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O'Dea and Hoysted to focus on home front in 2024 winter

3 minute read

Having travelled far and wide chasing Group level fortunes in recent campaigns, the powerful O'Dea and Hoysted team will have their strongest winter presence yet later this year.

UNCOMMON JAMES.
UNCOMMON JAMES. Picture: Michael McInally/Racing Queensland

The stable of co-trainers Steven O'Dea and Matthew Hoysted have tasted the majority of their greatest success in their tenure as a partnership interstate, including the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate with Uncommon James and Scallopini's Group 3 Shaftesbury Avenue Handicap.

While they have continued to churn out winners on the home front back in Brisbane, they are yet to claim a 'major' triumph in Queensland.

Co-trainer Hoysted says the team is eager for that to change come the 2024 Queensland Racing Carnival as they have prioritised racing in their own backyard over the coming months.

That is underlined by Uncommon James having just one Sydney start in his short upcoming campaign before heading back home for a string of big-time Sunshine State events.

"Winning big races away from home is good and puts the spotlight on us in those southern states," Hoysted said.

"But, obviously close to home, you want to be having that big presence up here. Travelling away as we have over the last year now has thinned out our crop here through the winter carnival.

"We have put a fair bit of significance on having a nice, strong team to be able to be competing and having as much of our better quality horses that we do have here competing through our winter carnival."

Uncommon James heads south for the Group 1 The Galaxy in a month in Sydney before aiming up to races such as the Group 2 Victory Stakes at Eagle Farm in May, the Doomben 10,000 thereafter and then potentially a couple of other big ones later in the carnival.

Uncommon James is set to become a Brisbane carnival headline galloper later this year. 

"He has not been able to race up here through our winter for a while as he has been travelling away," Hoysted said.

"He has had a busy time of it, constantly moving around. We wanted to give him the opportunity of being in a familiar environment, obviously being here and targeting these races.

"It is hard to be winning races anywhere but we thought having him in his own environment and giving him his chance here, that is what we wanted to prioritise this prep.

"After the Doomben 10,000, the Kingsford Smith will be the fork in the road whether he goes on to the Stradbroke. He's never been past 1200 metres but I've always thought he would get further."

Now a five-year-old, Uncommon James returned for the first time this year in a trial at Doomben earlier this month in the hands of stable apprentice Emily Lang.

He looked sharp in his first outing since finishing third to star New Zealander Imperatriz in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley in late October.

The plan is for Uncommon James to have another jump-out at Doomben – where he will be asked for a more serious effort than what he produced in his first trial - before eventually making his way to Sydney for The Galaxy.

"His trial was fantastic and he ran fast time," Hoysted said.

"He's been in work about nine weeks and is coming along very well. He was super, he seemed to have come back in tremendous order."

With some lofty ambitions for their star sprinter on the horizon, Hoysted has described the gelding as the 'finished product' as a race horse and he is set to unleash through the winter of 2024.

"The change this prep compared to previous prep's is that he has not had to have as long of a spell," he said.

"We feel his fitness levels are probably a bit better than what they have been at a similar stage of his preparation previously.

"He is very much the finished product now with all the travelling we have done, he has definitely grown up now and each prep we have seen that improvement in him.

"He was a bit timid and a bit of a scaredy cat at times but he really seems to have grown up of late and we think he is hopefully in for his best prep to date."

It is not just Uncommon James that the stable have high hopes for come the carnival.

Hoysted identified Appin Girl as another carnival contender, noting nothing went right for her in her two-run Melbourne campaign last year.

The Dalrello Stakes winner from last year has not been at the races since finishing third in the Group 3 Red Roses Stakes at Flemington in early November.

Unbeaten filly Fortuneer is another the stable have ambitions with.

She is yet to taste defeat in three career starts and while she will be racing through the winter, her long-term goal will be the Magic Millions of 2025.


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