Impressive Osman prevails in Bathurst Soldier’s Saddle

Connections of the Mack Griffith-trained Osman, which won Tuesday’s Bathurst Soldier’s Saddle. Photo: Racing Photography.

The Mack Griffith-trained Osman continues to impress, with the four-year-old now a five-time winner in just 13 starts, earning just shy of $100,000. 

Most recently, the American Pharoah gelding strung together back-to-back wins, taking out the 1400m Class Three Handicap at Scone on April 17 before backing up at Bathurst on Anzac Day (Tuesday) to win the $37,000 Soldier’s Saddle (1400m). 

The Gooree Stud-owned galloper had Grant Buckley in the saddle for the seven-furlong event, and he went straight to the front, running the field along at a good clip. 

Despite some mid-race pressure, the $2.25 favourite kicked on the Bathurst home straight and held on by 0.8 of a length from the Alison Smith-trained How’s It Kev (William Stanley, $5), while almost four lengths back in third was the Dean Mirfin-trained Whatsin (Nick Heywood, $9). 

“He’s won his last two starts really well, and both times they have been great rides,” Griffith said. 

“It’s a nice race to win, and you like to win those races, and it was good to see a country horse win it and not one of those city ones.”

The Mudgee galloper has always shown some ability, but he has raced exceptionally well since winning his maiden at Coonamble last year, bringing up his five victories in 10 months. 

“He had a few injury concerns early days, and it was always going to take a while with him,” Griffith said.

“Gooree are always patient with their horses, and once he was right, we got stuck into him, pushed the button and away he went.”

Osman could contest the Gooree Cup (1400m) on May 7.

“We’ve hoped he would step up each time, and he has every time we’ve raised the bar,” Griffith said. 

“The Gooree Cup is in a couple of weeks, and that’s where he will go, but we want to make sure he is going good enough as it’s his owner’s race, and we don’t want to embarrass them either.”

Griffith believes his galloper will be up to the challenge, with the noted front-runner set to take some catching in the $40,000 feature. 

“Those good horses will be up in the weight, and he won’t have to carry a lot,” Griffith said. 

“With the way he races, he’ll roll forward and hopefully kick at the end, and with no weight, he’ll take some catching.” 

As far as what the future holds, Griffith said it was a matter of finding suitable races for him. 

Still, he conceded that it was a little more complicated these days, with so many good horses being set for major Country Cups in a bid to qualify for the Big Dance and Little Dance finals. 

“He is a good Country Cups horse, but the Big Dance means those Country Cups aren’t really country races anymore,” Griffith said. 

“The old Country Cups would have suited him, but in those Big Dance qualifiers, all the Sydney horses come, and it makes it a bit hard, and even if he were to qualify, he’d be no chance in the final against those good horses.”

It was a big day at Bathurst on Anzac Day, and in the 2YO Gold Nugget (1100m), the Michael Freedman-trained Queen of the Mile (Shaun Guymer, $3.60) was a comfortable winner.

In the Bill Aspros Cup (1100m), the Bjorn Baker-trained Opito Ballerina (Shaun Guymer, $2.90) was another classy winner. 

For Bathurst results, click here.