Aided by a perfect steer from Tom Sherry, the John O’Shea-trained Athabascan has stormed home late to claim the Group 3 Colin Stephen Quality (2400m).
The $250,000 staying event at Rosehill saw Athabascan (+350) looking to string together multiple victories after claiming the Listed City Tatts Cup (2400m) on September 2.
Having settled towards the rear of the field, the four-year-old gelding was aided by a genuine tempo set by Sir Lucan (+1800), despite being next to last when the field cornered into the Randwick home straight.
Race favourite Al Aabir (+320) looked to have the race sewn up with 100m to go following an equally perfect steer from Joao Moreira after striking traffic issues early on in the home straight, but with a full head of speed behind him, Athabascan managed to arrive in time and secure victory in smart style.
The win was Athabascan’s third win at career start 18.
2023 Group 3 Colin Stephen Quality Replay – Athabascan | T: John O’Shea | J: Tom Sherry
Athabascan’s success was John O’Shea’s second win in the race having trained Allergic to victory in the 2016 edition of the Colin Stephen Quality.
“Gelding him has really helped him and a little bit of time. But he’s a real good stayer and I’ve always felt he was a nice horse with a future and he’s starting to repay us,” said O’Shea.
“He’ll go to the Bart Cummings, we want a ticket into the big one (Melbourne Cup) so he’s a young stayer that’s right at the top of his game and will take a power of beating in a couple of weeks.
“He’ll relish that, you seen him there today he never touched the bridle, he’s got a great turn of speed. He’s got 51 (kgs) I think in the Cup, we’ve just got to get him in there.”
The win handed jockey Tom Sherry his fifth Group level success and his fourth at Group 3 level.
“We got a nice cart through and he actually knuckled down and showed a good turn of foot, sustained it through the line and for a stayer to go back-to-back it’s not too easy. He’s done a good job.”
“Two weeks ago I took off on him and he sustained it, and he won. But, I was just concerned he didn’t have the turn of foot but he showed it today and he’s a horse with plenty of attributes.”
Athabascan is now a +4000 chance for the 2023 Melbourne Cup (3200m) with online bookmakers.