Fledgling trainer Archie Alexander has been thrust into the spotlight with surprise Caulfield Cup runner Renew who will be ridden by 17-year-old apprentice Regan Bayliss.
The five-year-old was the fourth emergency for Saturday’s $3 million race and gained a start with the scratchings of high-profile horses Dandino, Gris Caro, Bande and Dear Demi.
An Englishman who has honed his craft around the world and now calls Australia home, 28-year-old Alexander has had just a handful of runners out of his Ballarat stable since he began in early September.
OTI Racing, headed by Simon O’Donnell and Terry Henderson, have been among his supporters and sent the former Marco Botti-trained Renew to Ballarat earlier this week.
Renew, the winner of three races over 2414m in England, raced in Marco Botti’s name when unplaced in last Saturday’s Herbert Power Stakes.
“We have had a pretty short relationship but he has settled in well,” Alexander said.
“It’s very exciting to have a Caulfield Cup runner although a little bit odd.
“Other trainers try year to year and I’ve been spoilt and found one right away.
“But I haven’t made the horse. That is down to Marco Botti’s team, in particular Paul Francis who has been looking after him in quarantine.”
Alexander said Bayliss was given the nod after a discussion with connections.
“He is a talented young rider,” he said.
“And he rides Caulfield very well.
“I know the horse is a long shot but it’s great to have him there.”
Renew is the $201 outsider in the field with OTI’s other two runners – the Peter Moody-trained Lidari and Brambles – the second and third favourites at $8.50 and $9 respectively behind the $3.80 favourite Lucia Valentina.