As the weather improves in the northern hemisphere, our European contingency is beginning to spread its wings; kicking off the weekend with two French runners at Fontainebleau.
My Swashbuckler is a recent addition to the OTI team and will have his first start for his new connections. Jumping late Friday evening Australian time, My Swashbuckler heads to a 2200m Class 2 for Alain Couetil, jumping from a barrier one in a field of eight he looks set to kick off this campaign in style.
Joining My Swashbuckler at Fontainebleau is maiden runner Vela for Andre Fabre and jockey Hugo Besnier. Having recently turned 3yo, Vela is looking to improve on his only run as a 2yo. A young horse with plenty of upside, we are looking forward to seeing this lad mature and develop into a classy stayer.
Above: Vela ready for his morning track work in France.
To Saturday in Australia, the Irish bred Dark Pearl heads to Flemington for Chris Waller in the BM80 over 2000m. A disappointing run last start being caught wide with no cover the majority of the race; Waller feels that a rise in distance is exactly what the horse is looking for and make for a competitive run.
With runners all over the country, Le Juge also represents the Chris Waller team, looking to contest the $125,000 1800m Open at the Gold Coast. Having won three races from his last five starts, he is a horse that is relishing in the Queensland sunshine and has really found his mark. Regular jockey Robbie Fradd is back on board and we look forward to seeing them in the finish.
Above: Le Juge on his way to winning his third start this preparation.
Aloisia rounds out the day in Australia contesting the Group 1 Coolmore Classic at Rosehill in Sydney over 1500m. Plenty of rain has reached New South Wales this week and will have a substantial effect leading into Saturday’s meeting. A challenging task for Aloisia from barrier 20 of 20, we hope to see her overcome the draw and put her best hoof forward for the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace team.
Later in the evening, Seawhatyouthink kicks off his racing career under the watchful eye of French trainer Simone Brogi. This So You Think gelding has been working well over the winter months and Brogi feels the horse can only improve from this first outing.
Sunday sees Tucano hit the track for the first time this preparation, with Tony Haydon opting to stick to the home track at Sunshine Coast in the Class 3 over 1600m. Having trialled during the week, the horse pulled up well and is on target for a strong performance.
Two runners also head to Yarra Valley for Cup Day with Gallic Chieftain and Azuro contesting the feature race of the meet. Being his first start for Ciaron Maher and David Eustace, Azuro is looking to gain some race fitness after two recent trials. Whilst Gallic Chieftain is set to improve from his fast finishing fifth place in the Group 2 Blamey Stakes last start. A step up in distance to the 1950m will provide Gallic with a suitable stepping stone in his campaign. Having drawn alongside one another in barriers 11 and 12, we hope to see them both find a nice position, settle in running and work home strongly.
Above: Gallic Chieftain walking to the winner’s stall.
Best of luck to their connections this weekend!