OTI Racing are one of the biggest racing syndicates in the world, and they look to be in for a big Spring Carnival in Australia spearheaded by impressive Moonee Valley winner I’m Thunderstruck.
Having only had five starts heading into Saturday’s race, the four-year-old son of Shocking already had three wins to his name, including good wins at Caulfield, Sale and Flemington.
Trained by Mick Price & Michael Kent Jr, I’m Thunderstruck was sent around as a solid $2.30 favourite over 1514m in the last 3YO Handicap race of the season over 1514m.
After settling off the pace, Jamie Kah peeled out five wide to set out after the leader and main market rival, Tuvalu.
Although the margin was only half a length, I’m Thunderstruck spotted Tuvalu a fair start, and that pair put a further five lengths on the rest of a field that included the in-form Seiners Express.
While Price and Kent already have the $7.5 million Golden Eagle favourite in Ayrton, I’m Thunderstruck could have booked his spot alongside him in the float to Sydney for the race.
“After today he probably goes to an 81 or 82 (rater),” Price told Racing.com.
“I’m hoping that gets him a run in the race for four-year-olds (Golden Eagle).
“He’ll definitely have a little breather. We’ll put a circle around the Golden Eagle and work our way back, whether he has two runs in, that’s something we have to work out.”
I’m Thunderstruck is owned by OTI Racing and managed by Terry Henderson, who looks to have a few other budding stars in the upcoming carnival.
Eagles Crag is undefeated in his two Australian starts, winning at Pakenham by 5.75 lengths in February before getting in by 1.75 lengths at Sandown Lakeside on March 3.
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Trained by Archie Alexander, the five-year-old entire will be aimed towards the Cox Plate in October at The Valley.
Eagles Crag will be joined by about five other OTI runners that are nominated for the Cox Plate.
“We’ve got about 20 horses nominated for the (Melbourne) Cup and 10 or 15 for the Caulfield Cup and half a dozen or so for the Cox Plate,” Terry Henderson told SEN Track.
“We probably have our best local contingent that we’ve had for many years.”
While their nominations will be strong, OTI Racing may only be able to bring in the one international runner to make the trip to Melbourne for the spring.
“Internationally, I think it’s only going to Mirann, trained by Johnny Murtagh,” Henderson said.
“He’s a very consistent stayer; he goes off to the Ebor now and he’ll make his presence felt from that, and then from there to Melbourne.”
One OTI mare who we have seen in Australia in the past that was set to join Mirann was True Self, but injuries have ruled her out this time.
“Unfortunately, she won’t be coming for the Spring Carnival,” Henderson said.
“We think she’s got a suspensory issue that manifested itself in the middle of last week and on Friday we sent her down for an MRI and we still haven’t got the results of it, but one thing’s for sure, it’s an issue that would stop her from continuing her campaign and that would rule out Melbourne.
“She was on her way to America next week for a Group One at Arlington, but obviously that was immediately ruled out and then we thought for a minute that we might be able to get her ready for Melbourne, but that’s not going to be possible.”
I’m Thunderstruck sits on the third line of betting for the Golden Eagle at $11, while Mirann is a $17 chance in the Ebor Handicap at York on August 22 and $41 in the Melbourne Cup.
Fellow OTI runners Amade ($19) and Selino ($26) are towards the pointy end of the Melbourne Cup market, while Eagles Crag is currently $67 in the Cox Plate market with Sportsbet.