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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


THURSDAY: July 14, 2022: ROYAL RANDWICK trainer John O’Shea’s second stable at Hawkesbury continues to gain momentum.

The multiple Group 1 winning trainer won his fifth race this season from his provincial base, producing lightly-raced Kokoro for a stylish first-up performance today at the Grafton carnival.

Having his first start since mid-March, the three-year-old was heavily supported to start a $1.85 favorite in the Class 1 Showcase Handicap (1400m), and Hugh Bowman got him home narrowly from Bullet Wing ($5.50) and $61 outsider Mariinsky.

A $160,000 purchase from the Inglis Melbourne Premier yearling Book 1 sale in 2020, Kokoro clinched his second win from only six starts.

He had won a 1600m Maiden at Goulburn last October.

Whilst Kokoro had trialled only once, when a close fourth over 1000m at Hawkesbury on June 21, O’Shea was confident the gelding was ready to tackle 1400m first-up.

“As well as the trial, we were able to give him a jumpout at Hawkesbury, and that certainly helped prepare him for Grafton,” O’Shea said this evening.

“It looked a nice target, and we’ll get him home and look to find another suitable race in the coming weeks.”

Kokoro’s Japanese sire Real Impact won the 2015 Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens before finishing second to Kermadec in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile at Randwick just over a fortnight later.

The three-year-old is the first Australian foal of the Irish mare Close To My Heart, a daughter of Fastnet Rock.

. Kokoro’s success followed on from O’Shea’s triumph with Southern Lad from his Randwick stable in last year’s Listed Ramornie Handicap (1200m) at the Grafton carnival.

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