O'Brien targets big team at Caulfield

The Danny O'Brien stable has been to the fore early this spring and the stable is hoping to feature heavily again at Caulfield this Saturday.

The stable has runners engaged in most of the feature races, including Valedictum in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap, Barbaricus in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas and Master O'Reilly and Tacit Agreement in the Group 2 Winning Edge Stakes.

Stable veteran Valedictum signaled he was on track for a good campaign with an eye-catching run at Flemington last Saturday, charging home late in the Gilgai Stakes to finish third.

He raced in the same race last year before backing up a week later in the Toorak, where he ran a luckless ninth behind Red Dazzler.

“He looks well suited this weekend and has had a similar preparation to last spring,” O'Brien's racing manager Aaron Corby said.

“His run on Saturday was fantastic and he looks back to where we know he can be.”

Like last year, Valedictum is likely to run in the Group 3 Helvetica Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on Derby day before backing up in the Emirates the following week.

The stable aren't conceding defeat to hot favourite Weekend Hussler in the Caulfield Guineas, with Barbaricus on song to run another good race.

The Lion Hunter grey has raced five times for three wins and two seconds, the latest winning the Group 2 Stutt Stakes at Moonee Valley.

Unlike the favourite, he is proven at Saturday's journey and the stable expect him to run well.

“He ran good time at Moonee Valley and has really gone on since,” Corby said.

“We think he'll make a Derby horse – he's bred stoutly on his dam's side - but with some good pace in the race on Saturday we think he'll be hard to hold out.”

Master O'Reilly and Tacit Agreement contest the Winning Edge Stakes as both head towards feature Cups.

Master O'Reilly gets his chance to secure a Caulfield Cup berth while Tacit Agreement, fitter for one run in Australia, will be fitter again for the Melbourne Cup.

Chinchilla Rose contests the Group 3 Thoroughbred Club Stakes and is expected to bounce back following her disappointing run over 1400m last start in the Thousand Guineas Prelude.

She has been kept fresh, has the blinkers on and goes back to 1200m.

The filly, another Lion Hunter grey, is being aimed at the Ascot Vale Stakes at Flemington during Cup week.

Meanwhile, a luckless effort at Flemington on Saturday has convinced connections to pay a $25,000 late entry for to have Absolut Glam in next Wednesday's Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m).

The filly had little luck in the straight but finished a half length third behind El Daana in Saturday's Manifold Stakes.

Connections felt with a bit of luck she could have won the race and in a very open year believe she deserves her chance at the rich Group 1.

by Jason Hickson - RacingandSports.com.au

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