Hong Kong beckons for Douro Valley

Group 1 winner Douro Valley can book a ticket to Hong Kong with a strong performance in Saturday’s $351,000 weight-for-age Sandown Classic.

Flemington trainer Danny O’Brien has the Hong Kong Vase (2400m) at Sha Tin Racecourse on December 14 in mind for the seven-year-old.

“The horse has been in terrific form this campaign and if acquits himself well on Saturday, we will be heading to Hong Kong for the International race day,” O’Brien said.

Two starts back Douro Valley won the Group 1 Yalumba Stakes at Caulfield after a bold ride from James Winks and the hoop will return from suspension to ride his favourite horse in Saturday’s Group 2 feature.

“He bungled the beginning last start in the Caulfield Cup and in such a big field he had no chance once he settled back in the field on the rail,” O’Brien said.

“He has trained on well since that race and the 2400m at Sandown on Saturday will suit him."

Douro Valley headlines a small, but strong team for O’Brien on Saturday as Lucky Thunder looks to continue his upward spiral when he lines up as one of the favourites in the Group 2 $351,000 Sandown Guineas over 1600m.

The Lucky Owners colt is in top form after a close second to Dr Doute's in the Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes at Flemington on Derby Day.

O’Brien will saddle up his first 2yo starter for the season when Take The Rap steps out in the listed Merson Cooper Stakes over 1000m. In-form jockey Dwayne Dunn will ride both Lucky Thunder and Take The Rap on Saturday.

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

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