John O’Shea pair on target for Dark Jewel Classic

John O’Shea will be relying on girl power in the feature races at Scone on Saturday when he chases stakes success with two talented mares and a pair of promising fillies.

O’Shea will be two-handed in the Group 3 Dark Jewel Classic (1400m) with last-start Hawkesbury Crown placegetter Fashchanel and the resuming Le Gai Soleil, both chasing a breakthrough black-type win.

The beautifully bred Fashchanel, by I Am Invincible out of Group 1 winner Elegant Fashion, was just edged out by Exotic Ruby and Pippali at Hawkesbury and both are among her rivals at Scone.

But O’Shea can make a case for his on-speed mare reversing those fortunes.

Fashchanel drew the rails last start and if the emergencies don’t run, she will jump from gate 14 on Saturday, a draw O’Shea believes will be more help than hindrance.

“It won’t be a disadvantage,” O’Shea said.

“I don’t think there is a lot of speed there, a bit like the race at Hawkesbury.

“I thought Brenton (Avdulla) would be able to get across and we got dictated to a bit the other day at Hawkesbury but change the barriers this time and we can dictate to them, so we will see if we can turn the result.”

Le Gai Soleil looms as one of her toughest opponents having won four of her five first-up runs, while stablemate Comrade Rosa has been freshened up for her assignment in the Listed Denise’s Joy Stakes (1100m).

The filly has been competitive in strong company at her past two starts and will wear blinkers for the first time, a ploy O’Shea hopes will help her travel better in the early part of the race.

“She is a talented filly. The 1100 is probably a bit short of her best but freshened up and with the blinkers on, hopefully that will do the trick,” he said.

Two-year-old Lady Harlem rounds out his female contingent in the Vinery Woodlands Stakes (1100m) and looks to have her share of ability after finishing runner-up to subsequent Kindergarten Stakes winner Semillion at her only start in October.

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