OTI’s Weekly News – July 18, 2018

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Sollevare raises eyebrows at Geelong

Raise The Flag x Avoid '15 Conformation

Sollevare raised many an eyebrow on Sunday, racing to a dominant maiden win in just his second career start over 1755m at Geelong.  In doing so, he may have announced himself as a potential Derby contender in his three-year-old season.

Sollevare is a son of NZ-based and UK-bred stallion, Raise the Flag.  Raise the Flag has made quite the impact in recent times, producing a number of stakes winners.  The Matt Cumani trained Etah James is one of those stakes winners, and it was Matt’s appreciation for Etah James’ talent that led he and Terry Henderson to first look at Sollevare as a two-year-old earlier this year.  As a result of that inspection, the youngster was secured and shipped to Australia for his future racing career.

On debut over 1400m at Ballarat three weeks ago, Sollevare settled too far back in running before finishing off strongly.  Over the longer journey at Geelong, Dean Holland was positive out of the gates and left alone in front, with no other takers for the leading position.  He remained in the lead throughout, extending his advantage in the run to the line to record a 2 and half-length win.

Following in the footsteps of three-year-olds Civil Disobedience (a Derby winner) and Parthesia (an Oaks winner), Sollevare will be given every chance now to see if he can step up to the classic staying distances in his three-year-old season.  He will now have a short let up, before commencing a campaign aimed towards the VRC Derby during this year’s Spring Carnival.

The way this gelding hit the line at Geelong on Sunday indicates that he’ll only improve once he steps out further in trip.  Should he be lining up at Flemington on November 3, his owners eyebrows will be raised higher again.

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From Mackay to Longchamp

OTI is set for a weekend with runners in various parts of the world, including Europe, regional Queensland and Victoria.

To claim that 26-year-old Joseph O’Brien has made a mark as a trainer in his short career would be an understatement.  The young trainer now hopes he’ll delight more Australian owners with another classic win this weekend.

Downdraft will be one of 6 runners in the Grand Prix de Paris, a 3yo Group 1 classic over 2400m that boasts a history back to 1864. With 4-time winner of the race Christophe Soumillon on board, Joseph is confident that his Camelot colt can figure in the finish.

 The colt was acquired early in the year by OTI after three impressive runs. He quickly confirmed his talent with a solid second and then a win over 2000m at Navan in May. That win earned him a start in King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot. After missing the start and making ground mid-race, he finished sixth.

The Ascot race confirmed for Joseph that the colt’s best distance is 2400m. It also confirmed that the colt prefers a firm surface. In Saturday’s race, he should get both as he faces his five competitors, including two from his father’s stable.

While most French eyes will be focused on a soccer pitch in Russia at 8 pm on Sunday night, a group of Australian owners will be out of bed by 4am the following morning. Their eyes will be firmly fixed on Longchamp. Let’s hope they are happy with what they see.

Prior to Sunday morning’s Grand Prix de Paris, a number of former European gallopers will be stepping out at Australian racetracks. At Caulfield, two of those will contest a 1700m Handicap, both of which are trained by Darren Weir. Mantastic has caught the eye of many following his first two Australian runs and gets his chance on Saturday. Joining Mantastic will be Kellstorm, a son of Galileo that is continuing to build his fitness and is expected to take great benefit from Saturday’s run.

Up in Mackay, Tucano will tackle the $100,000 Mackay Cup. The 1800m trip seems ideal for this fellow and his trainer, Tony Haydon, believes this entire will be hitting the line strongly.

Best of luck to our partners!


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