Imported French stayer Prairie Star kicks off their autumn campaign this weeend with the Danny O’Brien-trained stallion being prepared for the 2013 Australian Cup at Flemington in March.
The Peintre Celebre five-year-old, a dual Group winner in their native France, was imported into Australia by new owners OTI Racing with an eye on the spring features in Melbourne last year.
They ran a credible fourth on debut down under when beaten under one and a half lengths by Lightinthenite in the Group 3 David Jones Cup (2000m) on Caulfield Cup Day in late October.
Their second run in Australia produced and fourth with Prairie Star crossing two lengths off the now retired winner Alcopop in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) during the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
This autumn they will return to racing in Victoria eyeing an elusive Group 1 trophy, connections naming the $1 million Dubai Australian Cup (2000m) on March 9 as their major goal.
O’Brien is happy with the horse’s progress since being turned out after the Mackinnon believing that they have now acclimatised to the climate here and that that will help them run better in their second Aussie campaign starting with the $150,000 Group 3 Herald Sun Carlyon Cup (1600m) at Caulfield Racecourse this Saturday.
“He’s done really well. He spent the summer down at Barwon Heads and has furnished out into a lovely stallion now,” O’Brien said.
“I thought his two runs were very good (in the spring). And he’s certainly come on a lot from that.”
The 2013 Carlyon Cup attracted 13 early entries with nominations extended until 10am (AEST) on Tuesday.
In the latest Australian Cup odds the reigning Melbourne Cup champ Green Moon is the $4.20 favourite while Prairie Star is inside top 10 lines of betting at a quote of $17.
Another Australian Cup 2013 prospect that gets their new season prep underway at Caulfield this Saturday is Anthony Freedman’s Doomben Cup winner Mawingo who runs in the day’s feature – the $400,000 Group 1 C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m).
Mawingo had a shocking two-start spring campaign that they will be out to improve on this season, Freedman confident they will be back to their best having been on the sidelines since their eighth to Ocean Park in the Underwood Stakes in September.
“I think he’s back where he was a year or so ago,” Freedman said.
“That’s the feeling I’ve got but race day will tell.
“He just didn’t come up last preparation and I probably was never really totally happy with him in hindsight.”
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