Michelle Fleming has Our Boy Ollie firing ahead of Tamworth Cup

The Michelle Fleming-trained Our Boy Ollie. Image: Bradley Photos.

Michelle Fleming is daring to dream of Tamworth Cup riches with in-form galloper Our Boy Ollie. 

Chelsea Hillier was in the saddle on Monday when the five-year-old raced on his home track, and the pair scored an impressive victory in the Tamworth Cup Prelude (1400m). 

Taking on a hot field, Hillier went forward and led on the Outreach gelding and turned for home with a big lead. 

Our Boy Ollie ($3.10) kicked strongly to win by threequarters-of-a-length from the fast-finishing Smooth Esprit (Ben Looker, $8) from the Clint Lundholm yard. 

In the third and three-and-a-half lengths off the winner was the Lou Mary-trained Royal Charge (Aaron Bullock, $10). 

Now guaranteed a start in the $200,000 Tamworth Cup on Friday, April 26, Fleming is confident Our Boy Ollie can compete in what will be a stacked field, including many city and provincial raiders. 

“That will be a little challenge, but if you ask me right now, I think he is up to it,” Fleming told NSW Country and Picnic Racing.

“The visiting trainers will make it a tough gig, but he is a very good horse, and getting that bit of confidence will improve him again.

“He’s come through the race really well, and I know it is going to be tough competition and not an easy race, but it will depend on how strong the race is when the fields come out.

“The thing is, he loves Tamworth, and he’ll be on his home track, and they’ll have to beat him there.”

It was a good training effort to get Our Boy Ollie up to seven furlongs after he was recently tested in the Country Championships qualifiers at Tamworth and Scone.

At Tamworth on March 10, it was the gelding’s first go over 1400m, and he wasn’t disgraced when finishing eighth, beaten four-and-a-half lengths by the Scott Singleton-trained Russley Crown in the $150,000 Hunter-North West qualifier

At Scone on March 22, the Tamworth-trained galloper loomed up as the winner, even finding the front with 150m to go, only to finish fifth when beaten one-and-half-lengths by the Glen Milligan-trained That’s Molly in the $150,000 Northern Wildcard qualifier

“His races in the Country Championships were great, and they were his first goes over 1400m,” Fleming said. 

“We hadn’t put him over 1400m before that because his racing manners weren’t ideal, and we needed to work out how to race him over 1400m. 

“As we found out yesterday (Monday), we just need to let him do his own thing, and he proved he could run the distance.”

With the Tamworth Cup in her sights, which is a qualifier for the $3 million Big Dance (1600m), run at Royal Randwick on the first Tuesday in November, Fleming believes Our Boy Ollie will stretch out over more ground. 

“I’ve always said that later on, he will get a mile,” Fleming said. 

“I think he’ll run a strong mile on his work, but getting his racing manners right has been the challenge because he’s been late to mature.

“We’ve worked him out now, and he’s racing like he’ll get the distance.”

Our Boy Ollie has turned into a nice little success story. 

A $9000 purchase out of the 2020 Scone Yearling Sale, he didn’t come to hand quickly, breaking his maiden at his ninth start. Since then, he’s won five races and just shy of $120,000 in prizemoney.

“He had so much raw ability but was still putting it all together,” Fleming said.  

“It took a while for him to mature and learn how to race, and only in the last couple of preps has he been a lot more mature. 

“It’s taken that long for him to get that racing mindset, and he is good now, but I still think he can improve.”

Hillier will be offered the ride in the $200,000 Tamworth Cup, with Fleming confident the apprentice can get the job done. 

“Chelsea has a really good strike rate with him, and she gets on with him. We’ll definitely put her on if she is available,” Fleming said. 

In the second of the features run at Tamworth on Monday, the Scott Singleton-trained Vincenzo (Milayla Weir, $2.25) was a class above his rivals in the Mornington Prelude (2100m).