OTI’s CEO, Terry Henderson said the flight was one of the most eagerly awaited.
“It’s very exciting to have four top-quality horses relocating to Australia on the one flight. We often see this quality with our pre-spring flights, however this is one of the more significant off-season groups,” Henderson said.
“We experienced a few logistical challenges and delays getting the horses to Newmarket due to COVID-19 border restrictions and the new Brexit policies, so there was a wave of relief when we received news that they had arrived in quarantine and were bound for Melbourne.
“We’re very excited that all four horses have arrived well. In two weeks time they’ll head to their respective trainers to get their Australian careers underway,” he added.
The horses on the shipment were;
Headlining the quartet of OTI’s European imports is Italian mare Auyantepui. The four-year-old is beautifully bred, by star sire Night of Thunder, and her dam Sopran Enery (by Montjeu) descends from one of Italy’s best bloodlines.
Auyantepui won the Group 2 Italian Oaks last year before transferring to Mario Baratti’s Chantilly stables in July. Under Baratti’s care, she finished 2nd in the Listed Prix Joubert. Once Auyantepui has completed a fortnight in quarantine she will head to Archie Alexander’s Ballarat stables.
In 2019, Montabot was considered one of France’s rising stars after winning his first two starts impressively. Following a stress fracture, he had an extended spell and made a full recovery under Chantilly trainer Pascal Bary’s care.
The son of Le Havre continued his undefeated record when he won first-up in October and has since placed in the first four in his two subsequent runs. The progressive five-year-old will join Matthew Smith’s Warwick Farm stables.
Ashim is an Aga Khan-bred gelding by renowned American sire, Stormy Atlantic, out of Listed winner Ashiyla (by Rock of Gibraltar).
A recent purchase in partnership with trainer Matthew Smith, Ashim is a progressive, lightly-raced galloper with an excellent race record. From his seven starts, he has notched two wins, and a second placing, all of which were in his last four races. The four-year-old’s form suggests that he will prefer firmer ground, making him well-suited to Australian conditions.
Also an Aga Khan, French-bred gelding, Vardani has impeccable bloodlines and has shown great potential in his race performances. By Charm Spirit and out of Visorama, Vardani is the half-brother to Champion European stayer Vazirabad. Vardani’s dam, Visorama is a Group 3 winner and Group 1 placed.
In his three career starts, Vardani produced two wins and demonstrated an excellent turn of foot. His form indicates a strong preference for firmer ground, which should see him relish racing in Australia under Archie Alexander’s care.
OTI wishes connections of all four horses the best of luck in their Australian careers!