O’Brien Awakens Derby contender


Trainer Danny O’Brien may have unearthed a potential AAMI Victoria Derby contender with the debut victory of Awake In Grinzing ($7) in Wednesday’s opening race at Sandown.

The son of Rip Van Winkle settled a clear last in the eight-horse field before sweeping down the outside to beat Los Cabos ($6.50) comfortably by a length on the line.

Thrilled by the two-year-old’s ability to make a sustained run in the heavy conditions, O’Brien said he would give the gelding every chance to earn a spot in $1.5 million Victoria Derby in November.

“He’s certainly got the pedigree to run a mile-and-a-quarter (2000m), a mile-and-a-half (2400m), so we’ll just take our time with him and maybe give him another run in three weeks’ time and see where he’s at,” O’Brien said.

“It’s always the long-range plan with horses with his sort of pedigree to give them the chance to possibly be around when the Derby’s run but there’s other derbies and good three-year-old races in the autumn if it all comes too soon.

“Often horses that run well on Derby Day have had a run or two in the winter to get them going so we’ll keep all options open and he certainly got a big tick today.”

The victory was jockey Ben Melham’s first since returning from holidays and he said Awake In Grinzing would only get better with the run under his belt.

“He’s got really nice ability but is still quite raw so I didn’t expect him to win today but to get the win was a bonus,” Melham said.

“No doubt he’ll be better as he gets out over more ground.”

Trainer Mick Price said Cambridge Lady would now head to the paddock after the daughter of Mossman finished second last as the $4.20 second favourite.

Story by Ben Asgari, to view Racing.com story click here

Photo by Racing Photos

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