Inside Running: Ottoman Emperor reigns in Sussex

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Inside Running: Ottoman Emperor reigns in Sussex

By Michael Lynch

It’s not often that an Australian ownership group has a runner in an English classic race, but that is now on the agenda for the OTI-owned Ottoman Emperor after the Melbourne-based syndication’s three-year-old won a recognised St Leger trial at the Glorious Goodwood festival in the early hours of Friday morning.

The improving stayer showed plenty of grit and courage to see off the Aidan O’Brien-trained Sir Lucan. The favourite Third Realm was next in the 2400-metre Gordon Stakes at the Sussex track, with well-fancied types from the Coolmore and Godolphin operations further behind.

Cross Counter, the Charlie Appleby-trained galloper, became the first English-trained horse to win the Melbourne Cup after he had taken out the Gordon Stakes in 2018. But OTI’s Melbourne-based boss Terry Henderson says that might come too soon for the rapidly improving son of that good miler Excelebration, who invariably found the legendary Frankel too good for him in numerous races.

Champion jockey Jamie Kah has a race named after her in Saturday’s  Moonee Valley meeting.

Champion jockey Jamie Kah has a race named after her in Saturday’s Moonee Valley meeting.Credit:Getty Images

“He’s still a bit of a big baby but he is getting better with every race,” Henderson said.

“We will go on to the St Leger now. He wasn’t very expensive for this type of horse and we bought him out of a trial at Dundalk (Ireland’s all-weather track). He looked promising and Johnny has done a great job with him.”

“Johnny” is Johnny Murtagh, his Irish-based trainer and a former champion jockey and stable rider for Coolmore, who will be sending out an older OTI-owned horse called Mirann with the Caulfield and Melbourne cups as his target, but that galloper will be aimed at the valuable Ebor Handicap at York before making the trip to Melbourne.

Welcome back to Victoria

Racing returns to Victoria with a final meeting of the 2020-21 season at Moonee Valley on Saturday after a week’s break where no meetings were scheduled.

It was a hiatus that was not welcome by everyone in the industry but perhaps absence has made the heart grow fonder, as five of the nine races on the card are over subscribed with emergencies hoping some of the declared runners are scratched so they can get a run.

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Higher order

There are a handful of 100-plus-rated gallopers stepping out after a spell at The Valley and these are the sorts whose connections will be entertaining hopes that they can take higher order over the next few months.

Perhaps the most interesting is the Team Williams-owned Buckhurst, who is returning to the track after a nine-month absence. His last start, when trained by Irish-based Joseph O’Brien, was in the Cox Plate won by Sir Dragonet when he finished nine lengths in arrears in 10th place. He meets nothing of that class on Saturday.

Racing in the Kah

Congratulations are in order for Jamie Kah, who will be officially crowned champion jockey on Saturday. The Valley has named the penultimate race of the day after her, and she is due to ride early favourite Red Santa.

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