Egg Tart on track for Caulfield Cup after long-awaited return to form

Egg Tart will bypass this week’s Brisbane Cup to concentrate on a campaign aimed at the $5 million Caulfield Cup after finally returning to winning form in Saturday’s Group 2 P.J. O’Shea Stakes at Caloundra.

Egg Tart had not won since last year’s Queensland Oaks, which completed six straight wins for the then filly, highlighted by two Group 1s.

But her spring campaign did not go to plan after a black eye derailed her Epsom Handicap tilt.

Trainer Chris Waller also later admitted he had erred by not giving the daughter of Sebring her chance over longer distances.

She showed her appreciation for 2000m with a strong second in the Doomben Cup and lapped up the 2200m under Leith Innes in Saturday’s O’Shea.

The big story of the race was the extraordinary betting drift. Egg Tart opened the morning at around the $1.60 mark and despite the late scratching of stablemate One Foot In Heaven, eased dramatically right throughout betting. Her starting price of $2.30 was hard to fathom and was a kick in the eye for the “they knew”club.

Waller’s Queensland representative Pail Shailer said Egg Tart will now spell immediately in Queensland, before a spring campaign aimed at the Caulfield Cup.

“Today was an afterthought to check with the distance and she’s run it out easily,” he said.

Olly Koolman, representing the owners of the mare, said being a dual Oaks winner, it was sometimes difficult to gauge what their best distance will be as older horses.

“Sometimes they just win those races on class alone, so with all the money available we had to look at races like the Epsom in the spring,” he said.

“But clearly she is a mare that wants ground and that’s the way she will be trained from now on.”

Saturday was a milestone for Waller, who broke his own national prizemoney record, still with just under two months to run in the season.

Dagny’s win at Rosehill took his tally to $30.4million. – Nathan Exelby, The Sunday Mail