Whether the history books are a bigger hurdle than superstar Zaaki is the big question facing John O’Shea’s talented galloper Diamil in Saturday’s Listed $200,000 Buterin L’Estrange Gosford Gold Cup (2100m).
The five-year-old will have to break a weight carrying record and shoulder 60.5kg if he’s to win the Cup and O’Shea respects that task but believes he’s better placed at Gosford than in the Hollindale against Zaaki at weight-for-age on the Sunshine Coast.
However, last year’s winner Numerian carried 59.5kg to eclipse the 59kg record set by Darbaas in 1986 and matched by Red Excitement in 2017 – since weights went metric 50 years ago in 1973.
Diamil won third-up for the second preparation in a row when he claimed the Group 3 JRA Plate (2000m) on April 15 and O’Shea said he’s come on from that win.
“It’s a big enough challenge but from my perspective he’s (4/1) at Gosford and 10/1 in the Hollindale,’’ O’Shea said.
“He was three weeks between runs, third-up, when he won the race at Randwick and he was always going to take improvement from it. And he has taken that improvement and we’re really happy.”
Sydney’s champion apprentice Tyler Schiller has been charged with the job of steering Diamil and O’Shea said he’s more than happy to have the young gun in the saddle.
Diamil jumps from the inside alley and the trainer hopes he can set up a Brisbane campaign with a strong performance.
“We made a conscious decision with James (McDonald) away and Hugh (Bowman) and Brenton (Avdulla) in Hong Kong, they are normally our three go to jockeys, and Tyler has put his hand up with his position on the premierships,’’ he said.
“It’s going to be important for him to jump. Hopefully he’s not going to be too far from them.
“We want to watch what transpires in Queensland and if he was to run well we could give consideration to the Q22 or the Doomben Cup.”
Schiller also partners O’Shea’s promising filly Fall For Cindy in the Tooheys Handicap (1600m).
The three-year-old has won two of her past three starts, split by a fourth in the Group 3 Carbine Club, and she scored on Anzac Day despite being asked to settle right on the speed.
“We’ve always thought quite highly of her and her last two runs have been very good,’’ he said.
“It’s a nice progression after her performance on the Kenso.
“The other day we had to ride her out of her comfort zone because of the way the track was playing and I’d imagine we might have to ride her similarly.”
O’Shea warned not to discount Comme Bella Fille in the Prestige Wedding & Event Hire Handicap (2100m) as her form isn’t reflecting what O’Shea is seeing at home.
She’s finished near the tail in two runs back but the trainer is adamant if she can find the right passage in Saturday’s race the mare can return to the sort of form she was in last winter.
“It’s been a function of the barriers more than how well she’s going,’’ he said.
“Her trials have been good and her work has been great but unfortunately because of where she’s drawn in unsuitable races she’s having to go right back to get in and she’s not getting into the race.
“We need to give her an opportunity to get her into a race before we make an assessment on whether she’s going well or not.”
– Racing NSW