Omar’s best yet to come

FIGHTING QUALITIES:  Intense Focus, ridden by Kerrin McEvoy, held off all challengers in a tough win at Kembla Grange. Picture: Sylvia Liber
FIGHTING QUALITIES: Intense Focus, ridden by Kerrin McEvoy, held off all challengers in a tough win at Kembla Grange. Picture: Sylvia Liber

James Innes jnr reckons the penny is still to drop with Omar.

When it does, there’s a big chance trainer Gerald Ryan could have a high quality three-year-old on his hands.

At his first start since being gelded, the son of Snitzel put on a dominant sprinting performance in the Illawarra Diggers 3 Or Less Maiden Handicap (1000m) at Kembla Grange on Thursday.

Inner was always in control as Omar ($2.10) led from barrier to box in a two-length victory over the Peter and Paul Snowden trained Oyster Bay ($2.90), with Jason Coyle’s Spiritual Pursuit ($8) well back in third.

"It was very impressive," Innes Jnr said.

"He has always shown us this at time, he has just been a bit of a tricky one. He is a progressive type going forward.

"He has a lot to learn still, it is just a matter of the penny dropping with him and going through his grades."

Omar’s sprinted home in a slick 32.42 seconds for his last 600m. Innes wasn’t willing to predict just how much Omar would progress this preparation, but the promising sprinter will undoubtedly give his trainer something to ponder in the spring. Omar wasn’t the only three-year-old to impress on the afternoon. 

Snowden pair Invincible Lad and Intense Focus continued the Sydney stable’s sizzling form at the Illawarra Turf Club. After training four winners at Kembla last Saturday, Invincible Lad helped the stable start their day off on the right note with a determined win in the Duck Creek Dash Class 1 Handicap (1000m). 

Intense Focus demonstrated similar fighting qualities to his stablemate. Left out in front a long way from home in the Dolans Bay Probus Club 3YO Maiden Plate (1400m), the classy son of Mossman showed a strong kick to fight off Kara’s Hope ($4.60) by a half length. 

"He's probably 90% a horse as in, this time of year they are looking to get their toe in,” Paul Snowden said. 

"I think just a bit of greenness when he was got well front. It is always a bit of a cliche here when you get a horse that shoots a length and a half in front. They always stop and star gaze.

"I was pretty confident once one got near him that he was going to hold them off.”

Snowden said Intense Focus would most likely head to the paddock after the win. 

"He is very immature so he is going to learn a lot from this preparation,” he said.

"The tracks are awfully hard for horses that are looking for a bit of cut in the ground. He is not the only one. Everyone usually has there wet trackers in at this time of year because of the rain. It is unsuitable that we aren't getting it but he is certainly a horse that has a heap of potential.”

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