Saturday will present OTI and our partners with our busiest day of the year to date, as we go racing at four meetings with eight horses, across both sides of the globe.
Four runners line up at Flemington in black type affairs as part of Australian Guineas Day, including Night’s Watch (Damien Oliver – barrier two) and Gallic Chieftain (Damian Lane – barrier one). Both will contest the G2 Blamey Stakes over 1600m (Race 8 – 4:50pm AEDT).
Night’s Watch hurt his chances in the G1 C.F. Orr first up after stepping away slowly. All indications since are the horse is in excellent order and we expect him to be prominent in the finish. Gallic Chieftain begins his autumn preparation and although likely to find his rivals a touch sharp over the mile, we expect him to warm up late and attack the line en route to staying features.
Earlier in the day, High Bridge (Dwayne Dunn – barrier five) will take his place in the Listed Roy Higgins Quality (Race 2 – 1:10pm AEDT) and is looking to bounce back after being unsuited at Caulfield when faced with soft conditions and a slow tempo. He is sure to enjoy returning to Flemington after his resounding victory over a similar distance on January 18.
Benitoite (Damien Oliver – barrier six) is seeking her first success at group level when she steps out second-up in the G3 Frances Tressady Stakes (1400m). In the field of ten, there looks to be good speed and if Oliver can secure an economical run the Clinton McDonald trained four-year-old has the ability to let down powerfully.
At Ellerslie, Karaka Million 3YO Classic placegetter, Hasstobegood, returns to the races for the first time in a month in the Listed Mufhasa Stakes over 1300m (Race 7 – 1:55pm AEDT, 3:55pm local). Vinnie Colgan will again partner Hasstobegood after being on board in the Million. Drawn well in barrier six, with even luck in the run she should be right in contention at the business end.
Attorney (barrier nine) has taken benefit from his first-up run and will derive further improvement after he races over 2000m at Randwick in a BM88 (Race 8 – 5:10pm AEDT). His effort to close the race off over a trip well short of his best two weeks ago was very encouraging as he looks to build through the months ahead.
In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, our partners will be represented by two performers with internationally recognized credentials, in Downdraft & True Self.
Both horses are engaged in one of the night’s features, the US$2.5M Longines Turf Handicap (3000m). The Joseph O’Brien trained Downdraft has drawn barrier nine for Ryan Moore with True Self (Willie Mullins) to start from barrier twelve under Frankie Dettori.
It proves to be an incredible experience for those connections who have travelled over for the event and those eagerly tuning in from home.
We wish all the very best of luck with their racing interests this weekend.