Barbaricus has Guineas shine

TRAINER Danny O'Brien will have a three-pronged attack on the $1 million Caulfield Guineas after the win of Barbaricus in the group 2 Bill Stutt Stakes (1600 metres) at Moonee Valley last night.

"I thought he might have been looking for further, but I guess we'll have to run him (in the Guineas) now," O'Brien said. The trainer also has Guineas Prelude winner Purrealist and Pins On Parade in the race.

Pins On Parade had to miss the Prelude because of a muscle strain but O'Brien said he would run in the Concept Stakes (1400 metres) at Flemington next Saturday.

Barbaricus ($11) won by a neck from Davcon ($51), who fought on bravely in the run home, with Cecconi ($21) running a much-improved race, 2¾ lengths away in third place.

The roar of the big crowd was silenced soon after the horses crossed the line when it was realised Crowned Ruler, who crashed through the inside running rail about 100 metres from home, had been badly injured. The gelding was put down.

Trainer Peter Moody, who had fourth horse Pillar Of Hercules, was fuming after the race over the change in track conditions compared with Wednesday's Moonee Valley meeting.

"How can it be that 48 hours ago barrier one was the only place you wanted to be and tonight you've got no bloody hope on the inside?" Moody asked.

The moveable rail was out seven metres on Wednesday and went back to four metres last night.

The heavily backed $2.25 chance Murtajill finished fifth in the Stutt after having an early tussle to get to the front but was beaten at the top of the straight.

For O'Brien, the win of Barbaricus made up for the defeat of hot favourite Master O'Reilly in the previous race, the Kevin Sheedy JRA Cup.

Maldivian firmed from $10 to $5.50 to be equal favourite with Eskimo Queen for the Caulfield Cup on October 20 after his brilliant win in the JRA Cup (2040 metres).

Against several of the horses he is likely to meet in the Caulfield Cup, Maldivian, ridden by Michael Rodd, controlled the race from the outset and simply won as he liked.

The five-year-old showed he needed the run at Caulfield last Saturday when he was just run down by Douro Valley in the Naturalism Stakes (2000 metres) after leading into the straight.

Trainer Mark Kavanagh explained that Maldivian was a "big, gross horse" and he performed best on a seven-day back-up. That is why Maldivian will run in the Winning Edge (2400 metres) at Caulfield on October 13, a week before the cup.

Maldivian, who eased from $2.80 to start at $3.70 last night, won by 4½ lengths from Pacino ($19), who raced in second place throughout, with the solid $2.20 favourite Master O'Reilly another 1½ lengths away in third place.

O'Brien was not disappointed with the effort of Master O'Reilly, who is also highly fancied for both the Caulfield and Melbourne cups.

"We thought he might be looking for the mile and a half (2400 metres) now and that's how it panned out," O'Brien said.

by Tony Bourke - The Age

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