O'Brien finds Dubai riches irresistible

Flemington trainer Danny O'Brien has done his sums and says his Dubai excursion starting next month was impossible to ignore.

Caulfield Cup placegetter Barbaricus and veteran Group 1 winner Valedictum, pictured here, will contest the Tauto Handicap and Sir Chester Manifold Stakes at Flemington tomorrow before heading to Dubai on Tuesday.

"It's ideal to get a run into them and then they can race over there in about three weeks. They haven't done a lot, but they are fresh and should run well," he said.

O'Brien presented a compelling case for venturing to Dubai.

All travel costs and training expenses are met by the Dubai Racing Club and the minimum prizemoney is $300,000 a race.

The carnival, which runs from tomorrow to World Cup night on March 29, offers a staggering $47 million in prizemoney.

"It's impossible to ignore. Our prizemoney hasn't risen in five years. I'm planning to do it every year," O'Brien said.

"The South Africans have made plenty of money there."

When you listen to O'Brien's reasoning, it seems inevitable more trainers will follow the lead of Mornington trainer Tony Noonan.

In 2007 Noonan won minor Dubai carnival races with Benedetti and Smart And Mighty.

O'Brien cited the case of one of his talented sprinters, Immortality, to show just how tough it is for owners here.

A capable Listed-class galloper, the grey has won $191,305 in prizemoney.

Yet O'Brien claims connections of the five-year-old are out of pocket when you add his $90,000 yearling price and the costs of four years of training.

"If you have a city Saturday winner, you are entitled to think they can pay their way. But you need a Group-class horse," he said.

Barbaricus and Valedictum will make their Dubai debuts on February 5 or 6.

Barbaricus will run over 1777m, 2000m and 2400m, while eight-year-old Valedictum, now rated at 105, will concentrate on ratings band races over 1500m to 1600m.

O'Brien said the 1610m of the Tauto Handicap was preferable to the richer and stronger $150,000 Chester Manifold Stakes at 1410m for Barbaricus.

Master O'Reilly will join his stablemates in Dubai for the $3 million Golden Shaheen (2400m) on March 29 after running in the Orr Stakes, St George Stakes and Australian Cup.

Barbarcius and Valedictum headline a strong hand for O'Brien at Flemington tomorrow which includes Vigor shooting for his 5th-straight metropolitan victory - this time over 2500m.

Immortality in the listed Kensington Stakes, while Hargitay, Stratella and Viallico are also engaged on the card.

By Tim Habel

To view full Hearld-Sun story click here

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

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