Classy French entire Prairie Star bound for Melbourne


OTI has strengthened its Spring Racing Carnival arsenal with the purchase of former top French three-year-old Prairie Star.

The son of Peintre Celebre will sport OTI's distinctive navy blue, yellow and white colours in Melbourne where his main aim will be the $2.65 million BMW Caulfield Cup.

OTI's Terry Henderson said the four-year-old, who has won four of his 11 starts, was not yet fully matured and the Melbourne Racing Club's spring major was the most suitable spring target.

“Very clearly this year his main aim is the Caulfield Cup,” Henderson said.

“He will be well-weighted for it, but he lacks a little bit of maturity, which would make us a little bit reserved about pushing him too hard as a four-year-old.”

Prairie Star's best performance to date came in last year's Group 2 Prix Hocquart (2200m), which he won before finishing sixth behind Reliable Man in the French Derby (2100m).

His only starts since have been a first-up failure in a Listed 3100m event in April and Group 2 placings over the same distance.

Prepared by Elli Lellouche in those runs, Prairie Star transferred to fellow French trainer John Hammond after being purchased by OTI and will campaign for either Hammond or Danny O'Brien during spring.

“We'll give the horse a run towards the end of this month, or early in August, and then Danny and Simon (O'Donnell) and I will sit down and decide whether it's best to leave him in John Hammond's hands to bring out, if John wants to do that, or whether to relocate him to Danny straight away,” Henderson said.

The acquisition of Prairie Star gives OTI a strong hand heading towards the BMW Caulfield Cup, to be run on 20 October, with another recent Northern Hemisphere purchase, Quest For Peace, now a chance to join him.

The Luca Cumani-trained four-year-old, who beat home Dunaden in a Group 2 event over 2400m in May, was originally bought to target the famed Arc de Triomphe, but OTI has re-evaluated goals after two below-par performances and the son of Galileo may now head Down Under.

“Quest For Peace was a horse that we thought might have been Arc material, but he doesn't look as if he's going to, but he too is a very good mile-and-a-half horse,” Henderson said.

“We've pretty much scuttled Arc plans and the Cumani camp will probably have their eye on the Caulfield Cup with him.”

Story by Racing Victoria Limited, to view full story click here



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