As the European winter warms into spring, we look to Ireland, England and France to see our team of northern hemisphere horses progress to the new heights.
This Irish bred, English raced, French based and Italian trained gelding heads to the Marathon Championships Final this Good Friday to take on a field of eleven competitors. By Casamento out of Sheba Five, Amade has defied his pedigree, taking on some of England’s best synthetic track stayers.
Trained by Alessandro Botti and to be ridden by Christophe Soumillon, he remains the clear-cut favourite in the race. A horse that relishes the two-miles, we hope to have found a 2019 Melbourne Cup candidate who can match the staying and sprinting power of those Down Under.
A horse that usually positions himself at the rear of the field, he is able to unleash a serious turn of foot that has proven to be a successful tactic, demolishing his rivals by winning his last five races in effortless style. OTI and its racing partners were delighted to have purchased a 50% stake in this horse after he showed superb form over the European winter.
Artarmon heads back to the races for the first time this preparation, taking on the Queen’s Cup Stakes at Musselburgh. A Handicap for 4yo’s plus, over 2800m, he is primed to run well for trainer Michael Bell.
The Irish bred comes off the back of four wins last campaign, where he was well placed by Bell and gained considerable confidence – winning at a different racetrack each start. Another European stayer in the OTI team who doesn’t mind the two-mile distance, the Queen’s Stakes looks to be a great stepping stone in what we hope to be another promising campaign for Artarmon.
My Swashbuckler had his second start under the OTI banner this week, running a luckless fifth at Maisons-Laffitte. Struggling to move into consistent rhythm after finding himself in a pocket most of the run and up the straight, he was unable to let down as hoped. He was in need of the run after the long, cold winter experienced in France, so we hope to see an improved run next start out at Longchamp.
Long term plans for My Swashbuckler include spending the summer in Europe before making his way to Australia for Spring Carnival in the Quarantine group due to arrive Werribee in late winter. On route, My Swashbuckler is looking to contest the Group 2 Prix Kergorlay at Deauville in August. Being aimed at races between 2500m and 3200m this year, we hope to see him progress to the 2019 Melbourne Cup.
As the European racing season gets warmed up, Mr Satchmo looks to have his first start this preparation next week. He concluded a very promising campaign last year when pipped on the post into second place in the Group 1 Qatar Derby.
After a frustrating winter with a number of stables being affected by the equine flu strain that ravished parts of France, Antoine de Watrigant was lucky enough to keep the effects to a minimum. Mr Satchmo continues to work extremely well leading into his next race. He is currently on track to take on Listed company at Toulouse next Tuesday over the 2000m distance.
A horse with substantial quality, we hope to see him make his way to Australia under Antoine’s care and contest the 2019 edition of the Cox Plate. With plenty of racing yet to explore this avenue, we are keeping the Moonee Valley target front and centre for OTI’s Australian spring contenders. If he does make it to the Cox Plate, he may have to face Gailo Chop, a multiple Group 1 winner who Antoine originally trained in France.
After two career starts, 3yo Vela recently broke his maiden in gutsy fashion at Maisons Laffitte. Under the care of leading French trainer Andre Fabre, Vela jumped well and controlled the race from the front then dug deep in the final strides of the 1400m contest. By the sire ‘Pedro the Great’, Vela was purchased as a yearling by OTI on the recommendation of Fabre. With bright prospects, he was subsequently named after Sir Peter Vela.
Vela is due to race again next week. We are looking forward to seeing this horse develop in the hope he will progress to stakes races during the summer.
Another recent French winner for OTI, Seawhatyouthink broke his maiden at Mont-de-Marsan last week at just his second start. By So You Think, trainer Simone Brogi ensured the gelding was given the time to grow and mature over the winter before selecting suitable races for the horse to gain race-day confidence.
After being left behind out of the gates and settling at the rear of the field, Seawhatyouthink worked his way through the field to reach the lead 100m from the post in what was a brave effort. While it is still early days for this 3yo gelding, he is showing the promise that may earn him a trip to Australia and the end of the year.