Steve O’Dea plans out spring targets

Steve O’Dea narrowly missed out on feature success with Scallopini at Caulfield last Saturday and Victorian racing fans should get used to seeing more of his team in Black Type sprints before winter ends.

The Brisbane trainer, who operates in partnership with Matthew Hoysted, has two other horses he will produce in Melbourne next month.

Shooting For Gold travelled down with Scallopini and will contest Saturday week’s G3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) at Flemington, while Uncommon James will soon arrive with the following week’s G3 Regal Roller Stakes (1200m) his first target.

The latter has created a huge reputation with four wins after a debut second placing and O’Dea said the gelding, who turns four on Monday, had earned a shot at better races.

“He’s a horse that’s still only really lightly-raced and I think he’s only going to continue to improve with the more racing he does,” O’Dea said.

The son of Cable Bay booked his trip south with an effortless 2-1/4-length win at Doomben on July 9, which followed a similarly dominant 2-1/2-length win at Eagle Farm on June 25.

O’Dea considers the early-season features a good chance to test the waters and how Uncommon James performs in the Regal Roller and the Listed Chautauqua Stakes (1200m) at The Valley on September 3 will determine the length of his southern campaign.

“It’s probably not a prep that we want to go too deep in, we don’t want to ask too much of him in this one preparation, but we’ll see how he goes in first those two runs and make a call from there.”

Shooting For Gold is more exposed, having had 17 starts for seven wins, but he hasn’t won in four starts this preparation, including fourth placings at his past three starts, most recently in the G3 W.J. Healy Stakes (1200m) at Eagle Farm on June 25.

“He didn’t have a lot of luck over the Winter Carnival, but we think he’s a pretty smart horse and I definitely think he should be able to measure up down there,” O’Dea said of the son of Shooting To Win.

“A lot of the time in those straight races they can go out quite easy and then turn it into a sprint home and he’s a horse we know has got a really good turn of foot.”

Meanwhile, Scallopini, who beat home all bar King Of Sparta in Saturday’s G3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) will head to the G2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 13.

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