Tactical nous, as much as racetrack talent, is expected to decide the highly-anticipated $1 million Golden Rose on Saturday.
While numbers are down on past editions of Sydney’s richest spring race, some of the key players believe the tactics adopted in the six-horse event will decide the outcome of the Group One feature at Rosehill.
“We’re going to go in quietly confident but not overly confident because I look at this race as any of the six can win,” Manawanui’s trainer Ron Leemon said.
“I think it’s going to be a battle of tactics and it all depends upon how the jockeys ride the race. Whoever rides the smartest race will win.
“It’s going to be interesting watching what they do.”
John O’Shea, who prepares talented colt Foxwedge, is taking a simple approach into the event.
Foxwedge races on the speed and the Randwick trainer wants to make it impossible for horses to come from behind and run over the top of the San Domenico Stakes winner.
O’Shea said Foxwedge would take advantage of his inside barrier.
“I see us as one of the horses that will go forward, as to whether we end up in front that would be determined by what Kerrin (McEvoy on Helmet) decides,” O’Shea said.
“We’ll be positive, we won’t want to give up our barrier.”
Foxwedge sat off runaway leader Karuta Queen in the Run To The Rose (1200m) last start and kicked strongly in the straight only to be run down late by a breathtaking performance from Golden Rose favourite Smart Missile.
O’Shea wants it so Smart Missile has to produce something special to get over the top of his charge on Saturday.
“That’s Foxwedge’s key,” O’Shea said.
“He box-seats, he doesn’t get into trouble and if he runs 34.3 seconds home (the last 600 metres) they have got to break 34 to beat him.
“That’s how we’ve got to make it for them. We’ve got to make it for them that the mathematics say that they couldn’t have won.”
Peter Snowden said Helmet had taken good improvement from his first-up run and the trainer has applied blinkers to the dual Group One winner.
He said Helmet would race in a forward position.
“He always races forward, he led and won the Sires and the Champagne,” Snowden said.
“He’s an on-pace runner and that’s where he’ll be.”
Smart Missile attracted all the headlines following his outstanding return and he remains the favourite for the Golden Rose with trainer Anthony Cummings saying he would be surprised if he was beaten.
Champion rider Glen Boss expects the unbeaten colt to have no troubles handling 1400 metres for the first time.
“That’s perfect,” Boss said.
“It will give him time to get into his rhythm, he’ll travel for a long way and he’ll let go quick. I’m looking forward to it.”