Syndicator OTI Racing could be in for a big weekend on both sides of the Tasman with their New Zealand-bred runners.
On Saturday, Aloisia will take on the boys in the Gr.1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington, while at Ellerslie, Romancer and Vin De Dance will line-up in the Gr.3 Darley Stallions Plate (1200m) and Gr.1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby (2400m) respectively.
“It’s a big weekend, huge actually,” OTI Racing Manager Terry Henderson said. “I’ve elected to come to New Zealand.”
There he will see Romancer kick-off proceedings on the New Zealand Derby undercard, where Henderson thinks the Donna Logan and Chris Gibbs runner will be a chance after his last-start runner-up performance in the Gr.3 Brighthill Farm Concorde Handicap (1200m).
“He’s in very good form,” Henderson said. “It’s a small field, so the tempo may not be as strong as we would otherwise like it, because he’ll need a strong tempo to be competitive in that field.
“On the back of his last run at Ellerslie he’ll put in a shake.”
In the following race, last-start Gr.2 Avondale Guineas (2100m) placegetter Vin De Dance will jump from barrier 14 in the New Zealand Derby for trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman.
“I spoke with Andrew during the week and he’s very happy with him,” Henderson said.
“The barrier is just so-so, but late in the day sometimes it’s not too bad to be drawn a little wider at Ellerslie.
“He’s running very well and he’ll improve on his run in the Avondale Gunieas. We are looking for a nice showing from the horse.
“I probably know the Weir horse (Civil Disobedience) more than any of them and he will certainly be a competitor, but there were plenty of good runs in the Avondale Guineas so I think it is going to be a good solid race.”
Meanwhile, spring carnival darling Aloisia will line-up in the Australian Guineas for trainer Aaron Purcell and Henderson said the Azamour filly has improved immensely since her unplaced run in the Gr.3 The Vanity (1400m).
“She’s trained on super since her first-up run. She was rather dour to be honest before that run in her work.
“She really seems to have sharpened up, so it’s very good. She has got a bad gate as well (13), but it’s a hard race to assess because most of the favoured chances have drawn wide.
“It’s going to be a very interesting tactical race.”
Both Aloisia and Vin De Dance will move on to Sydney to commence their autumn campaigns, while Romancer’s future is a little less known.
“We have no real firm plans with him at this stage,” Henderson said. “We have spoken about the Stradbroke Handicap being a good target for the horse.
“There are no plans to move him to an Australian trainer yet and if that happened I don’t think it would happen until after the autumn carnival.”