New Year's Raid

Danny O’Brien has set his sights on New Year's raid over the weekend as he looks to continue his stable’s hot run of form during December.

O’Brien has six runners across the three metropolitan over the New Year’s weekend and all six are well and truly in the betting markets and strong chances to add to the trainer’s 12 winners on city tracks so far this season.

“Our runners across the weekend are all in good form and if we can get an even amount of luck we could start 2011 on a pleasing note,” O’Brien said.

The 40-year-old trainer will be hoping to ring in the New Year tonight with a winner when Cabeza lines up over a mile at Moonee Valley.

The four-year-old Zabeel gelding has returned with a credible second and fourth at his first two runs this campaign. From the good draw, added with apprentice Jason Maskiell’s claim, he looks a winning chance in the Handicap.

O’Brien’s hand at the New Year’s Day meeting on his home track at Flemington is highlighted by Keano in the Group 3 Standish Handicap (1200m).

Keano won the final event of the Flemington carnival with a gutsy win over 1400m, pictured, and O’Brien has freshened him for this event where he will be looking to utilise the entire’s excellent straight and fresh record.

“Keano’s in terrific order following his freshen-up and we are expecting him to continue his good form in what is a strong and intriguing feature event,” the trainer said.

O’Brien also looks a strong chance to bookend the meeting as he saddles up both race favourites. Both are last start winners with Fashion Black (Race 1) and Pins On Ice (Race 8) big chances to continue their winning forms against their own sex according to punters.

Cyclone Al is O’Brien’s other runner and he lines up in Race 2 over 1400m. O’Brien is looking forward to seeing what the son of Al Maher can produce on the big open track.

“He hasn’t had much luck of late, but with the right run he can be very competitive on Saturday,” he said.

O’Brien’s strong weekend hand is rounded out by exciting staying prospect Bellabaci lining up in the 2100m fillies and mares’ restricted event at Sandown on Monday.

The Zabeel mare will be looking to make it two-in-row and her third win from three starts over the track and distance with apprentice Jarrod Fry retaining the ride on the five-year-old mare.

Photo by Trackside Photography