History and experience have given John O’Shea a potent belief he can win Saturday’s Group One Coolmore Classic.
And his optimism comes despite a tough start to the week.
Promising sprinter Bernabeu suffered a life-threatening leg injury during a gallop at Randwick on Tuesday and his future remains unclear.
But the setback isn’t dictating O’Shea’s mood as he prepares to saddle up White Sage and Gypsy Diamond in a Coolmore Classic missing top mare Red Tracer who did not accept.
In Red Tracer’s absence, weights have been raised 1.5kg with favourite Catkins and her Chris Waller stablemate Royal Descent at the top of the handicaps with 58kg.
White Sage was a first-up third to Catkins, impressing enough to start favourite in the Liverpool City Cup.
But a midfield effort there has her rated one of the outsiders in the Coolmore, a ranking O’Shea’s experience tells him is inaccurate.
“She was only a bit off Catkins there first-up,” O’Shea said.
“Her second run was on a wet track, she went back on a day where you couldn’t make ground so I wouldn’t be reading too much into that.”
James McDonald sticks with the mare while Kerrin McEvoy will partner Gypsy Diamond, one of four fillies in the race.
O’Shea and McEvoy will become a regular combination when the trainer takes over at the Darley helm in May but they could strike up a winning partnership much sooner.
The three-year-old is almost certain to take her place in the Coolmore despite drawing barrier 17 and having an easier option in the Keith Nolan Classic at Kembla Grange a day later.
“I’ll have a chat to the owners and see what they want to do but I’d say she will run in the Coolmore,” O’Shea said.
“It’s disappointing where she’s drawn because we’ve been very, very happy with her.”
O’Shea is relying on history when assessing the chances of Gypsy Diamond whose lead-up form is comparable to that of Tuesday Joy who won the race as a three-year-old in 2007.
“She’s got a similar profile, that’s what we worked on and hopefully she can bring something to the table,” O’Shea said.