O'Brien shooting for more winter goals

Melbourne trainer Danny O'Brien is hoping to kick more goals with Absolut Glam and Ballack who are back in Queensland for the winter carnival.

Absolut Glam has returned to Brisbane after campaigning successfully last winter and will run in the Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben on Saturday while Ballack will start in the Group 3 Chairman's Handicap (2020m).

Absolut Glam stamped herself a genuine winter contender in 2008 after finishing third in her first Queensland appearance behind the Pat Duff-trained Heart Of The Citi in the Magic Millions Trophy (1400m) at the Gold Coast in March.

O'Brien gave the Snowland mare a short break before she resumed two months later with an unlucky second to Helideck in the Group 3 BTC Sprint (1350m) at Doomben before her close fourth to Mr Baritone in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm last June.

The then three-year-old returned home to campaign in the Melbourne spring following her Group 1 victory in the Winter Stakes (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 21.

During the spring Absolut Glam was rated an unlucky second when runner-up to Typhoon Zed in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley in September before being a bridesmaid again to Bellini Rose in the Group 2 Blazer Stakes (1400m) at Flemington in October.

Absolut Glam has started twice this campaign finishing seventh to Perth sprinter Scenic Blast in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington and sixth to Bel Mer in the Group 1 Robert Sangster (1200m) at Morphettville in March.

"She's been up there since last Monday and she's going well," O'Brien said.

"She'll run in the BTC Cup and then it's on to the Doomben 10,000 and Stradbroke Handicap again."

Michael Rodd has been booked for Absolut Glam in her BTC Cup showdown with Apache Cat but O'Brien will wait for the release of weights before deciding who will partner Ballack in the Chairman's Handicap.

"It depends what weight they give Ballack but either Michael Rodd or Damien Oliver will ride him on Saturday," O'Brien said.

Ballack came to Brisbane last year and scored a controversial win on protest over fellow Victorian Fast Future in the Group 3 Tattersall's Cup (2200m) at Eagle Farm before pulling up lame when Fast Future got his revenge in the Listed Caloundra Cup (2400m).

"He's up there for the Brisbane Cup at this stage and we'll get him through that race first before we look at anything other race," O'Brien said.

Ballack hasn't won since his Tattersall's Cup victory but was placed at his final three outings last campaign including his third to Guyno in the Group 2 Perth Cup (2400m) at Ascot in January.

The five-year-old resumed with a creditable fifth to Chasm in the Listed Auckland Race Club (1615m) at Flemington on Anzac Day.

O'Brien is a big follower of European football and named Ballack after Chelsea midfielder and Germany's captain Michael Ballack.

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Photo by Trackside Photography