Opacity (closest to camera) on his way to winning at Randwick. Photo: bradleyphotos.com.au
The Gr.1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) and the A$7.5 million Golden Eagle (1500m) figure among the spring options for Opacity (NZ), a three-year-old son of Ocean Park who has continued building on a promising start to his racing career with another Randwick win.
The John O’Shea-trained gelding got to the right part of the track out wide in Saturday’s TAB Handicap (1600m) and burst through between runners under Hugh Bowman to register his fifth win from seven starts in narrow but impressive fashion.
It was a second straight Randwick win for the three-year-old gelding who was initially to be aimed at the Queensland Guineas before that race was scrapped this year in a revised Brisbane carnival because of the coronavirus.
“He had been set for the Queensland Guineas (Gr.2, 1600m) from the day he went to the paddock after he won at Canterbury over the 1900m (in February),” O’Shea said.
“Today was meant to be that day, it’s just not to be. But all the same he’s had a good seasoning campaign. He continues to put ones next to his name and I think Hugh thinks quite highly of him. He’s won on him his last two goes.
“So when he gets down in the weights, and if he got into something like an Epsom on 50kg or 51kg I think he’d have plenty to offer.”
O’Shea indicated the lucrative Golden Eagle for four-year-olds is a good option to have in the spring, and Opacity could continue his current campaign next week in a bid to bolster his prospects for later in the year.
“We’ve actually got him in next Saturday just for the opportunity to try and get his rating up a little bit more,” O’Shea said.
The path plotted by the Randwick horseman mirrors that of last year’s Epsom and Golden Eagle winner Kolding (NZ), also a son of Waikato Stud stallion Ocean Park.
Opacity, the $4.20 favourite, carried 59kg to a half-neck victory over Word For Word (So You Think) with Orcein (Snitzel) 1-1/2 lengths away third, giving Bowman a winning double having also won on Lando Bay (Sebring).
The talented chestnut sports the colours of Champion Thoroughbreds, with principal Jason Abrahams having purchased Opacity in conjunction with O’Shea for $70,000 from the Landsdowne Park draft during Book 1 at the Karaka Yearling Sales in 2018.
“He really is an interesting horse as he has a great nature and is trouble free,” Abrahams said of the gelding who has now taken his record to five wins and a second placing from seven starts.
“He wouldn’t know what a vet looks like as he is just so, touch wood, sound.”
Opacity was not the only son of Ocean Park to represent O’Shea and Abrahams on Saturday, with five-year-old Southern Lad (NZ) finishing a game runner-up to Classique Legend (Not A Single Doubt) in the Listed Bob Charley AO Stakes (1100m).
Abrahams is a fan of the New Zealand-bred product having sourced horses from the annual Karaka sales over a number of years including the multiple stakes winner Kuro (NZ) (Denman) who was also Group One placed in the 2015 Gr.1 The Galaxy (1100m).
“A lot of the owners in Opacity are kiwis and we love coming over to New Zealand at sales time,” he said.
“We are competitive in the market there and we picked this guy up for NZ$70,000 which made him a straight forward horse to buy as he stood out physically and it wasn’t hard to get a group together to buy into him at that price.
“Each year when you look at the results around Australia you see so many Kiwi-breds figuring heavily.
“The New Zealand farms bring their best horses to the sales so you are spoiled for choice.
“We bring a group over every year and the hospitality is amazing so when you get people in that environment, it is a pleasure to look at the horses and to work from there.”