Exuberance may have been responsible for Osborne Bulls’ jockey describing him as Australia’s best sprinter after his first-up second in last month’s G1 Lightning Stakes.
But such a report is hard to disregard as the horse lines up for Saturday’s G1 Newmarket Handicap at Flemington, a race that could yet confirm the rider’s boast.
Osborne Bulls has surged through the grades in the past year progressing from a Listed win at Scone in May to winning a G2 at Flemington in November and finishing third in one of the world’s richest races, The Everest, in between.
With a touch more luck he might have won the Lightning Stakes two weeks ago, but the step up to 1,200m here and the benefit gained from that run, have trainer James Cummings – and the horse – ready for action in Australia’s greatest sprint race.
“I think he’s been licking his lips in anticipation of this,” Cummings said.
“He’s continued to please us in his work and in his condition and his first-up run in the Lightning had flashing lights all over it.
“Having said that, it will take every ounce of effort to beat the field of such accomplished sprinters that will be spread across the track in front of him.
“But we’re hoping to see Osborne Bulls flying to the line in the way we’re accustomed to.”
If Osborne Bulls requires backup, he gets it in stablemate Encryption who finished a brilliant first-up second in the Oakleigh Plate two weeks ago.
“Encryption justified the high regard we have for him by jumping out of the ground in the Oakleigh Plate,” Cummings said.
“He’s two-from-three in straight races, so he ought to be at home under the conditions.
“On what we know about him, he’s a great chance.”