John O’Shea never had a concern about Sea Siren handling the eight hour flight to Hong Kong for Sunday’s multi-million International meeting in Hong Kong.
The parochial Queenslander, who trains out of Randwick, was more concerned about the worldly opposition awaiting his group 1 winning mare in the $HK15 million Hong Kong Sprint.
“The Japanese horse Lord Kanaloa has drawn just inside us in six and he looks to be a brilliant sprinter,” O’Shea said on Friday.
“From that draw he’ll get a good run and may well be the one to beat.”
Having watched the 11 rivals awaiting Sea Siren go about early morning workouts at Sha Tin racetrack and having dissected the form O’Shea has narrowed the feature down to four chances.
The others being the local sprinters Lucky Nine, from the yard of Casper Fownes and Time After Time, which is part of Aussie John Moore’s premiership winning stable.
Lucky Nine will be ridden by Australian Brett Prebble, who rode Green Moon to victory in the Melbourne Cup, while Moore has called upon Hong Kong super jockey Douglas Whyte for Time After Time.
“Lucky Nine has to overcome the outside gate of 12 while Time After Time must step up in grade, to level weights, but he does have Whyte and Moore in his corner,” O’Shea said.
Grand slam winning jockey Jim Cassidy will launch Sea Siren from the seven barrier in the group 1 over 1200m.
“One reason we went over was because I didn’t think the travel would worry my mare and it didn’t,” O’Shea said.
“She has taken the travel in her stride. She had a gallop on Tuesday morning, the work was brilliant and she had a slide up yesterday morning.”
O’Shea came up short at this meeting three years ago when his multiple group 1 winner Racing To Win failed to reproduce anywhere near his best Australian efforts.
“It was a good experience, you get an understanding of what you have to do,” O’Shea said.
“A bit like going to Melbourne, you learn from experience and we’ve had a bit of luck down there at recent carnivals.”
O’Shea described the Hong Kong facilities as “outstanding” and reckons the HKJC “know how to look after you”.
“It really is a great day on the international calendar,” O’Shea said.
“You get the best horses from around the world here at a time in the year which suits everyone and it is a level playing field.
“It is drug free racing, the best horse wins with luck and that is all you can ask for in this game.”
O’Shea has Rock Dreaming running in the second at Rosehill on Saturday while Gangster’s Choice is first reserve for the Festival Stakes and Number One Gun resumes in the last event.
“Rock Dreaming disappointed me a little on debut but will definitely improve second-up,” O’Shea said.
“Gangster’s Choice has drawn awkward but is coming to his peak for the Villiers while Number One Gun has returned in good order and is getting ready for the Magic Millions.”
By Craig Young