Hobart Cup mission for imported galloper Reputable

Flemington trainer Danny O'Brien resisted the lure of spring riches in Melbourne to set imported galloper Reputable for today's $400,000 AAMI Hobart Cup at Elwick.

For a while, it looked like his plans may be scuttled - as Reputable came down with the hives, then hurt his back - but O'Brien is hopeful he now has the horse back at his peak for Tasmania's richest race.

Reputable, to be ridden by Victoria's top jockey Damien Oliver, is quoted at $14 in a market completely dominated by the 10 interstate runners.

O'Brien's enthusiasm for the five-year-old suggests he should be at shorter odds.

"I've been really pleased with him," the trainer said.

"I didn't go any further with him in the spring (after consecutive wins at Geelong and Caulfield ) because I thought he'd be a nice horse for Tasmania - and the prizemoney down there is so strong."

After a short break, Reputable was due to resume in late December but was briefly sidelined by the hives.

"We treated him and it cleared up in 48 hours but obviously he couldn't race," O'Brien said.

Reputable returned to the track on January 10, completing a winning hat-trick at Caulfield, but then flopped at his next start on Australia Day.

"His last run was below par but he's worked strongly since and we're hoping it was just an aberration," O'Brien said.

"And, he did have an excuse. He hurt his back - which he'd had issues with before.

"We had some acupuncture done on him and it seems to have fixed him up so, hopefully, he can turn his form around in the Hobart Cup."

Reputable raced in England under the name Gold Option and was prepared by Luca Cumani (trainer of last year's Melbourne Cup runner-up Bauer).

He was bought by Australian interests at a horses-in-training sale in November 2007 and transferred to Caulfield trainer Colin Little.

He switched to the O'Brien stable last August.

Oliver will be chasing his second Hobart Cup on Reputable, having won the race two years ago on Blutigeroo.

By Greg Mansfield

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