Trainer Simon Morrish’s work with OTI horses during Matt Cumani’s enforced break has led to him training French import Fastnet Cyclone.
The stayer runs in Wednesday’s Ladbrokes Handicap at Sandown after making his Australian debut earlier this month.
Cumani was suspended for failing to report a strangles outbreak last year with Morrish stepping in as interim trainer.
OTI had a number of horses with Morrish during that time which led to directors Terry Henderson and Simon O’Donnell sending Fastnet Cyclone to Morrish when he landed in Australia.
While his French form was over longer than Wednesday’s 1500m, Morrish kicked Fastnet Cyclone off in a 1300m race at Ararat in which he finished third.
Morrish remembered the Cumani-trained Condamine had a similar profile to Fastnet Cyclone and was able to win first-up over 1400m at Ballarat in June.
“This horse was sharp in his work and his trials so we kicked him off over the 1300 at Ararat,” Morrish said.
“As Terry correctly pointed out a horse like him has never been subjected to that sort of pressure in his life.
“In Europe they fall out of the barriers, hack along for the first mile and then build it up and sprint home the last 400 metres but at Ararat, right from the get-go, it was handlebars down and away we go.
“He was really good through the line and he showed he was wanting a bit further on a bigger spacious track.”
Morrish doesn’t know how far Fastnet Cyclone will progress this campaign and whether the best won’t be seen until he steps out to 1800m or 2000m.
But he’s confident there will be improvement next preparation.
“When he arrived he had a beautiful European silky coat on him and when he arrived in Ballarat I rugged him up to keep him as warm as possible,” Morrish said.
“He’s grown a winter coat and he looks woolly so he’s a bit out of whack but once he gets into the rhythm of what it’s all about he’ll be much better next time around.
“This preparation is a look and learn and see where we might end up.”