Trainer John Thompson has confirmed that Orbec will head towards the 2015 The Metropolitan after he returned to the races with a very close second in the Merrylands RSL Club Handicap (1800m) at Rosehill Gardens on August 15.
There was not a great deal of support for Orbec in the lead-up to the Merrylands RSL Club Handicap after he looked a touch on the dour side in three barrier trials in the lead-up to his Australian racing debut, but he was able to take up a nice midfield position in the early stages of the race.
Orbec took a while to wind up in the straight, but he showed an impressive turn-of-foot when he found a split at the 250 metre mark and he looked as though he was going to make a winning start to his Australian racing career before he was narrowly pipped by Beyond Thankful in the shadows of the post.
Thompson was thrilled with the performance of Orbec in the Merrylands RSL Club Handicap and he told Racing Ahead that the imported stayer would head to the Listed Wyong Gold Cup (2100m) on September 4, the Group 3 Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m) at Newcastle on September 18 and the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Royal Randwick on October 3.
“It was a great return,” Thompson said.
“I never get nervous before a race, but I was a little bit toey on Saturday because when you run a horse first-up over 1800 metres it is always a bit of a worry.
“It is not really the done thing in Australia, but with those northern hemisphere horses like him it is what he is used to.
“He ran very well and the horse will only improve.
“The horse is still quite gross and all things considered it was a great run.
“He goes to the Wyong Cup next in a couple of weeks and after that it will be the Newcastle Cup into The Metropolitan.”
Orbec made his racing debut back in November of 2013 and he recorded three wins from seven race starts in Europe – including a fourth place finish behind Free Port Lux, Adelaide and Gallante in the Group 2 Prix Hocquart (2200m) – before he failed to fire when seventh behind Parranda in the Group 1 CECF Singapore Cup (1800m) at Kranji on February 22.
Orbec has also been included in the 2015 Caulfield Cup nominations and she is currently available at a quote of $81 in the betting market for the Group 1 event with Ladbrokes.