“There was no pressure when I took this job “: John O’Shea. Photo: Brendan Esposito “There was no pressure when I took this job “: John O’Shea. Photo: Brendan Esposito
“There was no pressure when I took this job “: John O’Shea. Photo: Brendan Esposito
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The next week at Flemington seems like almost the perfect opportunity for John O’Shea and Godolphin to get off the mark with their first group 1 winner together in Australia.
Godolphin, of course, has a Caulfield Cup courtesy of All The Good in 2008, and O’Shea has 18 group 1s to his name, but since he became a Godolphin trainer in August, there hasn’t been that many chances at the top level.
O’Shea has totalled six group 1 runners with Sweynesse’s third in the Spring Champion Stakes and Kumaon’s fourth in the Caulfield Guineas the best of the sample.
Once again O’Shea’s blue army are chances, not favourites, on the first day of the biggest week of racing in the country.
It is headed by Blue Diamond winner Earthquake and Ghibellines in the Coolmore Stud Stakes, with the support act being Gouldian in the Victoria Derby, where Anthony Freedman saddles Geelong Classic winner Nozomi for Godolphin.
But O’Shea has learned the value of patience and is no rush for a group 1 win for his new boss.
“There was no pressure when I took this job [as head trainer for Godolphin]. We have not pushed hard because we have the horses there and pushing doesn’t get the best out of them,” O’Shea said.
“We have been building up and taking our time, and we get to a day like Saturday with some chances.
“I know if we keep [doing] the right thing, the [group 1] winners will come. There might be one on Saturday, there might be one in the next week, but they will come.”
Earthquake is a quality filly that has never missed a place in her eight starts with five wins. She got back to winning form in the Thoroughbred Club Stakes, lumping 59kg at Caulfield.
O’Shea briefly flirted running her in the Manikato Stakes but decided to wait for the Coolmore against her own age. He has crucially added to the blinkers for her first run up the straight.
“I have always thought she was a blinkers filly and we put them on her for the jumpout last week and she reacted very well,” O’Shea said.
“She is very well, the only problem I can see is the draw. She has drawn the inside [in barrier two] and the only horse I have seen that has been able to make any ground up the inside recently is Chautauqua. That is my only worry, but she is ready.”
O’Shea will roll the dice with Gouldian, which had to be scratched because of a hiccup from the Vase at Moonee Valley. He is a last start at winner at Warwick Farm over the mile.
“He had had the perfect preparation until he got scratched last week. I think I have been able to get enough work into him to make up for it,” O’Shea said.
He will also start Abduction in the Wakeful Stakes on Saturday, where she is second favourite, on her way to Thursday’s VRC Oaks, while star import Contributor will run in the Emirates Stakes on Saturday.
Godolphin’s Northern arm will have Cavalryman and Willing Foe in the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday.
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