John Thompson’s imported stayer Orbec has already given the trainer a few shocks but he won’t be surprised if the five-year-old wins the Wyong Gold Cup.
The first surprise came with how quickly the former French galloper had settled in and acclimatised and the second came with his desperately close second to Beyond Thankful over 1800m at Rosehill at his first Australian start.
“I thought it would be too short for him but for a minute or two I thought he had won,” Thompson said.
“I have had a few horses by Le Havre and they have been a bit soft but this horse is tough.
“The step up in distance and the good barrier makes him a big hope in the Cup.
“After that he will go to the Newcastle Cup, then the Metropolitan then he will be off to Melbourne for the Caulfield Cup while he has been nominated for the Melbourne Cup.”
Havana Cooler is favourite to deliver Godolphin its first Wyong Gold Cup on Friday.
The import was an eye-catching sixth to Cup rival Beyond Thankful at his Australian debut at Rosehill when he was forced to change course in the straight and finished resolutely to be beaten a half length.
He will be ridden by Sam Clipperton and is a $3.20 favourite.