Trainer John O’Shea is sweating on talented galloper Waihaha Falls gaining a start in the A$1 million The Hunter (1300m) at Newcastle on Saturday.
The five-year-old son of Sacred Falls is currently 22nd in order of entry with a capacity field of 16 runners for The Hunter, and as a result O’Shea has also nominated the gelding for the Karaka 2023 Benchmark 88 Handicap (1300m) on the same card.
Should Waihaha Falls gain a start in the day’s feature, it will be the second chance for a Waikato Stud bred and raced gelding to win a lucrative prize in New South Wales in recent weeks, with I Wish I Win triumphant in the A$10 million Golden Eagle (1500m) a fortnight ago.
Mark and Garry Chittick of Waikato Stud bred and race Waihaha Falls with Hawke’s Bay trainer Guy Lowry, who prepared the dam Mink.
After a slashing run for fourth in the A$2 million Sydney Stakes (1200m) last start, Waihaha Falls is ready to peak.
“I definitely have the right horse to be effective, but whether he gets a run is another thing,” O’Shea told Racing HQ.
“He would have got in last year’s race, but this year’s is a good bit stronger with a lot more participants.
“We were very happy with his efforts last start and with a little bit of luck he might have been right in the finish. We have him in another race on Saturday so he will definitely be going to the races but obviously our preference is to run in The Hunter.”
Kerrin McEvoy is on standby to ride Waihaha Falls in The Hunter, a race O’Shea won last year with New Zealand-bred sprinter Lost And Running.
Should Waihaha Falls not make The Hunter field, apprentice Reece Jones will ride him in the Benchmark race to reduce his top weight.
The Randwick trainer will also saddle promising three-year-old Saveadateforme at Newcastle on Saturday, who sports the colours of syndicators Go Racing.
The son of Savabeel is chasing a hat-trick of wins in the Gr.3 New Zealand Bloodstock 3YO Spring Stakes (1600m) after soft wins at Kembla Grange and Goulburn.
“We always thought quite highly of him and he did a good job when he won his maiden and then made the progression to get to a mile on good ground (last start),” O’Shea said.
“It is a jump in grade for him but he is a progressive young horse and he has a lovely turn of speed, he executes very well and has a great attitude to it all. We are really looking forward to Saturday and hopefully he can draw a nice gate.”
Last start Rosehill winner Cotehele will also contest the Benchmark 88 Handicap as the son of Tavistock aims to build on his four career victories to date.
“He is going to run the same race against Waihaha Falls. He loves the 1300m and a nice flowing pace and he did a good job the other day. He is in really good form,” O’Shea said.
Meanwhile, O’Shea confirmed Hawkesbury Ladies Day Cup winner Kirwan’s Lane, a son of Charm Spirit, is being saved for the A$1 million The Gong (1500m) at Kembla Grange on November 19.