Sweeping Prediction from O'Brien

Trainer Danny O'Brien believes Master O'Reilly and Douro Valley are two lengths better than last year and are poised to repeat their 2007 Caulfield Cup quinella.

O'Brien made the claim after Douro Valley upset weight-for-age stars in the Group 1 $400,000 Yalumba Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield yesterday.

Master O'Reilly defeated Douro Valley a year ago to give O'Brien a famous Caulfield Cup quinella, and the trainer said both were "right on song'' for next Saturday. "I would say that Master O'Reilly and Douro Valley are two lengths better horses this spring,'' he said. "

Douro Valley has won the Yalumba and Master O'Reilly ran second in the Turnbull last week - that's Group 1 form. "This time last year Douro Valley and Master O'Reilly were running in races like the Naturalism Stakes and Winning Edge Presentation Stakes.''

Douro Valley ($41) was the outsider yesterday, but he was ridden brilliantly by Jamie Winks to hold off Pompeii Ruler ($2.40) by a neck, with Guillotine ($6) a short half-head away third.

O'Brien certainly has cause to look forward to next Saturday's $2.5million Caulfield Cup with Douro Valley dropping 5kg to 53kg for the Cup.

O'Brien rated Littorio, Nom de Jeu and Red Ruler as the main threats in the Caulfield Cup, but he believed his two stayers were every chance to repeat. "They are both in great form but the difference this year is that Master O'Reilly will carry more weight than Douro Valley.''

O'Brien said he had planned with Winks to ensure the Yalumba Stakes was not the usual weight-for-age sit and sprint. "This horse can grind out a fast last five furlongs (1000m) and compete with the best of them.

"But if it's a sprint from the three (600m), he doesn't have the acceleration to beat these sorts of horses. We thought Casual Pass would lead and our plan was to sit off him and hope the pace was solid enough.

"It was a 'ballsy' move by Jamie to go around Casual Pass at the 1000m and go to the front. But it proved to be the winning move.''

By Ray Thomas

To view The Daily Telegraph story click here

Photo by Sunday Herald Sun photogrpaher Darren Tindale