Veloce Forte a star of future: O'Shea

HORSE RACING 

It's not often you see a potential Group 1 contender feature at Kembla Grange on a Monday afternoon.

But when the John O'Shea-prepared Veloce Forte saluted in the 1200m two-year-old Maiden Handicap (1200m), the soon-to-be Darley head trainer was pulling no punches about the bright future of his filly.

"She is as good as any filly I have ever put a saddle on," O'Shea said.

"I think she is a serious Group 1 filly. It may not be this preparation but when she gets to the spring I see a very, very good race in her."

It was some praise from the man who watched Group 2 placegetter White Sage score by seven lengths on debut at the same track.

And while Veloce Forte's 1½ length victory wasn't as convincing, signs were there to indicate the powerful filly could become a two-year-old autumn contender.

Jumping as the $1.80 favourite on track, the daughter of High Chaparral loomed just off-pace, before overhauling leader Vonetta inside the final 150m to earn a comfortable win.

There were still some marks of immaturity from the favourite, which took a while to get going, but classy hoop James McDonald kept her on task to shed her maiden tag at first attempt.

O'Shea will now take Veloce Forte to the Group 2 Magic Night Stakes at Rosehill in just under three weeks time before targeting Group 1 glory later in autumn.

"I think we will just head along this preparation and try and get her into the Sires' Produce and the Champagne Stakes," O'Shea said. "I will see how she pulls up [today] ... with the two-year-olds you never know."

Veloce Forte is currently a $26 outsider for the Sires' Produce with the TAB, with the Peter Snowden-trained boom filly Earthquake a $2.80 favourite.

Ironically, O'Shea will give up his filly to Snowden when he takes the reins at Darley at the end of autumn. However, Blue Diamond winner Earthquake will be switched to his care.

Meanwhile, just as one potential future talent left the track, a current star arrived in the parade ring.

Triple Group 1 and Keith Nolan Classic winner Appearance returned to Kembla for a gallop before continuing her stellar autumn campaign in Saturday's Canterbury Stakes.

The super mare has claimed back-to-back Group 2 wins in the Expressway Stakes (1200m) and Apollo Stakes (1400m) this campaign and trainer Guy Walter is expecting another strong performance this weekend.

"She is going very, very well. Over 1300m [in the Canterbury Stakes] and she hasn't run for three weeks, so it is a nice distance for her," Walter said. "Obviously it is a very tough race with Zoustar ... and horses like her stablemates Toydini and Streama."

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