Engine tuned up for Cup Day repeat


De Little Engine will be out for his second career win on Melbourne Cup Day when he lines up in the James Boag's Premium Stakes over 1800m tomorrow.

In 2015, De Little Engine took out the Lavazza Long Black (2800m), pictured, thanks to a daring ground saving ride by Chad Schofield on Cup Day giving his owners a huge thrill.

Trainer Danny O'Brien said the son Encosta De Lago was in terrific shape ahead of his return to the track tomorrow.

"His form through the winter was excellent and he is now ready to launch into a summer-autumn campaign starting with tomorrow's event over 1800m," O'Brien said.

"He loves Flemington and this is the right sort of trip for him fresh."

The seven-year-old has won five times at Flemington in his career and is also a winner over the distance, which gives connections the confidence of a strong performance.

"He has put in a couple of terrific runs first-up and we are looking forward to seeing what he can produce in this event," O'Brien said.

De Little Engine is more used to staying trips as he ran a gallant fourth in the Lexus Stakes on Derby Day and fourth again in the Queen Elizabeth on the final day of the famed Melbourne Cup Carnival last year.

In the winter the stayer took out the Andrew Ramsden over 3200m by 4.75 lengths, and if not for a slight set-back earlier in the Spring he may have been lining up over the famous two miles again.

"Missing the front part of the Spring may work out to be a blessing for the horse as there are some nice country staying races coming up for him," O'Brien said.

The Group 1 winning trainer highlighted the Ballarat and Pakenham Cups over the next six weeks as being on the evergreen stayer's agenda this campaign.

Photo by Slickpix


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