Two OTI horses in the running for NZ Derby

OTI has fond memories of the New Zealand Derby, winning the Group 1 feature in 2018 with Vin de Dance and the Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman training combination. Three weeks out from this year’s edition, OTI still has two possible contenders for the title, namely Mark Twain and Full Of Sincerity.

After an impressive win by Mark Twain last week, there is no doubt that he will head towards the race. Sitting 19th in the order of entry, he is all but guaranteed a start should he remain fit and able.

After his winning run at Hastings, trained Roger James said “He dropped into a nice rhythm and Warren rode him beautifully, coming back saying he was always going to win it. The further he got in the straight the longer his stride got and the better he looked. There is no doubt he will get a mile and a half, none at all. He is a dead-set lovely staying horse and I think will just improve even more with age.”

Mark Twain winning at Hastings in February, 2023.

Our NZ agent Phill Cataldo checked on the 3yo the day after the race and said he pulled up very well after a long day of racing and travelling and is very excited to see him go towards the Derby.

Our second contender is Full Of Sincerity, who still needs to prove himself in this Saturday’s Group 2 Avondale Guineas over 2100m in New Zealand before confirmation of his Derby claims are made. Forsman is using a tried and tested means of preparing Full Of Sincerity for the Derby, as this was the race used by Vin de Dance as his lead up.

The 3yo has had five career starts for a win and two placings, but fell a little short when stepping out at black-type level for the first time in his last start.

Full Of Sincerity winning at Avondale in November, 2022.

“Unfortunately we didn’t get the result we wanted today, but he did get a nice run in the race and settled well. The shifty ground wasn’t in our favour this time, so I think he had a genuine excuse. We will press on with him and he should get more suitable conditions in the G2 Avondale Guineas and we will put some blinkers on as well.”, says trainer Andrew Forsman after his last run.

Going into his next run with some positivity, as he has shown that he can be very competitive in his races and does handle the soft to heavy ground as he has won on it before.

Currently, Full Of Sincerity sits in 24th position on the order-of-entry and would likely gain a start. However, he won’t be going there just to make up the numbers.

OTI has a proud history of Derby winners across Australia and New Zealand. Alongside Vin de Dance stand Brambles, Quick Thinker and Kibbutz. Come March 4, we hope Full Of Sincerity or Mark Twain can add to that history.