Prominent syndication company OTI Racing is enjoying a good run of form with horses from New Zealand and they are hoping to see a positive start to an Australian campaign from the Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained Quick Thinker when he steps out in the Group 3 Ming Dynasty Quality (1400m) on what looms as a heavy track at Rosehill today.
The So You Think colt won the Listed Champagne Stakes (1600m) at Ellerslie as a juvenile and is one of two-runners in the field for the visiting Cambridge trainers, who will also line up fellow stakes winner Rhaegar. “Quick Thinker trialled at Te Rapa on the heavy there the last two times and was a little plain, he just doesn’t quite let down on it and obviously he’s got a big stride,” OTI Director Terry Henderson said. “He needs a run so there’s not a lot of confidence about him being competitive in the race given that situation. “The horse is very well in himself, but you would prefer for the ground to be no worse than soft and it’ll certainly be heavy there tomorrow.”
Henderson believes the handsome colt will be seen to best effect once he gets over a staying trip. “We think he’s a Spring Champion Stakes (Group 1, 2000m) or Derby type of horse,” he said. “Everything about him indicates that. “He’s a very well-winded horse and I think the Spring Champion Stakes looks like his first aim for sure. “If he was to win that, we’d give serious consideration to the Cox Plate (Group 1, 2040m), but it’s a fair way down the track.”
Aside from Group 1 winning stablemate Vin de Dance and an untried Tavistock filly, Henderson said the syndication group’s runners in New Zealand were light at present. “They’re the only three that we’ve got in training in New Zealand at the moment,” he said. “The reality is, economically it’s not a silly thing to have your horses trained in New Zealand. Because even though the costs of bringing them over for the better races is high, the general training costs are far lower. “But you really need to have horses over there that are good, so they can progress to coming over here because of the economics of the situation over there at the moment. “Having said that, a horse like Vin De Dance is going to campaign in the better staying races in New Zealand and the intention is to bring him back over in autumn.”
Henderson has been a big supporter of the stock of Westbury Stud stallion Redwood, sire of recent OTI-owned winners Romancer and Urban Lumberjack, and believes his six-year-old son Night’s Watch can recapture his best form this campaign. The winner of eight races and nearly $500,000 in prize money will have his first start for new trainer Chris Waller when he steps out over 1400m at Caulfield on Saturday. “The feedback from Chris Waller has been very good, but I’m surprised at how short he is tomorrow ($5),” Henderson said. “He has trialled well and we brought him down to Melbourne to separate him from a number of other horses that we have with Chris in Sydney. “We’re hopeful that we can get him to one of the serious handicaps over a mile or 2000m. That’s the initial plan, whether he goes back to Sydney for the Epsom (Group 1, 1600m), time will tell but at this stage we are seeing a horse with a lot more exuberance than at the end of his last preparation.”
Henderson said patience was the key to success with the progeny of Redwood, a Group 1 winning son of High Chaparral. “I think he’s a very underrated stallion, but they need to be trained conservatively. I think we have had good luck with them because we have been patient.” Despite a flood of European imports sporting OTI’s navy blue and gold hooped-silks, Henderson said around 30 of the 95 horses on their books had emanated from New Zealand. “When I look though the Group 1 winners that we’ve had, there have been just as many from New Zealand as from Europe. “If you can get them as young horses or before they’re over exposed and they become Hong Kong targets or high price targets, then they remain value.”