There will hardly be a dull moment this weekend, with OTI horses participating almost continuously around the globe.
We kick off at Moonee Valley tonight, with San Remo stepping out to 3000m for the first time in Australia. Contesting a similar standard to that he has faced recently, the extra distance will be the test. His trainer believes it to be a test he will handle.
We then have two participants at Saint-Cloud in France, Captain Kangaroo and Paradia. Captain Kangaroo is making his race debut for John Hammond. A 3yo gelded son of Mastercraftsman, we will learn a great deal from his first race outing. Paradia, for trainer Mikel Delzangles, showed great improvement in her second race start in October. Similar improvement again here would have her right in the finish.
Saturday is Zipping Classic Day, which brings back fond memories of a Zipping Classic/Sandown Cup double in 2014 thanks to Au Revoir and Renew. Lord Fandango (Zipping Classic) with Azuro and Kellstorm (Sandown Cup) give us the opportunity to replicate that double this weekend. All three horses are going into their respective races in decent form, recording Top 4 finishes in their last start efforts.
We also have Fastnet Tempest and Angelic Spirit in action at Sandown. Outclassed a touch in the G1 Kennedy Mile on Derby Day, this race looks to be the right fit for Fastnet Tempest. With Mark Zahra in the irons, we are looking to see him right in the finish in the G3 Sandown Stakes.
While Fastnet Tempest is stepping down to G3 company, Angelic Spirit is doing the opposite. She is stepping up to the 1500m G3 Summoned Stakes, on the back off a dominant last start, front-running win at Kyneton in restricted grade. The question will be whether she can reproduce that effort in a higher-class, more-pressurized affair.
We are not restricted to just Sandown on Saturday. Elsewhere we have Scherzoso in the Dunkeld Cup and Le Juge at Rosehill. A favourable barrier gives Scherzoso the chance to settle closer and be right in the finish, while Le Juge has extra fitness on his side too. Both horses are at double-figure odds in the early betting markets, but appear each way chances if things go their way.
The debut of 2yo colt Achaeus in England on Saturday night will be most interesting. A half-brother to Melbourne Cup winner Almandin, we have no expectations first-up for a horse with such a stayers’ pedigree. Whatever he does here will lay a foundation for his three-year-old season in 2019 and beyond.
In the brighter hours of Sunday, we have Fastnet Latina and Romancer both lining up in the Donald Cup. Fastnet Latina is fourth-up this preparation and Archie Alexander appears confident that the horse is ready to bring back his best form. Romancer too has been below expectations since arriving from New Zealand, but is expected to show us some improvement with the subsequent drop in class.
Best of luck to all connections with horses running this weekend.Continue Reading