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O'Shea Maintains Faith With Exosphere
Godolphin trainer John O'Shea is confident that racegoers will see the real Exosphere when the star colt contests Saturday's Gr1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick. Exosphere was last seen finishing fourth behind Chautauqua in the Gr1 Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on 20 February. The colt's performance to finish only 1.7 lengths from the winner was quite outstanding given that he raced on the inside section of the track which was deemed far inferior on the day. The son of Lonhro completed his final gallop in preparation for Saturday's $2.5 million Gr1 feature when working over 1000 metres with stable-mate Painted Firetail yesterday morning. With regular rider James McDonald in the saddle, Exosphere quickened nicely over the final 200 without coming off the bit. "It was a fairly leisurely piece of work, but he did it well. We're looking forward to everyone seeing what he can do," O'Shea told Godolphin.com. "That's exactly what I wanted him to do, he's fit and well and there's no question that he's come on a lot since returning from Melbourne. He's bright in himself, his coat has improved, we're all very pleased with him." While O'Shea was disappointed with the result in the Lightning Stakes, he was full of praise for the horse. "We're not dwelling on it because it was an outstanding run," he said. "His trial at Randwick the other day showed us he was in very good shape and his work this morning confirmed that." Exosphere is currently the $2.70 TAB favourite for the TJ Smith Stakes ahead of his last-start conqueror Chautauqua at $3.40 and the Gai Waterhouse-trained filly English at $9.