A quality field of three-year-olds has assembled for the first Group 1 of the Sydney racing season with Chris Waller’s Omei Sword expected to take plenty of beating in the Golden Rose (Race 6) over 1400m at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Omei Sword was an impressive first-up winner of the Silver Shadow Stakes at Randwick three weeks back, where she came from midfield on the turn to really put a space on her rivals with an impressive turn of foot over the final 150m.
She has drawn ideally in barrier three with superstar jockey Joao Moreira heading across from Hong Kong to take the ride.
As it is, Waller had thrown out a dummy after the Silver Shadow by suggesting that his charge would go through the Tea Rose on her way to the ultimate goal this preparation, the Flight Stakes, only to confirm via Twitter on Monday that she would indeed line up on Saturday.
That decision forced a shake-up in betting markets and saw our traders install her as favourite, although she will have to overcome the disturbingly poor record of fillies in this event with Forensics (2008) the only female to taste victory since the race switched to its current definition back in 2003.
Our traders are expecting her main opposition to come from Divine Prophet, who finished over the top of Derryn to register an eye catching success in the Up and Coming Stakes on the same card.
The wide draw presents no real obstacle for the Hawkes-trained galloper with Tommy Berry likely to get back anyway and repeat his usual racing pattern.
Berry won this race aboard Epaulette back in 2012 and has ridden the colt at all-but-one of his starts to date.
With four of the last six winners of the Golden Rose successful in their previous start, we’ve kept him safe in betting to this point and will be looking for him to figure in the finish.
Astern outfought Star Turn in the traditional lead-up race, the Run to the Rose, here a fortnight ago to announce himself as a strong contender but our traders remain far from convinced and we’re keen to oppose him on the weekend.
Admirers of the horse should be comforted by the fact that fellow Godolphin runner Exosphere andHallowed Crown (pictured at top) have both completed the double in the past two years while, prior to that, both Zoustar and Epaulette had raced well in the Run to the Rose, suggesting that a strong performance in that heat is a good indicator of the way things might pan out on Saturday.
While trainer John O’Shea remains highly confident that his colt can get the job done, the wide draw is reason enough for us to take him on with Astern unlikely to get the same passage as he did under James McDonald last time around.
Already representing the worst result in our pre-post book, we’re committed to laying the horse and, at the time of writing, are offering the best odds in the industry about him so punters can get set with us come race day.
One of only three fillies to contest the race, Sires Produce winner Yankee Rose comes into the event with some huge question marks surrounding her preparation and it’ll be fascinating to see how she performs on Saturday.
Some mysteriously poor performances in trackwork and at the trials had threatened her participation this spring altogether but trainer David van Dyke appeared more upbeat about her chances following an impressive gallop between races at the Sunshine Coast last Sunday.
A frustrating horse to work with, it’s worth noting that Yankee Rose ran a huge race first up in the Golden Slipper and we have respect for her abilities having also seen plenty of money come in for her during the week.
Of the others, O’Shea was at pains to ramp up the chances of Impending, who wasn’t disgraced in the Run to the Rose and has lobbed ideally one off the inside.
Mediterranean was somewhat disappointing on that occasion but has been spruiked at a nice price while the Waterhouse/Bott combination will be represented by El Divino and Thronum, who both figure to push forward again and give them something to run down.
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Golden Rose Tips:
1. Omei Sword
2. Divine Prophet