R1,4 M Late Entry Fee – Then A Wide Draw

Kathy O'Hara in saddle for world's richest race for 2yo's on Saturday


Single Gaze seen being beaten by Zoutenant

The trainer for the world’s biggest stable convinced the owners of Single Gaze they should pay up the $150,000 late entry fee and have a crack at the world’s richest race for two-year-olds, the $3.5 million Golden Slipper Stakes (1200 metres) at Rosehill on Saturday, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

Single Gaze on Tuesday drew barrier 16 for the Slipper, with top female jockey Kathy O’Hara confirmed to ride the daughter of Not A Single Doubt, but part-owner Richard Keeley felt the wide gate wasn’t the worst result and they had a proven plan to chase the $2 million on offer for first place.

The bookies didn’t agree though, with Single Gaze drifting from $51 to $71  after the draw.

Trainer John O'Shea - convinced owners to take their chances

Trainer John O’Shea – convinced owners to take their chances

Godolphin trainer John O’Shea saw Single Gaze’s gutsy second in the group 3 Black Opal Stakes (1200m) on March 8 first hand, with the Nick Olive-trained filly beating home both of his hopes, Antelucan and Chamarel.

He’s since rewatched the race several times and that only confirmed his thoughts.

“[O’Shea] phoned one of the owners and said, ‘Hey, I’ve watched the replay of the Black Opal a few times and can’t believe you guys aren’t going in the Golden Slipper’, so that’s what started it,” Keeley said.

The two-year-old filly has had little luck with barrier draws – her best gate being barrier five  when she debuted at Rosehill in November.

In the Wyong Magic Millions Classic (1100m) she drew 12 and then in the Black Opal she jumped from 11.

Now she’s got 16 for the Slipper, which will improve to 14 if the emergencies are scratched.

But, she is inside the favourite Vancouver, who drifted to $2.80 after drawing gate 18.

But Keeley said Single Gaze was a bit slow out of the gates anyway and they’d look for the fence early and ride for luck – just like Mossfun did last year.

“She doesn’t have enormous gate speed, if we had’ve drawn barrier five she probably would’ve dropped out anyway, so we’ve just got to drop out of the gates and get to the fence and ride for luck,” he said.

“We watched about 10 Golden Slippers this morning after the barrier draw and it fans out at the 300 metres.

Kathy O'Hara rides

Kathy O’Hara rides Single Gaze

“You can’t be posted seven or eight wide and hope to win a Golden Slipper, we’ve got to get in behind them and not be too far away and ride for luck at the 300.”

Connections opted to keep O’Hara on board after she guided Single Gaze to second in the Opal, despite Glyn Schofield and Tye Angland putting their whips up for the ride.

She’s ridden the chestnut in three of her four starts, with top hoop Damien Oliver preferred for the $2 million Magic Millions Two-year-old Classic (1200m), where she finished third.

He couldn’t make the weight for the Black Opal and Schofield would have ridden her in Canberra, but he got suspended and O’Hara got the nod.

Now the owners have shown faith in her for one of the biggest races in the world.

“We thought we’d go with the experience of her having ridden the horse three of its four starts,” Keeley said.

“She did nothing wrong in the Black Opal, she rode the horse well at Wyong.

“We did put Damien Oliver on at the Magic Millions, but he rang for the  ride and we thought it’s not every day of the week you get a Melbourne Cup-winning jockey that wants to ride your horse so we took advantage of that.”


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