David Hall’s team continues to fire well and Andoyas and Otouto looked to have their hoof on the till despite defeats at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
Andoyas is the one with a little blue sky to his prospects as he was not far off the benchmarks in his classic year in Germany, finishing fourth in the 2,000 Guineas there from only three starts. He took quite a while to settle in here and has been with Hall only three runs, each of them meritorious, and has been previously highlighted in this space but his solid finish over 2,200m to do all but win on Wednesday keeps him on the radar.
Otouto had run well behind Ten Flames when huge odds on debut and didn’t quite repeat that but did have tempo heavily against him this time behind E-Super.
The leaders didn’t make things easy for the run-on horses in the final event, but Otouto got to the line steadily for a dead-heat fourth. A winner of two when trained in Sydney, he doesn’t look anything special but he has settled in quickly and should be able to pay his way in Class Three with the right placement.
Earlier, Almond Lee added one more to the stable list of horses who might give him a helping hand this season in the lower grades.
The reality of Sammy’s Empire is that he has never suggested he is all that good but that is what Class Five is for and the son of Holy Roman Emperor did run two decent races last season for Andreas Schutz that suggested he won’t retire winless.
On Wednesday night, his first run down in the cellar grade was a repeat of his best effort in Class Four behind Gran Bolivar, closing off fairly well into fourth behind Master Viking.
The key point to note is that his three starts which received a pass mark have all been at Happy Valley, so Lee would be well advised to keep him there and he should be able to squeeze a win from the Irish-bred five-year-old, who certainly isn’t overraced at this point with only nine starts.