Big plans for impressive debutante winner


Flemington trainer Danny O'Brien is already thinking of a spring strategy with Merriest after her comfortable debut win at Caulfield.

Merriest almost made the races before Christmas but O'Brien gave the Denman filly more time to develop before the two-year-old showed her talent in the Cove Hotel Handicap (1100m).

James Winks sent Merriest to the front early in the $80,000 contest form where the debutante travelled kindly before drawing away from her opposition late to score by 2.25 lengths.

O'Brien said the youngster would have one more run as a two-year-old before she returned for a shot at stakes races as a spring three-year-old.

"She showed a little bit before Christmas but she probably wasn't ready. She's been ready to come to the races for three or four weeks and we took her to Werribee and she trialled very well,” O'Brien said.

"I think she's very smart. She certainly looks a stakes class mare on what she's done at home. That was a pretty dominant win.

"I'll probably give her one more. There's a race at Flemington in a fortnight and I'd like her to have a look at the straight and then we'll probably give her a chance in the spring.”

Winks said Merriest has had trouble in the gates in her trials but barrier attendant Glen Darrington, who also worked with Black Caviar behind the stalls before her races, helped the filly handle her first race experience with ease.

'She's been a handful at the barrier but he (Darrington) got her there like a little baby today,” Winks said.

"She jumped clean, travelled beautiful and when I gave her a click, she pinged and it was all over.”

Phoenix Rising ($8) raced behind the speed before working home for second ahead of the $4.60 favourite Vintage Quartz, which made ground from back in the field.

Story by Sporting News, to view full story click here

Photo by Darryl Sherer  

Belichick scores touchdown at Pakenham

Belichick scores touchdown at Pakenham
[19 Jun 18] Jockey Damien Oliver followed the game plan perfectly which allowed Belichick to score his first touchdown at Pakenham on Thursday. The three-year-old gelding's namesake, New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick, would have been proud at the planning that went into his first victory at start eight.  more...

Step up in trip sees De' Majico home

Step up in trip sees De' Majico home
[15 Jun 18] A step up to 1900m has been the catalyst behind De' Majico breaking through for his maiden victory at Geelong on Friday. Having been placed twice in her first seven starts, the four-year-old relished the increase trip to get on the board as a winner for her patient connections.  more...

Seachange has Bullseye on target for the Valley

Seachange has Bullseye on target for the Valley
[13 Jun 18] Trainer Danny O'Brien believes a coastal freshen-up since Another Bullseye's most recent start has agreed with the mare, who will be chasing the third win of her campaign when she runs at Moonee Valley on Saturday.   more...