Promising three-year-old Orujo is set to make his return to racing at Royal Randwick on Saturday after he was included in the nominations for the $85,000 Benchmark 75 event.
Orujo showed plenty of ability at a young age and he was well-backed before his racing debut after winning a barrier trial at Warwick Farm on November 21, but he could finish no better than fifth behind Nordic Empire in the Flemington Equine Clinic Plate (1000m) at Caulfield on November 30 in 2013.
After a stint in the spelling paddock, he made his black type racing debut with a second place finish behind Marcado in the Listed Talindert Stakes (1100m) at Flemington in February of 2014 and he won a maiden at Bendigo on February 27 in impressive fashion before he finished second again in the Listed Chandler Macleod St Albans Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley.
Orujo started his 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a win in the Lister Handicap (1000m) at Sandown on August 6, but he was sent to the spelling paddock after missing the placings in both the Listed McKenzie Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on August 23 and the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) at the same venue on September 6.
The Exceed And Excel gelding returned to racing with a narrow defeat at the hands of Edgewood in the Racing.com Handicap (1000m) at Bendigo on December 21 and he just missed the placings when fourth behind The Quarterback in the Listed Kensington Stakes (1000m) on January 10, but he tired badly when he finished eighth behind Fine Mist in the Blackwoods Gearwrench Handicap (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on February 21.
Orujo made the first public appearance since his Blackwoods Gearwrench Handicap defeat when he worked home strongly under a heavy hold in a barrier trial over 1045 metres at Royal Randwick on June 5 and he gave trainer John O’Shea that he was ready for a return to racing when he was given another quite trial at the same venue on June 23.
A total of 19 horses were included in the nominations for the Three-Years-Old Benchmark 75 Handicap and Orujo could face the likes of the in-form Queen Of Kariba, last start winner Felines, the resuming Fell Swoop, Team Snowden-trained Thud and Roaring To Win as well as debut winner from the Garry Frazer stable Way We Go.