O’Brien’s Encostas do the team proud


When Danny O’Brien’s training career is done and dusted, and he reflects on who were the best horses he trained, it’s unlikely De Little Engine or Second Bullet will rate a mention.

But it would not surprise at all if they spring to mind when he nominates some of his favourites.

The two six-year-olds, who are both by Encosta de Lago out of Group 1-winning mares, are in their fourth season of racing and on Saturday made it into the winner’s stall in separate states.

De Little Engine, who is out of Victoria Oaks winner Arapaho Miss, romped home by 4.25 lengths in the Vintage Crop Handicap (2800m) at Flemington around 40 minutes before Second Bullet, a product of former superstar Private Steer, strolled home by 3.25 lengths in the Carbine Club Handicap (2010m) Morphettville.

“They’re both six-year olds, they’re both by Encosta de Lago and they’ve both just been terrifically consistent racehorses,” O’Brien, who has won a Cox Plate with Shamus Award and Caulfield Cup with Master O’Reilly, said.

“They’ve run in a few races together, first-up they quinellaed an 1800-metre race at Caulfield, but that’s probably his (Second Bullet’s) sweet spot, 2000 metres, and the other guy has won today at 2800.”

O’Brien was at Morphettville, where he has Toffee Nose in the Group 1 Australasian Oaks, to greet home Second Bullet and was thrilled to see Damien Oliver partner him to his ninth win in a 40-start career, which has also generated 14 minor placings.

The only disappointment was that Oliver sported the South Australian Jockey Club colours aboard the $3.10 favourite after the navy and white stable colours somehow failed to make it across the border.

“There’s been an enquiry amongst all my staff and the fingers are getting pointed at everyone else,” he said with a laugh.

Second Bullet will next run over 2000m at Flemington where, fittingly, De Little Engine will also be in action.

The latter justified his position as one of the shortest-priced favourite of the day ($2.40) with a dominant performance under Ben Thompson to take his record to eight wins, and 11 minors, from 45 starts.

“He’s a 2400 (metre)-plus horse,” O’Brien said. “He’ll run in the Andrew Ramsden Stakes over two miles in a fortnight,” O’Brien said.

Story by Brad Bishop, to view Racing.com story click here

Photo by Atkins Photography, to view their website click here

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