Former French galloper One Foot In Heaven, who was once a contender for Europe’s richest race, will try to break his Australian maiden at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday.
One Foot In Heaven and his stablemate Egg Tart will be attempting to give trainer Chris Waller his fourth stakes quinella of the winter carnival in the Group Two PJ O’Shea Stakes (2200m).
There would be few better-bred horses to have raced at the Sunshine Coast as One Foot is in Heaven is by top sire Fastnet Rock out of the champion French mare Pride.
One Foot In Heaven is raced by Swiss-based Sven and Carina Hanson, who also owned Pride, the winner of three Group One races including the 2006 Hong Kong Cup (2000m).
One Foot In Heaven was being mentioned as a hope for the 2016 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe after winning the Group Two Grand Prix de Chantilly.
It was his third win in a row for leading French trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre and his second at Group Two level.
While he never reached great Arc heights, One Foot in Heaven won six races in Europe before being sent to Waller at Rosehill earlier this year.
One Foot In Heaven has had two Australia starts for a sixth in the Group Three Neville Sellwood Stakes at Rosehill in March and a well-beaten 11th in the Group Two Hollindale Stakes at the Gold Coast on May 5.
Waller’s Queensland manager Paul Shailer said One Foot In Heaven had been looking for softer tracks in Australia.
“Five of his wins have been on soft or synthetic tracks. The track was too hard in the Hollindale Stakes,” Shailer said.
“There has been rain at the Sunshine Coast and hopefully the track will remain at least soft for him.
“He won a trial at Warwick Farm between his runs and while Egg Tart looks very hard to beat but he should run a race on a soft track.”
“He and Egg Tart are probably the two horses suited at weight-for-age in the O’Shea.”
Shailer said provided One Foot In Heaven performed well on Saturday he would back up in the Group Two Brisbane Cup (2200m) on Saturday week.
Waller has had a strong winter with quinellas in the Group One Doomben Cup, Group One Queensland Oaks and Group two BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes.
“Things have been going well since Chris opened his Gold Coast stable last August and to be successful in the winter carnival is obviously very pleasing,” he said.