Gallopin could have Caulfield tilt

DANNY O'Brien may need to look no further than yesterday's Bagot Handicap victor Gallopin to find his next Caulfield Cup winner.

O'Brien, who prepared Master O'Reilly to win last year's Caulfield Cup, says Gallopin has the scope to measure up to the spring headline races this year.

He said the former New Zealander would go for a spell and then be set for the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.

"I think he's a pretty good horse," O'Brien said.

"We would hope to get him into a Caulfield Cup. He's going to be a horse down in the weights and he's only going to get better.

"I'll have no problems setting him on the same Caulfield Cup path we had with Master O'Reilly and (cup runner-up) Douro Valley.

"He's a genuine horse who'll shake the life out of whatever he runs in."

And jockey Steven Arnold was definite in his view that Gallopin could shape up to the better quality staying events.

Asked if the four-year-old was up to a Caulfield Cup, Arnold said: "That's exactly what he's up to. Obviously, he has to take the next step. They are not good horses he is beating, but it's just the way he does it; he's got something else to give.

"It was a good effort. It was soft, he had them covered at the furlong and a half. He's an exciting horse, a good horse that just keeps stepping up.

"I rode him as if he was the best horse. He switches off when he gets to the front. He's a better chaser."

Eskander Betstar reacted to favourite Gallopin's dominant 1 1/4-length win over the Flemington 2500m by tightening his Caulfield Cup odds from $101 to $51 and his Melbourne Cup odds from $201 to $81.

O'Brien said he was approached by Gallopin's New Zealand connections after the gelding was twice unplaced there in early 2007.

Gallopin has won seven of his 10 starts for O'Brien and been runner-up in the other three.

Gallopin became the first horse in 20 years to carry more than 57kg to win the Listed Bagot, a fact not lost on O'Brien.

"I think you'll find he's a bit better than most Bagot winners," he said.

"We held him back from the spring because we just didn't think he was quite ready. We had a couple of replacements, but he will be up the front of the team next spring."

by Adrian Dunn - Herald Sun

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