John O’Shea will be making sure he is wearing his lucky purple tie when All Saints’ Eve competes for a slice of the $7.5 million Golden Eagle pie on Halloween.
The Randwick horseman might be a no-nonsense trainer but he has a superstitious streak.
A talented rugby league player in his youth, O’Shea admits he had a few rituals to bring himself good luck on the football field and still looks for charms as a horse trainer.
“I used to do some frightful things when I played football out of superstition,” O’Shea said.
“You used to put your mouthguard in various places because when you played well the week before you had it in your left boot or whatever. You’d try anything.”
O’Shea’s superstition will be tenfold when he saddles up the beautifully-named All Saints’ Eve, a daughter of Encosta de Lago mare Halloween, on the day of the ghoulish celebration.
The race has been the mare’s target since the start of her campaign so O’Shea has been prepared for the date and name coincidence.
And he will be wearing his lucky tie to ward off any bad vibes.
“My mum gave me a tie for my 50th and to be honest, since she gave me that tie things have been going pretty well,” O’Shea said.
“It’s the only tie I have worn since about October last year.”
All Saints’ Eve has won two of her three starts this preparation and pleased O’Shea with her last-start midfield finish in the Angst Stakes when she drew wide and got back in a slowly run race.
With James McDonald in Melbourne, O’Shea has locked in Sam Clipperton to partner her in the Golden Eagle (1500m).
The young jockey was the No.2 seed at Godolphin during O’Shea’s tenure before deciding to take up a riding contract in Hong Kong.
He returned to Sydney last year and O’Shea has been one of Clipperton’s biggest supporters.
“I vote with my feet. We love Sam and we think he’s got a lot to bring to the table and consequently we were very early to secure him in this race,” O’Shea said.
“Since he’s been back from Hong Kong, he just hasn’t got that big winner yet and when that comes, everyone wants to support Sam….he’s not a long way off really setting the world alight.”
Just as Clipperton is looking for a change of luck in a feature race, O’Shea has likewise been knocking on the door.
From a limited number of stakes runners he has managed seconds in the Spring Champion with Lion’s Roar, the Brian Crowley with Tommy Gold and last week’s City Tattersalls Cup with Rondinella.
All Saints’ Eve might just be the omen horse to give O’Shea that lucky break.