Cranbourne-based trainer Michael Kent was originally dismayed over not being able to find a suitable flight to Brisbane for his galloper Oforawesome to arrive in the sunshine state this weekend to prepare for next week’s Queensland Derby, but he now believes it could have been a blessing in disguise.
Progressive Colombia gelding Oforawesome is being aimed at the $500,000 Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm on June 11.
As Kent was unable to get a direct flight from Melbourne to Brisbane this week, Oforawesome will not get a chance to race in Brisbane before the elite level assignment.
“We figured the next best thing would be to go halfway and stop in Sydney and then get a flight from there,” Kent explained.
The delayed Derby plans have seen the three-year-old accepted instead for the $70,000 Woodford Reserve Handicap (1800m) at Rosehill this Saturday, a race Oforawesome is rated the $5 second favourite in behind Gai Waterhouse’s Kontiki Park ($3.70).
Drawn in barrier nine and due to be ridden by Tommy Berry, Oforawesome seeks their second win on the trot this Saturday having claimed an impressive two length victory over 1800m and Sandown on May 25.
“The horse is in good shape and we thought we may as well run him in Sydney as a lead-up to the Derby,” Kent said.
Oforawesome is current rated a $26 chance of upsetting Queensland Derby favourite Shootoff ($5.50) Saturday week, and their curious race name was explained by Kent.
“It’s a funny story,” Kent said.
“He was named after a fellow who appeared in the game show Wheel Of Fortune on New Zealand television.
“Evidently he had a spin of the wheel and when asked for a letter he said ‘O…for awesome’.
“Apparently that guy is now a legend over there and it’s become a catchcry.”
Kent is confident the distance and conditions at Rosehill tomorrow will suit Oforawesome to a tee and the horse can record another win before tackling the Derby.
“He’s a nice horse and his last start win was over the same journey as tomorrow,” he said.
“He also likes soft ground so he is obviously a strong chance and should perform well.
“We’ll then head straight up for the Derby.”