By Ray Hickson
It’s all been about one race this preparation for Rondinella and trainer John O’Shea couldn’t have scripted it any better ahead of the Group 1 $750,000 Heineken Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick on Saturday.
The six-year-old has had three starts for O’Shea and showed she was on track with a closing fifth in the Kingston Town Stakes (2000m), beaten two lengths by Taikomochi, on September 19.
Punter’s Intelligence sectional data showed she ran 34.43 for her last 600m and clocked the fastest last 200m of the race (11.74).
“She’s just improved again, she’s been set for this race and I wouldn’t change her preparation,’’ O’Shea said.
“It’s been perfect and I hope that reflects in her performance.
“Each run has been better, her work has been much better in the last fortnight and she will take good improvement from her last run.”
O’Shea is no stranger to a Metropolitan success having prepared Bedouin to win in 2003 and Magic Hurricane for Godolphin in 2015.
Rondinella runs fifth at Randwick on September 19
The last mare to win the race was Coco Cobanna in 2000 and the last six-year-old mare was In Joyment two years earlier, both carried 52kg and Rondinella has 51.5kg with Rachel King taking the ride.
Rondinella, $16 with TAB, has only started at 2400m once for a third in the Group 1 Tancred Stakes in 2019 then finished fourth in the Sydney Cup won by Shraaoh so O’Shea has no concerns about the trip and would just like an economical run in transit.
“She’ll be worse than midfield, we just need a genuine tempo,’’ he said.
“If she can find the back of something to get her where we need to go she should be in the finish. She’s had a great prep and it’s all come to fruition on Saturday.”
O’Shea has settled on the $500,000 Rosehill Gold Cup (2000m) on Golden Eagle Day as the ideal race for Opacity if he can get back to winning form on Saturday.
The gelding ran a much improved third behind Discharged second-up at Randwick two weeks ago and while drawn wide meets that horse 3kg better for a 1.6 length defeat.
That pair dominate the betting with Discharged $2.70 favourite ahead of Opacity ($3.30).
“He was great second-up, I thought he was very good off a slow speed up front,’’ O’Shea said.
“If he can be a bit closer in the run there’s no reason why he couldn’t get himself back into the winner's stall.
“Ultimately he’s a 10 furlong horse and (Rosehill Gold Cup) is probably his grand final day.”