Trainer John O’Shea is hopeful that Sarajevo can end his current losing streak and return to winning form in the 2016 Chester Manifold Stakes at Flemington on Saturday.
Sarajevo recorded just his second race win when he took out the Place Multi Handicap (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on January 31 last year and he has generally performed well in his seven race starts since, but has been unable to return to winning form.
The Lonhro gelding started his summer preparation with a flat tenth place finish in the Listed Caulfield Village Handicap (1200m) on October 14 and he produced improved performances in both the Listed MSS Security Sprint (1200m) at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day and the Western Health Foundation Handicap (1200m) at the same venue on December 12, but he had no luck in running in the Group 3 Standish Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on New Year’s Day.
O’Shea told Racing.com that the inside draw did not suit Sarajevo in the Standish Handicap and he believes that the wide draw gives the four-year-old the opportunity to return to winning form in the Chester Manifold Stakes this weekend.
“He was probably a little bit unlucky,” O’Shea said.
“He is better drawn for him on Saturday in barrier nine.
“He doesn’t like to be cluttered up and if they can win coming down the outside then he will be some chance.
“He is probably a better chance this week then he was in the Standish.”
Sarajevo made his racing debut with an impressive victory in the Mossman At Vinery Maiden (1100m) at Randwick in April of 2014 and he was touted as one of the leading contenders for the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m).
He was well-backed in the lead-up to the Listed The Rosebud (1200m) at Royal Randwick, but he had no luck in running and could finish no better than fourth behind Scissor Kick and he had excuses when he missed the placings in both the Group 3 Run To The Rose (1200m) and the Golden Rose.
Sarajevo has been able to recapture that sort of form as an older horse and he scored his only placing at black-type level when he finished second behind Kuro in the Listed Mick Dittman Plate (1200m) at Doomben on May 9 last year.
Sarajevo is currently available at 2016 Chester Manifold Stakes odds of $3.70 with Ladbrokes and he is currently a narrow favourite from Zupacharged ($4), Tried And Tired ($5), Noela’s Choice ($6.50) and Dances On Stars ($6.50).