Godolphin-owned Shards made a winning start to his 2015 Spring Racing Carnival with a smart performance in the 2015 Up And Coming Stakes at Royal Randwick this afternoon.
Shards was settled just behind the leaders by jockey James McDonald in the early stages of the race after being slightly slow out of the gates, while stablemate Inner Circle got fired up and made sure that race was run at a very quick tempo.
Voilier looked the likely winner at the top of the straight and Shards took a while to pick-up when he was asked for an extra effort, but he exploded at the 150 metre mark and he finished over the top of his rival to record an impressive 2015 Up And Coming Stakes victory.
Trainer John O’Shea has always had a big opinion of Shards and he believes that the Up And Coming Stakes winner will be an even better horse when he gets the opportunity over more ground during his 2015 Spring Racing Carnival campaign.
“He did a few things wrong, he missed the kick and was a bit fresh, but we have a wonderful bunch of horses by this stallion Medaglia D’Oro and this is another nice horse.
“They will train on and they will get a little bit further.
“He had a fair bit of residual fitness, but as you saw in the enclosure he still had some improvement and he was still a little bit ring rusty having only had the one trial.
“He will improve dramatically and as the races get longer up to a mile.”
McDonald gave Shards an ideal run in transit in the 2015 Up And Coming Stakes, but he admitted after the race that he thought the three-year-old was in trouble when he left a bit flat-footed by Voilier at the 300 metre mark.
“It was nice spot and he did the rest for me,” McDonald said.
“I thought that I was in a little bit of trouble 300 from home, but as soon as he heard horses come to his outside he was better.”
O’Shea is yet to decide on the exact path that Shards will follow during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival, but the talented colt has been included in the nominations for both the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on September 12 and the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 10.
Sebring Sun started the 2015 Up And Coming Stakes as a clear favourite following his victory in The Rosebud, but he missed the start and could only make up good ground late to finish third in a credible performance.