French racing season heating up

Once the dust has settled on a massive weekend of Australian racing, attention will squarely turn to France. The French galloping season is starting to heat up and OTI have runners engaged in stakes races at Chantilly (Sunday) and Maison-Laffitte (Monday).

Prinz Hlodowig made a tremendous impression in just four starts throughout his two-year-old season. Trained by Mikel Delzangles, the son of Rajsaman broke his maiden impressively at his second outing before a narrow, fast-finishing second in the Group 3 Prix De Conde at Chantilly. At his fourth, and last run before a winter break, he stepped up to Group 1 level in the Criterium De Saint Cloud and was far from disgraced when 6th.

Now a three-year-old, will have his first start of the season in Sunday night’s Prix De Force over 1800M at Chantilly. Traditionally run at Longchamp over 2000M, the race has shifted distance and tracks this year owing to renovations.

The Prix De Force is seen as a key lead-up race to the French Derby. OTI have a good association with the race having won it in 2014 with the subsequent Mackinnon Stakes winner, Gailo Chop.

Sunday’s race (Race 5 at 12.30AM AEST) is seen as a stepping stone toward the Derby in early-June and Delzangles is very happy with how Prinz Hlodowig is working ahead of his resumption. The Prix De Force has again attracted a strong field that will give a good guide as to where this horse sits amongst better quality 3YO’s in France.

At Maison-Laffitte on Monday OTI will saddle up two runners in the Listed Prix Jacques Laffitte over 1800M. Interestingly, the race is conducted on a straight track, one of the longest in Europe.

Le Juge is a 4YO son of Dansili having his second start of the season. Trained by Andre Fabre, he resumed on the all-weather track at Chantilly and got back to a conspicuous last early before rattling to the line. That run should bring Le Juge on in condition and a most competitive run is expected.

Instant De Reve is a recent OTI acquisition trained by Corrine Barbe at Chantilly. Barbe is most noted for having trained the champion galloper, Cirrus Des Aigles, and OTI are delighted to have this horse in her care.

Instant De Reve has been given a short break to recover from a slight issue sustained in the run at Cagnes-Sur-Mer. Barbe reports the horse is in terrific order ahead of Monday’s race and he should acquit himself very well.

It’s an exciting time for OTI and its many partners currently racing horses in France as the countdown to the major mid-year races continues. Wish wish all owners the very best of luck with the trio of runners.

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A Huge Weekend: Five runners, three states, two days

A mammoth weekend is afoot for OTI and its partners with five runners spread across three states. On Saturday, three last start winners will head to the starting gates at Caulfield, Morphetville and Toowoomba.

Fastnet Latina will attempt to win four on end when he heads to Morphetville for a 1600M MB75 (Race 5). Trained by Archie Alexander, this colt had his first two starts in the USA before coming to Australia to recuperate from a tendon injury. Just getting the entire back to the track was seen as a major success, but to have backed that up with three successive wins has provided owners a great thrill.

Alexander has done a tremendous job in preparing this horse and Jordan Childs has steered him perfectly in all three starts. Alexander is delighted with Fastnet Latina’s condition heading into the race and from gate five Childs will undoubtedly give the 5YO every chance to extend his winning streak.

A huge contingent of owners celebrated his Moonee Valley win last start and it’s expected a large group will head to Adelaide hopeful of another victory.

Stone Warrior was able to break-through for an overdue win at Morphettville on March 4 when expertly piloted by Daniel Moor. The win ended a run of frustrating placings due largely to inside barriers and provided Lee and Anthony Freedman just reward for a strong campaign.

Moor is back in the saddle as Stone Warrior heads to Caulfield for an 1800M BM78 (Race 2). The 4YO gelding heads into the contest off a freshen-up and was kept up to the mark with a Flemington jump-out last Friday – he should be most competitive.

Murwillumbah trainer, Matt Dunn, has had to endure flooding from ex-tropical cyclone Debbie and on Saturday he will take Caillebotte in the Toowoomba Cup. The last start Doomben winner will have to overcome barrier 16 but is in excellent order ahead of the run.

On Sunday, OTI will have two strong chances. The Tony McEvoy trained, Zapping, will be out to atone for two luckless runs as he strives to break his maiden over 1600M at Echuca. Rounding out a big weekend will be last start Grand Handicap winner, Duke Of Ellington, who will tackle the time-honoured Terang Cup.

It promises to be a busy weekend and a most exciting one as we saddle up five runners, all with genuine winning claims. OTI wishes its partners all the best.

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Manangatang nearing a racetrack return

Manangatang made a big impression last season with a slashing debut win from last over a mile at Lingfield.  Trained by Luca Cumani, the son of Fastnet Rock was immediately spelled with aspirations of taking the colt to English Derby at Epsom in early-June.

Manangatang is one of thirteen Fastnet Rock’s that OTI has named after Victorian country towns. Based in north-west Victoria, the small rural centre is home to approximately 500 people and the local turf club hosts their annual Cup meeting on Caulfield Guineas Day. It would be quite something to have this quiet country town in remote Victoria represented on the world racing stage in the Epsom Derby!

Luca Cumani has been delighted with Manangatang’s progress since his stellar debut. The 3YO colt did everything right over the late-winter months when completing very light work and since Cumani has stepped up his programme, the colt has really impressed.

The famed Limekilns Long Gallop Newmarket recently opened for the season and Manangatang’s most recent piece of work was excellent. Working with two speedier types over seven furlongs (1400M) he took control at the two-furlong mark and drew away over the concluding stages.

While not set it stone, there’s a 2000M Handicap at Beverley on April 19 that Luca Cumani suggests may be an ideal kick-off point for Manangatang.  Hopefully, this exciting colt can pick up where he left off and solidify himself as a genuine contender as the Derby approaches.

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