On Saturday, Flemington will host its first meeting of the 2018/19 season. OTI will have a strong presence with the seven runners.
Before we make our way to Flemington, Artarmon will run early Saturday morning in the Archerfield Cup at Musselburgh, Scotland. This three-year-old son of So You Think will be seeking to make it a hat-trick of wins as he steps up to the 3200m trip for the first time. He is in good form going into the toughest affair of his short career.
Race 1 at Flemington looks set to be a strong staying contest, with a number of well-credentialed runners lining up. Our four-year-old gelding, Serenade the Stars looks a good chance following a last start win at the same track over the same distance three weeks ago.
Two French imports, both now based at Ballarat will take their places in a BM78 over 2000m. Azuro is a five-year-old son of Myboycharlie. He is coming off a 5-week gap between runs and will have to overcome a wide gate. His best runs have been at the 2000m trip. Prinz Hlodowig has been a challenge for Archie Alexander since his arrival in Australia. Archie’s patience and perseverance now sees this fellow fully fit and ready to run a strong race. Saturday’s run will hopefully lay the foundation for his spring preparation, where he’ll be aimed at a number of Country Cups across Victoria.
Three OTI contenders are kicking off their Spring campaigns in the 1400m Handicap. Instant de Reve will be making his Australian debut for Chris Waller. He will take great benefit from Saturday’s race which is well short of his ideal distance. Night’s Watch made quite the impact when he arrived on Australian shores 12 months ago. He has had 3 wins in his first 5 starts for Darren Weir. This five-year-old’s recent work has impressed the Weir stable. Romanesque will look to build on his successful autumn campaign as he steps out in the same race. Jarrod McLean reports that the horse is in great order and is ready for a big spring.
Our final runner on Saturday will be Mantastic. He will be aiming to make it two in a row following a strong win over the mile at Caulfield a fortnight ago. From his fifth wide draw in succession, he will make ground late and hit the line strongly.