By Ray Hickson
Trainer Kim Waugh can see nothing but upside to promising colt Oxford Tycoon and heads to Rosehill on Saturday interested to see where he fits in the early spring picture.
While Oxford Tycoon is a last start Wyong maiden winner he’s already mixed it with some of his rivals in the Listed $150,000 Smithfield RSL Club Rosebud (1200m).
Waugh expects the three-year-old’s maiden win on July 24, where he sat three wide throughout, will stand him in good stead for his return to stakes company.
“It was impressive what he did (first-up). It was a good confidence booster and a good fitness run for him,’’ she said.
“It’s a strong race (Saturday), there’s some pretty nice horses so we’ll see how he measures up.
“He’s just a real nice horse that’s still improving, still learning his trade a bit and still got a bit of maturing to do.’’
Adding merit to Oxford Tycoon’s first-up win is the fact he ran half a second faster than the fillies division on the same day at Wyong and also ran 0.36 faster than the Benchmark 69 over the 1100m.
Oxford Tycoon's easy first-up win at Wyong on July 24
It’s fair to say Oxford Tycoon was probably a length behind his peers in his two starts in the autumn where he was beaten that margin by Sandbar on debut in the Listed Lonhro Plate (1100m) and again by Santos in the Group 2 Skyline Stakes (1200m).
“I thought his first run in a race was fantastic,’’ Waugh said.
“We weren’t that keen to lead on him that day, we ended up in front and did a bit of work.’’
TAB is respecting Oxford Tycoon’s autumn form as he was the $4.20 second favourite behind Plague Stone ($2.60) on Friday.
He’s not nominated for the Golden Rose and at this stage Waugh is sticking to that plan.
“I think he’s a bit too brilliant at this stage, I’d like to keep him to the 1200m for a little while but we’ll just see,’’ she said.
Evergreen stablemate Shiraz is still searching for a win this preparation in the Canterbury Hurlstone Park RSL Spring Preview (1400m).
The nine-year-old has finished better than midfield in the Winter Stakes and Winter Challenge at his last two starts and Waugh said he’s always capable of being in the finish.
“I’m happy with Shiraz but things haven’t gone to plan some days,’’ she said.
“He doesn’t do any work early, he has a great turn of foot and hopefully he can get a nice smother early and use that turn of foot in the last 300m.’’
Last start, when seventh behind Mister Sea Wolf, Shiraz ran the fastest split from the 400m-200m of 11.26 and a last 600m of 34.17 (Punters Intel). Shiraz was a $9.50 chance with TAB on Friday.