Trainer John O’Shea is looking to get a better guide heading towards the Golden Slipper when his two year olds Shelford and Ashokan line up in the Group 3 $125,000 Skyline Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Both youngsters have had one start for a second each and O’Shea is looking for improved performances and prizemoney to gain entry in the Group 1 $3.5m AAMI Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on April 7.
“We’ll keep heading towards the Golden Slipper irrespective of winning or losing on Saturday,” O’Shea said.
Shelford will be trying to turn the tables on the Gai Waterhouse trained Raceway who had to dig deep to get past the Redoute’s Choice colt to score a narrow win in the Listed $100,000 Sharp Canonbury Stakes (1100m) at Warwick Farm on February 18.
Raceway has always been at the top of betting for the Slipper and is currently $8 behind ruling favourite Samaready at $4.60 with Shelford well done the list at $26.
But a victory on Saturday will secure Shelford a place in the Golden Slipper and give O’Shea more options leading up to Easter.
Stablemate Ashokan is in the same situation and O’Shea has added the blinkers to the More Than Ready two year old in a bid to get him to focus better after going under by less than a length at his first race start in The Juniors 2yo Handicap (1200m) at Rosehill on February 25.
“He was a bit green that day so he’ll race in blinkers on Saturday,” O’Shea said.
“To get into the race last year it was a bit less money and maybe it’s the same this year,” he said.
Nash Rawiller takes over the mount on Shelford from Blake Shinn and Jim Cassidy who has been riding plenty of winners for O’Shea retains the ride on Ashokan.
O’Shea also has Black Opal runner up Faustus heading towards the Golden Slipper and his next outing will be in the Group 2 $300,000 Todman Slipper Trial (1200m) at Rosehill on March 24.