Dynamic Douro to hold his own

Underrated Douro Valley is good enough and strong enough to carry Australia's hopes - probably single-handedly - in Hong Kong next month, according to trainer Danny O'Brien.

With Apache Cat only a remote chance of making it to Hong Kong for the International Sprint on December 14, International Vase entry Douro Valley is shaping as Australia's only representative - and a worthy one, according to his trainer.

"He seems to fly under the radar. I couldn't tell you why," O'Brien said.

"He wouldn't be going over there just to make up the numbers.

"You look at his record from 2000m to 2400m. He's a darn good horse."

Douro Valley was beaten in the last two strides by Zipping in the Sandown Classic on Saturday.

Zipping was not entered for Hong Kong.

"He's beaten the glamour horses, like Maldivian. He doesn't get much credit, this horse," O'Brien said.

He said Douro Valley had not yet received an invitation for the Vase (2400m).

"But I'm fully expecting him to receive one," he said.

"He's won a Group 1 this time in the Yalumba and got beaten a head in a Group 2 on Saturday. I'm expecting him to get invited some time this week."

O'Brien said Hong Kong had been on the agenda for Douro Valley all campaign.

"It's not like you can get out of bed and say you want to go to Hong Kong," he said.

"We deliberately planned away from the Melbourne Cup this year so we could go for the Sandown Classic and Hong Kong after the Caulfield Cup."

O'Brien hopes to fly Douro Valley to Hong Kong on December 1. Regular rider James Winks will head to Hong Kong to take the ride.

By Matt Stewart

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

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