O'Brien primes trio for Dubai sojourn

After taking Douro Valley to Hong Kong last month, Danny O'Brien will use Saturday's Flemington meeting as a start of what the Flemington trainer hopes will be a successful campaign for the stable in Dubai over the next two months.

O'Brien has Barbaricus, pictured, and Valedictum engaged in several events on Saturday, including the two listed races on the program, the Manifold Stakes (1410 metres) and the Kensington Stakes (1100 metres). A decision on which races they contest will be made later in the week.

Assuming they both come through their races unscathed, they will fly to Dubai next Tuesday, with Barbaricus' ultimate goal being the $US5 million (A$7.1 million) Shema Classic (2400 metres) on March 28.

"They won't do much when they get there so with a run here beforehand they will arrive in Dubai ready to go," O'Brien said.

O'Brien, who visited Dubai after the spring carnival, was most impressed by the training facilities and believes Barbaricus and Valedictum will be well suited there.

While the earlier races in Dubai are not major events, the prizemoney of $US200,000 makes them too good to refuse.

"The prizemoney they will be racing for is not that much less than what is on offer for a race such as the Orr Stakes and the races will certainly be a lot easier to win," O'Brien said.

"Horses that have gone there before such as Elvstroem, Sunline and Tony Noonan's horses (Benedetti and Smart And Mighty) have settled quickly and raced well there, so it is not that difficult a trip for our horses," O'Brien said.

One of O'Brien's other stars, Master O'Reilly, will initially stay in Melbourne for the Australian Cup on March 7 before also heading to the Shema Classic.

By Andrew Garvey

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

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