O'Shea has Golden Slipper Hopes

John O’Shea believes suspicions about the strength of this year’s Magic Millions field – and its validity as a form reference – are well founded as he prepares to play his strongest Golden Slipper hand in 10 years of training.

“I don’t mind Paprika as a horse and Carlton Forward has a future but I don’t think we saw the Golden Slipper winner in the Magic Millions,” O’Shea, who prepared Espurante to win a support race on Saturday, said.

Paprika was tipped out in an exciting Magic Millions finish by the unfancied Phelan Ready, bringing the Queensland filly’s winning streak to an end.

But while O’Shea is indifferent about the $2 million race producing a horse good enough to figure during the Sydney autumn carnival and beyond, his enthusiasm for his team of two-year-olds is at an all-time high.

“I think this year I’ve got a real good shot at winning the Golden Slipper,” he said.

“For overall depth in the stable, this is the best lot of two-year-olds I’ve had.

“There haven’t been too many times at the races or at the trials this season when I have been disappointed.”

O’Shea’s exposed two-year-old team includes recent stable addition Wanted, Rosehill placegetter Riding To Win and Encosta De Lago colt Trounce.

Riding To Win is a $17 chance in latest Golden Slipper betting with Wanted at $21 and Trounce at $41.

Trounce will be the latest of O’Shea’s babies to be put under the raceday microscope at Rosehill on Saturday.

“I rate him. He was under restraint when he won his trial,” O’Shea said.

Trounce, one of 10 nominations for an 1100-metre colts and geldings handicap, looked a likely prospect in a 740-metre Randwick barrier trial win on December 30 despite clocking the slowest time of four two-year-old heats.

O’Shea, who trained 2004 Golden Slipper runner-up Charge Forward, said he was even more confident of Trounce making a first-up impression when he learned there would be a separate division for fillies on Saturday.

Among 14 nominations for the fillies race is More Joyous, a richly-bred filly on debut for Gai Waterhouse.

More Joyous ran one second quicker than Trounce in winning her barrier trial on the same day.

“She would have been one horse that I would have been frightened of,” O’Shea said.

More Joyous, the second foal from Group One-winning mare Sunday Joy, shares the third line of Golden Slipper betting at $15 after opening at $26

By Warwick Barr