An easy win in Saturday’s Gr.3 Toyota Forklifts Frank Packer Plate (2000m) at Randwick has gone some way towards turning the autumn around for Osipenko (Pierro x Raskova), whose connections are still wondering what might have been in last month’s Gr.1 Randwick Guineas (1600m).
The classy son of Pierro placed in the Gr.1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) in the spring, and a superb win in the Gr.2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) in February hinted at even bigger and better things to come over the following few weeks.
However, a cruelly timed temperature spike forced him out of the Randwick Guineas on the morning of the race.
He later resumed his campaign with a pair of creditable performances against elite older opposition, finishing seventh in the Gr.1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) and sixth in the Gr.1 Doncaster Mile (1600m), and on Saturday he returned to his own age group and was right back at the peak of his powers.
“Things haven’t quite gone his way this autumn,” trainer Chris Waller said. “He had a temperature spike on race morning when he was favourite for the Randwick Guineas, and for a colt to win the Randwick Guineas, it’s almost a $20 million price tag.
“That temperature on Randwick Guineas morning was very hard to take for my team and for the owners, and we probably still haven’t recovered in terms of his value.
“That was frustrating, but we’ve looked after him and he’s come back. He ran well on a wet track in the Doncaster, and he’s bounced back today with a good win. Now we know he can run 2000m, and there’s some great 2000m races in the spring.
“The boys and girls at home say he’s a Group One horse in waiting, so he’ll get his turn in the spring.”
Osipenko was a red-hot favourite among a five-horse field for Saturday’s Frank Packer Plate. Ridden patiently by Nash Rawiller, he settled at the tail of the field before creeping closer coming up to the home turn.
A bumping duel with Williamsburg at the top of the straight provided a few nervous moments, but once Rawiller got him balanced up, Osipenko changed gears. He charged past Pericles and went clear to score by just under a length.
“He’s a talented horse, as we all know,” Rawiller said. “He ticked another box today, running the 2000m, and he did that nice and strong. I was very happy with the way he relaxed in the run, and then he showed his usual turn of foot, which was good.
“He’s a promising colt. He missed the Randwick Guineas, which would have been his main aim for the autumn. He went to the George Ryder and ran well. He was probably the best out of the three-year-olds in the Doncaster.
“I think he’s the sort of horse that’s learned his craft a little bit, and he’s come a long way this preparation. These slowly run races, they actually probably teach them more than a hard-run race, which would’ve suited him better. He’s got an explosive turn of foot and he helps himself by the way he settles, and today he was a more than worthy winner.”
Osipenko has now had nine starts for three wins and two placings, earning A$798,625 in stakes.
Bred by Kevin Hickman, Osipenko was purchased out of Valachi Downs’ 2021 Book 1 draft at Karaka by Guy Mulcaster on behalf of Chris Waller Racing and the Kaha Syndicate for $160,000.
His dam Raskova, a stakes-performed daughter of Henrythenavigator, is from the family of champion sires Shamardal and Street Cry. – NZ Racing Desk