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Waterhouse's Epsom hand in the balance
Mandy Cottell
05:45 AEST Thu Sep 26 2013

There is no Group One racing at Rosehill on Saturday but the meeting will still hold great significance for Gai Waterhouse.

With the Queen's horse Carlton House ruled out of the Epsom Handicap, the strength of Waterhouse's hand in the Randwick mile will be decided when Our Desert Warrior and Ashokan line up in Saturday's Group Two Shannon Stakes (1500m).

Both are well down the order of entry and almost certainly need a victory to force their way into the Group One field.

Stablemate Spurtonic was not paid up for the Shannon and looks unlikely to make the cut for the Epsom, a race Waterhouse has won seven times.

"All those sort of horses need to win, Ashokan and Our Desert Warrior," Waterhouse said.

"The Cameron at Newcastle, last Saturday's race (Bill Ritchie Handicap) and the Shannon will dictate the (Epsom) field.

"It's just going to be a matter of which gets in or not."

Ashokan will back-up from his fourth in last Saturday's Bill Ritchie and Waterhouse has decided to remove the blinkers for the Shannon.

Exciting four-year-old Ecuador remains under consideration for Saturday week's Epsom pending his performance in the Kari Aboriginal Resources Inc Handicap (1900m).

The four-year-old, who has won his past two starts, also holds nominations for the Metropolitan Handicap, Cox Plate and Caulfield Cup and Waterhouse admits she isn't sure what path to put him on.

But she is certain of his ability.

"Gosh he's an exciting horse. He could be anything," Waterhouse said.

"I haven't made up my mind with him. I will sit on the fence and let him play each race as it comes.

"I know he's good. He's got the perfect action which is what you're looking for."

Waterhouse has a strong team at Rosehill including Aussies Love Sport in the Stan Fox Stakes (1500m) and Julienas in the Group Three Colin Stephen Quality (2400m).

Her spring stocks received a further boost on Wednesday with confirmation French galloper Tres Blue had been purchased by Australian interests and would make his debut for her in the Melbourne Cup.


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