John O’Shea is fresh off training his first black type three year old win of the season with Foxwedge and he can add to that tally very quickly with Elite Falls this weekend.
The filly will contest the Group 3 Silver Shadow Stakes at Warwick Farm, her first run back in the new season.
She boasted an extremely consistent two year old record which included a group victory as well as a third placing in the Group 1 Golden Slipper.
She’s renowned for running home late and has a turn of foot far superior to most of the others in her class.
O’Shea says while her and Foxwedge are very different animals, they are both highly capable of winning big races over the spring.
“She hasn’t had the extensive preparation that Foxwedge has had, she’s been out in the paddock a bit longer,” he said.
With rain forecast around Sydney later in the week O’Shea says the more the better for Elite Falls.
“The prospect for a rain affected track enhances her chances on Saturday,” he said.
“Any rain that we get between now and Saturday will ensure that it’s rain affected (as the track has already soaked in a lot of moisture).”
He says while she’s far from fully wound up, her work in a track gallop this morning was solid.
“We had her in company this morning, her time was very good and very smart,” he said.
Jim Cassidy was the man aboard her this morning but he won’t have the ride this weekend with the O’Shea stables growing partnership with James McDonald coming into play.
“We’ve got a good association with James and are starting to build a good relationship…both horse and rider have a good chance to win a nice race on Saturday,” he said.
While McDonald has become something of a regular in the O’Shea camp, at this stage there’s no indications anything is developing long term.
“We’re happy to utilise James services as they become available at the moment, during the spring he has other commitments to other stables,” he said.
That been said, O’Shea says there’s certainly room for a jockey for his calibre to establish himself in Sydney.
“With Tim Clark to Hong Kong there’ s a definite opening for another rider,” he said
“A wonderful opportunity presents itself in Sydney for him.”
In the immediate future though all he has to worry about is Elite Falls and kicking her spring campaign off to a good start in the Silver Shadow Stakes this weekend.
O’Shea acknowledges she’s still a way off top form but says a combination of the weather and a natural advantage in ability may be enough to get the job done.
“The three year olds she’s coming up against weren’t up in her echelon last year so maybe she doesn’t have to be at her best to win on Saturday,” he said.