John O’Shea Is Realistic On His Chances In The Derby & T.J. Smith

Black Caviar returns to Randwick and the unbeaten wonder horse has made sure Derby Day at headquarters is a sell out.

Looking to win for the 25th time Black Caviar is chasing a 15th group 1 victory which will set a new mark for the three decade old classification system.

And those in charge have teased for Black Caviar will contest the final event, the TJ Smith Stakes which she won two years ago in what was a truly remarkable performance.

Due in part to the hulk Hay List, which has chased her home on four occasions at the highest level, ever so fleetingly making Black Caviar dig a little deeper.

An under done Hay List is one of 10 rivals for Black Caviar as is the John O’Shea-trained multiple group 1 winning mare Sea Siren while her stablemate Kingdoms is an outsider in the Australian Derby.

That classic is dominated by the Kiwi sensation It’s A Dundeel which is looking to become the first three-year-old since the mighty Octagonal to win the coveted Triple Crown.

The odds about It’s A Dundeel completing the feat are marginally better than those being offered about Black Caviar remaining unbeaten.

“Winning one of them would be fantastic but obviously being a realist it is unlikely,” O’Shea said on Friday.

“What I’d say is if you didn’t have those two shorted priced favourites in those races, I’d be going in happy.

“Both my horses have had the right preparation.”

Sea Siren returned to racing in the Galaxy at Rosehill a fortnight ago and under 56kg finished sixth to the rejuvenated Bel Sprinter which is also a TJ Smith runner.

“My mare is a three time group 1 winner at weight-for-age and apart from the favourite there are not many with those credentials,” O’Shea said.

“She wasn’t quite ready the other day under the big weight and she was ridden too far forward. We’ll ride her a bit more conservative tomorrow, she is up to her right distance and she is proven at weight-for-age.”

Many believe this is the toughest test the Peter Moody-trained Black Caviar has encountered in recent times.

“This is the best sprint race of the year and from barrier one she is going to punch up, Rain Affair will run them along and she’ll come off his back whenever she likes,” O’Shea said.

“No-one has ever doubted her ability. Peter is adamant she is going as good as ever and if that’s the case she will in a hand canter.”

Kingdoms is by gun sire High Chaparral which has four runners in the Derby including It’s A Dundeel. Kingdoms has been to the races five times and recorded a win at Kembla Grange but the classic has been the sole aim.

“He is a really nice horse,” O’Shea said.

“He is a very fit horse and his work has been what I’ve wanted. I do think there is a very good race in him.”

As for It’s A Dundeel O’Shea said “you’ve got to go back to Beau Zam to find one as short as him in derby markets and he was some horse”.

By Craig Young

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