Another Group 1 victory for the OTI stable?

As the celebrations have continued from last weekend’s Group 1 NZ Derby victory, we look ahead to another weekend of quality runners in big races.

We will see our silks on many occasions at Flemington on Saturday, with four runners in total.

First, we will see Shakopee for Matt Cumani stepping out in The Hong Kong Jockey Club Trophy race over 1400m. This horse has been impressive in his recent trials and has been working well at home for the Cumani stable.  First-up for this campaign, the distance is likely to be too short, but we would not be surprised to see a good turn of foot late with Jordan Childs on board.

Onto Fastnet Tempest, who will be the next horse greeting the barriers on Saturday in the 1200m Group 1 Newmarket Handicap. This is first outing for this horse under the care of the Hayes, Dabernig and Hayes combination.  It is set to be a very competitive race, and the team have been very happy with how this horse trialled last week.  We have drawn a barrier that gives Ben Allen options.  We watch with interest.

Finally on Saturday, in the Group 1 Australian Cup over 2000m, where we have two runners in the race.  Gailo Chop is undefeated so far this campaign, taking out the Group 3 Carlyon Cup and the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes in the lead up to this race.  He is a very happy horse and without doubt a leading chance in the race.  We also have Lord Fandango for Archie Alexander, who for the first time will be stepping out with blinkers on.  From the inside barrier draw, he can conserve energy and be produced late for his finishing effort.  A strong effort here will see him progress onto Sydney, with the Sydney Cup in mind.

Action turns to Stony Creek on Sunday, where Gallic Chieftain will be stepping out for their Cup over 2100m. The Weir stable has been delighted with the work of this horse, who has not had races run to suit so far this preparation. From an improved draw, he can position up closer in the run and attack the line.  This race is a precursor to the Mornington Cup on March 24, should all go to plan.

Best of luck to all connections!

Below is Terry Henderson’s thoughts ahead of the weekend runners.