John O’Shea has been happy with Rocha Clock’s build up to her spring return but he isn’t as enamoured by her barrier draw.
The classy mare has at times been tardy out of the stalls and O’Shea is wary of her inside gate for Saturday’s The Nivison (1200m) at Randwick.
“We’ve been very happy with her trials,” O’Shea said.
“Whether (barrier) one is any good for her, I don’t know. She’d better jump.”
Rocha Clock is capable fresh but has just one win from four first-up runs and generally improves into her campaign.
It is a different story for new stable addition Minhaaj , who has scored two of her three career wins first-up from a spell.
Formerly with the Lindsay Park operation, Minhaaj was a Group winner as a juvenile and stakes placed at three and O’Shea has been pleased with her progress since her arrival.
He has secured gun jockeys for the pair with Hugh Bowman aboard Rocha Clock and James Mcdonald on Minhaaj.
“We don’t do a lot with her at home but her trials have been very good,” O’Shea said of Minhaaj.
“She had good form when she came to us, so she should give a good account of herself. ‘Mac’ is going to ride her so that’s always a positive.
“We’d be hoping one or both mares could secure a slot in The Invitation.”
O’Shea has a busy afternoon at Randwick with six runners, headed by promising three-year-old Benaud in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m).
Cotehele made good ground from well back to finish seventh to Tiger Of Malay in the Sires’ Produce Stakes during the Brisbane winter and resumed with a comfortable victory at Goulburn.
O’Shea is looking forward to seeing how he handles the transition back to black-type grade on Saturday with a view to the $1 million Bondi Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on October 23.
“That race he came out of in Brisbane was a good race. There has been a lot of form out of it,” O’Shea said.
“He had a nice day out at Goulburn and blew out a few cobwebs against the older horses. He’s a genuine miler, he gets to map very well so I think he can run well.”