Lightning Stakes 2016 contender Exosphere pleases in barrier trial

Godolphin colt Exosphere will be given another chance at straight-track racing in the Lightning Stakes at Flemington.

The winner of the Group One Golden Rose in September, Exosphere finished fourth as the odds-on favourite in the Coolmore Stud Stakes won by Japonisme at Flemington in October.

Trainer John O’Shea said the jury was still out on his performance over the straight course with the Flemington track criticised for its inside bias on the day.

In a barrier trial featuring several other Group One winners at Warwick Farm on Monday, Exosphere was an eye-catching second behind restricted class competitor Lyric who led all the way.

“We have to give him a go down the straight on a fairer track than Derby day,” O’Shea told Sky Sports Radio.

“If he doesn’t do any good in Lightning we will draw a line through the straight.

“The plan is the Lightning, the Newmarket and then the TJ Smith in Sydney.”

O’Shea said if the colt failed again in the Lightning (1000m) on February 20, he would bypass the Newmarket and come back to Sydney for the Canterbury Stakes before the TJ Smith.

“He is still 15 kilos above where he needs to be so we have a bit of work to do before the Lightning,” he said.

The Chris Waller-trained Japonisme finished third in Monday’s 800m-heat with dual Group One winner Pride Of Dubai fourth.

Caulfield Guineas winner Press Statement ran sixth in the trial with his Waller-trained stablemate, Spring Champion Stakes winner Vanbrugh sixth.


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