Otago makes strong Flemington impression

Otago makes it two from two with a win at Flemington. Photo: Darry Sherer

Talented three-year-old gelding Otago remains undefeated after a narrow victory at Flemington on Saturday.

The Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr-trained son of Ocean Park had been a dominant maiden winner at Bendigo last month, defeating a pair of subsequent winners.

Despite being far from the finished article, the raw Kiwi import set a new class record of 1:22.46 for three-year-old BenchMark 70 gallopers as he chased down the leaders, Valois and Very Sewreel.

Jockey Beau Mertens had Otago perfectly positioned in third throughout, and despite showing a few signs of greenness, he dug deep to land the spoils in the manner of a horse that will appreciate getting over further.

Mertens is a fan of the youngster, whom he also rode to victory at Bendigo.

“Coming into the straight I sort of gave him a little bit of a niggle and those horses in front of me kicked into the straight quite nicely,” Mertens said.

“I had to do a little bit of work to get them actually. I sort of got to them and struggled to fight them off. He got there and probably had a bit of a think about it. He is a raw horse and he did a good job to win.

“He had to fight a bit and he had to work to get past better horses than he met in his maiden. He has got ability this horse and I really, really like him. As he matures, he is only going to get better.”

Otago sports the colours of syndicators Roll The Dice Racing, and Director Steve Travaglia was relieved to see the well-tried -133.33 favourite with top horse racing bookies claim the narrow victory.

Pre-race there had been talk of a tilt at the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) on March 2, a race Price has won previously on three occasions with Light Fantastic (2008), Heart Of Dreams (2009) and Grunt (2018).

“Horses can get over-hyped a little bit and you always worry that it can go the other way, but this guy is pretty new and green but got the job done,” Travaglia said.

“I will leave it up to Mick and Junior to work out whether an Australian Guineas is on the radar. You’d love to think so but that’s a bit of a dream and he has obviously still got a fair bit of learning to do.

“He switches on and off and Beau had his hands full for a while. We will see what happens.”

More horse racing news

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments