Danny O'Brien, 37, pot of gold at Karaka

DANNY O'Brien would be the ideal face of an advertising campaign for next month's New Zealand yearling sales at Karaka.

O'Brien, 37, has entrenched himself in the top echelon of Victorian trainers in the past 12 months, chiefly on the back of New Zealand-bred horses.

Many trainers/owners have been associated with specific breeds throughout the years -- think Geoff Murphy and Sovereign Edition horses; Lloyd Williams and Zabeel; Angus Armanasco and Star Kingdom.

O'Brien's aces are the NZ sires Pins and O'Reilly and the now deceased Lion Hunter (Leone Chiara, Ferocity, Barbaricus).

However Kiwi-based Pins and O'Reilly are his buzz sires.

Stable manager Aaron Corby said there were 12 horses in the O'Brien stables by both horses, including the headline act, Caulfield Cup winner Master O'Reilly.

The pick of O'Brien's Pins stock to date is Gallopin, a winner of his past three city races who is set for the Listed $150,000 Bagot Handicap at Flemington on New Year's Day.

O'Reilly and Pins were underrated in Australia for some time, Corby said.

"O'Reilly has been a good sire for years, but he had little exposure here," Corby said.

"A lot of his horses are sold to Hong Kong and Singapore. He's the leading sire in Hong Kong.

"Pins was having success in New Zealand without the hype he would get here."

O'Brien will head to the sales at Karaka from January 28-29 hoping to walk away with 10 to 12 yearlings.

"I like to buy what I want and split them up with my owners," O'Brien said.

"I find you can buy one for $60,000 in New Zealand that will cost $100,000 to $120,000 in Australia. If you don't expect them to be two-year-olds, they will give you three or four seasons."

Take O'Reilly's three-year-old filly Code Black, unbeaten in two city runs and $2.20 to maintain her record in tomorrow's Show A Heart Handicap (1400m) at Sandown.

A $240,000 Sydney yearling, she is superbly bred, being out of a sister to the dam of O'Brien's dual Group 1 winner Glamour Puss.

"I think she's stakes class. Saturday will give us an idea if she can run 1400m. If she can, we may give her a break and bring her back for black-type races in the autumn," O'Brien said.

by Tim Habel - Herald Sun

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