Caulfield Cup winner Descarado makes a belated start to his spring campaign on Saturday but it is stablemate Fast Clip who is the favoured one of Gai Waterhouse’s four Shannon Stakes runners.
Descarado and Fast Clip will be joined by first-up winner King Lionheart and Caulfield Cup hopeful Older Than Time in the Group Two 1500m event at Rosehill where the Grahame Begg-trained Secret Admirer aims to get on the board for the spring.
“Fast Clip has had the run under his belt and he’s gone ahead in leaps and bounds since his first-up run,” Waterhouse said when assessing her stable’s Shannon Stakes prospects.
“And King Lionheart maybe at longer odds.”
Fast Clip returned with an encouraging third in the Group Two Sebring Sprint (1300m) to Master Of Design and Shannon Stakes rival Torio’s Quest two weeks ago.
Waterhouse said the Group One Toorak Handicap at Caulfield on October 8 was the likely next target for Fast Clip who also holds a nomination for Saturday week’s Group One Epsom Handicap.
“He might go down to Melbourne for the Toorak,” Waterhouse said.
“We’ll make that call after Saturday.”
A setback earlier in his preparation delayed Descarado’s return but the Group One winner is pleasing Waterhouse and is being aimed at the $3 million Cox Plate (2040m) third-up next month.
“He just wasn’t quite right but I’m really delighted with him now, since his trial he has gone on in leaps and bounds,” Waterhouse said.
Descarado, who has the steadier of 61kg on Saturday, hasn’t exactly been absent from race day recently with two exhibition gallops ahead of his return.
“They (exhibition gallops) have really brought him on, hugely,” Waterhouse said.
“I think he’s going super. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s probably carrying 16 kilograms more than he did last preparation.
“I think he’ll run a very strong race, he’s an honest horse. Last preparation he came to hand after about seven weeks in training and ran one hell of a race (for second) in the Ranvet Stakes.
“But he’ll be seen to advantage when he gets over further. He’s a real 2000-metre horse.”
Descarado’s path to the Cox Plate will take in the Group One Yalumba Stakes at Caulfield.
Group One Flight Stakes winner Secret Admirer has had to settle for eye-catching seconds in her two starts so far this campaign but is the $2.30 favourite with TAB Sportsbet to break through in the Shannon.
Fast Clip is equal second favourite in betting at $5 along with Torio’s Quest.
Meanwhile, Golden Rose winner Manawanui has been installed the $1.18 favourite for the Group Two Stan Fox Stakes (1500m) in which the Ron Leemon-trained gelding has just five rivals.