Stathi Katsidis believes AJC Australian Derby winner Shoot Out is on target to emulate the legendary Phar Lap during the Melbourne spring.
The rising four-year-old, ridden by Katsidis, was beaten less than two lengths when second to tearaway leader The Chanster who led by six lengths in the middle stages.
Katsidis was impressed with Shoot Out’s trial and continues to be amazed by the gelding’s ability.
“He’s come back better than ever and I was rapt with his trial,” he said.
“He’s an amazing horse and he’s probably the best horse I’ve ridden.
“Until now the best two I’ve ridden were Show A Heart and Gold Edition. He’s a lot better than Show A Heart and it’s probably a little early to compare him with Gold Edition who was purely a sprinter, but potentially he’s better.”
Trainer John Wallace was delighted with Shoot Out’s work and has booked him on a 1am (AEST) flight on Wednesday week to Melbourne where he’ll resume in the Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on July 31.
Wallace and Katsidis aren’t concerned with history which shows Phar Lap was the last horse to win the AJC Australian Derby then the Melbourne Cup as a four-year-old, in 1929 and 1930 respectively.
The Gold Coast trainer also holds no fears about Shoot Out handling the left-handed Melbourne direction.
“He’s a very good horse and good horses can do anything,” Wallace said.
“I’m not saying he’s as good as Phar Lap or anything like that but there hasn’t been many attempts at the double Phar Lap won and hopefully my bloke is good enough to do it.”
Wallace conceded Shoot Out still had to prove himself over 3200 metres but rated him a better stayer than Oompala who finished third to Jeune in the 1994 Melbourne Cup.
“I suppose the jury is still out with him running two miles but I think he can do it and I think he’s better than Oompala,” he said.
“I’m not worried about him running the Melbourne way. We’ve been working him twice a week that way at the Gold Coast and he seems to handle it fine.”
Katsidis is on the same page as Wallace despite admitting Shoot Out pulled hard in his AJC Australian Derby triumph.
“My instinct and gut feeling says he’ll handle 3200 metres,” Katsidis said.
“He pulled his brains out when he won the Derby but he’s older now and has got the breeding and stamina to run it.”
While Wallace ignored Phar Lap’s record, he did look at history and studied the successful spring campaigns of Makybe Diva and Maldivian before finalising Shoot Out’s Cox Plate campaign.
Wallace has included the Dato Tan Chin Nam at Moonee Valley, formerly the Feehan Stakes, on Shoot Out’s agenda after discovering both Makybe Diva and Maldivian ran in the race leading into their Cox Plate successes in 2005 and 2008 respectively.
Article by Glenn Davis Aapracing