Godolphin Racing Manager Jason Walsh is confident that Sarajevo can live up to the hype when he contests the Listed The Rosebud (1200m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Sarajevo has been very well-backed in The Rosebud betting market and has also been touted as a leading contender for the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1200m) after he impressed with two barrier trial performances at Royal Randwick.
Walsh told Racing Ahead this morning that The Rosebud was a big step-up in class for Sarajevo, after he had his only race start to date in a midweek meeting at Randwick on April 21, but Walsh is confident that the Lonhro colt has the quality to be extremely competitive against the strong field in the Listed event this weekend.
“We are very pleased with him and we think that he is a horse with really nice ability,” Walsh said.
“It is obviously a big step-up in grade from what he has done on a racecourse so far and whilst he was a very good winner, it was an off season Kensington meeting.
“To step into Stakes grade here next start and against some well-performed stakes horses is a good test for him and we think that he is up for it and we are expecting him to run really well.
“He is only very lightly-raced so he has a bit of learning to do, but he has been much more tractable this time and very relaxed.
“We think that he certainly has Group ability and hopefully he can live up to that on the weekend.”
Sarajevo is set to run in both the Group 3 The Run To Rose (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on August 30 and the Golden Rose at the same venue a fortnight later, but Godolphin are yet to decide on a Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival target for the talented colt.
Walsh said that trainer John O’Shea is unsure whether Sarajevo can run out a strong mile, but at this stage is not ruling out a tilt at either the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 11 or the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on November 1.
“He is very brilliant, so probably John’s view is at this stage is that seven furlongs would be up to the limit,” Walsh said.
“On breeding I wouldn’t rule out a Caulfield Guineas at this stage.
“If he progresses at this stage into the Golden Rose, we will obviously access him at the stage and that would determine whether we press on to the Guineas or if we though he was just stretched at the seven, we would probably come back for a Coolmore.”
Sarajevo ($2.70) is a narrow favourite in the 2014 The Rosebud betting market from Nayeli ($3.10), Better Land ($7) and Inkling ($7).