A quieter weekend ahead for OTI with Tom Melbourne’s little sister Araaja kicking off our Saturday in the second race of the day at Sandown in Victoria. On what is expected to be a soft track, Araaja will need to show some improvement this start. Coming back in grade and changing up her routine, trainer Chris Waller has had her spend some time on the treadmill. He is pleased with her progress and is hoping the wide draw won’t be too much of a disadvantage.
In Queensland, both Tucano and Master Zephyr head to Ipswich for trainer Tony Haydon. Tucano comes off the back of a tough run, pulling up last start better for the run fitness wise. Having to commit to going forward upon jumping, he worked hard in the lead and was unable to settle, as a result, he could not produce his usual sprinting finish. The key to this Saturday’s run will be to ensure the pressure is off over the 2500m journey and that he finds a comfortable position in running to work home strongly.
Below: Tucano flying home to win this preparation in QLD
Master Zephyr backs up a week after his run in the Group 2 Brisbane Cup last Saturday. Finding little gas left in the tank for the final 200m of the race, it was obvious that missing his previously planned run in the Premier’s Cup took its toll. His brave effort warranted entry in the Listed Ipswich Cup to which he will surely take on the task with his usual gusto. A horse that has won over a variety of distances throughout his career, Master Zephyr will be sure to find the line for the 2150m contest.
In Sydney, High Bridge, Casterton and Kellstorm line up against each other once more for the Listed Winter Cup over 2400m at Rosehill. Kellstorm unlucky in previous runs this preparation is looking to turn around his form. Trainer Richard Freedman has indicated that the horse has become a little too casual in his runs, so will be applying blinkers this weekend in an effort to sharpen him up. The softer track should also suit so we hope to see a new and improved Kellstorm.
High Bridge ran a lovely second last start, pulling out some incredible sectionals coming close to taking out the Listed McKell Cup. The fastest home, he ran the final 600m in just 35.12 seconds. We hope to see this form remain when he returns over the same distance and track. Apprentice Blake McDougall remains in the saddle and has said the horse has never felt better.
Below: High Bridge on track at his home base of Rosehill.
Casterton has Tommy Berry booked to ride and can only progress from his last run. A little underdone according to Waller, he believes that with an economical run, in what looks to be pretty open field, he will be a sharp improver.
We wish each horse’s connections the best of luck over the weekend – hopefully with some positive results!