Vigor ready to make amends

One year ago on Saturday, Flemington trainer Danny O'Brien left Caulfield confident that he was a real chance of winning a Caulfield or Melbourne Cup after an impressive first-up run from Vigor.

Vigor won the Craiglee Stakes at his next run but a wide gate in the Caulfield Cup and failure to gain a run in the Melbourne Cup meant O'Brien's hopes were dashed.

Since then, O'Brien's plan has been to try to right the wrongs of last year with Vigor.

After a light two-run autumn campaign, the six-year-old, who will be ridden by James Winks, resumes in Saturday's Memsie Stakes at Caulfield, in what looks a major preliminary for the spring.

We had no luck last year, first with the wide gate at Caulfield and then missing a run in the Melbourne Cup but I'm very pleased with him and he's going every bit as well as what he was last year, O'Brien said yesterday.

The Group 2 Memsie Stakes over 1400 metres has attracted a field of 15, including last year's Melbourne Cup winner Shocking, Cox Plate winner So You Think and boom Queenslander Shoot Out, who has a fitness edge on many of his rivals after winning first-up in the Bletchingly Stakes.

Other acceptors include prominent cups contenders C'est Le Guerre, Predatory Pricer, Mourayan and Shamoline Warrior.

While O'Brien knows where he is heading with Vigor, he has not yet decided on the final targets for Blue Diamond Stakes winner Star Witness, who resumes in the Vain Stakes and will again be ridden by Nick Hall.

O'Brien said that after Saturday the son of Starcraft would run in the Danehill Stakes at Flemington before a decision was made on whether he steps up in distance as he searches for further Group 1 success.

After we get through the Danehill we have to make a call on either, heading to the 1600 metres of the Caulfield Guineas or have a freshen and head towards the Coolmore Stakes [1200 metres] on Derby day, he said.

Star Witness has been back in work since May.

He's had a good long preparation and he trialled very impressively on the Geelong synthetic track last Wednesday, so everything is in good order for his return, O'Brien said

Story by Andrew Garvey, to view Age story click here

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