Wide draw no worry for McDonald on Souchez

Souchez has landed a betting plunge in a stakes race at Flemington after being at death’s door less than six months ago.

The Godolphin-trained galloper was backed from $20 to $10 before winning the Hilton Stakes on Saturday.

Trainer John O’Shea explained Souchez became ill after finishing fourth in the Group One JJ Atkins Stakes at Eagle Farm in June.

“We thought we were going to lose him,” O’Shea said.

“It’s been a big effort by all the staff to get him back.”

Ridden by James McDonald, Souchez overcame a wide draw to score a short-neck victory over Inside Agent ($10) with Man From Uncle ($15) the same margin away third.

O’Shea is likely to resist the temptation of starting Souchez in next week’s Sandown Guineas but may send the son of Lonhro to Perth for the WA Guineas at Ascot on November 19.

Longer term plans for the three-year-old may include the back end of the Sydney autumn carnival before extending to the Stradbroke Handicap in Queensland.

O’Shea complimented McDonald on his ride after saying the jockey had been out of sorts after finishing third aboard Hartnell in Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup.

“He really took the defeat hard but has bounced back well today with an outstanding ride from the wide barrier,” O’Shea said.

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