On the eve of the spring carnival, John O’Shea is in a good place.
It has been 15 months since the trainer took on one of the most challenging jobs in racing to become head trainer for Sheikh Mohammed.
Since then he’s won three Group Ones, 26 stakes races and finished second on the Sydney trainers’ premiership in his first full season for Godolphin.
That was the easy stuff.
Getting to know an entirely new string of horses, a different system of doing things and how to get maximum benefit from Godolphin’s enviable training facilities have all been part of a steep learning curve.
“I feel we’re in a stronger position, potentially, now it’s a matter of getting the job done,” O’Shea said.
“I suppose we had a pass mark there last season and I’ve got a better understanding of the facilities and the horses now so hopefully that turns into results for the boss.”
Godolphin will unveil several carnival hopefuls at Randwick on Saturday, including It’s Somewhat and comeback galloper Complacent in the Warwick Stakes (1400m).
Group One-placed over 2000m in the Coral Eclipse Stakes in England, It’s Somewhat was a brilliant first-up winner at his Australian debut in February before a midfield finish in the George Ryder Stakes.
O’Shea says the five-year-old has done enough groundwork to be competitive in a tough Warwick Stakes field and beyond that, his options for the horse are largely open.
“He’s obviously got a lot of improvement in him but he’s got a big foundation, he’s been in work a long time so there’s no problem with his fitness,” O’Shea said.
“He’s run third in an Eclipse so I think he’ll run 10 furlongs.
“I’d suggest we’d step him out to the Epsom trip then assess it after that.”
Complacent will be having his first start since he finished second to Polanski in the 2013 Victoria Derby but lack of match practice aside, O’Shea is happy with the horse’s progress.
The pair are just part of the vast Godolphin arsenal that will be rolled out in the coming weeks.
Three-year-olds Inner Circle and Shards get the chance to stake their Golden Rose claims in Saturday’s Up And Coming Stakes, while filly Italy and the progressive Vashka will also sport the royal blue at Randwick.
Big guns Contributer and Hartnell will both trial on Friday ahead of their respective returns in separate states in two weeks.
Twelve months ago, O’Shea might have hesitated to discuss a team of horses he was still getting to know.
With the groundwork done, he is confident and comfortable leading Godolphin into the spring.
Article from justhorseracing.com.au