O'Brien pair on trial for Adelaide

After missing a start in Tuesday's VRC St Leger (2800m) at Flemington, trainer Danny O'Brien is eyeing next month's Group 1 South Australian Derby (2500m) with emerging stayer Lycurgus.

The three-year-old will tackle the older horses in Saturday's Sky High Mt Dandenong Handicap (2000m) at Caulfield en route to the $600,000 feature at Morphettville on 13 May and O'Brien said the son of Star Witness had overcome the minor setback that prompted his St Leger scratching.

"He'd just left a little feed but he's certainly fine and well this morning and with the conditions the way they were we didn't think it was the right race for him," O'Brien said.

"We were happy to wait and run this Saturday with an eye to maybe going to the South Australian Derby.

"It's going to be five weeks from when he won the Galilee Final to the Derby so he needed a run and this looked the ideal race for him."

Lycrugus was impressive when rocketing home from the rear of the field to score in the Listed Galilee Series Final (2400m) at Caulfield on 8 April and O'Brien said the predicted tempo of Saturday's race would allow the gelding to again settle and work through the line.

In-form jockey Patrick Moloney will take the ride aboard the galloper who will carry the minimum 54kg impost in a field that includes fellow Derby aspirants Odeon, from the Ellerton and Zahra yard and Cranbourne colt Anaheim.

"He's a horse that needs a bit of tempo so that he settles and relaxes and there should be a pretty strong tempo over the 2000m on Saturday, our other horse Zahspeed leads and runs along," he said.

Another O'Brien-trained horse that could feature in Adelaide next month is last-start winner Merriest, who will tackle Saturday's Changing Places Real Estate Handicap (1100m) at Caulfield.

The daughter of Denman returned to form with a strong Caulfield win on 15 April and the Flemington horseman is confident she can again account for her rivals and justify a tilt at the $500,000 Euclase Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville on 6 May.

"I was originally going to go straight to Adelaide with her on Saturday week but I think she's done that well that I probably want to run her again," he said.

"She's going to give weight to most of this field but going into a Group 2 next start you'd think she will be hard to beat."

Story by James Tzaferis, to view full Racing.com story click here

Pic by Racing Photos