Spring in O'Brien Step

MASTER O'Reilly and the much improved Archie Senior gave Flemington trainer Danny O'Brien cause to think of Moonee Valley in the spring after impressive wins at the track yesterday.

Master O'Reilly's target is the Moonee Valley Cup (2500m) on Cox Plate day. "He's a really impressive mile and a half (2400m) horse. We'll give him a break and bring him back for the spring," O'Brien said.

Master O'Reilly ($2.60 to $2.30) came from last 800m out and hit the front on the turn before clearing away for a 3 1/2-length win in the $100,000 William Newton VC Handicap (2500m).

Stablemate Archie Senior ($2.80 fav) won the Auckland Racing Club Handicap (1600m) and O'Brien is eyeing races such as the Group 1 Waterford Crystal Mile on Cox Plate day.

"He's won seven of 10 for me. He's a winner. He will get in on the minimum weight in the bigger races," he said.

Master O'Reilly caught O'Brien's eye with some restricted provincial wins in the spring and he made an offer to the four-year-old's owner Bill Sutcliffe. But Sutcliffe kept the horse and gave him to O'Brien to train, while keeping previous trainer Judy Mawer in the ownership.

Vlad Duric has ridden Master O'Reilly in 11 of his 14 starts.

"It was a big win," Duric said. "The way the track was racing (leaders won the first three races) I wanted to settle fourth or fifth. But I couldn't get in and had to go back. He just dropped on the bridle and when I asked him to go he had the race won on the turn."

by Tim Habel - HeraldSun

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