Godolphin have both Inner Circle and Shards in the 2015 Up And Coming Stakes field and trainer John O’Shea is happy with both colts heading into the Group 3 event at Royal Randwick tomorrow.
Shards made his racing debut with a third place finish at Canterbury on May 13 and he was only narrowly denied by subsequent J.J. Atkins Stakes winner Press Statement at Rosehill Gardens on May 30 before he earnt himself an opportunity at Group level during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival with a tough win at the same venue on June 13.
O’Shea has had a big opinion of Shards since he made his racing debut and the Godolphin Head Trainer told Racing Ahead that he is confident the Medaglia D’Oro colt will give his rivals something to catch in the 2015 Up And Coming Stakes.
“We have a couple of really nice chances,” O’Shea said.
“Shards has a different form line obviously coming in to this.
“He didn’t run a fortnight ago and he is a beautiful big horse that should be able to dictate the race from in front.
“He might just be a little susceptible late, but if he can get a soft run up front I think that he will give a very good account of himself.”
Inner Circle was competitive the Group 2 Pago Pago Stakes (1200m) and Group 3 The Schweppervescence (1400m) during his autumn campaign, but he was slightly disappointing when he returned to racing with a third place finish behind Let’s Make It Rain and Tatoosh in the McGrath Estate Agents Handicap (1250m) at Canterbury on July 25.
O’Shea believes that Inner Circle had plenty of excuses for his first-up flop and he is adamant that the Street Cry colt will produce a much improved performance with the blinkers on in the Up And Coming Stakes.
“He ran first-up on heavy ground which didn’t suit him and he was probably just a bit short of a run,” O’Shea said.
“We have done plenty of work with him at home, put the blinkers on him and his work has been exceptional subsequent to that run.
“Back on top of the ground is a big issue for him and we are looking for a big improvement tomorrow.
“We expect him to be more than competitive.”
Shards is currently available at 2015 Up And Coming Stakes odds of $5 with Ladbrokes and he is on the second line of betting, while Inner Circle is priced at $9 to record the biggest win of his racing career to date.