O'Brien sets sights on Guineas


Danny O'Brien has an affinity with the Australian Guineas is hoping to add another success in the feature for three-year-olds with Bondeiger.

The Victoria Derby runner-up will be aimed at the Group One race at Flemington on March 7 before attention shifts to the Sydney carnival.

O'Brien, who has a private training complex at Barwon Heads as well as stables at Flemington, has won two of the past four Australian Guineas with the filly Shamrocker in 2011 and star colt Shamus Award last season.

Bondeiger's second to Preferment in the Derby came at the end of his spring campaign and O'Brien believes the colt can raise his game again.

"He's at Barwon Heads and he's in great shape getting ready for the autumn," O'Brien said.

"He'll run first-up in the CS Hayes Stakes and then second-up in the Australian Guineas."

Both Shamrocker and Shamus Award took out the Guineas at their second runs back from a spell, a system that works for the trainer.

"We've done it twice in the last four years," O'Brien said.

"Shamrocker had run second in the VRC Oaks (in the spring) and second-up she won the Australian Guineas, and earlier this year Shamus Award won it second-up coming off his Cox Plate win in the spring."

O'Brien said Bondeiger did not feel the effects of his Derby preparation as an early three-year-old which was a good sign heading into the autumn.

"Sometimes the horses can get a bit of a stitch out of that Derby but he pulled up really well. So fingers crossed, he should have improvement to come still," O'Brien said.

"He won over a mile in the spring and although it was a maiden he also won at 1400 metres.

"So he's sharp enough to run a good race in the Australian Guineas."

The Rosehill Guineas (2000m) and Australian Derby (2400m) in Sydney are on the radar for Bondeiger after his Melbourne campaign.

Bondeiger has two wins and three placings from seven starts, with a maiden at Geelong and a 1600m benchmark race for three-year-olds at Caulfield his two spring victories on his way to his Derby second.

Story by Matthew Toogood, to view full Ninesmn story click here 

Photo by Bruno Cannatelli, to view Bruno's website click here

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