Stradbroke in Keano's sights

Talented three-year-old Keano has the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap in his sights as trainer Danny O'Brien reins in the distance range for the colt.

Keano has always impressed O'Brien as one of the better horses he has trained but admitted that trying him as a "miler" in the autumn was a mistake.

"I wouldn't try him past 1400 metres again," O'Brien said referring to Keano's fifth to Pre Eminence in the Group Two Alister Clark Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley in February.

"It didn't seem like he ran the mile out so the (Australian) Guineas was out of the question and we gave him a break."

Keano had a month in the paddock and six weeks training before returning to the races on Saturday for the 1000m Tasman Handicap at Flemington which he won in emphatic style.

Ridden by Steven Arnold and back last of the 10 runners to the 400m, he was pulled to the outside of the field down the straight course and powered home for a half-length victory over Burly Griffen and Silver Bullion.

"Effectively it was a jump out for him as he is heading to Queensland now," O'Brien said.

The son of Pins left for Brisbane on Sunday to target the lead up races to the Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 6.

"I have always liked him," O'Brien said.

"He's got the ability. He's had only seven starts and he's won three of them but could easily have won five.

O'Brien noted that Keano was yet to win a stakes race but he indicated it was only a matter of time before he enhanced his pedigree.

"We want to get him up to Queensland and have a couple of cracks at those lead up races to force his way in to the (Stradbroke) field," O'Brien said.

"He was a little bit on the fresh side (on Saturday) and he will get good improvement out of the win."

Three-year-olds have won three of the last six Stradbroke Handicaps with Private Steer (2003), La Montagna (2006) and Sniper's Bullet (2007) all successful.

By The Virtual Form Guide, to read full story click here

Photo by Greg Irvine

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