By Ray Hickson
There’s more to handy sprinter Southern Lad than just getting back and charging late and trainer John O’Shea hopes a different side can be seen of him at Randwick on Saturday.
The lightly raced four-year-old has attacked the line strongly from near the tail in both runs this preparation but O’Shea is looking to make use of barrier one in the Tab.com.au Handicap (1200m).
O’Shea said you need plenty of things to go your way if you concede starts like Southern Lad has been.
“To be fair to him he’s drawn poorly his first two runs this time in and has wound up in worse scenarios than normal,’’ O’Shea said.
“I don’t think he needs to get that far back, it’s just a function of the gates that he’s drawn.
“He won’t be too far away, there’s good speed and I think he’ll handle the sting out of the track.’’
Southern Lad has been beaten less than a length in his two starts, the latest a closing third behind Akasaki over 1100m at Scone a month ago.
He ran a slick 34.13 for his last 600m (Punter's Intelligence), second fastest of the race, after sitting wide and turning some 20m off the lead.
TAB has him on the second line at $5.50 and he’s one of a number of prospects for O’Shea at Randwick on a day he’s also quietly confident he can pick up a Group 1 in Brisbane with Pretty In Pink.
Imported stayer Berdibek caught most people’s eye with his first-up seventh behind Renewal over 1400m two weeks ago, where he ran 33.16 for his last 600m, and O’Shea said he’ll continue to improve as the distances increase.
The grey steps up to the mile in the Racing To Win Handicap (1600m), named after O’Shea’s former superstar, and he’ll carry just 52kg as the trainer utilises the true weight.
“He’s been a work in progress but his first-up run was very good and second-up last time he just missed so hopefully he can be competitive again,’’ he said.
“I think he has a nice turn of speed, there’ll be good speed in the race and from the draw hopefully he doesn’t get too far back.’’
O’Shea said a pass mark for Berdibek, $26 with TAB, would be a top four finish and while he rates the race as stronger than the 1600m event he just failed in last preparation says a win is not beyond him.
Southern Lad runs third at Scone on May 11
Comments from John O’Shea on his other Randwick runners:
Intrepidacious (Race 1, $12): “She didn’t run quite as well as she was showing us at home (last prep) so we gave her a break and bought her up steadily this time.
“We just need her to replicate on race day what she has been showing in her trials. She works well enough, she’s matured significantly in the break and hopefully that reflects on race day.’’
Cottenham (Race 2, $17): “I thought she did a good job the other day. She’s drawn out but goes back anyway, I think she is a progressive filly who runs a trip. She’ll probably have this run and go to the paddock.’’
Kaepernick (Race 7, $17): “I’m surprised at his price. He drew poorly in the Galaxy but ran very well and prior to that his form was first class. This is a big drop in class for him, albeit he has a bunch of weight.
“He has a nice chance and if the fence happens to chop out he could get over the top of them. His form is around Nature Strip, Ball Of Muscle and those sorts of horses. I don’t think there’s much wrong with that.’’