Osborne Bulls (blue) is favourite to win his first G1 race in the Newmarket Handicap at Flemington.
Trainer James Cummings says Newmarket Handicap favourite Osborne Bulls is flying ahead of his bid to claim a first Group One win in the time-honoured sprint at Flemington.
With nine wins and five placings from 15 starts, including a third in the $13 million Everest and a fast-finishing second in the recent Group One Lightning Stakes, Osborne Bulls has emerged as one of Australia’s brightest sprinting talents.
He will have his third start at Group One level in Saturday’s Newmarket (1200m) and Cummings is confident the gelding is on target.
“He’s flying, Osborne Bulls,” Cummings said.
“He’s gone ahead since the Lightning.
“I think he’s going to enjoy another big challenge up the straight for him this weekend.
“He’s just in great shape so we’re quietly confident that we’ve got him where we visualised we might be able to have him at the very beginning of this preparation for a race like this.
“In a time-honoured handicap he’s got a wonderful opportunity to be one of the horses flying at the line when they’re at the business end.”
The Godolphin team considered taking Osborne Bulls to Dubai for the Al Quoz Sprint later this month but decided to keep him at home for local features.
“We’ve got the horse set up now and it’s time for him to deliver at Group One level,” Cummings said.
“His run had the flashing lights all over it in the weight-for-age Group One (Lightening) first-up a couple of weeks ago and now I think at 1200 metres he’s really got his chance.
“This is where the pressure starts to go on a horse like him and it will be fascinating to see how he handles that.”
Osborne Bulls has 56kg while his stablemate and last-start Oakleigh Plate runner-up Encryption has 51kg.
The pair worked in company on Tuesday morning at Flemington in preparation for the Newmarket.
Three-year-old Encryption will be having the third start of his campaign on Saturday, the same stage of his preparations when he won last year’s Black Opal Stakes and Danehill Stakes.
“We knew that he was probably half a run behind first-up over 1000 metres,” Cummings said.
“He was much better suited second-up in the Oakleigh Plate with that run under his belt and in a career-best performance I think that he’s really setting up nicely third-up.
“This is a great target for him and if he could win a Newmarket then with the page that he’s got he would solidify and cement his position at stud.”
By champion Lonhro, Encryption is the first foal out of four-time Group One winner Guelph.