Barbaricus could upset: O'Brien

Gun trainer Danny O'Brien believes four-year-old grey Barbaricus is perfectly placed in the weights to cause a boilover in Tuesday's Melbourne Cup.

An outsider with bookmakers - but sure to attract plenty of sentiment bets as one of only two greys in the race - Barbaricus drops 8kg from his fighting second place in yesterday's Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington.

O'Brien is confident his horse has the legs to see out the two miles on Tuesday. Barbaricus took the lead and looked set to claim the chocolates yesterday. However, a dream ride from Nash Rawillier on Theseo, who tailed the leader throughout the race, saw Barbaricus nabbed on the line.

It failed to dim O'Brien's confidence, the trainer seeing more than enough in the run to have him declare Barbaricus was a legitimate Melbourne Cup hope.

"That's going to have him right at his top,'' O'Brien said. "He's had a lovely preparation for the Melbourne Cup, he has done the miles, he is down in the weights. It's a lot easier when you have got 50 kilos on your back.''

By Lion Hunter, his breeding suggests Barbaricus will fail to make the trip. O'Brien believes it is the only question left answered, but he wasted little time dismissing such concerns yesterday.

"He showed that his run in the Caulfield Cup was every bit as good as it looked,'' O'Brien said. "I thought his Caulfield Cup run suggested that he was a good chance to run it out.''

O'Brien has raced Barbaricus lightly, refusing to run him in the Victoria Derby last year and sending him out just once in the autumn. "We wanted to have him fresh for the spring,'' the trainer said.

At last night's Melbourne Cup barrier draw O'Brien horses fared quite well.

Master O'Reilly drew 6, Barbaricus 3 and Gallopin is the widest out in 21, however O'Brien was not too disappointed with that draw given Gallopin's like for racing outside horses.

By Paul Kent

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