By Ray Hickson
John O’Shea has never doubted the talent of jockey Brenton Avdulla and a week after the pair combined for a breakthrough Group 1 win they’ll be chasing a repeat with All Saints’ Eve in Saturday’s Group 1 $600,000 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill.
Lion’s Roar’s victory in the Randwick Guineas handed O’Shea his first Group 1 since It’s Somewhat’s 2017 Doncaster for Godolphin while it was Avdulla’s first major since the 2019 Metropolitan on Come Play With Me.
The Randwick trainer said All Saints’ Eve is right where he wants her second-up but in a wide open fillies and mares Group 1 a ‘gun’ ride will be needed from Avdulla.
“The challenge for Brenton on Saturday will be to get the run in transit that suits the way the track plays and suits that horse so it’ll be a big challenge for him but he’s up to it,’’ O’Shea said.
“I don’t think he lacks confidence, I think he just lost his way a little bit. That’s the nature of the game, it’s peaks and troughs.
“How you survive in this game is how you handle adversity not how well you go when things are going well. Brenton is a talented rider, he just lacked a bit of support.”
All Saints’ Eve returned with a slashing third in the Group 3 Liverpool City Cup (1300m) two weeks ago, she’s unbeaten second-up and it’s worth noting her biggest win to date was second-up in the Group 3 Tibbie in the spring.
O’Shea said the four-year-old, $12 with TAB, is in a similar position to Lion’s Roar was heading into his Group 1 second-up though a major difference is the Coolmore has been the target.
It’s also easy to forget she was only beaten two lengths by Colette in the $7.5m Golden Eagle (1500m) at Rosehill in the spring.
“Colette has come out and shown she’s pretty good and that the form has been good,’’ he said.
“The horse has been set for this race and has good upside even after this race, a bit like Lion’s Roar did.
“We think that she’s well weighted, she has a very good record and she ran well first-up and we’re drawn around some of the chances.”
If the predicted rain does arrive O’Shea said that only enhances the mare’s hopes.
There’s a spring in O’Shea’s step when he talks about Robodira ahead of the Group 3 $175,000 Cerrone Magic Night Stakes (1200m) after a promising fourth behind Four Moves Ahead on her return.
Robodira was a $5 chance with TAB on Thursday and she’s $101 in the Golden Slipper, if she’s good enough to win on Saturday she may find herself on the back up.
“It’d be remiss of me to suggest to a fellow who has qualified his horse for a Golden Slipper they should not run,’’ he said.
“That will be a decision post the race and hopefully that’s a decision we have to make. I think she will run very well, she’s made good improvement and that will make her very competitive.”
All Saints' Eve runs third at Randwick on February 27
The youngster was beaten a couple of lengths by Four Moves Ahead in the Sweet Embrace Stakes (1200m) but as O’Shea mentioned she went into that race with upside.
“I really like that race, before we went there it looked to be a good bunch of fillies,’’ he said.
“Our little filly was probably a bit new, had improvement, drew a wide gate and she raced well.
“She looks to map significantly better than first-up and now she gets into a race where the top liners aren’t there.”
Kiamichi in 2019 is the last Magic Night winner to claim the $3.5m Longines Golden Slipper.