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Image: Steve Hart
A drying Randwick track is made to order for smart mare Fashchanel

An outside gate has dashed John O’Shea’s hopes of running Fashchanel in Group 2 company at Eagle Farm, but he is hoping to come away with a consolation win in Sydney.

The mare has been scratched from Saturday’s Dane Ripper Stakes (1300m) in Brisbane after drawing wide and will instead go around in the Grainshaker Vodka Handicap (1300m) at Randwick where she has to take on the boys but has the inside alley.

“I would have liked to have run her in Brisbane but she drew 16, so we will give her another chance here on Saturday to pick up another race,” O’Shea said.

Fashchanel was stakes-placed in the Hawkesbury Crown two starts ago despite the heavy track not being to her liking, then was trapped wide on the speed in the Dark Jewel Classic at Scone and weakened in what were again testing conditions.

O’Shea has given her a month between runs and expects to see a different horse on a soft 5 surface at Randwick.

“She is going that well that she ran really well at Hawkesbury on ground she doesn’t like, but Scone was just too heavy for her,” O’Shea said.

“We gave her a little trial to rejuvenate her and build her confidence.

“She’s great and it is the driest track she has been on in about five months.”

Fashchanel will be among a handful of runners for O’Shea, who also welcomes back talented gelding Blesk in the final race.

A dynamic performer fresh, Blesk threw a scare into the stable earlier this year when he presented as being lame but was found to be suffering a serious staph infection.

“It was only through the good work of Dr James Whitfield, he identified it very early because it looked like a lameness issue but was actually an infection, that we got on top of it,” O’Shea said.

“It could have been nasty.

“He had a nice little tick-over trial to get him back in the game last Friday. He goes well fresh, it’s a beautiful soft 5 track, 1400 (metres), soft draw. It’s a good race for him.”

O’Shea also has a trio of runners at the Stradbroke Handicap meeting in Brisbane, led by Doomben Cup runner-up Maximal in the Q22 (2200m).

He has a tricky gate in 14 but O’Shea could not be happier with his build-up.

“He has got a terrible draw but we will have to cop our medicine early and hope he can come late,” he said.

“He is in great order, I’ll tell you that.”

 
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