2014 McKenzie Stakes for Orujo Next Race

Connections of the John O’Shea-trained up-and-comer Orujo have confirmed the McKenzie Stakes 2014 next start for the colt after their first-up win for global powerhouse Godolphin at Sandown on Wednesday.

Nicholas Hall

Nicholas Hall rode the promising Godolphin-owned Orujo to victory at Sandown on Wednesday. Photo: Race Horse Photos Australia.

Stepping out for O’Shea for the first time at the midweek meet the former Peter Snowden-trained Exceed And Excel three-year-old enjoyed their second career win in the $35,000 Lister Handicap (1000m) as the Ladbrokes.com.au favourite.

The Benchmark 70 result was an historical win too as Godolphin celebrated their first Australian success since the Sheikh Mohammed-owned operation was rebranded down under from Darley, which now refers solely to the breeding side of the venture.

Orujo as the winner was also an added bonus as the youngster was bred by Darley that operated down under since 2008 when Sheikh Mohammed purchased the Ingham brothers’ Woodlands operation.

“It’s a huge thrill for the whole team,” Godolphin’s Australian racing manager Jason Walsh said on Wednesday according to Racing Victoria

“For a home-bred son of Sheikh Mohammed’s to be his first winner for the Australian arm of the Godolphin operation is really exciting.”

Ridden from barrier five by Nicholas Hall Orujo saluted for the punters as the $3.20 top fancy when beating home the Luke Oliver-trained Trevinder ($6.50) by a length with Awasita ($6.50) just neck further away in third.

Hall had the eventual winner settled just off the pace taking them to the centre of the track at the start of the straight before they hit the front inside the final 200m, a position they held to the line despite a fast finishing effort from the runner-up.

With Snowden Orujo won by three lengths at Bendigo back in February before their first black-type assignment in the Listed St Albans Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley in mid-March during their autumn campaign.

There they finished a credible second to London Lolly, Walsh confirming plans to step them back up to stakes’ company again at the same track next start after their Sandown success.

The team is eyeing a start in the $120,000 Listed McKenzie Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on August 23, a run that will hopefully lead to another bigger assignment this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.

“He was poor treated under the weight scale there, so it was a really strong effort,” Walsh said of their Wednesday win.

“The Mitchell McKenzie in two-and-a-half weeks at the Valley is probably where we will go next.”

While off the top tier of their age group and subsequently not nominated for the $1 million Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) when entries for the October 11 classic closed on Tuesday, Orujo is still capable of some nice form this carnival.

“He’s shown he’s a nice Exceed And Excel colt with a nice future,” Walsh added.

“He looks like he’s got good Listed, Group 3-level ability so we’ll look for a race like that shortly.”

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