It has been a case of near misses in recent years for horses carrying the colours of Sheikh Mohammed in Derbys around Australia.
But that could change at Randwick on Saturday when Tally and Etymology attempt to give Godolphin its first ATC Australian Derby victory.
Since taking over as head trainer for Sheikh Mohammed in Australia in 2014, John O’Shea has watched Hauraki finish second in the 2015 Australian Derby and Etymology fill the same place in this season’s Victoria Derby.
He has also had 2015 South Australian Derby third placegetter Allergic.
When trainer Peter Snowden was at the helm of the sheikh’s Darley operation, he also had two runner-up finishes in the Randwick Classic and three Victoria Derby placings.
Nozomi, prepared by Anthony Freedman, carried Godolphin’s famous royal blue colours to third in the 2014 Victoria Derby.
Before that string of placings, however, was a Derby victory in South Australia in 2010 for the Snowden-trained Kidnapped.
While the Mick Price-trained Tarzino is favourite to become the first horse in more than 20 years to claim the Victoria Derby-Australian Derby double, O’Shea says he’s happy to be taking on the last-start Rosehill Guineas winner with in-form Tally and Etymology.
Tally has taken a lower key approach in Melbourne towards his first Group One start, prompting O’Shea to label him “a sleeping giant”.
He followed wins at Kyneton and Moonee Valley with Group Two success in the Autumn Classic and Alister Clark Stakes and O’Shea is convinced he is still on the up.
“He was a bit backward last spring so he didn’t run in the Derby in Melbourne, but he’s really matured nicely over the summer and has come into his own now,” O’Shea said.
Etymology has been on the wrong end of the result in his three meetings with Tarzino, including last start in the Rosehill Guineas when sixth, more than four lengths behind the winner.
“At Rosehill in the Guineas he was working home nicely which showed us he was just where I want him,” O’Shea said.
“Tarzino is obviously a top colt, but I’m happy to be taking him on with our two.”
RECENT DERBY PLACEGETTERS IN AUSTRALIA FOR GODOLPHIN/DARLEY
– 2015 Victoria Derby: Etymology 2nd (trainer John O’Shea)
– 2015 South Australian Derby: Allergic 3rd (John O’Shea)
– 2015 Australian Derby: Hauraki 2nd (John O’Shea)
– 2014 Victoria Derby: Nozomi 3rd (Anthony Freedman)
– 2014 Australian Derby: Tupac Amaru 2nd (Peter Snowden)
– 2013 Victoria Derby: Complacent 2nd (Peter Snowden)
– 2011 Victoria Derby: Induna 2nd (Peter Snowden)
– 2011 Australian Derby: Retrieve 2nd (Peter Snowden)
– 2010 Victoria Derby: Retrieve 3rd (Peter Snowden)
– 2010 South Australian Derby: Kidnapped WON (Peter Snowden)
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au