OTI unearth 2024 Cox Plate hopeful at Royal Ascot

OTI Racing are no strangers to bringing talented imports from Europe to Australia and Tuesday’s Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes (1609m) at Royal Ascot may have revealed their next Spring Carnival raider.

Docklands, trained by Harry Eustace, elder brother of David Eustace, caught the eye with a strong finish in his maiden Group One attempt to finish second as an $11 chance with betting apps in Australia, beaten 2.3 lengths by Charyn, and OTI boss Terry Henderson was thrilled with the horse’s run.

“It was a great run, it exceeded our expectations, I thought he could’ve run a place. This race is a genuine, top Group One race, he beat some really, really talented horses today and it sort of laid the foundation for us to think about Cox Plates and the Flemington carnival,’ Henderson told RSN927.

Eustace has experience bringing horses to Australia having formerly worked for William Haggas, who prepared Addeybb and Dubai Honour to win Group Ones in Sydney, and Henderson is keen to give the young trainer the opportunity to do so under his own name.

“We’d certainly keep him in the care of Harry for the Spring… but we’re also very conscious that we want this horse to come down and show his best in Melbourne and possibly Sydney,” Henderson said.

While Docklands hasn’t run over further than a mile, Henderson believes the 2040m of a Cox Plate will be right up the four-year-old entire’s alley.

“We’ve always thought that he’d run 2000 metres, so we’d probably have to do that at some stage and once we’ve done that we’ll firm up a plan but doing what he did today certainly brings the 2024 Cox Plate into contention.”

Meanwhile, OTI Racing will be looking to add another Melbourne Cup contender to their arsenal, which could include New Zealand trained, Listed Roy Higgins Stakes (2800m) winner Mark Twain and recent Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) winner Warmonger.

A son of Australia, four-year-old gelding Deakin, trained by Joseph O’Brien, is set to run in Friday’s Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes (2414m), won last year by stablemate Okita Soushi, who contested the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.

“Deakin’s been going through the hard yards, Joseph’s very confident he’s going to run a big race on Friday, he’ll probably start second-favourite in the Duke Of Edinburgh and if he can feature in that race he goes onto a firm path towards Melbourne,” Henderson said.

“He’s the sort of horse that would go through Werribee and look at a Melbourne Cup but he needs to get through Friday first and if he does then he’s a genuine Spring contender.”

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