O'Brien out to steal Middle East riches

Danny O'Brien will blaze the international trail to Dubai next year on the back of his visit to Hong Kong with Douro Valley this month.

O'Brien intends to run Master O'Reilly, winner of the 2007 Caulfield Cup, and perhaps Barbaricus, pictured, in the $7.7 million Sheema Classic (2400m) on March 28.

"It's a race that's no stronger than the Caulfield Cup if you go by recent years. It's on turf and early in the season for the Europeans," the Flemington trainer said.

"Master O'Reilly will certainly run and we may take Barbaricus and Valedictum for some lead-up races."

O'Brien returned yesterday from his first tour of Dubai facilities and was impressed by what he saw.

O'Brien said, with our prizemoney stagnant, the riches on offer internationally would be an irresistible lure to Australian trainers.

"With the way the US dollar is, races over there are worth 50 per cent more than this time last year," he said.

Douro Valley leaves for Hong Kong today to contest the $2.8 million Vase (2400m) on December 14.

O'Brien said all the signs were positive after the gelding's pleasing workout at Moonee Valley on Saturday. "He'll probably only need one gallop over there," he said.

By Tim Habel

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

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