As the final details are sorted for stablemate Dominant King to be sold to Hong Kong, it leaves Shooting For Gold having a bit to live up to in a bid to fill the void this summer.
Steve O’Dea and Matt Hoysted have trained the pair of promising three-year-olds for long-time stable owner Joe Rapisarda.
Dominant King caught the attention of international buyers winning first up and then heightened their interest clocking fast time at Doomben next time out.
Rapisarda found the offers too good to refuse and provided there’s no issue with the final vet check, he’s run his last race here.
Ironically though, if Shooting For Gold’s sale to Hong Kong didn’t fall through, Dominant King would likely have been retained.
So that means Shooting For Gold has a bit to live up to, starting with Saturday’s Winning Rupert Plate, where bookmakers have marked him a short-priced favourite.
“Joe had offers on the horse and was going to take them, but one day Matty rung me and said you’re not going to believe this, he’s started wind sucking,” O’Dea said.
“Neither of us had ever seen him do it before, so he mustn’t have liked the idea of going over there!”
O’Dea said he understands why international buyers shy away from wind suckers, especially in the confined environment of Hong Kong, but in his experience, it hasn’t hindered their racing ability.
This preparation is all about finding out if Shooting For Gold can run the 1400m of the Magic Millions Guineas.
“To be fair probably until this prep we had (Dominant King) always pegged as a better horse than Shooting For Gold,” O’Dea said.
“But Shooting For Gold showed marked improvement in that last preparation.
“They are two different horses. Shooting For Gold is pretty brilliant, probably going to be more a short course horse, but in saying that he’s only had one racing preparation.
“A couple of times we gave him a squeeze out of the gates and he’s been happy to switch off.
“It’s going to be quite interesting to see how he goes when we stretch him out a bit more.
“Certainly he’s stakes class, but what his ideal trip is, we have to find out.”
Shooting For Gold looked sharp at the Doomben trials on Tuesday, clocking the quickest of 10 840m heats during the session.
“He was only away from the stable for a month but we think he’s shown good improvement,” O’Dea said.
“It’s been a hot week, so I suppose that’s a little query trialling so well and whether that might take the edge off him, but he’s going 1200m first up so we didn’t want him too much on the fresh side and even though he trialled so well, he certainly wasn’t asked for an effort.”
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