By Ray Hickson
Oohood may have the mantle as Australia’s best maiden but her trainer Tony McEvoy doesn’t treat her like a horse that’s yet to win a race.
The three-time Group 1 placegetter has been placed in all six starts, and beaten three-quarters of a length or less in five of them, for just under $1 million in prizemoney.
With three Group 1 targets ahead this spring, Oohood returns to Sydney for the Group 2 $200,000 Darley Silver Shadow Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
McEvoy has mapped out the Group 2 Furious Stakes (1200m) then the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m), Flight Stakes (1600m) and back to Melbourne for the Thousand Guineas (1600m).
“It’s an aggressive program for a maiden but she’s not really a maiden, she’s a high class filly,’’ McEvoy said.
“To have five runs and three goes at Group 1 it’s a cracking little program.
“I don’t think her first win would be far away. She should have won the Blue Diamond, probably should have won the Golden Slipper and probably should have won the Sires’.
“And she should have definitely won the Merson Cooper at her first start.’’
Those near misses now in the past, McEvoy said Oohood will present a little on the woolly side for her first-up run but is rapt with her condition underneath.
Oohood, drawn one from the outside in the 10 horse field, hasn’t officially trialled but she won an 800m jump out down the Flemington straight earlier this month.
“She’s grown a little bit but she’s very wintry still, lots to come in her coat but she’s really well,’’ he said.
“She just cruised down the straight beautifully, she enjoyed it and had a good day out. I’m happy that she’s done enough.
“She’s there to run very well, she’s not fully wound up.
“I’ll just leave it to Tim (Clark) and he’ll just ride her as she jumps. If she jumps slow he’ll ride quiet and if she jumps well she might be a bit closer.’’
Oohood's close second in the Group 1 ATC Sires' at Randwick in April
The last maiden to win the Silver Shadow was Thump in 2013 and it seems punters are expecting Oohood to shake off that maiden tag as she was $2.40 with TAB on Thursday.
When we last saw Oohood race she was narrowly beaten in the ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m), where Punters Intel shows she ran the fastest last 200m of the race in 11.72 after being held up for a run.
When asked which race in her spring program is the one she’s most suited to McEvoy pinpointed the Golden Rose, on September 22, where she is currently a $15 chance.
“The mile is the unknown so probably the Golden Rose because she’ll get the weight off the colts, like in the Slipper, and I can’t see any reason she couldn’t beat them again,'' he said.
“It would be easy to say the fillies races over the mile but the mile is where we haven’t been yet.’’
McEvoy said he’s considering sending Group placed filly Aristocratic Miss, who dispensed with her maiden earlier this week, to Sydney during the spring along with some two-year-olds when the juvenile races begin.
At this stage Magic Millions winner Sunlight, who races at Caulfield on Saturday, will remain in Melbourne and be kept to sprint trips.