The back in-form Sidetstep won’t run in the Group 1 $400,000 Bundaberg Distilling Co. BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben on Saturday and will be prepared for the Spring after succumbing to a leg injury.
Sidestep is an untimely casualty of the Brisbane Winter Carnival and is a blow for trainer John O’Shea who was looking for an early Group 1 winner to kick start his new appointment as head trainer for Darley after taking over the reins on Sunday morning.
O’Shea took over from Peter Snowden who had Sidestep primed for a Group 1 assault after producing the Exceed And Excel colt for two wins at his last two starts.
After showing tremendous ability during his two year old season which included a second to Overreach in the 2013 Group 1 $3.5m Tooheys New Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill, Sidestep struggled to find his best form in the Spring.
But Snowden finally found the secret with the colt winning back to back victories at his last two start including an impressive last start win in the Group 2 $500,000 Arrowfield Royal Sovereign Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 19 when Kerrin McEvoy had to weave a passage late in the straight after being held up at a crucial stage.
Racing Queensland confirmed that O’Shea had informed them that Sidestep won’t take any part in the Winter Carnival with the following tweet, “Trainer John O’Shea told Racing QLD Stewards that SIDESTEP has been sent for a spell and will not be taking part in Queensland Winter Carnival.”
O’Shea will still have a Group 1 runner on the weekend and has accepted with Sessions in the Group 1 $500,000 The Tapestry Wines Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville on Saturday.
Sessions is coming off a hard run on a heavy track when tenth to Lankan Rupee in the Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 12 and will also have to overcome a wide barrier draw after coming up with gate sixteen in the capacity field of twenty plus two emergencies.
While it would be great to secure an early Group 1 for Darley, O’Shea won’t be perturbed if he has to wait a little longer for a win at the top the level.
“I don’t think I’m going to be judged by my first week, I will be judged over a long period of time,’’ O’Shea told The Daily Telegraph.
“If we were to win a Group 1, that’s great, but I won’t be judged on this week.’’
While Sessions has been unplaced at three runs in the Autumn, O’Shea is expecting the four year old to be ready to produce his best.
“He’s probably taken a few runs to come right. I’ve kept an eye on him from afar and I thought his run the other day topped him off,” O’Shea said.
“He hasn’t had any luck in the preparation in that he’s drawn wide barriers and struck wet tracks. I don’t think there’s been anything wrong with the way he’s been going and I think that was evidenced by the way he went last Friday morning.”
“He worked really well.”
Top Melbourne jockey Stephen Arnold has picked up the ride on Sessions who is marked as a $10 chance for the Goodwood with Ladbrokes.com.au.
The Gai Waterhouse trained Driefontein is the new favourite at $6.50 after coming up with barrier three with Sistine Demon easing to $7 when handed the horror twenty gate.
Miracles Of Life (gate 2) and last year’s Goodwood winner Platelet (gate 17) share the next line of betting at $7.50 while last start Group 3 D C McKay Stakes winner Essay Raider is marked as an $11 chance.