Galen Gives O'Brien A Strong Hand In Derby

Danny O'Brien showed he had a strong hand in the $1.5 million VRC Derby when he trained Galen and Sir Lago to run the quinella in the Citrus Handicap at Flemington this afternoon.

"They are two young horses heading towards the Derby and they couldn't have run better here today", said a delighted O'Brien after the race.

Coming from well back in the field, Galen ($11-$14) put in a strong finishing effort to overhaul his stablemate Sir Lago ($15-$17) close to the post to win by a long neck.

Gorky Park ($5.00-$8.00) was third two lengths away, while the favourite, Lee Freedman trained Showify ($4.00-$4.80F) finished sixth after sweating up badly before the race.

O'Brien complained that the dearth of suitable leadup races for the Derby had caused him difficulties with both Galen and Sir Lago.

"Its very hard to get the Derby horses ready because there are no races over distance apart from the Norman Robinson and the AAMI Vase", he said.

"This horse was ready to go over 2000 metres a month ago but we've just had to keep him ticking along until the right races came along."

"It would have given him four weeks between runs if he didn't run last Friday night."

It was really hard to have him cherry ripe for today."

Galen had been ridden forward in recent races but appeared unable to finish them off. Today he missed the start slightly which forced his rider Steven Arnold to let him race more like the stayer he probably is.

"He's been on the speed but he's a bit one paced", Arnold observed.

"Today he missed the start a bit which made us one paced but he finished it off well."

O'Brien agreed that distances the same as or longer than today's 1800m would be Galen's forte.

"He's by Galileo and bred to get a mile and a half and he's really going to relish that when we get back here in a month", he said.

"Galileo was an English and Irish Derby winner and I'm hoping he'll throw a few Derby winners down here."

O'Brien was also taken by the run of second placed Sir Lago.

"He's a big raw young horse that's certainly got ability", he said. "He probably got to the front a little early here today and he just doesn't know how to finish it off."

"He'll be here in a month's time as well."

Galen is an $80,000 graduate of the 2005 William Inglis Easter Yearling Sale. He was consigned by Collingrove Stud and purchased by his owner, Hong Kong based Keith Hsu.

"He's always had one with us and we've trained a couple for him which have gone to Hong Kong", said O'Brien.

"He's a lovely guy and it would be a big thrill if we could get him down here for the Derby."

O'Brien has one more bridge to cross before he runs his pair in the Derby, suggesting that he will probably run both of them in the Norman Robinson Stakes at Caulfield in two weeks time.

by Bill Saunders - The

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