O'Brien fires with sire duo

It's not uncommon for some trainers to enjoy an inordinate amount of success with the progeny of a certain stallion. What is much rarer, however, is for a trainer to excel with the offspring of two stallions in tandem and with remarkable frequency.

Danny O'Brien is one such trainer.

His uncanny knack with the progeny of Waikato Stud duo Pins and O'Reilly over a long period has been mutually beneficial. They win stakes races, and lots of them.

At last count, O'Brien had trained a total of 13 individual winners by O'Reilly led by Caulfield Cup hero Master O'Reilly, picture winning the Group 1 feature above. He is one of four stakeswinning O'Reilly's that O'Brien has mentored up until this point. Another is ruling Caulfield Cup favourite Vigor.

It's hard to believe, but O'Brien's record with the progeny of Pins is even better.

No less than 20 of Pins' sons and daughters have won races under O'Brien's care - five of those are stakeswinners. O'Brien's relationship with the Waikato Stud regime dates back to his efforts with Glamour Puss, who won the Group One Salinger and Goodwood double.

"I knew Mark (Chittick) fairly well and had seen O'Reilly and Pins at the stud," O'Brien said. "I took a lot of notice of O'Reilly because his record is so impressive in Asia. He is a very, very good stallion in Hong Kong, where the racing is so competitive."

As well as being an ace conditioner, O'Brien is considered to be a peerless judge around the sale yards. He knows athletes and he knows pedigrees.

"They are nice yearlings without being sensational, but the real test is at the races, and both stallions' progeny are winning in so many different countries over all sorts of distances."

That's certainly true in the case of Pins' pair Keano and Gallopin, who have won at 1000m and 2500m respectively.

"The Pins' are tough sort of horses. They get better as they get older," O'Brien said. "The O'Reilly's are also easy to train. He (O'Reilly) is more a Last Tycoon, in that they can be raced a bit fresh."

Vigor can be considered as "exhibit A" for the former lawyer turned trainer, having won the Group Two Makybe Diva second up and off a three week break to boot. "I've got high hopes for him this spring and hopefully he's not going to be far away," O'Brien said.

Stable favourite Master O'Reilly is eyeing off his third consecutive Cups campaign, having won the 2007 Caulfield Cup and finished fourth in last year's Flemington feature.

The Pins/O'Reilly assembly line is still manufacturing future major winners in need of the O'Brien polish and he named one for us - Keano.

"He is a very nice Pins, who should really step up to the mark this spring," O'Brien said. "He's headed towards the Salinger and will resume in the 1100m Group 2 on Caulfield Cup day."

By Shayne O'Cass. to view the Sportsman's website click here

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