Master O'Reilly can do it again: Duric

Jockey Vlad Duric is confident Master O'Reilly can enter Australian Racing Hall Of Fame territory and win his second Caulfield Cup on Saturday.

Only two horses have won the Cup in successive years, but Duric believes that Master O'Reilly can join Hall Of Fame inductees Rising Fast (1954-55) and Poseidon (1906-07) on the race's honour board.

"The records say it is pretty tough to go back-to-back but the horse is going great and I can't fault him," Duric said.

Despite the historical difficulty facing him, Master O'Reilly was among the top three favourites with all major betting agencies at $6.50 to accomplish the feat.

Duric expects he will have to use different riding tactics to last year when he was able to push forward on Master O'Reilly from barrier four whereas this year he has drawn much wider in gate 13.

"I would have liked to have drawn a little bit closer to the fence to get the cheapest run possible with the bigger weight but I'm confident he is going a helluva lot better than last year," Duric said.

"I would say he would be in the second half of the field and have to go around them a little bit more than last year when we got a passage through."

This year Master O'Reilly has 56.5kg in the Cup making life much easier for Duric who a year ago was running on adrenalin after living on brown rice, vegetable juices and water for a month to shed up to 4.5kg to ride the gelding at 50.5kg.

Duric said he wasn't committed to any special race tactics on Saturday and would go into the race with three different plans.

"The job is there to be done but every race is different and if they run it at a strong tempo and it is suiting swoopers he is going to be right in the finish," Duric said.

"I will go through the race and thoroughly do my form and come up with plan A, plan B and plan C and see how it unfolds on the day."

Trainer Danny O'Brien gave Duric very little direction before he won last year's Cup, relying on the jockey's judgment and knowledge of the horse.

"Last year Danny let me do my own thing," Duric said.

"I spoke to him before the race and told him I wanted to ride him a bit closer from a good draw and it just panned out the way I pictured it would.

"I know him (Master O'Reilly) best and I will ride the race to suit him."

Last year's Caulfield Cup was the highlight of Duric's career and the prospect of having the chance to relive it again on Saturday thrills him.

"Last year holds great memories for me," Duric said. "I can't believe it was 12 months ago.

"It was just unbelievable for me and I can't wait for Saturday."

O'Brien has made no secret that the Melbourne Cup is the major goal for Master O'Reilly but his second to Littorio in the Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington two weeks ago after tracking three-deep most of the way was the perfect Caulfield Cup trial.

Duric said he expected Master O'Reilly still had improvement to come and that the Caulfield Cup would bring him to his peak for Flemington.

"My gut feeling is he will peak on Melbourne Cup day," Duric said.

"He is probably 90-95 per cent for this but on his work on Tuesday morning and the way he went in the Turnbull I'm confident he can win on Saturday.

"It would be just huge to do it again."

By Racing and Sports

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Photo by Bruno Cannatelli, to view Bruno's website click here

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