Trainer John O’Shea has revealed that he may elect to keep Contributer in Sydney this autumn and set the imported galloper for a second-up tilt at the 2015 Ranvet Stakes at Rosehill Gardens on March 21.
O’Shea said at the end of last year that the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 14 would likely be the early autumn target for Contributer, but he told Sky Racing HQ this morning that he was worried about running the High Chaparral entire on the firm tracks in Melbourne and is now planning on setting the five-year-old for the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on February 28 and the Ranvet Stakes.
“We will probably boot him off somewhere around the Chipping Norton Stakes,” O’Shea said.
“I had envisioned taking him to Melbourne straight away for the Carlyon, but the tracks are very firm down there and it is probably too firm for how he likes it, especially with the policy they have down there.
“They are happy to start them at a Good Three in the middle of summer and by time you get to four o’clock for the feature race they are running down the Hume Highway.
“He will run a mile and a quarter.”
Contributer contested the third barrier trial of the morning over 1050 metres at Royal Randwick this morning and he hit the line strongly despite being kept under a heavy hold to finish fifth behind stablemate Farolitos.
O’Shea said that he was satisfied with the barrier trial performance of Contributer and is more than happy with the physical condition of the talented import heading into the 2015 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
“We were happy with him and James was happy with him,” O’Shea said.
“He is big and burly, but being a stallion we have tried to keep him relatively up to the mark without doing too much work.
“We are happy with where he is at and he has made dramatic improvement in the past fortnight.”
Contributer started his racing career under the care of Ed Dunlop in the United Kingdom and he was purchased by Godolphin and sent to Australia after taking out the Listed Wolferton Handicap (2011m) during the 2014 Royal Ascot Meeting.
He made his Australian racing debut with an impressive win in the Group 3 David Jones Cup (2000m) at Caulfield on October 18 and he started the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on November 8 as favourite, but could finish no better than eighth.