Trainer John O’Shea is confident Irish Bet can make a successful comeback to racing at Rosehill after health issues ruled out a trip to the Queensland winter carnival.
A stomach upset forced O’Shea to spell the promising colt after he tailed the Group Two Skyline Stakes (1200m) field at Randwick in early March.
Irish Bet began his career by claiming the $500,000 Inglis Nursery in December and O’Shea believes he is displaying the same pre-race form on the eve of Saturday’s Spring Carnival On Sale Monday Handicap (1200m).
“He kept getting bit of a pain in the belly so we put him out. We’ve got right on top of it now which is probably reflected in the horse’s overall wellbeing,” O’Shea said.
Irish Bet made an impressive start to his previous campaign with a third in the Pierro Plate (1100m) behind Santos and Exceltic before his health problems.
“That run suggested he was going to be competitive in second tier races over autumn,” O’Shea said.
He thinks Saturday’s comeback will be a one-off, particularly if the colt can upset the Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Galina.
“If he won we’d probably find it hard to place him because of the weight,” O’Shea said.
“It’s just about getting him back in the game and into a nice rhythm, then hopefully we can give him a short break before the spring.”
O’Shea said Group One Queensland Derby (2200m) favourite Live And Free had bounced out of his lead-up win in the Wilson Asset Management Handicap (2000m) at Randwick last Saturday in fine fettle.
“He’s had an easy week. He’s been to the beach a few times,” O’Shea said.
The three-year-old will complete his Sydney-based work on Tuesday and head to Brisbane on Wednesday night.
He led the TAB market at $4 on Friday, ahead of the Darren Weir-trained Lucky For All ($4.50).