French stayer Au Revoir will be out to cement a Melbourne Cup start when he runs at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
The five-year-old Singspiel entire has been undergoing quarantine at Werribee since arriving in Melbourne on October 11 and will line up in the Moonee Valley Cup (2500m).
Au Revoir, a member of the OTI Racing team, has been prepared at Chantilly by Andre Fabre for his Australian connections and was not out to break the clock at Werribee on Tuesday morning, working over two laps of the track.
But Fabre did order the blinkers be fitted for the work-out.
“Andre wanted the blinkers on him this morning just to make sure his work was nice and strong,” OTI’s Simon O’Donnell said.
“The horse, since he arrived, has been spot on. How that translates into Saturday on the tight circuit and the crowd being so close will be interesting to see.”
O’Donnell said the five-year-old had settled in well since arriving in Australia and was on target for the Melbourne Cup on November 4.
But to guarantee a start at Flemington, Au Revoir must win Saturday’s Moonee Valley Cup.
Also nominated in the Moonee Valley Cup for OTI Racing is Lord Van Percy, a last-start fifth to Big Memory in the Herbert Power Stakes at Caulfield on October 11.
But O’Donnell said the gelding was likely to be saved for The Lexus over 2500m at Flemington on November 1 with the winner guaranteed a Melbourne Cup berth.
“Au Revoir is right on the borderline for a Cup start at this stage but a win on Saturday would get him over the line,” O’Donnell said.
With Damien Oliver riding Au Revoir on Saturday, O’Donnell said the flatter and tighter turning tracks in Australia better suited the French gallopers than their UK counterparts, but pointed out the Moonee Valley circuit was an entirely different situation.
Many of the international visitors have fallen by the wayside in recent weeks including Caulfield and Melbourne Cup hopefuls Dandino and Bande, and O’Donnell is keeping his fingers crossed with the three from OTI that have come to Melbourne.
“Touch wood. Our team so far has been physically going OK. Lets hope it stays that way,” he said.