when he beat Unencumbered and Cornrow in the Group 2 $300,000 The Other Woman Todman Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill.
That win was enough to earn him a start in the Group 1 $3.5m Tooheys New Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on April 5 but Ghibellines was unable to produce the same overpowering finish that saw him win the Todman Stakes a fortnight earlier and wound up in eighth place behind Mossfun and stablemate Earthquake.
O’Shea also expects vast improvement from Sarajevo and Meursault in their three year old season and said that even though they had only raced once for a win each, they were impressive on the day.
“Meursault and Sarajevo only had the one run but they were both very impressive,” O’Shea said.
O’Shea hasn’t mapped out a solid Spring program for Earthquake but can see a plan come together as the Carnival gets closer.
“I’m still learning about her. Kerrin (McEvoy) continues to tell me she has never been an in-your-face filly at home and that would describe her adequately,” O’Shea said.
“She goes about her business quite relaxed. She seems to be a happy filly, which is pretty much what we are all about at the moment.
“We’ll probably get her to the trials in a couple of weeks and see what happens after that.”
But O’Shea said that it was very unlikely that Earthquake would follow the same path as her stablemate Guelph did last year and won’t run in both the Group 1 $400,000 Flight Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on October 4 and the Group 1 $500,000 Schweppes Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield the following week.
The Flight Stakes and the Thousand Guineas are only run a week apart this year after the Caulfield Group 1 for the fillies was moved forward from the Wednesday to the preceding Saturday and will now be run on the same day as the Group 1 $1m BECK Caulfield Guineas (1600m).