John O’Shea is using one of the many bits of advice that Bart Cummings gave him when Contributer returns in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
“The old fella told me you always need a run at the Valley. That is where Contributer’s grand final is going to be, so that is why we starting in Melbourne instead of Sydney,” said O’Shea, who spent a couple of years learning at the Cummings stable. “It was just great for a boy from north Queensland to work under a living legend and I learned so much at Bart’s [stable] and it has stayed with me.”
O’Shea is one of numerous trainers to spend time picking Cummings’ brains before going out on their own. He has the biggest job in Australia heading the Godolphin team, which will continue to roll out its spring team on Saturday.
Contributer heads into the spring as a potential star after winning the Chipping Norton Stakes and Ranvet Stakes in autumn before injury saw him withdrawn from the Queen Elizabeth Stakes the day before the $4 million contest.
Hartnell, the BMW winner in the autumn, will step out in the Chelmsford Stakes at Randwick but the pair aren’t being separated by the stable intentionally.
“I would have actually liked Contributer to stay a bit longer in Sydney but he needs to have that look at the Valley in a race,” O’Shea said. “The Chelmsford suits Hartnell and he has come very well and if you remember he ran a great race first-up at the mile last prep [when second to Contributer in the Chipping Norton Stakes].”
O’Shea said Up And Coming Stakes winner Shards will probably not run in the Ming Dynasty Quality on Saturday and be saved for the Golden Rose on September 13, where he will join impressive Run To The Rose winner Exosphere and Holler, which was a game third to his stable mate on Saturday.
Godolphin will have another three-year-old starting a preparation at Randwick. Classy filly Ottoman, which finished her autumn campaign by winning the Percy Sykes Stakes, will make her reappearance in the Furious Stakes on Saturday. “She is a bit like Exosphere in that she has really grown and matured. She has only had the one trial where Exosphere beat her but it was solid enough,” O’Shea said. “She is another one we are looking forward too.”
Godolphin will have four runners in the Tramway Quality – Australian Derby runner-up Hauraki, Sweynesse, It’s Somewhat and Malice. John Thompson will also use the Tramway as the starting point for First Seal, after she had to be scratched from the Warwick Stakes a couple of Saturdays ago because of a foot abscess.
“She had a good gallop at Rosehill on Saturday and is ready to go to the races. She is very fit,” Thompson said.