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OTI Racing looks set to invade the Melbourne Cup Carnival once again after flying in European horses Renew and Van Percy.
The pair is in quarantine at Werribee after arriving alongside the first European contingent of horses last Saturday.
Simon O’Donnell, OTI Racing director, visited the Werribee Racecourse Tuesday morning to see how the two horses pulled up after their long flight.
The pair will likely run in the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) on October 11 in their bid for automatic qualification to the Group 1 Caulfield Cup a week later but O’Donnell has other races in the pipeline should they miss out on a Cup start.
Five-year-old Renew, who was recently gelded on the recommendation of trainer Marco Botti, and Van Percy can instead use the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m) on October 22 as their Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) lead-up – a race OTI has experience in, having won three times with various imports.
O’Donnell had lots of praise for Van Percy on Tuesday morning, after watching the colt canter round the Werribee track, including a comparison to 2008 Melbourne Cup runner-up Bauer.
“He’s probably our modern day Bauer, just a different colour,” he said to Sky Racing.
“Every time he steps out you know what you are going to get. He’s come here in good form and we’re hopeful of him running well.”
OTI Racing will be represented by two more international runners, Gatewood and Au Revior, who are due to arrive on October 11.
Gatewood found success in the 2012 Geelong Cup but failed to acclimatise under the care of Chris Waller following the race.
On his return to Europe, the six-year-old returned to form finishing no further back than third in his 10 starts, including three wins – Listed Buckhounds Stakes (2414m), 32Red Stakes (2414m), and the Group 3 OSAF Prix De Reux (2500m).
“He didn’t like Australia,” O’Donnell said. “He ran 10 and 15 lengths below his standard and what he kept telling us was that he didn’t like it here.
“We sent him back home and he found his form again. He came off a European campaign to win a Geelong Cup and hopefully he can do so again.”
Following the 2014 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, Gatewood will return to Europe while Renew, Van Percy, and Au Revoir will all stay on in Australia.
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