Ollie ensures Keano's luck improves

At Caulfield two weeks ago, trainer Danny O'Brien commented that he had never seen a horse get into more trouble in a race after his promising three-year-old Keano ran an unlucky sixth.

Yesterday at Flemington, O'Brien was all smiles post-race, after seeing Keano ($1.80 favourite) take out the Shaftesbury Avenue Handicap (1400 metres).

"He's got a lot of ability. I think he's a very, very nice horse," O'Brien said.

Rather than risk a repeat of his Caulfield trouble where he couldn't get a run in the straight, jockey Damien Oliver got Keano to the outside at the top of the straight and despite racing a little greenly, Keano raced up to leader Cascabel and after a short battle drew clear on the line to win by a length and a quarter.

"He's still learning how to go through his gears and got to the second horse quickly. He's still got to learn how to put a race away. That was only his fourth start and we think he'll measure up to the better three-year-olds in the autumn," O'Brien said.

Keano will now head to the paddock for a short break before being aimed at the group 1 Australian Guineas (1600 metres) on March 7.

Keano is certainly bred to be contesting better-class races. A $450,000 Easter yearling, he is by leading New Zealand-based sire Pins.

O'Brien is confident that Keano is as good as his stablemates Iamzeus and Lucky Thunder, who were up with the better three-year-olds in the spring.

"I think he is right up with my better three-year-olds so I'm looking forward to the autumn. Hopefully Whobegotyou has lost a couple of lengths and mine have found a couple," he said.

By Andrew Garvey

To view Sunday Age story click here

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

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