Wide draw no handicap for Douro Valley

Douro Valley's trainer Danny O'Brien has ignored the barrier draw and said he expected class to prevail in Saturday's Doomben Cup (2020m).

The final field and barrier draw for the Group 1 race was declared yesterday, with Douro Valley emerging as the $7 equal second favourite with TAB Sportsbet.

Douro Valley has gate 14, considered tricky given the short run to the first turn, although three of the emergency runners are drawn inside him.

At his best, the seven-year-old is a classy stayer. He was runner-up in the 2007 Caulfield Cup and last spring won the Yalumba Stakes and was runner-up in the Sandown Classic, both at weight-for-age.

O'Brien is prepared to overlook the seven-year-old's last-start 11th in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick on Anzac Day.

"With hindsight, I should have dodged that race and waited for the Hollindale Stakes at the Gold Coast a week later," he said.

"The track at Randwick was very wet and cut up for the final day of the carnival.

"Douro Valley just drifted too far back early and never got into the race.

"The barrier won't worry him this week. He'll be fired up early to follow Sir Slick across and sit in the first three runners.

"He's coming into this carnival with fresh legs because he has had only two runs back.

"I really think under weight-for-age conditions you have to look at class horses.

"Triple Honour and Racing To Win are the other best-performed horses and I'd rate them the two to worry about."

James Winks, who won the Yalumba with the horse, will return from Hong Kong and have his first mount on the Encosta De Lago gelding this preparation.

Kiwi three-year-old Izonit was the TAB Sportsbet favourite last week, but is now only the fourth emergency and has been displaced by Triple Honour ($6) at the top of betting.

Story by Bart Sinclair, to view full Herald-Sun story click here

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

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