Bookmakers have marked It’s Somewhat as the pick of Godolphin’s two Villiers Stakes runners but trainer John O’Shea has a different view.
O’Shea believes the handicapper has made the five-year-old’s task too tough with an outside barrier draw delivering a knockout blow.
The horse finished a brave second to Mighty Lucky under 59kg in the Festival Stakes last start and O’Shea was expecting some weight relief when he stepped up in grade on Saturday.
“He got the same weight in a Listed as a Group Two so I would think the weight will be too much of a burden for him,” O’Shea said.
“He’s come on and he’ll run well but barrier 14 and that weight in that grade is probably more than what he can carry.”
In spite of O’Shea’s concerns, It’s Somewhat will take his place in the Group Two mile because the stable feels he needs to race.
The trainer is more upbeat about the Villiers prospects of Malice who he regards as Godolphin’s best chance in a race that holds special significance.
The Villiers Stakes was the first Group race O’Shea won when Grey And Gold was successful 15 years ago.
He added to his haul three years later with On A High and on Saturday will be trying to win it for the first time as Sheikh Mohammed’s private trainer.
Malice has taken an untraditional path towards the $250,000 contest.
After three Sydney appearances in the spring he went to Melbourne where he finished fourth in the Crystal Mile at Moonee Valley, runner-up in a stakes race at Flemington and fifth in the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown.
He was subsequently sent to Godolphin’s farm on the outskirts of Sydney for a short break and O’Shea said a Villiers start was not an afterthought.
“I was always adamant he’d stay in work over the summer because he likes the dry ground,” he said.
“Under the weight scale, he’s almost our best chance in the race.”
Sam Clipperton partners Malice while James McDonald, who rode in a jockeys’ challenge in Hong Kong on Wednesday night, returns to ride It’s Somewhat before jetting back to the Asian racing centre for the International meeting on Sunday.
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au