An inside barrier draw has convinced John O’Shea to put Kirwan’s Lane on the float to Kembla Grange, alongside stablemate and The Gong contender Berdibek.
The appearance of Kirwin’s Lane at the meeting was contingent on him drawing a good gate and after landing barrier two in the field of 16 for Saturday’s Abax Contracting Handicap (1600m), O’Shea has confirmed the gelding will take his place.
The five-year-old has continued to improve with age and racing and again looks to have come back in good order judging by his luckless first-up sixth to Al Mah Haha in the Goulburn Cup (1400m).
“He should have won the Goulburn Cup in a hand canter,” O’Shea said.
“He’s a horse that loves a soft draw.”
Significantly, Kirwin’s Lane has outstanding second-up statistics with two wins and two placings from four starts.
It is a record not lost on his trainer, who also nominated him for The Gong (1600m), and while Kirwin’s Lane failed to make the final field for the feature, O’Shea is hoping he can land a consolation win.
O’Shea will still be represented in The Gong by the resuming Berdibek, who is capable of sprinting well fresh if the race is run at a genuine tempo, while Blesk will be scratched from the final event after drawing wide.
The stable has been in sizzling form this spring with O’Shea producing 12 winners from his last 50 runners prior to Thursday’s Hawkesbury meeting.