Master O'Reilly primed to produce career-best effort

EVERY trainer dreams of winning a Melbourne Cup. Tomorrow I hope those dreams become reality after my horses Master O'Reilly and Douro Valley run in one of the world's most famous races, writes Danny O'Brien.

Master O'Reilly is perfectly poised to provide me with my biggest moment in racing.

Everything has gone to plan throughout what has been a trouble-free preparation with tomorrow's Cup identified as the race he's primed to produce his career-best performance.

Those two winning runs at Caulfield -- the Winning Edge and Caulfield Cup -- were integral to his preparation.

They laid a solid foundation of toughening him up for a Melbourne Cup.

After winning the Caulfield Cup, the the job was 99 per cent done. From then it has just been a matter of keeping him well with a couple of sharp gallops to fine-tune him.

I thought he would improve out of the Caulfield Cup and he has. Master O'Reilly's work on Saturday morning at Flemington was as good as you could get from a horse heading into the Cup.

He's tough, he's fit and he's still sharp.

Heavy rain yesterday has added another imponderable to the Cup equation. I'm very confident of Master O'Reilly on dead and slow ground, but we start to venture into the unknown if the track deteriorates further.

Master O'Reilly won on slow ground on Easter Monday, but it was probably the least impressive of his wins.

Twice he's failed on heavy ground, so if it became a real wet tracker's Cup then we would be disadvantaged.

I'm hoping the drainage system on the new track is as good as is being trumpeted. If the ground is a dead 5 or even a slow 6 then it won't harm his chances.

The draw -- gate 17 -- is more about Vlad than me, but I really don't think it's a big factor in a Melbourne Cup.

Vlad is going to ride him patiently, so drawing a little bit wide is not the end of the world. If he's going to be winning the Cup, he's going to be winning it from the home turn onwards.

I'm not going to overburden Vlad with instructions. He's ridden him 15 times for seven wins and whenever Master O'Reilly has won, he's had the race sealed with 200m to travel.

And that was even the case in the Caulfield Cup. He levelled up to go past my other horse Douro Valley just inside the furlong.

He's always had a furlong up his sleeve, but I won't mind if he gets home in the Melbourne Cup in the last stride.

Vlad can afford to be patient. The horse can reel off such fast closing times.

From the first time I saw Master O'Reilly, I envisaged him as a likely Melbourne Cup prospect.

He appealed as a horse with remarkable stamina.

Master O'Reilly won his races early in his career with ridiculous ease and, quite astonishingly, he seemed to have so much in reserve.

What really convinced me he would measure up to a spring quality horse was his win at Moonee Valley on Anzac Day.

After idling at the rear, Master O'Reilly, from the 600m to the 400m, went from last to first to win eased down by about three lengths.

Buoyed by that performance, it allowed me to have a single-minded preparation for the Melbourne Cup.

From every indication the tempo will be dictated by two internationals -- Mahler and Tungsten Strike -- and that should equate to a smooth, even pace.

If it becomes a muddling affair that's when you get horses stopped, checked and running into traffic problems.

Douro Valley, my other runner, should not be ignored.

Certainly, no horse will be fitter and there's few more honest or consistent horses.

His Caulfield Cup run was very good, he ran well in the Mackinnon and drops 7.5kg here.

He's definite chance to finish in the top three.

Purple Moon and Mahler worry me the most.

It's been well documented how well Purple Moon ran in the Caulfield Cup after not being able to gain a clear run in the straight. I'm sure he'll be even a better horse tomorrow.

Listening to Aidan (O'Brien) and the Coolmore guys, they seem to be very confident about Mahler who has a good formline through Purple Moon.

Mahler defeated his stablemate Honolulu in the English St Leger and Honolulu was pulling ground from Purple Moon in the Ebor.

And, he's got 50.5kg. That's a bonus at the end of 3200m.

Of the locals, I've a healthy respect for Maybe Better and Zipping who ran third and fourth behind the Japanese stablemates last year.

But I'm quietly confident I'm saddling up the right Cup horse.

by Danny O'Brien

Read the full article here at the Herald Sun

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