WHEN John O'Shea enjoyed his best day in the gig for 18 months on Saturday with a winning treble at Parkes, fittingly a trainer that gave him his start played a role in that success
When O'Shea began his driving career it was a horse from Tony Higgs' stable on which he made his debut and on Saturday night at Parkes two of the winners he landed were for the Bathurst trainer, owner and breeder.
Higgs' five-year-old Vincero ($5.50) was O'Shea's first winner of the meeting, while it was his stablemate Count Montecarlo ($12) that helped him notch up the treble.
"I actually had my first ever drive in a race for him 16 years ago and I don't think I've drove one for him since, not that I remember anyway, so that was really good," O'Shea said.
The last time O'Shea drove three winners at a meeting was on September 1, 2019 at Dubbo. On that day he got the job done aboard two favourites - Shes The Other One ($2.40) and Scaramucci ($2) - as well as surprising with $21 outsider Joeylew.
On Saturday the Bathurst driver had a book of five drives and had rated them all a chance. He was happy enough to get a double for Higgs and deliver a victory for Dubbo trainer Barry Lew with $1.35 favourite Great Presence as well.
Great Presence led all the way in his 1,660 metres race to win in the best mile rate of the night - a 1:59.8 - while Higgs' pair did it a little tougher.
In the Parkes Betta Home Living Pace (2,040m), Count Montecarlo travelled one out and three back, before O'Shea guided him three wide down the back straight.
He quickly made up ground and went on to finish five metres clear of his closest rival To The Lookout ($11). It was Count Montecarlo's first win in 13 starts.
"It surprised me," O'Shea admitted.
"It had had 12 starts and only won two grand, so I thought he might struggle a little bit, but he went good. Higgsy did say before the race that the horse is a lot better than you think it is, that's he's actually okay."
In the Col Fletcher Ford Pace (2,040m) Vincero began well from barrier one and while he was crossed by Watch And Weep, got a good trip on the leader's back.
O'Shea got him out of the trail at the top of the home straight and with around 100m to go, Vincero hit the lead. He beat Watch And Weep ($3.80) by 3.3m.
"Vincero I thought it would go really good until I looked at it's form and saw it had no gate speed, I thought it had some," O'Shea said.
"But it actually got out better than I thought it would and once he was behind the leader I was always a bit of a shot in that. He trialled really good on the Monday and it's run at Penrith when it won was pretty good, so I thought it would go alright.
"Yeah, it was a good day Karloo Bradley [fifth place] was probably the only disappointment in it. I thought he should've run top two or three."
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