O'Brien shines on home turf

Flemington trainer Danny O’Brien went close to having the biggest Spring Carnival of his career on his home track last week, thanks to an array of budding stable stars.

Star Witness headlined O’Brien’s week with a Group 1 victory in the Coolmore Stud Stakes on Derby Day and the trainer had three other Group 1 placings during the Carnival.

“I am very happy with how well our horses went during the Carnival on our home track. We had a terrific week and if not for a bit more luck it could have been a massive carnival for us,” O’Brien said.

Star Witness was awesome Derby Day before backing that performance up with an outstanding second in the Group 1 Patinack Classic behind the amazing Black Caviar on the Saturday.

“We set him for two runs in a week and it was satisfying to win the Group 1 on the first Saturday as it underlines his stud value for our owners as he is now a Group 1 winner at two-and-three years-old. He also did us proud in weight-for-age class on Saturday as he didn’t lose any admirers chasing home the freak mare,” O'Brien said.

O’Brien had five Group 1 runners for the week for a win, two seconds and a third.

“Shamrocker and Placement were both excellent running places behind Brazilian Pulse in the Oaks, and we are looking forward to them both maturing further before returning to racing in the Spring.”

Master O’Reilly took part in his fourth Melbourne Cup and O’Brien was pleased with his 15th placing.

“He’s been a tremendous old war horse and he ran well given how far back he got on that heavy track on a slow pace. His final 200m was strong as any horse in the race as he past a third of the field in that final furlong,” he said.

Tuesday’s Cup was Master O’Reilly final race and the 2007 Caulfield Cup winner retires with stakes earnings just short of $3 million.

In Group racing, O’Brien continued his strong form with Placement running second in the Wakeful Stakes on Derby Day, while debutante Running Tall finished third in the Maribyrnong Plate for two-year-olds on the final day of the Carnival.

Keano rounded out the week for O’Brien winning the final race on Stakes Day in a driving finish.

In total for the Flemington carnival, O’Brien had 16 runners for two winners and six placings.

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