By Ray Hickson
Trainer John O’Shea sees no reason why the in-form combination of Comme Bella Fille and Reece Jones can’t continue on their winning way at Randwick on Saturday, especially now the mare is entering her comfort zone.
The fact that the four-year-old has been sharp enough to win at 1550m and 1600m in her two runs since a break speaks to her development since joining the O’Shea yard and he says the step up in trip in the Quayclean Handicap (1800m) is only in her favour.
The task is a little harder as she rises 3kg, after again taking Jones’ 2kg claim, on her win two weeks ago and meets runner-up Niffler 2kg worse for a 0.6 length win.
“We always thought she was going to get the run she got, being on the back of the two favourites,’’ O’Shea said of her last start win.
“Once she came off their back with no weight she was always going to be hard to hold out.
“She’s improved nicely, she’s got a bit stronger. I think ten furlongs pulls her up, she’s got a good performance against Huetor at ten furlongs.”
Jones joined the O’Shea yard almost two months ago and is currently trying to chase down Tyler Schiller in the Apprentice Premiership race, trailing by eight going into this weekend.
He's unbeaten on Comme Bella Fille, $4 with TAB on Thursday, and O'Shea said the mare is just one of many horses Jones is getting on well with at the moment.
“We’re very happy with the way Reece is going, he’s working hard,’’ O’Shea said.
“We would have loved to have him down earlier to help him win a premiership. He’s a competent rider with a great attitude and is getting results.”
The star apprentice also combines with O’Shea on Le Gai Soleil in the Listed $150,000 Chandon Civic Stakes (1400m) and the trainer is anticipating a return to form.
The mare didn’t run up to expectation when resuming in the Group 3 Dark Jewel at Scone last month but hit the line in the stakes race in Brisbane three weeks ago.
“At Scone she got cluttered up but her run the other day was very good, it was a slow speed and hard to make up ground,’’ O’Shea said.
“She gets back to her preferred surface at Randwick and she’s got the right draw for her.”
Mirann hasn’t yet produced his best European form since joining the O’Shea stable, with a Gosford Cup placing his best result to date, but the trainer is confident it will come.
He drops a notch in class in the ACY Securities Handicap (1800m) after being beaten four lengths by Surf Dancer over the same trip in a slowly run race at Rosehill three weeks ago.
“He’s a nice horse and he hasn’t quite acclimatised to our racing yet,’’ he said.
“He’s a horse that is better ridden back and he’s been on heavy tracks. I don’t think he has worked it all out but I think he is going to make a nice horse going forward.
Comme Bella Fille wins at Randwick on June 11
“We are expecting a better performance from him.”
Meanwhile, O’Shea said he wants to study the Elite Sand & Soil Handicap (1400m) further before committing to running Blesk from another inside alley.
The gelding finished midfield behind Jojo Was A Man over the same course two weeks ago but found himself trapped on the inferior section of the track from barrier one so O’Shea said to be beaten under four lengths was no disgrace.
“He just needs a bit of room,’’ he said.
“The other day the fence was off, (John Thompson’s) horse sat three deep no cover and was too good where Blesk was punching on the quicksand on the inside.”