With Irish horses racing at Royal Ascot this week for OTI partners, two new French arrivals will debut at Flemington. Both are now trained at Ballarat and both look to have qualities that will take them to Group Level in their new country.
Originally acquired as a yearling and prepared by Mikel Delzangles, Archie Alexander now trains Prinz Hlodowig. As a precocious youngster in France, this half-brother to group winner, Prince Cheri, won his maiden over 1600m in the August of his 2yo career. He finished a gallant second in a G2 at Chantilly in September. Injuries and coltish behaviour disrupted his 3yo year, before OTI decided to bring him south.
Under Archie’s guidance Prinz, now a gelding has been brought along slowly. With new found confidence he appears to be enjoying his racing again. His work and trials have given every indication that he will run a most competitive race first up at Flemington.
Azuro, now trained by Darren Weir, is the more usual horse to come from Europe for OTI partners. As a 4yo in the west of France, he worked his way through the classes, winning three and being placed 5 times in his ten career starts. A son of Myboycharlie, he’ll need every metre of his 1400 race to warm up this Saturday. However, once he gets out to 2000 metres and beyond, his ‘come from behind’ style will come to the fore.
While the colours will be the same for both horses in Saturday’s races, it will not be difficult to separate these newcomers in the 1400m handicap. Prinz Hlodowig, a classic looking type, will start from the inside barrier and stay handy to the leaders. Azuro, on the other hand, looks like he’s been brought up in the ‘sticks’ and honed his skills in the school of hard knocks. He, however, is a very talented athlete. Both will be well worth watching.