Vashka returned to winning form with a tough victory in the 2015 Shannon Stakes at Rosehill Gardens this afternoon, but he is no certainty to contest the 2015 Epsom Handicap at Royal Randwick next weekend.
Vashka was slightly disappointing in both the Group 3 Show County Quality (1200m) at Royal Randwick on August 22 and the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill Gardens on September 12 and he looked like a sitting shot at the 100 metre mark, but he toughed it to win from God’s In Him and Messene.
The Shannon Stakes is normally a key lead-up event to the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m), but Godolphin stable representative Darren Beadman confirmed that the son of Exceed And Excel was unlikely to contest the $1 million despite his impressive performance.
“It is good to see him back because last start he didn’t have any joy at all,” O’Shea said.
“It was a clever ride by Sam, he didn’t let the horse get too competitive early in the first 500, he just slid across nicely and didn’t ride him too pretty when they turned for home.
“I never make a decision on a racecourse and I will talk to John, but there is sure to be something over the Carnival for him.”
Sam Clipperton took out the Group 2 Golden Pendant (1400m) for his old boss Ron Quinton earlier in the day and Vashka’s Shannon Stakes victory gave him a feature race double at Rosehill Gardens this afternoon.
Clipperton said that Vashka enjoyed being able to bowl along on the speed in the early stages of the Shannon Stakes and he was clearly impressed with the toughness the five-year-old showed in the final furlong of the race.
“It has been a good day,” Clipperton said.
“He is very impressive this horse.
“He hasn’t had a chance to race how he likes to race in the sense of bowling along, but today I was able to do that.
“He probably would have been better just leading, but he would have done too much work to get to the lead.
“He settled ok outside the leader and he was there to be beaten in the last furlong, but too his credit he hung on well.
“He performs at this track, so I was very confident about his chances.”
Chris Waller had a strong hand in the Shannon Stakes, but Flamingo Star, Moriarty and Foreteller all missed the placings and were slightly soft in the final stages of the race.