John O’Shea is backing improving sprinter Pizarro to step up and compete well against stars Golden Mile and Forbidden Love in the Expressway Stakes at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
The four-year-old goes into the $250,000 feature over 1200m as a $9 winning chance with online bookmakers.
Last year’s Canterbury Stakes and George Ryder Stakes winner for Michael Freedman, Forbidden Love, is a $3 fancy.
Reigning Caulfield Guineas champion Golden Mile is the $2.15 favourite for James Cummings.
Despite scratching Pizarro from a benchmark race at Rosehill on the same schedule, O’Shea has plenty of belief his gelding belongs in Group 2 company.
That is because Forbidden Love had a winless 2022, while Golden Mile is new to weight-for-age racing and likes to settle off the pace.
O’Shea is hoping to capitalise on this.
“To me, it’s a funny race. It is hard to price Michael Freedman’s mare (Forbidden Love),” he told Sky Racing.
“If she brings her A-game the race is probably all over, but there is a little query on her.
“And a three-year-old first time at weight-for-age, there’s a query there.
“It’s an interesting race and that’s why we were happy to go to this race with our horse.
“He is fit and well and he may not be at this level at this stage of his career, but he will end up at this level at some stage of his career.”
READ: Rosehill preview, best bets & quaddie tips – Saturday, January 28
Pizarro has finished in the top three in all nine career starts.
The talented short-distance runner was without luck first-up when he couldn’t find an opening, before getting out when the race was over.
He still did his best work late to finish third to Titanium Power over the Expressway course and distance on January 7.
“We’ve always thought quite highly of him,” O’Shea said.
“He has been a work in progress in terms of teaching him how to race.
“He can get aggressive at times, but he’s got a lovely turn of speed and the All Too Hard’s get better as they get older.”
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