A thrilling weekend of racing awaits OTI and our partners, with runners at Moonee Valley tonight, Caulfield and Rosehill tomorrow and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Sunday morning!
The weekend kicks off under lights at Moonee Valley tonight, where impressive last-start winner Darvin contests a Benchmark 78 over 3000m (Race 2 – 7:00 pm). According to trainer Matthew Williams, he has come through his four and a half length win at Sandown in excellent order. The Le Havre gelding, who shows all the signs of being an all-out stayer, steps up in grade in the race. He enjoyed a morning swim at Warrnambool beach this morning and is bright and well ahead of the race. With Dean Yendall riding from barrier 10, we expect him to put in a strong showing and hopefully demonstrate his dominant style once again.
Two runners will carry the OTI silks in the Listed Mornington Cup Prelude over 2000m (Race 1 – 12:40 pm).
Happy Pharrell is second-up in the race for the Ciaron Maher & David Eustace stable. He took significant benefit from his first-up run after almost two years off due to a tendon injury. Running in the first race on the card will be to his advantage as the ground will have a bit of give. With star hoop Kerrin McEvoy booked to ride from barrier three, we hope to see him put in a competitive effort. He will continue to show further improvement from this run, and we expect him to be at peak fitness third-up.
San Huberto also steps out in the Listed race, with Dean Yendall steering. Trainer Matt Cumani reports that he couldn’t be happier with the Irish-bred galloper who is feeling at his best, having fully acclimatised to his new home in Australia. We’re looking forward to seeing him kick off his autumn preparation and believe he can run a big race fresh.
Later in the day, Night’s Watch continues his preparation in the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes over 1800m (Race 9 – 5:35 pm). Archie Alexander is pleased with his work at home and believes the seasoned galloper is up to the assignment. With Declan Bates in the saddle, we’re hoping that with a bit of luck, he can jump well from barrier four, get himself into a good position and figure in the finish.
In Sydney, Quick Thinker races in a Benchmark 100 over 1400m (Race 3 – 2:10 pm) for Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman, with Jason Collett riding from barrier 4. The Group 1 winner will be looking to emulate last year’s Sydney autumn campaign success, where he took out the Group 2 Tulloch Stakes and the Group 1 ATC Derby. He travelled across from New Zealand earlier this week and is in great order going into Saturday. With showers forecast for Sydney today, he should get track conditions to suit, and we expect him to run a bold race.
English galloper Selino races in the Listed Parramatta Cup over 1900m (Race 6 – 3:55 pm) for Chris Waller. He returns to the races for the first time since his run in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup last spring. He has the advantage of running at his home track; however, he will need to overcome the tricky barrier 12. With the blinkers going on and Jason Collett riding, we hope to see him hitting the line strongly in a race that will be a stepping stone for his autumn campaign.
In Saudi Arabia, True Self races in $1m The Neom Turf Cup over 2100m (Race 1 – 12:00 am AEDT) as part of the Saudi Cup meeting. She is first-up following a break since her Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes win at Flemington last year, a race she went back-to-back in. Trainer Willie Mullins is delighted with her demeanour and condition, reporting that she is bright and happy. Her work in preparation for the event has been superb, and we expect her to run a big race. Top-class British jockey Hollie Doyle rides her from barrier nine.
Wishing connections the best of luck!