By Ray Hickson
Trainer John O’Shea describes Fox Swift’s last campaign as a ‘disaster’ but he’s confident he has the handy mare in right head space to regain her best form starting at Randwick on Monday.
The four-year-old has two duck eggs against her name – she failed to beat a horse home – largely due to a bad habit she picked up of hopelessly missing the start.
Fox Swift had impressively won a benchmark race on the Kensington track in October and O’Shea gave her a short break then everything fell apart.
“I took her to trial one day and another horse kicked out and she went off,’’ he said.
“It was just a disaster after that, she was scratched at the gates and I had to re-trial her and she just had her knickers in a knot.
“So I thought we’d stop and start again and it seems to have done the trick. She’s in a much better frame of mind.’’
There have been no signs of Fox Swift blowing the start in her two trials ahead of the Agency Real Estate Handicap (1150m) on the Kensington track.
She’ll have no more than seven rivals when she enters the stalls on Monday and was an $8 chance in early markets with TAB.
“I thought her trials have been really good and I think she is in good form,’’ O’Shea said.
“I think the key to her is the ground and if she can get her toe in the ground she’s a different horse.
“She has good form on the Kenso but I think it’s a wet Kenso that she needs. I’m a bit cautious but if we happened to get a bit of rain it’d really help her.’’
While O’Shea rightly has some small concerns about Fox Swift until he sees her in action on race day, he’s producing two other horses at Randwick he believes are capable of working through the grades in Pop Girl and King’s Peak.
Pop Girl ($4) hasn’t raced since the end of February when she easily won a Wyong maiden and O’Shea said she’ll be very competitive in the ANZ Bloodstock News Handicap (1400m).
“She’s a progressive filly with good form around her,’’ he said.
“She has an awkward gate but if she can get across without burning too much she’ll be very hard to beat.
Pop Girl runs third in a Warwick Farm trial on April 12
“It’s the sort of track where you have to keep the momentum going so I don’t mind drawing a bit wide there.’’
King’s Peak is also a last start winner, he dead-heated with California Longbow at Kembla Grange two weeks ago, and he makes his city debut in the Mendelssohn @ Coolmore Handicap (1800m).
It’s clear O’Shea has plenty of time for the three-year-old, a winner of three from eight.
“He has a good little record. I’ve been wanting to get him out in ground but he was a bit aggressive when he first came and it’s been a matter of teaching him to relax,’’ he said.
“I think this is his forte, I think he is a genuine mile and a quarter horse.’’