In prime position with Cruz and Bling
By Jonny Turner
Australian owner Peter O’Shea is not taking anything for granted while in the prime position of racing both favourites for the Interdominion pacing series.
O’Shea and wife, Zilla, will be represented in the Alexandra Park series by Cruz Bromac and Bling It On, who will go head to head in an opening round heat on Friday night.
Having two of the biggest names in series approaching a $500,000 final is a position harness racing owners across Australasia would dream of.
O’Shea admits it is an exciting prospect, but he is not allowing his dreams of Interdominion glory to get too big just yet.
“Of course we are excited, but in this game because you have the two favourites it doesn’t mean you can go and get the trophy now.”
“You have got to be confident, but you don’t go in there thinking we are going to win the Interdominion.”
“Its like any sport, look at the All Blacks, who would have thought England were going to do what they did.”
The O’Sheas’ pacing pair have delivered the couple an impressive line up of big race wins with Cruz Bromac’s New Zealand Cup and Bling It On’s Victoria Cup the latest additions to their trophy cabinet.
The couple share in the ownership of both horses with a number of other Australian owners.
The formula of racing horses with friends has worked for the O’Sheas since their first foray in to harness ownership over a decade ago.
Fellow Australian owners Kevin and Kay Seymour invited the couple to invest in the purchase of Mr Feelgood, who gave them incredible introduction to the sport.
The former US pacer was the first harness horse the O’Sheas had at the races and he won them an Interdominion title in 2009.
That also may sound like a fairytale to many other owners, which O’Shea did not dispute.
But the experience of racing Mr Feelgood also provides some of the reasoning for why the O’Sheas are taking a level headed approach to this year’s Interdominions.
“Anything can happen,” O’Shea said.
“I have had Mr Feelgood get skittled leading in a final, I have had Bling It On sitting with cover in a final and the one in front of him hit the brakes and we ended up at the rear.”
“Just because you have got the favourites, it doesn’t mean you are going to get all of the breaks.”
Their first experience with Mr Feelgood has also led to the O’Sheas developing a passion for the sport and building a large harness racing bloodstock portfolio.
The couple are prominent and successful owners in Australia with a classy broodmare band of 12 alongside thoroughbred interests.
Cruz Bromac and Bling It On will go head to head in the second of two pacing heats at Alexandra Park on Friday night.
The question of which of the O’Sheas’ pair could beat the other is an impossible one for the owners to answer.
“Its like asking which kid do you favour.”
“I couldn’t split them — I would be happy to settle for a dead heat.”
“They are both very good horses and is down to what happens on the night.”
“One might get a bit of luck and one might get a bit of bad luck.”
With Mark Purdon driving Cruz Bromac and Luke McCarthy driving Bling It On, the O’Sheas have two leading drivers that are known for making their own luck.
The draws for heat two mean the two reinsman are likely to have to call on all of their skill to put their charges in striking positions.
Bling it On will start from barrier 7, with Cruz Bromac starting from barrier 2 on the second row of the mobile.
Bookmakers have done what the O’Sheas have been unable to do leading up to Friday night’s 2200m event.
They have rated Bling It On ($2.70) just ahead of Cruz Bromac ($2.80) in betting this week.