Everest slot for exciting Kiwi
The NZ suffix has featured prominently behind many of John O’Shea’s stakes performers this season, and this week he had the opportunity to visit the source.
The Sydney trainer’s roll of honour of New Zealand-bred performers this year includes the likes of Gr.1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) winner Lion’s Roar, Group Three winning siblings All Saints’ Eve (Tibbie Stakes, 1400m) and All Hallow’s Eve (James HB Carr Stakes, 1400m), and Listed Luskin Star Stakes (1300m) winner Lost And Running.
The latter holds particular excitement for O’Shea ahead of the new season, with the son of Per Incanto announced as the TAB’s slot-holder for the A$15 million The Everest (1200m) at Randwick in October.
The exciting four-year-old has won six of his seven career starts, including the Luskin Star Stakes, and finished runner-up in his only other start.
O’Shea is looking forward to heading towards the rich spring feature with the gelding and his ownership group, which includes well-known Wellington racing identity Lib Petagna.
“We are excited for his ownership group and the stable,” O’Shea told SENTrack. “It is good because we can just take our time and prepare the horse to the best of our ability to have him ready on the day, and hope he runs his best race.”
O’Shea said they had been approached by several slot holders, but were delighted to partner with TAB.
“We had a couple of other nibbles, but I was really keen to go with TAB, they are just a great organisation, and they have the same sort of mindset as us of having a six-month period where you promote the horse into the race, and we can work with them to get that done,” he said.
Lost And Running has recently returned to O’Shea’s Randwick barn after a month spell following his victory in the Luskin Star Stakes.
“He went straight to the paddock (following the Luskin Star Stakes),” O’Shea said. “He has had four weeks off and he has just started light work this week with the treadmill and aquasizer.
“He really enjoys that and it helps him get a bit mobile, and keeps the weight off him.
“We are just going to go conventionally, through The Shorts, Premier, and then to The Everest and that will give us a good feel as to where we sit.
“He is a horse who likes to have his racing fortnightly, otherwise he does a bit too well. He gets to race on his home track, which is even better.
“We are really excited about what we can get done now that there is no pressure.”
Lost And Running will likely be one of the lighter-raced contenders in The Everest, but that bodes no concern to O’Shea.
“It is something we can’t control,” he said. “We have just got to rely on the fact that we think he will improve between now and the race, and hopefully that improvement is sufficient to have him competitive.
“He is a horse on a dramatic upward spiral and hopefully the seasoning that we have put into him over the last 18 months stands him in good stead for the race.”
O’Shea has taken advantage of the travel bubble with Lost And Running’s homeland, New Zealand, to visit the world-renowned thoroughbred nursery and tourist hotspot for the week.
“I have been to Waikato Stud, Trelawney Stud, and we are down in the South Island now and have been to Richard Rutherford’s place to have a look at some lovely horses. It has been fantastic,” he said.
“I will get on a plane later this afternoon and get back to work tomorrow (Friday). It has been good to see a broad spectrum of horses and speaking to a few people who have horses in their yard.
“We have got some yearlings over here who we have also looked at, so it has been a pretty busy week.”