Sydney horseman John Thompson has confirmed plans to target The Metropolitan 2015 this spring with his progressive import Orbec, the galloper also nominated for the upcoming Melbourne majors in October.
A five-year-old son of Le Havre, the China Horse Club-raced stallion has had just one of his nine career starts Down Under when making his Australian race debut for Thompson last Saturday at Rosehill Gardens.
He ran in the $85,000 Premier’s Cup Prelude (1800m) on San Domenico Stakes Day and jumped an $11 shot with Tye Angland aboard.
In a top run the galloper finished just a nose away second behind the Chris Waller-trained Beyond Thankful ($6.50) carrying 58kg.
It was a blanket-finish in the last with only half a length separating the first six over the line, Orbec showing a strong late sprint in the closing stages to narrowly miss out on a win that he looked to have secured.
“On the TV it looked like he got there but obviously when they put up the photo he got beat,” Thompson told Racenet.
“I guess the camera angle favours the inside.”
Now boasting a record of three wins and three seconds from nine starts, the French import will head towards tougher targets this Sydney Spring Racing Carnival to try and improve on his current 95 rating that was bumped up by two for his second place finish on the weekend.
Thompson is looking at a run at Royal Randwick on Epsom Handicap Day, October 3, in the $750,000 Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) over the mile and a half, a race he has saddled up four starters in over the years without success.
His next lead-up run for the elite level aim, nominations for which close on Monday, will be on September 4 in the $150,000 Listed Wyong Gold Cup (2100m), a race Thompson is excited about after the horse pulled up well after Saturday.
“He’s pulled up super,” he said.
“He’d had three barrier trials going into it and two were fairly solid, but he’ll improve going into Wyong.
“He’s a dead set stayer, he hasn’t got a huge turn of foot but he just keeps going.”
Before heading to Oz, Orbec’s last overseas run was a disappointing seventh of eight runners behind Parranda in the Listed Singapore Cup (1800m) on February 22, which followed back-to-back wins over 2400m and 2450m respectively in France.
Also on The Metropolitan path for Thompson is Tremec, the seven-year-old son of Zabeel last seen running second last when 10th behind Index Linked in the Listed Caloundra Cup (2400m) in mid-May up in Queensland.
Winner of the Group 2 Chairman’s Handicap (2600m) at Randwick in early April, the gelding is set to resume in the Listed Premier’s Cup (1800m) at Rosehill on August 29.
Orbec is also nominated for both the $3 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 17 and the following Saturday’s weight-for-age $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley Racecourse.
Currently Orbec pays $81 in futures Caulfield Cup odds and the all-in Cox Plate betting markets, with the next round of acceptances for both features closing on September 8.
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