OTI Racing-owned Ruscello will make his Australian racing debut in the Biretta & Busby Hatmaker Co. Handicap (2000m) on the Thousand Guineas card at Caulfield tomorrow.
Ruscello arrived in Australia just over a fortnight ago and has thrived since arriving at the International Equine Centre at Werribee; beating home 2013 Cox Plate contender Side Glance in a track gallop on Saturday morning.
OTI Racing does not have major goals for Ruscello during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival but co-owner Terry Henderson told Racing Victoria that he is looking forward to seeing what the son of Cape Cross is capable of tomorrow.
“We just want to see where he is at,” Henderson said.
“He hasn’t won a race for a while even though he’s been in good form it’d be nice to pay Ed’s trip out here on Wednesday.
“He’s typical of one of those horses we buy nowadays as three-year-olds and take it easy until their four-year-old season.”
Ruscello raced exclusively as a handicapper in the United Kingdom; with his biggest wins coming in the 2012 Great Yarmouth Racecourse Handicap (1961m) and the 2012 Betfair Handicap (2212m), while he finished an unlucky seventh behind Godolphin-trained Ahzeemah and beat home promising Chris Waller-trained import Opinion in the 2012 Ladbrokes Mobile Handicap (1961m).
Henderson is confident that the five-year-old has plenty of improvement in front of him and could be a contender in the Australian staying ranks next season.
“He’s progressive and a lovely horse, a nice big open galloper and just looked to be the sort of horse that had plenty of scope ahead of him,” Henderson said.
Ruscello is prepared by Ed Walker, who started his own stable in 2010 after working as an assistant trainer for Luca Cumani, and Henderson said that the OTI team has a very high opinion of the promising young trainer.
“His trainer is a guy who we highly rate particularly with his previous association with Luca Cumani,” Henderson said.
“He has just been granted the lease on half of the late Sir Henry Cecil’s training property which is a credit to him and an indication that he is regarded as a real up-and-coming trainer.”
OTI Racing is chasing more success this week after winning the Listed Cranboune Cup (2025m) with Pakal on Sunday.