La Chasseuse takes aim at metro title

La Chasseuse has crept under the radar to be poised to join Weekend Hussler and Kaphero as Victoria's most successful city galloper for the season.Danny O'Brien's ultra consistent mare needs to win tomorrow's $100,000 Sir John Monash Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield to equal those quality gallopers on six city wins for 2007-08.

"She's had a very consistent season. She was found wanting in the Oakleigh Plate when she was at the end of a campaign but apart from that her form has been very good. She's won two stakes races and now she's ready to step up to weight-for-age," O'Brien said.

The 1100m of the Sir John Monash is her pet trip, prompting TAB Sportsbet to install her $3.20 fav.

"She struggles to get 1200m, but at 1000m and 1100m she's so strong and fast and travels well on a hot speed," O'Brien said.

"We'll hopefully step her up from stakes class in the spring. She's only very lightly raced, so she'll race on again next season," he said.

O'Brien is nearing the finishing post of his most successful season as a trainer.

A Caulfield Cup quinella, 47 city winners, more than $7 million in prizemoney, 18 stakes winners, and Group 1 victories in Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, makes for impressive reading.

"We're aiming to train 50 city winners in a season for the first time. We've outstripped every parameter and that's the aim, to improve every season," he said.

The $7 million in prizemoney is third only to David Hayes ($12.3 million) and Gai Waterhouse ($8.2 million) on the national stage.

Flemington based-O'Brien has about 120 horses on his books and those numbers will swell when his Barwon Heads complex is operational early next year.

"We'll mark them harder to keep the quality up," he said.

O'Brien has a powerful hand on paper for the spring Cups.

He has five Cups-bound horses and that may swell to six provided Victoria Derby fourth placegetter Villain, who runs in tomorrow's Debby Montgomery Cup (1400m), returns to his spring form.

"He had a virus in the autumn. He's built up slowly and we'll go to 1700m at Flemington next start. He's shown enough quality to say he can contest the top races," O'Brien said.

The first-up plans for O'Brien's Cups team are: Master O'Reilly, Makybe Diva Stakes, September 6; Douro Valley, Memsie Stakes, August 30; Lords Ransom and Gallopin, Liston Stakes day 1600m handicap, August 16; Alexander Of Hales, Liston Stakes, August 16.

By Tim Habel.

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