Rosehill action headlines OTI’s weekend

The Sydney Autumn Carnival is now in full swing, so it’s of little surprise the majority of OTI’s stakes competitors this weekend will line up at Rosehill on Golden Slipper Day. The likes of Cepheus, Lady Laguna, Principessa and Rivaport are due to take their place, but will be supported elsewhere by Regal Lion and classy filly Vivy Air.

Lady Laguna is now a default headline act, heading into the 1500m Group 1 George Ryder Stakes following an impressive upset victory in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes a fortnight ago. The 1500m poses a new test, but she deserves the chance to show her credentials over further given her late strength last start. Despite being 7th up, the mare has trained on beautifully.

If the weather plays it’s part, Cepheus will also take his place in the George Ryder. He quite simply hates soft ground, so he shouldn’t be judged off his first up run. We are very hopeful conditions suit so he can keep his campaign on track, or we’ll continue to play the waiting game. Regardless, as a dual-Group 2 winner, he deserves his place in this field.

Principessa will get back out to 1900m in the Group 3 Epona Stakes, which is sure to suit. The likely soft track only aids her chances and she’s tracked along beautifully towards this race, which has been the target for many months. Drawn low, she gets her chance to be in the finish at stakes level.

Rivaport is unfortunately unlikely to gain a start in the Epona Stakes, currently listed as 4th emergency. Should things pan out in her favour, it’s felt the 1900m will suit, as she doesn’t quite have the turn of speed necessary at this level over shorter. Importantly, she’s handled her travel well.

Regal Lion is accepted in two races on the weekend in a bid to find the most suitable option. It’s been some time since he was fighting out the finish, so we’re keen to make that the priority. He’ll be seen in either the 2000m Listed Albury Gold Cup or the 2400m Group 3 Manion Cup, with a decision to come once the form has been assessed. On first look, the Albury Gold Cup does look the softer option for him on Friday.

Vivy Air was an eye-catcher on return at Flemington, with an ounce more luck you could argue she should have been winning. Already dual-Group 2 placed, the aim is to be winning a black-type event this preparation, so she’s been dual-accepted. Both the 1600m Group 3 Alexandra Stakes (closer to home) and 1600m Listed Clare Lindop Stakes have their merits, so a decision will need to be made in the next 24 hours on where she heads. The Group 1 Australasian Oaks is her ultimate aim.

Vivy Air runs a luckless 2nd on return at Flemington.

We’ll also look forward to Natural Ruler, Cloudland and Mo Ghille Mar potentially flying the flag elsewhere over the weekend.

Good luck to all those involved!