Ballack kicks an early goal for O'Brien

Danny O'Brien's winter carnival prospects look bright after talented stayer Ballack produced a sterling Brisbane Cup trial at Doomben on Saturday.


The much-travelled Ballack made a successful return to Brisbane when his rider Damien Oliver took full advantage of a rails run in the straight to win the Group 3 Chairman's Handicap (2020m).


Balllack raced in Brisbane last year when he recorded a controversial protest win in the Group 3 Tattersall's Cup (2200m) at Eagle Farm before pulling up lame when beaten in the Caloundra Cup (2400m).


He has since raced in Western Australia where he was placed in the Perth Cup on January 1 before O'Brien gave him a break to prepare for an another Brisbane campaign.


O'Brien has the Brisbane Cup at Eagle Farm on June 6 top of his priorities.


"He's here for the Brisbane Cup and we'll get through that before we look at anything else," O'Brien said.


Ballack recorded his first win since his Tattersall's Cup victory when Oliver drove him along the rails in the last 200m to beat the Gai Waterhouse-trained Rabbuka and a host of other Brisbane Cup candidates.


He surprised O'Brien by finding winning form at only his second start since resuming with a fifth at Flemington on Anzac Day, a positive sign for his future Brisbane races.


O'Brien liking for European soccer is behind the naming of the stayer as he is named after Chelsea German star Michael Ballack.


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Photo by Ross Stevenson