John O’Shea will have two leading chances in the Tulloch Stakes at Rosehill and both are on trial for Derby tilts, albeit in different states.
Stroke Of Luck, who was Listed placed behind Williamsburg and Communist in the Dulcify Stakes last spring, drops back to three-year-old company after running the in-form Almania to within a length over 1900m last start.
If Stroke Of Luck can turn in another bold performance in the Tulloch Stakes (2000m), O’Shea is keen to back him up seven days later in the ATC Australian Derby (2400m).
“It looks a nice race for him on Saturday,” O’Shea said.
“He’s had the seasoning run against the older horses and the horse who beat him (Almania) was very unlucky in the Manion (Cup) on Saturday.
“He’s training on nicely and he’s going the right way to run in the Derby next Saturday.”
Stablemate Awesome John also heads into Saturday’s Group 2 race with handy formlines after being beaten just three lengths by top filly Zougotcha in the Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) last start.
A winner up to 1800m, the gelding should have no issue with the slightly longer Tulloch Stakes journey on Saturday, but O’Shea is in two-minds about whether he has the stamina for a Derby trip.
Awesome John holds entries for both the ATC and WATC Derbies but the latter is a more likely aim if the horse suggests he will stay.
“He’s been trained at that (2000 metre) trip now for the last month to run in this race,” O’Shea said.
“But I have a query on him at a mile-and-a-half.
“If we think he will run a mile-and-a-half he will probably go to Perth. If we don’t then he will probably stay here for a race like the Frank Packer (Plate).”
New Zealand Derby placegetter Full Of Sincerity is the early favourite for the Tulloch Stakes ahead of Stroke Of Luck, Major Beel and Awesome John with the top four in betting all at $5 and under.
– RAS NewsWire