Trainer John O’Shea is confident that Kingdoms can be competitive when he steps up to weight-for-age level in the Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Kingdoms made his debut as a four-year-old when he finished tenth behind Prince Cheri in the Ranvet Handicap (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on August 31 but O’Shea said he was happy with how the son of High Chaparral performed in his first start since being gelded following his 2013 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival campaign.
“I was happy with him the other day,” O’Shea told AAP.
“I thought he would have won if he’d gotten a bit of luck.”
Kingdoms raced fairly without winning in the autumn, finishing fourth in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m), third in the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) and third in the Group 3 Frank Packer (2000m), and O’Shea believes that the Metropolitan Handicap hopeful will handle the step back up to Group 2 level in the Hill Stakes this weekend.
“I know he’s coming from a handicap to weight-for-age but it’s not a big deal,” O’Shea said.
“He was running around at level weights as a three-year old.
“He was stakes placed behind It’s A Dundeel and doing a bunch of things wrong.”
Kingdoms was generally a fiery customer as a three-year-old and was difficult to manage both on race day and during trackwork.
O’Shea tried a number of different gear changes to try and get the colt to settle but in the end it was the ‘ultimate gear change’ when the horse was gelded that has made the biggest difference to his performance and attitude.
“It’s made a difference to my staff,” O’Shea said.
They don’t have to wear a full face helmet every time they walk into the box.
“He used to rear up a bit, try and bite you and carry on.
“He’s a lot better to handle and the operation has also made a difference to his attitude to racing.”
Kingdoms has been included in the nominations for the Caulfield Cup (2400m), Cox Plate (2040m) and Melbourne Cup (3200m) but his initial 2013 Spring Racing Carnival target will be the Group 1 Metropolitan Handicap (2400m) at Royal Randwick on October 5.